Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Dog Training or Dog, Training!

We have a three year old Alaskan Malamute, rescued as a puppy from a shelter. It's our first family dog, and he has simply made his way into our hearts, and the hearts of our day care kids. When we adopted him we had the best of intentions-we bought the best food the vet sold, took him every three months for a checkup, brushed his coat and teeth regularly, and did all the right things.
I'm not sure when all of that went by the way side, but I recently realized that it's been about a year since I bought him dog food. How does a dog get to be 80-ish pounds without eating dog food? Here are some hints: I bought a package of meaty bones at the store to make soup with. I gave the dog one out of the package, raw, to gnaw on. He sniffed it, pushed it away with his nose, and then walked away. He didn't want it so I threw it away. After I boiled the other bones in the package for soup, and seasoned the resulting broth, I fished out the bones, pulled off all the meat I could get, and tossed the bones in the garbage. But I didn't shut the door to the cabinet the can was located in, and when I turned around, ddog had the bone, the cooked and well seasoned bone, and was chewing to his hearts content. A dog can't really prefer cooked meat, can he? I convinced myself he couldn't, and let the incident go. A few days later, and it was Friday. Our family tradition dictates we make homemade pizza and watch movies on Friday nights, and we do this almost every week. It's a fun, comforting tradition we all love. Including, apparantly, ddog, who, as I watched in shock, stood by the stove until one of dk's gave him a paper plate with his own slice of pizza on it. That was the point at which my dh and I decided enough was enough. It was time for the dog to learn to eat dog food.
We cut him off people food cold turkey. And, surprisingly, he actually ate the dog food we bought, even though we had to mix dry food with wet food to get him to do it.
All went well, and when we left for vacation last week, we boarded him for the first time ever, sure that he wouldn't starve to death while we were gone. When we came back, he was thrilled to see us, and no thinner than when we left. Our first night home we ordered pizza, the "5-5-5" deal that's popular around here. One pepperoni, one cheese, one sausage. The dog never even looked at us while we ate. We'd won. But, there's something a little sad about a dog who doesn't beg for food, using those big brown eyes to get what he wants.
When I cleaned up the kitchen after dinner, he was there, waiting for a can of food at his bowl. I looked around furtively, then petted him, whispered sweet nothings to him, and slipped him a slice of the sausage pizza, just to let him know we still loved him. He took it immediately, going to the hallway with it. The hallway? I followed a short distance behind, trying to act like I wasn't watching him. There, in the hallway, he sat down with his winnings, and as I watched, pushed it into the corner, where several crusts had already been stashed. Training over, I guess!

7 comments:

Kev said...

Wait... The dog ate all of the pizza slices but the crusts?

Or he was given a bunch of crusts by the rest of your clan and didn't eat them?

What's ddogs name?

BTW, I've never seen the ddog designation before: Coolio!!

bzsclmom said...

ddogs name is Stitch. And, no, not because of the movie. He had stitches in his face when we picked him up, because at the shelter he got between a blind dog and his food.
Ddog loves pizza, kids hate do too, but not the crust. Hence, ddog always gets the kids crusts. He's really happy when there's a bit of pepperoni left clinging to it... This particular time, he apparantly decided that since he wasn't "allowed" to eat people food anymore, it might be a good idea to stash it in the corner of the hallway. It was all gone a short time later, when I came back with a paper towel to clean it up.
I haven't a clue how to post pics on this, or I would have put up one of him with this post.

bzsclmom said...

Last post should read," Ddog loves pizza, kids do too, "

Kev said...

When you are creating your post, on the tool bar, next to the spellcheck icon, there is a little rectangle icon for posting pictures. click it and you'll get a pop-up (or new tab) with the option to upload image(s).

Kev said...

When you are creating your new post, on the tool bar next the spellcheck icon is a little rectangle icon for posting pictures. CLick it and a pop-up or new tab will open with the options for uploading pictures.

bzsclmom said...

Cool, thanks. Figuring out things that are right in front of me isn't my best skill set...

Kev said...

whoops. didn't mean to post that twice :-)