Do you trick your dogs into getting them to do what you want?

AnchorageJune 10, 2013 

Eddie gives me a High 10 at a Hogs 'N Dogs tricks contest a few years ago at House of Harley.


I confess. I occasionally resort to trickery to get my dogs to do what I want them to do. Am I alone in this deceit, or does anyone employ this method of achieving "obedience?" Bonus points for examples -- I may want to steal the ideas!

This came to my attention recently when I was having to give Eddie chewable Rimadl tablets for inflammation and andpain relief while he was recovering from leg surgery. Eddie quickly decided that he didn't like the taste of the chewable tablets and he would spit them out, a dangerous habit when there are other dogs in the house.

I have Pill Pockets that I use for non-chewable medications, but I couldn't help but think it was a waste. I was paying extra for the chewable tablets, why should I pay double to hide the chewable tablets in a Pill Pocket?

My deceit took the form of giving him multiple treats in rapid succession for a series of tricks. "Sit" got a thin piece of Yummy Chummy. "Down" got another. "Stand" got another -- all within about 5 seconds. Then, I'd have him do a "High 10," and I'd follow up immediately with a Rimadl. Without taking a break, he did a "shake" and got another Yummy Chummy.

It was a lot of work for one little bit of medication, but I got a strange sense of satisfaction in knowing I pulled one over on him.

Ah, but once you resort to trickery, it's easy to lower the bar on what's effective and what's a cop-out. Over the weekend, I was in a hurry to get somewhere, so I fed the dogs and let them out in the yard. Lucy and Jillie did their business quickly, but 10 minutes later Eddie was still moseying around the back of the garage and calls to "Come" fell on deaf ears.

With my wife starting to head out the door to an appointment we were late for, I told Eddie "Want to go for a car ride?" In he sprinted before realizing he was being conned. He came in the house, I rewarded him with a treat out of guilt, and I hustled out the door to a glare from Eddie.

'Fess up. Have you tricked your dogs before?




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