Yesterday was the big football day; not that I am a football fan at all but I love the action. Some of my best memories are those from when I use to shoot my sons football games in High School. I love to shoot action; and seeing the resulting photos with people flying in the air and emotion playing out on their face is amazing. But my better half and my son were watching the big games yesterday so I was sort of floating in and out of the family room. Luke was snuggled on the couch for the entirety of the both games. We'd gone for a big hike in the woods, met a few new friends and saw some cool new sites, Luke was exhausted. Elsa joined him now and again but she was mostly scouting for food.
One of the many joys of old dogs is that they know; they have their training done long ago and life just gets simpler. I remember when I had three dogs and I could leave a coffee table full of food and walk away knowing that when I got back it would all be there where I left it. Luke is amazing; he would NEVER eat off the table unless asked to do so. Even then he'd probably have huge stress issues about doing it; he's a "only needs telling once," sort of guy.
As I sat watching Elsa watch the food on the table I realized how far she'd come. She is by pure definition of the meaning; a chow hound. She loves food too much and has a very difficult time controlling herself around it, any of it. So when she walked past our legs, brushing the nose level table filled with food without giving it a second glance I was proud to say the least. She is learning that the only way to get any of the food when we are eating is to go and lay down on her bed. (Of course not everyone always listens to these rules (humans)).
The table is off limits, that is what you must ingrain in their heads. If it's on the table; you don't touch it!!!! Simple, right? Not always. Some dogs just "get it." Others need a ton of work, supervision, feedback and more supervision. Elsa is one of these types, it has everything to do with how much they really want that food. But that said the closer the bond that you forge the easier it is. Puppies in general don't give a hoot if you are mad at them; it typically doesn't really phase them. Once your puppy starts to mature and you become an important person in their life then it starts to matter. I am seeing that now at 6 months of age.
One of the most important things to remember when trying to teach our dogs what to touch and not to touch is our role in the matter. You must keep an "I can do this," attitude otherwise you can't do it. If you have a wishy washy attitude; sort of like "ah..........she keeps taking stuff," then she always will. The ever famous phrase "give them an inch and they'll take a mile," stands true with our dogs. One sniff of the table leads to a lick which leads to a head turn which leads to a full on steal. So dig your heels in and make a statement "no touching my stuff," believe it, follow through and you will soon have a dog that you can be proud of. One who can join you for those football watching days of food and kick back.