Charlie The Con Artist

Dogs are smart, and we’re finding out just how smart. Charlie, our adoptee puggle (pug-beagle cross) has us all figured out.

Charlie goes over to my mom’s unit in the condominium for some of his day. He “calls” when he’s ready. Some days he’s there the whole time; sometimes he sits by her door and waits for her to let him back inside our unit. Yeah, he has us ALL trained.

Mom loves to spoil her doggie daycare charges, too, so she has a ready supply of dog treats that she doles out generously. So now Charlie has decided that every time he goes outside and comes back inside, it’s time for a treat. He’ll sit down next to the kitchen table where the box of treats is, and wait for one of us to notice him.

Then Charlie decided that when HighGuy and I are sitting around watching TV and getting up for snacks in the kitchen, he needed a snack, too. So we started giving him a dog treat or a rawhide chew every now and then. If we don’t comply, Charlie has started letting us know we’re letting him down — by barking!

At first we thought it was cute, but then we realized we might regret that little trick. So we give him a treat now and then, but not all the time. And if he gets a little pushy, we tell him to go lay down. Or we distract him with a toy. Or we sit with him on the couch and give him some attention. All good ideas. (And maybe we should use a couple of those on US when we think we need another treat!)

So far, so good. And then Charlie pulled an even bigger scam on us.

We’d just arrived home from a weekend at the lake. HighGuy and I were unloading the car and unpacking the cooler and other bags that we carry back and forth. HighGuy had started a load of laundry, and I’d sat down with the weekend’s mail.

Charlie came and sat down next to me, and looked meaningfully into my eyes. I glanced at the clock, and said, “Oh, you’re ready for supper, aren’t you?” Charlie danced into the kitchen and sat down next to his dish. I scooped out a cup of a new dog food he’s trying, and Charlie gobbled it up.

I went back to the office, and told HighGuy that I’d fed Charlie supper.

“That’s good,” said HighGuy. “I already fed him!”

We’d been outfoxed by the dog.


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