August 08, 2009

A Few Things that Fisher has Eaten

  • Most of an Endangered Species-brand chocolate bar.
  • Contents of a dish holding about a cup of roasted garlic mixed with olive oil.
  • Shreds of plastic bag (mostly vomited, thank heaven).
  • Yesterday, contents of a 9x9 baking dish full of freshly baked granola. "About $5 worth of walnuts," M. said.

Plus all of the normal disgusting things that a dog can find by running around in the woods.

After all of our former big dogs who respected counter-tops, now we have one that has not learned to do so. It's like having a raccoon loose in the house--except he does not open cupboards, yet. We must adapt.

Having seen a couple of references to the stuff-it-with-treats, give-it-to-the-dog Kong toy by the Atomic Nerds, I broke down and bought one. Eighteen dollars for something that looks like a new-model toilet flush valve--it's black, rubbery, and heavy, the "Extreme Kong" for large dogs.

The first evening, two nights ago, I loaded it with dog biscuits and some peanut butter, and it distracted him for about thirty minutes when he normally would be shadowing M. during dinner preparations.

Last night he discovered that the best way to get the biscuits out is to just drop the Kong repeatedly on the tile floor.

After that, he adopts the same method he uses with tennis balls outdoors. First find a human. Then drop the ball/Kong in front of or onto them. Step back and stare intently at the object. Repeat as needed.

And when you say, "Get that slimy thing off the sofa," pick up, and toss it on the floor, you have done exactly what he wanted you to do. Start again at step one.


Anonymous said...

The Buster Cube lasts longer than a Kong (per filling) - but costs more.

To fix counter surfing look for a used Innotek Zones unit on ebay or Craigslist. If you disable the warning tone (I can pm you instructions if you're interested) it does a wonderful job of curing counter surfing. If possible get 2 or more transmitters, then you can cover a decent-sized piece of counter real estate at one time. If not, judicious placement of tempting treats and a well-hidden transmitter will work too.

Caveat - this is not politically correct "purely positive" training.

Anonymous said...

When I was younger I had a golden retriever that developed a very fun game (for her). If I was on the couch she would bring a tennis ball to me, drop it in front of the couch and then jam it under the couch with her paws. She would then proceed to whine at me until I got it out, no easy task, and threw it for her. She would then repeat ad nauseum. Tennis balls were quickly banned from the house.

Beverly said...

Dogs on a counter-top? Set mousetraps under heavy paper...all along the countertop in front of tasty treet just out of reach. The point is not to 'catch' any part of the dog...put the snapping noise is supposed to scare 'em off.

I have not tried this trick, instead I keep goodies off the countertop. My dogs trained me well...

What a sweet puppy!

Chas S. Clifton said...

Retrievers work hard at training us, don't they.

mdmnm said...

My Chessie proved to be a counter surfer as well and my, can he reach way up there. Worst was a 12 q pot of duck stock. I'd left it on the stove to cool while I went to work, thinking it too hot, heavy, and far back for him to reach. He drug it off the stove and when it hit it launched stock all the way to the ceiling. I'm now broke of leaving food lower than the top of the fridge when out of the house.

Bet the garlic & olive oil made for some impressive dog breach.

LabRat said...

The Akitas actually don't counter surf; we don't trust Kang as much, but Kodos could coexist with a marinated steak left on the edge of the counter indefinitely. He's just polite, and she's just not been given much opportunity to press the idea.

The cat, on the other hand, is a counter *ninja*. So at the end of the day we are just as paranoid.