Our little dog “Betsy” has been a much loved member of our household for almost a year. She has bonded well with us, her adoptive parents, and has been quick to show her love and affection toward us.
Often times, however, her demands for attention are a bit excessive. She loves to be outside, but soon becomes uncomfortable with the hot and cold weather temperatures. That situation is a rather annoying dilemma because she is always on the wrong side of the door.
Betsy never utters a sound when she wants to exit out to the other side of the closed doorway. She will just stand there and look at us as if to ask, “Well, don’t you see me? Get with it!”
Sometimes I think we need a flashing neon sign with words displayed above the door that alternate between, “Let the dog out”...“Let the dog in”...“Let the dog out”...“Let the dog in”. On second thought, it might be easier to teach Betsy how to talk.
It didn’t take long for our furry friend to discover where we keep her various treat containers. Their out-of-reach locations have been indelibly etched in Betsy’s mind. She seizes every opportunity to lead us to where they are stored, then, Betsy will reach deep into her inventory of proven schemes to convince us that she is deserving of another snack.
Betsy has one little trick that is especially difficult to ignore. That one will almost always pay a tasty dividend for her – and she knows it will usually work. She looks so cute when sitting up straight in a classic begging position with her front paws reaching out to us. Then, with a sad, but expectant and piercing gaze in her eyes, she seems to be pleading, “Oh, please...please?” I can’t be certain, but I think I’ve even detected the slight hint of a smile on her lips during her performance.
She is offered plenty of treats during the day, but we try to limit them as rewards for “good dog” behavior. Betsy’s favorite is a small bone shaped biscuit that I usually break in half for her. I feel bad offering her only half a treat each time, but she seems happy to get them. On a good day, she is rewarded with four or five half pieces.
Today after I emptied a box of those treats into our storage container, which, by the way is shaped like a huge dog bone, I decided to study the information written on the box. The large print on the front states that the treat “Promotes Healthy Brain Development!” Well, that’s good. Most puppies need some extra help in that area anyway.
When I read the recommended serving details on the back side of the package, I was totally shocked. The daily recommendations for achieving the maximum benefit from the product are two to three biscuits for each two pounds of dog weight up to twenty pounds. I soon discovered that we are short-changing our poor dog. It’s no wonder she is so anxious to be treated with biscuits. The four or five half biscuits she gets each day are just a drop in the bucket.
Betsy weighs twenty pounds, therefore, according to the recommendations she should have between twenty and thirty whole biscuits each day. What??? If we followed those guidelines, she would very quickly turn into a forty pound obese dog. Also, we would need to arrange for trucks to deliver pallet loads of dog bone shaped biscuits to our front door. We simply wouldn’t allow that to happen.
All we want is a nice little dog – not a Goodyear blimp with four short legs. Besides, Betsy doesn’t have enough “good dog” events during the day to justify receiving all those treats.
We know that Betsy is a keeper just as she is. No matter how demanding she becomes, four or five half treats each day is as good as it’s going to get. However, if Betsy ever saw that recommended serving chart on the treat box, maybe the real issue would be, “Would she still consider her adoptive parents as keepers?”
Very typical dog behaviour! Good thing dogs can't read. We give Corky dried chicken strips. Problem is, Sparky, the cat likes them too, and will sit up and beg for them. In fact, he taught Corky how that trick too. Now we have to watch that the "treats" don't take over the regular food...Oh yes, no matter how demanding our dogs are, they are ALL keepers in the eyes of their "masters."...A very cute article, Don. I enjoyed it, and could certainly relate...Helen
I might have suggested this before, but you have such a knack for telling delightful animal/bird stories, that I think you should pull them all together for a book. Children would love to hear Mom or Dad read these for bedtime stories!