The Game of Trade
Dogs just love stealing things to initiate a game of chase. Sometimes it’s at the most inopportune times too, and you are left desperately trying to catch and corner the dog to retrieve the stolen goods. Leko is notorious for this, and always found it fun to force you into frustration as you try to catch him.
I’ve heard of some people teaching their dogs to ‘trade’. By a given command, the dog will drop its hold on something in exchange for a treat. Genius! I decided to teach Leko this, and it didn’t take him long at all to catch on. As of recently though, and more so after I baked my first batch of peanut butter biscuits (which he simply can’t get enough of), Leko has taken trading to new levels. It’s now become a game… a game to con the humans to give him anything he wants at any given time.
Leko scouts the house for random things as bait and will taunt me with it. He’s been known to search shopping bags just to steal the receipt, or find an article of clothing or shoe left, or anything that he knows he shouldn’t have and that you are going to want back. If I ignore him once he has his bait in place, he makes sure he’s extra annoying and will repeatedly make throaty sounds and bring the object closer to me. Once I can’t take it anymore, I go after him and his chase leads me right into the kitchen, and drops the object near the refrigerator where I store his peanut butter biscuits.
The trading game has now become a daily occurrence, especially at shower time. I’ll leave a fresh set of clothes out in the bathroom. Leko snatches random articles of clothing and drags them into the hallway, just enough in view to taunt me. Sometimes, he’ll take everything to earn more treats, and will patiently sit on them with his paws crossed as he waits for the game to begin. Once I tried outsmarting him, and left no clothes for him to steal. After he heard me get out of the shower, he ran and skid across the linoleum floor… panicking and desperately searching for something to take. His head and tail dropped in defeat, but was quite happy when I told him he earned cute points for the day and will be given a treat anyway.
Poodles are definitely smart breeds, and I just love how my little trick to get my things back has been turned around. I guess you can say he has me trained now!