So I quit my plum of a high school teaching post (I job I loved with people I love) to spend more time writing. Although my bank account is dwindling, my commitment to unpaid work is mounting. For example, I’m fostering dogs and volunteering, among other things, to train dogs and dog people. Along the way, I’m earning, if not dollars, some cool insights. For one thing, I realized I’m not comfortable being “kept.” I feel like a very expensive house cat. I’ve also learned it’s possible to spend a week wearing the same pajama pants. And the other day, I realized just how jealousy can motivate learning in dogs. I even have a video to prove it. It’s cute as all get-out and makes you wonder how much humans behavior is motivated by the desire for the attention someone else is getting. Is that what drove Jersey Shore? Is that why there’s Trump?
After watching, scroll down for notes about the training.
- Originally, I “captured” the behavior by making it a habit to say “dry off” every time Mick shook his wet fur dry. I did it over and over, until one day I said “dry off” before he shook himself dry, and he did it. Eventually, he did it even when he wasn’t wet. That is, it became what we call a “trick.”
- “Dry off” is a daily routine, a sequence of behaviors. Mick shakes himself dry, comes to me, lets me drape him with the towel, and endures a rubdown, grumbling and growling all the while. His motivation is breakfast. He’s not allowed in the house to eat until he submits to a routine he didn’t like much at first. Now his grumbling is pure habit.
- Maisie is naturally jealous. Extremely jealous. As in, it’s a problem. For example, she can’t bear any love I give to another dog, so I have to find ways to help her cultivate the grace to endure her raging green-eyed-monster feelings. She’s learning it’s okay if I show affection to other dogs. I still love her. That’s originally why she got to “dry off” too. Drying the dry dog made drying the wet one possible. And safe. Nobody lost an ear.
- The surprise here was Tango (now beloved by his adoptive family as “Scotty”). I knew he wanted the rubdowns too, but until I saw the video, I didn’t know he’d learn to shake his dry fur dry. And I think that, right there, is pure magic.
- If you’ve caught your dog, cat, or kid learning something cool out of jealousy, I want to hear about it! Tell me about it in the comments below.
- If you like this post, please follow The Gloria Sirens, and if you enjoyed and even learned from the video, please subscribe to my Youtube channel. Followers, “likes,” and comments aren’t money, but they help me feel less lonely, keep me on this side of sane, and make this very expensive house cat purr.