Monday, January 17, 2011

How Well Has Your Pet Trained You?

By Linda Cole

We are so misinformed in believing our pets are well trained by us. They actually have a unique ability to train us and in reality, we don't realize until after training is complete, how great a job they did on us. Don't believe me? Read on to see if you recognize any of the training tips pets use on us every day to get anything from a tasty treat to our attention. From our pet’s point of view, we are the ones who need training.

Housebreaking. One of the first things you do after getting a puppy is teach him where you want him to go. Our training begins the moment we frantically leap over an easy chair to stop the “accident,” which by then is usually already in progress, and rush the puppy outside as he/she leaves a trail out the door. Pups teach us to watch them like a hawk! Housebreaking a pup isn't difficult, once you learn their particular little dances and looks they give you when the crucial time has come and leakage is imminent.

Cooking utensils, laundry baskets and TV remotes crash to the floor as we attempt to get to the puppy before it's too late. People who never considered running sprints or jumping hurdles will fly over the couch or coffee table to get to their adorable puppy squatting in the middle of the living room. From a pup's point of view, we need training because watching a lumbering human race towards him with panic etched on their face and screaming, “NOOOOO,” is scary!

Food. If our pets had their way, we would be munching on kibble and giving them the steak. They might have a bowl full of premium CANIDAE pet food, but when you have any food of your own, the pressure is on to get you to share. Pleading eyes that could melt the heart of the most hardened scrooge follow the food from hand to mouth. If begging eyes fail to get your attention, dogs kick it up to the next level with a string of drool from the corner of their mouth. Dogs will also whine, plead, quiver in anticipation and try to get you to shake hands for just a smidgen of food that wouldn't sustain a mouse.

Cats, noble creatures that they are, would never resort to drooling like a dog for a smidgen of your food. Their tactic is simple – a defiant “stare down” to make you crumble. If that doesn't work, they go into stealth mode and try the “snatch and run” approach. Cats think nothing of leaving you with a bloody reminder of why you should share your food. The reason cat owners sit with their face close to their plate is so they can guard both sides from surprise attacks.

Pets can hear peanut butter being spread on a slice of bread across the street at the neighbor's house! I'm convinced snack food companies make loud crinkling bags as an alarm for pets. How many times have you quietly opened a bag of chips only to turn around to see your pet watching you with a look that says, “I wasn't asleep, and you can't fool me.”

Boredom and getting attention. From a pet's point of view, it's our job to keep them entertained and showered with attention, unless they find something more interesting to do, such as snooze in the sun or watch their house ghost (who's responsible for missing socks and spilled milk). Watching the house ghost is perfect for a cat, because there's no physical labor involved and she gets our attention when we look up to see what she's staring at.

Bored dogs take a more direct approach. They systematically disassemble furniture and remote controls, or eat socks. Cats swing from the curtains or race from one end of the house to the other, unless the house ghost is home. In that case, they just sit and stare into space. If you don't know your pet is bored, you aren't paying attention to their training. If your Great Dane brings you the couch for a game of fetch, that's a clue he's bored and needs some toys.

An unsolved mystery concerning cats is their ability to know, regardless of where they are, the exact moment some paper has been placed on a table in front of a human. I've never figured out if the cat is a magnet for paper or if the paper sends out an S.O.S. to the cat. It never fails; you turn away for one second and when you turn back, the cat is sitting in the middle of the paper. You are now required to scratch their ears.

Pets have their own unique way of providing us with the training they think we need. Now tell me, how well has your pet trained you?

Read more articles by Linda Cole


  1. LOL. Classic! And so, so true. We have no such misconceptions in our house. We KNOW our cats have us trained. :)

  2. My cat totally has me trained. Every morning I think I'm going to enjoy my coffee then feed the cat but he inevitably meows and stares until I give him his food before I'm able to do anything else.


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