We addressed "problem behavior" in dog obedience class on Saturday. The problem I wanted to deal with was the barking and growling when anyone walks a dog on our street, the neighbors go out in their front yard, or the meter reader comes by. Once I have checked and determined there is no danger, I want the dogs to listen to me when I tell them to stop barking.
The instructor's suggestion was to keep a Tupperware container of treats and one of the clickers by that area. When the dogs continue barking, tell them "Quiet!" When they are quiet, use the clicker and give them a treat. They will soon learn to respond when I tell them to hush up.
It's been going well. They are learning.
Unfortunately, I think my dogs are smarter than I give them credit for. I just got home from an errand and found this.
It's empty. It was full, containing enough treats for a lot of training.
Based on the forensic and circumstantial evidence, this is how I think it unfolded. There are no paw prints on the counter which means Angel could not have been the one to knock the container off the high counter. Polie can easily reach it, especially if he jumped up a little. (And he's an impressive jumper. He can leap all the way over Angel when they are playing in the yard.) So, Polie decides his peanut butter-filled kong toy is not good enough and decides to get him some real treats. Trout and sweet potato trump peanut butter any day!
There are large tooth marks from the inside of the container so I suspect he got to eat a few of them before the bitch took charge. Hey, relax about the language; Angel is a "bitch" - a female dog. She is also a bitch in that she gets mean around the treats if she thinks he's getting more than her. She'll growl and snap at him, driving him away from any available good stuff. Ten minutes later, she'll be playing with him, but in her opinion, he's not supposed to get any treats.
I suspect she very quickly came over and intimidated him into giving up the orange container. When I got home, she was laying in another room with it in front of her, completely empty. (The photo above was staged because I forgot to take one initially.) At least one of my dogs has now had an entire extra meal today. I just hope nobody throws up later.
Aha! Someone just walked up the street with two dogs which, of course, meant my dogs had to bark. I rushed to check and told them "Quiet." Once they were, I used the clicker but now I had to go to the treat closet. They followed me and as I handed each one a treat, Angel burped. No dinner for her tonight!