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Discussion Starter #1
Receives a letter from one of her readers (a dog), expressing frustration at her owner's insistance on attending, participating, and succeding in obedience classes.

The reply:

Dear Frustrated,

You are completely missing the point of obedience class. Obedience is
not supposed to be fun and games. It is an important tool to ensure that
your human does her most basic function: giving you treats. Treats are
the reason that early dogs first agreed to share a cave with humans.
(Treats and thunder, of course.) The way to best guarantee the frequent
dispersal of treats is to never respond to any of your human's requests
too regularly. The optimum response percentage has been tested in our
labs to be between 30% and 60%.

If you respond less than 30% your human may decide that you are deaf,
which will result in your visiting the vet. At the vet you may get shots
and will usually have your temperature taken. Why risk it?

If you respond more than 60% of the time, your human will expect your
response rate to increase in the future. The logical extension of that
pattern is the dog that has to leap through flaming hoops to get a piece
of liver. There are better ways for a dog to make a living.

Note that I am saying response, not obedience. Response does not mean
that you should drop everything to cater to your human's whims. This
results in a spoiled human.

For example, if your human calls you to her, you should first look at
her to see if she has a treat. If she has no treat in her hand, then
just sit there. Then look at all of the intervening space between the
two of you. This shows her that you are aware of how much effort it will
take to honor her request.

After looking around, go back to whatever you were doing. Do not watch
your owner. At this point they begin to wonder if you will ever come.
When it appears that she is about to give up, start to walk toward her.
Halfway to your human you should stop, sit, and scratch your neck
vigorously. This reminds her that you had things to do before she
interrupted you. When you are finished scratching, walk slowly to her
with your head hanging low to demonstrate how tired you are of her
ceaseless demands.

You can sit in front of her and if she reaches down to pet you, quickly
lie down before she can touch you. If she then tries to get into a
heeling position (you know, where she has to keep her legs even with
your shoulder) look up at her and roll over on your back. This shows
that you forgive her for being so selfish.

If your human has a treat, a slightly different response is in order.
When she calls you, look at her. If you see a treat run as fast as you
can to her. Just before you hit her, turn your shoulder so that you
don't hurt yourself and try to connect with her knees. When she falls
down, rummage through her pocket or bait bag and take all of the treats.
Eat all of the treats as quickly as possible while staying out reach of
your human. When you are finished eating, sit calmly in the heel
position. This demonstrates that you are satisfied with the treats.

If your human tries to teach you to do a trick (roll over, beg, do her
taxes, etc.), you should try to learn these tricks. If just you and
your human see you perform these tricks, no one is harmed. However, if
your human tries to get you to show these tricks to other humans, you
should stand still and look at her without any sign of understanding.
This shows that you can't be fooled that easily. See - obedience is

The biggest reason for regular attendance of obedience class: It is
where your orders will come from on the day of the dog's worldwide
revolt against their humans. You will have to be in class to be able to
relay orders to all of the dogs in your neighborhood. So go to
obedience class happy. Eat your treats and grow strong. The day of our
liberation is coming!!

1,639 Posts
That story reminded me of a cartoon where two dogs were walking out of obedience class and one said to the other "What bugs me is they don't teach you anything you can use in real life."

1,555 Posts
Absolutely classic labby mentality. My two girls will do almost anything for a "cookie". I almost choked on my coffee reading it. Too cute and sadly very true; probably for most dogs, not just our labs. Thanks for sharing it!:D

44,122 Posts

16,129 Posts
Hahahahaha! I especially love the part about gobbling up all the treats before you get caught. We might know a *little* something about that in our house.

1,989 Posts
The only thing I can add is that dogs are waay smarter than we think they are! oh and that labs will anything, edible or not!

Besides humans, dogs are the most successful species in the world, mainly because they were smart enough to let humans take care of their pups (ancient wolves, that is!)

They are so adaptable that in all places in the world where dogs are left to their own devices, they "turn back" to wolves in no time!
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