Thursday, November 10, 2011

Oh How I Wish I Could Read Ranger's Mind--two interesting stories

Ranger's new little sister, Finna, is largely untrained. We've started working on some basic politeness such as sitting. Ranger has been a big help in showing Finna what is  wanted. We ask Ranger for a sit and reward him for sitting. We ask Finna for a sit and reward her for sitting and reward Ranger for remaining in a sit. We'd been working this behavior throughout the walk and she was definitely grasping the idea. We stopped to visit two of Ranger's favorite people and while we visited continued to work the behavior. Finna was less willing to sit with people she doesn't live with watching. At one point she hesitated for a long time and Ranger who was continuing to sit politely lifted his paw and brought it down on her rear end. She sat and they both got their treats. That's what I observed but I don't know if this was Ranger intentionally making Finna sit in order to get his treat or Ranger signing Cheese (string cheese being a high motivator for Finna) and accidentally smacking her. Oh how I wish I could read his mind.

Here they are out for a walk together.

The second time I wished I could read Ranger's mind was last night at bedtime. I took his food out to his enclosure (he sleeps outside by his choice) and noticed that his water bowl was fairly empty. Being rather sleep deprived since the arrival of our new addition I wasn't thinking and set Ranger's dinner down on the big deck storage box rather than on the ground for him. I mumbled something about "in a minute" and proceeded to fill the water bowl. Ranger, as I turned away to fill the water bowl, was sitting looking at the bowl of dinner. As I was filling the water bowl I heard him jump on the storage box and thought, oops, I should have put that down for him. When I turned back from filling the water bowl Ranger was back sitting and looking at the dinner bowl which was now empty except for a little bit of juices. I set the bowl on the ground so Ranger could lick the last juices out (one comprehensive lick would have done it) and Ranger licked and licked at the bowl as if he was eating dinner. Did he think I didn't notice he'd already eaten it? Is he so accustomed to licking the bowl as I leave his enclosure that he just engaged in habitual behavior? I really wish I could read his mind. 

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