Since we have no nosework this week - thought I'd share a little story about Gimme. As you may well have guessed, she's not shy about expressing herelf. But, I think this story will give you a whole new view into her world and how she thinks, especially about rules.
A few years ago, Gimme started objecting to getting into her crate while I went to work. It started small, but over time she objected more strongly, even though she showed no issue with getting in a crate at other times or for other purposes. So I decided to let her try being loose in the house. I explained to her that she must be a good girl, not make any messes, not soil the house, not get into things, not bother the trash, etc. I told her if she did any of those things, she'd have to go back to being in a crate while I went to work.
We started with short trials, like when I went to a store. Then gradually we tried longer and longer until she was out the whole day on a full work day. All went well for two weeks. Then one day I came home and discovered she'd knocked over the living room trash and had spread the contents across the floor. I said to her, "Oh Gimme, look at this mess. You were doing so well and now you have to stay in the crate during the day. Too bad..."
For two weeks I led her to the crate and made her stay there. At first she did it with out objecting, but then she started balking. So I decided to give her another chance. Its literally been years and there has not been another issue. In fact she is so clear on the rules, I can leave a dish of dog treats on a table, easily within reach, and she won't get into them. And yet, she's perfectly happy to work for those same treats when I get home. I've always thought she had an amazing work ethic - which is why I know, without a doubt, who's fault it is when there is a glitch in our training efforts.
Now lately, she has started getting into the living room trash every couple of days, but not every day. She gets one thing, tears it into little pieces and leaves it by the trash basket, in full view. This only happens when I am home. When she's home alone, the trash is still as safe as its ever been. When I see this little mess, I tell her she's being naughty and mustn't get into the trash. Gimme gives me an unrepentant look in return for the reprimand.
It took me a few weeks to figure out what this was about. Usually when I come home I spend a few minutes greeting her and then let her outside to take care of "business". But some days I just let her out and get busy online to report my work stuff. Being on the computer for work always leads to being on the computer for other purposes. It is these times when I later go into the living room and find a "message" by the trash. Now I make it a point to greet her and give her some loving before letting her outside and getting on the computer.
I am fascinated to see this evidence of how she thinks. While she clearly understands getting into "stuff", especially the trash, is against the rules - she also thinks getting into trash to send a message is an allowable exception. Gimme obviously believes this can be a perfectly valid way to express herself.
Since she got the results she wanted - indeed it must be... ☺