Sunday afternoon, my wife left to go teach a class, and RR and I spent some quality one-on-one time together watching football and practicing the phrase “Uh Oh!” in a variety of inflections and seriousness. All was well, with the exception of one frustrating bit in the middle there while disciplining RR AND the dog, at the same time… all over a graham cracker.
RR sitting on my lap, watching the Skins game. I’m having a beer in a pint glass, and she’s having some graham crackers and milk out of a sippy cup. All is well until RR wants down, and I permit her to walk across the living room floor, graham cracker in hand.
Dog sniff cracker. RR taunts dog. Dog licks cracker. RR licks cracker, bites cracker. Dog snuffles for crumbs and dropped bits. RR outstretches arm to dog with cracker in hand again. Dog looks at me with pleading What Am I Supposed To Do eyes.
All the while, I’m kneeling down in between them, playing boxer referee, sternly saying, “No Ma’am” to RR and quietly shouting under my clenched teeth, “Leave. IT.” to the dog.
When she insisted on putting the cracker in the dog’s mouth, I gave up and embraced this teachable “cause and effect” moment. He gently took the cracker out of her hand and swallowed it, right before she pried his hound jowls open, searching for her long , lost cracker. When she came back empty-handed, she looked up at me and her face melted into a pile of tears and hurt feelings.
This, of course, was resolved by gently escorting the dog outside, and offering up a replacement cracker.
I remember being at a dog park once, when Moses was just a puppy, and hearing other owners talk about how they wish they could train their children half as well as their dogs. Or at least use the same commands/language. I guess, though, “Take It, Leave It & Drop It” could come off as a little harsh when talking to a 15 month old. The battle continues.