Okay, he’s a really cute monster. But still.
I do this every time. I teach (intentionally or unintentionally) each dog one thing that goes horribly wrong. I taught Rain, my first Newf, to retrieve Coke cans. See, the metal scent articles in competition obedience are considered extra difficult because dogs don’t like putting metal in their mouths. I was sure I clicker train my dog to pick up metal, so I grabbed the most convenient metal object available: an empty Coke can. Sure enough, I was right. He was happily retrieving that sucker within a few clicks. The next day he figured out that some cans of Coke come with a sugary sweet bonus! And never again was a can of Coke safe around him. He used to try to wrestle the can I was drinking out of my hand while I was drinking from it. (Jay thought this hilarious.)
So now it’s River’s turn. (You’d better believe I haven’t asked him to retrieve a Coke can. No sirree! Just my car keys. But I digress.)
Our den is in the basement. It’s a long narrow room with a wide staircase at one end. My desk is in the corner of that end of the room, and my desk chair backs up to the stairs. River frequently sits there, and I turn around in my chair to interact with him.
Early on after we brought him home, he developed a routine. After his breakfast, he would sit on the stairs, talk to me (cute little vocalizations from a not-terribly-vocal dog), and then when I turned around, he’d put his front paws on my knees and ask to be picked up. I’d pick him up and set him on my knee, and he’d lean against my chest, and we’d snuggle. (Altogether now: “Awwwwwwww.”) It was seriously cute.
For weeks this happened once each morning. No problem there! No matter how busy I am, I can take five minutes out of my morning to snuggle with my baby. Then he had a couple of needy days where it happened two or three times. Okayyyy. I guess I can live with that. But you can guess where this is going.
Today he asked over and over and over ALL DAY. I know it comes as a shock to some people, but I *do* have work to do. No matter how much I’d love to spend my day playing with the puppy, I can’t do it. But when I tried to redirect him to something else, he acted like I’d sent him out to play in traffic. When I caved and picked him up, he’d wrap his paws around my neck and cover my face in kisses: “Joy! You love me!”
Sigh. Damn, he’s a good trainer.