With the vacation in the rear-view mirror, we're settling back into our routines here at Casa Magee. In the case of Katie the Beagle, this means that her soul orbits anxiously round our meal schedule.
I fear that I have ruined this once-nice dog by combining my "no feeding the dog at the table" rule with a pathetic soft spot that leads me to always put a little something in her bowl after dinner. After studying our patterns with great intensity, she has decided that the sound of silverware scraping up the remains of a meal, followed by the clatter of silverware being set down, is the greatest sound in the history of beagledom. Indeed, it is a sound that requires up-close investigation. The good news is that Katie snoozes happily on the couch during dinner. But there is precious little in the way of post-prandial digestion at the table that doesn't involve a persistent, insistent, and thoroughly spoiled little beagle who thinks it's time for her share of dinner.
The Katie the Beagle evening routine also includes "trick time" after dinner. She is very much in favor of trick time because at "trick time" I pull out the liver snaps and we work on her two tricks, "sit" and "down." It's fair to say that she's probably more in favor of liver snaps than tricks, but she really does seem to enjoy doing her complete two-trick repertoire.
This is a more challenging assortment than you might think, because after a year of "sit" and "down", she still hasn't really figured out that the words are connected with the action. We have occasionally tried to expand the trick menu a few times to include exotic fare like "shake" or "heel." But Katie seems to interpret any other command as either "roll over on your back so that John can scratch your belly" or "sit up and lie down and sit up and lie down a whole bunch of times until John gives up on whatever it was he was trying to do and hands over a liver snap."
Mind you, I think she would be quite happy to do other tricks if she only understood them. We're trying to work our way up to "fetch." I toss a liver snap across the floor and she "fetches" it. I rather suspect that her interpretation of that trick is pretty much limited to "find and eat the liver snap." Eh, it's a start.
And otherwise, it's "sit" and "down." And "sit" is still pretty iffy.