An important lesson I have learned about dogs is that they are born negotiators. If they could talk, dogs would make very good lawyers. How often has your canine companion negotiated an extra treat or more food with just a look? You have a lazy day on the sofa planned, then Fido convinces you to go for a walk by bringing you his leash or by glancing forlornly at the door coupled with a heavy sigh.
I had a “no dogs on the bed while we slept” rule until Moe jumped up, laid his head in my lap and the clincher – looked up at me with those big brown eyes. That rule has now been abandoned for years.
The true master negotiator was Taz. He was the last member to join our pack at the tender age of 6 or 7 years old and I think he learned to milk that for all it was worth. When treats were being given out, he would hang back from the rest of the pack (Tasha, Willa and Moe) with a hangdog look that clearly said “I know I don’t deserve a treat” . This usually earned him an extra treat.
Taz enjoyed spending most of his time out in the yard. He should have been called Ranger. In every house we lived in, he wore a path along the fence line doing his many circuits around the yard. When evening came it was time for him to come in for the night. Coincidentally, he would be at the far boundary of the large yard. When called he always hesitated and only when you persisted would he start trotting back, never taking a direct route of course. After about 10 feet he would stop, turn his back to you and sit down as if to say “is that far enough”. “No Taz, come!” I would say. Once again the dance – the trotting about 10 feet (although I am sure the distance got shorter the closer he was to the house), the siting down and, always the optimist, the waiting to see if he had worn me down, always hopeful that he could stay outside.
Taz never won those negotiations, but he never stopped trying.