After being cooped up in a dark, tiny gym, for most of the day yesterday due to Shea’s basketball tournament (They Won!),
I couldn’t wait to get home and get outside to relish the last bits of sunlight, warmth, and blue sky. Either could Murphy. He had spent a good portion of the day cooped up in his crate, and was “jonesing” for some outdoor time, too.
So I took him out to run! The best way to make a dog run? Have him fetch something.
Side Note: For those of you not familiar with Murphy, he is our labby-mix rescue dog from Southern Jewel Dog Rescue. We rescued him in November at 13-weeks-old. He is now a little over 6 months old, so technically still somewhat of a puppy.
Murphy is a pretty good fetcher in the house. He fetches toys, tennis balls, and anything one has the desire to throw around the house, so I figured having him fetch a frisbee would be cake. Jokes on me.
Each time I threw the frisbee, Murph, would take off like a bat out of hell, run to the frisbee, and then sniff around,
Occasionally he would stop to grab a stick. And then he’d chew
Alright then. I guess he prefers chasing tennis balls when in the great outdoors. We can take care of that. So I ran inside and grabbed a ball.
And it was a success!
For about two seconds.
Murph ran to the ball, picked it up, scaled half the distance between me and the balls landing spot, and then dropped the ball and continued running to me in search of some praise. He then returned to sniffing and chewing.
Drastic measures were in order. It was time to break out the treats. So this time armed with Murph’s favorite treats in pocket, I launched the ball into the air, and to my surprise, Murphy took off after it, stopped at it, sniffed, and then sprinted back to my side, sat down, and awaited his treat patiently.
OK, smarty pants, time for a little “Doggie Training 101.” “Murph, see the ball?” I cooed. “Get it.” Throwing the ball up in the air right in front of Murph, I waited for him to catch in his mouth like those hunting and agility dogs do on the likes of Animal Planet and Discovery Channel. No such luck. Murph, jumped up, hit the ball with his nose, and then plopped himself at my feet. “Treat, please.”
Did that discourage me? Absolutely not! I would prevail. So I said, “Good dog,” showed him the ball again and handed him a treat. This went on for a while, with Murph figuring out, much quicker than his owner (Duh), that in order to get a treat all he had to do was “nose-, head-, or mouth-ball” the tennis ball, and his oblivious owner would give him a scratch and his favorite Milk Bone treat.
New tactics were called for. This time, I rolled the ball a short distance. “Get it.” Murphy loped over to the ball, touched it with his nose, and planted himself at my feet. “More please.” Then I tried to force the ball into his mouth. Murph, sniffed, touched, sat, and I swear, smiled at me. “Umm, I’m waiting.” This went on for a good 20 minutes, and then feeling slightly defeated, and feeling like I had been “had” by the smartest/dumbest dog in the world, I plopped myself onto the ground, at which point ….
No, Murphy did not nonchalantly come over and deposit the ball in my lap. That kind of stuff only happens in the movies.
Instead, he practically tackled me, lavishing my disappointed face with doggie kisses. Ugh. I couldn’t help laughing at him and myself. Really? I had been duped/had/taken/fooled/frustrated/laughed at … by a six-month-old dog.
So what did I do? I threw up my hands, grabbed my camera, and posed for a shot with Murph to commemorate this utter failure in doggie obedience, and celebrate the unconditional love that exists between us nonetheless.
Stay tuned …
QUESTION OF THE DAY: What is your best dog/pet training tip?
P.S. Besides getting outside with Murphy yesterday afternoon, Mark, the boys, and I did sneak out of the gym to snag us some lunch at Subway in downtown Adams, Mass. I couldn’t help but break out the camera once again and document the afternoon.
I also couldn’t help but admire the architecture and feelings of times-past that the Main Street decor elicited. It was a little like stepping back in time, to the height of the town’s milltown heyday. (I also realized that the light setting I had on for the gym was left on, and resulted in a blue tinge to all these outdoors photos. Ugh! One of these days I’ll get the photos right.)