annoying habits of the erstwhile well-behaved

Sunday mornings are typical of the days we do not bustle out the door for work at first light. On such early mornings we sit drink our coffee leisurely while at our computers. We are not in a hurry to get showered, dressed and pull our work gear out to the car. Our dogs recognize this change in our behavior and respond to it. Dexter takes up a spot near the doorway of our office. They take turns hovering. If they have not yet been fed, Comet noses Sheri’s elbow first, looking longingly into her eyes.

Otherwise, Comet stands by my chair looking at me for attention. Both Comet and Dexter practice routines that we, unfortunately, have reinforced with good intentions. Each follow close to Sheri’s heels at every trip to the kitchen. If not a meal, they generally get a dog biscuit or one of those greenie things (the doggie “toothbrush”). Satisfied for the moment, they know that a walk is the next item on the morning agenda – if they press it. I am generally the dog-walker while my wife is the food-giver. These did not start out as bad habits, but were initially a tool to get Comet distracted from seeking attention while we worked at home. For my part, I have also developed the habit to spend more time at the computer at home than I would have even five years ago.

At other times, Comet has found that the more he presses into my spouse’s “personal space”, or paws at her, she will respond with “let’s get a biscuit!” It provides a few minutes of quiet. Afterward, Comet comes right over to my elbow and sniffs, then paws my chair. He will not be deterred until I get up to get dressed and ready to take them for a walk.

At other times, Dexter works on the habit he has instilled in me. That day, he sits next to me and starts to shiver as he gazes at me. Then he makes a trademark Dexter “Yaarrrf” sound. I can no longer concentrate on my blog post so I get up. My duty is taking the dogs for a walk.

As far as behavioral training, Dexter and Comet are good dogs around children, neighbors and friends, and are behaved on walks, but at home, erstwhile good dogs and dog-people need to break some annoying habits. But I have to get moving for a walk. Comet is hovering at my elbow.


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