Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Better Idea?

Those playing along at home might remember my "Good Idea" of using a canning ring and peanut butter to attempt to explain to my boys the Joys of Scenting for Training Levels Four.

Reader's Digest version: It wasn't pretty.

Not to be deterred, I gave the issue deep thought, solicited ideas, and settled on the lids of small disposable Tupperware-like containers. Not to drop names, but for the curious, I went with the Glad brand since their locking lids had a handy indent in the middle that I figured I could put the veneer of peanut butter in, thus keeping it safely out of reach of my floor.

The setup was much as before. I had a small ramekin of peanut butter, some extra treats in case the lid was returned, a lid for veneering, and an enthusiastic dog - in this case, Beau.

Right off the bat, I realized that a veneer of peanut butter in the small indent of the lid was not going to work for the Big Dog. Big Dog = Big Tongue, Big Tongue did not fit into small indent in Little Lid, so Big Tongue chased Little Lid all around the Kitchen floor.


On the bright side, the floor stayed clean.

After I pulled the lid out from under the Kitchen table, I switched the peanut butter to the non-indented portion of the bottom of the lid, crossed my fingers, and tried again.

I'd love to say it worked perfectly, but alas, I can't. I can say that it worked much better than the canning ring did. Despite my misgivings, the lid did not flip over and the floor stayed relatively free of peanut butter. The problem now is that the lids are too lightweight for Beau. He is a "firm" licker, and so he still pushed the lid around the floor. He did try holding it down with his paw, which thankfully he decided didn't work (since his giant paw obliterated the peanut butter and no doubt transferred at least a little to floor.) After a half-dozen or so tries, I noticed the lid moving around a lot less, and so I'm guessing he was getting the hang of gentler licking so as to not move the lid.

After 10 or so tries, I dutifully "neglected" to reapply the peanut butter. Just as Sue advertised, Beau went out to the lid, gave it a sniff, and looked at me:

Hey? What gives?

I clicked, treated, and then put peanut butter on the lid. Beau was really picking up on this fast, so I went one step further and carefully pulled a plain, icky-stranger-scented lid out of its protective zip-top bag with a pair of tongs.

I would have bet money that Beau would have been entranced by this lid, since (a) it was scented by a total stranger to him and (b) this truly wonderful person has a menagerie of critters at home (including a dog) and I would have no doubt he could tell that.

Sure enough, he gave that lid a few big sniffs and a single big lick, and never looked at it again. No matter where I put my peanut butter suffused lid in relation to the icky-stranger-scented lid, he never failed to "find" the right lid. Yeah, I know, at this point I could have put out a lid scented by me with the peanut butter suffused lid and he would have picked out the peanut butter suffused lid.

Still, I have to admit it was kinda cool.

Next up was Zachary, and I'll spare you the long story as it went almost exactly like Beau's except (a) Zachary is a much gentler licker and so he didn't have trouble with the lid moving (b) Zachary retrieves the lid as he quickly figured out he can get more peanut butter faster if he doesn't have to wait for me to get up and get the lid myself -and- (c) Zachary showed zero interest in the (fresh) icky-stranger-scented lid.


It was way cool!

1 comment:

katie, Maizey and Magnus said...

hey kathleen, that just is "way cool" It is so exciting when they learn something new. This happens with my girls on much smaller things than your brilliant boys, but is still very fun! In fact my last post was about our latest "little victory" and I felt much the same as you describe here.LOL Tell the boys great job and an extra ear scratch from us lessons from 4 legs folks.:))