Pavlovian Theory at it’s finest.

So, the dogs have us trained. And it’s kind of hilarious.

Ever since the pregnancy and my utter exhaustion has proved itself boss around here, I’ve been spending a lot of time in bed… resting. Between the tv, laptop and nightstand stashed with candy, I have little use running around the house when I can just “hang” in the bedroom. The dogs don’t seem to mind. They’ve always loved to lay near me, on my pillows or better yet, on me, when the rest of the king sized bed is open. What’s worse than them taking up all my space on the bed, I actually feel bad in moving them near Don’s side as if I’m not worthy of a little space to stretch. And that’s not even what I’m talking about when I say they have us trained!

In spending a lot of time in the bedroom, the dogs have learned a routine. Perhaps we even taught it to them, but Louie gets inquisitive of outside noises, often. We have a blackout drape and then a sheer to our juliet balcony, and Louie has learned to mangle himself between the floor and the blackout drape well enough to get a good view of the outside world. (Side note, this was something he had taught himself day one of living here, before we hung the blackout shade and all that hung were oversized sheers. We had come home from our first night out to dinner as homeowners to find that Louie wrapped himself up in the sheers to the point he was “tied” to the wall. Hilarious.) In seeing the neighbors walking their dogs or kids having their summer water fight on our front lawn, Louie will bark. Neither to protect us nor to simply bring attention to the gatherings taking place outside, Louie will bark, simply, because he can.  And Lola always thinks she is the first to notice. Except she’s not, and that is definitely our fault.

Apparently, the first couple of nights when Louie started barking, our lazy way of shutting him up was with a treat. So Don would call his name, hand over a Dingo stick – the dogs favorite. And because we give one to Louie, we inevitably give one to Lola. But the dingo sticks, that used to steal an hour of the dog’s time, maybe lasts 15 minutes. Without figuring out why, we ignored it until we noticed Louie back on the floor, back under the blackout curtain, back to barking at everything outside.

“Louie, treat!”

On to the marrow bones… little cookies that last all of two seconds, but at least the dogs are back on the bed and quiet. We could keep them there, right? Two minutes later – attention is distracted by something on tv, Louie has escaped back to the floor, and again he is barking. Except, Lola, who has benefited from his barking twice now has caught on. Instead of just hanging out or joining Louie, she is now staring at us, waiting, because she has picked up on the fact that when Louie barks, we give her a treat. And that’s all that matters to her.

This has gone on for weeks, but tonight we caught on to this little Pavlovian theory that Louie has taught us to teach Lola. When Louie went to the floor to bark, they both received a dingo stick. When he went back the second time, they received a marrow bone. On the third trip, tonight, Don and I laughed as Lola awkwardly ran around the bed, tail wagging, tongue hanging out in excitement, jumping from Don’s chest to mine seeing which of us would cave. Until we didn’t. Until she went to the foot of the bed and barked at Louie (who had stopped barking) saying in her little puppy voice, “keep it up, idiot, they’ll have to cave!”  Until she jumped on the floor and joined Louie, barking. Yep, if Louie wasn’t doing it well enough for her to score a treat, she went with the good ‘ole saying, “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” However, despite it taking at least 16 times of calling for Louie to finally get him back on the quiet bed, one little “Lola” and she is flying through the air, back on our chests, tail wagging and eyes on all treats on the nightstand. She is waiting impatiently because now that she’s been naughty and has stopped barking, we’re for sure going to treat her now.

I hate when she's right.

Anyways, what’s going to happen when the baby comes and starts crying? Why do I have a feeling we’ll be spending as much money on dog treats, as we will on diapers?


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