Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Jackson 1, Bob 0

Jackson had a good day. He met Stacy's brother Robert, and some other people, and nothing untoward happened. So we were optimistic when we put his dinner out. Costco kibble in water, dusted with psyllium: a classic. Yesterday, he was licking the bowl clean. Tonight, nothing. He approached it, then walked away.

Uh-oh. Two meals in a row, he wasn't eating right. We tried gentle persuasion. No go. On our side, mild panic.

Then I put a dollop of yogurt in the bowl, on top of his kibble. He ate most of the yogurt off the top, like a kid eating the icing off a cupcake. Then he walked away. Hmm. I swirled the remaining yogurt into the kibble. Better: he ate about 2/3 of the kibble. Hmm.

A little thinking, a little browsing, and we think we have the answer. Pieces of steak, spoonsful of yogurt - we were unwittingly training Jackson to expect better food. These treats were random, not tied to anything in particular. So, when the kibble appeared, he passed. Why not hold out for something better? Maybe it'll happen.

And, in a masterful counterstroke, he started training us: he stayed away from the kibble for a few minutes, and we added something tasty to it. I'm a quick learner: I learned to add yogurt after just two repetitions. Good boy, Bob!

Well, we're all over that scam now. No more fabulous treats till Jackson's back on the kibble. And we've learned something about training. From the trainee side, unfortunately, but still.

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