I don’t like to brag too much, but I have to say that Ruby has got to be one of the smartest dogs in the world. Either that, or she is just very, very motivated to please me.
Ever since she was a small puppy, I have been teaching her not to dig in my garden beds. It is much simpler for the dog if it can just understand that it is not to ever go into those beds. As I have added gardens over the years, I have made a point of showing her the boundaries of the new beds and indicating to her that they are “MINE”, not hers, and I don’t want her on my territory.
She has gotten so good at seeing the boundaries that even when I erroneously throw her ball so it lands in a garden bed, she will stop short of running into the bed and give me a piteous look, “Mom, help! My Ball is over There and I Can’t Get it.” I always praise her fulsomely, and immediately rescue the errant ball from its precarious position.
So, as soon as we started building the new stroll garden, we started indoctrinating her to stay on the paths. So far, that has not been too difficult for her to learn. But the new horse-shoe shaped bed is a stretch for her. She doesn’t quite understand why she should go around by the path when it is just a short jump across the new beds when I standing on the inner path.
Sunday afternoon, after Jim and I had decided we had moved enough rocks for the day, I was working with her on how to bring me the ball via the pathways, even though I was standing around the curve. Jim just happened to be up on the roof taking pictures of the new gardens, and caught this sequence during the training session. All of this was accomplished with “Good Dog!!” and not one treat to be seen.
Not only did she learn to follow the path around the end of the bed to return the ball, she got very accustomed to running out for the ball by going all the way around the bench.
I will repeat the lesson regularly. But I’m pretty sure that she won’t forget what we learned today.
Now, isn’t that a very smart dog?