Anyone who has read Jacques’ blog knows that he moves at his own pace (read: will only do something if he wants to and/or if it benefits him) and that we’ve been working for some time to get him to speak on command. It took us a year to get him to shake – and to his credit, he’s pretty consistent. For the past few months we’ve made a concentrated effort to work on “speak.”
Jacques is VERY food motivated. He completely understands what I mean when I say, “Are you hungry? Do you wanna bite?” He also knows what “treat” and “Do you wanna bone?” means. He goes CRAZY when you say any of those things to him. I love asking him those questions when he’s outside because he will put his ears back and head down and come running into the house at full speed. He’ll take the corner into the kitchen ‘on two wheels’ (if you will), skid out, and come to a screeching halt in front of his food dish or by the pantry, depending on if I asked if he was hungry or if he wanted a treat.
I decided to use food as a motivator to get him to speak. Before he got food or a treat, I would make him shake and would say, “Speak!” Most of the time he would shake and then give me a blank stare, but finally one day he kind of grumbled at me after I said speak. I’m sure in his head he was saying something like, “Give me the food you stupid human!!” But, in my mind it was him following my command. Kind of. Sort of. Eventually he went from grumbling to full on barking. And by “full on barking” I really mean “screaming” at me.
So now, when I call for him by asking, “Are you hungry? Do you wanna bite?” he still puts his ears back and head down as he comes running full speed towards the house… but now he barks the whole time. Non-stop. Like he won’t stop barking until I set the food in front of him – even when he skids out and crashes into the wall as he’s coming into the kitchen. The video below is actually a tame version of him at breakfast. Non-stop barking. And it’s not even really barking. It’s like doggie yelling. It’s like he’s yelling at me – borderline screaming. It’s left me asking myself, “What have I done??!!”
I definitely need to watch what I wish for! I “wished” for Jacques to speak on command. Now I have a Jacques who speaks/barks/yells incessantly at me when there’s food involved. *sigh*