I got my big strong loving rescue dog last year. He loved to jump up on people to say hello. This was terrifying for many, and potentially dangerous (as it is quite easy for him to accidentally knock you off balance) so we’ve been working hard on his company manners.
He’s not the sort of dog to get excited about much of anything other than human affection. He’s stood stoically and watched as I picked up liver treats that were spilled all over the floor; he oversees the process of pouring his kibble into a big rubbermaid tub without the slightest interest in diving in; I’ve dropped all manner of human food on the floor while cooking, and he eats it whenever he happens to wander past. He just doesn’t get excited about treats.
With this one exception.
After a year of training he almost never jumps up on people any more. Except that he seems to have learned that if he jumps on someone holding a glass of red wine, they will spill some of it on the floor, and he will get to slurp up the puddle.
I started to suspect this shortly after I got him. I spilled a glass of red, and he went straight for the spill on the floor, and as soon as I cleaned it up he went straight for the couch where a bit had splashed as well. I proceeded to develop a taste for white wine, and gave up the red, and forgot all about it.
But yesterday, my friend (who he’s met many times before and never jumped on) came in with a glass of red. He jumped, she staggered, the wine spilled, I scowled and sternly told him to go lie on his mat, which he did. And as soon as I released him he bolted (as I have rarely seen him bolt before) for the puddle of wine on the floor; when that was done, he went for the damp burgundy spot on my friend’s pants.
I’m going to have to train this out of him too, I can’t have him attacking my guests for their beverages. But I confess I’m actually kind of proud. That’s pretty intelligent behaviour. I’m just glad he doesn’t have the right kind of thumbs to operate a corkscrew.