June 2, 2017 by The Dog Rules
To me this is like the man rummaging through the fridge looking for an easy snack. There’s an open package or Tupperware tub of something that they find and it doesn’t occur to them to consider how old it might be, perhaps stale dated, or “off“.
Displaying a remarkable lack of caution, and sometimes a downright total disregard for the potential of self-poisoning, they proceed to sample their discovery because “it looks fine.”
The Is It Edible game can have unfortunate consequences. I mean for the canine. The adult male human, in my never to be humble opinion, ought to be more circumspect
One of my Border Collies, George, was what we referred to as a “garbologist”. He would search, find, acquire, decide and ingest (or spit out) before you had even noticed the item. Among the odd things he chose to devour at light speed were some extremely spicy chili and a jalapeño popper (breaded jalapeño pepper filled with cream cheese) that accidentally made their way to the kitchen floor. Fortunately he had a cast iron stomach and was able to handle most of the stuff he discovered and sampled before I could prevent his “experimentation”. (This was my reason to learn to use the Leave It! command effectively.)
I found this dubious talent amazing to watch when applied to his dinner. One food George didn’t fancy was green beans. If I tried to slip a few chopped bits of steamed veg into his dinner he would quickly and expertly flip any green bean bits to the side while devouring the rest of the meal in short order. I could never figure out how the moment they touched his tongue he had the ability to detect and reject.
He did, like most dogs, have a particular passion for cheese. At one of our large parties he discovered that the cheese & cracker plates were on the hexagonal table in the dining room. The table was draped with a lovely lacy tablecloth that hung 2/3 of the way to the floor. Unknown to us, George had stationed himself under the table, hidden by the tablecloth until someone spilled cheese and/or cracker bits on the hardwood floor. When blessings fell from above, George would cautiously poke his nose out just far enough to lick up the Manna from heaven and retreat under the table to wait for more. Following a few clandestine cleanups he was noticed by our guests. Some folks thought George’s behavior was “cute” and deliberately dropped chunks of cheese so he could indulge. I didn’t realize this was happening until later in the evening.
Well after the party ended I was up in the middle of the night with a very, very sorry dog whose tummy wasn’t at all happy with the results of all that cheesy love. And George would have done it all over again the next evening, given the chance.
Now I have young Jack – a garbologist in the making. At just turned 9 months old he is a teenager with all the joys and challenges of one. Part of the transition to teenager has resulted in a bit of a backward change in obedience. He knows “leave it” and “come”. He just chooses to not listen. (George also went through this phase.)
Jack’s chosen things to sample are mostly sticks (which he crunches up like pretzels), some pebbles, and a twist-tie he found while we were at the Farmers’ Market. Needless to say I now watch him like a hawk. He is well aware of my helicopter parenting and lunges toward the questionable nosh to devour it. “Leave it” has all but vanished from my vocabulary.
Wanting to avoid potentially expensive vet bills because he ate something completely foolish, I now yell SPIT! (short for Spit It Out!) every time he grabs something. Most of the time I get “the look” and he, reluctantly, drops his prize. Sometimes I have to resort to more desperate measures and stick my fingers into his mouth to remove the “snack” before he does the quick swallow.
Most recently his question “Is It Edible?” was directed to a freshly baked Rhubarb Custard Pie that I had just removed from the oven. It was sitting quietly on the rack at the back of the counter minding its own business. I left the kitchen for maybe 10 minutes. When I returned there was the innocent pie with half of the filling slurped out of the center of the crust. I hadn’t heard a sound. Jack was nowhere to be seen. Amazingly, he didn’t burn his mouth. So now I know he likes pie.
Yes, Jack, it is edible. And it wasn’t intended for you. At least you chose something that was real food. Sigh.
What’s the weirdest thing your dog has eaten?