Short essays by Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., the author of TING AND I: A Memoir of Love, Courage and Devotion, published in September 2011 by Outskirts Press (Parker, CO, USA), available from outskirtspress.com/tingandi, Barnes and Noble [bn.com], and Amazon [amazon.com], in paperback or ebook formats. Please visit us at tingandi.com for more information.
Sunday, November 24, 2019
UNDERSTANDING SASSIE, Kong Toys
Millie was enjoying her visits with Mike
and Goldie.Mike was savoring those home-cooked
meals that Millie prepared whenever she came to visit.Most of all, they both appreciated the savings
that occurred when they went grocery shopping together.Millie loved to use coupons and plan meals
with the food that was on sale.
Mike just loved to spend time with his two
favorite girls, Goldie and Millie.
Millie was practicing the dog training
skills that Ruth had been showing her.
This was positive reinforcement training or as Ruth told Millie, “I call
it ‘training with tools of love.’”
Goldie quickly learned the lessons of Sit and Down. She even enjoyed the Give Me Your Paw
The latest training challenge involved
Goldie's being left alone. Goldie enjoyed
Mike's and Millie’s company and saw no joy in being left behind.
Ruth suggested using a “mind game” to keep
Goldie busy and happy. She explained the
use of the Kong toy as a “mind game.”
Millie purchased several Kong toys to use to keep Goldie pleasantly
The Kong is a brand of toy. It was a hard rubber cone which had a small
hole at one end and a larger hole at the other end. Treats are placed into the large end and then
something sticky, like peanut butter, would be used to seal the treats into the
toy. The Kong toys were given to Goldie
just before they left the house. The
Kong toys would keep Goldie busy as she chewed and licked to get those
delicious treats. This was an enjoyable
distraction for Goldie and kept her occupied for hours.
Goldie began to look forward to their
leaving because she got this special toy filled with delicious treats.
On one particular day, Millie had gotten
the treats together and was ready to fill the Kong toys. She then discovered that the Kong toys had
been hidden throughout the house. Mike
saw Millie get down on her knees, crawl around the floor, and look under every
overstuffed chair and cabinet. “Millie!
What are you doing?” Mike asked.
Goldie had been closely following Millie’s
movements. The look on Goldie’s face
seemed to also ask, “What are you doing?”
Frustrated, Millie tried to explain her
problem, “I understand that Goldie likes to hide her special toys, but I wish
she would understand that if I cannot find the Kong toys, I will not be able to
fill them with the treats!”
The Kong toys were soon found, and the
treats were packed into the toys. Just
before Millie and Mike left the house, they handed the toys to Goldie.
When they came home, Mike was the first to
enter the house. He began to laugh and
couldn’t wait for Millie to see what he had found. As soon as Millie came in, Mike began to wave
at her and said, “Come here! You have
got to see this!”
Millie started to walk toward Mike and
asked, “What are you so excited about?” As she got nearer to Goldie’s crate,
she discovered what had made Mike so excited.
Looking down at the area in front of Goldie’s open crate, she saw all
the Kong toys lined up in a row. It was
as if Goldie said, “Here they are! No
need to search for them anymore.”
Laughing, Millie turned
to Mike and said, “Goldie really does understand everything we say!”
With her permission, I am serializing a chapter a week, on this blog, near-final material from this instructive novel by dog trainer Helen A. Bemis, published by Outskirts Press and available through amazon.com: UNDERSTANDING SASSIE