A few years ago, my dogs figured out that there might be something for them in the bags I bring home. I tend to do my grocery shopping on weekends but whenever I have to go during the week (meaning they've had to be stuck inside for an extra hour or so), I try to bring them home a special treat. It's gotten to the point where I can't leave a bag (paper or plastic) on the floor without one of them sticking her head into it. Usually Maggie, usually after she's loaded up her flews with water.
So, whenever I bring home bags they follow me closely, hoping for treats. I in fact tell them that I have brought them treats, as I am apologizing for leaving them in the house so long without a potty break.
The rule in the house is that only good dogs who eat all their dinner will get treats. The dogs understand this phrase.
Last night, I had Maggie underfoot as I was trying to unload the groceries. She was in no mood to wait for me to unload the groceries and then feed them dinner before they got their treats. For fun (because I am evil), I started showing everything I was unpacking from the bags. A bunch of bananas. Grapes. A four pack of yogurt. A gallon of milk. With each item, she'd bounce as I held it out to her. Then she'd sniff it very carefully. After a few sniffs, she would back away and shake her head. This went on through two bags of groceries, at least 25 different items. Ginger was watching, but not really sniffing (she's a herding dog, all about conserving energy).
Finally, I got down to it. A box of dog biscuits. Maggie sniffed -- and then shook her head. No? I held them out to Ginger. Ginger was much more interested. The box was sealed, but she clearly knew there may be something good about these.
Then I pulled out the big chewy dog bones. Maggie bounced and bounced and bounced and sniffed....
And shook her head again.
My dog is not very bright.
She did know, though, that I did get them a treat, because I had told them so. And I never lie to my dogs. Hardly ever. Okay, occasionally I tell them the truth.
I fed them, reminded them of the good dogs rule. Ginger ate hers right down, but Maggie was holding out for the treats. A fifteen minute battle of wills later, she finally ate her food. And they got their treats. And all was silent in the CilleyHouse for at least a quarter of an hour. Then Maggie finished hers, gargoyled over Ginger for a while trying to steal her bone, then came and tried to convince me that I in fact had another treat hidden away just for her. I did not, but she didn't believe me.
Because I lie to my dogs. It's fun. You should try it.
And one of these days I'll tell you how they are with Christmas presents.