A (more than) Fair Exchange Is No Robbery

I encouraged my bipeds to trade from a very early age. This began as treats for sitting and for walking on the lead. Any chance to get more treats is a good thing!

As a puppy, I usually only had one or two toys available to me at a time. They would swap them most days, so that the toy was always interesting and I didn’t get bored with it. I also always had a nice chew available, so that I had no need to chew the furniture. That was their theory – I still felt that I’d like to test various items of furniture for chewing, but that’s another story.

One of my bipeds would hand me the new toy and then go and pick up the one I had been playing with. I was less than four months old, when I decided I’d like to keep the toy I already had as well as the new toy, so I rushed across and picked up the old one. She said, “Clowie, give!” But I had no intention of handing it over!

She went back and picked up the new one. She also went to the treat jar and took a couple out – now she had my attention! She came back and asked me to sit – and so I sat, but I kept a firm hold of the toy. She again said, “Clowie, give!” She held out her hand for the toy, but I just held onto it even tighter. Then she held out her other hand as well. She had a new toy and a treat in it. Obviously, I wanted the treat and the new toy, but I had my mouth full of the old toy. I moved my head towards the hand with the new toy and treat to see if I could get it all in my mouth at the same time. She moved the hand with the new toy back slightly and moved her empty hand forward slightly, saying, “Clowie, give!”

I had to think about this! I sat and thought for a few minutes, but I couldn’t see any way out of this without giving up one of the toys. Is this what they mean by a dilemma? I decided to weigh up the options and I realised it came down to a choice between a new, interesting toy with a treat thrown in, or holding onto a toy I had been playing with and was no longer that interested in. It wasn’t such a hard decision after all! I put the old toy into her outstretched hand and she immediately said, “Good girl.” She moved the hand with the new toy and treat towards me saying, “Clowie, take it!”

I took the treat and the toy. I moved away and put the toy down to eat my treat. Then my biped came over and played with me and my new toy for a while. This was fun and I knew I had the best part of this bargain. After that we traded all the time, I wasn’t given anything without having to give something first – almost as though I’d done something wrong! At first, I had to think about it very carefully to see if it was a fair exchange – funnily enough, it was always more than fair!

When I was teething my chews became more important than ever to me and I hardly ever stopped chewing, except when I was asleep. One of the bipeds would often ask me to hand over my chew to get an even better one – that was easy! It was a little more difficult to hand over my chew to get my food, but I was hungry – so I didn’t have to think about it for long.

Sometimes one of them would stand or sit where I slept and give me a treat. They looked so silly, but I didn’t care – I was getting nice treats! They frequently took my food away, but it was only ever to put something much tastier in my bowl. I don’t know why they couldn’t put it in there in the beginning, but I’m not going to complain when they do remember.

My bipeds say that I needed training to not guard resources. They say that Pyrenean Mountain Dogs have a tendency to do so, as they are guardian dogs. As usual, they have things slightly confused. I never guard my food or toys because I know that I have trained my bipeds to always give me something nicer, when something is taken away. I always know that whatever they pick up or ask me to give them, even a juicy bone, I can look forward to something even better.

And that’s how I came to invent the phrase “a more than fair exchange is no robbery”.

See you next Wednesday!

83 Comments

  1. Wow Clowie! You have your humans perfectly trained. *jotting down notes*
    Your furbuddies,
    Joules & Prescott

  2. We are like Joules and Prescott..taking down notes.You did make us laugh..I can see there, hanging on to your old toy..bol At least you have got them well trained now 🙂 and Yes, why don’t they just put something nice in your bowl in the first place..I guess these Humans have their reasons..crazy ones to us..bol Have a great Wednesday, can’t wait till next week. Are you going to tell us about chewing the furniture..BOL xx00xxx

  3. It does sound like a great resolution to your needs. Well done everybody 😉

  4. The Producer is odd. Zac warned me that she didn’t like twigs and old bones in the house and I am full of admiration for the way he traded on this knowledge.
    Whenever he wanted a treat he would find the grubbiest toy/twig or old bone he could find and bring it into the house.
    The Producer would then play ‘Swapsies’. She would swap the messy old thing for a treat. Zac was happy and The Producer thought she had won (always important to make them think they have won is what Zac told me).
    I haven’t done it since he’s been gone, it reminds me too much of him and anyway, I am more considerate of my waistline.

    • Zac was very wise. But you don’t have to trade for treats – although it’s what bipeds usually think first of trading. Make it clear you don’t really want a treat – taking it and then spitting it out on a rug usually gives them the idea! You could trade for a toy, or maybe even diamonds!

  5. Wise , wise words Clowie. You have trained your bipeds well. Take care and have a wonderful Wednesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  6. Good job Clowie, way to go, you sure have your humans trained nicely.

  7. Clowie, you need to write a biped training book which we can give to young puppies the world over so that all bipeds become as well trained as yours!! And perhaps, for a pal, you could mention the good training treats I do? http://www.harringtonspetfood.com/products/UK/dog-treats-training BOL

    And I think you need to work on your bipeds training as they haven’t given you any of my lovely treats (And there are 4 types you have missed out on munching!)

  8. A great way to teach you, that you don’t have to guard your food from Mom and Dad. You have smart Bipeds Clowie. I have always hand my hand in their food to stir, add more good stuff, always wanting the Newfs to know I wasn’t a threat to their food. I didn’t want to take it 🙂

    • They still add nicer things while I’m eating sometimes. Even the cats come and check out my bowl occasionally – they’re not supposed to, but you know what cats are like. I don’t mind, I stand back and let them. The bipeds send them away and I get a treat!

  9. I’m adding your training idea to my notebook Clowie – I like your technique! 🙂

  10. Have you been talking to Doggy?
    He knows all about keeping old stinky stuff. His blanket, he wouldn’t let me grab the blanket, he drags it around the house. I’ve washed it once, he was my enemy for 2 days. He doesn’t negotiate.

    • Doggy has my sympathy – I hate it when they wash stuff! I’m sure Doggy would negotiate, if you make it worth his while. You can’t have offered him anything valuable enough yet. For example, one blanket wash is worth at least one new toy, or a handful of treats.

  11. I think you have it all figured out.

  12. You are such a smart teacher, Clowie. Mom worries that I’ll become bed-aggressive (because she saw it on a TV show once). So even though I am allowed on the bed, I can’t jump up there till she says so. So I wait in the doorway till she says “Jump” and then she gives me treats – for doing what I was wanting to do all along!! Go figure.

    Love and licks,
    Cupcake

  13. Hey Clowie,

    It sounds like you put a lot of thought and effort into training your bipeds and it’s really paying off buddy!! Great work!! 🙂

    I hope you’re having a fun day,

    Your pal Snoopy 🙂

  14. Clowie you are a VERY VERY smart young lady!! 😀 This story just shows how easily bipeds are to train (tee hee).

    Kitty Hugs, Sammy

  15. Woof! Woof! A resolution … that’s great. Happy Wednesday. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  16. Ha, as usual very entertaining…I can see your bi-peds negotiating with you, it’s a wise decision to take the treat though. Such a fun little game you have going on.

  17. Ah close, your bipeds put my humans to shame. Hope one day they she as well trained as yours!

  18. No wonder you have such good manners, Clowie. This is very smart training. Good thing your bipeds know how important it is to give you only the very best. 🙂

  19. Clowie you are a very smart girl. Dilemmas. They can put us in a twist.

  20. I am still in training, but I get better every day. Brin the Boxer makes sure of that 🙂

  21. Good job in training your humans! Isn’t it lovely to receive something better for what you currently have? A great way to train and if the humans want that old stuff – let em have it! 🙂

  22. You are always so fascinating Clowie, I really like the way you think! 🙂 It’s always very hard for me to hand over an old/destroyed toy too…even when I get another in return! I need to train my biped on the whole treat giving too…it would definitely make it a sweeter deal! Have a great day!

  23. You are SUCH a smart dog, Clowie!

  24. Clowie, you are one wise dog. I think the training book others have mentioned is a great idea. You’d be a natural at it!

  25. This sounds like a wonderful deal! You were very clever to get that one all worked out Clowie! So…if I turn up in front of your bipeds with a nice fat but slightly small Martian chicken flapping around in my wolfie jaw and refuse to hand its sqwarking self over…I will get a much bigger and fatter one in exchange? I might even get a treat too? Oooh yes! I can live with that sort of trading! Of course you being a Guardian dog, can’t really be seen to be catching Martian chickens instead of protecting them so I’ll just have to do it for you!! Even better deal!! 😉

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