2017-05-03 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

Have your dogs ever scammed you? Have you or your other pets ever been the victim of their premeditated stunts? Over the years my dogs have resorted to guile to get what they want. I asked friends on social media for further anecdotal evidence, and was relieved to discover I wasn’t the only one scammed by my four-legged friends.

Despite the praise bestowed on dogs “giving unconditional love,” our pups’ trickery is all about them. They connive to benefit their own tummies, fun or comfort. They fool their owners to obtain extra food, more play time or the best seat in the house. Dogs are never sorry for making us look clueless.

Exhibit A: To prove pups plot against us, we’ll start with Exhibit A (a.k.a. Exhibit Afghans). After living with Afghan Hounds 37 years, I’ve seen more duping from my females. May be just my experience but my two females were much smarter than the combined IQ of my four males.

"Odin" the bed-hogging Boxer "Odin" the bed-hogging Boxer Afghan Hounds are sighthounds bred to look off into the distance for prey. They are also extremely fast. For thousands of years in Afghanistan, they ran on rugged terrain far ahead of tribesman hunters. This turned them into independent thinkers.

Our first Afghan Juliet (born 1980) was the ultimate trickster. She studied passive resistance under Mahatma Gandhi. If she didn’t want to come in, you’d have to go in the yard to get her. She was adept at going “rag doll” limp so you’d have to scoop her up and carry her inside.

Juliet was also a skilled thief/pickpocket. She’d steal hand wash off the clothesline, bulbs as you planted them, Halloween ghosts off the dogwood, hot dogs out of little kids rolls, money and cigarettes from purses - all for the pure joy of getting us to chase her so she could show off, running loops around the house at the speed of light.

Do llamas lie to alpacas? Do llamas lie to alpacas? Afghan Facebook testimony: “I had an Afghan who would instigate the cat to climb into the cupboard and throw down peanuts for her. Then she carefully removed the shell and brownish peel before eating them," wrote Arianna.

“One of my Afghan Hounds years ago would steal bananas, eat them and leave the intact skin on the floor. We blamed our children until we caught him in the act. He also managed to eat all the chocolate characters off the Christmas tree but left the wrappers intact. Will never forget our children’s screams when we gave them permission to choose a chocolate character off the tree on Christmas Eve," wrote Christina.

Gypsy is a rescued Afghan in NJ. Her mom Adele wrote: “Gypsy hits the door like she wants to go out and as soon as I get up to open the door she runs and sits in front of the cabinet that her treats are in. She is such a little stinker. Gypsy used to have stomach issues so she knows as soon as she hits that door I’m there. She is very conniving and unless you live with an Afghan, people don’t know how smart they really are. Gypsy is very aloof. If she is out in the yard, I could call her for 10 minutes. She won’t even look at me but as soon as I mention the “cookie” word she’s flying up the deck steps.”

All breeds trick us: “Priscilla my Yorkie regularly scams me by acting like she is following me. Then as I start to walk she bolts in the opposite direction. I actually have her doing it on video too," confessed Diana.

Sherry wrote: “My rescued Boxer Odin for the first 6-8 months he was with us used to tap at the back door to go out while we were eating dinner, and then whoever got up to let him out, he’d run to their plate and swipe their dinner!! It took us a while, believe it or not, to realize this whole thing was completely planned on his part.”

“Our recently adopted shelter dog, a bull terrier mix named Walter, was nudging my husband in the middle of the night. He got out of bed to let the dog out and Walter hopped up and curled up on the bed," said Leslie.

Even puppies plot according to Barbara: “While trying to potty train my two puppies we would give treats if they peed outside. My one dog Sasha kept squatting like 5-6 times each potty run so I said this can’t be. She’s either sick or pretending. I know it sounds gross but I actually felt her. Yup, bone dry. She was doing it just to get treats.”

Border Collie brains: From Kathy who trains her agility dogs, and has brought them to Westminster press conferences for demos: “My BC Oreo was a master of manipulation. He was a year old but not housebroken when I got him so I thought I was smart when I taught him to ring a bell to go outside to eliminate. After only a few days he started ringing the bell constantly to lure me outside with him to try and play ball instead. At night if he thought I was ignoring bed time, he would go to the door and ask to go out. As soon as I got up to let him out, he would run upstairs to the bed room. If he got to barking in the yard, I would call him in and reward him with a cookie for coming when called. He started asking to go out, would mock charge down the porch and then come back immediately, begging for a cookie.”

Dogs fooling dogs: From Elaine who raises Dalmatians in California: “Our Dal girl Kota tricks our other Dal girl Halle by barking at the door so Halle will get up from the best spot on the couch.

Finally- Do Llamas lie? Cross-species sneakiness exists. Stephanie is an Afghan fancier. She and her husband also own Pacaberry Farm, an alpaca farm in Virginia: “How about our guard llama tricking our alpacas so they would get out of her favorite barn? She was lying outside the barn, and she suddenly gets up and runs to the other pasture and barn. She acts as if they were getting fed. Everyone ran behind her and followed, and then she nonchalantly meandered back to the first barn and lay down.”

Return to top