Recently my daughter learned to crawl. She’s six months old, so basically any time she learns something it’s “recently”. But as she learns new tricks she forces my husband and I to adapt (and hopefully overcome). Sadly, in our sleep deprived state we find ourselves relying on the training we did with our previous “child.”
As she learns new things my mind reaches out for words that will get the result I want. Ack! She’s chewing on a power cord! Drop it! It works on the dog, so my brain now auto selects for those oh, so useful training phrases. Sadly, the phrases mean less than nothing to my daughter. The only one she obeys is “stay” and that’s only if she’s strapped in the car seat. As a result my dog, Kato, thinks I got the runty, stupid puppy of the litter. I can practically see the thought bubble over his head. “Look human puppy, I am demonstrating what to do. Figure it out!” The tiny daughter’s thought bubble says, “Look at those shiny eyeballs; if I could pluck them out, it might be fantastic. Why is the fuzzy one leaving?” Which is a terrible way to treat a dog who is trying his best to be supportive.
Kato performs many important baby related jobs. There is the “I alert you to the fact that the baby is crying.” (Believe me Kato, we know.) There is the extremely useful butt check. Kato, would you like to smell this butt? Oh, you would? Must be time for a diaper change. And the adorable guard dog duty. He is not quite sure why the human puppy hasn’t been weaned to dog food, but if I’m going to insist on breastfeeding her, then he will do his best to guard us while we’re vulnerable.
But she is learning. She now knows her name and his name, and she knows where the dog food is and how delightful it is to spill it all over the floor. So while the dog thinks she’s dumb, I can see the day coming when he will realize that her little monkey fingers are useful to help him get the delicious human food he desires. Hopefully, by then she will also know what “sit,” “stay” and “drop it” mean.