31 May 2008

Counter Surfing

Our dog Gus has an issue. Well, to be honest, he has multiple issues. Notably, these involve barking, jumping on people and counter surfing. The first two behaviours are a little scary for people who aren't familiar with Gus. He's a 70lb dog with made up of black lab, german shepherd and border collie. Getting greeted at the door by a dog who simulaneously barks at you like he wants to tear you apart and kiss you silly is quite an odd experience.

But, most of all, he's become more than the occasional counter surfer of late. It started off with an item here and an item there every few months. Sausages that had just been drained sitting in the collanadar in the sink. The toppings off half a pizza mysteriously disappear by the time you walk back from the dining room to set the table. A sandwich from the table is no longer there. The motto in our house is that if you leave it unattended it's your loss. (Note: I'm too busy trying to deal with my kids behaviours and be a parent to even begin to attend to the dog!)

Only now, Gus has found a new source of human food. Leftovers from Bubaloo's back pack.

See, we ask our kids to pack their own lunches for school each day. Then we do a lunch check to ensure it meets our expectations. Sometimes they just tell us that they've got a main lunch item, like a sandwich or dinner leftovers, one fruit, one veggie and something else. Sometimes they make a song about what's in their lunch, or do a little dance. We try to make it fun. Some days it's more of a struggle than others, especially with Bubaloo around the need to have some sort of veggie in his lunch.

By packing his own lunch, he gets to eat the veggie of his choosing. We've tried taking him to the grocery store and letting him pick out items of his choice so there's lots of options to pack. When we discovered he liked V8 we stocked up on that (he liked it until he realized that we also liked him to drink it). Basically, he likes baby carrots, baby carrots or more baby carrots. And, that is the veggie he chooses to pack every day.

Only, he doesn't like the baby carrots anymore. He hasn't quite outright said it as he continues to pack them all the time. But, we find with increasing frequency that they come home in his lunch box each day. Or they fall to the bottom of his backpack to be discovered weeks later. He's also put them in the drawer beside his bed and other interesting places in his room. I'd like to think that with some of his food issues that he's hording carrots, but I know that's not the case. He's hiding them because he doesn't want us to know he's not eating them. Why he just doesn't bury them in the garbage can underneath things is beyond me.

The dog increasingly is fascinated by the contents of Bubaloo's backpack. I'm getting a little bit more frightened. Gus barks at it, noses it, knocks it off its perch in the hallway all in attempt to get at its contents.

Yesterday, the dog got his victory. And yet I'm not so sure it was his first. I came home to find the dog with a saran wrap package of very dry, old baby carrots in his mouth. It was the size of a softball - a week worth of carrots I'm sure.

The dog had hit the jackpot and there was no way he was giving up his bounty. I tried to be the owner and command the dog to give them to me. Then I tried to take it out of his mouth. He growled. He then tried to run away. Finally, I just had to wrestle them away from him and ran to the garbage can keeping my gag reflex under control.

This morning when I saw the dog lying in the hallway stalking Bubaloo's sealed lunch bag, I knew better than to find out what was so tempting. I called Bubaloo to deal with it and deal with he did. Goodbye yucky stinky sandwich from Monday's lunch.

Gus 0. Mommy 1.

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