Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Carrots AREN'T Cookies!

One of the most challenging things for me in dealing with my Asperger's minded spouse is following his "logic". Hence our discussion about dog cookies/biscuits/treats.

We live on acreage. We have two large dogs. Sadie we've had for ten years, Finn for nearly five. Finn is a German Shorthair Pointer; a breed that is extremely active and very, very fast. When we first took him in, he did not have much training and would run off. We had a heck of a time keeping him around our home. He would mow people over as they came in the door, and we'd spend hours looking for him. I finally bought invisible fencing which I was able to train both dogs to. One problem, however, was letting the pups out early in the morning. 

Since it is usually dark when I wake up around 5 a.m., there are night critters still moving around when we'd let the dogs out. The dogs would relieve themselves, then run around within the parameter of the electric fencing barking and chasing animals, which was bothersome to the neighbors. I was able to train the pups to come straight back to the house by having dog "cookies" ready in my hand as they headed out. They'd do their thing, and run right back into the house for their treat.

Last summer Finn began biting holes in his paws and legs. I first suspected fleas, but Steve insisted that he had treated both dogs for fleas and ticks, so then I eliminated wheat from both dogs diets. I got rid of the milk bone type dog cookies/biscuits, substituting baby carrots as treats as both our dogs love veggies. I would ask the pups if they wanted a "cookie" and feed them a carrot. It only took a few days for them to run to the refrigerator at the word "cookie" instead of the broom closet where we had kept the dog biscuits in the past.

Herein lies the problem. I am not allowed to call a carrot a cookie. 

Or so saith my husband.

"THAT'S NOT A COOKIE, THAT'S A CARROT!" my esteemed mate would thunder. 

"I know it's a carrot, Dear," I would answer. "However, the dogs think anything called "cookie" is a treat, regardless of what the food actually is."

"BUT IT'S NOT A TREAT! IT'S A CARROT!" He, keeper of the Ultimate Rule Book, proclaimed.

"Steve, come watch this," I insisted.

I strode passed the sleeping dogs who were firmly planted in front of our warm fireplace. Each opened an eye as I asked them if they wanted a "carrot", then they went right back to sleep as I stood in front of the fridge. Neither one twitched as The Hubster followed me.

We stood in front of the fridge as I once again offered the dogs a "carrot". No movement from either dog.

I then said "Cookie" in a normal tone and there was a whirlwind as both pups came running full speed to the refrigerator, sliding to a stop at my feet. I hadn't opened the fridge, I hadn't clapped or whistled or done anything else to indicate that I would reward them with a carrot. They knew "cookie" to be a carrot. 

As the dogs watched expectantly, Finn salivating on my foot, I did indeed open the fridge door and grab a baby carrot for each of them from the vegetable drawer inside. Each dog sat as I had taught them until I flipped said carrots into the air so they could catch them and run off to devour their treat.

The entire time Steve stood shaking his head, glowering, and insisting that carrots can't be cookies. I remained in front of the fridge, arms crossed. 

"Well, Dear, as you can see the dogs disagree. They love their treats no matter what I call them."

"But you CAN'T call them that!" 

With that proclamation, my Aspie spouse stomped off, still muttering and shaking his head. 

To loosely quote Shakespeare, "What's in a name? That which we call a carrot, by any other name would taste as sweet..." 

But what would I know? I'm just an NT, lol