When ourRottweiler Lola was a year old, I left hubby and dogs for a weekend over at a friend’s place. She has a new baby and a two-year-old, and her husband was away. I know the two-year-old well, and it was fun to see how quickly her vocabulary is expanding.
We went to a potluck at a nearby church and during the social hour the two-year-old enjoyed running on the lawn. I followed her around. She wanted to play right next to the electrical outlets for the holiday lights that were on. I said we had to play somewhere else. She considered making a fuss — I could practically see those little wheels turning — and decided it wasn’t worth the trouble.
A bit later, we were playing hide and seek around a wide tree when she noticed that there was gravel at the base of the tree. She picked up two pieces and I said she couldn’t throw rocks here. She tossed those two back and methodically worked her way around the base of the tree, looking at me to see if I would let her throw gravel anywhere. I wouldn’t.
For the rest of the time there, she didn’t test either of those rules. We came back out after dinner and she ran around in that area again. It was clear that she “got it” — no power cords, no gravel. Now of course in a grumpier mood or on a different day, she might challenge again. But what interested me was watching her mind work.
Our year-old Rottweiler does things very similar, though of course she doesn’t put language to it, nor does she test in the way the little girl did, working her way around that tree. But Lola too will very quickly understand what we want and don’t want. Often she’ll do what we want right away.