Naughty Neo

Monday, October 17, 2005 | 0 Comments

I went out to lunch with my previous boss, today. She wanted to catch up with what is going on in my life, and generally just misses having me around. I really miss working there too. I loved the people and the work. I hope that a position opens up soon. There are two that are supposed to be opening up, but that may not be for a couple of months. I need a job now!

I wish that I could have told her that I got the job that I interviewed for last week, but I still haven't heard from them. I'm hoping that is a good sign. I really think that the interview went well. The only major mistake I made was when she asked my about typing. I said that I wasn't the fastest typist, but I could type 40-60 wpm. She asked if I used the home keys. Now I know what home keys are. I just learned about them a couple weeks ago, but for the life of me, at that moment, I could not figure out what the hell she was talking about. So I just said, "I use short cuts." She looked at me funny, then said, "Oh yeah, right. Short cuts."

It was a great lunch. We ate at the Mexican restaurant, which I love! We had burritos and for dessert we got the flan. She had told me how great it was. And it was! Very thick and rich. It was definitely homemade. She even paid! Wow! What a great previous boss, and really, friend- she has been there for a lot of tough times. Oh why can't I just get a job back there again?

When I got home, I knew something was up. I walked into the house and neither of the dogs came to see me. In fact, I couldn't hear either of them. As I approached the living room I could hear a rustling of what sounded like a chip bag. I stepped into the room to see little Neo with a big chicken jerky bag hanging from his mouth! He looked up at me and dropped it immediately. He had cleaned the bag completely out! I locked him in the back room as punishment. The worse punishment that I can give any of my pets is time away from me and the main house. It worked for our other dog and our cat.

So where was Zero? I didn't see him when I had come into the livingroom and caught Neo in the act. I found him cowering under a desk in the office. He saw what was going on and got the hell away from the crime scene so as not to incriminate himself. Smart dog. I know that he hadn't had part of it because his breath still smelled like dog food from the morning. He knows the rules and is very good about following them, even when we aren't around. Now I just have to get Neo to that kind of obedience.

Where the hell did he get a package of chicken jerky? I know we didn't buy any from the store. Which means that he had to have gotten it from SSB. SSB likes to go to the convenience stores and buy himself treats. And he hides them around the house or in his work backpack. And he usually leaves his backpack lying on the floor in the dining room. THE BACKPACK! Oh geez! Neo had chewed a hole in the backpack to pull the snacks out. That little turd!
Zero was upset to hear Neo whining to get out from the back room. He paced for a while in front of the door. Then he came to implore me with that pitiful look that he is so good at. Sorry Zero, Neo needs to learn his lesson.

This is definitely the first behavior issue that I am going to work on with Neo. I have read a few suggestions in dog training books. Some sound interesting- my favorite is to coat some goodies with cayenne pepper and leave them around. But that will not work with this dog. He has a very good sniffer. He might make the mistake once, but he'd be able to distinguish between pepper-treats and non-pepper treats, so we'd still have a problem.

Another is to use a penny can or squirt bottle. Any one out there actually had any luck with this? I don't walk around my house with a can or squirter in my hand, and they always seem to get into trouble when you are not expecting it. That's why they get into trouble!!

My tactic right now is to keep him locked up when we leave, keep food out of reach (which will be difficult- we are habituated to well behaved pets), and some general obedience training just so he knows who's boss. I'm hoping that Zero will have a long doggy talk with Neo to set him straight. I think that he has already tried, but Neo isn't buying it.


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Blogger nope said...

Geez, how could you refuse a face like that? Neo sure knows which buttons to push. My first thought is that it's good he's locked in a room, 'cause he's liable to upchuck all the jerky, and keeping it contained in one room is a good thing. :)

Sylvana, the problem you'll have with discipline in this case is that he KNOWS he's not supposed to get into food stuffs ... and he's smart enough to do it when you aren't there. Your best bet is what you are doing - behavior modification; he understands the no-no, and hopefully he'll understand what he gets when he does a no-no. If he doesn't get into food bags, he doesn't get locked up. But that's just my thoughts - I've had dogs off and on for years but I'm not a professional dog trainer.

I tried the spray bottle bit with my cat - and he's learned it so well that as soon as I pick up the spray bottle he high-tails it out of the room. Is that smart, or what? Didn't stop the behavior that started the whole spray bottle bit. Animals. Too smart for their own good.

I am confused about the Home keys. There's two on my keyboard. I don't use them at all. I wonder what they meant? I'm sure particular software makes use of them ... but that depends on the software. If you don't get the job because of that question, I'm not sure you'd have wanted it anyway.

Why aren't you still with your previous boss? She sounds wonderful! What kind of work are you looking for? Are you signed up with job search sites? I like America's Job Bank...

October 17, 2005 3:19 PM

Blogger Sylvana said...

Indiaiynke, my training is in operant conditioning and behavior modification (as you can see from my link section in my sidebar). I know a lot of tricks to get the behavior I want, it just might take a while, and maybe some customization too. But, I'm always up for new ideas, because the common behavior mod techniques don't work on everyone- or every dog, in this case. The key to it, I find, is simplicity and consistency.

The home keys are the keys that you are supposed to position your hands on while typing. Two of the home keys have bumps on them so that you can find them without looking.

I'll try the job bank. I have tried other job banks without much luck, but the more places I look the better chance I will have.

October 17, 2005 4:39 PM

Blogger sideshow bob said...

I was surprised, but chicken jerky is actually pretty good...and it was spicy! I'm surprised the water dish wasn't empty when you got home.

October 17, 2005 5:12 PM

Blogger nope said...

Ah. I didn't learn that in typing class. My professional background got my typing up to about 85 wpm, and I don't need bumps to help that.

Good luck with the job hunt. And with modifying Neo's behavior. Gosh, that's such a cute picture!!!

October 17, 2005 5:13 PM

Blogger Sylvana said...

SSB, see that cayenne pepper thing REALLY wouldn't work for him. I don't even think that he noticed that it was hot and spicy!

October 17, 2005 5:13 PM

Blogger Shannon said...

Wow. My dog is deathly afraid of the waterbottle, but will still chew the rugs when I'm not home. I tried every type chili powder in my house and two brands of "No Chew" spray from the local pet store- all to no avail. If she's chewed, I put her outside...and she looks contrite and sad and whines and sits out in the yard
it doesn't stop the chewing. Now she only chews new rugs...but when we first got her, it was everything. We had to crate her for a while...

I thought this was an interesting article:

October 17, 2005 6:16 PM

Blogger Derek Knight said...

I've said it before, I'll say it again...

Dogs are bad news...


October 17, 2005 6:27 PM

Blogger Sylvana said...

Shannon, I am not of the thought that dogs are not intelligent. Although I do believe that many people make the mistake of attributing too much cognitive capabilities to dogs, I also believe that scientists are too quick to say that they have NO cognitive abilities. I have studied dogs informally for most of my life. This article that you have sent me has intrigued me. I think I will be posting about the ideas that it brings up soon. Thanks!

Derek, are you a cat person, perhaps? Or did a dog do you wrong at some point in your life?

October 17, 2005 7:02 PM

Blogger Shamus O'Drunkahan said...

Now THAT is a guilty face.

October 17, 2005 7:36 PM

Blogger Sylvana said...

Isn't it, Shamus? I'm hoping that spicy chicken comes back to haunt him.

October 17, 2005 7:56 PM

Blogger evilsciencechick said...

I would say crate training is the best way to go. It seems so cruel locking them up in a small crate all day, but they feel much more secure being in their little cave while the leader of the pack is away, AND it keeps them out of trouble.

I started Sadie out crate training. Now she has free roam of the house when I'm gone, but she mostly just sleeps in her crate. It might take awhile, but they do learn to love the crate!

October 17, 2005 8:35 PM

Blogger Sylvana said...

ESC, I have read about crate training. I've never done it. I have heard of good results from it, so I will certainly be keeping the crate training in mind!

October 18, 2005 9:33 AM

Blogger sands of time said...

I hope a job opens up with your old boss soon.She sounds great to work for.Im sure Neo will start behaving soon.

October 18, 2005 9:53 AM

Blogger Sylvana said...

Pink Lady, I really wish that I could go back there and work. There are two positions that are supposed to be vacant in a couple of months. If no one more qualified applied, I'm sure that I would get one of them. Even the director of the library was sad to see me go.
Neo is smart and I think that he wants to please us- that is a very good combination. I'm just not sure how much self discipline he has. I think that the smell of food might be an overwhelming factor. In that case it will be up to us to make sure that temptations are kept out of reach.

October 18, 2005 12:11 PM

Blogger Derek Knight said...


October 18, 2005 1:03 PM

Blogger SierraBella said...

I'm not a dog trainer, but do have 3 dogs.
Like you said, eliminate the temptations... although he may resort to chewing other things.

IMO, squirting works on cats because they don't usually listen to the word "No" as dogs do.

Catching them in the act is obviously the best way to deter them, but that's so hard when we humans have to leave the house.

It may take a while, but he sounds like an intelligent dog and he'll figure out the rules.

October 18, 2005 1:15 PM

Blogger Sylvana said...

Derek, that's too bad. Dogs are great! Uh, even though I have been complaining about them lately. Believe me, my cat is no angel either!

Sierrabella, I do not get the impression that he is a chewer. He just REALLY likes food. The only reason that he chewed the bag was to get the jerky out. He already has pretty much figured out the garbage is off limits- but he did pull the empty jerky bag out of it today! Just the jery bag. There is something irresistable about that jerky!

October 18, 2005 2:38 PM

Blogger Rae Ann said...

It's funny how dogs are just like kids sometimes, that way they act when caught in the act.

October 19, 2005 8:21 AM

Blogger Sylvana said...

Rae Ann, the fact that they do act like children is a great way to think about their training needs. I generally train my animals how I have trained my son- simplicity and consistency.

October 19, 2005 1:23 PM

Blogger Randi said...

my parents use the squirt bottle effect. they love it. they have/had at least 7 different bottles all over the house so if he does something bad, there is a bottle waiting. at pet stores they have something called bitter apple. i used that on my dogs and it kept my female from chewing on the walls and my bed. it didnt help her from gnawing on our hands, she would just lick it up from there...and the pepper, she would just lick it off the trash can. but the bitter apple on stuff, she hated....

October 20, 2005 7:57 AM

Blogger Sylvana said...

Randi, we have Bitter Apple for our guinea pig. She relentlessly chews on the bars of her cage to get things from us. Sometimes it is legitimate stuff like food or water, but sometimes, I don't know what the hell she wants!

October 20, 2005 9:15 AM