I get options

I just took my temporary housemate, a black Lab named Cooper, to the beach for a good vigorous outing with the chuckit and tennis ball. We came back. I sat down at the desk, and he asked to go outside. I let him outside. He went around to the garden and then came back and sat outside the sliding screen door staring at me and making a low growly noise in his throat, as he does when he wants me to grasp that he wants something.

I got up to open the sliding screen door so that he could come in. He didn’t come in, but stood still staring up at me, with his roadkill toy* at his feet. I was supposed to join him in the garden for a game of ‘throw the toy.’ I pointed out that we had just played and I wasn’t going to play any more right now, and closed the screen door.

I sat down at the desk, he went around to the garden and then came back and sat outside the screen door staring at me and making a low growly noise in his throat. I got up, saying ‘Cooper you’re being a pest.’ I opened the sliding screen door so that he could come in. He didn’t come in, but stood still staring up at me, with his tennis ball at his feet. ‘You don’t want to play with roadkill; you want to play with ball?’

Cooper in outside the door mode

A flat plush squirrel with Xs for eyes and a tire tread across its middle

For Cooper as a puppy –


  1. FredBloggs says

    I’m not an expert Ophelia, but I think dogs really need to be shown who’s boss. Sounds like he thinks he’s in charge.

  2. says

    Oh, I show him who’s boss all the time. I’m still at the desk! But he’s only 14 months old, and he’s not mine, so sometimes he’s a pest – but he’ll get over it.

  3. jolo5309 says

    Choose the ball! Choose the ball! Who knows what is Cooper’s next choice…

  4. 'Tis Himself says

    Cooper was looking at you with those Lab eyes, wasn’t he? You’re a hard person to disregard Lab eyes.

  5. Scote says

    What you have there is a toy/play motivated dog, which should mean it is a very motivated and trainable dog, not to mention cute…

  6. says

    The Lab eyes were about 20 feet away, so I managed.

    Yes, the toy/play motivation is overall very good fun. I like taking him out for an adventure, I like watching him charge into the waves after the ball, I like watching him charge into tall grass to find the ball and then watching nothing but his wagging tail when it proves hard to find and his tail is all that’s visible above the grass.

    But we have a deal: he gets at least one extended adventure every day, and he performs the quiet housemate role when I’m at the desk. He was reneging on the deal.

  7. Dana Hunter says

    I think what Cooper was trying to say was, it’s Memorial Day in Seattle and it isn’t peeing down rain. This qualifies as something so out of the ordinary that the usual rules are suspended.

  8. says

    Hahahaha – true! And it was beautiful on the beach – blowy and bright.

    He’s given in and gone to sleep on his bed now. Dreaming of tennis balls.

  9. 'Tis Himself says

    But we have a deal

    Did you write up the deal and get a paw print on it? I didn’t think so.

  10. David says

    “But we have a deal: he gets at least one extended adventure every day”
    Ophelia , Im almost certain, that it is every dogs inaliable canine right, to have two extended adventures, and a mad half hour, at a regular time of thier choosing, every day. Besides that…. awww but lookatim,eezbeautifulyesheizzz!

  11. says

    He gets that when his regular humans are home, but they don’t have other things to do!

    He gets mini-adventures with me throughout the day, but not the full-bore running at top speed after the ball 9,000 times.

  12. StevoR says

    Looks like a great – & also rather typical in behaviour – dog.

    Fritz* works wonders with motivation and training for ’em in case that helps at all. Time for lots of practice at “sit”, stay” maybe?

    FWIW, I don’t own a dog – my dog (& cat) own me!


    * A type of meat, sorta spam-esque stuff really, notsure if they have it overseas, in fact it may even just be a South Aussie speciality. But sure you can find something that’ll work!

  13. David says

    Ophelia, please, please, please, put a picture (or 20) up of Cooper from a year ago.

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