Easy Cheese ™

Some months ago, Franco and I got off on the wrong foot in the mornings. My habit was to greet him first thing in the morning with a scratch behind his ears, and I think I must have caught him once when he was still pretty sleepy, because he started grumbling at me whenever I’d say hello to him first thing.

Franco stays downstairs, and our bedroom is upstairs. So when we go to bed at night, he really doesn’t see us until the next morning.

Franco has always been a grumbler. It is my belief that a dog needs a way to let you know they are unhappy. It is unacceptable for them to bite or be aggressive in any way, and I think Franco recognizes this. So he and I have come to terms with his grumbling.

I thought long and hard about how he and I could turn this morning situation around. I figured we should be happy to see each other after a night of separation. I happened to remember the examination rooms at Franco’s vet, and got an idea. One of the standard items in these rooms is an aerosol can of cheese. I think they like it because it occupies the animal for a while. It takes some time to lick up, and is sticky enough that even once it is in their mouth, some smacking is required to get it all swallowed.

So I bought a can of Kraft Easy Cheese ™ from the corner store, and did the experiment. I made a line of cheese across the fingers of my left hand that first morning. I walked downstairs. Franco was still stretched out on his rug. I sat down on the steps and called him. He came somewhat curiously. I held out my hand, he took a sniff, and cleaned off my fingers. I gave him a scratch and he did not grumble. Score one.

We’ve been using this technique for some weeks now, and the grumbles have ceased. In fact, he is usually watching for me when I come down, and reminds me with his eyes if I happen to have forgotten his cheese.

This morning was a bit different. I think we must have run him pretty hard yesterday, because when I came downstairs and sat on the step, he did not come up to me. I found him fast asleep on his rug, so I walked up and moved my cheese-lined fingers near his nose. He must have been very tired, because he licked my fingers off without getting up this time. He registered his pleasure by thumping his tail on the floor, and I guess that is good enough for me.

One Response to “Easy Cheese ™”

  1. Mel says:

    Daisy has taken to grumbling at me when I get home – but generally only when I have arrived via motorcycle. She’s still all wags, but grrs a bit in the process of stretching to come say hello. I tend to grumble back at her, and say “Is that any way to greet me?!”

    It might be the jacket.

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