Lucy is a constant source of entertainment. She’s got such personality! And she’s definitely got her own way of doing things. For instance, if I want her to come in from outside, I can say, “Lucy, COME” all I want. But she’s not gonna come in. Nope. If I really want her to come in, I have to say something like, “Where’s Kacey? Come see Kacey!” Then Lucy will just look at me without moving a muscle until I shut the door and walk away. Then she’ll come racing up the deck steps and want to come inside.

The way Lucy interacts with us is so cute too! She greets anyone returning home as if her life is complete now that they have arrived home. She hugs by pushing her body against your legs. She delivers one of her many, many toys to your lap when she wants to play. And not playing is not an option. If you fail to give her the desired attention, Lucy will proceed to drop a toy in your lap over and over until you agree to play fetch with her.

Clearly she’s an intelligent dog, if not extremely well-trained. So I thought recently, “This is a smart dog. (Well… except for that wall-licking episode.) I think I could teach her a new trick!”

So I decided to teach Lucy a new trick. She already understands that when I offer her a treat and say, “SIT” that she must sit before she can have the treat. I decided I would teach her to speak for her treat.

I went to the cupboard and got one of her treats. Lucy knows where her treats are, so she knew what was coming. I’d barely moved away from the cupboard and she was sitting and wagging her tongue for that treat. I sat in a chair in front of her and said, “Good girl. Can you speak?”

Lucy cocked her head at me.

“Speak,” I said!

She cocked her head the other way. I knew she didn’t know what I was asking, so I decided to demonstrate what I wanted from her.

“Speak, Lucy,” I said! “Speak!” And then I said, “WOOF!”

Lucy cocked her head again.

“Speak! WOOF! Speak! WOOF! Speak! Woof!” I said.

Finally she caught on and let loose with a confident, “WOOF!”

“GOOD GIRL,” I said, and rewarded her with her treat. When she was finished, I petted and hugged her and told her what a good dog she was.

Over the next two days, I showed everyone who came along how smart my Lucy is. She performed perfectly and obeyed my commands to sit and speak each time I offered her a treat.

Then came day three. I headed for the treat cupboard and before I could even shut the door, before I could even say, “Sit! Speak!” Lucy busted out with an enthusiastic, “WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF!”

“Wait,” I said! “You have to SIT first!”

Lucy hurried to sit. “WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF!”

“Okay, okay,” I laughed! I couldn’t deny her a treat. She was performing her new trick four-hundred percent!

Yeah, so if anyone knows how to unteach a dog a new trick, please let me know!

13 thoughts on “Overachiever

  1. Go Lucy! Nice job with the dog training.

    Our yellow buffalo (a humane society special that is a big lab mix) can only do the basic tricks, but I think he has potential. He mimics humans and uses his front paws to try and grip toys or whatever he wants. All he needs is a thumb and he would be eating at the dinner table with us I am sure.


  2. Awww! She does her new trick so well! It’s obvious she has a great teacher! Maybe you can teacher her to woof instead of WOOF! Our dog will say please by growling sweetly under her breath, but if she barks it’s a no-no.
    Lucy definitely has a great personality! She loves her new family and it shows! And your love for her comes through in these sweet posts about her. :)


  3. I think you’ll need to replace the WOOF with something else — maybe a “lie down”?? Something a little quieter, you know? I’ve been trying to teach my Sheltie how to wait while I put a cracker or treat on the top of his nose, then snap it up mid-air. He’s not as enthusiastic about this as Lucy was about “woofing”!!


  4. I made this mistake with my American Bulldog, he basically does all of his tricks at the same time the second I pull his treats out. In a matter of 3 seconds he sits, speaks then tries to high five me in the face all before I can even give him a command. I wish I knew how to untrain this, but you’re not alone!!


  5. Sorry, Terri, nothing to offer. Mr. P is very talkative (he’s a Siamese, after all) but he talks when he wants to. Since you pretty much can’t teach cats tricks, there’s nothing to unteach. Unfortunately, that means sometimes you can’t teach them NOT to do things, like scratch furniture.


  6. I love to hear how Lulu has you trained well. She is certainly a real character.
    She is definitely a dog with some smarts in her. I would love to have my two mutts hook up with Lucy one afternoon for some doggie play. It would be epic. Let us know how you unteach her the WOOF WOOF command. .


  7. Good luck with that “unteaching” a new trick thing! You’ve raised 3 children so you already know the answer to that as it works much the same with them as with dogs. Or, at least in my family that always seemed to be the case. Now I’ll be snickering off and on all day today thinking of you and Lucy and her new tricks she’s mastering -an the dilemmas that’s gonna put you in too from time to time!


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