When we were back in Massachusetts this summer we took a family outing to an Unlikely Story, Jeff Kinney’s new bookstore that is five minutes away from my parent’s house. At the bookstore Kyle and I looked through the pet section to find a book on dog training that had been recommended to us. We happily found the book, 101 Dog Tricks: Step-by-Step Activities to Engage, Challenge, and Bond With Your Dog. I was just about to purchase the book when Dad stopped me and said, “I think we have that book at home, you can just take our copy.”
When we got home that afternoon we found the book on their shelves. As Kyle and I looked through it we were amused by many of the tricks. How neat would it be to have Yukon fetch a drink from the fridge or get his own leash off the hook when it was time for a walk! While we remarked on the humor of these tricks, Dad sagely warned us, “They are neat tricks, but you’re not going to have time to teach these to him.”
I mostly shrugged off Dad’s comment. I knew that he had a point, but I still hoped to teach Yukon a few tricks.
Now that sixth months have passed, you may be wondering, “What kinds of awesome tricks does Yukon know?”
Well….it turns out that Dad was right. With work, Kyle’s grad school classes, Kyle’s travel this fall, and the tiring task of growing a baby, we have not had time to teach Yukon tricks. We have focused a lot on basic obedience and he is becoming a well-behaved dog. Tricks though? He doesn’t know any.
Ok, that’s not entirely true. He does have one trick that he is quite good at.
Yukon is a master at retrieving socks. At first we noticed this “trick” of his when I was getting dressed in the morning. I would lay my clothes out on the bed. A minute later I would go to put my socks on and find that he had stolen one of them. After we learned that he was fascinated by socks, we made sure to bury socks in the laundry bin. This effort has proven to be completely ineffective, he can stick his nose into a bin full of dirty laundry and retrieve the socks. How he ignores all the other clothes to find just socks, I have no idea, but he is really quite good at this. Yukon has even learned which drawer my socks go in! One day when I left the drawer open a centimeter he figured out how to open it to retrieve a sock for himself.
Yukon’s sock trick isn’t limited to the usual places where socks are found either. He has a penchant for finding socks anywhere in the house. Recently, I took off my rain boots and a sock got stuck all the way in the bottom of this tall boot. Yukon managed to find this and pull it out of my boot. A few weeks ago we had some friends over with their six month old baby. Yukon managed to dig his nose into their diaper bag and find the extra pair of socks they packed for the baby.
While Yukon is quite talented at this “trick” of his and it has provided us a few laughs, we are actually working on breaking him of this trick. We really do not want him to ingest a sock and have to fly into Anchorage for emergency sock retrieval surgery.