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The “Drop It” Scam

Lots of houses in our neighborhood — including ours — have apple trees. And even the most diligent apple growers — including us — leave a few apples on the ground. Danny loves apples.

There are a few apple drop zones on our regular walks, and we both know where these are. Unless they’re wormy or rotten, apples are not the worst thing Danny has ever picked up of the ground and eaten. Actually, even if they are wormy and rotten, he’s eaten worse (one disembodied black bird wing. Ugh). But I’d rather he didn’t eat anything he found on the ground without asking me first. So we use these random apples as practice for the “leave it” and “drop it” commands. If I give one of these commands and he obeys, he gets a treat or two from my pocket.

Apples have been on the ground for a few weeks now, and there aren’t many left. I hardly even notice those few that are hidden under the leaves that have fallen. But Danny knows they’re there. Without breaking stride, he picks up the hidden apple, trots next to me for a second with it in his mouth, then makes a big show of dropping it on the sidewalk.

“Good ‘drop it,'” I say, and give him a treat, though I hadn’t actually asked him to drop it. Repeat about a half-dozen times. Danny obviously fancies himself very clever to have figured this scam out, and I see no reason to disabuse him of that notion.


2 responses »

  1. I love this! Danny has turned it into a very useful game. 🙂 Wish Shiva would catch on like that. She will drop some things, like apples, very easily, and others, like bubble gum, with great difficulty.

    • Danny also loves the gum he picks up off the sidewalk. He gets the commands “drop it” and “swallow it” mixed up when it comes to gum. I’ve heard that some of the ingredients in gum can be awful for dogs; luckily, he likes the gum that’s already had the life chewed out of it.


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