How to Train a Stray Dog

“Yeah, and NOW you stand still!”

My youngest daughter wanted to give Cookie, our newest dog, a biscuit.

“Sure,” I said. “But get her to sit first.”

The eight-year-old tried, but the small black dog didn’t sit, she paced around the kitchen. Cookie is a former stray, and she’s never been good at answering to commands since coming to live with us nearly two years ago.

After a minute of trying to get her to sit, my daughter got frustrated.

“Come on, I’ll give you a treat if you, if you … I know, if you shake. Come on, shake!”

Cookie continued to pace, always with her eyes on the biscuit in my daughter’s hand, held up high, out of reach.

“Well, if you’re not going to shake, what if you just follow Dad around?”

Cookie kept pacing.

“Come on, you have to do something to earn a treat.”

That’s when Cookie jumped up and leaned against her chest and put her mouth as close to the biscuit as possible, with a longing look.

“OK, OK!” my daughter said. “I guess that’ll have to do as your trick.”

Cookie gobbled down the biscuit, and then sat down and looked up at my daughter, her tail wagging.

“Yeah, so now you sit, after all that!” my daughter said, before storming out of the kitchen.

Cookie followed after her, and I swear, she was shaking in gleeful anticipation of another treat.

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