It appears that 3B is learning just as much from Barky as he is from us, like just how wonderful food is. Hounds are what vets call “food motivated,” which is putting it politely and mildly.
Just this week, Barky got so caught up in hopping and dancing on his hind legs around his food dish while I brought him dinner that he flipped over his water dish and didn’t even notice. That suppertime dance that Snoopy does is a pretty accurate representation of a hound at mealtime.
That is, however, the most mild symptom of food motivation. Some of Barky’s more memorable exploits have come when we’re out of the house and he has, for example, eaten a whole stick of butter or all the sugar in the sugar bowl–both of which required him to jump up onto the dining room table to get to them–or eaten the contents of the kitchen trash can–after dragging it into the living room to spread things around on the carpet–or chewed out the pockets of more coats than we care to think about because they had, at some time in the last five years, held a crumb of food, which he could still smell as strongly as if they were stuffed full of Twinkies.
Barky’s not much better when we’re around, begging from us every time we crinkle or rustle something. Even if we’re only getting out a new trash bag or putting away toys, Barky’s at our feet, staring alternately at us and the floor, imploring us to at least, for the love of all that’s holy, drop a crumb or two. When he sees us eating, he’s even worse, and this seems to be the habit that 3B has picked up on. Yesterday, I had just flopped down on the couch to eat a sandwich when 3B crawled over, hauled himself upright and cruised down the couch to stand at my knee and wait for a handout. Even though I was giving him little bits of crust as fast as I could, 3B wasn’t going to be satisfied until he got his hands on the sandwich.
Finally, Mama got him a piece of some waffles that we keep frozen for him to chew on and 3B was somewhat satisfied, although he kept his eyes glued to my sandwich while he ate his stick of frozen waffle.
Fortunately, 3B and Barky seem to respect each others’ begging space, like respectful panhandlers on separate street corners, with each ceding begging rights to whoever got to the food first. And fortunately, there are only the two of them; if they weren’t so respectful, or if we had any more babies or dogs, I’m afraid that it would look like this under our table if we dropped a crumb: