23 Feb 2021
The theory goes that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
I would dispute this. I think it’s very possible to teach an old dog something new – you just need the right incentive.
Old dogs aren’t going to perform a new crowd-pleaser for a pat on the head, or even for a little bit of liver treat. To get an old dog doing something new, there needs to be a very enticing benefit in it for them.
My dog Chewie has four tricks*. She can sit. She can dance on her back legs (we call this doing a “Hallelujah” because she acts as if she’s in the front row at an arm waving Pentecostal church), and she will lie down on the ground.
But only for food.
Sometimes she will do the sit command if you catch her in a conciliatory frame of mine, but not often.
She’s not disobedient, she’s just not a crowd pleaser. And to get her to do one of her three party tricks, there needs to be sufficiently attractive food on offer – preferably dehydrated bits of kangaroo.
If there was a particular treat that she really really loved, I could probably try to teach her something new.
For the past three or four days, I’ve been learning new tricks. I’d decided a while ago that, when I had passed a year of writing these bits of diarrhoea on social media, I’d take them elsewhere – possibly a web page, and give myself the option of not writing each and every day. Even though I probably will.
So, after a bit of research, I found a way of doing it. Because I’m not stupid but I’ve definite ‘don’t quite understand’ moments, I paid extra to have someone sit down (online, of course), and explain the very basics to me.
And then I had a play. I made mistakes. I realised in some respects I have a lot of work ahead of me to get the existing 336 bits of diarrhoea on the page, trying to catch up before I reach the one year mark on social media.
Despite it not being an overly flash web page, and only devoted to one thing, and with a lot of tweaking still to go, I’m quite proud of what I’ve achieved so far.
This old dog has learned a new trick.
There aren’t really any great incentives, apart from keeping the few friends I have who don’t do social media, but can look at a web page, in the loop.
Oh…. some of you may have noticed I only mentioned three of Chewie’s tricks. *Her fourth trick is tree climbing. This one has absolutely nothing to do with food. It has nothing to do with being a crowd pleaser.
She does it, because there is a tree that she is able to climb, so she gives it a shot.
Kind of like me and that web page.