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Old dogs and new tricks

Letters From the Home Front
Published on Mar 3, 2010

I have created a monster. My monster is a 95-pound, perennial molting machine. In scientific circles, he is considered a "retriever," but years of inbreeding have rendered that moniker a joke. Retrieval requires movement, and the only action we see coming from Simon's corner these days involves the doorbell signifying incoming pizza. My dog is an instinctive, single-purpose being. He eats. Life is one big leftover, with sleep filling the gaps in between. Of course, he also has to make room for the next meal, so he does what dogs do, if you know what I mean. The funny thing is that doing his business has become one big marketing campaign. We fill his bowl every day with the yummy brown Nuggets O' Something Healthy, which is in theory enough to sustain him through his next siesta. But somewhere along the way, we inadvertently established this flawed reward system. Upon his sluggish return from his work in the backyard, we got in the habit of exclaiming, "Good ...

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