Saturday, 29 November 2008


Maybe our dogs are not so clever, or they think we are not.

During the few days of summer we had this year, and in past years to a greater degree, we enjoy taking our food outside to eat whenever possible. The dogs love to come with us. As they cannot be near us indoors when we eat in the kitchen or dining room, being around us and hoping for morsels to 'accidentally' drop on the patio holds great interest for them, so they leap up and down and wait for us to open the gates etc.

Today, we decided to eat crumpets and cake in our little annexe, where we sleep and where we have a wood burning stove alight much of the time. We have never done this before. The route to the annexe is via the back door, as the route to the garden is, and the dogs jumped up and down for the gate to the garden to be opened. They were of the opinion that, as we were carrying food and drink, we must be going to eat outside!

This all comes down to the conditioning that Pavlov discovered in some cruel experiments he conducted whereby dogs learn to salivate on the cue of food and act accordingly. Or does it just come down to us having very silly dogs, who expect us to eat outside in the cold in winter? I wonder if they will latch on the next time we take food out of the back door!

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