NEANDERVILLE — A 12-year-old girl Dweller today declared success in her year-long effort to teach her 18-year-old dog a new trick. The dog, Tribe mascot Lazy, can now raise her left paw in response to the command “shake.”
Previously, Lazy would only raise her right.
“For so long, I heard the expression ‘you can’t teach an old dog a new trick,’ ” said Zara, youngest of four children. “My father was, like, really into saying it when he was talking about my Gramps. He can be so annoying. Anyway, it was time to prove everyone wrong.”
Zara said that for as long as she could remember, Lazy promptly raised her right paw when you bent down, extended your hand and said “shake.” Her parents said they taught Lazy the trick when she was just a puppy, which is when she learned her three other tricks: sleeping on the cave couch, peeing on the cave doormat and shedding fur everywhere.
Zara said she figured switching to her left paw would be an easier new trick than, for example, “charging down a mastodon or something.” Every day, using treats of smoked tree root (Editor’s Note: this has been a bad year for hunting), the girl patiently gave the command and touched Lazy’s left paw. Every time, disappointingly, Lazy responded by raising her right.
But yesterday, almost exactly a year to the day after the training began, Zara said, Lazy raised her left paw. The girl’s patience finally was rewarded.
“I shook it and let go,” she said. “And from then on, whenever I say ‘shake,’ she lifts her left paw.”
Zara admitted she did not know what happened to the old trick, since Lazy now will only raise her left paw, not her right.
“But that’s OK,” she said. “I still think it will qualify for the Guinness Book of World Records, once they have books. And someday it’ll make for a very cool YouTube video. Speaking of which, has the Internet been invented yet? I’m getting bored. An iPhone is on my Christmas list, but I suppose that won’t be happening, either.”
Zara expressed doubt that every old dog can learn a new trick.
“I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t work with a boy dog,” she said. “Boys can be so stupid.”
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