Penelope is food motivated. She fits right in with her family. I train her with little heart-shaped treats. No treat is too small for her or not worth an effort.

She sits obediently when a car passes by us. She looks up for a treat. A dog walks by on the other side of the road. I tell her to walk on and hold a treat in front of her. She locks her eyes in on that treat like it’s her job and keeps walking until I give it to her. As soon as she secures it in her mouth, she stops and looks back at the dog. And then asks for another treat.

Penelope takes her time with her daily constitution. Rain, wind, hurricanes, she takes her time. In my infinite wisdom, I decide it would be a good idea to give her a treat when she poops. That should speed her up in inclement weather. It doesn’t. She still takes her time. AND gets a treat.

This girl is smart. We are in a different neighborhood for the weekend, visiting for a wedding. Dogs come to the window and bark as we pass by. She walks on as expected and asks for a treat. Early the next day we walk by the same house. No dogs barking. She remembers they live at this particular house and asks for a treat.

Any time I put my hand in my pocket, she waits for a treat unless I show her my hand is empty.

She extends her treat requests for all good behavior now. I stop and talk to a neighbor. She sits quietly. She hops up when we continue our walk turning her face up to me with those angelic eyes and locks on mine, her way of asking for a treat.

A bicyclist rides by. Same. Children who pet her. Same. There’s no guilt or embarrassment on her part. She’s not deterred by a no or a show of empty hands.

She never tires. She never gives up. She perseveres.

It never hurts to ask.

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