Watching Rocky grow and develop is fun.
I have seen Rocky (and Buddy, but not so much Lady) hesitate before performing an action that was impermissible. (Lady just insisted on keeping her elbows on the table.) The hesitation is fascinating. Should I or shouldn’t I? As if there is deliberation going on in Rocky’s little brain. And why wouldn’t there be? He now knows a zillion things he’s not supposed to do. And he knows doing some of these results in worse consequences than doing others.
No. I am not anthropomorphizing. First of all, he’s a dog. If you think dogs don’t deliberate– think– you have had no long term exposure to well behaved dogs or you are simply mistaken. Second, he hesitates. Short of his saying in English, “I am thinking about whether or not I should pick up this shoe,” I’m not sure how more more evidence you’d want.
The trick, of course, is to train him such that he can control himself and his actions well enough to leave the shoe alone.
Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. Aristotle
Helping Rocky become an excellent dog is a lot of work.