9 Things I Wish My Dog Would Teach Herself


Although I never trained her to do this, my dog learned something very smart. Apparently she taught herself.

If only my dog would teach herself a few other skills.

Honey the Golden Retriever Takes an Apple for Teacher.

I am a scholar and a lady.

My Dog Taught Herself To…

avoid getting burning road salt on her paws.

For years I’ve walked dogs who needed me to coax them off the sidewalk so they wouldn’t burn their paws on the corrosive salt used to melt ice and snow. But my dog Honey taught herself.

When we approach a house whose owner covered the walk with salt, Honey steps off the pavement and walks in the nearby snow. All by herself.

What a smart girl. Now if only we could convince her to teach herself a few more things.

Honey playing in snow

I’ve learned how to make a fun game out of a ball and some snow.


If Only My Dog Would Teach Herself To…

Trim her own nails – I can’t tell where the quick begins on her black nails. But she does. By feel.

Smile for the camera – You’d think I have the saddest pup in the world based on my photographs. C’mon, Honey. Smile.

Honey the golden retriever poses without smiling.

It’s my elegant look. I don’t want to ruin it with a cheesy grin like some kinda goofy Lab.

Let herself out – She’s the one with the fur coat. Why should I have to stand in the cold doorway waiting for her to finish peeing? And sniffing. And making snow angels. And…

Bite the bad guys – Hey, I could install a doggie door if I wasn’t worried that some thief would come along to steal my I’ll-flirt-with-anyone dog.

Make dinner – I think everyone would be much happier if, when Honey’s stomach clock went off, she could go downstairs, get her dinner out of the fridge, serve it up in her favorite Kong, and eat it.

Groom her fur – My pup could learn something from the local cats. If your fur is starting to mat on your legs, break it up with your teeth and tongue.

Honey the golden retriever lies in the snow with her ball.

I’m not just sitting in the snow. This is a spa treatment to make my fur extra floofie.

Vacuum – After all, she’s the one leaving the huge balls of fur tumbling over the floor.

Dust – And while you’re at it, Honey, why not put that floofie tail of yours to good use? I bet it would do a great job on the ceiling fan blades.

Write a blog post – On second thought, maybe not. She’d probably write an even longer list of all the things she wants me to teach myself.

Honey the golden retriever smiles.

See? I can smile.

Dogs Are Worthless

Let’s face it. Our dogs get food, shelter, and protection without contributing anything to the running of the household.

They only

  • make us laugh
  • help us exercise
  • show their love
  • dry our tears with their fur
  • keep us company

Oh, I see.

They’ve already taught themselves the skills we need the most.

Smart dogs.

Your Turn: Has your dog taught himself or herself something clever? 



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  1. I’m going to go with your list, especially the vacuum part. And Goldens can be just as goofy as Labs 😉

  2. Blueberry’s job is my personal trainer. Personal trainers earn quite a bit of money, so I figure Blueberry is saving me a ton of fees in that area. Without her, I’d never set foot on a hike and I’d be less healthy than I am now. I actually only started hiking when my last dog, Shadow, passed (which was about 5 years ago). She was a homebody and we had games we played in the yard and in the house and she preferred that to walks (our walks were about 30 minutes and she would race back to the house as fast as she could). So when I got my first foster, after Shadow, that is when I decided to start hiking to wear the dog out so she wouldn’t eat my house.

    Although you are right, would it kill our dogs to do a little housework? I often tell Blueberry I’ll give her $500 if she does the ironing for me but she has yet to take me up on my offer.

  3. Our younger boy, Zach, a Bernese, hasn’t taught himself anything, but he has trained us. When he is done outside, he’ll come to the door and bark. However, when you open the door for him, you’d better have a treat to bribe him with, or he just stands there in the open doorway, letting all the cold air in.

    I do agree it would be nice if they could vacuum up the furballs they leave lying around.

  4. Wow! Such a smart girl!!!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  5. No, but they sure have me trained.

  6. Roxy is a nut for the laser pointer. She chases it and pounces on the dot like a fox in the snow, but she WILL NOT touch it if the dot is on a human, even during a frenzied chase. I don’t know where she learned this. This is doubly amazing because Roxy is not the smartest dog that ever lived. (She is affectionately called “Box of Roxys.”)

  7. I’m not quite sure what we would do with ourselves if the dogs could do all that for themselves! Our beagles Kobi and Cricket both taught themselves to open the screen doors on our porch and let themselves outside (into the fenced in yard). I enjoy getting a bit of a break from being door person during the summer. Our golden Sheba taught herself to open our bathroom door which slides to the side (she’ll do that but won’t push through the screen doors, though we’ve tried teaching her).

  8. What a sweet article!
    Dante taught himself to tap on the door when he wants to go out, or in for that matter. It’s really polite just a tap, no scratching or whining he just stands there and waits. :-) We had nothing to do with teaching it to him, he just started doing it one day. I wish he’d teach his sister.
    We try to get the dogs to help us clean but although I know they are smart enough they seem to become incredibly clueless when the housework starts. LoL

  9. Smart dogs, indeed! I wish Mauja and Atka would learn to groom themselves and vacuum 😉

  10. I taught myself if Mom doesn’t answer the doorbell when I ring to come in I need to lay on it so it goes non stop…she comes pretty fast when I do that!

  11. Haha, I like the list! Nola taught herself to open cabinets, wrappers, containers and zippers….

  12. Bd will clean himself when he comes in from a muddy walk, he sits and licks until he is mud-less. It’s very cute.

  13. Sweet, and I laughed out loud once again.

    Zack taught himself to stand at an angle, throw his shoulder up and over the kitchen sink’s edge, and clean out the drain strainer.

  14. BOL – couldn’t live without them, high maintenance that they are!

    Monty and Harlow

  15. Margaret T says:

    Give Honey some credit. I’m sure she’d be an excellent pre-wash cycle for the dishes!

  16. I agree with your list. For Harley we would add – opening up water bottles LOL