The Mystery of the Unwashed Dishes

I thought the dishwasher was dying. When Greg and I came home from an evening out on Wednesday, the display of the countdown on the drying phase seemed to be stuck at 4 minutes. I didn’t think too much about it and turned off the machine, with the intention of putting everything away the next morning. When I opened the dishwasher, I thought that it had been overloaded because the first dish I wanted to take out wasn’t clean. So I figured I’d have to sort the dishes into clean and unclean. But nothing seemed completely clean.

That’s when I remembered that the counting display is also used to indicate how long remains until the start of a programmed delay (I’ve never understood why you would tell your dishwasher not to wash for several hours, but there must be some reason people like this feature). I knew I had started the machine before leaving, and the dishes were partially washed, so I tried to figure out if the machine was acting up, just in a different way than I had thought.

I ran the turbo fast cycle to see what would happen. The dishes came out perfectly clean. Hmmm…

Then I saw the can of spray liver creme on the counter. I had topped off the pre-departure Kong with it. Since I’d finished the can, I hadn’t bothered putting the lid back on. There was a small piece of cream on the nozzle. For someone who loves liver and who has a super powerful nose, that would be pretty tempting. The can was directly over the dishwasher, but far enough back on the counter that Spencer wouldn’t have been able to get it.

A new hypothesis was born: the dishwasher was chugging along just fine until Spencer tried to get to the liver cream. When he jumped up on the counter, he must have pressed on the timer button, interrupting the cycle until the timer ran out several hours later.

This is yet another sign that the docile dog we thought we were adopting was just a “shutdown” dog. As Spencer gains confidence, I suspect we’re going to see him testing boundaries more and more. Some of the “good behaviors” that have occurred naturally until now are probably going to have to be reinforced through specific training. But that’s OK, because two-way communication with Spencer has gotten much richer. But that, as they used to say on the Hammy Hamster show, is another story.

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