Chris and I got Alex in early 1995 almost 7 months after we bought our house and a year and 8 months after we got married. Alex, or Alexa, was a beautiful boxer/yellow lab. We got her when she was 8 weeks old.
We named her Alex after the Stroh’s commercial dog. The Stroh’s commercials had the owner saying, “Alex get me a beer.” and the dog would open the refrigerator, get a beer and bring it to his owner (http://www.tvacres.com/dogs_retrievers_alex.htm). Chris had high hopes that our Alex would be able to learn the same trick.
Alex was my first baby. I spent hours and hours training her. She was smart and wanted to please me. We went to puppy class and then to obedience class. Alex would go down and sit in her cage when she was sent “to her room” because she was crying. She would “speak” if she wanted to go out. She would let me take her food or treats out of her mouth. I could pull her tail and her ears and she would not react.
After 2 years of training Alex, I decided that I would try to teach her to bring Chris a beer. We had a small refrigerator upstairs in the computer room where Chris kept beer. I started with getting Alex to carry empty beer cans. Then we moved to full ones. She wasn’t quite sure about that, but she learned to do it. After that, I taught her to open the door of the small refrigerator we had upstairs. Once she got that down, I taught her to get a beer from the refrigerator. Chris would then call her and she would bring him the can of beer. The only problem was that she didn’t close the refrigerator door. This meant that even if she brought you a beer, you still had to go upstairs to close the refrigerator door. And I tried over and over again to teach her to close the refrigerator door. She would have nothing to do with closing the door. We stopped asking Alex to get a beer after we learned that we couldn’t teach her to close the refrigerator door, as it was pointless for her to get you a beer from upstairs and then you had to go upstairs yourself to close the refrigerator door.
Alex lived to be 13 years old. Quite old for a dog her size (about 75 lbs). As she got older, she stopped being obedient all the time and would ignore you until you asked her again to comply. It was ok because she was so good when she was younger: she tried so hard to do what we asked of her.
It would have been great if we had been able to teach her to close the refrigerator door. But even though we weren’t, she was a great dog. Alex could bring you a beer if you asked.