The Manipulator

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At Nose Work class on Saturday, my suspicions were confirmed: our dog is too damn smart (or at least he thinks so)!  We are in week four of our Nose Work 2 Trial prep class. While he’s already earned his Nose Work 2 title, we are trying to keep his skills sharp in case we decide to travel to the Lower 48 this summer to attempt a Nose Work 3 trial.

Over the past several weeks at class, I’ve noticed Pongo run full throttle into the training facility with his usual enthusiasm he has when we are about ready to “work.”  I give him the “go find” command and I immediately see the wheels starting to spin.  He does his usual parameter check while he catalogs where all the hides are.  He shows interest in the hide spots but refuses to alert on any of them.  Instead, he runs around “looking” for the hides. The dog that loves nose work and can be a speed demon at times, is slow as molasses (we’re talking 15 minutes to find 3 hides!).  He doesn’t want the game to end.  Game over means-go back to the car and kennel up.  Pongo, clearly does not like that ending.  So, he manipulates the situation by stalling for time.

He’s no dummy.  He knows where they are, and I know he knows where they are.  He thinks he’s being smart but I catch the sideward glances he gives me and the smirk on his face as he pretends to search.

So, here’s my plan for next class:

WAYS TO OUTSMART PONGO PLAN

1) Use über yummy treats: pork chops, steak, cheese…whatever it takes.

2) Follow the advice of some serious nose work experts and pair food with the hides to increase drive.

3) Have a Kong filled with peanut butter ready for him in the car as a “surprise” treat for finishing a search area, which equals back-to-the-kennel.

4) Hope and pray that he falls for this plan and doesn’t turn this behavior into a major problem situation we are going to have to work through.

Please keep your fingers crossed for us!

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So Happy

This past week was a rough one for Pongo and me.  First, Steve left town to work out in the field and we all know how Pongo deals with Papa leaving: not very good at all.

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On top of that, I was dealing with a nasty stomach bug and had little energy to do much of anything with Pongo.  He was one very bored pup this week.  But, I do have to commend him for handling it well and giving Mama the time to rest and recoup.

IMG_0789So today, with Papa back in town and me feeling so much better than I have the past 5 days, we took to the road for a little fun and exploration.  Pongo was beyond thrilled to be riding in the truck, off on an adventure to find some good snowshoeing.

We now have one tired and content boy.

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A New Year

It’s always in the back of my mind: I need to blog!  But lately, life has gotten in the way and not always in a bad way.  Here’s a brief overview of what our little family has been up to the past 2 months.

November

In early November, Steve and I spent 6 relaxing days enjoying the sun, warmth and beach of Oahu, Hawaii.  It was heaven!

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IMG_0628While Mama and Papa were basking in the sun, Pongo enjoyed spending time with his beloved Miss Sue.

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November also brought with it the dreaded ice that we always seem to get every winter.  It is impossible to do anything outside because it’s slick as snot and deadly!  When cabin fever made us all crazy, we braved the ice for a few moments of play outside….Pongo, in the booties he loathes.

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December

December finally brought some much needed snow but unfortunately, that did not protect Pongo from the ice it covered.  The cone of shame came out, once again, to keep the boy from licking a badly cut and infected paw pad.

IMG_0723We are finally on the mend from that wound but are now on the lookout for some booties that will cover-up all his pads, not irritate his dew claw and STAY ON (suggestions are always welcome).

December also means Christmas.  While Pongo does not understand the meaning of Christmas, he sure does understand that when the tree and stockings come out, presents are soon to follow!

DSC_0250 DSC_0256I have never seen a dog so excited when it comes time to open presents.  I would even call it manic!  He was all over the place: ripping open his presents, trying to sneak by Papa, the present gate-keeper, to grab at any present he could get his mouth on.  It’s often more fun to watch him in his frenzy than to open the gifts ourselves.

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Here’s Puna watching the madness from her safe place.

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Pongo’s least favorite gift.

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The Christmas photo-bomb.

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And after it is all over, we have one pooped boy!

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January

Each year when January comes around, resolutions are to be made; things I want to see happen and goals I want to accomplish.  One of my New Year’s resolutions is to post at least one blog a month.  And by saying this “out loud,” I am hoping it will keep me accountable.  I would love to and will try to post more but right now, I’m trying to keep an attainable goal.  Baby steps, right?!?

Happy New Year and wishing everyone a safe and wonderful 2014!

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