The Manipulator


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:


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!

1 thought on “The Manipulator

  1. Hi there! I just discovered your blog by way of your “Neighborhood Watch” post about window film for the reactive dog, a project I plan to tackle this weekend! Pongo is just so cute – I love cattle dogs and grew up with several cattle dog mixes. I now have what I refer to as my “pocket heeler” – really a Border Collie/JRT mix. I’ve added you to my blog roll and look forward to following along!

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