Monday, November 14, 2016

Nosework - Seven

Seven is settling into retirement in her usual unsettled way. I always thought she would be tough to live with if she were retired, but she basically the same. She is and has always been under foot. She is and has always been the dog that will follow you 30 feet from your closet to your bathroom 10 times in a row. She is and has always been the most excited about meals, the potential for doing anything, getting her teeth brushed, moving into another room, going upstairs, going downstairs, etc. So life is the same, just different activities.

If I could change anything, I just wish Seven could run.  Run across the yard.  Run back and forth between Stephen and I in a safe, straight line.  We do it occasionally anyway, but she generally ends up holding her left front leg up.

I have started walking her again though.  Since we put her on Deramaxx, I can see a big improvement in her overall comfort and so she is back to light hiking of up to 1.5 hours.  We also do lots of core and balance exercises on the peanut and balance discs.  She is pretty happy as long as she does something and gets a stuffed Kong.
A few months ago, Seven and I started Nosework.  It is a scent detection sport.  Instead of teaching our dogs to find narcotics, cancer, shell casings, or bombs.... we teach them to find birch, cloves, and anise. Seven is not yet searching for the designated scents yet.  You start with searching for food so the dog first learns how to find the source of the scent and is rewarded immediately.  Eventually you pair the scent and food.  You also start out searching boxes to help the dog search the whole area, but then you move the scent out of the box.  They learn to search rooms, outdoor areas, and vehicles.

Seven LOVES it!  Her passion in life is to find food so she has been wondering where this activity has been all of her life.  We have been taking private lessons and our instructor thinks she is "fabulous" and "awesome".  Seven is very driven and bold when she searches.  I was concerned this activity might turn into a constant search for food at home and everywhere we go.  So I am using a very specific, stinky, salmon treat. It is very distinct and it is not something that will accidentally be sitting on my kitchen counter. It appears the strategy has worked well.  She seems to connect wearing the harness with searching.