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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas from me and Treasure and the gang!
 
Jazzy opening gifts


Treasure enjoying her stocking under the tree


Jazzy


Treasure gets her nose stuck in her stocking every year!



 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Human Fun and Roadside Adventures

While Treasure is having fun on vacation, there are some places that she just couldn't come with us.  So, I brought those adventures home for her to put on her blog.  We went exploring this afternoon and here are some of the fun places we visited.
 

We visited the outlet stores and explored around Tuscola, IL.  This Amishland's Country Village was a big antique mall set up like a little village with a yummy buffet dinner.  There were very cool wooden plaques with hymns burned into them ... must remember them!  They were quite large and framed on easels.  Lots of cool stuff to see.

 
Then, on to Effingham to see the World's Largest Cross.   It is called the "Cross at the Crossroads."  It stands 198 feet tall and 113 feet wide.  Very impressive whether seen from a distance or up close!
 

We ended out the day at Joe Sippers cafe for hot drinks and a rousing game of Hugger Mugger! 
 




Thursday, December 6, 2012

Vacation Nosework Part 2

More fun nosework hides today.  I tried to challenge Treasure today with hides that we wouldn't normally have access to, and I noticed something else that we need to work more on.  Treasure does great searching while on one consistent surface, but changing surfaces mid-search can throw her concentration off.  Going from grass to gravel, or gravel to grass causes her to stop and turn back to the original surface even though she may clearly smell the birch odor.  It is normal for her to stop and check out a new surface before walking onto it, but then it seems as if she has lost her momentum in the actual search and has to get herself back on track.  This is totally understandable, not being able to see what is ahead of her as the ground is changing below her feet.  But it's not something that I have consciously thought about in our training, that I will now need to seek out for her to do.
 
A bit challenging with the hide right up next to the building and a moderate breeze blowing.  She went way wide away from the wall to catch the odor and followed it in.  Hide is under the flat rock at the corner of the building.

Hide is slightly elevated on the picnic table bench.  There was an area near the rubble and table with large stones and she was hesitant to cross over it at first even though she smelled the odor.  Also good practice for me to give her freedom to work, yet also steer her clear of all the obstacles.  I'll be happy to start using those doggles!

Hide is in the corner of the playground equipment.  We started down behind the shed and slightly down the hill, wind blowing away from us.  Again, not a set up I have really worked with her in the past. 

Car searches.  Again, going from the paved small gravel to the large loose gravel threw her concentration for a moment.  Hide is in the upper hub cap on the front tire. 

I'm loving having nice outdoor weather and being on vacation so I have time to plan and do hides!  Too much fun!  Treasure was content to sleep a lot of the day after using her brain and her nose, too! A tired dog is a good dog! 



Sunday, December 2, 2012

Vacation Nosework

With such beautiful weather today, and being in a totally new place, I was eager to do some nosework hides with Treasure outside!  My Dad's backyard has lots of interesting places to hide odor ... under a doormat on the patio, in an old tree stump, in the low branches of small trees, near the shed, in an old vase ...
 
If Treasure has a weakness in her searches, it is perhaps obstacles.  She can't see them, so is not as bold about interacting with them as some other dogs may be.  I have noticed especially that she is hesitant to climb up onto things that she's not familiar with.  At home, she will easily put her front feet up on the couch or the coffee table for a find, but not elsewhere.  When I can, I try to encourage her to feel more comfortable putting her feet up on new items. 
 
With her recent trick training, she has really gotten comfortable putting her front feet up on various objects that are step height or lower.  She readily puts her front feet up on any new low object now, and then waits for the treat.  Even at nosework class, when we used boxes, she was putting her front feet up on a lot of the boxes, which she had never done before. 
 
Today's nosework hides were about obstacles and encouraging Treasure to take risks and climb up onto new things.  She found the hide on the patio and easily put her front feet up on the cement, but would not step up onto it completely with all four feet.  We'll continue to work on that if we have time.  But this first hide was also very interesting, because Treasure found another low obstacle in the yard that had some type of animal poo on it (probably that fox we saw!).  She put her front feet up on the obstacle to check out the poo more closely ... I wondered what she'd do and if she'd forget she was searching, but she smelled it for a moment, then hopped off and continued her search for the birch.  I was very proud of her and also impressed, because she had never run across that type of distraction before, yet she kept searching.  Good girl Treasure!
 
Q tips under mat.
 
Our next hide was in an old stump.  She found it right away, coming at the stump from the back.  I rewarded her right away, but then used the reward to help her come up onto the stump, which allowed her to put her nose closer to the odor to get her reward right at the source.
 
Q tips down inside old stump.
 
Our last two hides were in the low branches of a tree.  I was very curious to see what she would do with this one.  I don't have any small trees, so I was eager to give her this experience.  She found the odor right away, but was a bit confused on the first attempt and circled the tree at first, looking for the source of the odor.  She did come back to it and was pointing it out with her nose.  As I was rewarding, I put food at the source and fed her little bits each time she stretched her nose up it.  At one point, Treasure tried to put her feet up but couldn't find a secure hold.  I did lift her front feet up onto the tree at the end and she could easily reach the source and got her food.  The second tree hide, I left in the same place and did a paired hide there.  She found this one quickly and was very insistent, putting her nose up as close to source as she could, but she never did jump up on it.  I was pleased that her nose was pointing directly to the source, however.  It was nice enough to show me exactly where the hide was!
 
Rewarding at source in branches.
 
Assisted feet up to get to source/reward.
 
Can't get much clearer than that!  Good Girl Treasure! 
 
 
 



Treasure on Vacation

As most of you know, Treasure really enjoys traveling!  Yesterday we spent the day in the car.  It's been a whole year since our last long trip.  I was very pleased with Treasure, pottying quickly and on cue in all the strange areas along the way - rest stops, dirt, grass by a busy road, gravel.  She took it all in stride.  I know she didn't appreciate being in her crate for so long, but it is safest for her to ride in the crate, especially since the car was packed full of other things that might have shifted and fallen into her had I stopped quickly.  But she was quiet and took it all in stride.
 
After such a long trip, she enjoyed sniffing around the place and playing with her Kong wobbler toy for her dinner.  Then she slept on the bed with me all night.  I didn't bring her steps along, so once she was up there, she didn't have a safe way to get down.  But she sure didn't mind, since it was just me and her ... no other dogs to fight with for the prime spots! 
 
Today the weather is partly sunny and a very warm 65 degrees!  Very unusual for December, but we're not complaining!  This morning, Treasure and I got to watch (and smell) the two swans at the farm next door.  Swans make a very unexpected noise.  I never would have guessed what they sounded like.  They seemed as interested in us as we were in them and they swam over to our side of the pond for a closer look.  Perhaps it was the white color of Treasure that attracted them?
 
 
We also saw a gorgeous fox just on the other side of the fence.  I think we startled it, as it ran away quickly, but it was cool to see it so close.  Dad says there are two foxes that live nearby, lots of deer, and even some coyotes that live not too far away.  I'll have to keep my eyes open and my camera close just in case I'm lucky enough to get a few shots.  A wonderful start to our vacation!