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Author Archives: ragtimelil



I’m looking at a week of cloudy, thunderstormy days as an opportunity. Since Moss is so storm phobic, I know we’ll have to scratch at trials if the weather turns bad. I’ve come up with two solutions. One is to get him titles through cyber rally o (but that’s another post to come) and the other is to work with him during these bad days and see how much we can improve.

Yesterday we did go dock diving in the morning, but the afternoon turned cloudy. He seemed fine but when we went out for our evening walk, he started shivering. Sure enough, it had rained. Just a sprinkle, really. We walked for a while and then tried some easy obedience work. He was taking treats slowly, but he was taking them. He even played for a minute. We stopped while we were both feeling better. I have learned, if nothing else, to take any improvement as a good sign and not push to get to where I think we should be.

With the Fringe on Top….

Moss Sniffing BoxesWell, I just learned something new about this nosework business. Moss was sometimes indicating the wrong box. (He has learned to do a nice sit when he finds the hide.) I was frustrated because I couldn’t understand why he was doing that.

I posed the question in a Facebook group and discovered what was going on. There is a thing called “fringing” which means he has caught the scent, but not the source. He’s not wrong, he’s just not completely right. So the solution is to praise him anyway, but reward on top of the correct box.

Sure enough, after one wrong alert, the rest were all spot on no matter where I put the box.


IMG_3235It was a bit of a storm this morning and Moss hid out in the bathroom. This afternoon has been mostly clear and even some sun, but the barometric pressure was about zero. I spent the morning making yummy training treats and even made an indoor fuzzy disc toy. We went out for our evening walk and training run and Moss was GREAT. It was such a pleasure to see him happy and working like crazy. I don’t know if we’ll ever get him doing that during a storm (indoors, of course) but it is a start if he can do that with the air pressure down.

Dog Daze

I haven’t had the incentive to do much of anything today, so I’ve spent most of the day working with Moss. We have made some headway though.

First, the barometric pressure really dropped today. This really sets Moss off. He retreats to the bathroom and won’t take treats or play even if it doesn’t rain. I gave him a melatonin and he came back for some scent work and object discrimination.

He has finally learned to alert with a sit when we do nosework. I really couldn’t tell much from his reaction when he found the scent so sitting makes it plain that he has located the hide. That’s working much better, especially since I can easily forget where I hid it.

And we started working on naming objects that he knows to retrieve for me. He loves to retrieve so this is a fun game. He particularly loves to retrieve the phone since it was the first thing he learned. I’ve added my testing kit to the mix but want him to know which thing to get. I put them on the floor in front of me, but he’d happily retrieve the phone every time. I figured out to put my foot on the wrong item. He actually corrected himself once so I know it’s penetrating his brain.. We’ll keep working.Moss wpohone

Ribbon Jar

Ribbon Jar

I thought I’d try making a ribbon jar. It came out OK but I realized that i would need a lot more jars to hold the box of ribbons that is stashed under the bed. And these are just herding trial ribbons. I think I put the obedience ribbons in a scrapbook. That’s fine. They can stay there. I have a friend who has a small, clear suitcase where she has put all her horse show ribbons. I haven’t been able to find where to get a suitcase like that.

Keeping Moss Busy

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I’m new to this scent training stuff. I’ve done a little scent discrimination and tracking but not much. Teaching Moss to alert to low blood sugar is a challenge for me but we’re muddling through it.

I was getting frustrated because he doesn’t seem to understand to sniff. He has learned to give a nose poke as an alert. When we train in the morning, he does quite well but he seldom seems to actually sniff.

I tried to back up and start using a scent wheel. That was a disaster. He would sniff once at a bottle I was holding and the next time he tried to take it from me or paw at it.

I backed off on that and left it for the time being. This morning we did our usual “poke practice” but I tried to move around and sit and stand in different places. I also moved the scent sample from my right side to the left. Almost all of his nose pokes were on the left side, even if my right leg was closer to him. I suspect he knows more than I think he does.