“Trust Your Dog”

The thing that I always hear them say at Nosework (aka Scent Work) trials is, “Trust your dog.”  Of course people need to do that because canines are the ones who have the noses that can find the hidden odor in all sorts of odd places.

Luckily, this last weekend, Mom actually did trust me.  We didn’t get off to a great start because buried odor was our first event.  I am not quite sure about the point of that one, so I decided to gear up for the other three runs instead.

The good news is that exterior was next, and I was ready.  I went right to the odor and amazingly, Mom called it.  We came in second place for that event because it only took us seven seconds.  The judge even said something nice about our teamwork on that one.

After waiting for what seemed like a week, we had our third run which was an interior.  It was a little confusing because the doors were opening and closing, and it was a tight space (and I’m claustrophobic).  Still, I found the odor and showed Mom for sure, and she called it, and we were right.

Our last event of the day was containers.  They are supposed to be in two straight columns, but when we walked in, one of the boxes was not in the column correctly.  Apparently some dog before me had pushed it out of the right spot.  They reset the box, and Mom told me to go find it.  Luckily, she was trusting me.  I did sniff the box that had been askew, and it did have nose prints, and I knew Mom was thinking about calling it, but I could hear her thinking “trust your dog,” so when I went to the right box, she called it, and we were right.  Not only that, it only took us 22 seconds, so we got third place in that run.

It’s so much more fun to do this when Mom is paying attention and trusting me.


Dog Leotards

Mozzie:  Did you guys hear about the new craze for dog leotards?

Rico:  Is this a joke?

Atlas:  What is that?

Mozzie:  It’s like a body suit that covers everything except your paws, head, and tail.

Rico:  Why would I want that?

Atlas:  It sounds really hot and not in an “I’m too sexy for my fur” way.

Mozzie:  It’s supposed to cut down on the need to clean up fur that we shed.

Rico:  But wouldn’t it just end up on the inside of the washer and dryer and then all over people’s clothes?

Atlas:  It seems like they are just adding a step to get the fur on their clothes when the could do it directly instead.

Mozzie:  You guys need to see how ridiculous dogs look in leotards.

Rico:  I’m pretty sure that’s why dogs bite people.

Atlas:  What if I need to go “hurry” and I’m wearing that thing?  Wouldn’t they have to take it off every time?

Mozzie:  Good point, fuzzy butt.

Rico:  It could be a Halloween costume.

Atlas:  I think it comes in purple.

Mozzie:  If people are worried about dog fur, they shouldn’t have dogs.  Just get a fish or a plant.

Rico:  Preach it, Mozzie!

Atlas:  What if they just sent us the money instead, and we could get more cookies and maybe hire a petter for the hours Mom and Dad are sleeping?


Windy Days

Yesterday Mom and I went to Lodi to do some nosework  which the AKC calls scent work.  Mom got all decked out in purple because it was the anniversary of the passing of our young friend Amelia whose favorite color, like Mom’s, was purple.  She even took the crochet afghan that she’s making in Amelia’s memory.  It was a day to remember her and to enjoy my time with Mom.

We were set to compete in four events:  interiors, containers, buried, and exteriors.  We were 43rd on the list, so we had a lot of sitting around to do, so I was glad Mom took my kennel because I don’t like staying in the car.

We did the interior first.  I showed Mom where it was, but she didn’t believe me, so she called “alert” in the wrong place.  She gave me cookies, and told me I did a good job, which I did.  No cookies for her.

Next, we went up the hill where it was VERY windy, and I had to check out the containers.  Again, I found the right container, but Mom didn’t believe me, so she called the wrong box.  You know, some days I just can’t get her to listen to me.  She’s great and all, but she really needs more practice.

I was a little discouraged with her performance since I was 2/2, and she was 0/2, and we had buried hides next.  I figured Mom needed time to regroup, so I just walked around in the area with the buried hides for two minutes until the timer said our time was over.  I made my point.  If you don’t listen, I am not going to show you where the hide is.

Last was exteriors.  The judge asked if Mom wanted a second to take a breath, but Mom declined, and we went ahead.  She did promise to listen this time.  We went through the search area, and I showed Mom where the odor was, and she said, “I hear you, and is it okay if we just check the rest of the area?”  I agreed, so we did that, and we came back, and I showed her the same spot I was before, so she called it, and, of course, we were right.

On the day, I was 3/3 that I attempted (3/4 of what we entered), and Mom was 1/4.  Luckily we went to class last night so Mom could get more practice doing her part.

We are competing again next weekend, so hopefully Mom will pay more attention.  She’s pretty smart, and I think she will catch on eventually.



Super Bowl Sunday?

Mozzie:  I love Super Bowl Sunday!

Rico:  Me, too!  The snacks are amazing!

Atlas:  Can you believe we all three got pupaccinos today?

Mozzie:  I think the lamb shanks were even better!

Rico:  Yum!

Atlas:  I have a question.

Mozzie:  Ask away, short stack.

Rico:  I’m sitting down.

Atlas:  Is it Super Bone Sunday or Super Bowl Sunday?

Mozzie:  Yes.

No Clique-ing

Mozzie:  There are so many benefits to being us.

Atlas:  Like getting petted.

Rico:  And not having to go to work.

Mozzie:  I think one of the best things is that we don’t have to deal with cliques.

Atlas:  You usually get a treat right after the click.

Rico:  That’s a different thing.  That’s from a clicker.  A clique is completely different.

Mozzie:  Yes, it’s an unfortunate thing that humans create.

Atlas:  How do they work?

Rico:  Well, some people become friends, and then they don’t let other people also be their friends and/or they judge and are mean to people who aren’t in their inner circle.

Mozzie:  Mom really hates cliques.

Atlas:  Is that kind of like those obedience people who whisper, sometimes pretty loudly, about how they think that positive only training is dumb and how they’d train us differently?

Rico:  Yes.  Or people who get all snooty because they think their dog is better than us because some judge liked their dog better that day.

Mozzie:  I saw how some people treated Mom at the Specialty or ignored her when she said hi, and it made me sad.

Atlas:  Is that why she’s thinking of dropping out of the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America and the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Northern California?

Rico:  Yes.  She loves us, but she says it reminds her of high school.

Mozzie:  And she really didn’t like high school.

Atlas:  I’m glad we don’t have a clique.

Rico:  Me, too!

Mozzie:  Humans aren’t as nice as dogs are.



Atlas:  What’s wrong with Mom’s wrist?

Mozzie:  She either has severe tendonitis or a tear in the tendon that that attaches her pinky to her hand and wrist.

Rico:  It’s a good thing Mom went to the doctor today so she could get the brace for her wrist.

Atlas:  I don’t know what a tendon is, but I can see that Mom has her fingers and thumb still exposed.

Mozzie:  Yes.  The tendon is down in her wrist below her palm.

Rico:  The doctor said she’s hoping this will work and get things healed.  Mom has to let the doctor know in two weeks if it’s helping.

Atlas:  Did the doctor say anything about restrictions on petting?

Mozzie:  I think she said Mom could only pet dogs who were 24″ or more at the withers.

Rico:  I think that’s right.

Atlas:  I don’t understand what that would have to do with it.

Mozzie:  You are really gullible.

Rico:  Yes, he is!

Atlas:  Is that a good thing?  If I’m gullible can Mom pet me even if I’m short?


Rico:  Did you hear that Mom is supposed to be doing something for work where she asks people who know her to provide input about her strengths?

Mozzie:  Yes.  She’s not super gung-ho about asking people to provide her feedback.

Atlas:  I could give her a list.

Rico:  I think we all could, but she didn’t ask us.

Mozzie:  Mom’s like that.  She gets uncomfortable when people say nice things, and asking them to say nice things is even harder for her. She’s not like me.  I mean, really, when I stand there, people are going to just tell me how handsome and amazing I am, so I’m used to it.

Atlas:  Same here.  I am super popular at Dutch Brothers, and I even have friends who make me pupuccinos with extra sprinkles and extra whipped cream and bones.  They say I’m the cutest, fluffiest dog ever.

Rico:  People tell me I’m brave and have come a long way since I was rescued from that puppy mill.

Mozzie:  Mom’s got some strengths, too.  She can read my mind.  When I look at her, she knows if I want a treat, some petting, or a walk.

Atlas:  And she tells me I’m cute.

Rico:  That’s about you, not Mom.

Mozzie:  She does know how to treat each of us differently, so that we all feel special.  I think that’s a strength.

Atlas:  She has strong hands, so I can feel her pet me even with all my fur.

Rico:  That’s about you, again.  Try this:  Mom knows how to help me feel safe even when it’s super scary like New Year’s Eve or July 4th.  She even got me some drugs to help me cope.  Looking out for our well-being is a strength.

Mozzie:  Yes!  And she cares more about our happiness than anything.  I don’t ever have to pull a cart if I don’t want to.  I know Mom would like that, but she knows it scares me, so she doesn’t make me do it.

Atlas:  I think I understand now.  Mom knows where to order the best treats!

Rico:  That’s more like it, At-hat.

Mozzie:  We all know she’s awesome.  I think it’s mostly at work where people keep it a secret.  Maybe that’s why they have to do this activity.  I’ll be sure she adds our items to her strengths list.

Smell the Roses

Mom’s always saying how she should make time to stop and smell the roses.  Apparently she’s been watching me sniff, and she’s seen how much fun it is.

Since we live in California, we have roses blooming nearly all year, including in January.  Yesterday when we were on our daily walk, I decided I’d add Mom’s idea to my usual sniffing routine.  There were some lovely red roses on our path, so I decided to go see what all the excitement was about.

Roses DO smell amazing and their petals are soft on my nose.  What Mom didn’t mention was that they also attack you!  She did warn me to take it easy and back off, but I was so busy sniffing, I tuned her out.  The next thing I knew, one of those nasty thorns jumped out at the bridge of my nose.  I’m usually tough, but yikes, that hurt, so I yelped.  Everyone looked around to see what was wrong.  Clearly they haven’t been attacked by thorns, or they’d understand what happened.

I warned Mom about those roses and told her to sniff at her own peril.  I’ll stick with smelling pee-mail and my friends’ posts.  They never attack me.



Today I got to go meet Santa!  I was a little bit surprised that he came to California to visit, especially with Christmas so close.  It does make me wonder about his work ethic.  Those poor elves are up there freezing and working around the clock while he’s sitting here in a park in California.  Still, I did want to meet him.

Mom told me he was here in the neighborhood, and it was my chance to go tell him what I wanted for Christmas.  Since Rico doesn’t like to leave the house, and Atlas doesn’t like to walk very far, I had to take their lists with me, too.

When we got there, I was the only furry kid there.  Tons of two-legged kids were there asking for dumb things, so I had to wait patiently in line to be able to ask for good stuff.  I made sure to cover the list in my head before I got my turn.

I think Santa liked that he didn’t have to give me a candy cane.  Mom told me to pose which I did, and Santa said I was very well-behaved, and I should get what I want for Christmas.  Of course, I knew that, but it was good for him to say it aloud.

I told him that Rico wants more chicken and apple jerky treats, just like he told me.  I told him Atlas wanted a full-time petter and unlimited pupaccinos from Dutch Brothers, and he said both were unlikely, but that Atlas could get lots of petting and lots of pupaccinos.  I gave him my list which included jumbo or monster-size bully sticks and lots of nosework practice and events to enter.  He said he was pretty sure those wishes would be granted.

On the walk home, Mom assured me that Santa was heading back to the North Pole to get back to work and that he was not a total slacker.  She reminded me that he would have to be sure that the bully sticks got on the sleigh.  That made me feel better.



Atlas:  Did you hear Mom talking about exchanging one of us?

Mozzie:  She’s not going to exchange one of us.

Rico:  For sure Mozzie isn’t going anywhere.

Atlas:  I’m pretty sure I heard Mom talking about an exchange with other Berner people.

Mozzie:  That’s a gift exchange, not a dog exchange.

Rico:  It’s a secret Santa thing.

Atlas:  Santa’s not a secret, AND I heard her talking about puppy names.

Mozzie:  That’s a whole separate issue.

Rico:  She does have a gift for naming puppies.

Atlas:  That isn’t helping me feel better.

Mozzie:  She’s not exchanging any of us.  She loves us all.

Rico:  There’s no reason to exchange us.  She has the best.

Atlas:  So you’re sure she’s not going to trade us in?

Mozzie:  Have you ever heard her talk about this accounting thing called LIFO?  It means the last thing in is the first thing out.

Rico:  I was here first.

Atlas:  But….wait.  I’m the youngest.

Mozzie:  We are kidding short stack.  We love you, even if you are a petting hog.

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