So, what’s five months or so among friends?
The basenjis are all enjoying the heck out of nosework. Professor started first, then Amelia, then old Mr. Joey joined up when my training club offered an intro class. And the old man loves it. He has some trouble with the vehicles, since we spend most of our time trying to keep him from bumping his nose on parked cars, and some of the interior searches can be hard on a blind dog. But hey, looking for cookies? He’s all over that. And the odor makes it easier for him. We put him on odor earlier than the others, and it really made things clear to him; he didn’t have to sort out which of all the food odors he was looking for, it was the one associated with birch that was available, and he got that very quickly. And it’s nice for him to have a night out with me, all by himself.
Both Amelia and Professor passed their ORTs (odor recognition tests) in February; Amelia is entered in a trial in June. We did a mock trial at the end of April, and Amelia passed all four elements in a very business-like manner. She is SUCH a working girl! Bless her little heart. She did give me one false alert, on one of the practice boxes, but when that didn’t work she just worked her way through each problem. In APDT rally, we’ve abandoned our quest for the ARCH-MX2, and are entering the veteran’s class instead. Shorter courses, not so many sits and downs, and only two courses in a day. In her first weekend in vets, she got 210, 210, 209, and 210. I was proud of her, but it’s sad to realize she really is 12 years old and can’t do what she used to be able to do.
Professor passed both inside elements at the mock trial, and failed both outside ones. Vehicles was my mistake, because I knew where the hide was, but I thought he had to be indicating before I could call alert. I didn’t call it fast enough, and he went off to amuse himself by watching the videographer, and wouldn’t come back to the car. Found out later I could have called it after he left, and if I could have pointed to the hide (and I could have) he would have passed. The exterior was a combination of my error and his finding a path to the odor that I couldn’t follow him through, so I had to call him back, and he never really returned to the spot. On the video, though, he was obviously on the odor until I called him. Oh well, at least he didn’t pee during the outdoor searches! He’s taking private agility lessons, and doing very well. His contacts are good, he’s getting weaves, and we’re starting sequencing. He’s still a bit of an idiot about other dogs (ya wanna be my girlfriend? huh? do ya? huh?) but he’s getting better. I think. I hope. He’s still gorgeous, still looking for that last major.
Just lived through a computer crash, and now have a new hard disk. And I’m about to spend beaucoup de bucks on the car. Arrggghh.
On the plus side, the maintenance guys came and tore down the plywood the squirrels were nesting in on my patio (that was nasty!) The guys cleaned up, though, and the squirrels seem to have left us. Running out with the dogs to harass them whenever they set foot on the patio seems to have discouraged the little fuzzy-tailed rats. Professor actually grabbed one, but it got away. Amelia was disgusted with him.