Since pulling from the AWDF National Championship, the pressure to get IPO1 ready has been lifted, at least temporarily.
We did do a little training last week – we went tracking twice, though I kept it short, and we did a little obedience, incorporated into games of fetch. But it was all very pleasant and relaxed.
Mostly we went hiking. I even got Brody a backpack! But I guessed wrong on the size, so I need to return it for a slightly smaller size before I can make him carry all of his own stuff.
We also invented a new game.
A couple of winters ago, we had an absolutely stupid amount of snowfall. It was really insane. There were times that the snow was above my knees in my backyard. But I didn’t have my DogPacer then, and Brody was still a Malinois, so we had to at least try to exercise outside. As it turns out, you can’t really play fetch in super deep snow. Your ball disappears.
This did lead to a discovery though – Brody has fantastic hunt drive. That is – the drive to keep looking for a thing. He’s actually relentless.
So when we lost a ball in the snow, Brody would spend literal hours digging through the the drifts to find it. If I called him in because it was too cold, or dark, or whatever, he would pace impatiently until let out again, whereupon he would catapult out the door and back to digging.
Which leads me to our new game.
I was trying to think of ways to get Brody’s brain working and decided to try hiding his ball in the yard.
I left him in the house, tromped around the yard – being sure to leave a scent trail that spanned the ENTIRE yard – and hid his ball.
I then let him out, showed him my empty hands, and told him to find the ball.
Best. Game. Ever.
The first few times, he just kind of ran around looking for it – more trial-and-error than anything else. Eventually, though, after a few hides, he started following the scent trail that I had left. He’s actually gotten a little too good at this game, and I’m going to need to start getting more creative with my hiding spots.
We WERE planning on going over to train with one of our clubs yesterday, but sometime Saturday evening – probably when he was perfecting his pouncing on the decorative rocks in our backyard – Brody tore a substantial hole in the pad of one of his paws. He’s been limping pretty heavily every since, so we took yesterday off completely.
That didn’t save us from more drama, though, because while sniffing around the yard yesterday, Brody decided that hornets might just taste good, and got stung in the mouth.
So. He’s limping and on medications for his hornet sting and is just generally a mess. And while he’s supposed to be taking it easy due to the paw injury, I don’t really see that working out too well. So. It’s going to be an interesting week.