Hidden “treats”?

We have had a brief light covering of snow, and a few mornings where we clearly had frost overnight but, other than that, we seem to be in the “wait” mode for the traditional snow falls that require shoveling! I can happily wait!

Because of this likely “lull before the storm”, access to all manner of trails has been very good so we incorporated the trail along the edge of the lake into our walk route recently. Ray only showed a marginal interest in the lake (probably sensing how cold it would now be), but happily pushed his nose through piles of dead leaves!

The problem we have (not Ray) with dead leaves, is the same problem we have with snow. Ray more than likely knows exactly what is hidden from view whereas we can only guess!

Some individuals insist on eating their “take-out” while walking and, for reasons that I would love to understand, cannot be bothered to put the left-overs in a garbage bin, but rather just throw them on the ground. This “debris” is eventually unseen to human eyes, but clearly there to canine noses!

My particular concern here is chicken bones. As most of you probably know, cooked chicken bones become very brittle; will splinter very easily, and are therefore a hazard to any dog. They also smell very good!

Consider Ray who, regardless of his good looks, has a brain that is heavily focused on things even remotely edible. Perhaps you can understand my problem with leaves and snow?

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Yes, I love him dearly and yes, he is very cute, and yes, he is his own worst enemy when it comes to scavenging! What we are trying to do now is to understand the subtleties of his sniffing! We think that if we can identify the difference in his body language when checking out another dog’s scent, to investigating hidden poop, to dead birds and squirrels, to actually homing in on old food, we will be onto something!

We are partially there! It is not difficult to identify casual sniffing from the “I’m on a mission” sniffing, but while we believe that we have certainly avoided a number of potential problems that were quietly decomposing beneath a layer of leaves, we know that we need to do more if we want a stress free Winter!

Having a food motivated dog is a huge advantage when it comes to any training, but a huge liability when applied to potentially hazardous “treats”!

12 thoughts on “Hidden “treats”?

  1. Even on the trail with Kali she will forage if I allow her to and if I take my eyes off of her sometimes she will come up with a mouthful of “something” which i quickly pull out even if I have to put fingers to the back of her throat. Kali has been known to pick up poop in her mouth from time to time which makes it an even more arduous task if monitoring her when she pokes her nose around near the ground…

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  2. Go Ray! Aren’t discarded chicken bones the best?! Ouch, Mom, don’t pinch me. Ahum. What I meant to say (someone’s looking over my shoulder) is that when we worked near the university, I was always finding discarded chicken bones. Mmmmm. *ouch* I mean, not good, don’t eat them. It’ better to kill a live bird and eat it. *ouch, ouch*

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  3. Oh, dear! That happened to my dog once.
    We had a walk in the woods and he got choked on something I cannot see.
    Because of him we walked back home and drove him up to the vet.
    He keep on wanting to vomit something out but never did – except for sliver. It was then when he spitted a few amount of blood that had the kids screamed in the kitchen that I knew it we have to bring him to the vet.
    But it was not chicken bones. It was fish grates! Little nasty thing that almost invisible to the normal eyes, got stucked right there between his throat!
    I remembered how we cried and especially the kids. I remembered them asking if Ambos is going to die. Our poor black Lab had to endure the pain and went for the short operation.
    But that never stops us to go into the woods with him and a dog needs to stay fit – so walking everyday is a “MUST” for him. And he is the best buddy I ever had and saved my life a few times when we do jogging in the woods as well.
    He is getting older now … reaching his 12 years and sleeping most of the time.
    I am not sure how to prepare for his ends as I did not tell the kids that probably Ambos time is coming sooner … 😦

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    • Hi Sherrie – I agree. It is really important that dogs get regular exercise, and of course they are usually so happy getting it! It is often the “unexercised” dog that gets very frustrated and can turn aggressive as a result. As for how to tell the kids about Ambos? Perhaps you shouldn’t? If they do not know, they are going to enjoy his company as they do now, and up until he does eventually pass. At that time, there is no choice for them (and you) but to deal with it together. Just a thought.

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      • Actually they do know that he is getting tired and my near 11 year old son told us at dinner that our Ambos is getting old. He sleeps all the time. My six years old girl told me she knew it that his time is coming soon – she can feel it, she said. It saddens me when the kids said that and they are way smarter than we adults think.

        My husband told me that it is good that they know and to prepare when the time comes. *sigh*

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  4. It’s horrific what people discard that can be harmful to animals, not just dogs out for a walk. We’re grateful that Maggie has never been a scavenger, but her worst trait is licking the moisture off the aluminium strips on the pontoons. Our biggest worry is what could be mixed (inadvertently) with that water, especially when people have been painting or working on their boats.

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    • You certainly have to be so careful but I think that, most of the time, it is just thoughtless and/or careless behavior. Education is a wonderful thing. It should be more popular than it currently appears to be! 🙂

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