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?
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”!