Archive for December, 2019

(On a side note… wow. Six months since I wrote last. Just wow. So much stuff happening that I hadn’t registered the time…)


Carlin and Tooey and I have been doing a lot of scent work. In fact, aside from allowing the dogs to crowd me out of the bed, walks along the irrigation ditch, meals, and the weekly combing out, I haven’t been doing anything with the dogs except scent work.

And we’ve been doing pretty well. Carlin now has two Master element titles (Exteriors and Interiors), and Tooey has three Novice element titles (Exteriors, Interiors, and Buried). It’s fun and they both love it, so I try to practice as often as these short winter days and work schedules allow.

This morning I set up two different Exterior searches, but it’s the second one I want to tell you about.

I wanted to make it hard. I wanted Carlin to really have to think his way around the search. I set it up in an area of the yard we have searched often, but this time I put all the hides along the backs of the shop and sheds. They all back up to a chain link fence between our yard and the neighbor’s driveway, with about a four-foot wide path between the buildings and the fence.


One hide, an easy one, is under one of the grey brick (lower right corner of the photo). Another one was up about five feet, stuffed into the corner of the steel shed, the shed farthest away, closest to the wooden fence. (This location is hard to see from the angle of the photo.) At the time of our search, the neighbor’s big diesel pickup truck was parked just on the other side of the fence, full of yard debris and lawn chemicals.

The middle hide was supposed to be the hard one, set about four feet high, right behind the heat pump mounted on the middle building. That’s the shop, and the heat was on in there, so the heat pump fan was running.

Like I predicted, the hide under the bricks was a gimme. And the one behind the fan was a puzzle that took Carlin several minutes. Lots of searching for the edges of the dispersed scent plume. He worked out and them back in, out in another direction and back in, up along the wall of the shed next to it, down along the wall below the fan, back out and in, out in. He found it though, and so we set off for the hide on the steel shed. That one was set high, but should have been fairly easy.

But just then, the neighbor came out and started up his truck so it could sit and warm up. You know what that means—a huge blast of stinky diesel fumes, right next to my hide.

I tried to call Carlin off. But no, by this time, he was determined to find it. He’s a dedicated worker, and besides, he knew he’d be paid in salmon jerky, and that is just too wonderful to put off.

I kept thinking, Dude, we can come back later. He kept searching. Doing his out-in, out-in thing. Finally, he found a whiff of anise in all that odor. First his nose lifted, then his shoulders, and finally his feet were up on the side of the shed, his nose pushing the hide even deeper into the crevice where I’d hidden it.

Good boy! Now let’s get out of here, I said. You can have bites of jerky on the way.

And so we did.

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