Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Hermione: A Champion Sniffer Dog?

I've always thought that Hermione has the aptitude for working. In fact, I have always thought that if I could figure out some way to channel her boundless amounts of energy she'd appreciate it. I think I'd appreciate it. I'm probably emoting on to her, but whenever we've done basic obedience stuff she's seemed bored and if I'm being completely honest, I am too. Maybe she's bored because I'm bored or maybe I just think she is because I am. Again, in all honesty, basic obedience is really something I should work on with her, but that's for another post. Because of her boundless energy I had thought of getting her into some classes, but I just couldn't figure out what. Once upon a time I had contemplated Rally O, but I just think she needs a quicker paced activity. Agility would be perfect for her, but I've yet to figure out how I would do that with her as a blind person and I've also yet to find a trainer willing to take us on. I haven't completely given up on the idea, but that may be a challenge I tackle later on.
I then turned my attention to fly ball, but getting on a team has proven difficult. She does have a prey drive and will chase thrown objects, but her return with sed object would be something we'd have to work on. Not completely out of the question, but an activity where I'd have to find a team willing to let us join.
That brings me to my next idea: nose work.
Nose work was something I had started with her a while back, but felt like I was hitting a wall. I know how to teach a dog how to sit/stay/down Etc, but teaching a dog to sniff? All of my dog experience has been to teach a dog not to sniff. So, although she seemed to like it, I sort of gave up because I didn't know how to progress through the training. Again, it was something I had sort of put on the back burner, at least until today. I think Hermione has decided for herself what she wants to do.
A few nights ago Mr. K and I finally managed to put our tree up and get the rest of the decorations out. It was a really nice evening and although it was delayed due to my crazy class schedule, I am tickled that we did decorate. Along with decorating comes boxes and containers that house decorations. We don't have a basement in this place, but do have a storage unit in a shared basement and that is where we had our Christmas stuff stored. Since our decorations are going to be up for such a short time we left the big rubber made bin tucked away in the living room until the time when we will re-fill it and bring it back down.
This morning I made my coffee and decided to sit in the living room a while to drink it. As I sat there Hermione was doing her "I'm excited about something and you better come see" dance. She squawks and prances about until I finally get off my butt to go and investigate what is so exciting. At first I thought she was wanting a rogue Christmas ornament that Kira had knocked off of the tree. (More about Kira the Christmas Kitty in another post). I found the ornament and put it back on the tree. However, the dancing did not stop.
I went over to where Hermione was carrying on and told her to "show me." She went to the bin and did a little squeak. I couldn't understand what she could possibly want out of there. The only things left in there were empty boxes and some glass ornaments we had opted not to hang on the tree to ensure they did not get broken from Kira flinging them off of the tree. I lifted the lid of the bin to show Hermione that there wasn't anything interesting in there. She nearly leapt into the bin she was so excited. With her front paws hooked over the edge and her back paws scrabbling on the floor, trying to give her more leverage to get into the box, she insisted by squawking again that something was in there.
So, I stuck my hand in and searched about, thoroughly convinced that she was being ridiculous.
As I fished around in the bin, my hand struck something soft and plush feeling. definitely not an empty ornament box. I seized the object and yanked it out, much to Hermione's delight.
The object causing such a fuss was this little plush bone that I had been given at a Petsmart grand opening. It had been one of Hermione's favorites, but I assumed it had been thrown out when we moved because it wasn't really high quality and there was a tiny hole in the side of it where someone had started pulling the stuffing out.
How on earth did she know that this little stuffed toy was buried in the depths of a rubber made bin with empty cardboard boxes piled on top of it?
If she can sniff out a little stuffed toy, I'm thinking she can sniff out odors in a nose work trial.
Now that I know that she actually does use her sniffer, and quite effectively, I'm going to have to find a way to actually train her in nose work and not flake out this time.
Oh Hermione. She never ceases to surprise me.

1 comment:

Julie said...

I've done both flyball and agility with my Springer Spaniel when I was in high school. Flyball would be fairly easy for a blind person, but agility competition would be challenging. You could teach the various jumps and things though, with little issue. If you goal is just to have fun and teach her something new, I don't see why there would be anything preventing you from that. I've even set up cardboard box tunnels in the living room and taught Monty to run through for something to do. It doesn't have to be fancy to keep her busy.