Nose work

My person announced to me last Saturday night that I was going someplace new to have nose work on Sunday morning.  Can you believe nose work! I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned. I like my nose – it works great (did I tell you about the skunk that lives under our house?!) – How could I sniff it without my nose? I didn’t want to change it. I was confused. I kept wondering why my people adopted a coonhound if they didn’t like my nose? It’s hard not to notice that it is rather large. I mean, why didn’t they adopt a pug or one of those other snorting dogs if they didn’t like large sniffers?!

The next morning I just got up, resigned to the fact that I was at the mercy of my person. I quietly got into the car – when I was adopted I had promised to love my people unconditionally, so I would just have to be brave and have this nose work.

When we got to the nose place it was different than I expected. I was expecting people with white lab coats, those terrible vet office smells and other terrified canines (yes, I won’t deny it I was scared!). But when we arrived it wasn’t what I had imagined. It wasn’t anything like what I had imagined!!! I really thought my person was taking me to an expensive nose vet. I had misunderstood my person! I had it all wrong! My person really, really loves my nose! My person really loves me! They brought me to a canine nose gym! Can you believe it? Who knew that such a place even existed?!! A nose gym! It was a place for me to work my nose, not change it!

I can’t tell you how much fun I had! There were other canines there too (I met a very nice beagle). We played two different games. The first game our instructor Scott lined up 10 boxes with holes punched in the top. One box had these tasty treats inside – and we had to figure out which one it was. Scott would shuffle the boxes in the row so that the treat box wasn’t always in the same place. It was tricky because he had the treat smell was on his hands, then he would touch the different boxes which would then smell like the treats too. You really had to concentrate. It was tiring.

The second game we played off leash. Scott threw the boxes all around the room so they weren’t in a row. Again, only one box had the treat. He had us turn around so we wouldn’t see which box he had hidden the treat in. Like I needed to see?? Being a scent hound, I have a super canine sniffer – so the first go at the boxes I pretended that I couldn’t smell the box with the treats. I didn’t want the other dogs to think they didn’t have a chance against me – after all they wouldn’t want to play with me if they realized I’d always win. I apparently didn’t fake Scott out however, because he told me that if I didn’t ‘alert’ to the box as soon as I knew which one it was then I wasn’t going to get the treat box at all next time. I wanted my treats so I alerted the way I was suppose to after that.

I felt bad though – not every canine has my talents. There was a German Shepard from Europe in our class, a good looking canine – but he had issues.  He would bark at me whenever the people weren’t around. I think he was jealous because he was sniffer impaired. I watched him when it was his turn to find the treat box. He kept looking at his person for help. I realized that the German Shepard couldn’t sniff it out for himself. How embarrassing! Maybe that’s why he was sent to the United States – imagine being banished from your family and country because your sniffer doesn’t work right! Thankfully he has a wonderful person who is willing to help him with his nose issues.

After this weekend, I realized again, that I am a very lucky canine! I have people who love me, who recognize my talents, and who are willing to help me be the best canine companion I can be!

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