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Hop aboard the Euka Express

Gimme a challenge here, Food Lady.
Let’s set this thing on fire or something.

You know how they say dogs know basic math, right?  Show your dog you have three dog cookies in your hand, then only give them two. The dog knows you’re holding out on them and why are you being such a jerk about the cookie because you’re not going to eat it and they know that too.  I thought we were friends here, says your dog.

Our dogs show us their smarts all the time like this. Not just our über-intelligent CCI pups, of course. Each fuzzy comes packaged with their own brand of cleverness.

For instance, as a former stray Jager has a level of survival skills that he exhibits even these seven years after his Gotcha Day with us. Street smarts, so to speak. When in the office he does his Tiny Tim performance with my dog loving co-workers.  Oh please sir, says Jager with an affected cockney accent. He expands his pupils until his eyes are watery black pools. Could you spare a sandwich for a hungry dog? They don’t feed me until the weekend, you know.

And so he’s handed a pity cookie by a kind soul. Which he spits out. It’s my jaw, you see, says Jager. I don’t have much muscle here. Might you have a softer treat for the poor likes of me?  And sure, he gets a different treat. Who could say no to that face? Jager chomps down the soft treat, then snatches up the one he dropped and trots away to nosh upon the treat back on his dog bed. True story. Except for the cockney accent part. He actually has a hard time pulling that one off.

He’s a clever one, our Jager.

But we know Euka’s a rather smart girl, too.  She observes her environment and misses nothing.  I notice her relaxed posture as we walk into new situations, but I also see how she needs to process things. Not a fear or hesitation about what’s going on, but instead she cases a room with a what’s in this for me attitude.

You do have matches on you, right?

Our local chapter of puppy raisers for Canine Companions for Independence was provided the opportunity this weekend to introduce our pups to an agility course. Not as training for any competition, but an excellent and safe way to reinforce confidence with novel experiences.

It’s a long drive for us, about an hour and a half, to reach the agility facility (heh. agility facility.) and we show up a bit after things have started. Activities in full swing with dogs and people absolutely everywhere. At one point I counted sixteen pups with their handlers. (During the playtime break, I’m sure the thundering herd was at least twice that.) It was so very interesting to watch Euka scan the room, the agility equipment, the dogs in motion. Her body posture – head up, ears perked – was all Coo-ell! Bring it on!

It didn’t take her long to figure out that she was to jump through the ring or leap over the hurdle, not just run around the things. And then she was all over this stuff. Weave poles, A-frame, dog walk plank, even the teeter totter.  You can’t stop the Euka train, she’s just chugging along.  I mean, just look at her Labrador smile in these photos. This was exactly the kind of challenge our girl needs. Absolutely worth the drive; time well spent here.

Oh, but the tunnel. Short of me doing a demo of how it works (stuffed sausage, anyone?), Euka just wasn’t clicking on this one. Euka on one end, me on the other waving a dog cookie in the opening. Euka! Here! I call.  You got it!, she says and runs around the thing to get her hard earned treat. I toss a treat to land about a third of the way inside. She pops in far enough to munch it and backs out. We then waited to watch another pup go through and still, Euka’s like and why would I want to do this? What’s my motivation here?

I’m just not getting this sandworm* thing.
But you know what? I’m not gonna push it. She’s going head first with all the other equipment here, especially with all the distractions about us. And it’s not even a fear thing we’re dealing with. Merely a failure to communicate, the two of us. Not a biggie.
Turns out I was right not to fret about it, too. When we released the pups for a play session, when the dogs morphed from double digits to a hundred and two, there were several who decided to rassle inside one of the tubes. The heck! says Euka. I want a piece of that action! Rawr!
The girl found her motivation indeed. Two pups are inside the tunnel. Then three. And a fourth joins in.  Then how many are in there, we ask.  We don’t know for sure. The thing is spitting out panting dogs like a projectile live birthing session, just to suck another couple of pups back into the other end. 

The Euka Express bursts from the train tunnel.
Woe to those dog in the path of the freight train.
All three of them.

Alrighty then. Checking off Sand Worm Tube from the novel items list. Been there, done that.
Loads of gratitude goes to ARF Agility and Rally for Fun in Gahanna for allowing us to use your facility for our CCI pups.  We do appreciate your generosity. You wore my dog out and for that I am in your debt.
*Of course I’m referencing the sandworms from the Dune universe. You knew that, right?  Too far geeky?  What if we called them Graboids?  See? Now you understand, don’t you? Who would purposely put themselves inside one of those things?

About Donna Black-Sword

Lover of all things Dog.

2 responses »

  1. You go,girl! Love seeing her smile while having such a good time with the others. Bet she sleeps good tonite…and you, too Donna. As always, thank you for the pictures and updates. I truly enjoy watching her grow…Have a great weeks..Melody


  2. I recently re-read Dune. Wasn't nearly as impressed as when I was 17, but it was still good.

    So why didn't you set that ring on fire?



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