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Actually, they’re BOTH wrong April 11, 2013

Posted by Toy Lady in Big Lug, random stuff.
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Remember this?

Well, I’m here to tell you – it’s neither duck nor rabbit season.

It’s squirrel season.

Apparently the little buggers are getting frisky lately – they must’ve run out of acorns to cover or something.

One thing I’ve noticed on our morning walks of late is that there are MILLIONS of the little vermin dashing up and down trees, swishing their little tails at us, and, in general, making themselves thoroughly obnoxious to the Big Lug.  Then there are the squirrels that presumably lost their game of chicken with a car.

Anyway, we frequently get quite the workout in the mornings – he sees a squirrel taunting him, or a rabbit daring him to come after it, and I tell him to “leave it” and, after the occasional back talk, he does.  But BOY do I have be alert!

See, if I see it first – whatever “it” may be  (swishy squirrels, dumb bunnies, fast food wrappers on the ground, whatever) –  then I can tell him to Leave It, and, the great majority of the time, he does.  And he’s rewarded for it, fear not.

See, that Advanced Obedience Class is already paying off – for everyone!

However.

If he sees “it” before I do, and he manages to get “it” in his mouth, well, all bets are off.  He sees, he snatches, and it’s his.   There’s no “leaving” it, apparently, because he’s already “got” it.

This can be a problem.  Sometimes, the “it” he finds is something even more inappropriate (not to mention disgusting) than, say, a Taco Bell wrapper.

I am convinced that there are certain segments of the population who hang around their neighborhoods eating chicken bones or pork chops, and they just toss the bones over their shoulder as they’re walking along.  And frequently, I don’t even know he’s found something until he suddenly lunges, snatches, and crunches whatever-it-is.

I call that his bullfrog move – he is FAST!

However, when it comes to things like squirrel jerky, you’ll be happy to know that I have learned my lesson about trying to take his prizes away from him, to wit: don’t try to play tug with a dead squirrel.

So. . . we’ve spent the last several months working on a new game – Drop It – to be played when it’s too late to Leave It.

To date, the game works best when I’ve got something awesomer to give him than what he’s already got.  Maybe he’s got a tennis ball and I’ve got a piece of cheese.   Obviously.

Me (smily and happy):  Jar, Drop it!

Jar (sniffing cheese): Okay!

We’re even getting pretty good at playing Drop It when I’ve got lesser treats (bits of kibble, say, or a piece of plain bread), and he’s got something a little higher value – like an already-chewed bone or his beloved baseball.

So this morning, we put the “Drop It” cue to the test – Jar utilized his Bullfrog Move and snatched himself a nice, juicy . . . squirrel carcass from the edge of someone’s front yard.

By the way, neighbor guy, YOU’RE WELCOME for the squirrel disposal.

So there’s Jar with a nice, stinky, going-rancid squirrel hanging out of his mouth.

And me with . . . half a pocket of Cheerios and a pizza crust.

Squirrel burger . . . Cheerios.

I’ll admit – it took a few tries, and I did grab hold of the squirrel tail (with gloves on!), but eventually, he did actually drop it!

And I threw him a party, let me tell you!  (After I FLUNG that bugger as far away as I could, of course!)

So we continued our walk, and DARNED if he didn’t find ANOTHER dead squirrel and try to pull the same stunt!

But this time, he dropped it on the FIRST command – you could have knocked me down with a feather (or a squirrel’s tail) – I fed him the rest of the treats I had, we beat it for home before another one fell out of the sky!

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Comments

1. Judy Norton - April 11, 2013

JAR is amazing and such a challenge. As long as you have the GREAT treats you are good. Now about the squirrels…..my parents had black walnut trees which were both good and bad. What kind of nuts (:) are in your neighborhood? Had pecans in Texas, never saw a Texas squirrel although I am sure there are some, all puffed up with Texas entitlement. Enough. You have my sympathy on your a.m. walks. Just stay safe.

Toy Lady - April 14, 2013

Is he not the most excellent dog? 🙂

I had a friend who had a black walnut tree beside her house – all I remember about it, really, was constant THUMPING of the nuts falling on the roof!


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