Nosework and Flea-pocalypse

Hello to both my faithful long-time readers and any new readers who may be popping in!  Welcome!

So Inara’s nosework has been going fabulously.  We transitioned away from sniffing out food and are now sniffing out a plastic container with clove oil scent in it.  I was a little nervous that Inara may have trouble with the transition, but nope!  She acted like she’s been finding clove oil her whole life!  This girl is just blowing my mind!  I’m going to have her assessed to see if she has the potential to become an actual detection dog.  Not sure what I’d want her to detect though – bombs?  Drugs?  Bedbugs???

I’m having a hard time finding places to hide the scent in my living room now, so I think it’s time for us to move on to other rooms/locations.  My only issue is that I can’t put out a row of boxes for her to sniff down because she’ll do the beautiful search, but when she finds the right box she pounces on it and I don’t want her to learn that behavior.  She’s “normal” in class, but at home she goes into search and destroy mode, LOL.

Now, Flea-pocoalypse.  *grrrrr*  Apparently I came home from somebody’s house 2 weekends ago with some hitchhikers.  Biting hitchhikers.  Last week I saw just a couple on Inara so I did the routine of:

  1. Bathe both girls in Chagrin Valley Soap’s Cedar & Lavendar Dog Shampoo.
  2. Wash all bedding – mine and Inara’s.
  3. Vacuum everything well.

In the past that has been sufficient.  But this time was different.  The fleas disappeared for a couple days, lulling me into a false sense of security.  In actuality, what they were doing was GATHERING REINFORCEMENTS.  They came back with a vengeance.  Inara was scratching.  The Piss was scratching.  I was scratching.  And I was angry.  I don’t get fleas.  My animals are clean, my house is clean.  I’m not one of THOSE PEOPLE who has fleas.

So I did some research and took Tuesday off work to wage war on the house and yard:

  1. Pretty much any piece of fabric that was small enough to fit into the washing machine was washed that day in hot water, with lots of Borax.
  2. Area rugs and throw rugs were intensely vacuumed or washed and then pulled.  They won’t be put back down until I’m sure the little nasties are gone.
  3. The Dyson has a flea collar in its canister to kill anything that gets sucked up.
  4. Both girls have Revolution on them.  Yes, it killed me to do this and I deliberated and stressed over it.  I don’t like putting that poison on them, but I knew these fleas were different and needed the big guns.  They’ll get another dose next month.
  5. The house was Vacuumed, with a capital V.  I spent about 45 minutes on just the couch, and then spent a ridiculous amount of time Vacuuming (still with a capital V) the rest of the house, getting every nook and cranny with the attachments.
  6. I mopped with a mixture of white vinegar and water.
  7. I treated the yard with Seven Dust.
  8. I closed the windows and turned the AC on as fleas need a certain humidity and temperature to hatch.  Not sure if my little window unit can reduce the humidity and temp enough, but it’s worth a try.
  9. The girls (and I, I’m embarrassed to admit) are getting spritzed thrice daily with a 50/50 mixture of water and organic apple cider vinegar (ACV).  Inara also gets spritzed on her legs and belly before she goes out, every single time.
  10. I’m vacuuming every single day and doing laundry every two days.

I’m exhausted.  Every time I see a black speck I go all Rambo-like and fly at it to snatch it and kill it if it’s a flea.  I stare obsessively at Inara, watching for any nasties.  If I have a normal itch I get all paranoid.  I DREAM about fleas.  So fingers crossed that my suburban warfare was effective and they disappear.

One of my new fave pics of the pupper
One of my new fave pics of the pupper

The Calling

Inara has finally received The Call.  After all the sports/games/STUFF we’ve tried, we have found THE ONE.  The One that she has a natural talent for.  Nay, not just a talent, but a PRONOUNCED talent.  What is her calling?

NOSEWORK. 

The girl is apparently part Bloodhound.  When I give her the command to “search” she glues her nose to the floor and works it, occasionally lifting up for an air sniff, but mostly going for the ground sniff method.  We started a 4 week Nosework class last week, so we’ve had two classes so far.  And due to a wedding this past weekend we didn’t practice at all in between our classes, yet she still rocked it.  Right now she’s still sniffing for hidden treats, but next week we’re introducing a new scent for the dogs to find.  I hope she can transition her searching behavior to a non-food item.

This past week our instructor, Katie, lined up six boxes and put a container with treats in one.  The dog had to sniff down the line and find the one with treats.  Inara was crated so she didn’t see which box the treats in.  When I told her to “search” she went to the first box and sniffed each box until she found the one with treats and pawed at it, got her treats, and then continued sniffing down the rest of the boxes to make sure they were empty.  And just as cool?  She’s totally ignoring the other dogs when she’s working the line of boxes.

I’ve got a couple vids from our informal practice at home this evening.  This was our first time trying nosework at home.  These two vids our Inara’s last two searches, so she had done maybe 6 or 7 before these.  I was having her sit in the dining room while I hid the container with treats, and then I would call her to heel and give the cue to search.  This first one was apparently way too easy for her:

For her last search, I hid the container up off the ground so she had to work a bit harder.  You can see her look to me for guidance at one point, so I didn’t point or anything, I just encouraged her again to search, and she did!