Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Coonhounds are in the house and Winston has left the building

Coonhounds evoke mixed feelings in me. I fall for the sweet face and serious expression every time, I LOVE the sound of their voices, and the way they try so hard to make you understand what they want. And therein lies the source of the mixed feelings. These dogs are often called dumb or stupid, but they are anything BUT! When a coonhound drops its nose and picks up a scent, that enormous olfactory center in the coonhound brain turns on and the rest of the brain functions less efficiently. It is easy for me to relate to, because when I am involved in a good book with an enthralling story, I am dead to the rest of the world. Or, when you turn the music in the car down if you are lost and trying to figure out a map or written directions. Zeke Two, over there on the left is a beautiful Black and Tan Coonhound who came here emaciated and full of every kind of worm imaginable, including heartworms. Now that he is healthy, worm free and has gained some much needed weight, he has also found his VOICE! It's a big voice. Really big. Zeke loves his crate because when he first got here that was the only place I would give him food. He was desperate for food and would fight over any little piece of dropped kibble. Well, he has decided that the crate means food so when he wants to be fed, which is all the time ( coonhounds are pigs, and easily bored), he thinks that going to the crate door and sounding off is the way to 1) get fed and 2) have something to do. My normal training method for this would be to let him bawl and bawl and figure out that he is not getting what he wants that way, then reward him as soon as he is quiet. Well, since the master of the house works nights, that just won't work. It took me until this morning to realize that I needed to activate the nose. Long story short: I won several hours of silence by scattering and hiding pieces of kibble all over the basement. While the nose was working, the mouth was quiet. I am not sure how long that will work, but as soon as the weather gets better, I will begin to hide food outside for Zeke to find. I wish I knew how to train a dog to track/trail. This summer I can see me getting my little neighbor boys to lay track for me n' Zeke. They would love that! Our newest house guest is a return. Her name is Bella and she is a Redbone Coonhound. Redbones are cold nosed hounds, meaning they can pick up and run an older (cold) trail. Their trailing talents are similar to the Bloodhound, but they are a lot faster. I have an acquaintance in Kansas City who uses Redbone Coonhounds to trail folks with Alzheimer's. At least that was how she started out. Her dogs are so talented and reliable that she is now the "go to" tracker for the local police departments. Needless to say, she and her dogs lead an exciting life. I wish she would write a book! Bella was returned to us because she dug holes in the back yard. there were some other comments that I didn't understand about her being aloof and not fitting in. I suspect she was bored and spent a bit to much time in the yard, because here, she is leaping about and play bowing to all of the dogs trying to get them all to play. Bella also loves to eat, but she doesn't fixate on it the way Zeke does, and she doesn't howl and bawl for food the way Zeke does either.

Lets hope she doesn't learn any bad habits from her foster brother!

And lastly, Winston the French Bulldog terrible has left the building. When my friend Lisa lost her dear Michael Mcgee, she needed Winston more than I needed him. Lisa has a quiet household where Winston will have fewer opportunities to bite people. I suspected that Pinkie, the Toy Manchester Terrier that Lisa adopted from me was a bit lonely and shur 'nuff! That little girl is following her new boyfriend where ever he goes. This is going to be a very good move for everyone!

I will miss my Winston boy but I know he has a very important job to do at Lisa's house.

1 comment:

  1. Churchill (snoring beside me as I type) and Pinkerton say thanks Aunt Kati and we will see you soon!

    Love the coonies - great job!!