Monday, November 28, 2005

My Mackinac Treasures

  Posted by PicasaI like to collect gloves. I can spot a glove or a mitten available for my collection faster than a bee can sting. When I find one I carry it proudly home in my mouth. I then have to think for awhile about its proper placement in my yard. I might dig a little here or there until I find just the right spot. Then I quickly dig, slide it in, cover it carefully and lie over the top for a while.

Two of my favorite additions came with a little bit of excitement...

One snowy morning when I was just a pup I was walking with one of my human companions along Market Street downtown. I spotted a little girl human sitting on the back of a snowmobile with some nice big fuzzy mittens. She didn't seem to like them, she was pulling at them so I thought I would help her and myself.

My human companion was talking to someone and I knew that sometimes that meant my leash wasn't being held very tightly. I gave a quick jerk and I was free and running toward the girl. I jumped really fast and grabbed the mitten hanging off her hand and took off. I could hear lots of yelling and the girl crying so I didn't look back. I hurried to my yard and buried the mitten as best I could in the snow. I could add it to the rest of the treasure later. Then I disappeared for awhile. I knew I would be in trouble when I came home again and I was. It was worth it. It is one of my favorites to dig up again. I let it lie underneath my muzzle and think about how much fun I had that day.

I even impressed myself with this one...

Gloves and hats are a necessity for northern humans and I don't know why they lose them but they do. Around here if someone finds something like that on the road they hang it from a nearby tree branch or post so that the owner can spot it and retrieve it.

One day I was strolling down Cupid's Pathway. Because of the laws here I was on a leash. I know this path well and any deviation quickly catches my eye. There was something not quite right with one of the tree branches that were hanging over the road. It was up pretty high, I wasn't sure if it was a bird or squirrel. Then, I don't know if it was a whiff of scent or the breeze stirred it enough for me to see the shape. I sailed into action.

I moved so fast my human companion couldn't keep up and lost hold on the leash. Then I flew into the air, I mean I was airborne! I grabbed that work glove off that high branch and landed smooth as silk. I have to admit I did some strutting and parading after that one. The humans who saw it were excited too. "He must have been five feet in the air!" I heard one of them say. This glove has great memories because I've heard one of my human companions retell the story a few times. And the original owner must have had it for a while because there are still some great scents attached!  Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 24, 2005


It has occurred to me that I might offer some wisdom to you young pups out there. You may be just at the beginning of your relationship with your human companions and are just beginning to realize how important it is to train them.

It Takes Dedication

Don’t expect it to be easy. Sometimes they are very slow to learn. Or obstinate. Perseverance and determination are important. Don’t give up. Eventually they will fall into line. 
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How To Get Them To Move Quickly

One of the ways to get a human's attention is through urgency. Want to go outside? They are terrified that you will poop or pee in the house. So out of the blue go running up to him or her dancing, whining, jumping around and acting as if you are having a genuine panic attack. Then run to the door. If necessary, repeat.

A Fun Game

Another way of enjoying the great outdoors and amusing yourself is playing with the distracted human. Are they busy typing away on the computer? In the middle of some complicated and only understandable to them project? See how many times they will let you out and back in, out and back in without realizing it. The key is to wait until they are obviously absorbed. You don’t have to begin with urgency. Just use your traditional way of indicating you would like to go outside. For me it is sitting down next to the human, staring intently, and if that doesn’t get a response I give off a little sound. Kind of cross between throat clearing and a whimper. If that doesn’t work I lay my head on whatever body part they are using. If typing, the arms or even hands work well. I continually move more and more of my body into the area. I weigh seventy pounds so it’s hard to ignore me. If you are a smaller dog you might have to adapt other behaviors.

The human will get up and let me outside. I like to vary the times before I give a few sharp barks to come back in. Sometimes it’s as soon as I can hear them resume their task. Other times I give them a few minutes to become absorbed in what they are doing first.

Barking Can Be Productive

Unless you live in the middle of nowhere most humans won’t leave you out there to bark because it disturbs the neighbors. So they will let you back in. Take a few minutes, and then repeat the process. How many times can you get your human to do this before they catch on? That’s the fun part, keeping score.

Now I don’t bark very much anyway. But I have learned that it can get a faster response, especially if it is late at night. Realistically humans often react negatively to barking, so you have to apply your barks judiciously or they may punish you by shunning or banning of treats.

An alternative to barking is moaning. Not whimpering. Groaning and sighing and behaving as if you are put upon and oppressed beyond any imagination. Sounds odd but this seems to amuse them enough to respond as you wish.

Treats Glorious Treats!
  Posted by Picasa The moaning works really well if you want a bonus treat. Go to the place the treats are kept and stare intently. Sigh, moan, and whimper as if your heart would break. Get your human’s attention and repeat. Stay in that spot and look desperate. They usually resist at first but enough repetition will break them down.

Well that is all for today. This is a big human holiday so chances are there will plenty of people and food around to help you practice. Keep your paws clean!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Adventures on Mackinac

My life is full of adventures. The story of one of them is in a book called Mackinac Mystery: The Secret of the Talking Cave. I thought it would be fun to offer a little bit of that story every once in awhile.

It all started when my human companion Casey and his cousin Maureen went for a walk in the woods one day. It had just rained and the air was crisp and fresh with plenty of great scents to track. I was doing just that, heading off here and there while still keeping an eye on my human companions when the strangest thing happened.

First I will give you Casey's version from the book. I'm skipping the parts that don't have anything to do with me of course.

"...Scuppers was clearly having a great time running through the woods. He would stop back and check on us, then race off again. Just as I realized that I hadn't seen him in a while, I suddenly heard his bark. And it wasn't his usual happy Woo Woo Woof he used to chase squirrels. It was a deep, angry WOOF WOOOOOF. Over and over it rang through the woods. This tone, and the fact that he didn't bark much, definitely worried me..."

"...The dog's deep whoofs stopped almost in mid-bark. In the eerie silence there were no crows cawing, birds twittering, squirrels scampering, or rabbits rustling. Suddenly, on our left came the sound of something crashing and tearing through the thicket. Before I could react, Scuppers dashed through the under brush and ran up to me. He stopped, stared intently at my face, and gave three quick, distinct barks. He quickly turned and dashed back up the hill. There was no doubt his message was to 'come this way'."

From the book: Mackinac Mystery: The Secret of the Talking Cave by Pamela Lach

Back to my story. So what was happening? Well if you have a human companion yourself you have already learned that they are sometimes slow in understanding what you are trying to tell them. And when you are not sure what it is you have found it's a little hard to get the point across.

They can't hear what I hear

I was minding my own business checking things out when my ears picked up a high pitched noise. And when I say high pitched---remember we dogs can hear a lot more than humans--this was high enough to hurt my head. I kind of headed in that direction, following it to its source. I wanted to warn the others—so I called them to my side, but in a way they should know to move forward with care.

I started forward little by little, still calling the other pack members to join me in hunting this down. I was very suspicious. I wasn't interested in taking on this new strange thing by myself. That's what packs are for, working together. When they didn't come running to my side I had to leave the chase and search them out.

When I got back to Casey I couldn’t understand why he was still so far away. And he did not look like he was moving very fast either. Why wasn’t he hurrying to help me? Did he not hear me somehow?

I looked intently at his face to make sure that I had his attention. Then I said “Help! Emergency! Follow Me!” I exaggerated my moves, turning around and heading back toward the sound. I looked back several times to make sure he started heading my way. He did, I had finally gotten through to him! 
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Sunday, November 20, 2005

I Like Mackinac Winters

I'm a snow dog. It's not only my bloodline, it's my passion. A few mornings ago I went outside and there was snow. I danced and ran and leaped in excitement. I love snow. I went for a long run in it and it wore me out. Haven't had this much excitement in a while.  Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 18, 2005

My History on Mackinac Island

I was born here on Mackinac Island. Down in the Mission area of the Island there was once a man who had sled dogs. Two of those dogs, Maggie and Kavak had their chains get too close together, and me and my sister were the result. We were born on a very cold night, February 14th, 1999.  Posted by PicasaI was born just a few hundred feet away from this gazebo at Mission Point Resort

I Have A Twin Because We Were A Litter Of Two

My sister's name is Neeko. She lives here on the Island too, and we like to play together. We are both Alaskan Huskies, also called Mackenzie River Huskies. We have long lean bodies and very long legs. Neeko and I have the same markings, but she is black and white, I am red and white. Or reddish brown. It actually changes a little in the seasons. My coat is more brown in winter, probably so I can blend in with the trees a little better.

We used to be the same size, but now I'm taller and a little wider than her. Well it makes sense, I am the guy.

We have had fun adventures together. We like to escape and run and run. We learned to work together at an early age to undo the clip that connected the chain or leash to our collars. We would work together with our paws, and get each other free. Well sometimes I would get free and take off before I helped her.

I Am Not A Wolf

Every day at noon here there is a siren. I love to howl back to it. I have heard people say that I sound just like a wolf howling at the moon. Cool.
My markings are pretty wolf-like, a lot of people even think I'm part wolf. Hey I'm pretty nice and easy going, but it never hurts to have a reputation as a tough guy. It's weird, only little tiny yippy dogs (I try not to think of them as chew toys) try to take me on. I just laugh.