Thursday, March 4, 2021

The Amazing Scarlet or NO! NO! NO!


I taught Scarlet how to search when she was young.   Domestic dogs have great noses but in pet homes we never really give them reason to learn and practice, it has no value or interest.   However, dogs love to search.   It is a super fun dog game, ever play hide n seek with your dog?   Scarlet is 4 now. We have not really done anything competitive in Nosework since she passed her ORTs at 6 months old.  Over the years she has been given a lot of freedom and ranch life.   Apparently she has taken advantage and been out perfecting her scent skills all alone unbeknownst to me.

The other evening I was taking my dogs out for a run before the sun went down.  We were out by a creek area with old tall grass that was bent over like piles of hay all along the creek on both sides.  She veered off the trail and I kept going until I realized she was not with us.   I made a u-turn and headed back up the other side of the creek and there she was.  She was searching fairly frantically oblivious to anything around her. She was bracketing and doing other things familiar to us Nose Work people. I knew she was on to something and tried to call her off but she is very odor obedient.   I was hoping she would give up and keeping following the ATV but she had other plans in mind.   

Finally without a pause she thrust her head into a pile of grass and pulled out a nest.   I saw a flash of a small grey furry mammal become aware of danger and try to run off but without any adieu she tipped her head and grabbed it and with 3 chomps it was gone.   

This was no accident.   This was no lucky guess.   This was cold hard calculating scent-work at its finest.  This was real life food chain in action.

I felt so bad because you are supposed to be safe in your home (even tiny things) and it is not like Scarlet is starving.  As upsetting as it was it was also a marvel of experienced nose-work and I was so surprised how good she is.  Many dogs would have not noticed the scent of an animal in the air.   Another percentage of dogs would have noticed and mentally paused but not known what to do about it.  There are others who may have stopped and tried to follow a scent but it is easier said than done without experience.   To do what Scarlet did was nothing short of amazing experience. 

Saturday, January 30, 2021

10 + things that have shaped my life.

 10 + things that have shaped my life 

Up to today.

If I had made this list 10 years ago it would be different and I guess if I revisit this in 10 years it will be different again.  Some points have been on my list since I was a teen, #1 and #9 for example.   Then I have some I learned later in life in my 30s like #3.  I have just recently learned the importance of #10.   I have also dropped some off.   Never let common sense and fear get in your way used to be important.    This one left a few years ago when my age started to have an impact on the risks I might take.   I do not think I will ever go back to Africa and gallop a horse with a herd of wildebeest, zebra and giraffe again.  

 This is my list as of today. 

  1. There is no substitute for good quality work ethic.  Show up on time, do your best, impress your coworkers and your boss.  As an employee, your job is to make my bosses life easier and not put undue burden on co-workers.   
  2. Be willing to put in the time and effort. If you want to do something but it is too hard or the rewards are far away.  Do it anyway.  You will be proud of your success and want to do more.   Pretty soon the time and effort are insignificant compared to the feeling of achievement.
  3. The more I know the more I don’t know. Every time I feel like I am opening that secret last door of knowledge there is hallway with 10 more doors.  This helps keep me humble. 
  4. Toss out the 10,000 hour rule, you are never an expert. You can always do better.   The Peter Principle is that people rise to their highest level of incompetence.   They say the cream rises and then always sours.  For me I always try to get there quickly so I can fall back down and work my way up again.    Each time you rise (it is a new journey) and you go a bit higher.   I guess you could say three steps forward and two back.   This can also relate to getting into an uncomfortable zone and working hard to get thru it only to keep going and hit another zone.   This is life.
  5. Network with people who have qualities you admire or wish to have.    We imitate and learn from others.  Others also help us to succeed.  Simply put if you hang out with people who drink, curse and do nothing, you can guess what you will be doing.   If you hang out with people who like to party and stay up late you might find you have a lot of hangovers.   You decide your course and who you want to follow or be friends with.   Your friends will help you achieve your goals while they achieve theirs. 
  6. Return phone calls and answer emails promptly.  I believe this is the number #1 secret to success.  My business is 23 years old this year.   Personally I cannot believe it.  Covid has not taken us out.   I believe more than 80% of our success of my business is that we always answer phones calls and emails immediately.   We follow thru and solve problems fast.    It is easy to make a sale, it is hard to keep it and hard to keep more coming without the quality follow thru.  This has translated to my personal life as well.    
  7. It really is all about the journey.   Once you achieve your dreams, your mind creates new problems. New desires start to fill your mind of where to and what to next.   Spend more time enjoying longer journeys.
  8. Be generous for no reason at all.  Have you ever said “I did this thing for that other person and they never said thank you?”  Yeah, I think we all have.   Just stop doing that.   If you are doing something in hopes of a reward don’t do it.   If you are doing something because it is enough that it will make you feel good go ahead.     
  9. Always be grateful when the sun is shining and your car starts.   This is something I have said since I was a teen when cars were not so reliable and it was easy to have a cloudy day even if the actual sun was out.    I use it as a metaphor that relates to me being healthy, alive and with a clear mind.   If I had this there was nothing else that mattered.  
  10. Be a student.   Never stop formally learning.   It can be very satisfying to take classes, do seminars, or travel with a learning purpose.   There is always time to get a degree or take some certificate courses especially as you get older.   Lately I have been saying that education is wasted on the young.   No matter how old you are continue getting educated. 
  11. Bonus point: Be accountable and don’t blame others.  Accept that you are the keeper of your path and destiny.   Don’t turn the controls over to anyone.   You can partner with others but always keep your own steering wheel.   If something goes wrong look to yourself and what happened and how you can avoid it in the future.