It doesn’t take too long in isolation in the country to start going slightly crazy. Or at least start thinking a little “differently”, shall we say. With the Grenache and Mourvedre now bubbling away in primary fermentation, someone has to hang out here in Sonoma to punch down the grapes, take temp readings and Specific Gravity levels. That would, again, be moi and two terriers. At least, as of a few days ago, I have Wi-Fi. So I’m doing a little better.

It’s the dogs that are starting to go stir crazy. Or again, let’s just say, in the words of Apple, they are starting to “Think Different”.

Oscar, especially, is starting to resemble some political pundits and commentators. He’s given all the facts, but the conclusions he’s reaching are not what you’d expect or not necessarily what logic would dictate.

Our latest misunderstanding is about the many juicy, delicious dead animals that seem to litter Sonoma. Oscar was becoming decidedly “wolfy” when he had a good rotting deer leg or jawbone and I tried to take it away from him. He would growl and clamp down hard. Not a good thing to encourage in a terrier and a habit I wanted to break quickly.

A quick google of various dog trainers yielded the common advice that I shouldn’t try to get into a battle with him over his bone finds. Instead, I should work on the “drop it” command, making sure he got a wonderful reward for dropping whatever mass of decaying flesh and bone he was chewing on.

Portrait of the artist as a young pup. Oscar de la Hoya. AKA Sir Oscar Doglington-Smyth, Baronet.

Portrait of the artist as a young pup. Oscar de la Hoya. AKA Sir Oscar Doglington-Smyth, Baronet.

Luckily Oscar will do most anything for the delicious homemade dog cookies from Three Dog Bakery in Sonoma. So for the past week or so, he’s been richly rewarded with cookies every time he dropped a particularly nasty bit of carrion and let me put it in the garbage without a fuss.

Oscar with a baby deer leg. This netted him two cookies.

Oscar with a baby deer leg. This netted him two cookies.

Then, in the last few days, Oscar’s been ranging further away and always coming back with a piece of something dead. He’s always glad to drop it for cookies.

Now it’s hit me. He thinks he’s rewarded for finding and bringing dead stuff, not for dropping it. I’ve just discovered he has one particularly delicious carcass that he’s been bringing me a piece at a time to maximize his cookie haul.

Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader, indeed!  Are you smarter than a Smooth Fox Terrier?

Before we discovered the Cookie Method, this was how carrion was wrested from Oscar. Note the hands on the throat!

Before we discovered the “Cookie Method”, this was how carrion was wrested from Oscar. Note the hands on the throat!

The upshot is that, as I work in the vineyards, I’m constantly being presented with carrion that I have to retrieve and put somewhere where it can’t be taken up and re-presented to me for even more cookies. The short term solution has been to hang the bones and body parts from the vineyards.

So it looks like we’re all decorated for Halloween here at TTV. It’s just not smelling so nice. Well, call it all part of the terroir.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...