Rain has started to learn a game called Find the Cookie.
Here’s how it works: I grab a buffalo treat and break it into up to six smaller pieces. I lead Rain to the very back of our house, tell her to sit and stay, and then quickly walk through the house hiding each of the bits. Then I release her from her sit-stay and she wanders the house finding the cookies.
I don’t generally put them in difficult places like under objects, or above her nose level. She’s just learning, and her nose isn’t quite as good yet as Uncle Atticus‘ was in his later years. It seems to me that Aussies tend to be better sniffers as their energy wanes with age.
Speaking of Uncle Atticus, Rain is actually helping him eat the rest of the buffalo treats that he left in the mortal world. These were his Find the Cookie treats (he was excited when they arrived in the mail, as seen in the photo), and he left about a half package behind when he died. Rain has been happy to help him finish up the bag.
We’ve played the game a handful of times, and Rain’s getting better at playing! Her sit-stay was perfect when I introduced her to the game, took a nosedive immediately after she learned that food was involved, and it has been getting better since. Last night I only had to make her return to her spot a couple of times.
When we first started playing Find the Cookie she found the first bit or two by herself—then I needed to assist, communicating that there were more cookies, or sometimes leading her to another room to look. When we played last night, she found all six bits without much assistance.
Unfortunately though, playing Find the Cookie didn’t wear her out for the rest of the dark and stormy night. Even though we had played ball in the backyard before sunset. Even though she was given the “genius” puzzle toys so she’d have to work for her dinner.
It’s going to be a long winter.