The beginning of summer

Another rough day on the couch.

Another rough day on the couch.

And now he is lucky to get one scent-training each week. The morning comes and I hear one bark from down in Dec’s room. Does he need to go to the bathroom? Does he hear Heather getting ready? Or is he actually signaling that someone downstairs has low blood sugar? I lay in bed waiting for the sole bark. And what if I ignore it? What then?

I wake hearing Heather readying for work. There is no need for me to get up, but I still have this sense that I should do something. Summer started a short two weeks prior, and I still have an impulse that something needs doing. Simultaneously, there is a tamping down of ambition. A voice reminding me that it is summer, I can sleep in. And then my ears perk in anticipation of the sole-bark. My mind begins with predictions. How many times in the last week has the sole-bark appeared? What time did it occur at? And did Bear get a chance to get outside before heading to bed? He might need to go pee.

So it is quite likely the sole-bark interrupts my predictions. Onto second-level predictions, that of false-positives. With recent sole-barks as the best predictor, a false-positive signal will be the likely outcome, in which case what do I do?

Do I descend to Dec’s room, check blood sugar, confirm the false-positive, letting Bear interact with the adults, which is really what he wants? The sole-bark changed from “Hey! Someone is low!”, to “Hey! I hear you upstairs and would like to say hello!”

And so I lay waiting for the sole bark, continuing to debate the best action. Given all the time we’ve put in to training, it is difficult to ignore the bark. I am also one of those sleep-Nazi-parents. Though I don’t practice it, I am militant about kids getting to bed early and sleeping a long time. From the beginning I made sure the kids had a routine and got to bed. The sole-bark turns to multiple-barks if left alone, which would interrupt the sleep.

Should I ask Heather to be quieter? She isn’t making a lot of noise, but my ears are primed for the sole-bark and they are hearing the little things. The fridge door just opened. Something was just placed on the counter. Dog’s ears are certainly more sensitive than mine. It’s got to be coming soon. The front-door just opened. And there it is. The bark breaks the slumber. And another bark! What is with the multiple barks? He is getting quite cheeky. And three more barks!

As if there was any doubt what I would do, I jump from bed. In hopes of being able to reward a positive signal, I grab the high-value treats from the fridge. Could it be that Bear hears the fridge and expects the high-value treats? Turning Pavlov’s bells into Bear’s fridge-door.

In this case Dec was low. Apparently the multiple-barks means something different from the sole-bark. But I still wonder when to throw the towel in. At moments of strength I know that one or two scent-training sessions a day would get us there. And I am certain of this up until I pull out the scent and no-scent vials for training. There is little difference in Bear’s response to these different vials. And at moments of weakness I see the slide to pet-hood for Bear, realizing that he is already 95% of the way there.

Bear sings along with Dec practicing his Torah portion