Sunday’s Challenges

Our guide dog puppy-in-training has made it to the halfway point.  Spice is seven months old and weighs 40 pounds now, all muscle, but she’s still gentle and eager to please. She’s neither the youngest nor smallest in the club any more.  When compared to the other dogs in our current group, she is often the slowest to learn a routine, but also the best-behaved.

Yesterday our club had a guest trainer who came and set up an obedience/agility course for the dogs.  The pups love games, and when they are all together they watch and learn from each other.  We had to parade each of them through a series of turns, stops, waits, sits and walks at varying speeds.

When we gather every two weeks for Puppy Club, we make sure to trade off and work with other dogs than our own so they become used to being handled by any human partner.  The commands and signals are the same, but everyone’s voice, walk and touch are different.  We also have the dogs stay over at each other’s houses so they experience a variety of human lifestyles.  Spice has spent time with younger and older adult couples, and we have two young teenagers who are trainers.  Some people come to qualify as puppy sitters, others as handlers, and others bring either retired guide dogs or career-changed ones.

After the club meeting, we drove over to Grandma’s.  Spice is absolutely nuts about my mother.  In fact, the behavior we still have the most challenge with is her being too excited when she sees people she likes.  She pulls toward them, and she’s getting VERY strong.  Gotta work on that.  She eats her dinner and goes to sleep in her crate while we head out to the bar for FULL CONTACT TRIVIA.

This has become an exciting part of my weekly routine.  Our team has come in first or second every week since I joined.  This is the real deal, folks, brain vs. brain, no cheat sheets allowed.  Four categories, ten questions per category.  Sudden Death playoffs for tie scores.  The judge-questioner roams around the room to make sure no cell phones or computers are on during the game.

As an informational generalist, I’m one of two utility players.  There are several others who have a deep knowledge of one area, like sports or history, and there are wild-cards like Mom, who regularly come up with one or two answers per game that none of the rest of us know.  We pool the gift certificates we win each week until we have about $100 then we buy dinner for the team.  I’ll repeat some of the challenges faced recently by Team “Whatever”.  You mustn’t look anything up or consult an outside expert.

Category: Landmarks

What public structure is the world’s tallest obelisk?

Category: Famous Redheads (Gingers for you in the UK)

What actress, known as the “It” girl, was one of the inspirations for cartoon character Betty Boop?

Category:  Donna Summer RIP

How long was the album version (played in dance clubs) of her first hit “Love to Love You, Baby”?

Category: Potent Potables

What drink is made with a shot of Amaretto placed inside a glass, then filled with beer and topped off with 151 rum, which is then ignited?

Category: World War II

Which country uniquely fought both with and against Germany, but always for their own independence?

Category: 1920s American Slang

What is a “bimbo”?

( The answers are revealed as the first Comment.)

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14 Comments

Filed under animal communication, photos

14 responses to “Sunday’s Challenges

  1. Answers: The Washington Monument, Clara Bow, 17 minutes, a Flaming Dr. Pepper, Finland, and an unintelligent/brutish man (1920s usage, remember?)

  2. galenpearl

    All I can say is that you do NOT want me on your Trivia team! I always enjoy hearing about Spice–thanks for the update. http://10stepstofindingyourhappyplace.blogspot.com/

    • And thank you for enjoying and commenting. I feel so isolated not being able to reciprocate! Don’t feel too bad. Nobody in the room (7 teams) knew either the drink, or the original use of “bimbo”. We were 10/10 on Donna Summer, because I answered them. Now they are calling me the King of Disco – AND I DON’T LIKE DISCO! I’m cursed with the “memory gene”. I don’t have total recall, but way better than average on factoids if I’ve heard or read them somewhere. It’s a nerd thang.

  3. Thanks for keeping us updated on Spice’s progress. She is beautiful, and I am glad she is doing so well in her training.Go Spice!

    As far as the full contact trivia, it sounds like a hoot, but just be damn glad that I am not on your team!

    • Trivia? Well, everyone has some kinds of gifts. Mine are mostly related to an inherited high-performance/low mileage front brain. An accident of birth.

      I’m SO happy with the dog. It’s giving me a completely parental sense of satifaction to see her succeed. She’s either going to transform someone else’s life, or continue to do so with ours. Thanks, Debbie! (I wish I knew why you guys can comment, but I can’t.)

  4. I’m so glad Spice is moving so well toward fulfilling her destiny! She looks beautiful.

    This is exactly the kind of game where I would score 0! I’m amazed by people like you who seem to know almost everything!

    • Thanks, Sandra. She’s like a 12 year-old girl who’s into bodybuilding. Shy and demure, and able to uproot a tree. As to my skill at trivia, I am one of those guys who reads the credits at the ends of TV shows and movies, and all the footnotes of non-fiction histories and biographies. There’s so much extra storage space built into brains it never really fills up.

  5. Cat

    What pretty dogs! We had a lab puppy for a while, but he kept eating everything and everyone had to work/go to school, so we couldn’t take care of him. (Run on sentence?) But they’re such sweet dogs. Now we have George. He’s a bearded collie/poodle mix, we think. If it weren’t for his abandonment issues, he’d be the perfect little thing. Hah.

    And I feel intellectual that I knew some of the trivia answers! :D

    • Oh yes, we have had to collar-correct (*pop*) her often for “garbage mouthing”. It’s definitely a Lab trait, but they can be trained not to. I think George is who he is because of his issues, and that’s a part of why he was meant for you! Always lovely to see you, Cat.

      Of course you knew some of the trivia. It’s the nerd gene ;)

      (Hey! Some of my comments on other WP sites are now getting posted. Yay!)

  6. I started strong by getting the first two and then went down in flames.
    I don’t think that I would be a good guide-dog puppy owner: I would not want to give her up. (something a curmudgeon should not admit.)

    • Too late. You admitted it! The central thought we keep in mind as trainers is the firm knowledge that someone else needs Spice even more than we do. That committment to serving a stranger whose life will be enhanced makes us able to give the dogs up – to a higher purpose. It still makes us sad to lose them, but every parent goes through that when a child leaves to make its way in the world.

      It does take a team of 6-8 people to get through the trivia games less burned. Thanks, CaL.

  7. Deferred Pension

    As usual, really insightful and practical blog post Sundays Challenges | Invisible Mikey!
    Well done..

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