Sunday, January 20, 2008

Fetch! Well, Sort Of

Minnesota continues to be gripped by cold—it's four below zero as I write this, and we aren't expected to be out of the single digits until the end of the week. Despite Jasper's very woolly coat, this has caused a couple of changes to his normal routine, mainly to prevent frostbitten noses on the part of his human companions. 

Yesterday, we took Jasper out midafternoon to take advantage of the sun. Instead of going on our normal long walk, we took him to a field near the house and chased him around for awhile. Jasper loves this, and it was an efficient way to tire him out close to home. On a whim, I tucked a tennis ball in my pocket on our way out the door. Jasper does have several toys, including the ball, that live under the coffee table with him, and he does occasionally mouth these items very gently. We would really like him to learn how to fetch, because we think he'd like it a lot, but all prior attempts to get him to show interest in flying objects have ended in him either running fearfully in the other direction or looking at us cluelessly. 

This time, however, was different. We got him out onto the snow, made sure he was looking at us, and tossed the ball gently in his direction (but not right at him, of course, we didn't want to scare the poor boy). Jasper bounded over to the ball, pounced on top of it, and picked it up in his mouth! He then proceeded to drop it, bat it around with his paws, and jump on it again. So, folks, we have some actual canine instinct going on here. 

No clue how to translate this initial move into bringing the ball BACK to us, which would be a rather convenient way to close the loop, but we're excited nonetheless.

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