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We had friends stop by the house today. As Mr. Layne & my Giant Schnauzer are guardians they normally spend time around visitors but don't interact with them. So it's a special event when the visitors are our K9 approved house sitters. We have a family that from their first visit, I knew these were the guys if they were interested in the job. My Giant is picky & even our tiny dogs will go to these big burly fellows. The two brothers came by & the dogs got their turns at visiting with them & oh they were having a grand time. When it was time for Mr. Layne to go outside, he pranced to the door, did his sit/stay & wait for release to go outside. Now I'm currently dealing with a bum ankle as I've rolled the darned thing 3 times in about 10 days & am just now able to bear weight on it. So I was sitting in the chair while my husband & the two visitors were talking. I heard Mr. Layne bark. Saw him moving like he was on a mission. He went up onto the rock bluff & peered in at the window, "woof...woof... BARK" he waited but he got no action (he was looking for my husband... Mom is not moving so good so apparently this is Dad's assignment). He then loped his way down the bluff/hill & came to the back door. He looked like he was trying to peer around the corner & woof...woof...woof... BARK. Nothing. I said something like, "He bud, what's up?" He looked at me, wagged his tail, looked like he was looking for husband, BARK. At some point Mr. Layne got tired of deal with Dad not paying attention. FINE... he did that huffy breath thing that SPOOs do so well & he went off to handle the issue himself. One of our visitor said, "what does he want us to do?" I responded that I had no idea but he wanted my husband's attention & help. So now there are two of us watching this Poodle show.

Mr. Layne walks to the right & looks the situation over. Then he walks to the left. He is sizing up every step. Every place to put his paws. (One of my biggest concerns is that this youngster is so fearless I've been concerned he would harm himself because he will just fly into jumps & tunnels fearlessly... but I see he has the brains & intelligence to weigh out what's safe. YAY!) The problem you see is that there is a rather large community beef bone that all 3 of our large dogs have shared over the New Year Holiday. We butchered a beef & needed one of the bigger bones out of the freezer. Our yard is built into the hill & there is a rock wall & what looks like a waterfall or old bbq that's not been in use for many years. It's like big stairs & Mr. Layne goes up & down that like a goat until my husband moved his bbq grill into the path & now he has to think his way through it. Someone had taken the big bone up on the hill & it apparently rolled down onto the middle part of that odd rock fall/past grill space. I watched him meticulously pick his way up to his prize. At one point he was standing on 3 legs with one hind leg out like he was peeing (he wasn't... he just wasn't certain he had a good place to put that paw). So he shifted in teenie tiny increments until he could place his paw down. He had to balance the bone & shift his weight with a great deal of care, balance, & forethought to get his prize to the bottom. Once he did, he trotted over to the door & woofed at me. I said something like, "atta boy! YOU GOT IT!" & he wagged his tail & pranced around before going to lie down & chew.

Folks... what I watched today was scary intelligent kind of doggie brain work. At no point did he become bothered or nervous about his lack of footing. He put his paw in place, shifted a slight amount of weight to see how secure his foot was. I watched him rebalance 6-8 times before he was satisfied. He adjusted for the weight of the bone & tried again. Once he had control he didn't start his descent until he had it all worked out & never took a misstep. (Had I understood what he was after, I'd have gone out & gotten it but once he was in the zone & balancing was no time to startle him & maybe cause him to fall). Amazing brain. Amazing balance. Catlike agility. I've seen him fly through obstacles like he's got wings but this is the type of dog who can do big brain work & I'm so tickled.

Very careful Mr. Layne
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