Oddly with a title like that, this post is not about Juno! It's about Loki.
Mr. Wild Dingo often comments that I portray Loki as dumb. Then I remind him that it was he who nicknamed him Retardo Montalban. And as much as I'd love to use that name on this blog, I know it is a wee-bit politically incorrect. But it sure doesn't stop me from using it at home.
And no, I'm not one of those people who doesn't take the time to do any consistent training with a dog and then shrugs and says, "My dog is stupid because he doesn't know how to (fill in the blank)." The truth is Loki is wicked book-smart. All I have to do is get out a few training tools and he's in. He loves to guess at what I want from him and it's very easy to teach him anything. Inspired by the Jack Russel on YouTube doing house chores, I taught him to shut all my kitchen cabinets in less than 20 minutes and transfer it to other doors and drawers in the house. And if I had more time, I would teach him tons more and he would love it. He learns very fast and has a very long memory. Unfortunately for him, I just happen to run out of ideas of what to teach. He's in it for the self-esteem of learning more than the reward. Unless the reward is a tug, then he's in it for that.
For example, the other day I retraced our walking trail from the day before because I lost my hat. Loki, having done a little SAR and article search training, immediately found it. I didn't even ask him to, he just did his job and as soon as he caught the human scent he pointed/alerted to it.
"You want me to find your hat again? Geesh, this is such a no brainer."
In the above photo, he reinacts the find. The hat is just around the corner to the right.
"Hmm. This smells like you Mom!" Someone had found it and placed it on this post.
"Hey mom, I'll trade you, a tug for your hat!"
This time (during the reenactment) instead of laying down by it or picking it up to bring it to me (both acceptable behaviors), he grabbed it and played with it. Serves me right for leaving my rewards at home. And that's why my hat is dirty. Sigh. I wish he had a better owner. He could be a better dog.
Juno on the other hand, takes much longer to grasp anything I'm teaching her. Though she's equally motivated to learn (she leaps from her down when it's her turn to learn whatever I'm teaching that day), it just takes many more repetitions and she often resorts to prior tricks that get her a reward. By the way, she is EXCELLENT at search. But that's another post.
Their minds are completely opposite of eachother. Juno's not book-smart. But boy she has a lot of common sense. And this is where Loki is, well, for lack of a better term, Retardo Montalban. For example, just look at all the effort he goes through to reach a very simple goal because he's, well Retardo Montalban.
"Oh My Dog! That water is moving! It's gonna get me!" Loki squeals on his brakes and turns around at the first sign of the wee-waves.
"Must dig...must dig!"
Near the water's edge, he gets silly. I have no idea what he's up to.
"Crap! I'm outta here!"
The wave comes in and he bolts. Juno mean time is calm as a cucumber and strolls through the water, taking the occasional sip from the cold, clear, clean Lac Leman (Lake Geneva).
"Get back Lac Leman-ness Monster!"
Juno's all, "WTF is your problem dude?"
"I'm outta here again Princess!"
"Seriously Big Boy?"
"Must dig! Must dig!"
I still have no idea what he's up to. At this point, I think he's just being compulsive and acting out some anxiety. Which is not uncommon for him.
"I know it's down there!"
"Ok, now I'm intrigued Big Boy. Did you SAR something again?"
"Hey Mom, can you believe this joker?"
"This is no joke Princess! I'm serious!"
"Ok, I give up. Why did you dig so hard in order to do your SAR thing?"
"I'm so thirsty! This is so delicious."
"You're kidding me, right?"
Without a doubt, he specifically dug a whole in order to get a drink of the water from the lake without going into the scary lake, dog-forbid he should get his feet wet or the boogy-man in the lake should get him.
"You mean to tell me you did ALL THAT WORK just for a drink of water that you could have gotten less than a foot away without any work?"
There was no doubt in my mind he had that goal from the very beginning with all the water he drank.
"Yes but Princess, the Lac Leman-ness Monster is constantly moving that lake and he's gonna get me!"
"Oh Big Boy, you know I tease you about the Lac Leman-ness monster, right? I mean, you really believe my tale?"
"Tale or no tale. I don't like all that movin' around that water does! And this water here is delicious."
"Ok, you convinced me. Maybe I should try it and see if it's any better than the lake."
"It is Princess! Because the Leman-ness Monster is not moving it!"
"Dude, it tastes exactly the same over here. And the lake isn't even moving that much."
"No way sister. I'll just stick to my controlled water source, minus the Leman-ness Monster!"
And with that he sprang into his favorite yoga pose. Remember from his days in Santa Cruz, his side crow poses?
Well here it is from the back side:
And this is why we proudly call him Retardo Montalban. And we mean that in the nicest way. (wink-wink) Bien sur!
In Cooking News
The chicken marsala rocked! Early culinary critics agree. The chicken and mushrooms melted in my mouth. I used a very expensive dry Italian Marsala. I actually opened the bottle to try it though I had a bottle of Marsala already opened.
Unfortunately my risotto did not. The recipe called for 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and that was way too much so it tasted bad to me, but it would have been passable had it not been for the pepper. In addition, this particular risotto was supposed to come out light and flaky and this came out sticky, which also passable for risotto but it would have been nice if it were light and flaky. It was my first risotto. I knew it was not a great side dish for the Chicken Marsala, as the flavors were too different, but I wanted to try it anyway.
The Marsala is definitely a keeper. I'll probably add some butter next time to lighten the color of the sauce. I don't even like chicken much and I had a hard time sharing it with the critics.
Mr. Wild Dingo is traveling, that meant the second piece went some for the critics and some for left-overs. Four paws up from the critics!
And Finally some Reader FAQs
No meat stock?
Technically I have found chicken and beef stock. It came in a small jar of barely two cups of stock and it seems more concentrated than stock I'm used to. It was $6 for that small jar! There are no Swansens over here. Serendipitously, I found out that the Swiss were the one's who invented the Bouillon cube. Seriously, the makers of Nestle were the first to put it on the market. As Chef TravelMax pointed out, "I'm not surprised. Another Swiss efficiency." Unfortunately for real cooks, this is one efficiency that is a faux pas. So I bucked up and paid $6 for the two cups of stock. Since it seems quite concentrated, I added 2 cups of water which is fine for Risotto.
Are Juno's Gold Beads Not Working?
Yes and no. We've seen moderate changes in her behavior and pain. But its not enough for us. We'd like to see more and so we are back with the holistic doctor. But it's likely we'll be going down the path of THR soon. It's just a matter of exhausting holistic options, especially since it's the holidays, there's really not much we can do now until they are over and guests who are coming are gone.
Are there dog parks in Switzerland?
NO! Not at all! The Swiss are not at all inclined to let mere humans make judgements about whether their dogs can be off-leash. For real. And I have to say I don't disagree with them. I have a love-not-love relationship with dog parks. I prefer very large open parks with very little visibility of where the fence line is and tons of walking trails where Loki can casually say hello to other dogs (which he does well) and keep on walking with me rather than fret about who's coming into the gate and acting like a lunatic (and not a good way). I think most of the U.S. does a poor job with dog parks and the ones they have probably should not exist. On the rare occasions I do go to them, its usually for training or for a play date at a low traffic time.
And finally: Are you just trying to make us all sad? All the beautiful scenery AND good food.