Al doesn't even have his C.D. or C.G.C., but he did me proud Saturday and passed his PP.T.!

I'd been waiting, worrying, and preparing for the Porcupine Test for years.  By passing it, he saved our most notable exploit to date (more on that elsewhere).  I'm told porcupine quills are air-filled, so if you cut them, they become easier to extract.

The porcupine was not far off the trail, on a big log, unsurprisingly unconcerned.  It was beautiful, with very long (8"?  10"?) reddish-tawny fur in a splash of sunshine (this long wispy hair is not the armament, that's underneath, in the back).  It looked like something you'd want to pet.

I only noticed it because Al alerted, started sniffing, and left the trail (only a few feet, not far).  He didn't bark or chase, just watched from a distance.

"LEAVE IT."

I had the quick-draw leash on him in record time.  I and some others approached within a few feet of the porky; Al was tied to me, so he was close to it, too.  I just told Al to "Stay Close" and "Leave It", and he was perfect. He never barked, seemed interested, but not agitated or excited.

"GOOD DOG, Al!"

So if he ever passes his Skunk Test, he'll be PP.T./S.T./X.

 

Al, mercifully, doesn't seem to have a strong prey drive. There'd been a deer in the middle of the trail minutes earlier, and I'm not sure he even noticed it.  I have pics of him very close to marmots and blue grouse, without harassing them.

I don't see porcupines often. They're unobtrusive, don't move fast (don't have to).  I guess we just walk by them without noticing, unless we have a dog to point them out.

Nobody messes with a porcupine except a fisher.  Somehow, a fisher can flip and disembowel them.  I've seen the aftermath of this -- in, of all places, Fisher Creek.

My brothers were together when the retriever attacked a porcupine.  Scott said his stomach muscles were sore and cramped next day after spending a couple hours restraining the dog while Greg removed the quills.

This photo more clearly shows the part of the porky you want your dog to leave alone:

 

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Comment by Gromit, Sparkle, and Doug on August 2, 2011 at 2:14am
I'm sure Al was just testing John to see if he was paying attention and fulfilling his job as Corgi handler.  Gromit is fascinated by the lizards in our yard and will run towards them but so far I see no indication that he's ever caught one.  They are pretty fast, too fast to herd.
Comment by Teresa Gilpin on August 1, 2011 at 6:15pm
Congratulations to Al!  I guess that was a pretty important test, and also pretty important to pass!!!
Comment by Sam Tsang on August 1, 2011 at 5:41pm
GO AL!!!
Comment by Gail and Ashton on August 1, 2011 at 1:05pm
Very proud of Al! I have pulled tons of quills from dogs over my years working at the vet and most of the time the dogs are repeat offenders. I think they get it in their doggie brains that "this time will be different!" and as we all know, it never is. LOL
Comment by Jennifer Markley on August 1, 2011 at 11:45am
Seanna would have massively failed.  Her prey (herd?) drive is insane!  I'm so proud of Al!
Comment by Geri & Sidney on August 1, 2011 at 10:23am
Good boy, Al! What a clever fellow :)
Comment by Bev Levy on August 1, 2011 at 8:15am
Hooray for Al and he probably doesn't know just how lucky he is! Good training on your part too.
Comment by Jane Christensen on August 1, 2011 at 7:34am
Way to go Al....I would have to say this test was more inportant than most!!!!!!!
Comment by David on August 1, 2011 at 4:41am
Thank god Al stayed away, I have seen some nasty picture of the dog attacked by porcupine.

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