Things I noticed that FLD Mike passed by today:
a curved piece of metal,
the wrapper from a pack of cigarettes,
miniature pine cones,
an orange reflector shard,
Just a few months ago I would have been fishing each and every one of these out of Mike's mouth with my finger! Now, the LEAVE IT command most often causes FLD Mike to sniff the thing, but continue on without nabbing it.
I test him.
We pause near a littered-plastic bottle.
Mike. DOWN. STAY.
As I step away to take his picture I tell him, LEAVE IT.
Too late, I say again, LEAVE IT.
He tongues the acorn for a moment,
then spits, PTTUUYYEE.
Good boy, Mike!
My finger is saved from his slobber.
Nine-month-old-FLD Mike's distractions are further away these days instead of just-under-nose:
a bird picking clean the sidewalk crack,
muffled dog-barks from inside air-conditioned bungalows,
a rabbit a house away,
kids playing four-square in their driveway across the street,
a squirrel rustling in the branches overhead.
But he is doing so well as I heel him (without other FLD puppies around) that I relax.
FLD Mike is patient with me when I get distracted by:
ants on a flower (that I cannot name),
and bees busy collecting nectar.
A beautiful walk this morning!