Sunday, October 30, 2011

Outings with children

My kids have taken full ownership on socializing Haddie on weekends. I love it! A quick break for me, an opportunity for Haddie to learn to obey from others, and my kids getting that one on one experience in training. Of course, I am there as backup and taxi driver, but for the most part - I step back and "let it be" with my kids in charge.
Observing her pet store world
Yesterday we went to the franchised Pet Store where they were having a kitten adoption day. There were plenty of kitties, but the cages were too high off the ground for Haddie to even notice. The fish got her attention, and the ferrets. The wandering shopping-dogs were a curiosity, but she did a much better job of just letting them be.

My son joined Haddie and me on our evening walk through the golf course. While he didn't have the leash, we enjoyed chatting the whole way with Haddie trotting beside us.
The cutest face watching fish
Today we went to Church with Haddie and it was my girl's turn to handle her. She has the leash correction down like a pro. I am very impressed and need to take a few tips. We sat in the balcony, our current favorite spot with Haddie's age. We were able to get the front row, so Haddie nestled her way between the short wall and our feet, before she truly settled down in her favorite place; Under the pew to a sleep. Every week she is getting better at just chillin' out more quickly than the week before.
Haddie doing what she does best ~
paying attention to the one in charge.
When she is bigger, and more reliable in her settling down, we will venture to the main floor where she will see feet, purses, and umbrella's under the pew. A whole new set of training, I'm sure. It never gets old being a Puppy Raiser.

Outings with my children rank up there as my favorite time of the week!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Walks with Haddie

We have found the golf cart path at the golf course that starts behind the woods of our property to be the most relaxing morning walks. I am not sure about the variety of learning experiences that Haddie is receiving during these outings, but good exercise and walking long distances on a loose leash is just as important as learning about her extended world. 
Today we were almost hit by two golf balls; by two separate set of older gentlemen. But not to worry, I was purposefully walking "toward" the traffic of golfers and put Haddie in a Heel/Sit when I spotted the men wanting to hit the golf ball. 

One landed about 15 feet to our left as we started our adventure, and one hit about fifteen feet to our right when we were ending our walk. Haddie was clueless - those balls are tiny! - but she got to walk right beside the riding lawn mower on two different spots on the course. She was not phased by the large, loud, moving machine. 
Across the little pond on the course there was a team of Canadian Geese. It would have been too obvious and stretching breaking of the golf etiquette rules to let Haddie see them up close. But it reminded me that I need to get back to our city's lake to see the Geese with Haddie before they head South. 

The loop that I take is about 1.5 miles which is the perfect amount for Haddie at her current age. Haddie is 4 months this week, and since I like to follow the CCI Guidelines as close as possible, I waited the requested 4 months until long walks took place with Haddie. 

We've come far. I remember it took many weeks to get her to keep walking on her leash without stopping to sit down, or stand with refusal to move forward. Again, following the CCI Guidelines, we'll be taking jogging runs next summer after her first birthday - looking forward to that. 
I think my favorite part of our morning walks - rain, shine, cloudy, or foggy - is that the course is beautiful allowing a peaceful start to our day. It shakes off Haddie's morning wiggles to help her focus the rest of her day. It provides me some good cardio; better than a treadmill in a gym to be on a trail with a cute yellow lab friend. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween Party Fun 4H Style

I love to see my son beaming and that is just what was going on last night at the 4H Halloween Party. We are flexing our time with 4H - partly because we live so far away from the Kennel where all CCI classes and 4H club meet, I can't justify going twice per week on a regular basis, and partly because Haddie has not graduated from Puppy School which is a mandatory before we can devote our CCI Training classes to just the 4H club.

But we have been given the invitation to always come to the 4H Parties in addition to Puppy School. Last night was one of those events. I am so glad we didn't let the drive stop us, because my son was smiling the entire night being in charge of our pup with his sister by his side, dressed up, and mingling with new friends.

Just a second - here's a behind the scenes story that took place literally ten minutes before we had to leave home for our long drive.

Son: "Mom, I'm not gonna dress up." 
Me: "Why? It's a costume party."
Dad: "Uhm, why are we going if you are not going to participate?"
Son: "My real Halloween costume is just TOO big and awkward for this." 
Daughter: "Hey, I got an idea ... come with me ..." 

Thankfully my son was in an agreeable mood and off they went upstairs and returned five minutes later ready to go. Whew!! PERFECT costumes!!! Not only did my girl figure out their costumes, but Haddie's costume was handmade four years ago for our pet beagle, Cora, by my girl too.

Farmers going to the Fair with their Prized Pumpkin!!!
Haddie did better in the 4H Club than in Puppy School, and I am sure it was because the other dogs completely ignored her. It was very good for her, humbling really. "What? Nobody wants to come greet and play with me? What did I do wrong?!" Ahh, nothing, Haddie ... this is just the way you are supposed to behave - ignore them.  She got the gist real quick and was really well behaved - except for this quick kissing fest while nobody was watching:
All the 4H kiddos received a Costume Prize with their puppy ... a large real pumpkin, a squeaky toy, and a small pumpkin filled with treats. My son and Haddie won for "Cutest Puppy".  Of course!!!
My hubby is not a regular with us to CCI classes; we agreed that he can come to take photos for just the special events. So it fell into perfect timing that he was with us last night, because Haddie had outgrown her crate. Our CCI Chapter shares crates - turn in your crate, get a crate (if one is available).  All left over crates through the year are taken to California during turn-in times, which happens next week, so we had to get up to the school attic before the current stash of crates are returned.
I was not about to climb the ladder and get up to the attic. Insert sweet smile and batting eyes to my hubby. He picked a great one (minus it not being cleaned prior to storage), and I just turned an eye as we put Haddie into the yuckiness (after her bath, remember) to drive home. As soon as we got home, I did a full scrub down of the crate in the bathtub. It was a tight squeeze, a lotta time, and lots of elbow grease, but it looks spankin' new. Yea!! Haddie deserves that!!

Halloween Party Fun 4H Style was such a great Treat!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bath Day!

Haddie has outgrown our little utility sink in our laundry room. I know that we have a bathtub option just upstairs, but when there is a perfect dog-bath set-up at my parent's house ... why would I choose my own bathtub?!! My parents house = social time!!
My parents are the best! They truly make me feel like their home is my home, even though they purchased the home as I was headed to college, and I only lived there for a short while during the summer months. But it feels like my home because ... well, that's just my parent's way.
My parents have a Portuguese Water Dog who is beautiful! They take great care in making sure he is groomed in a timely manner by a professional, and all those times he ventures to their fenced acre backyard and returns mud-dy, he gets a spa from my dad. The dog has it made, and their house stays human-like with a clean dog.
Haddie and I spent the morning at their Doggie Spa, and then time with my mom inside catching up while Haddie practiced Hanging Out. It was fun! We've been invited back, so I am sure this will become a monthly routine.
Haddie did great, despite her being a little nervous. Her nervous is actually very manageable in that she doesn't freak - she just stays put and in this case was a little shaky. Nothing outrageous, but it was there. As a result of her good cooperation, we were able to get through the bath time in no time. It was easy, and she didn't shake the water off at all. Yea! I consider that great success.
Then for fun - which turned out helpful - we put her on their dog table and dried her with their dog's hair dryer. I was pleasantly surprised that Haddie did not mind the noise nor the warm air. She was a trooper. We got her "dry enough" for her to enter the house to complete the drying process while we chatted and she was on a leash beside me.
My parent's dog and Haddie did not meet, however. Another day in the future, but baby steps for both. Now we have a shiny yellow dog that smells sooooooo good!! Just in time for the 4H Halloween Party tonight.

Thanks, Mom, for a fun morning, for the spa, and for taking pictures!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Better than the big box store

Today's adventure landed us at a local Feed Store. The store, property, barn, dog agility center, training barns, and fenced tennis ball field is huge. It is well known around my neck of the woods. However, I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I have never been to this store, even though a friend from our church owns the establishment. Today we checked it out. It was better than any big box pet store. We will be back!

The biggest positive difference for me is that it is perfectly clean with no random crickets jumping about for the pet critters they are trying to sell. That is my biggest turn-off to the pet store I usually shop. The R*Ranch is perfectly clean, with many isles of shopping pleasure and unique items. I have created my Wish List and will return to purchase some new fun items.

In addition, the staff was excellent and so welcoming of Haddie. I am sure it helped that one of the employees is a CCI Puppy Raiser. They were well aware of the program and the need for different training situations.

Finally, today's outing with a challenge! Haddie was a pulling machine this morning. I felt like it was a place where she could explore - as our trainer had mentioned that was appropriate for her age. But, unfortunately, her exploring was more all-pulling. So we worked on that - a lot! We spent close to an hour (with a bathroom break) wandering and learning not to pull in this high energized environment.

The good part of the story is that she experienced new items about her world, and was eventually able to walk the circumference of the store with a gentle walk and no pulling. We ended on a good note.

The biggest new experience were the cats in crates. It took a looooong time for Haddie to notice, partly because this was where she was not pulling and was staring intently at me. Finally, she found the cats after she backed herself too close to the kennel. The cat hissed, Haddie jumped and turned, and stared at the cat. I backed Haddie up to help the cat de-stress (it was not happy), and the farther away we got, the less interested Haddie quickly became.
This awesome kennel was stylish! I opened the door, said Kennel, and Haddie marched right in and turned around for a reward. As she was chewing, the plastic floor wobbled, she braced her feet - which made a loud scratchy sound, which caused her to tuck tail and run straight towards my leg and into a Down. I talked to her and encouraged her to try again. She went back about four times before she felt completely confident.
The stairs led to nowhere, but it was fun to have her try the first few with her front paws extending for a treat.
In a few weeks R*Ranch will be having an Adoption Day of farm animals. I will check their website for the details, but if we are free, I'd love to take Haddie back to see all the unique farm animals that are up for adoption. I'm not sure how close we will be allowed to get, but it sounds like a great training opportunity.

Yes, this Ranch is much better than the big box stores. They have a new customer in me!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Stealth Stalker

Our floorplan is arranged where our kitchen is the center of our house. From there you can make a complete loop to the front of the house, to the back of the house, crossing the foyer where stairs lead up. 

Haddie has only gone up the stairs twice by herself in almost two months of living here. Partly because she has just gained confidence in this new found freedom, and partly because she obeys well and just knows my thoughts about the stairs. I would prefer her to wait to be invited up. 

We hang out in the kitchen and family room sections of our house. When Haddie goes "missing" I make my trek either through the dinning room, or the hallway, to get to the foyer where I think she is contemplating whether to take a chance to try the stairs solo. 

Sometimes, I will just yell, "Haddie ... Here!" and I hear her cloppity feet and see her sweet face arriving to the room I'm in . Other times, I go on a trek to find her before I call. If she is behaving, then I'm okay with letting her be. 

Recently, as I set out to find her, she's not where I think she is. No sign in the dinning room. No sign in the living room. No sign at the base of the stairs, or the top. Hmmm.... then I call, "Haddie..." and before I get the word Here out of my mouth, I see a cute tail flicking back and forth behind me. 

The little stealth stalker has been Following Me!!!
Cracks me up - she does it more times than not, but I still can't figure out how she winds up behind me as I certainly have not spotted her as I was walking through the house. She must be arriving in the kitchen from the opposite direction as I start out to find her. 

She's so adorable - and such a great dog!! I love her sneaky-side. I am sure she know what she is doing, and curious why I haven't clued in. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Haddie's First Pumpkin Patch Adventure

According to the trusty online weather forecast, today is to be our last "good" day for a week. Thankfully, I had my calendar clear and took advantage by going to the Pumpkin Patch with Haddie.
There were loads and loads of preschoolers on Field Trips. Yay! The high pitched squeals were perfect, although the parents were in their own little world and didn't want to come near the "Puppy In Training".  I too didn't want to make a scene and disrupt their Field Trip by calling loudly, something like, "Coooome Pet The Pupppppppy ....".  I figured that would be negative CCI-marketing.

But there were plenty of other distractions for Little Miss Haddie.

Take for instance this Giant Scarecrow that was blowing about with Hot Air by a very noisy generator.
Haddie noticed it from a distance, and was cautious and curious. We took baby steps before we were close enough; walking a little ways, commanding a Sit, observing, then walking closer, and repeating. It worked well. All the while streams of kids were flocking by with their high pitched, sweet voices of excitement for being at a Pumpkin Patch!!!
There were little statues around too, however, Haddie has seen enough of these where they don't interest her any longer. Amazing how many statues one notices when they are out and about working with a Puppy In Training. I thought this was the cutest display. I love me some Black and White Cows!
Hay, soft mucky ground, Pumpkins, giant Spiders, lots of sweet fair-type food smells - a great setting for Haddie to learn. And I think she enjoyed the smell of farmland; as we got to the open field where our car was parked, she decided to do a quick roll through the wet grass before I even had time to state the Hurry command. She can be speedy quick in doing what she wants to do. That one caught me off guard.
I'm so glad we were able to catch the sun, and a little bit of warmth, for Haddie's First Pumpkin Patch Adventure.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

She's 29 pounds exact

Her final booster shots were administered today and she weighed in at exactly 29 pounds. All 29 pounds of  love, focus, and playfulness.
Tonight we are venturing to the 4H club associated with our chapter of CCI. They are having an Awards Banquet and invited my son to come along; and to receive his Welcome Certificate.

My son has been asking over and over to join. We were hesitant only because we did not want to take away anything CCI-related from our daughter, whose schedule is full and adding another commitment to her plate is not advisable.

But, after further discussions with the trainer, we found that she can continue to share Haddie during the weekly classes, and the "extra stuff" that is 4H-related can be my son's adventure.

Perfect! I like it when things just work out, and the family remains happy, and our goal to get Haddie's title as CCI Graduate can continue to move forth. I think 4-H will be a good fit for my son, and Haddie.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pumpkin Patch

Today we ventured to the Pumpkin Patch in the cold Fall afternoon. We had plans to take Haddie, but the more we thought through the patch that we always attend, the more we decided that it was too much for a puppy. And it was the correct choice to keep her home. It was packed!!! Way worse than a weekend Costco Adventure. Think Disneyland in peak season. Next year ...
However, if the rain stays away, then I will take her back by myself this week during school hours - when the most that will be there are Stay At Home Mommies, or field trips. A perfect setting with young children. The smell of Fall Food wafting through will certainly be good for her to wiff while she figures out that I am *still* the most important , the petting farm section (where really all the animals are behind chicken wire and there is no option for petting - so the hand sanitize station is just for looks, I guess), and the rows and rows of pumpkins.
But because I was hoping for a pumpkin picture of Haddie, my girl and I shuffled off to the local grocery store before we left. It was perfect!! Haddie looks good next to orange.
When we got back into the car, after going through some of the aisles to pick up breakfast food for morning, and a couple of have-to's to get us by until my regular shopping trip, I told my girl that we will need to continue our Sunday Outings together. She is a huge help!! She handles Haddie, I get some things accomplished, and Haddie learns.

Team Haddie is working well!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Who knew .... A fabric store could be so fun.

My husband is the creative-genius in our family. A graduate of a well-known Art School and Designer by trade, he is quickly handed the parental duty of all things crafty. Such as - yearly Halloween Costumes.

I will save the reveal of my kiddos costumes for a later date, and while they are phasing out of Trick-or-Treating due to age, they do kick up the festivities at a yearly Cousins Halloween Party. A costume is always in order.

After school, a round of golf for my husband, and dinner, we headed out late to the Fabric Store. It was the first true social outing of Haddie in the dark of night. She did great, and sometimes I wonder if there will ever be a moment when it will not be great. I'm not asking for it - I'm just wondering.
The store was basically empty as it was nearing the last hour before closing. However, the five different couples and families that were in the store with us all took time to visit with Haddie. My husband asked privately if this celebrity-status was normal. Not really. It was just a very open, highly talkative, and interested group of strangers. It was nice.

One older gentleman apparently raised a dog in his younger years for "the blind", his quote. I don't know if he really did or not, but he felt it necessary to make bird calls at Haddie. I had to smile. Haddie did the traditional head tilt like most puppies would, then out smarted him when she figured out quickly that it was a human acting like a bird. She was unimpressed. She quickly lost focused on him, and looked at me the remainder of the time. That's when I giggled, and he moved on.

Other than the bird-calling, the other highlight was Haddie sticking her noise in the Halloween dish with the hand - you've all seen them. Once your hand nose gets into the bowl, the skeleton hand falls down upon it and starts talking.  Haddie thought that was great fun. Over and over and over. I wish I had a picture or video of that.

A pure joy to wander aimlessly through the fabric and craft isles with Haddie while my hubby and kids worked on their project purchases. Who knew ... a fabric store could be so fun!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Outings Update

Last week I sent out a question to fellow Puppy Raisers regarding if socialization outings need to be more about Puppy Exploration, or having behavior like a Service Dog. In our weekly CCI class last night, I posed the question to our trainer. Her view was: both.

Yes, have the puppy act like a Service Dog in regards to walking with out pulling on the leash, and staying focused on you. You should always be more interesting than any distraction. However, if there is an inquisitive puppy, a stress, or hardship in behavior regarding a particular distraction, then it is okay to let the puppy explore (through your help) in working over the concern. Spend time with the distraction, praise the puppy for calm behavior, work through it before moving on with a loose leash and puppy by your side.

It sounds like all the feedback in my Blog Comments were right on the same page! Good job, and thank you!!

One area I will be working on is parking ourselves on benches on outings. One thing I am not doing enough of is just observing. I have been "on the move" more times than not while with Haddie. There is value to just sitting.

Per our trainer, the sitting part is for the puppy to see the world and not worry about Commands. The puppy can choose to Sit, or Down, or Under ... and the puppy is allowed to flip from all three over and over. It is  okay. The puppy is processing the environment while choosing to move. Versus, commanding the puppy to Sit/Down/Under, and making the puppy complete the command, while learning about the environment is just too much. At this age - it is all about observing the environment and not working on commands while in public (except for loose leash - and focus on the Puppy Raiser - those two seem to be non-negotiable at all times).

While Haddie has been great walking in and out and over and under a bunch of different scenarios, I have also been working on practicing her Sit/Down while at places like the dentist, Starbucks, Shopping Mall. Now, I need to retrain my thinking and I just need to Sit Myself and let her take in her environment.

And .... we need to find high value treats! She is okay with what I have been using, but I know I have not found that Wow-Factor. I need to step it up a notch in that regard.

Enjoying my weekly CCI check-ins, our Trainer, and fellow Puppy Raisers ... oh, and the adorable puppies whom this is all about!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Haddie goes to the Dentist

After school yesterday all the kids in the household went to the dentist. Haddie came too. She made celebrity status instantly as the receptionist, Rebecca, feel in love quickly with Haddie's sweet face and good manners.

It was nice to have time to really talk about CCI and the purpose of Puppy Raising. I am sure Haddie met every staff member, as Rebecca was sure to make it known that they had a very adorable visitor in the waiting room that all must see.
And then ... the Dental Hygienist who was assigned to my son could not pass up the opportunity to get the Dentist to take a break with patients to meet Haddie. And so he did. It was mutual happy on both sides - Haddie's tale was wagging like crazy, and the Dentist could not get enough of her.
Because I corrected Haddie in Don't Lick, he laughed and said that if there is any chance where we don't want Haddie to graduate - to be sure to have him spend more time with her (ha ha). That lead in nicely to how the program works in that if she is not a graduate, that we can help place Haddie. His eyes did that, "Oh, don't even tempt me."- look.
The adorable torture of a very good, well behaved, awesome puppy!  Love that part of puppy raising!
My list is growing as my backup plan of forever pet families, but in all seriousness, my goal, prayer, and heart is for Haddie to Graduate!