Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

Thank you all so much for your helpful comments on my last post asking for advice. I am encouraged to move forward in training trying all the different techniques!
The next few days will be about celebrating Christmas with family, and then Haddie ventures to an amazing CCI PR for a little vacation while our family treks to the mountains for some skiing. I think it is perfect timing for her to see the world in a different environment, with an experienced PR, and alongside another CCI pup who is one month older than she. I am crossing my fingers she returns ready to step up her training with me, as I am energized, and I am sure she will be too.
Haddie and I will return in January to catch up on all of our Christmas adventures, and to start 2012 blogging. Until then I wish you all a ...


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Soliciting Advice

Okay, so the day after our field trip to the outdoor mall last week, I received an email from our Trainer suggesting that I try a few things with Haddie when we are on outings. She observed that Haddie was uncomfortable in new situations. The first thought that popped in my mind when I read the sentence was, "It was freeeeezing last night! Her tail didn't wag because she couldn't move it!" 


But I know I must not go on the defense as that will never get Team Haddie to improve and go in the direction of our goal. I will take her advice and offer Haddie "play time" and "fun breaks" during our outings to try to spice up her step and get her enthusiastic.

As I've taken her on outings since that revelation, I am finding that perhaps I don't really know what I'm looking for the same way that our Trainer is looking for. Haddie truly does behave in public, and she receives many wide eyed disbelief at her manners when I respond to their questions about her age - the public really can't believe how calm and obedient she is.

I know I am not here to please the general public ... but that does say something about Haddie.

What I need to know is ... what am I supposed to be seeing from Haddie? Does she need to wag her tail vigorously, prance at a higher step, perk her ears forward in curiosity, be a little disobedient? What is the common look of a puppy just shy of 6 months old in public? What am I missing that the professionals are seeing?

I offered Haddie one of her prized toys today in the isle of our Pharmacy. Our Trainer suggested giving Haddie some down time, in new or old places, with a toy to see if she will perk up. Haddie looked at the toy, looked at me, looked at the toy, looked at me ... and sat down. There was no perk or interest - more like, "Excuse me? I am in my vest, on a leash, in public. It is not time to play."  I had to smirk back at her, pick up the toy, and move on.

Thoughts, Fellow Puppy Raisers??

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Fire Truck

The Christmas Fire Truck was supposed to arrive at 7:15p, and my son stayed close to the door ready with Haddie waiting for the lights and music to be seen or heard. Nothing. He finally gave up and we went about our evening.
Clue in 9:00p when the kids were getting ready for bed (we've had uncharacteristically late nights all week, and we have more Christmas fun tomorrow, we are all running tired), and my daughter hears the sound. Back into clothes, grabbing the Food Bank donations from the entry, the two kiddos are out the front door in a flash.
I woke Haddie from a dreamy sleep, whisked on her cape, leashed her up with out her Gentle Leader, and followed close behind. Poor girl, she didn't know what hit her.
Christmas Music was blaring from the speakers, kiddos dressed in elf costumes were running around collecting donations for the Food Bank Truck that was following the Fire Truck, and firemen were walking around in their gear handing out Candy Canes with their dressed up dog named Sparky. Haddie was wide eyed, but she kept her composure enough for compliments to be had by neighbors. She wasn't perfect, but given the situation, I was pleased.
Oh, the festive, little things of the Season are so much fun! I am glad we got to experience this with Haddie, as we are not always home the day this tradition takes place.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

4-H CCI Field Trip

The last class of 4-H CCI for 2011 was held tonight at our local outdoor mall. The sights were fabulous with all the decorations, the nippy low 30 temps, and crystal clear night's sky. I managed to keep warm minus my toes. I forgot to wear my heavy socks in my boots and boy, did it make a difference!
My son was the Raiser for Haddie tonight, while I helped shuffle the kids from here to there, hold elevator doors open while some piled in, clicked the Trainer's camera while she attended to Haddie and my son, and watched my son do a fantastic job with Haddie. My hubby came along tonight too to snap all of our fun pictures. Thank you!
My girl was asked by our Trainer to take her dog on a double leash with a young sibling of a boy in the 4-H Club. While the boy is a regular in class with the Trainer's dog, with a smile and a wink to my girl, she said she would rather have another person attached to the leash while in public.
My girl did a great job hanging out with the young boy, she learned a lot of interesting facts as he seemed pretty darn smart!, and she liked being assigned the Trainer's dog because ... the dog knows everything!  The sibling's brother is in line to be a Handler of a Service Dog, and the sibling is pretty excited to have a dog in his household. What a neat gift for the whole family.
I think the best part about our 4-H CCI Club is that the three adult leaders are so accommodating, including every single person, their wisdom is sky high, and they have a combo attitude of "Why Not?" and "You can dog it!" towards the dog and the kids. To say I am pleased and excited to have found this connection is an understatement.
I also learned tonight through observation that I might have my socialization of Haddie off by just a touch. When I take her on outings, I am currently thinking of her as a graduate dog in that I expect her to just walk beside me, sit when I command, and down when commanded. That is all correct. However, the aspect that I am really lacking - which I will be changing starting now - is that I need to actually train Haddie.

By that I mean ... we need to do more of this:
The command was Up, and while Haddie had never been trained on that, our Trainer included her in the task and trained us on how to train Haddie. I need to do this more often - thinking out of the box. Practice a variety of commands while in public. Take the time to just stop and practice, and ignore all the stares and thoughts about what others are thinking. I mean really, a dog doing an Up on an ATM machine gathers attention quickly.
I guess I knew this, but had never really stopped to think about it. Haddie needs to get all her experiences in training, not just walking correctly beside me. Training. (I am repeating myself so I don't forget - Ha!). I know I am not too late, Haddie is just 5 1/2 months old and has also needed time to just wander with me in public. But now that she is nearing 6 months, I need to step it up a level.
In addition, our Trainer suggested that we start traveling to other cities. Example; my local grocery store has a certain smell, look, and feel to Haddie. Take the same chain store in a different city and it will produce a different smell, look and feel to Haddie.  Unlike the way humans view the world, dogs view it completely differently and it will make a difference in training.
Inspired - I am ready to rock and roll with Haddie on a whole new level. Excited. Not only that, but she graduated to the "official" Puppy in Training Vest tonight. Woo Hoo - no more snug puppy vest fit; she can actually have room to breathe.
And speaking of vests ... an employee at Costco today asked me, "Where do you get those vests your dog has on there?"  I told her it came with the dog. She looked confused, so I continued ... "She is a Puppy in Training as a Service Dog. She is owned by Canine Companions for Independence and the vest came with her." Still looking confused, as if Haddie was wearing a vest sold at Petco, she said, "Oh, because I have been looking for one for my dog."  Hmmm, sorry - not available.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Splish! Splash!

My son was begging me to try out his bathtub with Haddie. The last time she was bathed was at my parent's Doggie Spa in their garage. Looking at the calendar and looking at the dog, I decided that his bathtub would have to do.
But in the end, I determined that the Doggie Spa is much easier. Lifting a (at last weight check-in) 45 pound dog up and over the tub sides was not an easy task. At the Doggie Spa, it provides an easy platform for Haddie to gently walk in and out.
Perhaps she is to learn to "jump" into the tub, but given the fact that she is learning new surfaces with caution, I didn't want to expect too much from her. Not to mention that she was already grouched in the football stance ready to bolt if given the opportunity.
Once in the tub she settled on the rubber tub mat, shook her soapy self just once, and enjoyed the warmth of the hair dryer conclusion. Considering it a success!  Splish! Splash!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Haddie + Cora

One of my most favorite moments of our day is evening quiet time. When all the homework is done, my husband shuts off his work schedule, and I can pause with them for together time in our family room. The dogs even settle into a form of quiet time; just hanging out in the same room with the family ~ and each other.

Cora loves our gas fireplace. She could stay in this location all! day! if we let her. When she gets in this position, she is pretty much one lazy, carefree Beagle, which always works to Haddie's advantage.

While the family was hanging out together watching a television movie Friday night, Haddie was happily playing at my feet with her toys, checking in with me for hugs, going back to her toy play, pausing to watch the television, taking a quick resting break with my girl, getting kisses from my son, going back to her toy to play, checking in with me for hugs. You get the picture - she was a busy girl but content, calm, and so sweet.
Then she would very quietly sneak up on Cora, and sniff her head, ear, legs with out licking or mouthing her (Yay!), and then she would return to playing with her toys. A routine she did for over half an hour before Haddie settled in next to Cora.

And then this .... for just enough time for me to rapidly snap the photos.
Again, Cora was in a heat-exhausted stooper, but I caught it as proof that she secretively really does like her puppy friend named Haddie!
Cora!! I told ya' she is really sweet!! We'll keep her for another year, mm-k?. 

(*The long leash attached to Haddie is not hooked to anything. It is the Trainer's suggestion to help Haddie learn that Keep Away is never an option. So far, it is working brilliantly!)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Awww, Blog Friends!!!

Thank you Making of an Angel for awarding Paws For Independence the Liebster Blog Award!! What a nice surprise. The teen author of Making of an Angel does a fantastic job in developing personality in her posts which tell the lovely story of her two dogs; a Coonhound and a Newfoundland. A volume of pictures help tell her stories, and it a great read about her journeys. If you are not already a Follower, sign up now. Thanks, Kat!

In the spirit of keeping the Liebster Award going, I am awarding it to my following Top Dog Blogs: 

Cruisin' with Cricket: the author of this blog shares her life journey with Retinitis Pigmentosa and her Service Dog named Cricket. Her insight on the daily happenings from shopping to fashion, work to airplane traveling, and biking to running with a sight disability is not only inspiring but educational. Her attitude is outstanding. A must read. 

In Training; a KSDS Puppy Blog: I enjoy learning from this veteran puppy raiser. She's been actively raising puppies for KSDS since 2005 and her dogs are A-Mazing. I love all of her pictures, but more importantly the adventures and Non Stop Action that she finds herself in with her current pup, Vance.  

Carver: The Life and Times of a CCI Puppy; I came across the owner's other blog just as they were turning in their Pup, so I was kinda disappointed as I liked what their prior posts had to say. So, imagine how happy I was to hear the announcement when they received their newest puppy named Carver; a new blog was born. This blog is fun as it is written by Carver; which gives an interesting perspective and style of writing. And the fact that Carver is so handsome is a bonus. 

Life With a Guide Dog Puppy in Training: This blog shares photos and is written by a High School Teen. The title says it all - the life of raising a puppy for Guide Dogs of America. It provides good ideas on outings and the photos are adorable!! While GDA and CCI are not associated with one another, the similarity of the love for puppy raising and the end goal are the same. 

Growing a Guide Dog: Recently this blog has been on a writing-vacation, but Jonquil the Puppy is beyond cute! You have to go check out the photos, and the author promised to be back soon. Maybe this will inspire the writing.  =) 

Raising a Super Dog:What can I say about this blog? Brilliant. Humorous. Insightful. Inspiring. A dog blog that takes the ins and outs of Puppy Raising to a perfect mix of "Don't take life too seriously." and "This truly is the best volunteer gig ever." Her writing is top notch and you will become an instant fan. I won't give up too much info - you'll just have to go check it out for yourself. 

My additional choices were Miraculous Journey and One Puppy, One Vest, Loads of Adventures, however, I know they have been awarded from my other choice Just Between Us Check out all three of these blogs and you will find a story of love. Miraculous Journey currently is about the journey of Hobart, Haddie's brother. It is fun to have the connection and to see the similarities and differences of the siblings. One Puppy, One Vest ... is currently going through a transition in puppy raising and I wish her all the best to keep her head up and move forward in confidence. And Just Between Us received her first CCI puppy the day before Thanksgiving and it has been fun to read about the author and puppy's transition, and learn all about the author's amazing training tips. 

For the blogs mentioned above - right click on the Liebster Award on my sidebar to download it, add it to your sidebar, link it to my blog - and then Award Away!! Comment on your Awarded Blogs so they know of their Award, and can continue to pass it forward. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

180 degrees of Haddie

Haddie is my first CCI pup, the first dog being trained at this level of prestige under my care, and the first pup intact in our household. So, when I say, "I wonder if ..." and clue in on perhaps she is starting her cycle, I could be completely off. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. But very recently Haddie has a naughty-side directed at my innocent beagle, or stuffed animals, and socks.

With that being stated as fact, this too is fact. I took a huge step and put her on a tie down during piano lessons yesterday (she is just to the right of my chair and piano). Looking back I was taking a big risk as it could have gone either way. Completely poorly, or obviously positive. Positive was the outcome this time, but I should have known better.
I need not push it and instead should always set her up for success. But after awhile, you start to think that you have to test the boundaries somewhat, otherwise you will never know. There always has to be "a first" for a puppy. Thankful her first in this instance was great.

And that's just it. Lately she is just teetering on the edge of naughty and nice and you just never know which way she is going to steer her energy.

But through it all - it is never extremely horrible, therefore, I still have Hope that she is a good fit for CCI. Time and experiences will tell in the end, but I'm still rooting for Haddie's Graduation.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Haddie tells Santa ...

"I've been a good girl!!" 
Thank you to Robin for taking alllll the pictures of our CCI Chapter's photos this week during class. He posted them on our secured sight, and I wanted to include the best of ours on the blog for our book to Haddie's future forever family.
Santa was fantastic!! I like his expressions the best when the puppies decided to surprise him with a doggie kiss or whisper. As a thank you for coming all the way from the North Pole, our club donated over 400 pounds of food to his Food Bank. It was so nice to see the piles and piles of grocery bags sitting on the floor by the photo shoot display.
Haddie was not keen on jumping on Santa's bench. I'm sure she thought she'd get in trouble by the Big Guy as furniture is off limits at our house. So, we had to pick up the 45 pound gem and place her next to Santa. I'm not real sure she was all too comfortable, as her ears were laying back for every photo. But I will assure you that her tail was wagging constantly - you could see it hanging under the bench swooshing back and forth.
Haddie is just so fun ~ memories that will last a lifetime!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Santa and Puppies

There aren't many things better than Santa and Puppies!! Santa arrived last night at CCI Puppy Class. We are waiting for the photos of Haddie and the three of us, but I snapped this series of photos by standing behind the professional photographer with my flash off. Aren't they sooooo cute!!! The fluffy furballs ~ and to think that Haddie was their size at one time.
Last night we received notice that Haddie is a graduate of Puppy Class and can join 4H training classes with my son next week. My daughter will continue to work with Haddie too during class time, but will not be a participant at Fair, or have the requirements during the year of a member.

While we are so excited to be official members of 4H it is bittersweet to graduate from Puppy Class. The group of Raisers with puppies Haddie's age were very nice and it was so fun hanging out on Wednesday nights together. Since they do not have children transitioning to 4H, we will be leaving all of them. I'm sure we will bump into them throughout the year, but it just isn't the same. I wish them all Best Wishes for Success!!

The new crew above are our chapter's newest additions to the CCI Family. Welcome and Have Fun!!