Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Cora Spreading Christmas Cheer - age 7 years
Haddie giving the Gift of Love - age 18 months
My family wishing you Peace in the New Year - kiddos age 13/11 in photo

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12 Days of Christmas

12 Days before Christmas
2 months to the day when we leave our driveway with our sweet Haddie in the back headed to California and Puppy College.

How I wish the days would move at a snails pace for both events.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Holiday Outing

This week our CCI class enjoyed a holiday outing at an outdoor mall. It poured rain sideways,  catching some of us still under the overhang covering, and the wind was blowing some to add a touch of more bitter to the already cold night. But when you are surrounded by good people and amazing dogs, it is easy to continue to have fun under any weather condition!
The pups were expected to do a number of commands, similar to last year's outing at the same location. Last year Haddie was just shy of six months old and would not do an Up command on anything. It was a real struggle for her last year. This year, as it should be, she was breezing through all that was expected of her.
Minus one moment when she would not jump onto the bench with the other dogs. Had she gone up when it was commanded of her the first time, she would have had dibs on her space. But because she was lacking confidence and would not jump, other dogs were jumping up and taking her spot. Now, she had to jump and fit into a tighter space. Haddie likes her space.
The Trainer took over and made her get into position - and then we got this really cute photo!! Yes, Cat and Haddie could not stop lovin' each other.
We ended the night cozy'd into the St*r$ks with all our dogs underfoot. It was fun to overcrowd the coffee shop and have all the dogs flopped here and there in neat little piles at our feet. What a fun experience to take our puppies everywhere together!!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Secret Friends

It has been stated that I am not really sure that my pet Beagle, Cora, likes our CCI puppy. While Cora is older by six years, she certainly is not the one that controls the rules between the two. Cora is a lover that just wants to cuddle and that's it.

Haddie is a lover too, but she'd rather jump around Cora and get her enthused for a roaring game of chase. There have been countless times when Haddie will give up her favorite ball to Cora, encouraging the girl to pick.up.the.ball. to have no response from Cora. It is visibly frustrating to Haddie, you can see her look as if to say, "Are you serious? I am offering you my most prized possession and you won't even accept my gift?!" Then Haddie starts the crazy dance and takes back the ball all the while Cora continues to stare at her.

My son had been playing around with an App on the iPad that allows you to take single photos, and then stitch them together to make a video. He captured this moment while Haddie was on a tie-out chilling with her bone, and Cora's blanket. It is only during tie-out moments that Cora initiates the love to Haddie. Perhaps it is a sign that Puppy Play is not her style, but a more mature sharing of time is.
video

When I first saw this video, I admit to getting an eyeful of tears. The sweet music, and the genuine love that the two share comes through. Even in this video, Haddie is offering the blanket to Cora and Cora does not respond. One day, I keep telling Cora, you will miss this yellow, energized, furry friend.

I know I will.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Santa and Haddie 2012

Haddie was one special puppy this week when she got to visit with the big man in the red suit; twice. Santa Claus came to all CCI Classes in our Region as part of a community service project (we all donated a huge amount of non-perishable foods for Santa's favorite food bank). I am chuckling as I say that Haddie was the only puppy to kiss Santa. The. only. puppy. Sigh.
I think she just wants something extra special in her stocking this year. Probably much bigger than a bone or toy; perhaps the perfect forever family match!! Okay, I can't really mind her kissing Santa for that idea.
 
Yesterday, we were invited to attend a two hour block at a Special Santa event for disabled children. It was a huge event held at a large church nearby our CCI Classes. One of the women on the board of this organization who hosted this event is a recipient of a service dog for her son, and so she had the connection to invite our group to this event.
It not only was the best kick-off to the Christmas Season for us, to see all the adorable children dressed up to see Santa, and "wait" in a highly organized room of activities and crafts (and puppy petting), but it was a real treat to know we were making a difference by educating the parents about CCI, and sharing the love of Haddie with those that wanted to pet and love back.

Haddie was a little keyed up for the first twenty minutes at our station, but she held her excitement with consistent four feet on the floor and head positioned at a correct level to not interfere with personal space. She was wiggly and wanted to break her downs and sits, but once she settled, she reallllly settled for the next hour and forty minutes. I know this picture makes it look like she truly passed-out, but she was still breathing, I promise (smile).
From there, any person coming to pet and love Haddie received a very mellow pup - the pup we are used to handling out in public and around our house on her best of days.
Before we left, we were invited to Santa's workshop for a photo. My kids and Haddie had their photo taken with the big guy, and we will receive a copy in the coming days. I will share when it is received; it is adorable.

However, Haddie, once again, went crazy over Santa Claus. She wanted to jump in his lap, whisper her wish, and give him a kiss again, but this time we were prepared and corrected her with a to sit on the floor with minimum wiggly-buns. It worked, but only after she tried so hard to get her way.

(Looks like I will be mall hopping to get her used to Santa's this holiday season. At least (?) she isn't fearful, just overly enthusiastic. Nothing high value treats can't fix, right?).

I love Haddie. I am going to miss her personality of high toddler energy, and her extra calm manners when it matters most.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Defeated

Haddie has been wound up as of late. I am trying to decide what has caused her shift in behavior. Age? Cranky? Bored? What gives? It is a mystery.

And nothing bothers my mind more than trying to figure out the naughty of a puppy. Any advice would be welcomed.

I am finding that Haddie is great on-leash. That fits perfectly for good behavior on Social Outings. Nothing phases her, she is under-control, she makes us both look good.

Get her off-leash as of late (ie: at home) and she is crazy-puppy. Visitors to the house saw a naughty puppy today, not the gentle soul and perfectly mannered pup found outside our home. Disappointed.

Example: twisting in circles in the living room. Not okay. Wanting to kiss the faces of those petting her, stretching in that annoying puppy-in-your-face-kinda-way, but never lifting four paws off the ground, is still annoying and not acceptable. Not listening is just plain naughty. She settled after about a minute, but that is one minute too long. It truly seemed like f.o.r.e.v.e.r.

She turns back to Calif in two months and I am hoping she is just going through a phase and gets her act together sooner than later. I am swirling thoughts of "Should have done..." in my head and relying on my next pup to be different. "Should have done..." in the moment tonight, and "Should have done..." all along in training.

While I can store this lesson's learned away for our next puppy, I have to keep open to that next puppies issues which may be completely different than Haddie's. Maybe he will be a gem at home manners off leash, and horrid on leash. And I am not sure which is better if I were to rate them, or if CCI is to rate them. I am sure they are equal. Sigh.

Puppy Raising is hard, but the challenge is interesting and I will still continue forth in raising again. Every dog will have it's challenges, every dog is new, and I am just learning along the way.

Defeated - yeah, my feelings are hurt that she has not been like herself, but I can only look to myself to get it under control. She won't do it on her own, that is for sure.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Kennel Cough

Haddie woke up yesterday coughing. It sounded awful and it proceeded for a few minutes. It was like when a puppy pulls too hard on their own leash and then has a coughing fit as a result. The deep, husky, loud kind. It sounds truly awful.

By late afternoon I had picked up the pattern that whenever she exerted energy, she would get into a cycle of coughing. Not knowing if our Vet would be open on Veteran's Day, and watching the clock run closer to closing time, I picked up the phone and thankfully was able to get her in.

I am so glad I did, because as the night went on, her coughing became more frequent, more loud, more depressing to hear. Had I not known what the diagnosis was - I just might think she had pneumonia and was dying.

Thankful that is not the case. She has Kennel Cough. Apparently there is a new strain going around, and some how the vaccine she has received prior is not fully protecting her. She is now on meds and the coughing should go away in half a week. Her temp is normal, her heart and lungs are perfect, so we just have this ugly cough to get rid of. Thankful it is just this, no matter how sad it is to hear.

No socializing, and no CCI class for this week, and my pet has already been exposed.

I do not know if the meds have any true side effect of hyperactivity, but Haddie is on one big naughty streak this morning. Silly puppy is doing everything she should not be doing in order to settle that cough. Running through the house seems to be her favorite past time.

Dear Haddie: when you are crazy-active, and being totally inappropriate, like you are demonstrating right now, you put yourself into a gagging, coughing fit. See the connection?? I promise this will go away, and we can get back to normal, appropriate activity. Until then, please, just mind your manners, and chill out.  

Friday, November 9, 2012

20 minutes

What do Puppy Raisers do when they have 20 minutes to spare before leaving the house to pickup children from school?

A Puppy Photo Shoot, of course!!! Here is Haddie at 16 months. Love this pup!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Oh My! with a capital O and M!

So I took Haddie on an errand with me this morning; bright and early after the kid's were dropped off at school. I know socializing in a crowded store adds another layer of importance to Haddie, but some days the quiet of a freshly opened store is just what I need.

Fred Meyer was the place we needed to go, and this store just opened a few months ago in our town. You bet it was a big deal in our area. We are a small town that is on the brink of growing larger. Big box stores are moving in; with a town debate over staying extra small, or allowing growth.

To me - I'm just glad not to drive so far to get some normal errands accomplished!

We were greeted to the cuteness of holiday decor and we took full advantage of seeing everything. Haddie approved of Santa, and especially liked the Reindeers. We meandered through all the aisles, stopping at the Christmas Decor Toys. In a wonderful Sit-Stay, I brought down a dancing-singing-chicken to Haddie's level. She was adorable!!

So adorable that a man walking passed the aisle stopped and came towards us exclaiming, "Oh - that is so cute!", looking at Haddie, not the dancing-singing-chicken. I thought so too, her expressions are the best. Her sweet brown eyes melt everyone.

We continued on our adventure into the toy section, and then the next group of items were the bikes. Haddie went crazy. She was sniffing wildly towards the bikes. I thought perhaps the smell of the rubber (even I could smell it) peaked her interest. But something was just a little different than the traditional, "Mmmm, what's that smell" attitude about Haddie.

She was pacing and smelling and tracking something. I let her. It was interesting. Not sure if a CCI Trainer would have agreed of my choice, but whatever - there was no stopping her.

After watching her for a few, I gave the Sit command, and she obeyed. When ... we ... heard ... a ... squeak. From under the platform of bikes came the repeated noise of a teeny tiny mouse.

Oh My!!

Okay, now I was freaked out and grossed out, yet fascinated that Haddie picked up on it from two aisles away and persuaded me to follow her nose to investigate.

The noise stopped. I gave Haddie a Release and let her continue her sniff. Then, I ordered her to Sit and we listened. Squeak!!

Okay, girl, we are outta here!! Well done.

Made me wonder how many teeny tiny mice are all over any mega store.

Oh My! with a capital O and M!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Thankful

Three and a half months. Countdown for Bon Voyage has happened with our sweet Haddie. We are going through socialization with precision and trying to think out of the box. Brushing up on this and that, while trying to find continued new experiences. I am feeling that this side of training is not as challenging as the first thirteen months with Haddie. It'll be interesting to see if our next puppy is the same in the speed of growing up.

The short story of a long, unfortunate accident that caused my mom some time in a wheelchair, is that it has offered a great training tool for Haddie. Receiving the okay from our Trainer, I have been allowed to work Haddie with my mom in the wheelchair.

Our CCI Chapter combines Puppy Raisers with those who are disabled and have a working service dog from CCI. Also, our Trainer often conducts meetings from a wheelchair (she is not disabled), giving  exposure to the moving object from day one of training 8-10 week old puppies. A wheelchair is nothing new to Haddie.

However, working with a wheelchair is, so our Trainer gave me some pointers and we were off to the Mall with my mom and Haddie. It. was. so. fun.

Haddie is a funny puppy. She is pure puppy at home, a wiggle in her step and a playfulness about her. But put her in a Vest and a Gentle Leader and she becomes very serious. The bounce in her step becomes a full-attention, I must get this right, all joking-aside kind of walk. Something my Trainer has cautioned me about Haddie, perhaps we need to find the "fun" in socialization.

Get her at a Feed Store, or with a Wheelchair, and she becomes that "fun" puppy. Who would have thought?!

Her tail wagged the entire trip, she would not only check-in with me, but she would check-in with my mom too. She got the concept of Heel, and backing up, and turning both directions with the wheelchair. I think Haddie felt like a Graduate and she was very proud of herself!  When our time was over, she actually looked disappointed to have to jump back into the car to return home.

Obviously I wish that my mom never had her unfortunate accident, especially landing in a wheelchair for a prolonged time, but the blessing on the other side is the perfect training opportunity for Haddie. My mom has made a direct, positive impact on our sweet puppy and for that ... I am thankful.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Howl'oween!!!

Animal Party.

My Chimp.

My Zebra.

My Lion.

Happy Howl'oween!!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Letter

The Letter has come that every Puppy Raiser had warned me about; confirmation of Haddie's acceptance to Advanced Training.
No surprise, the ream of paperwork that was shipped to us shortly after Haddie's arrival stated a Turn-In Date of February 2013. Obviously, the date sounded so futuristic when reading in August of 2011. That date now is right before us.

Haddie will enter just shy of 20 months, which is on the older side, therefore, I am thankful that The Letter did not come in July for an earlier November Turn-In. That was a possibility. We would have adjusted, but I can imagine it would have made for a harder transition.

I took Haddie to her all-time-favorite outing this morning. The feed store. While it is her biggest thrill, she behaves horribly. Her one down-side. The only social outing that gets her in a tizzy. Her tail can not wag fast enough, her nose can not smell more quickly, her pulling could not get any stronger. It is a mess.

However, today I shook up the training and had her walk on my Side (right). Ah-ha! Just enough confusion for this little squirt to have to focus walking on a side she is not used to. (side note: my fault - it didn't dawn on me until last week that Heel (left) is most natural, but she needs to also know Side while walking, not just sitting or standing. We are now playing catch-up before February). It seemed to help control her desire to Pull. It forced her mind to be busy; she had to think. It was not awful. Yay!

I can't go into her favorite store without buying her favorite treats, so we did that too. Tillman Treats and Charlie Bears.

The next official stack of papers will arrive the first week of January. There it will spell out in detail all the logistics, schedules, and planning for February 15th. Let the next 16 weeks go by extremely s.l.o.w.l.y., please.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Our Lion

Haddie has a swag about her that reminds us all of a Lioness.  At first we thought it was a puppy-thing, but she has maintained her swag throughout her growing months. Look at a Lioness walk, and that is our girl Haddie; slow, methodical, with a rhythmic motion of left, right, left, right with a touch of a circle bump to keep it going.

So when it was time to figure out this year's Howl'oween Costume for the upcoming 4H CCI party, my girl immediately suggested a Lion. I quickly found one online, and it totally works!! Haddie will just stand still, not knowing if she should move or not, which adds to the hilarity of it all. Oh the fun we have with our Puppy in Training!!!

Introducing, Our Lion!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Haddie Camper

We purchased an RV in August. Haddie was away at the Kennel when we took our first trip in September, so this past weekend Haddie was home and ready to go. It was so fun having her part of our adventure, knowing it will be the last before she turns-in in February.
Originally we thought we'd be driving her to CCI College in the RV, but knowing the uncertainty of the winter driving conditions from our house to California, we have changed back to our original plan of driving her down in our trusted four-wheel drive vehicle, and staying in hotels (where she may or may not be spoiled with a sleep in a bed or two with her Puppy Raisers. Shhh.).
Haddie was in typical rock star status. No Puppy Raiser will ever really know what takes place in College, how their puppy will react to all things new and more demanding, but if she were to go through the test in our area - I would bet money on the fact that she would pass.
I feel as though sometimes my blog writing is nothing but awesome-about-Haddie of recent months, but it is the truth and I can't make up naughty because it just isn't there. I'm not sure if age and two heat cycles have significantly played a role to her mellow and cooperative character, or if all CCI Pups around this age just mellow-out and fall into place. Regardless, I am feeling pretty thankful at the ease of Haddie.
Selfishly, I think the biggest YAY moment was that she did her Hurry command in true Hurry Fashion. That was awesome because the weather was either raining in the evening, or windy during the day. Having to take her out while snuggled in our RV, not dressed for a walk, was a good-thing that she was a Hurrying kinda gal. We were in and out in 30 seconds. Good Haddie!!!
Walks with Haddie were adventurous. She enjoyed the Christmas Tree smells of the woods, and other smells that we didn't find, but she did. She walked the windy trails with us, and watching her ears flap in the wind made us laugh. She wasn't so sure about that one, but went with the comedic routine nonetheless.
If she didn't know the Under command prior to this weekend, I am sure there is no questioning it now. She held her Under the table throughout the times when she wasn't in her Kennel. The RV is not "that large" to accommodate the four of us and the large of her, so it was best that she enjoyed her personal space under the table.
Her kennel fit snuggly between my side of the bed and the wall. She enjoyed having her sleepover in the dark of the night, and quiet time when we wanted to go on hikes without her. It was good experience for her to be in the kennel, in a new environment, without us visible. 
While we were driving we clipped her vehicle-harness to the table (just as she rides in our car). The perk to the RV was having my son at the table, playing with her and giving her back rubs until she fell asleep as we drove down the freeway.
Whomever her Forever Family is, I hope they consider future camping adventures with her - she really is a great companion no matter where we go.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Pool Puppy

Yesterday my son turned 12 years old and part of our day included socializing Haddie to the Bowling Alley, Pool Hall, and Arcade. She had her game-face-on during the entire adventure.
My girl was "in charge" of Haddie during this outing. I figured she would put Haddie in a Down and clip the leash around the leg of a bench while we played Pool. But rather she insisted that Haddie follow her around the Pool table, with a Sit in a Heal position whenever it was time for my girl to use the pool stick. Haddie got a work out; walk-sit-stand, walk-sit-stand, walk-sit-stand.
Haddie did great - and my girl wasn't too bad either with her first time playing Pool.
My son is a sucker for wasting coins away at the Arcade. Thankfully, Arcade use is always few and far between, and it was his birthday. Haddie followed my girl around here too, not phased with the noises and lights. Haddie had her biggest Arcade experience back in the Spring when my son and I made a field trip out of taking her to the biggest and loudest Arcade in our area.
For what it is worth, I am confident to say Haddie has been desensitized to Arcade life.
A fun 12 year old day with Haddie. Not sure what her future holds, but she has been a great first puppy in training ~ willing to go with the flow no matter what we do.  Nice work, Pool Puppy!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cora Helps Haddie

Recently, we have been hanging low with Haddie as it seems she brought home a cold from her three week vacation at the kennel. Sigh. Thankfully it is nothing major in regards to her care; some pills and eye drops, but it was advised that she play hookie from her training, rest, and watch TV (the vet really did say that - funny).
By the time we clued in that Haddie's mellow-ness was now turning into not feeling well, she had already kissed our pet a few times and nuzzled her way into her face. Although colds are contagious between the four-legged kind just as it is with the two-legged, we are just hoping our Beagle has a higher immunity threshold and will fight the germs already shared.  So far so good.

While the kids are away at school, the furry friends are under my watch. I will say the perk to Haddie so far in not feeling well is that she has been perfect with our pet, Cora. That has not always been the case. Never causing harm, just plain annoying! Something we have really had to work on.

Haddie now accepts that Cora can move without a 55 pound shadow, that Cora can jump on the furniture without a yellow fur ball up-close-and-personal behind wondering why the Beagle is choosing to move away, and that Cora can even play-run through the house without a high speed pursuit from the lanky puppy. Okay, the last one is still being worked on.

We have always tested Haddie to see who she favors between Cora and us, and thankfully she can always be called-out of curiosity with Cora. In that regard, we feel that she is still with in the boundaries of CCI. However, it is a lot of added work having two instead of one.
And then it hit me today as I found the girls on the stairs together ~ I think Cora is really the perfect Big Sister match for any CCI Puppy that comes in our home. Cora is so gentle, and extremely mellow. She portrays this Right vs Wrong mentality on how to behave, and has mastered her stink-eye to get her point across when puppy behavior is out of line.

It is becoming more clear to me that Cora has a big influence on Haddie's mellowness. Curious to see if Cora changes for the next puppy, or if the puppy changes as a result of Cora.