Tuesday, February 28, 2012

seriously like CHILDREN!!

Cora has always been a stuffed animal lover - all of her toys have always been the stuffed dog toys, and they look brand new because she never destroys. Her way of playing is carrying the toy around the house and rotating through sleeping with them. That's it. Not sure how that is "fun" but she loves it.

Haddie has always been a hard toy lover - all of her toys have always been the heavy chewing variety. Stuffed toys are quickly destroyed, mainly during teething - she has gotten a wee bit better. She likes to chew and chew and chew. Not sure how that is "fun" either, it would give me a headache if I chewed that hard and for that long. 

From the beginning, Cora never bothered Haddie's toys and for some reason, Haddie has naturally always avoided Cora's toys. Cora's toys sit in plain sight in the dog toy box in the family room, and Haddie will only sniff them, but never pull any of them out. Amazing really. We didn't teach her that. The only time Haddie shows interest in the stuffed variety is when it is in Cora's mouth.  

There is a Blue Puffer Fish that recently has been the learning phase of Tug-O-War between the two pups. I honestly have not studied how to get two dogs not to play Tug-O-War (but I think they are not supposed to, right? Feel free to comment on this!!!), so I usually end up finding ways to get the dogs to split up, or I take the toy myself. 

The inspiration of this blog post just happened. The dogs were going crazy through the house because the Blue Puffer Fish was in Cora's mouth as she cruised around - Haddie chasing her and being wild (insert bad puppy manners)!!  I got Haddie settled into her bed (tie out) and let Cora continue her playtime with Blue Fish. 

Haddie was watching Cora run this way and that past her bed ... perked and alert, but sitting nicely. And then Cora made a sharp left turn onto Haddie's bed and dropped the Blue Fish and left. Haddie's eyes were HILARIOUS!!! What a great expression of disbelief - I could seriously see her saying, "Whaaaaat? I'm kinda like in a time out - do I dare pick up Blue Fish?! Moooooom!?!" 

Cora walked away about 12 feet, and then just sat looking at Haddie, as if waiting for Haddie's turn to run away with Blue Fish. 
These two are seriously like CHILDREN!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Mutual Love

My little sidekick when she is not in school is my girl. She loves to take Haddie on outings with me, and she does a great job controlling the leash and situation.
The other day we were out for a quick grocery shopping trip. We must have hit the overly friendly crowd as we were stopped more times than normal. It wasn't until we got back into the car that we both looked at each other in exhaustion and said, "Wow! Haddie did great!".

Haddie has been known to get pretty excited during greetings. She went through a phase of jumping - not necessarily on people as we were always able to stop her before she made contact, but it was annoying and disobedient nonetheless.

However, last Sunday at church and during outings this week, Haddie kept her feet and bum on the floor the entire time anyone asked to pet her. The entire time!  That was a huge change and accomplishment for Team Haddie!!

My girl and Haddie work well together ~ they certainly love one another!!!

Friday, February 24, 2012


Eight Months Old.

As I unloaded the dishes last night I had a flashback to when I started training Haddie on the expectation of her job in unloading and loading the dishwasher. I have this spot in my kitchen that is out of the way in my line of travel to put dishes away, so very early in her arrival I commanded a Down, or a Sit, and worked on her staying while I did my kitchen duty.

In the beginning - she was up and down, and here and there. Dishwasher unloading took three times as long, but of course I did not give up in training.

Last night she just went to her spot, and Down she went. And, she fell asleep. Ha! It didn't take me that long to do my chore, Haddie!  She just knows the expectation and won't move until I give her the Release.
Sept 25, 2011
How far she has come in the six months that we've been a team! She knows most of her commands - I am purposefully saving some (like Speak - my reasoning for another post) - which really makes me take pause at all that we have accomplished together in 5 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days together.
Feb 19, 2012
She is not perfect, and neither am I, but I am very happy with our current state of learning this CCI Training together.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Cora has been feeling the love this week and is all about getting close to Haddie. Like I've mentioned before, I really think that Cora would be fine if we Turned In Haddie sooner than later. She does not fuss with her in either a positive or negative way - she just plain ignores.

This week, however, Cora has chosen to love on Haddie. The girls and I were upstairs this week doing laundry when I caught some photos off my phone of the two friends (poor quality, but I had to catch it while I could).

Cora would not stop rolling into Haddie, and Haddie was as shocked as I was and just stared at the Beagle in disbelief. Haddie didn't know what to think, or do. Her one chance to play and enjoy, and she was struck in awe.

Cora has done this daily for the last four days. The newness for Haddie is starting to wear off, so there are times when I have to step in and break up the friendship as Haddie can get a little frisky for my 12 inch, 20 pound Beagle. It really isn't a fair match in my opinion.

But I am so glad to see Cora Volunteeeeering to repeatedly snuggle with Haddie.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I get it ...

Today's CCI Class brought "I get it" moments. It was the first class we've been to after a CCI Turn-In/Graduation Weekend.  The highlight was seeing the door open and watching a brand new Skilled Companion Dog enter with her new Handler.

The Handler is in our 4-H CCI Class. He flew down to California on February 5th to find his dog and start their training together. He graduated on Saturday, and then flew home. Everyone was anticipating their arrival tonight. It was SO FUN!

The Handler and his parent's shared with us about his experience, and it was fun to see the family and their dog working together in class. You can tell the bond is still in infancy stage - they are still learning to work together - and it will be so fun to watch firsthand their bond develop stronger every week. How exciting!

The other highlight for tonight was seeing the multiple 4-H kiddos that Turned'In their dogs over the weekend and who brought home new pups. Oh, how adorable to have puppies in the group again! While it is different to see one gal with her tiny black lab pup, versus her older, experienced, trained yellow lab, she was excited like Christmas morning. No tears or sad face at class because her other puppy was returned. Just shear joy that she gets to keep raising puppies and starting over.

I get it. I get the draw to this volunteer gig. I get the magnitude of the gift we are giving to others. I get the joy of learning that the puppies bring to us.

I get it ... 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Question of the week ...

If you are a regular reader, you know that I like to solicit advice and opinions from fellow Puppy Raisers. Here is my current scenario and question. 

Haddie is good for about a small handful of treats (spread out) during our outings until she gets an ugly combo of a dry cough and gagging. When that happens, I worry she is about ready to toss up her cookies. Thankfully, that has yet to happen. But sounds awful, looks awful, and can make heads turn.

Yesterday in church it got to be so obnoxious that I took her outside, just in case. Nothing came of it, but she seemed to settle down with the breath of fresh air. I stopped giving her treats after that, even though we stayed for an additional thirty minutes back inside before it was time to go home. Although treat-less, she was thankfully well behaved. 

Do other PR's have or have had this issue with their pups? What's the remedy? Is it a sign of stress? I am fairly confident her Gentle Leader is not too tight around her neck, but I will have our Trainer check it tomorrow at class. 

Any advice would be helpful ... Thanks!!!

Friday, February 17, 2012


The first dog that my husband and I ever purchased was from a rescue shelter. It was a yellow lab, a boy, 3 months old, that we named Buhner. He was good, but because of our young age, lack of knowledge, and working full time, he could have been even better. It truly is amazing how much he behaved for how little we knew how to guide him. Loved him!!

Labs are smilers. I never picked up on this until we got our Beagle after Buhner passed away. I remember quickly realizing this during Cora's first few days with us. I thought she was unhappy. I thought we had messed up. She! never! smiled!  It was three months later during the heat of the summer did I see her smile ... she was panting. It was there that I finally realized Beagles must not get overheated, and therefore don't need to pant, and therefore don't smile.

Haddie came to live with us and she immediately smiled. Panting. Awww, it was fun to see a dog smile once again. I missed that part for sure!
Haddie has a bed that she sleeps on during the day when it is time to "chill out" (aka: when I need to get things accomplished with out her assistance). But when she is on a full Release, she will find a spot on the hard wood floor and just zonk out. Our beagle has never, and will never, do this. Never!
Our beagle is all about the cuddle. The cuddle to sleep on her bed, on our couch with blankets and pillows, on a circle chair in my girl's room that is wrapped in fuzzy, soft material. Never a hard wood floor.
Haddie also will chew every bite of food; either from her dish or as a treat. Cora, however, will skip the chewing and go straight to the swallow - which is funny because what's the point of the reward if you never taste it? But I guess to her it doesn't really matter because she is still highly food motivated!

It's fun to find the differences in breeds - the simple things - but differences nonetheless.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Ranch

It is pouring buckets today and I suffered through each and every drop hitting the back of my neck as I waiting patiently for Haddie to Hurry before we walked into The Ranch store. I kept thinking, Carver's PR's do this all the time in worse conditions, so I can do this, I can do this, I can do this (but would ya' Hurrrrry! Haddie!).

I took Haddie to this Ranch back here and I remember she was a pulling machine then, and now. Sigh. I think the over abundant smells of horse, barn, dog, cat, you name it anything-animal-related can get the best of her. I have put it on my short list to go back more often to desensitize her from all the distractions.

While I was there I purchased higher valued treats. I wish there were samples of all the different packaged varieties. I took a gamble and went with this
and so far she is liking the change. She can tend to have a sensitive stomach, so I choose to stay clear of the rich, meaty, hearty choices. While in my care she'll stick with the all natural stuff, and go with the blander meat like chicken. She likes basic cooked chicken, but that is sometimes harder to transport than the dried variety.

No pictures of today's outing. I was pretty busy working her Heel while we explored. Today's outing was one of those moments that made me really question her ability to listen, and focus. If she were judged on friendly and cuteness, she'd be a shoe-in. The challenge for me to be better has been raised, and I accept.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Swim Date

Thank You for all the amazing suggestions on outings!! They are all on my bucket list to accomplish before Haddie returns to California. I realized rather quickly of my excuse about living in a rainy/cold state and tailoring my training to that reality when I read a Blogger friend's post here. Yes, they work in 7 degree weather. Done with excuse making with this topic.

But not before I took Haddie to a public indoor swimming pool where it was very humid and warm as the rain twisted sideways outside the one lone window.
This was a chance to get Haddie's feet wet (not literally) with the smells and echoes of a Public Swimming Pool. Only toddlers with their Momma's, and serious lap swimmers, use the pool from noon to one during the work week. Eventually I will take her to the evening Public Swim time where it is littered with youngsters to teens complete with the diving board and slide in use.
Haddie did great on holding a Sit, Down, Stand, and Under command, and not licking the stained cement floor. The area that we worked the most on was Walking the bleachers. I finally got the hang of leading Haddie with her directly behind me. It would have been handy to have practiced this before the crowded hockey game in January. It hadn't even crossed my mind beforehand. Granted, the bleachers were empty today, but it was a new experience for her to follow me in tight quarters.
I walked the entire length of the bleachers and when there was a stair-opening, sometimes Haddie would take a left and go up one row, instead of continuing to follow. It was great practice. We also tried a Turn, which she immediately jumped up on the bleacher to get to the next row, instead of turning. We practiced that one too.
The noise, the smells, the splashing did not phase Haddie, so it was a great working environment from the start. She especially enjoyed watching this one little tyke jump into the water. She gave her totally cute face with the wrinkled head and perked ears at the boy who was standing just feet away from her ready to jump, and then when the jump occurred with the Splash, she looked right at me with a "Whaaaat?!" expression. Good Girl for checking in with me when things were new!
She also enjoyed watching this athletic lap swimmer go back and forth in front of us. It was like watching a tennis match with her. She'd check with me about every eight strokes. What a cutie ~ it is so fun observing the world with her.
By the time it was over she was panting from the humidity and I was getting a headache from the chlorine smell and humidity too. She is now crashed out in her bed, hopefully dreaming of being a future Service Dog.

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Outing Tips

Life seems to be nearing back to normal with wide open spaces on my calendar ready to fill up with Haddie-Outings. As I am prepping my days and game plan, I am curious to get insight from all my Puppy Raiser Readers on some outing ideas.
We live in a rainy and cold climate, so my only request is that the warm-weather-climate readers take that into consideration, and avoid from suggesting the beach, or the park, or sailing. Aww, to have those adventures any time of your choosing would be so perfect to Puppy Raising!!
I am finding that going from store to store, no matter how important that might be to Haddie's "real life" upon g-r-a-d-u-a-t-i-o-n ... I know that part of socializing is getting her into situations that are very different from normal life, so that she is ready for anything.
I am feeling a little stumped, but whenever I ask for advice, you guys always come through!! So, once again - Comment Away!!! What are some of your tips to out-of-the-box outings ... ?

Haddie and I always appreciate your help. Thank you!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Taste of the real world

I am finding Puppy Raising is about creating experiences for the pup that are the Real World. There are times when outings with the fur-ball are just not a reality. When the hard-core training needs to take a backseat, and the guilt creeps in just a touch to let you know that you are still really dedicated.

But in reality I am finding that even during the "down times" that Haddie is still learning. This is real life ~ when schedules get tossed up and hang out time tends to be the norm. She needs to learn how to behave when outings are rare and life seems repetitive. And I need to learn that it is "okay" that her week has been this way. I truly would not have changed it because ...

We have been in help-extended-family mode since Thursday when my niece was admitted to a children's hospital for a ruptured appendix requiring emergency surgery. Life at our house consisted of having two extra kiddos with us, lots of time spent on the phone communicating with in-laws, time spent visiting our niece, and running here and there to keep up.

All in all Haddie was a gem. She enjoyed the two extra pairs of feet by her side, the extra attention at home by two new kiddos, and the showing off of all of her "wisdom" and "tricks". This is real life.

So I had it on my schedule to hit the outings hard this week ~ starting today ~ since Monday's are taken up with me teaching Piano and Haddie on a down next to the keyboard.

But it won't be today either.

I received a phone call mid-home-school-lesson yesterday that my son was running a fever and had a sore throat, and he needed to be retrieved from school. Sigh.

One more stall in the outings, Haddie. Hang-tight!

At least she had a fabulous, and long, outing with me and my friend last Wednesday ... hoping that continues to carry her over until we can start over.

She is certainly getting a reality check of the Real World. Unpredictable. Flexible. Lotsa Waiting. And it's all worth it.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Best of friends

I have a really dear friend that I met decades ago while in college. We were wing-mates at the dorm and were focused on the same Major. We had classes together, studied together, stayed up late together, graduated and continued our life journey together. We were in each other's wedding, saw all of our kiddos the day they were born, play dates, vacations, girl night outs, lunches ... we have stayed in touch.

We live a distance apart from one another, and with four kids between us, life schedules deem some work in creativity in future planning to get "our time" on the calendar. Luckily, we are both planners and highly organized to find the time to get this done.

Yesterday was "our time".
We met at the same location where our CCI Field Trip was in December. You can read about that here. We spent our time walking all different areas of the Mall; from the sidewalk streets with grass, to corridors that echoed, to inside shops and gated playgrounds. We had her go Up on different surfaces, and Under, and played different sounds at the outdoor musical playground. Haddie was not impressed with our music skills, however. In fact, she kinda just snubbed us. At least she wasn't scared ... I guess.

We had a brief moment at the Coffee Shop, partly to warm up and refuel as it was lunch hour. Haddie was a little restless, not awful, but after awhile we decided to keep moving. I found an additional area I have to work on with Haddie and that is Jump. She will Jump in class perfectly. She has yet to apply it to the real world consistently.
What I like most about hanging out with my friend and Haddie is that my friend is extremely patient. She gets that sometimes I have to interrupt our conversation to tend to the four-legged. She gives good ideas on places to take Haddie, things to try while we are there, and she is patient. Have I already said that?! She would make a fabulous Puppy Raiser. Yes, she knows I have talked to her about it every time I see her.

And just so you know the true magnitude of how awesome my friend is - she had a friend in college that had a Guide Dog, and my friend was an equal lifesaver to her. My friend would take her shopping, help her with household duties, help play interference to those in public who were etiquettely challenged about Service Dogs and their Handlers. She was a true friend to this woman who really needed that extra support. My friend has first hand knowledge about the life of a Guide Dog, the importance, a soft spot in her heart.
I am so grateful that she too is my friend. So thankful for her support, her patience, and just being herself - even when Haddie needs some additional attention right-smack-dab-in-the-middle of a great conversation!!

Friends - I know you are reading this ... just think of ALLL the fun we would have if you too had a CCI Puppy at the end of your own leash with me. We might even be able to get a sibling pair. Travel to Cali together. Never know .... it would be a great adventure!! Keep thinking about it ... (wink). In all seriousness, Thank You for being you, and for being my friend!!