Sunday, April 29, 2012

Happy Saturday

I wish I had not been so impressed with our CCI Puppy and had gotten up from the couch to snap a photo of a moment last night.

My brother and his family came over for dinner last night, and while Haddie has met them in the past she has not spent a lot of time with them, nor necessarily "hung out" with them. The times she has seen them she has been on leash, at my parent's house, controlling her manners and learning about being social, without being social.

Last night while at our house and sitting in the family room, I let Haddie out on her long leash and made her sit/down next to me, while her bum wiggled and pleaded to see my brother and his wife on the opposite couch. They were awesome and ignored her.

It took about fifteen minutes of us all talking and ignoring Haddie, minus the times I needed to correct her for breaking her sit/down commands. She eventually chilled out.

I gave her the release and she calmly walked over to my brother and his wife and got all the love and attention she had been waiting for. Then, I suggested she get her "pink toy" (a rubber doughnut looking-thing that she has yet to destroy) and to see my brother. She did.

Then the awe struck me and I couldn't move. It was so fun to watch the two play together. At first it was the common, throw-retrieve approach, and then my brother, having fun, tried to place the doughnut on her nose. It worked, but she was squirmy. I told him the command would be Wait to get her to stop moving (not sure if it this is technically true because it wasn't until she was about 7 months old did we get the Wait command clarified in class. Apparently a lot of us had been using the Wait command like a Stay command and all of our pups were rocking it!). She did, he placed it, she didn't move, he laughed, Game On!

I proceeded to spell-out the series of commands he could give her, not really sure if she would obey as she technically has never seen him in an authority role over her. It was not like our weekly Trainer from class was visiting our home and giving her commands.

She obeyed every! single! one! I was enjoying the "awe moment" as much as my brother and sister-in-law were. My favorite was the list of commands: Sit. Wait. tossed doughnut. Haddie didn't move. Okay! and she was off. Or this one was impressive too: Down. Roll ... because for the longest time she would not do this command for anyone! Loved it that she was listening and took direction from my brother.

The rest of the night was all about her wandering and chilling out. She had passed the test ~ what a Happy Saturday!!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

She doesn't speak

I think I might have created an uphill battle. Haddie does not speak.

When she came to our home she was a wiggly puppy who never made a sound, however, she was much more excitable then than she is now at 10 months.

We have a beagle that barks at cats who cross her vision while starring out the front window, or who lurk too closely to our back fence line. Otherwise, Cora is a silent dog.

My thought was that I did not want two barking dogs. Not taking into account the big picture that one of those dogs (Haddie) would have to learn to not bark unless commanded, and who would stop when commanded. Really, she would be under my lead in regards to barking and it should have never been a concern nor developed into an issue.

But at the same time, my thought was on a fellow CCI pup who attends our church like Haddie. Haddie is the silent one under our feet, while other puppy is under foot but will routinely give a quick bark every time the music begins after moments of no music. (That puppy's PR is not too happy, but I secretively think it is funny since our Worship Director is also a CCI PR - hahaha).

That is all the behind the scenes story to current day with a CCI 10 month old puppy who does not speak.

Now, I want her to speak. We chatted with our trainer last night and she said to get Haddie really wound up, perhaps with the best savoring treat you can think of, and see if she will get so excited that she'll bark at you. She gave an example with a three month old pup in class. The puppy got wound up and sure enough barked at the trainer and received the reward.

My son laughed politely and said, 'Okay, get Haddie excited ...."  The trainer laughed too as she knows that our pup is very mellow so we were already in an uphill battle (remember, mellow does not relate to naughty - she can be naughty).

Haddie loves chicken. Loves, loves, loves. Her commands can be spot on and fast when she knows that chicken is coming her way. I rarely use chicken because I don't want her relying on it. I only pull it out when I know I have a tough outing, or a tough learning objective.

I pulled out the chicken tonight and Haddie got excited by Haddie's standards, and at one point her cheeks were puffing out in that doggy way that looks like they were going to let her voice be heard, but nothing. Nothing. Poor girl was beside herself trying to do what we were asking.
We eventually stopped, gave it a rest, distracted her with different things to break the concentration before going back to work on commands she knew in order for the chicken reward.

Got any ideas? Open to suggestions on how you make a 10 month old puppy Speak!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Slim Outings

My son has been home for the majority of last week with the flu/cold, so Haddie and I have been slim pickings on our adventures. Thankfully, my son made a recovery before the weekend and our family has been spending it outside enjoying the beautiful sunny weather.

Yesterday was all about backyard manners for Miss Haddie. I will impress on her future forever family how much she enjoys loves a good game of fetch. While she is not obsessive by any means of the game, she does rally until she is tired enough to mellow out in the yard.
We have a three tiered backyard. The main level is the grass and patio area. The second tier is landscaped and is out of bounds for Haddie, and the third tier has a second patio, swing set area, and lots of room to roam. On the Left of our backyard are stairs leading from the ground to tier three, and on the right side is a steep path leading to the same outcome.

I found rather quickly when she was just a pup, that if I stand on the third tier and throw her ball down to the ground level, that she would take the stairs down, run across the yard, fetch her ball, and then run up the steep path to come back to me. It is a fabulous workout!

Well, this weekend she decided to be more risky and jump to the second tier, and then to the ground tier. That was great for risk-taking behavior, but she broke the rules and so I had to put an end to that. But not before she figured out that if she could get down the short cut way, she could also jump up the short cut way.

Now, while I technically don't mind her cutting (it's not like she's ruining any vegetation, and it is still good exercise), I worry about an injury to a dog that is not mine. So we nixed the short cut with a spray bottle as a firm Don't was not working. It was a two-spray learning experience and then she opted to return to the stairs and path routine.

Good choice, Haddie.

Once tired out, she explored the backyard and obeyed not picking up pine cones and eating grass (which used to be an uphill battle even just a month ago). She has really grown in her manners.

Today was about hanging out at the Fairground so my son could complete a requirement of 4H. I am still not exactly sure what today was all about, a written test and a mini-clinic, but we fulfilled the requirement.

Haddie was not required to go, but it was a great social outing, so we brought her along. There were dogs from other 4H clubs present, and while she was interested in their passing by, she ignored greeting them (even when the other dogs tried to greet Haddie). We wandered a bit, but for the most part she practiced her Down command on the concrete flooring which I am sure smelled of Fair animals and stuff.

We will be back at this location in August when she is entered in the Fair with my son. I can't help but think that the visual and smells of today's memory might add to success for her when it comes time to be a participant.

When the outings are slim, like they have been this week, I have to really stretch to become creative in her social training.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

She Keeps Growing

Haddie has a funny streak. She loves this green bed that was originally purchased for my 12" Beagle and it stays in our bedroom. Cora can fit perfectly fine in this circle ~ Haddie, not so much. Today I was ironing clothes (I've heard this is a lost art form, true or false? Anyone out there still iron?) and found Haddie curled up in bed snoring peacefully and oblivious to my laughter.
Haddie had a wonderful outing experience on Saturday. My daughter and I - along with our sidekick Haddie -  spent eight hours outside cheering on a team of her peers at a baseball tournament. Thankfully the weather cooperated and we were without rain, just gorgeous fluffy clouds and sunshine.

Haddie rocked the day like a true service dog. She checked in all day with my girl and me - whomever was holding the leash at the time. During the stretch of hours between games, she found her spot on our blanket in the grass and took some naps. She laid in front of us at the bottom row of the bleachers during game times, and didn't fuss. She was truly a dream.

She experienced the playground filled with little tykes and big kids. I purposefully spent some time in that area sitting with her, waiting and welcoming passerby's to greet her.

I will admit that even four weeks ago Haddie might have stood up or lifted her front paws off the ground to get a better view of the person petting her. Excitable Greetings we have been working on since day one.

I am pleased to report that she either grew up in four weeks, or those that had her when she was away worked through the issue, because on Saturday she greeted everyone with four paws on the ground and her bum secured too. Amazing. I was so proud of her.

A wee little two year old was wobbling off and on beside her during the last game, and Haddie remained seated or down - not lunging or curious to sneak a lick on the top of the girl's head. Can you tell I am beaming?! So happy for Haddie!

There were plenty of pet dogs leashed in the ballpark. She would look, but not move towards them. Even the yappy cute puppy that spent the day on it's own blanket not far from ours did not phase Haddie. That too would have been a distraction a month ago.

The sounds of cheering, balls being hit with a loud crack of the bat, base runners zooming past her, and all the sights, smells, and sounds of a new environment did not get the best of her. Neither did being leashed and wearing the Gentle Leader all day. Haddie was the best and I am so happy she was there to experience and succeed.

She keeps growing ... in so many ways.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Do you think the love is mutual?
Two buddies that truly love one another. It will be hard for this little guy to wish his puppy goodbye early next year.

Since Haddie's return, my son has asked me to bring Haddie up to his room to wake him up every morning. Haddie is the perfect wake-up call. She will prance around the side of his bed, winding her tail faster and faster and stomping her feet, waiting with all her might for the Up command.

Once given she is full puppy nose and tongue all over my son's face, and her tail continues to wind in circles. When the party is over, she promptly gets off the bed and the two of us return to downstairs. When my son joins us, Haddie is calm and follows him around the rest of the morning.

So adorable ... and so thankful the two have this tight bond. 4H involvement has certainly helped the friendship and respect between boy and dog.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Birthday Buddy

The kids are at school, my hubby is working hard to catch up at work post-vacation, so this birthday girl decided to pack up my yellow four legged beauty and head to the sunshine in a city that is further away from the foothills than our little town. If we have rain, they most likely have sun.

It was a gorgeous morning strolling the beautiful park in this town. Haddie and I loved the learning opportunity of the ducks, the dogs, joggers, and walkers. Little kids and older folks were all out walking the park and checking in with one another.

And the sun - awww, the warm sun!
Yes, I had Haddie on this bench not because she is a Diva, as one older gentleman suggested, but because Haddie needs work on different surfaces and getting onto higher levels. It took her a bit of encouragement to jump on this bench. And then it was all about getting her to stay Down and relax while the distractions passed us by.

Not to worry, there were plenty of benches for others to enjoy. In front of us was a man-made-river and fountains that make the center of this park and walkway. Ducks were quaking away and jumping in and out of the water. Haddie enjoyed gazing at the dozen.
And then Haddie spotted a beagle that looked very similar to Cora. One look at that pup and she bounced up on the bench with a confused look as if to wonder if Cora had mysteriously followed us here. I love dog expressions.

This bench was also where we met Ben, a large sized golden retriever and his owner. The owner caught on right away to Haddie's vest - and then determined that he should show me how Ben could retrieve his keys. Yep, he threw down his keys right there in the pathway of joggers, walkers, strollers, and ducks for Ben to pick up and give back to him.
Well, Ben picked up the keys many times, and tossed them the opposite direction of his owner, and then he would dance the retriever prance as the owner insisted for Ben to try again and get it right. I had to just smile in approval in order to keep from laughing. Haddie, again being the expression girl, perked her ears every time Ben picked up the keys and threw them the opposite direction. Then, Haddie would look at me as if to say, "Is he for real?!"

Oh, Ben's owner was determined to get Ben to cooperate. Sigh.
We moved forward around the park and spotted this large fountain. Haddie did not hesitate to get on the platform next to it to lay down. I was a little leery that she was going to roll right into the pond, her back was teetering on the edge and she really didn't care. I eventually moved her to a spot further away, and she stayed happily in this position for some time listening to the roar of the fountain.
A stop at Target for a little something for the birthday girl, Starbucks, and home to a down pour of rain. So glad we ventured to the Eastside to enjoy some sunshine and girlie time while we wait for family to finish their  daytime responsibilities.
Loved my birthday-date with sweet Haddie.

Thank you for all the awesome tips and tricks to car travel for Haddie!!  I enjoy learning from ALL of you!!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Huggable and Question

We attend the same church as two fellow puppy raisers; one of which are responsible for getting our family and the other interested in puppy raising through CCI. I was chatting with one of the women on Sunday and commenting on how excited I was to get Haddie back. She is ahead of me in experience by one, and mentioned that I should notice a change in behavior with Haddie - one of mellow.  

I thought Great!, but I didn't expect it to be so fast and so drastic. While I am pretty certain that Haddie has mellowed due to age and situation of having her heat cycle, I am a bit curious if she feels good or is ready to return to work full time. Perhaps tired? I'll see how it goes this week, but so far - she is one huggable girl!
I have previously mentioned how all three of those responsible for her during the past month had the common thread opinion about Haddie's sweet personality. I was so happy to hear that. The only negative that I have heard were similar by all parties involved.

The first being that she would bark when startled, or uncertain. I heard this from the kennel and from the Puppy Sitter. This really surprised me as Haddie has only barked once in the last seven months of her being with us, and that was when she was just two weeks into her training. However, so far so good - Haddie remains quiet. I'll have to be on the ready if she shows this behavior with me. 
The second was something that I've known, but have yet to figure out how to correct and that is getting into and out of the car. I admit that we got into a bad habit and I was planning to work on it when she was older. It had been shared at class that pups should not be jumping in and out of cars until their hips are developed after their first birthday. 

So, I took that to mean that we should just hold off on jumping in and out of the car until that age. Our work around has been that she would get started by putting her front paws on the back of our car (cargo area) and then I would help lift up her rear to get fully into the car. 

That only works until you have a Puppy Sitter that does not know she doesn't know how to jump into a car. Slight error on my part in not sharing in advance. It just didn't dawn on me. The oops continued because the Puppy Sitter then thought that he had spooked her somehow and that she wasn't jumping into his car because of him. So, all week he was worried and trying desperately to get her to jump in with out assistance. He thought he had really messed her up. 

I felt bad about that - and was highly motivated to get this settled. I spent yesterday afternoon in the back seat of our car motivating Haddie with sweet words and chicken jerky to follow me into the car. I chose the backseat because it was lower to the ground than jumping into the cargo area. 
Haddie was a pro at the army crawl leaving her back end to the last possible minute secured to the ground outside of the car door. I was home alone, otherwise I would have had someone video tape it - because it was really funny! 

Eventually she did make it in and a huge party ensued. Multiple times in and out to secure her confidence and we had it licked. Yay - so happy!!

Today we practiced getting in and out of the cargo area. A much bigger jump, but we had worked on a higher table platform at class last night and she finally got the confidence to go for it. Transferring that confidence to the back of the car meant real chicken today. Haddie eventually transferred her courage and can now get in and out of the car with out hesitation. Double happy!
The rest of today has been spent unpacking our family vacation and getting our bomb's of suitcases and laundry put away while Haddie calmly chilled out wherever I was. She would follow me around the house, and then promptly plop down and sleep when I stopped in any room. Such a sweet girl. The photos sprinkled here are of our cuddle time just after dinner. She was snoring and grunting her happy kitty-cat-like-purrrs. 

Question: how do you transport your puppies in your vehicle? In a crate, tie out in the cargo area, or seat belt attachment in the backseat?  Haddie has outgrown her medium size crate and we are upgrading her to the last size. It will barely fit into the back of our vehicle. I may need to think of a new way to transport and would appreciate my reader's input. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Haddie Returns

My girl looks so mature - her makeup around the eyes look darker and she seems taller.
I drove to the city this morning to pick up my girl at a Brew House by the pro-baseball fields. It was the easiest spot to park and make the transfer in the big city. It worked perfectly. The Puppy Sitter and I wish there was a third person with us to video the reunion. Haddie was beyond excited with love and affection for me and it was mutual. It was adorable. I can't wait to see the reunion of her with my kiddos.

We have spent the past hour at our home spa with full bath, nail trim, ears, teeth, and brushing. She came back looking fine, but I just didn't know if she'd been through it all and since she's been in a kennel for three weeks, and another person's house for one - I figured it was time to "just make sure" she was back to her normal routine of beauty. She dig'd the attention, and actually fell asleep in a cradle position while her nails were being done.
Happy for Haddie's return - and to pump up the training from here until her final destination in 10 months to California.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

It just dawned on me that we will never celebrate Easter with Haddie because she is scheduled to return to CCI in February. Aww, bummer.  Haddie spent the last three weeks at a doggie resort while she was in heat, and then a nice Puppy Raiser in our area agreed to pick her up and keep her because there was an overlap in when she would be released and when we'd be back from our Spring Break vacation.

We returned home late last night, and today we will spend the day with family to celebrate Easter. Tomorrow I work all day with piano lessons which does not allow time to travel to get her back. So, Tuesday at 10:15a I will meet the Puppy Raiser in the big city to pick up our sweet girl.

The comments from the kennel, our Trainer, and this Puppy Raiser who have all had the responsibility of Haddie have been consistent ... "What a sweeeeet girl!!!".  Yay - I am glad to know that I have not been biased in my thoughts of her. I think her sweet demeanor is a great sign for a skilled companion pup for a child. I really think it would be a great match - but I know there is a lot of work to be had between now and that moment.

We are all missing our sweet yellow lab, but I will admit that I feel much like what I did the last week of August last year ... Eeek, what am I going to do with this puppy?  I feel somewhat out of touch with all the rules and regulations for training. I feel somewhat like my mind has taken a month-long vacation from the massive responsibility of Puppy Raising ... and ... will I remember how the routine and life works when I get her back?

I know we will just fall into step together, with some growing pain moments mixed in, but I am so ready to start back up. I really, really miss her sweetness and adorable face.

Two more days and Haddie returns!! Yea!!!

Happy Easter!!!