Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Arcade Puppy Day!

My son and I had the best date ever recently!! He has a favorite special spot that we visit only on special occasions, and while we didn't have a special occasion, we made one up to visit. We deemed it Arcade Puppy Day!

Because right? Haddie needs to experience an Arcade! All the lights, mixed smells, dirty floor, loud noises, and spinning things ~ what a better outing for her.

My son was beaming throughout our 90 minutes of play time ~ and Haddie was too! He loved getting Haddie involved and finding things that "she could do" even if they were not his favorite game. For example, the dance machine. Ha! He tried it out and found it booooring, until he got Haddie dancing around.
The Laser Room was completely dark except for the laser beams glowing every which way across the floor. He was going to have Haddie crawl through the maze with him, but then saw the intense difficulty in that and had me hold Haddie's leash while he went through. Flashes of light would go off randomly, and there was loud music playing in pitch darkness. Haddie was extremely interested in watching, and held her Down command.
Other jackpot items were the Arcade games. Love these silly pictures. They don't need any explanation.
Haddie closed her eyes while my son enjoyed a Motorcycle game. Not sure if this was her way of tuning out the over stimulation, or if she was truly bored. But she held her Down for the extra long video game.
I did not treat her during this entire experience. I was trying to see how long we could go with out snack rewards. However, I did pull out her Teddy Bear as a reward off and on during our adventure. She loved that reward better than had she been offered treats. Yay - because word on the street is that CCI uses mini-toys such as these in Advanced Training. I think she will love it in California!!
My son never plays this game. In our family it is called the Big Rip Off Game. You see these in grocery store lobbies where the carts are stacked, just begging people to fall for the chance at a ball or toy. My son thought he would try for a Ball in honor of Haddie. He won!!! Even a Yellow ball for CCI by chance!!
Then he tried a different claw game and lucked out with Two Panda Bears at once!! Haddie enjoyed snuggling the Bears on the way home.
Haddie was more impressed than we were that he won a ball and stuffed toys - her tail certainly picked up and she pranced around following him. He played Ball with her a little bit to reward her behavior, and to put in her little memory bank that sometimes loud and chaotic places are a lot of fun - so don't worry!!
I am not sure what this game is called, but it involved baseballs and Haddie was all for it! She impressively held her Sit, and you can see how intent she is in learning the game. I was surprised she did not try to go after the ball once it was thrown - after all, Fetch is her favorite past time!!
Lucky for us the place was empty. We were the only patrons in the entire facility. This worked to our advantage because the music and noises of every machine were on full blast, so Haddie really got the overload and did perfect! Her first experience should be slow like this - and if there had been an over abundance of people - we might have been dealing with different behavior from her.
At least now when we return, perhaps on a more crowded day, she will hopefully remember the fun we had with her the first time, and walk in with a wiggle tail and prancing feet just like today.
Arcade Puppy Day was a huge success!! Thanks, Haddie!!

Photo Booth

The absolute cutest moment in our CCI Training. The Photo Booth was just barely big enough for boy and pup to squeeze onto the teeny-tiny bench together, and just a smidge tall enough to be captured. No retakes here, this is a keeper!!!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Soccer Tourney With Haddie

My niece is a rock star premier select soccer player and this weekend she is in a local tournament. We enjoyed watching her first game of the season yesterday where she scored a goal for her team! WooHoo!! Way to start the year!
It was a gorgeous day! The complex where the tournament is held is the home field complex where my niece's club resides. It is huge with gorgeous fields and surroundings. What a lucky girl to have this experience to play her passion.
Haddie was our companion and enjoyed the time outside in a new environment. However, there is nothing really to report other than she did fabulously.
I think the one thing that I will miss about Haddie, and not knowing "who" we will get as our next pup, is Haddie's ability to not solicit attention. She truly is a confident girl that does not need others to make her happy.
While she may wag her tail a bit to show her interest in a low crawling kiddo coming her way, she will not move or advance her happy to warrant a correction. I love that; it makes it so easy for me to decide on a Yes or No approach to others, versus having to correct her for moving forward with out approval.
Haddie enjoyed lounging while we enjoyed cheering on our amazing niece. What a joy it is to bring Haddie along to our fun events.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sunday School

One of the benefits of being in a CCI 4H club with Haddie are the opportunities presented for outings. A month ago a church contacted our 4H group wondering if a handler and puppy in training could visit their Sunday School class to give a demonstration about training, and a presentation about Service Dogs.
My son volunteered and our day was last Sunday. We traveled a good hour to get to this church, but it was worth the experience for both boy and pup. We left so happy that it went so well, and we certainly felt very welcomed by the entire congregation.
The dozen kiddos ranged from age two to perhaps late elementary years. They were all very polite and well mannered, listening well to my son's presentation, and asking great questions.

Haddie settled in next to my son and showed off some of her trained skills. Haddie recently learned to Roll on command. Starting this trained skill has been hard for Haddie. She learned how to Roll during class time, but did not transfer well to practicing at home. She even went through a phase of  "freaking out" even to get into a cradle! We have slowly worked through the fear to where cradles are no big deals again, and a Roll will be obeyed.
Except that we observed that Haddie would not Roll while wearing her vest last Sunday; in front of all the kids who were expecting her to follow the command. It turned into a good lesson that training is a lot of hard work, and it takes time for the dogs to learn their skills needed by the time their 18 months are up with their Puppy Trainer. And - that we need to continue to work on Roll with vest.
The Sunday School class didn't care, but my son was a little bummed that Haddie would not comply. He kept his cool and kept patience while he waited for her to follow through. She leaned to the side, but it technically was not a roll.

Part of the presentation was learning the Do's and Don'ts of how to react with a Service Dog in Training, and a Graduate. When my son opened up for questions, the students could come pet Haddie and they all "asked" before petting. They were fantastic!!
Haddie was in heaven with the kids' attention. This sweet girl in the white dress was very hesitant about petting Haddie, and didn't speak much. However, once she found her courage and started petting Haddie, she couldn't stop - and then she started saying Haddie's name. It was adorable!! Haddie loved this little girl's lovin'.
To close our time together, the class drew and colored pictures of my son and Haddie. The pictures were darling and my son has put them in his 4H binder as a forever memory.
We met some adults of the church in the foyer before we drove home. They were very encouraging to my son for his service with CCI, and adored Haddie's sweet face and calm demeanor.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Haddie Explores Another City

My son was the rock star on Mother's Day who explored with Haddie. He was so good about getting her up and over and under things throughout our day. She was worn out by the time we made it to dinner.

There were a lot of stairs. A lot!!  They took it at a variety of paces to be sure that Haddie could keep up without lagging or pulling.
There were bridges to go over with trains, automobiles, or water passing underneath. Haddie did not hesitate to get right to the edge and observe life under the bridge.
There were boxes to climb - over 20 spaced in a row. That really wore her out with the jumping on and off to make it fully across. And then other things to jump on or go up continued her mental and physical exercise.
Shade time equals play time ... and quiet time.
Only the best of water for Miss Haddie - a Starbucks Venti. These pictures are cute because they capture the slobber personality of Haddie around water. My girl got cooled off as well. Haddie was amused at the shriek she let out (all in good fun). Notice the dribbles off Haddie's tongue in the last photo of this series.
Lots of walking and exploring. As my son said multiple times: "I am going to be very sad to say goodbye to Haddie." I agreed and tried to console him that we can start over with a new puppy to continue the fun. He responded truthfully, "I know, but it just won't be the same. She is just SO good and we don't know what we'll get next." 
We are embracing every day of this journey with Haddie.

By dinner time she was t-i-r-e-d!! We lucked out with a booth by the window over looking the water. Haddie did not lick or eat any of the french fry scrapes left behind from the previous diners - she was that tired! Opposite from my movie experience. She immediately got herself in a Down and slept her way through the long dinner (they were so busy!).
The added benefit was that we were seated just outside the kitchen; which I normally can not stand and always ask for a different table. But this time I welcomed the placement as it added more traffic, noise, and distraction to her. When she wasn't sleeping, she was eyeballing the activity in front of her nose, but would not lift her head. Obviously, she was worn out.
The relaxing dinner was the perfect ending of our day with Haddie. It was her first experience in a restaurant, and I was fully intending to ignore my family conversations in order to train and stay focused on her. My family knew in advance and was fine with that. But, I didn't have to!! I actually ignored Haddie due to her amazing response to her new environment.
Haddie explored another city and it was so much fun!! Whether she graduates or has a change of career - she will bless her Forever Family with so much love and good behavior.

What a great Mother's Day; my only one with Haddie. Thanks, Girl!!