Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Toothless Tuesday

This is Kolby's sister Kira. Her Puppy Raiser is an amazing photographer with a pool in Sunny California. There has never been a photo posted of her puppy that is not frame worthy, calendar worthy, and media spotlight success. Thankful she is part of our team because it is so much fun to see a black puppy photographed so perfectly, with the bonus of the puppy being an identical twin to Kolby.
I say Identical Twin because both she and I think they are. Whatever photo or story she posts, I think she is talking about Kolby. She shared it was the same for her about Kolby to Kira. Their personalities seem so in-line with one another, it would be so fun to find a way to hang out together with the puppies.

Yesterday morning she posted news followed by a photo of Kira's first missing teeth; the two on top. I immediately thought, "Watch, Kolby will loose his today too." But I went about my day and didn't give it any additional thought.

It wasn't until I took my 30-minute break from Piano Teaching to feed Kolby and play with him, did I notice that he in fact he was missing his two front teeth, plus one on the bottom. I happened upon it when I was fishing something naughty out of his mouth.
I immediately laughed out loud and grabbed my camera as proof - it was too identical to believe without proof. I flipped him in a craddle and snapped a photo so quickly, when I released him to go back to wandering and stretching his legs before my next Piano Lesson, he just sat crooked and starred at me with a puzzled look, "What was that about?!" Ha!

Toothless Tuesday - our boy is growing up celebrating his 16th week of life at 30 pounds exact. Four months old is a big deal. I enjoy this stage.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Golf Course Walk

What to do on a semi cloudy day when the puppy has too much energy to wait-out the family getting ready for a social outing? You hook up the Gentle Leader, snap on the treat bag, and you take puppy outside for an exhaustive walk.
While we are not technically part of the Golf Course Country Club that is behind our house and connected via the main neighborhood drag, we enjoy all the perks it has to offer. From walks to discounted golf, this is an excellent place to have a house.

There are two routes I can take from my cul de sac when it is time for a walk. One is to go through our short trail and dump out into a neighborhood that eventually connects to the main hub of our city which offers a growing selection of retail, coffee shops, Froyo's, and restaurants. I rarely take that route with dogs, however, because of the the neighborhood unpredictability of wandering pets. I save that for the days when another family member is joining us as backup should I need it.

The other options is the golf course. The biggest perk to walking a dog in a golf course community is that there are rarely loose dogs running about, barking, or being of concern. I do not know what the bylaws are of living on the course, but we are going on our tenth year in this location and I have never had an issue with a dog (knock on wood). It is peaceful, safe, and so beautiful.

While Kolby has been on sidewalk walks through the Country Club, today we ventured onto the cart path of the Golf Course. I love this. Just me and my pup - so peaceful - perhaps a couple of golfers, but they are so quiet (you really have to watch which direction you are walking on the cart path). My favorite walk.
It wasn't until I got home did I remember that I took Haddie on the cart path for the first time at age 4 months too. I am glad that I thought about snapping this photo of Kolby close to the same location as I did with Haddie.

Memories.  For the record, I really miss my girl.

Kolby is a gem on the leash. I take no credit, I think it is just him, because he has been this way since day one. He has never lagged or pulled. He simply walks beside me and lets the leash almost drag on the ground under his chin. Dream.

Golf Course Walk - so sweet on a Sunday Morning.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Happy Day!

Another gorgeous, sunny day and Kolby and I had made plans to spend it with my dear friend. This is my buddy that met me about every-other-month with Haddie to go on outings that were training-related; all the while chatting away and getting caught up with life (since we live a few towns apart). She is an amazing friend. Always so supportive, always willing to be interrupted for me to capture a training moment with the puppy, and always providing fun conversation.
Although she had met Kolby prior, this was our first official social outing. We chose an outdoor mall and walked half of the time we spent together, and the other half of our date we ate lunch outside with Kolby; he held a Sit next to my chair (He must have very strong ab-muscles because he is very tight in his sit - no sloppiness shown - and can maintain it for an abnormally long amount of time for being so young).

A quick list of all of the things that I remember Kolby experiencing at one outdoor mall on a warm Spring Day ... in no particular order:

*A man with a leg disability and wheelchair bound approached me at lunch and asked to pet Kolby. OF COURSE!!! Kolby did not mind the movement of his chair, and rather enjoyed all of his attention. Although we did not talk CCI, there was a common connection and a proud look on the man's face as he wished Kolby good luck and goodbye.

*Steep stairs that were about 20 steps tall - a brief landing - and another 20 steps tall. My friend walked behind us and did play-by-play commentary of Kolby's step. It was funny. About every third step he would kick his back feet at the same time to the next step, and then would go up like a big boy taking each step with each foot, until the third step came around again, and he'd move his back legs up at the same time. Ha! He'll get it. So proud he made it without a fuss, and without pulling or lagging.

*We came upon a crow eating a chip on the ground about 8 feet from us. This one got Kolby's attention and he was so tempted to Bark. It was obvious in his facial features, but he held it together. The crow eventually flew away, and Kolby did a quick lunge - so we must work on that. I had him Sit as soon as he made the lunge motion, and he immediately responded (yay), but the crow did not come back.

*We gave him many opportunities to look over the ledge of the second story to street level - he was not impressed by heights. I don't even think he knew he was on a different level as he gave no reaction. There was a cute German Sheperd puppy below at one of our stops to peak over, and Kolby eventually spotted him; he did enjoy watching the puppy.

*Lots of walking on the loose leash with people passing on foot, and strollers too.
*A mini playground where Kolby climbed the graduated stairs to the top and sat next to the opening of the fire pole. He was about ready to go backwards over the edge (something he has done twice at the top of our stairs at home), so we will need to work on his spacial awareness.
*His first ride in an Elevator - and it was a Glass Elevator - double bonus points! He enjoyed looking out the window, and he did notice that we were moving, because his head moved with the motion of the outside as he sat looking out the floor to ceiling window. So cute. We rode it a few times before we did an exit.

*Smell of food, and sitting during lunch paying attention to me versus the dirty outdoor flooring. He never paid attention to the floor, that was good, but he liked to paw at my leg and a few times got his paws on my knees for a more up-close-and-personal-approach. Another item to add to the training To Do List.

*He went Hurry, the quickest one yet! And I chose a grate that was around a tree coming up from the sidewalk. I chose that spot because that was the only option at the time. I commanded a Hurry - he stood and stared off into the distance for a bit, and then he did his thing. Celebration. I think he might be getting this Hurry in Public thing.

*People. Many people passed, only a few asked to greet. The man in the wheelchair, a man with two walking sticks, and a little toddler boy. Kolby was the best with the toddler boy because Kolby did not lick at all. The other two he licked - add it to the list. Ohh, and one young lady I passed when I first arrived that didn't ask, but just bent down to pet Kolby as we passed, stating very enthusiastically, "I love labs!!" Ohh, okay, then by all means pet him without asking.

What a great day for Kolby. Enjoying his California Sun while not in California, taking a long walk through an outdoor mall, and enjoying some patience while I enjoyed lunch with my friend. A few things to work on, but no deal breakers.

Happy Day!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

First Bark

Everyone is in a great mood this week (for many reasons) but one is that the sun is out and claims have been made that we should reach 70 degrees. This is big news in our area - gladly accepted.

As I have stated before, our sleepy town is growing and I am just amazed at all that it has to offer my puppy and me now, which it never offered Haddie and me. I have to remind myself that once we exhaust our zip code, I will have to branch out and go to the neighboring cities like I did with Haddie to give Kolby those experiences too.

Kolby and I hit adventures early this morning. We went to the new and improved, much larger, Ma and Pa hardware store and meandered through the aisles. It was so fun. Kolby loves to check in while walking, which makes it easy to keep him right beside me. Hoping this early training will stick and he will continue his awesome loose leash skill without fuss as he grows.

I keep visualizing an 80 pound, tall, handsome black dog next to me - perfect motivation. There is no way I can fib in not having a loose leash - this has to always be top priority.
I had him pose for this picture. You would think by now he would be used to the camera/camera phone as we have taken hundreds of photos of him in the short month and a half of being together. But, he can still be easily distracted by it. In this case, he would not hold his Sit for anything. My guy, who thinks Sitting is the only way to go through life, would pop up just as I got the camera up and ready.

Eventually I became the Human Pez Dispenser and held treats to continue to encourage Stay. He must have interpreted it as a form of teasing, although I felt they were being offered quickly enough, because he let out a Bark! right there in the cute home interior section of the store as he was looking at me. I gave a swift Don't correction and he did not repeat.

He has made an amazing turn-around in his barking. What started out consistent and often and annoying his first few weeks with us, he has learned to channel into a very quiet, don't-talk-unless-asked puppy. He has proven that he has really been showing restraint and working hard at maintaining silence, because today's outburst shows it is still in him.

Ohh, Kolby - your First Bark in public wasn't as embarrassing as I had imagined it would be, but let's keep this your one and only. Those treats will keep coming for awesome behavior, I promise.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Tulip Day for Kolby

The Tulip Festivals in our part of the state are popular for the month of April. Located in farm country it is a little over 90 minutes to drive from our house to the fields. But the drive is always worth it, being a country girl at heart I could stay for days, but we only stayed for one.
Kolby experienced his first Street Fair in the town we stopped to grab lunch before heading to the fields. It was raining off and on when we arrived, but the experience of the different food tents, crowds of people, and loud Live music coming from the center square was a great first experience for Kolby. He did great and received a lot of Oohs and Ahhs.
One thing that Kolby is definitely teaching me is patience. He is not the fastest Hurry guy. And it is not because he is distracted, it is actually the opposite. He will just sit and stare at me. But I know that he knows the command - we use it at home every. single. time. he. goes. out. because he is in a secured part of our yard where he has to be escorted through the garage to get there - so it isn't like I just send him out the sliding door and leave him alone. He knows it.
And every time I offer the Hurry command, I not only want him to do it because I am headed indoors, but also because I know it is time.

So - we will stare and I will encourage and then I will move on and make him walk and get distracted about something else away from the first attempt. All the while I KNOW he has to go!
During this adventure, my hubby and kids left the two of us to get a table at this cute little cafe in the middle of the Street Fair. As the rain picked up, I continued walking with Kolby trying to find a new spot to command Hurry. No grass, gravel, or bark were anywhere to be found. So we ended up weaving through more Street Fair experiences until we found an alley. Cement would have to do. It did. He went just fine. Sigh.
But now I could relax, and we walked back the blocks to the Cafe to join my family already in lunch progress. Kolby held his Under the table the entire 45 minutes we were eating. He never went Down, but he Sat. The entire time. Sitting. Observing. Checking in with me and my girl. He attracted the attention of one sweet family who was sitting on the other side of the Cafe. We chatted for about 15 minutes about Puppy Raising. It was fun - all the while Kolby stayed in his Sit Under the table. Dream.
Moving on to our day, the rain poured buckets from the clouds as it was time to get back to our car to head to the fields. I will admit - I carried our 27 pound puppy three blocks to the car. There was soooo much rain, I thought he might have drown being so close to the pavement. Ha!!
No, I admit - I did not want a wet dog in our car (insert - long drive home after the fields). Next time when I don't have a choice when he is 35+ pounds - which will be soon - he will experience rain puddles and massive falling rain. Trust me, there will be plenty of next times.
We stopped at a large field where we could walk through the fields to get prime photos. Not every field is open like that. I am glad we stumbled upon this one. It was clearly marked NO DOGS in the fields, but with Kolby proudly wearing his Vest, I ignored the sign and continued forth with confidence. We passed many employees who could have stopped us, but nobody did.
The fields were Muddy, but the rain had stopped. Kolby enjoyed walking in the mud, and had no problems sitting in it for most of the photo shoot. My hubby continued on with his photo fun of the Tulips, while I walked Kolby back to the car that was parked in a field of grass. Kolby enjoyed smelling the Farm Air and drying his feet off in the field before heading back to his kennel and driving home.
Kolby enjoyed bath time when we returned home before retiring for bed.
It was such a fun family day with Kolby. He was quiet to and from and during all the drive times in his kennel, he ate his lunch standing in the cargo section of our car without getting distracted, he got to experience walking through large crowds, listening to Live music through loud speakers, Cafe behavior, rain drops, mud, and the scent of Farm.
We will have to return next year for his Big Boy Photos with the Tulips.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Beaming on the Inside

I was standing in the Veterinary lobby waiting for my invoice when a man parked in front and unloaded a very tall, lanky lab-mix of a cutie from his car. I knew they were headed in our direction, so I positioned Kolby (who was on leash due to being too big) between me and the counter. Kolby is not fully vaccinated, in fact he is behind schedule as of today - more later - so I did not want to mix this stranger, lanky lab with my sweet 14 week old Rock Star.

The man stumbled in the door after his pulling Kangaroo of a Teen Dog and quickly noticed Kolby in a perfect Sit. His first comment was in disbelief that my dog was sitting still while his dog was bouncing; literally bouncing, and was no longer a full fledged puppy.

Kolby ventured out just a touch to get a better view, but he never lunged forward or solicited any attention. In typical Kolby style he just sat and watched.

It was about the time that I was typing in my pin number to the machine that the man asked to pet Kolby. I admit, certain areas in my life I can not multi-task. One being paying a bill, and watching Kolby with an appropriate greeting, next to a tap dancing dog. But I quickly said okay and focused enough to see Kolby go over to the man to offer up his sweet face for a quick rub. The over joyful dog stayed on the other side of the man.

I gave Kolby the Here command to get him back to my side, and he immediately obeyed (I was beaming on the inside), and he went back to sitting and watching the dog, and watching me, all the while the man was completely amazed that my obviously young puppy had no reaction to his towering jumping-bean.

Kolby was not wearing his vest, and I kept my secret that he was a Service Dog in Training to myself. I figured the man with the bouncing dog had too many other things on his mind to listen to me share about Puppy Raising for CCI. We live in a small enough town, I'm sure he will spot us training at some point between now and August 2014 ... and then my secret will be out and he'll not be as impressed.

But for the meantime, it was fun to beam on the inside while Kolby was a total Rock Star at the Vet.

Kolby was due for his second round of vaccine boosters today, but they have been put on hold for ten days. He was tested positive for Demodex, so he will sporting a nice orange gel at bedtime to clear it up. While my vet was surprised at the combo of Demodex with a 14 week old puppy, she was not concerned. It is an immune issue that will sort itself out with the help of medication. Because of an Awesome group of Puppy Raisers raising this fabulous K-Litter, I quickly learned today that Kolby's sister also tested positive for Demodex today (we take our Booster update schedules seriously, all the pups coincidentally saw their personal vets today). The extra-fun news of the vet visit is that Kolby weighs 26.5 pounds. WooHoo!!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Good Listening

Today's adventure took us back to the new shopping center in our small town. I am finding it to be a great location to walk Kolby outside - with four corners of "highway" that intersect at this location. I use the term Highway because that is what each road is called, but I would say it is just a high-traffic street with big trucks, buses, and loud motorcyles frequenting often.

We included a fair amount of walking the sidewalks that meandered through the large parking lot and then parallel to the highway. Just at the right moment, a loud (firecracker-like) motorcycle cruised passed us popping his noise every few seconds. Kolby was not impressed, as he took a fighting stance in shock every time the cycle backfired.

The good news is that Kolby recovered nicely and each time looked at me for assistance. Such sweet eyes to look into - my favorite part of watching Kolby is him watching me.

We also took a walk through two stores. The first being a big box grocery-all-purpose store. I selected the door that entered into the Toy Department. While I saved pushing buttons that created noise and movements for another day, the agenda today was getting him used to walking up and down aisles, the reflections and shadows off of the very, very clean and shinny floor, and learning how to turn in to me to make a right turn, or away from me to make a left turn.

I continued to pass two kiddos who were riding in the shopping cart. The brothers would stop talking and just stare at Kolby - their mom busy paying attention to shopping duties, she never looked up. The boys kept talking to her about Kolby, just as we had vanished from their sight. Ha! Gotta love hearing the mom's reaction when she thinks the kids are joking because we have now moved on. Every time we passed them, the mom did not see us. A little Puppy Raiser humor.

The next stop was the boutique style pet store. After being witness to too many unfriendly dogs, because of the lack of integrity by their owners, at the big pet store chains, I refuse to take my dog and CCI puppies into those type of stores. I find more like-minded pet owners in stores that are run by Ma and Pa, or Feed Stores. I venture into those to give the puppies the same exposure.

Kolby went in and came out wagging his tail from the cute all natural pet boutique He was one proud and happy puppy to be able to visit a Pet Store. The agenda was letting him get familiar to all the smells that this Happiest Place on Earth provided Kolby. Loose leash throughout, my pup smelled e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g and we were the only ones in the store, so it gave him prime opportunity to stay focused on smelling.

He only licked once - the wrapped bones - but a quick Don't and his tongue went back into his mouth. Good Boy! I am so proud that he maintained a loose leash, and kept his sniffer on and his licker off. By the time he was done smelling, it was time to go. I did one final loop through each aisle to test him, and he chose to walk beside me rather than stopping to smell the food, the toys, the leashes, etc. etc. Yay! Allowing him time to observe and get his environment in check made it possible for him to walk through like a veteran.

A great morning adventure! We will round out our afternoon with a bath and detailed grooming.  

Monday, April 15, 2013

Wake Up Kolby!!

A few weeks ago I posted how Kolby is uber-slow at getting out of his kennel. I have tried so many times to get a video of his antics, but to no avail because 1) he picked up his pace to see the video camera, or 2) the room was too dark, mixed with a black dog, and the video produced nothing.

I shot this last week after his mid-morning nap. His kennel is moved to our laundry room during the night because it is warmer and more den-like for a good night's sleep. Then, the kennel is moved to the high traffic area of our house during the day where he learns to sleep and chill out while activity and life happens around him. 

Because the video camera was right in front of his face, this is still a much quicker Wake Up, Kolby than normal. No matter if he has been awake waiting for me to let him out, or if I come upon him barely awake, he does this slow-motion get-up every. single. time.

This big boy was the last to be born in his litter (if my memory serves me correctly) and it is no wonder!!! Poor Mamma Kanga - WAKE UP, KOLBY!!!

Love him. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Kolby in the big city

The behind the scenes quick story is my twelve year old son is a Chef and has been cooking (thanks to the mentorship of my mom) since he was in Kindergarten. He dreams of owning his own restaurant; specifically (as of age twelve) a Food Truck. 
Today's plan was that my mom was treating my son and I to a Food Truck experience in the big city. She parked her car in our driveway, our car was loaded up with all-things Kolby (including Kolby), and we were off to the adventure of the waterfront and the Food Truck. 

After a few detours due to massive road construction, we landed in the correct location that was advertised about this particular food truck. We got our free parking pass at a Marina that was advertised as having free parking passes for the food truck, and casually happened to ask "Where is the Snowflake E** Food Truck parked?" The nice front desk lady looked it up and said, "Oh, I'm sorry - their website said they cancelled today due to weather." 

It is no small feat to make the trek into the city, and the weather - while blistering cold and extremely windy - it was not raining, and THAT was a reason to be outside celebrating with lunch from a Truck. 

We continued to walk the Marina while we decided our next game plan. Kolby was a rock star with the wind blowing - his ears flapping, and large sheets of plastic blowing making a visual impact as well as loud noises. 
He held his sit fairly well for a lady to pet him; while he stood up, I was most impressed he did not Jump! Another lady felt it was her right to just pet him without asking - I will give her slack and think that perhaps she thought he was wearing a shirt/sweater due to the cold, as his back was facing the other way and she probably didn't even think that he might be working. But it was a bold, in your face pet, without any conversation between me and the lady, and Kolby held it together. That time he remained sitting. 
He walked on dock grates with water underneath. He walked over a Marina bridge with the water completely visible between the grate and on both sides of the railing. He walked on the Marina docks. Kolby was brilliant and did not pull on his leash, and would Sit when commanded, and check in with great eye contact. Yay!
When we were done visiting the small Marina, with two free hours of parking ahead of us, we didn't want to waste the park and drive aimlessly around town. While my mom and son jumped in the car to warm and decide our next destination, I fed Kolby and gave him a short walk. 

After much back and forth discussion, we decided on the main waterfront shopping area to walk-about. Knowing this was a high foot-traffic area, with stray dogs and perhaps not the most sanitary conditions, we chatted that I would hold Kolby while we walked (knowing that 25 pounds would get heavy quick); but I was up for the challenge. The humans just needed food! 

Circling the cobblestone street a few times to find parking, it gave more pause for us to decide what it was we were really going to do in this neck of the city. We eventually agreed that my mom and son would "jump out" of the car - while I continued to circle - in order to buy seafood for dinner, and quality cheese from the Amazing cheese store. We would communicate via cell phone for pickup. 

I only circled the street once and found myself a prime parking spot. Score!! I was so very tempted to get Kolby out and hold him, but the more stray dogs and large volume of people, I felt it would be best to not fall into temptation and just promise myself I would return with Kolby when he is fully vaccinated (and a little taller). 

Returning to the car, my son happy to have stopped into his favorite place in the city, my mom the trooper for escorting him, we were on our way to find lunch. We went closer to home where we knew  a guarantee of food selection and took Kolby in to order our food at a Teriyaki Take Out spot. He sat quietly in a Heel beside me in the very teeny, tiny lobby so he experienced the food smell, and how to manage his tail with all the foot traffic going in and out. 
So while the day did not go as planned, what a FUN day to share the memory of our impromptu city trip with Kolby. I shared with my girl when we got home that it felt like we had an eighteen month old puppy at the end of our leash, not a thirteen week one. He was so very calm, and did everything asked of him in a very thoughtful manner. I have no doubt that Kolby enjoys working. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Leave It

I was skimming Facebook last night before bed and saw an adorable video of Kolby's sister, Kira (who is also black and is Kolby's twin - Ha, I know...the entire litter are Kolby's twins), being raised in Southern California. Her Puppy Raiser is an amazing photographer and videographer who can capture a dark colored puppy with perfection. Totally jealous of her skills.

She posted a video in much better quality of Kira choosing to eat the food, or not eat the food. Kira was a rock star and chose not to eat the food until it was given by her Puppy Raiser. It made me beam that Kolby's sibling was super smart, so I wanted to test out Kolby's skill of Leave It this morning.

While the video is not of amazing quality, I think Kolby rocked the assignment and is of amazing quality. Take a peak at 13 week old Kolby.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Sidewalk Walk

So, it has been 11 days of tummy trouble for Kolby and we are finally back to happy!! The social outings have been a little dampened during this time while we waited patiently for his belly to figure out how to get back to normal. With the help of CCI Vet Clinic, our fabulous Trainer, and our amazing personal vet, Kolby has the correct meds and the trouble disappeared instantly. Aaaamazing.  
Today I had plans for a store-outing, something like a Drug Store or just one section of a toy store at a big box chain. But as the sun was actually glimmering behind thin clouds, I dumped the interior walk-about for some fresh air. Finally. Fresh air without dodging raindrops.
We walked about 45 minutes on the sidewalks of a new strip mall in our town. It was quiet. The concentration was on moving vehicles, the noises of nature, all-things-litter (man, there are a lot of scraps of junk e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e - things you don't notice unless you are puppy training), variance in surfaces, and keeping pace with a loose leash.

I had mixed up the Wait command with Haddie - using it more as a Stay or don't move command, when in actuality, according to our region's trainer, it is a command that makes the pup not move past a threshold. Whereas Stay is where the legs can not move. The implied Stay for Sit is all four feet need to be planted. The implied Stay for Down is that the forearms shall not lift off the ground.
To tell your pup to Wait, it means that you do not want them to move to the next room - but they are free to move about the room you expect them to remain in. I am still learning how to train this one. It is slow goings, but I am determined Kolby will know the correct command of Wait.

I was using Wait for Haddie instead of the "Leave It" command. Wait for her food, Wait to eat a treat, Wait before fetching her ball. All of those are actually Leave It's.
So today I worked on Leave It with Kolby and litter. He was amazing (only because we worked on Leave It last week with kibble on the floor, on my lap, on my hand, on his toes, on the chair - yeah, we were home a lot last week). Kolby gets Leave It at our house, I'm glad to see him transfer it to the real world this morning. Notice he is sitting on the chocolate wrapper we found littered on the sidewalk. That's one way to do it, Kolby, just sit on it!

Our crosswalks have bump-circles that protrude out from the cement and creat a great surface for Kolby to walk on. He was just fine. And he sat on this bumpy surface too and waited for his reward.
Shopping carts, rolling doors, huge trucks, high pitched machinery, and a jet black crow that cawed obnoxiously were all sounds that Kolby took pause to hear and observe, but was fine to continue after he had a chance to watch. He is so adorable. Hear a noise? He will Sit and observe. Reminds me of a wise-old-man. Just sit and watch the world; taking it all in. Better than the flip side of flipping out.

I think one of the things that I am not used to is Kolby's lack of Hurry while in public. I will command, and offer him every opportunity to get this accomplished, and he has no interest. That part makes me nervous to venture into stores. A dog that goes because you said, even if they don't feel like they really gotta, is a dream. I had one of those last time (wink). You say the word and she would do it. Every. Single. Time. and. Quickly!!

I enjoyed my fresh air quiet sidewalk walk with Kolby. He is full of cute expressions that make the morning start so perfectly.  I enjoy seeing life through his young eyes.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

An adventure for the rain

For as beautiful as the weather was at the beginning of our week, the downpour of rain came in for the last half of the week. Yawn. Yucky weather really adds a level of creativity to puppy socialization. Not that puppies can't enjoy some wet on their fur, and Raisers put up with the smell of such combo, but it is not the excited "Yeah - Let's go on an outing!" scenario that many of Raisers get to enjoy in other parts of the country with cooperative sunshine.
Many times throughout our 20 months of attending classes has our Trainer mentioned Mall Sitting as a perfect puppy social outing. Just sitting. Nothing fancy, nothing extraordinary, nothing stressful, nothing intense or command-worthy.
The assignment of Mall Sitting:

*Hurry the dog outside
*Walk the dog inside
*Sit at the first available bench
*Sit, Sit, Sit, (reading is optional) and let the puppy observe while he/she is voluntarily sitting, standing, or doing down - doesn't matter so long as the puppy is behaving verbally and watching his/her tongue.
*When puppy shows signs of chilling out and being comfortable in his/her environment, then the assignment can commence.
*Pick puppy up, go outside, and command a Hurry.
We did this scenario today and it took ten minutes for Kolby to go from standing, to sitting, to doing an Under and Down by our legs.

Assignment completed.
We stayed longer than that - observing people ourselves - Ha! - but we were happy that he kept quiet, he kept checking in with his amazing eye contact, and he did not show his tongue during any part of our outing (minus the yawn). He did not solicit attention, nor lunge on his leash at adoring fans.
While strollers passed and groups of people with squeaky sneakers, high heals, and loud kids, not one person asked to pet the puppy, they made comments about the puppy, but did not ask to pet the puppy. That was fine for now and set the outing up for even greater success (he didn't have to learn more than one thing at once - acceptable greeting in a new, busy, loud environment). We are working on baby steps and that was the perfect set-up. Thank you, Public!

Per usual after outings, Kolby is now passed out on his bed on top of his toys.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Remember This

Kolby turned 12 weeks today and our three month old puppy is an official Rock Star. Warning, I am so darn happy that I will freely admit that I am going to brag.
Last week, Kolby walked into Puppy classes speaking and he had a lot to say, so it took a good while before he silenced. Let me rephrase, he was barking because I never once gave him the Speak command. He would look at me and bark. After chatting with our Trainer and getting the entire class working on Speak and Quiet, and having one on one homework about this matter, we focused on his voluntary voice all week. 

Since Saturday Kolby is now 95% Quiet all. the. time. It is night and day difference. Case in point, we walked into class today, and he was silent and remained silent. Yes!! I am thrilled. 
We have gone on outings, and he has been silent. We have gone on outings and he has also accepted his Gentle Leader. If you have been reading along, you will remember that last week Kolby was Schooled about putting on his Gentle Leader. He was a bucking bronco when I tried to put it on him. But - no longer. He has graduated to the Medium sized Gentle Leader, so today it took about five tries to get the correct fitting (that is soooo hard to do!). He was such a gentleman the entire fitting and remained a gentleman while wearing it. Insert applause here. Thank you. 

I noticed today when we were in our first store that it felt like Kolby was gliding on his leash. It felt identical to just dragging the leash on the floor. Kolby does not pull, lunge forward, or lag behind. I had to pass the leash around to my kiddos for them to feel. It was awesome!!! He was wearing his Gentle Leader too. Happy Dance for Kolby!
I really, really, really do not want to compare Haddie to Kolby. But I am so over the moon about this topic, I just have to. Haddie was best on her Gentle Leader, but even that would not always stop her from pulling. If she was determined about something, she would just pull and not care if her nose was being pulled sideways as a result. Thankfully we got this under enough control before Turn In, but it was by far her biggest struggle through Raising from day one. 

I am seriously crossing my fingers and toes that Kolby has the no-pulling trait down naturally. I will make sure we do everything we can to keep it this way. I can imagine him 80 pounds one day, and we absolutely need this gliding on leash thing to stick!!
Class was amazing. My son worked him for the first half, I worked him the second half. Kolby sat when my son would come to a stop. He held a very long Stay command as directed by our Trainer. He was not distracted by the other puppies, and he glided through class on his leash. Before Kindergarten class had started, Kolby sat in a heel by my side watching the older puppies work in their class. He sat and watched for ten minutes. He only broke his sit twice, and I didn't even ask him to Stay. He volunteered that part. Have I mentioned that Kolby loves to sit (wink), it is true. 
To end the perfect day, we swung into my friend's house on the way home (she lives 5 minutes from class). She has three cats and two adorable children and a very nice husband. We put Kolby in his kennel in their kitchen and let their three cats hang out with him. Kolby didn't care, the cats were a little leery and not so sure about the black shadow in the box, but all was fine and it was a perfect experience for Kolby. 

And he didn't bark. Or whimper. 

Remember This - today was a great day in the life of puppy raising Kolby!!

Kolby with Sweet 16

My sweet 16 year old niece adores Kolby.

It is mutual.

Kolby knows how to give the flirty look with his puppy-dog eyes that get all the ladies swooning over him.

Oh, Kolby! You have got it made!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Haddie's First Report

It finally came. With no substantial information about Haddie since February 15th, when we said our goodbye, we finally received her first training report late this afternoon. It was a bit worrisome at first, because our friends had received their report, and I had not. I was wondering if it was a sign that a phone call would be placed to us tomorrow about a release, or if we were caught up in an email malfunction that we had been warned about.
It was about twenty minutes after Happy Dancing for our friend's pups that had received their great report did it dawn on me that perhaps our report was in my hubby's email box. Sure enough, it was.


Quickly sending the attachment to my computer from our iPad, my son and I rushed to my computer to get the attachment. We couldn't wait to read the report, and we read it out loud to my daughter who didn't move from the couch; she was rightfully feeling a bittersweet emotion about getting the report. While she wants Haddie to graduate, she is also wanting to have Haddie live in our city with our dear friends. I totally get my girl's emotions and feeling the tug for both outcomes.
Haddie is doing fantastic!! She had nothing checked in the negative boxes on the form ~ and that list is really long!! For that, I am super excited. If there were items marked, that does not mean the pup is headed for a Release. They can have negative marks and still be in the program. But to have nothing marked just makes me feel good.

That is not to say that Haddie won't choose to act negatively in the future. She still may be riding the College Freshmen High and hasn't settled into boredom. Or, she may never exhibit those signs. Just wanting to keep it real and taking the good for the moment, while not being fooled that things might change.

Haddie went on one Field Trip with her trainer to Barnes and Noble. My insert to this reading was a Huge Smile as my dear friend and I took her to B&N when she was tiny and we chatted for two hours in the comfy chairs while Haddie had to chill out with us. Thank you JENNIFER for helping her be so outstanding at B&N. The report states: "We went on one field trip this month to Barnes and Noble. She encountered grates, an elevator, and stairs. She did very well and had no trouble with anything that we encountered."

One of the working-on sections the Trainer typed was that she is working with Haddie to accept nail trimming. This made me sad, because I know the story. Haddie was Perfect with nail trimming since about four months old. She struggled when she first came home, but we quickly got her used to the idea and she would lay calmly in a craddle to get her nails trimmed without any struggle. She was easy and it was a dream to trim her nails weekly.

And then, during class last November, I agreed for a volunteer (who was trimming many dogs that night) to do Haddie's for me. But unfortunately she clipped too short and Haddie was not happy. Since that day Haddie struggled with nail trimming. Ohhh, we were so close too. I know she can't be perfect, but I was so proud of her ability to hold so still during allllll the months prior, and to have her freak out just months before Turn In was sad. Sigh. I am praying she gets this under control and realizes that she can handle it like she once did.

The Biggest surprise is that she is listed as a Potential Breeder. Wow. I really thought they would have taken her out of the running very quickly. I say this because she has had skin issues on her tummy and under her arm pits. I thought her allergy/chemical makeup would take her out of the running to Breed. Glad that it has not so far. Perhaps it was entirely environmental and the warm California sun has cleared it up and she's no longer showing signs of whatever it was (never did figure out the cause). It never bothered her, it just didn't look "very pretty" (but how many times are they showing off their belly in public? Ha!).

The final statement: "She is progressing nicely with her skills."

YES!! Nicely done, Haddie Rosa!!!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Silly Puppy!!

Kolby has a silly side. He can be so clumsy and rambunctious that you can not help but smile and laugh at him. Thankfully, so far, he has pulled out the sillies when we have been enjoying time at home, versus in public. I am sure with his personality, his comedic routine will come out for the world to enjoy at one point during this Puppy Raising Adventure.
When Kolby plays, he really plays. He loves to do somersaults and enjoys rolling on his back and pedaling his four feet into the air while his ears are pinned to the floor and the whites of his eyes show more than his beautiful, dark colored pupils, and his teeth sparkle and his soft pink tongue is just so adorable against the black fur contrast.
And briefly speaking of ears - Kolby seems to have long ones because I have never seen a dog chew on the tips of their own ears like Kolby does. He will tilt his head to the side to get the floppy ear into his mouth before rolling to the carpet securing the ear to the floor while he continues to chew - or - he will put his ear into his mouth and "take it for a walk".
Silly Puppy!!