November 30, 2008
Echo quickly adapted to the commotion and people going in and out. He barely notices the front door opening anymore. Especially since Buddy is not around top instigate.
The highlight of his last two days has been playing with little humans. Echo found new playmates in Jared, Jalyn, Troy, and Izzy. The youngest two are under a year, still puppies like Echo. He was very calm amd gentle with them, but he licks too much.
November 29, 2008
Anyhow, it's been quiet activities, touch, sit, down, sit, down, stand, heel, back - never can make up their minds, can they. On Thursday we spent lots of time in crates but that's OK, we were better off than that headless big bird on the table - he must have not listened to a command or something to end up that way.
I'm hoping for a more exciting week coming up as those pieces of string are finally falling off my tummy (with a little help from me) so maybe I can play again.
All for now,
November 27, 2008
"I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive." - Gilda Radner
November 25, 2008
Echo accompanied us on two short trips to the drug store and grocery store where he surprisingly met the same little girl. Entering the drug store she asked to pet him. Never sure who is happier Echo or the "petter". Then in the grocery store she called him by name like long lost buddies.
Nail trimming before bed. This required us to roll Echo a few times.
November 24, 2008
When I came home Mom made me lie quiet and no playing. Reggie (my 10 yr old Border Collie bud) just snickered at me and said something about me being fixed now?? I don't think I was ever broken - strange.
Throughout the entire episode he remained in good spirits. Couldn't tell he was sick by his actions. Yesterday, we even went to the park for a long walk. Echo met up with Kane and Sable when we got to the park. Halfway through, we met Leinie and Geneva. We stopped to socialize for a bit. Then Coby, CoCo, and JoJo joined the pack. Mala strolled through. There were about six other dogs that I don't remember their names. Everyone was well behaved and went home tired.
November 22, 2008
Well, a couple days ago I was put through major torture (for my own good they said) - Ha! I had to go and watch fluff-face get to play for an hour and not move a muscle - Ha!
I only moved when a bunch of them came roaring past the fence - I'm pleading puppy drive. I was told I wasn't being very good in a down-stay, but what's a pup to do - so many playthings...so little time.
At least I got to try some agility stuff later (I luv that tunnel!!).
Then today was the big day, I guess. Well, at least Mom was pretty proud of me today! I passed my CGC test at Badger Kennel Club.
First of all, mom signed up with some lady that gave her a piece of paper on a clip-board. Then, we went to talk to one lady who said “hi” while mom asked me to sit nicely. Then I was brushed. I was not allowed to sniff or lick the person who was brushing me. Then, off to down-stay and sit. After I sat, mom called me… that was easy. I ran to her really fast!!!!
But the hard part was when a nice chocolate lab was brought into the ring along with another person. At first I thought it came to play with me (I looked at it really close, with a lot of pizzazz),,,,but mom said that when we walked up to the lady with the chocolate lab I had to sit and be nice. So I was. The easiest part for me, of course, was when a really nice lady came and took me out of mom’s sight for three minutes. The lady pet me and talked to me. Being a lab, I did not even notice that mom was gone.
Mom was so happy with me that she gave me a big hug. Tonight we went out to dinner to celebrate with some friends.
I wonder if I can take the test again next week?
November 21, 2008
After I got home, Echo vomited again (5pm). I took him for a walk shortly after because other than his tummy issue he seems in good health and is eager to play/exercise. I also moistened some dog food for use later.
Around 7pm we started feeding him small portions of plain white rice every 45 minutes. Before bed I mixed in a few water logged pieces of dog food to the rice and let him drink the water - our main concern has been dehydration. A Labrador is hungry even with regular feedings, Echo must feel like we lost food bowl.
Everyone slept peacefully through the night. Echo and I stopped at the veterinarian's office this morning to check weight loss. Upon returning home, more rice and the rest of the water logged food. He had only lost a pound, so the road to recovery should be short.
It looks like Echo will be able to celebrate his birthday. He is seven months old. Remember when ...
November 20, 2008
Well what a great day for me yesterday. Mom got me up nice and early for a drive down to Beloit for a chance to practice a quiet neutral dog greeting and a chance to visit with old Occupaws friends! Dad took a few pictures of these precious moments with friends.
Here I am meeting up with my buds - I can't tell you how happy we were to see each other. I was just prancing with glee.
Then once we had a chance to meet and greet it was time for a little quiet R&R. Dad snapped this lovely picture of me catching a catnap amongst my dear pals - they are just so loving!
Then came that moment when I got to meet a special new girl - Sophie. I think you can tell that she was smitten with me and my charm. I just know it was the start of a long romance. Mom even hightailed it out of there to give us some alone time.
Then Marlene prepared a nice haute cuisine meal for us, but while the food was wonderfully prepared, as usual at any fine dining establishment, portions were meager at best. But we were gentlemen and ladies, sharing graciously and quietly enjoyed our meal.
Then it was time for an apre-dinner stroll and imagine my surprise running into Marlene and my sweetheart out on the sidewalk. I think she could tell I was a very good dog...snicker.
About 9 o'clock Echo seemed to be screaming in pain and the vomiting started up again. This was repeated every hour until 4am, so we spent the next seven hours waking up, if able to fall asleep, and racing to the door. The vet thinks that he has a stomach virus which should go away in a week.
Our poor little boy has been living on yogurt and water the last 24 hours. His last real meal was dinner on Tuesday. If things improve today, he will get some rice and maybe a little hamburger.
November 19, 2008
This morning, before turning Echo over to the vet tech, I checked his weight which seemed a little low at 58 pounds. This confirmed our observations that he hasn't been gaining weight even with our increased feedings.
About an hour later we received a phone call from the vet informing us that he had vomited five times since I dropped him off. He hadn't had any symptoms prior so we thought it might be stress. Which is understandable given the significance of the operation.
They proceeded to run some blood work which indicated some minor issues. They also administered an anti-vomit drug before sending him home. Nonetheless the surgery has been postponed and Echo remains intact. Apparently the drug has worn off or was ineffective, because Echo has since vomited a few times at home.
While I was being the bestest dog ever, a plot was unfolding to replace Dale and I with a dog substitute!
I went with Mom, Dad, Fuzzface, Nikki, and Dale to a Girl Scout meeting last night. At first, all was well as they calmly asked questions about guide dogs and how they can help blind people go places and do things. I was pretty happy as I had at least 4 or 5 girls calmly petting me while I rested.
Then crazy Nikki asked if they would like to see a demonstration (big mistake). After Dale walked Nikki through an obstacle course, I figured it would be my turn, but noooo, good ole Dad decided to be a dog instead.
He lead all the blindfolded girl scouts and mom's through the obstacle course - some faster than others.
While they were doing that, the girls got to hold and pet Fuzzbag, Dale and me and they went pretty crazy cheering for the blindfolded ones while they each got to play dog trainer.
I for one, was exhausted by the time we were done but it was fun.
Today we go to Marlene's to "practice" something...whatever-I don't need practice on anything.
November 17, 2008
The plan this week called for a night. Objects look different and strange shadows are cast by the streetlights and headlights which have been know to spook Echo. It was quite cold so we only took a short walk and no one displayed any apprehension.
We raced back to the house to warm up. Testing the puppies in-house behavior while we discussed training tips and puppy health. Except for Echo crying, Deegan creeping, Slick playing, Archie nudging, and Buddy storming, everyone was well behaved.
By nightfall it had disappearred, so I couldn't take pictures. We will probably have ample opportunity for some snow dog pictures in the weeks and months to come.
November 16, 2008
Humans are a funny lot. Mom went nuts today and papered the house with those little sticky pieces of paper, but I guess it was OK. I GOT FOOD when I just touched one - I didn't even have to eat it!!
Then she left the room for a while and came back and said "Find Dad - touch". What was I supposed to do - all the stickies were gone so I had to hunt around. Down the hall, nope not there, this room - naaa, wait - there's Dad with a note stuck on him.
I wonder if I go and touch it....wheee food, wonderful food. I like this game!
Woof for now.
November 15, 2008
Since Lisa has assumed the leadership responsibilities for Echo, I have more time to work with Buddy. We took two hour long walks to work on HEELing, not crying when he sees other dogs in the park, and recalls off leash. He learns very quickly when I can focus. Too much walking for Buddy though, he slept all evening.
While Buddy slept, my white shadow followed me from room to room all night. Every time I got up I felt guilty. I tried walking out quietly, but he always heard me. Eventually I reverted to telling Echo to STAY if it was a quick trip. After brushing him, I cradled him until he went to sleep. Unless I remove myself completely, it's going to be difficult for Lisa to break our bond and become his pack leader.
OK you humans - time to 'splain to me the need to eat paper. How come if I eat a newspaper all I get is "Bad Dog" or nibble on a few innocent pieces of Kleenix and I get a finger shoved down my throat and a loud NOOOO.
What's a dog to do. Now if I try a eat a little sheet of paper some cricket sounds off and I get food - go figure. Eat white shakey paper ... gag-o-matic finger jam. Get my nose near white skicky paper and you'd swear I invented an automatic pooper scooper or something (crickets, food, good dog, smart boy, blah blah).
I'm going to have to ponder this for a while...tomorrow maybe I'll see what happens if I just touch the white shakey paper (but it tastes soo good).
For now it's off to helter skelter...wheee.
What do you mean no running in the house???
The photo shows the puppies in a SIT STAY while Nicole walks a blindfolded Mark into the wall. Or are they looking at the posters. Actually she was simulating how to "drive" a guide dog. She stopped before the wall and Mark had to identify why she had stopped before offering his next command.
After a short training class, the focus of the meeting was teaching the puppies to touch/mark an object. Or should I say teaching the puppy raiser how to train the puppies. Along with a pad of post it notes, we received a clicker, which I never thought I would see working with an OccuPaws puppy.
Using a post it note and clicker for positive reinforcement, we should start training Echo to touch the post it note in various locations. The clicker will be used to provide feedback to the guide dog during formal harness training and the post it notes will facilitate training the dog to understand object words (door, sink, elevator, etc).
November 14, 2008
During the meeting a piece of doughnut hit the floor near Echo. He resisted the yummy temptation with some encouragement. The doughnut dropping offender apologized and quickly retrieved the morsel. Lisa explained that he needs to learn to LEAVE IT and it was not a problem, but rather a good test.
After the staff meeting, Echo was forced to attend another boring meeting with the accountant for the LLC. Nothing exciting, just a good dog.
It was not a good night. First, we met up with a rain shower in the middle of our evening walk. Echo once again displayed his dependence/fixation on Buddy. To top things off, he made poo with his cape on for the second time this month.
November 12, 2008
We need to enlist the jumpees as temporary puppy raisers so they can provide a meaningful correction. Like most new puppy raisers they are kind hearted and accepting of a puppies misdeeds. However, if that proves unsuccessful, we may need to employ a shock collar.
We repeated this exercise for about thirty minutes. Half way through, I took control of Echo. I think he was a little more compliant walking with me, but there was still an issue. This only happens with Buddy, so as we mentioned in the past, we need to break/lessen the dependency. We will try to limit their time together and a month of separation may be beneficial.
After nail trimming, Echo was lying down by us in the living room. Buddy was either lonely or bored because he kept bringing toys out to Echo. Echo would grab the toy and Buddy would return a minute later with another. Buddy didn't want the toy because he brought it straight to Echo. Oi Vei!
Note: Echo walks perfectly fine by himself or passing other dogs.
November 10, 2008
November 9, 2008
The demonstration was an abbreviated training class followed by two of our working teams moving through an obstacle course. Here are Archie and Oliver discussing strategy before the demonstration:
After the demonstration, Echo walked around the arena "visiting" other dogs. He also performed his ambassador duties in front of the OccuPaws booth soliciting pets and pats. Being deserted by his blond pals he cavorted with the dark side for a few hours.
Just before closing time the OccuPaws dogs put on an encore demonstration. Everyone was put in a DOWN STAY. They all did very well with the constant procession of dogs and humans. The dogs drew rave reviews from passersby on this encore performance.
Was that a DOWN STAY or SLEEP command?
I'm a model - see me mug!
No actually, I spent all day with all my dog friends trying to be very good.
Most of the time I listened, but sometime little fuzzpups would wander by, just waiting to be pounced on. Dad is just no fun...I just wanted to say hello, but noooo, down, stay...blah blah blah. I finally went to sleep.
Later we all got to march in a dog parade or something. Then it was sit-down-sit-down again followed by drunken walking, tail stomping and stay. Dad had a senior moment and had me down-stay (and I did perfect). Unfortunately the command was sit-stay - oh the shame of it all :-( But we all were good pups and did what we were told, even if it was not what was wanted.
I got lots of petting and praise so all in all, I had a fun day. But time for sleeeppp...
November 8, 2008
In the evening, Echo attended his second Badger hockey game. He seemed more at ease this week, looking around and at the ice before the game started. Once play began, he laid DOWN under the seat for the whole period, which lasts about 40 minutes.
The only issue tonight was walking between periods. Lisa was working with him, but he was constantly checking to see where I was. He would stop and look back when I trailed or look around Lisa when I was on the right. It was very frustrating for Lisa. We usually share puppy duties, but s/he needs to work through this issue, so Lisa worked with him all night.
Returning to our seats for the third period, Echo performed his customary DOWN under the seat. He then proceeded to focus on me throughout the final period. He never took his eyes off me.
It was a pretty quiet morning, I had my CGC class where Mom says I've gotten a little better at ignoring other dogs, but she said I was squirrly at first in class. Dumb human, I'm no squirrel, I can't climb trees...
Then we came home and got right back in the car and ate at an Irish pub with Dale (Nikki and Kurt were there too). Then we went over to the Park Motor Inn for a convention - I never saw so many dogs in harness before. Then after some human blah blah blah, Nikki went up to the front with Dale and she talked to everybody about Occupaws.
I just wanted to stretch out next to the chair and take a nap.
But then a little visitor came to see me - he rubbed my head real nice.
Finally everyone left at the same time and I had to be sure not to touch any of the white canes or trip anyone...Mom said I did good.
All for now.
November 7, 2008
I had fun yesterday on a field trip with Fuzzball and Nikki and Hooch. We all went down to the WAGS building and met Aaron and looked around the building...but that was dull dull dull - just human blah blah blah. But then we went outside to watch Hooch do his thing with Nikki.
Dad must have been having a bad day or was lost because he was telling Nikki how to get somewhere, but we kept crossing streets and walking into shopping carts and having people get in the way. I think they were seeing if Hooch knew what to do in traffic. Did you know humans are required to race really fast if they have a dog? Dad had to run to keep up with Nikki and he huffed and puffed - I thought it was great fun.
After an hour or so, he was really lost and must have gone in circles because we ended up where we started. Humans must not know that you can do the same thing by just taking a nap! Sigh...someday they'll learn the doggie way.
Then we got to hunt for food droppings at Red Robin under a table, but it was no go - nothing for a pup. But I did get a nice hello pet. Mom even gave me treats for keeping my tail on the ground when I said hello. Turns out humans can pet you even when sitting - nice to know.
Tomorrow is my last CGC class before some test - Mom says not to be nervous. Do you think I'll do good?
November 6, 2008
It is true that a balanced pack will work issues out amongst themselves. We will see tomorrow if Echo respects everyone or just Arie. He did seem to offer his pal Kane, another German Shepard, more respect too.
Preparing the monthly puppy progress report offers an opportunity to reflect of the prior month's accomplishments and opportunities. It is also a good time to re-read the puppy raising manual to review the commands that he should be learning. With a renewed focus on Echo, we trimmed his nails, practiced commands, and cradled him (rubbing his paws) until he fell asleep.
November 5, 2008
I worked with Archie since Michelle was teaching the class. Archie did very good with the STAY, probably the "Best In Class". The most difficult exercise was getting more than a dozen dogs to lie down in a close circle and behave - no getting up, growling, or sniffing allowed.
Michelle brought the bubbles out again, but Echo was ready for them this time. He wasn't afraid. However, he did break the STAY command to eat or attack the bubbles. I was surprised that a few other dogs were also fearful of the floating monsters. There may be a need for bubble therapy.
The OccuPaws dogs had to stay after class. Not because they were bad, but to attempt to complete the first official step in becoming an OccuPaws guide dog. Congratulations to Moby, Echo, and Archie. All three passed their Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test this evening.
November 4, 2008
Before work Echo went to the village hall to vote. We didn't have any issues, but Lisa did when she took him in the afternoon. The poll workers told her that it was illegal for Echo to vote twice.
I learned how to register to vote....
Then I voted...
and since I was such a good pup, I was made a poll watcher. Not much to watch in a small town hall though - people were more interested in watching me!
Then we went off to Dr. Dave's in Mt Horeb. I only got a Bordatella but little Miss Fuzzball really got it. A chip in her neck with a HUGE needle. Boy did she yelp :-)
That'll teach her to steal my new stuffed bone!!
November 3, 2008
Abracadabra, almost twenty four hours later, Echo made it reappear at the hockey game. Apparently it was not under the sofa. I believe that Echo learned this trick from his buddy, except Buddy uses the stuffing as opposed to the squeaker. Toys with squeakers and stuffing have been banned from our house.
On Thursday, Echo received a toy when he was visiting Lisa's dad. It was a fluffy bone with a squeaker in it. Within ten minutes the toy was split open and the squeaker had been surgically removed by our aspiring canine doctor.
We are starting to worry as it has been four days without a repeat performance, unless we missed it. Maybe he is waiting for a larger crowd. NOTE: Echo has not had any issues making other matter "magically" appear.
November 2, 2008
It was a fun weekend for this pup. Mom said I'm finally getting the idea that not every dog in the CGC class is there to play with me...I guess she's just happier if I ignore them. Only two more classes and then they'll test her to see what she has learned.
Then it was out to dinner and I did my quiet dog imitation under the table.
But the most exciting was a field trip today with Hooch and Nikki. We walked all around the mall and kept running into things (humans ya know) and then we did what Nikki says is very dangerous for dogs without instructing Mom and Dad first - we went up and down moving stairs.
Nikki spent a lot of time explaining how a pup could get hurt if you're not careful (I suggested the elevator if it's that scarey) and get proper training first.
Anyhow, it was pretty easy once you know how...and fun!! Nikki said any trainers wanting to try this should call her first.
November 1, 2008
Halloween was the perfect night to practice walking outside in the dark with different sights and sounds. After handing out candy, we ventured outside to brave the mean streets of Cuba City which were being patrolled by emergency vehicles with an occasional siren blast. Echo was spooked a few times and had to make friends with the Great (big) Pumpkin and an eleven foot mad scientist (parent on stilts).
While we passed out candy to the ghouls and goblins, Echo and Buddy practiced DOWN STAY when the door bell would ring. The first few ding dongs were challenging, but after the twentieth or thirtieth time they were oblivious. Now if Halloween was everyday, the doorbell would be no big deal. Echo has been better as we have become more focused and disciplined.