Hawk's Schedule

8/4 Lake Mills
8/12 CCSDA Training

September 30, 2009

Puppy Days

We are halfway through Banjo's stay with us and so far, so good. Other than losing all but his four canine teeth, which happen to be very loose, he has not had any medical issues this month. Knock on Wood!

After these last teeth are replaced, we are hoping his chewing subsides. We are continually finding new objects that have been gnawed on. Where do we send the bill?

The last two days have been puppy days. Just walking around the neighborhood and to the park, playing with toys, and cuddling. No outings, therefore, we only have lazy puppy photos.

Even though we stayed home, the training never stops. There is always work to be done to improve his house manners and "handling". We handle his paws, teeth, tail, etc. during our grooming sessions. Banjo instantly transforms from a sloth to a wiggle worm when nail clipping begins and no one likes the dentist. He doesn't understand that it just takes longer.

September 29, 2009


Hello fellow pups!

I had a great day yesterday.

Mom, Dad and I went to Mindy, Dan, and Jacob’s house. Did you know that there are other four legged creatures besides dogs? They are called cats. One of their cats and I rubbed noses.

The cat followed me around the house, and I followed her. It was a lot of fun meeting a new species. Aren’t dogs and cats supposed to chase and fight? Maybe I am confused, but we were friends. She kept rubbing on me and making a buzzzzz sound???

I also watched Jacob to make sure he did not drop anything on the floor. All of his toys were spread on the floor for him. I was good and did not pick up any of his toys (even without mom telling me not to).

Finally, I went to the Badger Kennel Club for my advanced Rally class. I remembered all of the commands… I think mom forgot a couple though. The instructor said that I did great, but mom needs some work on giving me more room when we do left turns, U-turns and the like.

We also practiced jumping over obstacles. We need to work on that as I just wanted to step over the jump rather than jump.

I wonder what we will learn next week at class?

Your friend,

Settling in.

I picked up Promise on Sunday and she's settling in nicely. We took the bus to school and back (my usual mode of transportation), and she's getting the hang of lying under my seat. We're practicing LEAVE IT for the gum on the floor, and are still working on getting into and out of seats without me stepping on her.

September 28, 2009


Training a puppy never stops. There is always something new to teach him. The last few days we have been working on the FINISH command.

Tonight was Banjo's first official "Teenager" training class at The Dog Den in Madison. We reviewed and worked on WATCH, SIT, DOWN, WAIT, and using YES as a marker. OccuPaws doesn't recommend the WATCH command and we generally don't use the "YES" marker, so I kept messing up. The different commands are confusing to me which leads to a confused puppy.

Now our new FINISH command will be very useful. Before our walk I told Banjo to OUTSIDE POTTY and he complied by peeing. This is when the FINISH command is used. I told him to FINISH, meaning go #2 before our walk. It's still a work in progress and we still need to get approval from our trainers.

The Dog Den trainers have been extremely generous in allowing Marley and Banjo to attend a class free of charge. They do a wonderful job using positive reinforcement. If your dog needs training or you just need a refresher, we highly recommend their classes.

Last Days of Summer

Woof fellow Pups!!

Well, Saturday was officially the end of summer (the last Farmer's Market) so soon I guess Mr Grass will go away and my old pal, Mr. Snow will come. It's so much fun to play in the white fluffy stuff...until my tootsies get cold. I wonder if they will be tougher this year??

I got to see my bud Banjo on the square. I was getting a fair amount of petting and hugs...until Banjo came - then it about doubled!! Everyone wanted to see the puppy and I got the sympathy petting as the "old dog". As cute as he was, do you think either of us could get even a scrap of food...no!

We had baby visits and big people and in between sizes.

Then Promise's new "Raiser Mom" Amy decided I needed luvin, so she sat and hugged me for a while.

Banjo and I just talked for a while.

All for now,

September 27, 2009


Banjo handled his first weekend travelling with mixed results. He was frightened or alarmed during the car ride (to/from) and kept trying to climb into the front seat. He was overjoyed with the selection of "new" squeaky toys at our destination. Squeaky toys are the greatest things ever and he just could not control his excitement as he raced around the house, leaping off the steps.

Sunday morning we stopped by the assisted living site to visit grandma. The residents are always happy to see our canine companions. However, having a different dog every time may confuse a few of them. Banjo was tired from his prior antics and was very docile.

Next stop was our annual trip to the apple orchard. Not much fun for a puppy, but we did let him sample a few apples and he met a group of children on the way out - he got a lot of loving.

Banjo's final test of the day was dining out. We haven't been out for a long sit down dinner and weren't sure how he would react. Just a few wandering moments, but an overall success for the little guy.

September 26, 2009

Big Dog

Our first stop today was the Dog Den for puppy playtime. Sixty minutes plus a dozen puppies equals one tired puppy. Throughout the session Banjo and River, the golden retriever, sought each other out. Their play styles were a good fit and Banjo liked River a lot (too much at times).

Banjo caught a few zzz's as we drove downtown to the Madison Farmer's Market. We met our associates Mark, Barb, and Slick. Banjo's assignment was to look cute and act as an ambassador for OccuPaws.

Even though Slick and Banjo are good looking dogs, puppies draw more people to these events. Banjo's charm is fading as he ages. It's almost time for our new puppies to take over.

On our way home we had one more stop to make. Our veterinarian, Village Animal Clinic, was having an open house to celebrate their anniversary. We couldn't pass up an opportunity to meet other dogs, friendly people, and a couple cats. A few of the older dogs growled and cats hissed when meeting Banjo - too much energy.

Some of our puppies have been fearful around big dogs. Not great danes which we saw today, but big dogs like Clifford or McGruff. As you can see Banjo showed no fear and actually liked him better than the growling real canines.

September 25, 2009

Water Based

It was raining, but Banjo still watched the homecoming parade. He was hoping that dog treats were going to be tossed instead of candy. He was left disappointed, sitting on the side of the road, in the rain.

We also slipped into the homecomimg game late in the fourth quarter to experience the crowd and noise. Of course there were a few 'meet and greet's with kids and screaming girls.

It got quite chaotic after Oregon took the lead with a two point conversion with 45 seconds left. Chaos turned into a complete frenzy when Reedsburg's kicker slipped on a short field goal attempt as time expired. Banjo didn't seem to care one way or the other.

Our little black dog can hardly keep his paws out of the water bowl. He practically snorkels when drinking, but he didn't care too much for the pool last week and he didn't care for the bath tub this evening.

It was his first bath at our house and if Banjo has anything to say about it, it will be his last. No fun whatsoever, as was evident by the position of his tail throughout the episode. No one enjoys having bowls of water dumped on his head.

Land's End Sale

Did you ever want to look as good as an OccuPaws puppy in his cute little cape? Now you can.

OccuPaws has an online Land's End store!

1. Set up your personal account

2. The Company name is OccuPaws Guide Dog Association

3. Initial price is without the logo (add $6)

4. Select the OccuPaws Logo

This weekend there is a 20% off sale with FREE shipping. Sale ends Monday (9/28).

September 24, 2009

College Exam

We took a quick walk after work. No dinner for Banjo because we had an outing planned.

To prepare for hockey season, we went to to the Kohl Center where we attended a lecture by Michael Pollan, "In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto." He humorously pointed out the difference between food and "edible foodlike substances". The lecture, part of the University of Wisconsin's "Go Big Read" series turned into a long hard test for our little black dog.

We took our seats and Banjo was put in a DOWN STAY. Like the humans that sat for two hours in folding chairs, Banjo was fidgeting a bit trying to get comfortable on the concrete floor. He did really well staying in one spot and keeping quiet with all the activity.

Two hours later the lecture wrapped up and the Question & Answer session began. We slipped out to congratulate our puppy on passing his first college exam. Exiting, he received a few pats on the head and belly rubs from fellow students.

September 23, 2009

Faux Bells

On our walk through the park tonight we worked on calmly greeting people and dogs - no playing. The BACK command, getting Banjo to walk backwards, has not been going well. Unless we push him back, he will just sit down.

After our three inches of rain, the farm was a bit wet, so our produce pick up was quick. We did make time to see the pigs before two of them meet their demise this weekend. Banjo is very focused watching the chickens.

Banjo loves his dinner. As Lisa prepared his food, I told him to go to bed and he hurried to the crate. He heard the food clang as it hit the bottom of the bowl and he bolted out of the crate, crashed into the wall, and raced down the hall to assist. "Go to Bed", he went back to the crate and laid down waiting patiently for the "OK".

Unexpectedly, we also worked with the doorbell tonight. The television show we were watching just happened to be filled with doorbells. Banjo sprang to attention with each "ding dong". Every time the bells sounded, we had him SIT and STAY while we went to the door, opened it, and had a faux greeting. Good practice since we have so few actual visitors.

September 22, 2009


“The greatest fear dogs know is the fear that you will not come back when you go out the door without them.”

- Stanley Coren

September 21, 2009


We returned home from our trip to Chicago and Banjo returned his stay at Champion's Resort in Beloit. The report on him was that he was well behaved and only needed a few corrections from Sadie, the resort canine. Older dogs are the best teachers, our puppies learn so much faster what is acceptable canine behavior.

The reunion occurred at the OccuPaws training session this evening. We did some mall walking, greeting many of the shoppers and FINDing things. The FIND command is used to teach the puppy what certain items are and eventrually how to lead their partner to them. Banjo "found" the door, the elavator, the escalator, and the counter.

We also introduced the young puppy to the BACK command. Being his first attempt, he didn't have a clue. Banjo has proven to be a quick study, so if we work on this, he should have it in time for our next session, in a couple weeks. It helps us to focus on one action between sessions.

Banjo has already settled in. He is at my feet, snoring while I type.

"No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does." - Christopher Morley

September 20, 2009


Here's another picture from the Janesville Pool:

Divit, Banjo, Degan, and Envy

September 19, 2009

Pooch Fest

Our first stop of the day was the Dog Den in Madison for Puppy Playgroup. Banjo romped with a half dozen puppies and, of course, spilled the water bowl. We spent an hour with the big puppies which was much more appropriate. Our concern was him being bullied as opposed to him running over a small puppy. He was so tired that a few times he just laid down in his spilled water to rest, but couldn't resist and quickly rejoined the pack.

The drive down to Janesville allowed Banjo to recover for Pooch Fest (photos)at the wading pool. We met the other OccuPaws canines and about two hundred "new" dogs all with their human companions. For the next three hours Banjo was free to run, swim, sniff, chase, and shake, getting many people wet in the process.

The wading pool was deep enough that our "little" black dog had to swim. For a dog that enjoys splashing in water bowls, the pool was not as enjoyable as chasing and playing on dry land. It was a long day and everyone was dog tired.

We returned home to Oregon, without a dog; Banjo is taking a vacation. His behavior has improved (is manageable), so he will be spending the next couple days at Champion's Resort in Beloit.

September 18, 2009

Cookie Man

Banjo traveled to the bank and the drug store this afternoon. He met Al, also known as the Cookie Man, at the drug store. The Cookie Man has always shared his lunch with the dogs when they accompany us. Our puppies love going to the drug store, their anticipation evident by their wagging tail and quickened gait as they exit the car and hurry through the door.

Prior to his dinner, Banjo enjoyed the sights and smells of the grocery store. But, the highlight of his night was watching two hours of The Dog Whisperer and the ill mannered canines that Cesar whips into shape.

Get Cesar's insight on puppy development. Banjo is definitely in Stage 4 of puppy development. It describes his behavior exactly.

"Play-biting may also escalate during this stage, and it should be considered vitally important to correct this behavior rather than allow it to continue. Be sure to correct immediately to allow the puppy to connect the behavior with the correction, and be consistent!"

September 17, 2009

Hygiene Night

Took a walk over to a freshman football game at the high school to experience the loudspeaker, crowd, bleachers, and running kids. Banjo sat patiently for ten minutes, keeping himself occupied looking for items to nibble on. The most surprising thing was that no one asked to pet our little black puppy.

Back at home, we practiced being calm with more cradling. Once calm, it was time for nail trimming, tooth brushing, ear wiping, and fur combing. He received the full waterless spa treatment.

September 16, 2009

Buddy's Back?

Walking in the park yesterday, we met one of our friends who had not met Banjo yet. After the usual pleasantries, he remarked how Banjo looks and acts a lot like our first puppy Buddy. We noticed the physical similarities that all black lab puppies share, but their behavior has been quite different. At least it had been until tonight.

Our evening began with our weekly farm visit where Banjo observed the chickens and got too close to the hogs. He couldn't resist kissing them and vice versa, so now our little black dog smells like a piggy.

He can't get a bath because he received flea and tick treatment yesterday. Saturday is Pooch Fest, so it doesn't pay to bathe him before swimming. It's going to be a long two days.

Back to Banjo's behavior. He was a certifiable MONSTER tonight. Mouthing, biting, jumping, pawing - pure evil, he would not calm down. Buddy behaved the exact same way at this age, however, we were not as prepared to handle it then. Banjo received behavioral modification this evening which started with cradling until he calmed down (repeat as needed).

I also tried some tricks learned from Skeeter and Victoria the last two days. Skeeter is a ten pound Schipperke and Victoria is one hundred pound plus Rottweiler. These two dogs, while very different, were able to enforce their dominance and calm the puppy much quicker than I was able to.

In one five second interaction with each dog, Banjo was submissive, but not fearful. He respected them, which is exactly what I was looking for. So, in addition to cradling, I acted like my canine mentors - vocalizing and biting with my hand in order to get him to lie down and relax. Sorry no video.

This behavior lasted a month or more with Buddy. It will not last that long with Banjo. Either we will show what we have learned the last two years or he gets to go to Camp Morga.

September 15, 2009

My Dog

"He is my other eyes that can see above the clouds; my other ears that hear above the winds. He is the part of me that can reach out into the sea.

He has told me a thousand times over that I am his reason for being; by the way he rests against my leg; by the way he thumps his tail at my smallest smile; by the way he shows his hurt when I leave without taking him. (I think it makes him sick with worry when he is not along to care for me.)

When I am wrong, he is delighted to forgive. When I am angry, he clowns to make me smile. When I am happy, he is joy unbounded. When I am a fool, he ignores it. When I succeed, he brags.

Without him, I am only another man. With him, I am all-powerful. He is loyalty itself. He has taught me the meaning of devotion. With him, I know a secret comfort and a private peace. He has brought me understanding where before I was ignorant.

His head on my knee can heal my human hurts. His presence by my side is protection against my fears of dark and unknown things. He has promised to wait for me... whenever... wherever - in case I need him. And I expect I will - as I always have.

He is just my dog." - Gene Hill

September 14, 2009

Up and Over

OccuPaws weekly sessions have moved to Monday nights. The puppies started the evening patrolling the chicken coop. It was a good opportunity to check their prey drive and test their ability to focus amongst distractions. Banjo actually did pretty well with the chickens; other canines are his Achilles Heel.

Again this week there was not a fenced in area, so no puppy playtime. Apparently Banjo needed to release some energy because when we got home he was a terror. He had the "Zooms" - running around with reckless abandon. This was not a big deal until he lost his head, jumped from the floor to the sofa, and then vaulted over the back of sofa to the floor below. His landing wasn't the smoothest, hopefuly he learned his lesson.

"I think we are drawn to dogs because they are the uninhibited creatures we might be if we weren't certain we knew better." - George Bird Evans, "Troubles with Bird Dogs"

Marley Update:
Marley took a trip yesterday to meet her new family in Verona. "She loved it there, they have a large staircase right inside the main door, Marley grabbed a toy and ran up and then slid down on her belly and smiled at all of us !!"

It sounds like she has found her permanent home.

September 13, 2009

Run Run Run


What a fun day!

I met all sorts of girls who liked to oooooh and aaaaahhhh over my canine friends and I.

Today was the Delta Gamma 3 mile run/walk on the University of Wisconsin campus.

Of course, there were some male humans that were oooohing and aaaaahhing as well. I really liked one male human (he finished the run first), who laid down on the side walk and gently petted my tummy. That was heaven. He seemed to know exactly what I liked. I wonder if I will ever get to see him again…

My brother Deegan and my friends Geyser, Reggie, Banjo and Divit attended the event..

After the walk, we hung out on the Union Terrace. Some of the humans purchased Babcock Ice cream (Yummm). But no food for us!

Count me in the next time OccuPaws goes on campus!

Your friend,


Drinking Problem

Today we attended the Delta Gamma Sorority 5k Run/Walk.

Banjo met his old friends Slick, Deegan, Reggie, and Geyser. We got there early to allow him plenty of time to make new friends with the members of the sorority. Our puppies were quite a hit and received a week's worth of lovin.

It's important to hydrate before the walk, so we stopped for water. Banjo could not hide his drinking problem and spills more water than he takes in. As everyone started their walk, we stopped for a quick potty break - nothing, too distracted.

The run/walk was all walk for our little black puppy. We didn't go the whole distance and still had to take a break along the way. Another potty stop - nothing, too distracted.

After the official walk, Banjo displayed his drinking problem by submerging his head in the bowl, spilling the water and making a mess. Another potty break - nothing, too distracted.

We walked over to the Memorial Union for some refreshments. On the way to our table through the crowded terrace, plenty of distractions - an unscheduled potty break in the middle of the aisle. It was on one of those times that you wish for the superpower of invisibility.

We talked about the dogs and the dogs rested quietly under the table for a couple hours before heading for home. At home Banjo again displayed his drinking problem, spilling his water bowl. It's not so funny in the house.

September 12, 2009

Peace Day

Banjo accompanied us to the Madison Children's Museum. Before entering the building, our goddaughters spotted a car being painted. The car was part of the Kid's for Peace Day festivities. The kids enjoyed the activity and banjo watched closely. A bit too close as he was dripped on with a bit of paint by accident. One boy splashed him on purpose; the parent didn't seem to care much - frustrating.

Dragging the kids away from the car, we all entered the museum. Banjo received many pets from the children and gave a few kisses. Lexie was quick to warn the others that "He might bite." He has been a bit mouthy the last couple days, but was calm and gentle with everyone today.

We were pleasantly surprised that admission to the museum was free today. Even better was that we were able to participate in the Kids for Peace parade. Banjo accompanied the four of us around the capitol square. Initially, he was a little concerned with the noise from the band, but settled down quickly.

As usual Banjo drew a lot of attention from the crowds which was quite large since the Farmers market was still in progress. Not sure who tired quicker, the puppy or the kids.

Our goddaughters thought the best part of the day was the ice cream treats that the Madison Children's Museum provided the parade participants. Again, Banjo was shut out. Did anyone see Lisa and Lexie on the news?

We ventured to the park after our afternoon nap. Banjo was led up stairs, over the wobbly bridge, and through the tunnel. He slid down the slide by himself, a half dozen times before a quick trip to the grocery store. We found out that it's easier to control a puppy in the store than two children.

Prep for Monday

I was so embarrassed at our last OccuPaws session because Banjo does not know the DOWN command. Therefore our focus this week, when not playing with the neighborhood puppy pack, has been the DOWN command. He relies on a food lure or visual cue, and generally jumps right back up.

On our walk to the drug store we practiced a few times, good distractions, with moderate success. However, we had a breakthrough this evening. Banjo responded to a verbal DOWN command from our five year old goddaughter, unfortunately she is unable to attend our next OccuPaws class. Hopefully he will be ready without her.

Another area that we have been working on is separation. Banjo dislikes being by himself and follows us from room to room and is always under foot, literally.

His attachment appears to be the basis for his whining when crated. We are sending him to solitary confinement more often, teaching the OUT command, and locking him out of rooms when he tries to follow. It's hard because he wants so bad to be with us, but it's much better for him in the long run to learn to accept being by himself.

“Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.” - Ann Landers

September 11, 2009

Tea Party

Woof woof!

Today I found out I was going to be babysitting my Cuz Jacob. He's cool and fun to play with. We decided to play my favorite game - Tea Party with food!!!! Yumm. First we set out the dishes.

No, no Jacob - the massage comes AFTER we eat. Let's start serving the food!!!

Hello!!! Yoo Hoo Jacob. Are you in there??? Time to serve the FOOD now....pleazzzzz.

What daya mean pretend???? You said tea party and food. I don't want pretend food!!! Get me some food, now!

OK, where ya got it hidden??? Behind your ear??? Nope :-(

Sigh.... I guess it was just pretend. No food for me. Time to play now I guess.

All for now,