June 30, 2010
Monday night was puppy socialization at The Dog Den. We were reintroduced to a HEELing exercise. Walk in a circle until Monte noticed us, walked next to us, and then we "treated" him and "treated" him. We practiced the exercise on Tuesday as we walked to/from the park. He seems to be learning. We have also been working hard on DOWN, so hopefully we can show some progress at our OccuPaws class on Thursday.
The puppy coordinator sent us a note regarding having Monte's eyes checked. It's not good if the guide dog has vision problems. This is one of the first physical tests for a guide puppy. We asked if we could also have his hearing checked because he doesn't seem to be hearing us as well as he did a few weeks ago; he hasn't been responding as quickly to our commands :-)
June 27, 2010
One of our favorite puppies was in attendance. Neva was there with her "mom". It's so wonderful to see her all grown up after her difficult beginning. The only lingering effect of her near death experience is an occasional limp. We don't see her much since she lives in Illinois.
After lunch, each of the puppies and raises got to show their stuff. Each team was given fifteen seconds to complete as many obedience commands as possible. The winner was guide dog Dale, but Monte put in a respectable performance completing five commands in the allotted time: SIT, DOWN, STAND, COME, DRESS. If I only would have said STAY, before requesting him to come.
As the picnic ended, we inadvertently created Monte's Dream by emptying a full cooler of ice. Monte loves his ice cubes and comes running when the freezer door opens. It was a warm day and he couldn't resist the temptation. Monte sprawled out in the pile of ice cubes and then dug in the mud as they melted. Not guide dog behavior, but quite appropriate for an almost four month old puppy.
June 26, 2010
Monte walked a lap and a half with a brief stop inside the capitol for water and a cool floor break. Of course we stopped for multiple requests for puppy kisses.
Back home to continue our vacation routine. Monte had a shoulder bone and then we watched soccer and napped. Soccer just isn't very exciting.
Back into Madison for a celebratory dinner. After our "trouble" in D.C., we selected a Thai restaurant that we had been to before with Cinder or Banjo. As we entered, Monte was spooked by some flowers on a table and let out a few barks. Well, they didn't want to seat us. Eventually we convinced them and we enjoyed dinner once Monte settled down.
The carnival is still in town and not ones to pass up a learning opportunity, we made another visit. Still in need of puppy dinner, I expected Monte to be ferocious for food distractions. He was more calm tonight and much better with his SITs and DOWNs.
Knowing what was next, he raced back to our car, bolted into the house, and went directly to his crate. Dinner Time, which was immediately followed by Nap Time.
June 25, 2010
Thursday, we made it early to OccuPaws training class for a private lesson where our trainer tried to teach Monte to SIT and DOWN. He is usually very good with these commands, but we don't ask for them while he is next to us in proper heel position. We most often use the DOWN when he is in front of us or when we try to get him to settle while we are seated.
It was a battle of wills and I am not sure who won. Round 2 at a future date.
Oregon SummerFest is this week. Monte's first exposure to the sights, sounds, and smells of the carnival went well. No problems with the band or bursting balloons. He was very interested in the screaming teenagers on the rides. Initially he couldn't figure out how the sound and people mysteriously came and went. The biggest challenge was keeping his head up while walking and avoiding the food distractions.
June 22, 2010
As we walked around the stadium before the game, Monte was greeted by a few players and many fans. He wasn't very happy to meet the mascot, Maynard. As the six foot mallard pleasantly approached, Monte was timid and gave a few warning barks. Not wanting to bother us, Maynard continued on his way. Monte was relieved.
The game started fine with beautiful weather and three up / three down. However, after the first three outs the umpires spotted lighting and halted the game. Twenty minutes later the rains came and it poured cats (and dogs) for about an hour.
During the extended rain/lightning delay, while trying to stay dry, Monte met up with Maynard again. This time Monte was interested and welcomed the big bird. Monte was startled a bit later by a very close lighting/thunder strike as the tornado sirens rang.
The rain ceased and we ventured out from our cover. We figured that the baseball action was complete for the evening (game was postponed), but it was a great opportunity to meet and greet the other brave or foolish fans that remained. We received a few "Thank You"s that must be shared with all puppy raisers, from fans who were appreciative for the work we all do.
The college ballplayers enjoyed seeing a puppy at the stadium. Most missed their own four legged friend and eagerly welcomed him with open arms.
June 20, 2010
We puled into the parking lot with a tired puppy. Upon exciting the car, his ears perked up and he was in Red Bull mode. He "guided us to to the door, through the gates, and outside where twenty of his friends were waiting. After sixty minutes of chasing, we went home for lunch and an unscheduled nap.
We had plans for an afternoon bus ride with some OccuPaws friends. None of the puppies had any issues with bus logistics or etiquette. We went to the Memorial Union for a bit for some crowd work and more "puppy love".
Casey was the belle of the ball ...
It was a very long hot day and Monte made himself comfortable on the very cool bus floor.
Before returning home, we practiced the glass elevator at the parking ramp. When we first got there Monte wasn't comfortable with it. I think he was more accepting of it after the day's activities because he just wanted to rest.
June 19, 2010
Or are the canines lulling the sausage into a false sense of security, preparing an attack when his back is turned.
June 16, 2010
I was surprised at how many of my friends from class have come over to my new house to visit – well I think they have been coming for lessons with Doug but it is fun to see them even if they do have to work some while they are here. Casey came here and boy was she naughty! Promise and I tried to tell her that she should behave but she didn’t listen right away. She is much better now and has learned a lot from Doug & Caroline.
I haven’t been on any social outings yet because I have been bonding with Doug and Caroline, but I heard them talking the other day and they said that tonight I get to go to Quaker Steak! I hope I see some of my friends from class there. I even get to go to class tomorrow night and show everyone the trick I learned! I am so excited!!!!! It only took me 2 days to learn my trick so I am pretty proud of that!
Oh Oh Oh I almost forgot to tell you that Promise and I got our very own training van!!! It’s big and white and has lots of windows, nice big crates and lots of room. So now we are traveling in style!
Signing off for now,
June 15, 2010
He is 5 months old now - here is a current picture.
If you are interested in Gideon, you can obtain a career change application here - http://www.occupaws.org/forms.html
June 13, 2010
One time he unintentionally sat in a bowl of water. As he stood up the bowl lifted, emptied and clattered, sending dogs scampering. Monte was startled, but he kept coming back for more.
The rest of Saturday was spent meeting people at the West Side Farmers Market and Kohl's Department Store. Monte loved the cool tile floor. This was only a prelude to Sunday's extravaganza.
Monte accompanied us on our annual trek to Miller Park to watch the Brewers. Before the game, we attended Bergstrom Automotive's tailgate party. Our puppies have attended for the last four years and each one receive's a month's worth of love in one day. One person mentioned that we are "like rock stars" due to all the attention.
Security at our preferred gate (LF) wasn't sure how to handle a guide dog, so we were routed to the home plate gate where we walked through without being questioned. Our tired puppy made it up to section 437 and collapsed. He was exhausted from the day's activities and needed a long nap. So much so that his slumber was uninterrupted even after Prince Fielder's two home runs - fireworks.
After the game we made it outside without a bladder incident. The only incident was when I didn't have my leash adjusted appropiately. Monte licked the boy's ear, who was seated in front of us. Note to all puppy raisers, this is not acceptable.
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My Foster Puppy
I gave my puppy up today
with unwanted tears of sorrow.
There is a job that he must learn.
We Won't play ball tomorrow.
I knew this day would have to come
While he was yet a pup.
And though I know his useful need.
It's hard to give him up.
I must keep thinking everyday
What he will soon become:
The eyes of one who cannot see,
A partnership begun.
He isn't just a dog, you see.
He's meant to be a guide,
To walk with one who needs him more,
Now I must step aside.
June 12, 2010
It has been a little while since I wrote a note about my house mate Harley and my progress. We have been very busy learning how to be very good dogs. We have been EVERYWHERE. Shopping, training classes, American Family (our friend Dan took me there) and today we both went to the Dane County Farmer’s Market.
We met all sorts of people: little kids (with yummy hands), old kids, and adults. Being a wonderful Golden, I showed how well I am behaved to my friend Dan. But it became boring as he did a lot of “blah, blah, blah”.
He talked to others about becoming puppy raisers and about OccuPaws fund raisers. Harley was busy too with dad “working the crowd”. My other friends, Promise, Hailey, and Sonny also came with their people: Carolyn, Doug, Amy, Debbie, and, of course, mom and dad Schultze.
June 11, 2010
June 9, 2010
We prepared a list and vowed to stick to it, in order to minimize the opportunity for an accident. Like Caroline says, we need to put the puppy in a situation where he can be successful. We adhered to our plan. However, when taking a twelve week old adorable yellow Labrador out we have learned to triple the estimated time. Additional time is required because he has little legs, he meanders from left to right sniffing everything, and he gets a lot of attention. Our trip was a complete success.
He has entered that wonderful brief stage between housebreaking and being obstinate, where he loves to be with you and willingly follows you everywhere. He is eager and quick to learn, as long as he can smell a treat. He must be teething because everything is a chew toy as he feverishly tries to wear down his puppy teeth before he loses them.
I spoke too soon. Warm puddle in the dining room. Then he went out and peed two more times.
June 7, 2010
During class, Monte and the other eight dogs in class practiced SETTLE, WATCH, GO PLAY, and SIT. We didn't use the clicker, but rather introduced a Marker word, "Yes". His good behavior earned him a lot of treats which didn't affect his appetite for dinner in the least.
One would think that a class with four Labradors would be all about playing when the opportunity presented itself. It was very strange, they were more concerned with sniffing and exploring their new environment when off leash.
Housebreaking Update: Knock On Wood. A few days ago Monte started to sit by the door to indicate when he wants to go outside potty. With every other puppy, the day after blogging about successful bladder command we experience a setback. Fingers Crossed.
June 6, 2010
June 5, 2010
Although Monte was able to interact with many different breeds, he gravitated to other Labradors and Retrievers. He spent most of his time jumping from pool to pool and running circles in the water.
Right before playgroup ended, one more dive into the pool. He was soaked, so he had his first experience riding in the backseat by himself.
He stretched out and slept all the way to the capitol square. He enjoyed the view as we descended the parking ramp using the glass elevator.
Before reaching the square, Monte was greeted by four groups of puppy lovers. That trend continued throughout the day as we made our way around the capitol. The primary reason for the trip was to visit the cows. Monte was initially curious, then timid. The first "moo" send him running. But he eventually warmed up to the "very large dogs" with their distinct aroma and sounds.
Exhausted from his busy day, we stopped for Monte's lunch. Poor planning on our part, no desirable human food nearby. Never wanting to exercise a puppy after eating, we let him nap. After watching him sleep for twenty minutes we woke him up to finish our walk.
He was still groggy and his legs not functioning. I ended up carrying him for a block before being able to coax him along.
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Correcting his sit position, controlling his licking, and eliminating his canine fixation may be the most difficult tasks for the trainers. As you can see we still have some improvement to make in our puppy raising skills.
June 4, 2010
Promise moved on to harness training two weeks ago, and now we've got a new puppy in the house, Hailey. She's about 7 months old, and very sweet.
She's getting used to the new household. She supervised the fixing of the doorbell. She didn't mind the construction at all, including the shop vac. She has also been supervising me painting outside.
She's getting used to city life...traffic and elevators and buses.
Her favorite place for a snooze is the half-worn clothes pile in the corner of my room. I've been letting my clothes spend a little extra time in that pile for her benefit.
June 3, 2010
We had a pretty good idea that Banjo would not be returning home with us because we hadn't heard anything about Cinder's half sister. Tonight at OccuPaws training, we were told that the new puppy will be placed with another puppy raiser. It was bittersweet because we get to keep our character, Monte, but we had to say Good-Bye to Banjo and we won't get to work with "mini Cinder".
As we prepare for bed, the house seems empty. With only one dog there isn't any gnawing, wrestling or romping. Banjo was a good mentor for Monte, but our little pup needs to fly on his own and bond with humans more than canines.
With each puppy that passes through our lives, we are forever changed. They take a piece of our heart with them and they leave behind a piece of theirs to remind us and hopefully make us better trainers.
June 1, 2010
Their puppy raisers need some remedial training on reinforcing the hand bump; both our dogs are licking our hands, not bumping. We were obviously rewarding the wrong behavior and now are attempting to correct. Struggling with that, we moved on to Thread the Vest and Puppy's Choice.
Thread the Vest shows the two different personalities. Banjo slowly enters the vest while Monte almost leaps into it to win reward.
Being the demonstration dog last week for Puppy's Choice, we knew Monte was going to need extra work, so we have practiced everyday to prepare for a second attempt. At home he learned this bahavior much faster on a full stomach and observing Banjo's treat "winning" behavior. He will even moves away from the temptation.
Can we transition Monte from Class Clown to Big Man On Campus?