July 31, 2010
Since I was, as my mom puts it, "at the end of my tether" when we got home, I ran around, ate, and then we went for a long walk. We've been working on the loose leash thing, but it's been a little hard for me. But after I tried to take off for a rabbit, and got corrected, and having a little collar change, I kept the leash loose so well that my mom put me back on my favorite collar for the walk home. And I got to sleep in my favorite spot -- on my blanket. My mom keeps it in a pile with worn clothes and shoes, which are all my favorites for sleeping. So we'll end with two pictures: me sleeping upside down on my blanket, and me conked out with my head on one of mom's shoes.
July 29, 2010
Today, I realized how much easier he is to manage than he was when he first came home. He no longer pops up like a jack-in-the-box on the bus. He lays down when I tell Kirby to lay down, he scoots himself under the seats on the bus. He can rest peacefully while I am in a meeting or out to dinner for over an hour without a single complaint.
Today, I was also reminded that he is still just a puppy. He was very whiny in class tonight. I thought a trip outside would solve the problem, but no such luck. It turns out all he wanted was to get out on the floor and show his stuff. As soon as his turn was over, he went right to sleep. I do get to class early every week because of the bus schedule, so maybe if we do a recall or two or just some simple obedience before class officially starts, he'll settle down better.
Regardless, I have no place to complain on any level about his manors, his intellegence or his performance. He makes me look good, and I am so proud to be raising such a handsome and smart animal.
The four dogs at class ventured into Sears to checkout the escalator. Monte showed no fear and sat on the platform - no rides today, not without boots on. He had prior escalator experience two months ago at the Brewer game.
Wednesday, we made our weekly visit to the farm, Blue Moon Community Farm. Monte saw his swine friends, up close and personal. Not sure how friendly they are; they were biting his ears, lips, and the top of his head. Monte didn't seem to mind and kept coming back for more.
The chickens keep their distance this week and we let them be. Last week a group ventured toward the fence to check out the new canine in their territory. As we packed up our weekly supply, Monte practiced patience and "Puppy's Choice". Not very good at the latter, everything on the ground eventually finds its way into his mouth. He is good in the house with kibble, but it hasn't transferred to other locations.
July 26, 2010
I'm finally flexing my paws a bit and trying out my skills as a literary genius.
So, you haven't really heard from me before, because of something to do with being technically challenged, or something. I really don't know.
Anyways, I'm about four and a half months old, and I'm trying to be a really smart german shepherd. My raiser seems to think I'm doing a pretty good job at that. I get to learn a lot from Kirby. She's already a guide dog, but someone said something about her being the wrong brand, or something. Whatever! She's really smart, but I guess she was trained by these seeing eyes out in New Jersey, or something, and I've got OccuPaws, but we're buddies anyways. She lets me chew on her face and everything! She snubs me if I try to do that while her harness is on, though.
We'll work on getting pictures in here, but again, something about technical challenges, or something, and I guess my raiser thinks she can't take very good photos of us.
Today, we went to a restaurant, and it was boring. I had to lay nicely under a chair with my head on my raiser's foot. She doesn't like when I lick the floor for some reason, but I thought I was supposed to work, and I thought that if I cleaned the floors, I'd cut back on the work for those people with mops, but what do I know. I'm just a kid, after all.
So, after that round of boringness where Kirby explained to me that the right thing to do is to be boring, we went to Petsmart, and I was really good. I wanted to bark at this little huffy dog, but I decided to just mumble to myself a bit, and I got all these "good boy!"s, so I think I did that right.
I met Santa yesterday, and I thought I was supposed to chew on him, because he was furry, just like Kirby! They said I couldn't, though, so I sat nicely with him and got my picture taken.
Okay, well, I haven't chewed on Kirby's face for like twenty minutes, so I really got to go. I'll try to write again soon!
July 25, 2010
While the volunteers, puppy raisers, and trainers shared stories and libations, the puppies relaxed on the floor. The accompanying photo shows three things: how well behaved tired puppies can be, limited lighting in pubs, and the advantage of having a light colored dog. Even after brightening the photo, it's hard to spot/identify the other five dogs.
One of the most difficulty jobs a puppy raiser has is controlling how others greet our puppies. There are certain rules that should be followed. The puppy should stay calm, no jumping. The puppy should approach the greeter. I didn't do a very good job taking control of the situation when Santa greeted Monte. But it was Santa, what could I do?
Pottying on command (#2) is becoming an issue with Monte. He won't go on our terrace, but waits until we are at the end of the block. Previously we have just been happy for him to go outside.
Having tried four times without success, I eventually relented (9pm) and we took an evening walk. Sure enough one block away, he is looking longingly at the grass, trying to move toward it - a teaching opportunity. We walked one more block, turned and headed for home, keeping him centered on the sidewalk until we got to our terrace. Immediate relief, hopefully he learned something.
View More "CHRISTMAS in JULY" Photos
July 24, 2010
Thursday we didn't make it into Madison for puppy class due to tornado warnings. Friday, Monte participated in our trip for groceries. Not very eventful, but we did get complimented from fellow Labrador owner. He said we were very "patient" and "easy" on our puppy. Monte was generally well behaved.
Monte's weekend started with an early breakfast and a walk before puppy playtime at The Dog Den. Our plan was to burn off a little of the hyper energy to allow him to interact calmly, or as calm as a lab puppy can be.
The plan seemed to work and all the dogs played well with minimal refereeing needed. Monte's best pals today were a six month old chocolate lab and a white Akita, who happened to lose a tooth covering both light dogs in blood.
They chased, jumped, chewed on each other until Monte would get tired and crawl under a chair. He must have been warm too because he would dig down to find the cool stones while resting under his chair.
July 23, 2010
A few of our IFT (In For Training) dogs have been on vacation this week in Lake Tahoe. Geyser spent his time lying on the beach.
Promise is more active and thought she would try surfing. You never know what hobbies your blind partner will have.
July 22, 2010
This afternoon, I got to show my mom how smart I am. We went to the hospital to pick up our farm share, and my mom had me "find outside" after we picked it up. I remembered all of the turns we took, and let me tell you, there were a lot. We first turned right, then left at the end of the hall, and I took her to the doors. Then we turned right, took a jog in the hall and I found her another set of doors. Then we had to go through the cafeteria to another set of doors. I took her accross the elevator module to another set of doors, and we turned left, went to the next corner, turned left, to the next corner, turned left and went through another set of doors. Then I found her the elevator, which we took up a floor (I did need help pressing the buttons). We got off the elevator, turned right through the doors, took the first left, went through the next set of doors to the left and then I could see outside. And I did it all myself! I've even got the revolving doors down. You stare at it, and when the glass goes away, you walk forward and stare at the far wall until it magically opens up and you can go out. Then my mom gave me lots of pets and told me I was smart.
And then I came home an gnawed on my antler. That's me and it in the picture. My mom says we'll keep going to the hospital. I like it there because my grandma works there, so I get to say hi, and sometimes we see people staying there and I get petted. And I can find my way around, which the people seem to think is hard.
July 21, 2010
You can never be completely assured your dog will behave as well as he does at home in a new atmosphere, so I thought of dragging along a crate to work, but decided I would not bother. After I gave some of Monte's rules to my coworkers (no petting unless he is sitting and calm, hands off if he stands or heaven forbid jumps,let me bring him to you, no treats, no overexcited greetings) and a little prayer "Please let Monte be good for 6 hours straight!" we did a couple meet and greets and got the lay of the land, Monte settled in under my desk and fell fast asleep for the remainder of the time I was working!He quickly learned what most of us over the age of 4 have already found out, that "going to work" is not all it is cracked up to be. He actually even fell asleep sitting up!
The best part of his day was, what else, break time! The office has a lovely walking path through wildflowers and trees and weeds and ponds. Monte took in as much as he could of the intoxicating new scents as 10 minutes would allowed and learned, just like at home, butterflies are not to be chased even though they may be slow enough to catch! He also found ponds look sooooo inviting, like a lovely little natural swimming pool, but he is not allowed to even set a toe into one, maybe not even look in their direction!
I was extremely proud of how well Monte did at work in a totally unfamiliar environment. We got tons of compliments on what a "calm" and "polite" dog he is for such a young age (HR, I hope you are listening!). Note to self: Remember long walk at 6 AM tomorrow too! :)
July 20, 2010
(a scanned image - the note is in braille, with the text also printed between the lines)
Thank you for all of your hard work you've put in to set up the picnic. It was great.
P.S. Slick is great
(scanned note written on pink paper)
I loved the picknick. I loved it a lot. And I liked the dog game.
(at the bottom of the page is a drawing of a dog head)
July 19, 2010
After a long day in the hot sun, humans and canine needed a day of rest. No work on the Sabbath, only a short walk to the football field followed by some off leash playtime. Monte practiced recalls, played fetch with his favorite toy, and walked up and down the bleachers. We did practice a little HEELing without a lure.
Play was in order because the plan was for Monte to accompany Lisa to work on Monday. However, the little white shadow was banned and instead worked on staying home alone inside his crate. This doesn't happen very often, so it was good practice.
Lisa came home to find a peaceful sleeping puppy (picture from training class).
Hey, it’s Hailey. I thought I’d give a report on this things humans call “work”. I’m told I’m going to be a “working dog”, and it’s got me a little worried. See, I went with my human to “work” today, and it sure is tiring. We had to get up bright and early, and go for a ride in the car, during which I slept. That was good forethought on my part. Then my human helped some friends lay the bed for a patio. They kept walking back and forth with wheelbarrows of sand and gravel. I didn’t get my morning nap. And then a little dog came out and she didn’t like me one bit. I tried to make friends, and be small and unintimidating, but it didn’t work. The other dog was nicer, but then he took my favorite bone and started chewing it. And whenever I looked at him (since it was MY bone, after all), he would growl at me and hog it even more. So that’s how I lost my favorite toy for the afternoon. The people came and pet me every once in a while, but I didn’t get any naps in because I had to watch and make sure they put the gravel in the right spot, and because they had a loud machine to compact it. Tomorrow they are going to lay flagstones. Hopefully that isn’t so bad, because after today, I’m wiped.
So that’s work in a nutshell. My person is trying to tell me my job won’t be like the work today, and I tell you, it had better not be. I need my sleep, and those little dogs are pesky.
July 16, 2010
She got to be the lap dog and was happy to oblige.
Meghan also brought her working guide dog Kirby and her trainee, Dayton. Kirby loves the belly rubs and Dayton was happy to stick close to Meghan.
All the folks were smiling and asked great questions as Pam demonstrated the harness. We heard so many funny stories about their pet dogs. I do not think any of the dogs spent 1 second of their time there without a hand on them constantly. Everyone seemed happy to have us and the dogs were all very polite.
They all had their favorites by the time we left, and we promised to bring the pups back in a couple months to show them how much they have learned. The goal will be to get them half as calm and well behaved as Kirby some day.
Thanks for inviting us Pam, it was a lovely day for a drive and Monte is always happy to make some new friends!
July 15, 2010
We have been going often enough that he knows the routine: up the steps, across the bridge, jump up, back over the bride, through the tunnel and down the slide. He is almost to the point of running the course by himself.
To add some variety, we walked a half mile to another park that has a few different pieces of equipment. The tunnel is longer and he races from end to end to get treats. Monte wins the award for "Best Puppy Across the Wobbly Plank." He is much better than any of the other dogs. I can't walk across without using the railing and he zooms over it. He seems to enjoy it and it's great practice.
July 14, 2010
Here's a photo for Marci, Kathy, and Sparta, about ninety minutes before the race.
As we enter the Dog Days of Summer, our walks have started later in the evening. This week Monte has been practicing HEELing with distractions and variable speeds. He still needs work, but not bad for a four month old puppy. We have gone out after dark the last few nights and he has been getting spooked by common items until we make friends. More night walks have been prescribed.
On one of our walks last week, Monte found a pile of orange goldfish crackers. I thought it was a circle of paint. It was a good opportunity to play the Puppy's Choice game. Don't touch the crackers, look up at me, you win, and your prize - a piece of dog food.
Monte also graduated from Puppy Socialization class on Monday. Now he gets a break until August, only one class each week.
July 13, 2010
Once again, my mom says that I have not been writing enough. Well, I tried to tell her that I have been too busy to write!
Did you know that we are having a Scavenger Hunt with motorcycles in August? What do we do try to find the motorcycles?? Wednesday last week we went to Quaker Steak and Lube in Middleton to tell everybody about it! Motorcycle people are SO nice.
On another day, mom, dad, Harley and I rode around in the car for miles - - stopping and writing down questions on pieces of paper - - something about “That’s a good question”. On the route, we went all the way to Finn’s and had a GREAT lunch on the deck. At Finn’s there were these cute little duckies with writing on them. Something about a rubber duckie race down the Rock River. All I know is I did not get ANYTHING to eat. (Grrrr) We did our usual meet and greet at Mounds on Saturday. Lots of nice people. Our table is set up right next to a display of bones. But, mom would not let Harley or I have any.
Then yesterday (Sunday) we went back to Finns and saw more of those cute little Duckies. Casey, Marlette, Amy and Hailey drove down with us too.
July 7, 2010
Thought I'd let you young pups know about my cool vacation to the windy city. Yes, it really is windy there! I've never seen such tall buildings! You pups would have been pretty scared, but me, the big boy... I was brave! I went to the 94th floor of the John Hancock building and didn't even flinch! I was Mr. Cool.
We visited the Shedd Aqarium where I saw many different swimmy things. I especially was interested in the sea lions, because they sort of look like me, with their whiskers and all. And the noise they made reminded me of the Golden Retriever that lives with me. Arrrrr, Arrrrr, Arrrrrr! Too funny.
The beluga whales were neat too. They even do some tricks, but they are not smarter than me my friends, no way.
The Field museum was very large. I got up close and personal to "Sue", a dinosaur! She was pretty. A little boney though. They really need to up her kibble a bit. The planetarium was out of this world! Big Bird told us all about the stars and Elmo went to the moon! The little people I live with really enjoyed that part of the show.
As you can see from the picture, I was totally focused on learning about the planets and the milky way.
Michigan Avenue was real busy. The people I was with love to shop and boy, there are lots of shops there. We strolled all around and looked at plenty of strange and unusual objects. The little person here got her first American Girl doll, whatever that means. My favorite part was riding up and down all the escalators and glass elevators.
Our hotel was next to the very tall Hancock building and it had a roof top garden. While mingling in the garden, I found the BEST piece of moldy pizza that was stuffed into a planter! YUMMMMO! Once my person saw what I had, she took it right away from me. She must have though it was AWESOME too!
That's okay, I can share, but I really would have loved to finish that treat. Oh well.
So pups, it's back to the grind stone here. Back to work. Hope you all had a dog gone good holiday weekend!
Lots of licks,
Guide Dog Dale
July 5, 2010
About an hour later, he woke up crying/screaming. He is a very sensitive puppy, but he was in pain. Apparently, while tossing and turning during his slumber, his leg got caught under the TV stand and he couldn't extricate himself. He was panicked, making it extremely difficult to free him. Finally released, the only damage was a wet floor.
Another traumatic event for Monte is nail trimming. Sensitive as he is, he will squeak any time he feels pressure on his paws. Today, Lisa managed to clip five nails without a peep and decided to quit with a successful experience, saving the rest for tomorrow.
In the evening, we took a walk down main street to get some exposure to traffic. Then after dark we walked the neighborhood to get exposure to the sound of fireworks; he was oblivious to the pops, bangs, and booms, some of them quite loud.
On our way to the grocery store, we remembered that the Stoughton Fair was in progress. Never ones to pass up a new puppy experience, we made a detour. After last week the carnival was routine, but Monte was intrigued by the farm animals. Most of the animals couldn't care less, except the sheep who rose as we approached their pen to greet us and say "Hello". As we walked through the barn, Monte initiated a barnyard chorus, each sheep had their own distinctive "Baa".
July 3, 2010
I gave Hailey a bath yesterday, and not thinking, took her outside to run around in our backyard today. It's not a frequent occurrence because the yard isn't fully fenced (so I create some temporary barriers) and is currently raw dirt. Hailey is no longer clean. Oh well. She enjoyed it.
Hailey has gotten over her dislike of elevators and busses, and is getting used to city life. She's gotten much better at not chasing little creatures, though traffic still makes her a bit anxious. So instead of taking scenic walks, we take walks that maximize traffic exposure.
She's also a creative sleeper. She likes to doze at the end of my bed, either a) with her head tucked inside my blankets, b) her head cocked backwards to form the letter L, or c) upside down.