Hawk's Schedule

8/4 Lake Mills
8/12 CCSDA Training

October 31, 2010

Raising Funds

As a puppy raiser for a young non-profit, our first obligation is to raise an obedient and confident puppy. Our second job is fund raising and promoting OccuPaws. This week Monte attended three fund raising events at HuHot, Ruffin' It Resort, and Boston Store. Some view these events as a necessary evil to fund our cause, but in my view these events serve a dual role by providing opportunities to work our puppies in social situations. We attend as many as we possibly can.

The event/party at Ruffin' It Resort this week was different than most because along with the usual interactions with humans, we practiced canine interactions - costumed canines. Thirty minutes before the event, we made a quick stop for a dog costume. Looking for a halo or devil horns (more appropriate), we found none. We haphazardly selected some blue hair dye, glow in the dark, and painted spots on Monte; the dye wasn't even dry before we left the house. As expected the contest was held in a well-lit environment and Monte simply looked like he dislodged a gallon of blue paint from a shelf, splattering him as it hit the ground.

Needless to say, Monte did not win any prize for the costume contest, however, he excelled at bobbing for hot dogs. It took him about a second to retrieve the sausage from the bottom of the bowl. Casey, on the other hand, cautiously moved the hot dog to the surface before gracefully retrieving it, always the lady.

One of our favorite events is "selling" Bon-Ton coupon books for Community Day. Weeks prior to the sale, we are allowed to "sell" coupons at the store entrance. I place the "sell" in quotes because my objectives are to share a smile petting puppies and be an ambassador for OccuPaws by talk about OccuPaws and explaining puppy raising. With every interaction we achieve these objectives and if we sell a coupon book even better.

Two hours disappear in the blink of an eye. It's so much fun, I would do this all day if they would let us.

October 30, 2010

Reader Participation

I just couldn't resist including this photo in the blog, didn't have anything interesting or clever to say about.

If you look closely you can see the blue dye from our failed attempt at a Halloween costume. The room was dark and I thought the flash would augment the glow instead of hiding it.

This is your chance to blog. Please add a comment with a more interesting caption or story to accompany this photo.

Have Fun, Be Creative!!

October 28, 2010


Our first puppy, Buddy, attended a Bruce Springsteen concert in Chicago. Then about a year later, Echo attended a concert on the lakefront in Milwaukee. Unfortunately, Bruce has not been on tour recently, however, "Bruce in the USA", a tribute band was in Madison on Wednesday night.

Monte couldn't tell the difference and tolerated the crazy humans who were dancing around him and making noise. It was a tough challenge for the ever vigilant young puppy that sees the slightest movement and hears the faintest sound.

Having not prepared him for the experience with a long walk to tire him out, he was only mildly distracted by the excitement and energy. The first few rounds of applause and the higher pitch of the saxophone were the only sounds that caused a reaction. And after the show he received some praise and affection from the audience and owner of the Majestic.

October 27, 2010


You would think that we had installed an ice rink the past week. Monte has been skating around corners the last few days. It started this weekend at my parents house. Not sure what happened but he is having trouble maneuvering on the wood floors. He will cautiously move from rug to rug to carpet. When turning on the wood he looks like Fred Flintstone powering his car with his feet moving a hundred miles an hour and he's going nowhere.

It is becoming a phobia, so we need to work through this quickly. He seems to understand that he just needs to slow down, but when he forgets and slips a bit, then he panics and becomes Bambi on ice.

October 25, 2010

Weekend Tour

Monte's tour of health care facilities didn't have a good beginning. He helped move Lisa's mom into an assisted living apartment on Friday. The result was one barking episode and a damaged vest; he chewed one of the straps. We had the unenviable task of requesting a new vest because we weren't watching our puppy. Hopefully our resident seamstress can make the necessary repair. Maybe we should have asked for a used one until he completes his second teething cycle.

Saturday began with a long early morning walk in preparation for the afternoon's event. It didn't help as Monte napped until noon and was raring to go. We stopped for a quick ice cream to practice table manners. Good manners with the exception of a newly acquired bad habit. Our little "angel" never licked the floor when dining until he observed this behavior from naughty Harley a few weeks ago.

We arrived at the bowling alley for the annual OccuPaws fundraiser, completely forgetting that it was a costume party. Monte noticing our disappointment, sans costume, he imitated a spoiled brat, whining and crying because he wasn't allowed to play with balls and pins. A very long embarrassing day.

The one bright spot was meeting one of Monte's best friends. The boy said that Monte gives him kisses. Lisa and I both looked at each other trying to put a name with a face. We meet so many people, but we usually recognize fans of our puppy. It turns out that Bennett reads the blog and had never met Monte in person. And we didn't get a photo for the blog - sorry our camera battery needs to be replaced.

The weekend tour wrapped up with two more health care visits: an assisted living apartment and nursing home in Appleton to visit my grandmothers. Monte made a few unscheduled stops to greet a few residents as we walked through the hospice wing. He seems to be able to control/adapt his energy to the person he meets.

October 21, 2010

Dinner Out

Monte's development in public dining situations has been hampered by our limited use of restaurants this summer. So add another work item to our puppy raising list, which we jump started this week.
The first opportunity took place after our last outdoor puppy class of the year. It helps to have a tired puppy when initiating a puppy's restaurant visits. Our entire puppy class took over Fins restaurant in Edgerton. Monte and his canine companions behaved well, without incident.

The following night, we ventured into Madison to dine with Anne, Matt, and Frannie. As Monte relaxed tableside, he kept one eye focused on Frannie, who turned one next week. Puppies have a symbiotic relationship with babies; the puppy endures poking and prodding in return for bits of food that fall or are tossed from the highchair.

As food rained down from the heavens, I had to remind Monte to LEAVE IT alone. He does pretty well with constant reminders. My task of providing direction was completed with only one miscue where Monte lunged to get a rice puff before I was able to correct him. Eventually he either got bored or resigned himself to the fact that I was not going to fail twice and he stretched out and rested.

October 19, 2010

California Journey

For the past 13 months, C.H. Bird has had a very special student in Sonny, a black-lab puppy on his way to a guide dog position.

View Sonny's Story

Ice Time

Although Monte and I attended a Badger hockey scrimmage a few weeks ago, Sunday was his first real game. We arrived extra early to acclimate to the new surroundings and test the new carry in policy.

Upon entering the Kohl Center, we found our bag of puppy supplies was a tad over the 8" x 11" size limit for bags. The staff has always been accomodating and we were allowed to bring it in. My argument is that the bag is the equivalent of a diaper bag, with less restrictions.

We walked the halls and stairwells for an hour before the game. Our canine companion was continually distracted by the new sights, smells, and sounds. He was in a constant state of alert.

As mentioned before, Monte enjoys watching the action on the ice. This may have more to do with prey drive than an affinity toward hockey.

He cries when he can't get to action; verbal corrections seemed adequate. It took him about one period to settle in and relax. However, any time the crowd made noise or a siren/horn sounded, Monte popped up to see what all the fuss was about. My guess is that after six more months of hockey adventures, he will sleep through the crowd noise, but probably not the fog horn.

October 18, 2010


As previously mentioned, we were scheduled to attend a birthday party at the zoo. Our concerns were regarding Monte's response to the many different animals. His experience at the zoo was fraught with challenges which he handled well. The only unacceptable behavior at the zoo was barking at the sea lions. They barked first.

Of course the many birds (geese, ducks, swans, flamingos) caught Monte's attention and required mild corrections. One of the giraffes was especially interested in the canine visitor and followed us as we walked past and stooped as low as it could to get a closer view or better whiff.

At the party before the zoo, Monte performed a magic trick. He turned a six foot leash into three two foot sections and escaped from under the table. We broke a rule, and this is why. Fortunately, he didn't want to go anyplace; he was just bored and needed something to chew on.

October 17, 2010


Hey, it's Hailey again. Remember how I was telling you how my mom had a friend who took me running and I loved it? Well, today I went running with my mom, and it was super fun. We've actually been running a few times, but sometimes she leaves me home because I "run too fast". This morning, we took a little bus ride to the far side of town. It wasn't our usual route, but I still remembered where to get off: "University at Park". That's where we always get off. So I got up to go, and my mom told me I had to stay. Which I thought was a little funny, but, hey, I'm always up for an adventure. We ended up somewhere I'd never been before. There were lots of squirrels and dogs, and then lots of people there...apparently it was the GSA for Safe Schools annual run...I've never been on an official run before. My mom made me carry all of the stuff from her pockets in my vest, which was cool, because she carried some dog kibble for me.
Anyway, I was off with a bang, but my mom told me we had to run slow to conserve energy. After about two miles we finally got into agreement about what a reasonable pace was. We just ran the 5K. I could have gone further, but my silly mom doesn't like to run very far. Anyways, lots of people thought I was cute, and I had tons of fun. People keep telling me how little I am, and think I'm way younger than I really am...I haven't told them yet that there are perks to staying little... like I have lots of room in my crate, which Promise grew out of. And sometimes when my mom watches movies, she picks me up and puts me on her lap and we snuggle. Big dogs don't get to do that.
I'm hoping my mom lets me keep running with her because it's lots of fun. I mean, I like walking too, a lot, but running is special because I don't get to do it much. Well, I'm totally zonked from my morning. Time for a long afternoon nap.

October 15, 2010

Square Peg

At times it appears as though our seven month old puppy, Monte, is the proverbial "square peg" trying to fit in the round hole. Our most recent cause for concern is his frenzied behavior when encountering other species - fowl in particular.

At the CSA farm this week we visited the chickens and turkeys and Monte would not calm down. He would remain stationary and not attack, but in a constant state of alert. His body was literally shaking and he was continually crying to be let loose. He should get better with more exposure, but how much? We will be near the zoo this weekend, so that will provide another test.

Our long, lanky boy is filling out a bit, but he is definitely built to move, and move quickly. Once a week, we take him to a secure field to let him run free. Monte loves to run. He seemingly runs with no other purpose than to see how fast he can go. I have never seen him happier, as he races back to check in with us and sprint away after receiving a pat on back and a "Good Dog".

We keep waiting for the trainers to make the call that it might be better for Monte to pursue a different career choice - maybe as a racing greyhound, which he resembles. However, the night following the chicken episode was training class and Monte, although not the greatest STAYer, excels at pivots and getting into the proper HEEL position. So eager to please, he occasionally leaps backwards into the air, twisting his body to position himself at my side. Then he looks up and returns my smile.

We need to remember that he is still young and most Labrador are square pegs.

October 13, 2010

Babies R Us

Roxie delivered 9 perfect little pups today to the OccuPaws family. 5 Boys and 4 girls averaging about 13 oz each. She started at 10:25 this morning and finished up tonight at 5:05...so nice of her to do this in the day time.

No help was needed except the last 2 - they were born 2 minutes apart. More information on Facebook.

October 8, 2010


Well Monte and I failed to pass the CGC test last night. We knew it might be a long shot, he has only just barely turned 7 months old, and he has not had his "big boy" surgery yet, so lots of extra hormones and a puppy brain are just enough to make his behavior inconsistent. Thursday was just not his night, but I was still disappointed with a capital D. We had worked so hard, I mean, sooooo hard! I tested him in different situations, with different dogs, loose leash heeling, outside, inside, and I went into the test feeling confident. I had even asked Jeff to stay home so that Monte could not use him as a distraction. I so wanted to be the one who got Monte through the test successfully because he and I have struggled lately. He is becoming bigger and stronger and defiant, and I'm trying hard not to lose confidence in my ability to train him. He failed the dog distraction test, something that has been his biggest challenge. Then there was the simple stay, something totally unexpected, on my way back to him, he stood up...another strike. Darn! I must have looked outwardly dejected because Doug came over and sat beside me and gave me a nice fatherly pep talk, and it helped me put things in perspective.

So, we need to take what this little test showed us and build on it. It is true that each dog we raise teaches us something, and Monte is not allowing me to get too complacent, he's keeping me on my toes and keeping me sharp. I have to remember how much he actually has improved in just a week, and he is certainly leaps and bounds ahead of where he was 4 months ago! We are going to soak up every last bit of training we can get before Doug & Caroline head back to sunny CA, then Monte will have his surgery, and though it is sometimes a myth that it will do much to "settle" him down, it certainly cannot hurt (easy for me to say).

October 4, 2010

Picture Perfect

We had to make a dog food run on Sunday, so we stopped in to see Gordy who was greeting people at Mounds. As his first shift was ending, we were able to provide his transportation to his second engagement at Culver's. Cute puppies are in high demand.

Monte and Gordy met their pack members for lunch and we all practiced obedience while greeting the friendly customers. Photo opportunities with canines is never easy, but especially difficult with younger pups. View some outtakes here.

Monday night was the first of three training classes this week. Tonight's class was only for those needing extra work for the CGC test. It wasn't explicitly said, but it was clear that the training was more for the puppy raisers than the puppies. After working through greetings with four "strange" dogs, the puppies and raisers were performing adequately. Monte has a 50-50 chance of passing the test on Thursday.

October 2, 2010


It has been quite some time since we were able to go to the Dog Den for playtime. Monte was excited as we pulled into the parking, but he was soon disappointed. No Play for him. I observed an hour of doggie playtime while Monte sat calmly, practicing greeting dogs when they approached. After the session we practiced a few CGC style greetings with trainer Deb.

Lisa has been ill for the last couple days, so Monte and I stopped for some bakery on the way home, as she requested. Monte was riding shotgun and I tested him by placing the box of muffins on the seat in front of him. He looked at me, then the muffins, back at me, then the muffins, a heavy sigh as he dropped to the floor.

Tonight was hockey night; Monte's first exposure and he endured five periods. The men's team scrimmaged, which was much closer than the women's game. Scrimmage sounds so much better than practice. So from now on Monte and I will be scrimmaging instead of practicing.

After two periods of the women's game, Monte had become accustomed to the fog horn. It still startles him, but not panicky. Our biggest challenge was getting Monte to DOWN quietly. He wanted to watch the action on the ice and cried when he could not participate. When DOWN, he would pop up every time the crowd cheered to see what he had missed.

No canine distractions, so we concentrated on greeting humans and I did a very good job of training my humans to reinforce good puppy behavior - stop petting when Monte stops sitting. Note: rules are applied much better by adult humans. Correction, we did see a real guide dog and Monte was only mildly interested.

October 1, 2010

CGC Practice

There is always something to be working on when you have a guide dog puppy. At OccuPaws training class we did a practice Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test. We have never had any issues getting a dog through the ten steps.

Before the practice, I knew that Monte would have an issue with the dog to dog greeting. We have been working on this a little and I gave him a 50% chance to get through it - until I saw the other dog. It was a carbon copy of Monte's neighborhood nemesis, a small white dog. He eagerly greets other dogs, but this was prey. No way would he pass.

He didn't fail to meet my expectations. Our puppy failed this task miserably and he wouldn't sit still when greeting a stranger. We have a week to whip him into shape before the official test. The trainers in their infinite wisdom have scheduled a remedial session for Monte.

This evening we practiced ignoring other dogs as they walked past. I believe that I can get him to pass the CGC test. Even if we pass the test next week, Monte's puppy raisers will need to be diligent in calmly handling greeting for the next couple of months until it becomes a habit.

Our goal is not to pass the CGC test, but to raise a well balanced, well-behaved dog.