Hawk's Schedule

8/4 Lake Mills
8/12 CCSDA Training

December 30, 2011

Puppy For Sale/Rent

Yellow Labrador Puppy For Sale: Five and a half months old, housebroken. His name is Cooper, but should be easy to modify since he doesn't acknowledge it. Price is negotiable because he may be hard of hearing since he fails to respond when called; he just sits and stares. He has been trained to lie on the sofa and will occasionally sit on command. He has a calm demeanor and requires minimal exercise - a brief ten minute ZOOM around the yard usually tires him out. Only a few phobias remain, he recently overcame a fear of the bathtub and we are now finding it difficult to keep him out. 555-1234

We took Cooper shopping last night which he was less than excited about. He wanted to stay home with Monte and eat dinner. So as payback, he refused to lie down while Lisa and I were evaluating gift options. It was actually very good practice for him and me. The store was rather busy and as usual we are on display, so I had a choice to make: let him get away with his disobedience or feel stupid because my dog "in training" won't even lie down. I imagine parents face this dilemma on a daily basis.

I chose the latter and we "trained" for ten minutes until he would DOWN on command. It took a lot longer because I didn't have any motivational aids, no treats. I had to laugh because at the next store he was lying down almost before I said anything. One might think that it was superb training on my part, however, he was just really tired and preferred to lie down.

Cooper does not like bath time. He has had a fear about entering the tub and sits like a statue when bathed. This is actually good behavior, however, it is easy to tell that he is mortified, not compliant. For the last week I have been coaxing him to enter the bathtub on his own. We have used treats and used Monte as a mentor. Yesterday, he finally jumped in by himself. After playing in the water a bit, he found he enjoyed it. Now we can't keep him out - I have created a water monster.

December 27, 2011


Monte has been adjusting well to less exercise and very limited off-leash time. We are running and walking through the neighborhood and when we do go to the park he is leashed. Our plan is to work his mind more than his body and it appears to be working.

It turns out that he wasn't anticipating a walk at 5pm, he wanted to eat dinner. So he is fine with a short walk and a full bowl.

We took Cooper out for some post Christmas sales and then stopped by to visit his pals Mac and Griff. With limited interaction with children, these sessions with well behaved children create positive experiences which prepare him for his future assignment. He played fetch outside with his new Chuckit! toy (the boys taking turns). Inside he was exposed to the sights and sounds of boys' toys and he returned their affection with kisses of his own.

Cooper was so tired that Lisa and I went out shopping by ourselves - dogless.

December 26, 2011

Holiday Travels

Friday: Packing for two dogs takes the same amount of time as for one. Our only issue was crating. Should we take the steel (heavy) or the nylon (portable)? We took a chance and opted for the nylon. It was Cooper's first experience with the potable crate and he was initially cautious. He only had a few roll-over accidents. Monte was crate-less and spent the night in bed with my sister. Note: Having a dog that does not shadow you throughout the day, I recommend a steel crate for when he needs to be crated while visiting. We trust Monte, but were not sure if he would resist the temptation of edible Christmas presents if left alone.

Saturday: Early walk and feeding to prepare for a long day. Cooper's first visit to the assisted living facility in Appleton was without incident until another dog walked past. Monte barked once and Cooper wanted to welcome him. After dinner, both dogs opened their presents: toys and bones, before driving home.

Sunday: On the road again. This time we headed South. Monte was exiled in his holding cell at home, while Cooper attended Christmas in Platteville. Unclear which dog got the better deal.

December 22, 2011

Vet, Fetch, and Tandem

Took Cooper to the veterinarian for his first official visit. We have been taking him to the office to check his weight and familiarize him with the setting without any stress. He gained two pounds in two weeks, now that he has stopped sharing his food. Speaking of worms, it was time for his second dose of deworming medicine - just to make sure. The veterinarian (no issues) also does a health examination: eyes, ears, nose, ...

He also received his rabies vaccination. While paying the bill, Cooper was very interested in the clinic cat, so he crept closer to better investigate. The cat purred and Cooper stopped dead in his tracks. He didn't want anything to do will the "hissing" creature - more work to do to familiarize our charge with the feline persuasion.

In the afternoon to supplement his exercise, we crated Monte so as not to be disturbed and played fetch. His retrieving skills are much better when not antagonizing or fleeing Monte. I rolled the ball, he brought it back, he dropped it, he sat, sometimes I asked him to WAIT, and we repeated the process for fifteen minutes.

To minimize my time today I decided to try walking our tandem of dogs at the same time. Separately they are no trouble, but together would require constant attention. Not expecting any huge difficulty, my concern was having only one pronged collar. At about three o'clock Monte starts anticipating, so he is generally excited and began the walk with "power steering". As he settled into a comfortable pace, Cooper was distracted and needed to focus, so we swapped collars. We finished our hour long jaunt without issue, but I was mentally exhausted.

December 19, 2011

Labor of Love

Over the last five years we have had many interesting encounters with the public. But, I have never gotten used to people thanking us for what we do, because it is a true labor of love.

Today, we were out for a walk and a car pulled up next to us, stopped, and the driver rolled down his window. Thinking he was asking for directions, I was surprised as he expressed how much he appreciated what I was doing. This was definitely a odd occurrence because I was walking Monte at the time; he was appreciative that I was taking good care of my pet. This event will stay with me forever and I just wanted to pass along his sentiments to those of you that raise service dogs and those that treat their pets like family.

On our walks today we had to make friends with a few foreign objects. From two doors down Monte became fixated on an object and we stopped to confront the pile of snow. Not sure why it bothered him, but it has been a long time. Cooper has an aversion to (big) dogs barking. To alleviate this we have been walking past our neighbor's house daily. He no longer panics upon hearing them while out in the yard. He has been troubled by some of the Christmas decoration, one specific nativity in particular, so we have a daily visit with Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

As Caroline says, "Hug Your Dog".

December 18, 2011

Silly Yak

Saturday began with the first real snowfall of the year. Cooper enjoyed this new form of precipitation so much he refused to COME in the house.

Most of our day was spent training in the Silly Yak and Bread Barn Bakery. The owners were kind enough to let four puppies invade their store for yet another opportunity to provide information and raise funds. Five trainees (Brillo, Cooper, Curry, Halo, and Packer) were in attendance.

It was Cooper's first day (public) with the pronged collar and it made a big difference - no lunging and jumping. He calmly greeted customers/staff and shared space with his fellow trainees. His mind wanders when distracted or tired, so we became more lenient as the day progressed.

The Silly Yak portion of the bakery prepares Gluten Free (GF) food. After spending some time in the bakery, we couldn't figure out why is the GF bakery was called Silly Yak. The answer was quite obvious after it was explained. People who have Celiac (Silly Yak) Disease cannot tolerate the gluten protein.

After six hours, the puppies were exhausted and it was time to head home. Once again we each received a goodie bag of product samples, human and canine, which made the whole day worth it :-)

A big Thank You to Lexy for coordinating the fund raiser.

Many thanks to Holly and Miguel for the opportunity, their hospitality, and GF education.

December 16, 2011


We celebrated Cooper's birthday yesterday. He is FIVE months old. Although he has been displaying defiant behavior like running away from me when I call him to come in the house, he has officially reached the Terrible Fives or teenager phase.

Our day began before the sun was up. The clock display read FIVE o'clock and Monte said it was time to potty/celebrate/eat. The two dogs shared FIVE cups of food before going back to bed. The birthday boy shared the bed as we performed some addition training. After FIVE days of work I believe we have a certified bed dog. He spent the two hours before the alarm went off curled up next to my legs. I wish all tasks were this easy to "train".

The fist item on our agenda was to dislodge Cooper's last puppy tooth. It has been loose for a couple days and the adult tooth is poking through - about FIVE millimeters. Not having the nerves to pull it myself, I enlisted Monte's assistance. Distributing a tug rope between the canine companions, the tooth was resting on the carpet in less than FIVE minutes.

Being focused on Monte's need to drain energy, Cooper has probably not been getting enough training walks in. Today we walked, on leash, around the neighborhood for twenty-FIVE minutes. He is a good walker, but occasionally looses focus. Now that he is FIVE months old, it is time to be more disciplined.

I introduced Cooper to the pronged collar. Being his first real exposure, I took it directly from off Monte to use with Cooper. The results were immediate even though it must have been FIVE sizes too big; it hung from his neck, but provided a small correction, which is all that is needed. Cooper is definitely a kind (soft) soul and we need to be careful not to over-correct or misuse the tool.

Our last activity was a trip to the grocery store to pick up FIVE items. We made a quick stop at Wal-Mart where Cooper ran into Santa. Santa is not a big deal, but the kids waiting to see him were a huge temptation and I forgot the pronged collar. He quickly settled down after a few lunges and we calmly finished our shopping, returning home FIVE minutes before seven.

December 14, 2011

Sleeping In

The past two mornings I have been sleeping in. The weather has been a contributing factor, but the major factor was that I am "training" Cooper to be a Bed Dog. He doesn't like to cuddle or snuggle; he tries to find a corner where he can rest undisturbed. This would be great if he was to remain with us, however part of his future job will be to provide sleep assistance for an autistic child. The goal will be to get him to sleep while resting near feet/legs to provide comfort and security.

Now Monte on the other hand like to cuddle too much. He will throw himself next to you with his belly in the air while trying to lick you to provide encouragement. This is after he leaps, from the floor, on top of you, which isn't as bad if it is expected, but not very pleasant in the middle of the night. Eventually he finds a spot more conducive to sleeping - at the foot of the bed.

December 11, 2011


On Friday Cooper attended the Howliday party at the Dog Den. It began with a large playgroup - there must have been fifty dogs. Cooper was initially a social butterfly, but he soon found his perfect match and the tandem played together almost exclusively. Every time we tried to separate them they eventually found each other. Next was the obligatory picture with Santa, followed by more playing.

After burning some energy it was time for activities: Cooper, with some assistance, added his paw print to an ornament; Cooper and I finished approximately fifth playing "Santa Says", and just missed winning a prize; our team finished second in targeting the bell (only two teams); and we decided not to participate in the talent competition.
Saturday was a busy day: puppy playgroup to burn some energy, visit Mac and Griff, and a Badger hockey game. We thought that playgroup would be a great way to prepare for a home visit. Since Cooper is almost five months old and larger than most of the puppies, we attended the second half of the teenager playgroup and the first part with the puppy group. He received some much needed correction with the older dogs and was less rambunctious with the smaller puppies.

With his energy fully depleted, we stopped by to visit with Mac and Griff. "A tired dog is a good dog." Mac, who is on the waiting list for a service dog, had not been feeling well, however Cooper seemed to be the perfect medicine.

At the hockey game, we stopped for a quick potty outside, but Cooper was distracted by the sights, sounds, and smells. Inside, we walked around the main level at the Kohl Center. It took about thirty minutes with the frequent stops to greet first-timers and the many friends that Cooper has made over the last few months. As we killed time waiting for the game to start, our puppy seemed out of sorts; he would not settle down. Experienced puppy raisers that we are are, we opted for a quick potty break before the puck dropped - issue resolved. I knew we should have waited him out before entering the building.

December 8, 2011

Dog Day

Wednesday began with an early morning wake-up call from Monte. I got up to let Monte and Cooper outside for a quick potty break. Normally I would have stayed in bed and told Monte to go back to bed when he awakened me prior to dawn, but we had plans that benefited from an early breakfast.They have each learned not to delay for this activity since breakfast is served immediately afterwards. Each dog devoured two cups of food in their crates; I retrieved both bowls, to prevent any noise, and we all went back to sleep.

About two hours later my real alarm clock signaled a start to the day. This time I accompanied my house mates outdoors for a more serious call of nature. Since they both could use a little extra weight, they received raw bone to snack on and keep them occupied before our planned activities. Monte and I went for an hour long run through the village streets and he got some off-leash fun, leaping through the prairie grasses, as I jogged the park trails.

Next on the agenda was a trip to the grocery store with Cooper, just the two of us. However, this had to be postponed due to another digestive issue. It turns out that we have misdiagnosed Cooper's condition. While he may have had a urinary tract infection, the cranberries were not causing the vomiting. It turns out that he has round worms - not a pleasant creature to see on your bedroom floor. Cooper made an unexpected trip to the veterinarian for a dose of deworming medicine. Not sure how he would react to the medicine, we rescheduled the trip to the grocery store and he rested.

Lisa and I went shopping. It felt very strange shopping without a canine attachment. The trip went much quicker than normal. We did not forget our furry friends at home; we purchased eight pounds of chicken legs to supplement their diet. The chicken was $0.88 per pound which is actually cheaper than their dog food. Note: Raw chicken bones do not splinter and can actually have a positive effect on stools.

After returning home and shelving our food, I walked Monte to the park for another hour long exercise session. On the way, we have been working on HEELing. In guide dog training we were not concerned with him being out front. Well now, I want him closer to my side. It is hard to teach an old dog new tricks, especially when the trainer is lacking.

Monte received the extra attention because he would be spending the evening at home alone. Cooper attended a puppy training class in Janesville. This was a great opportunity to meet new dogs and experience new trainers with different expectations/situations. Two hours later we headed for home and grabbed a quick dinner before bed.

Thursday morning came very early. We were up before dawn, but this time there was no return trip to bed. Cooper and I were up at 6am. Now this is not early for most people, but I have been on "vacation" for the last month. Our morning drive took us to the Silly Yak Bakery for a Custom Canines' fund raiser. A tad bit excited upon arriving, Cooper quickly settled in and found a swath of sunshine to nap in. Time flies when "talking dog" and before we knew it, it was 1pm and time to go home (and take Monte for his walk).

December 6, 2011


The beginning of the month is a reminder to dose our dogs with flea and tick medication. Since it is toxic to fleas, ticks, lice, mosquitoes, and cats, we try to find a period of 48 hours where we can limit contact to humans and other animals. Therefore we don't always medicate on the first of the month.

We found a window of time starting yesterday. Limiting contact with others is not that difficult. The hard part is keeping our two canines separated. For two days we ensure that at least one is always in their crate. This morning no one seems to mind the extra crate time because we sequestered them each with their own raw bone.

December 4, 2011


Imagine having a super sensitive nose and being enclosed in a room with baked goods which are inaccessible.
Imagine spending four hours without any toys (or electronics).
Imagine being surrounded by friends, but not allowed to run around or play.
Imagine having to go outside to use the bathroom.
Imagine every time you are napping, the door opens and a bell sounds.
Imagine needing to remain calm when meeting excited people.

Saturday was a perfect day. It was cold and rained all day. It was a perfect day to spend in a warm bakery with smell of baking bread and cookies wafting through the air. The only thing that could make the Silly Yak / Bread Barn experience better were caring hosts and dog-friendly customers, which were also provided. Note: The Silly Yak will be donating 10% of the sales this Thursday (12/8) to Custom Canines.

Cooper, Brillo, Packer, and Pilot spent the better part of the day greeting customers and napping, while we humans provided Custom Canine information and sampled delicious gluten-free products. We worked hard on proper greeting etiquette - four on the floor and calm. No surprise, Cooper did much better during the last three hours. The dogs were well-behaved even with all the distractions.

December 2, 2011


We have been fighting Cooper's UTI for the last few weeks. He had been getting better; no accidents in the house for two weeks. However, he was still drinking excessively and was requesting to GO POTTY a lot.

The cranberry tablets were having some effect, but he was also experiencing periodic vomiting. Through trial and error, I linked the cranberry to his episodes. I checked and cranberries are not on the list of potentially poisonous foods, but they apparently did not react well in Cooper's system.

We started a more aggressive antibiotic schedule which appears to be working with no side effects.

December 1, 2011

CGC Prep

At training class last night, we were practicing for Cooper's Canine Good Citizen test. He did amazingly well with greetings and STAYs. I was pleasantly surprised because he is approaching the Terrible Fives, as demonstrated by his increasing defiance. Maybe the long walk during lunch helped his settle down and focus. As a reward, we were provided raw beef bones to enjoy at home.

You know the teenager phase or Terrible Fives are approaching when teeth are disappearing from the puppy's mouth and showing up on the floor or in Monte's mouth. Yes, I caught Monte chewing excessively the other day and had him DROP it. Out popped one of Cooper's molars. I found another molar the middle of the living room. I think he only has the canines left.

There are a few good things associated with the teenager phase. Once his teeth are all in, we can start using the same food for both dogs. An opportunity to practice patience and become a better dog trainer. The only real benefit, though not really a benefit is that it is only a phase and will eventually end. If you remain calm, you can make it through the phase while maintaining your sanity. The end result is a good puppy.