Hawk's Schedule

8/4 Lake Mills
8/12 CCSDA Training

July 31, 2012

Ball Game

Sunday was Chumley's day at the ballpark.  We spent eight hours preparing food, greeting fans, watching baseball, and more greeting fans.  It was superb socialization, especially for the newest addition to the Madison area puppy raisers, Maynard.  He stole the show. 

It was a long day for the puppies and humans alike.  By the end of the game the canines were exhausted, which made them perfect for pets and hugs as children, young and old, exited the stadium.

July 30, 2012

Cool Monte

Nothing much new with Monte.  Since the weather has cooled off a bit, especially in the mornings, we have been started running again.  He can usually run forever, but the warm weather affects him, so he is happy to run my speed.

After only a few days, he has an established routine.  After we climb the hill, he sprints down the other side to cool off.  On the other side of the hill is the ice arena and they have been leaving him a pile of snow each morning to eat and roll in.  The first couple days he was surprised and unsure; now it is expected.

July 29, 2012


Saturday, we went to the Monroe County fair.  Chumley handled the farm animals, but was a bit concerned by the tigers.  Yes, tigers at the county fair. Not sure what it was, he was very concerned/fearful.  This shouldn't be a problem, however it is something to note for future trips to the zoo.  The rest of his day was spent at a birthday party where he relaxed amongst the activity - very good dog.

July 27, 2012

Quick Study

We took Chumley to visit Cooper's friend, Chloe, this evening.  She is the young girl that is terrified of dogs.  There are only three dogs that she accepts: Cooper, Monte, and her new neighbor puppy.  So we were planning for the worst, but hoping for the best.

Upon our arrival, she was not happy to see Chumley, even though he sort of looks like Cooper, he is not Cooper.  Eventually she came outside to see Chumley and gave him a quick pat on the back and immediately turned around and scampered back into the house. 

Oh well, that first meeting went much better than Cooper's.  Chloe quickly returned with two bowls.  One filled with water and the other filled with bubble bites (cereal).  Chumley lapped up the water, but wasn't thrilled with the cereal.

We can add another dog to Chloe's list of canine friends.  She rubbed Chumley's back and walked him down the sidewalk.  Eventually, it was no big deal that he was there - perfect.

July 25, 2012

Camp Juno II

 It wasn't all fun and games at Camp Juno.                                      There was obedience training with plenty of distractions.

We were reunited with Chumley this evening at training.  He appeared to recognize us, but both humans and canine performed proper greetings.  We waited for him to relax before approaching and he maintained a DOWN STAY until we said OK.

IT was distraction night at the mall.  We brought a walker, bubbles, masks, food bowl, and exercise ball to test their obedience and check for any unwarranted fear issues that need to be addressed. 

And then more DOWN STAYs with recalls through the group.

July 20, 2012

Camp Juno

We dropped Chumley off at Camp Juno this evening.  The plan is for him to stay until next Wednesday and spend some time with Juno's children.  It didn't take him long to find an antler to gnaw on.

Chumley is learning how to snuggle.  We have been working on this without much success, but apparently we were not the right teachers ...

July 19, 2012

Mall Workers

Wednesday was our training day at the mall.  This week we ventured to Janesville in a thunderstorm.  It was wonderful to see and feel moisture falling from the sky.

Each puppy was worked through a mock Canine Good Citizen test to identify opportunities for improvement.  Everyone left with a few items to "proof", but for the most part the teams are progressing well.

After the CGC practice exam, the  puppies fell into position to practice their most common behavior:  a DOWN STAY.  They need to be especially good at this because the probably spent 80% of their working life in this position.

With the exception of Chili, the difficult part is getting them to stay, even with distractions.  Even the train rambling by did not upset our mall workers.

His issue is responding to a DOWN command, but once there he is rock solid. 

Note Chili at the end of the line; just being goofy.

July 18, 2012

Official Photo

Chumley has been taking it easy the last week or so.  The oppressive heat and a flare-up of panosteitis have limited his activity.  On the good side, it has allowed him to put on a few pounds.  Monte has also gained some weight.

This didn't stop us from trimming his nails, which he is becoming more agreeable to.  Going a little stir crazy, one night we took him to the library, grocery store and drug store - all air conditioned with cool tile floors.

Training has been progressing well. He will SIT, DOWN, but will not maintain a SIT if he gets tired.  He loves to work and enjoys GETTING DRESSED and has a wonderful recall.  We are working to build his confidence.

Note:  It was time for an updated ID card and blog photo.


July 13, 2012

Lights and Sirens

Watertown is the location of our annual puppy immersion program.  The local police and fire departments  assemble fifty vehicles for the kids to investigate.  They are allowed to sound the sirens and flash the lights. 

Chumley was interested the first time he heard the siren as we walked up.  The roar of the  sirens was constant and it didn't take long for them to become background noise.  He wasn't even phased by the helicopter.

In addition to the the lights and sirens, the event offered a great opportunity to interact with children and adults.   As we stationed ourselves between the vehicles and children's activities, we were an easy target.  Chumley and his pal Taxi were constantly being "bothered". 

By the end of the evening he was exhausted and only wanted to rest.  He slept through our dinner, which was perfect stationary training.

July 10, 2012

Stationary Training

Chumley accompanied us to an outdoor concert.  With the exception of Cooper, all the other dogs have gone to a live music concert.  Our trainee was well behaved walking to and from our seats.  The loud music from the Elvis tribute band nor the applause was a problem.  However, we did identify an opportunity for improvement - stationary training.

Up to this point our focus has been on getting him comfortable in various situations, basic obedience, and being friendly to others - always moving about.  He has not been out to eat or at a location where we were sitting for any length of time and he was required to stay DOWN.

He appeared restless and would not or could not get comfortable.  Although there were many distractions (dogs, kids, bugs), that didn't seem to be the cause.  I think we just need to get him in more "stationary" activities.  That means more dinners out.

July 9, 2012

Play and Train

I think the heat is harder on the animals than on us humans. Our canine activities have been very limited.

Saturday morning was play time at the Dog Den and all three wading pools were constantly in use.  Chumley would jump from one to the other trying to get other puppies to play. We had planned to go shopping after playing, but he was drenched - not proper for a service dog. 

The heat wave broke in the evening, so we took Chunley out to train at the Stoughton Fair.  He did wonderful as we walked through the carnival with the whistles, buzzers, and screams.  I was most impressed that he seemed oblivious to food on the pavement.

The barns were a somewhat different story.  He was interested in the varied sights and scents.  A high degree of caution was displayed as he approached the larger animals; he would quickly retreat when they moved toward him. 

Not bad for our first time.

July 6, 2012

Double Trouble

Due to the extremely hot weather, we haven't been out much, but did get Chumley to the CSA farm this week.  Our outdoor events have included searching for sprinklers, which Monte loves,  and an evening swim to cool off after chasing around the yard.

Some people believe that having two dogs is easier than one - they have someone to play with.  This may be true in some instances, but I find that two dogs will get in twice as much trouble

It is helpful to have an older dog around when training a younger one.  Monte swerves as a role model to reinforce commands and provide an example for new ones.  There are a few disadvantages too.  Twice the food. Twice the medical bills.  Twice the time to train and exercise - sometimes more.

This week Chumley was the beneficiary of our miscommunication. Wednesday I woke up early, took Chumly out for a potty break, and fed him.  He gets crated after meals and I took Monte for a walk.  In the meantime Lisa got up and fed Chumley an additional two cups of food.  This unscheduled surplus didn't cause any issues.

The next day, I got up at sunrise and walked Chumley to the park before serving him breakfast.  He got crated while I walked Monte to the park.  In the meantime Lisa got up and took Chumley for a walk around the neighborhood.  A double walk, but I was able to stop her before she fed him.  The extra exercise didn't seem to be an issue with his Panosteitis.

July 2, 2012

Making Friends

Chumley has one bad habit.  Well, at least one that we are trying to correct.  At his prior home, he was allowed to drink out of the toilet bowl, so we are trying to discourage this behavior.  Step one was leaving the lid down.  Step two was dropping the lid on his head.  This happened by accident as he had to work to reach the water level in the low flow toilet and he made quite the scene.  Not surprisingly, he has not attempted to use his "secondary" water bowl since.

Tonight after it cooled off some, we walked around the neighborhood "making friends" with bushes, garbage cans, and neighbors.  He has a habit of barking at people. We also practiced SIT and DOWN in this heavy distraction environment.  He improved as the walk progressed.

Our Chumley was not a big fan of having his nails trimmed, but weekly sessions should ease the pain.

July 1, 2012

Week One - Chummy

We have made it through seven days with Chumley.  While initially a little worried that taking an eight month old puppy was not a good idea, he seems to be a step or two behind, but a quick learner.  He has been responding to verbal DOWN commands and usually listens when we tell him to get OUT of the kitchen.  We should have him ready in three or four months.

Yesterday he enjoyed an hour of playtime at the Dog Den.  He has a wonderful play style: interested in small dogs but not overbearing and a good balance of submissive and dominant play.

As we develop our routine and trust, we are more comfortable taking him on more outings.  So far he has gone to the pet store, hardware store, blind society, drug store, and tonight we were so confident that we took him to the grocery.  We have noticed a preoccupation with Monte, so we will be making a conscious effort to segregate their activities.

Not a fan of the name "Chumley"; it is growing on us.  Although a different name might be more appropriate, Shadow, as he follows Lisa wherever she goes and frantically searches for her when she is out of sight.  He probably gets called Cooper 25% of the time.

June 28, 2012

Initial Assessment

 After three days with Chumley we are seeing some patterns in his behavior and we are formulating a curriculum for our four-legged trainee.  On the positive side he appears to know SIT, he responds to his name with a good recall, and he understands WAIT with prompting/blocking.  He prefers Lisa to me;  I scare him sometimes.  He is soft and only requires a mild verbal correction.

His obedience needs work, but he is no trouble around the house.  Monte may disagree as he has had to remind Chumley who the boss is on a couple occasions.

Our first area of focus has been reinforcing his SIT and eliminating the need to lure him into a DOWN.

Tonight we joined the Janesville training class.  The final task involved a visit to the food court.  The puppies were tempted by kibble that appeared like manna from heaven, but they were not allowed to touch.  Juno, on the left, attempted to use mental telepathy and move the food into her mouth.

June 25, 2012

New Addition

Today we welcomed a new four legged canine to our home.  Chumley is an eight month old yellow Labrador ...

June 9, 2012

Special Olympics.... training for everyone has been worth it!

~post from Lexy, Mac's mom~ Russ and I just returned from the Wisconsin State Summer Special Olympics. It is held every year in Stevens Point on the campus there. It is fitting as this is the place where Russ and I met. It was the 40th anniversary of Special Olympics - amazing! Amazing work by lots of people!! This is a trip that Russ and I have dreamed about making as a family.... not quite sure when or how that would happen... until we met Jeff, Lisa & Cooper. I feel like we have all been in "training" for this moment. Cooper has been training since he was 10 weeks old. We have been training with Cooper, Jeff & Lisa since January 2012. Mac has been training for the track and field events since March 1, 2012. This would be the weekend where we could all shine. This was the first State meet for ALL of us. Russ and I thought it was important to try this trip on our own. No family, no trainers, no support.... just us and the boys and Cooper! A little overwhelming - but we were up for the challenge. Our trip started on Thursday after lunch when we left for UW-Stevens Point. We got to the hotel and got settled. The boys quickly wanted to head to the swimming pool that included one large slide! We went to eat dinner - something we have not been able to do as a family - and had a nice dinner at one of our favorite places, Arbuckles! If you got to Point, this is a must and you MUST get the cheese fries.... This was followed by Opening Ceremonies. What an amazing, heart felt moment for all of us. We walked in with our team, Oregon Panthers. Mac was anchored to Cooper and was able to tolerate the large crowd, loud music, and all the clapping. He enjoyed walking in and high giving the volunteers that lined the sides. The speakers were still a little to overwhelming for him, so we moved to the back - and that was okay. It was a beautiful night! The following morning Mac competed in the softball throw. He got 2nd place and since this was his first state meet he didn't know about the medals. His face lit up when the police officer placed that around his neck!! PRICELESS!! WE visited the gym where Russ played basketball. Ran into one of his coaches and got some UW Pointer gear! :) We went to a wonderful park, then back to the hotel for more swimming!! We had dinner in and then to bed to get ready for Saturday! Got up on Saturday, to head to the final competition for Mac. He ran the 100 m dash. He got 3rd place and was awarded his medal today by Mrs. Wisconsin :) We sat in the shade while I got us a few T-shirts and then we visited the dorm that Russ lived in - haha!! Then back in the car and headed home. We were together as a family for 48 hours with no "back up" and no "support." This is the first time that the 4 of us have ever traveled as a family. We believe the majority of this is due to Cooper.... Having Mac anchored to Cooper to prevent any running has proven to be a greater gift to us than we realized. We did not know how much worry and stress we carried while out in places where Mac could run away. Now - with Cooper - there is no worry. What a gift... Mac's bond has surprised us as well. He talks a lot to Cooper. He talks a lot about Cooper. On the way home, he took of both of his medals and said "I love you Cooper." And put the medals on Cooper's neck! SO, SO, SO cute and precious! When Mac goes to bed, he says "C'mon Cooper." We get into bed, turn off the lights and he says, "I love you Cooper. Good night Cooper." And with that I say.... Jeff and Lisa, We love you. Thank you for this gift to our family. Good night.

May 30, 2012

Full House

Long ago we agreed that we would have a one dog limit.  Then Monte came back to us. It's a slippery slope.

Monte obtained a roommate on Monday.  Savi came to visit for a few days.  Monte is enjoying the multiple car rides every day which we are doing to work on Savi's motion sickness. 

Copper wasn't feeling well, so he joined our pack for some observation Wednesday morning.  I have found that our back seat is not large enough for three dogs.  The three amigos have been rotating "riding shot gun" and playing musical crate.


May 23, 2012


There were still a few things that we wanted Cooper to experience before he transitioned to his new family: farm animals, zoo, children's museum.  One of our puppy raisers arranged a visit to Three Gaits - Therapeutic Horsemanship Center, so we could remove one item from his "bucket" list.

Cooper's family was busy and unable to attend, so our pal visited us for the whole day.  It was hard to tell who was happier to see whom; Monte couldn't stop wiggling and Cooper wanted to play, play, play.

At the stables, the dogs were initially cautious around the new fragrances - the bridle was very interesting.  Cooper quickly warmed up to the equines, but then took a step back when the gigantic beast moved.  Eventually all the puppies reached the point of indifference.

May 21, 2012

Free Time

We have been a single dog ho,me for the last two weeks. They have been very difficult.  Not because Cooper is gone; actually it is probably better that he was not around.  I am just getting over a cold that turned into a sinus infection.  It started thirteen days ago.  The first few days of the cold I was sleeping half the time.  Then the infection took all my energy; I was winded just walking down the block.

I recently started feeling better and it just hit me that not having a service dog in-training frees up an incredible amount of time. Including walks, training, and travel, we probably have an extra twenty-one hours a week (an extra day each week).

Monte is enjoying his special one-on-one attention.  He gets two walks to the park most days, brushed every other day, daily fetch in the yard, and spends his indoor time sleeping on the sofa/bed..  His crate time has diminished as he only gets crate-time after eating and for sleeping.

Our grocery store had chicken legs on sale for 68 cents a pound, so he has been getting a extra leg/thigh with every meal.  This should fatten him up.

May 6, 2012


How do you begin to thank people who have given so much of themselves to help your son and your family??? We are SO, SO, SO thankful and grateful for Jeff and Lisa. They have dedicated time and love to raise Cooper to help Mac. Mac has Down syndrome and autism. Cooper came home with us last night after Mac's first Special Olympics track meet. The emotions were so overwhelming.... I am also thankful that it really is a "see you later" and not a good bye to Jeff and Lisa. I had warned them previously, they are stuck with us forever now :) Russ, Mac, Griffin and Cooper went on their first outing together by themselves. They went to see their cousin in a high school play. A situation that would have once been overwhelming to all of them. Mac is very sensitive to noise. So the beginning of the play he had some stress and had to leave. The difference was, Mac was able to come back and to sit through the rest of the play today. Today Cooper has lived fully with the boys experiencing light saber swords, darth vader masks, ninja moves, guitar playing to name a few things! Griffin wanted to show Cooper his room today (which he has seen previously) but Griffin sees this as different this time around because Cooper is here to stay. Yesterday morning, Griffin said to me, "Mom, this is the best day ever! Do you know why?" Me - why? Griff, "because Cooper gets to come home with us today forever." Jeff and Lisa truly gave the ultimate gift of love yesterday..... and we promise to love Cooper!! Thank you!! Love you both! xoxo Lexy (Mac & Griffin's mom)

New Beginning

Our day began with a short walk through the park which included some obedience work and playtime with a pair of boxers. A great way to start the day.

Next on the agenda was Special Olympics. We arrived and were greeted by Mac.  Today he surprised me by welcoming us before hugging Cooper.  With just a few minutes before Mac's race, Cooper garnered the bulk of the attention - as it should be. We all cheered Mac on to a second place finish and shared high fives after he received his ribbon.

As we made our way to a Team Austin photo a little girl with her dad stopped us and asked to pet Cooper.  Of course we made time and she gave Cooper a few cautious pats on the head.  Then her mother walked up and said that this was the closest she has ever been to a dog.  "She is usually terrified."  Not sure what it is, but Cooper is a very special dog.

After the meet we officially relinquished our role as Cooper's trainers and guardians. He will now reside full-time with his boy, Mac.  Although, we have been working tirelessly toward this day, it is always difficult to say good-bye to a well-trained, loving companion.  As is often stated about puppy raising, "If it doesn't hurt a little, then you aren't doing your job."

However, in this situation it is truly not "Good-Bye", but rather "See you later", because we are not completely finished yet.  We are on call for the next couple months to provide guidance, support, and puppy sitting, as required.  During this time we will  be fine tuning some Mac-specific skills and assisting with the legal process to gain access for Cooper into the Madison School District as Mac's service dog.

As Cooper begins his new life, we need to thank:
Custom Canines Service Dog Academy for their support and guidance, without them we never would have met Cooper or Mac. 
Austin Family for including us in their family and for their unparalleled preparation for Cooper's arrival - we have no concerns.
The Dog Den for providing training opportunities and sharing their knowledge of everything canine. 
Family and Friends for accepting our canine trainees at special training events (ex: weddings) and for your encouragement.

It takes a pack to raise a service dog

May 4, 2012

One Day Left

Cooper spent Tuesday shopping for supplies that he will need at his new home: water bowl, crate, food, nail clipper, and more toys.

Wednesday, all autism assistance dogs had a mandatory training session with our program coordinator.  Given Cooper's status, we were thinking that it would be an easy day.  And it was.  After some basic obedience, he spent the bulk of the time in a DOWN STAY while people stopped to pet him.

I believe all the dogs completed the required 30 minute DOWN STAY - with minimal correction.

Disney Photos Added

April 29, 2012

Only Five More Days

A day after earning his CGC credentials, Cooper was put through the paces by the Custom Canines Program Coordinator.  It consisted of some basic obedience with distractions, tethering around the block, and a real world store experience.  Having raised Cooper for eight months, our focus was on Cooper, but it was also testing the capabilities of his future handlers and evaluating the working relationship between dog and child.

Working with the family over the past months, visiting the nearby Target store was viewed as the holy grail.  What better place to practice? 

Unaccustomed to walking around, Mac initially wanted to ride in the cart.  This was his first time walking the aisles of Target.  As a result of his new found mobility, Mac was able to assist his parents by selecting items and retrieving them from the shelves.  This allowed his parents to reinforce math skills. 

Thanks to everyone's hard work and dedication, Cooper will be joining his family on Saturday - only five days away.

Additional Photos

April 28, 2012


Cooper passed his Canine Good Citizen test. 

The countdown begins ...

April 27, 2012

Search Dog

When Monte was about a year old we knew that he was a special dog, but did not think that being a guide dog was in his future.  What do we know, no one listens to the puppy raiser.  We thought that he was designed and had the temperament to be a great Search and Rescue dog.

More than a year later, he continues to show his true nature. On our daily walk through the park today he located three baseballs.  This may not be a huge surprise since the park is adjacent to a diamond.  The amazing thing is that he seeks them out.  He has recovered over a dozen baseballs this Spring.

In fact the other day he was intent on getting inside the batting cage.  I took a look but couldn't see anything. 
Over time I have learned to trust Monte and his sense of smell.  He has been known to locate pieces of kibble or toys where we have repeatedly confirmed that none existed.  As I thought there was no baseball in the batting cage, however, there was half of the leather covering from a baseball that Monte found and needed to chew on.  Trust his nose.

Note:  Chicken legs are on sale at Pick n Save and Copps:

Mall Walking

We continue our anchoring (aka tethering) with Mac and Cooper with short outings.  Our most recent was to the mall. We completed two successful laps with an additional side trips through Sears (with narrow aisles) and Abercrombie & Fitch (loud noise).  However, the greatest distraction for Mac was the playground equipment.  This provided us experience working through a challenge and insight into potential issues.  First, we must support Cooper in his anchor responsibilities when Mac is uncooperative.  Second, as we waited near the playground equipment, which Mac desperately wanted to use, he was scheming a way out of the bungee and belt.  Given e a bit more time, I am convinced that he would have freed himself.

In addition to walking as a team, we must practice stopping.

April 25, 2012


After a short trip to the mall to see his pal Chloe, Cooper spent the evening with his family. He slept with Mac, tagged along on a few appointments, and observed Mac at swimming lessons. After a busy day he only wanted to nap, but he still had more work to do.

Walking around the neighborhood with family members is generally a relaxing experience. However, if you are constantly worrying about your child "running," a simple walk around the block can be very stressful. Tonight we formally began the training process to alleviate parental stress and transform the walk back into a relaxation exercise.

 Our dog Cooper was officially tethered to Mac for the first time. Based on our previous trials with leash walking we weren't anticipating any issues, but one never knows how a child or canine will react. Initially, Lisa worked Cooper while Mac "assisted"; he was tethered and holding an auxiliary leash. Once we confirmed that Cooper was responding as expected, the leash was transferred to Mac's mom. Lexy walked the pair up and down the block and across streets, commenting that she was actually enjoying herself - feeling safe and secure. Mac never relinquished his hold on the leash and walked side-by-side with Cooper. The tether was only deployed a few times as a result of variation of dog and child velocities.

Our fifteen minute walk was uneventful and relaxing.

More Orlando Photos Added

April 22, 2012

Batter Up

Although I have been out of town for the past four days, Cooper has continued his Assistance and CGC training. He attended his weekly Custom Canine and Dog Den classes. Apparently nothing interesting occurred since there were no blog entries made by my training partner :-)

Monte was ecstatic to welcome me home, but after I unpacked he found Cooper cuddling on the sofa. He went to his bedroom to retrieve a favorite bone and dropped it on the floor in front of Cooper. Seeing a favorite toy, Cooper leaped off the sofa to "steal" the bone and Monte swiftly stole Cooper's vacated spot next to me. Whether just a recurring coincidence or a true sign of intelligence, I will let you be the judge.

A series of puppies have rotated through our house over the recent years. Our original plan had Cooper moving on before our annual trip to a Milwaukee Brewer game. Although almost ready to be transitioned, he made it long enough to attend this year's game. The favorable comments from fans and the photo opportunities (famous sausages, mobbed by kids, Miller Park, resting on seat) have remained constant regardless of the attendee - only the age and color of the dog changes.

I am not sure when it happened, but some time in the last few years having a dog resting at our feet in a stadium has become natural. More photos were taken by others than we took of our trainee.

With a nine month old puppy, today was a working day, not just social, so we performed some mock tethering. Being the meat in an Arndt sandwich, Cooper seemed confused at times as to who he should be taking direction from. I can only assume that it is difficult for him to determine which one of us is leading via the leash and who is the passenger(tethered to the harness).

April 15, 2012


Happy Birthday Cooper - nine months old today !!

We humans have been recovering from our "Disney Hangover" and settling into our normal routines. Although appearing to be tired, the canines were back to normal after half a day of rest. Monte was excited for his two daily walks and Cooper enjoyed some time to run free in the park.

In my fog a few items went unreported:
- Mac and Cooper have established a strong bond
- Mac talks about Cooper every day
- Griffin said that Cooper is his best dog; he will be his first dog
- We helped new puppy, Savi, with car phobia and walking nicely
- Our next dog will be named Hobey Baker
- Cooper received a special pet from a candy store employee who was/is terrified of dogs

April 12, 2012

Back Home

On our return flight, we made it onto the plane without incident. They even reserved two bulkhead seats for us. Even though I prefer standard seats, we did not refuse their offer.

Cooper was uncomfortable as the plane ascended. I think it may have been related to the pressure change. We tried to simulate the the human act of gum chewing with his favorite bone, but he didn't want it. We even resorted to jelly beans which he would only chew once before swallowing. Ultimately we all settled in and napped.

We decided to pick up Monte before returning home to rest after our vacation. Although he was very happy to see us as he couldn't stop crying, I think the happiest creature was Cooper who was ecstatic to be reunited with his canine buddy.

Everyone was exhausted and we slept until bedtime.

April 11, 2012

Orlando - Day2

Our second day was spent at the "Most Magical Place on Earth", Disney World. Cooper and Mac worked the entire morning together, with the exception of his ride times. The success of the prior day was repeated as Mac hung on to the leash and wanted to stay close to Cooper.

Back at the condo, Cooper repeated his water avoidance antics. You could sense a greater confidence and desire to join in with the water activities, so eased him into the pool once. However, even though he wanted to, he never entered the water on his own.

New Orlando Photos

April 10, 2012

Orlando - Day1

After a much needed day of rest, Cooper started his week at Sea World.

We decided to use the leash/harness combo for some mock tethering with Griffin under a real world situation. His first time back in harness since March, but he didn't miss a beat. The plan was to have Mac observe and have Griff be a positive role model. It seemed to work well because after we transitioned to Mac, he kept a firm grasp of the leash and stayed close to his buddy, Cooper. Hopefully this will transfer to the actual tethering.

Cooper's favorite part of the days was watching the dolphins swimming past.

In the afternoon, we retreated back to the condo to enjoy a less crowded environment in our private swimming pool. It was entertaining to watch a nine month old "water breed" canine perform acrobatics to keep himself dry while racing around the pool. We tried everything to entice him into the water without success.

You could see the dilemma in his eyes and actions. He wanted to play with the boys so bad, but did not want to jump in and get wet. Cooper only got wet when he fell into the pool on two occasions - not positive experiences.

April 8, 2012

Tampa - Day5

Relaxing in bed before traveling.

Cooper had a rest day on Sunday as we traveled to Orlando to meet up with his family. He accompanied me back to the airport, via bus, to pick up our rental car. He garnered a lot of attention as we walked through the airport.

April 6, 2012

Tampa - Day3

We stop to say hello to Dick Greco, former mayor of Tampa, every morning before we start our day. He is seated at the street car plaza in front of our hotel. As we continue to expose Cooper to the streetcar, he is becoming more comfortable with the vibration and noises. He is more relaxed when stationed in the middle of the car or when he is tired. Most of our daily trips are to/from Ybor City.

Everyone has been so accomodating. Tampa is very dog friendly. At the hockey game, a couple sitting in disabled seating, offered to switch seats so Cooper would have more room and wouldn't be bothered as people passed by our aisle seat. The attendent has also offered to get us extra chairs to sit there.

Our training efforts on obedience have been a bit lax. Cooper has been extremely distracted when encountering new objects, sounds, smells. Whether crazy birds, sea breezes, or baking Cuban bread, the last three days have been completely new, so our focus has been on having positive experiences with each new situation. The Cuban bread is as long as Cooper.

We are all acclimating to the warmer weather, humidity, and increased walking. Cooper always appears to be on his last leg with his tongue hanging out and slow gait, but when we return to our room he enjoys playing Fetch, Find the Toy, or Zoom. Even when hot and tired, he does not want anything to do with water. We are questioning his Labrador status and will be checking his papers when we get home.


April 5, 2012