Hawk's Schedule

8/4 Lake Mills
8/12 CCSDA Training

June 30, 2013

Too Big?

The village festival provides a number of new experiences for a young puppy.  In addition to the carnival, we attended the parade today.  Hobey was unfazed by the gunshots, sirens, drums, and animals.  He was more stressed by the half mile walk to and from the parade route.  So tired, he cried and rested in the shade the whole way home.

As I mentioned the other day, our little man is 26 pounds.  Although he is not too big to wedge himself under our bed, he is too big to get out by himself.  We heard him crying this afternoon, and found him stuck under the bed, asking for help.  We will determine his I.Q. based on how many more times he needs to be rescued.

June 29, 2013

Down to Two

At puppy play time, we continued to work on Hobey's dominant play style.  He spent half the time with the younger and smaller puppies where we had to keep a close watch and be ready to stop any inappropriate behavior.  This time can be mentally exhausting, however, there has been noticeable improvement.  He also did very well working on the FOLLOW command with puppy distraction, following me as I did laps around the area.

Halftime is a good time for a potty break and we decided to spend the second half with the older/bigger puppies.  The energy was much more stable and relaxed.  When not bouncing around between the elevated rest area/beds and initiating play, Hobey spent the time practicing submissive behavior with the older dogs.  We were able to relax.

We began training class cradling our tired Labrador.  During class we are fine tuning his SIT and he actually began responding to the hand command for DOWN, no luring required.  We practiced our technique for FOLLOW and reviewed how to calmly greet strangers using the WATCH command. Hobey responds well to COME during class, while his recall at home needs work.

His reward for a good performance was to spend five hours at car dealers - torture for humans and canines alike.  Only three additional test drives, but many opportunities to greet sales staff and customers.  Tired from two hours at The Dog Den, Hobey tolerated conducting the vehicular research, although he would have preferred some uninterrupted rest.  He did enjoy napping during the test drives.

Our house guest and Hobey's playmate left us and returned to his home this evening.  Having endured Hobey's nearly constant harassment for over a week, I imagine that Norman was glad to get back to being the lone dog.

Tired from the long day, we didn't make it back to the carnival.

June 28, 2013

Big(ger) Boy

Hobey, our service dog in training, weighed in at 26.5 pounds today.  He has grown taller over the past week.  He keeps growing and we keep feeding him, still four cups a day. 

The last two days have been filled with outings and late dinners.  Thursday's trips were for dog food, another test drive, where the sales people are always happy to see him, and grocery shopping.  The grocery store was mildly eventful.  Even though Hobey appears to be housebroken, he still has a small bladder, so we need monitor him to keep things successful. Halfway through our shopping, we could tell that he was uncomfortable and made a rapid exit. In the parking lot Hobey was able to put a smile on a crying child's face.

Tonight, the highlight was visiting the carnival that calls Oregon home for the weekend.  Our visit was cut short due to a heavy shower.  Intermittent showers affected the turnout, but still provided a good environment to look cute, greet people, and experience the various sights/sounds.   The biggest challenge was trying to keep Hobey's focus.  Already easily distracted in a common environment, the food and litter covering the ground presented a constant distraction that could only be overcome with the lure of kibble.

While walking the carnival grounds, we met a lot of kids and a few adults.  Who can resist a puppy?  One of the adult after noticing Hobey, recognized us from the articles in the local paper, Oregon Observer.  She was appreciative of our volunteer work and fundraising efforts.  Her last comment was that Lisa's former employer should rehire her  :-)

Tomorrow is an extra busy Saturday; The Dog Den, more test drives, and more carnival fun.

June 26, 2013

Late Dinner

Anyone that has ever known a Labrador Retriever knows that their favorite activity is eating. Hobey is no different and the best part of his day is his three feeding times.  Unfortunately, he had to wait for number three this evening.

Mealtime was delayed until all our outings were completed.  We started with a quick trip to the farm to gather our vegetables for the week, mostly salad fixings.  He was a big hit, but he needs to stop pulling.  Another month of redirection and luring before the pronged collar is in the toolbox.

We were home at a reasonable hour, but we still had plans for the evening: a visit to a car dealership, a pizza at a restaurant, and ice cream at Sonic.  After taking two test drives and waiting/watching us eat for two hours, it was finally time for Hobey's dinner.  He literally bounced as the kibble rattled the food bowl and I mixed in some water.  We raced to his crate for some private dining and rest.

Another potential issue popped up as we were preparing for our night out.  Hobey ran away when he saw me approaching with the vest.  He went to the cool kitchen floor to lie down.  Not sure if he was just warm, hungry, or if he is starting to associate the vest with negative experiences. 

This was the first time, so we are not that concerned.  To head off any potential problems in the future, we initiated using the most positive reinforcement, food, to accompany putting his head through the vest opening.  We will also be monitoring him closely on outings, looking for any signs of stress or unhappiness.

He just might have known that it meant a late dinner was in order.

June 25, 2013

Job One Complete

The last couple days have been uneventful.  Mostly spending time around the house and going for walks, staying out of puddles.  We did make an uneventful trip to the library.  We gave Hobey his second DHPP booster.  Giving injections in not one of our favorite activities, but it saves the cost of an office visit and the vaccine is a lot cheaper.  

The biggest news is that I believe our housebreaking task is complete.  There have been numerous occasions when Hobey has had the opportunity to decide where he wanted to relieve himself and every time he has decided, correctly, to wait by the door.  If we are slow or do not see him, we are prompted with a whine. Yesterday, Lisa and Hobey stopped at Kwik Trip for a few items.  As the visit was only going to be five minutes, they didn't potty first. Upon entering the store, Hobey immediately began crying, which was translated as "I need to potty now" and he did, on the lawn.

I was asked the other day why I stay up past midnight. Well, tonight was a perfect example.  Thunderstorm started about midnight.  Hobey was sitting by the door at 1:15am; we had just been out.  Photo Op:  I am standing outside in the pouring rain, holding a flashlight, waiting for Hobey, and searching for a stick to use as a marker.  We don't pick up each time, but we have devised a method to effectively locate the little landmines. 

Fortunately, our trainee doesn't like water hitting him, so it was quick and we returned immediately to the house.  Other times he likes to wander around the yard exploring.  He has started to run away from me when I approach him because I grab his collar to redirect or return to the house. I need to start bringing treats with me to redirect and positively reinforce the his recall.

June 23, 2013

Our Little Handful

Rain showers with occasional thunderstorms moved through the Oregon area Friday and Saturday.  The wet weather created a few unplanned wading pools/puddles. Since our canine trio was already wet from "outside potty", we might as well take them for a walk or swim.  The big dogs, Monte and Norman, raced through the standing water while Hobey observed from a safe distance until he couldn't control himself any longer and unexpectedly found himself shoulder deep.

After fifteen minutes of splashing, our canine companions were waterlogged and we attempted to dry them out with a walk to the park.  This included walking up and down the metal steps in the stadium.  Not even twelve weeks old, Hobey tired and I ended up carrying the soaked puppy halfway home, quite the handful.

Saturday morning was spent at The Dog Den for an hour of puppy playgroup, where we supervised and corrected Hobey's small dominance issue. His play style requires constant supervision, quite the handful.  This was immediately followed by a forty-five minute training session. This week we worked on FOLLOW and COME.  Thankfully the staff provided material from the class we missed last week so we could keep up with our homework. 

After his busy morning and afternoon romp, Hobey met up with a few of his favorite people, his breeders and their neighbors at the grand opening of The Ironstone Nest.  It was easy to tell that he remembered everyone from his earliest days in Sun Prairie; we couldn't tell who was happier.  He is quite a handful.

The first weeks of a puppy's life are critical to having a well-balanced adult dog.  If their love is any indication of the care that he received, Hobey shouldn't have any problems.

In fact, we took a brief break from the party and as we started back, a police car pulled away and initiated the siren right behind us - very loud and startled us both.  We usually like this to happen in a controlled situation where we start off from a distance and move closer.  Hobey handled this without a second look.

People were impressed with Hobey's training and demeanor.  However, at this point the focus is on creating trust, bonding, imprinting behaviors, and most importantly building his confidence.  SIT, DOWN and STAY can and will be mastered further down the road.  Now, we encourage greeting humans/canines and exploring, but later when serious training begins we will want him focused and compliant.

June 20, 2013


On Wednesday we acquired another dog in the house. Our guest for the next week is Norman, a two year old pet chocolate Labrador, is staying with us while his family vacations.  The afternoon was spent getting acquainted and learning house rules. 

Monte is especially appreciative because we lifted the furniture ban while we attempted to make Norman feel at home.  Hobey is acting like a pesky little brother, constantly bothering our guest. Although we have attempted to provide a correction, I think the behavior will continue until Norman rebukes his playful advances.

The evening's training session allowed Norman to get a break from the little pest. The training was at East Towne Mall and it was Hobey's first visit.  We joined the other Custom Canines dogs practicing SIT and FOLLOW while introducing DOWN and COME by luring. After class we walked the mall greeting patrons and exposing him to all the different sights, sounds and smells - he did very good.

Today, Thursday, was spent establishing our routine for wrangling three dogs feedings and exercise.  Hobey was not pleased being left home while the big dogs went for a walk before breakfast.  Howling in his crate as we left, Lisa had to serve his meal before we returned.

June 18, 2013

Perfect Puppy

Tuesday's Highlights
Hobey's antibiotics ran out today.  He still has a bit of a nasal drip, but his recovery appears to be nearly complete.  Next we need to determine the cause of his scratching.

Hobey sitting by the door crying to go outside; housebreaking 99% complete.  We transitioned from reading his body language to get him outside to allowing him (set him up) to make mistakes while we were there to offer immediate feedback, he learned very quickly what was not acceptable.  There were time we knew he had to potty, but we needed to wait for him to signal us or initiate/squat. "Perfect puppies do not result in perfect dogs," so don't expect a perfect puppy.  Let your puppies, and expect them to make mistakes; be there to provide guidance.

After our bike ride we sneaked up to our house to not disturb Monte. Lisa listened by the window where we leave Hobey.  He was silent until I entered the back of the house and disturbed Monte.

June 17, 2013

Normal Routine

It was definitely easier housebreaking a puppy when I was able to get away for eight hours a day. After three weeks of adjusting our schedules around an eight week old puppy, it is time to readjust to a normal schedule.  I had the late shift.  No more staying up past midnight to get a potty break before going to bed. Our canine pair has been getting up at 5am for breakfast and then again at 7am for water.

Custom Canines was selected as the recipient of 58 Bucky Books that we can sell to raise funds.  We had an initial strategy session with the Bucky Book staff that Hobey attended.  He made a great impression on the staff and then dozed off during our meeting.  FYI: the books will be available in September, but we need to notify potential buyers and we can begin to make advance sales.  The books are $35, however using only three or four coupons will save you at least  that much. Contributing to Custom Canines will actually save you money.

Hobey is learning that when the car stops that it is time to get moving.  So when we stopped at Sonic, he was ready to go.

After a successful afternoon outings and with our previous trips to the grocery store with Hobey having gone well, we expected a routine shopping experience. Well, it was anything but that. Apparently instead of a service dog trainee, we took a social butterfly to the store.  He was literally choking on his flat collar to greet people.  Eventually I resorted to using the end of the leash like a choke chain to provide a bit of a correction and minimize his pulling.

I went to bed at 10pm, after the puppies wrestled and settled down for the evening. Seven hours of sleep before our walk and breakfast :-)  I can live with this routine.

June 16, 2013

Travel Weekend - Potty Challenge

This weekend  was a travel day for Hobey.  He endured a two hour car ride, his longest so far, to Neenah to visit a strange environment.  This is always a challenge when housebreaking a puppy because the key to housebreaking is consistency and repetition.  We needed to reintroduce our trainee to the primary exit of the residence and reestablish his potty spot.  Even after that we kept a very close eye on him; others' flooring must be protected.  This work resulted in no accidents, but one close call, pre-stream.

The weather Saturday night produced another test as a storm rolled through the area. I don't think Hobey will have any issues with thunder/lightning and hopefully fireworks.  This epiphany came to me as we were standing outside in a downpour waiting for him to relieve himself with constant thunder.

Sunday's temptation was dinner out at a restaurant.  Not a big deal as long as you are prepared; we have been to a few already.  The challenge was food lying on the floor nearby.  Hobey was well aware of the morsels, proof that his nose works, but after some redirection he settled down for a nap. Lunch completed, we quickly exited for a post-nap break.

June 14, 2013

Scratch and Sniffles

We know how fast viruses spread online, so we haven't posted any photos of Hobey and his green slime.

Hobey is still sniffling; he may be getting a little relief.  We talked to the veterinarian yesterday to request a different/stronger antibiotic, but he told us to wait a couple more days.  If it is viral, bordetella or cold-like, the antibiotics were useless and it will be done in a couple days.  Our hope is that his sniffling and scratching are related.

Today, we left him home alone for two hours during our bike ride.  Hobey was howling when we came home, but again this might have been initiated by Monte's welcome barking.  Next time we will sneak up to the house and listen.

Note:  We received three huge bottles of fish oil today -three hundred gelcaps per bottle.  We also have liquid ivermectin for heartworm protection.  If anyone wants or needs any, just let us know.

June 13, 2013

Home Alone

The antibiotics have not impacted the green gunk.  Usually the antibiotics work with in the first 48 hours. We think that it might be a mild case of kennel cough since the onset seems to coincide with his nasal spray. Thus, we have been keeping him away from other dogs therefore we had to miss the Madison training class. However, it didn't stop him from visiting the farm, Blue Moon Community Farm, for our first CSA pick-up.  He was able to greet the other members.  The only issue has been his persistence in tagging along with the people he meets.

After we returned from the farm with our salad fixings the weather was nice, calm before the storm, we decided to take a bike ride together.  This was the first time that we had left Hobey home alone.  He was crated and crying as we left and crying when we returned an hour later.  I doubt that he cried the whole time though; I hope that Monte's barking to signal our return initiated his crying.

Hobey participated in the Custom Canines fundraiser today; he joined Laura and Mark, P4P supporters, for lunch at TGIFridays.  Before heading over to the restaurant we waited in the lobby to practice remaining calm and stationary as people walked past.  Eventually he got the hang of it and relaxed on the cool tile floor.

We planned for his eventful day by walking to the park.  We still don't let him walk the whole way with Monte, but he wants to.  He walks a little more every day.  This preparation left him tired and he slept during lunch.  After we our lunch, we walked over to Laura's office and took Hobey's first elevator ride - without issue.

Next on today's agenda was Lisa's haircut.  At the salon, Hobey hesitated, but decided that he could ascend the carpeted stairs in the stairway. We have been working on stairs; yesterday he ascended the metal stairs at the high school stadium, but would not descend the stairs in our house.  After meeting the owner, he settled down and rested.  As we confidently approached the stairs Hobey didn't balk and deliberately descended the twenty or so steps :-)

June 11, 2013

Ten Weeks

Hobey is ten weeks old.  Housebreaking begins in earnest tomorrow.

We were scheduled for a training class in Janesville, but kept him home tonight. He has green gunk dripping from his nostrils. I don't think its contagious because Monte is not showing any symptoms.  Better safe than sorry; we didn't want to share his infection with the other puppies.  Antibiotics were prescribed yesterday, however, they have not had any effect yet.  Hopefully we will not need a new, stronger prescription.

June 10, 2013

Scratch Exam

We all needed a rest after the long day yesterday and our busy week with the kids. Here is a photo from yesterday.  If you look close you can see some familiar faces (Lisa and Alexis).

Hobey (18.2 lbs) has still been itching so he did make a visit to the veterinarian.  The examination didn't reveal any obvious problems, so the most likely cause is either stress, inherited dry skin, or an allergy. We are instituting a fish oil regimen for both our dogs dogs.  Monte (76.5 lbs) has been shedding A LOT. 

One Hundred

Yesterday at The Dog Den's socialization class we received a great handout that outlined a series of goals for puppy socialization.   Although provided for pet dogs, it provides an extensive list of people, surfaces, sights, smells, and environments. The first goal is 100 different people.

Between our two hours at Dog Fest and an afternoon at Little Amerricka, I believe that we meet one hundred different people today.  One of the people was CCSDA President, Nicole Meadowcroft (photo), who he had not met yet.

As we entered Dog Fest, we met Hobey's breeders, Derek and Laura.  After raising him for eight weeks they generously donated him to Custom Canines and we consider ourselves fortunate to be trusted with such a valuable gift. Having access to the breeder is extremely helpful because they can provide information on parents and siblings.  For example, they were able to offer an explanation for Hobey's itching - dry skin, which may be resolved simply with diet and/or supplements.

The combination of significantly warmer weather, a young puppy, and a half dose of Benadryl resulted in Hobey getting tired easily; I ended up carrying him about half the time (video @ 1:42).  In addition, we stopped at most every water bowl to cool off.

After lunch we headed to Marshall for La Movida day at Little Amerricka. The park was filled to capacity with children and adults of all ages, none of which could resist a cute chocolate Labrador. Having a puppy in tow limited my "amusement", but he was able to accompany us on a train ride.

Hobey spent most of the afternoon being mobbed which was perfect preparation for a restaurant dinner.  We went to Texas Roadhouse, a puppy raiser's most difficult environment because it is littered with peanut shells that dog's for some reason, maybe the salt, seem to adore.

The worst part of the day from Hobey's standpoint was having to wait until 8 pm for his dinner.

June 8, 2013

Food Bowls are for Perfect Dogs

Another busy day for the puppy.  It began with  an hour of play time with 20 other youngsters.  He made the rounds, but eventually paired off with his new girlfriend Ada Mae.  Hobey continues to amaze; in the middle of playing he walked away toward the door.  We went out and he quickly relieved himself.  He has only been here once before.

Immediately following play group, we had his first socialization/training class.  It provided another opportunity to socialize with puppies his age.  We began with the basics: GO PLAY, load the marker word, reward looking into your eyes, treat grabbing the collar.  During breaks we started luring him to SIT and DOWN. Again the biggest takeaway is that mealtime can be used for training - hand feed, practice.

Hobey returned home exhausted and grabbed a bowl of food before a well deserved nap. After his nap and our lunch, we took the dogs and girls for a walk to Burger King for ice cream.

He has been prompting us when he needs to go outside :-)

While we have noticed a tendency to be vocal and slightly dominant, our only concern is that Hobey is constantly itching - dry skin, ear mites, allergy, fleas, mange? A visit to the veterinarian is probably in our future, if things do not get better by Monday.

June 7, 2013


Although Hobey's training has been progressing well, we decided that he wasn't quite ready to visit the Madison Children's Museum. The boys stayed home doing yard while the girls went to MCM. I am constantly amazed at how (almost) nothing seems to faze our trainee.  A few dogs have not been fans of the lawnmower.  After I completed half of the front yard, I brought Hobey outside for an introduction. He approached the quit mower with caution.  After acceptance, I steered Monte and Hobey away while I started it up.  No issues and they actually followed me, at a safe distance, for the remainder of the yard.

The one sound that does bother Hobey is a dog barking.  Every time he hears that he races back to the house.  As we finished mowing the lawn, the neighbor dog was barking, so we spent more time outside and used Monte to help convince him that is wasn't a big deal.  Progress was made, but definitely needs more work.

We made our third trip to the supermarket with an added distraction this time - nine and seven year olds in tow.  It was a challenge, but we remained focused to our list and made it in/out quickly.  Hobey was good, although one woman accused me of choking him as he attempted to follow others and lead me around the store.  I paid no attention, but Lisa's response was that "He is choking himself." I guess we could break out the pronged collar :-) Then what would people say?

Another challenge for some puppies have been stairs, specifically our flight of a dozen steps.  Hobey has easily handled our entry steps.  Yesterday, I started up the twelve stairs after toweling off Monte and I looked back to see Hobey half way up.  With slight encouragement, we got him to finish the journey. Next "step" will be descending which is always more difficult.

Note:  Hobey checked in at 17 pounds

June 5, 2013

Watertown Vacation

Our plans to spend a couple days in Wisconsin Dells enjoying the waterparks meant that we needed a place for Monte and Hobey to "vacation".  We could have taken Hobey with us, but we figured that monitoring two children was enough to keep us busy.  Watertown was the destination for our pair of canines and Camp Lebi was the location.  They joined Lebi, McCoy, and Luna for a few days of canine bonding and canine corrections.  No one better to shape puppy behavior than other dogs.

Hobey even got some additional socialization.  His caretakers, experienced puppy raisers, had him and Lebi accompany them to a medical appointment, dentist visit, and brat fry.  They reported that he was a "rock star" on outings and seemed to be catching on to the housebreaking - wishful thinking.

The next few days will be challenging with two dogs and two kids ...

June 2, 2013

On the Farm

On Sunday, Hobey went to Blue Moon Community Farm for his first of many visits.  We will be getting vegetables from the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) again this year which means that he will getting out there weekly to meet the other members and farm inhabitants.  The visit today included a tour of the farm and potluck dinner.  This provided him ample time to get acquainted with most of the members.  The children were especially interested; he barely had any time to himself which resulted in one tired puppy.

June 1, 2013

Dog Den Intro

After a rest day yesterday, Hobey was back in training mode.  He once again woke before dawn.  Monte enjoys these early morning awakenings because they both get fed before we return to bed and wait for my alarm. There is light at the end of the tunnel, literally, as his awakenings have been approaching sunrise.

The morning consisted of his introduction to The Dog Den for puppy playgroup.  We met many young pups and their owners.  Hobey took a liking to Ada Mae, who is about the same age and size.  We are a tad concerned regarding his apparent dominance; we will watch  this closely and have a plan to keep it in check - cradling is important.

One hour of sprinting, bounding, wrestling, and barking left our nine week old trainee exhausted. After his lunch, Hobey slept for most of the afternoon and missed our walk to the park.  This left him rested and ready for  a return trip to the supermarket.  Last week's journey ended quickly as we spent most of the time observing the checkout lines. He surpassed my expectations today; we walked the entire route throughout the grocery as we completed our normal shopping routine.  Still a bit of whining when he was not able to follow the passing children or when friendly customers, who stopped to give him pets, moved on.  When we stopped to talk about him or compare prices, he would lie down, waiting patiently until prompted to FOLLOW.