Sunday, September 27, 2015

Puppy K Graduate

Monday, Dylan received her diploma for her completion of Puppy Kindergarten.  She was thrilled!  So much so she did "big busy" on the teachers front lawn.  Chris and I realized we have so much to learn going forward, we re-enrolled in Puppy K for next semester...without Dylan.  No really!

Proud puppy raisers

Dylan is getting bigger and smarter with each passing week.  This week she is with a puppy sitter as Chris and I travel to NY to visit cousins.  The great thing about GDA is the support made available by the number of people willing to step up and help.   Georgia, whom we met last week with her career change dog Nala, is watching Dylan and will not allow her to slide on her discipline or commands. 

At 16 weeks, Dylan's final shots will have been administered and we can begin in earnest her socialization and training.  We can't wait to begin her next phase of training.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Getting her Smarts on!

Dylan has now reached 21 pounds.   At 14 weeks, she he is getting lanky and smarter.  I'm not sure what they have in common, but that's my observation.  With her lankiness comes the irresistible urge to jump onto things.  This morning she jumped onto the fire place.  Then realized she wasn't supposed to be there and jumped down, all without me saying anything.   When a dog jumps on to a chair or sofa, the instinct is to yell, DOWN! Well, that's the wrong command.  The command is OFF!  See, DOWN is a good command, OFF is a command to let the dog know they screwed up.  I couldn't even get the "OFF" thought formed, before she got OFF.  See, lanky and smart!

We took Dylan to meet another puppy sitter as we will be gone a few days.  Georgia, a retired lady who has had many breeders for GDA and has a career change Lab named Nala, graciously agreed to watch Dylan.  Dylan immediately took over and ran the place.  Georgia loved her.

Dylan with Nala

Puppy K on Monday was a recap of what Dylan is supposed to know along with something new called, walking with distractions.  Her sit and stay was good.  Her downs, not so good.  The walking with distractions included going up two steps and then down the other side.  She had to be coaxed to go up with some kibble.  Then she launched herself down to get another piece of kibble.  (so food driven)  Leaving toys alone, walking on fake grass and through a shallow box.  All designed to get them use to walking and not dragging their owners all over the place due to distractions.

We have Bailey.  The biggest distraction known to GDA dog-hood.

So, working on all the commands and seeing her grow as we progress through this adventure is becoming routine.  Dylan doesn't know that yet.  She's still just a puppy.  A smart and lanky puppy!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Remembering September 11 and its Many Hero's

Labor Day has come and gone along with summer time.  Not the heat of September, however.  91 degrees at 8:30 PM is ugly.  Training has been restricted to indoors with the usual distractions from Bailey.  Not so much how she interacts with Dylan, but how Dylan wants to pounce on Bailey at every opportunity.  Tug-o-war is a training time favorite.  Dylan tugging on a toy Bailey has, then me tugging on Dylan trying to get her attention.

But some of the training is sticking.  Meal time was a chore trying to get Dylan to sit and stay long enough for me to set her bowl down and stand up without getting run over.  Now she sits immediately when I have her food bowl,  and waits patiently until I give her the "ok" command.  I've gone as long as 15 seconds.  Which is an eternity for a Lab.  Baby steps!

I read in the paper today the story of Michael Hingson whose guide dog, Roselle,  guided him down 78 flights of stairs of the World Trade Center during that horrible day on September 11.  Mr. Hingson, blind from birth said, "I was the pilot and Roselle the navigator".  That was how he described their descent down that tower.

Roselle died from immune-mediated thrombocytopenia, a disease that attacks its own blood platelets.  Probably caused by all the chemicals, debris and smoke Roselle ingested on that day.  Another of the true hero's on that day who paid the ultimate price for her bravery.

So when people ask us, "won't it be hard to give up Dylan when she's 18 months old?"  Yes, but to be a part of this program is a reward enough for us.  Besides, that game of tug-o-war is not just with toys.  It plays with your emotions too.

(Highlight the link and you can read the story of Roselle and Mr. Hingson)


Saturday, September 5, 2015

Heel!. Stand!...Sit!...What?

Week 3 of puppy kindergarten went well as Dylan strutted her stuff while Chris had her heeling.

(Sorry, the video I took of Dylan heeling would not upload.)

Dylan's intestinal issues seem to be passed, (insert pun here), as we have continued to increase the amount of dry food in her diet.  Now the trick will be to switch her back to chicken and rice.  She is up to 14 + pounds which is about 10 pounds less than her litter mate, Diego.

At 12 weeks, her obedience training is going well.  Sit and Stay are the best so far.  Down, Stand and Come need work.  When guide dogs work with their eventual owners, they are not supposed to sit when they come to a stop.  Every move is by command.  So working with Dylan while heeling, I come to a stop and she sits.  I gently lift her backside up with the command, "Stand".  She sits again, I lift her up again with the command, Stand.  She finally stands and then I give her the command to sit.  Of course she doesn't, so I have to give a slight jerk on the leash.  She then sits and looks up at me as if to say, "what the.... make up your mind".

No school on Monday as it's a holiday.   Hope everyones Labor Day is a fun one.