Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wilara Update - AT report

Wilara's AT report came through this morning. YAY! She had a good report which was awesome. She is still doing the hackling/whining/barking thing which is not so good. Other than that the report was very positive. yay! This is what PRs wait for, and to see our pups doing well is awesome. Wilara seems to be able to do many different things already and seems to be on the path to be a SC if she graduates. We'll see because that can always change along the way. She is such a sweet little girl!

Here is what the comment section of her report reads:

"This month in training, Wilara has begun retrieving new items including a sneaker, an Altoids container, a cell phone and a marker. She has also learned to activate the automatic doors by using her nose to push the push plates. In the play yard, Wilara has shown improvement with returning fetched toys to my hand. We have been working on controlling her impulses around toys and have been patterning her drive with toys to a fetch our students can use. Wilara will often bark and whine in anticipation of group run time and we have been working on being quiet and holding a sit before being let out to play. Next month, we will continue to progress with tug and the retrieve as well as finishing the step behavior in order to begin using it as a delivery for retrieved items."

(There is another new post just below this one, so keep reading!)

Puppy Class

Well last night was the 4th Tuesday of the month and that meant Puppy Class!! We decided to do something different this class and I loved the ideas. We worked on stimuli that would scare the puppies. Here's the background to why we worked on these things tonight:

CCI, after turn-in, performs a variety of tests on the dogs to see how they react to certain things. They check everything to see how a dog's temperament is and how they perceive certain people and objects. For example, they have one of the trainers dress up as a scary person and then have the dog interact with that person to see how they would react. Most dogs will be a bit hesitant and then wander over to see what this "thing" is and then usually they are fine with it. They also test them on prey drive by attaching a plastic bag to the end of a rope and waving that across the floor down a long hallway to see what the dog does. According to LA, most dogs will want to play with it, eat it, or pounce on it. There are the few that get freaked out from it and those are the dogs that get released.

We, as PRs try to expose our dogs to everything that we can think of. So one of us went online and tracked down a list of stimuli that can be used to test dogs with. It had a lot of the same stimuli that LA had explained to us at the PR Workshop last month.

We worked on walking across different surfaces. This time we used a shower curtain and tin foil. The tin foil was the one that most of the pups had a problem walking over. Nuri thought it was something to play with and also wanted to stay sitting on it and didn't want to get off of it. One of the little puppies, Wilbur, who is 3 1/2 months old, had a blast on the tin foil when it was all rolled up. He wanted to play with it and then he just stretched out and made himself comfortable! It was hilarious!

We also worked on strange sounds from an unknown area. Some volunteers went behind a wall and clanged metal chairs, sticks, tables, and anything else they could find that would make a lot of noise. This was a way to see how the pups would react around unseen sounds. Most of them were a bit startled, but recovered well and some just plain out ignored it. I think Nuri was more interested in the food bags that were in the corner that we passed by! There was also an exercise we did where two people went behind a table placed on its side and used whistles and a duck call thing to make noises. The dogs were in a Down Stay and had to stay there while the sounds were made. If I remember correctly, they all stayed where they were supposed to!

Another stimuli we worked on was the opening of an umbrella. Now I know that CCI uses this test on the dogs that are turned-in because it was used on our first pup, Hadlee, and she freaked out and couldn't recover from it and was then released. So we had a few people go around and pop open umbrellas in front of the dogs. Most jumped a bit at the sound and motion, but they all recovered from it well and most of them went to inspect the umbrella to see what it was. We did it from a bunch of different angles and directions so it was a good exercise to work on!

Another good exercise we did was the surprise of seeing an unknown object while walking around a corner. We had a table on it's side and a stuffed dog on the other side, out of view. When the dogs came around the table, they were surprised to see the dog and some were scared by it. I knew that Nuri was not going to be a fan of this one. When we were out at Sears one day, she freaked out about a stuffed dog in the Land's End area of the store. We haven't had much time to work on that, but last night was a good test for her. On the second pass by the dog, I let her sniff it and inspect it. After awhile she was a bit better with the stuffed dog, but not completely convinced. We're going to have to work on that some more.

Over all, it was a great class since we worked on a lot of things that we know the dogs will be tested on. I believe that we are going to try a walk through Morristown as our next class which is always fun.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Nuri and her blanket

Nuri has a love for little baby blankets. When she was a puppy another PR told us how they got small fleece baby blankets for her Golden to play with. So we decided to get a few for Nuri and see what she did with them. She loves them!! Every day she has to play with them and carry them around. She loves them! Throughout the house she has about 5 of them and plays with them all! Here are just a few fun photos of her and her blanket.

The first was taken a few months ago when she was closer to 6 months old. The other two were taken just a few minutes ago!

Monday, May 18, 2009

NER Graduation

Graduation was a blast this time! Well it's always a lot of fun. I didn't take any pictures (naturally) but I hope to get some from other people in the next few days. It was great to see the PRs for Samson, who graduated, on Saturday. They fostered Wilara for a few days before I went to go and get her and they always ask about her when we see them! They can't believe that she already turned-in! It does feel like just yesterday that I was up at CCI picking up her and her brother Wexler to bring them home. How the time has flown since then!Wilara in the kennels. Another PR was kind enough to take this photo for me! Wila's on the right.

I also found out that Wilara was spayed the week before so I guess she is not going to be a mom! Which I guess is a good thing for me because then she will be here on the east coast if she graduates. If she became a breeder, then she would have to go out to California and I wouldn't get to see her nearly as much! So I guess this is a good thing then. Everyone at NER tells me that she looked really funny after her surgery. She kept on licking the area so they put a no bite collar on her. It's not like an E-collar that everyone is used to, but it looks more like a donut that anything. They said that she looked like a little Shar-Pei with her face all scrunched up! I used to do that myself and scrunch her face up. It was so cute! I never got a picture of her like that though. I know that Stacey asked that a picture be taken. Not sure if it happened though. Oh well :(

And congratulations to Matthew who graduated on Saturday with SD Oswego! And a congratulations as well to Oswego's PR! And congratulations to all the amazing people that graduated with their dogs. It was a long two weeks I know, but all worth it in the end! Now the fun really begins!

I don't know about all of the other regions, but none of Wilara's litter in NER, NCR, and SE graduated this time. I'm not sure about NW and SW, but I should be getting that report soon I'm sure. If not, then we all hope for a big group graduating in August! It would be really neat if Wilara and Wexler graduated together. So cool!

I'm going to scout around for some pictures from the day and post them when I get them!There was a wedding at the hotel and there was a really big limo there! It would have been neat to get a photo inside, but that wasn't happening.

L-R: Thea, Konar, and Nuri. Thea and Konar turned-in and good luck to them in AT! They all sat so nicely for the photo shoot!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Destructor

I took away all of the easily destructible toys from Nuri. She is not happy with me. She takes her anger out on her bed.
That is all....

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Having fun!

Decided to do some shopping yesterday and headed out to Wal-Mart with Nuri! We were looking for plants and spent most of the time out in the Garden Center. They have these little black stands to put the plants on. Nuri and I had a lot of fun working on Up and then Jump with these!I just feel like ranting for a few lines...When a person says that their dog cannot be pet, why do people still do it??!! I think I told the cashier at Wal-mart about three times to not pet Nuri as we were working on the Up command at the register. She still pet her on the nose. Each time I told Nuri Off and told the woman again not to pet her. It seemed to fall on deaf ears. When a person says don't pet, then don't pet!! It's not that hard!

Okie, ranting is over. We also went to Borders and did a bit of shopping, while working on commands as well. We worked a bit on Under, and trying to distinguish between Up and Jump. I know they do this a lot in AT and a lot of dogs don't know the difference between the two. I try to work on it as much as possible.

The more I learn about what goes on in AT and the ADA certification test, the more things that I work on. I learned that during the ADA test the dogs are off lead in a store and have to walk next to their companion. Yikes! Wilara was so good that she would have no problem walking next to me. Don't worry! I never let her off lead! I have a short 2 foot lead that I will usually use in training and when out in public I would take the lead and drape it over Wilara's back and have her walk next to me. It's kind of the same idea of walking next to me without my keeping hold of her lead. I usually did this when there was someone else with me in case anything happened. I tried it in many different places, Target, the mall, Borders, Wegmans, etc. She did very well in every situation and just needed me to say her name to slow down a bit if I changed speeds.

Nuri was also being a bit silly while out on the deck. I looked out the door and suddenly found her sitting in the chair!

It was really cute so I told her to Stay and ran to get my iPhone to take a picture!

We had a Chapter meeting also last night which was interesting. We are in a "transition of power" phase right now so it was really a bunch of us getting together to hash out different options :). Always fun! Nuri was VERY good during the meeting which made me really happy. She stayed by my side and under the table which doesn't normally happen with her. Usually she likes to be out in the middle of the room where everyone can see her. She was back into her "snooty" mode and had her nose so high up in the air around the other dogs! You know those Valley Girls....

And sigh....everyone still asks me if Nuri is part Collie. She has such a little dainty face with such a pointy nose that everyone asks if she's a Collie or a Sheltie. I swear she isn't! But she does hang out with two Shelties, so maybe that has something to do with it :). I have had a lot of people ask if she's part Collie and a lot of people asked me when she was younger if I hung her by her tail to make it so long! She did have an abnormally long tail as a puppy, or at least that's what it seemed like.

And just when I thought maybe Nuri was over being sick, last night happened. We got home from the meeting and Nuri, as usual, ran straight for the water bowl. She drank about a gallon of water and then up came her dinner! here we go again. I will keep an eye on her and hope that it's not due to stress. Although she was fine all day after going out in public. Looks like I will have to introduce her to going out in public again like she was a 5 month old puppy. Yay.....

Monday, May 11, 2009

Nuri's weekend

Well Nuri had a low stress weekend this time. I figured that since she was still getting over the effects of the meds (hahahha yeah right!) we would take it easy this weekend.

On Saturday we decided to go and check out a little event at one of the area's high schools. It was called "Save the Satos" and people were allowed to bring their pet dogs. They had little shows and contests for the dogs which was really cute. It was great for Nuri to be working around a lot of dogs. We worked on keeping focus around people and pets and all the different noises. It helped that Nuri couldn't really come in contact with other dogs, which helped in getting her to leave them all alone. She does still turn her head (and body) in the direction of another person or dog which we are trying to work on. She's just a very social dog and loves people paying attention to her. I even tried to get her to walk along a fence that was a little bit shorter than a foot wide and she was very clumsy! Didn't work as well as I was hoping, but we'll try it again some other time! It was funny watching her though!

After the event we went out to get something to eat at Panera and Nuri was great! She went under the table and stayed there the whole time which was awesome for her. It seemed like she slept the whole time we were eating! Most of my dogs usually shake after getting up from lying down and this is especially not good while in a restaurant. I was told by some NER trainers to put my hand on the back of the pup's neck and that will stop them from shaking as you leave. So here I am going through Panera with my hand on Nuri's neck and people are wondering what on earth I am doing! Although it worked very well with Wilara, it didn't have quite the same effect on Nuri, she shook anyways! I'll try it again tomorrow night when we leave from our Chapter dinner meeting which is held at a restaurant.

On Sunday it was Mother's Day so we spent some time outside in the gorgeous sun! Nuri loved to run around in the grass, and eat it too. We were playing some fetch games which she still doesn't seem to get the point of.She wasn't a fan of bringing the tennis ball back to me after the first few times. She sure does love to eat the grass. For awhile she didn't, but now it's back on the menu!

aaannnnnddddd.......she's gone.....
Came back inside and she was out like a light! She loves her bed, and she has been known to pick it up and carry it around until she finds the perfect place to lay down!

I had to go to work last night and so Nuri hung out at home. But when I got home I let her out of her crate so that she could hang out with me for a bit. It was 12:30 in the morning (I got off work at 12) and I had a few things to do on my desktop computer. So Nuri wanted to get as close to me as possible. At first she only put her front feet up onto my printer. After awhile she was annoyed with that and just plopped herself down on top of it!!
Nuri has also started doing the "happy growl" when she has her blanket or a toy in her mouth. It's just her little way to say that she is ready to play! I know many of her siblings have been doing the happy growl for awhile now, but for Nuri it's brand new!

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Team Training Lunch

I'm glad to report that our TT lunch was a big success! Here is how the day went!

My mom and I were up early and headed out to CCI by 7:30 am. We picked up a fellow volunteer and continued along our 2 hour trip out to Long Island. We arrived at CCI around 10:15 after driving through the lovely rain that we have been having. We unloaded the car and started to get the food ready!

It was Cinco de Mayo yesterday so we had a HUGE Mexican spread for the graduates and staff. My mother is the chef behind each meal and everyone loves the food. As I was washing the margherita glasses (yes we had those too!) one of the mothers who's son was receiving a SC came up to me and asked if I was really from New Jersey. She was so amazed that we had made the trip out there just to serve them lunch that day. She then said to me, "I can't believe that you came all the way from New Jersey. Can I give you a hug?" Of course I told her yes! Little things like this are the reasons I do the things I do and keep on raising puppies for this amazing organization. Being able to touch so many lives in such a positive way is a great feeling.

Nuri was hanging out in the kitchen with us as we prepared all the food and she had a great time playing with some of the kids. So as to not disturb the graduates while they are eating I always put my pup in training in the kennels for the lunch and clean up. This way there are no distractions! Nuri was having fun playing with the kids until she was put away!

We had a big feast that was made up of: chili, makings for taco salad, those fun stand-up taco shells, cheese quesadillas, a layered enchilada dish, chicken marinated in italian dressing, nacho chips with salsa and home-made guacamole for dipping. We had a dulce de leche chocolate torte and a tortilla layered "cake" with vanilla pudding and whipped cream for dessert. We also served frozen margharitas, sangria, and two different types of beer, along with sodas and water to drink. The food was gone in minutes! It seemed that everyone had a lot to eat and kept going back for seconds!

It's such a great thing when volunteers can make a home-cooked kind of meal for the graduates. While up at CCI for TT it's hard to get those good meals. Many volunteers like to show up and cook for the graduates which is great.

I always wait until the teams head back for more training before I see if there is any food left for me to eat! I spend the time the graduates are eating talking and getting to know as many of them as possible. It's great to hear their stories about how they learn about CCI and how they are doing in TT. Since I was there so early in the TT session many of them haven't really experienced the hard parts yet. I know that once they are paired up with their dogs, the really hard work begins and their lives start to change to something so much better.

It was great to watch a little bit of the training since I knew of a few dogs that were rotating through TT this time. It was also great to see New Jersey represented in TT with a graduate that will be paired up with his dog next Saturday. The graduate is from a family that lives about 5 minutes away from me and are also fellow PRs. Their pup Wexler, brother to my little Wilara, is rotating through TT and it's great to see them! I know they are hoping that Wexler gets paired up with their son, but I don't think that will happen. It didn't seem to be an option while talking to some of the trainers. Oh well! It was a neat idea though!

I wish all the potential graduates good luck over the next week and a half. This is a very exciting and rigorous time and you will come out so much happier when it's all done. I will see everyone next Saturday at graduation!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

So the vet called tonight....

...and Nuri has tested positive for Giardia! Just awesome. She is going on Panicur in the morning and hopefully she will be better in no time.

I'm exhausted from a very fun day at TT lunch up at NER and will write out an entry about it tomorrow (hopefully). Check back!!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Build-A-Bear Day!

So Nuri and I decided to kick off CCI's fundraiser with Build-A-Bear this weekend. We went to our local store and had fun educating people about Service Dogs! Nuri was definitely a hit and we always stand in the doorway so as to attract as much attention as possible. Nuri was loving it!Last year when we did this we made friends with the manager of the store. He always asks us to leave brochures on the counter so that people can take those if they are interested. One thing I noticed was that there were no signs or anything up about the promotion which is so different fromn last year. It was really busy today so I couldn't ask the manager about it. Hopefully there will be some kind of sign up this year that shows people that the dogs are helping us.

I was very happy with Nuri today. She did really well. I had her leader off and just had her on the flat collar (which I never like to do) and she was a perfect little girl. She sat quietly while young kids climbed all over her, and she was more than happy to pose for some pictures for me. Such a good puppy! I'm glad she is doing so much better with that.
I was told by my vet to stress Nuri out big time this weekend to see if stress/anxiety is the problem and that is why she is getting sick. So far so good! She has been fine since we have been home, although a bit tired which is to be expected.

Hope everyone is out buying those cute puppies to help out CCI! I know that I might be going into NYC to the store there so that I can stuff a Golden Retriever since they aren't sold in any other store near me. Beats buying it online!