Where you come for your share of Puppy fun!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Memory Lane

Wow! I have five followers now and a majority of them aren't members of my family. This is quite exciting.

Anyway, I typed up Rocco's first puppy report today. For those of you who don't know the monthly puppy report is when raisers mark what issues their dog is having, where the dog has been that month, food type, health issues, and all that. Our district advisers use this as a guide when doing evals every 3 or 4 months. Back to the report. It was a little difficult for me. I started puppy all of Freya's information down. I marked "40T5" in the tattoo number slot inside of "4Y13" and I accidentally marked female instead of male. Oops! I suppose this isn't unusual, but it made me a little sad. So what did I do?

That's right! I started reading all of Freya's old reports. I actually got a little teary eyed remembering all the stuff we use to do and all the problems she use to have. From the first one I was talking about how she was really, really dog distracted and how she continually pulled on the leash. Looking back on the reports I'm wondering how that girl ever made it to phase 10!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010


No vomit! Yay! I just thought I would share my joy in the fact that I didn't wake up at 12:57 in the morning to a horrible retching sound! A full night's sleep for Raiser Erin and Rocco. :D

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Vet Visit.

Hey all! It's Raiser Erin. Like anyone else posts on this blog right? Anyway, you all know that Mr. Rocco has been having a bit of tummy troubles. He's had vomiting and diarrhea and he was peeing a lot. So, after it cleared up and then came back we took him to the vet. We took him on Monday. The vet says that it was definitely bacterial or parasitical. So he's on two different kinds of antibiotics right now. One he takes twice a day (at breakfast and dinner) and the other once a day (at lunch). We don't have to stool sample results back yet. We were thinking it was giardia, but now we aren't so sure. If it does turn out to be giardia (that is a type of parasite in the lower intestine) he'll be on another antibiotic! And he's on Science Diet ID right now. It's a bland food that will allow him to gain weight. The poor little guy gained a little wight in two weeks, but not enough to account for how much taller he's gotten. His stomach pinches in and you can count his ribs. Poor puppy. But! He's pooped, now 5 times, and they have all been good. No diarrhea! YAY!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

E Puppies

Hey there! Here are some pictures of the E puppies on the Puppy truck.

This is Epic. He's the one I wanted. Don't get me wrong. I love Rocco, but Epic was the only puppy that wasn't crying or screaming.

This is Eaton. You really can't see him, but he was an adorable sweetheart.

This is Enrique with his new raiser. I believe she's in the Lamoore group (sorry, I forgot to get her name and if you're reading this sorry I didn't ask first) When Enrique got off the truck and started bouncing around she said "This one's a phyco!" I just laughed and said "Yep, that's a Belle puppy for you!" She was putting her other guide pup in training on the truck. I'm sure he'll do wonderful! I'll be looking for him on the phase reports next week!

This is Eli. Oh he was such a loud mouth little guy. But I really liked him. He was so feisty, but he was also really sweet.

Here's where the E puppies are going:

Eli: Arizona

Epic: Camarillo

Eaton: Bakersifield

Enrique: Lamoore

Espirit: Sacramento

Estee: Tracy

Elmer: was Fresno, but is now Career Changed.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Puppy Trouble

Hey all. It's Raiser Erin. I'm afraid I have some bad news. As you all know Belle, Freya's birth mother, had another litter of puppies. This litter is an "E" litter. There's Epic (the only little yellow one), Eli, Eaton, Enrique, Estee, Esprit, and then there's Elmer. Elmer was recently assigned to an area near Fresno and I was looking forward to meeting him and most of the other puppies when they came through on the puppy truck today. Unfortunately I met all of Belle's puppy except Elmer (well, and the girls Estee and Esprit because they went to their puppy raising families about a week and a half ago). Unfortunately, Elmer has what is called a liver shunt. Before the puppies are born, the mother's liver takes care of the pups through this outside vessel. Then when the puppies are born this shuts down and the liver takes over. Elmer's didn't shut down and his liver never really took over. They sent him up to Davis to be evaluated and now he's back at Guide Dogs resting. He will be Career Changed. Supposedly this can be treated with a special diet, but only about half of the dogs who take this route survive. There is also an operation he can have and the difficulty of the operation depends on the type of shunt he has. If you could all please keep little Elmer in your thoughts that would be great.

I also have some bad news about Rocco. My poor little guy has had horrible diarrhea this morning and last night. We thought it had completely cleared up, but it didn't. He had diarrhea and he threw up a few days ago and we put him on a bland diet. The bland diet consists on 2/3 part white rice and 1/3 part cottage cheese. So since he's on 1 1/2 cups three times a day he would get 1/2 cup cottage cheese and 1 cup rice. Anyway, when we started to transition him off the cottage cheese and rice he started having a little diarrhea again. And last night he had it really bad. He seems a little better now, but I'm so worried about him. If you could keep him in your thoughts right behind Elmer that would be wonderful too.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Phases: Phase 10

Phase 10: This is where Freya is now.

Obedience and Distraction training: The dog should maintain a consistent response in different environments. With new handlers.

Advanced Guidework Training and Testing
Advanced Guidework Routes
"Finishing Routes"

Notable Accomplishments:
Final Obedience Testing: While the instructor is under blindfold, an extensive obedience test is given to each dog. All dogs must pass their final obedience test to qualify to take their final blindfold guidework test.
Final Building Test: The instructor will be under blindfold. Each dog is tested on escalators, elevators, stairs and store work through a food court area.
Final Blindfold Testing: Blindfold test on urban streets and sidewalk route of 40 to 50 minutes in a challenging work area. Obedience exercises are required to be demonstrated while on route. Dogs passing are deemed "Class Ready Guides". Class ready Guides are fully prepared for matching with students.

Vet Meeting-Review of any and all Health Concerns:
A pre-class vet physical is done and an accurate height on the dog is recorded.

Final Class Preparations:
New collars - sizing and assignment
New Harnesses prepared

Continue Leash relieving on cement surfaces

Dormitory Exposure (There are dormitories on campus for students to live in while they are in class with their future Guide Dog)

Socialization Training:
All specialized programs for socializing would be complete for the dog to be at the "Class Ready Guide" status.

The dog has extra relaxing walks, kennel enrichment and play sessions.

The Phases: Phase 9

Phase 9: This is the phase Freya was just in.

Obedience and Distraction Training:
The dog should have consistent responses in a variety of environments during formal and informal guidework and with different handlers.

Advanced Guidework Training and Testing:
"Finishing Routes": Relaxing residential or country route work, sidewalk less areas, and less difficult and straight-forward work. This is to build the dog's confidence before class.
Advanced Work Routes: New advanced routes are introduced to the dog. These routes require advanced decision making.
  • City traffic patterns
  • Difficult crossings
  • Difficult clearance situation
  • Line problems
  • Animal distractions
  • Surface issues
  • Curb approach challenges
  • Pedestrian islands
  • Crowded sidewalks
  • Different pedestrian climate
  • Additional city bus exposure
  • Additional rapid transit ride exposure

Dogs at this level are worked by novice handlers. These consist of O&M Seminars (I'll be honest I'm not sure what this means), mock student instruction practice for apprentices, obedience exercises with new students in class learning handling, demonstrations, etc.

Notable Accomplishment: Final Traffic Testing

The instructor is now under blindfold on guidework routes. Several traffic checks requiring all types of traffic avoidance responses are given to the dog with the instructor unable to predict when they will happen. (It doesn't say that they have a spotter in the manual, but I'm almost positive they do)

Escalator Boarding/Riding/Exiting continues: The dog is progressing to Independence when birding, riding, and exiting.

Sidewalk less route training continues.

Specialized Training: customizing a dog's work for a particular client's needs. This could include travelling at a slower pace, learning to work with someone who travels with a support cane, someone who has balance issues, someone who is also in a wheelchair, etc.

Platform Edge Training continues: The dog will be tested on avoidance of drop-off edges on pedestrian platforms of subway and rail systems. Boarding and exiting trains.

Total Barricade Training Continues: The dog should now be able to inform his/her handler of objects completely blocking the path.

Advanced Overhead Obstacle Clearance Training.

Socialization: The dog should be able to relieve on cement now. Any dog who is still uncomfortable with this will be placed in additional socialization programs.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Ok, so my ordeal today is not one that I ever want to go through again.

Thursdays are the normal day that the phase report gets sent out. My leader Mary, bless her heart, knows how nervous I am about Freya because of her bow-legs, odd eye, and general distraction of everything around her. So generally Mary calls me between 8 and 9 before she sends the report out. Well, there I was this morning at 8:00am staring at the phone. Then 8:30 came around and I went off to school, still twirling my phone in my pocket. I spent an hour in the library where I checked to phone no less than every 3 minutes. Finally I could bear it no longer and posted something on my facebook along the lines of my head exploding. I don't know if she saw this or if she realized that I was biting my hair and pulling out my nails...I mean, nevermind what I mean, but she sent me an e-mail telling me that she hadn't recieved the report yet. Apparetnly Jim's, he's our district leader who makes all the top dicisions and sends out the phase reports to all the leaders all that, house had a little electirc fire and his electricity was out for the whole day! Well, I was just ready to cry. How was I to know how my little darling was doing?! Well, I was sitting in drama class, my scene had been practiced and me and my director and partner were sitting down talking about things we needed to work on and how we thought Q was a weird letter and all that stuff when I heard my phone buzz. Quickly I grabbed it and sure enough it was Mary who was at that moment with Jim in a few pup evaluations. And guess what...

Freya's in phase 10!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There's still a part of me that wants her to decide that she isn't having fun anymore and come home, but I'm so very proud of her!

I don't have the phase report yet, the whole fire thing, so I'll update the other "F" puppies later and tell you guys what phase 9 and 10 entail. Seeing as there was a puppy meeting tonight, I just got home about an hour ago.

Happy tails and Quiet nights to all. (no whinnning!)
Raiser Erin

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Phases: Phase 8

Phase 8:

Obedience and Distraction Training:
It continues as normal with new handlers in various environments.

Guidework Training:
Advanced Harness training in a variety of areas including sidewalk less routes.
Sidewalk less technique Introduction: Dogs are taught to maintain the travel line on the extreme left of roadways (facing traffic) with no sidewalk or reasonable shoulder. How to work around obstacles and immediately return to the left of the road. Specialized training on the right edge begins in preparation for those who live in with those challenges.
Platform Edge Exposure Work: Learning to avoid the drop-off of subway and rail platforms.
Light Rail, Subway systems introduced and exposure
Overhead Obstacle Clearance Training: continues as normal.
Escalator Training: The dog learns how to safely step onto moving escalators and get into a safe stance, ride the escalator in that stance without moving until time to anticipate exiting safely with energy. (As puppy raisers we are not allowed to take our puppies in training on an escalator. This is the first time that the dog will be introduced to the escalator.)
Intensive Indoor Mall and Store Work Techniques: The dogs learns to work at a slower pace for indoor work if appropriate. They work in crowded aisles, on escalators and elevators, on multiple stairways, on various colours and textures of slick, shiny floors. They learn patience work in shopping situations. And they are worked around intensive food distraction situations (food courts).

Vet Meeting-Review of Health
Each dogs health history to date is reviewed by the staff vet. Viability for care by a visually impaired addressed. Health drop decisions are made fore some dogs and other dogs are given time lines for improvement. Other medical procedures and testings.

Leash relieving exposure on cement is introduced.

The Phases: Phase 7

Phase 7:

Obedience and Distraction Training:
Continued development and consistent responses in various environments. Formal and Informal exercises and during guidework. The dogs are also with new handlers.

Advanced Guidework Training:
Suburban and downtown areas with challenging environments.
Notable Accomplishment-Traffic Conditioning: The dog is introduced to traffic safety problems and is shown how to deal with them. The dog learns to "stop", "Hold line" while stopped and to "back up" when a vehicle gets too close.
Notable Accomplishment- Formal Traffic Training: Dogs are taught responsibility when making emergency decisions in traffic conditions. Dogs learn to decide when to "stop", "Hold line", "Back up", and "scoot forward" on the travel line for the safety of the team. The dog learns to maintain position, face the vehicle, and to proceed when the danger has passed.
Total Barricade Training: Dogs are trained to inform the handler of objects totally blocking the travel path and then to work safely around them.
Overhead Obstacle Clearance Training: And overhead clearance is any obstacle that is over the dog's head. The dog is taught to look up and look out for this type of clearance.
Advanced Work and routes: New work areas are introduced to the dog. Difficult crossings, clearances, line problems, animal distractions, surface issues, curb approach challenges, and pedestrian islands. Places include Large Cities, City Traffic Patterns, Corded Sidewalks, Different Pedestrian climate, Large Government and business building work, and Very heavy and close traffic.

Pre Matching with Blind Applicants:
Dogs are identified for individual applicants with special needs and requirements in a guide dog.

Socialization Training continues. CWTs still continue on everything as before.

The Phases: Phase 6

Phase 6:

Obedience and Distraction Training:
There should be continued development and consistent responses to both formal and informal exercises.
The difficulty (intensity of) distractions continue. New animals and common dog interest distractions sough out and the dog's responses are evaluated. Dogs are worked on individually for specific things that really distract them. (I'm sure Freya received some special attention with her thing for birds.) New handlers are introduced and the dog's development is monitored.

Body Handling:
New handlers are added. Any problems that are still present are of great concern for the success of the dog as a guide.

Guidework Training:
Routes continue in suburban areas and progress to downtown suburban areas.
The instructors focus on improving any weaknesses the dog had that was noted at preliminary blindfold testing.

Socilization Training;
Individual dogs are identified for specialized socialization programs.

Advanced Harness Training Begins.

Obstacle Course Progression-Intelligent Disobedience Training Begins:
Advanced clearance problems are first introduced to the dog on campus in the obstacle course and then sought out on real environment routes. Situations are set up to introduce disobeying the handler for the sake of safety (intelligent disobedience).

Socialization Training Continues.

CWTs continue to focus of kennel enrichment, relaxing time, community run time, grooming, and campus walks.

The Phases: Phase 5

Phase 5:

Notable Accomplishments: Preliminary Obedience Training:
Responses to "Sit", "Down", "Heel", "Come", and "Stay" are demonstrated to a Training Supervisor and are expected to be understood, fairly consistent, and generally gained with a single command. Heavy distractions are offered during exercises. (When I read this I was almost certain that Freya would be coming home.)
Demonstration of Food refusal is required.
General exercises of body handling are demonstrated.

Body Work:
Body handling responses continue for consistent response and improvement where needed. New Handlers are added to body handling experiences.

Guidework Training:
Formal Harness Training: Dogs now have full freedom to make decisions and some mistakes with normal guidework responses. When errors occur the instructor will continue to show the dog the correct answer before they become confused. The instructor will still pattern challenging and advanced guiding decisions and responses.
Difficult travel line problems and open parking lot areas are worked to further establish responsible line stability. Challenging food and animal distractions are set up for new area guidework routes.
Instructors practice short blindfold sessions with their dogs, having a teammate spot for their safety. This gives them information regarding what guidework behaviors are strong and which are weak for each individual dog.

Notable Accomplishment-Preliminary Blindfold Testing:
Instructor under blindfold works the dog on an urban/suburban area route or a distance approximately 14 blocks. Passing requirements are for the dog to display an understanding of safe guidework skills and focus on work and their handler. Obedience exercises are done at some point on the route, usually when a distraction is present.
Dogs who pass the Preliminary Blindfold Testing will be able to progress to Advanced Guidework Training. Dogs who don't pass receive further training and are re-tested when ready.

Physical Agility Programs Continue.

Obstacle Course Progression:
Dogs are guiding through more challenging clearance courses as more finished guides. The course designs are increasingly difficult and usually require the development of problem solving skills and Intelligent Disobedience responses.

Socialization Training:
Extra socialization assignments are given to dogs who need them.

CWTs focus more on relaxing time for the dogs during this intensive and difficult part of guide training.

The Phases: Phase 4

Phase 4:

Obedience and Distraction Training: Continued development of collar and praise responses. Progression is to the extent where minimal repeat commands or leash cues are necessary. The instructor begins to handle the dog as a visually impaired person would.

Difficult distractions (intensity of) continue.

Body Work and handling Responses continue.

Guidework Training: Dogs should be comfortable wearing the harness by now. Those dogs that are not are a concern, but are still kept in specialized programs to improve the behavior.

Pattern Training Progression: The instructors are now allowing the dog more freedom to make decisions and to make some mistakes. When errors occur the instructor will show the dog the correct answer before they get confused. Basic level guidework responses are being directed to the dog as a blind handler would.
Progression with guidework should be to where the dog can maintain a straight line of travel when the instructor is blindfolded and respond to each command consistently with minimal leash gestures or cues. The focus is on developing the working pace and pull that will be the final pace and pull.
Responsibility lead lessons for each dog occurs at the end of the pattern training. Responsibility in work responses is gradually increased and tested. The dog is now learning to pull more responsibly and consistently into the harness chest piece on command and maintain a straight line of travel while moving.

Physical Agility Programs Continue.

Obstacle Course Progression: Dogs are now guiding in harness through clearance course with obstacles still being leash cues, if necessary, to move in the desired was a finished guide would. The course design is more difficult usually requiring more angled clearance moves by the dog. Clearances requiring a stop are now introduced.

CWTs continue to focus on kennel enrichment, grooming, campus walks, and community run time.

The Phases: Phase 3

Phase 3:

Obedience and Distraction Training:
Formality in obedience continues. Sit, Down, Heel, and Stay are more intensively trained. The dog is expected to hold a more precise position next to their handler. "Come" continues on leash and off-leash. Precise "Heel" position next to their handler in introduced while in harness. "Over Here" is introduce. Over Here's goal is for the dog to change positions behind the handler's back to their other side.

General Collar Response and Praise Response:
More difficult distractions are introduced. Various dog breeds (I'm sure Freya had fun with this), unusual scents, very solicitous people, and people-food.
Body work continues. It is now very detailed oriented. The dog should roll over for inspection. Body handling and responses should be improving.
CWTs focus on kennel enrichment activities, grooming, walks on campus, and community run time.

Guidework Training BEST Guide Dogs:
The dog should now be comfortable in the harness. Those dogs who are not are put into specialized programs. Those dogs who do not improve become a concern.

Pattern Training:
Pattern Training is a method used to introduce guidework to the dog in a positive manner. The instructor will cause the correct manners to happen through cues before mistakes are made. While in the phase the dog is prevented from making any errors while working with all the basic guidework mechanics. Obedience commands are used separately from guidework training to regain the focus of the dog. When the dog is refocused pattern training continues. Pattern training continues for almost 4 weeks (though it's probably shorter now on the new accelerated program).

Dogs are being introduced to and learning theses guidework behaviors:
  • Stopping at streets, regardless of the type of curb or wheelchair ramp
  • Clearing for the handler on the right side
  • Clearing for the handler on the left side
  • Crossing streets in a straight line or adjusting that line to reach the up curb on the side. (Dogs also receive target training in how to seek out the up curb by placing their front feet on that curb)
  • Moving forward at a consistent pace on the command "Forward"
  • Resuming that consistent pace on the command "Hopp-up" or moving closer to a stopping point
  • Stopping and standing stationary on the command "Halt"
  • Leading the handler in a 90 degree turn to the right and pick up the new travel line on the command "Right"
  • Leading the handler in a 90 degree turn on the left and pick up the new travel line on the command "Left"
  • To ease off on the amount of pull into the harness on the command "Steady"

Physical Agility Programs Continue as in Phase 2.

Obstacle Course Progression: Dogs continue to be walked through the course on leash in they are not ready to work in harness. Some dogs progress to guiding through clearance courses with obstacles, still on leash, cued by the Instructor to move in the desired way a finished guide would move. The course becomes more difficult usually requiring a more angled clearance move by the dogs, but still does not require a stop.

Socializing Training: Dogs are introduced to riding in the training van crates. A separate group of crates, just like the ones in the training vans, is located in the kennel complex. All dogs are introduced to jumping in and out of this mock crate set before being put into an actual training van. The dogs experience loading and unloading and riding comfortably and quietly. The dogs are expected to stay quiet while riding and while waiting for their turn at a training course. during this phase dogs are identified for specialized training fears or distractions. Food protocol is continued (how to refuse food on the ground or if offered by anyone but the handler)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Phases: Phase 2

Phase 2: Approximately weeks 1-2 (though there is a new program so instead of formal training taking 5 months it only takes about 2 months. Freya has been gone exactly 2 months today.)

In Phase 2 Formal Training begins using "The Balanced Education System of Training Guide Dogs" (note: this phrase is copywrited by GDB) this is also caled BEST Guide Dogs.

Food Reward and Clicker Training Techniques
The goal of food rewards is to motivate the dogs to make the right choices. It was introduced into the training sytem after several successful food reward trials where the dogs showed more confidence while working. Clicker training was adopted in 2005 and 2006. There is a clicker expert who continues to expand and modify to achieve the best results. (If any of you have any questions about what clicker training is please feel free to ask). During the first week of training a lot of time is spent with each dog teaching them collar response while using clicker training. Puppy raisers are not allowed to use clicker training with their puppies, but we do do a "Go to Bed" command that uses the same idea.

Obedience and Distraction Training:
The primary focus is on collar response and responses to praise. The collar cues the dog's bodyand the praise motivates the dogs to work. Martingale collars are used with all dogs starting training. Dogs requiring firm collar corrections (like Freya) while distracted also wear a slip collar. "Sit", "Down", "Heel" (formal recall), and "Stay" are introduced as precise positions in relation to the handler. "Come" (informal recall) is worked on leash in a variety of areas on campus. Precise "Heel" position while handler is moving is introduced at the same time the dog is learning to walk ahead of the handler when in harness. Once dogs show an understanding of the basic obedience work, distractions are introduced. Distractions include other dogs, food, overly friendly people, scents ect.

Food Refusal:
All dogs go through specialized training in how to accept food rewards and how to refuse food in all other situations.

Body Work:
Development of suitable responses to in depth grooming, pilling, bathing, ear cleaning, teeth cleaning, feeding, playing with a visually impaired handler begins.

Guidework Training:
Introduction to wearing the harness; dogs start with just standing with it on then walking around in relaxed settings with it on. Dogs who have sensitivity to wearing the harness are put on a TTouch program and war only the body piece until they accept it.

Treadmill Training:
Designed to physically train dogs in the mechanics of a rhythmis gait/speed and maintenance of that gait while leading in harness. All dogs are closely monitored while on the treadmill to ensure that they are safe while working on it. Some dogs like the treadmill so much that they sometimes try to get on it before their turn. Dogs in treadmill training are intorduced to the "Forward", "Halt", and "Hopp-on" commands while learning to pull in harness.

Physical Agility Development:
Dogs are introduced to low height agility obstacles to promote confidence on unusual surfaces and develop coordination for stair and escalator work. Learnign how to physically back up in introduced at this time.

Obstacle Course:
Dogs are walked on leash through gradually more challenging clearance courses with obstacles. Leash cues are used by the instructor to get the dog to move in the desired way. New dogs will not need to stop, but keep moving on the safe path out of the obstacle course.

Again if you have any questions please ask.

The Phases: Phase 1

Hey there! Raiser Erin here! I've been asked to write down what the phases entail so that those who are reading who aren't puppy raisers know what Freya and all the other dogs are doing up in San Rafael. This might take a while, so I'll try to condense the phases.

Phase 1: Approximately Week 0.
Before the dog's formal training begins he/she is introduced to the Guide Dogs kennels, walk around campus, and the training program. The first step in the "transitional" period for each dog is recieving a medical exam which is performed by a Canine Welfare Technician (CWT). The CWT checks the dog thoroughly from head to tail. Any abnormalties are reported to Guide Dog veternarians. Within the first week the dog will have each of their hips x-rayed, all abnormalities noted by the CWT checked, an eye exam, and gets weighed. They also get vaccinated for many normal dog things such as distemper, hepatitis, parvo, parainfluenza, bordatella, and rabies.
After all of the exams some dogs will be put on "breeder watch" and those dogs who are still intact and not chosen to be watched for the breeder colony will be spayed or neutered.
After all the physical stuff is done each dog is formally assigned to a string and a specific training kennel. In San Rafael a string is between 35-55 dogs and in Boring, Oregon it is between 20-25 dogs.
Before obedience training starts each dogs personality and controlability is evaluated to prepare the instructors on how to motivate and control each individual dog.
The dogs recieve walks on campus, dailing grooming, any medication needed, and human and dog interative play sessions. At this point dogs are also being matched with kennel mates to make sure that each dog is happy. They are also introduced into the community run with play sessions and are provided kennel enrichment sessions (there is a long explaination as to what kennel enrichment is, if you have any questions please ask).
Each new dog is monitored and if the dog needs anything more (walks, kennel enrichment, community run play sessions, ect.)

Wow! That took longer than I thought. I think I'm going to post these in different posts.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Rough Night

Those of you who have been reading my "Accident Count" you will notice that my little guy has been having some trouble with peeing and pooping in the house. I can't really be mad at him because it's so out of his normal self. We figure he's been having a little tummy and bladder trouble. Well, that couldn't be more apparent after last night. Here's how my night went.

I wouldn't let Rocco more than three feet away from me and I took him out every 30 minutes. At 5:00 I fed him dinner as normal. He's on a bland diet right now because he's been having a little diarrhea. The bland diet consists of 1/3 cottege cheese and 2/3 white rice topped with warm water. Tasty right? Well, after dinner everything was going well. He didn't have another accident and his poop (we talk a lot about poop at GDB) wasn't loose! Yipee! Right? That meant that I could start adding food to his diet this morning and soon he would be off cottege cheese and rice. Well, at 9:00 I put him to bed as always and he did fine. Absolutely no whinning! I went to bed and didn't get to sleep for quite a while. The last I looked at my clock it was 10:15. At 11:45 I was woken by an awful sound. If any of you have heard a puppy wretching up bial, that was the sound. I look over in his kennel and my poor baby had indeed just thrown up some lovely white looking foam. I thought, "No big deal! When puppies are sick like he's been they sometimes throw up some bial. And it is kind of hot in here." So I get up and go to the kitchen to get paper towels. When I get back and let him out of the kennel I notice that it wasn't just bial. there was a giant glob of rice and cottege cheese at the edge and little chunks all over the walls. UGH! I HATE cottege cheese. Ask me about it sometime. Anyway, I pet him as I was cleaning up the vomit. It took me about 20 minutes and a lot of 409 and paper towels to finish. I sat there with him for another 3 minutes to make sure he was alright and then took him out to pee. When I stuck him back in the crate (there was a pencil eraser in the vomit! I don't know how he got it! Like I said, he wasn't more than 3 feet away from me all day. So I couldn't just tie him down on a tie-down on his bed. I was too scared he would heat something.) he started to whine. I told him "quiet" and he kept going. No screaming, just whinning. I was in bed for a good 5 minutes before I decided to get up and go to the living room for the long dragline. I attatched it to him and collar corrected him until he stopped whinning. When he did and I finally got to sleep it was around 12:15-12:30. More restless sleep then at 2:45 I was woken by whines. I collar corrected Rocco and he stopped. I knew that meant he could wait till morning. So I went back to sleep...only it took me till 3:15 and the sleep was restless...again. My alarm went off at 4:00 so I could walk my pet dog Arwen. I told myself "4 more minutes" and hit the "snooze button". Only it wasn't the snooze button it was the off button. I slept till 5:45, didn't have time to walk Arwen, shower before Mary got here, or work on homework I probably should have done the night before.

Long story short, I got maybe 3 hours of restless sleep and only walked 2 miles today. I usually walk 4 and do some yoga. Not today my friends, not today.

Poor baby.

On the plus side, he did wonderful when I took him out on the lake in the canoe.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Photogenic Puppy

Hey All! It's Raiser Erin again. On the off chance that any of the DRT fans have stumbled upon this blog from the DRT fanpage on facebook, I thought I would let you all know how Rocco D'Angelo, my little mob king in training, was doing.

He's learned to be very ferocious.

He knows where people "sleep with the fishes."

Remember, don't ever ask him about his business.

That is how my little mobster is doing. Besides learning how to make cement shoes, which "instrument" to bring to which job, and the mobster lingo he's learning essentials too. He's really good at "that's enough" when he gets too playful. Mob kings have to maintain a level of seriousness. He's also getting much better about waiting for his food until I tell him it's ok. You can never be too careful when with a famous mobster's food. It could be poisoned. And he's pretty darn good at "let's go." He's still learning that behind every successful hit man there's a manager who tells him what to do and when.

He's such a wonderful puppy and he's soooooo smart. Besides not having an accident in quite a few days, he's getting much more quiet in his crate. Rarely am I kept awake by his screaming and he's sleeping in now. Even though he's technically a "starter puppy" for me, I think I might actually like him too much to transfer him when he's four months old. Even though I could do a female now, Colorado is going to be fixed (I'm kind of sad that there won't be any little underbites running around), I don't think I could let this one go even if I do prefer the females.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pictures of the "Rs"

I was going to wait until I got the phase report today to post something new. That way I could put Freya's new (or same) status at the same time, but I jsut couldn't wait. I have pictures of all but Reeann or Rheann or however you spell her name and I thought I would share them with you; my devoted readers.

This is Nancy, Belle's breeder castodian, with Regina.

This is Romy. She is being raised by Peach's (The R litter's mom) raiser in Oregon.

This is Rocky in the play yard at GDB. I could have sworn I got more pictures of him because we took him from GDB and met up with his raisers when we got home so they wouldn't have to travel as far, but I can't find them.
Rocky and Regina look a lot alike. They've both got this big, long nose and have really cute expressions. Romy and Rocco look more alike I think. Romy is a darker colour than Rocco, but they both have really square heads and sad eyes. I can't wait to meet them all at Fun Day. Though we may not meet Romy since she's being raised in Oregon.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

First Puppy Class

So I got Rocco back from Mary this afternoon at his first puppy class. He did very well! He went up the stairs and down the stairs with no real problems. He was a little nervous at the open stairs, but that's normal for little guys. So we decided to wait for a little longer until we have him tackle those. He loved it all. I could barely keep up! And I walk really fast! He's such a happy little boy!

I love having him back. I even missed the whinning. Though I am glad that he has stopped doing that as much. He's definitely calming down a lot. I suppose he's going to get all used to out routine. Being passed between me and Mary must be hard for the poor, little guy.

Weel, I haven't been home since this morning so I should probably get going on some of that homework stuff that they're still making me do.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The First Night

Last night was not as bad as I thought it would be. I knew he was a whinner and screamer since all the way down from GDB he and his brother Rocky screamed and whinned when they were in the crates. But, after a mere 25 or 30 minutes of screaming in his crate he settled down and went to sleep and stayed that way the whole night. He didn't wake up to go potty, no accidents in the crate, he didn't even wake up and just start screaming. Nope. All night!

But he is a rather vocal puppy. He whines. He screams. Usually when I'm out of the room to, you know, go to the bathroom, brush my teeth, or get a glass of water. Some times he'll just sit down and whine. He's quite the funny puppy. I'll give it another week before I don't think his screaming is cute anymore. Hopefully he's just confused by his new surroundings and will calm down in a few days. And if not, well, I'll just send him back to the puppy farm.

Ok, I couldn't do that to him? Could you?

I took him with me to church today. I'm not really a religious person, but I like going with the dogs because it's a good experience and it's fun to see how many people realize that it's a different dog. Most people noticed this time seeing as he is much smaller (though still huge fore his age) than all of the dogs I have taken. He did so well! He only whinned once or twice and even then it was small. He went of to communion with me and didn't try to grab the minister's robes, and he only tried to climb into my lab twice. :D

He may be a loud puppy, but he's really grown on me. And he learns fast. He already knows "Quiet" and "QUIET" and "Rocco! for the love of all that is good and green! Quiet!"

Wishing you all a restful night tonight.

~Raiser Erin.

Sibling List: Here are Rocco's siblings

Regina, Romy, Rheann, and Rocky.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Here he is. Little Rocco. Actually he really isn't little, he's HUGE!

He's Finally Here!!!!

Hey Everyone! This is Raiser Erin.

Today Mary, Brenna, and I went up to Guide Dogs in San Rafael, CA to pick up three little Guide Dog Puppies in training. We were to pick up one for us, one for Ridgecrest, and one for a little town in Bakersfield that I can't remember the name.

The one for Ridgecrest was our little guy's brother. His name was Rocky. So no, that isn't the name of ours. He was a little naughty, but very very cute. The one fore Bakersfield was a little black lab named Viking. How cute is that?!

And ours?

We have Rocco! I really like the name. He's really feisty and has a wonderful pair of lungs that he loves to show off. He's adorable. He's got a wonderful colour and a lovely face. I'll post pictures when I get them downloaded on to my computer.

Friday, April 9, 2010

No Sleep Tonight

I don't think I'm going to get any sleep tonight. I'm just too excited. I promise to try and post something for all of you devoted readers I know are out there before we leave tomorrow. But I really didn't do the things I should have done today. I watched "Julie and Julia" tonight when I should have been folding clothes or vacuuming. I was trying to take my mind off of things. You see today I skipped school (I know shame on me) to take three of my animals to the vet. I didn't take Lucy mostly because she really isn't my cat, but also because she hates me. I think she hates me because I was the one who brought two dogs and cats into her previously only child life. So it was me, Arwen, Mia, and Sylvester. Mia didn't have an appointment but if you know Mia you know that getting her into a cage was such an accomplishment that I deserved to try to see if the vet would see her today. They did and everything was going smoothly. That is until the results for the feline luekemia tests came back. Mia's came back negative, but Sylvester's were positive. I found out later this afternoon that's he's just a carrier of the virus and isn't sick at all. He may never get sick, but he's still able to pass it on to other cats. So, he might have to go live with my mother because I don't want Mia or Lucy to get it an get sick. And with my mom he could be an indoor cat so he wouldn't do any harm to other cats. He can't really be an indoor cat here.

Anyway, after all the medication was delivered (Sylvester also has an infection from a snag on his tail so I had to give him antibiotics and I missed some of Arwen's Multi for dogs so she had heartworm pills just in case and some joint pills since her now 8 year old body is getting old) I realized that I really hadn't done much with my room today. But it looks good. Not that it didn't before, butit looks organized. Not that I'm not organized, no I've VERY organized. But I'm a , dare I say it, a packrat. So a few more papers thrown away and I'm ready for sleep. Again, I'll try to post before we leave, but we're leaving at 7am and I have a dog to walk and pills to give and some pink bubble gum smelling liquid to squirt into a cat's mouth before I leave. It might be a stretch.


Good night all!
Raiser Erin

(Oh, Ragtime...I think that's awfully cute!)

24 hours

Hey All! We are now in the official 24 hour stretch! You only have the rest of today and Saturday morning to guess the little guys' name. We're picking up two R puppies from Atrus and Peach (one is mine) and a Baker and Fritzie puppy with litter letter V. So if you want to guess now is your chance.

Reeces, Reces, Rhys, Redwood, Ruff, Ripple, Rainard, Ray, Rocket, Reddington, Rojo, Ralphie, Roger, Ronald, Ronnie, Rodeo, Reckless, Reins, Riki-tiki-tiki, Remy, Reagan, Roosevelt, Rutherford, Rudolph, Rook, Rookie, Rabbit, Reindeer, Ratna, Raphael, Roul, Ra, Reedly, Read, Reid, Raise, Ringer, Ringo, Rede, Ruler, Rupertwort, Ray... I'm sure I'll think of more. :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

One more phase...

Hey, Raiser Erin again.

For those of you who do look at the phase tracker on the left hand side of the screen where I track Freya and her siblings process through formal training you will have noticed that Freya has moved up another phase this week! Yay Freya! Now there are only 10 phases in formal training and she's moved up a phase almost every week since she went back. That means next Thursday you might see a whole bunch of exclamation points as a new post. If this happens then you know it means that Freya is in phase 10 and all we'll have to do is wait for her to matched with a partner!

Everyone keep their fingers crossed!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Three More Days

Today is Wednessday. Tomorrow is Thurday. Then Friday and finally Saturday. Saturday, as most of you know, is the day we go up to GDB. I'm a little worried about this. Not because I don't want another puppy because I really do! I'm very excited to get Little Yellow. That's what I've taken to calling Mr. R. And it's not because I'm worried about having three puppies in the car on the way home. In fact, I'm really excited about that too. We're picking up two Atrus and Peach puppies (both the brothers) and a Baker and Fritzie puppy. I think that's one's a male too. Nope, it's not because of any of this. It's because I don't want to see Freya and I don't want her to see me. I thought about asking Mary and Brenna to go in their and get the puppies without me. But that was when we were only picking up two puppies and before Belle's litter when back into the kennels. I'm looking forward to seeing them (Belle's E litter) when we go pick the puppies up on Saturday. Maybe I'll just be real quiet when we walk in. Or I'll ask someone if Freya is in the first few kennel runs and if she is I might not go in. I don't want her to be all confused when if she sees me. Not when she's doing so well. :) I think she might get depressed if she sees me take home another puppy and stop trying. And, gosh, it'd be horrible to have her back. ;)

Good thing I have another three days and Saturday morning to think this all over.

I've heard that both brothers are GIANT and both have really cute names. I'm so excited!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

I can really...


It's Raiser Erin. I'm suppose to be doing work. You know homework and all that jazz. But as a senior in her last month and a half of high school it's already hard for me to focus. Right now it's darn near impossible. It's now less than a week until Mary and I head down to GDB. If fact, if you don't count the two and half hours or so until I go to bed and the first few hours of Saturday morning then it's only five days. But I'm sure they'll just drag on.

What I have been able to focus on is puppy proofing my room. As I've sorted, picked up, and thrown things away I have had a revelation. Either it was a miracle that Freya never had a blockage or she was the best puppy ever. I like to think it was the latter. Seriously though, there was so much paper and other things all over the floor. She never ate paper or anything. I can't begin to put into words how weird it's been without a dog every morning. Some mornings I still head out into the backyard first thing. :) Sleep stays with me for a while.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Sister for Little Yellow

Hey All,

Raiser Erin here. I spoke to my leader today (she's going to be co-raising this puppy with me) and she said she got in touch with Peach's raiser. Peach as you all may remember is the mother of my new little guy. She said that Peach was fun, cuddly, playful, and has wonderful house manners. I hope all of these traits have been passed on to Little Yellow. Peach's raiser is also raising one of her puppies. She got one of the females. Her name is Romey (I believe that's how it's spelled, it could be Roamy). I think that's really cute. So, if any of you were thinking of Romey for my pup, that's not it. Apparently, Romey is huge too. This is all very exciting for me. My nickname for Freya was "Shortbread" because she was so small...well short. She was stocky and buff. So not really small, but she was a tiny lab. I don't know how I'll look with a big dog. :)

Mary thought of another name that I think would be cute. Riddle. I really like it!

Happy Tails!

Friday, April 2, 2010


Hey There,

It's Raiser Erin again. I know I just posted, but I have some names I'd like, though I probably won't get any of them.

1. Red (I listen to this podcast. It's called Decoder Ring Theatre and one of their radio dramas is The Red Panda. I think it would be so cool to have a puppy named Red so I could call him Red Panda. I was really hoping for a "B" puppy named Baxter because my favourite character is Kit Baxter.)

2. Rupert (I am in love with Rupert Grint. No really, this isn't infatuation. It's love)

3. Regale (Atrus is the father of another puppy in my group named Royalty. It would be so funny if his name was something "regale" as well.)

4. Rowan (that's my favourite kind of tree)

5. Ricky ("I Love Lucy" is my favourite show)

6. Ricardo (again "I Love Lucy)

7. Rarwiwi (This is a Maori and I've always thought that if I can't have Rupert Grint I'd like to marry a Maori man)

8. Rangi (Also Maori)

9. Reginold (A lot of my friends like this one)

10. Ridgecrest (We're actually picking up another pup, well two but only one for Ridgecrest. And the one that's going to Ridgecrest is one of my puppy's littermates)

11. Roo (He was my favourite character on "Winnie the Pooh")

12. Rohan (I love, love, love the "Lord of the Rings" books and movies...more so the books)

13. Rex (Meaning "King" in Latin it fits with the royal names)

14. Roman (I took Latin for two years)

15. Random (I just think it sounds cool)

16. River (I love all things water based.)

17. Rally (I hope if this is his name that he'll be high in energy unlike all the other male GDB dogs who are such lumps!)

Please feel free to post any other names you can think of. If one of you guesses right then you'll win...well you'll win the satisfaction that you guessed a Guide Dog Puppy's name. No mean feat let me tell you. I am now standing on two out of nine. Those being my own puppy Freya (yes I actually guessed and hoped for that one) and Kendrick.

Oh, let me just stop you at the get go. It cannot be Romeo. There is already a guide in training out there with that name and Guide Dogs does not reuse the name of any working Guide or puppy in training. I know, I was disappointed too.

An Exciting New Venture

Hey There,

This is Puppy Raiser Erin. It's been over a month since my first Guide Dog Puppy went into formal training at the California Campus. Freya is just flying through those phases. She's in phase 8 now.

For those of you who don't know there are 10 phases in formal Guide Dog training. In phase 8 Freya is continuing with her obedience and distraction training in different environments and with new trainers. She never really had a problem with obedience, but boy does she need work on those distractions. Besides obedience training she is now in "Advanced Harness Training" (oooo, ahhh). Her routes now include some sidewalkless places (gasp of astonishment). They have a whole system is training dogs to walk without sidewalks. Also included is Subway and Rail introduction (though she went on the train many times while with me and on the subway more than once) and escalator training. As puppies in training we aren't allowed to take them on escalators. They teach them all about this up at Guide Dogs. This is because we don't want any tails caught when, say, a seven-year-old is holding onto the leash. Her overhead obstacle avoidance training continues and she's introduced to more intensive indoor mall and store situations. The dogs in phase 8 are introduced to leash relieving on cement. Freya always was a little nervous relieving on anything but grass. I think this is because she had a relieving problem for the first few months and we wouldn't let her go anywhere but in the backyard. She's also got a vet meeting.

I always get a little nervous when she has to meet with the vet. Freya is awfully bow legged and her left eye never seemed right to me. But she passed her first medicals so I'm confident that she'll pass this one too.

Enough about my baby girl for the moment.

I have had a month (more like 6 week) break from having a puppy of my own. I've puppy sitted every weekend, so I haven't really gone throuh much of a withdrawl. But now, I am about to start another journey with another puppy.

On April 10 (that's one week!) my leader and I are going to pick up our new puppy. I say new because we are co-raising this one since my school won't let me take a puppies to school and my dad got a "new" job that requires a lot of travelling. We just got our assignment. Our puppy will be a male (I prefer the females but Mary has an intact Golden Guide in Training so we really have to have a male) yellow lab (I prefer black labs, but Freya was a black lab and I think I need to alternate between colours and breeds so I don't compare my current dog with my previous dog). His parents are Atrus and Peach. His litter letter is "R".

We don't know anything besides what letter his name will start with before we get him. Raisers don't get to choose the letter or the name. Guide Dogs names the pups for us and we just have to deal with it if we don't like the name.

I was hoping to get another Belle puppy. Belle was Freya's birth mother (as I like to call her) and she just had another litter with one yellow male. But Guide Dogs have an abundance of puppies right now and needs to get the older ones out of the kennels. My puppy will be just 12 weeks (we usually get them between 8 and 9 weeks) when I pick him up. Belle's pups will be just 8 1/2 weeks. I might have got a Belle puppy if we kept the original pick up date of April 23, but with all the puppies right now my leader and I opted to take a pup early.

I hope this means he'll sleep through the night. :)