Where you come for your share of Puppy fun!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Fun Day 2011 (Part 2 - Fun Day!)

Fun Day for us started with getting up early and heading to the Northgate Mall in San Rafael. We took the GDB transport from the mall into the campus. All the pups did great on the transport which is great. They'll be doing lot of transport on busses like that in their futures as Guide Dogs. I love taking my picture with the pups next to the fountain.

(Hilly and me in front of the fountain on the San Rafael campus)

We listened to the opening ceremony which was...well, not my favourite part of the day, but definitely fun to listen to. Then Hilly and I went to the Doggie Massage class. I took this class with Freya, but I thought it would be good to do a refresher course as Hilly is the same high energy puppy that Freya was. I wanted to stick around to see the training department's demo just in case they used Rocco in it, but it was right at the same time as the Massage class. Lucky for me, Rocco wasn't used (I would have died if they used Rocco for the demo and I wasn't there). Hilly loved the class. She fell asleep right away and just let me touch and pet her. This is a big step for her as she wasn't the cuddliest puppy when she came to me, but she's warming up.

(Hilly getting ready for her massage; I did take off the jacket once we were settled)

After our class I booked it out of the kennels so that I wouldn't catch a glimpse of Rocco. Then we walked around the vendor booths. I usually buy a toy or two, but since I knew I wouldn't have Hilly for much longer and still haven't made my final decision on raising in Scotland I decided not to buy anything at the vendor booths (I don't need anymore GDB t-shirts! HAHA!). But we did go to the gift shop to buy a calender for me and a calender for my mom (Remember; Rocco is Mr. May!) and two black lab stuffed puppies in training (I lost the one I bought in honour of Freya at the London Heathrow airport).

Then with nothing to do, we went to our littermate meeting spot. We were the first ones by, but we did get to meet up with Snickers and Tartan.

(Hilly greeting Mr. Snickers)

Then her littermates started showing up. When I went to Fun Day with Freya I met one littermate (Freeway) and with Rocco none of his littermates showed up. All of Hilly's sisters (who were still in the program) showed up. And Hermes was there, but he had just been put into the kennels for his recall before the meeting. That was a bummer, but at least I got to meet her other siblings. The two I didn't get to meet were Hibachi (who was donated) and Havasu (who was CC'd). This was also my calmest littermate meeting.

(Hilly and her sisters sitting around so calmly)

We took some family photos...

From left to right: Halette, Hestia, Hilly, Hanalei, and Hana

This is a closeup of Halette, Hestia, and Hilly. You'll have to excuse my hair, it was a humid morning.

Then I got some close up pictures...




All these girls were little like Hilly, but Hana was the smallest. I was told she weighed in at 42 lbs! She was small!

After that was lunch which was donated by Panera bread. So, I was a happy girl! I loooovvvveeee Panera! Then we got to watch the training departments demo.

Hilly slept through the whole training demo. And while Rocco wasn't used for the training demo guess who was! Belle puppy EATON was used! It was sooooo cool to see Eaton working up there. The training demo was really cool. Being a part of the training department at Guide Dogs has always been a possible job for me. I mean, I really would love it and every time I see the trainers out there training the dogs in harness I'm reminded about how much I would love to do it. Who knows? I'm still a few years away from graduating form University...

Oh! I also snapped this picture of Hilly's dog mom, "Aqua", from the littermate books.

I also found out that Dylan has been retired from breeding. Yes, I'm sad that I don't get the chance to raise another Dylan pup as the two girls I've had have been wonderful, but he was getting up there in years. If Dylan's puppy raisers are miraculously reading my blog I would just like to say thank you for raising a great daddy. I've thoroughly enjoyed raised his babies.

Tomorrow I shall write about our ferry ride into San Francisco.

Fun Day 2011 (Part One - Hotel)

Believe it or not, I started this post a few times, but blogger has been in a poopy mood so whenever I tried to add more than one picture at a time it would close down. Oh well. The pictures are up now and I can tell you about our Fun Day. For thos of you who don't know this, the Fun Day theme for this year was "Rockin' Rovers". Basically, it was a 50's theme day. Lucky for me I had poodle skirts around. Unfortunately for Hilly (or possibly fortunately) the poodle skirt I had was originally for Freya for Halloween. To make it fit Freya we had to tear out the seam a little. To make it fit Hilly properly I would have had to sew the seam back together. Too much work for me, so I decided that we wouldn't be wearing out poodle skirts and bobby socks.

Our Fun Day weekend started on Friday when we loaded up the big car with Lance, Hilly, Snyder, and their respective raisers and met up with Schroeder and Stuart and Schroeder's raisers (who took Stuart for the weekend too) and drove to San Rafael early in the A.M. Lance's and Schroeder's raisers were doing Follow a Trainer. Meanwhile, Snyder's raiser and myself went for ice cream. (YAY! for ice cream!) Then we checked into our hotel. I have to tell you this story.

Hilly and I were rooming with Lance and his raisers. After we set up our room and settled in we decided to let the dogs play just a little. They were playing for all of 5 minutes when we got a phone call from the front desk. "The people below you have called twice to complain about the noise..." Alright, bear in mind that this was four in the afternoon, the had only been playing for five minutes, and they weren't jumping, running, or rolling on the floor. And yet, the people below us (who were on the second floor of a three floor hotel) had called TWICE to complain. We decided that we wouldn't try and settle things because we weren't going to make these dogs stand perfectly still all weekend. I went down to the front desk and sorted it. It did mean that we had to switch rooms (which meant moving both dogs, both crates, and all our bags) but it also meant a box of chocolates because we had been so understanding and pleasant about the whole thing (I like to think it was my negotiating skills).

(A picture of Hilly and Lance finally getting to play in our new room)

After that we didn't have any problems in the hotel. In fact they were quite pleasant to us because of how politely we handled the situation. It just goes to show you, you do catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Eleventh Phase Report

Because I was out of town yesterday, I didn't get to post this.

Rocco 4Y13 LAB M 8

Rocky 4Y14 LAB M 8

Hermes 46Y1 LAB M 0

Hanalei LAB F Breeder Evals

Halette LAB F Breeder Evals

Hanalei and Halette won't show up on the phase reports unless they're dropped from Breeding. I really hope at least one of Hilly's sisters makes it as a Breeder. I did find out at Fun Day that she was the only female from the litter who was already dropped from Breeding, And since there is only one male in the whole litter that means she's in the minority. Oh Hilly... Anyway, let's go "H" litter!!!! And now to get this out...

Rocco's in 8! Rocco's in 8! Rocco's in 8!

Now we just play the waiting game...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mostly Wordless Wednesday

I'm pretty sure jumping and hopping is a Dylan Thing

(A video of Freya jumping straight up in the air while her handler sits on and watches)

(a video of Hilly hopping into the air. I tried to get it from the side because she looks just like Freya when she jumps but she wouldn't do it for me.)

Pictures of Fun Day will be up tomorrow evening (hopefully). Hilly and I and my stepmom are off to San Francisco tonight where my car will be serviced tomorrow morning, so if they're up tomorrow then it won't be until late.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Preview to Fun Day

Hilly and I got home from Fun Day early this evening. We are both absolutely exhausted! Haha! I'm going through pictures right now and figuring out what I want to write and when and all that stuff. I just thought I would let you know how fun Fun Day was this year! So much fun in fact, that we are going to bed right now. Hilly's already got a head start on me so I had better get to it. Before I do though let me just say how awesome Hilly is!

Also, a big shout out to Halette and Hanalei who both went back for Breeder evals today! Good luck girls! I hope when I get home I have Hilly's nieces (remember, no more males) to raise!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

18 Month Day

Yesterday Rocco turned 18 months old. I think it would have been cool to see that he was in phase 8 on his 18 month day, but again, we all know that the reports just weren't updated for those pups on the CA campus. ;-) Anyway, I really couldn't think of an 18 month thing for Rocco, so I just thought I would say how proud all of his Moms are that he's doing so well up at "doggie college". We're all waiting for that fateful call from Jim telling us that he's been matched with his blind/visually impaired partner. I hope his "in class" call comes at an interesting time like Freya's did.
Anyway...Happy Month Day Rocco!!! I can't wait to see my bouncy, cuddly, goofy, caring, smart, sweet, happy, sensitive, energetic, silly, brave, strong, kind, playful, focused, big, handsome, yellow boy again. Hey...that was 18 adjectives!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tenth Phase Report and Mostly Wordless Wednesday

The report came out a day early, so I really couldn't do my normal "Mostly Wordless Wednesday". Here's the bit of the report that I wish to report. Now you may say, "Erin, your boy jumped two phases and then held in one phase for two weeks. Doesn't that make it less of an accomplishment?" No it does not. If he needs an extra week to get out of 7 then that just means that there is something in that phase he needs a little extra help on. He still went through phase 6 real fast. And what I think happened is that the dogs that are at the California campus didn't get updated this week because Fun Day is this Saturday.

Rocco 4Y13 LAB M 7

Rocky 4Y14 LAB M 7

Havasu was unfortunately not on the phase report this week. :-( I'm trying to figure out what happened, because she was still only in medicals. Do I freak out when littermates have medical problems? Yes. But I'm sure Havasu is still having a blast and will be placed exactly where she's meant to be. Belle puppy EATON is in phase 4 this week!

Speaking about Belle puppies...this was going to be my Wordless Wednesday. :-) I know, she's adorable. This is a video of Freya grabbing onto one of her back feet. It's like she's saying, "I'm bored! My feet are itching to go somewhere."

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pauli Graduates

Hilly and I went to graduation this past Saturday. We went because we had a very special puppy graduating. No, no it wasn't Rocco. You'll know the moment I get the news that he's in class. He's only in phase 7 right now so he's got another phase to go before he's considered class ready. So, he probably won't be in this next graduation unless he's in the retrain class or involved in a Dog Swap. But there's a good possibility that he'll be in the August 27 graduation. Got my fingers crossed.

This graduation though Pauli was the star. Pauli came to Emily with a list of bad behaviours. Apparently, he never exhibited these behaviours with Emily. He was such a good boy for her and Emily did such a good job. In order to congratulate Emily on such a good puppy a few of us decided that we would go up and support her. This graduation was especially cool because it had all the youngsters graduating. They do one of these graduations a year where the graduates mostly range on the younger side. Pauli's new guy isn't in his thirties and there were others that ranged from 14-20. It was so cool to see these young people graduate as a team with their first dogs. And Pauli looked so great in harness!

We were so proud of Pauli and his new partner. They are now off, back to their home in Canada! Good job Emily on your work to raise a great Guide.

Now, on to brag about Hilly. There were so many dogs around. There were puppies in training and working Guides and breeders and new graduates around. Now, I was really worried about taking Hilly to Fun Day with no prior experience in a large crowd of dogs. I am no longer worried, because Hilly did awesome! She was totally focused and calm and well behaved. I'm so proud of her. We even saw a few German Shepherd Guides and they didn't bother her at all! Hooray!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Eighth Phase Report

Rocco 4Y13 LAB M 7

Rocky 4Y14 LAB M 7

Havasu 45Y7 LAB F 0

Look at those boys go!!!!!!! Do you guys remember last phase report when they were in 5? Well, they jumped two phases this week! Hooray!!!!! Go boys! Havasu is still on medicals so we're still rooting for her. Belle puppy EATON is in phase 3! Congrats to his raiser!

Still no word on Rocco and Rocky's sisters. Ah! Hope they're on the phase report soon!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mostly Wordless Wednesday

Hilly got a new toy today. I ordered a nylabone ring online as I was ordering a few other things for the dogs. She really, really likes it.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Whole Month

Well, yesterday was our month anniversary. Since I won't get to celebrate a year of being together with this pup, I thought I would take it month for month.

I knew when I agreed to take Hilly that I wouldn't have her for more than 2 1/2 months. I knew she'd either be going back to the campus for formal training at the beginning of September or she would have decided she didn't want to be a Guide by late August. Either way, I knew that she and I wouldn't spend all that much time together. With that in mind, I didn't think I would fall in love with her. I knew that I would love her (she's Freya's half sister so there's no way I couldn't love her), but I didn't think I would love her this much. But I do. I absolutely love the way she wiggles with her happy ears in the morning, the way she looks at me when she's trying so hard to be good, and the way she rolls on her back, jumps up straight in the air, and fluffs her pillow when she's excited.

I've seen so much improvement with Hilly over the past month regarding her dog distractions. At first, I'll be completely honest, I didn't think she could do it. My goal was to get her on a recall list, but I was fairly certain I would fail that goal. She was so bad when it came to other dogs. She'd hackle and whine and paw and lunge and, in general, go nuts. And what's worse is that she was stimulated easily so if there were noises or a strong wind or breeze going at the same time as she saw the other dog she'd be near impossible to control. Now, she's like a whole new dog. For a while there we would go off to the side and sit while the dogs passed us on our morning walks. Now we at the point where we can walk by dogs walking towards us without too many issues. She doesn't paw anymore or lunge. She does sometimes pull towards the other dog, but it's never jumping towards them anymore. About two weeks into our month together I thought I could get her on a recall list, but I wasn't sure if she'd make it very far in her training. Now, I'm almost positive that she'll make it to a graduation in harness. I've got at least another whole month with her, so she'll continue to improve and by the time she goes back in for training I'll be absolutely confident that she'll make me proud.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Forgot the Jacket

Well, I'm sorry to say that it's happened. In 3 years as a puppy raiser I never forgot the jacket no matter where I went. Even if I went to a pet store the jacket was always handy. Sadly...my 3 year streak has ended. Yesterday my brother and I were going out to our favourite Thai restaurant for lunch before going to a movie. As we step out of the car into the inferno that is the Valley of California during the summer I realised that I didn't remember putting Hilly's jacket into my purse. I didn't get too worried until I was sure it wasn't there. *face palm* I ended up going back to the house and grabbing the jacket while my brother ordered food and everything worked out just fine. But gosh! What if I had forgotten the jacket when going to the Aquarium or the Beach or somewhere else where I couldn't couldn't just drive home in 10 minutes.

Since there are so many other puppy raisers out there I'm sure I'm not the only one who has ever forgotten the puppy jacket when about to go out. So, my question to all you other puppy raisers is; what is your funniest story about a forgotten jacket?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Seventh Phase Report

Rocco 4Y13 LAB M 5

Rocky 4Y14 LAB M 5

Havasu 45Y7 LAB F 0

Hooray! There's a Hilly littermate on the phase report this week! Congrats to Havasu and her raiser and Good LUCK!!!! Belle Puppy Eaton is in Phase 2 this week!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mostly Wordless Wednesday

Hilly sitting in front of Sheep Creek. She was a good, little camper.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Hilly Update

Whenever I see that sort of sentence as an email header from Mary I always know it's bad news. I don't know why I'm going with it seeing as this really isn't bad news. It really is just an update.

Hilly is an amazing camper (and if you're a facebook friend you know she's a good dancer too!). The only thing that would have made Hilly a better camper is if she didn't' chase the chipmunks and squirrels and run after every dog that passed the campsite. But we're really working on that and she's made great strides (leaps really) in her dog issues. Good thing she doesn't have a bird issue like her half-sister Freya (I really hate comparing her to Freya, but they're really a whole lot alike that it's hard not to sometimes) because there were quite a few Blue Jays that thought our campsite was their campsite too (ok, I know it's their home, but you know what I'm trying to get at). Other than the small mammal and dog thing she was brilliant. She totally loved the freedom of the flexi leash and didn't take *too much* advantage of it. I have so many pictures that I don't know which to post. I figure I'll do a camping post sometime next week once I get all the pictures sorted.

Now, the real problem with Hilly is her inconsistency. Some days she's golden (well, I say golden but what I mean is there is minimal whining and no leaping towards the other dog) when she's around other dogs and some days she's an absolute train wreck (yesterday morning she was more than golden, this morning was more like a four train pile up). She's also pretty inconsistent about her alert barking and there is no way for me to set her up because it's only sometimes when some dog (no consistency in the specific dog, breed, or size) is outside and she's inside. The problem with this inconsistency is that I still don't know her relieving schedule. All you other puppy raisers and Guide Dog Users know how important good relieving is, but I just can't figure her out. Well, she's gotten it into her labby mind that she can poop (sorry for those of you with sensitive ears, but it's a big subject in puppy raising) whenever she wants to. Well, at least, in the afternoon I take her out to relieve before playing with Rosie outside and there's no sign of poop. As soon as she's off leash she goes. This is a big "no no" in terms of Guide behaviour. Guides need to have at least a hint of a relieving schedule and they need to go when given the opportunity...not when they feel like it (if they could go whenever we'd have a bunch of Guides in harnesses pooping all over the street).

Now, my club may be a little...OCD is the nicest way to put it, about relieving behaviours. This may be because we've had quite a few bad relievers in the recent past or it might be because Mary drills it into our heads that good relieving habits make good guide dogs (not always true, but it does help in the formal training process.) So, because I've learned from Mary, Hilly is now on a strict "No outside play without poop until I (and she) learn her pooping schedule" protocol.

That's all from Hilly's end.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sixth Phase Report

Rocco 4Y13 LAB M 4

Rocky 4Y14 LAB M 4

Hooray for Rocco! He caught up to Rocky! I'm so excited that they're half way through their training already. It's really hard to believe that that goofy boy I left back in April is on his way to becoming a Guide. Belle puppy Eaton was still in Phase 1 this past week and Belle puppy Eli should be back on the campus now.

A shout out to three of Hilly's littermates. Havasu is on this next recall and we wish her luck in her training. Halette and Hanalei are on the Fun Day recall. Good Luck to both of them as well. Hilly and I are so glad we get to see them before their formal trianing begins.