Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Quiet

Things will probably be pretty quiet around here for awhile. I've been quite sick for some time now. I won't go into all my symptoms but mostly my joints are killing me and I'm exhausted all the time. It could be as simple as my thyroid causing issues or something more serious. We get health insurance next week, then I have to find a doctor and get an appointment. Thankfully I haven't been working too many hours at work so I'm not killing myself. The only thing that could make me feel a little better?

Seeing this sweet face every morning again. Having my foot warmer and comforter as the weather turns colder.
He's always reminded me a bit of a clown, or jester, if you will. Due in part to his white face and goofy ears when he was little but also due to his traveling/sleeping bear. The bear can be seen in the background of the following pictures. He was a jester. When Eclipse was 4.5/5 months old he ripped the hat on the bear from playing tug with it and it had to be thrown away. However, he'll always be my little clown!
Even when he was ten weeks old, after the wreck, he knew when I simply couldn't get up and work with him a ton. He was content to lay at my feet all day, even at that tender age. Due to how intune we were with each other (for many many reasons that I'll delve into right now) I feel like my relationship with Eclipse is as close as I will ever get to knowing what the bond between a service dog and his handler feels like. It's something I'll cherish forever. I just wish I could feel that bond everday, for the rest of Eclipse's life. I only got to spend 4.5 months with the amazing boy, yet we accomplished and went through so much together in that short time. Those 4.5 months were probably the happiest months I've experienced in puppy raising, in regards to the dog I was working with, anyway. I would trade those months for nothing, having my very own caregiver, who I was also caring for. It was a give and take relationship, more so than any other relationship I've experienced, other than the one I share with Alex, of course ;-)


Charlie is getting neutered on Friday. He may spend the weekend here since it's quieter, but we shall see. I'm having a hard time bonding with him, partially because he's not here full-time but also because he's not Eclipse. It's similar to what I felt with Eola. My time with Eclipse wasn't finished, not in my heart, I never got closure. It'd impeding my progress in puppy raising. By the time I get a puppy of my own, I hope I'll be ready.


This is a long post to say it'll be quiet. Sorry. What I meant to say is; I feel really awful, am still working, still missing my caregiver and hope he's doing okay, Charlie's getting neutered Friday, some major changes may be coming up for Alex and I and it may be quiet on this blog for awhile.

I hope all is well with everyone, especially Eclipse.


Ally, Teddy & Kira (seems such an empty signature!) & of course, Eclipse in my heart!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

:-O Eleven!

Darling Eclipse, Eva, Eola and Echo (along with their three other siblings) turn 11 months old today!

It's strange. Feels like they shouldn't even be looking like they'll be recalled at this point yet Eclipse has been not with me, now as long as he was with me.

Happy 11 months, babies, you're growing up. I hope you all decide on your careers in your own time and go where you wish to be!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Doodledo

harlie got a new "do"! Okay, so his face just got a thorough clipping. It's not an outstanding job, but I was tired of his beard catching everything that got near his face. Not only that but he "doo'ed" in his crate last night. That was fun. Ah well, I'll just have Alex take him out more during the day so he'll respond better to him before it's bedtime.
He's definitely got a bit of a poodle personality though, he refused to go back in his crate until it was spotless. His face is also quite "poodle-esque" at times. Like this morning after I got home from work.
Another look at his "do" He was very excited and kept grabbing his leash so we traded the leash for his blue wubba.
A few play bows and hops around the room later it was chill out and cuddle time.
I attempted to take a nap, but was unsuccessful. Instead we introduced the "dress" behaviour. As soon as Charlie sees this He does this We got some good progress, clicking him putting his nose under the jacket but my signal that he's done? He lays down and looks at me. By this point it was time for his morning nap, but the kibble and liver treats in the bowl were enough to keep his eyes open for awhile The hair on his chin is crooked but he still detests being clipped (just with scissors, haven't attempted clippers again yet, I'm awful with those!) so we did what we could
That's all from here. And not even a mention of my darling Eclipse.

Ally, Teddy, Kira, Charlie & Eclipse in my heart

Life With Charlie

For me having Charlie around generally means one of three things; I have him at work at times, he's here with Coreena or I'm at Coreena's. Sometimes, albeit rarely at this point, he spends the night here.

This week, however, is a little different. A number of things are difficult for Coreena to work with him on due to Eva's influence. I also work very little this week (4.5 hours left for the entire week) so I have a lot of time to work with him. So, he's been here since early yesterday afternoon and will be here until further notice.

At this point he's doing well with relieving on-leash. He's not given an opportunity at this point to relieve off-leash. He's still not real responsive to Alex but will go every time I ask him to. His mouthing is getting better, although isn't where any of us would like him to be being five months old and all. He's doing tons better when it comes to mouthing us, he's still very mouthy with others though. When he goes to work on Thursday morning with me he'll be in his halti, just so I can manage his mouth.

He's gotten a haircut, nothing glamarous but we're trying to deal with his wiry, unruly hair as best we can.

He loves playing with Eva, but pretty well ignores my dogs as they refuse to play with him.

He wants to carry his leash Everywhere, at all times. He's sooo mouthy and wants something in his mouth at all times. He was driving Coreena and Max crazy by picking up and carrying everything at their house so I taught him to pick up his leash. Now he feels the need to carry it everytime we move. We're working on it, and he's coming along but it's slow progress. Sometimes he'll walk all the way to relieving area at work only trying to grab his leash once or twice. I've been trying to give him other things to carry, like a 3/4 full water bottle. Carrying that is a challenge for him as when the water shifts the balance is disturbed and he drops it. He's figuring it out though and will be a proficient water bottle carrier soon /wink/ His "get it", "bring it here" and "give" are pretty reliable at this point, as long as he knows what you're asking him to get. We haven't worked on "hold" because he wasn't wanting to "give" us things. His "drop" definitely needs work and we'll try to focus on it this week.

We introduced "dress" just a bit ago. I don't want to Lure him to dress, I want to shape it so there's not much progress here, at this point either. He's still at the point that when he gets frustrated with trying to figure out what I want he throws a "down". He'll figure it out soon and will be so much fun to train at that point.

His "come here" is pretty good, but could be better. "Come" hasn't even been introduced at this point. We want to get his "sit" and "down" to be a bit more solid before we introduce the formal "come". ("Come here" means come close enough to be to touch but in no particular position. "Come" means come to either my front or side and sit)

He walks well on a leash (besides wanting to carry his leash) although with this organization walking well on a leash simply means not pulling or being disruptive. Soon I'll introduce the "heel" and "side" commands, which aren't only the positions but also to walk with the handler attentively in that position. The desired response is more of an obedience style heel than say, what a guide dog is taught to walk like.

I'm not overwhelmed with teaching him at this point, because all he HAS to know when he goes back is the basics and his house manners. However, Coreena and I are both thinking we may eventually go back to raising guide dogs. The structure is much easier as a guide dog puppy should Never pick up something inappropriate whereas a service dog puppy just has to learn to drop it or give it on command. It gets frustrating at times. Especially with a certain little labradoodle in the house (and a few certain little goldens in the house before him).

Sunday, September 13, 2009

You'll Be In My Heart, Always

"Ally and Eclipse worked well together, they had an amazing bond and understood each other. They were the picture perfect example of a dog and his master."~A fellow Puppy Raiser

I have a new song for my heart dog, Eclipse. You'll Be In My Heart by Phil Collins. I love you, Baby. You will always be in my heart. Nobody can take that from us! It's something special, between you and me. Something indescribable. Something no one else will ever understand, besides you and me.

Love Always,
Your One and Only Mommy

Saturday, September 12, 2009

...

I don't even get to say goodbye to him!!!

Let's make this clear. I have done nothing wrong! At all.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Eclipse

was career changed.

He won't be coming home. Not due to any decision on my part.

Yes, I'm heartbroken.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Treats!

I've found my new favorite dog treat/toy website! Thanks to terrabean leaving a comment on Coreena's blog and giving us this website because now I am in love! I've been doing a lot of "research"... okay, so maybe not research, just figuring out what I want to buy /grin/

Thanks to a few different suggestions from a few different people (Emily (w/Ellis and Gelly), Bethany and another contact on facebook) the one I'm most looking forward to using is a food roll. The main one suggested is the Natural Balance Dog Food Rolls Lamb Formula. These food rolls are customizable treats (for my purpose) but have to be frozen and then what I would want to use for the week must be refrigerated. Bethany said they're best used within 3-4 hours of being out of the fridge or they spoil. Similar are the Redbarn Meat Rolls that if I decide to Really splurge from leerburg I may order but probably not /grin/. These I would use for more intricate commands, like a very nice "heel" or "side" (an attentive walk, what I would want to look like an obedience heel) as well as wheelchair commands when being introduced.

Next up are bite sized training treats, similar in size to Zuke's (hopefully without the gas inducing effect!). These treats would need frozen as well. First up? Soft Training Treats these have really impressed me due to their very low protein content. If Eva lives more than a year from now I may have to get some of this purely for Eva to still have a high value training treat she can have! Next up are Bravo! Bonus Bites, I like the idea of these freeze-dried treats. They don't appear to need frozen but there are a very vast variety of "types". Also needing frozen would be the Gimborn Pro-Treat Freeze Dried Chicken Liver Treats. These too would need frozen. I would probably only these treats if working with a poodle or not real food-motivated dog. It is likely I could get a standard poodle to raise, so I must be prepared, although I would like a labby first /grin/.

These next treats are Very high value treats, or would be for most dogs /grin/. They are salmon flavored and would be used sparingly as they are very expensive. Probably only used to hurdles, maybe for training a retrieve on a dog that's not a big retriever and for stressful situations. Grizzly NuTreats.

These next two I've already purchased. I purchased small, 4 oz packets of each to see which I prefer more. At this time I definitely prefer the Bil-Jac Gooberlicious Dog Treats. These are peanut butter flavored, so mixes it up from my normal liver flavor and are very soft. They are small to begin with but I can easily tear them into thirds and they are a good size for even little Remy. I also got the Bil-Jac Little Jacs Liver Treats. Their name is somewhat misleading in my opinion. They are actually quite large. Much larger than a Zuke's in fact. They're not as soft but still not a pain to rip in half. The dogs don't seem As in love with them though. We'll see how they fair when Charlie's here for a day or two learning new commands /grin/

And lastly, these are not treats at all but something I want to get from leerburg! These Clix Training Dumbells I want to use when refining the "Get It" command from something we say with toys to other objects. It'd be nice to have a designated object for it.

The treats that need frozen or refrigerated I won't be able to purchase or use at this time just because I want to not use up all my parent's fridge space. Once we are able to move out on our own (come on Alex's unemployment!) I'll definitely be stocking up some frozen treats though!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Treats?

Now that I'm back in the mindset of being a puppy raiser and not just caring for a sickly puppy I'm going a little nuts! Shown by three blog posts in one day /grin/ Between researching renal disease/failure and researching head collars (beside haltis and GLs) and training treats, I'm spending a lot of time online /grin/ That's okay though, since this the first two consecutive days I've been scheduled off in two weeks, although I've had a lot of days off in that time frame, two days are nice!

Anyway, for those of you that train with treats, specifically clicker training, what is your favorite type of treats to use? For Charlie and subsequent pups I need to find a high value (although not Too high value) soft treat that's easy to handle that doesn't cause really bad gas.

I have yet to try Bil-Jac treats, although I'm planning on it. I usually use kibble (I want higher quality) and Zuke's Mini chicken soft treats but they cause really bad gas and I use 101 liver treats but they're too big so I have to get smaller pieces before training.

Any opinions are very welcome! :-D

Doggie?

This little guy isn't with me right now /grin/ He's with Coreena getting some quality bonding in right now. Instead, I have a Very large 6/7 year old male golden staying with me for the weekend.
He is deathly afraid of linoleum so he's either in the backyard or the den. He's very well behaved but is a big dog who smells like a dog! Just helping out a friend by watching him for her, he'll be gone this afternoon but we've enjoyed having him here.

I forgot while I was watching Eva that we took a picture of her nudging the cupboard door shut. She caught on very quickly, I love clicker training! It takes the dogs to a much higher level of understanding much more quickly than a voice bridge can do.
As an example; I worked with Charlie on "down" over a period of two days with the clicker. We didn't start word association really until Friday. On Saturday at work he already had it generalized to downing on voice command only both inside and outside of work and we worked on maintaining that position until released. Next I think we'll work on his positioning and then probably "get it", "bring it here", "hold" and "give" although we'll work on the formal "come" as well as "watch me" during the same time frame. We've also begun setting the foundation for "tug" by playing with the fleece tug with him and clicking when he grabs it. I tell him "drop" while he's still holding it then give him a treat. He's got Maintaining things down! The hard part? Getting him to Not maintain it! He'll hold that fleece tug in his mouth even when taking a treat so we really need to get his "drop" down quickly. He also enjoys holding his leash, I think soon once he knows "get it" that we'll work on "get the leash" since he likes it so much. Oh and his "down"! When working with him on that it's somewhat difficult to get him to get Out of a down! I have to get all goofy and jump around while giving him the release command to get him to get up!

This is a video of Eva nudging the cupboard door shut. Yes, I look awful and please forgive the laugh, Rizzo was in the cupboard door and Eva just kept pushing on it! Poor Rizzo! Eva's learned that the sound of the door shutting is what she's looking for so she just keeps nudging until she can hear it shut!
video

Friday, September 4, 2009

Poor Little Guy

A couple weeks ago when we took all the dogs (Teddy, Kira, Eva and Rizzo) up to the school to run off-leash Teddy tore his foot pads practically off, on all four of his feet. We put him in the crate to relax and take care of them for awhile. He took care of them by pulling off all the dead skin! Yes, now I can clean them! So we carried him to the forbidden living room, hi Mom, and put bag balm on them. He then got his lovely baby socks on his feet. Poor little guy was in pain!
He hates being carried and on his back on furniture and was calm with Coreena on the chair and Asked to be picked up when we were coming home.
Doesn't he just look miserable?

On to happier topics now. I'll try to keep the last couple posts the last depressed/ing ones about my love for and loss of Eclipse.

Happy Friday everyone, even though we have to work tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Guess What Else

I get to use my Favorite training tool with the silly Charlie!

That's right, Coreena's raising for an organization that Truly uses positive reinforcement and allows their raisers to clicker train the pups. We can teach Charlie as many or as few (within reason) commands as we would like while Coreena's raising him. Yes, that includes advanced commands! Charlie LOVES picking up and carrying things so I think one of our first, besides sit, down and go in, will be the retrieve series (Get it, hold it, bring it here, give) as he picks up Everything!

I still love the difference between 40 lb 22 week old Charlie and 3 lb 11 week old Remy (who isn't really a dog in my mind... but that's just me! People think he's a cat all the time!)
There have been a few times where Charlie pounces/bats at Remy and we fear for the little guy's life! Charlie's feet are almost as big as the little one!

Today Charlie got a golden ticket to go on an adventure. First stop, the vet! He got his third series of shots and his rabies, so now he's legal! Coreena plans on a trip to the dog park this week sometime with her pooches! Then we went to Wal-Mart to see if they had a clicker I'd be interested in.... Of course not! Although Charlie did phenomenal and when some (kind of crazy) lady was petting him he didn't mouth and just laid down and enjoyed it!
Then we went to both Petco and the Mini Pet Mart and neither had anything I'm interested in either... online time! Although at the Mini Pet Mart he got to pick a toy, although I vetoed his choice! He wanted a blue stuffed dog that eventually he will get, once (if) he shows us he's not going to de-stuff all his stuffed toys! Instead I picked out, and he approved, a dark blue wubba.
Once we got home he carried it around and it was oh so adorable for awhile but after he got a drink of water it was definitely nap time!
He got left alone for the first time since arriving. Alex and I ran to the store but Charlie was so tired we decided to leave him. He broke in the new crate nicely and didn't chew or scratch it at all!
While there we had to get Virgil's Root Beer in honor of Martha's house guest!
We also got Charlie another toy (I know, we're so bad!) a green bee! He hasn't interacted with it yet but I'm sure he'll love it!
Here Charlie still is.... I think he's enjoying his nap time!
OH, and I've decided on the organization I'll be raising for. Now I just need to let them know when I'll be ready for a puppy AND find a bandana that will match a burgundy jacket!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Charlie!

Is such a very endearing, sweet puppy!
I'll admite, the texture of his hair makes him look somewhat terrier-ish!
Yesterday we were able to trim just a bit of the hair around his eyes but the clippers and scissors made him very nervous so instead he made a very good decision about leaving my dinner alone /grin/
He sits very funny, arching his back and tucking his rear in... he's also got Crazy hair on his back and chin
He's very calm, though and mostly content to lay around and watch things or sleep.
He's not much smaller than 10 month old Eva, although she's not a big dog, he's not even five months old yet!
He went to work today. My first time having a job where a pup could accompany and a pup around I could take!
He did awesome while with me at my desk. Made me very comfortable with having a dog there. He chewed on this orange bone for maybe 30 seconds and the rest of the time....
did more of his favorite past time... sleeping!
His adorable puppy bib! Yes, it's got some stains on it but they're not as obvious in person! Apparently they're from the Advantage that Coreena administered that morning... They're gone now!
After Coreena's team meeting was mine. When I went in the break room I couldn't pass up this picture, although I do wish I had a better camera to use ;-)
So calm with people talking all around him!
I took him on a very short walk (probably a half mile) on my lunch and when I brought him back I went up to Coreena and he immediately went under her desk, sat while I took photos then layed down and went to sleep!
During my lunch I got the news that I could go home early due to low call volume (I have a seeming infection that I'm trying to fight off... missed 1.5 days of work since Friday) so I went and got Charlie's stuff out of Coreena's car and we hit the road. This picture was taken after we got to my house
He was introduced to Teddy and Kira immediately, they did well together, he completely ignores them, which is perfect!
Then I took all four dogs outside. Charlie greatly appreciated the opportunity to relieve himself off-leash (we're working hard on getting him comfortable doing so on leash but it takes time) then he ran around exploring. I love the size difference between 22 week old Charlie and 11 week old Remy.
Emily loves dogs of all sorts and knows that the dogs wearing a jacket means they can go in stores with us. I put Charlie's bib on "her" wolf (it's actually Alex's /grin/) and she loved it! Although it swallows the wolf so she calls it his blanket /grin/
Charlie was so calm around the other dogs I was able to poop scoop the whole back yard in peace. Then we played some ball with a soft football and he was done with expending energy /grin/ I wish I could get a good shot of the Size of his feet!
Although he's not technically "my" puppy for the next 13/14 months he's certainly "half mine" as we are unofficially co-raising him. I Love working with dogs on their obedience and such and enjoy spending time with PITs. He's a good boy, I can't wait til I'm in a good position to raise a pup of "my own" again!