Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Head Collars *Edited*

I know some raisers don't use, don't like or can't use head collars with their pups but I find them helpful and sometimes necessary in certain situations. I tend to use them quite regularly, although Charlie isn't in one much at this point.

I like to have a head collar that not only fits a puppy but matches his personality. Eclipse was in the blue Gentle Leader and it fit his personality perfectly, I love blue on that boy more than any other color! Eola was in a purple Gentle Leader, again, it certainly fit her personality. (They were in head collars for very different but equally necessary reasons)

The next puppy will be required to be comfortable in a head collar in case his future handler needs to work him in one. That being said, I want a head collar that not only fits him correctly but matches his personality. Gentle Leaders don't fit all dogs' faces, neither do Haltis, it's something that has to be assessed and determined over time with a pup as it can change with age as well. I like Haltis for certain dogs and I like how the neck strap doesn't have to be as tight and is easier to put on for me. However, I do not like how Haltis only come in black, for the most part.

So I did some research. I'm definitely getting an orange Gentle Leader for the little guy and possibly a red one. I could have swore I remember there being burgundy Gentle Leaders but I can't find any information on them. North Star (where Boots is from) has burgundy listed as a color for Gentle Leaders but when I go to add it to my cart it's a martingale. If I want to buy them I'll contact them to see if they do in fact have burgundy Gentle Leaders. I found a place in Australia that has Haltis in five colors and when the pup gets here and a Halti is needed I'll order a very pretty Halti for him.

If you want to know the link(s) let me know, I have them.

What do you consider when putting your pup in a head collar? Just fit or which head collar you personally prefer, is color of the collar important to you, etc?

Here's the link for the Haltis. http://www.worldforpets.com.au/products/product_detail.asp?ID=1893
This store has all the available GL colors in kits for amazingly cheap. http://www.bestfriendsgeneralstore.com/unique_dog_toys_c/401_GLH1/Gentle+Leader+Dog+Headcollars

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Since the organization I plan on raising for has the pups worked in headcollars the majority of time (not a requirement but strongly suggested) I'm looking around for some options.

I have a blue medium GL and a purple medium. Of course the blue on can be used, if it fits the pup's face. I also have a black size 2 Halti. I don't really want to use the blue GL on the new pup if I can avoid it, because it's Eclipse's.

I'm looking for somewhere to purchase colored Haltis. They tend to fit most dogs' faces better, in general, and I'm pretty well set on GLs if I need them. Not to mention they have a specific website where they can be ordered.

You guys were so terribly much help when I was looking for good training treats to use so I figured you'd be the ones to ask. Any place you know of that I can get an orange, red, green, burgundy, etc halti?

Thanks, all!

Ally, Teddy & Kira

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Things on the planning front for moving are going well. We have 1/3 of our deposit paid at this point and we're paying the other 2/3 on Friday. We have a lot of furniture lined up including a new couch set, a washer and dryer (thanks Coreena and Max!), a bedroom set we're buying from Coreena and Max, a mattress set we're getting from my in-laws and the furniture we have now. The bed we're using we're leaving here, the dresser is going to Coreena and Max as is our sectional. The sectional would fit in the new place but I think would be a little overpowering and I wouldn't like it. The couch and loveseat are (a very pretty) floral print which I'm not a big fan of. The couch and our big chair will go in the living room, we'll get a slip cover for the couch and the loveseat will go in the office, again with a slip cover on it. Things are coming together for the move. We're not real avid packers, but we'll get there. We are helping friends move this weekend, we're planning on moving next weekend. All is well. Once we move in and settle we'll get a small pantry for the dining room for additional storage and a table that will fold up, but the table won't be any time soon probably. Also on the To-Do list before the move: Strip Teddy and Kira's coats!

Ally, Teddy & Kira (who are eager for the move)

Friday, October 16, 2009


There was a suggestion to elevate Charlie's bowl to lessen the coughing/gagging and it has worked. He's also eating out of a bigger bowl and the food is floated, which he seems to enjoy. It's not helping him eat much faster but we'll come up with a solution so he doesn't take up all our morning time eating.

I think I'll drop his food back down to 5 cups a day versus 6. He's not putting on any significant amount of weight with the extra cup of food but his output is definitely increasing. We'll see how he does on five cups with added goodies throughout the day.

Thanks again for all the suggestions! I really appreciate it!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

More Photos

Of course I have tons more photos of Eclipse's visit with me. Around 125 photos and videos to be exact ;-)

They can be viewed here

It is private though, so if you'd like to view them send me an e-mail at lets_see_here (at) hotmail (dot) com

If you're not a regular reader of my blog and/or your blog isn't in my blogroll please let me know who you are and where you're from, then I'll decide if I'm comfortable giving you the password.



Charlie's eating 3 cups twice a day now, he needs to put some weight on! Who knew a doodle would eat so much at 6 months!?!

This morning, I timed him. He eats VERY slowly. This morning it took him 12 minutes to eat his breakfast. I don't always have time for him to spend 12 minutes eating and am wondering if anyone has any suggestions? He eats out of a smaller bowl, so I'll try one of the larger bowls today. He has tons of water right there, tonight I'll try soaking his food in water.

He gags/coughs while/after eating as well, which is strange to me since he eats sooo slow! Anyone have any suggestions. I know this isn't the normal eating issue we have as raisers, but we don't usually have crazy doodles either ;-)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Big Day

For Charlie-Moe!

He, of course, joined us at work today. He chilled under whoever's desk he was at, like he always does. On lunch we challenged him a bit though. I worked with him on "tugging" with his leash (he only does so on command), walking with me while carrying his own leash and without me holding onto it. We also worked on "get your leash", "bring it here", "hold" and "give" at work. He's doing well. If I ask him to get his leash he picks it up near the handle and will hand it to me.

Of greater consequence though was I tested his knowledge of the "tug" command. I tied his leash to the door at work, entered the password to get in and asked him to tug. I held it open so I wouldn't have to re-enter the password but tug he did! Soon we will begin working on tugging objects around with the fleece, opening the fridge and introduce "nudge".

I got off work early and had to go get a new license (that was okay, but I hate the DMV today! Stupid rise in fees!) and Charlie went. He did fantastic, Alex held him while I took care of my business and he sat quietly and unobtrusively. Many people commented on his stellar behaviour. I even let him pick my debit card up off the floor and he's doing amazing at that, even on a linoleum floor. We introduced it with my license since the plastic was peeling and it prevented him from getting frustrated.

We also went through the big bad scary tire center at Wal-Mart. He did okay, was unsure but did well. Another thing we need to work on is things touching him from behind. It won't take long between Alex and me to get him used to that. I regularly grab the pups' tails while walking to desensitize them, Alex is just a brat and teases them to distract and challenge them.

Now, it's chill time. Tomorrow, if I can force myself to, we'll work on walking in the rain. The first time it rained on him he kept looking around trying to see what was touching him. Time to desensitize him to that, although now that the rain has started, he'll get used to it quickly for it won't stop until next late spring!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Secret Is Out

I have a secret I've been keeping from you all.

I was allowed to see Eclipse before he left, but it was a secret. I swore I wouldn't post about it.

Here's what happened.

As you all know, September 10 I got an e-mail stating that a final decision had been made on Eclipse's future. He would live with Joy and be a therapy/demo dog for JLAD. He would not graduate as a working service dog.

I asked if I would be allowed to see him. I was told no. I left it at that, didn't say anything about it other than my blog post stating I wasn't going to be allowed to say goodbye.

The following Monday I got a text at work asking if I wanted to see him to say goodbye, I did. I spent a few short moments with him behind a car, getting my "last" cuddles in with him and kissing his nose. Around 11 a.m. I got a phone call saying that due to my obvious true and deep love for him, if I promised to not post about it, I could have him at my house for a couple hours. I readily agreed.

Eclipse spent two blessed hours here with me and my family, and we loved every minute of it. He was so happy here. It was obvious to me that a career change was a good choice for him, having worked with him since he was 9 weeks and knowing the issues he's had ever since his arrival as an SDIT.

Right after his arrival. I told you he was ECSTATIC to be here

Prancing with his duck. Look familiar?

Being handsome in his favorite place to chill. Should look familiar again

He was telling me how happy he was, we were deep in conversation

Again deep in conversation. I was assuring him he could always come home if the opportunity presented itself. That still holds true to this day.

A happier dog you would be hard put to find, than Eclipse when he's home. A happier girl you'd be even harder put to find, than me when Eclipse is home.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Soundness And Socializing. What, really do they have to do with each other? Some dogs are naturally confident, others not so much. What issues like sound sensitivity, traffic over-awareness, stress on outings, overall "softness" are caused by inappropriate socialization?

Some will argue none of them are. Others may wonder what I'm refering to.

Too much socialization, too early, can cause soundness issues. How much is considered too much depends on the dog and type of socialization. GDB puppies are allowed to go in public at varying ages, depends on the club. Locally, it's immediately. Others have to wait until they're 16 weeks of age.

Iverson didn't go on many outings as a baby baby puppy. We went to club meetings and maybe a small store every now and then but we were careful to follow the socialization guide in the manual. He got plenty of practice behaving in jacket at home and on walks. It didn't help that we were in school full time and he couldn't go, but he did go to work with our mom at the dealership. He did well there, no fear reactions. Iverson was a very sound puppy, confidence was not something he was lacking. He could have handled going out in public more as a pup. The question is, would it have been beneficial? If we'd taken him to an overwhelming place during a fear period, his soundness could have been compromised and it could have taken much time to rectify, if at all.

We didn't do this on purpose, it's just how it worked out. As first time raisers, we didn't know this from experience. I may give fear periods a bit much power, however, I don't believe so. Below are two pictures of Eclipse being held after the wreck. In the first one you can see how tight I am holding him (sorry for the quality, these are cropped out of the backgrounds of photos of the scene). In the second one Coreena is holding him (Eva was there too but someone else had her) he's obviously not comfortable at this point. There were cop cars, firetrucks running and an ambulance, not to mention the emotion charged air. He was in a fear period at this time, I believe. He had confidence issues when he arrived, but I'm sure the wreck didn't help his overall soundness at all. I strongly feel that his later fear of cars was not due to the wreck, but I digress.

Three weeks later we got their jackets. Eclipse did fine on the short, unassuming outings we took him on. He went to quiet, small stores with us. You may remember he also accompanied us to the mall. In this case, I don't think it was too much for him. He was happy and relaxed and our mall is extremely small and quiet. I don't think the mall here would be overwhelming for even the most insecure dog in training.

We also took him and Eva to a restuarant. Looking back on it, that restuarant may have been a bit loud/busy for these particular puppies but we can't change it now.

I'm sure most, if not all, of us have taken a pup on an outing that we later wish we hadn't. These few occurences aren't what affect a dog's soundness. What does is the constant, immediate high-stress/energy/stimulation outings that some raisers subject their puppies to.

GDB says warehouse stores like Costco (or scaled down in this area, Big Lots even) are reserved for puppies, I believe, five months and over. Some raisers ignore that and take their 8 week old puppies in, just have them sit in the shopping cart. While sitting rather than walking can lower the chance of over-stimulation on a puppy, it's not by much, especially not in a situation like Costco with people everywhere, items stacked to the ceiling, the echos, the machines, the smells, etc.

Other organizations say amusement parks, fairs, circus' are out until the pups are a year or older.

Each organization has different policies, but each of them are for a good reason. With guide dog organizations (especially GDB) breeding softer dogs, early socialization is even more important than it was even five years ago. A soft puppy can require special handling but also special socializing.

Is it appropriate to take any 8 week old puppy to the grocery store the minute you get them home? Possibly. What certainly is appropriate is giving the 8 week old puppy time to adjust to living in a home, relieving on leash and learning to interact with humans much more exclussively than before. When they seem to be adjusted it's appropriate to introduce them to riding in cars (if not earlier), wearing their jacket (if not earlier) and walking around the outside of a quiet store. The doors, windows, displays outside the store, shopping carts, parking lots is plenty for a young puppy, maybe a bit much. If the pup is fine maybe it's okay to walk inside the door a little ways, then sit and watch the activity. If not, find a spot outside and chill there, letting the pup take it all and get comfortable with it.

Does it take time? Yes. Does it contribute to returning more sound dogs to training? Certainly.

Outings should start out short, sweet and fun if possible. Only after the pup is completely comfortable in public should outings become long, challenging and very active.

Our end goal is to return a balanced, sound, comfortable dog to the organization for training. Routine (to begin with), a slow, comfortable introduction to public and regular socializing contribute to that. Remember, being in a home with humans, vaccuums, dishwashers, washers and dryers, running water, bathtubs, vehicles, etc IS socialization. Socializing starts at home, progresses to neighborhood walks (some people don't agree, but depending on the neighborhood it's fine for a pup to walk on the pavement before they have all their shots, much safer than going to petco), outside a quiet store, inside a quiet store/coffee shop where the pup can sit and watch, walking a short time in a store (say a quiet video store) and progressively longer, harder, more stimulating situations. (work is generally a different story depending on the dog/work environment)

A puppy shouldn't be expected to go into a home, learn commands and go on full-blown outings that they'll be going on when working all at once. If socializing is taken slowly, easily and according to the puppy organizations will be getting more sound dogs in for training, the dogs will have a greater chance of graduating and everyone will be happier. *Edit* Thank you to Penelope and Brianna's raiser for pointing out that on the flipside it's important to listen to the puppies no matter their age. Evett wasn't able to go on the easiest outings even though she was 5.5/6 months. You shouldn't take a puppy on an outing that could be detrimental to them, no matter their age and no raiser should be looked down on for listening to their puppy. Thank you, Brianna's raiser!

I didn't come up with this on my own. Kimberly with Rufus mentioned that at a guide dog conference many of the organizations mentioned they're seeing soundness issues due to inappropriate/too early socializing of their puppies.

Even long time raisers need reminded every now and then that socializing needs introduced, starts at home and should be slow and painless, not rushed and immediate. I forgot this when I got Eclipse and while I don't regret it and there's nothing I could have done to prevent the wreck, I will certainly remember it for the next little one that graces my life.

If you have anything to add/say please feel free to comment. Socializing is a big part of our jobs as raisers and it should be discussed every now and then ;-)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The word

The landlord called me yesterday while I was at work and said we're approved to live there like he knew we would be (it helps to be clean and nice when looking at places to rent!) and while he'd be out of town until Tuesday when he gets back we can put some of our deposit down to reserve it until our move-in date.

The place isn't ready to move into just yet, the carpets need steam cleaned and the paint needs touched up (and the weeds in the yard need cut down, I'm gonna see if I can put rock back there instead). Next weekend we're out of town (can't move in then) but if it's ready by the 24/25th we may move in then! All we need to do is buy a bed and we're good to go!

I have some "creative thinking" to do to expand the kitchen capacity (a buffet or shelf/cupboards of some sort) and still have a table and room to move around but all is well!

The sooner we move in the sooner I can apply for a lab puppy from CST! :-D

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sooner than..


I should be able to get a puppy within the next couple months. Why? Because we applied for a duplex today, only one road over from where we live now. We're unofficially approved to move in, will officially be approved in the morning. Move in date? Around the first! It's so cute! It's small, two bedrooms but our furniture will fit, our dogs will fit and we can raise there. How do I know? I asked! He does not care, as long as people don't complain.

The best part? Not only will it just be us and our dogs again, but it has a sliding glass door to a little fenced in area for Kira to potty in! I can't wait!

Like Coreena said, Moe is six months old today! His retrieve is probably his strongest behavoir, he picked up my license today and has picking up cards off linoleum down to an art! We are definitely working through some um... hesitancies he has at the moment (yes, I realize that's not a word) but he's in a fear period, it's to be expected.

I can't wait to have a puppy of my own again. While I'm sure some of you are concerned about my attatchment to Eclipse, don't be. Eclipse will always have a special place in my heart and a spot in my home if he's allowed to come home. However, my love for him does not inhibit my ability to work with, love or train other dogs.

I hope I can prove that to anyone doubting me when my, hopefully, black lab puppy gets here within the next few months.

Ally, Teddy & Kira (ready to move out on our own again, with Jax of course!)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A New Puppy?

Charlie-Moe looks like a new puppy! A few old pictures to begin with.

After clipping his face Alex and I curled up on the floor with Charlie to watch House, when we left Charlie decided the unused pillow was his. At work yesterday Charlie was working like a dog

He loves carrying stuff, especially water bottles (and since we were using my leather leash yesterday he got to carry stuff to prevent him from grabbing the leash) but when they are 3/4 or so full they're difficult to hold. As soon as he moves it falls out of his mouth. He's getting better about it and is learning to hold it more to one side and balance it so the water doesn't slosh around. On our walk at lunch there were two men on a roof putting in a window. Charlie was quite concerned, worried ears, quick walk, watching them, blowing his lips, etc. We worked through it, I just wish I'd had some goodies with me! I love the labbie forehead wrinkles!
Just a sweet picture of him cuddling with my feet at work.
After work (shaped up to be a busy day for us!) we worked more on Charlie's do! Here he is helping me clip his foot. Yes, my cheeks are very red! No, Charlie wasn't helping at all! :-D He's getting better with the clippers though, holds still for the most part! I got a strange burst of energy last night and found it hilarious to "pin" back Moe's ears. It gives his face a very entertaining look! (Okay, so I rubberbanded them loosely and he left them like that) I LOVE the crossed feet, he does it all the time, but with his more poodley feet now it's even cuter!
:-DFirst thing this morning I clipped Charlie-Moe more. I got him almost all finished in one sitting but had to take a break before finishing up his back feet (he didn't enjoy them being clipped for some reason). He also got his nails clipped and brushed out. Now, I think he's adorable!
He definitely looks like a new puppy, but I assure you, he's the same goofy Moe!
I love the combination of the labby face with those prissy poodle feet!
Labby wrinkles, mostly labby face, poodle/labby ears, prissy poodle feet!
A close up of his prissy feet! Yes, his nails are crooked like a poodles even, and some of them have black lines on them like Loden's did do! :-D
As for a new puppy for me? I've decided I'll request a lab puppy from CST. I'll raise that puppy and see how it goes. If it goes well CST is my new home. If not, my options are still open with 3-4 other organizations I'm interested in raising for. Hopefully the lab will be here before Charlie leaves /wink/

Ally, Teddy, Kira, Charlie (in the crate upstairs, time alone is important) and maybe a new labby? ;-)

Monday, October 5, 2009


You may remember when "Moe" arrived this is what he looked like...
Then he got his scissor cut "doodledo" and looked much cuter (and Cleaner!)
This picture was taken today, just short of two weeks after his scissor clipping. Yes, his hair is CRAZY again, no I don't like it.
So we got brave and brought out the clippers. Here he is after I was able to clip just his right eyebrow and cheek...
and after preliminary clipping on the right side of his face. Yes, he was less than thrilled with me. Yes, he's on two tie-downs, otherwise he was hopping around=danger!
After going over his whole face and some of his head. His ear "fluffs" and 'stache are still present, along with crazies on his head
After I clipped some more, his face got cleaned up, his 'stache disappeared, his hair crazies were dismissed and I gouged his forehead (oops! first time shaving a dog like this)
Then his ear hairs were scissor trimmed just a bit and then he looks Very lab-like. Here at least.
Almost eerily like Loden. This is the best pic I could find for the angle, although Loden still looks very puppyish in it. With age his nose lengthened. Trust us ;-)
At other times/angles he looks very poodle-esque
I promise, he's a lab/poodle cross, not an Appaloosa with his apple butt! (It's just slightly out of proportion *wink*)

Hopefully tomorrow we'll be able to trim up his neck/throat, back and feet. Then his true genetics will be shown. I think he'll look more poodley than ever, but we shall see!

What I love about Charlie-Moe: He randomly gives you kisses to let you know he loves you. He grabs your arm/shirt/pants when he's overly ecstatic to see you, Bad but makes you feel loved! We're working on it. And he tolerates my picture taking and random spurts of energy to try and make him look decent. I Want him to look like a poodle, but he's not really complying!

Ally & a sleeping Moe-Char! (Although he may go back to Charlie being all clean-cut like he is!)

Sunday, October 4, 2009



He's been here since Friday evening, recovering from a slight surgery located between his back legs. No particular reason for the nickname, other than that's what I call him. He looks like a Moe, no? ;-)
Since Eva is such an instigator and gets him riled up he's been here recovering and just hanging out. He's been doing a lot of sleeping, vomiting (Okay, so he's only vomited once and not from the surgery, past few times he's been here he's thrown up after each big meal [and he eats SLOW] but doesn't do it at Coreena's so he's getting smaller meals for now) and squeaking of the crab/lobster.
He's a doll, although we're still working on some of his issues (mouthing, jumping, picking up Everything). He's responding better to Alex when it comes to relieving but still has some improvement to make. I have yet to decide if he'll be at work tomorrow or not. Probably since I'm going to Attempt working my full shift, but we shall see.
That's all from here. I'm so happy for all of you who's pups decided they don't want to work and have been allowed to return/stay home where they belong in the past week or so. While I'm slightly jealous and feeling s bit of self-pity if makes me so happy for you and your puppies not only that you were listened to but that the bond was recognized and honored! Congrats to all of you and your new pets. The service dog community makes my heart swell during times like this, dogs being where they belong, whether it be working in service or as pets!