Monday, January 31, 2011

Another Amazing CAST Outing

Saturday, the 29th was yet another amazing outing with the CAST gang!
We started out at the kennels to take advantage of the environment for a handler-training exercise. It was very intriguing and really makes ya think about how we interact with our dogs.
 While one or two dogs were being worked with the others were in the play yard having a ball of fun. Tiki was the youngest there, the others were Comet, Galaxy, Wyatt, Terra and Jackson for a short time (he's getting neutered soon, but as always Tiki proved too enticing for the poor guy).
 Comet looked very pleased with herself after she was done being practiced with.
 Terra, as always, is one of my favorites to photograph. She's just so endearing and so gorgeous!
 Then, of course, the monster of the group. Of course she's not the largest of the group that was there, although she'll likely be bigger than any of them other than maybe Tundra but he wasn't in the play group.
 After playing and practicing for awhile we dressed the dogs and went out in the driveway and practiced "sit"s and "down"s for a short time. Terra has quite the entertaining "down". Sphinx explains it very well!
 Tiki being a good girl, as always.
 Comet looks uncomfortable in her gear here but once we loosened her harness a bit she looked much more comfortable.
 Then we took a walk down the drive and up a different one. Our destination... Meeting these fellas.
 Needless to say, Terra wasn't a big fan. In fact, none of them were to begin with. If you think about it, it's really not surprising. These giant heads are sticking out of the wall and move and make noise, what in the world!?!
 Tiki and Galaxy investigated the horse in his stall for a moment, but Tiki quickly lost her nerve.
 Then we followed Sandy, the horse (Rondy I think was his name), and Terra outside. Sandy walked Rondy around the group and had Terra on her other side. It worked very well and Terra quickly got over her initial fear.
 Of course the advanced training dogs (plus Tundra) couldn't be left out. They observed us the whole time.
 After Terra got a bit more brave it was Comet's turn. She wasn't so thrilled to begin with.
 Although she quickly gained some confidence and even licked Rondy's leg! Here she and Galaxy look like the sisters they are, just observing him as he eats.
 Then it was Galaxy's turn. It was very cool to see how each dog handled being so close to Rondy! Some showed A LOT of appeasement  behaviours, head turns, lip licking. Here Galaxy looks like she's mimicking Rondy, but I think it's how she dealt with being so close to him, letting him know in her own way that she was not a danger.
 Terra and Wyatt did well, in fact shortly after this photo Terra play-bowed to Rondy. Although, as Sandy said, it would have been shocking if he'd have play-bowed back!
 A woman, a dog, and her horse. Does it get any better?

Jackson was highly aroused. Sandy was able to get him calmed down, though. Jackson is the same sweet boy that was up here, although he seems more confident now. He's also filled out a lot and looks GREAT!
 We then worked on "up" and "jump" on a box. We also did "up" on a folding camp chair, which are great commands for confidence building. While Tiki and I weren't working on that we worked on getting her more comfortable in the barn with the "creepy" heads. The picture below is a perfect example why I'm going on a diet! (Thanks, Sandy, for the picture! It's amazing how seeing yourself in a picture motivates you to lose weight!) Shortly after this picture we also worked on "up" and "jump" on a box to help distract her from being scared. We also incorporated some "nudge"s and "sit"s. Amazingly enough, it worked wonders! In fact when we were walking down to the end of the barn to work on building confidence using a stack of hay bales she got a bit of the zoomies!
 We hadn't planned on going all the way to the top of the stack but Tiki was doing well and I'm used to climbing giant stacks of hay bales from working with the elephants, so we ventured all the way to the top. Comet quickly followed and it turned into an idea for a photo opportunity. The only good picture is this one, and it's not only because I think it's a decent picture of me either! (It doesn't do Comet any injustice either!)
 In reality, this is the best of the rest of the group. The mobbed Coreena at the other end! In that mix are Terra, Wyatt, Galaxy and Comet, Coreena is, of course, behind/under them!
 Ha! There she is (and don't mind Comet sampling the hay). You can also see Sheila and Jackson. He lacked the confidence to get all the way up but thankfully there will be plenty of opportunity.
 Then we went back to the play yard and let them run around. Skylar and Hawk the American Indian Dogs joined us for a short time.
 Then we took Comet, Tiki, Galaxy, Terra and Tundra out to eat lunch with us. We went to a fantastic restaurant that offers almost everything as Gluten-free and it was so good! Tiki also did really well for her first restaurant outing, especially considering the four other pups under the table with her!

It was so much fun and I can't express my thanks to Canine Angels for embracing us and allowing Tiki and I to join them on their outings, without them Tiki wouldn't get nearly the range of experiences as they're offering us. Only three short weeks to our next outing and we can't wait!


  1. In response to your comment on our blog:
    Very interesting points to consider. that is very true non-puppy raiser organizations do have volunteers and I'm sure love the dogs, but puppy raising seems to have higher passing rate results and a better rounded puppy when turn-in time comes. The fact that many dogs are returned within six months of being placed is definitely a fact. I don't know if you're talking about dogs being raised returning to the organization or the graduate dogs being returned, but I'll take it both ways. I know multiple puppy raisers that have taken dogs that have been reclaimed by CCI. Many of the dogs were coming from puppy raisers that were not responsible and disregarded CCI's basic rules. Puppy Raising has problems, but is very effective. I also know of quite a few CCI graduate dogs who have been returned for multiple reasons. Some of those reasons might have been instituted by the puppy raiser and sometimes teams are mismatched and just don't work out. The organization that I was using as an example was Canine Assistants and I have high respect for their program and mission. I just think that puppy raising programs are more effective. I am not saying that puppy raising is the only way to go, just that it has worked great for CCI, GDB, SEGD, KSDS, and many other guide and service dog organizations.

    Sorry for the length,
    Elijah & Dembre

  2. Love the pictures, looks like a fun meeting!
    Rudy really enjoys living on a farm... as he gets to see many different animals, daily! (including horses).

    Rudy's Raiser