Sunday, May 20, 2007

Love at First Sight?

(And yes, the one on the right is ours. The one on the left we had to give back.)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Lights Are On....

and someone's home!

Voight "got it" at 12 mos. Liam "got it" at six months. Tai is "getting it" but he's still very much a baby, truly too young to "get it". And then there's Paige.

Those of you who are veteran puppy raisers will attest - there is a time when the pup just all of a sudden just "gets it". It's the "OH, you don't WANT me to chase birds/ cats/ my tail/ socks" realization where the lightbulb above their head suddenly begins to shine.

Paige had a puppyhood that was less-than-optimal. For those our readers who are new, Paige was given to us at 12 mos of age, and as sweet as she was, she didn't know much. She didn't know to wait for her food, not to rush out the front or back door (did we mention we live on a very busy street?), and would pick up socks as readily as a toy. She learned quickly however, and here we are, six months later.

She gets it. In my mind, she "got it" when I (Amy) took her to Westwood with me for my class at UCLA this past Tuesday. After the first time she went with me, I didn't think I'd bring her back. She pulled and pulled, and discovered what pigeons are ("Oooh, what are those? I like those, can I chase those?") and would NOT get busy. This week, she was a very different dog. She didn't pull half as much (she still does and probably always will, which will cease to be a problem when they put her in harness), and while she LOOKED at the pigeons, no attempt was made to break forth and conquer said birds. She went under the table without being told while I studied before class, and laid under my chair during class. She also gave very sweet kisses to my prof, proof that she's looking out for me and my grades too!

Beyond that, her recall has improved tremendously, even with Tai hanging from her neck. And FINALLY, she learned the formal "come". I'm not sure how other schools do it, but when our dogs are told come (especially on leash) they are expected to come to your left side, turn around and sit, facing the same direction you are. (This is so the graduate knows where the dog is when they put the harness on.) This was another thing Paige did not know when she came to us. Fortunately, Matthew teaches the formal come extremely well, and Paige learned the come and turn around part. She would never sit. So Tuesday, as we got into the elevator at UCLA, I told her, "Paige, come". She turned around, looked at me, and sat.

"OH, you want me to SIT at the end of this command. I can do that!"

Yes, all. The lights are on, and someone's home.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Growin' Up Indeed!

Well, the little boy is passing developmental milestones all over the place. We don't think he can open his mouth without at least one tooth falling out (Amy HATES it when they lose teeth) and now this - Tai went with our friends Nancy and Ann to the goodbye party for one of the trainers at the guide dog school yesterday. They commented that his collar was too snug and went to adjust it, only to find that he'd outgrown his baby collar. They also had to let out the tummy strap of Tai's puppy bib. The upshot: small he ain't, because he has about THEEEEES much room before he's bustin' out of the bib too!

So we put Paige's jacket on him... and found that he is long enough for the Big Boy jacket. Sure, it looks like a dress, but we had to email the school and ask for a jacket (because by the time it gets here, he will be too big for his bib)! Why don't they stay small forever?

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Black Snapper Strikes Again...

Sometimes there's no where to hide from the sharp teeth of... the Black Snapper!!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Due to overwhelming popular demand

Due to overwhelming popular demand, Paige is once again extending her stay here with us, and we couldn't be happier!

Regular readers of this blog will know that Paige was scheduled to be turned in for formal guide dog training on May 19th. Two trainers at Gda have decided to continue there careers elsewhere, so the May turn in has be cancelled, and Paige will be with us until August.

This also means that we will have two dogs for the next four months. Tai will be around 8 months old when she goes in. That is a long time with two dogs. However, we are grateful for the extra time with Paige. She will benefit greatly from it and have a better chance of succeeding as a guide with the extra time to mature and get her obedience sharpened up.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Look Closely

So the question is:

Whose paws are whose?

We did this as an experiment, mostly because one of us thought that Tai and Paige's feet are the same size. They're not, but they're darn close! Maybe it's also because everywhere we go, a lot of that we hear is "Wow look at those feet!" "What big paws he has". Sometimes it is accompanied with a pitying look for Amy, who is on the petite side - a sort of "that-puppy-is-going-to-be-walking-her-in-a-few-months" look. But we beg to differ.

This pic makes it a little more obvious...

It's Good to Be a Guide...

....who is allowed to sleep on the bed. Night-night, Voight.