Oct 23, 2010

Meeting the Graduates

Oct 23
We had a wonderful puppy raiser meeting today at the SEGD campus.  We met some graduates and the special people at the other end of their harnesses.  The people shared their stories with us and answered our questions about how they work with their dogs.  This meeting was particularly special for our family because one of those persons holding the harness of one of the graduates was Joey’s sponsor.  We got to spend some time with Jimmy and Stefanie, and their vizsla, Rusty.  It was weird to see that Joey is now a little taller, and outweighs Rusty by several pounds. 
Although we didn’t work our puppies at all at this meeting, they got some very important experience with “under, down”.   They stayed under the tables for three hours, a fantastic accomplishment for all, considering their very young age.  OK, so the collie was a little vocal for the first part of the meeting, but she quieted down very nicely after a while.   The discussions were very interesting and informative, but there were a few people anxiously watching the clock, wanting it to be over.  Who could blame them?  They were picking up their new puppies as soon as the meeting was over.  We now have two more goldadores in our group, one black, and one gold.  The rest of the group will be anxiously awaiting the next meeting to meet the little cuties.
Meanwhile, back at home, Joey is still growing larger by the hour.  We see him growing several different ways.  He lays on the floor in front of the couch.  When he stretches or rolls over, the couch gets pushed back against the wall.  I found one of the small nylabones we got him the first day.  I gave to him yesterday and in a few seconds, he bit it in half.  When he is getting a drink, it sounds like we now have a horse in the house.  He walks away from his dish leaving a big enough water trail to float a canoe across the kitchen.  OK, I admit, THAT one is a slight exaggeration.  But the others aren’t.  At the SEGD open house last month, one of the trainers commented that Joey had “quite the off-road package”.  (For those of you not familiar with that term, it means oversized tires.) 
Now, something that most puppy raisers and other people that just love dogs, can relate to. Joey loves ice cubes.  Did I say “loves”?  I mean he “LOVES”  ice cubes.  I think he could actually rip apart a cooler or tear a hole in his metal crate to get to an ice cube.  The sound of the ice dispenser in our freezer door would be able to wake him from a coma.  Now that Joey is big enough to easily reach the dispenser, I know it is only a matter of time before he figures out how to get his own ice.   We have the lock-out feature on it, but I want to see if he actually does start to get his own ice before we use that. 

Oct 10, 2010

Joey's First Campout

Joey had a very exiting weekend.  Our son had a Cub Scout picnic Saturday, so some of the scouting families took the opportunity to do some camping at the park.  I took Joey to the park Friday morning to get the campsite set up.  He did not enjoy being tied to a tree while I attempted to set up our giant tent by myself.  Our boys were in school and couldn’t help me.  Joey was very eager to help.  He kept jumping back and forth at the end of his rope, trying to get to that tent and show me how much he could help, if I would just allow him to.  I managed to get the tent up under his watchful eye, and then the rest of the campsite.  After he was satisfied that the campsite was set up properly, we went for a nice looooong walk around the park.  Then, we headed home in time to pick up the boys from school.   We got back out to the camp in time to cook dinner, and then sit around the campfire waiting for mom to get off work and join us around . 
We had a portable kennel for Joey to sleep in while in the tent, but Cindy thought he would be just fine on a blanket in the middle of the floor.  She took Joey inside and let him explore every inch of our huge three room tent.  One of the cub scouts chose that moment to run past our tent and of course, Joey took off after him.  Now, this is Joey’s first camping trip and he is about a half second away from learning about bug screening in tents.  Thank goodness he didn’t get a chance to build up any real speed before he hit that screen.  He just bounced off the screen.  By the time Joey figured out where he was, the kid was gone.  He sniffed around the doorway a little bit, watching for any more kids that might appear, then trotted over to his blanket and laid down.   
Saturday at the scout picnic, I was giving a demonstration on camp cooking for the new scouting families.  So, Joey was back on his rope, just out of my demo area.   Cindy came over to get him and take him for a walk in his coat.  I have been his primary trainer and he does pretty good with me, but won’t behave for anybody else.  So, Cindy is starting to work him more.  He takes one look at her at the other end of the leash and he thinks it is play time.  When she puts the coat on him, he knows he has to get down to business and he is easier to handle.  There is a big difference in our strides, but Joey doesn’t recognize that yet.  He tries to walk at my stride when he is with her and ends up pulling ahead too much.  Not a big problem; by the end of their walk he seems to be doing very well.  Saturday night I took Joey on a night walk around the camping area of the park.  I realized something I never thought about before on our walks.  Speedbumps.  How is Joey supposed to handle speedbumps?    I have just been walking over them without thinking about it until I tripped on one in the dark.  Will he be taught to handle them just like a curb after he is in for training?  Do I need to walk him around them?  This is a question I will bring up at our next puppy raiser meeting. 
On Sunday morning we packed up and headed home.  Everybody, including Joey, got a nice bath to remove the several pounds of camp dirt and smoke we were covered in.  We got to relax a bit before the puppy party scheduled for later in the afternoon.  A member of our puppy raiser group, Tina, invited us all over to her house with our puppies and personal pets.  The dogs had a great time running around in the fenced yard.  I figured it wasn’t a party without balloons, so I blew up a bunch and started tossing them in the middle of the riot.  The kids were all ready to rush in to pick up popped balloons before they could be eaten.  Most of the dogs ignored the balloons completely.  Joey played with a couple of them, but lost interest quickly.  None of the dogs showed any fear when the balloons were popping.  They got their exposure to balloons, but were much more interested in each other.