Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hardy had a big day today

Still chewing on those keys
Hardy's current favorite teething toys
Great to chew on - at any angle!
Can't get enough of these keys
Hardy with his new red bandanna for passing Level 1
Hardy considering jumping off the crate while trying on his new SD vest
Hardy in his new yellow SD vest
Right before the Levels class this evening, Sue suggested that I take Hardy and ask to have him tested on Level 1. Normally, puppies start Levels after completing puppy class so I hadn't expected to take him, much less be tested. Anyway, Hardy passed Level 1 easily and even managed to pass several behaviors in Level 2! On top of that, while we were doing that, Sue was finishing up a little yellow vest for him! We've been using a little green one which has gotten too small. Hardy has lost all his upper incisors and although he is pretty easy going, he has been a bit cranky and his teeth look very painful. Here are some photos of Hardy chewing on his current favorite toy, a set of teething keys; Hardy trying on his new vest and Hardy and me posing with his new red bandanna (for having pasted Level 1). 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hardy visits Old Quebec Street

Hardy and I visited Old Quebec Street, a small mall in downtown Guelph near St. Georges Square. We found a spot on the street and again, Hardy walked next to my power chair. We found a lovely little park before heading into the mall. Hardy was a perfect gentleman, although he didn't think it was fair that some kids were getting to play in a fountain and I wouldn't let him. Again, everyone we met was terrific about stopping to say hello to Hardy and give him a treat. One gentleman asked me who I was raising the puppy for and I told him that hopefully, Hardy would grow up to be my service dog. He gave me a very concerned look and asked, "Oh, are you having trouble with your vision?" So I had another opportunity to educate an interested person about service dogs other than guides. When we headed into the mall, we walked around the public area window shopping and stopping to meet even more people. A Mountie was walking right towards us and just in case he was going to tell me that service dogs in training don't have any access rights (it's true, in Ontario, allowing SDiTs into public accommodations is based on courtesy, not law), I went up to him and asked if he would help me train my future service dog. He was very gracious and actually knelt down to say hi to Hardy and give him some pats and a treat. Later, we met a police officer riding a bicycle with a helmet and eye goggles plus his uniform who was also willing to help train the "service puppy" (as he called him). We met up with Sue and stopped in a candy store so she could get some fudge for John. I put Hardy up on my lap because I didn't want to entice him with too many great smells when he had done such a great job our entire visit! We successfully headed out of the mall with Hardy walking next to me again and went back out to find the van. It was another lovely short visit with Hardy relaxed and enjoying himself. With both Laurel and Hardy at such a young age, when I go out in public with them, my goal is to have an short easy trip with the puppy experiencing complete success. So far, so good.

Monday, July 26, 2010

We had a great time at Hillside Music Festival!

Friday, Sue and John were busy getting ready to perform at Hillside Music Festival over the weekend. Laurel and I ran to the grocery store to get milk because I'd hoped to head to the festival for the evening too. We were expecting thunderstorms and I hoped to run in and out ... except the ramp on my van got stuck out when I got out. I spent about 45 minutes trying to figure out what to do. I couldn't find the hand crank for the ramp and whenever I pushed the power button, the ramp moved sideways and hit the sliding door. It looked like it was going to rain any minute and I realized I couldn't close up the van, much less secure it or drive it anywhere. A nice woman with three young children asked if I needed help. She asked a guy who happened to be walking past if he knew anything about wheelchair accessible vans ... surprisingly, he did not! But he agreed to try to help anyway. I searched in the very back and found the hand crank and then looked at the modifications handbook. The two people who had stopped helped me crank and we got the ramp into the van. Once we were successful at that, the ramp became normally functional again. In the midst of everything, I realized that the only two phone numbers I had on my Canadian phone were Sue and John's and I couldn't reach them. By the time I was heading back to the farm, I figured it wouldn't be a good idea to go to the festival. I called Sue to tell her and she convinced me that I should come. She and John turned around and came back to let me follow them to the island (where the festival is held). We decided to take Hardy too since John could handle him for me. 
 It was really crowded at the festival and Hardy did a great job walking through all the people. At one point, we had to walk right past a big stack of speakers that were booming. Hardy stopped to think about all the noise for a minute before walking on. Overall, he did a great job although he did get tired of sitting on my lap while Sue and John participated in the opening ceremonies. On the way back out to the van, Hardy got to ride on John's shoulders ... it was a lot of walking for a little brown puppy. 
Yesterday, Laurel and I went back to the festival, leaving Hardy at home. A friend, Kathy promised to come to  feed, let him out, and play with him. She sent me a text message telling me that he'd done great which was a relief since I'd never left him alone for that long before!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hardy proves the alert wasn't just a fluke

So, the bad news is that I'm still having issues with rheumatoid in my chest wall! The great news is that, apparently this morning, Hardy decided to show me that his alerting yesterday hadn't been a fluke. After he'd eaten breakfast, he asked to come up on the bed with me and alerted before Laurel did! She confirmed it minutes later and another party was had by all! He was very proud of himself and was telling Laurel all about it!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hardy alerts on his own!

Who would have guessed that having a flair of rheumatoid in my chest wall this summer would turn out to be a good thing? Certainly not me ... and frankly, I could have done without it! However, after mimicking Laurel's alerts several times, this morning, Hardy alerted on his own! Laurel had alerted while he was outside in the yard and when he came back inside, he came up and started alerting himself! I was so excited and surprised, we had a regular party and Hardy looked mighty pleased with himself! Laurel loves a party so she joined right in and I think we made quite an impression on Hardy that he had done something very special!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Brent's here for another busy weekend visit

Brent drove up from Toledo Thursday night (the 15th). It was great to see him and Hardy hadn't grown as much as he'd been afraid he would! Friday morning we took Laurel to Costco and Brent said it was great to see everyone's expressions of delight when they saw us walking through the store. Saturday, we attended the Instant Recall Workshop at Dogs in the Park. Brent worked with Hardy and I worked with Laurel. Brent and I had done a recall workshop with Laurel in Cleveland a couple years ago and decided to use a word instead of a whistle. Neither of us could remember what the word is, however, so we decided to go with the whistle this time around. Anyway, it was a great day with lots of fun and training! Laurel especially liked the part where she got to find me by using her nose! 

Yesterday was another busy day! Hardy had his puppy class at noon and then a new puppy class at 7:00 (you can't take the 1st class too many times). Brent got to work with him in both classes and we took lots of photos!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hardy mimicked Laurel's alert!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm having a flair of rheumatoid in my chest wall this summer. Laurel, who alerts to that, has been watching me carefully and has been more serious than usual. The other day (Tuesday, the 13th), Hardy came running up to Laurel while she was alerting. To my and Hardy's amazement, she let him know in no uncertain terms that alerting was serious business, not playtime. That really got his attention and I noticed that he was watching Laurel's alerting much more than he had been before. Then, this morning (Saturday, the 17th), Laurel was alerting and Hardy asked to come up on the bed to snuggle with me. That is not something he normally does so I helped him up and he started mimicking Laurel's alert behavior (which is to lick me at the bottom of my neck). I told them both how wonderful they were; liberally gave out treats and then let them watch me take my meds. You can see Laurel visibly relax then and after a couple minutes, Laurel invited Hardy to chew on her ears. I'm feeling pretty excited that Laurel will be able to teach Hardy to do the alerts!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Happy Birthday, John & thanks for going to St Georges Square with Hardy and me to celebrate!

Happy birthday, John, and thanks for going to St Georges Square with me and Hardy to celebrate by doing a little socialization! We took Hardy to the center of Guelph where there are usually many people walking around, buses and cars going by etc. We parked down the street from the square and Hardy walked next to my power chair the entire way. We stopped and asked people if they would help us train our puppy and everyone was more than willing. One woman spoke to him in French. I have no idea what she said but he absolutely adored it! We stopped by some tables and sat near all the buses that came in to pick up and drop off people. After a short stay, we headed back to the van ... again, Hardy walked the entire way. My only concern related to the trip was the number of cigarette butts on the ground and Hardy's interest in them. We had a talk about the dangers of smoking or eating cigarette butts and will continue to work on automatic leave it and floor Zen. Again, thanks and happy birthday, John!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hardy's first time in vest out in public

Over the past couple days, I've come to realize that I'm having a flair of the rheumatoid arthritis in my chest wall. Besides being tiring and painful - it's hard to breath; Laurel gets worried because she knows that I'm having a problem but when she alerts and I take my medications, the pain caused by the rheumatoid stays instead of going away. So she alerts more and really doesn't like to be away from me. Unfortunately, here in Canada, there are more times when we have to be apart than when we are at home - sometimes just because I'm in another part of the house and she needs to stay in our bedroom or because I'm taking a class or doing something with Hardy.
Although I have worked very hard to keep Laurel from suffering separation anxiety, I hadn't considered that we would need to work on her being okay when she knew I was having medical problems and she had to be away from me. We are trying to use her love of pigs' ears as a way to distract her during these situations and it seems to be working, at least for short separations! Hardy knows that something is up with Laurel because she isn't as interested in playing and he seems to be trying to figure out what is going on.
We took Hardy out to a restaurant for his first public access experience (dressed) during the K9Helpers club meeting on Wednesday. Another club member's dog was with us as well. Hardy sat with me for a couple minutes and then Sue put him on the floor in a down stay. He put his head down and did a beautiful job. A short while later, he was sleeping. It was a terrific success!

Yesterday, Sue and I decided to go to the Six Nations reservation to get some moose hide for moccasins. We decided to not take our service dogs because the reservation is sovereign land and not covered by the service dog laws of Ontario. We didn't want to offend anyone and felt it might be considered disrespectful. We also didn't want to run into an access problem. It was the longest time I had left Laurel while she was struggling with knowing that I was having medical problems. John was home with the dogs and said that from time to time Laurel would let out a tragic mournful howl. I heard it just as we were coming into the house and it broke my heart. We'd had a lovely drive and a pleasant afternoon but that kind of ruined it all. It also enforced my determination to help Laurel be okay if she has to be away from me and I am having the medical problems she alerts to. Also, I'll do whatever I can to avoid this with Hardy and hopefully being more aware will help.
We also have a mystery on our hands right now. The other day, I left Hardy out in our little side yard while I took a shower. Sue knocked on the door and asked me if I had put Hardy in the back yard with Yarrow (a white Standard Poodle owned by K9 Helpers). Of course, I hadn't and we have no idea how Hardy got from his side yard to the back yard. Obviously, he went over or under the fence separating the yards but the back yard is about 7 - 8 feet lower than the side one. He must have either slid down a wall or fallen but he seems to have survived it without any damage and fortunately, he and Yarrow were getting along just fine.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

Brent drove up to visit us on Friday, July 2nd. We took Laurel and Hardy swimming on Saturday. Now that Laurel has started swimming, she has become obsessed with it (not a big surprise to anyone who knows her). At first, she is so excited, she swims like a motorboat - with her butt way down in the water and her front end up and out of it. It's not real pretty but when she relaxes and swims like a Lab, it's such a lovely thing to see ... she gets that goofy Lab look on her face and you can see that's what she's meant to be doing. And, again, Hardy ran right into the water and swam a big circle around before coming back onto the shore to eat goose poop. He's 12 weeks old now and it's nice to see that he has his priorities all set. Also, although there is a tremendous amount of their poop there, we realize that we have never seen geese at the lake. Do they come at night or is all this the result of fly-overs? We had local corn on the cob ... best corn I've had in years and years!
Yesterday (Sunday, the 4th), we did the first session of puppy class again ... seeing the new puppies is always fun! Then, we went on the off lead puppy walk. Unfortunately, Hardy was the only puppy to show up so the instructor brought her dog along with us. We had a great time walking around Marden Lake and Hardy did his usual swim in a circle to prove that he can before heading back to the goose poop covered shore. Then, oddly, since we didn't see any fireworks on Canada Day, there were some around us last night!?
This morning, Brent went with us to Cornell Animal Hospital where Laurel, Hardy and Eco saw Dr. Mark Gemmill. Mark seemed to think that Hardy was a nice little puppy, physically and temperamentally and after watching Laurel and Hardy play on the floor of the exam room for a bit, commented that, "Hardy will grow up to be a better dog because he has Laurel in his life and she is such a patient teacher." I thought that was very insightful and such a lovely comment about my silly yellow girl. I appreciated hearing it more than he will know. Mark also took out Eco's stitches and said that he could start going for 10 minute walks several times a day. This evening, we took Laurel and Hardy out off-lead with Sue walking Eco on lead. Hardy pranced right next to Eco ... we're pretty sure he wants to grow up to be just like Uncle Eco (although we think the ears are going to be a problem). Laurel would race up to Eco and throw herself on the ground as an apology for being a Lab instead of a GSD.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day, Everyone! We've had a terrific busy day! I've discovered that Sue and John don't take off on Holidays ... if anything, they tend to be busier than usual because their clients are off so they can come to class or take a private! We had a great 2nd week puppy class. We worked on "4 on the floor" to teach polite greetings using a tether. Each of us went up to all the puppies and gave them treats as long as all four feet stayed on the floor. Laurel had trouble with this for the longest time (if she's not working) - Hardy is already doing it quite nicely! We also worked on having the puppies settle in our laps while examining different body parts to prepare them for visiting the veterinarian.  We began the foundation for loose leash walking with eye contact by waiting for the puppies to give us eye contact, clicking, then taking a step and dropping a treat. I do have one complaint about puppy class though ... how is it that I am the only person there who was wearing red and white in honor of the Holiday?
And, actually, I've been working to teach Hardy to walk with my power chair since right after we got him. I'm trying something different with him than what I did with Laurel. Because my power chair by itself weighs about 350 lbs., I was totally unwilling to risk running over Laurel's paws when she was a puppy. I used my chair around the house with her off leash but when we went out, I had her in my lap. When she got to be about 4 or 5 months old and too big to be on my lap but still too small to risk running her over, I stopped going out with her in my power chair. I used my manual chair and had my husband push. That meant that we didn't take Laurel out very much and I'm not sure that delaying her learning to walk with the power chair was a good or necessary thing. When she was about 8 months old, we started working with her off lead with my power chair in the training hall using "touch" to help her find the position next to my chair that would work for us. Before I turned left, I would throw treats to the left so that Laurel would turn before my chair did. Once she got comfortable next to my chair off lead, we added the leash and began adding more intricate movements. Generally, the training worked with a minimum amount of me running over her toes but I do think it took longer than it should have. Also, when we first started with the manual chair and then the power chair, Laurel would attempt to leap into my lap from time to time. It was pretty disconcerting and somewhat dangerous but of course, Laurel was used to sitting in my lap when we were out at first. 
We didn't put a leash on Hardy until we went to our first puppy class. We did everything off-lead, using young puppies' instincts to follow instead of depending on a leash. Since we've been in Canada, we've been doing some off lead walks around Sue and John's farm and at Marden Park. Hardy is proving to be quite aware of my chair and will come right up next to me without risking getting run over. He's doing very well and although obviously, I am very careful around him, I feel much more confident that he will stay out from under the wheels of my chair.