Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wow! Our time together flew by!

Devin took an earlier flight than excepted so he got here Thursday afternoon. He met Hardy for the first time and fell in love with his easy-going, calm nature. Kristen, Sean and Soapy arrived that evening so the canine "cousins" had plenty of time to play. Hardy and Soapy behaved beautifully with each other and all three got along without any problems. Laurel did turn into the "fun police" and it was obvious that Soapy's "puppy license" with her expired while he was away. Soapy doesn't read older dog's social cues very well but Laurel is pretty persistent so she kept after him. Even with 7 adult humans and 3 dogs in our family room, Laurel, Hardy and Soapy were so well behaved that no one got run out of the room.
Yesterday was a wonderful day! Kristen and Sean took Soapy to see Kate Hornick, a veterinarian and friend who also owns Maynard, Soapy's dad. She was very pleased with how he is doing and gave him a clean bill of health. Everyone worked together to create an amazing Thanksgiving dinner. We made our traditional mushroom stuffing and my Mom & Ron brought some wonderful vegetables from their garden. Sean made a delicious pumpkin pie and we got  apple and rhubarb ones from Patterson's Orchard. We were so into it being Thanksgiving that we were surprised that other people weren't celebrating the holiday! It was wonderful to have almost our entire family (sadly, Anthony was missing) together!
This morning, Sean, Kristen and Soapy left to drive to Sean's family on Long Island. Devin, Brent and I are currently watching the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. We need to start packing though because we'll be dropping Devin off at the airport at about 4:00 and then heading to a hotel in Elyria, in preparation for competing tomorrow at the C-WAGS trial in Vermilion. 
Since Soapy left, Laurel and Hardy have been sleeping - it was a big couple days for them! 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Quiet Before the Storm

Sue Alexander and D'fer, her service dog, left first thing this morning for New York City and then Brent headed to Toledo for the day. I had an infusion and found out that my lung capacity is currently below 20%, which is low, even for me. I'm wheezing and it seems like I have chronic bronchitis so next week, we're doing a CAT scan and some other testing. It's nice to know the reason I've been feeling crappy and the doctors seem to think huge doses of antibiotics will help. I've spent the day encouraging the Labs to relax and take it easy ... Tomorrow, our son, Devin flies in from NYC and our daughter, Kristen, her boyfriend, Sean and their Pointer, Soapy (9 months old) arrive for a quick visit (after being in Alaska since April). We picked Soapy up from the breeders and he spent time with us as a very young puppy so he and Laurel are good friends but he has never met Hardy before. 
I taught my Levels class this evening. The more I work with other dogs and their handlers within the Levels program, the better I think it is suited for group classes. I ask each handler to think about and write out their own goals (with the understanding that they may change) since Levels allows each team to work within their own ability towards their own goals. It's been really terrific to see relationships between the handlers and their dogs grow and to watch the handlers get excited about those changes.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hardy visits the bank

I needed to go to our local bank branch to make a deposit and instead of going through the drive-thru, I decided to take Hardy inside with me. He did well ignoring other people in the bank, including the nice person who held the doors open for us. Hardy just came through the doorway right behind my chair as I had requested he do. While I was working with the teller, I asked Hardy to lay down next to me and he did very well with that. Other than a bit of sniffing the mat on the way out, he did a great job!
Once we got home, we worked a bit on "floor Zen" in order to remind Hardy of the automatic leave-it idea. Obviously, we have to work through even a small amount of sniffing before we take him into a grocery store, for instance. Now that he has been promoted to "in training" from "candidate", I will find more opportunities to take him out for public access outings.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sue got to see a more grown up Hardy and we attended the seminar

Sue Alexander arrived here Thursday evening for her 3 day seminar this weekend and to see a much larger Hardy than she last saw at the beginning of September. Sue seemed very pleased with how he looked and behaved. We discussed that we are knowingly taking it quite slowly with him and that we have no desire to change our plans. 
Friday, Hardy attended portions of the seminar with me and did a super job laying on his mat and practicing some skills. We worked on his ability to untangle his feet from the leash and I dropped some things for him to pick up. He was absolutely certain that he should pick up a water bottle that was next to someone else's chair but we worked that out and he left it alone. 
For the last couple weeks, unfortunately, I have been having lots of muscle spasms and Hardy had a couple firsts related to them. While we were at the seminar, Hardy began alerting - the first time he has done so away from home and away from Laurel. He was very consistent and persistent. Based on his behavior at the seminar and what Sue has seen from him since she's been here, she says that I should stop referring to him as a service dog candidate - he has been promoted to service dog in training. 
Yesterday, we dropped Sue off at the seminar and headed over to Fortunate Fido in Columbia Station for our last class/test for the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy award. The instructor, Anne Kiser, had requested that we prepare three new tricks for class and as soon as we got there, she requested we show what we had done. Hardy and I had worked on a number of different things this week but what I showed was Hardy doing a spin to his left (his stiffer side); his ability to untangle his feet from the leash on cue and his favorite hoola hoop trick - he gets inside it, picks it up and turns around while holding it so it looks like he's hoola-hooping. It's pretty cute and he did it perfectly so we might eventually incorporate it in a freestyle routine for C-WAGS ARF class. We worked on some obedience things - sits, downs and stays; the puppies got to play for a bit and they experimented with some of the agility equipment. Hardy passed the class and got the award so he is now a S.T.A.R. Puppy. We headed back to the seminar but I started feeling really crappy and Hardy started alerting so I decided to head home. We missed most of the seminar today too but it seems to have gone very well and I was very proud of Hardy while he was there.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Laurel & I took obedience class; Hardy & I did agility foundations class

Laurel and I took obedience class this afternoon to work on C-WAGS Level 3 exercises - drop on recall, directed jump, retrieve over broad jump, and go out. The jumps are going consistently great while the drop on recall and go out are brilliant one time and dismal the next. Obviously I need to keep breaking them apart and making sure that Laurel really understands what I'm asking. It's great to be working together again!
Hardy and I had the agility foundations class - we worked on doing a rear cross behind the A-Frame, jumping the tire set very low, doing 3 and 6 weave poles, walking across the teeter totter board set on the ground and a couple little jump combinations. He is such a willing, steady little guy. Sometimes it takes him a minute to figure out what I want him to do but once he does, he tries his best. He was thrilled to see the equipment set up which seems like a good sign for having a confident young man who enjoys the various agility exercises!

Hardy has fun pretending to be a "show dog"!

This isn't going to be the most fun week for Laurel or Hardy - I'm not feeling great and have way too much stuff to get ready for the 3-day seminar beginning Friday. I'm definitely not going to have lots of time to do fun things with my Labs but will try to do a minimum of classes as well as some of our fun at-home activities. 
Anyway, this evening Hardy and I went to Dorothy's conformation class. He immediately noticed the A-Frame and tunnel stored against the wall and asked me to let him play on them. He didn't get to play but was delighted when he realized we were going to trot around, do various figures, and practice standing nicely while Dorothy "examined" him. He did a great job and we enjoyed the class a great deal!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

It's a Beautiful Fall Day and Laurel and Hardy play in the backyard

Hardy looks much redder in this than he is ... he is a nice dark chocolate

It's been a beautiful Fall day here and we took some photos of Laurel and Hardy playing in our backyard together! Laurel still has the speed advantage on the young lad but Hardy is getting faster every day! Laurel is going to be so surprised when Hardy grows up - his breeder believes he's going to be pretty big (certainly larger than Laurel). London, his father, is quite large and of course, Hardy continues to have ginormous paws as well as a long tail, large head and very long legs! Anyway, the Labs had a great time playing outside in the beautiful Fall colors today!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Hardy's developed separation anxiety

Hardy attended his 5th AKC Puppy Star class today - next week will be the test and an opportunity to play "Show and Tell" with 3 tricks we're supposed to work on this week.
He did very well with all the exercises - "leave it" with something on the floor (we've been practicing with our cats); eye contact; sit and down stays (Hardy shifted position but never got up from the stay); loose leash walking and playing around on the agility and flyball equipment. He walked through the ladder nicely with good control over his hind end; went through the short tunnel; got up on the table and sat and downed; and jumped up on the flyball box. He had a chance to play with Pete and had a great time! 

Then, we practiced the separation part of the CGC test and discovered that right now Hardy isn't a big fan of being out-of-sight from us. A couple weeks ago, we worked on it and he couldn't have cared less but now, he is somewhat concerned and whinny about it. Apparently, we need to work on that some more right now! 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Hardy went home today ... to see his breeder!

And they say you can't go home again ... well, today, Hardy went home to see his breeder, Donna! Of course, it was raining when we got there so he couldn't play outside with his sister but we went inside Donna's house and had a lovely visit! I was so proud of him - he was very polite with Donna and with the adult dogs who were in the house. He was thrilled to find a bone to carry around (he doesn't get bones at our house because Laurel has a cracked tooth) but when one of the adult dogs claimed it, he was very respectful. And, of course, she only wanted it because he had it. 
Below is a photo I took on a disposable camera of Hardy and his breeder, Donna Reece.
Donna said that he was beautiful and looked very good for a 6 month old. I asked about showing him in conformation and she said that she didn't see anything that would indicate he couldn't do that. She suggested we wait until he was two years old and more grown up. Then he could gain a bit of weight for the show ring without damaging him in anyway. 
I left a couple of Hardy's baby photos with Donna and she asked that I send her some digital copies so that she could put them on her website. It was a lovely visit and we'll plan the next one for a nice day so that Hardy can play with his sister!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Laurel and Hardy are working together to alert and perform tasks

Laurel and Hardy have been working together to teach him to alert for severe muscle spasms and also to perform various tasks. With the change in temperature I've been having more muscle spasms than usual and Laurel has been alerting to them. What's interesting is that she works to get Hardy's attention when she alerts and actively encourages him to mimic her. Laurel knows what body part is going to spasm and it seems that Hardy is catching on to that as well. A couple times now he has alerted before Laurel and he has nudged the correct spot. Since I feel more confident in my ability to teach him to do the diabetes alert, I'm thrilled that Laurel is teaching him the other two. 
Over the past couple days, my two goofy Labs have also been tag-teaming picking things up for me. Laurel will find something under a table or tangled in cords and will get it out into the open. Then, she shows it to Hardy and will step aside so that he can come and pick it up to bring to me. I have some old credit and gift cards that I use for training so Hardy has gotten very good at picking them up off our hardwood floor. Of course, when he brings the object to me, we all have a big party involving dog treats or toys! 
I was concerned that I was going to have to crate Laurel or in some other way discourage her from doing all the tasks in order for Hardy to learn them. One time when Hardy was much younger, he went to pick up my shoe and Laurel pushed him away so she could bring it to me so I am thrilled that Laurel has now taken on the role of teacher. And I'm not sure which one of them is prouder when Hardy brings me something!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Some More Firsts for Hardy!

After our successful weekend, Hardy started a couple new classes. Monday evening, we joined a conformation class (something I have never done before). We were the only new team in the class (read: only ones who had no idea what we were doing) but everyone, especially Dorothy (the instructor) were terrific and helped us feel successful. Hardy and I didn't work on stacking (and everyone else already knew how to) but we did a lot with moving our dogs. We moved around the ring in a group and on our own and then did the patterns ( L shape & triangle). As Dorothy explained, since conformation is a "beauty pageant", the goal is to always present our dogs at their best - whether standing or moving. Moving worked better than I expected ... my chair handled it well and Hardy caught on very quickly and moved out at a nice steady trot while in front a bit and nicely away from my chair. For all the people who don't think you can train a conformation dog in obedience because they can't learn the difference between sitting when doing obedience and only standing when doing conformation, Hardy figured that out very quickly. When we came back from moving around the ring or doing one of the figures and stopped "in front of the judge", Hardy stood right there and never offered to sit. We had a blast and are looking forward to class next week!
Yesterday, Hardy and I attended our obedience class in the morning. We worked on stays with distractions - balls, Frisbees, umbrellas etc. Hardy did quite well although he really wanted the Frisbee.  We worked on "scary" things - fans, the umbrella opening and closing, and Mary (the instructor) with a big jacket and hood covering her face. Hardy didn't think anything was scary. We did recalls with distractions - Mary standing & sitting between us and our dogs, then Mary holding treats sitting between us. Hardy just ran past her and came right to me. 
Next, Laurel and I had obedience class in which we did similar types of things. Laurel also did very well until she realized it was Mary sitting between us and she had treats. She broke her stay to visit but when I put her back, reminded her to stay, and then called her, she ran past and came right to me. Then Laurel and I did Heather's competition class. Laurel did very well on everything but the drop on recall. We have really gone back and forth on this. When we started it, Laurel would run and then drop so fast that she slid about five feet and got "rug burns" on her pads. After doing that a couple times, she became reluctant to drop so we went back and started over. This summer, her drops improved again and when she first came back after the injury, she was doing a great job. Now, however, she's struggling again ... she wants to come to me before dropping so we'll go back to basics and rebuild it again. 
Finally, Hardy had his first agility foundations class with Ana. He won't be jumping any height until he is over a year old but until then, we'll be working on groundwork, introducing him to the obstacles etc. There are three dogs in the class - the other two are much older and more experienced but with such a small class, we got plenty of personal attention. First, we worked on having Hardy switch sides while moving - from the left of my chair to the right. No problem there. Then, we asked him to go up the A-frame (not at full height) and again, absolutely no problem. From there, onto the tunnel (a dark green one) - first straight and then curved. Once he realized we wanted him to go through the tunnel, there was no hesitation. Then, he did his first jump (4 inches high) so that we could do a combination. Jump, treat, tunnel, treat, A-frame, treat with him to my right and Ana holding the leash without assisting and then we reversed it so he would be to my left. He did a super job going both ways! The only difficulty he had was a little jump combination (the start of a pinwheel). There wasn't enough space between the jumps for me to get through so I couldn't use movement to encourage him to go on. It took him a couple tries to figure out what we wanted but once he did, he did it very willingly. And then, finally, we worked on teaching him an automatic sit on the table and discovered that he is willing to sit or down without any difficulty. All in all, I'd say, an incredibly successful first class! 
It will be very different doing agility with Hardy but once again, he will definitely benefit from all that I have learned with Laurel!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Big weekend at Canine Affair Center's C-WAGS Trials

This weekend we attended a C-WAGS trial at Canine Affair. Laurel and I competed, I was the C-WAGS Rep and on the trial committee. That made for some busy & long days but as always, it was tons of fun and great to see old friends and make some new ones. Brent took Hardy over to the AKC Puppy STAR class Saturday morning where they worked on "leave it" and loose leash walking before doing a little pre-agility - working around the equipment and going through jump standards without a bar and jumping onto the table on the floor. Then, they came and spent the rest of the weekend at the trials with Laurel and me. Hardy did a great job lounging quietly in his crate; coming out occasionally to meet and visit with people and to do some things with all the people, crates and dogs around. 
Obedience was on Saturday with Rally on Sunday and because until last week Laurel had been off since Labor Day due to the ruptured ligament in her foot, I wasn't sure what to expect with her. From the very first class, it was obvious that she was very happy to be back! She ended up Q'ing in all 10 classes with some nice placements - 4 firsts, 4 seconds and a third with half her scores 99 (out of 100) or higher! 
All in all, a great weekend! Heather always does a great job as trial secretary and general go-to-person! Mary and everyone else with Canine Affair have a lovely facility and are terrific hosts! And as always with C-WAGS, the competitors are supportive and encouraging to each other. When Laurel wasn't competing, she relaxed and slept in her crate and Hardy already has that skill. Laurel was thrilled to see all her friends again and it was fun to introduce Hardy to everyone. I was proud of them both!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Hardy Attends a High School Football Game

We took Hardy in his SDiT vest to the Mayfield High School football game this evening. We watched and listened to the crowd noise, watched the players run into each other and listened to the marching bands. Although we heard a lot of "oohing and aahing," most people seemed to know service dog etiquette and didn't approach us or ask to pet Hardy. He was a perfect little gentleman - he behaved beautifully and nothing bothered him at all.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lending a Helping Paw

Laurel and I are part of an article in the October 2010 edition of the NE Ohio Family magazines (Cleveland, Akron, Lake/Geauga editions) titled Lending a Helping Paw, written by Michelle Park. I tried to scan in the article but the quality wasn't good enough to read so I have included the photo of Laurel that was used for the title and one of us at the bookstore that was in the article. Below is the portion of the article about us:
Linda and Laurel
Linda Alberda and her yellow Labrador, Laurel, were at obedience training when the dog began its alert. Laurel stood and nudged Alberda's legs, making clear her concern, and Alberda immediately took the medication she carries for muscle spasms. 
A half hour later, the spasms struck, but the early medication made all the difference. The spasms never are as bad, Alberda explains, when medicine is taken before their onset. 
Alberda, 53, of Highland Heights suffers from progressive neuromuscular disease and rheumatoid arthritis and uses a power wheelchair.
Four years ago Alberda brought Laurel home. In the time since, Laurel has demonstrated an ability to warn Alberda of impending medical issues and has been trained as Alberda's service dog. 
The dog also can pick up items, such as keys and her own leash -- assistance that's crucial for Alberda, who can have trouble righting herself if she bends over to retrieve items. In addition, Laurel can open and close doors and drawers. 
Service dogs working in Northeast Ohio and beyond have proven an ability to be ears  for the deaf, eyes for the blind and a support for those who suffer from mental illness. The dogs are impacting the lives of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and children and adults who live with autism. 
Those who obtain service dogs should do it with a definable function in mind, not just for vague reasons, such as, "I want a dog to make me feel better," says Rachel Friedman, owner and founder of A Better Pet. The Cleveland Heights woman trains pet dogs and service dogs.
Friedman, a licensed, independent social worker, considers her service dog training an unconventional form of social work.
"Their dog and their ability to improve their ability - that makes me feel good," says Friedman, a single mother of three. "That's more important to me than money and things."
Friedman and Alberda, the founder and executive director of Lake Erie Assistance Dogs , a support and education club, say that training a service dog is akin to training a pet dog.
"The only difference between a service dog and a pet dog is the degree of accountability and specific, trained tasks," Friedman says.
"It isn't rocket science, it isn't hard," she says of training service dogs. "It requires commitment, it requires understanding, and it requires patience. It (the dog) is not a robot that's going to suddenly cater to your every whim."
The things that service dogs do, Alberda explains, are related to what pet dogs do. For example, training Laurel to pick up items was done much the same way people teach any dog to fetch. 
As for Laurel's alerting Alberda to impending health conditions, Alberda says the dog trained the human. It took some time, but eventually Alberda realized that her dog would make noise or nudge her when it sensed an imminent attack.
Though Alberda emphasizes that she doesn't rest her entire life and health on the dog, she says Laurel enables her to live with less worry. Now, she lives a much more active life.
"The alerting has really changed my life in unbelievable ways," Alberda says, "I had no idea a dog could do (this)."

Two of the Most Important Firsts in my Assistance Dog Journey to Date

I've decided to participate in an Assistance Dog Blog Carnival developed by Sharon Wachsler at her blog, After Gadget (, with this post being my first entry.
According to Wikipedia, "... a blog carnival is similar to a magazine, in that it it is dedicated to a particular topic, and is published on a regular schedule ..."
According to Sharon, the plan for the Assistance Dog Blog Carnival is to hold it quarterly, guest hosted by a different AD-related blog each time with After Gadget the official home/principle organizer. There are hosts arranged for the next three carnival editions but I have volunteered From Puppy to Public Access for some time after that. 
Anyway, the theme for this first carnival is "The First" and what jumped out at me were two of the most important firsts that have occurred in my assistance dog journey so far - the first time I realized that Laurel was alerting me to a medical condition (when she was about 6 months old) and the first time Hardy alerted me on his own (when he was about 3 1/2 months old). 
I have written about these firsts in this blog before and I talk about them all the time. In fact, Laurel and I are part of an article in a local magazine in which I talk about how much her alerting has changed my life. 
After being on the waiting list for a national service dog program for about 12 years, out of desperation, my husband and I decided to try raising and training my own service dog. Since I use a power chair and have difficulty picking things up and making various body parts work, I planned to train the typical mobility-related tasks. The only types of alert dogs I knew about were for epilepsy and diabetes. July 28th, 2006, we brought home an 8 week old female, yellow English Lab from a very small breeder in Delaware-on-Shawnee, PA, who has since retired. From the very beginning, it was obvious that Laurel was a very intelligent, talented, energetic, enthusiastic (read challenging) service dog prospect who didn't have tons of natural self control. She was our first Lab and we worked on teaching her self control from the start. So, one day when Laurel was about 6 months old, when she threw herself on top of my abdomen and kept me pinned down, I just thought she was being more obnoxious than usual and put her in her crate. Once in there, she started screaming ... making a sound we'd never heard before and haven't heard since. My husband came racing from upstairs and it made quite an impact on us so that when I started having very severe abdominal spasms about 45 minutes later, we wondered aloud whether there was a relationship between Laurel's behavior and my spasms. I noted it in her training journal and did some research, where I was able to find a small amount of information regarding dogs who did alert to people's severe muscle spasms. Also, in thinking back, I realized that there had been two other incidents when Laurel may have tried to alert me to spasms. I have no doubt that if I had continued to ignore or punish Laurel for trying to tell me what was going to happen, she would have stopped. I'm grateful that she was very dramatic and persistent and that I was able to recognize her efforts. She has proven that she not only knows about 45 minutes to an hour before I am going to have spasms but she also knows what muscles will be involved. As anyone who has severe muscle spasms knows, the ability to know and take my pain medications and muscle relaxants before they start is huge - now they tend to last hours instead of days or even weeks! By tracking her alerts and the outcomes, I determined that they were predictive and reliable. And then I trained her to be somewhat more subtle about it. If she can reach the body part that is going to spasm, she can nudge it and if not, she nudges my hand. Laurel also developed alerts for rheumatoid in my chest wall (which feels like a heart attack) and knew last summer, before I or my doctors did, that I had developed steroid-induced diabetes. Although Laurel is only 4, because she wakes me at night, interrupts whatever she is doing during the day to alert and generally keeps track of how I'm doing; that, combined with her other tasks, time for training and time to just be a dog keep her very busy. 
Seeing how hard Laurel works and how responsible she feels along with the belief that the best chance for my next service dog to do the alerts is to learn from Laurel  encouraged me to consider getting my next service dog prospect sooner rather than later. 
At the beginning of June, my service dog trainer, Sue Alexander, temperament tested some Lab puppies for me and although I was looking for another yellow, I brought home a handsome 8 week old chocolate boy we named Hardy. Coincidentally, this summer I had a flair of the rheumatoid in my chest wall so Laurel was alerting quite a bit. One time when she was alerting, Hardy came running up to play at which point, Laurel made it very clear that she was doing something serious and it wasn't playtime! That really got Hardy's attention and he began carefully watching what she was doing; by the time he was about 3 months old, he started mimicking her alerts. Then one morning, Laurel alerted while Hardy was outside in the yard and when he came back in, he asked to come up on the bed with me and immediately alerted on his own. The next day, he actually alerted before Laurel did so I had some confidence it hadn't just been a fluke before. Although the flair stopped (for which I'm grateful), Hardy has alerted appropriately several other times and just recently joined Laurel in alerting for muscle spasms. Obviously, we've also worked very hard on socialization and basic obedience and he demonstrates a lovely temperament that should allow him to become a public access service dog. There isn't much known about dogs that alert to less common medical problems so I am very grateful: that Laurel not only knows something is going to happen but chooses to share that with me; for the first time I realized what she was doing and that she is teaching Hardy the same skills.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

It's Been a Quiet Autumn So Far

Due to weather (cold & wet) and my infection not going away as quickly as I might wish, it's been a quiet (read boring) week around our house. When Laurel was Hardy's age (almost 6 months), I felt sorry for her when I was stuck in bed for some reason but then I realized that hanging out with me is part of my service dog's job and if she couldn't do it, she wasn't the right dog for the job. And to her credit, as enthusiastic and active as she is when we are doing things, she is great at lounging in bed with me. Now with Hardy, I don't even feel sorry for him - first, he has Laurel to bother and he can cuddle in bed with the best of them! 
Although we have been doing some light training, I've been sleeping quite a bit and laying around a lot so the dogs have been entertaining themselves, each other and me. Hardy's puppy license with Laurel (the get-out-of-jail free card - ability to do just about anything without having the adult dog correct you) is apparently one of the longest lasting ones ever. We've been expecting it to end anytime for the past several months but Laurel is just now beginning to let him know when he is annoying her too much. And although he is a smart little guy, he is also very persistent so he doesn't always take the hint and sometimes she really has to get after him. He is becoming a very nice young man to live with though and in fact, we often have everyone in the house in bed together (Brent, me, Laurel, Hardy and our two cats, Maggie and Millie) watching TV or reading.
Laurel, Hardy and I spent some of our time listening to any new, strange sounds and noises I could think of. Since one of the wonderful things that John Alexander at Dogs in the Park does with the puppy classes is to hand out a CD full of all sorts of sounds for us to play during feeding time, it wasn't easy to come up anything new but since I love bagpipes and pipe and drum bands, we listened to those for an afternoon and then we went on to gun shots and cannons, thunder etc. 
We made it to my Levels class Wednesday evening and Brent worked Hardy during it. They did a great job and almost all the students have now passed Level 1. I have to admit that I wasn't at my most dynamic and I went back to bed immediately after. We switched the type of antibiotic hoping I would get better with the change.
Yesterday, Brent took Hardy over to the AKC Puppy STAR class so that I could rest for awhile longer prior to helping out at the C-WAGS Run-thrus at Canine Affair in the afternoon. I was the pretend Obedience judge and ran Laurel through Starter and Advanced rally courses. She did super - she was so thrilled to see all her friends and happy to be working!
Hardy came in and visited a couple times. He has to think to sit when greeting people but I was very proud of him. There were some noisy and reactive dogs and he was very calm through it all. 
I'm still not feeling as well as I would hope so we spent 5 hours watching the World Equestrian Games from Kentucky today. I probably enjoyed it more than the Labs but there was enough action during some of the events that they were interested. 
I'm hopeful I'll feel better this week and we can get back to some serious training!