Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Phase 3!

Fullerton is now in phase 3!! He is one of two dogs in formal training right now in phase 3. . . I am starting to get nervous. The rest of his string is now in phase 4 and 5. . . But, I am so proud of him and happy he is advancing! Keep it up. Here is what Fuller is up to on campus now:

Phase #3

  • Guidework training in quiet residential areas
  • Frequent rides in the training vans
  • Introduction to more advanced guidework commands and responses ("Right," "Left," and "Over Here,") continued training on commands from phase #2
  • Introduction to curbs and street crossings
  • Progressive obstacle course training on campus
  • Mall exposure walks
  • Dog social sessions

And, I was wrong about Forte in my last post, he is going through final breeder evals, he isn't official yet. Still keeping fingers crossed for him. He is going into foster care for the holidays for about a month and then will do his final tests!

I know it's been two weeks since I last updated but it's been super busy at work and I haven't had any time to spend on my blog, but I promise after Christmas things will slow down a little and I will have a big fat update on the Paris. :D Have a good Christmas everyone!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Phase 2!!

Fullerton 491S LAB M 2

Phase 2!!!! This may not seem like a big deal because there are still 8 phases but I am so happy for my boy!!! I have not had a puppy make it to phase 2 since my 2nd puppy. Prudy, puppy #1 was career changed in phase 8, Tahoma, puppy #2 breeder/guide, then Glennie and Spanky, puppies #3 and #6 were both career changed before formal training and Adeline and Sherman, puppies #4 and #5 were both career changed in phase 1. So for me 2 is a big deal. Good job Fuller, I am so very proud of you! Here is what Fuller is up to on campus this week:

Phase #2

  • Preliminary obedience training
  • Exposure to distractions (toys, food, other dogs, cats, etc.)
  • First on-campus workouts with a harness
  • Introduction to the BEST program training techniques (including treadmill sessions)
  • Sessions to teach guidework-specific commands (such as "forward," "Halt," Hopp up," and "steady") and the desired response to those commands
  • On leash introduction to the campus obstacle course

AND,

Fullertons brother Forte is officially a breeder. I hope I can raise a Fuller neice or nephew sometime that would be so cool. His other brother Filby is in phase 6 and the last brother Flamenco is currently unaccounted for. If anyone knows his whereabouts I would love to know.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A (not so typical) Day in the Life

I liked doing Fullertons Day in the Life post so much that I decided to do a day in the life post for Paris too. So I planned over the weekend to follow her day on Monday. . . little did I know how different yesterday was going to be. But here is Paris' (not so typical) day in the life.

I wake up at six every morning now and as soon as I turn off my alarm Paris is ready to go. I usually open my eyes to my little yellow girl staring at me.
[Paris looking at me over the edge of the bed]
Today we woke up to about five inches of snow. It was great I LOVE snow.
[A picture looking down my street and everything covered in white]

I took Paris out to potty (which she did wonderfully in the snow, some of my puppies have really not enjoyed going in the snow.) Then we went back in so I could get ready for school. At 7 we leave for school.
[Paris sits in the snow before we leave for school]
A friend of mine had stayed over the night before so I had to drop her and her dog Boone off at work on my way to school. So two humans, and two dogs piled into the car to take her to work. On the way I stopped at a red light and someone took a corner way too fast for the snow and slid into me. GRRR!! I was pretty mad but fortunately everyone was fine. It is really scary to watch a car sliding closer and closer and not be able to do anything about it though. I was pretty shaken up. There was also a cop car stopped at the light across from me so he came over and had us pull into a gas station and did all his stuff. My friend got to work late and I would not have made it to class so I didn't go to school either. Oh well. . .
[My poor red car with a big dent in the driver side just above the wheel]
So instead of going to class me and Paris went to my moms first grade classroom and helped them out for a while. Paris was excellent with all the squealing seven year olds. When we first got there my mom had us talk to the kids and tell them why Paris was allowed in school and then we helped them with their art project. They made little soldiers for Christmas. Paris didn't try to eat any of the paper scraps that littered the floor after the first graders where done with their projects I was so proud. Then I put Paris in a down stay while my mom did reading time with the kids and then I walked around with Paris to help them with math. It was a lot of fun and Paris was a big hit. The kids were so good and asked me if they could pet her as we walked around to help with math. Paris is so good with little kids.
[Paris sitting under the table with all the paper soldiers piled on top.]
[Paris' down stay while the kids all read their books. A couple ladies walked in and didn't even notice her until I got her up for math time. That is always a huge compliment.]
When it was time for morning recess me and Paris left to go home. While there I practiced "go to bed" and "come" She is wonderful at both commands. :D
Video description: Paris sits by a door and then I tell her to go to bed. She promptly runs to her mat that I have placed about 20 feet away and lays down on it. I say "nice" and she gets a kibble then I take a few steps back say "nice" again and she gets another kibble.
I think I am going to start giving her the command from another room and she if she still knows what to do if she can't see the mat. She is so good at this command, it makes me so happy!
video
This is Paris playing hide and go seek recall. I usually hide behind a couch or in a corner or in the bathroom and then I call her and she has to come find me. This time I hid in the hall and called her out of my bedroom and she found me really fast. What a good girl.
video
Usually all that time is spent at school. Here is a picture from last Friday.
[Paris sitting by a blow up Santa sitting in a green chair that is in our student center. Santa's arm waves too, it's kinda creepy]
[Paris walking to class on Friday as well. She is such a good sport]
After we practiced commands we went into my room and did puppy handling. Puppy handling is when we lay the puppy down and pet them all over, or we can do it in a sitting position too. Paris loves puppy handling, it relaxes her a lot.
[Paris falls asleep sitting down with her head in my hand, what a sweetheart!]
After puppy handling my boss called me and told me it was really slow and that I didn't need to come in so I got the rest of the day to play with my Paris. So, I took her out into the yard and let her run in the snow. She had a blast, although she really likes sticks, something that I continue to work on with her.
[Paris running in the snow with a long stick in her mouth, it looks like she is smiling, her ears are bouncing up and she has one foot on the ground and one kicking into the air. She really is quite graceful]
I took the stick away from her and then let her run around some more.
[Paris diving into the snow, she liked to faceplant, not sure why it seemed uncomfortable to me but she loves the snow]
After that I patted her down with a towel and we went on some outing. We went to the bookstore, grocery store, and a movie store. She was fabulous as always.
[Paris sitting in the grocery store waiting for me to pay]
Then I took my sister to her voice lesson.
[Paris in the car waiting for my sister to come out from her lesson. She has her head resting on the drivers seat.]
Usually we go to work where she spends a bit of time on tie-down while I am occupied or she roams around the back area with me. She has also made really good buddies with my friend/co-workers dog Boone. He is a 1 yr old German Shorthair and is such a nice dog. They are really cute together.
Anyway, after errands I did homework and then we settled in for bed and get all ready to start over again. :D So, there is a day in the life of a guide dog puppy in training.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

WHEW!!!

Fullerton 491S LAB M 1

Maybe I should have blogged about my Fuller woe's earlier. He's there and that number can only go up from here. Good luck Fuller, do your best!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Fullerton Withdrawls. . .

The last few weeks I have really been missing Fullerton. I forget what it is like to have a dog in formal training, and not just that but in limbo. He has been gone for nearly 6 weeks and he hasn't shown up on the phase report yet. He was dropped from breeding after a week and a half so that is at least 4 1/2 weeks of nothing. Each week the phase report comes and I hold my breath as it downloads and then there is no Fuller. It is very disappointing, especially since there are other dogs that went in for breeder evals with him and are now on the phase report. Then I just tell myself, maybe next week. I really hope he isn't just sitting waiting for a string, I hope he is doing some sort of training, I hope he didn't get sick, or is not having a tough time recovering from his neuter surgery. GRRR!! I just hate not knowing, I hate not having control over anything dealing with my special boy anymore. I really want news, it is amazing how relieving a number next to your dogs name is. So, maybe this week. . . . Okay rant over. Thanks for letting me vent. :D


Here are some pictures of Fuller, most of them are pictures that my sister took of us together just before he left.


[Fuller laying on his round dog bed the day I got him. He only takes up a tiny little corner of the bed. He is a tiny Roley Poley 8 week old puppy]



[Fuller a year later on his round dog bed. He takes up quite a lot of the bed now and has grown up a lot since he was 8 weeks old. He is 13 months in this picture]


[The rest are from my photo shoot with my sister. This first one is a close up of Paris' face]


[We went out to a hay field for our pictures. Here is Fuller with hay behind him, you can also see a few pine trees and the mountains in the distance.]

[A close up of Fuller. Fullerton is almost a red color, he is quite small for a male lab and drop dead gorgeous!]

[Me standing on a board in the hay with Paris and Fuller sitting on my left. They are like night and day color wise. Paris looks so light next to Fullerton, her dark ears almost match him though.]


[This one made me giggle. I look all happy and hunky dory and Paris is sticking her tongue out and has her eyes closed and Fullerton is looking off to the right.]

[Me standing again with Paris laying down on my right and Fullerton sitting on my left.

[This on is cute, it's like the one above but I am looking down at Fuller and he is looking up at me.]

[Me leaning against a wood post on a fence with Fullerton and Paris sitting in front of me.]

[Me kneeling next to Fullerton. I am laughing because Fullerton is letting out a huge yawn.]


[Same as above this time I am laughing because Fuller is making a really funny face. He looks like he is woofing.]

[I think this is my favorite one. I didn't know my sister was still clicking pictures of us. I am kneeling down and Fuller is sitting. I have my arms around him in a bit hug and both of us are looking to the left with serious looks on our faces.]

[I am kneeling with Fuller next to me. He is leaning up and licking my face. I miss my boy!]

[Fuller sitting in the field looking above the camera, he is such a handsome boy. I love his droopy lips.]


So I guess thats it. I really hope Fullerton is on this weeks phase report. I am about to have a mental/nervous breakdown! There will be a post about Paris and this last weekend soon so keep an eye out. :D

Friday, November 20, 2009

Nine Things at Nine Months

Today is Paris' 9 month day! This morning, I made the mistake of getting her really excited while wishing her a happy 9 month day that she lunged at my face and her very hard skull made contact with my not so hard nose and resulted in a fairly intense nose bleed. It took a good, solid hour to get it to stop. Woops, totally my fault. Happy 9 month day to my awesome little girl.

Here are 9 things she does well (in no particular order):

9. She can sleep anywhere, in any position, no matter how uncomfortable.

[Paris laying on the floor with her head flat on the floor and angled to the right her front legs going to the left and then her back legs sticking straight forward and under the rest of her body. (Hope that made sense.]
[Another of Paris sleeping, she insisted on sitting on the seat so I put my overly large back pack on the seat to discourage her. She is sleeping in a sitting position with her head on my bag, squished into the corner of the car.]
8. We have finally found a relieving schedule that we both agree on. No more daily arguments about when she thinks she should go and when I think she should go.

[Okay, no I am not going to put up a picture of her squatting, lol. This is Paris pacing and sniffing the grass before going potty. :D You can really see her zig-zag design in this picture too]
7. She is doing SO much better at walking on a loose leash. I keep having to tell her that we aren't in a race and there is no rush to get anywhere. She is finally getting it.

[Paris walking beside me in her puppy coat, with a nice looking J in the leash]
6. She is doing fantastic at food avoidance and not picking up everything in sight.

[Paris laying on the floor with a piece of cheese between her legs, she is looking off to the side and not at the cheese. Good girl, Paris!]
5. I love that she sits on her tail so it is always tucked underneath her. Nobody steps on her tail. All my other pups get stepped on quite often, its sad. She is smart and knows how to protect that sensitive tail. :D

[Paris sitting on her tail so it is sticking out between her front feet.]
4. Paris is absolutely fearless. We haven't run into anything that this dog is afraid of, she tackles everything like a pro.

[Paris sitting by the railing of the second story at school.]
3. Paris is doing great around distractions and ignores them for the most part.

[Paris laying on her side with my nephew sitting on top of her. She just looks utterly bored.]
2. She is really quick with her commands she doesn't have to think about it at all she just does them.

[Video of Paris doing her commands. At the beginning she is laying down and when I say "Paris, let's go" she pops up and we start walking, the I give her the "sit" command and she sits and then I tell her to "down" and she does and then she flashes her beautiful brown eyes at the camera before the clip ends.]

video

1. She is earning more and more freedom. She is loose in my room all the time and I have left her in there for up to 20 minutes by herself and my room is still intact. She has also been sleeping loose in my room for the last few weeks and she is loose around the house for a small stint every day. (No picture for this one sorry)

I am really proud of the progress she has made in the nearly two months she has been here. I can't believe she has been here that long it feels like I just barely got her. She is an amazingly smart dog and she has so much potential. Can't wait to see what the next five-six moths has to offer. Bring it on!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fall/Winter Photo Shoot

A few days ago I decided to take some cute pictures of Paris in the fall leaves. I am glad I did because the next day we had a layer of snow on the ground. One thing about Utah is that Fall does not last very long, usually we have snow a week or two after all the leaves have fallen. :D I love Winter thought, the cold and the snow are the BEST! Anyway, here is the product of our fall photo shoot. ( P.S. I have been trying really hard to add descriptions to all my photos, I hope I am doing okay and that's it helps visualize what they look like. But bear with me as I am not a very good descriptive writer)

First, I want to try to describe what Paris looks like: Paris is an average sized female Yellow lab. Right now she weighs about 54 pounds and she is only 8 months old so I expect her to be around 60 pounds. . . maybe when she is full grown. Her color varies from an almost white color to a dark caramel color. (I absolutely love her coloring!) She has big floppy ears, probably the biggest ears of any puppy I have raised and they fold out on the front edges. (and always dip in her food and water when she eats) Her ears, tip of her tail and a stripe down the center of her back are the darkest part of her and are an almost redish color. Down her back is mottled, if that makes sense, it's ummm. . . dark but has lighter flecks of fur throughout it. From her mid back to her pretty little fanny is a zig-zag design, I'm not sure how that happens but it's cute. She has a long, thin tail that is the same mottled color as her back and never stops wagging. Down her sides and tummy her fur is really light and almost white. She also has a lightish face with a couple darker patches on her forehead (I love those) She has a dark black nose (although the cold weather is making it a little lighter) and it looks like she wears eyeliner because the skin around her eyes is really dark. She has very expressive eyebrows and worry wrinkles on her forehead. She has a very droopy face that I love. She also has a small black spot in the center of her tongue. It is kinda in the back so I don't see it often but i am still trying to get a picture of it. :D Anyway, I hope that gives you all an idea of what she really looks like as pictures just never do her justice. :D Okay and now with no further ado here are the pictures:

[A side view of Paris looking at the camera laying in big leaves with her puppy coat on]
[A picture from above she is looking up at the camera with big yellowed leaves all around.
[Here is Paris laying down with her nose buried in the leaves, the light from the sun is making her glow a bit too.] This is one of my favorites for the day.
The next day:
Now here is a picture of the lovely lady in the snow. No puppy coat worn this time.
[Paris sitting in the snow looking at the camera.]

AND BLOOPERS!!!
What is a photo shoot without bloopers. Unfortunately I have more blooper pictures than the nice ones. :D

I am honestly not sure how this picture came about. I think I was carrying my camera up the stairs and must have accidentally snapped a picture and although it looks like she is stating her opinion (or barking) she is not.

[A view of Paris from below at the top of my stairs. Her left ear is flapping out to the side while her right ear is flush with the side of her face. Her mouth is open in a rounded position that makes it look like she is barking.]
[Paris bored of the photo shoot is letting out a big yawn while laying in the leaves]
[Paris goes belly up on the grass with her feet in the air]
[Paris laying in the leaves, looking very innocent with a leaf sticking out of her mouth]
[Paris laying in the snow licking it, tongue out and everything]
[Paris winking while sitting in the snow. I think a snowflake got in her eye, poor girl]
I wanted to get a picture of her in the snow without her leash on. . . mistake! lol I snapped off her leash and put her in a sit/stay then I backed up a couple of steps and turned my camera on and as soon as I hit the button Paris took off. Goofy dog! ha ha. I told her to "come" which she did and then I put her in a sit/stay again. She stayed that time and then I gave her the okay to run around. She had a ball romping in and eating the snow.

[Paris (from the side) springing out of her sit, back legs ready for take of and front legs curled up under her, and ears flying wild in the wind.]
This one wasn't part of the photo shoot but it makes me smile anyway. She fell asleep while chewing on her big Turkey Leg Nylabone.
[Paris zonked out with her head hanging over the edge of her dog bed and face smashed into the floor, with the Turkey bone by her mouth.]
That's about it from here. Hope everyone and their puppies are having an okay Monday.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Oh my, it's been two weeks already. . .

These past few weeks have really flown by and I don't know why because we haven't really been up to much at all. So, I guess I will do a little catch up. Here are some pictures of Hobbs and Patriots last day here. They were perfect house guests and me and Paris really enjoyed having them here. :D

Hobbs and Paris running around the backyard.
[Hobbs in the lead and Paris close behind]
I absolutely love this picture. Paris is such a doll!
[Paris in mid stride with her front half in the air, ears flapping up in the air, mouth open, and tongue lolling out the side of her mouth, she looks VERY happy]
Hobbs and Paris had a good time running around together while Patriot just did his own old man stuff.
[Patriot pacing the yard.]
The dogs are done playing.
[All three dogs lined up by the door waiting to be let in.]
[Patriot and Paris sharing a bone. Patriot facing away from camera and Paris facing camera both with half the bone in their mouth]
[Patriot on his back with Paris standing triumphantly over him, she got sick of the bone game it was so funny to see Patriot (who is at least twice Paris' size) go belly up.]
This is what I call trust. I have been working on Paris' food avoidance since she is horrible about picking things up off the ground, and I am happy to announce that she has made vast improvements. :D
[Paris sitting in my car with a bag of Wendy's food between her legs, she doesn't even seem to notice it.]
I did get a pretty funny comment from the drive through lady at Wendy's though. She leans out the window, takes a LONG look at Paris and then says: "you know, you are not supposed to drive if you are blind!" I responded: "It's okay she tells me when to turn." I couldn't resist, and I laughed nearly the whole way home. People just don't think sometimes.
Anyway, last Wednesday I puppy traded Paris for Meade. This is the first time Paris has been with another raiser since I got her. It sounds like she is being pretty good though, I am definitely happy about that. I am really excited to get her back tomorrow though, I really missed having her around, I didn't know I was this attached to her already. :D

Here is a big headshot of Meade sitting in my car on the way to school. He is a big, beautiful black lab who always looks surprised.
Here is is running around my backyard with a Nyla Ring in his mouth. The backyard is so much funner with a toy. That's what my pups have taught me. :D
I guess my final bit of business is Fullerton news. Boy do I miss my little, red dog! Anyway, I have forgotten what it's like to have a puppy in formal training. My last pup to even make it to recall was Sherman and he only lasted two or three weeks. My leader has called me a couple times and she says I sound so expectant and leery. lol Each time she called me I answer the phone and hold my breath. It's weird. So, Fullerton has been dropped from breeding. I can't say I'm not disappointed as I would have LOVED to raise Fullerton babies. One of his brothers has gone into the next phase of breeder evals so maybe there are some Fuller nieces and nephews in the future and that would be awesome too. :D He was dropped last week so he was already neutered and now I think he is just waiting for a string to join. I am really excited to watch him on the phase report, (I don't know if he will show up on the one today or not) Thursdays have a whole new meaning now. :D So, everyone watch out for my boy, I hope he does well and studies hard.