Friday, June 24, 2011

Advanced Training

Quick update just because I'm excited!!! Bob is now in Advanced Training!!! Hoooorayyy for Bob! I'm so happy to have him "back" lol. He has matured a bit in our tiny absence but he's still the same old goof ball that I left him. I have a couple pictures I took this weekend and promise to have more up with him in a harness - maybe I can see if I can get some working pictures of him with the trainers!

Photo of Bob sitting in brownish green grass, the camera is almost directly above his head so he is looking up into the lens, he has curious brown eyes that shine in the sun and the very middle of his nose is shiny and pink with black outlining the sides. He has sleek yellow fur and his ears are still too big for his head.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

No longer a Puppy Raiser

Image of Bob standing in front of a bush with giant grass like leaves, he has his tongue hanging out and is looking to his right
Bye Bubba :)
Yes, it's true. Bob's last day with me was Friday. He is not going into formal training though. He is being placed with another raiser. Why you ask? Because Tuesday I started my new job - My work informed me that it might be too much to do puppy raising and my job so they advised me to place him elsewhere. What awful place could I be working at that thinks it would be too much for me to handle work and Bob do you say? Well.... I am the new Kennel Manager at Guide Dogs of Texas!!! Yay me!!

Bob standing in front of grass like plants and an old fence, he is looking at the camera with his tongue hanging out
Can't wait to see his happy face on training days! 
While yes, I am sad that Bob is no longer with me I will get to see him everyday once he comes into advanced training - which is currently set for January, so its more like a temporary absence other than me giving him up.

I am excited to be working more closely with GDTx, this job will hopefully transition into a GDMI apprenticeship some time down the road so that is my 'long term-ish' goal in taking it. My responsibilities will be taking care of the dogs that are in advanced training, basic grooming needs, getting ready to go out for training in the mornings and feedings at night, finding boarders for them on the weekends, lots of kennel maintenance and rehoming career changed and retired dogs. There are a lot more smaller details but those are the main aspects of the job. I spent all last week training and my first 'solo' day will be Monday when all the dogs in formal training come back from being boarded for the weekend.

Two Images of a harnessed Guide Dog in Training sitting underneath and large red wooden trellis that is covering part of a wide sidewalk that is used for an obstacle course. The image on the left is from below the dog with the roof of the trellis in the background. The image on the right is from farther away and you can view the whole trellis and parts of the obstacle course in the background.
My first "mini" project with GDTX, mulch the new Jasmine that lies on the sides of this lovely addition to our obstacle course, courtesy of the Eagle Scouts - the picture will be sent to them so they can show off their awesome work :) - Doesn't Buddy look cute?

Izzie alerting me of the obstacle on my right.

There was a full 24 hours job interview for the job which was very interesting. The reason for the full 24 hours is because they were looking for a good candidate who would be able to transition into the apprenticeship once the position opens up so they kind of combined the 2 interviews in one. The day consisted of getting assigned a dog, learning some handling skills and going out for a blindfolded walk all before lunch time. We then went over how to do sighted guide and went out and had lunch with a client. We got back, had a short break and learned more about obedience sessions and were watched by the Director of Training. We had Dinner with a volunteer client host (someone who comes and cooks for the clients while in class) and the next morning had a meeting with the CEO. About an hour later I sat on the porch in conversation with the Training Director and another GDMI where she "cruelly" informed me that while I had amazing attributes and had done so much for the organization they would, however, be dropping me from the Puppy Raising Program. It took me a few seconds to laugh at that lol. Thinking about giving up Bob stung a little but I just had to tell myself I would see him again and get to watch him advance in his formal training.

Us coming up to some broken side walk
Izzie alerting me of an overhead obstacle. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Will post soon with Bob news - promise, but for right now I have a poll that I would like everyone to participate in. It's about dog treats - I'm not going to say much because I'm trying to keep it as unbiased as possible. Please post up a link to it so all your other dog peeps can give their opinions as well. I look forward to your responses, let me know if you have any questions. Thanks much!

** Just so everyone is clear, this is a question regarding a method of giving your dog a treat - it is not to be confused with a training method. Basically - if you were to give a treat to your dog, would you prefer giving individual treats for your dog to take or would you prefer to squeeze a tube and hold it down for your dog to lick?

What would you prefer to use as an aid to training your dog? A no-mess, paste based dog treat that you can squeeze out of a tube/dispenser - similar to tooth paste. Or traditional individual dog treats held in a pocket or treat pouch.
Paste based treat
Traditional dog treats
Not sure - need additional information
Free poll maker

* If the box is not working please click the link to get to the poll. Dog Treat Poll

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bob and the Bus

I had to go up to campus today to stop by an office so instead of driving Darrell and I took the shuttle bus that goes from out apartment to the school. This was Bob's first experience on a bus and I think he did pretty well. The first time we got on he had a tiny issue with wanting to meet/sniff everyone that was already sitting (we sit in the back where there is more room). but when we got back on to go home he did much better and only sniffed a foot that was out in the isle. His walk in between was pretty good, his pulling is much better but he has started walking a little wide so we gotta work on that. Well, thats about it, here is a picture of him sitting on the bus!

Image of Bob sitting on the floor of the bus looking out of the window. You can see the back of a bus seat behind him as well as part of the wheel chair lift

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bob, other dogs and new people

So my last post I mentioned that Bob had a training walk with Larry Gelvin, the Puppy Program Manager. That walk went really well, we had gone to a nice, older neighborhood in San Antonio. Bob got the opportunity to work more on crosswalks and street noise. Once, when we were stopped at a curb a big delivery truck passed right by him and he didn't even flinch. We also learned a new left turn technique to work on with Bob. His pulling has improved dramatically, just a few tiny reminders at the beginning of the walk and he's golden!

Larry had invited along two of GDTX's newest employees to go with us and observe and try out a training walk themselves. Hillary, who is Gelvin's new assistant and puppy program supervisor got a chance to walk with Bob after about 10 minutes of him walking with me. I'm sorry to say it but he tested her like crazy. He didn't pull too much, which made me happy, but he didn't really obey any other commands given - at least not the first time it was given. Next was Rene, the new Breeding and puppy acquisition specialist. His walk went a bit better but Bob was completely unfocused on working and just focused on the treats that he knew were in Rene's pocket. Bob started to focus a bit after he figured out he wasn't going to get all of those treats immediately but still wasn't on his game anymore - a lot of that had to do with him starting to check out as he got tired. We need to work on Bob's stamina.

The issues Hillary and Rene had with Bob have all happened to me multiple times but I gotta say, it was very interesting to see him just 'switch' like that. It really reinforced the importance of having a connection with a dog and making sure that he/she knows that you are the one in charge. I love learning more about doggy brains and that was a really good learning experience for me. I suppose it was for them too so it all works out for the best.

We also had a training day at GDTX on Saturday with all but two puppies in the program. There were a few older dogs there for the boarders to learn some new info so all together there were at least 13 dogs there. It took Bob a few minutes to get over the fact that he couldn't go play with all of his friends (there were 2 dogs there that he had spent time with while we were moving) but once he settled down he did very well. We went over some basic stuff - the A-litter puppies are on their way to turning 6 months so we worked on the correct way for people to greet the puppies, and the four important things all puppies must be able to do when they get into formal training. Head up, tail wagging, straight line walking and straight sits. There were a few other little lessons but they were mainly for the younger puppies, such as 'going busy' on command and potty training stuff. GDTX is getting really close to breeder evaluation of the new litter so I'm excited to see who they choose.

Sorry there are no pictures from the training days, I forgot my camera both times. So instead here is a picture of Bob from this weekend. Just so you can see his happy face!

Close up of Bobs face looking to the right side of the image frame, his mouth is open and his tongue slightly out making him have a fun goofy face

Here is Egypt because I know you love her too ;)

Egypt laying on her side on a wooden porch with her front legs facing the camera and everything else, face and back legs, facing the ride side of the frame. She has her mouth wide open and her tongue sticking out in a nice wide smile

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Bob is back - again

Bob is back! Yay!!! He's adapting to the new apartment nicely - he and Egypt are learning how to live together in a tinier apartment. He has also advanced to being left alone - not in his crate but free roaming and he's done amazingly!!! Well thats really all the news for now - he has a training walk with Larry on Friday soooo let you know how it goes!

Bob and Egypt on the big teal dog bed together, Egypt chews on a bone while bob tries to rest

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dog Park and Moving

So, its been a bit quiet lately - sorry about that. Bob is actually gone right now because we just moved apartments. I wanted him out of the apartment while I packed and unpacked so he's gone until the 1st or 2nd. In the mean time you'll have to be happy with pictures of Bob at the dog park :)

We've been a few times in the past few weeks - I have only taken my camera once though. He was very timid the first time we went - he spent the entire hour sniffing every tree in the area and not playing with any other dog. The next few times we went though he didn't need to sniff everything, he already had, so he spend the whole time playing and running and chasing other dogs. So, here are some pictures of his first visit.

Picture of Bob in the water run with a spout flowing right next to him
Bob liked the water run - he had a lot of fun in there - he also needed a bath afterwards lol

Bob running down the water run
running down the water way

Bob exploring a water bowl inside the water run, he's in the middle of sticking his paw inside of it
Exploring the water bowl lol

Bob sniffing a tree along with another dog
Sniffing a tree with his friend

Bob chasing after another dog
Chasing after another friend

Bob walking around people and another dog at the park
I have no idea what he was doing here - probably stalking another dog..

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Vacation is over - back to real life!

Here are some last photos from our vacation - Bob and Egypt did great through the entire vacation, Bob kept his long lead on the whole time but we rarely touched it. It was a just an in-case kind of thing. He behaved very well up in Colorado, his manners were a bit off but towards the end of the week he got a bit better. I'm thinking it was a situational thing you know. He did pretty good on his walks - we just worked out along the streets and stuff, we focused mainly on his pulling. He did really well, he would pull for the first few minutes and then after being corrected and using the 'turn-around-and-go-the-opposite-way-when-he-pulls-technique' he would settle down and start walking nicely.

Bob standing in some snow right in front of a pair of legs that belong to Darrell
Darrell trying to make Bob go busy - I walked out and distracted him. 

Bob playing in mid turn around and me kneeling behind him
Playing in the front yard

Here are a few random pictures that I took up there - gives you a good feel of the atmosphere of that part of Colorado.

close up of a bright red wooden fence with bright white snow on top       view of my legs from above with me standing in the snow, snow is covering my feet up to my ankles

          a picture of an old wagon wheel covered in snow leaning on a skinny tree with white bark, log cabins can be seen in the background              close up of pine tree branch with snow on the bristles, the picture is taken from inside the tree so you're looking outwards on the branch

Coming closer to our last few days there the local deer started warming up to us more, the last two days they came into the yard to get some yummies from us. Bob seemed very interested in them. Not interested to the point where he wanted to run and chase after them, but would just sit there and watch them intently.

Bob sitting on the front porch looking intently over at something off camera, he has snow on his forehead and in between his eyes
So serious!

Two doe standing in the front yard, one is looking close to the camera and the other is looking off to the left
We fed them cheerios and oranges

A fawn standing in front of the red wooden fence, its ears are perked up and it looks alert
Cute baby!

We moved Bob inside when the deer came into the yard, we didn't want him to get too excited and startle them. He would stand and watch right inside the door. He never tried to get outside when they were there, he just wanted to see. Every time he would shift however the deer would tense up with fright so we moved Bob over to the window where he could see out. This was better because they couldn't see or hear him anymore and they were much more relaxed. Bob enjoyed his window time.

View of the top of Bob's head looking out the window at three doe standing outside, one of them is eating something off of the porch. I am behind bob taking a picture of the back of his head so we're both looking out of the window at the deer
He was so interested in them - his ears would twitch every few seconds.

Anyway, we're back now and Bob seems to be not behaving as well as he usually does... almost like a regression kind of thing. So, the plan is extra obedience bouts throughout the day and while we work. He's not doing too bad on his working exactly, mainly just his manners and he's started picking up random objects off the ground. Like small pieces of trash and leaves and such. So, today we had a little food avoidance session, we just used his kibble as the temptation - something easy. Later on we'll start using harder things. Basically I just tossed some around him, told him to leave it and reward him when he left it. I did the same thing a long time ago with him and he did just as well as he did today. I also left the room for a while (got that idea courtesy of Lisa!) and he did really well with that too - I'll start upping the amount of time he is left alone - today the most I did was 20 seconds.

Bob laying on the carpet next to the kitchen with bits of kibble surrounding him
My reward was much better than his stinky old kibble!

Bob had a walk this past Thursday. I think we had intended to walk some streets and sidewalks but a cold front had blown through just that morning and the wind was insane! So, we decided to hit up a mall that is fairly close to GDTX. He did really well, needed the first few minutes to calm down and stop pulling, found the things he was asked to find and that was about it. Its funny how routine these things feel now when way back when it was like a big crazy day if he had his little 30 minute walk with a staff member... Well thats about it for now. Just busy busy busy with my last semester of school being started!

P.S. did I tell mention we attempted to make an igloo? We worked until about 11:00 PM the first day and got too cold to continue. We had plans of finishing the next day but it never happened.... if anyone is driving over by South Fork Colorado anytime soon, let me know if its still there or has been melted away!

Half an igloo standing in the front yard, it has three big walls made of giant snow cubes and a tiny quarter wall on its way to winding around it in attempts to make a hallway. There is no roof on top and the walls are leaning in towards each other.
My brother ran into the corner on the last day - thats why it looks like its going to fall over. 
Can you guess what we used to make our bricks?