Practicing Recalls

This entry is part 14 of 25 in the series Service Dog Training

I’ve been traveling a lot lately, which has distracted me from the blog. But some of those travels are going to provide fun new blog posts, so in the long run it’s been worth it.

But now that I’m home, it’s more obvious that Mindy’s starting to mature, in that way when puppies are no longer quite so dependent on us for every little asset and therefore feel more comfortable to venture out on their own for more and longer periods of time. Or, as clients more typically phrase it when they call me, “she doesn’t want to come when I call.”

guinea fowlTo be perfectly fair to Mindy, my yard has gotten a lot more interesting. I’ve acquired a small flock of guinea fowl to combat the local ticks, and they were just turned loose this week. They’re still clinging near the house, and they are FASCINATING to a young retriever. Continue reading

Clicker Expo and After

This entry is part 12 of 25 in the series Service Dog Training

What a week! Mindy and I traveled to Clicker Expo in Norfolk, Virginia, and because I didn’t want to fly her, we drove. It wasn’t a bad drive, about 12 hours, and I broke it up into two days with a bit of hiking each way.

“Not a Real Service Dog”

On the way down, we had our first access trouble ever, when Mindy and I were ejected from a hotel after we were checked in due to her not being a “real service dog.” Continue reading

Resisting Temptation

This entry is part 11 of 25 in the series Service Dog Training
honey-drizzled Brie, prosciutto, and crackers

Honey-drizzled Brie, prosciutto, and crackers. Yum.

So the puppy and I had a night out last week to the New Day Meadery, a local mead and cider room. (I drink very little, maybe a glass every couple of months, but I find their libations very tasty.) Their tasting room also offers specialty foods, and I ordered a honey-drizzled Brie and prosciutto platter along with my mead. Only problem is, their tasting room is pretty hip, with ultra-low tables to serve the lounging couches. And Brie and prosciutto are pretty attractive to a 15-week old puppy (or any dog, let’s be honest). Continue reading

An Easy Pill to Swallow, Training to Take Pills the Easy Way, Part 3

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series An Easy Pill to Swallow

It’s been a while since I mentioned this, but this is a skill which we often wish our dogs had, but rarely teach them before we need it. Mindy had to learn it early, when a urinary tract infection required antibiotics.

So here’s a short video of Mindy taking her undisguised pill on cue — and not only taking the undisguised pill, but leaving a fun puzzle toy full of kibble to do so. Continue reading

Steampunk Puppy: “They call me CAPTAIN Mindy!”

This entry is part 10 of 25 in the series Service Dog Training
IMAG0492_1

Laura & Captain Mindy, reporting for duty.

Fun puppy socialization outing this weekend! And some socialization opportunities are too good to pass up.

In one of my other lives, I’m a costumer, and we were presenting some costume panels this weekend at a steampunk event. Saturday my husband was going to be very busy and couldn’t keep the puppy at home, so she had to go with me in the morning. And of course that meant she had to go in costume, right? Continue reading

Puppy’s First Clicker Session

This entry is part 9 of 25 in the series Service Dog Training
How I get things done: today I placed a blanket and a chew in a sun-spot. I cheat.

How I get things done: today I placed a blanket and a chew in a sun-spot. I cheat.

She’s a bit young to be have flashbacks already, but here’s a look back at Mindy’s very first clicker session.

After our long flights home, Mindy was full of hollow energy. She’d slept on the plane, so she was awake, but it had been a crazy long day, so she was frazzled. In fact, it had been a long weekend, since she’d left the kennel, stayed overnight with someone new, gone to Clicker Expo, met me, stayed overnight with me, and then flown to sub-zero temperatures.

And I was tired, because I’d done Clicker Expo, too, and then puppy-wrangled through three airports without dog facilities. Continue reading

A Big Day 4 (and end of the first week)

This entry is part 6 of 25 in the series Service Dog Training

My husband met the puppy for the first time Friday morning. They’ve seemed to hit it off pretty well.

black lab puppy lying in man's lap with green dragon toy IMAG0316

I had made plans to go to the Home Show with others, and I knew it would be a great big experience for the new pup. It also had the potential to be too big an experience, so I packed an entire day’s worth of kibble and an extra bully stick, more on that in a moment.

I picked up the vest and gear, and I put on my coat, and Mindy launched from my husband’s lap and ran to join me. Remember how I said I wanted most of all to condition that outings were fun? I think we’re on target.

And then we headed out to the State Fairgrounds for a socialization adventure. Continue reading

Day 2 with the Guide Dog puppy: Moving Fast

This entry is part 4 of 25 in the series Service Dog Training

IMAG0246So yeah, lots of puppy posts. Not gonna apologize.

This one’s a little less “aww!” and a little more training-oriented. I’ve got to type fast, though, because I just put the pup down for a nap after a big afternoon! Continue reading

The First Day is a Big Day

This entry is part 3 of 25 in the series Service Dog Training
Yes, your face WILL stick like that.

Yes, your face WILL stick like that.

A California puppy haiku:

Snow is weird and cold.
OMG! You can eat it!
Ow-wow-wow brain freeze.

Due to a lucky “break” in our cold snap, Mindy experienced only a 70-degree drop in temperature when we arrived home late Monday night. I took her out to urinate on the new paving stones installed for her toilet (GDB puppies learn to urinate on concrete, for the easy of urban work later) and watched it freeze beneath her. Brr! Continue reading