Saturday, May 30, 2009

Puppy Sitting Adventures!

Today Dale and I had tickets to go to the Maker Faire (crazy cool hippie DIY engineering and art fair). Needless to say we couldn't take Raelyn so she went to a puppy sitters for the day. This was her first adventure in puppy sitting that she will actually remember, so we were hoping that she would be on good behavior and not be a total monster. She spent the day with the awesome and active Farley family. They have kids 14, 12, and 10 and a cul-de-sac full of other kids just waiting to play. We knew Raelyn would have a great time and wouldn't want to come back as Dale and I are boring stodgy folk.

Dale and I had a great day sans puppy. We kept thinking, "Man we should do this more often!" :) So I think we will try to have her puppy sat at least once or twice a month so we can have some puppy-free time and it is a great experience for Raelyn to be with other people besides us.

Raelyn came back in the evening and was happy to see us. After she had dinner, she plopped down on her bed and didn't look up once. She was totally tuckered out. I think she had a lot of fun! The Farleys said they had a great time with her and would enjoy puppy sitting her again. Yay for Raelyn not being a crazy puppy monster! She was on good behavior and obeyed commands, but ended up having an accident in the house. (Not too suprising as it took us a month to figure her out and stop the house accidents!)

So thanks again to the Farleys!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Safeway survived the wrath of Raelyn

Based on her amazing behavior in the hardware store, I finally bit the bullet and took Raelyn with me grocery shopping into Safeway. She was amazing! We made a lot of new friends as she is super cute everyone has to stop and say hello. While on a head collar she walks great on leash and didn't pay attention to people walking by or try to eat anything off the shelves. When people would make eye contact with her and approach, that is when she would get all crazy, so I'd have to hold her down in a sit position. Stuff on the floor was also very appetizing, so we will have to work on that.

We went in the late afternoon when she is most calm, but her batteries only lasted so long and in the middle of the bread aisle she decided she had enough so she laid down on her slide and tried to go to sleep. I kept telling her Let's Go, but that just meant I dragged her along the floor and swept for the cleaning crew. I needed to go back and pick her up and put her back on her feet. When we were moving it was fine, but as soon as we stopped down she went again. Pretty funny really. :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Just another day at the hardware store

We have been hesitating to take Raelyn into stores because well, she can be crazy and pretty much all over the place. Today I took her into the Orchard Supply Hardware store and guess what? She did AMAZING! I had her in the head collar and she was so good. She walked right next to me the whole time. She didn't pay attention to the people walking by. She didn't try to get into any of the items on the shelves or even eat the plants in the nursery. Even while I was tediously deciding between which tree to buy, she sat and waited patiently. Completely astounding! Now I feel much more comfortable actually taking her into the Safeway instead of just sitting outside. There is hope for her yet! :)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Little Miss Sassypants

Well Raelyn has gone through her first "phase". We have regressed in training, which is inevitiable as she can't just have a positive learning curve (that is somehow mathematically impossible).

Maybe the problem is that she is too smart for her own good...She knows all of her commands (including "Stand"), but now she has decided that she doesn't know if she really wants to follow the commands. She seems to look at you and ask, "How seriously are you? Do you really, really want me to sit? Are you sure? Can we just skip all of this and just get to the food part?" After staring her down, she will eventually do whatever command she was supposed to do. Also it is really weird because sometimes she will just stare at you when you tell her to "Go to bed". That is the command that has food as the reward, so it is dumb that she would choose not to obey that command. Ah well. The phase seems to have lasted about a week and now she appears to be almost back to normal. She still won't lay down in her Go to Bed if you are out of the room because obviously you can't see her lay down, so why should she exert herself? Too bad there are 2 of us and only 1 of her, so we are always watching...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Raelyn at 3 months

Raelyn had her 3 month birthday a few days ago and we have had her for a little over 1 month.

Here is an update of where she is now!

When we are home she will consistently follow the commands: Sit, Down, Come, Go to Bed, Stay, and Wait. We are starting to work on Stand, but she isn't interested yet. She will Come and Sit when outside with a few distractions, but if there are exciting things going on around her, she has no interest in following orders.

She still sleeps through the night for about 7-8 hours.

She likes to hang out and sleep in her crate now that we figured out she likes something soft to lay on. Yay!

She hasn't barked in a long time, but she is such a whiner! It is mostly when she is frustrated that she can't go somewhere she wants to or you aren't giving her what she wants. At least she isn't working herself up into whiny fits anymore. She will stay relatively calm and eventually go sit in her crate and go to sleep. (Unless she's whining since she is already in her crate and wants out...)

Her favorite chew toys are a jolly ball (large bouncy ball with a rope through it), a flat plush rabbit, kongs, a nasty nylabone dinosaur, sterilized bones, and her green nylon leash. Also on her list is kitty mouse toys, but unfortunately those are not approved puppy toys.

She is getting better walking with a loose leash. If nothing strikes her fancy, she will walk very well next to you with limited small collar corrections.

She is VERY alert and interested in noises and moving objects. Sneezes always distract her. She isn't afraid or nervous about loud, sudden noises, more just very aware of them. She loves to watch things blow in the wind. Leaves blowing around are irresistible, especially when they blow towards her. She likes to watch cars drive by and people walking by. Unless the people approach her, she is pretty good about sitting patiently and calmly.

She really LOVES to meet people and other dogs. She doesn't have the best greeting manners yet. When excited, she will lunge up to greet and have to be wretched down back into a sit.

Her typical day:
7-8: Wake up, Pee, Eat breakfast, Poop (In that order)
9-11: Pee, Sleep
Noon-2: Pee, Poop, Sleep
2-3: Lunch, Pee
4-6: Sleep, Pee
8-9: Dinner, Pee, Poop
10-Midnight: Sleep, Pee, Bedtime

Between pee, poop and sleep times, Raelyn will play around the house, go for walks, hang around outside of Safeway practicing manners, run around in the tennis courts, or torment the kitties.

So far so good! Here's to the next month!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Team Kitty vs. Team Puppy

Round 1:

In the first corner we have Daisy, in the gray and white, sitting comfortably on a dining room chair minding her own business. In the other corner, we have Raelyn in matte black bounding excitedly over to play with the fluff ball on the chair. Raelyn goes in first with the nose and OH! there goes Daisy with a wicked right cross. Raelyn backs down for just a second and then lunges in for another. Daisy lays it on her again and OH! Raelyn is down for the count! She backs away slowly and sulkily goes to chew on her dinosaur.

Round 1 - Team Kitty
Round 2:

In the first corner we have Raelyn in a deep slumber laying quietly on her mat. In the other corner we have Shadow, the fraidy cat of all fraidy cats. Oh, what is this?! Shadow slowly creaps up on the sleeping form and carefully bends in to take a sniff. OH! and another sniff! Raelyn shifts slightly in her sleep which sends Shadow flying down the stairs to retreat to safety.

Round 2 - Team Puppy

Make sure to tune in for the next installment!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Good, Bad, and Not-so-ugly

So much has happened in the last few days in the land of Raelyn!

2 days ago Raelyn did not pay any attention to the "Down" command. Today she is doing it like a pro! She still needs to be prompted by pointing at the floor, but she knows what to do. Crazy how fast she picked it up. Just an all of a sudden thing.

She "Waits" so consistently now too. She will patiently wait in either a sit or a down while you turn your back and walk away from her. She will even remain in position when then kitties walk by her! We call her to the next command pretty quickly, so it is a temporary hold. She is still distracted by something shiny, so we will wait on the stay for now which is more of a long term hold position.

She also figured out that "Go to bed' just means to find one of her soft comfy things on the floor and lay on it, so she isn't tied to just her special towel anymore. This is a big step as she originally learned the command on her special towel, but now realizes the command doesn't mean go there, it means go lay on something soft and stay there. Pretty cool!

Our walk today went really well too. Switching to the heavier leather leash has been a HUGE help. She stopped trying to eat the leash and walks a lot better. She is still distracted by most things and doesn't want to pay attention sometimes, but she is improving a ton. At the end of our walk, she was content to sit calmly sit next to me as I stood in the driveway and watch the cars go by. She loved it!

Our big issue that remains is the vocalization. She is super whiny and sometimes barky when she is frustrated/bored/doesn't get what she wants. We will be asking the Guide Dog trainer at our meeting this week what to do about this as correction, ignoring, and flat out denying whatever she wants isn't working.

On a more positive note, we think we may have solved our crate issue! Raelyn has hated the crate with a passion and will whine, dig, figet, and just not settled down well. We thought about it and the bottom of the specific crate we have has 5 large circular lumps, so the bottom isn't flat. Maybe she can't get comfy! DUH! So I put one of her beds in the crate and VOILA she has been sleeping voluntarily in the crate with the door open all afternoon/evening. No whining, figeting, or digging. We will monitor to make sure she doesn't eat her bedding, but wow, what a difference. We also think that she is probably getting bored in the crate, so we are going to buy some more toys. This way she has more to play with/chew. Now that we know what kinds of things she likes, we can try to pick out good things on our next trip to the pet store.

All things considered, things are going smashingly! :)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sunday Soccer, Take Two

On sunday, we all went to watch Dale play soccer again and we had a blast! Raelyn had excellent manners and met lots of new friends. She didn't try to mouth or jump up on anyone. That's progress from our last outing to the soccer field!

She got REALLY excited when a ball came whizzing by us out of bounds. She wanted to chase after it and the soccer player who followed. She was surprisingly calm and was content most of the time to sit and watch the action. There is hope for her yet!

The secret to walking calmly on leash

We started the sunny weekend off with a bang! Dale and I took Raelyn to the fenced tennis courts at our complex to practice walking on a leash and to just have fun. Raelyn ate up every minute of it! We first worked a little bit on walking and that went decently well. Then we let her off the leash and holy cow she just tore around in circles and would dash back and forth when Dale and I would tell her to Come.

Finally, she had to take a break and pretty much collapsed in the pool of water she spilled from her water bowl. We thought she had enough, but NO she got her second wind and went around tearing up the place again. After that, we practiced walking on a leash again and she walked beautifully! We finally found the secret to making her have good leash manners. Too bad it involves completely tiring her out first which is impractical most of the time...

First Baby Puppy Meeting

Last Friday was Raelyn's first baby puppy meeting. When the puppies are less than 5 months old, we have to take them to meet with a club leader once a week.

She met her friends Roman (a yellow lab a few weeks older than Raelyn who goes poo 8 times a day, unlucky raisers...) and Joyce (a black lab almost 5 months old). Raelyn was very excited to meet everyone and was full of it.

First we practiced walking on a loose leash. Ha! Good luck with that. Raelyn wasn't really interested in participating in the lesson. She was having too much fun not paying attention and trying to play tug of war with her leash. She did well sometimes, but was all over the place the rest of the time. Over the weekend, we switched to using a thicker leather leash and that seemed to help a lot! She didn't chew the leash as much and responded quickly to small collar corrections.

The other thing we worked on at the meeting was the "Go to Bed" command. Because the meeting was at a new house with lots of fun and exciting new smells, the expectation for Raelyn's obedience wasn't too high. However, she got it right away! She ignored the distractions, laid down right on her towel and stayed there. She even came when I called her and then went back to bed. It was so exciting to see her do so well and remember the commands.

To spice it up at home now, we are making her run the gauntlet of much lusted after kitty toys while performing "Go to Bed" and "Come" commands. I line up the kitty toys and she just runs right past them! Sometimes she will stop and sniff, but then quickly remember what she was supposed to do. It is so funny to watch the gears in her head turn.

She is also rapidly learning "Wait". Before she would just go wherever it was she wanted to go, but now we can tell her to "Sit" and then "Wait" and she will sit and wait patiently while you move away from her until you tell her the next command. Pretty cool!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Out and About

On Tuesday, Raelyn had the chance to meet some of Dale's co-workers and observe lots of remote control cars. The event was "Cinco de Drivo" at Dale's work. Everyone is given a small budget to buy a car that they will race through an "extreme" obstacle course. This year the course featured: dry ice, swinging cinder blocks, a giant flame thrower, and flying bricks. It isn't much of a race. It is more about watching awesome mayhem and destruction.

Raelyn did great the whole time. She was very aware and interested in all of the strange noises, but she wasn't nervous or scared about the noisy cars and cheering crowd. She practiced her manners and made lots of new friends. After a while, she gets bored with meeting people so she doesn't get excited and just sits there and doesn't care. She was much more enthralled with trying to eat food off of the ground...

This was also her first trip in a car without being in the crate. She sat quietly on the floor in the backseat. Only once did I look back and have to correct her for lounging comfortably on the seat. Car ride = Nap time for Raelyn, so she is easy to handle and doesn't try to chew the seats.

In other news, Raelyn is consistently "Sitting" and following the "Come" and "Go to Bed" commands even with lots of toy distractions. We just started working on "Wait" and that is going smashingly. She is picking it up well.

Accidents in the house are becoming non-exsistent which is super exciting!

We are continuing to be vigilant about working on good leash behavior and barking/whining. She still likes to pull and eat the leash and whenever really frustrated or excited she vocalizes. Still not a big fan of the crate, but is calming down a bit quicker.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Raelyn + Cupcakes = Great Poster Session

Raelyn came to visit Dominican on friday for my biology research class's poster session where my students showed off the results of their research projects. With the help of cute puppy and cupcakes, attendance was great! :)

Here is a picture of the event: (L to R) Ryan, Nicole, Me with Raelyn, Janan and Winnie

Puppy Personals

10-week old, single female black lab looking for a special someone to snuggle/lick.

A little bit about me:
My name is Raelyn. I'm super smart, quick to pick up new things, great in new situations, lean with long legs, and my friends tell me I'm cute. Just a small warning, I'm VERY high maintenance and bore quickly, so you must provide me with LOTS of stimulation.

I "Sit" when it pleases me. Seriously, who really wants to sit when there are so many fun things to sniff and explore? Although I am getting better and more consistent.

I "Come" on command even if I am playing with a really fun chew toy across the room or if you call me from out of sight. Not to brag, but I learned this new command in about 2 days.

I "Go to bed" enthusiastically which means that I will run quickly to my designated towel and plop myself down into a "Down" position with my chin on the floor. Sometimes toys distract me, but who can ignore a moving object or an exciting kitty? I am proud to say that I stay on my towel even when my live-in raisers (don't feel threatened as they are not my type) walk out of sight. I don't want to gloat, but I learned this in about 3 days.

I like to chew anything I can put into my mouth, however I am learning to control my obsession a bit.

I don't like to be inside a crate, but I am slowly learning to deal with it and complaining less. Because I have a hard time calming down, puppy handling at night is a very soothing activity that melts me like buttah and puts me in the mood to be shoved into my crate (stupid raisers, they just don't understand).

I sleep from about midnight to 7:30am regularly without waking up.

I like to whine when I want attention and bark if I am frustrated or excited. Unfortunately, neither of those things seems to be getting me anywhere so maybe I will quit doing them soon...

I really like to nap in my raiser's lap. Despite not giving me everything I want even when I flash my big brown sad puppy dog eyes, I like them as they are super comfy and warm. Who can complain about that?

I am mostly house-trained. I definitely won't go #2 inside the house, but #1 is still in the works. To my credit, my accidents are few and far between and only happen because my raisers are retarded and don't take me out when they are supposed to. Duh. It isn't rocket science people.

I enjoy being touched all over. I don't think I've met a touch I don't like, but I really love my belly rubbed. Mmmm...heaven.

If you are single and I am your type, please leave a comment and I'll contact you!

Me with my raisers:

photo courtesy of Frankie