Saturday, August 29, 2009

Swimming Lessons

Izzo and her Helping Paws classmates took advantage of the fact that their instructor was off last week and no class was held. They decided to have a puppy party instead of schoolwork!!

And what a blast they had. Hosted by Rugby and Cathy, we headed over to Hudson, Wisconsin. A big fenced yard and eight eager Golden Retriever puppies set the tone for the night. They had a blast, running, playing, wrestling and tumbling. There was Rugby, Izzo, Benny, Dempsey, Angel, Becca, Boston and Sawyer.
That's Izzo on the left, taking advantage of the other dogs wrestling to get a turn with the tug of rope toy.

As if that weren’t enough fun, we then headed down to the St. Croix River. Most of the puppies had been in the water, but not really enough water to actually swim in. Izzo had been in a lake over the 4th of July but there were too many people and kids and noise that she didn’t really realize what a dog could actually DO in water….

The same thing happened at the river. She was a little uncertain at first and got a bit concerned when we walked out to the point where the water was getting up around her nose. But then we were joined by a couple other “big dogs” Belle and Cody. They went bounding past Izzo out to deeper water to retrieve a ball.

Izzo, not wanting to miss a chance to play with the big dogs, raced out after them. And without really realizing what she was doing, the natural instinct kicked in and she was swimming! It was so fun to watch her discover this new skill. Once she realized what she was capable of, there was no stopping her. She was happy to splash and swim and chase down the balls and toys.

Of course the aftermath of swimming in the river means a wet, sandy, dirty, smelly dog. I decided that the next day would be a good time to take Izzo out for her first professional dog bath. She did just fine at the groomer’s and is smelling much better these days!

Izzo really misses Miles – who has now moved back to college with Jake. We walk in the front door and the first thing she does is turn to the right to go into the family room where Jake and Miles were normally sitting watching TV. Now it is empty and quiet. She’s a bit sad, but also enjoying the fact that she is now the sole “kid” in the house and the beneficiary of more of my attention.

Sometimes a little peace and quiet is a good thing!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Passing the ADI Test

Izzo (on the left) would like to be the first to congratulate Miles (and Jake) on passing their ADI test today! Good job Miles! They took this test about 6 months after Miles and Jake got paired so they kind of knew what to expect, making it (a little) easier. Still nerve wracking ....

The ADI (Assistance Dogs International) test is a standard that service dogs in public places have to meet showing they are unobtrusive and under control. The dogs have to ignore other dogs, they have to allow children to approach and pet them without showing any kind of excitement or agitation, they have to ignore food on floor and even food that is dropped off the edge of the table right in front of their noses!

But Miles - who has to take the test at age 5 - passed with flying colors. Jake was absolutely joyous about them passing the test today. The thought of the possibility of losing Miles was a scary one! Miles won't have to take the test again until age 10.

Jake and Miles are in the other room as I write this and I just heard Jake give the commands, "stand" "get it" "bring" "step" "give". Izzo is working on all of them (except step) and it is a reminder of the important work that she has ahead of her and why we have to practice, practice, practice every day.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Six Months Old...

Oh my - it's been far too long since I posted on here...

Izzo is now six months old - effective August 1st - and has made it to her first graduation. Our Perfect Puppy class has now moved on to the ranks of Awesome Adolescence.
Problem is that means teenage years for the dogs.... kind of like teenage years for kids. Sometimes they do what their parents ask them to do .... and sometimes they don't.
So our tactic is to just use bigger and better treats. I'm always scouting for something morsel sized that smells good that Izzo can be inspired by when we are training, without it upsetting her tummy.
Izzo is learning how to tug gloves off my hands and socks off my feet. This is not a problem for her - she's goes after them enthusiastically. Good thing she knows the command to "wait" and can pause for the actual command "tug". She is also learning to "go to bed" where she goes to her blanket and lies down. Problem is dogs like to nest before they lie down so she has to learn to do it without pawing it all up.

Here's a couple pics of Izzo on her six month birthday and of Izzo and Miles celebrating Miles 5th birthday in the backyard doggie pool.

Miles is getting ready to head back to college soon. Izzo is really going to miss him when he's gone.