Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Road trip down the coast

We took a long weekend to go to LA and visit family. Silky went with us -- her second road trip. Our first trip was to Mendocino last March. If I can find pictures, I'll post them.

Silky resting up before the long road trip.

DYB, Silky. It may smell like Monterey, but it's just dirt. Really.

Silky likes to look out of the car window until we get on the freeway. Here she is taking in the sights of San Luis Obispo after we left the farmer's market.

Goughnuts in the hotel? What a great place this is! We stayed in Pismo Beach and Silky joined us for the breakfast buffet in the morning.

Silky hanging out with Jim while we wait for our car. A warning light flashed periodically but the diagnostic tests came back negative. Later, just before we got to the 405 in LA, we discovered it was low on oil. Poor Prius. Who'da thought they actually use oil?

LA - Finally! Dylan Bob, this is Silky. Silky . . . Dylan. . . er . . . OK . . . . chew on each other. And they did. They chewed and ran and played and finally learned to settle down in each other's presence. What a great puppy weekend! Let's hope Dylan doesn't get the warts.
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When puppies fly . . . .

What can I say? Silky was happy to get home.

She has three little warts on her lower lip -- canine papilloma. There's quite a bit on the web about it -- nothing to do, really. The little warts will fall off eventually. They're very contagious so she's not playing with anyone right now. We're watching her little Welsh Terrier cousin, Dylan Bob, to see if he catches them. He and Silky played and played and played while we were visiting in LA. Did I say they played? We're looking back about 2 weeks or so to see what puppies she played with as possible sources for her warts.

She's discovered jumping on people. She actually lunges and jumps at the same time. We step on the leash, try to teach people how to do body blocks, keep her on the tie-down but she still manages to act like a canine pile-driver whenever someone gives her the friendly eye. She's on the food protocol for people and dog distractions. Any suggestions?

Our next puppy club meeting will be at a horse show. Can't wait!

And . . . it's her 10 month birthday today.

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

On the way to LA

We went down the coast to LA for a long weekend to visit family. The first stop was in San Luis Obispo -- always a fun stop -- on Thursday night. They have an incredible farmer's market every Thursday and we needed an outing for Silky and a birthday present for cousin Lisa. The farmer's market covers at least 8 blocks in downtown SLO with multiple bands; many, many food stands, tons of people and no dogs allowed. Silky walked right along with us in the crowd, dressed in her Puppy-in-training coat. Proud puppy. She behaved very well walking through the dense crowd. There were lots of new sights and smells.

Here's Silky being very grown up in the middle of all the action at the San Luis Obispo farmer's market.

We were nearly at the last block and heard someone say "Oh, look at the Guide Dog puppy." It was Helena with her puppy-in training, Delaware. We talked for a few minutes, exchanged names and puppy club information. What a great meeting! Delaware is Don's littermate: Don being Silky's BFF in our puppy club. Turns out that Silky's littermate, Stacy, is in Delaware's puppy club (Paws 4 Sight in San Luis Obispo). Wow! We met Stacy at California Fun Day.

Silky was excited to run into another PIT from Guide Dogs. It was almost as though she recognized him as Don's brother. Delaware was calm and I wish that Silky could be as calm when she meets other dogs. We're working on her dog distractions and I am more hopeful after meeting Delaware. Helena said he was had serious dog distractions to work through, too.

Silky is courageous and confident. The big issue we're working on is her dog distraction. We pick up a lot of hints and encouragement from the blogs from other puppy raisers (especially Lauren and Don). Jim and I are hopeful she can work through the distractions. She's such a great puppy -- sweet and brave.

We got some delicious SLO Chai Coffee for Lisa's birthday. Silky waited patiently while Jim paid for the coffee.
Silky was a great ambassadress for Guide Dogs and sat quietly while this little boy came over to say "Hi". She also met a blind person who is considering getting a guide dog. He hasn't decided quite yet, but was very interested to meet Silky and talk a bit. The man was with his sister and we encouraged them to check out the website for GDB. Hope he decides to get a dog. Who knows . . . maybe it will be Silky?

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Shopping with Silky

Time to shop for birthday presents for Charles -- our grandson who just turned 5. I'm looking for "Up"; Silky thinks "Up" is a good choice since there are dogs in the movie.

Silky was a perfect example of Guide Dog puppies-in-training during this trip to Target. She stayed right next to me, waited when I said "wait", sat when I said "sit", etc. We're sure she's coming into her first season since she's acting perfectly. Quite unusual for our little "I-go-my-own-way" puppy.

So you think Charles will like the red one? Silky thinks red will be just fine.

Puppies don't need socks and Silky can't quite figure out why people want to bother with them. Silky is doing very well with her "down, stay" commands. It's a good thing we practice twice a day with each meal: We say "Silky, down" and she flops down on our kitchen floor. "Silky, stay." And she watches us fix her food. She never moves -- not even an eyelash. "Silky . . . OK" Up, to the dish, gobble up kibble. Yum. And the pay off for us? She didn't move while I checked out the socks in Target.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Silky goes to Cal

I had some work to do in the library one afternoon last week so Silky and I made it a puppy-in-training outing. It was easy to find a place to park -- what was that all about -- just north of the campus. We walked through a little commercial district with lots of people and dogs. Silky's distraction intensity was surprisingly low and we got to the campus with nearly all the kibble we'd started out with from home. She loved seeing the new places, smelling all the new smells and watching all those people walk around, play frisbee and skateboard.

Here is Silky at North Gate. There were a lot of people walking in all sorts of directions. Silky usually sees people walking on sidewalks and was intrigued by this new human behavior.

Going to college doesn't seem like a bad idea at all. Our target library is visible in the background, between the trees.

Silky on a first floor landing in Doe library. When we got to the reading room, her collar tags tinkled as we walked around looking for a place to sit. It was the loudest sound in the room. Not many people seemed to notice -- many of them were attached to iPod earphones.

Since I used up all my good parking karma on this first trip to the library, our next Cal outing will likely involve riding the bus from North Berkeley or Kensington. It's easy to find a place to leave the car for several hours on a side street near a bus stop.
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Monday, August 2, 2010

Fun Day 2010 - It was F - U - N!

Ready for Fun Day:
We were all pretty excited about Fun Day held at the Guide Dog campus in San Rafael. Silky borrowed my bandanna and seemed to enjoy showing it off.

We're in our cowgirl togs, headed for Fun Day. Silky was pretty excited and wanted to walk fast. But she walked right next to me -- most of the way. She's on the food protocol for dog and people distractions. Fun Day promised to present us with many, many opportunities to practice.

Fun Day! Wow -- so many people; so many puppies. I hope I brought enough kibble for all the distractions.
Estimates before Saturday were that 300 people and 200 dogs would attend. It'll be fun to learn how many were actually there.
There were lots of activities and booths. Our favorite was the littermate meeting area. Silky's littermates met at 10:30.

Beautiful puppies! This is the "S" litter, born Oct. 24, 2009. From the left, the puppies are Stacy, Silky and Stockholm. Stacy is being raised in San Luis Obispo (Go, Mustangs!) and Stockholm is being raised in Stockton. We didn't see Sophie, Spencer or Susie. We ran into Stefano later in the day -- after lunch.

Time for a nap while all the people eat lunch.

Here's Silky with a picture of her mom, Melody. We met Melody's raiser and she said that Silky looks just like Melody. They are even about the same size. Silky's yellow littermates are all quite a bit bigger than she is. Silky's is just under 50 lbs. these days.

Quebec (another puppy from our club) and Stefano (one of Silky's littermates, also in our club) played for a bit on the lawn where the vendor booths were. Fun Day was filled with puppies playing with each other, information about different service dog organizations, new training protocol presentations and interesting things for the puppies to do. Silky participated in the "Recall Race" in the kennels -- she came in second.

The final event was the puppy delivery. All those very cute 8-week-old puppies were delivered to their raisers. There were a lot of fluffy golden puppies and the very cute little black lab in the picture.

Headin' out.

Ahhhhh -- Silky curled up on the floor of the car for the ride back home.