Monday, May 31, 2010

Guest star of Reyna’s blog. . it's Sheba!

Sheba sitting outside the Bass Pro Shop.

This weekend Reyna went back to Judi, and we unexpectantly got Sheba until Tuesday. She is a 11 month old black lab. Her family had to leave town on a moments notice, so we were asked to take her. Today, my son wanted to go to the Bass Pro Shop, and I thought it would be a great experience for Sheba.

Sheba has done something sort of strange the past couple of days. When she sees her leash and her puppy coat, she turns and runs to my bedroom and hides in the crate. And she will not come out.

Sheba hiding in the crate after I put her leash and puppy coat on!

I took a picture of her as I tried to convince her to come out of the crate. I am not sure what this is all about, because I have puppy sat her many times and she has never done this. Maybe it’s too hot and she wants to stay in where it is cool? She has done this twice so far, so I will let her raisers know about it. Well, I did finally drag her out of the crate and we headed off to the Bass Pro Shop. My 16 year old son drove us there, and somehow I am still here to tell you about the trip!

We were starving when we arrived, so we went over to Red Robin for lunch.

Sheba sitting outside with Red Robin the the back ground.

When we sat down at our table, Sheba went right underneath the table like a good girl. She actually did not move a muscle until we left. What a good girl! Here is a picture of the way she just laid under the table. I think she was hot and the tile floor felt good. Poor black labs…they get so hot!

Sheba sound asleep underneath the table at Red Robin.

After lunch, we went into the Bass Pro Shop. There are all sorts of crazy distractions in this place, and Sheba could care less. She walked very calmly as we shopped around for a while.

Tony and Sheba shopping at the Bass Pro Shop in the fishing department.

Tony and Sheba in the shopping in the fishing department.

Tyler wanted to look at some hunting knifes, so we had a long wait in the hunting department just waiting for some assistance. She just sat there very patiently and looked into the glass case as if she was contemplating a purchase!

Sheba in a sit staring into the glass case that holds the hunting knifes.

Sheba getting a closer look at what is in the glass case.

Tyler and Sheba still waiting for assistance in the hunting department. Such patience!

After we finally got help in the hunting department, I decided to take Sheba around for some distraction training. Our first stop was the dog toy isle. However, it was not a challenge for Sheba as she was more interested in me than the dog treats!

Sheba in thbe dog toy isle.  My attempts to distract her fail.  Good girl!

Next, we stopped by some decoys to see her reaction, but yet again, she was more interested in me than the ducks!

Sheba ignoring the decoys.  She is completely focused on me!

We moved on to a fake Wolf, which she was interested in. She kept smelling and licking the Wolf’s ears. But she was not distracted, just a little curious.

Sheba sniffing the fake wolf's ear.  She thinks it is real...too cute!

Next, we exposed her to ducks and geese! She was sooo good. Since she is technically a bird dog, I though this would be more difficult. But nope……take a look!

Sheba face to face with a duck! Sheba investigates a goose!

Sheba remains in a down-stay as a goose comes at her face. Amazing!

Sheba ignoring the goose as she lays in a down.

Once we finished the distraction training, we had a chance to do some stair work. But these stairs were really different because they were surrounded by big fish! Another thing that made these stairs challenging was they had a very loud waterfall around them. Sheba was a little sensitive to the sound of the water, but she didn’t miss a beat.

Sheba working up a stair case with Tony.

On the way back down the stairs, Sheba noticed an overhead obstacle. Or should I say an overhead distraction. Ya, that is more like it. The birds hanging on the wall and the ceiling really caught her eye!

Sheba looking straight up in the air at the birds on the ceiling.

When I refocused her, we finished the stairs and then we went over to an indoor pond that had huge bass in it. It also had a couple for fake guys fly fishing. Sheba had no interest in it. She is such a great dog!

Sheba sitting infront of the indoor pond with flyfishermen in the background.

I thought since she didn’t have any interest in the pond, that she might be distracted or afraid of a very large stuffed bear. Well, Sheba wasn’t afraid or distracted by it, she actually made friends with it!

Sheba sits in frint of a stuffed bear with her pink tongue hanging out!

I finally found something that interested Sheba. There is this large glass wall with huge fish in it. You can walk right up to it, and Sheba calmly sat there watching these huge fish as they swam by. It was really cute to watch her head move back and forth as she followed these big monster fish.

Sheba watching the fish as they swim by in the glass wall tank.

Sheba sitting in front of the wall tank.

Before we left, we took Sheba outside and my son Tyler took these photos of her. I think my favorite picture is the last one.

Sheba sitting outside of the Bass Pro Shop on a rock with a deer antler statue behind her.

Another photo of Sheba sitting outside the Bass Pro Shop on a rock. My favorite picture of the day.  A close up of Sheba outside the Bass Pro Shop.

Considering that she is not my dog, I sure do love her a lot!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Reyna rides a ferry!

A close up of Reyna's face as she waits to get off of the Ferry.

Tony with Reyna waiting to get on the Ferry with some other puppy raisers in our club.

Recently, our puppy club took a trip into San Francisco. We rode the ferry over from Oakland. My club has done this outing every year, but every time they have gone, my pup has been too young to go. I was excited to give Reyna another public transportation experience. There were several different surfaces we had to walk over before boarding the ferry. There were several silver metal surfaces that would have freaked Reyna out when she was a puppy. But now that she is older and more confident she just walked right over them without any hesitation!

Tony and Reyna boarding the Ferry in Oakland.

One of my puppy leaders actually did a post on the GDB blog about our outing. Click here to read the post. (On the blog, there is a photo of me and Reyna and two other puppy raising friends walking at Fisherman’s Wharf.) Reyna fell asleep on the Ferry on the way over to the city. Once we got to Pier 41, there was a long wait to get off of the Ferry. While we were waiting to get off, Reyna was allowed to greet a little girl who was really interested in her. Reyna did well and stayed in a sit and did not lick the little girl. Now that is an accomplishment!

Reyna just after she made friends with a little girl on the Ferry.

We ended up at the beach and we decided to let the pups experience the sand. Well…….Reyna went crazy when she felt the sand squeeze between her toes. She was running in circles around me and flipping all over the place. I really worked on getting her to actually “walk” on the sand. So we inched along the shoreline, step by step, and I was moderately successful at getting Reyna to calm down. The photo below was taken after I had really been working with Reyna. She looks like she is really calm in this photo, but believe me, she went wild!

Reyna and I slowly walking on the beach together.

After we left the beach, a few of us went to Starbuck’s for some coffee. Below is a photo of Reyna and I with a couple of other raisers. Yes, we are multi-talented puppy raisers. Coffee in one hand, and a guide dog puppy in training on a loose leashes in the other!

Lynn and Adonis, Reyna and I and Marikay and Delhi walking at Fisherman's Wharf.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Two guides and a pup in training!

Reyna, Hibiscus and Wendy sitting out front of the restuarant we had lunch at today.

Today Reyna, Wendy, Glenda and I went up to Napa to spend the day with Dianne and “Hibiscus”. We went out to lunch at the Firewood cafe. It was a great little place that we had not discovered before. We had a nice time visiting together, and Reyna had fun hanging out with real guide dogs. All of the dogs did beautifully. I was especially proud of Reyna for being just as well behaved as Wendy and Hibiscus. Even though Reyna had a higher energy level because she still has a lot of puppy in her, I really couldn’t of asked for better behavior.

Reyna, Wendy and Hibiscus laying at table when we were having lunch.  Reyna is in a down-stay.

I came across a few occasions when I needed to put Reyna in a “down-stay”. One of the times was when I took this photo. She did a great job and she maintained her stay until I returned to her and released her.

Wendy looking up at me from under Glenda's chair.

After lunch, we walked a new route with Dianne. I did my best to describe the route and help her and Hibiscus become orientated to the new area. It sure made me realize just how difficult it is to get around without vision. It was also challenging because Wendy and Hibiscus have very different paces. Hibiscus goes very slow because Dianne has balance issues, and Wendy is more like a race car driver. Wendy would come up from behind and try to “pass” on the left. Glenda did a great job with slowing her down.

Hibiscus looking at me from under the table.

The roads were really uneven, and several of the sidewalks were also uneven creating a several tripping hazards. This made me very nervous. The dogs did a good job at stopping and showing these dangers to Glenda and Dianne. No one fell, so it was all good. There was also an overhead obstacle that both of the dogs missed. Glenda reworked it, and Wendy did well on the rework. Hibiscus had a big smile on her face while she was working the new route. I have never in my life seen a dog who is so concerned and careful with her handler than Hibiscus. This dog is truly amazing. She literally watches every single step Dianne take to make sure she doesn’t fall. She is so amazing to watch.

A close up of Reyna asleep at the restuarant.

After we did the route, Dianne treated us to a drink at Starbuck’s and the dogs enjoyed sharing a cup of ice. We had another nice visit, and the dogs took a little rest. We dropped Dianne off at her house and then we headed back to Glenda’s. When we got there, we let Wendy and Reyna play together for a while. These to dogs just love to be together. And they are so good to each other. Glenda’s house is one of Reyna’s favorite places in the world. When it was time to leave, Reyna put on the breaks and tried to stay with Glenda. Reyna absolutely hates leaving Glenda and Wendy. She wouldn’t even get into the car. She wanted to stay with Glenda. She keep running back to Glenda. Poor thing, she never wants to go home when we visit Glenda and Wendy. With some convincing, I was able to get Reyna to get into the car. She pouted all the way home. It is so hard to end a good day, so I completely understood how Reyna felt. She is now asleep on her tie down. She sure wore herself out today hanging with the big dogs!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Finally. . . Reyna Stands!

Finally, after 13 months Reyna has really learned the "stand" command. I have to admit, I am not good at teaching this command. So it is really my fault, not hers. Today, it just dawned on me that I have been totally confusing her and she didn't really know what I wanted when I gave her the "stand" command. She would always offer me various behaviors, because she wants to please me and do right. But the poor thing was clueless because her raiser was not being clear with her.
So tonight, I decided to mark the precise moment in time when her butt popped up from a sit into a stand. I used the word "good" as a verbal marker. We are not able to use food when training this command, so I wasn't sure if a verbal marker would work without food. Well, within 10 minutues Reyna understood what I was asking her to do and she was consistently doing the command correctly. Take a look at the video. I am so proud of her! (and proud of myself for FINALLY figuring this out!).

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A LONG day in San Francisco

Reyna sitting out front of Tommys Joint in SF.

Two weekends ago, we took Reyna into San Francisco for the day, We took BART to the Civic station and walked to “Tommy’s Joint” for lunch. There was a line out the door, but it was good practice for Reyna. Reyna fell asleep under the table while we had lunch. After lunch we walked from Vaness St. down to Fisherman's Warf, Yes, it was a LOOOONG walk. But it was walk full of wonderful socialization experiences for Reyna.

Reyna sound asleep under the table at lunch.

Reyna walked with confidence and she was not distracted by the noise of the city. She calmly crossed busy streets.

Reyna and Tony crossing Van Ness St.  Reyna is walking nicely on a loose leash.

Reyna crossing the street in SF.

Reyna also waited very nicely at street corners while we waited for traffic to clear. Here she sit comfortably on a man hole cover. It doesn’t bother her in the least.

Reyna comfortably sits on a man hole cover while she waits to cross the street.

We also had many opportunities to work on bird distraction. In the picture below Reyna walks by a bird as it flies away. The bird is circled in red on the right side of the photo. It sort of blends into the background.

Reyna does her best to walk by a bird that is flying in the air very close to her.

Reyna sits on the sidewalk and calmly watches several birds who are walking towards her.

After a few minutes of watching the birds, Reyna was able to completely ignore the birds. She got so good at ignoring the birds that at one point, a bird came flying right at her at eye level and the bird nearly landed on her head!

Reyna stands in perfect position at a street corner while she patiently waits to cross the street.

During our walk, we also had many opportunities for Reyna to face the dreaded “silver” surfaces. As a puppy, she refused to go over these surfaces. We stopped working these surfaces for awhile, then I carefully re-introduced the surface to her. Now she walks over them like they never bothered her. What a good girl!

Reyna cruises right over a shiny, silver surface like she never had an issue with them.  Good girl!

And then there were noises. Lots of them. As a puppy, Reyna had some noise sensitivity, so it was great to see her not react at all to the loud motorcycles. There was also a fire engine that past us and it was blowing its horn and Reyna could care less. She just kept walking down the street!

Photo of a loud motorcycle on the streets of SF.

Photo of the fire engine that passed by Reyna blowing its horn.

Below was Reyna’s reaction (or lack of a reaction) to the loud, passing fire engine! Go Reyna!

Reyna calmly walking down the street as the loud fire engine passes her.

We finally made it down to Fisherman’s Wharf, and there were plenty of crowds for Reyna to experience. She walked right through the crowds without trying to introduce herself to everyone who walked by her. That was a HUGE improvement for my social little puppy! In fact, that was the most significant improvement for Reyna, and it shows me that she is finally started to mature and she is mastering her impulse control! Wooooo Hooooo! I was so proud she wasn’t going up to everyone saying “Hi, my name is Reyna, what’s yours?”

Reyna walking in the crowds at Fisherman's Warf.

Reyna walking at Pier 39 with lots of people around her.  She is ignoring them...yay!

Reyna experienced a cable car, and below is a photo of her next to the cable car.

A cute picture of Reyna sitting in front of a cable car.

This is Reyna sitting in front of the Hard Rock Cafe. It was hot at this point, and you can tell by the fact that Reyna is panting in this picture. Poor girl, she was thirsty after all of that walking!

A hot Reyna sitting in front of the Hard Rock Cafe.  She is panting and her pink toungue is hanging out of her mouth.

Reyna finally got a drink of water. I still can’t believe I paid three dollars for a small bottle of water and I gave it all to Reyna. Yup, I sure love this little pup!

Reyna drinking ice cold bottled water from a cup.  Her nose is completely inside the cup. Reyna sitting very tall and proud in front of the Ferry building in SF.

After a LONG day, we finally made it to the Embarcadero BART station. It was almost a seven hour day in the city and the best thing was that Reyna didn’t need to relieve until we got back home. Now THAT was an accomplishment!

Reyna laying down at the Embarcadero station waiting for the BART train.  Finally on our way home after a long day!