Saturday, March 31, 2012

Dante Working

This video is not the greatest, but it shows some of what Dante knows.

Some things to note:
  • In the very beginning when I ask Dante to "dress," he start scratching.  he always itches when I first put on his collar/gentle leader/cape.  It usually takes him a good half hour to completely ignore them.  ;)
  • When I tell him "release" from his kennel, he hesitates.  Dante LOVES his crate and sometimes is reluctant to leave it.
  • Dante will sometimes try to read my mind and will go from a "sit" to a "down" over and over again just to see if he'll get praised.  We are still working on this one ;-)
  • He just learned "shake" this week and loves to do it.  He will try to get everyone to do it with him, and now we're working on doing "shake" only on cue.  I guess that's not totally a bad thing!
  • Dante got up from his "down" before I asked him to.  If I walk away too quickly he will do this, but I think he is still doing really well for his age!
  • If I drop the leash before I tell him "here," Dante will always pick up the handle of the leash before coming.  I'm still not sure what to do about this. 
Dante also knows "drop" (whats in his mouth), and will do it with pretty much anything except socks ;-) he know to "wait" for his food until given "okay."  We are up to about 45 seconds for this. 

Overall, I think Dante is doing really well with his commands.  We still have a lot of "fine-tuning" and "cementing" to do that will come with age and practicing everywhere.  

Friday, March 30, 2012

Jump Rope

Every Friday morning I have jump rope practice.  I have been bringing Dante since he first came, but this week I finally remembered to bring my camera and my mom took some pictures.

While I'm practicing my mom handles Dante.  She will walk him outside some, and then bring him in to watch the second half.  Jump rope has been a really good place to bring Dante because it's pretty low key.  We meet in a church, and there aren't a lot of people there, so it is not overwhelming for him.  And he also gets to practice his greetings with people and kids who know the rules and are will to wait until he's behaving to greet him.  It also has been great for him to learn how to listen to younger kids, and this week he finally "sat" for one little girl!

Kind of dark, but Dante likes to watch whats going on.

This is what he's watching...

Being a good boy and playing with his kong.

Dante's favorite time: when everyone comes to pet and play with him.

I have been so amazed with how good Dante has been doing when I take him out.  I keep telling my mom I want to know who was Dante's breeder/caretaker, and what did they do to him?  He's not afraid of anything and he's sooo good!  I don't know what I'm going to do with puppy #2: I'm getting spoiled raising Dante.  ;-)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Walking Part 2

Since my last post about Dante's walking, he has made a lot of progress, but also some other issues have arisen.

Now, I don't want to make this sound like he has tons of issues and isn't learning, but it's the truth.  And well, he can't go anywhere if he doesn't start somewhere. 

Dante has almost stopped refusing to walk.  He doesn't plant himself, but he lets you know he doesn't want to go for about ten steps before he realizes "Hey, this is fun!"  One funny thing is: no matter where we are, Dante know where home is, and always tries to get there.  I don't know why he is such home-body.  He really does love his walks, seeing the world, and going to new places, but he never refuses the offer to go home. 

I have been really surprised at how much endurance he has.  Even from the beginning he can keep a pretty brisk pace for 30 minutes and still want to run around the back yard for as long as I'll let him (there's another post coming on that). Dante loves to walk as fast as he can, and would really prefer to run (I can't run with him until he is 12 months), so we have been working on walking a lot slower.  He's got that down pretty good, and (for the most part) will stick to whatever pace I am going.

Overall, Dante is a really good walker and will only get over-excited when he sees the drains ;).  But in the last week or so, he has started to walk right behind me instead of next to me so that he can jump up and grab the leash or my shorts.  This has gotten really old really fast.  He has mostly only been doing this for the first half of our walks, so I'm hoping that he is just excited and will grow out of it quickly.   Dante has also started barking when he does this, but if I stop and ignore him, he stops relatively quickly. 

Dante has had almost no accidents during his walks.  Mostly due to the timing that I take him.  If I don't walk him within two hours of him going #2, it's pretty inevitable that he will go while we're walking.  So, I've been trying my best to set him up for success.  There was one funny time when he started to go right in front of a house that was having work done, and one of the guys saw him.  I wasn't forcing or pulling Dante around, but I was tugging just enough so that he would know that it was unacceptable.  The guy saw and asked why I didn't just let him go, so I explained that he is is training and was working, etc.  His reply:  "You should really watch the 'Dog Whisperer' to learn how to train your dog."  Hahaha!  I still laugh at that one!

I know this post is already longer then I expected, but now that I have written it out and see it, I think Dante is making more progress then I realize.  I can sometimes get frustrated when walking Dante, and just have to keep reminding myself that he is only three months and we still have lots of time to work things out. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012


On Friday Dante received his very first package!  It was from my sweet Aunt Erin.  She is such an animal-lover and was so excited about my raising Dante.  Aunt Erin always finds the coolest gifts, and this was no exception!

Dante attempted to open it...

But then I made him go "down" while I cut the tape.  He was not happy about this, and gave me his best "But it has MY name on it" face.  Somehow, he knew it was for him!

Unwrapping it:

Inside was a super cute stuffed toy and the coolest dog water bottle!

I don't think that the fact that it is as big as Dante is keeping him from having a great time!  he absolutely loves it!  It has been deemed his "extra special" toy that he has to work really hard for, and he will do just about anything for it!

The water bottle is my favorite.  It has a metal ball in the top so that when you turn it upside-down he can push it with his tongue and get water without a bowl.  It took him a few minutes to figure out how to use it, but to say he loves it is an understatement!  As soon as I pick it up, he jumps up, stares at it longingly, and follows me around until I let him have it.

Aunt Erin, I know your reading this: Thank you soooo much for your thoughtful gifts!  I hope that Dante will have the chance to meet you one of these days!

Monday, March 19, 2012


First off, today is Dante's three month birthday!!  He is getting so big and is just starting to lose his baby fur :(  Oh, they grow up fast, don't they?

This past weekend has been a harder one for me with Dante.  He is starting to show just how stubborn he can be.  I have been working with him a lot on his house and leash manners, with some progress made.

Sometimes it seems that no matter how many toys he has in front of him, he always chews on his leash.  I have to admit that I have been putting off really working intensely on this by letting him play without a leash in his X-pen sometimes too much.  So, on Saturday night I took a leashed Dante, a peanut buttered Kong, treats for reenforcing good behavior, and determination that we were going to work through this.  Dante took his place on the floor, and me on the couch.  

It started off well, but only took about ten minutes for him to realize that his favorite "toy" was dangling under his chin.  It took several approaches for me to figure out how to handle this, and and I have learned that: 1.  "trading" the leash in his mouth for treats works a few time, but Dante quickly learned that if he grabbed the leash and than dropped it, then he would get kibble, instead of leave it out of your mouth ALL the time.  2.  Saying no and and repeatedly removing the leash myself didn't work either, he just kept picking it up again.  3.  throw him a "party" when he picks up his toys all on his own.

The thing that finally worked was letting him have the leash (only about a foot) and totally ignoring him, not even giving him any negative attention.  I have to say this was hard for me at first - watching him tug and growl on the leash - but it worked.  The first time he threw his fit for about 7-8 minutes before he settled down and picked up his toys. He got a "party" of praise, petting and kibble, and played with his toys for about 2 minutes before going back to his leash.  He threw another fit, but this time only lasting 4-5 minutes.  He repeated this several times, but playing with his toys longer and throwing progressively shorter and shorter fits.  He never completely stopped, but we ended on a good note. 

I have leaned a lot in the area of patience and consistency these last few days and am really - shall we say -  looking forward to the "teenage months" *cough cough*.

Dante is still chewing on his leash a lot, but he is getting better - albeit the little that it is.  I think as long as I can be consistent in working with him every day, that we will have this down in no time. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Thoughts from a First-Timer

It's amazing what you learn about people with a puppy by your side.  Most people are really nice and have good questions about the "seeing eye puppy," (surprisingly, I've only gotten that a few times) and I gladly tell them about service dogs and CCI!

But there are some people I will never understand.  I have met people, who, when I tell them Dante has to sit before being petted, start yelling "Sit, sit, sit!"  Thanks for your concern, but I am quite capable of getting my dog to sit.  I try to be a good ambassador of myself and CCI, but we have rules that pet dogs don't have to follow.  If he is having a hard time focusing, and is jumping up, he can't meet people.  Most understand, but some look at me like I just insulted them.  Don't get me wrong, I love to talk to people and let them meet Dante, but in the end, he is here to work for me.

We haven't been inside any public places, but even just walking, or in parking lots, etc., we get stares and surprised looks.  That doesn't bother me at all.  But I don't know if I'll ever get used to some of the comments.  Like the lady who drove by us: Yes, I know how cute my puppy is without you yelling it out your window as you drive by!  She didn't even sound sweet, like really yelling.  Or the grown man who was making kissing noises at him.  Really!?!?!?  What am I supposed to say to that?? 

Dante doing a great "sit" - and staying - in the Walmart parking lot.  (This 
is also his "goofy sit" with both legs off to one side)

My favorite comment I have heard thus far, wasn't even directed at me, it was just said by a passerby-er: "Look, ______, it's a super dog!"  Yes, Dante, you're going to be a super dog alright! 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday Ramlings

Jack is starting to accept tolerate Dante and will even get withing a foot or so, of him when he's eating (and distracted).

Progress is the word of the week! They'll be snuggled up together in no time...maybe!

Some of the not-so-fun moments this weekend included an entire day (like all stinking day) of torrential downpours, and standing for two-and-a-half hours in it (yeah, we still can't find any of our umbrellas), trying to get Dante to go #2.  Poor baby had to go so bad, but just couldn't in the rain.  I couldn't bring him in because I knew he couldn't hold it any longer.  We were both shivering, soaking wet (come to find out my "water-proof" jacket isn't so water proof), and Dante was covered in mud by the time we came in.  He got a bath and we were both so exhausted by the end of the day. 

Back to more positive things: I love looking down on this face when I cradle Dante:

He is getting so big.  Sigh, he's as long as my legs already.

No, it's not 75 degrees anymore, the warm weather only 
lasted two days.  I guess that's TN for you... 

This little guy can fall asleep in the most uncomfortable positions:

I know it's really blurry, but I finally got a picture of him "smiling"

Friday, March 9, 2012


Is it really possible that he can get this big in only three short weeks!?!?

I swear this cape is going to be a bandana by the time he's five months!

Any resemblance?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Around Town

 I have been trying to get Dante out to new places about every other day, so when my mom and sister said they were going to take her senior pictures, Dante and I decided to tag along.

We live in a really cute town, and this was the perfect opportunity for us to see it better and for Dante to explore as well.

They started at the library.  Since Dante is too young to take inside, we walked around some, but mostly just watched the world go by.

I loved the benches outside because Dante could lay under them and I could still see what he was licking doing.

 After the library, we headed into the historic part of town.  Dante got to practice his stairs, and I was amazed, yet again, that he went up and down open-backed stairs AND the very steep steps of an old train!

We got to hang out on the porch of an old log cabin:

Dante also got to experience the train up-close:

Of course he had to crash some pictures too! 

We were out for about an hour-and-a-half.  It was the longest I have ever taken Dante out, and to say he was tired is an understatement!   He was out cold within a few minutes of getting home.  "A tired puppy is a good puppy" - Mission accomplished! ;)

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Gentle Leader

In this post I mentioned how much Dante hates his gentle leader.  Well.  On Saturday afternoon, Dante and I had just come in from playing in the yard, he was pretty worked up, and I was trying to get him to "Hurry" before I crated him.   I put him in his X-pen in the living room and went to the kitchen to a get a cup of water.  I came back about 3/4 of a minute later and Dante had pawed off his gentle leader and was chewing on the nose strap.  Now, I have been leaving it on him all the time except when he is crated so that he would get used to it, and he hadn't tried to get it off in a couple days.  When I took it out of his mouth he had chewed all the way through it.

I couldn't put it back on him that way, and it is the only small one I have, so I just took the rest of it off.  I wish I didn't have to, because he was sooooo proud of himself for getting it off, and to top that, I took it off for him!  He went ballistic.  he was running around in circles and growling.  needless to say, Dante took some much needed crate time for the next hour-and-a-half.

I then had to drag out all my (mom's) sewing stuff and try to fix the thing in a "I-don't-care-how-this-thing-looks-because-it's-not-going-on-my-face" kind of mood.

 Dante is one lucky dog that I didn't have to use some hot pink thread, and found the exact color I needed. 

It really didn't turn out that bad, and you can hardly notice it.  I just wonder what CCI is going to think when I send it back.  ;)

(not a very good picture, but you get the idea)

Sunday, March 4, 2012


When I take Dante for walks, I never know what to expect from him.  Sometimes he'll walk great, and sometimes he won't even leave our driveway for anything: praise, treats, toys; nothing.  Most of the time he will walk towards our house, but not away.  Other times we'll get down half our street, and he will refuse to budge in any direction. 
He has to stop to play in the leaves...

to check out the drains...

to lay down...

to watch the birds...

to try to paw off his gentle leader...

but 99% of the time, just for the sake of not wanting to go any further.

I have been watching him to see if he's afraid of anything, but he doesn't act like there's anything the matter.  He just doesn't want to move!

After taking him to a few places to walk, he does great in different settings, but he won't even come out of the driveway at home.

We have been playing a lot of "follow me," but as soon as we step on the sidewalk, he stops dead.  I was at a loss of what to do with him.  But today I was determined to take him on a walk.  I took Dante on the his 15 ft. leash (and Becca for back-up), and we started calling his name really excitedly, we had his favorite squeaky toy, and started jogging (and squeaking ferociously) down the sidewalk.  I'm sure the whole neighborhood thought we were maniacs, but he finally followed us!  We ran all the way down our street and then turned around, and he walked with us all the way back!

Now to see if he can do it tomorrow...