Friday, April 27, 2012


Dante loves the sound of his voice.  If he is awake, not an hour will go by without him barking at something.  Sometimes it's the cat.  Others it's because he doesn't want to be told what to do.  And sometimes just for the pure joy of hearing his own voice and seeing which one of us will look at him first.  I swear that dogs' voices crack too.  One moment Dante has a high-pitched puppy bark and the next, it is pretty deep. 

He has yet to bark when he is out with me, but I am hoping that time never comes.  

Dante mid-bark

Thursday, April 26, 2012

More on House Manners

Note: I wrote this the day before this post.  When you don't post things right away, things change quickly ;-)

Over the last ten days or so, I have been transitioning Dante to having more off-leash time in the house.  I blocked off the family and dining room for him, so he had room to move around, but not too much freedom.

Dante's favorite game is playing with his leash.  He does well if I'm holding it, but I still can't really put him on a tie-down because he mouths it and plays tug with it.  Since being able to let him off-leash, Dante has been about 80% better in the house, because he doesn't have that distraction.

For the first couple days, whenever I'd let him free, he would go crazy running around and showing off his toys.  But since day four, he has gotten much, much calmer, and will settle and even go to sleep (which is a big deal, because I don't think he wanted to spend one minute of his free time sleeping).

I have intentionally been leaving a few things out (a pair of shoes, the basket of blankets, computer cord) so that he would have to make some decisions to leave them and play with his toys.  Dante has been doing really well.  Some days are better then others, but he is making steady progress.  Every once in a while he will grab a shoe, or jump up to grab a tissue or piece of paper, and take off running with it.  It is important for me to stay neutral (not get upset or condone it), and not to scold him for picking things up, because I don't want him to refuse to pick something up when he is working, because he was scolded for it when he was a puppy.  He has finally gotten to the point where he will bring it to me and drop it (most of the time) for a treat.  (This is the part when you look at the last post and laugh.) 

He always has to carry his Frisbee from the middle... don't ask me why :-)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Too Much Excitment for One Night

Well, on Monday I had written a post all about how Dante's house manners are improving, and how is being allowed more freedom in the house.  It was all set to go until last night.  I promise I'll post it later, but for now...

Dante and I had a quiet day yesterday, just home doing school.   About 5:30, my mom, Dante and I left for a meeting at a church.  It was only a mile from our house so we decided to walk.  Dante did great while we were there.  It was a little more crowded then I expected, but he handled it all very well.  Dinner time for Dante was right in the middle of it.  These last two weeks I have been trying to mix up his schedule, so he won't get too set in his ways.  I decided to bring his food, and see what he thought of eating somewhere else.  He's part lab.  Need I say more?

Dante eating under the counter in a bathroom at the church.

We stayed for another forty-five minutes, so that his food could settle before we headed home.  I don't think we walked 1/4 mile before my mom and I looked at each other and said, "There is no way he is going to make it all the way home!"  He was so tired!  My mom called my dad to come pick us up, and Dante curled up in my lap right on the sidewalk:

We got home about 7:30, and Dante was let off-leash in the family and dining room.  Poor pup was so tired, I thought I'd be fighting to keep him awake until bedtime.  My dad and sister were in there with him while Mom and I went to get dinner.  About ten minutes later, I hear "DANTE, NO!"  Apparently, Dante had jumped up on the couch and grabbed the cat's toy that nobody realized was there.  It was a little stuffed monkey about 1 1/2 inches big.  By the time he let us catch him, it was gone.  I shoved my fingers all the way to his throat.  Too late. 

So, to the emergency vet we go.  We have never been there before, but we got there fine and Dante slept the whole way.  We arrived a few minutes after 8:00, got all signed in, and led to a room to wait for the vet.

Poor Dante just kept giving me this look that said Why are we somewhere else?  I just want to go to sleep!  Have I gotten across how tired he was?

Dante asleep, waiting to see the vet

 After talking to the vet and making the much dreaded anticipated call to CCI, they decided to induce vomiting.  The vet took him back, and within five minutes came back with monkey in hand. 

Dante at the counter, ready to go home.

 We got home about 10:40, and Dante went straight to bed.  I don't remember what they had to give him, but it made him extremely sleepy.  He slept until 7:00 this morning, ate, then has slept most of the day. 

Lessons learned:  1.  Don't dread the call to CCI, because they really are great (would you expect anything less from CCI?) and  2.  Sorry Jack, but all of your toys smaller then 6 inches are going in the trash.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Busy Weekend

 Dante and I have had an especially busy weekend these last two days.  

Yesterday, we went to a park where a "field day" was taking place for the elementary-aged kids, and my jump rope team was going to help and show the kids some stuff.  Dante came too, and did extremely well.  It lasted longer then intended, so Dante's lunch was about an-hour-and-a-half late, but he was a trooper.  He was tired, but he never got cranky.  I guess it's a good thing that he gets used to his schedule getting changed up. 

Dante is such an easy puppy to take out.  He loves to explore with you, but he also settles really well.  He spent a lot of time hanging out under a picnic table, and didn't even pay attention to spilled food.  He is also getting really good with his people-greeting, although he still tries to lick, he is great about checking in with me when he's getting pet.

Dante under a table ignoring some dropped cheese a foot from his head.
This morning Dante had puppy class.  I don't know why this is the first post about class, but I guess I forgot.  Dante has been doing really well, but when I got him up this morning I knew there was something off.  I think after such an exhausting day yesterday, he was just having an "off" day. 

Puppy class has been really good, and our trainer is great about understanding what we do differently.  But not being in a CCI specific class has been a little challenging.  Just trying to filter the information we're getting, and substituting the commands we use through what is different in how we are teaching Dante has been pretty mentally draining. 

My mom worked him for the first time during class today, and I was planning on getting some good pictures, but ended up getting some not-so-good pictures between the bad lighting, and helping "deal" with Dante. 

We start with play time.  Dante is always intrigued with this little puppy, and she stands her ground:

Dante, Scout and Max
Dante and Scout

After this, Dante spent some "quality time" trying to rub off his gentle leader:

Then it was on to working through the tunnel.  My mom lured him in.  He was not afraid, but he didn't know what he was supposed to do, so he turned around.  Then I got on the other end and called him through, and he was fine with that.

This was his fourth time through, and he did it like a pro!
After this, he did some good "sits" and "downs" even with temper tantrums thrown in throughout.

When we got home, Dante (and I) took a much-needed nap, then spent most of the afternoon outside with the family, playing fetch, practicing "here," running, and getting out his wiggles.  

Dante looking rather grown up and regal.  Taken by Rebecca.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

4 Months Today!

I cannot believe that Dante is already four months old, and that I have had him more then two months.  He is growing up so fast!  Since I'll only have him for one "real" birthday, I think we'll celebrate month by month.  Here are four of Dante's "quirks" that make him special:

1.  Whenever Dante wakes up from a nap it takes him a good five to seven minutes to fully wake up before he will get up.  It's preferable that you allow him to lie in your lap during this time and snuggle.  I am not opposed!
2.  Since the day I got Dante, he would not eat his food if it were soaked.  He likes water in it, but if it is not crunchy, he won't even touch it.
3.  If Dante is in his kennel, he sleeps on his back.  Period.
4.  Dante LOVES the drains on the side of the road.  He will run out ahead of me and jump onto every one that we pass.  Even when his paws slip though the grates, he just keeps going!

Happy 4 months, Dante!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How to Make Your Dog Think You're Sleeping in 6 Easy Steps

(Slight Disclaimer:  While I am not by choice a morning-person, know that Dante's need have never been neglected or ignored, and that this post is written in all fun and games (-:  )

1.  Make a plan.  Preferably consisting of the following five steps:
2.  Make sure that they cannot see your face from the crate.  If you don't read the rest of this post, know that this is the most important.
3.  (Continued from #1)If you think that they might be awake, do not look at them!  The worst thing you can do is make eye-contact.*
4.  Be a statue.  I used to move a lot when I sleep, but if your dog even thinks that they hear the slightest movement, then it's all over.
5.  If you like to leave a few extra minutes for the "snooze" button, only leave your phone alarm on vibrate, preferably as far away from the dog and as close to you as possible (I have found that if I wake up before my alarm, then hold my phone under covers, then it is almost impossible for Dante to hear it).  
6.  If all else fails (this part is inevitable), then you have no choice but to get up.  But, hopefully, the above points have prolonged this step as long as possible.

*Caution:  If you break rule #3, and see a face this cute, it may send you into pity mode and you'll get up even after only three hours of sleep:
Dante at 8 weeks asleep, with is chin resting on my lap

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Question: Getting Out

Dante is pretty high-energy.  When he first came, I thought that getting him to new places every other day or so, would be enough to keep us busy, but not overwhelm him.  After three or four weeks, I realized that I really needed to start taking him out every day. 

Since we are not supposed to walk more then a mile-and-a-half at a time, it has been really challenging to tire him out.  When I walk him down the same road more then twice, it gets "old" to him.  He really needs to work his mind at the same time in new places.  I try not to walk him down the same streets more then every couple days (there are a lot of sidewalks here), and getting on busier streets, but it will still take him over an hour of running (he really does run the whole time) afterwards in the yard to wear him out.  

This last week has been especially hard to try to think of new places to get him to.  What makes it harder is that we have only been here three-and-a-half months, so I can't think of anywhere else that is dog-friendly that we can bring him.

We have been to the parking lots and fronts of a ton of stores; the town-square; walked around the outside mall; two different parks where we even watched baseball practices and tennis matches; Petco; outside garden centers; and a number of other places.  I only have one month until I can start bringing Dante in public, but until then, where are good places to take him?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Happiest Place on Earth...

PETCO!  Okay, honestly I'm not a huge fan of pet stores because you never know what you're going to run into there.  But, the one near us is usually pretty quiet, and Dante just finished his shots last week, so I figured today would be a good time to bring him for the first time. 

Since this was Dante's first time inside any type of store, I wanted to keep it fun.  Not focusing on any commands, but just letting him explore. 

I wasn't really sure what to expect from him, so I was pretty amazed at how well he did.  He was very interested in all the smells and sights, but he never went crazy or seemed overwhelmed.  Even when we stopped to check things out, it was fairly easy to get his attention - if only for a few seconds. 

A few weeks ago during a frustrating moment with Dante, I made a deal with him (if you believe you can make deals with dogs (-; ), that if he would behave himself and listen to me then I would take him to pick out his own toys.  Dante held up his end of the deal, so he got to pick out a toy.  And wouldn't you know, it has a squeaker.  This dog loves his squeaky toys, and walks around so proudly whenever he has one!  I'll never forget the moment Dante first figured out his toys squeaked, and he hasn't stopped since!

My mom also found a bone-shaped Kong, and I think he will love that.

I thought that Dante would be hesitant to walk on this floor, but he loved it, and after walking and pawing it for a few seconds. he made himself right at home!

The fish only held his attention for a few seconds...

...But I think he wants to change his food.

Dante got to greet some people (and hopefully potential puppy-raisers)! 
It was almost impossible for him to hold a "sit" on the floor.

Dante LOVED these, and was trying to sniff all the way to the top!

 We ended up staying longer then I expected (talking to a trainer there, but that's a whole other story), but Dante settled really well and we left on a good note.  And now I have one pretty pooped puppy on my hands, and I think that means we had a successful outing!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spring Time

 Dante and I took advantage of a beautiful spring day today, and got some pictures in-cape.  Enjoy!

The tongue...

Smelling the flowers...

...Eating the flowers

Goofball :-)

Look at how small his cape is getting.  He weighed in at 29.6 lb. at the vet yesterday!

How can this NOT make you smile?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Well, Dante has made it through his very first holiday with us!  It was a slow day for him, but he did really well.

My family went to church early, so Dante didn't have much out-of-crate time before we left, but he didn't whine at all!  After we got home I let him play in the yard, then we watched a movie, and I kinda forgot to feed him his lunch.  Oops!  It wasn't until about 3:30 that I remembered.  I felt SO bad, but Dante just slept away, I guess that's one way you know he's not 100% lab (besides the fact that he looks mostly golden)!  I was surprised that he didn't "remind" me or get grouchy about not getting fed.  I wonder if he'll even notice when he switches to two meals-a-day.  Sorry Little Buddy, your a trooper!

After dinner, we went outside and hunted for our "Resurrection Eggs"  (yes, you're never too old for a good Easter Egg Hunt (-; ).  Dante LOVED this and came all around with me before I turned him loose.

Dante is such a little stinker when he is loose.  He will come running as fast as he can when you call him, get within 2 ft. of you, then veer off to the side.  Just in case I don't already know that he knows what he supposed to do, but he makes sure I know that HE has the choice to do it.  Does any of that make sense? ;-)  I think I have my work cut out for me...

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Because It's Good for Him

I find myself saying this a lot.  "We should go ______ because it's good socialization  for Dante."  My sister says it drives her crazy, but I think she secretly likes traipsing around with a puppy.  ;-)  (Now she's probably reading this and rolling her eyes, haha!)

I have been wanting to take Dante to the park for a few weeks, specifically the playground, and today we finally got to it.  Dante had puppy class this morning, and was exhausted from that, so after a two-hour nap this afternoon, we all headed to the park. 

First, we walked around some.  There was a nice bridge:

Dante walking loose-leashed, AND checking in! :-)

And also a sidewalk that ran right through the pond:

 Dante loved checking out the pond.  There were little tadpoles and a lot of algae.  He was so cute trying to paw at it, but he also kept trying to lick the water. 

Dante also has come a long way with his walking on the grass, and walked for a good 6-7 minutes on it without once going crazy!

 Then it was on to the playground.  Being Saturday, it was swarming with kids.  Dante did so well greeting them and held a "sit" or "down" the whole time he was being pet and only licked a few fingers! ;-)

Dante got to check out different surfaces and levels.  He wasn't the least but afraid of being off the ground.

 We had fun going down the slide.  I have a video, but it is sideways and I'm not sure how to flip it.  Dante was nervous at first, but with some kibble lures, he went right down. 

I loved that we could go side-by-side down this one

At the top of the twisted slide.  Dante went down on my lap

We had to check out the tunnel:
Yes, I'm a bad puppy raiser, not paying attention to what he's licking...
Dante was so tired by the time we left!  And has been sleeping for the last hour, but we had so much fun!  One of my favorite things about raising is watching them explore their world.  You see so much through the eyes of a puppy.  So much that I would miss in my busy life.  It's so neat to watch Dante learn about what's out there and overcome his fears and hesitations!

Friday, April 6, 2012

What a Difference!

Yesterday, I was looking at some of the pictures of Dante when he first came (can you believe it's been almost 2 months?  How time flies!).  There is such a huge difference in his face and disposition.  He was so scared and out of place.  Poor baby!  I am still so amazed that he is doing so well after all he had been through on his way to us (being separated from his siblings, flying, etc.).

Dante looking extremely scared on his way home.

Last night, I was sitting on the floor playing with Dante and he climbed in my lap and flipped over on his back as if I was cradling him, and looked up at me as if to say, "we haven't done this yet today."  Sooo sweet!  It melts my heart to see him so comfortable with me and our family. 

How long will it be before he's not a lap-dog?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Take 2: Outside

First of all, I know I have been very sporadic on here the last two weeks, but with spring break and lots of visitors coming, it was hard to stay consistent.  But I'm back in the swing of things and hopefully will be more regular from now on.

In my last post, I did a lot of venting.  It's really not that bad, but after talking with my mom and receiving some great advice from other raisers, Dante has made great progress this week.  I decided to pretty much let him have at it and see if the novelty of being "free" would ware off.  

Dante and I have spent a LOT of time outside this week - about 2 hours everyday.   Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I attached his 30 ft. leash to a tree (it's a lot easier to play with him and not have to manage his leash).  He was doing really well!  He has pretty much stopped eating grass and will now just pull it up and spit it out.  It takes a lot to get him interested in his toys, but he LOVES his Kong Wubba and will chase that thing around for a half-hour straight.  Dante is also getting better with his "here," and will come most times I call him (if he sees I have treats ;] ).

So, today I decided (OK, my sister had to talked me into it) to let him off his leash in the yard.  I still left his 6 ft. leash on because we could get him out of trouble easier with that on. He barely noticed it, and when he did, he enjoyed the freedom of walking himself ;). 

He started with a crazy run in his favorite plants:

Then some "fetch."  OK, he really doesn't get the idea of bringing it back yet, but he loves to run with it, and I love watching him because he still has a little of a "puppy run." 

Then, later this afternoon, we took him out again, and I got some pictures.

Blurry, but a good "here"

I don't think I have a single non-blurred picture, but he was having fun!

 Blurry again, but I still love this picture!

:-(  Dante is losing his puppy shape...

this just makes me laugh!

Sweet and couldn't be happier!