Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Dante, Jump!

I had  introduced the "jump" command to Dante a few weeks ago, but we haven't had too many opportunities to practice it.  So, today's outing was focused on going somewhere where Dante could do lots of "jumps!"  So we ended up at - you guessed it - the mall.  The closest mall to us is an outdoor one, so there are lots of benches and low walls that Dante can practice on.  

Ahh, Dante you don't know what your in for! :-)

 I only had to lure him onto the first one, before he remembered what to do, and he did all the rest himself.  I loved this row of benches because I could ask Dante to do something different at each one - at one an "under," the next a "jump," etc.  It is important that I change the command often, so that Dante learns to listen to what I say instead of guess.

Dante was a little uncomfortable on the little kid benches at first, because they were so narrow, but he still "jumped" and settled onto them after a few times.  

Have I mentioned lately what a cuddle bug Dante is? ;-)  As soon as I sat down, he laid down with his paws in my lap. 

And the only thing I can think of when I see this picture is How can someone look at this puppy with his mouth wide open, than ask me why he's wearing a muzzle!  Sheesh!  I don't mind educating people about Gentle Leaders, but when they say it like they think I'm abusing him or don't know how to train him correctly, I get a little annoyed!

But I digress...

After 30 minutes of jumping up and down in 95 degree weather, Dante was tired out and ready for some AC!  We headed to Barnes and Noble since we had some time to kill before my mom came back for us.  Usually I never would feed or give anything (even kibble rewards) to Dante in a restaurant-type setting (because I don't want him to expect or beg for anything when we go out to eat), but I had forgotten to grab his water bowl from the car when my mom dropped us off, so I had no other choice.

I got an ice tea for myself and cup of ice for Dante, but than realized my predicament.  I'm sure the gentleman behind us was wondering the same thing - how am I going to get this to the table?  An (almost healed :) broken ankle = one crutch + Dante's leash = no extra hands.  

A quick scan of the room revealed that one side was completely empty, I decided to take Dante to the table in the corner and leave him there in a "down."  Now before you say "you left an unattended 7 month old puppy at a table!" - I must tell you that  it was only 15 ft. and Dante was hot.  Very hot and tired.  Hot puppy + cold floor = 99.9% chance that he will not move, and knowing this pup, if he does decide to move, he only wants to know what I'm doing.  As I walked away, the afore mentioned gentleman remarked, "Wow, he very well behaved!"  I smiled.  I guess he didn't do the math!  Haha!

I enjoyed my tea.  Dante enjoyed his ice.  And everyone who walked by laughed at the way he crunched it!

Blurry crunching!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Museum and IMAX Fun!

Today was an extremely busy day for Dante!  We started with a quick trip to the doctor's where Dante was so good that hardly anyone noticed him until we got up to leave.  It is always the best compliment when people say "I didn't know there was a dog in here!"  

We then met the rest of my family for lunch at Panera Bread.  It was really, really busy, but we found a quiet spot along the wall and Dante settled very nicely.  

Look closely and you see the treat pouch next to Dante's paw.  He didn't touch it! :-)

During lunch we decided to go to an IMAX movie.  Let me just say that it is so nice to be able to take my Seven Month Boy somewhere on a whim without having to plan out every little detail!  He is getting so good at being in public!

We decided that this would be a good introduction to movies because I wouldn't have to worry about it being super loud and intense with lots of action.  It also wouldn't have the added distraction of lots of food smells and spills on the floor.

I have to share a happy moment that I really appreciated (especially after an extremely rude shop owner we encountered last week).  My dad dropped Dante and I off at the door so that we wouldn't have to walk across the hot pavement.  As we were walking up to the door, I overheard a security officer in a golf cart right in front of the door talk into his radio (I'm assuming to someone inside) and say "There is someone coming in with a dog.  It is a service dog, so leave them alone, it is allowed to be here."  *Happy dance!*  I am so thankful for people who welcome Dante!  And I must say that they were great with him, and either complimented him or didn't say anything at all!

We arrived 30 minutes early so we spent some time in the museum.  This was Dante's first experience in a museum and he did pretty well.  He was very interested in everything going on but still listened well.  We had one incident where we came up to a a taxidermy deer and Dante's super sniffer came out.  He was containing himself very well for a 7 month old pup, but as I tried to walk him away, he barked at it once.  He has come a long way in not barking in the last few weeks, and he hardly barks in public anymore, so I am still vary proud of him.  But I decided that we didn't need to continue on to these...

So Dante and I settled on a picture of the rest taken by my sister.  We'll get there...eventually. :-)

Dante is rather unimpressed at his first glimpse of the museum.

Dante practiced his "under":

Note the dropped leash!  He's getting good!

And some more "under"s:

And then he tried to read what all this stuff was about:

But rather unsuccessfully.  So he decided to pose for the camera (or maybe just slouch his "sit" and look in my general direction)

After 20 minutes it was time to head to the IMAX theater!  

Dante was very good on the elevator and as we stood in line for 10 minutes:

But then he had to ham it up for his adoring public! ;-)  I think it is so funny how many people ask to take his picture!

The theater was only about 1/3 full and we had lots of room so that Dante could have an empty seat space.  

Taking pictures WHILE they are asking you to turn off your cameras will warrant you a "please put your camera away now" talk.  They just don't understand that this pup has a blog and must keep up with his happenings ;-)

Before it started:

I wish that I could have gotten pictures of Dante during the film.  He was SOOOOO cute!  We saw "To the Arctic," and Dante was so interested in it.  He sat up every few minutes and watched the screen, and whenever he heard or saw the animals, his ears perked up, but he behaved so well and never got really excited.  He fell asleep about halfway through. I think I enjoyed watching Dante watch it more then watching it myself! :-)

It was perfect for a puppy's first film - not too loud and only 45 minutes.  I am so happy with how Dante did!

After we left, we made a quick stop at Whole Foods.  This was Dante's first time here, and he did a little more pulling on his leash then I perfer, but overall very well.

Today was one of Dante's busiest days as far as outings go.  We still have a lot of work to do, but I am excited about how Dante's training and socialization is coming so far.  It is nice to have a "big puppy" who just goes with the flow and can settle nicely in many different situations!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

7 Months!

I was really enjoying doing month-by-month post for Dante, but now I am already thinking there is no way that he is this old!  Please slow down!  

So anyways, here are seven things I love about "The D":

1.  Dante is a cuddle bug!  He still needs to snuggle every morning when he wakes up :-)

2.  Dante is confident.  He does great everywhere I take him, and always loves to go to new places!

3.  Dante is not afraid to try something new.  He will try just about anything he can physically do for praise (and treats too ;-)

 4.  I love how Dante's fur dries all funny and randomly sticks up after a bath!  I call it his summer "beach blown" look!

 5.  Dante loves to learn, and gets so excited when I teach him new commands!

6.  I love his crinkly ears!

7.  Dante is clean!  Seriously, this pup does NOT smell. At all.  Or shed.  Ever.  It's A-mazing.  You really have to meet him to believe me.  I will always complain about this in future pups after having him.

Happy 7 months, Dante!

And just for fun, here is a video of Dante when he was 11 or 12 weeks.  He loved playing with the door stopper so much that he stripped it from the wall.  Oops!  Needless to say, that obsession was short-lived! :-)

Monday, July 16, 2012

I Think I Can

Food refusal.  Dante and I have been working a lot on it this week.  All puppies in training are expected to totally ignore anything on the floor weather they are walking over it, doing commands next to it, or laying down next to it (in a restaurant, etc.).  It is so important that working dogs pay absolutely no attention to anything on the floor because it could be detrimental to the dog's handler.  Beside the fact that it looks extremely unprofessional, a distracted puppy is hard enough for me to handle, much less someone who is disabled and may not see it or have the strength to control him.  

While Dante is far from perfect in this area, he tries so hard!  We have had a few times this week where Dante was exerting all the willpower he has, and it is SO cute!

The area between the two sets of automatic doors at Target always has popcorn littered on the floor.  Tons of popcorn.  Dante can walk over many things just fine, but he is not good at refusing the popcorn.  But really, who can blame him?  I helped him out a (very) little bit by making him walk right next to it instead of over it.  Just when we get up to it he stops dead and stares.  It is the cutest thing because his nose is an inch from the floor and his ears are hanging over his eyes.  He stands there for close to thirty seconds, before he looks back at me with the most victorious "I didn't touch it, Mom!" look, and continues to walk with me.  Treats for you, my Little Buddy!

The other night, we were working on his commands at home.  I had Dante in an "under" underneath my chair.  He was facing straight forward with his head and front paws sticking out between my legs.  I started dropping kibble and high value treats in front of him until there were around 20 within his reach and between his paws.  He was trying so hard not to pay attention to them, but after ten minutes I guess he didn't think he could take it any longer, and scooted around until he was facing my right side where there was nothing dropped, and plopped his head down.  

Dante passed that better than I could have expected, so we move out from "under" and work on all his other commands.  I had him do "stands," "sits," "shakes," "speaks," and then I asked for a "down."  Now, no matter which way he turned, there would be kibble between his paws.  Dante looked at the floor, then looked at me, and back to the floor.  He moved his paws a few inches before he popped back up and whined.  I commanded another "down" and he did the same thing.  I asked a third time, and he looked at me and then offered all his other commands: sit, shake, speak, stand.  Poor baby just knew he could not refuse the temptation if he followed through with a "down."  I lured him once, then he was able to do it a few more times with lots of encouragement.  He never did touch the kibble. 

Dante still has a lot of work to do food-wise, but I know that he understands what he is supposed to do.  I am so proud of his progress.  Whenever we practice food refusal, I can see his little brain turning - "I think I can, I think I can..."

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Dante's Trip to the YMCA

Dante has had a pretty slow week this past week by the way of outings.  Thursday was his first day out since the weekend.  My mom took him to the YMCA for the fist time.  He was not behaving very well, so they only stayed about fifteen minutes.  But the people at the Y loved Dante, and even asked to get some pictures of him for their newsletter.  As soon as the camera came out, Dante couldn't have been more perfect.  He is such a ham!

Yesterday we went back, and Dante was (almost) perfect (maybe because we were taking his picture ;-)!  It was also really nice that it was almost empty - more room and options to be able to let Dante check everything out!

He wasn't very interested in the huge balls:

Dante got to check out the treadmills:

FINALLY a good sit!  I knew it was in him somewhere!

And then go on them (stationary) and practice some of his commands:

He got to check out the elliptical machines.  He was so funny because when I released him to "check it out" he stepped up with his front paws and looked back as if to say "I'm ready for my picture!"  

Dante also got to practice holding a "down" next to moving equipment:

Dante posing again.  If this whole service dog thing doesn't work out, he needs to go into modeling ;-)

 Dante did so well at the YMCA!  We are still taking his outing pretty slowly, so we decided that we would come back another time to check out the pool and gymnasium areas.

He has hit his "teenage" stage full force the last two weeks, and his behavior (at home and out) is hit or miss.  Sometimes he is great, but more so than not, he acts as if he has forgotten everything he knows.  Right now I am so thankful that we did not rush his commands, but really spent time enforcing the ones he knew (he knows 16 out of the 30 that I will teach him!).  It's making this time a little easier!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Random Pictures!

Meeting my rabbit, Che Bella, for the 1st time
Our 1st outing together after I broke my ankle.
Totally ignoring everything on the floor.
The closest to harmony that we're gonna get  ;-)

Dante's 2nd week at church.  We need to work on not taking up so much space...

Dante is very popular at church, but I think these two like each other best!
My cuddle bug! :-)
Just being cute!