Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fun in the Snow

A morning pack walk with some of the Innsbruck dogs. We are having a pretty good storm move through the area, so some of the pictures are a little fuzzy due to all the snow!
Hugo a black lab/border collie mix lays in a pile of snow while chewing on his red frisbee
Rafferty, a black lab puppy runs through snow carrying a piece of grass
Rafferty follows Marley through deep snow towards a white fence in the background
Hugo a black dog runs through snow carrying his red frisbee.  HIs back is dusted in snow
Marley looks over a snow bank, his head just peaking out.  There are aspen trees in the background and snow falling
Vala, a black and tan German shepherd with snow dusting her face and coat looks across the snow
Hugo catches his red frisbee right before it hits the ground covered in snow
Marley, a brindle dog, sticks his face and paws into a bank of snow creating a spray of snow and dusting the front of his body
Sterling, a black lab, trots through the snow.  The only color other than black and white are his gold eyes which glimmer with excitment
A pack of dogs, a black and tan german shepherd and a couple black labs all run through the snow playing and jumping

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Flying Through

Who needs phase 4 anyway? Millie is flying through training and is already to phase 5 this week! I am sure she just wanted to get all her studying done so she could have a blast over the holidays.

Here are the things she has worked on this week:

Phase #4

  • Progression of guidework training: more difficult sidewalks in busier sections of downtown areas
  • Training on more complex street crossings and curbs
  • Obstacle clearance initiated by the dogs; they begin to guide their mobility instructors through the campus obstacle course
  • Preliminary obedience testing and evaluation of the dogs' reactions to head collars

Phase #5

  • Preliminary guidework testing with the mobility instructor under blindfold
  • Complete veterinary history review
  • More challenging guidework training environments (pedestrian traffic, stairs, different flooring surfaces, etc.)
I am off today and plan on taking some christmas pictures of the pups, so stay tuned for a holiday update. Wishing a very happy holiday to all the pups and their people!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Phase 3!!

Well I have gotten off-track on posting every day, but of course I had to update about my Millie girl. She is in phase 3 this week, moving right along with her training. Two of her littermates are in phase 7 already, and one brother has been dropped for medical reasons. I am loving watching her go!

Phase #3
Guidework training in quiet residential areas
Frequent rides in the training vans
Introduction to more advanced guidework commands and responses ("Right," "Left," and "Over Here,"); continued training on commands learned in Phase #2
Introduction of curbs and street crossings
Progressive obstacle course training on campus
Continued obedience training
Mall exposure walks
Dog social sessions
Neutering/spaying for those dogs dropped from the breeder-watch list

Friday, December 11, 2009

Week of dogs and cats comes to an end.

Well tomorrow morning my parents return and I am back to just my three puppies! It has been a little exhausting running the house and caring for all the animals, but it has been fun. The last of the cleaning is done and I have set my alarm to pick them up early in the morning at the airport. I will be there, coats in hand, to welcome them back to land of the frozen.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Phase 2

Millie is phase 2 this week!

From the Guide Dogs Website:
  • Preliminary obedience training
  • Exposure to distractions (toys, food, other dogs, cats, etc.)
  • First on-campus workouts with a harness
  • Introduction to the BEST program training techniques (including treadmill sessions)
  • Sessions to teach guidework-specific commands (such as "Forward," "Halt," "Hopp Up" and "Steady") and the desired responses to the commands
  • On leash introduction to the campus obstacle course

The Cat Who Opens Doors

Milo, one of the cats, is finding different ways to amuse himself now that it is much too cold to go outside. Instead of just playing with a toy or hunting mice in the garage, Milo has decided to make it his mission to open any closed door in the house. Taking a shower, why not have the cat come too? Sleeping peacefully at 3am? Not once weird banging sounds and a slowly opening door wake you up. Wanting to keep the cold air OUT of the house? Milo will help (read not) by leaving the garage door open.

So far the only doors he has not been able to open have been the front door and the door where I put masking tap on the handle to keep it from moving. He is one clever boy, and Marley has taken to following him around. Once Milo gets the handle to move and the latch to release Marley will shove his face into the crack and push open the door. This would be how Marley was able to help himself to many treats out in the garage.

They make one naughty duo. Anyone else have pets that work together as partners in crime?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Too Cute Tuesday

Marley a brindle striped fluffy dog looks straight into the camera with snow all over his nose, partway up his face, and dusting his ears.  He is looking over the top of a snowbank Marley has to be one of my favorite subjects for photography. I am always taking pictures of him. He is just so different and unique in every picture (though I could say that about all my dogs): his coloring just works in so many different light/background settings. This is a picture from our morning romp. It was short since it is so cold even Marley was ready to go back inside after 20 min.

Also, are my alt tags still working? Are there ever ones that don't? The way that I put them in is different for PCs and Macs. Just want to make sure everything is up to speed. Thanks!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Cold day

Today was sooo cold! With my parents out of town it falls on me to shovel the driveway. So around 11 am today I went out to clear the snow. I had hoped it would warm up, but no such luck. I spent 45min shoveling snow while Marley and Hugo did their very best to knock the walls of snow back into the area I had just cleared. They ran and dug and jumped and wiggled their way through all of the fresh snow.

I had thought about walking Rafferty around the PCMR base area....but in the end I chickened out because of the cold. Instead my sister and I went to see New Moon. I took Rafferty along since he did so well at The Invention of Lying (sorry about that Mimi!) yesterday. We got there a little bit late and had to go into the theater right as the movie started. Since I have been having such trouble with my night vision I had to feel my way along...making the going a little rough for Rafferty. But once we sat down everything went smoothly. I had to laugh watching him...once the wolves came into the movie he perked up and actually watched through the space between the seats! It was so cute. He didn't make any noise, but rather just watched the big dogs on screen (he was actually tracking, so he had to have been seeing them run!). We left the theater and he was a great pup ignoring all the spilled popcorn.

I love this pup and can't wait to see the fun things we will do!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Rafferty's 1st Movie

Rafferty did FANTASTIC at his first movie today. I can't wait to see what he can do as he grows up: this pup is amazing!!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Skiing Tomorrow!

Really, the title says it all. And more snow is on the way, with a big storm due to hit tomorrow night (sadly after I have already skied). Can't wait for snow and skiing, and some epic powder days. Even the dogs are ready for some fresh snow.

Hugo a black lab border collie mix stands on the porch with the middle of his face covered in white snow while holding his red frisbee also covered in fresh snow.

Friday, December 4, 2009

A House Full...

So I am house sitting for my parents this week while they enjoy lovely warm weather and I am stuck here enjoying super cold temps with no snow. This also puts me in the chief role of dog wrangler and cat tamer at the house. With my dogs it makes for 6 dogs and 3 cats enjoying the high life this week. We have everything ranging from Missy and Sparky, (a pair of 14.5 year old Dachshunds) to Gizmo the half Persian cat (his mom looked normal, have to say dad was a Persian) to Rafferty the rambunctious lab puppy. Milo the exploring cat (who still wants to go outside even though it is approaching zero, and Elise the recluse make up the rest of the feline pard.

Marley and Hugo are the resident 'big-dog' contingent. And Dante brings up the rear in size, but not in fight (he steals the big dogs toys).

And while some would love to party when mom and dad are away it just doesn't happen when 9 wonderful animals are looking to you for their every single need. Here is to playing dog (and cat) mom for the next week!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Phase 1

Millie is in Phase 1! I am so excited to finally see one of my pups make it to the phase report. Since Sterling was cc'd while still with me, Millie is the first to go back to campus. I can't wait to watch her progress. Here is a description of Phase 1 from the Guide Dogs website. Some of these things she may have already done since she has been on campus for 6 weeks already.

Phase #1
Pre-training physical exam
Neutering/spaying (with the exception of potential breeding stock dogs who are under evaluation at this time)
Eye checks
Relaxing walks on campus and play sessions
Introduction to the kennel environment and schedule
General daily care and grooming

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Here is hoping Millie is on the phase report tomorrow. I am really missing my little girl. I just got back some pictures taken of us together her last day with me. I hope she is having lots of fun still in doggie college, and that it is not all play and no work! Does anyone know if they start getting any workouts before they show up on the phase reports? There are some other dogs that went back the same time as her (including littermates) who have now shown up on the reports. I really want to know how she is doing....I miss this girl so much!

Millie a female black lab wears a GDB puppy coat sits on an old wood table next to me. We are sitting next in front of trees with leaves in full fall colors of red, yellow, and orange

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Keep on Rolling

I have decided to try for a post everyday until the end of the year. I have loved blogging everyday, and it is such a fun way to look back on the past month! With that in mind, here are some pictures from a recent outing with ALL the dogs. Enjoy!

dante a black and tan chihuahua wearing a red and blue sweater stands in a snow covered field of sage brush
dante a small black and tan chihuahua wearing a red and blue knit sweater stands on a field of snow
a landscape shot looking out at a hill of aspens and then beyond to smokey mountains in the distance
Marley a brindle golden mix looks off into the distance with the hair on his ears ruffled by the wind
hugo a black mix dog stand by Tom with his frisbee hanging out of his mouth wanting for it to be thrown
hugo a black mix dog hands off a red frisbee to Tom
the back legs of hugo a black lab border collie mix disappear out of the picture while marley gathers himself for a big run and makes small flakes of snow fly into the air and sparkle
Hugo a black lab and border collie mix runs into a field or snow and sagebrush with Marley a brindle golden mix running after him
Rafferty a black lab puppy looks off camera while standing against a field of snow
A stand of aspen trees blanketed in snow cast shadows on the snowy ground