Saturday, January 31, 2009

Marshall on Main Street

Marshall had a busy week! Because of his adventurous soul at home, I was permitted to bring him to work and crate in the car while the weather holds out. He came with me to my work downtown from Wednesday through Friday. I park on the 4th floor of a parking garage so he is secure from the street. This was the first time Marshall was introduced to stairs...big scary stairs. The first day, adorned with prong collar, he was refusing the stairs. A little pop and a scream got him started...right into the sights of the security guard! Not to worry, I work for the owner of the building and the security guard had met Marshall on a previous occasion when I brought him to work and kept him in the car for the afternoon on class day. But out of respect and not having Marshall's uniform, I don't want to exceed my privileges of "no animals in the building." Marshall and the security guard are now good friends. Instead of slinking throught the lobby to get back to the stairs, a little wave to the guard gets us in the back door.

On our way down four flights of stairs with lots of encouragement and treats. On Marshall's second break of the day a few hours later, stairs were no longer of concern. With instructions on prong collar use, several coworkers helped give Marshall breaks throughout the day. On my lunch hours, I would walk Marshall up Main Street and around the block...lot's of comments. I can't wait for him to get his uniform.

Also, hopefully these daily excursions have helped his car sickness. I noticed he immediately lays down curls up and settles in once he gets in the crate in the car. I no longer notice any little drools of stress. Tomorrow we go to Charlotte, so that will be a good test. But just to be cautions--no breakfast until we arrive!

I may have thought of a way to layer some babygates to keep him confined, but also feel that little weekly excursions to downtown may still be in the cards. He gets more attention and interaction during his daily "breaks" than he would at home. Now at least I know he can have some variety and a little more safe excitement in his life.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dinner time

Lucy can never get enough to eat, she often begs for more. You have to love that face, she gets an "A" for effort.

Blame it on the Rain

Partners in Crime, they just can't be trusted.

From McBee to Mauldin...

Okay so....originally we were fostering McBee but Julie has him for the time being so now we have Mauldin. I just want to say these two dogs are the COMPLETE opposites! Poor Mauldin is probably confused as to why these crazy people keep their shoes on a shelf 5 feet in the air! Well that is because McBee would "attack" them if they were on floor! I am sure he also thinks we are poor because we have no furniture in our kitchen....again because McBee would eat anything, so we thought it was just easier to remove everything from the kitchen so he has some play space where we didn't have to monitor him every second! McBee hated his crate it was his daily goal to get out of it. Mauldin will hang out in the crate. McBee loved toys, he had about 15 of them in the kitchen, he would put them all on his "place" (a big dog bed) and roll in them! All you would see is dog legs and toys flying in the air. I have yet to see Mauldin interested in any of them.

Mauldin is fitting in well though. It is just funny because he is so GOOD! He will lay by my feet and sleep or chew on a bone. I can also let him free in other rooms of the house and not worry about him chewing the furniture! I used to bring McBee in the living room with me and make him sit on "place" but I had to leash him. Well one day he got tangled around the end table so I let the leash go. Well he took off! I ran upstairs cause I thought that is where he went! I heard silence,...not good. Then I heard a crash downstairs! When I get in the dining room he is head first in my labs food tub (which was moved from the kitchen because he broke the top off). So all I see is two black legs sticking out of this tub. I reach in, grab him by the scruff, stick my hand in his throat and take out handfulls of food. He would have eaten all 40 lbs I am sure!

Mauldin is just much more mellow. We gave him a bath today and I think that helped him become more comfortable with us. He seems to like Steve better where Bee liked me better. Also Mauldin takes naps, and other than two times when McBee was 8 weeks old, I never saw him sleep!

These two dogs do have one thing in common, we love them both very much and they are a pleasure to be around and I wish nothing but the best for both of them!


Marshall "Mind Me"

After our emergency on Monday and the purchase of a prong collar, Marshall seems to be making strides on "leave it." His favorite hole in the yard, he will look at it and I'll say "leave it" and he comes running and sits and looks up.

Hopefully he doesn't forget what happened yesterday tomorrow.

Always a challenge :)
Milliken and I have been working on "Platz" (lay down) today. He's so sweet when he sits and looks up at me and has this look on his face that says "how can I please you?" or "well...what do you want me to do? " So, the training continues...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Everyday Improvements and a Question for the Group

McIver is making great strides much like his brothers and sisters. He is enjoying his eternal playtime with the boxers, Calhoun and Lucy. They teach him so much including some things that I wish they wouldn't! He enjoys chasing Lucy with her tennis ball. She is a petite boxer and very fast. On the serious side, he is understanding that he must "leave it" when it comes to the cats. Which is a very good thing for the future of his pretty brown eyes! He got his first bath from us this weekend and well it was a state of panic sort of. He calmed down especially when I swaddeled him up in his towel like a baby (with huge ears). Lucy and Calhoun had theirs Saturday also. My poor bathroom. We also installed a new toilet this weekend which gave us an opportunity for McIver to venture into Lowes. He did really well of course. Those automatic sliding doors were a surprise!

Does anyone else experience that look from your puppy when strangers approach? It seems as though he is asking for permission to accept that person. I need some input on that because I am not used to it. My boxers NEVER asked for permission because they simply assumed the world is a happy place where EVERYONE wants to meet them. Is this need for reassurance a shepherd thing? I certainly don't think it is a bad thing. I just want to react the correct way.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mighty Milliken

I gave Milliken a bath today. He didn't really like it, but he tolerated it. I towel dried him, and then brushed him. He liked being brushed. A lot of his puppy hair came out, and he is so shiny. He's going to grow up to be one handsome fellow.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Jan 24th Group Pic

McBee, Mackey, Naomi, Nikki, Logan & Marshall @ Southside Park

Lucy at her best...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Milliken Minds...

We have really had an "attitude adjustment" after getting a pinch collar for Milliken. He is learning now more than ever that it's not going to be his way. We're seeing some real improvement in his behavior. Sometimes, what a pup needs is tough love.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

From Mercedes

I heard today that my brothers are STILL biting people. Oooohhhhhhh! That is SO, like, DISGUSTING. I just knew something like this would happen when they didn't have me around to help. Brothers are just TOOOO much. Just wait til Mom gets hold of them, 'cause I'm TELLING.

Tucker's Twilight Zone

Poor Tucker had a "Twilight Zone" moment yesterday! The only ball he's ever seen is the one that dispenses kibble when he rolls it around. So yesterday my son was cleaning out the hamster cage and put the hamster into one of those clear balls so they can be safe roaming around the house. When Tucker saw that ball rolling all over the living room by itself (he was in his kennel), the look on his face was priceless! Where's my kibble? Total confusion, and looking like his little brain was going to explode! It was soooo funny. Wish I had had the video camera ready. I have to say I was proud of him that he didn't bark (I was ready with the spray bottle).

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

More Marshall News

Since this is the first time I've worked with shepherds, I am finding it very interesting to watch Marshall "guide" his golden retriever brother back into the house when Marshall feels the golden is dallying too long in the yard. Twice I've watched Marshall go toward the other dog and distract him from day dreaming with a little bark and some bowing, then go on the other side of him and move him toward the house. Quite amazing!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Another Milestone for Marshall

I almost hate to post this update. It seems once you 'brag' about an accomplishment, your pup does something else to quickly humble you! This weekend, Marshall showed great response on his recall. He was consistent most of the time--still work to do. But I was readily impressed several times when he was running with the other dog, stopped dead in his tracks and returned to me. And, better yet, he got lots of practice being called off the cats and he responded every time; unless of course I'm conveniently remembering the times he didn't. But this accomplishment alone, will pave the way to learning other things as now what may have been the largest distraction is becoming "boring."

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Lucy takes a bath

Lucy Just sits in the tub without a fear in the world. Her best friend Hazel drops in to check out the action. If only Hazel was this good at taking a bath.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Milliken Makes Mary Kate...HAPPY!

It's amazing how quickly my daughter with autism and developmental delay has become best friends with Milliken! He's teaching her so much. As soon as she gets home from SOAR, which is a school for kids with special needs, she wants to see "the pup peeee" as she calls him. He comforts her and encourages her when she's bathing or using the bathroom, and since she is still learning to go potty, he encourages her to try just by his mere presence...and he's not even fully trained, yet! Milliken seems to be in tune with her needs. If he's with me and hears her yell or cry, he'll run to her to comfort her. We are fostering Milliken as a puppy, and love having him in our home. He's going to make a special child a great service dog one day. I see so much potential in him.

My husband and I went to PETCO last night to look for a Samsa bed for Milliken, but, they didn't have any. We've got several commands for Milliken that we're working on..namely, "Place" (hence the need for the bed), "Here", which he's doing GREAT at, "let's go" (walking on a leash-still kinda not doing too well on that one-he's stubborn sometimes!) I'm glad that we're learning a few commands at a time at puppy class. I think that's good not only for me but for Milliken, too.

By the way, did I mention how much we love Milliken? Dogs for Autism is such a blessing to the community. There's such a need for this program, and I'd like to thank the volunteers and all of the people involved with Dogs for Autism, especially Julie Nye. Thank you!!!!


Lucy has found a new favorite treat when she goes outside. She comes back in licking her lips and I have a pretty good idea what she has been up to. She seems to enjoy it more lately since it’s been below freezing and more like a Poopcicle.

I know the best thing to do is keep the feces picked up all the time. The problem is I have 4 dogs at the house including Lucy so that is nearly impossible. Every two days the back yard looks like a minefield.

My boxer mix (Sydney) had the same problem when she was a couple years younger. It just took time to correct the behavior. I got all kinds of suggestions then of things to make the feces less enjoyable. I never tried it, but they include, red pepper, bitter apple spray, hot sauce etc.

All I can think of to do is keep the yard picked up, and keep an eye on Lucy when she is outside. If I can catch her in the act a few times and correct the behavior hopefully it will stop. Any other suggestions or ideas?

Friday, January 16, 2009

McIver Goes to Work

McIver has spent the past 2 afternoons with me at work. He has behaved exceptionally well. He has also won the hearts of all of my co-workers. I have explained to so many people what his future holds and they are so impressed with him, the program and everything. He walks the halls with me and citizens initiate conversations and ask questions. Dogs for Autism is definitely on parade at the Pickens County Administration building. My boss, the county administrator also wants to do an article about McIver and the program in our annual newsletter to citizens so hopefully we can make that happen. Iam thinking the exposure will be great for the pocketbook!

On a funny note, he is obsessed with the wooden door stops we have. So we have to work on that. I guess I am thankful he isn't obsessed with my boss's Italian loafers! (I don't know if he really wears Italian loafers but whatever!)

Marshall The Adventurer

Marshall is becoming quite the adventurer...So, time to really work on "leave it!" Good news, though, is that the cats don't seem to be as interesting. It is fun to watch Marshall develop. He changes within just days! It seems we finally understand one command when another challenge pops up. However, he is a quick learner. It seems if we focus short sessions on one topic over a few days he starts to understand, and we throw in other learned things along the way as reinforcement. He is quickly learning to sit and wait before coming back in from outside. I even think yesterday he tried to ring the little bell hung on the doorknob to go outside--except that he's still a little to small to reach it. I put it there in hopes that watching the big dog hit it with his nose everytime, he would learn by observation. Only time will tell.

Also, other good news...So far this week, every time I've come home from work after a long day. I would find Marshall mostly calm in his little bathroom on the RIGHT side of the baby gate!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Remember us???

Hello world....we're still here. Life has been a bit wild lately. Not like this is news, but can you imagine what it was like for a while with 15 puppies running wild? Oh wait....if we count the older ones, it was more like 24 puppies. Now, thanks to a lot of help spreading the word, and even more help sorting through the variables to get puppies matched to around 100 call-in volunteers...we now have 22 volunteer puppy raisers! Thankfully, a few of them have volunteered to help me keep this puppy blog up a little more current. puppy raisers who are newly invited blog authors: if you're new to this format....look to the right. Up there at the top of the page. See the light blue lettering menu in the dark blue band? Click on the one that says "New Post" and tell us about your puppies!

New puppy photos will be along as soon as possible. Hopefully the volunteer raisers will share a few too!


Lucy likes to eat very very fast. Is Bloat a concern? Do I (we) need to get her a "eat slow dog food bowl"?