Friday, February 27, 2009


This may be nothing new to most of you, but today, for the first time ever, Tucker actually fell asleep somewhere besides his crate! ;o) I've been wondering if this would EVER happen! He slept for about 10 minutes on place. Nothing like a rainy day for a nice nap . . . .

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Plotz without a point?

I'm still in the testing stages...but I had a very desireable treat and I told Marshall to plotz without pointing to the ground and he did it. I've thrown it on him a few other times by surprise and he's responded, not quite immediately, but he did it.

I was quite surprised, but I must say...impressed.

Good job, Marshall!

Monday, February 23, 2009

With Love from Hilton Head, McIver

Please enjoy McIver's picture montage...

Ya'll are awfully pale so this is going to take a while.

McIver left his mark in many ways!

Seriously WAVE! You don't know who you are messing with...

Okay so maybe waves aren't so bad.

So I shouldn't eat the sand?


I think Darlene talked about those brilliant adolescent ideas...

McIver thought for a split second that vacation meant sleeping in the bed. He looks comfy doesn't he? We had to get the picture before saying that dreadful word... OFF!

Trainers- do not have a heart attack!!

GOOD BOY!! This is more like it.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Milliken Comes Home

Milliken has been at "Camp Julie" for a week now, and Alyssa brought him home today. Thanks to Julie (for Camp Julie!), Sherry (for meeting me in Greenville on Saturday) and Alyssa (for driving him all the way from Easley and coming into my home and showing me how to handle him) for your intervention. It's great that Dogs for Autism has such a supportive team of dog trainers to help novices like me! Here's a photo of Alyssa arriving at my house with Milliken.

I was so glad to see him-and so was Mary Kate! Alyssa showed me a few new rules that we're going to be following. "Wait" for eating, and for entering or exiting a doorway. Here are photos of Alyssa and me hand feeding Milliken and having him "Wait." Photo is of Mary Kate telling him to "Wait." He's being taught respect.

Since Milliken is a dominant dog, we're changing from a pinch collar to a choke collar with a rubber leash because he requires a hard correction. Life is not easy for a puppy in training to be a DFA Service Dog.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Anything for a cookie

Look at this handsome Marshall. And the photographer took this picture with one hand!

Here, we are working on waiting patiently to be let back into the house. Marshall has to sit and wait for the "ok" to go inside. Our times with the door open until "ok" is getting longer. He still fails some times so I go get him and bring him back outside and we try again.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

McIver Takes on Hilton Head Island

Hi Everyone! McIver made it all the way to Hilton Head without car sickness. Still a little drooling but he is making serious progress. We had one little accident in the room but we have it all figured out now. He enjoys long walks on the beach and beautiful sunsets... maybe Julie can put that out there if she ever wants to breed him. Ha! He really seems to be enjoying his time alone with mom and dad. He has learned that sand shouldn't go up the nose and waves will not bite. I have some great pictures to share when we get home. Due to some unforeseen technical difficulties, I am not able to post the pictures here. McIver has certainly created a buzz here at the resort. We may go out to eat tonight so hopefully he will use his good table manners!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Fence Patrol

After a very serious session of "here" on the long line, Marshall has made tremendous progress on leaving the neighbor dog alone. But he's kind of made his own little game--run to the fence, bark and come back to 'mom' expecting a treat for coming on his own. It just doesn't work that way...The dispenser only works when mom calls you! Here he is on fence patrol waiting for spring and more time outside in the sun!

Saturday, February 14, 2009


One of the biggest problems with dogs is that they do not live long enough. Today I'm sad to report the passing of Avanti vom Kartauserweiher, SchH 3, Kkl2, great-grandmother of our "N" puppies. She came to the USA from Germany as a baby, and spent her entire life at the Haus Reichenfels kennel in Texas where she earned her titles with her owner/handler Isabel Lambertz. Avanti made a large contribution to the world of German Shepherds through her progeny, and perhaps most especially by passing many of her strong and fine qualities to the DFA breeding colony through her daughter Cleo, and grandaughter Handy. Avanti was well beyond the age of 13, and still had plenty of "attitude!" No one who met her will ever forget her presence or strength of character. RIP Avanti. You will be missed. The photo displayed was taken in 1997 at the Caesar's Head lookout.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Puppy Practice

Puppies practice walking on loose leash during obedience classes. Ignoring distractions is really hard work! L-R: Olivia & McIver, Carol & Tucker, Laurie & Naomi, Kelly & Mauldin

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bark or Ball?

Marshall has a problem to figure out. He enjoys playing with the ball and barking at the neighbor dog. But yesterday and today, as a way to distract him from barking, I asked him to play with a ball. He took the ball to the fence and got a perplexed look on his face..."how can I keep my toy AND bark at this dog?" Unfortunately sometimes the ball wins, other times the bark wins.

New Tricks

McIver has been a very busy puppy the last couple of days. First, he discovered how to open his food bin pictured below. Our house is pretty small and dog proof so the dogs have access to most of it. We were in the den and McIver had gotten up to get water in the kitchen or so we thought. We heard a scratching noise and so my fiance got up to see what was the matter. McIver had his whole head in the bin scarfing down food. Ashley quickly stopped this situation and now the bin sits on top dryer away from hungry little jaws! SMART PUPPY!

We were in the car for approximately 30 miles today and no sickness just minimal drooling!! Success!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Tucker had a busy day today, and did very well. We went to the Haywood Mall, and then on the bank, both first time visits. (I have to say that the teller seemed a little irritated that there was a dog in her bank, but she'll just have to get used to us!) Anyways, at the mall Tucker was relaxed and in great form, but couldn't quite figure out those people up on the second level (How do they do that?). He strutted his stuff, resisted squealing children, didn't wet on anything, and walked right past a piece of food on the floor after a quiet "leave it" from me.

Later in the day we went to the Bob Jones campus (first time also) and walked at the athletic fields. We stopped for a while and he watched an outside basketball game - got a little excited at first and then settled down. Then came the real test - watching soccer practice! We sat right behind the goal, so balls regularly came over the top right towards us. After only a couple corrections he learned to let them go past. But he was still absolutely quivering with excitement - and I can see in my mind the chaos that would have erupted if he had been off leash!

He hasn't been car sick in a long time - I hope we're past that. Sometimes I can see he's been drooling a little, but that's all.

The Joys of Multiple Dogs

Top: McIver and Lucy give Calhoun a dose of his own "top dog medicine" while Daddy works on the computer. (No dogs were harmed in the making of this photograph.)
Middle: Calhoun says, " I hope you know how generous it is of me to allow you to lay on a bed in this home..." as McIver dreams of the day he will be larger than Calhoun.
Left: Who has the best sits- Lucy or McIver? Never mind the shameless kibble bribery.

P.S. No worries, Calhoun really is a big ol' baby.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Otto - Popular at the mall

We have the distinguished honor of having Otto w/ us for the time being.
He is a real joy to have around. Things are very very hectic w/ 3 dogs, 2 of which are on bed-rest/light-duty. All any of them want to do is play w/ each other.
On Saturday afternoon for an hour we brought Otto to the Haywood Mall in Greenville.
We found a comfy bench & just relaxed & people watched. Otto worked on his 'stay'. He did very well for our first outing together. We are impressed w/ all the training that has gone into him. It seemed everyone that walked by either stared, commented or even wanted to take his picture. Otto is a real superstar! The time spent was very good for him to just see the public & not deal w/ distractions.
We look forward to future outings.

Fountain Dogs

As our pups get better trained, we'll work on getting a group photo that doesn't cut off members of the group!


We sure do like Ginnie's photography. (Even if I do cheat some and drop out backgrounds....) Nelson is turning into one good-looking boy!

Tucker again

And one more....

Speaking of Tucker

I've been waiting for Carol to post this photo, but I'm not waiting any longer. :-) Our lone and lonesome Golden should have his photo available for fans!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Busy Day

This is only the fourth late afternoon crash I've seen Marshall take. This is following a busy day of tagging along with foster brother to dog training for a big show...a long neighborhood walk...and going to Target to buy a digital camera...following by "here" training in the back yard...taking advantage of the excellent distraction of the attractive female shitzu across the fence!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Milliken and Mary Kate go to the Doctor

What a day! I woke up this morning and it was freezing cold, and I thought, "Why is it so cold?" My heater had stopped working! So, I called the heater repair man to come fix it, and I had to explain that I was not going to be at home because I had a vet appointment. After calling the heater man, I got a call from Mary Kate's teacher at school, and she told me that she's not acting well today. Mary Kate is my 5 year old daughter with autism. So, then I had to call Mary Kate's doctor for an appointment for today.

Needless to say, I was late leaving for the vet's office today, by about 20 minutes. I did not feed him before leaving the house, which was a good thing today, because he was "dry heaving" in his crate from motion sickness. I didn't have a mess to clean up! The appointment with Milliken at the vet's office went very well. He weighs 36 pounds, and I was told that one other pup weighed as much, but most pups were about 33 pounds. He's not overweight, he's just healthy (and strong!!!). So, he got his vaccinations, and we went back to Spartanburg. My heater had been fixed by the time I got home...YAY!!! Then, I picked up Mary Kate from SOAR Academy.

At my second doctor's appointment today, we saw Mary Kate's gastroenterologist. She's impacted, and has been that way for about 2 months. She also has not had a normal bm during that time, either. That would explain her behavior lately-more than usual, she's been very hyper, inattentive, aggressive, unresponsive, and tired-just generally cranky. It's very difficult to know when her behavior is out of the ordinary or normal for her. It's common for autistic kids to have problems with their bowels. So, we're going to have a fun weekend getting her bowels moving again!

Milliken is so easy to care for compared to Mary Kate.

Progress staying on "place"

Tucker is suddenly making real progress staying on place. This has been hard for him to learn, but the past few days he will stay there without a correction for up to 15 min. Although there's always something he can see that he wants (even though there are toys on place with him). I think his neck has stretched out a couple inches - he hangs his head off place and tries to reach the item without his feet touching the floor - quite a contortionist. Then he sighs and gives me the big-brown-eye-treatment: "I'm soooo booorrrrred!"

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Off to the bank

Today Marshall made a visit to the bank. People on the street were amazed that this little guy of just 16 weeks was walking calmly by my side. I think I detected Marshall's first "sit and ignore the stranger and look at my handler" response, when talking with some businessmen on the street. But I'm not ready to say that just quite yet. Up until now, he's been very social in seeking attention on his outings.

At the bank, I didn't realize I had let go of the leash. He wandered off a bit (very calmly), but I quickly put him in a sit. Very soon, I realized he was laying at my feet without being asked. I'm sure this isn't all me. It is amazing to see this breeding. It's almost like he knows when he's "working" when the leash is on because, trust home, we all know he is very adventurous!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Revolving Glass doors

Marshall went to work with me again today. Our work load is especially crazy, so his late afternoon trip outside had to be a quick one. Donned with his DFA visor, we took the elevator rather than the stairs. Made a very quick rest stop and headed back through the building lobby. To offer a quick challenge, and training opportunity, I opted for the revolving door rather than the regular door. All the doors are glass and to a little dog, look like the right path. Marshall was a little nervous about the situation, but quickly figured it out and maneuvered through the revolving door quite well for being in a hurry. What a trooper!


I think you fellow puppy raisers will identify with this one. I had a doctor appointment today - just a routine check of an arthritic back, so no paper gown, etc. When I laid back on the exam table kibble fell out of my pockets, onto the table, floor, and, of course, the doctor's shoes! After a moment of confusion on his part (thinking maybe this lady has that eating disorder where she eats dog food, paper, etc), and laughing on my part - I was able to explain, and clean up the mess! So don't forget to empty your pockets before you go to the doctor! ;o)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

More from Milliken...

Milliken is getting better at "Let's go", especially when I give him lots of treats. We walked for about a mile today, and I only had to correct him several times. You can tell that he would rather be investigating a stirring leaf or a noisy bird than to stay by my side for "let's go." He's getting more and more disciplined by the day.

I also took Mary Kate and Milliken to the playground today and I sat on the bench to watch her with Milliken by my side. He wanted so badly to go play with her, but, he realized he didn't have a choice-he stayed with me against his wishes.

He's getting better at riding in the car, too. He used to really hate to get in the car, but, now he knows when he gets in the car that he'll be seeing something new, and so he is more calm. After getting in the car, he moans and "talks", and then accepts that he's just going to have to sit there and trust me. And he does.

Learning about crosswalks

Puppies consider crosswalks to be BORING!!! But they behaved pretty well anyway! :-)

I promise that Ginnie was not trying to decapitate all people in the photos, but things tend to happen that way when one is concentrating on the important parts...the DOGS!

Nikki has good sits

She's waiting patiently for the cue to go. Behind her, Lucy and Otto appear to be waiting mostly for cookies.

Heading out!

Marshall and Mackey lead the way down Main Street.

Mauldin contemplates correct parking....

For his first big puppy outing, he really did do quite well!

Puppies Do Greenville

We had fun today in downtown Greenville! 12 puppies and I lost track of how many people. Probably more like 20, many who were wearing first-edition samples of our new DFA t-shirts (shortly to be available for online ordering). I was pleased that all the pups took the walk--with all the people and traffic and commotion--mostly in stride. We had a touchy moment or two from the newest youngster to join the group for outings, but he came around nicely with some time to adjust. Look at the attached photo--very good-looking crew, and check out how many puppies are looking at their handlers with superb attention!