"Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you're not really losing it. You're just passing it along to someone else." Mitch Albom

Monday, December 26, 2011

A little after Christmas shopping!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and was able to spend some time with family and friends! 

      Pat received a gift card for Cabella's and he was ready to go try and spend it tonight.  I've been wanting to take Churry there since I took her to Bass Pro Shop in Denver and she really seemed to like it.  Cabella's was not different.  She LOVED it!  Her tail was wagging and she was so very happy to sit and admire all of the animals.  We had a lot more time to spend in there tonight so we got to see everything for as long as she wanted.  We walked through the African animal display, the deer display, the main display with polar bears, goats, bears, deer, and all kinds of other animals.  Then we looked at the fish in the aquariums for awhile.  These were her favorites.  She also watched the water feature for quite awhile.  I'm quite sure she would have jumped right in if I would have let her!  Pat did not find what he was looking for, so I'm sure a return trip will occur soon.  I'm looking forward to having all of the this week to spend with her without having to go to work.  I have all kinds of ideas for where I would like to take her...we'll see how many we have time for!  At what age have you experienced puppy raisers taken your pups to the movie for the first time? 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What a great gift!

Of all of the many gifts I've been fortunate enough to receive and also been fortunate to be able to provide for my children...none of them come close to the gift of teaching my children this wonderful lesson of giving.  Someday, we will have to pass this treasure on to someone else.  Yes, it's easier to spend the hours of training on a pet you're going to keep.  And yes, it seems strange to some to continuously pay vet bills and buy toys, kennels, and beds for a dog that's not mine.  And yes, I get weird looks and rude comments from ignorant people out in public.  But, it's teaching my own children a wonderful lesson of tolerance and acceptance.  And someday down the road, my children will come to know that beautiful gift of giving something precious to us to someone else.  And that makes it all worth it!  Churry has been a blessing to me and under the Christmas tree seems to be a very appropriate place for her this season!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Puppy Training

   Churry had puppy class today and I am very glad I went!  It's always nice to get advice and expertise from more experienced puppy raisers.  As I said in my last post, Churry is getting very stubborn and I wanted some advice on how to handle it.  Well, don't tell my husband, but apparently he was right!  I'm being too soft and Churry has me figured out.  I've been giving commands multiple times in a very polite soft voice rather than expecting her to listen the first time.  I told them that's part of being a first grade teacher...I don't yell or talk meanly to my students!  They would start crying!  But, Churry's a dog, not a child, so I need to get firmer with her so she will stop training me.  I am happy to report that she is doing very well with "under and down".  She remembered our lessons from ballet class and went right under the table today to lay down when I asked her to.  But, while she can walk beside another dog and do a fairly good job ignoring them, she doesn't like other dogs walking behind her.  She wants to turn around and talk to them.  So we need some more practice with strange dogs walking along behind us.  Puppy class is always exhausting for her and by the time we got home it was a little past her dinnertime, so she stayed home with Pat rather than going with me to ring bells.  Although, I'm sure the kettle would have been full with her cute little self there to attract people!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ballet Class

   I took Churry to Kinsey's ballet class last night for the first time.  Her teacher, Miss Linda, is super supportive of KSDS and loves dogs so she was very gracious in allowing me to bring Churry in there for some training opportunities.  The biggest part of this trip in particular was the information I was able to share with people about KSDS and their puppy raising program.  They had lots of questions!

     Besides getting lots of attention from little girls and their moms I really wanted to take Churry there because they have these wooden benches in a long narrow hallway that are perfect for working with Churry on "Down and Under" and for staying calm in cramped spaces, which she has shown some anxiety in before.  She quickly caught on to what I was asking, however, she apparently didn't enjoy the command!  I had her lay there for a few minutes, then would get back up and return to the bench to repeat the command.  After a couple of times, she decided that wasn't for her.  She plopped her bottom on the floor and wasn't moving!  So I would pick her up and scootch her to where I wanted her.  Since she realized she wasn't going to be excused from the practice, she decided to make it fun.  I would give her the command to go under and she would put her head down and go underneath my legs and do a somersault out the other side.  I thought it was an accident the first time, but she repeated this trick twice!  Sigh...I don't think this is what the command is supposed to look like!  On a good note, Miss Linda had her yellow lab there and Churry did wonderfully at completely ignoring him every time he walked by! 

   I also took her to Barnes and Noble on Wednesday evening so she could practice the "Down and Under" command and also practice just sitting in a public setting while I read without trying to get up to go see things or people.  She's really good about not trying to go over to people, but she stands up every time a person gets particularly close....just in case they would like to pet her I guess!   So we need to work on this a bit more. 

   She's doing better and better with her car sickness so it's been a lot easier to get her out and about.  She hasn't been sick since a couple of weeks before we went to Denver!  She also seems excited to go get in the vehicle now because she's learned it's fun to go places.  That's much better than her running and hiding from me when she would figure out I was planning on putting her in the car!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The holidays affect dogs, too!

   Being a 1st grade teacher, I know how exciting the holiday season is.  And, with that, behavior often gets very sketchy!  Apparently, Churry is a very intuitive puppy because she has caught the "naughty" bug, too!  Maybe going to Denver used up all of her minutes of excellent behavior and she needs some time to be naughty.  She has done many things this week that are very unacceptable starting with acquiring the habits of stealing food off of the table and drinking out of the toilet!  She has spent time in time-out multiple times this week for both behaviors.  She tucks her tail and begs for my forgiveness when I discipline her, but  it certainly doesn't stop her from repeating the behavior!  Then, in the mornings, she has began SPRINTING laps around our living room after she gets breakfast.  She generally just plays around with a toy and calmly hangs out with me until it's time for me to get ready.  Not anymore.  We have these little bursts of energy.  And the most alarming part of these laps is the hurdling leap she takes over the couch, which is now in a different spot because of the Christmas tree so she can literally hurdle it and land on the other side.  Impressive leaping skills, but not impressive indoor behavior.  On a positive note, she is very careful with the tree.  I absolutely love how she crouches down and very carefully walks underneath it being very careful not to touch the ornaments.  At least she has that going for her!

     Her behavior has not been a whole lot better on our nightly walks.   I don't know if she's feeling really energetic because the weather has been so cold or what!  I was nervous about taking her on an outing today because I was wondering if this would continue after I put on her cape and Halti, but, in her normal style, she did really well.  We went to the mall.  While in Denver, we had visited a mall, too, but always went into the department stores from the outdoor entrance, so she never experienced the interior corridors of the mall.  She did tonight and it was PACKED!  But, she handled herself very well.  She was very interested in everything, but never solicited attention from the millions of kids and left the food, trash, etc. on the floor alone.  She even took a ride on the glass elevator and she thought the things passing by her were very interesting on the way down.  One of the funniest things about taking Churry to stores is the slick floors.  She's not bothered by them until I ask her to sit down.  When she sits, she can't keep her bottom in the same spot because it's so slick.  She gradually slides away from me.  She knows she's not supposed to be moving away from me and she can't quite figure out why it's happening.  So she just looks at me with this confused look until eventually she is sprawled in a "Down" position.  Makes me really laugh!
     Hopefully, my work week is a little less hectic this week so I can get in some more interesting activities than walks around the neighborhood in the cold!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pictures of our big trip

Churry did a great job practicing with the wheelchair...other than we need to work on "closer".  She held a "Stay" very well while Nicole wheeled in a circle around her.
Churry did not care a bit about this big moose.  She was ready for her nap!  I wish we would have had more time in here with her.  We will return soon to a Bass Pro Shop or Cabella's for more exploring! 
I knew my girls would be excited and jealous that Churry got to meet Justin Bieber!
Churry did not start off riding very well, but learned quickly.
And she loved the snow!
We practiced Down and Under for the first time on this trip.  Need to work a lot more on this skill!

Churry enjoyed looking at the fish and thought it would be okay to pose in front of them.
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Churry was not going to turn her back on this guy to pose for a picture!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Churry goes to Denver!

  Churry is on her first big trip with me.  She and I traveled to Denver to visit my sister and do some Christmas shopping.  I had debated for a long time about whether or not she was ready for the trip, but she has proven over and over the last couple of days that she was!  The first exciting place we visited was Bass Pro Shop where she met bears, fish, fox, beavers, and all kinds of other animals.  There will be pictures posted later of her posing with her new friends.  Then we headed to the mall where she learned a lot about "Wait" and "Sit" and "Wait".   After several hours of this we went to pick up my sister from school and went out to eat.  A restaurant was also a first for her.  We chose Noodles and Co.  It's a place you have to sit down, but wasn't too far from the door if she wasn't behaving.  Her behavior, however, wasn't a problem.  She sat in between my sister and I on the floor and only got up to look a couple of times.  Then it was time for more shopping.  And more "Sit" and "Wait".    She was very tired and thought surely it was time to go home for her nap, but no, I had one more stop in mind for her.  My sister attends CU Medical School for Physical Therapy.  So, what a perfect opportunity for Churry to be around some medical equipment that Nicole uses in her lab.  Nicole got out a wheelchair and they went up and down the hallway until Churry had it right, which didn't take long at all.  It was amazing how well she did, not only taking commands from someone other than me, but the way she so politely walked along beside the wheelchair on a loose leash.  After she learned to walk, Nicole practice some "Stays" while she wheeled in circles around her.  Churry sat perfectly still while Nicole did all kinds of things around her.  Then Churry even went through the door with her still in the wheelchair.  I must say I was impressed with my sister's coordination!  Churry waited when told to wait and did exactly what she was told to get maneuvered through the door. 
    Finally, she got to go home and was definitely ready for supper and bed!  The next day we headed to Castle Rock outlets.  Another perfect day for Churry!  She is doing very well at not soliciting attention from people and waiting patiently for us to do our shopping.  There was nothing particularly exciting or different in any of these stores, just LOTS of them!  She was getting impatient with our shopping by the end of this day.  I did find something very unusual that she wanted NOTHING to do with....water running in the gutters.  She would NOT jump over it!  She wouldn't even really get near it!  I found a spot where there was very little running and she took a flying leap over it so we could get to our car.  Silly dog!  Of all things to be scared of!
   We are now ready for day 3 of our big adventure, but first we have to watch the Cats on TV!  So she can have some rest time before she has to work again.  Some other new and interesting things about Nicole's house is the snow!  She is very fascinated by this stuff and had a great time running and playing in it at the dog park here in Nicole's apartment complex.  The apartment is a new experience in itself.  It's very strange for her to hear other people through the walls and not know where they are at.  Nicole also has a cat that she loves to play with!  They are having a great time right now, but Churry is still a bit wild for a small apartment.  She's used to having a big yard to run and play in, or at least more space in the house.  I'll post pictures of her exciting trip when I get home when I share about her last day in Denver.  Have a great day!