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

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas!

   I hope everyone had a relaxing and blessed Christmas yesterday!  Churry enjoyed what is most likely (it will be a miracle otherwise) her last Christmas with us yesterday!  She has been so grown up in the house lately.  I very rarely had to tell her to "leave it" even with all of the Christmas baking going on, present unwrapping, etc.  She even got in some snuggles last night with me after all was finally settled down.  She'd been patiently waiting all day for "our time", which she has become VERY accustomed to getting the past couple of months.  We spend this time together each night for about 1/2 hour after the kids are in bed and before I go to bed.  She is so good about not getting on the furniture except for during this "lap time" that she has grown to love.

She thinks there is no problem at all with her being a lap dog!  As long as it's only when she's invited.  If she's begging, I won't let her up there!

She's so good about not licking my face when giving "kisses"!
I LOVE this girl!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Churry learns from the kids well!

     Churry proved once again this weekend what a smart little girl she is.  She sees firsthand the spoiling that takes place with her kids when Grandma is here.  She decided she should get spoiled, too. So, last night, when it was time for bed, Grandma and Churry head down the stairs to go to bed as that is where the spare bedroom as well as the kennel is.  She was very obediently following Grandma down there so I thought all was fine.   Well, about 4:30 I had to get up and who should come trotting up the stairs.  You guessed it, Churry had apparently sweet talked her way out of sleeping in her kennel and had slept with Grandma.  Not on the floor beside her bed, of course, but right in bed with her!  I guess she thought she should get spoiled by grandma, too!  Grandma said she stayed very still and didn't move a bit all night long until she heard me walking around. I guess it's good to know she sleeps well in people beds, too!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Proud, Proud, Proud of my girl tonight!

    Puppy raising is definitely a journey full of road bumps when you think your puppy is not ever going to succeed in what we are trying to accomplish.  But, also one full of proud moments when you think they are finally getting it.  Some when you least expect them.  One thing that I have always worried about with Churry is her complete lack of interest in retrieving anything.  Seriously, who has heard of a Golden Retriever who refuses to retrieve!  It is something I have not pushed with her when playing.  If she's not interested, she's not interested.  But, it is important for her to be able to get items upon request if she's going to succeed in her career if that is what she was meant to do.  So, we've practiced and practiced during "work time".  She will occasionally, more like rarely, get something for me if I beg, plead and bribe.  So, imagine my elation when I was sitting in my chair tonight getting ready to do some writing and I dropped my pen on the floor.  Churry, who was resting nearby, promptly jumped to her feet, walked over, picked it up off the floor, and very gently placed it in my lap!  All on her own!  I was so happy!  So I "dropped" it again.  And again, she got the pen for me and placed it in my lap.  Right away.  No trying to chew on it, carry it off, etc.  Just a kind deed for her puppy raiser!  Love her!

Monday, December 3, 2012

One tired puppy!

      Churry learned some very important things on our second marathon shopping day.  For example, the store in the background is an excellent spot to find her puppy raiser Christmas gifts.
Churry is exhausted after all of the attention from the nice salespeople in the Coach store!

And she learned where the best place to purchase running attire is at.  She thought surely I had tried on enough things at Sports Authority the day before, but learned that one could never own enough Under Armour!

She heard some wonderful Christmas music and saw a great big festive tree!   Several other dogs were in this area, too, but none as polite and well-mannered as my girl!  

Practicing her wonderful heel, but still refusing to walk over a  grate on the sidewalk!
Churry was absolutely exhausted on our long drive home.  She got to have a rest stop at my parent's house for about an hour.  She promptly dove into their pond out back so she is now a stinky puppy!  I think she did it to ensure that she would NOT have to go into one single store more!  She was very happy to be home and have a day off from working today!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Churry's 2nd annual Christmas Shopping Trip

      Each year my mom, sister and I enjoy a girls' trip to Denver.  Well, my mom and I do, my sister already lives here.  When Churry came along last year she had not even had her puppy cape for all that long so it was her first big outing.  I've been reflecting lately if Churry has even improved that much in the last year.  I know she knows a few more commands, but she was such a quick learner as a puppy and has always been really comfortable in public that I didn't really know if I would notice a difference.  I really did, though!  There were many times that I noticed her doing things in such a mature manner that she would not have done last year.  Things like automatic sits while I was looking through racks, AWESOME greeting skills when people asked to pet her, and just a lot more stamina with our endless shopping!  I really put her to a test when I wanted to try some things on.  I left her in a Sit/Stay (with my mom close-by supervising this test, of course) and I walked to a couple of other areas in a pretty large and busy store.  She stayed the entire time and each time I would catch a glimpse of her through racks, etc. she would always have her eyes on me.  I thought it was pretty amazing that she knew where I was the entire time.  And what an awesome stay!  A good 10 minutes of sitting before she broke it to lie down and rest.  Left my camera in the car most of the day, though, so no cute pictures this time! 

     She also was able to visit the rehab center/nursing home my sister is doing her clinical at.  The last time I took her to a nursing home she did well, but was incredibly nervous.  It is definitely not her favorite place, but I LOVE how she greeted a few of the residents today.  She was much more confident today about it!  And I love how excited the residents are to see her.  It truly makes their day to have a simple visit from her.  Don't forget the elderly during this Holiday season.  They would love a visit!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Got to love Wal-Mart!

      Churry and I needed to make a quick Wal-Mart run tonight.  I only needed about 5 items to finish out our weekly meal plan so it was supposed to be a very routine stop for her, one we've done hundreds of times.  It turned out to be quite a training opportunity!  First of all, some guy thought he'd be really funny and try to call Churry to him by whistling.  Hopefully, he felt silly when Churry did not acknowledge him in the slightest even after 3 or 4 whistles.  Why would somebody think to do that?
      Then, for some reason, there were tidbits of food EVERYWHERE!  The Sunday samples must have either tasted bad or were messy.  But, the floor really needed cleaned.  Luckily, Churry didn't try to do it for them.
     Then, a little girl kept walking by and tapping on her.  She was really young and wasn't speaking English, so  I decided to just ignore the situation and allow it to be an added challenge for Churry.  I wish I could have communicated with her because you could tell she was really genuinely just interested and curious.  Churry did really well at ignoring her!
     Then, to top off the trip, while we were very patiently waiting in the 10 people deep line with our 5 items, somebody in the next aisle was apparently purchasing squeaky toys.  And felt the need to test them out the ENTIRE time we were in line.  Now, I would have found that annoying in general, but when it puts my dog on super alert, it gets really annoying.  I was very proud of her, though.  She maintained her position beside me perfectly even though she was VERY interested in the sounds coming from that direction.  WOW, who knew a routine trip to Wal-Mart could turn out to be such an opportunity for testing our skills!  One would have thought I had set up a test for her prior to going into the store.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


    Today, Churry had one of her most difficult outings to date. We went to a movie in a sold-out theater.  It was obviously very crowded and she had absolutely no room under my legs.  She has also been having some trouble with seeking attention from me rather than staying in a down position like is expected at a theater.  The last movie I took her to see we had to leave because she was being so naughty!  Today, the movie had lots of animal sounds in it, too, which was another added challenge.  She did awesome!  I was so proud of her!  She did not pop up a single time.  She repositioned herself once, but did it quietly without standing up.  Success!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

School Days

    Wow!  What a month it has been!  We have had a lot of trials and tribulations in our household this month...hopefully, they are over.  Churry had a great day at school today.  During short weeks such as Thanksgiving week we have rotations where each of the 6 first grade classes passes through my room for a 30 minute lesson.  My lesson that they all heard was about assistance dogs, how they should behave when they see one, puppy raising, etc.  They also were able to help me out by taking turns greeting Churry, which is a skill she has been regressing on recently.  Of course, she greeted each and every one of the students perfectly with her paws and bottom on the floor and her tongue in her mouth! 

     She also showed off some of her commands to each of the classes.  There were many oohs and aahs when she "jumped on" to a table, did a "here up", a "go up", carried a pencil between two students, and remained in a perfect stay while they all either walked over the top of her or in a circle around her.  I was very proud of her today!

      Other challenges that she has while at school with me include joining the class for storytime and the discussion that follows.  During this time the students and I are gathered on the carpet with me in a chair and the students all gathered in on the floor in front of me.  I put Churry in a Down/Under under my legs during this time.  It is challenging because all of the students are right there up close to her and she is expected to ignore them.  She does a really good job with this.

     She spent the remainder of the day snoozing under my desk like she usually does when she's there.  And when she got home, she enjoyed a nap after a hard day's work!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

A K-State Fan!  She did awesome amongst the droves of kids out and about tonight.!

Kinsey's Bat-O-Lantern

Jacob's Cat-O-Lantern

And my little Gypsy!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Food Refusal: Round 2

   How do you teach a child about cooking and food?  Well, you pull up the chair and let them watch.  So, tonight, Churry got to practice her Sit and Stays, as well as food refusal, sitting in a chair watching me prepare dinner.

When she got bored with that I made the challenge a little bit more difficult and had her practice a Down/Stay on the floor with temptations in front of her.  I kept adding more and more in until she fell asleep.

You can't really tell, but there is food inside the plastic bag in front of her.

Food distractions, toys, a basket of little gourds and pumpkins, the cupboard, etc.  None of them even tempted her!

So why does my dog randomly snatch food off my plate!  She performs beautifully in all of my "test trials"!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Food Refusal Week, Night 1 Pumpkin Guts

     It's one of my favorite nights of the year...pumpkin carving night!  I'm down to 2 kids who want to participate a whole lot.  The older two participate by agreeing to what the pumpkins should look like, then enjoying them when they are finished.  But, Kinsey and Jacob still enjoy the whole process.  

I think Kinsey's pumpkin weighed as much as she does!

Hmm...do I want to try this?

Wait, I think it might be a trick to get me in trouble.

You can't fool me, Mom, I'm going to ignore it!

After that effort, she needed a good rest!
More pics to come of the finished products!  Phase 2 of the decorating is tomorrow!

Such love!

Jacob and Churry have such a sweet connection!  She is a little snuggle bug with him!  As she was keeping my mom's feet warm, Jacob decided to use her as a pillow since the seats were all full.

Terrible quality picture.  I don't know what was wrong with my camera, but I still love the photo!

My little foodie!

    Churry, for the most part, hasn't had really bad habits to break.  But, here lately, she has developed a liking to people food.  There has been very few times during my time raising her that she has shown interest in food on the table...crumbs on the floor is another story and one that needs attention as well, but for now we are focusing on the very bad habit that seems to be developing.  She has always laid on the floor by my side during mealtime at home and doesn't beg, etc.  My family knows they are not allowed to speak or encourage interaction with her at all during dinner time so she has never really solicited it.

This is her spot.  My chair is at this end.

Unfortunately, she has made the connection that those yummy crumbs are from the food that is up on those plates and she has become a regular little pest.  Well, it really caught my attention last night when were having my oldest daughter's birthday party and I was sitting visiting with my family.  The next thing I knew, Churry had quick as lightning eaten my cheesecake sitting on my plate on the end table next to me!  I was NOT HAPPY!  So today begins some serious food refusal training.   Pat was appalled that I just set plates of food on the floor, but I didn't know how else to start out, so this is what I did.  I told him I would clarify for my readers that we don't just put plates of food on our kitchen floor on a regular basis!

I was very proud that she held her stay as I set them down.

Then, she actually wimpered at me because I guess she thought she was being terribly mistreated.

She finally let out a huff and relaxed.

And eventually just went to sleep, but not before staring at it for a solid 15 minutes!  
I started off sitting in my chair right next to her giving her encouragement to do well.  Then, I moved around in the kitchen to see if she would still obey (with Pat in his chair to step in if need be).  I then left the room.  Pat said she watched me leave, looked at the food, then looked at him and thought better of it!  But, at least she didn't make a move for it.  Of course, she always does things right when I'm having a specific training session for her, it's times like last night when she's just hanging out with the family that she has problems with things.  That's why during her "training time" today, I left her off leash and no cape on.  I was proud that I never had to grab her to keep her from moving towards it.   We'll keep working making the task harder and harder!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Something scary is happening around here!

"Hey, mom, it's says there is something haunted!  It's pointing at our house!"

"Holy cow, where did that thing come from!"

"This is exhausting!"

"Listen, I'm trying to practice my stays and you're getting on my nerves."

"It's not listening.  Do you think if I flip my ear up like a bat it will leave?"

Thursday, October 11, 2012

What is this thing they call a doghouse?

Last night Pat and I took Churry to PetSmart to pick out a new bone.  While we were there we looked at lots of things, her favorite being the birds.  She was very fascinated by them, much like the fish at Bass Pro Shop or Cabella's.  After we watched the birds and a hamster we walked around the store practicing Leave it's, Sits, etc.  We walked by some doghouses and I realized she has likely never been in a tight enclosed space like that.  We have a large wire crate for her.  Her travel crate is solid walls, but it is pretty big and she hasn't used it for several months.  This doghouse was also up a bit on a low shelf so she had to jump up to get in it.  She thought it was great fun!  She went in and out of it for me several times.  Who knew being in the doghouse was so much fun!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Very Proud Mama Today!

     I haven't posted too many pictures of football because I knew this day was coming and I'd take a lot of pictures!  I'll not bore you with too many.  Jacob got to play at Bill Snyder Family Stadium today!  Home of the Kansas State Wildcats for those of you who don't know that!

Obviously, he's not in a Wildcat uniform yet, but this moment may never come again so I had to get lots of pictures!

He's lined up on the end.

Now on to the topic of the blog...Miss Churry!  She also made her first trip to Bill Snyder Family Stadium today.  She did awesome as usual.  One of the challenges we encountered was the grates you see in the picture behind us.  We had to cross one to get to our seating area.  She stopped dead in her tracks when we were walking in.  After studying it for a few seconds she leaped over it.  I couldn't hold people up right at that moment to practice, so we went back after the game was over and practiced.  She eventually crossed it.  In a very humorous manner, but she crossed it!  I wish I had a video camera of her braving it!  As far as sitting in the stands, she was a pro.  There were kids pounding up and down the bleachers, throwing balls around her, etc.  And as always, she got tons of attention from some kids.  She's doing so well at not seeking the attention out and behaving very appropriately when the attention does come her way.  The rest of the time she just enjoyed the game and cheered on her favorite little player!

Her favorite football team runs out of this area behind us on game day!

And they play right here on this field!  Some of you may have seen them giving those Jayhawks a whipping yesterday!

She really wishes she had been there to see that!

And ducking her head under the seat gave her a nice view as well!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Normal Little Walk Turns Scary???

      Churry cracks me up sometimes!  This is not a big or interesting post, but kind of funny because she's so silly.  We were doing our normal little route tonight...visiting with the same kids, passing the same yapping dogs, etc.  when all of a sudden she stopped dead in her tracks and wasn't budging.  There was a very scary GAS CAN sitting in OUR sidewalk!  She stared it down for a bit, then finally decided it was safe, but she carefully walked around it with her eye on it the entire time.  Then did a little hoppity hop when we were going by it to make sure it didn't get her from behind, I guess.  Funny girl!  Why she wasn't scared of the loud lawn mower going less than 10 feet away I don't know.  I can see why they small red gas can would be much more intimidating...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Busy times

     As I mentioned in my previous post, I LOVE FALL!  However, it brings with it all of my kids' activities and we are swamped.  My kids, I'm proud to say, are not overbooked kids.  But, we do push it to the limit in the fall season because that is when the preferred sports occur.  Particularly, Jacob's football.  He practices several nights a week for a couple of hours, which also takes my husband out of the equation of any sort of help because he goes to all of the practices.

     As a result, Churry's outings are limited, non-creative, and center around football!  We have been doing a lot of practice after we are all home with basic commands, which she has been slacking on recently.  I have been working really hard at her Sit/Stay.  This is her most difficult one because our floors are so slick she just slides down into a sprawled out position.  I've had to laugh a couple of times because I could tell she was trying really hard to hold the position and just couldn't.  This results in her not trying to hold it very hard and just going into a down position as soon as I turn away.

     We've also been working on her getting on her side on command rather than with my assistance.  She has  "On your side" mastered, "over" mastered, and we are working on "Other side".  I think I need some clarification from KSDS friends, though.  When transferring to the "other side" is it acceptable for them to need to stand up, then go to the other side? Do they need to roll to the other side?  What's the correct method?

They looked like they were discussing what may be his problem.  They looked at him for quite a while like this!

Churry decided to take action!

The bond between these two is very sweet.  He definitely has the strongest bond with her besides me.

A good ole' belly rub!


I don't know what she's sticking her tongue out at, but it was funny.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Look at me now!

It is my absolute favorite time of year!  I love everything about Fall, except that it doesn't last all year long!  Last year about this time I took some pictures of Churry in my flowers.  I thought it would be fun to get some pics in the same spot to compare.  My flowers don't look as pretty this year because the weather this summer was just not kind to them, but my girl, Churry looks just as beautiful!

She wouldn't look at me because the darn ice cream truck kept driving by!

This was her first day in her puppy cape.  Almost exactly a year ago.

She still loves to smell the flowers!