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

Friday, July 27, 2012

Finally, a fun outing!

       Today, we finally had a beautiful morning that I've been waiting for for quite a few days!  Now, if  I was a morning person, I'm sure it might be okay out at 5:30 a.m., but I find NO reason whatsoever to be out and about at that hour.  But, today, it was even nice later on in the morning.  I took advantage of the nicer temps at the Discovery Center by doing my weekly visit outside.  There is an outdoor adventure/obstacle course and nature trail there.  Being mostly shaded it was really nice.  The nature trail has wood chips/bark type of surface that Churry really had never done much walking on.  It was good practice for her to walk and not sniff and eat wood chips.

      Then, at the obstacle course, there were many things for her to practice and try out.  A few weeks ago we had visited the park and practiced walking on narrow elevated surfaces.  We were able to do that today, too.  They have these large logs, some wide and some narrow at various heights for kids to walk along like a balance beam.  It took a lot of coaxing, but she walked across it a few times for me.  Even the log that rolled back and forth as you walked across it.  She did a lot of practicing jumping on different logs and stumps.  She discovered that she really enjoyed jumping over logs, too.  She is quite the jumper!  One of her favorite things was a large black tunnel (I'm assuming it is what they would use underground like in a sewer).  I had her Sit/Stay at one end and then go to the other end of it to call her to me.  She didn't hesitate at all to go through the dark tunnel.  She has also done a tunnel at agility class and really like it there, too.  We ended our time playing on some musical instruments.  She loves to listen to various sounds wherever we go.  She is always very curious and content to sit and listen for a long time.

      And, most importantly, I talked to a few people about KSDS and the wonderful dogs!  People are always so interested in the amazing things they do for people!  It was our last visit there for awhile because I will start working at school again next week.  It has been a wonderful opportunity for her this summer and I am so grateful for the kindness the employees always showed!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Little Girl's Dream

       During the time we've had Churry, Kinsey has asked several times if she could play dress-up with her...because what other game would be a little girl's favorite, right?  And then, when she saw a fellow blogger's puppy in training getting to play dress up she really has been grilling me!  So, I finally gave in this afternoon.  Lucky for Churry she only had just a few minutes before we had to leave for an appointment.  And, Kinsey did a very good job of putting things away, which is always the reason behind my hesitation on that request.  I did, however, say no to putting the First Communion dress on Churry!  She's a good dog, but, I just don't have that kind of trust.

Of course, we had to get on some K-State attire...

If you look closely, you can see the powercat on the front.  Churry didn't care to wear this for very long.
And, we dressed up like a circus elephant...

And, we practiced wearing some socks again.  Churry had a pair of socks put on her a while back and she provided quite the entertainment trying to walk in them.  Today, she chose to just stay laying down while wearing them.

I'm sure this game will be repeated when she has more time and knows that Churry is very cooperative!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Heat Wave 2

    I am DONE with this crazy heat we have been having!  I would not survive well in the desert.  I worry about taking Churry out in this heat even to air-conditioning because the asphalt and concrete is so hot.  I need to think about some late evening outings.  In the meantime....we have been having fun in the backyard pool and staying cool inside.  I'm pleased that she continues to jump on the surfaces I ask her to.  She still requires some enticement into the Expedition, but a toy will get her to hop right in.  It makes taking her places much easier!  She also has discovered that bath time really is enjoyable.  I thought maybe I had just lucked out a couple of weeks ago, but tonight she behaved like a perfect lady for her bath again.  I had my camera woman prepared to capture the moment this time because I wasn't worried about my camera taking a bath!

Keeping a "Stand up" command

Sampling the shampoo...she must have approved of the new bottle!

Always up for a snuggle with Jacob...those two are best friends!

I'm always amazed by the amount of hair she has compared to Bailey.

Enjoying the AC and getting some afternoon pettings

She LOVES  to hold hands while getting attention.

She sat there for the longest time like this except her head was lying on  my leg.  She lifted it up right when Kinsey took the picture.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The surprises just keep on coming!

    Churry and I took a little trip today to Wal-Mart to pick up a card for a friend's birthday today.  I was hoping to get some good practice at remaining sitting or in a down position with no floor licking while I was looking.  We got just that and Churry did fantastic.  She was very patient with me and I take FOREVER to pick out cards for people.  After that, we went to the greenhouse near my house to browse and experience something new.  It was a great place because there are water features running all over the place.  Churry only pulled once.  She seemed to think that they were just like her little pool at home that she can jump in whenever she wants!  After a correction, she was great.  There were also many, many interesting things right at eye level for her including chimes, which were moving a little bit.  This place is great and right across the street from my neighborhood.  The lady that works there was super nice about Churry being in there, too.   I can't believe I haven't thought of going there before.

   The surprise, however, came before we even left home.  Some of you who know Churry well know that she refuses to jump into the back of my Expedition.  I have spent literally hours trying to accomplish this task.  I've used toys, treats, good modeling from Bailey, assistance from other people, putting her meals in there, you name it!  She just won't do it.  I had finally just given up thinking it was just something about my oversized vehicle.  She will jump in other vehicles so I figured they can deal with this problem at formal training if it's going to be an issue.  I just didn't know what else to do.   Well, today, I opened it up and told her to jump on, fully planning on changing the command to "Go up" like I do every other time and then giving her the expected boost in.  Well, miracle of miracles, the stubborn girl JUMPED IN!  No treats, no bribing, nothing!  She just suddenly felt like she could do it I guess.  Now, she wouldn't do it during our errands, but when I got her home we practiced some more and she jumped in 5 more times!  I love when I see these successes!  She received LOTS of praise and attention followed up with some pooltime!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Such Maturity Today!

     Although, Churry is very much still a puppy, and acts like it at inopportune times, every now and then I will be pleasantly surprised at how well she does at something.  Or, we will be doing something that we regularly do and I will have to stop to ask myself, "When did she get so good at this?"  Some things we work and work and work on so I can see progress, and other things just kind of slip into place with maturity and I just suddenly notice it one day.  Today, was one of those days.  When Churry was a puppy, bathtime for her was a warzone!  It took both Pat and I to accomplish the task and by the end of it the dog, the bathroom, the people, the floor, and everything else in sight was sudsy and wet!  It has progressively gotten better.  I can now bathe her by myself even though I still prepare to be soaked and prepare to be involved in a small battle with her.  Why she has hated her baths so much is a mystery because she loves water, both swimming in it and being sprayed by a hose or running in a sprinkler!   Today it was bath day.  During the summer, I've been bathing her outside, which is nice because it's a lot easier for clean up afterwards, although it presents a new problem because the instant I let her go she is notorious for going and rolling around in the dirtiest spot in the yard she could find.  Today, we were standing in our spot on the edge of the patio out back and I was getting things ready.  I happened to say to her, "Come on", not meaning for her to do anything just talking to her.  Well, clearly she heard "Jump on" and jumped right up onto the table (the one we practice jump on with and NOT the one we eat at) and sat right down.  Now, I was super excited because Jump on is not a command she particularly loves and she has NEVER jumped onto that table without coaxing and a chair to break up the journey onto the table.  Then, to SIT DOWN without being asked!  She was really showing off her skills.  I decided we could just do our bath right up there.  She remained in a sitting or standing position exactly like I asked the entire time, didn't try to run away, jump down, wiggle away, nothing!  Just remained calm in the position I asked for the entire time I bathed her!  I was so impressed with my girl.  Where do these sudden moments of maturity come from?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Love the pool!

"Finally, that crazy woman got me something to keep me cool!"

Movies, the mall, and the scary escalator

       I think the weather forecast is showing some relief from these 100+ temps!  Churry is very hopeful...she hates this heat!  In the meantime, we have been doing lots of indoor outings and saving our playtime outside for late evenings.  Tayler and I had a date night at the movies last night.  We went to the cheap theater and saw The Lucky One.  Unfortunately, Churry was NOT the slightest bit interested in watching a movie, so I saw half of it, then finally just left and took her across to the mall.  I didn't want to be the rude guest with the dog that wouldn't lie down.  I am trying to transition her from her Halti to a collar and the majority of the time she is doing fantastic with it.  However, the popcorn and skittles that were apparently under my chair were just too much for her.  And she just wasn't in the mood for a nap, either.  Good thing it was the cheap theater!  It wasn't a total waste of an outing though.   At the mall, we practiced heeling and ignoring people in our new collar.  She did great!  She stays right next to me or just slightly ahead and keeps her attention on me.  We also went and just watched the scary escalator for awhile.  It didn't seem nearly as scary by the time we left.  She would get really close and do a Down or Sit and calmly watch it.  It amazed me how many people wanted to stand and watch us watching the escalator!  I kept moving out of their way and they would say, "Oh, we don't need on it, we're just watching you.  It's fascinating."   They were so impressed at where I got her to compared to where we had started watching from.

      Today, after we went for our weekly visit to the Children's Discovery Center, where she gets tons of attention and interaction with the public, I took her back to the mall.  I want to be sure that allowing her to interact with people at the Discovery Center is not hindering her ability to ignore people in other situations.  She seems to know the difference.  When we are in other public places, she never tries to solicit attention.  And when we are at the Discovery Center, she remains in a Down position at my feet until I give her permission to "talk".    Today, at the mall, we again visited the escalator.  She's pretty much over her fear.  I think she would get on and ride it, but I certainly don't want to jinx it and have her get a paw pinched or something.  So, I think I'll wait until I have someone with more experience with me before I let her on it.  We also went into the arcade.  It was empty, so it was a great time to go in.  She was great in there!  She stood on many different surfaces with blinking lights underneath her, didn't mind the loud crazy sounds coming from the machines, and did a "Go up" on several games.  Churry always loves adventures.  The more exciting and overstimulating the place may seem, the more she enjoys it.  She doesn't enjoy the "boring" outings where she is expected to just sit and be good, such as the movies.  I would love some ideas for more "boring" places from my readers that we could go practice at!  I don't think her future partner is probably going to be a wild loud party animal.  Although, if they are, Churry would be a great match!  She seems to thrive in loud, stimulating environments.  Being raised in a home with four kids and their activities makes her more comfortable in those situations I'm sure.

      Looking forward to a cooler week ahead!  (And for my readers not from this area, when I say cooler I'm talking about 95 degrees being a cold front!)  Keeping my fingers crossed!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

      I love the festivities at this time of year!  Yummy food, fireworks, friends and family!  Churry has done a great job with the fireworks.  Last night our neighbors all put on what seemed like a professional fireworks display!  I thought it would be a great opportunity to desensitize Churry to them rather than take her with us to the lake where she is not in a comfortable situation.  I also worry about other people being irresponsible with their personal fireworks, so she's staying home tonight.  We sat on our front porch where we sit every night and it's a very enjoyable place for her...it's where I snuggle with her, groom her and sometimes feed her.  It's our bonding spot.  So it was a great place for a positive experience.  Now, when the smaller firecrackers are going off, she looks at them, but is not bothered at all.  When the first big one went off, however, she jumped up and crawled behind me, shaking.  I made a big deal of being positive and immediately playing with her.  She also got a treat once she sat back down.  Each time another one went off, she got more and more relaxed.  By the end she had a routine down...she started off lying on the porch beside me.  Then, the guy would carry it to the street and she would stand up and watch.  Then he would light it and she would move behind me to watch, but didn't shake or get scared or anything.  Then the spoiled girl would come around, sit in front of me, and look at the pile of treats I had sitting there.  But, she overcame her mild fear!  Great job Churry!

  Once she figured out she was safe she enjoyed watching them.
Relaxing in between shots.  She's on her leash even though you can't see it here.

Enjoying the daytime fireworks and remote control trucks

Happy 4th Everyone!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Puppy Love!

Walking along with her just as sweetly as can be!

So tired after that exhausting walk

And loving every minute of the attention!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Fun at the Park!

        We have been having a fun week with a little guest at our house.  Our friend's 2 year old is staying with us for a couple of days and tonight we took a trip to the park.  Fun was had by all and it was an excellent place to practice some of Churry's problem areas with Jumping On and being comfortable on moving objects.  I love this first series of pictures.  It really shows how her confidence grew.  She started off refusing to put a foot on the swinging bridge at all, but she tried it and by the end was confidently leading me across it.    We also practiced on a variety of surfaces tonight, practiced Sit/Stays with many distractions, and practiced heeling with me in some unusual positions.

This walkway had the grates that you could see straight through to the ground.  She's never had a problem with this type of things.

This is the moving bridge.  Each slat rotates back and forth and it has a very bouncy effect.  She didn't want to have anything to do with it at first.

Her confidence kept growing though and by the 4th time she led me right across.  We revisited it before we left and she acted like it was an ordinary sidewalk.

Practicing a Sit/Stay on an elevated surface with distractions.

Practicing walking calmly over an obstacle.

This was a very tricky obstacle.  It's like a moving balance beam.  Each of the sections moves up and down like a teeter totter when you cross it.  She practiced heeling a few times.

Then she was a very brave girl and walked it herself.  She didn't jump on it, but didn't fuss when I lifted her up, either.

I helped her walk a ways...

Then she was confident enough to finish on her own.  Good job Churry!

Pat thought he needed a turn too!

More Sit/Stay practice.

And getting a train ride with our favorite little engineer!