Thursday, June 11, 2009
Dupree did great at the vet - he is such a people-loving dog, that anywhere that provides him with undivided attention is a great place in his world. He has so much extra skin, I don't think he even felt the shot. The trip was otherwise uneventful, other than the drive there with three kids and our 100-lb, manner less Bernese Mountain Dog, Clyde.
Dupree likes to puppy-play with Clyde. Clyde does not reciprocate. Clyde thinks Dupree is just plain annoying. So, we had no idea how the drive would go with the two of them together. The only reason we had Clyde with us at all was because the vet is close to my parents house, and Clyde was going there to spend the weekend.
The actual drive over went fine - we managed to keep them separated. Getting out of the car was another story. Trying to squeeze three kids and a puppy out of the van, with Clyde not taking no for an answer, was hilarious. The key was to make the door opening big enough for small children, but not big enough for Clyde. He was not happy.
After we got Clyde dropped off at Grandma and Grandpa's house, we went home to load up for a weekend in the mountains. Maybe that was a bit much for Dupree for his first outing, but it turned out great. He was an excellent traveller. YES! We are so relieved, because we love to take weekend-trips in the summer. Now we know Dupree will share our enthusiasm!
Saturday, May 23, 2009
First off, Dupree continues to prove to be a super-sweet little guy. Well, not so little anymore. But still adorable. We've encountered the usual puppy stuff, some very trying, and some very cute. Even with as crazy-busy as we've been, Dupree has adjusted into our lively household very well. Things have also worked themselves out with all of my volunteering at school and church. I've managed to never have to leave him for more than a couple of hours, and never more than once a day (except for very short errands). He actually seems very content in his crate, and I'm not feeling as guilty about my short absences.
Dupree has been a good sleeper from the get-go, and I'm so relieved about that. I had visions of getting up several times a night, but that never really happened. He whined a couple of nights for a little while, but not bad at all. He is very happy to crawl right in and sleep for the night.
Leah has been very on top of his training, and has spent quite a bit of time on the following:
* Let's go - pretty good at this when he's not distracted
* Wait - very good at this, especially before meals
* Sit - also very good
* Hand-placed down - not so great yet
* Kennel - pretty good when he wants to be
* Come - excellent! No-brainer!
* That's enough - very good
* Stand - not really getting this yet, but haven't spent much time on it
Some things that we're really trying to work on are:
- Not chewing on things (everything) when he's on his tie-down. Furniture and carpet especially. Even his tie-down itself.
- Playing gently with our big pet dog.
- Pooping on non-grass surfaces.
- Picking up anything and everything.
I'm concerned mostly with the "searching" for little crumbs at all times. One of the most convenient places for him to be on his tie-down is at our kitchen table. Since we're in or near there so much of the time, we like to have him there. He really likes to be close to us, so this is the best place. But I notice him actively searching for any little tiny crumb, and we can't seem to get him to stop. I sweep many times a day, so he's not really finding anything. But he's going to try! The other things we're working on seem to be normal puppy behavior that I'm sure he'll outgrow, but I would love some advice about the "searching" around the floor for whatever he can find. Outside is also a problem - pebbles, leaves, mulch... anything. Of course, we're always holding his leash outside so we can do corrections, but he is very persistent. Advice?
I hope everyone is doing well with their new puppies! We are looking forward to meeting Dickens! Dupree will be reunited with his brother!
Thursday, April 23, 2009
We welcomed Dupree last Sunday, and we are having so much fun with him. What a sweetheart!
So... here is what we've been up to. For a couple of weeks, Leah and I continued reading and re-reading our GDB manual and attending meetings. And asking tons of questions. And reading wonderful, informational blogs. And asking more questions. And buying toys and supplies. And getting more and more excited. We were down to the last two days, and heard that the puppy truck was delayed due to weather. ARG! We were so disappointed, but it turned out to be a good thing. The weather really wasn't safe to travel in. And we only had to wait one more day.
We arrived in Denver right on time, and listened to a great presentation about the history of GDB and a training demonstration. During lunch, we received an envelope with our "clue" for the puppy's name. The clue read: "You and me and your puppy." We quickly figured out that his name was Dupree (only because other people knew of the movie and told us- we had never heard of it).
We saw the puppy truck outside and knew that our puppy was inside, and it seemed to take forever for them to get the puppies ready.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Now that we've seen our names on the list, it really seems official. 3 weeks from today.. I feel like we should be getting ready?! We've done our research and have read the GDB manual almost cover to cover, have gone to every meeting since we started thinking about this, and puppy-sat many times. But I can't help thinking that there is more we should be doing to prepare... we'd love any advice for the beginners!
I understand that we are provided with the essentials (leashes, etc). I'm thinking about getting a dog bed this weekend, and maybe a few GD approved toys. Off to PetsMart!
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Another beautiful weekend spent skiing in the Rocky Mountains. Perfect weather, great snow, friendly people, and breathtaking scenery. I find myself sometimes forgetting how lucky we are to live here. This trip, I made it a point to comment on the amazing snow-capped peaks that surrounded us – I want the kids to appreciate what an incredible place we live.
Our family of five stayed for two nights in Keystone, and went skiing and tubing. The skiing was an old favorite, the tubing a brand new adventure for all of us. I never knew a person could fly so fast down a mountain, unscathed! Tubing is definitely something we all want to do again soon.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
This weekend we had the opportunity to puppy-sit a guide dog-in-training... a 9-month-old yellow lab. He has a very sweet personality and we had lots of fun with him. We really got a taste of what it'll be like to raise one of these pups on our own.Here is the little guy, "T," hanging out in our family room getting used to his tie-down. Because he isn't used to being around kids and other animals, he was constantly picking up kid and dog toys. It was difficult to let him have much freedom, because we found we had to always dig things out of his mouth. So... we pretty much had to take turns holding on to his leash and learning to live one-handed!
We had fun taking "T" on many short walks, a few stores, and even church. He had a little trouble sitting through church, and started the "puppy-leash-biting" thing, wanting to play. We had to take him out because we couldn't get him calmed down.
Above is a photo of Leah with her current charge... Leah will be the main puppy-raiser in our family. I know she'll do great!
Leah, my oldest daughter, just turned 10. That statement alone amazes me. And how is it that I remember more about her birth than I do about my 5 year-old son’s birth? I’m forgetting the special and the everyday… the silly remarks and the monumental events. My hope is that keeping a journal of sorts will help me to document life’s extraordinary, everyday moments that I know will otherwise blur.
Back to Leah – and another reason for starting this “journal.” Leah has taken a very intense interest in raising a guide dog puppy for her next 4-H project. After months of discussion and researching Guide Dogs for the Blind, we all finally agreed to take on this project. As much as I love dogs and am inspired by this worthy cause, I had trouble imagining how this could fit into my life-style as a mommy of 3 very busy children. How could I possibly have a guide dog with me at all times when Leah is at school? Still not sure, but seeing Leah so excited eventually rubbed off on me and we’re going to tackle this. And I have to admit… I’m as excited as she is (almost).
Which leads me back to the inspiration of this blog… My advice to Leah was to keep a detailed record of this experience, because it will be one she’ll always want to remember. She’ll only have this sweet puppy for a short time (anywhere from 5 to 18 months), and we know it will leave an impact on our lives, and memories we’ll cherish. Not only will this be a tremendous amount of work, it will also be an emotional journey that we will all learn from. I want her to get everything she can out of this experience, and “journaling” would be a great way to do this. It may also serve as a place for other puppy-raisers to follow our journey and offer/receive advice and share stories. Or maybe inspire others to consider joining this cause.
Hearing myself give this advice to my daughter made me realize that documenting our family’s life should be more of a part of my life as well, leading us to consider beginning this blog together. So here we go! Updates coming soon on our adventures in puppy raising and anything else that strikes our fancy.