Thursday, October 31, 2013

Day 3: Dog Day!!!! Oct. 30th

Dog Day.... the moment of truth in all this. :D

We started off the morning with the RA, Donna having to key in and wake me up as I was soooo zonked from last night.  I'm still feeling quite sleepy this morning.   I got up and dressed and went to the dining room for breakfast.   Kevin had prepared for us some mixed fruits, hot oatmeal (which I declined) and this amazing French toast casserole with a strip of bacon.   Everyone is starting to settle in now and talking to each other more as we are getting to know each other.  

After Breakfast, Bab and Jody gathered us all up in the leather lobby area and said that this morning they were going to finish up walks with us to make sure we had the footwork down and work on some leash guiding with the first time handlers  to get it in before we get our dogs after lunch.   They then gave us the names and breeds of our dogs! :)

I will be getting, a male golden retreiver named Boomer! :)   There will be 2 golden retreivers, 4 labs, and the apprentice that is in blindfold this week will be working with a smooth coated collie.

They released us to do as we wanted at this point and would come get us to do more walks with us about the grounds and then do the bus/van trainings.   Jody soon came to get me and we walked out and around the building and then saw that the local puppy raising group was here at the grounds having a meeting and several of the dogs were dressed up in costumes.   They were sooo cute!   There was a jockey on the dogs back, a pumpkin, one with bat wings, another dressed in a baseball jersey, one dressed as a horse with a mop for a mane. :)    The group was quite large and split in two, as one half of the group was working on obedience and sit/stays, and the other group was doing musical chairs with their dogs- walking around the chairs and then sitting on the chair in front of them.   There were several shepherds, lots of labs and a few goldens too.   All very adorable!   We walked right through the midst of them in practicing my footwork and commands.

We then worked our way around back to the front of the building and Jody was in love with the Jockey costume, in which I then told her that I'd brought the similar version of this costume, but that it was the headless horseman instead.   She was so excited and said Boomer may not wear it tomorrow, but will make sure we get to see it on him before I go home. :)   We then did he bus boarding training of how and where the dog was to be when getting on the bus, which has changed a bit since the last time I was here.

Once done with this, Jody released me to do as I wanted and have hung out in the room for a while before lunch.  The excitement continues to build as lunch approaches and giving us our dogs comes at 1pm!

I went to lunch and we had a really good bowl of chicken noodle soup and a half of a ham & cheese sandwich.    CEO Wells Jones came down during lunch and introduced himself to all of us and sat at my table and chatted with us throughout lunch.

After lunch, everyone scurried to their rooms, only for Barb to say in this really ornery voice that there had been a delay in bringing the dogs over and to "try" to relax, that it'd be closer to 1:30 before they started to bring them to us.   Jody then shortly came to my room and put the bucket of dogfood under the bathroom sink so I'd have food for my boy.  

Then things started to get noisy in the hallway as you could hear the trainers walking dogs down the hallway and knocking on the doors to their new handlers.   I heard the knock on my door and said "come in!"    Barb came in and Boomer bounded up to me to say hello and immediately sat on my feet as I stroked his long broad back.  Olivia the apprentice snapped several pictures of Barb, Boomer and I together and then they took off to give Boomer and I some time togther.   Boomer looked often at the door and would perk his head up and even whined a few times if I stopped stroking his soft coat, as he strained to listen for Barb going up and down the hallway.

After a good while, he started to relax a little and planted himself by me and didnt go too far.   He was fine if I continued to touch him in some way- whether stroking his head, shoulder, chest, or down his back.   If I didn't  though, he'd pace at the end of the leash and whine a bit.   Barb came back after bit to work us to the gathering room, and he was really ramped up with a good strong pull.   Before we headed out the door, I asked Barb about how to hold my hand on the leash for leash guiding and she stopped me.  I want you to know something, what happened with you and Favor was not your fault, and you couldnt do anything about it and she said she wanted me to realize this is a completely different dog, different personality, and try to not correct myself and worry about what I had done in the past with Favor, the things I'd done with Favor and doing them with Boomer
I quickly teared up but was nodding ny head in aggreement, and knowing thi sin my heart, but finding it hard to let go and she was like just take it one day at a time, I'll be here every step of the way with you and we'll work through everything with THIS dog and how he is.

So we slowly made our way out the door, making sure his long tail was clear of the door closing behind us (after the hard learned lesson with Favor's tail in the door right across the hall from us, last April).   We made our way down the hallway and came to a halt.   I then did a left turn and had Boomer take me to a chair by the door.   He nailed it right on and it took a few minutes to get him settled under the the chair though.  The traniners sat and talked to us a little about the dogs, that they were wound up because they hadn't been worked in a week, and that they still didn't know who the heck we all were and were thinking the trainers were big traitors, putting someone else on the end of their leashes!    Then then told us how much each of our dogs gets to eat and we talked a little bit about the food, Natural Balance Synergy, that the dogs were all on.  The dogs did settle down quite a bit and before long, all were snoozing under their handlers chairs.    It was nearly 4:30, which is feeding and break time, so the trainers then began to work each of us individually back to our rooms.   They then showed us and watched us feed our dogs and had us interact with our dogs quietly until they got all the dogs fed and came back to take us out to the break area.

Barb came back and we worked out to the break area, which for those who have been here and know the layout of this area- the big "T", I am at the far end of one of the ends of the top of the "T".   Boomer amazed me in that he almost immediately went out and did a number 2.   This was a first for me, as all my other dogs have held out with both at least until the evening/if not the next morning, and then held out on the number 2 business from 2 1/2 to 3 whole days!   So I was very pleasantly surprised.   Then he acted like he wanted to do a number 1, but was a little more interested in watching stuff around us for a bit, so I kept encouraging him and he eventually did it. :)  

We worked back inside and I put him on the tie down and went on down to dinner.   Kevin outdid  himself tonight with dinner, as he fixed these amazing, amazing flank steaks and baked potatoes & green beans as the side.   I was wanting more, but was good and just ate what I had on my plate, as I'd had him give me a half of a smaller potatoe and small portion of the steak and double portion of the green beans. :)     This meal was pretty quiet as I think between everyone being tired from the long days and the adrenaline rush having worn off from getting the dogs, everyone was rather quiet.  

After dinner, we went back to our rooms and spent time with our dogs until the trainers came and got us to go out to the leather lobby for the first time as a group.  It took a bit to get everyone settled and the dogs wanted to play with each other at first as they were in such close proximity of each other.   Boomer was a bi of a booger as he was up and down quite a bit, but we kept working it and kept him settled.   He's reminding me a lot of Rei already in this regards and is sooo loveable, so I'm really feeling good about him.   

After the lecture, we made our way back to our rooms and then the trainers worked us all out to the break area for the last time of the night and Boomer again did a #1 right off the bat.  So I think he's doing really, really well there.    We came back in and before I placed him on the tie down, I did take him into the bathroom to see if I could figure out about how tall he was and he is about 5 1/2 tiles tall. with these being 4 inch tiles, that puts him somewhere about 23 to 24 inches tall at the shoulder. Favor was 26 inches, and Rei was 19. So he's a little shorter than Favor, but he is pretty solid and stocky. :)

After this I put him on tie down and answered some buzzes from friends on FB and promptly fell asleep with the laptop on my lap! LOL!