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Friday, October 31, 2008

Training walk today

Today Dakota got to go on a training walk with our puppy program manager, Michelle Pelletier. She asked what issues we'd been dealing with and I mentioned how Duckie likes to chase blowing leaves. Look what we ran into on our walk!

...Well, OK, so it's pretty hard to see, but in the background by the giant orange is...a man with a LEAF BLOWER! Oh boy! So Duckie got 2 distractions in one: a big scary noise and lots of exciting leaves blowing by. To my surprise, after just a few corrections from Michelle, Dakota treated them both as perfectly normal and controlled his urge to chase the flying leaves. I was so proud. So thanks, leaf blower guy, you were a big help today!

Look what else is new: Michelle brought us a new, bigger puppy jacket! Hurrah! Dakota's old one was getting so tight it was hard to keep it on. This one looks a little like a horse blanket on him...but hey, there's room for growth! I think Dakota's already bigger than his dad, who is a mini doodle. We'd love him to take after his mom, who is medium-sized.

So, all in all, we had a great day. Happy Halloween, everyone!

Dakota: "This is NOT a Halloween costume, it's my work clothes! Take me seriously, people!"

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Squeaky Clean

Today was Dakota's second official bath. He's got this wonderful soft fleecy non-shedding fur that...well, gets dirty from time to time! And although I think he's still too young for his coat to change from puppy fur to adult coat, something does seem to be going on because I'm actually getting a little red fur stuck in the brush in our grooming sessions -- something that didn't used to happen.

Anyhow, it helps that Duckie loves baths. We try to keep everything calm and controlled so he doesn't go too crazy, because he LOVES water.

Here we are midway through...he looks so small when he's wet! I know, maybe I'm a little crazy to use the kitchen sink, but the sprayer came in handy for rinsing! I'm sure he'll outgrow this venue by his next bathtime.

...And here he is all done, dry, and freshly brushed, with my fearless assistant Charissa.

"Aaahh...clean again!" (Actually, he's probably plotting his next roll in the mud...just so he can get another bath!)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Dog Park!

Hey everybody, I discovered the most awesome place today! It's called the "dog park." I had a great time meeting new friends. Here I am with some of my pals.
My family laughed because I had a hard time deciding who to hang out with -- the people or their dogs! They say it's good for my "socialization," but I really think that's an excuse to go have fun. You should try it sometime!

Growing Up

It's been a busy month, and while our family took a week's vacation out of town, Duckie got to stay with the Weldon family, soon-to-be puppy raisers in north Austin. This was an exciting change for him. The Weldons have three active boys...AND a cat! Dakota got to have lots of exciting experiences with them, going all kinds of new places. They did such a good job with him. Thank you, Minda & family! Can't wait to see you get started with a guide dog puppy of your own!

In fact, when we got back from our trip, we all noticed that not only had Dakota gotten noticeably bigger in just a week, he also seemed a little more "grown up"! He's been more confident and attentive in new situations and around loud noises.

To make life more exciting, he's losing his puppy teeth! Right now he's lost all but one tooth on the front bottom, and the top front teeth are starting to drop too. Every spare moment is spent chewing as Duckie works on getting those new teeth grown in.

We're loving the gorgeous fall weather here in Austin. Dakota gets distracted by the blowing leaves, so that's something to work on! Here he's checking out the display of pumpkins at the grocery store.