The adventures of SD Juno and SDIT Kaline (and their human, Colt).

27 March 2013

Another successful IKEA outing with Chief!

Monday night, for Sonja's birthday, we took the boys to IKEA for some fun training. The boys were so lovely and we had a wonderful time.

Kaline got to practice “under” quite a bit, since there were various convenient objects all around.
Kaline does under
Chief does under
Both boys also got to practice picking up a credit card, which they did well. Kaline was a little overenthusiastic, but I'm not terribly worried about it. Enthusiasm is good! He was crazy when I asked him to pick up his leash. Before he would hand it to me, he had to “kill” it, very very dead.

We also worked on various distractions, as we like to do, with toys and stuffies and even an umbrella! A nice man took a video of Sonja trying to distract the pups with the umbrella.
Leaving the big carrots alone ...

At the end we had dinner in the wee food court and the dogs settled nicely under the table. Kaline was so zonked (he'd done four walks in the morning in addition to working at IKEA) that he didn't even notice when I got up to get a refill on our pops. This is the dog who normally cannot stand to let me go to the bathroom alone. And heaven forbid I go upstairs without him. The fastest way to wake him from a nap on the couch is to go up one flight of stairs.
Sleepy boys.

And on the way out, Kaline blocked nicely, even when I asked Sonja to gently nudge him in the butt. What a good boy.

25 March 2013

Juno got her RN!

No, she's not a registered nurse. (Yes, I was super confused when I saw the title “RN” after dogs' names.)

Juno got her second and third legs for her Rally Novice title!

We had a very exciting day on Sunday. We got up insanely early to drive to Petaluma, where the trial was happening at the fairgrounds. It was delightfully laid-back and relaxed; if I'd known ahead of time, I would've brought Kaline and just put him in the popup crate. As it was he had to stay home, but he wasn't actually alone that much.

Because we left so early, Juno and I drove across the Golden Gate Bridge just as the sun was coming up over the Bay. It was absolutely gorgeous. I felt really lucky, because people come from all over the world to see our beautiful bridge, and I got to drive over it just to go to an obedience trial. Too bad no one else with proper digits drove with me, because it would have been an amazing photo.

We got there with plenty of time to spare. I was extra nervous because instead of being scheduled to go into the ring 57th or something, we were third. Unlike the other trials we'd gone to, Novice A & B were up first instead of last, woohoo! But I'm now used to having basically the whole day to brush up on the course and get Juno warmed up, so it was a little weird.

A bunch of the people we had met at the other trials were there, cause I guess it's a small world. It was freezing in the morning, holy crap. We all shivered our way through the first of the two trials. Juno and I actually had plenty of time to practice for the first course, which only had 11 stations and was actually pretty easy. Juno was totally perfect in the ring, but we lost ten points when I had her sit on a “finish right” that had no stop sign. Whatever, I thought, we qualified! Who cares about the other stuff. And problems with me are (most of the time) easy to fix.
Juno and her first green ribbon.

After qualifying in the first trial and having some deep pressure time to stop my heart from racing, we browsed the items up for raffle in one of the buildings. There was a table and a half covered in dog books, a good 10-15 of which were Doberman books! As you can imagine I went a tiny bit apeshit, especially since two of the covers had natural-eared Dobes on them. As with many things I want really badly, nobody else was interested, so I “won” the books as the only person who entered for them. Two dollars ended up getting me about 10 Doberman books and then another five or six plain dog books. A most productive two dollars, I'd say! I just have no idea where I'll put them because I have literally no bookshelf space left.
Only some of the books I ended up taking home.

By the time of the second trial, it warmed up quite nicely. We were second on that one, though, and I did not feel as prepared when we went in the ring. It was a harder course as well with a lot of turns. But again, Juno was perfect and I was the one who messed up (this time it was for not coming to a stop when I should have). Nonetheless, we passed and I was incredibly stoked because you always get a little medallion or pin for a title, and the ones at this trial were really nice looking. I was, as always, incredibly proud of my girl. She charmed everyone at the show, since they were all packing cookies or bait.
Juno and her second green ribbon.

Juno's RN title pin.

It took us a while to drive home because of insane traffic. I ended up going to dinner with Mom, and took Kaline because he hadn't really gotten to do anything all day. I fully expected a non-peaceful dinner, because he hadn't gotten his usual amount of exercise or stimulation. Instead, he walked into the restaurant, waited politely for me to lay out his mat, then curled up on it and didn't pop up until we were ready to go! I practically died. Could it possibly be that he's maturing? Naaaaaah.

Kaline being a very good boy at Max's.
In other Kaline news, he went to the high school musical, Legally Blonde, on Wednesday with my mom and me. He did have some popups there, but for the most part he was good. If you've never seen the play, it involves several instances of exceedingly high pitched squealing. The first time it happened, I kinda went, “Aw shit” in my head, but Kaline didn't even flinch. Woohoo. He pulled a bit in the crowds, but he wasn't at all overwhelmed by any part of the experience, which is the kind of thing that would worry me. Overall I was really happy with how he did!

Kaline at the theatre, checking out the crowd before the play.

18 March 2013

Fun stuff

Monday, 11 March:

We did four pack walks, tiring out both the dogs, and I got in a shockingly invigorating shouting match with a Crazy Lady in downtown Palo Alto. She took great offense at my dogs and I continuing on our usual route behind her. How dare I harass her with such nasty dogs, etc. I dunno, snapping back at Crazy Lady gave me all kinds of energy for the rest of the walks!

Tuesday, 12 March:

I was attempting to fix the DVD player and it was highly frustrating. Kaline came over to me—I was sitting awkwardly on the floor—slung his head over my shoulder and just licked my ear for a while. I found it delightful even though I probably stank of dog breath afterward.

Wednesday, 13 March:

Not as much fun. Lots of little delays combined to kind of fuck up our four pack walk schedule. Then I had big plans to take Kaline on an outing to Hillsdale Mall with the 'rents. But apparently only Juno was invited. I don't think it's a very good precedent to let others choose which dog I work, so I just stayed home with both and we had a calm, quiet evening.

Thursday, 14 March:

So. Much. Awesomeness. We had a bizarre encounter in the morning. I had my five-pack downtown, and we came to a red light. Across the crosswalk from us, suddenly, was a group of about eight Japanese tourists. First they shrieked and pointed at the dogs and then every single one whipped out an enormous SLR camera and began snapping away like paparazzi. Yikes.

After training and everything, Juno and I drove up to Berkeley to have dinner with Sonja and Chief and our friend Eva and her SD Coral! We had only “met” her online, so it was super exciting to finally meet in person! Eva has cerebral palsy and is nonverbal, so she uses a laser pointer attached to her hat to point at things, and has this fantastic board she made herself. It's covered in little colored boxes, each one containing a letter, number, word, or short phrase. She used her board to spell out things and her aide, Lauren, was super quick to figure out what she was spelling. Eva's aide and cousin joined us for dinner and we had a marvelous time. We had fun times discussing SD drama, and Eva threw back her head and laughed infectiously at the juicy parts. She has the best smile! And red Converse. Love those.

Eva was in town for a rehearsal of a performance which she will come back for in May. Hopefully she'll be able to stay longer and we'll get to go to the beach with the dogs! Sonja and I already put the performance date in our phones and are planning to go. It's going to be amazing.

Friday, 15 March:

Four walks again, and Juno and Kaline got to wear their St. Patrick's Day ties.

Saturday, 16 March:

With Mom out of town, Dad and I had lots of errands so Kaline got to do a lot of PA work. We had obedience class, then went to the post office, Hillsdale Mall, and later Target. At the mall, we worked on under, opening different kinds of fridges, roll (his hip), and the usual Stop Pulling Me and Leave It. We had lunch at a Mexican place that's very dog friendly, so we sat outside in the beautiful weather with both dogs unvested. Kaline did a lovely under and down stay beneath my chair!

Poster for the shelter where I got Juno!
Good under!

Target was a little insane for me—first a kid came out of nowhere, pounding past us and freaking me out, and then we turned down another aisle and there was a pet Lab, lunging at Kaline against his flimsy harness. After that I needed some major deep pressure; then I informed an employee and the situation was taken care of very quickly. Target doesn't tolerate pets because they have such big food areas now. So Kaline was very good in there, very attentive to me especially because I was very edgy after the bad beginning.

Sunday, 16 March:

The usual morning of PA work. Farmer's Market was great except for this random old lady. She complimented Kaline on being handsome, then said, “That top collar. I don't like it.” She was referring to his pinch. At first I was a little taken aback, because we hardly ever get training comments of any kind. I was polite to her, restraining myself, but I wanted to say, “You don't like his collar? Quick, quick, ask me how much I care!” Kaline stood there clearly looking very traumatized as he blocked and didn't sniff people.
Ha! If only that rule were enforced.

Trader Joe's was awesome. We always have a good time in there. We ran into our friend who loves watching Kaline work and always compliments him on his progress. As usual, he ignored Kaline himself and chatted with me. He ended up telling me about a woman who always brings her poodle in, vested, but doesn't have any control over it. The dog sniffs things, jumps on people, jumps on merchandise, some of which is food, and barks. I gave him a PDPM card and said if she doesn't take steps to control her dog, they have every right to make her take the dog out, and return by herself. She always yells at them when they ask her to control the dog or leave, saying she has papers/certification. TJ's people are so nice! Anyone who is mean to them deserves to be kicked out.

12 March 2013

Recap of last week

Pretty good week for us! Very busy on the weekend working my two dogs, while the rest of the time things mostly revolved around our multitudinous walks and recuperating from them.

Thanks to the e-collar, Kaline is now participating in off-leash long down-stays with the “big dogs” at training. Big dogs for now mostly consist of Rio, Peter the Poodle, Xena, Cooper, and sometimes Lucky the Golden. Thursday he was totally awesome. We used him as part of a weaving course and he was down out there for a couple hours. As a reward, at the end all the big dogs got to romp about off leash in the field. (Yes, we have special permission to have dogs off leash in the park, unlike the assholes. It's cause Freddie pays to be there and cause of the e-collars—our dogs will come back, unlike the randoms.) Kaline's recalls are getting so sharp and nice! His fronts in those situations are super sloppy, but man, you call him while he's playing and he turns on a dime and comes racing back. I hardly ever have to nick him.

The next day, Friday, we had three walks and then I planned to take Kaline to a double feature at the Stannie. Knowing that the walks would probably not be enough, before the movie I took him on a quick public access outing to Triple-A, then let him loose in Eleanor Pardee Park (wearing his e-collar) where he ran himself ragged playing with a little black poodle mix. It was awesome. And while he did pop up multiple times during the movies, he was a lot better than the last time. Yay tired puppy! Chief, Sonja and Hendrik joined us for the second movie, Rear Window. Kaline was super thrilled to see his best little buddy.

Saturday, Kaline and I met not only Sonja and Chief, but also the girls, Jolanda and Josephine, to walk around Stanford! It was very exciting to see the girls. They were totally perfect, ambling about off-leash among all the activity on the various athletic fields. Kaline was pulling and being a pain a lot, but a very cute pain. At the end, I let him run around with the girls with his leash dragging, and clearly our collar practice is working, because every time I called, he came (or left it, as the case may be), even though he wasn't actually wearing the collar. The girls were quick to correct him whenever he got out of line. I should've brought Juno but I didn't quite realize until I was in the car that we were doing a very off duty outing! We didn't take any pictures, how terrible of us.

Juno got to come along to dinner with my parents, aunt, and uncle. She was barely visible the way she curled up under our table. When I had to go to the bathroom, we had to wait in a very narrow hallway with waiters going back and forth with plates of food. Juno stoically just held her block in front of me, not even turning her head to acknowledge or sniff the waiters, and just as importantly, not shifting to get out of their way unless I told her to. Grin.

On the way back to the table, a random patron just reached out and started fondling Juno's face. I was tempted to reach out and do the same to him, and ask, “Do you like it when complete strangers mush your face/hair around?!” but his head looked greasy. So I just was indignant and talked to him like a badly behaved toddler. Hopefully he learned his lesson.

Sunday, Kaline did his usual public access in the morning. Our highlight was in the Farmer's Market. Kaline was behind me, blocking, when a tiny little boy barely taller than Kay himself, came up and began stroking Kaline's neck. I had no clue it was even happening until the dad gently pulled the kid away and explained why he couldn't pet Kaline. But I was super proud, cause my puppy who adores children had held his block and his focus through the entire thing! We also got to do some education with the Girl Scouts who were selling their delicious cookies.

Right when we got home from our outings, Sonja called to offer me an extra ticket to the symphony! How exciting! Symphony = big crowds and a huge need for a very quiet dog, thus Juno. So off we went.

We had such a good time. The people at the symphony were extremely friendly, though not terribly concerned with not invading personal space which got my anxiety up a lot. They were totally fascinated by wee Chief and Juno. Juno was totally nonplussed by the crowds and wouldn't respond to anyone's attempts to pet or love on her. I freaking love that about her. Some guy at one point reached for her and she turned her head away from him in an unmistakable we-are-NOT-buddies gesture. She also did lovely lap-ups for me when I needed major calming.

Chief and Juno holding our tickets for their admiring public.
Hold practice during intermission. Cutie pies!!!
Juno doing a lap-up in the symphony hall.
And of course, she was totally silent and never popped up during the amazing performance. The organist was Cameron Carpenter and I was floored by his talent. You have to be an athlete to play the organ! Each of his feet and each of his hands were doing totally different things, playing different parts of songs, and not only that but fiddling with innumerable buttons and knobs while still continuing to play the songs! It was totally insane. He wore fabulous sparkly pants and shoes so you could really see his legs gliding about on the foot keys. At one point he made the organ basically fart, and I was thinking, Man, Kaline probably would've barked at that noise! Whenever I take him to his first symphony, I will be a total wreck!

Look at this crazy instrument and bow to the awesomeness of Cameron Carpenter!

We went to the same Italian place we went to with Ashley and Rebekah, and there was drama that I missed (dammit!) while in the bathroom. Sonja told me about it after. This woman at a nearby table flipped out when she saw Chief, saying she had severe allergies and would get bronchitis. Obviously, both severe allergies and service dogs have to be accommodated, not one or the other.

Sonja suggested they get moved to another table, since there were only two in her party and five in ours. She said they were in the middle of dinner and couldn't possibly move. Well, then you just have to deal, don't you? Then her partner jumps in and says dogs can't be in restaurants. Idjit. Sonja of course replied that service dogs are allowed, and asked the waiter if they could be moved. The woman wouldn't move, so everyone just sat back down.

And wouldn't you know it, she lived through dinner!

We had a delicious time, and Juno was perfect. It's so much easier to concentrate on eating when I'm with Juno, heehee.

04 March 2013

Let's face it, I'm tired!

I've been watching a little too much Blazing Saddles in my bits of free time. Fifty bajillion Internet points to anyone who knows what bit of the movie the title of this post is from.

So, we are back on our normal insane schedule, which in a week or two will get just a smidge more insane, whoopee! Thus not a ton of energy or motivation to write, unfortunately.

I also gave myself a flareup on Saturday night, so we didn't do anything that interesting recently. Saturday night was Senior Night for the Stanford men's gymnastics team, so Juno and I went to the meet. It is the first time in I don't know how long that I left a men's gym meet early. This sport gives baseball a run for its money as my favorite, for crying out loud.

Juno and I were sitting fairly high up on one of the bleachers so we could see everything, and there was a lot to see—it wasn't just Stanford and Cal, like normal, but a Japanese collegiate team, as well as club teams from Arizona State and the University of Washington. Stanford, though, has one of the worst main arenas for men's gym of any team. (Iowa is by far the worst, but Stanford is down there. Also, I say main arena because if any team is hosting a conference or NCAA championship, they almost invariably use the larger basketball arena rather than the facility they have regular-season meets in.)

Not only does it have bleachers instead of real seats, there are no aisles on said bleachers. None. So once you're up, you are stuck there. Especially if you happen to be attached to a tall 65-pound service dog. Mentally, I do not do well blocked in, and physically, I was in a ton of pain by the second rotation (there are six). I had not been feeling that great to begin with, but it was the only Stanford meet I could get to so I felt obligated. But that meant I only had a little vest on Juno, because I couldn't take even the pressure of momentum pulling on my arm. Let's just say that when we finally decided it was time to go, it was extremely interesting getting down the bleachers. Thank goodness I had brought Juno instead of Kaline, because at least I didn't have to worry about her behavior as she picked her way through the crowd down the bleachers behind me. Kay probably would have stolen a hot dog or two, or at least kissed several people.

So yeah, I'm still paying for that stupid decision (or series of stupid decisions). The good parts of the meet: We got to see Eddie Penev, among others, on floor, and he's one of the best in the world on that. Everyone was extremely nice to us (especially while we tried to weave down the bleachers). One of the guest services people complimented me on the clarity of Juno's patches and I practically hugged her. That's so what I was going for when I picked them!

Was the meet worth missing a cool SF outing on Sunday with Sonja? Jury is out, just because of the guilt I would have had about not seeing a single Stanford home meet. But with guilt out of the picture? SO NOT WORTH IT. Gaaaah.

Earlier in the weekend Kaline and I went with Mom to the post office and shopping center to train. Post office was a nightmare—a huge winding line of people (two of whom had pet dogs) packed into a tiny inner lobby. Kaline began whining immediately the moment we stepped in. I was stupid for a couple minutes, then realized just how insanely high my anxiety was ratcheting. I asked for a nudge instead of a whine, then booked it out into the outer lobby. As soon as I sat against the wall, Kaline awkwardly but emphatically pressed his chest against mine, eventually working his way into a more comfortable position draped across my lap with his torso pressing heavily into my chest, just the way I need. We stayed out for quite a while before we could go back in.

The shopping center was much better. I had just watched a friend's video of her former foster/SDIT pit bull practicing “under” with various objects, so all through the various stores, I had Kaline do “under” with anything where he'd fit. He was a bit confused at first because it's not something we have worked on lately or very much, but then he got it and was a star. He also retrieved, on command, his In Training tag which fell off his vest and two of those plastic rings they use to hang up scarves. WIN. Another mundane, non-task/obedience but nonetheless very useful command we practiced was “roll” which for Kaline and Juno means to roll onto a hip while lying down. I have been neglecting commands in that category—not a task, not formal obedience, but totally useful—so I hereby resolve to stop doing that and get with the program. Naughty, naughty trainer.

In random cool news, LDS sent us another blue vest. No I did not order it. YES I am keeping it. I already ordered another set of patches. Once it's got all its stuff sewn on, I'll take our current one back to the tailor to get the patches sewn rather than what they currently are, glued. Bleh, glue.