Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: More hair than Mr. Clean

Micron poses at the P&G headquarters to put in his bid as a company mascot.
Mr. Clean ain't got nothing on me, says Micron, tossing back his golden locks.

The mighty Micron was an honored guest at the Procter & Gamble headquarters in downtown Cincinnati last Friday.  He used his therapy dog wiles on the kids of my fellow P&Gers to teach them about the magical stuff of pet therapy visits. 

And by teach them, what I mean is he got into his usual Zen position (I am One with the carpet, says Micron) and sent out some sort of therapy dog mind rays so kids and adults alike had no choice but to rub his awaiting belly.  One simply cannot resist the Call of the Micron Belly.  I've seen this phenomena too many times to discount it, you know.  It's like seeing a double rainbow or something.

After touring the headquarters, Micron is now inspired to be a company mascot. Pick a brand, I tell him. Eukanuba already has Pawl Griffin as their VP of Canine Communications, so you should be thinking about another product.

We rule out Mr. Clean, because it's obviously not fair competition for the old guy. And in spite of those pearly white chiclets,  Crest toothpaste is out too. I'm leaning towards the Swiffer family of products, because dog knows I sure go through boxes of 'em at my place.

The dog disagrees. Ah, he's right of course. Micron reminds me that he has a special, perhaps even symbiotic, relationship with Bounty.  We know that, right?  If you didn't have the two minute pleasure of seeing the mighty Micron in action on our previous Mutiny of the Bounty post, we have the video at the bottom for ya for an easy click.

That appears to be an ear on top of his head. But I just
can't figure out how it got there. No really, just look at it.

Hey Bounty, if you want to blow that lame faux lumberjack competitor out of the water, so to speak, we've got the perfect product spokesdog for you. Especially since that other brand had their mascot shave his beard to appeal to some neatnik demographic, I've completely lost interest in him. Our fella here is much better looking . . . and has a passion for the brand.  

(Heads up there's a snappy music score with this. Just sayin' if your speakers are on) 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

I do hate when I have to get my mean out

Kentucky Horse Park - Part 2 


I can make more kids cry before nine o'clock than most people do all day

Would you like to pet her? I ask the young boy. It's ok. Her name is Euka.

I gotta admit, the one thing that consistently brings a sadness in my heart is to see little kids afraid of
dogs. Sure, I understand that there are families, and plenty of them, that are missing the glory of a good dog included in their clan. A personal choice made for a myriad of reasons. So we do encounter the occasional wee one that has no idea of even how to greet or pet a dog. But holy cow, these kidlets that have a fear of dogs already wired into their psyche, well it twists my heart a little.

So I see this boy, around eight years old, stop short in front of Euka and just look at her.  Euka and I are in the great room at a Lexington hotel awaiting the nieces as they finish their breakfast. The girls and I seemed to decide on breakfast as the precise time as every other guest here, so nearly every table is occupied. But no matter, I'm fine with parking myself in one of the comfy wingback chairs near the entrance of the room where the pup and I can people watch. The princess is granting audience to a handful of admirers and just doing a stellar job of it.
Ain't nobody crying here.

Then this boy. T-shirt and shorts and barefoot. I have no warning bells going off yet, but afterwards when I debrief myself on what went wrong here and how fast it happened, I realize this is the point where I missed some important clues.

Even though he came running into the hotel lobby with a burst of adolescent energy, he is gentle with Euka, patting her on the head, stroking her on her back. I look up expecting to see a parent or two behind him, trying to catch up with their energetic child. But nope, this barefoot boy is left to make his own life decisions this morning. He darts back into the hotel proper as quickly as he came in.

I'm talking with another family and fielding questions about CCI as the boy returns. But he brought younger companions with him- another boy around five and a toddler wearing nothing but a wet diaper. And yep, you guessed it ... no adults.

Using the prior permission granted to pet Euka, he extends this admission to the other boys before I have a chance to react.  They descend on her, hands everywhere in an instant. Ugh, this is not good and I tense up. Boys, I say. Only one person at a time, ok? And gentle, see? Pet her the same direction her fur lies. Like this . . .

All for naught, that. In an instant, they've lost interest in the pup and are now running, the three of them, back and forth across the entrance of the great room. One kiddo actually leaps over Euka as she lies by my feet. Euka, my brave girl, has been totally fine with the goings-on until 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... Let's Play! She's inspired to join the excitement and breaks her Down in an attempt to join the sprint race happening before her.

I've got her settled back into her Down, but now safely stowed to the side of my chair, when a Styrofoam bowl holding about six flakes of cereal is set before her. Ah, the toddler has managed to help himself to the breakfast buffet. Well, that's great, having such life skills before the age of three. Miss Euka, who indeed is accustomed to eating from a bowl placed before her, reaches her nose to sniff at the goodness of this gift.  Bonus points to me for reacting quickly enough to grab the bowl to hand it back to the oldest boy  and telling him to throw it away.

I don't like to do it, it's not my nature you know. But I had to get my mean out. It is way too early in the day to deal with this crap.

Realizing the seriousness of the situation, the oldest boy is now shouting at the diapered toddler. Telling him, and this is a quote, you can't feed cereal to a dog because it has sugar it in and that's poison and you kill dogs that way. To ensure the tiny fella gets this message clearly, he continues to shout the same message over.  And over.  Diaper boy runs behind a chair to work this through his head. Which apparently can't be done without a goodly amount of shrieking.

Oh hey, guess what happens now.  A responsible adult shows up.  Naw, just kidding.  But she may have been an older sister or something. I see she does have shoes on, so I'm starting to have some hope that we'll reach the end of this tsunamic drama soon.

Why's he crying? she asks. The tale of attempted assassination of dog by sugar poisoning is shared and without a word or glance our way, she stomps over to grab the tiny fella by the arm, yanks him from behind the chair and drags his damp diapered self through the hotel lobby.  The shrieks continue to echo down the corridor.

Way to go, Aunt Donna. says a niece. Yeah, nice one, says the other.

Thanks, girls. Hey, I made a little kid cry before nine o'clock, I say. It's all downhill from here.

Ok, here's the thing. We can't change people, right? We're always at risk of encountering situations that can quickly escalate out of control. The worst part of the scene I've described went from 0 to OMG in less than two minutes.  What I can change is bumping up my awareness of these potential sketchy encounters and how, or even if, I allow the pup to be greeted.

We want to be good ambassadors for CCI, we really do. It's a noble goal, I think, to have every encounter with my pup in training to end on a positive note. So, this out-of-control kid encounter has me rather bugged.

So here ya go, world. I gotta put a harness on this soft and spongy heart of mine. It's for the greater good, you know. A couple of changes that seem simple enough and yet will make a difference.

Things like making sure there's an adult supervising the young ones; shoes are optional. And instead of allowing Euka to be petted, she could be asked to shake hands. A polite no, not right now; the puppy is working will pass my lips more often.

Easy 'nuff, all that. But now for the hardest one ... I have to get my mean out a lot quicker before we hit Situation Meltdown. Yep, this sure feels better than being smacked in the back of the head for my prior lenient behavior.

There's no crying at the horse park

Photo op with Kentucky's finest.
The nieces, the puppy and I pack our bags to leave the drama of the morning behind us. Day Two of our Kentucky Horse Park adventures await. There's fun to be had and we're determined to find us some.

We have the pleasure of meeting up with the Kentucky Mounted Patrol for a photo op. One officer shares a story of his sister who has a disability.  With both lupus and a seizure disorder, she is partnered with a seizure alert dog. Her dog alerts her prior to her seizures, allowing her time to place herself into a safe situation. He used the word independence when describing the partnership of his sister and her assistance dog. And you know, it seems every time I hear this word, it has an even deeper meaning.

More equine exposure for Euka's socialization as we walk about the horse park.  Horses of the World is an educational experience for all of us as we pet the velvety noses of Norwegian Fjords, Morgans, Friesians [swoon],  Shetland ponies, Clydesdales and their global kin.


Observing Horses of the World at a safe
distance from their non-business ends.

Euka asked me to take a photo of the
 lovely Belle and her hot pink Gentle Leader.
Because, Euka says, Belle is copying
her style.  She's a trend setter, you know.
Ok, so I don't know if this obstacle course below was set up for dogs or for miniature horses, but there's no difference for the likes of us.  We put Euka through the paces pretty much just to show off.  A crowd of folk were sitting on a set of bleachers by the course. It's my guess the lot of them were just happy to find a place in the shade for a few minute's rest with their lunches. But hey, we took the opportunity to show them the stuff of a CCI pup for a couple of minutes. Dinner and a floor show, folk. No charge.

You're welcome, ya'll.

Euka demonstrates an Up.
And a lovely Jump over the hurdle.
I take note that I'm not the only one snapping photos of the canine derring-do. Huh. Spectators are shooting the scene as well.  My Uh-Oh radar goes off when I see a young fella step aside from the bleachers to get some closer shots and I suspect that perhaps the puppy is not the object of his attention.

Alrighty, girls. I say, giving the fella what I intend to be a maternalish stink-eye look. That'll do for now. You wanna go check out the Mounted Patrol horse barn again?

No boys in sight.  You know, this trip was so much easier on the mind when these girls were younger.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wordless Wednesay: The Very Hungry Jockey

Euka II as my muse

So, I'm thinking about writing a children's book titled The Very Hungry Jockey.

You know, right? Like how jockeys are on such a strict diet regimen so they can be as lightweight as possible to stay competitive for horse racing.  Just enough nutrients go down the gullet so as not to pass out during a race. Hey, I read Seabiscuit. So I know how this kind of thing goes down, people.

Maybe the sub-title could be Let's Count Our Fingers.  Because it could be both an educational story as well as a cautionary tale.

Oh hey, I just Googled the title and didn't get any hits*. Dang, this could be my gateway book into the big time of being a published author.  I'm feeling inspired, y'all.

*However, my search results did come up with the phrase I'm so hungry I could eat a horse and chase the jockey.  Heh, never heard that one before, not the chase the jockey part anyway. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Princess of Confidence Town: Population 1

Kentucky Horse Park - Part 1

I'll be in my office if you're looking for me.
Why do you call her Princess? asks my niece, Morgan. 

I look down at Miss Euka.  Did I just call her that? I ask.

Ah, I realize that, yes this is indeed true. And giving myself a moment to ponder, it comes to me that our petite puppy even responds to her girly-girl nickname. Heh, guess I should be checking that little habit.

I call her Princess, I say. because she walks around with an air of inflated self-entitlement.  

Another Euka truism.  We have us here a remarkably confident pup and a girl comfortable in her own skin and coat. She steps into every situation with an attitude of one who grants audience to her people. 

Whatever y'all were doing before, says Euka.  You can stop.  I'm here now.

But before you fully form the thought that I've created a monster, I want to say that this is not my fault. Wait, no, what I mean is that as a volunteer puppy raiser I would much rather deal with an confident and dominant pup than one with fear issues to overcome.  Our Miss Euka has shown us from the very beginning that she is ready to embrace all that life has to offer, hasn't she? 

Bring it on, says Euka.  And keep it coming.

Well, so far we've taken on shops, restaurants, grocery stores and countless budget meetings in the office. What's next on the socialization list for this pup in training?

How 'bout horses and lots of 'em?  The nieces and I had packed our gear into the Toyota for our annual road trip to the Kentucky Horse Park. And because things are always more interesting when you include a dog, we toss Euka into the back seat to transport her to her first equinotic encounter.

Now I've been making this horse park trip for twelve or  thirteen years or so and the nieces have been my cohorts for the past few. Aunt Donna's only rule for the horse park adventure is you must be at least eight years old. Oh, and it helps if you like horses. That one's not a hard and fast rule, but it seems like you'd have a much better time since Horse is all you're gonna see, hear and smell for two entire days.

CCI pups are exempt from these rules, of course.* Despite what Euka thinks, she really doesn't have a say in the decision.  Her participation is mandatory, however I will leave it up to her on whether she enjoys the company of horses. Actually, I was pretty darn curious to see how she takes in these noble beasts. Could it be possible that our princess may get an equine assisted attitude adjustment?

I'm thinking we should start small and build up with this horse exposure experience. Let's just walk around and soak up some sights and smells and Ack, Euka don't!, I cry.  Road apples, those sweet manure treasures, are sending out their siren's call in wafting waves of sensory temptations.  As I redirect Euka's attention from a steaming hay brownie, a quarter horse with rider passes by on clomping hooves. 

Well, so much for starting small. The horse is close enough to touch in his casual pass by. I see Euka give the fella a once over, from hooves to both heads, and pretty much give the scene a dog shrug as she looks back to the delicacy baking on the pavement. I could take him, she says. With one paw tied behind my back.  No fur off her back, our brave girl.

I see you, dog. says the Titan.
I'm your huckleberry.**
In the covered arena, we take a few minutes to watch a drill team of some very skilled young ladies and their gorgeous horses performing in the ring.  Euka gets a second row seat to watch the action with perked ears. By second row seat, I mean she's in a Down at the end of an aisle to enjoy a dog's eye view of the drill team. I watch her reaction and wonder just what the heck she's thinking.  Four legs on these things, but two heads? They're running and playing and yet don't smell like a dog at all. Too big to chew on, but I bet if I grabbed a leg  . . .

Even as the riders approach the front row spectators to allow their horses to be patted on their velvet noses, Euka doesn't move to break her Down. She loses interest after a bit and closes her eyes for a quick not-a-cat nap.

This is good, I think. Let's bump it up and check out the stables for the event's guest horses.

As we cruise about we encounter Tennessee Titan, the miniature donkey in all his tyger-spotted glory.  Tennessee Titan is a super star of mini donkeys, so I was hoping to get a photo op, but was told he's not a big fan of dogs. We respect that, of course. Especially since at this point I couldn't tell you if Euka was a big fan of mini donkeys.  I get a quick click of the OK Corral standoff and we move on.

We come across a second photo op with another delightful, and more dog loving, miniature critter.  Johnny Rocket and his handler are gracious to allow us a moment of their time. Euka is still brooding over the stuck up donkey and refuses to look at the mini horse, no matter how kind he is.  Nobody out-attitudes the princess, it seems.

Oh, and I have to tell you about our run in with the law. See, I shot the sheriff and . . . sorry, that's going to be a pun so bad even I can't finish that sentence.

Ok, I took a photo of Lena, the equine half of a mounted patrol team for the Sheriff's Department. Lena is sixteen and a half hands of Friesian with an attitude of one who does not gladly tolerate fools. My impression of this lady is she is one of the most rock solid horses you're ever likely to encounter. A chick it would be unwise to piss off, I would think.

Hmm.  Oh Euka, I sing. Let's go meet the Sheriff's horse. Maybe I'm taking things too fast here, going from mini whinnies to a hardened Friesian.  But never being the kind of girl to shy away from a bad decision, we give this a try.

Horse people may notice Lena's ear posture in this shot. Right? Now look at Euka. Well, as best you can.  Our little girl with the Irish tan has gone super-nova into the background. But I think you can get the general goings on here.  Another Friesian has just passed by. Lena is reacting to that horse.

And Euka is not. Her posture is relaxed and she is going about her day like this is nothing much more than being in the office, only without air conditioning.

Alrighty, now check out the next shot. Here's what happens when cocky meets confidence. Lena leans in to  meet her new pale canine admirer. Meanwhile Euka is sure the horse is a new entry into her fan base. Give her one of my CCI bookmarks, says Euka to her people. She can read about me on the internet later.

Again, we have a confident posture exhibited by the pup. Ear flaps relaxed, tail down and paws in a casual stance. In fact, you may notice that she has not even moved from her spot from the first photo. Neither in retreat nor in the interest of an excited greeting. Nice.

Hail there, my tiny pasty friend, says Lena.  Well met.

Of course, it helps quite a bit that the girls are so at ease with both horses and dogs. Morgan has the leash, which is transmitting her positive vibes to Euka. All is well in the world, say the leash vibes. Carry on, y'all.

Hang loose for Part II of our Kentucky Horse Park adventures coming soon. I'll even throw in a drama-filled story from the hotel.  It's a cautionary tale about why you don't always want to allow folk to pet your service pup in training.  Euka's not the only one needing life lessons here.  Sometimes I need a smack in the back of the head.
* Yaxley, our CCI pup #3, joined us on the great horse park trip a couple of times.  His adventures are at Freshly baked road apples and Poptarts: Not just for breakfast anymore.  Due to timing, this will be Euka's only trip with us to the Kentucky Horse Park.

**Quote from Tombstone (1993) as said by Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer). Best read with a drawling southern accent of sorts in your head.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Good Bass Door

Why did you call me a Good Bass Door? asks Euka.  I don't even know what that means. So if I'm doing well at being one, I'm pretty sure it's by accident.

I said, says I, you are a good ambassador for CCI, Euka. And even if you're not one on purpose, it's certainly no accident.

Are you even talking Doglish? asks Euka. Because nothing you've just said includes anything like Cookie, Walk or Euka Don't! I have no idea what you're going on about.

I mean, I say, that you are representing CCI very well today at this morning's fundraiser. You and Carter both. For young puppies, you two are heads and withers above the average dog. Your calm greetings and interaction with folk shows how extraordinary CCI dogs are.  People notice this stuff.

It can't hurt that we're so blindingly good looking too, says Euka.

I look at our little diva and sigh. I don't have a response for that, really.  It's true their very golden presence here at the fundraiser gets the attention of passersby. It's part of the package that of that very important first impression.

Handsome, smart and using their gifts for the greater good.  Well done, pups, very well done.

Euka is 10 months, Carter is 6 months. Two impressive spokesdogs for CCI.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Happy Ten Month Birthday to the E's

At ten weeks and ten months. The Ohio E's consider their progress as they look their former and future selves.

Hold onto your britches, folks, as we direct your attention to the nearly inconceivable factoid that Euka II and her E littermates are celebrating their ten month birthday today.

Yep, indeed the little furry cotton balls we met seemingly just a few weeks ago are growing into the amazing dogs they are destined to be.  The precious Euka is not our little girl anymore [sniffle].

I could lament over this puppy growth in the same manner as I deal with the knowledge that I'm the parent of a college grad. Sometimes it hits me all at once and I sit wondering how I could possibly be old enough to have a kid out of college.  What the heck just happened here? I think. Wasn't he just working on his science fair project in middle school?

So putting things into perspective, watching a ten month old puppy grow is not as impactful to my fragile self-esteem. Our lovely Euka has gone from a bouncy carpet stainer to her canine teenage phase and you know what?  I'm still pretty much the same age as when we got this thing started.

And there you have it.  Yet another wonderful thing about volunteer puppy raising.  The benefits are just never ending with this gig.

We had the Ohio E's together for a training session a couple of weeks ago. When Ella, Emma, Everett and Euka were a young two months old, we introduced their puppy noggins to some new experiences during a group training.  You can see what we covered back then in the post Time to Ramp It Up.

In this next session, our maturing pups were proofed on commands for a greater proficiency and asked to do a few new things as well.

In this photo on the left our E's are in a Sit with an implied Stay.  For CCI commands, a Sit or Down comes with the Stay command unspoken yet still attached. That is, the pups learn that they are being asked to maintain their spot until the next command is given.  A very helpful mindset to have wired into their mindsets are they learn to be service dogs.  And so as the pups mature, we extend the Sit/Downs with the implied Stays for longer periods.

Puppy raisers are just out of the shot to provide a quick correction for any distracted furry thoughts. Should one of these E's decide to move on from their Sit, they're met with a verbal correction and get their bum placed right back to spot they were warming up just a moment before.  See the orange thing by Ella? Yeah, we were tossing a football dog toy into their space for the extra challenge.

Pretty much the same things going on here with the photo on the right.  To proof the Down command we walk between, around and step over them. And yeah, the orange football has a bit part here again in this scene.

Note the pups are in a sternal position and we also like to see them roll onto a hip. Alert, but relaxed is what we're looking for here.

Our training facilitators, Emma's puppy raisers, have provided some props to bump up the session for additional challenges.  A ladder flat to the ground provides a walking experience over a novel surface.

A teeter totter and a wobble board is set up to help with puppies adjusting their walk and overcoming any concerns about putting their paws on an unstable surface.

And the tube, that glorious thing, is out again too.  Everett and Ella at ten weeks old had enjoyed some camaraderie moments in the blue tube. The two pups fit well within its confines and found the environment snug, yet comfy enough to move one's body about for a robust wrestling match.

This time around, they do still kinda make it in there together. But it's more like trying to fit into your jeans from high school. Sure, you can stuff some leg in there, or for some of us maybe it's just an arm, but it's clear that the zipper isn't going seeing any action.

Any anyway, our confident *cough dominant cough* Miss Euka prefers ownership of the thing for her own purposes.

I have conquered the tube, says Euka.
It is mine.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Mutiny of the Bounty

Who loves Grocery Day? Micron does, that's who.  I don't remember how or when we started the tradition, really.  But every week I always grab an extra roll of paper towels for Micron to retrieve from the miscellaneous and sundry food score so he can do his job by delivering his quarry from car to house.

Some may remember the post where we covered his fervor for this heavy responsibility at Every Day He Reminds Me.  It occurred to me that perhaps photos just can't tell the whole story, so I came up with the inspired idea to record a video to capture the emotion of the thing. Y'all need to see this phenomena, I think.

As always, I walk into this with a vision. Just short of drawing up a story board, I see in my mind's eye . . . Micron's expression showing pure canine ecstasy as he realizes it's Grocery Day, embracing his inner greyhound he runs to the car, ending with a sliding stop. Plume tail wagging a happy dance as he pulls the paper towel roll from the trunk of the car and walks proudly back to the house thus completing his task.  All honor and glory and wondrous stuff.

Yeah, this didn't happen. Of course it didn't, why did I think it would? This is Micron, after all.

No, instead this is what we got.

(Heads up there's a snappy music score with this. Just sayin' if your speakers are on) 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Well, Hello Deer

Why, hello deer
You know, I've always kinda liked the humble little burgh where we live.  So much so, that apparently I'm willing to drive an hour to my job, which is located in a more upscale locale with a denser population. We've grown roots here in this town, we have. Family, friends and many of our interests are comfortably close by.

We chose this community to put the Favorite Kid through the local public school system, having moved from an even smaller town*. The schools here have boasted an Excellent rating for several years and now that I have a college grad for a kid I can lay claim that we made a pretty good choice coming out this way.

A couple things I miss out here, though. It would be lovely to have bookstore with a coffee shop to lounge about in.  And . . . well, actually that's pretty much it. Oh wait, no.  A bookstore with a coffee shop and an outdoor patio.  Some flowers, a couple of throw pillows** . . . [sigh]

But when I tell The Husband about the upcoming training event for the CCI pups at a Cabela's in Columbus, I realize that a big, honkin' sporting good store might spark the interest of some folk as well.

Google Maps tells us to expect this to be an hour and a half drive to the new Cabela's, the first of its name in Ohio, located within all the bustle of Polaris commerce. As we navigate through this fancy commercial area, we're reminded of all the other shops and eateries missing from our simple burgh. Polaris shows herself to be a rapidly growing area. Similar to watching your buildings time lapse like in SimCity 4, there are new stores of all genres going up on every street and avenue. And just when you think you're on a main road, it's all nope, this is just a sub-street to a parking lot and you have to find another route across to get to where you want to be. Like a labyrinth, but one designed by a city planning engineer.

But no matter, we make it on time for an obligatory after-the-drive potty break for Euka and to join the other CCI puppy raisers outside Cabela's entrance.  Walking towards the gathering group I realize, if memory serves, this is only the third time Euka has been in the presence of so many other CCI puppies in training.  We give her a moment to process this info across the canine neurons (play or work?) before we move into the training event in the store. 

I catch a shot of her with a ponderous look.  Such deep thoughts, one has to wonder what profundity is working through the noggin.

Don't labyrinths have minotaurs?

This isn't our first visit to a Cabela's with a CCI puppy, so we had an inkling of an idea of what to expect inside with Euka.  Every dog is different, of course, so best to not get distracted from any signs that the puppy is feeling stressed. In dog language, a full on stare and stiff body exhibited by another dog is an aggressive challenge. So it could be that a full size taxidermied critter might bring on a fight or flight response in a puppy. Be aware, but don't be stressed about it -- the puppy will pick up on this too, we know.

Micron's trip to a Cabela's a couple of years ago in Virginia, back when he was a mere pup in training, was a non-eventful affair. No problems then with staring prong-horns or beady eyed catfish in the aquarium. Well, just that one worrisome moment when I thought the big guy might claim a stuffed jackrabbit as his very own fluffy bunny, but that passed without security getting involved.

Oh, c'mon, people. Even a dog can make a smore.
Euka doesn't have the same stuffed animal fixation as the mighty Micron, so we move smoothly among the taxidermy art to practice Ups, Unders, Visits and such in this distracting environment.

On left is Euka demonstrating Up, a command that the CCI trainers will build on as they teach the dogs to turn on light switches.

Do note the boxes on the left display there.  Those are campfire smores kits. In a box. When I was a kid, we had to make our own smores from raw ingredients like stale graham crackers and sticks out of the yard, and not from some prefab stuff in a box. You kids today have it so easy.

Moving on, in the photo below Euka is demonstrating her Derp face as she performs the Under command.

At the fish tank, Euka shows no interest in the whatever those are finning around in there. No, our little tart is more interested in the cute guy on the left.

look at me look at me look at me
Next to the Dead Thing Mountain display, we have the pups do a Jump onto a cedar bench. I'm not in any hurry to work on this one. With that Tigger spring in her butt, Euka has no problem with Jump.  She can jump efficiently, even without a command. Like the time she jumped, all four paws now, onto my desk at work to get a better look at a favorite co-worker. Yep, this white girl can jump alright.

So we watch the other pups. Euka is in a Down observing one pup after the next.  Jump!  Good Dog! [photo op] Next . . .
Oh, this "Jump." I thought you
meant the other one.

We go last, nearly everyone else has moved onto the next training challenge. Which, in hindsight, I'm grateful for. Because yep, shore nuff, Euka has completely forgotten this skill that she was, indeed just this very morning, so very proficient in.

Euka! I say. Jump!  Euka puts both front paws on the bench and turns to look at me.  She is smiling and wagging her tail like she just did the most amazing thing.

Well, I say. Good "Up", Euka.  I swing her back into position and repeat the Jump command with the same sad ending. Alrighty, let's try this again. Darn it, she knows this one.

You know how they say to determine that you've gotten a bit unhinged in the noggin parts?  You keep doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results***.

So yeah, fine. Just fine. Oh, for . . . just pick her up and put her butt up there, I tell The Husband.  I want a picture of her with the deer in the background.  I look at the digital image in the camera, deem it a pretty crappy shot yet somehow good enough because I'm getting stupid frustrated about this whole refusing to do the Jump thing.

Which is, of course, exactly why it's so important to do these training outings.  No, not just to frustrate me. I can get that at home without the three hour round trip drive. Rather this is a good reminder of why we need to proof these puppies in unfamiliar and distracting environments.  Euka certainly knows her stuff at the places we frequent and it's so very easy to set this as a pattern of behavior. But as she showed us at the cedar bench, we need to practice her commands in the new and different. Something we'll now throw ourselves into with a renewed effort.

A thank you goes to Cabela's and staff for being such gracious hosts and supporting the puppy raisers for Canine Companions for Independence.  We had a blast meeting y'all. And sorry about that Dead Thing Mountain comment. But it kinda is, right?

*Ok, it wasn't even a town.  Our prior residence was a village, a farming community.  When we put the kid through kindergarten screening was when we decided it was time to bolt.  Get this . . . after testing my five year old, we were informed that because he couldn't skip, he would be certainly be a poor reader.  These scholars were ready to slap a remedial label on the kid before he even stepped a sneakered foot into a classroom simply because I never bothered to teach the boy the essential life skill of skipping. They even handed me a paper how "research has shown us" this factoid of theirs. Yep, I actually still have that paper. And apparently from this little rant, the grudge as well.

**Young Frankenstein (1974)

***A quote attributed to Albert Einstein, but a disclaimer that I have not fact checked this. It does sound like something he would say though, right? And wasn't he just a bit, um, eccentric too? So if you claim to be insane, are you really? How would you know? Oh, never mind.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Chubby Bunny

Um, Euka my love?  What's in your mouth now? I ask.

Muthin', says Euka.  Why?

Because it looks like you're storing marshmallows in there, I say.  Or auditioning for Brando's role in The Dogfather.

Nope, says Euka. I got muthin'.  See? 

Ok then, I say.  Look me in the eye and say Chubby Bunny.

Shubby . . . says Euka.  Alwight, alwright! graaack [spit]

Ah, blades of slobbered grass fall upon her front paws.  Not the worst thing she's rolled around in that adorable maw of hers.  But still.

I love how Ella's in the background looking on with that I'm-the-Good-Girl expression.

Aw, c'mon, Ella says.  You're not fooling anyone here with that innocent dog act.

Yeah, I know, says Euka. [wink]

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