Growing, Growing . . .
Our Southern Lakes District Puppy Club, counting raisers and sitters, now has almost 20 members! This group of enthusiastic and skilled puppy handlers has been meeting at Jacks Point Clubhouse, set in a scenic resort and golf course between the foot of the Remarkables and the shores of Lake Wakatipu. There is plenty of space in the comfortable lounge to work with the dogs, and if the weather is fine, we can train outside in the wide, open grassy spaces. We thank Ana Tonkins, a puppy-sitter and the manager at Jacks Point, for offering us this ideal and lovely meeting spot.
Meetings begin with introductions, announcements, upcoming needs, puppies food and weight issues and members questions. Raisers are asked to talk about fun events and outings in their puppys life. Concerns and problems are addressed and recommendations given with input from everyone. The remaining meeting time is taken with training exercises and games. At last months meeting, the three pups in training demonstrated the command sequence of look, get it, bring it here, give. We also addressed barking issues and using the negative commands appropriately and worked on loose leash walking, food avoidance, recall with distractions and greetings with one dog and two dogs. The bonding requests were demonstrated, and then the pups hard work was rewarded when they were given the opportunity to play Find It and Hide and Seek games. After any necessary health maintenance (worming, nail cutting, ear and teeth cleaning), the meeting adjourned to the cafe for a cuppa.
Autumn Festival Parade
For the second year in a row, Mobility Dogs was proud to have a spot in the annual Autumn Festival Parade, but unlike last year when Judy walked in the parade with one puppy, this year three puppies and their three lady raisers rode in Tony and Vivs (Elsas puppy raisers) vintage 1929 Delage. It was great fun to hear the cheers and clapping and to look out at the smiling faces as three puppies ears flapping, paws waving and their raisers cruised along the parade route.
News from Emmit
Emmit is now in advanced training in Auckland, and in the last journal entry we wrote about the farewell to his friends at the Arrowtown Primary School. At that time the students asked if they could receive follow-up news about their furry friend. Below is a letter from Emmit to his buddies.
Gday! Emmit here. Happy barks to all my friends at Arrowtown Primary School!
Im in Auckland now living with Vicky, my trainer, and her pet dog, Spice. I had a bit of a hard time for the first few weeks after leaving Arrowtown because I missed Grant and Judy and all of my friends. Vicky said I moped around trying hard to focus on my lessons but always looking out of the corner of my eye for Grant or Judy.
Elsa is now picking up a wallet from the floor and on the command counter delivers it to the counter. We are working on retrieving a wallet from the counter, the whistle recall, visit, turn, sit (from a down position) and go to.
Social activities include restaurants, cafes, and the Queenstown Airport where Elsa was quite insistent on getting a response from the full-sized, beautifully dressed mannequins. Special times are those when we free her from the leash in large, open areas, away from traffic and play Hide and Seek among the trees. On one outing, Elsa had the good fortune to meet up with Frodo and the outcome was serious mud baths for Elsa and Frodo!
Last week Vivienne was alone with Elsa for four days and found her easy to walk, sitting at curbs waiting for the command to cross and walking nicely at heel position. All activities, both training and social, are challenges well, if not for Elsa, for us but together we have a lot of fun.
Frodos Update - Life with Frodo as reported by puppy-raisers, Grant and Judy:
At almost five months, Frodo responds reliably to the basic commands: bizzy bizzy, sit, down, wait, come, leave it, drop it, car, dress, stand, stay, yes, no, shake, roll, fix, out. We have been working on the retrieving commands: look, get it, bring it here, give, but he still needs a lot of work on these. He is now just big enough to introduce the bonding requests: lap, snuggle, kiss, visit. Training on these has just begun.
The main challenge has been teaching him to walk nicely on leash. At 14 weeks old he developed some fear reactions and would dart erratically in all directions. By using slow walks, stopping, changing direction, restricted but gentle leash control at the heel position and disregard of the disturbance, he has improved significantly. He responds well to praise when walking correctly. Frodo has just recently discovered his voice. Now the challenge is to channel that instinct into barking only when we ask him to do so.
In late May Frodo had two separate overnight puppy sitting visits. These were his first experiences away from us and his familiar home environment. Over the next two months we will be using our dedicated pool of sitters to give him slightly longer visits to other home and office environments. Favourite and frequent excursions include taking the gondola to the Skyline Restaurant for the buffet lunch and cruising on the Earnslaw vintage steamship to Walter Peak High Country Farm for morning tea and scones. Trips to the supermarket, lying quietly under café and restaurant tables, walking nicely in and out of shops and around town are becoming routine and all in a days work for this wee lad.
Farleys Update - Life with Farley as reported by Heather and Steve:
Farley is nearly five months old and doing very well with the basic commands of bizzy bizzy (he sits at the door to indicate his need), sit, wait, come, car, dress, stand, stay, yes, no, shake, roll, fix-it and out. He was doing very well with the retrieving commands of look, get it, bring it here and give but has recently gone backwards on this so we are needing to re-teach. Farley is very good at the bonding requests of visit, lap and kiss, and we have just introduced snuggle. We have also recently introduced back.
Farley has very cleverly taught himself how to push open doors with his nose used often to get into rooms without us immediately noticing and emerging with something to show us. Toilet tissue rolls are his latest find! He has proven to be very well-behaved when visiting cafes/restaurants and is becoming quite well-known in the area. If his brother, Frodo, is along with us, then we can have a struggle keeping the boys apart!
Farley has a lot of learning to do regarding walking on leash. He starts his walk being very excited and tugging on leash, but as the walk progresses he is walking well at heel. Recently he has had some long trips in the car with us which he has handled well.
Meet Farleys Puppy-Raisers
Heather and Steve live rurally at the foot of the Remarkables Mountain Range. Heather is a personnel consultant, and Steve recently retired from 30 years with the NZ Police and is currently a caretaker/gardener on the station where they live. They have been in the Queenstown area for 10 months after living in Cromwell for 16 years. They have had two golden retrievers and currently have Benson, a black lab, and three colourpoint Persian cats much to Farleys interest!
Following is a recent interview with Heather and Steve.
How did you become interested in puppy raising?
What has been most enjoyable so far in your raising of Farley?
What surprised you the most about puppy raising?
How would you describe Farleys personality thus far?
Heather and Steve are a valuable asset to our fledgling SLD Puppy Club. The time, energy and dedication they selflessly give to Farley, to our club and to Mobility Dogs are much appreciated. Thank you, Heather and Steve, for your enthusiasm and good work!
On that note of gratitude, we bring this journal entry to a close. Until next time, we wish you Golden Retriever Days .
brimming over with
Judy and Grant Puppy-raisers, Puppy Development Liaison
Posted: Fri 19 Jun 2009
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