February 23, 2011

Pupdate: We Want To Pump...Roo Up!

My, Ruby is looking pretty buff, dontcha think? Actually, the "weight" she's holding is really just a light plastic tool used to train her to hold things in her mouth and carry them around.

It's important for a service dog to be accustomed to the mouthfeel of different objects and materials. I'd introduced this concept to Roo as a puppy by letting her experience the sensation of things like keys, remote controls, utensils, a plastic cup, phones, etc. Now in advanced training, she's learning to take lots of items and hold on to them. It's a valuable skill many service dogs need when partnered with individuals with mobility-related disabilities.

And you never know what they might need to retrieve! I remember one night while Roo was living with us, I accidentally dropped half a lemon in the kitchen. Both dogs responded to "Leave It," but they were intrigued, so the whole thing turned into a practice session. First, I let Kiva pick it up. She spit it right out, then picked it up again very gingerly with just the tippy tips of her teeth, then spit it out again and made a PTOOEY! face. (Yep, dogs can, and it is hilarious!) Then I let Roo have the lemon, and she just held it like a ball — no problem with the taste — in fact, she seemed to like it!

As always, so many thanks to S for the photos.

February 17, 2011

Traveling With Your Pets

I'm so glad to have been able to contribute a guest post to one of my favorite sites, GoPetFriendly.com. If you travel with your pets (or plan to) you won't want to miss this article, "Pet-Friendly Should Always Be Human-Friendly, Too!"

Having your dogs with you on vacation is awesome, and when it comes to accommodations, pet-friendly rooms should always be extremely clean and up to the standard of non-pet rooms. Even with many years of experience traveling with the canines, you still never know what you might encounter. So check out my tips to ensure your hotel stay is as much fun for the humans as it is for your pets!

A great pet-friendly hotel makes everyone feel welcome!

February 7, 2011

Photo Pupdate: Courtside

I never did get the chance to take Ruby to an indoor sporting event. She behaved really well when I had her on the sidelines of outdoor sports like soccer, but the sights, sounds, echoes, and noise indoors can be a whole different ballgame for a service puppy in training.

Happily, I've heard that Roo attended her first indoor basketball game and behaved like a champ. Check out this concentration!

I understand that she loved all the action, and the hoopla (ha!) didn't faze her a bit. Attagirl Roo!

Thanks to S for this keen photo of our little yellow fangirl.