Sunday, August 28, 2011

Airport Adventure

Today was the day I have been looking forward to for a long time. The airport meeting!

We first met up with the other raisers and went inside the airport to an open area to go over the puppies obedience commands. We even practiced extending the "stay position" to about a minute, and all of the puppies managed to stay! We also worked on what we like to call "puppy push-ups" which is just quickly going from one command (like sit, down, stand) to another. We then walked down the length of the sidewalk so the dogs could get exposed to the loud car noises, and (heavy) cigarette smoke. We even exposed the dogs to the fountain, and also managed to get a few group photos (which can be quite challenging when trying to get all the dogs to sit still and look at the camera).

 From left: Ladelia (with puppy sitter), Judy, Kelly, Baity, and Sarge (visitor from FL)
(This is only 4 out of the 9 in our group...We are getting two more this weekend!)

Because we were taking the dogs on a full airport exposer, we had to take the dogs through security. We were told ahead of time that we would have to put the dogs into a "sit-stay," remove their collars and leash (yikes!), and call them through the metal detector. It was definitely a little bit nerve racking to take off both the collar and leash in a huge airport and hope they come when you call, especially since Baity is not a big fan of the "come command." But to my happiness, Baity stayed completely still in his stay while I walked through the metal detector, and when I called him, came happily and quickly to me! He even got a pat down, which he loved since he thought he was getting lots of attention from the security guard and made sure to give her lots of appreciation kisses.

We were told by woman who led us around and who helped organize the meeting, that this was also an opportunity for the security to practice for when they had an actual service dog. The security was great, and they didn't seem to mind the extra commotion of the 6 puppies plus lots of people. 

We then got to ride in the little transportation car for people with disabilities, which is what a blind person will be riding if they go to the airport. All of the puppies seemed to love the ride. It must have been a pretty funny sight watching cars go by with dogs and different dog parts hanging off the car. One of the puppies who was visiting, Sarge, enjoyed it so much he didn't even care his tail was hanging of the back of the car dragging along behind.

On top off all the stuff the dogs had already gotten to be exposed to, we did the best thing you could do at an airport: board and walk around a plane. To my surprise, Baity was just the right size for laying down at my feet. But not exactly a good size for going into the tiny bathroom. 

To finish the day, we got to visit one of the look-out towers, the smaller one, which required lots of steps to the top. There was even a look out we got to take the dogs onto. It had metal grates that you could see straight through to the ground, which was a great exposer for the puppies. Baity even attempted to lay down and rest.

This meeting was probably one of my favorites so far, and I know that the puppies had a good time and were exposed to so many new things. Exposure is key to raising a successful guide dog. And I would definitely say that this trip was a success!

Until the next adventure...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Its been a few weeks since I've updated, and the big reason why is that I have been getting ready to start college and have had to work out a bunch of things. Some even concerning bringing Baity to school. Because I am supposed to take Baity everywhere with me, he will also be coming to college with me.  I am commuting to school during the week, which means lots of driving for Baity and me, but it also means that I can bring Baity easily to campus.

I am very excited to be able to bring Baity to college with me this year and he will get to go for about 1 1/2 semesters. It has definitely been strange not having Baity this week! I decided ahead of time that it would be a good idea to go the first week of college by myself in order to make sure I know the layout of the school and where my classes are, and even the best places to sit in class so Baity, and I, will have the most room. It has also worked well because it has given me a chance to talk with my professors to let them know that I'm the one bringing the service dog in training, and to see if they were showing any kind of concern or worry, which they didn't. ( If someone does have an issue there is someone they are supposed to go to)

I know that Baity will be very happy once he is able to finally come with me to college. My family told me that when I leave he sits there looking out the door waiting for me to come back whining pitifully (No, they are not supposed to whine... but we are still working on that), and they have to try all sorts of things to distract him. Which makes me feel terrible for leaving him behind!  The dogs really become attached to their raisers...and we become really attached to them too! But it is for the best because if I know the campus really well, it means less walking for Baity :)

Yesterday was especially exciting for me because I got to see a working guide dog! It was a black lab, and because of the size I think it was a female. I was told that there are about 4 service dogs on campus, so I was sure to run into one eventually. Because I have a part in the raising and process of a service dog, it really excites me to see a working service dog, especially a guide dog. It gives you a sense of happiness and reassurance that all the work you're doing and the hard time you are going to have separating from your puppy, is all completely worth it in the end.

I will be sure to post some pictures and an update once Baity starts going to class with me next week.

Until the next adventure...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

7 Months Old!

Today Baity is 7months old! The last month has really flown by-which I find myself saying quite a bit these days. Baity is officially past the half a year point. I know that these next months are going to fly by, and although its sad to see Baity become less and less puppy, he is becoming a great dog, and great future guide dog!

7 Things I love about Baity being 7 months old:

1. He is taller and bigger. This means less bending down, and No carrying (technically I stopped carrying him at about 3 or 4 months old)
2. He no longer lags behind-Its nice to not have to pull extra weight on walks in 98 degree summer heat
3. He now pulls forward- Yay! Because he is training to be a guide dog, its always a good thing when they give a LITLLE pull on the leash, since they will be leading someone in a harness someday.
4. No more accidents (especially in stores)- Big Yay!
5. More energy and endurance- While others would argue that more of these things in a puppy are not a good thing, for the Always Tired Mr. Baity, this is a very good thing. I can now take him to more than one store in a day!
6. He knows and follows the rules (well, most of the time)- Cords: not a problem, furniture and shoes: never touches or climbs on, little bits of paper and trash and basically anything small: still working on... Hey he is all retriever :)
7. He is just a great, happy, fun puppy!

 (This is the face I get anytime I tell him "stay" and then attempt to back away...its a face thats hard to resist...and he knows it!)

Until the next adventure...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Puppy Meeting: Boat ride and first swim!

(WARNING: There are lots of photos on this post)
This past weekend we had our puppy meeting at a nearby lake.  We got the opportunity to take the puppies on a boat ride, and even swimming.
It was definitely a good day to get in the water since this day was particularly hot. Our weather tends to be in the high 90's during the summer, but that day it got into the 100's. Baity especially loved the boat ride and none of the dogs seemed to mind the moving of the boat, or the noise.

Although the sun was scorching hot, the breeze allowed for the dogs to stay cool. But because of the direct sunlight, we had to put some sunscreen on his nose (light colored dogs can burn) but the only color we had is blue! This made for some very cute blue nosed puppy pictures. All the puppies enjoyed sticking their heads through the railing and watching the water, especially Baity who seemed to want to do nothing but watch the water and feel the breeze!
Not all of the puppies in training were able to make it to the meeting, but Baity's half brother Oakley, as well as sisters Judy and Waffles, were all able to be there. 


 Baity                               Oakley
Oakley is growing fast and catching up to Baity! They are just about the same height, but Baity is still heavier than Oakley. The main difference between the two is that Oakley is quite a bit darker than Baity, especially on his ears.

Oakley catching some wind!

 Oakley                               Baity 

After the fun, and very hot, boat ride we took Baity and Oakley swimming. I wasn't sure how Baity would react since he has only been in a baby swimming pool and knee deep in the ocean, but never where he couldn't reach. Once I took the first step into the water (which I might add was VERY warm), he was right behind me. To my happiness and surprise, Baity got right into the water and started swimming around! He even jumped of the dock all by himself. I took him on the dock, he saw his brother jump in after his raiser, and Baity jumped right in after him! Because we had them on leash the whole time, this meant I had to quickly jump in the water after him! After all the swimming Baity decided he was done swimming around and just sat in the mud and watched his brother splash around. And like the usual end to a great day, Baity slept the rest of the day.

Baity        Oakley

Right when both dogs (and raisers) jumped in at once 

Until the next adventure...