Thursday, November 26, 2015

4 Months Old

Nelson's Notes:  I am the champ.  I am self confident, no fear and take on everything with joy.  There has been so much going on this month I don't know where to start.  I am now 35 pounds of awesomeness and everyone is shocked that I just keep getting bigger.  I thought this was cool too except I can't fit under my favorite pantry shelf anymore.   I am about the same size as the big dog but I still let her think she is the boss, most of the time and even let her drag me on the ground.  Cause I am cool like that.  I got a new bigger kennel at work and I like having the room to spread out.  I am getting used to the routine at work and like the opportunities to show off all of my learning.  I am happy to get "dressed" and hop in the car (surprisingly jumping in still challenges me) and go to school each day.  Everyone loves me there!  That is because I am the champ.

 Lia's Notes:  Champ? I guess.  I hate to admit it but I like the little champ the best of ANY of the dogs we have ever had.  I look forward to him coming home at night.  I like to play with him, including games of chase and tug-o-war. He came home with a booboo the other night and I had to lick him, just to make sure he was ok (he was).  I let him lay near me and don't tell but I know he is not allowed on the couch or bed so sometimes I lay on the floor just to be with him.

Susan's Notes:  He is a CHAMP.  This has been a long month and I keep making his training a little harder but he meets each challenge with a smile and really does not give me much trouble.  (Though I do have to admit it was embarrassing when he broke down the baby gate at 4:30 one day as our staff meeting ran on and on and just basically announced "I'm done, time to go home!") He also has a lot of character.  He loves to cuddle, and his absolute favorite toy is the bear which has a little squeaker in it.  He will play with it most when he is bored and as the days get too long at work he will sometimes squeak it in an alarm like fashion saying "let's go home."  Shake is actually a challenge for him as he wants to do more of a high five and we need to work on slowing him down.  He "gets" what I am asking and looking for and has started to try to anticipate my wishes, because of course he loves his treats.  I had a conference before Thanksgiving and he got to stay with two different experienced puppy raisers and this was great for him because he got to experience training from someone different.  He did play with new friends (top picture in the garden) and get REALLY spoiled with new toys (top picture with all of the toys) but they said he was very good.  They even helped me get his nails trimmed.  This is something we are struggling with but I think it is more me than him.  I am also excited that he is now fully vaccinated, got his big boy cape in the mail and is now free to visit public places.  We need to start slow and with the Christmas shopping season upon us we may not get too crazy but we will start sneaking him in a few places.  Let's hope he continues to show the world what a champ he is!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

3 months old

Nelson's Notes:  I am getting so big but I am not sure I like this getting older idea.  So far it just means that I have to work harder each day and wear that awful gentle leader that I don't like.  I have to practice "self-control" and I am not sure I like that.  I want to run and play, jump on the kids and lick them ALL OVER.  But..... I do not because I also like to hear "good dog" and "yes"  and make my human smile.  I also like the treats.  I get treats when I do tricks!  I can sit and lay down.  I can shake and the other day I mastered "car"!  I am working on stay and making my sits and downs longer...... but that is hard.  My human dressed me as a Hero for this thing called Halloween (when all the monsters came to take our candy.....I wanted to jump on and lick all the monsters too!  They did not scare me one bit.)  and being a Hero sounds cool, but I also just want to play.  I think I will enjoy being a puppy for as long as I can!

Lia's Notes:  He keeps getting bigger.  I don't like it.  I can't knock him over anymore and playing "Who's the Boss"  is not as fun anymore.  I am trying to teach him quiet games and I am shocked at how good he is.  For a pup that reminds me of the energizer bunny sometimes, if I start a quiet game.....even if I do it just to make him get bored and go away,  he settles down and plays.  He just wants to be with me, ALL, the, TIME.  Sigh.  I guess that is not so bad.  He is not so bad.  He might be an ok puppy after all, but I wish he would stay small(er).

Susan's Notes:  He IS getting big!  We went to the vet the other day and he is almost 30 pounds already.  He can be a speedy little guy and is pretty camera shy, so I can never catch him smiling......but rest assured he DOES smile.  Plus he makes me, and many that he meets, smile.  The other thing I can't capture on camera is the wag of his tail.  That goes and goes.  We had two little girls come in to the office to talk with me and his tail just started, they had to ask "what was that noise?".  Each day he prances into school (part of me does not want to curb that though I know I should), and then dances into "his corner" of my office.  He will play and sleep all day, no matter how many kids come to "Nelson's Window" and peek in.  He will come home and run around for a few hours before collapsing, but overall I am so happy with this puppy.  Sure we have accidents and have a LOT of learning to do, growing to do and steps to take but he can only get better and I can't wait to see how great he can get, even if his great is a HUGE great.  :-)

Bonus Note and Pictures:  I FINALLY got a LONG LONG LONG awaited book in the mail today and I could not be happier.  Laura Numeroff (author of the "If you Give a Mouse a Cookie" series, and the "Jellybean" series and so many more) was turned down when she wanted to write "Raising a Hero" (learn more about that here).  This author did not give up, she found another way:  Kickstarter.  When I heard, I jumped on board and became a backer.  Unfortunately it was not funded the first time, but did she give up?  In the words of Pete the Cat "Heavens No!".  She regrouped and tried again.  I again backed and shared the project and..... it worked!  The project was funded and the book went into production.  I followed her blog and social media, suggested names for dogs in the puppy kindergarten class (she did not pick ANY of my great suggestions, so I will have to keep them for my own dogs), celebrated every update and waited anxiously for it to appear on the doorstep.  When it did not make it before Nelson did, I asked my own students to write their own versions of "How to Raise a Hero" and their rough draft stories were WONDERFUL and so sweet.  Final versions are due at the end of the year and I can't wait to see what the kids come up with.  About a week ago we FINALLY got the box we had been waiting for.  I have read it several times to our Kinder classes and it really helps them understand Nelson a little better.  They love the story, laugh at the names Laura picked for the puppies, and I am so glad to be able to share it with them.  I ordered an extra copy from Amazon for the library, and if you do not have a copy yet.....go grab one!

My name suggestions: Pokey, goldilocks, Cindyella, Peter, Ace, Amigo, Dobby, Ocheo, Seuss; Reed, Story, Paige, Booker. CC (for Canine Companions or spell it differently); also noted that Every Hero needs a Sidekick. What about sidekick? Or on that theme: Tonto, Robin, Chewie (Chewbacka), Friday, Huck or Finn, Ron or Hermmy, Watson, etc.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

12 Weeks Old

Nelson's Notes:  I am the chewing master!  Listen to all the things I chewed on this week:  my toys, my bones, my crate, blanket on the floor,  the big dog, towel, the rug, shoes, a check, sticks, and entire pretty bush, trash, a tennis ball, dirt, my tail, the big dog's tail, and that is just the stuff I REMEMBER chewing on!  I just keep growing and getting better.  I do this because I am just SO curious!!  I get these tricks my human wants me to do pretty easily and I just chill for the most part, but sometimes I get bored and go looking for something to chew and it is amazing what I can find!  I don't get why the human makes me drop or ignore most of it though,  I am only allowed to love and chew a few things, but I do that really well.  I got curious and explored the whole library by myself on Friday afternoon (that did not last long though) and today I figured out how the big dog is getting outside by herself!  I am just learning so much!

Lia's Notes:  He is learning too much.  He followed me outside today.  Outside, on a beautiful fall day when I just wanted to relax in my sanctuary----but no, he learned how to follow me and of course just wanted to chew on things.  Including me.  Sigh, the things I put up with.  I like when his chew toys come out, because I like those.....and he is good enough about sharing but then he starts chewing on ME, even though there are several other toys he could chew.  I left him the "best" ones.  Bottom line:  he is a little annoying and I am too cool too be bothered with having to teach him everything.

Susan's Notes:  He is learning sooo much!  He IS a pretty smart guy and this means that I have to think one step ahead of him,  try to think what he is thinking,  and try to keep him from being bored and going to look for his own adventures.  For the most part he is a good dog, and I control his environment so he can't get in too much trouble.  I say that and I will turn my back to weed the garden as he plays and suddenly I no longer have a beautiful Texas Sage bush, I have a pile of pretty silver leaves.  The wind blows a check from a table to the floor and goodbye money (luckily I had already cashed it!); or he will try to chew on the towel--the one I am WEARING as I get dressed.  However, I am the teacher and that is when I remember DISTRACTION.  It works almost every time.  I was so proud of myself when instead of getting frustrated and angry after Nelson tried to eat the towel (yes the one I was wrapped in), the clothes I left on the floor, the clean ones hanging in the closet---I instead threw his little elephant (ok a little in frustration) and said "FETCH" and for the first time he actually did it!  We spent 5 minutes playing fetch in my closet and it reminded me why I am doing this.  He is getting better at sit, down and walking with me (his hardest one), and is also starting to pick up on shake, stay and leave it.   He is getting better and better at school too.  He made it to a meeting this week AND into the very loud gym at dismissal, all without blinking.  Some of the kids try to 'sneak' in a pet as we walk past and I am proud when he continues to pay attention to me.  I know focus is really hard for a puppy to learn when there are so many fun alternatives to explore.   Puppy class is next weekend, Halloween is coming up (wait until you see our costumes!) and I can't wait to see what we learn next.

Monday, October 12, 2015

11 Weeks Old

Nelson's Notes:  I am the best little dude.  I am so awesome I am the youngest student at school, and I made it a whole week!  I am still not sure what I think about this whole school thing.  Part of me LOVES it, I get so much attention (which I love) and I get extra time to practice and show off all I am learning but on the other hand it is really hard.  I have to be good all the time, but that is not that hard for me.  The hard part is ignoring all the kids and the smells and following my human.  There are SO many times when I want to go in a different direction, say hello to someone, chase a smell or pick something up off the floor and I am told no, pay attention.  Paying attention is hard!  I think it might be worth it though because I had special guests on Friday.  I think it was a treat because I had been working so hard, I had kids come and read to ME!  I loved it.  The last stories were so good, they even put me to sleep.  I am going to try to be good again next week so I get more treats like that.

Lia's Notes:  Ok, this puppy is getting old (and bigger by the day).  I think I am over him.  He exhausts me, quite literally.  He forgets daily the lessons I have given him over and over about who the boss is.  I am ready to just give up on him, but then when I try to ignore him.........he always seems to lure me into playing.  He is sneaky like that.  I also don't like how he gets so many treats, and for such EASY things.  I do what our human asks right away, trying to get his treat but it does not work.....he still gets the treat.   Sigh.  When is the puppy leaving?  

Susan's Notes:  Nelson is SLOWLY making progress, but it is a slow and steady race.  This past week has been a VERY busy and intense one for him and I am proud of how well he has done.  He started school and is settling into a routine.  Right now he is practicing walking on a leash, paying attention to me but ignoring everyone else (which is really hard for everyone else too!),  and a few other tricks we are introducing.  At 11 weeks I do have to remember that he is still a baby and does MUCH better when he gets his rest and naps.  He will quietly go into his corner and play during the school day.  He will even put himself in the crate and just fall asleep there.  On Tuesday I had a late meeting and he charmed everyone.  He played quietly, but then rolled over and started playing with his cape and trying to eat it.  I told him no and gave him my best teacher look, and he was stubborn:  he did not give up the cape (if you look closely at pic on the left it is still in his mouth) but he did stop chewing on it and just fell asleep, even worse he started SNORING, during my meeting!  Thank goodness he is cute.  In some pictures you will start to see a blue thing on his nose.  This is his gentle leader.  He is getting better and better at wearing it, which will be useful in his advanced training.  He also went to his second puppy class, which he liked because he got to show off and see other dogs but when he did not get play time like last week, he was a little disappointed.  He would do a DOUBLE class if it meant getting playtime.   On top of all of this, he had his first visit to the veterinarian.  Everyone loved him there and they gave him a glowing report.  Lets hope that the good times just keep rolling!

Monday, October 5, 2015

10 Weeks Old

Nelson's Notes:  I am exhausted, just constantly exhausted.  You don't understand how hard I am working, how much I am DOING each and every day.  I feel like I wake up running and just crash in the middle of the day.  I do, I just reach a point where I can't keep going.  First and foremost I am working hard at TRYING.  I am TRYING to make my human happy and do what she wants, but I am a fun loving puppy and I love EVERYONE and it is sometimes really hard to do that.  My human does not seem to understand that I want to run free, play with everything, chew on the good stuff and make friends with everyone I meet!  I was doing great when I could just stay home and sleep all day, but lately we seem to be constantly running from one place to the next and that just means new places to run free in, things to play with, stuff to chew on and LOTS of new friends to make.  I think I like going to these places, but sometimes because I am working so hard, and don't always get to do what I want.....I am not sure about the new places.  Plus some of these new experiences are a little scary and I am still not sure about them.  However, I will keep TRYING and who knows what tomorrow will bring!

Lia's Notes:  It is quiet during the day again and I can enjoy the peace.  I actually have started looking forward to the little guy coming home.  I also like to teach him things.  I wanted to teach him how to use the dog door and bark, but the human told us no.  So I am reinforcing lessons about who's the boss and teaching him to share all of the toys.  I am also teaching him to just chill.  At first he was REALLY really bad at this.  He wanted to jump, and run circles around me but over the last few days I think he is catching on.  I just don't understand why he sleeps in such funny positions.  He can be a strange little dude sometimes.

Susan's Notes:  Nelson is making SUCH progress, it is hard to believe that he is only ten weeks old or only been with me about two weeks.  I am crossing my fingers and knocking on wood and say he might just be house trained.  We have thrown him in the deep end, expecting a lot from him and he continues to rise to the challenge.  He is grasping new tricks and loves to try new things.  He WANTS to learn and make me happy.  He is also such a calm little guy, I almost feel too lucky.  He wanders off and normally with a puppy this spells trouble, but with Nelson he is either playing nicely with his own toys or sleeping.   The sleep might be due to our BUSY schedule!  His progress has lead to him joining me each day as I go to work.  He has been to school for 3 days and he has not been perfect by any means (he has a LONG way to go).....but he has far surpassed my expectations for a 10 week old puppy and I hope that he just keeps getting better.  He starts the day with our announcement crew and then if we can, continues on to Kindergarten storytime.  I tried to do more, but I learned he is like a toddler and if he does not get his naps he gets worked up.  He has lots of visitors during the day but he happily sleeps or plays through all the visits.  He finds it REALY hard to ignore the kids and teachers, and they do too, but we will have to keep working on it so he can get to the point that he CAN focus on his work.  Friday was our longest day because after school Nelson went with me to my second job: babysitting. He was pretty good.....except for wanting to clean their floor for them (we have to work on that!).  I even took him to his first after-school meeting today which made me a little nervous but he was pretty good.  His worst fault was falling asleep on his back and starting to snore! I think HIS favorite outing this week was puppy class.  At puppy class we BOTH learned a lot.  I learned how easy it was to clip dog nails, and how to get him to walk nicely with me (a chore for us both) and while he got to just act cute and show off his skills he also got to see his sister Nia and enjoy some playtime.  We ARE running a lot but he is doing great and I think he is just beginning to show me what is to come.  I can't wait to keep learning with him.

Note:  Search Twitter for #MalvernExplorers to learn more about Malvern's first Explorer Challenge in Nelson's honor.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

9 Weeks Old

Nelson's Notes:  You should see how much I have grown in just a few days!  I am learning a lot.  I know my name, know how to sit and am starting to practice a few more commands.  I love to run and play.  I love to play with my toys, but I am happy to share with the big dog when she asks (or takes). I also love to just hang out by myself on the cool tile floor or hide behind the big bush eating grass when I can slip away.  I do not like a lot of things too.  I do not like wearing a leash and when I went for a walk on that leash I simply refused to go.  I do not like that leash.  I do not like it here, I do not like it there, I do not like it anywhere.   Well I take that back,  I like that leash when I put it on and get to play and have adventures.  Those are fun!

 Lia's Notes:  I keep waiting for him to disappear like some of the other dogs, but this one is not going away so I am starting to accept him.  Sigh.   I guess he is not so bad.  I taught him how to play chase and tag, but he gets confused and thinks we are playing hide and seek.  I do not like hide and seek so I get bored and wander off.  Then he chases me again.  My other favorite game is Who's the Boss  because I always win.  I am not sure he even tries that hard, but that is ok with me too.  I also am getting better about sneaking his food and toys because he gets the good stuff and it is not fair, he needs to share with me.  After all, I am the boss.

Susan's Notes: Has it only been 10 days?  I feel like it has been at least double that, especially because I am SURE Nelson has doubled in size since I got him.  I was shocked when I counted tonight and determined that he was only 9 weeks old.  He is going to be a BIG boy!  I am pleased to say that he does love to play, is eager to try new things and work on new tricks.  He and my keeper dog, Lia, are getting along much better and they almost look forward to seeing one another.  However we do have a LONG way to go.  House training was not as instantaneous as I thought it would be.  Nelson is also very stubborn and independent and still lives up to the name No Fear Nelson.  For these reasons I have been VERY nervous about taking him to school with me.  Up to this point we have been blessed to have my mother's help during the day, but tomorrow he will start school.  We had a practice day last Saturday and except for one little incident he was an ANGEL, I got so much work done!  Now we are going to add a lot more teachers, many kids, and a real-demanding workload and I am hoping and praying that he and I can pull it off.  Luckily we go to the wonderful Malvern where we have nothing but support and I am confident that it will all work itself out.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Nelson Arrives!

Nelson's Notes:  I am 8 weeks old.  I have left my litter mates behind and I am ready to conquer the world!  I have no fear.  I want to explore everything I can, run everywhere, chase everything and chew on most things.  I admit some of these new experiences are a little scary and that makes me cry but I am learning that they turn out pretty well and it might be better to just quietly go with the flow and have fun.

Lia's Notes:  Another one.  She brought home another puppy.  Sigh.  I wanted to believe it wasn't true so I spent the first day avoiding him, he did not go away.  I spent the next day ignoring him, he could not be ignored.  My next step is to reclaim my house, and everything in it.  That little bed: mine.  Those little bones:  mine.  The yard:  mine.  That person:  mine.  The person told me I have to be gentle, and I want to make her happy so I will gently quietly reclaim my place as queen.  That will show that puppy.

Susan's Notes:  I have had Nelson for about a day and a half and I am shocked at how much I am learning already.  He is not my first puppy, and sure I forgot how LITTLE they start out and how every little thing has to be taught slowly and purposefully.  I forgot how torturous the cries could be.   Those are all things, I think I will quickly forget again as I get wrapped up in the learning and teaching that comes with a new Canine Companions for Independence puppy.  I have learned that puppies have VERY different personalities and Nelson's strong independent personality is more striking than any puppy I have had before.  I believe this will work in his favor.  He takes on every new challenge with joy and comes out the other side smiling.  He also makes ME think a little bit harder because I need to be one step ahead of him.  He can be a very quiet little entrepreneur and I know I will need to work hard to show him who the real queen (person in charge) is.   He will be a lot of fun to train and I do think he can make have a wonderful future and career ahead of him.  Like all the kids at my school, he too is college bound.