Swap with Osaka

Yakira – photo by Karen Fuller

On Tuesday Yakira went on a puppy swap and Osaka came to our house. Karen brought Osaka here and the girls had a grand time playing before she took Yakira home with her. Osaka is a lab golden cross who is mostly golden and has that soft long golden coat. She is a couple of weeks older than Yakira. I could tell before Karen left that Osaka was going to be easy to integrate into our home. It just felt like she was already at home here. And she was easy especially after having Sinclair here who was a good pup in many ways but a challenge most of the time. Today we met Karen and her mother at The Old Spaghetti Factory. We enjoyed a good meal and lots of fun conversation before we swapped puppies back. It is good to have Yakira home but we enjoyed having Osaka here too. She can come back to our house anytime.

Phase 7

Casey with gold bow around neck – photo by Lisa Thompson

Our CFR is still out so I just got the note from Lindsey today that Casey and Radison are both in phase 7! It is hard to believe that their training is almost done. I look forward each week to Thursday to find out how our sweet little girl is doing. Keep it up girl. You are almost there.

Phase 7 – Advanced Training
Obedience and Distraction Training

Continues as in phase 6. Dogs are handled by different instructors to teach them good responses are expected with new handlers.

Guidework Training
Advanced training includes work in both suburban and urban areas, and requires forward-looking decision-making (initiative).
These routes can consist of:

  •  City traffic patterns
  •  Difficult crossings
  •  Difficult clearance situation
  •  Areas with a challenging line
  •  Animal distractions
  •  Surface issues
  •  Curb approach challenges
  •  Pedestrian islands
  •  Crowded sidewalks
  •  Different pedestrian climate
  •  Additional city bus exposure
  •  Additional rapid transit ride exposure
  •  Additional and multiple escalators
  •  Rounded corners

Escalator Training Continues
Dogs now independently board, ride and exit.

Platform Training Continues
Avoidance of drop-off edges on pedestrian platforms of subway and rail systems.
Boarding and exiting trains.

Overhead Obstacle Clearance Training
Advanced overhead training occurs both on campus and in town, when available.

Continue as in previous phases, as needed.
Leash relieving practice on cement surfaces continues. Dogs that are not comfortable do additional socialization, as needed.

Waffle is 10 months old

Waffle and her “go to bed” blanket – photo by Lisa Thompson

Today our little Waffle girl is 10 months old. It is hard to believe that it has been almost three months since she was transferred. I’m sure that she is starting to look really grown-up. It would be so much fun to get to see her in the next couple of months. Maybe we can set something up to see her around her one year birthday in February.
We are back to a one dog household tonight. Lindsey picked up Sinclair on her way home from spending Christmas at her parents house. His family will be back from vacation in a couple more days.

Christmas Day

Sinclair wearing a Christmas collar stretched out between Bill’s legs

With Christmas being on Sunday, church was the first thing on the schedule today. We were singing in the choir so Bill and I both had puppies with us. They both did just fine. After church we had some food to prepare for Christmas dinner. Christmas eve was with my family and Christmas day was time will Bill’s family. So we packed up the car with Yakira and Sinclair along with food and some Christmas gifts and made the hour drive to Tooele. No puppies to play with at Bill’s mom’s house but the pups were good. We took along the fold-up kennel and the two of them did good hanging out in there together for quite a while.
After dinner we use the carol books to sing Christmas songs again. This time we had Deon to accompany us on his guitar. I didn’t realize that he could play the guitar that well. It was really fun to have the added dimensions of his guitar. The carol books have been a good success. There are some words on a few of the songs that are different that what we normally sing so I’d like to fix those before next year.
We have never had two family days back to back quite like that before and I thought it might be a bit much but it turned out to be a nice way to spend the holiday. But we were all tired by the time we got home tonight. It is Sinclair’s last night with us. Lindsey is picking him up tomorrow so he can spend some time with her before his family gets back into town. I think Yakira will miss him, but we have plans for her to do a puppy swap with Osaka on Tuesday so she has a busy week ahead.

Christmas Eve

Danny, Clifford and Jacob on Christmas Eve

We took Yakira and Sinclair with us to my sister’s house for Christmas eve. She had Clifford (a career change black lab) so the three pups had a great time playing together. The humans and a good time eating dinner and chatting with family members. Then we gathered in the living room to read the Christmas story using their nativity to illustrate. Last of all we sang Christmas carols. This year I put together a booklet with words from all the familiar Christmas songs. It was fun to get to sing songs that we know but can’t remember all the words without a little help and other songs that have verses that we had never sung before. Sinclair is much more adjusted to being with us but he is a high maintenance puppy.


Sinclair and Jacob

Phase 6!

Casey with reindeer antlers – photo by Lisa Thompson

Got an email from Lindsey today that Casey and Radison are both in phase 6. Our CFR is on vacation so the phase report didn’t make it through normal channels but Lindsey has her connections and I appreciate her using them to find out how the girls are doing.

Phase 6 – Urban Challenges
Obedience and Distraction Training

Continues as in phase 5.

Advanced Guidework Training
Dogs work in both residential area without sidewalks and downtown urban areas with challenging environments
Focus on working the dogs at a pace and pull that is appropriate for a client.
Instructors commonly work each others’ dogs to continue to develop and monitor consistent responses of each dog in various environments (formal, casual and during guidework).

NEW! Sidewalkless Technique Introduction
Dogs learn how to work in areas without sidewalks or reasonable shoulder on which to walk. The travel line is the left side of the street facing oncoming traffic. Dogs learn how to respond to intersecting streets and parked cars along their travel line.

NEW! Platform Edge Intro and Exposure Work
Dogs learn to avoid significant drop-offs that mimic subway and rail platform edges.

NEW! Light Rail, Subway systems
Dogs practice edge avoidance when train is absent, and boarding/riding on available trains.

Obstacle Course Progression
Continues as in phase 5.

Pre-Matches for Select Clients
Dogs are identified for applicants with special needs or requirements in a Guide Dog.

Socialization Programs
CWTs continue to focus on kennel enrichment and relaxing time away from guidework lessons (community run, grooming, play sessions, campus walks, dog massage, Reiki).

Leash relieving exposure on cement begins.


Today we added another puppy to the household. His name is Sinclair and he is a lab golden cross. He is just a temporary addition for the Christmas holidays while his family is on vacation. He is an energetic boy who has trouble settling down and can be rather noisy in his crate and is resistant to relieving on concrete. He and Yakira like to play together though so Yakira is going to love having him here until after Christmas. Hopefully he will settle in and be easier to have around. He is a cute puppy and two weeks younger than Yakira. But he didn’t come until the last puppy truck so he doesn’t have near the home training that Yakira has.