Our Busy Half of the Week

Helaine as been knocking my socks off when it comes to her behavior in a public setting.  We haven’t gone too many places in the last month, but of all the places she’s been she has exhibited wonderful self control and a calm demeanor.  The first part of this week, however, has been filled with busy evenings and long drives (at least an hour each way, each day).  I am so impressed by what she already knows, and what she can already do and handle.  If she keeps this up, she might just find her forever partner! 

I was asked to be a part of the procurement committee for the Gift of Miracles Gala which is a fundraiser for CCI that my chapter puts on.  This has been a rewarding time so far, and I have been so blessed to spend extra time with these puppy raisers, and CCI supporters.  But because this is such a massive fundraising event, it takes a lot of planning.  We had a 3 1/2 hour meeting on Monday to go over the progress and what we have to look forward to.  This was held at a local Panera Bread restaurant.  I brought Helaine along, knowing that if she couldn’t handle it, she could snooze in her crate while we worked away.  When we arrived, I gave her the dress command (she’s still working on that one) and tied her cape at her belly.  By the way, with the way she’s growing she’s going to need her big girl jacket soon!  I fastened her gentle leader and away we went.  We got to a patch of bark where I gave her the “Hurry” command and of course she was a rockstar.  She has now accepted the idea of hurrying on two surfaces other than the usual grass!  Like I said, rockstar.

We walked across the parking lot to the front doors where the president of our chapter suggested I pick her up upon entering.  Heeding her advice, up into my arms she came.  When I needed to place my order and make my payment though, I placed her on the floor and asked her to sit, which she did quickly.  It is, after all, her favorite command!  After the order was complete, I just had to experiment with her.  I have never had such confidence in a puppy her age before, so I knew she’d be able to calmly walk through the restaurant to the back where our group was setting up.  Had it been a busier time of day, I would not have even taken that chance but with just a few other patrons other than ourselves, I knew she would be okay…and okay she was! 

Sitting down at the table was a bit of a challenge.  She was a bit restless and confused.  I kept reassuring her that she was okay and offering her tons of praise and kibble as reward.  After a few minutes, she settled in with a nylabone and calmed herself.  She did have to get up for a hurry break about halfway through, which was expected.  When we came back, of course some of the other raisers (who didn’t bring their pups to this particular meeting) just had to get some little puppy snuggles and Helaine was soaking it all up.  After about 20 minutes of being passed around, she was restless and down to the floor she went.  She proceeded to fall asleep, and stay asleep for the duration of the meeting. 

Tuesday was a Transition Resource Fair for disabled kids and young adults.  We had so much fun here meeting so many potential graduates and puppy raisers alike!  And of course, I got to talk about CCI all night which is what I love the most!  I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again it’s all about the advocacy!  It took me 20 minutes to get from the front door around the corner where our table was set up, but when you’ve got a cute puppy prancing alongside you, it’s going to be a slow going process.  Once we were settled, Helaine got to enjoy practicing calm greetings and hearing all sorts of commotion.  She was wonderful as I knew she would be and she soaked up all the love an attention everyone was giving her.  That led to her snoozing.  This weeks Wordless Wednesday post shows her nap time.  Soooo sweet! 

We got to spend time with one of the graduate teams who attends class with us during the week and man…I can’t tell you how touched I was to be able to have the conversations we had.  Being able to see the graduates work as a team has been my favorite part of class since day one, and being able to share such a special bond just humbles my heart.  I will always remember these moments spent with our graduates and I look forward to more relationships with the people my puppies go to some day.

Last night was our weekly puppy class with our fabulous CCI contract trainer.  I feel so fortunate to live in an area that has a trainer to help us get through the ups and downs that come with training puppies.  Not only am I thankful for the trainer, but I’m thankful for our chapter as a whole.  I have learned so much from each of these people in such a short time, and it truly feels like we are a part of the same family.  Of course we are though, we’re all a part of the CCI family!

We started like we always do, with our puppies in a cradle on the floor.  Here we share questions and concerns and soak in the wisdom of our trainer.  One puppy raiser had a question about teaching the “Speak” command, and that led us to putting all our puppies on tie down and teaching them to speak.  Helaine took a whole lot of convincing, but she finally found her voice.  She will need to learn the difference between Speak and all her other commands, because she had so much fun learning it she really has no interest in doing anything else!   She’s a silly girl, but a smart one.  I know she’ll soon learn to control her bark.

After the lesson on Speak we embarked around the room, which is always filled with fun and weird things for puppies to maneuver.  We have a low Dog-Walk (used in Agility), a tire jump, and even a kiddie pool full of empty plastic water bottles.  We have a lot of different things for our puppies to experience and play with, and we had a great time going through each station and exploring.  The only real issue Helaine had was with the dog walk.  Now, she took to it just fine last week, but this week was a whole different story. She had no desire to get up there.  Our trainer saw her struggling, and brought over what look like two ladders made out of PVC piping.  She placed them on their sides so sort of trick the puppy into thinking there were walls there to shelter her, and you know what she did?  She pranced right up and over.  No problems.  What a stinker…but I have to love her and praise her for all the good she was doing. 

Our assignment this week is to continue working on Speak and Roll, and of course the commands introduced last week which were Heel and Bed.  We’re on the right track and Helaine get’s an A+ this week in everything!

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