A Night At The Races

Rogue and I. I'm standing to her right and she's looking toward the camera. I'm wearing denim jeans, black sandals, a dark purple tank top and light pink with white baseball cap. Rogue is wearing her purple Har-Vest, but you can only see the front chest strap. Behind us, you can see the score board and the railing that blocks us from the horse race track.

Rogue and I. I'm squatting down to her right and she's looking toward the camera. I'm wearing denim jeans, black sandals, a dark purple tank top and light pink with white baseball cap. Rogue is wearing her purple Har-Vest, but you can only see the front chest strap. Behind us, you can see the railing that blocks us from the horse race track.

This was rogue’s first time at the horse races. she was interested in the smells, but was very focused on me throughout the night. She kept targeting my leg with her nose (our form of eye contact), so went through her treat bag within just over an hour, lol!

We also started working on pairing “leave it” with “look” (nose targeting my leg), so that she’ll someday automatically nose target my leg when I ask her to leave something alone. She did really well at this pairing, so I’ll probably have to raise my criteria sooner than I expected. her absolute favourite behaviour to do is nose target, so I guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised.

At the end, we took her into the casino for a bit and she just settled at my feet while I played the slots.

Oh The Places We Will Go

sometimes you just need a glimpse to realize you’re on the right track.

As everyone knows, Rogue and I have been on a journey filled with ups and downs, left turns, right turns and U-turns. raising and training your own guide dog is not easy.

But, this week has given me the slightest glimpse of the possibilities.

Over the past year, I have been working hard to find gear that rogue will tolerate.

I’ve found martingales that open like regular collars, so she doesn’t have to put her head through the opening. she no longer ducks my efforts to put her collar on.

I’ve found working vests/backpacks that don’t require her to do more than stand still while I put it on. She’s getting better. to help her along, I’ve begun getting Cessna dressed in her harness, and then getting Rogue dressed. I then walk around the house getting myself dressed, and giving Cessna treats for being so awesome. rogue is taking less and less time to break free of the “roots” holding her in place when the vest goes on. the only thing I have to remember, is to get her to come to me before I reach for the vest – sneaky, I know 🙂

Our next challenge has been the guide handle. Huib made one for us to use and Rogue hates it. I’ve gotten some material to make her a soft guide handle, but I am also getting Rogue dressed shortly before we leave the house, so that she can work on breaking free of the “roots”. The past two days have been really good, but we’ve still got a long way to go in this area.

Yesterday we went to the mall to do a bit of work. I had Rogue walk from one end of Stone Road Mall to the other. She tried to go into a couple of stores, Huib said she must be a girl because they were all shoe stores, lol!

When she began veering into the stores, I had her stop and then we fixed our direction and continued to walk.

On our way back to where we had started, rogue did amazing! She only tried to go into one store, but I was able to tell her no and she fixed her own direction. She walked me around an older person using a walker and around a couple of teenagers. I was worried she’d brush me against the person with the walker, but Huib warned me we were approaching and said Rogue left a good amount of room between us.

We need to work on staying a little straighter, but I felt really good with Rogue’s progress.

Later, I did some curb and sidewalk work with Rogue. Huib followed behind, giving me an idea of when we were getting close to the curbs and when Rogue was beginning to veer. She has a bit of an issue with keeping too close to the left side of the sidewalk, and with wanting to check out things as we walk, but those are simple problems to fix.

When we came to the curb, she blew it twice before she figured out exactly what I wanted. Each time she stepped off the curb, I dropped the guide handle and dramatically said “Whoops! too bad, let’s try that again”. When we came to the next down curb, she only blew it the first time, and nailed it dead on the next two tries. the final curb was the same, she blew it the first time, but nailed it the second. I will do more work with her in this area, but I don’t foresee it taking her too long to figure out that all down curbs must be stopped at.

In order to give her a bit of variety and some work on just sidewalks, we walked for about 45 minutes. At one point, we came upon a truck that was parked completely across the sidewalk. Huib explained it all to me and then we set off, wanting to see what rogue would do. she walked me up to the truck, I felt out with my right hand, then said “Rogue, forward”. She immediately turned toward the road, stopped at the down curb, walked me along the back of the truck, and then walked me back up onto the sidewalk. We had a PARTY!!! I tripped on the up curb, but I didn’t care, she had just done a major obstacle perfectly!

I had a bit of trouble with her pull and sometimes with her pace, but I think a longer guide handle is needed, in addition to some working out on my part.

Whenever you get comfortable with a guide dog, you don’t always realize their pace slowing down, so wen you go to work with another dog, you end up with shin splints. when I got Cessna, I had the most painful shin splints, but after a couple of months, they went away and it was amazing to fly like the wind with her.

Cessna hasn’t really slowed down, but with three years of not really working, the shin splints are back with a vengeance!

The work rogue and I did today really showed me that we’ve progressed and that with some more time and patience, we might just actually make it as a team.

Rogue sits on top of a bale of hay. She's wearing her Silverfoot collar and leash that are a mixture of different blues.

Barn Hunt

Saturday, Huib, rogue and I went to a Barn Hunt workshop. Rogue’s breeder had mentioned the workshop on her Facebook page and asked if anyone wanted to join. Three families, including us, came out. In total, there were eight dogs from Red Labrador Retrievers present.

Karen and Chris (Rogue’s breeders) brought three females, including Rogue’s dam, cheyenne. It was so cool to see Rogue and Cheyenne together. they are quite similar in size, Cheyenne is just a bit heavier and has a little different face. their personalities are also quite similar, cheyenne was very excited to be around the other dogs, and barked at random times – just like her daughter. Huib tried to get a good picture of the two together, but neither one wanted to cooperate, lol!

Side views of Rogue with her dam, Cheyenne. To the left is Rogue and to the right and behind is Cheyenne.

Our day started with a short introduction to Barn Hunt, including a discussion of the rules and regulations. We were then split into groups of 5, and sent through the various stations.

at station one, the dogs were shown an aquarium with a couple of rats inside. We were told to tell our dogs to “find the rats” or whatever words we wanted to use. We were asked to encourage our dogs and show them where the rats were located.

Athena, a one year old female from Red Labrador Retrievers sees the rat in the aquarium. she's very interested in them.

Similar to her dam, rogue was interested in the aquarium, but more into the smells, than the actual rats.

Chris, Rogue's breeder, and Cheyenne, Rogue's dam, checking out a rat. Cheyenne isn't overly interested, so the woman has taken a rat out of the aquarium to get her attention.

At the next station, the dogs were introduced to a plastic tube containing a rat.

Chris, Rogue's breeder, with Sedona, a 6 month old puppy from Red Labrador Retrievers. Chris is pointing to the tube holding the rat, while Sedona looks at him curiously.

We were again instructed to tell our dogs to “find the rat”, and encourage them to get excited about the tube.

rogue was pretty excited about the tube, she nosed the tube and rolled it around.

at station three, the dogs were shown two tubes, one containing a rat and the other containing soiled litter from a rat’s cage.

rogue checked both tubes out very thoroughly, but seemed a bit more interested in the one containing the rat.

Rogue finding the tube containing the rat, and leaving the other one alone.

at station four, two tubes were hidden beside a bale of hay, one containing the rat and the other containing soiled litter. We were instructed to encourage our dogs to search and to let the “judge” know which we felt our dog was saying the rat was in.

rogue checked out both tubes thoroughly and seemed to indicate one over the other, but maybe Huib read her wrong, because he said it was the tube containing soiled litter. the “judge” then picked up the one containing the rat and had us show it to her, so she could check it out more.

Rogue is sniffing a tube containing a rat with her paw on top of the tube.

the final station gave us a chance to work on our own with having our dogs go through a tunnel made of hay and a tube containing a rat. we were instructed to have our dogs run through the tunnel and “find the rat”.

Rogue had a lot of fun running through the tunnel to the rat.

After lunch, we each had an opportunity to do the Barn Hunt instinct test.

each dog was asked to find the tube containing the rat in under a minute.

Chris and Sedona at the mock instinct test. Chris is about to release Sedona, so she can search for the tube containing the rat.

Of the eight dogs from Red Labrador Retrievers, only three passed the instinct test. Athena did the test in 32 seconds, Cheyenne did it in 59, and rogue did it in just 25!

The woman who ran the Barn Hunt workshop said she would be setting up a Barn Hunt trial in the summer, so I think we’ll watch for the date and see how rogue does.

Canyon Makes His Debut

The Elora Gorge kennel Club held a Conformation Dog Show this week. Since we have friends in the area and Canyon’s co-breeder does not live too far away, Huib and I thought it was the perfect place for Canyon to make his debut.

There were not many golden retrievers entered in this show, which means Canyon did not have much of an opportunity to compete. We entered him into the Canadian Bred Dog class, since we did not know what the Open Class was all about, there was only one other dog entered along with him. Canyon’s co-breeder said it was unusual for there to be so few goldens being entered, but she felt it also gave Huib and Canyon a chance to get used to showing.

In all three of the All-Breed competitions, Canyon ended up receiving a second place ribbon. Since there was only one other dog entered with him, this means he just got last place. If there had not been another dog entered into his class, Canyon could have ended up with a first place ribbon (which seems silly to me). Each day of the competition, Huib and Canyon seemed to become more comfortable with the ring and Huib started to find ways of keeping Canyon’s attention on him and away from the other dog and its handler.

Our first day was a little rough, Canyon was the second dog to show so kept trying to run after the dog in front. He never once tried to sit though and self-stacked almost perfectly. Our judge is a breeder of English style golden retrievers, so receiving a second place was completely expected, since Canyon was slightly darker than his counterpart. I also don’t think it helped that he wanted to play with the other dog lol!

On the second day, Canyon was a little less interested in the other dog, but kept wanting to sit and was distracted by the other handler who was constantly squeaking a toy while the judge was examining Canyon. I think he had a chance of winning on the second day, but it just wasn’t in the cards.

On the final day, Canyon had two competitions since there was the regular All-Breed and then a Retriever Specialty. Similar to the first day, the All-Breed judge really seemed to like his lighter goldens over the darker ones, so we again received a second place.

Then the tables turned in our favour…

The judge for the Retriever Specialty, the husband of the second day’s judge, absolutely loved him! Huib and I had decided to allow a professional handler to do some touch-ups and I think that, as well as the fact that Huib had figured out a way to keep Canyon’s attention, did the trick.

When we saw that Canyon would be competing against the same dog as in the regular shows, we figured we’d be getting yet another second place ribbon – we were wrong!

Huib said he was shocked when the judge pointed to him first to come over.

Canyon’s co-breeder was beside herself with excitement, and the women sitting in front of us were cheering.

Huib had no idea what he was supposed to do next, this was uncharted territory!

They next competed with the winner from the Open Class (there had only been one dog entered so it automatically got first) and they won again!

Canyon’s co-breeder was so excited, and was wonderful at describing the judge’s every move and telling me about how Huib’s face was getting redder each time he received another first lol!

After getting Winner’s Dog, Huib and Canyon moved on to compete for Best of Breed.

In the Best of Breed category, there were five goldens in total – Canyon (Winner’s Dog), a young female (Winner’s Bitch) and then three Champions (goldens who already had their titles). The judge had each handler move around the ring with their dogs, watching closely. He then thoroughly examined each one, even making various noises to see what sorts of reactions he would get. I think it was at this point when Canyon decided to lean forward and give the judge a kiss lol! The judge asked the handlers with the champions to leave the ring and then re-examined Canyon and the young female. When Canyon’s co-breeder saw the champions leaving, she was amazed because it was uncommon for judges to choose younger dogs over champions, especially in a Specialty situation.

The young female received Best of Breed and Canyon got Best of Opposite Sex.

Canyon was done at this point, he had had enough of the show ring and Huib was relieved to be done because he felt Canyon’s exhaustion would have for sure caused problems. As they walked back to where I was sitting, Huib was stopped by a breeder, who asked how long Huib had been showing. He told her it was just his third day and she was shocked. She said congrats and told him that she had been showing for 10 years and had never won at a specialty. I think this made Huib’s year!

With these wins, we think Canyon has accumulated two points towards his Canadian championship title. As mentioned here, Canyon needs to earn ten points in total, so we’re already a fifth of the way there!

Cessna “Push”

Cessna wanted to show you all how she helps out in the bathroom.

Closing Doors

Cessna will be turning 8 on Sunday. It’s hard to believe how quick time is passing with her, but we’ll talk more about that in a few days.

The reason I wanted to write today, was to tell everyone about the new skill Cessna is learning.

Cessna is learning to close cupboard doors.

I was practicing “touch” with Rogue in the washroom on Tuesday, and Cessna wandered in. She started to try and “touch” my hand as well, so I decided to take a moment with her. I put Rogue into a down and then opened the cupboard door under the sink. I then got Cessna to sit a couple of feet from the door and then pointed to it and said “touch”. She wasn’t sure at first, so I I pointed to the cupboard door and said “touch” again. She walked over and nudged it lightly with her nose. I immediately said “YES!”, and gave her a treat. I then put her back into a sit a couple of feet away, made sure I had her attention and then pointed to the door and said “touch” once more. She walked over a little quicker and nudged it harder, it almost banged close, but not quite, so I decided to ask her to “touch” again. She nudged it a little harder and the door closed with a bang, and we partied!

After finishing her treat and getting tons of praise, Cessna looked at the door, so I put her back into a sit and opened it. I pointed, and said “touch”. Cessna walked over and nudged it almost closed, so I said “harder” and she pushed again and it banged closed. She looked at me, swished her tail, and we had another party!

Since Tuesday, she has practiced with the washroom cupboard a few more times and does it with just one cue! We have also started to practice with the big door of our pantry, our freezer’s door (we have a fridge that has the freezer on the bottom as opposed to the top), and the doors under the kitchen counter. She can close the pantry almost perfectly now, still needs a couple extra cues for the freezer, and has a bit of trouble with some of the cupboard doors in the kitchen. Cessna has no real issue with the doors that open on the left, but when I ask her to close the ones that open to the right, she’ll often start trying to grab things to bring me from inside the cupboard lol!

I think that with a couple more days of practice though, she’ll be doing all cupboards without a second thought.

Cessna never ceases to amaze me with her eagerness to learn new skills.

Uninspired

Sorry for the lack of posting this week, but I just haven’t had anything to write about.

Everyone is doing well.

Rogue continues to grow and mature into a wonderful little girl. She is still learning to control herself around food, but we have now started to feed her with everyone else in the kitchen. We have Aspen and Canyon eat together using the bowl table, she used to share with Phoenix, and Cessna eats with Rogue on the other side of the kitchen. Rogue can get really jumpy and overexcited when she sees the food being prepared, so we have started to attach her to a leash that is around one of the couch legs. She seems to calm right down once she has the leash connected to her collar, so I’m hoping that she will learn with time, to just chill out and wait for the bowls to be put down. Other than that, we have been working on loose leash walking and are really hoping to have her ready for a Rally-O competition in November. Of course it will depend upon how much we practice and on whether her CKC paperwork comes in, but we can hope right?

Other than that, I’ve been busy with school reading and assignments. I actually got my first assignment back today and received a stellar grade, so I’m happy about that. The group discussion portion of the course still frustrates me, but the professor is supposed to be reorganizing the groups after she has marked the assignments we handed in today. Today’s assignment was to discuss and reflect on the group discussions and on how we felt our participation could be better. I’m not really sure this one went as well as the first assignment, but there are three other reflection papers to improve upon.

Nothing else is really new here. It has gotten really cold all of a sudden, so I’m sure we’ll have some snow pictures to share in the real near future. I was really hoping to have some more recent pictures of rogue to share with everyone, but it looks as though we have lost our camera. Maybe I’ll see if Huib can take some good ones with my IPhone.

For now, I’ll leave you with a couple pictures Huib took in June of Aspen and Canyon.

New Liskeard

Yesterday Huib and I took Cessna and Rogue into New Liskeard to get some groceries. New Liskeard is about thirty minutes away, and provides many opportunities for getting almost anything you might want. Over the past week, Huib has been working a lot. And the week before, we didn’t really have a lot of desire to go very far from home.

So, we thought it was time to do some more extensive public training with Rogue, practicing her sits, downs, waits and starting to teach her some “loose leash walking”.

Cessna was guiding wonderfully. She was a little distracted by all the seagulls in the parking lot outside New Liskeard’s tiny mall, but she never once made any mistakes. I don’t think she really enjoys the trips where we do less continuous walking, and more practicing/teaching, but she was surprisingly patient.

Rogue was really excited to be out and about. She was eager to get started and investigate the world. Huib first got her to pee before putting on her “Service Dog In Training” jacket, and then proceeded to walk towards the mall doors. He stopped each time Rogue was pulling, and waited for her to return to his side while in the parking lot. This made the short walk, quite long. Once at the doors, Huib had Rogue sit and wait, while he opened it and only calling her through if she was still in the sitting position. Rogue seemed to transfer what we’d been doing with her at home to this situation, so it did not take much time for her to give Huib what he wanted. Once in the mall, she was pretty distracted at first. After having to stop several times, just trying to walk a few feet, I suggested we try using the clicker – clicking and treating when she was in the correct LLW position. It did not take Rogue long to figure out where she needed to be to get a treat, but of course, this being her first real LLW lesson, she will need further instruction. We tend to only use the clicker at home when we’re teaching new behaviours because Huib finds it tough paying attention to Rogue, where Cessna is guiding me, and clicking to be too much work. Now that he has seen how much the clicker is helping with teaching Rogue the correct walking position though, I think he will be more open to using it outside the house. In addition to asking Rogue for LLW, and a sit/wait at all doors, we would only allow her to greet other people if she was sitting nicely. It’s amazing to see how educated people are in the north, about not bothering service dogs, we actually went over to people we heard telling their children not to bother the dogs to ask if we could use them in teaching Rogue manners. When living in Southern Ontario, it wasn’t this difficult to find people, willing to just come up, and ask to pet the dogs lol!

I think the main two successes of this trip were that:
• Rogue did not have one accident

AND

• Rogue didn’t once pull like a sled dog

National Dog Day

Today is National Dog Day. It is an annual event, to bring attention to the dogs in need of homes, and to recognize the pet and working dogs who selflessly provide companionship and safety everyday.

You can learn more about this wonderful event by checking out this link.

Since this blog is mainly dedicated to my life with dogs, I thought, why not write yet another post which honours my canine companions.

First, I’d like to dedicate Bryan Adams’ song You’ve Been A Friend To Me, to them all.

The words of this song, ring so true. My dogs have been with me through thick or thin. They don’t judge me for how I look or for the way I dress. They forgive me for being irrational at times. And they don’t leave my side when I’m ill or in tears.

Each of them has provided me with some level of companionship. And each one has helped me feel safe, both emotionally and physically.

Being married to a nurse means you are alone a lot of the week because they are working anywhere from two to five days, depending on whether they’re doing eight or twelve hours at a time. My dogs are the only reason I can stay home alone in the middle of nowhere and still feel safe. If Cessna hears something, she’ll begin to bark, which alerts the others to either start barking or in Rogue’s case, look out the window behind the couch. Most times it is nothing, or at least I don’t notice anything, but I often wonder if maybe the dogs and their presence is part of what keeps it being nothing.

Cessna has been my dog guide for six years now and not once has she ever put me in harms way. She seems to always know when my attention is somewhere else and will actually shoreline )walk along) a set of stairs she is trying to tell me about with it on her side, until I notice and give her a sign that it is okay to listen to my “forward” command. I have corrected her and/or spoken firmly, trying to get her to obey, but she will continue to use “intelligent disobedience” until she knows I am actually aware of what she is showing me. This has also happened on the sidewalk when there was a barrier to show construction. We were walking to a place I knew well and when Cessna started to move onto the grass, I corrected her and firmly asked for a “forward” because I did not realize the barrier was in our way, and thought she was being silly. She proceeded to try walking onto the grass again, but I still did not realize something was in our way, so corrected her more firmly and ask for a “forward”. At this point, Cessna knew I still did not understand, so sat and just looked up in a questioning manner. It was then, that I realized she had been trying to tell me something and felt out in front of her, finding the construction barrier. I felt like such a jerk! So, I told her how good she was and then asked for a “forward”, she took me onto the grass, around the barrier, and once we were back onto the sidewalk, we had a party! If it weren’t for Cessna’s trust and willingness to “disobey”, I know there could have been times when I would have fallen.

These are just small snippets into my life with the dogs, and how their presence effects me each and every day. If they were not around, I can definitely tell you that I would not feel the same level of companionship and safety, that I do right now.

Thank you Cessna, for putting up with my mistakes and for looking out for my safety.

Thank you Aspen, for the constant smiles and surprising moments of safety you provide.

Thank you Canyon, for making me laugh with your toy obsession, and with watching over the girls (Cessna, Aspen & Rogue) as they play outside.

And, thank you Rogue, for being my snuggle buddy, and for doing your little part in keeping the house free of “invaders”.

Without all of you, life just wouldn’t be the same.

Please try to do a little something special for your canine companions today.

We’re Back!

Sorry for the long time away, but we’re now moved in and back online!! Thanks to Bell Mobility and their Turbo Hub, that works on the 4G cellular network, we’ve got even better internet than before!!

On June 28th, we packed all our belongings into a U-Haul trailer and drove to our new home. It’s only half an hour from our other place, but it sure took a while to get everything settled and all the utilities reinstalled.

Here’s what you missed while we were offline.

Rogue had her first three swimming adventures. We visited friends “down south”. And, we attended Red Labrador Retrievers’ Annual Reunion.

Since we no longer have direct lake access in our backyard, we had to find other swimming locations for the dogs. Huib did a bit of searching and found the perfect place, Larter river Provincial Park. There are a few different swimming opportunities there and best of all, it costs nothing to enter!

The first time we went, the dogs had a blast retrieving their new water toys from Christmas – a bright orange water dummy and a purple Jolly Ball. Phoenix just walked in the water, while Rogue would only get her paws wet before running onto shore for some exploring. We brought our cooler with drinks and snacks so I could read and Caleb could swim and collect rocks for his sword. It was a bit breezy though, so we didn’t end up staying much more than a couple of hours.

The next time we went, we brought the canoe. The water was still pretty choppy, so I refused to go with Huib and Caleb. I stayed on the shore with the dogs and read, while the boys attempted some fishing. Aspen didn’t really like the idea of Huib being out in the canoe without her, so she insisted on swimming along beside them until they pulled her in. Canyon and Cessna swam out once in a while to check in, but spent most of the afternoon with me on the shore, so I could throw their toy. Rogue was put on leash attached to the cooler so that I knew where she was and Phoenix just walked around, coming with me when I entered the water with the toy. He didn’t think I could handle being out there without him I guess. The neatest part of the whole trip was when Phoenix actually swam out to the canoe on his own. Huib and Caleb were paddling towards the shore and just happened to look out and see Phoenix swimming towards them. Once they said hi, he turned around and returned to me on the shore. Huib thinks he felt they had been out too long lol!

In Waterloo, we stayed with Karen and Wizard. Karen still has her foster from Lab Rescue so we weren’t able to do too much in the house, so we stayed out as much as possible. When we arrived on Friday, we first stopped in Guelph so Rogue could see Dr B. She was given a clean bill of health, but was a little wimpy when Dr B had her staff restrain her for some blood to be taken. Dr B. wants to follow a limited vaccine protocol to reduce the chances of Rogue becoming incontinent after spaying when she’s 6 months old. Therefore, she will not get her rabies vaccine until she’s older and instead of having her second set of puppy vaccines, we had titers done. She has sure grown a lot in a month, now weighing in at 19.4lbs or 8.8kg!

After the vet, we met up with another service dog handler for coffee. It was so great to see how well Patina had matured and settled into her work. I had gotten a chance to watch Patina learn the various skills she’d need to successfully work as a psychiatric service dog and grow from a tiny 14 week old puppy, to a beautiful (soon to be) two year old. Rogue had a bit of trouble settling during our outing. She wanted to play with Patina and found the patio environment to be a little too distracting. After coffee, we headed to Waterloo, where we met up with Karen and Wizard for a romp in the NCR baseball diamonds and later a dinner of sushi.

The following day, we woke up early and took Canyon, Cessna and Rogue to the St. Jacob’s Market. Karen and Wizard also joined us. At the Market Canyon showed off his newly acquired leash manners and behaved amazingly well for me. Huib focused on walking with Rogue while I got Cessna to work and had Canyon walk on my right. We really haven’t focused much on heeling with Canyon, but it seems as though he’s figured it out himself. He led out a bit like Cessna, but never put any tension on the leash. As long as Karen or Huib warned me of dogs coming our way, I had no issues redirecting either dog and found the trip to be quite exciting. We didn’t really buy much, just a taupe colour harness for Canyon (I would like to start teaching him scent work) and some turkey pepperoni sticks for Cessna and us to share. Rogue was a bit pully, but for the most part Huib was impressed. Around the end of our trip, Karen suggested we take everyone over to a set of open metal stairs for practice. The stairs are like metal grates with open backs and sides so we weren’t too sure how Rogue would do – she showed us!!! She bounced along with Huib and didn’t once consider the fact she was walking on something most dogs would find terrifying. Canyon even wanted to give it a try so I held Rogue’s leash and Huib took him up. He walked up with confidence until the third last step, paused a moment to assess what he had just done, and then continued walking up and then back down. Canyon never ceases to amaze me with his eagerness to try new things…

After the Market, we headed to Maidstone for Red Labrador Retrievers’ Annual Reunion. It wasn’t a great event, but given the circumstances surrounding Chris’ fall and then recovery shortly before, it wasn’t too bad. I think we’ll go next year, but if it’s similar, then we’ll probably forgo the rest. At the reunion, we got to see several dogs from other litters, such as a one year old female from Cheyenne. Rogue got to play with her brother Coal, who’s still with his breeder, and we saw Snickers (aka Sunny) from a distance. I wish we had gotten a chance to see some of her sisters, maybe next year they’ll come. After a couple of hours, we said our farewells and took a leisurely drive back to Waterloo. On the drive we picked up tons of fresh veggies and Huib showed me what wheat and barley looked like when still in the field. We really didn’t do much of anything after we got back to waterloo because it was late and Karen’s foster from Lab Rescue really isn’t great with other dogs.

On Sunday, we started our trip home. First we stopped in Toronto to pick up Caleb, Phoenix and Aspen. Caleb has been staying with us since June 15th, but has decided to come stay until the second or third week of August. Our next stop was the Bass pro Shop where we picked up a dehydrator and jerky maker, along with some fun travel mugs and a slingshot for Caleb. Then we stopped at Costco in Newmarket before heading to Bobcaygeon.

In bobcaygeon, we visited Amy at her cottage. She had two friends staying with her and Dave, so we made it a pretty short visit. While there, we met her new puppy, Waverley, and gave the dogs a chance to swim. Waverley is a female Dalmatian and seems to be a lot more timid than Rogue. Amy isn’t sure if it is the breed or breeder, but says Waverley seems to take a lot longer than her other dogs at getting used to new people and dogs. Waverley is just under a week younger than Rogue, but seems to be a little smaller and finds Rogue to be overwhelming lol! Monroe, Amy’s current LFC foster, really liked Rogue, but couldn’t play since she had just been spayed a few days before our visit. After dinner, we headed home.

This past week has been pretty uneventful, since Huib has had to work mostly night shifts. He’s had the entire weekend off though so on Friday, we went into New Liskeard with Cessna and Rogue to do some grocery shopping, as well as, to pick up some fencing supplies. Rogue has now started to walk on all outings so, we’ve had to really think about her relieving schedule and how to teach her about walking on a leash and leaving things alone on the floor. This was really our first official indoor outing where she’s walked the entire time, so we were able to see where exactly we’ll need to focus our attention. I think we’re going to pick up a walking harness to teach her leash manners so that she does not get used to pulling on the collar and so that she doesn’t sound as though she’s choking to death. Both her collar and first puppy coat are getting to the end of their ability to adjust, so we’ll have to get new ones ready for her soon.

Yesterday we did some rearranging and started to put up the fence for the dogs. Their fenced in area will be quite large with a ramp that goes from the deck into the area for Phoenix and a large gate for bringing in the riding lawn mower and any other supplies. Caleb and I helped Huib measure out, and hammer in the posts. Then, Caleb helped Huib attach the fencing to the posts, while I went inside with the labs (they also don’t enjoy the mosquitoes!). I’m really going to like having a designated area for the dogs to run, especially when Caleb goes home and I’m alone with them all. When the fence is all complete, we’re going to purchase some plastic stuff that goes along it to make it seem as though we have a wood fence (I’ll try to post pictures).

I will get Huib to help me load pictures from our last two weeks on to my laptop this evening and post them as soon as possible. Rogue has begun to darken a bit, so updated photos are needed here.