Monday, March 25, 2013

#RiddickPup Is Fifty One Weeks Old

According to my measurements on the kitchen wall, Riddick is a couple of millimetres short of 60cm tall, and he weighs 30.5kg.
We had a fairly quiet week as I was very busy, and this week coming will be the same although Easter weekend will be a nice break for us all.
Unfortunately we didn't get to the dog park on Sunday afternoon as I didn't have the petrol to ride around. :(
Riddick enjoying the sunshine on the stoep

Magic and Riddick, juuuust barely sharing the couch...

Monday, March 18, 2013

#RiddickPup Is Fifty Weeks Old

Here are some purely gratuitous photos of my beautiful puppy snuggled on the couch with me!

On Saturday afternoon we took Riddick with us to a puppy walker social at SAGA, and there were probably 20 dogs there! It was a really cool get together, but none of Riddicks' siblings were in attendance. I realised that his siblings will be going back to SAGA for their formal guide-dog training in the next couple of weeks! Its amazing how time flies and we are really lucky to be able to keep our sweet boy with us.
Riddick was very good at the social, where all the dogs stay on-lead and aren't allowed free play, with so many dogs its simply chaos to let them run free.

After the social, we went back to the off-lead park we've been going to so he could have a bit of a run around. The park was quite empty when we arrived and Riddick had fun chasing his ball and sniffing around. It got busy quite fast but as we have done a lot of socialisation with Riddick he greets other dogs politely, and he is happy to avoid dogs who come across as aggressive. He is also happy to just play with his ball and watch the other dogs go by.
Unlike a lot of the dogs in the park, he doesn't "swim" in the big water trough - he's more than a little leery of water - but he LOVED the cold sloppy mud around the trough!
By Saturday evening he was good and worn out!

On Sunday we visited my parents for my mom's birthday, and Riddick went along. He and my mom's dog Toppy play quite well together and I love taking "my baby" with me if I can.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Our Feline Furbabies

Magic chooses some odd places to sleep...
Here he is on the arm of the couch, resting his front paws on the wooden stool!
And here he is in the bookshelf - one of his favourite, favourite places to sleep.
A basin full of Minx!
And Minx lying on my sunhat on the back of the couch.
Greebo... Only Greebo... Notoriously camera shy, I can usually only photograph him when he's asleep. Here he is on the couch backrest cushion with his head hanging down between his front paws!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

#RiddickPup Is Forty Nine Weeks Old

Sheesh... I can't believe our little "Pickle" is almost a year old already!
crazy puppy has a thing for my lawn... 
Greebo fetches socks from my son's room and then Riddick eats them! Conspiracy...?

This weekend Riddick worked very hard. He attended his first event for SA Guide-dogs as a "PR dog" and he did better than I expected. He wasn't nearly as vocal as I thought he was going to be and that was a big relief.
SAGA had a stand at the Hobby-X show at the Coca Cola Dome selling raffle tickets for their annual car giveaway, and Riddick went along to draw the crowds with his cuteness! SAGA always has puppies-in-training and working guide-dogs and service dogs at their show and expo stands so that the general public can meet the gorgeous puppy dogs and have a cuddle. As Riddick was wearing a blue puppy-in-training jacket, we were explaining to people that he's not actually going to be a guide-dog because he's partly blind himself. People were quite taken by him so I am thinking that as SAGA doesn't have jackets for their PR or career changed pooches like the brood bitches or the pups that didn't make the programme, I should ask SAGA if I can make a special "PR Pooch" jacket for Riddick and some of the other dogs to wear... Perhaps in a purple or green material, so its different to the blue puppy-in-training jacket, and the red service dog jackets.
What do you think?
Riddick was very well behaved and we were very proud of him! He was a little mouthy with some of the people who said hello, and when there were people crowding the other puppies he got to barking to call them over to give him some attention too, but he was really well behaved and polite! Even walking around the show with him was cool.
One thing that caught me off-balance - literally - was when we headed outside the Dome for busies. I've never trained Riddick to walk down a flight of stairs when he's on lead, and I nearly went flying!!

mommy's handbag makes the best pillow

His weight hasn't changed, still just over 30kg, and he's still eating 200g of Nutriphase Adult twice a day.

Monday, March 4, 2013

#SAGApupVolt Is Sixteen Months Old

Volt has been in guide-dog training for a little over four months (19 weeks) and on Friday we saw Volt's trainer at SAGA's College of Orientation and Mobility Cansa Shavathon.
She says he is doing incredibly well!
She is using a "gentle leader" on him to stop him pulling on the lead, she says she's never had to do so many "return to heel" commands with a dog before, and she says she has built  serious biceps and triceps with him - but he is such a pro!
He is VERY clever, he is confident and he takes initiative, and she is even allowing him to use his love of retrieving and carrying (even though its not officially part of his training) by letting him pick up and carry dropped items.
He did his first walk with his trainer being blindfolded, and it was a perfect trial with him guiding her around all the obstacles!
We are so proud of him!
He is still super energetic and he is very strong, but he is happy and he is LOVING his training. They have a partner in mind for him and hopefully he will graduate somewhere around April.
I can't wait to see my beautiful boy again!

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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Our #RiddickPup Is Eleven Months Old!

This afternoon we took Riddick to an off-lead dog park.
I have been a little nervous to take him because we battled with Volt's recall, and when we took Volt to a park he'd take off after the other dogs and it would be a mission to get him back...! That said, I was a nervous first-time-puppy-mom with Volt, and I was terrified I'd lose him! His dog distraction (his love of other dogs and wanting to play) was a real problem though, so my fears were realistic to a degree...
But my confidence is way up with Riddick! Having seen how well behaved he was when he was off-lead at SAGA and seeing how he listens when I call his name we decided to chance it.
It was fantastic! It was exactly the way I had always hoped a dog park experience with my own dog would be! He is respectful of other dogs though he seems a little wary of playing with them. He's well behaved around the people too and doesn't jump up on anyone. He doesn't chase the balls thrown for other dogs, though he loves his own one and happily chased it down many times over - even with a Collie cross trying to catch it too. He didn't get into the big water trough for a swim as he's never been mad about water, but he drank lots of water and we did two circuits of the park with him running and investigating behind and ahead of us but returning to us when called or just to make sure we stayed close. At one point we were sitting on a bench under a tree and he stayed sitting right there with us!
It was glorious! We will definitely be going back more often.

On Friday SAGA's College of Mobility had a Cansa Shavathon and we went along, taking Riddick with us.
He was very well behaved and showed respect to the older dogs whilst being playful with puppy Jenna, and he greeted the people happily without jumping up. We played ball on SAGA's lovely expanse of lawn and he showed off his recall, his Doggles, and his fast-improving benching behaviour. 
We were very proud of him.
My husband shaved his head after making his R50 donation to Cansa, and I ran around taking photographs, I donated my R50 too but I didn't shave or spray my hair.
I got to visit briefly with the 'K' litter puppies who will be going home to their puppy walkers this coming week, and we were told that we may be able to get an 'L' litter puppy to raise towards the end of April!! So exciting!! SAGA's brood bitch Jelly is pregnant, so depending on how many pups there are we should be getting one soon (her last litter had 9 pups). We're thinking up a list of names for boys and girls starting with 'L' so if you have any suggestions let me know.
And we saw Volt's trainer, who says he is doing incredibly well! He did his first walk with his trainer blindfolded, and it was a perfect trial with him guiding her perfectly around all obstacles! We are so proud of him!

This week past we made great progress with Riddick's nervousness of passing cars after his accident a while ago. He hardly batted an eyelid although the bigger cars and vans still made him slightly wary. I am very relieved that he's gotten better so quickly! Our walks will soon be back to normal again.

On Saturday Riddick found an apple next to my bed. I know it smelled interesting because it immediately caught his attention, but I think he thought it was a ball... He chewed on it for ages before it fell off the balcony and he forgot about it.

I had a giggle this week, we were watching Spaceballs on TV and towards the beginning there's a scene where "Dark Helmet" walks onto the scene. Riddick barked and ran at the screen as though the character was walking into the living room! He didn't like it at all! It was so funny! I rewound the movie and played the scene again but the second time he just looked at the screen and walked away.

Some gratuitous puppy cuteness...