Sunday, July 28, 2013

Collars, Frisbees, Ballet and Things

Where to start?  It's been a busy week! 

Mom and Abby have started 'training' again.  Mom talked to some of the therapy dog handlers she's met at hospital (aka The Great Kibble Provider) and one of the suggestions she got was to have a 'special' leash and collar just for training/working.   One of the other suggestions was to use a 'traffic lead' - a very short leash - rather than the 4-foot long leash we use for regular walkies.  So, Mom hit the interwebs and found a 16" traffic lead and a different collar to be used just for training. 

Today, Mom and Abby went back to Home Depot to test out the short leash.  After a little adjusting (if Abby pulls on a 16" leash, it's a lot more obvious than on a 4' leash, and Mom's a lot more likely to dislocate her shoulder, so they had to spend a little time working on 'loose leash walking') they seemed to have a fine time at Home Depot.  And Mom seems to enjoy having Abby on a short leash!  Can you blame her?  Heehee!

Abby on a short leash!

Really short leash!

I think that leash makes her schnoz look big, don't you?  Heehee!
Abby's 'special' collar isn't anything special in the sense of rhinestones, it's just different from her daily collar.  Here's a close-up of the above picture, so you can see the collar.

Special 'working' collar.
Mom said the Home Depot visit was good (no dislocated shoulders), and she's going to be on the lookout for more places to take Abby to get her used to new and different environments.

"But what about you, Fiona?  Surely you got something new and cool, too?" you ask.  Well, as a matter of fact, I did.  When Mom was looking for Abby's collar she found a place that makes custom collars, and Mom was quite enamored with them, but she wasn't super enamored with the price.  However, the company had a 'bargain bin' of pre-made collars for about a quarter of the price.  So, when she got Abby's collar, she got me a new collar, too.

I liked it so much that I requested that my old collar become my 'training' collar (I don't do as much training as Abby - SOMEONE has to stay home and keep Dad company!), and that my new collar become my daily collar.  So, here is my new, super-cool, super-special collar!

It's the angle of the camera, not the collar that makes MY schnoz look big here!
It's a super-comfy heavy-duty cloth collar, and I think I look rather stylish, if I do say so myself!

In addition to all the excitement of the collars and leashes (and possibly a new tag for each of us - Mom has become a big Etsy fan!), we have been getting in our regular allotment of frisbee funballs time.

Abby's not the only Flying Doodle Sister!

But she does fly! 
And she's big on two-footed catches!

And a two-footed catch with full extension and a quarter twist!
I've got moves, too!
Did she catch it, or just plaster it against her face?
Here's a close-up.  Looks to me like she trapped it against her face!
In spite of some of her 'misses', Abby has some graceful moments.  Here she is, rehearsing for her lead role in the famous ballet "Doodle Lake." 

Look at that extension!  All the way up on her tippy-toes!
But don't let that graceful athleticism fool you.  She's still a goofball.

But she's finally learned how to play tug-of-war with Mom...

"I win!  Now will you throw it again?"

And because I can, here's a gratuitous happy dog photo!

Nifty collar, huh?

Yep, we're happy dogs!


Have a great week!

*kissey face*
-Fiona and Abby the Hippobottomus

Sunday, July 21, 2013

My Belated Birthday and Some Frisbee Time

Okay, well, important things first.  We FINALLY celebrated my birthday (which was July 10th, in case you missed it and want to mark it on your calendar for next year...)! 

Happy Belated Birthday to Me!
Because my birthday celebration had been postponed, I convinced Mom to skip the dreaded birthday hat and move straight to the important stuff - The Magic Cheeseburger Window!!!

We're getting close!

Ahhh!  I can smell the Cheeseburgers!

Almost there!  The Magic Cheeseburger Window!
Because the Magic Cheeseburger Window Experience involves much sniffing and nose twitching and the possibility of a little slobber on the side of Mom's car, it's not like Mom can just go bring home a cheeseburger for me.  I HAVE to go along, and since it's been so hot lately that Mom can't leave me in the car while she runs errands, Mom and I made a special trip to the Magic Cheeseburger Window Just. For. Me!

Of course, when we got home, I shared my cheeseburger with my sister.  Because I'm nice like that!

Nom, nom, nom!

Abby, don't take off Mom's fingers - she needs them to feed us more cheeseburger bites!

Oh yeah!   So good!

Fingers?  What fingers?
Heehee!  The whole Magic Cheeseburger Window Experience was fantastic!

However, I didn't get a cake... Mom said that it was "too hot" to turn on the oven to bake a cake, and since she figured I always like the peanut butter "frosting" best, we might as well skip the cake and go straight for the "frosting".

Heehee!  Thanks, Mom!
Yeah, my Mom is a doofus, but she doles out peanut butter like a pro!

Of course, I haven't spent the entire week celebrating my birthday.  Abby and I have spent a lot of time (when it's not wickedly hot) getting in our daily frisbee activities.

Mom finds this picture Very Amusing.

Tug-of-war in the shade.  We're not dummies!

Still in the shade!

This seriously never gets old.
 Of course, we also got in some 'traditional' frisbee action...
The flying Hippobottomus
See, I really do catch frisbees, too.

Nice change of direction!

Frisbee Jaws of Doom!

And, we posed for Mom.  Because it makes her happy, and since she hands out cheeseburger bites, we have to keep her happy!

Shifty-eyed fluffy puppy!

Make sure you get my 'good side'!  Oh, wait!  I don't have a bad side!

Oh, and Abby did a lot of 'roaching' this week.  She's a doofus!

Shameless hussy!

Limber, too!
She's a goofball!  But she's my sister!
And there you have it - all the wonders of the Magic Cheeseburger Window without the dreaded birthday hat!  Definitely well worth waiting for!  Have a great week!

*kissey face*
-Fiona and Abby the Hippobottomus

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Abby's "Not Ready" Yet But We're Having Fun!

Abby had her first therapy dog evaluation on Saturday and Abby was deemed to be 'not ready' yet.   But now she and Mom have a much better idea of what they need to do to get her ready for her next evaluation.  But in the meantime, Abby will still be a 'dog-in-training' for a while!

Note from Dr. Liz here: While I knew that Abby and I'm weren't 100% ready to be certified as a therapy team, I didn't realize how far from ready we actually were.  Abby and I have spent a fair amount of time working on 'basic skills' at Home Depot, and that has been going pretty well.  However, the evaluation was at a local rehab/assisted living facility, and as soon as we walked in the door, I knew we were definitely not ready.  Abby was sniffing at everything, and far more interested in the therapy dog volunteer, the residents in the hallways and nurse with her cart of stuff than in paying attention to me.  When we went into the room for the evaluation, it took me a few minutes to get Abby calmed down enough to actually start the evaluation.  And on the first 'skill' where Abby was supposed to remain sitting at my side while the evaluator approached us, Abby sat for about 5 seconds and immediately approached the evaluator.  Which deemed us 'not ready'.    

However, they did let us do some of the other skills (getting brushed, accepting treats, and getting pet by a stranger). We did okay on the brushing, Abby was a start at accepting treats (duh.... this should come as no surprise to anyone who knows her!) and she was a STAR at getting pet by a stranger (Abby would be happy to accept pets from Jack the Ripper...).   Abby has this amazing ability to make anyone who is giving her pets and scratchies feel like they are The Best Scratchie Giver EVER.  She LOVES getting attention from people.  Which was probably her only saving grace in the evaluation, as the team evaluating us had to agree that she definitely had "it".  We just need to work a whole lot more on the skills - which, luckily, is trainable; apparently the "You Are the Best Scratchie Giver EVER" attitude is something you either have or you don't.  Which could be the only reason the evaluation team didn't ask me if I had considered getting a therapy guinea pig instead!   We have a lot of work ahead of us, but at least now I've got a sense of the intensity of the evaluation - I just have to figure out how to train Abby to not get stressed in intense situations like that.   And the training is fun bonding time for us, so we'll keep focusing on the process.

All of which means that I get to spend peaceful quality time with Dad while Mom and Abby learn how to sit and walk sedately.

In other excitement, Abby and I went to the groomer (aka "The Hair Stealers") this week.  Mom has decided that while she will groom us herself most of the time, it's a good idea to have a professional do it a couple of times a year so she remembers what we are supposed to look like.

And here we are.  Nekkid!

Hi!  We're nekkid!
We have also been spending quality time working on our frisbee techniques...

Pre-haircut frisbee antics

Nice almost-catch!  No wonder she's 'not ready'!  Heehee!

See how I levitate when I'm nekkid?

Dual frisbee antics!

More dual frisbee antics!

I run like the wind when I'm nekkid!
Nekkid therapy-dog-in-training!
As for my birthday celebration... Well, that has been put off a little longer - mostly because after Mom and Dad went bye-sickle-ing today, Mom had to go to the grocery store and it's too hot for me to sit in the car while Mom goes shopping, and Mom didn't want to go to the Magic Cheeseburger Window without me, since a big part of the Cheeseburger Experience is me being able to stick my head out the window and sniff all the lovely smells emanating from the Magic Cheeseburger Building.  But Mom assures me the Magic Cheeseburger Window Experience is coming!  I'll keep you posted!

*kissey face*
-Fiona and Abby the Hippobottomus