Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Finally, An Update!

Sometimes, life gets in the way of all the things that you decide you're going to do. Most recently, for example, I had another medical relapse that led to months of testing and an eventual surgery which put keeping up with a blog at the bottom of my list. Luckily, Faulkner is so amazing that not much has been missed! After surgery, Faulkner's house manners continued to be superb and I trust him more in the house, by far, than any other puppy that I've had.

I'm recovering wonderfully from my past surgery which means that I'm able to take Faulkner out and show him off a lot more often. He's had more outings in the past week than he had in two weeks last month. And, being the Nerd that he is, he's done wonderfully in every situation that he's been in.

On Sunday, we went to CostCo which is one of the ultimate tests in Guide Dogs. First of all, there is always a lot of people around with big carts and surrounded by big displays and loud, echoing noises everywhere. Secondly, the floor is cement. This doesn't sound like the biggest test of a dogs abilities to someone who doesn't raise puppies, but let me tell you why it is.

In Guide Dog raising, our puppies are trained from the moment we get them to relieve on the cement. No other surfaces until later in their training. This sounds unnatural, and it really is, but not everywhere that a working Guide goes will have a convenient patch of grass next door. Having a pup in jacket and walking around on so much concrete can be a challenge since they usually associate it with emptying their bladder. Luckily, Faulkner was nearly flawless on our trip. No accidents and not even a sign that he thought about it.

The only not so wonderful thing that happened was, for some reason, Faulkner decided the lady in line behind us was going to be his absolute best friend in the world. He kept turning around to stare at her even though she made no move to say hi to him. She was looking at him, of course, but who can resist an adorable puppy staring at you? After a minute of him not behaving himself, we had to go for a little "refocusing" walk away from the woman Faulkner was flirting with. After that, he was much more responsive to me and, while he still looked over his shoulder at her occasionally, he stayed facing forward.

With small things like that being our only thing to work on, Faulkner and I are definitely ready for him to go back to campus. Faulkner is now 15 months old and is definitely ready. I can tell that he's starting to get bored and is in want of some new challenges. That's the best sign that a puppy is ready for "school." We're currently waiting on a recall date from Guide Dogs. After raising puppies for so many years, it feels weird to have a dog around that knows what he's doing. Puppy raisers train themselves as much as they train their pups and I'm trained to have a puppy!! Hopefully this month or next, Faulkner will get to go to school to show off what he knows and I'll get to start over with a new pup.

For now, we're in a waiting period. So we're having as much fun as we can! With the end of summer drawing near, we're spending a lot of time outside running around and playing. Not only are we having a blast at home, going out in public with Faulkner has become like going out in public with an extra arm. He makes it so easy that I don't have to think twice about taking him anywhere!

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