We got back from San Diego last night, at 11:30. Don slept until 10:30 this morning!! (and is now taking his 2-hour morning nap). I had a great time and so did Don.
The past week went like this...
On Friday, Don celebrated his first Christmas. He got a Goughnut from Santa, which kept him busy while we opened presents. I was very happy to get a new camera, just in time for our vacation to Coronado (an island-like town right across the bay from San Diego). I'm still trying to figure out how to use my new camera, but I think my pictures are [slowly] improving. Saturday was very busy and Don spent a lot of the day on tie-down and in his crate while I packed. He still picks up inappropriate objects and is very determined to succeed in doing so. When I can't keep a watchful eye on him, there is no knowing what he will go after. Hopefully, being neutered will calm him down a bit. He is scheduled to be fixed this upcoming week at Guide Dogs. Guide Dogs had determined that the whole litter would be fixed a long time ago. I would have liked to raise a breeder, but he is so strong-minded he would be very difficult to train as he gets older. We also had relatives over on Saturday. Don was good with the guests; he is not very interested when people come to our house and pretty much ignored them. He was not on his best behavior though, and for the first time, snatched food of our low coffee table. He has become very interested in food all of a sudden and corrections have not been very effective. Any tips for food avoidance training?
Don sleeping by his Goughnut on Christmas morning.
Don loves his Goughnut! He likes to nudge it with his nose then pounce on it.
On Sunday, my family and I loaded up the van with our luggage and drove off to Coronado. We got a late start on the ten-hour drive and my dad ended up driving in the dark most of the way. Don settled very quickly on his dog bed in the car. I kept on sticking different bones into his goughnut, which he had lots of fun with. Don is a very good sleeper; he curled up into a little ball and slept for hours. We only had to stop three times for him to relieve himself. Walking around all of the gas stations and rest stops with the big, noisy trucks was very good exposure for him. He seemed a little confused, especially when he got his dinner in the car, but he didn't seem to mind the ride. At 11:30, we got to San Diego, then crossed the bridge to Coronado and we were at our grandparent's house. Don was very excited to get out of the car. After stretching (he always stretches after sleeping) and "doing his business" we went into the house, nicely light up for Christmas. Don met our grandparents' very nice cat Pumpkin, who was a bit scared of "the big yellow monster" and ran out to the garage. Don was excited to meet all the new people and sniff around the rooms. Since it was so late, I put him right in his crate and got ready for bed. Don was not to happy to be shut in his crate when there was so much excitement, and began to whine, louder and louder. I was not very happy with him and was very disappointed to realize that the whole whining in the crate issue had aroused yet again.
Don on his tie down in the car. This was one of the rare moments when he wasn't sleeping.
Again, Don in the car.
As you can see, Don takes up a lot of space in the car. We had to take his crate apart and put luggage inside of it because there was so little room. My brother was not very happy that Don was taking up his leg room.
The San Diego skyline! This photo was taken the morning after we arrived.
Pumpkin the cat. Pumpkin is a very sweet little kitty. She likes playing fetch with her toy mice.
Don in is crate. The whining issue, yet again... sigh
Monday morning, Don was whining in his crate again. After counting 30 seconds of quiet, I took him out. I didn't give him much freedom in the house, and he was mainly by my side or on tie down. Regardless, Don succeeded in eating the cat food- three times! We did lots of food avoidance training with it, but it didn't seem to do much good.
All Don could think about- CAT FOOD. I swear, he was plotting the entire vacation.
Don went to the beach for the first time. I was very glad that they let Don on Coronado Beach (a no dog beach). Don was very distracted by all the people and the feeling of sand. He tried to dig and play with the sand and was very hard to settle down. Having him sit on the towel did not work, so I ended up having him sit on the beach chair. He sat there and watched the waves for quite a while. When Don was a bit more settled, I took him to let his energy out in the water. He was scared when the waves came towards him. But once he got in the water, he loved it! He splashed through the waves and even did some doggy paddling.
Don on the sand by the rocks. You can see the San Diego skyline in the background.
Don went on lots of walks in Coronado, all around the town. We walked to the ferry landing everyday, a magnet for tourists and dog-walkers, to work on his distractions. In just a week, I saw so much improvement. Coronado is a very dog friendly town, and there were so many distractions to work with. There was this one house that we walked past, that had two dogs always in the front yard. Every time we walked past them, they would go crazy barking at Don, who remained quite and walked right passed them. One time, the owner came out of her house and yelled at me to stop bothering her dogs. It was quite funny. The last two days, Don was walking on just his flat collar through the busy, touristy parts of town like a champ!
Don at the ferry landing.
Don posing by the bay.
Don was staring intently at a golden retriever in this photo.
You can see the ferry dock on the far right.
Don went to downtown Sand Diego to see the Big Bay Balloon Parade. There were about 100,000 people there. It was Don's first outing in a big city and he did really good. He got to see trains, helicopters, and airplanes as the airport is very close by. Don also got to go to the Natural History Museum in Balboa Park, where we walked through many exhibits. He even got to saw a giant Iguana in a glass cage. He went out to dinner many times. He was pretty good, but distracted by the food on the floor and managed to snatch a couple chips from under my chair.
Don amidst the crowds at the parade.
Slowly, Pumpkin the cat got a bit more used to Don. Vacation was such a good experience for Don, and really showed me how he acts in other people's homes and highlighted the areas we need to improve on.
We left Saturday morning and stopped at the Rose Bowl Parade Float Viewing in Pasadena on our way home. It was SO crowded; the road where the floats were parked looked like a sea of people. There was hundreds of thousands of people there. After showing the check in people Don's Guide Dog in training ID, they let him in. Don had his gentle leader on, and he was so well behaved. He was very calm navigating through all the people. It was very hot (80 degrees) which really tired Don out. Luckily, they had drinking fountains everywhere, which was very helpful in keeping Don cool and hydrated. The floats were amazing. The rule for the floats is that they have to be made by all organic material. It is incredible to look at them up close and see all the individual flowers. I highly recommend going.
One of the amazing floats.
Don with a dragon float behind him.
Don with an agriculture themed float behind him.
Hopefully this super long post didn't bore you. I am now off to write Don's monthly report for December and do all the homework that I didn't want to bring on vacation. I am thinking about asking to bring Don to school relatively soon. Stay tuned...