Tuesday, June 22, 2010

[My] graduation with Don, New Friends, and Hiking!

Don walked across the stage with me to graduate from middle school- after all, he was a student too. It was sort of a last minute idea, but I thought it would be a great experience with Don with all the people and noises, and he was a big part of the school year for me, and many others. Don was great- though he didn't want to go up on stage at first. (I later realized the steps were really hot- poor guy).

Here is Don and I walking up to the stage. I love how he trots when he walks :)
Don loves the principal- here he is up on stage, getting some love. He got a bit excited. After the graduation, Don said bye to all his friends. I'll probably have Don for the start of high school, and I'm hoping he'll get to go there with me. Don and I are really enjoying summer! I'll be blogging more often- and Don will be going LOTS of places. Don is doing well with his training, though we are still working on his stays and dog distractions. Some days I see great progress- he will walk right past a dog! hurray! but then other days, he will try to play with them.

We had a family reunion for my grandfather's birthday, and Don soaked up all the extra attention. He loved playing with my younger cousin, and enjoyed having a playmate his size. We all went hiking to a lighthouse with great views of the Golden Gate. My cousin was ecstatic when I let him walk Don a ways.

Here is Don at the start of the walk, full of energy and ready to go!
It was a short, downhill hike, but the views were spectacular. Above is Don with the Golden Gate and SF Bay in the background.
There were lots of harbor seals up on the rocks. They are so much fun to watch- but sort of hard to see without binoculars.
We had to cross a suspension bridge (which was so old that only 2 people could go at a time- kind of scary) but Don could not care less. He confidently crossed the swaying bridge, then explored the lighthouse with my family and I.
Then, my younger cousin walked Don for a bit. Don was quite confused and kept looking at me like "what am I supposed to do with such a small handler?" My cousin did a great job handling such a big dog. Both cousin and dog had a fun time. Above, my brother gives my cousin a hand in getting Don in the "let's go" position.
Here is the big, happy boy with my cousin.
On the way home, we stopped at the Marine Mammal Center where I volunteer. We looked at the elephant seals and california sea lions. I'm so glad I get to help care for these fascinating animals.
The busy weekend has made Don very tired. Every night, Don comes into my room and chews his Nylabone before going to bed in his crate. But the other night, he was SO tired. I found him like this- sound asleep on his back. I leave you with a picture of Don's "happy ears". His ears go back like this 1) before any meal 2) when he is meeting someone new, or 3) BELLY RUBS!

(above: Don sitting after his bath, which he was not too happy about) Don and I are looking forward to the puppy meeting this weekend- a GDB trainer is coming to speak!! For those of you who wanted a picture of Samuel, I will talk to his breeder keeper this weekend. I'm sure she'd be happy to give me a photo or two.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hiking on the Beach with Don!

A couple weekends ago, Don joined us on a hike along Point Reyes National Seashore. It was a really long hike, but Don was a trooper. He loves long walks! I was slightly worried when we first set foot on the sand, because Don went crazy, spinning around and getting super excited wen his paws sunk into the sand. There were also lots of off leash dogs. The first 5 mins of the hike were quite chaotic, but with the food protocol and some puppy handling to calm him down, he eventually relaxed. He actually walked past dogs without getting too distracted!

Don walked a little ways with my brother, and he was well behaved. I decided to let Don swim a bit, and he had the time of his life! Unfortunately, I forgot the longline, so I had to run around in the water with Don. When it was time to continue our walk, Don was not very happy about getting out of the water- and kept trying to jump back in.

We hiked all the way out to the tidepools and back. The hike was about five hours— Don was getting a bit frustrated in this photo. He was tired of having to walk like a good boy when there was so much water to play in and sand to eat!

Don turned 13 months June 7th! He continues to be a great boy at school- there is nothing better than being in class with a dog resting his head on you!

As much as I enjoy taking Don to school, Don and I are really looking forward to summer. More walks, more outings, and more fun! Can't wait.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Don Rides the Ferry to SF!

Our puppy raising club went to San Francisco the other weekend and all the pups rode the ferry. I hadn't had the chance to take Don on the ferry, so this was a great experience for him. There were lots of new surfaces, stairs, and loud sounds. Don was so excited to see all his doggy friends, especially Silky (who I puppysat a while back). He also liked seeing her raisers, who usually puppysit him. His tail was wagging so hard! I love Don's "happy ears"- he ears go flat against his ears whenever he gets excited.
Don didn't seem to notice that the ferry was moving. He loved sniffing the air, and licking himself when he got sprayed with the salty water. The ground was really got though, so we had to find a nice shady spot as soon as I took this photo.
This handsome guy is Quebec. I just love his name and he is the sweetest boy. He is giant too; when he is older he might even be bigger than Don.
"Hi, I'm Don! What's your name?" Don meets Stefano (or maybe Quebec?) on the ferry.
Here is Stefano, who is Silky's brother. He is so cute, and a LOT smaller than Don.
Sherman! The only golden retriever in our puppy club, this guy is such an affectionate boy. Behind him is Honeydew, who is being raised by two families. One of her raisers is a nurse at Guide Dogs, which is pretty cool. Don went to work with her when he was 3 months old and had a big fan club- he was so cute at that age with all his puppy wrinkles. Honeydew is so tiny, but she was a champ at the stairs.
There was this one staircase that Don did not want to go down. It was right next to the water, and my leader said that from the angle Don might have thought he was going to fall into the bay. Sherman helped Don conquer the scary stairs, and they both walked down together. Yay for Sherman and Don! (above: Sherman and Don hang out together on the ferry deck)
In San Francisco, we were going to take Don on BART, but decided to eat the delicious food at the Embarcadero Ferry Building instead. We went to Taylors for some great burgers and shakes. Mmmm. Don hung out with Ditto under the table. Afterwards, we went to the plaza where Don explored a fountain, practiced jumping on and off of surfaces, and ignored the bird distractions. Good boy!
Getting ready to board the ferry, here is yellow lab Quebec, Ditto, and Alise.
Alise and Don saying hi to each other. She is such a pretty girl!
Awww. Puppy kisses.
Poor Quebec was all alone while Don was giving Alise some kisses.
Then Quebec decided it was time to clean Alise's ears for her.
And Don decided to watch the water go by.
Don was so tired when we got home. I think he enjoyed this outing- can't wait to do it again!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

San Francisco with Don- Go SF Giants!

The other weekend, my brother's chorus was performing at the SF Giants baseball game, so I decided to go with Don. It was a great experience for Don. I walked him on some busy city streets, and all over the Giants stadium. He loved it! Don always behaves so well in busy cities. For Don, the more distractions the better. He did great with the crowds.
Don in the car, going to SF. Riding in the car is one of Don's favorite pastimes. He loves watching people as they go by.
Don was a good boy walking past all the food stands, then up the stairs. When we got to our seats though, Don is so big that I had a hard time getting him to settle under my chair. He kept standing up and nearly wagged his tail in someone's face. oops. After a while, he sat down and got comfy- that is, until the person in back of us spilled his drink, which cascaded down the rows of chairs until it reached Don (much to his delight). Once that was cleaned up, Don settled and we watched the chorus.
There they are singing the national anthem. Don found the speakers very interesting at first.
We were sitting in the very top row, so when the wind picked up the flags made a lot of noise. This was a great exposure for Don, who enjoyed watching them (pictured above).
Don was getting a bit bored of the game, so I took him for a walk all around the park. We walked by the Coca Cola slide and lots of little kids, which Don was great with. While we were walking, someone hit a homerun, and these big fountains sprayed water in the air. Don enjoyed seeing that.
Then, we walked along the water. Don LOVES water, and I'm sure he wished he could of gone swimming. We practiced a couple down stays then went on to climb the stairs and practice some food avoidance by the concession stands.

Don crashed back at our seats, and slept for the last inning. He didn't even wake up when everyone started cheering because the Giants won.

The stadium was so crowded, it took half an hour to get out of the park, but Don didn't seem to mind. Here he is walking along the sidewalk.

We stopped to have Don do his business, then Don watched the fountains at this park. He wanted to go in the big fountain :)

Back in the car, Don attempted to sit on my lap. Don is not the cuddly type, but there wasn't anywhere else in the car to sit. A second after this photo was taken, Don got up, pushing my head into the window. Clumsy, clumsy Don. He bangs his head on everything in our house.

Don decided that the arm rest was more comfy than my lap.

Don and his sleeping positions :) Life is hard when you're so big!