Monday, August 31, 2009

Bingo Goes to School Today

Bingo met Milly, a career change guide dog, before he was introduced to the students at my school.

Today Bingo was introduced to upper and middle division students and they were told the rules of engagement, so to speak. Being a librarian, I connected it all with a book theme, Harry Potter's Invisibility Cloak. When he has blue coat on, he is invisible. When it is off, you can see him. It was pretty simple and the kids picked it up right away.

Of course, I've always been very impressed with our students. So it was not very surprising to leave the auditorium and have most of the students pretending to not see the fatally charming black lab puppy at my side in his bright blue coat. Those who did fail to remember and started to say something were swiftly slapped by their friends and then given a whispered "he's got on the cloak!" It was really cute.

But what was super cute? The cheerleaders! Bingo and I rounded the corner of the library after school on a potty break, so he was out of coat and visible, when we ran smack into the practicing JV cheerleading squad. Bingo, being newly washed and super shiny for his first day at school, is sparkling like Edward in Twilight and the JV Cheerleaders go NUTS! They all rush forward, in spite of the fact that I had asked to everyone to approach one at a time. One of the cheerleaders noticed that I was shaking my head and saying "one at a time" and so she said in a loud voice, "Single file line behind Amy!" And damn, if everyone of them didn't snap to behind Amy in a single single file line to pet Bingo. Twenty cheerleaders all in a line, Bingo sitting pretty in front of me and they all filed past, had a minute or two with him and moved on. It was precious.

I'm going to love bringing him to school. Bingo is really going to love it.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

When to Leave a Movie or Don't Let Snoring Dogs Lie

Have you heard about the film Departures? It won the Oscar for best foreign language film and I have been wanting to see it for months. Tampa, FL doesn't get many independent film, foreign films or art films, but when we do, they always come to the Tampa Theatre. It's a wonderful theatre, but in the 1920s, lovely crushed velvet seats as you can see in the photo to the left. So when it came to town, I wanted to go see it. Friends of ours are volunteers at the theatre, so I had invited them to go with us, but they were on vacation and we had another engagement for the alternative date they suggested. Going by ourselves to the movies turned out to be a good thing, however.

The ease with which we got our tickets and got into the theatre was deceptive and fooled us into thinking that seeing a movie would be a carefree experience.

To the left you see me before the pain has begun. Little did we know that you should think about what your dog does when he sleeps and then add that together with the soundtrack of the movie you are planning to watch, then multiply that with the displeasure of people around you to equal the atmosphere of the general theatre audience before you decide whether to see the movie.

Departures is a gentle Japanese story of a cellist who loses his job and goes to work as funeral rites assistant or in other words: THIS MOVIE IS EXTREMELY QUIET IN ALL RESPECTS. There are moments of levity, but WE have chosen the 2:30 showing, which in Tampa means that everyone who is serious about film is at this showing, plus some Japanese people, who won't be reading the subtitles.

We are completely oblivious to this. We are so excited to have our guide dog puppy at a movie theatre! Wow. A guide dog puppy at the theatre. Look at us! We are so cool. Fred takes my photo. We are so pleased with ourselves. Bingo falls immediately to sleep. We are now overly pleased with ourselves because he's asleep. How much better can this get? He's asleep? We are going to skate through this outing. Then the movie starts. And then Bingo falls into a deeper sleep and starts to snore. At first, it's just a snuffling sound. Barely audible to us. We ignore it. Then he moves into the serious body shaking snorts and wheezes. OMG. The
re's a funeral rite on the screen. People are looking around. Is someone snoring? Quick. Move the dog. I move his head and he wakes up with a loud grunt and, Oh God, a great jingling of his collar and tags.

He falls back asleep and all is well for awhile and then it starts again. Fred and I sigh and lean back. However, we know that within 5-10 minutes the snoring is going to start up again and it will be loud. So for the next 30 minutes, the routine is snore, wake up, snort, jingle, snore, wake up, jingle. Until exhausted Fred and I started laughing inappropriately and uncontrollably. So we had to leave the theatre. And while we tried to leave quietly. We didn't.

I apologize to all of those people in the audience. We thought he would be perfect, but perhaps Transformers would have been a better choice. 8-)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Dunedin Fire Department

On Thursday we had our monthly area meeting led by Donna and Don Thompson at the Dunedin Fire Department. Bingo displayed true fearlessness by staying pretty close to the fireman as he got into his fire search and rescue clothes. But when the mask finally went on, Bingo had enough and hunkered down a bit, tail lowered and we moved him back and out of the way.

The lights on the truck didn't seem to phase him at all.

We also had a short obedience class where I offered Bingo up as a demonstration dog to Donna. For the sit command, SEGD doesn't want you to push on the puppy's backside to force them to sit. So Donna showed us a little tip to help get our puppies to sit. You can pinch them softly right by the hips and if they know how to sit, they will sit right away. Here she is demonstrating the soft pinch, touch really.
It worked like a charm. She did that and then Bingo sits, and gives her a look like, "What was that?"

Friday, August 28, 2009

Yoga For Puppies

By Fred
I took Bingo to yoga class on Tuesday, believing that he was ready. He can be such a good boy sometimes, and we are so proud of him, that it's easy to forget he is still a puppy. And, to be honest, what could be more boring to watch than 90 minutes of yoga?

We arrived up 30 minutes early, just to get settled and introduce him to the instructor, who Bingo accidentally (I think) bit on the thumb. I promised to leave early if Bingo became disruptive. We sat in the back corner, Bingo on his own mat, and mine next to his. I had done some yoga with him at home, just to get him used to the mat and to the idea that humans sometimes do odd things.

He was a perfect dog for while. But for some reason, while I was twisted into a circle, Bingo snapped down on my shorts and started tugging so hard it rolled me over, and thinking this was a natural part of yoga, he went for my shorts again, and we had a good laugh. But a few minutes later he decided to chew on the carpet and see if he could rip it off the floor, and he would not take me seriously when I whispered that he should stop, so we made a early exit.

We'll try again sometime this fall. Or winter.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Silly

I'll start with the good. Bingo went to school today. We had a very full day and it started out fairly well. the walk in was not our best. He was very distracted by all the other teachers walking in and was pulling on the leash. I was constantly having to say easy, easy. Katya was very sweet with him on our walk in. We walked in without the coat so that he could do a free walk and get some loving if people wanted to say hello. I'm thinking that come that morning when we arrive at school with all the students it is going to freak him out! He's really not going to know what to do. School is going to be such a major learning experience for him. I just can't imagine a better place for a guide dog puppy to be.

He slept through two meetings this morning, evidently my voice puts him to sleep (I think many students might agree with him! 8-). In the second meeting I was looking around to see if anyone noticed his snoring, but I think I was the only one. I wonder if that would be considered rude? Would going to a meeting with your guide dog puppy and then having your puppy fall asleep and snore be a reflection on me or on the current speaker? And what is the etiquette for a snoring puppy in a meeting? Should I wake him? What if my gentle nudge brings on a loud snort? Wouldn't that be more rude? Isn't it better to let sleeping puppies lie? Or snore, as it were?

Here are our Honors Chemistry teachers trying to contain Bingo as he trys to eat Karene's gradebook. He slept through two meetings, but for the Chem teachers, he was WIDE AWAKE. Didn't want to wear his coat, or sit down, or stay seated, or stay still, or anything. He was a pill. Sigh. Pure puppy.

Fortunately we do have some time to get out of coat and get a little lovin'. Here Bingo is with Jan our Library Assistant who one of his biggest fans. 8-)

We ended up leaving a little early as there was a siren test and I didn't want his little eardrums to get blown out. So we scooted. On the way out we fortunately met the Science Dept. Chair, who is a huge dog lover. You Tampa people will know that today was wicked hot, and since we have had some construction at our school, we had to park way out of the way and our walk to the car was a long and hot one. About 1/3 of the way to the car, Bingo just stopped. John and I turned and looked at him and it was pretty clear that Bingo was hot and was done walking. John said, "Would you like me to carry him to your car?" This is why I love working at my school. I have wonderful colleagues like John, who carried Bingo all the way to car for me. He made my day and he certainly made Bingo's day!

Early that evening, we ended up at the salon for my back to school hair cut. Bingo came with me and fortunately, my stylist Sandy is a dog lover. She was uber patient with him (and me) as he again got a bit of the puppy crazies and wasn't interested in sitting still. Bingo found out about mirrors. Sandy said that when dogs see themselves in the mirror that it is a sign of superior intelligence. Bingo saw himself in this mirror, in the mirror opposite her station and the one opposite that station, so he must be a genius. I don't think I have ever seen his ruff fluff up as much as it did when he thought that he had a rival in the mirror. It was quite cute.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Shopping 101

By Fred
Since Cheryl is away on a school event today, I thought it would be a good time to do some male bonding with Bingo and make a trip to Home Depot, his first shopping trip (if you know Cheryl you will appreciate the irony here). He and I could check out the rows of wood, admire some power tools and do all the things guys like to do. Besides, I needed to pick up a few things for a project, so this would be a very efficient outing, right?

I have to admit that Bingo did not immediately grasp the purpose of a shopping cart except as a big, irresistible, rolling toy that taunted and tempted him nonstop. We spent quite a while, up and down, back and forth, until he got the general idea and walked beside me with such perfection that I might have cried with happiness, only there is no crying in Home Depot.

Wherever we go I overhear comments about how Bingo is the cutest dog ever (and this might actually be true). Most people understand that he is a working dog, but I've discovered that one or two people always squat down, make cooing noises and ask to pet him. I told one man today, after pulling Bingo back, No, we are trying to teach him to be focused. He's supposed to be taking care of me--he just doesn't know it yet.

Another man simply walked up to me and said it will break your heart when you have to give him back, and then he walked away. Thank you for that, weird man.

As for the wood and the power tools, Bingo was not impressed. I have a feeling that his first trip to the grocery store will be a different story. I'll wait for Cheryl to do that--he kept me so busy today I wasn't able to actually buy anything.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Playing Hookie

By Fred
Bingo stayed home from school today with some diarrhea. We feel bad for him, but today like all other days was, for him, another series of fun things to do, fun things to learn, with a big appetite and a positive outlook, free from the self-pity that we humans tend to indulge in when we are under the weather. He has learned to go to the door now when he needs to go out, and he sleeps through the night, except when he has diarrhea, and even then he only gently whimpered to wake us up (it doesn't take much to wake up Cheryl). What a good boy!

I've given him some rice and boiled hamburger today, and he gave me a look afterward, probably wondering why he doesn't get this every day and wondering what else I'm holding back from him. The diarrhea has stopped, so hopefully he will be back to normal by tomorrow.

Raising a puppy is not all fun and games. Fortunately, Chuck, Debbie and Donna at SEGD are a good resource. Though Cheryl and I have raised several puppies of our own, it's nice to have a staff of professional puppy people on call. And when it comes to attitude and personality, we all can learn something from a 3-month-old puppy.

We had a big walk this morning and Bingo had a normal BM, so things are looking up already. He's playing hookie again from school and is helping me work. Now if we can just convince him not to pick up everything with his mouth on his walks...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Official Faculty Introduction!

Bingo was officially introduced to the upper division faculty today and they all seemed to like and welcome him on to campus. I likened his blue coat to Harry Potter's cloak of invisibility, that when it was on, he was invisible and on the job. When it was off, he was just a dog, but a dog with certain rules of behavior.

We have an incredibly compassionate faculty as well as caring student body, so I know the kids will be as good with Bingo as the teachers will be. The hard part is going to be not distracting him, but I have faith they can do it (Maty and Pilar!), knowing that the ultimate goal is to make him a great guide dog.

Of course, being incredibly cute was helpful and he did a great surfer dude impression by falling asleep at my feet as I explained his role. Now that I think about it, he could have been making a subtle statement about the quality of my presentation, but I am going to hope not!

So, for any of you colleagues out there who are reading Bingo's blog, there are only two slight problems with sitting by Bingo during a meeting. The first was that Bingo farted. Fortunately, it was a silent but deadly fart so not everyone knew he did it. Of course, that meant that my friend Christy accused me of doing it and said that now I was going to blame everything on poor little Bingo. The stinker! The second problem was that a little while later, Bingo started dreaming and chasing rabbits, and running in his sleep. Happily for us, this time he did not snore, as he usually does, or yodel out for the rabbit during the dress code speech. That would have been supremely embarrassing! So there is a small danger of being embarrassed by dog snores or yodels during a meeting. That is counteracted by having him sleep on your feet and lean on you. And as Christy and attest to, try to eat anything that falls off of you such as sunglasses. You take your chances sitting by us. 8-)

Upper Division Faculty 2009/2010 with Bingo.

Stadium Toyota - Our First SEGD Event

On Sunday August 16th, 2009 Fred and I took Bingo to our first SEGD event at Stadium Toyota: Dog Day Afternoon. Stadium Toyota sponsors the event, which helps to raise money for SEGD and their many programs including Paws for Patriots.
SEGD had asked for puppies in particular to be there so Fred and I brought Bingo. Blossom and
Apollo (aka Polly), two very cute Australian Shepard puppies were there as well as a smooth-coated collie puppy named Becca. At right, you can see Bingo and Blossom playing with illegal toys (balls are not approved toys, but for a couple of hours, the SEGD people said it would be ok) in the water. Bingo was too sure of the water at first,
but within a few moments was doing belly flops. I
was disappointed I had forgotten my flip recorder. It would have made a good video.
In this photo, you can see that Bingo has many toys to choose from, but like the spoiled puppy he is he only wants the one Blossom has. Which annoys Polly, naturally. So the normally macho Bingo, who rules the roost at the McLean house, finds himself pummeled by the Aussie girls.
Ultimately, they are too much for him and after several hours of trying to be manly, he gives up and hides under the bench.
We finally give in and take him home.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Wearing the Green Shirt

By Fred
Here's Bingo, Cheryl and friends at a fund-raising event this weekend. As you can see, Bingo is the smart-looking Lab in the blue coat, and that's Cheryl in her Harry Potter eyeglasses and wearing her new, green puppy-raiser T-shirt (something she was more excited to get and wear than any jewelry I've gotten for her in the past, which is a good thing for me to remember in the future).

Bingo had a big day with the two Australian Shepherd female puppies, playing and stealing toys from one another, and most of the day was spent out-of-coat, meaning that the puppies were free to play with one another and have fun. We're learning that this strict distinction associated with the coat (they are working when it is on) helps prepare the dogs for their future lives and for the transitions that most humans face every morning when we get ready for work (except for those of us who work at home in our pajamas and can't really tell if we are working or not).

Thursday, August 13, 2009

First Call for Help.

Look at Bingo. He seems so weary. So, worn down by life. Actually, he's just really irritated I removed a large piece of mulch from his mouth and that look he's giving me is his "really, look around you, lady, do you think I can't find more mulch where that came from?" look. I often annoy him by removing things from his mouth or giving him the DROP IT command. He's becoming fairly responsive to it. However, we have found a couple of areas where we need some guidance.

Last night I called for help. Not a desperate call for help, just a tiny, small cry in the night. "Please, our puppy is stubborn. He's a bit afraid of doors. What do we do?"

Fortunately, Donna is our area coordinator and she rocks! I now have several new ways to get him to walk through doors that hopefully will prove successful in helping him with his shyness with industrial double doors. That should bring us back to our feisty Bingo, seen at right.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Freedom and Restraint

By Fred
According to the current schedule, Bingo will go to school on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and I'll have him here at home the other days. Today we are working on some basic concepts: freedom and restraint.

Like humans, some dogs are quick to learn and follow rules, while some are less so, and a guide dog puppy has so many rules to learn (pages and pages of rules) that they can become frustrated when their humans don't send a consistent message. So it's important for us to keep a close eye and stop bad habits from developing, to offer lots of praise for good behavior, to be consistent in all things and, I believe, to offer the puppy a good deal of supervised freedom.

Cheryl's yarn room is a good example; it is filled with literally hundreds of balls of yarn, cases and baskets and shelves of yarn, floor-to-ceiling yarn, the most tantalizing collection of puppy temptations you can imagine. I allow Bingo to go into the room and then I gently correct him with a no, in a normal tone of voice, when he opens his mouth too close. I can see that his is nearly drunk with the possibilities of the place, but he seems happy to leave things alone. "I want to be good," he seems to say, "if only you will let me know what that is."

But I am a realist. When Cheryl and I moved here several years ago, we rented a house and I had to replace the kitchen floor after our Lab puppy chewed up most of the linoleum. Bingo, the good boy, could reduce our house to sawdust if we don't keep an eye on him.

Monday, August 10, 2009

First Full Day at School: Dominance Games

Bingo had his first full day at school and he survived it as did I. We found a place for his crate in my office. In this photo, if you look to the left of the crate, the wet spot is not pee, it is just water that Bingo tipped over in his overzealous water drinking. That seems to be his deal on carpet. Drink water, spill it on the rug, lay on it. He did it in the Rudolph library as well.

Two of our student library proctors were in helping sort out library books and they also helped get Bingo going as he can be a bit of a laid back surfer dude at times. The boys were great with Bingo giving him just the right bit of encouragement without getting him too excited or making him jump up.

They worked all day for us. Bingo napped most of the day. So I can say with no reservations that puppies are not very reliable and sophomore boys are extremely helpful and reliable, at least our library sophomores are! They rock! And we even had a big commercial debut today as well. Our slp on the right also starred in a Luzianne tea commercial, which debuted on Monday as well. Here they are with Bingo and two carts of books that they helped get in order for us. They are also going to be filming a library video for us on the library rules.

After school, Bingo and I dropped by the vet's to get his 12 week shots and he met Elma, one of his litter mates there. Elma, evidently, is much more spirited than our little laid back surfer dude and much smaller. Bingo has put on 10 pounds in three weeks and now weighs in at 27 pounds. I was a little concerned that perhaps Bingo was a bit too laid back and was bordering on lethargic, and the vet thought he might be anemic, so we did some blood work, but anemia was ruled out. He is on some doggie vitamins now and we'll see if that will perk him up a bit. It might be a bit of a combination of laid back personality, coupled with a hint of stubborness and an owner training problem.
Bingo is super dominant. He's already at 12 weeks shown our 8 year old chocolate lab who the boss is and she's down with the little dude. This morning, he barked and Willow and I both got and walked over to him. BAD. That's just bad. 8-) We are weak women to fall for such a cute little man. And he has a little stubborn streak. He has started sitting down when he doesn't want to walk anymore. When we went to lunch and he spent it sleeping at my feet and I woke him up to leave, and he didn't want to leave, he just sat down. That's stubborn. So I had to pull out the mommy voice and squat down and get all perky and happy and get his tail to wag and then he decided it was fun to leave the restaurant. Sigh. I think perhaps our laid back little surfer dude finds it amusing for me to be perky and Cordelia Chase-y. Although, she wasn't exactly little miss sunshine, but she was a cheerleader. However, I digress. I'm keeping an eye on him. The minute I see a little smirk on his surfer dude face.......

Sunday, August 9, 2009

First Monthly Meeting: Theater Training

On Saturday we went to our first monthly AC meeting that was run by the new Tampa area coordinator Jan (who is a high a school teacher and has a smooth coated collie puppy). Jan runs a great meeting. Of course, how can a meeting at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center be bad? And let me say now that TBPAC is AMAZING to let us come do a guide dog training meeting there!

The new diaper bag got its debut and it did a wonderful job. I like it. Here is Fred and Bingo at the beginning of the meeting. Bingo was a bit disappointed that other members of his litter weren't at our meeting.

The next photo is of Fred walking with the 5 months and under puppies to TBPAC to ride the elevators (which Bingo has done, thank you very much!) and try stairs (again, done it!) and theater seats (that will be new).

When we got in to TBPAC we went over to the elevators on the far right. on the way there there were a few accidents, quickly cleaned up, but Bingo held it together and didn't have any accidents. He was very interested in playing. I think he was more interested in playing and how he could get away from Fred to get closer to a puppy to play than to let loose and pee/poo, thankfully for us!

We made it without incident to the elevators where Fred and another lady with her puppy got on. Notice that we don't have green shirts. We want some green shirts. I think there was a mix up when we picked up Bingo and we didn't get our official green puppy raiser shirt (which is super cool). So we have an email in to our area coordinator about it because we are seriously jonesing for a puppy raiser shirt! 8-)

Once you get on the elevator, then you go up and get off. So I ran up a flight of stairs so I could get the shot of them coming off the elevator!

After that we tried to work on stairs, but Bingo was more interested in playing and balked at doing a flight of stairs (stubborn streak surfacing!), so we rode the elevator to the bottom and finally got him to go up and down the set of three stairs on the ground floor.

One of the things you realize when you get your "perfect dog" with other dogs is that your dog is not perfect. Nor is he scary smart. He is just a really good dog. 8-) There were some younger dogs there who were better behaved than Bingo was. Bingo definitely showed that he had a stubborn streak. He has this thing about not wanting to do things, like stairs, so he just stops and looks at you. And then he backs up. Then you have to put on the happy mommy voice, Come on, Bingo, let's go! This is how we found out that we are not supposed to say Come on. Because, Come is a command. Of course! We KNOW that. We have been teaching him that. And yet, it didn't click until Marcy in a very kind voice said, "You shouldn't say come on since you are going to be teaching him the come command." Doh!

So here I am leading him down stairs, at this moment he decided to follow me. Then we have them find a chair, sit, down, and then we sit down. Eventually, they will be sitting underneath our chairs in a theater. But for now, it was enough that he got experience with moving chairs, sitting by me, walking in narrow aisles.

It was a very big morning for him. Here he is tired out underneath one of the theater chairs. When we did do the walking/leash management exercise, I think that Bingo and I did the worst. I don't know what
happened, but neither of us was on our game. I'm going to go with overtired and needing a nap. That's our story and I'm sticking to it.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

First Day of School

By Fred
Here's Bingo in the car with his head on my knee, worn out from a long day at his first formal class with other SEGD puppies. Cheryl will have the full story, with pictures and videos of his group training session at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center (riding the elevator with 5 other puppies--what could be more fun than that?), but I wanted to get this picture online.

By the end of class he was exhausted, so I carried him part way back to the car. He gave us this look after the air conditioner came on. What a good boy.

Tea Party on Friday

On Friday I had a Book Club reunion for my former students, some now college sophomores!, to see them before they went away and Bingo was a big hit. Here they all are with a very tired Bingo.Of course, Willow did have her admirers too. Lauren and Allison have house sat for us and are big Willow fans. So, Willow was not without lots of pats and kisses as well.

But, Bingo did get the lion's share of the attention. He sat to receive attention. He didn't bite very much. He played nicely. The kids were all super good about following the rules: no people food, no letting him up on the furniture, etc.

This is why I love working in a school: the chance to connect with wonderful kids. These kids are so bright and talented and it is such fun to see them as they head out to college and then go off on their careers. Tonight, for example, we are headed off to an art gallery photography show that a former student and New College graduate curated. That should be very interesting.

I'm very lucky to be able to have a job not only where I work with such wonderful teens, but also where I am allowed to bring my guide dog in training to work, which will happen on Monday.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I'm not making this up...really.

We just took Bingo on his first heavy traffic walk. We went down the quiet neighborhood street to a busier street for two blocks of heavier traffic before turning back down on the quieter neighborhood street again. We were walking in the direction of oncoming traffic so that Bingo could see the cars and know where the noise was coming from. At the end of the first block we waited for three cars to drive by. Our chocolate lab Willow stood by Fred and was completely oblivious to the traffic. As each car drove by she looked at Fred, the sidewalk, Fred, the sky, Fred, a bird. But Bingo watched each car as it passed. It was fascinating.

Fragrant Water Lily Contemplation or Not

Bingo isn't what you would call a zen puppy. Although he does a lot of napping, which is a zen activity, I will grant you that. Here he is ignoring the beauty of the fragrant water lily.We've had another restaurant outing and an ice cream parlor outing, but I'll share the details of those when I get the photos from my friend. He turns three months old this coming Monday. Our little boy! Three months old. It seems like only yesterday. Well, actually. 8-) I've ordered an extra large tote bag from Lands End (of course, I'm on their mailing list and got mine on sale for $19 on the back to school sale with free shipping, you should really sign up for their email newsletter, yes, the color is yellow, not what I would have chosen, but it's a tote bag, who cares! It's $19.) Anyway, now that I have this furry baby, I have to carry around a diaper bag for him, my crochet and school stuff for me and my purse. That means, three bags. No way. So, I bought an extra large tote bag with a surfeit of pockets and zippers. If this monster bag can't satifisfy my toting requirements, then I will just have to go around unhappy. 8-) Until then, I'll be happy that Bingo did finally realize that there was a beautiful flower that needed his attention. (Or perhaps a tiny morsel that needed smelling on the lily pad, but I quibble.)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Cheesecake Factory!

Bingo had a HUGE day today. We went to school for a meeting. He was very good, slept through most of the meeting, which in his case was a good thing. 8-) We didn't have any accidents on campus, although he did get a little nuts in Sarah's office. After that Christy and I left with him for his first major public excursion: Cheesecake Factory. We parked in the underground parking and took the elevator up. It was his first elevator ride and he was not impressed. Then we got to the upper level and walked to Cheesecake. I had a fully stocked bag filled with cleaning supplies in case of accidents. We walked right into the lobby where Bingo charmed the hostesses. He was a bit put off by the noise and started to walk a bit slowly, but the tail was still wagging. I could also hear the cries of several kids, "Look a puppy!" but all seemed to be progressing smoothly until we started to walk through the bar out to the patio. That's when Bingo hit the floor with the crumbs. Bingo went from slow walk to standstill with quivering nose and tongue out. But I did a quick correction and he hopped to it and we got out to the patio and got set up.

This is Bingo and Christy at the end of the meal. It was a hot day and he was ready to go home. He did a great job. He slept mainly under my side of the table, but wandered over to Christy's side on occasion. He never barked or was bothersome. He was perfectly mannered and beautifully behaved. All at 11 weeks old! Such a sweetie.

Here he is with Willow. They are getting along better and better with each passing day. Here she is actually letting him touch her for a prolonged period.

The morning and lunch outings really took it out of him though. He was pretty much wasted the rest of the day. He'll be a sleepy baby tonight. Yea! On another note, I received that photo from my friend I was waiting for on the Spanish moss incident. There is one house on our block that has some oak trees that have oodles of Spanish moss and whenever we walk by, Bingo grabs for the mass of moss as if it is a pile of spaghetti he can eat. And at every pile of moss, we have to stop and say "drop it" and then open his mouth and get him to drop it, because of course, what puppy wants to spit out a perfectly good mouthful of Spanish moss? What are you crazy?

Bingo at Casa Tina's

Saturday we took Bingo and a friend's son out to
lunch. It was a combo meal of visit with a child and exposure to a restaurant for Bingo. Bingo had fun with Jamie, but as you can see from the first photo, he had a bit of a problem finding a comfortable space to lie down at the restaurant. We went to Casa Tina's, which is a great Mexican restaurant in downtown Dunedin and it has an outdoor patio. We are sticking with outdoor patios for the first couple of exposures just in case there are any accidents. I'm still a little paranoid, even though he has been very very good. Today is his 11-week old birthday.

He did eventually find a comfortable spot. He

charmed the waitress, of course.

Fred and I had an interesting discussion about the difficulties in explaining whether you can pet a dog in coat or not. The manual says that if the dog is under 10 months, that they are allowed to be petted while they are in coat. But after 10 months, they are not. The difficulty lies in the 9-11 month period with the people you come in contact with all the time who are used to petting him. How do you finesse it? I think it is a matter of taking the time to have a conversation with people. Most people who ask to pet the dog are interested in finding out about the dog and the program and would be interested in knowing about the socialization process that takes place. How sitting to be petted is part of that process and up until 10 months of age, they are allowed to do that in coat. After that we are working with them (not training them as we are not trainers! 8-) on getting used to the idea that when the coat is on it is all business. As you can see, Bingo is all business, all the time.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Quick Saturday Smile

We gave Bingo his first bath (SEGD recommends that you use regular people shampoo. The trick is to rinse very well.) We gave both dogs a bath. Fred then likes to let Willow play in the water for a bit since she is a lab and a water dog.

Bingo, being a little puppy, had no idea about the hose, water, etc. and didn't know what was expected. So in the first video you can see Willow romping in the water and Bingo watching her and taking notes. In the second, he gets it. 8-)