Saturday, August 27, 2011

Jam's First Week

What a week it has been! On Monday, Jam rode with me to school to his first day of a school filled with students. It was quite exciting.

As you can see from the photo above, Jam has taken his full water bowl and flipped it over preferring that it be a chew toy. Of course, now, it looks like he had a giant pee on the floor! Great! This is what the morning crazies are about. Jam doing crazy things and me trying to get him calm to start the day.

Because our convocation was at 8 am and he usually has an 8:30 poo, I needed to make sure he had done his business and was extra tired out. The morning crazies can last from 7:30 to 9 am. So we did several sets of stairs and series of left-lefts and right-rights and hallways so that his little brain would be exhausted by the time we hit the auditorium.

Then we started our walk to convo. It was pretty cool the looks that Jam got. What was even more impressive was the way that the middle division students remembered all the rules. As I was walking down the hall, there was a great big group of them and they all caught sight of him at the same time.

"It's the new puppy!"

"You can't look at him!"

"Don't say his name."

"Turn around!"

So they all straighten their posture and turn around. They were so cute. We passed on by and entered the auditorium.

I thought that Jam did an exceptional job of dealing with the crowds, the clapping and the pipe and drum corps band. Both Bingo and Berkeley had some reaction to convo. Bingo would surge forward at clapping and Berkeley would get bored and bark to be taken back to my office. Jam was very calm and quiet.

But by the end of the day he was so tired that he couldn't hold his eyes open. He was comatose!

Later on in the week we did a small photo shot with some middle division faculty for his presentation to middle. Of course, I was a complete dunce and when I went to go up on stage because I started calling him Berkeley:

"Berkeley, forward. Pause. Good boy. Berkeley, sit. Long pause. Good boy. Berkeley forward up."

The kids were aghast! I had no clue I was even doing it and was wondering why he wasn't following directions well. BECAUSE I WASN'T SAYING HIS NAME! The Middle Division Director told when I came up to the microphone. Horrors!

Sigh. In front of 350 people I did this.

Then on Friday, he attended his first class with me. He was awesome! I was running the computer and lecturing when I noticed there was a little current of Ahhhhhs spreading through the room. I looked up at the teacher.

"Jam's watching the screen."

Sure enough, Jam was focused on the screen watching my explanation on how to set up an iGoogle page. He was fascinated by the mouse movement. When the mouse finally got low enough he leaped up and tried to grab it.

The kids loved him!

Here he is at my last class of the day. Calm and quiet.

Christina looked at him from behind and said he had some "junk in the trunk" and perhaps he needed to move up to the big boy coat.

He is a little big in the booty, but the big boy coat is still a couple inches out on his tail, so it's the puppy coat for a few more weeks. Although he is in the middle of a growth spurt, so who knows.

All in all it was a successful week.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Jam's First Day

Jam's first day went really well. I'm preparing a little film about it, but that won't be ready tonight. However, Jam was a little nutball during the morning and I was able to catch it on film.

So, here is a bit of Monday sunshine for you. Imagine getting to have this goober in your office all day! And I do mean goober in a good way. 8-)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Jam's Upper Division Video

Tomorrow Jam will be presented to the Upper Division students. On Wed., he will got to Middle and on Sept. 9th, Lower. It will be a little different for each division as the age groups are different, but hopefully, Jam will be a good boy at each presentation. I hope to have some video of each to show you.

Here's a look at the lovely time we had on July 1st going to pick him up!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cooling Off

By Fred
The dogs were so jazzed up at the start of our Tuesday training class that we took them out for a walk on the beach. Here we are, back in the room, and doesn't Cheryl look cute with her curly red hair?

Cheryl and Jam in training class, waiting for the next routine.Jam has decided that the Down command is beneath him, that it's somehow demeaning, and he pretends that he has no idea what you are saying while in fact he will pop down immediately in the morning when no one is looking and he's waiting for breakfast. Otherwise, like in the training class, we say Down and he gets that look of a junior high kid whose mom wants to kiss him in front of everyone.

A very wet Jam standing by the swimming pool and staring into the camera.Jam still doesn't know what to think about our neighbor's swimming pool. One thing for sure is that he's not afraid of it (or anything else, at least so far).

A picture of wet JamThis time he jumped in on his own, and he swam around like a cartoon alligator, snapping his teeth at the water.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cheerleaders Redux

When I had Bingo, I made the mistake of walking him without his coat past the JV cheerleaders.

I was mobbed. Well, they didn't care about me. Bingo was mobbed.

Guess what? It happened again today.

It was late, I was tired and I knew that Jammers needed to pee, so I walked out the back way (not my usual way). I figured he could busy on the grass of the mound on the way to junior parking lot, since we had to park out there because of Middle Division Book Sale Day.

As I left the library and walked down the side of the building, I noticed that the JV cheerleaders were practicing on the mound. Had they noticed us? We were walking behind a screen of plants, but soon enough we would be out in the open.

We rounded the corner and headed into the open hallway. Jam gleamed like the Holy Grail. I could see all children under the age of 16 turning in our direction. We neared the small stairs.

Jam, sit. Good boy! Forward, down. Jam, sit. Good boy! He was trying to veer into the plants. He was filled with pee. Hold on, little grail of pee. Soon we will be at the grass. I looked over at the cheerleaders. They were on the other side of the mound and seemed to still be doing poses.

Safe, I think.

Busy, busy! Jam starts to wander around the grass to choose a spot. This might be a good spot to tell about Jam's predilection for taking a Superman pee stance. While other dogs might lean forward or hunker down or lift a leg (guide dog puppies are discouraged from lifting their leg), Jam has chosen another route. He stops mid-stride and pees.

Yep. Mid-stride. Imagine Superman leaping into the sky...

and then peeing. That would be Jam. He has one foot forward, one back and his head is lifted to the sun as if to say, I am the Sun God! Watch me pee!

So, here I wait for the Sun God to pee while the JV cheerleaders are finishing up their practice. Jam is taking his sweet time, because, YOU CAN'T RUSH A GOD WHEN HE'S PEEING.

Just when he finishes up and I think I might be able to slink off into the hallway, I hear a low roar, well, more of a high pitched, OOOOOOOHHHHHHH!

Yes. They are coming. For the Sun God.

We are mobbed.

And this is why I love cheerleaders: in the middle of the mob scene, I say ONCE, "Ok, I think we need to line up single file to pet him."


Single file line of 15 JV cheerleaders, who one by one file by and love on Jam.

It is, indeed, Jam's World.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sarasota Discovery Center Meeting

Saturday we had our monthly meeting in the SEGD Discovery Center in downtown Sarasota. We had the obedience part of the meeting first, then we spent the rest of the time mingling with the visitors to the Center, letting them love on our puppies and ask us about the whole puppy raiser experience.

Judy started out the meeting with a controversial move: she threw food on the ground! Well, not really. 8-) It was all part of her lesson involving getting the puppies to work on their food distractions. Evidently, getting distracted by crumbs on the floor, trying to vacuum them up, snarfing up after a meal or begging for food is one of the number one ways a puppy can get bounced from the guide dog program.

What's a puppy raiser to do? Why, train them to ignore food on the ground (Note to self: work in cafeteria more! 8-)

Here are some of the chicken treats that she placed on the ground:

As you can see by Jam's expression below, the chicken treats smell DE-LIGHTFUL! Even Annie thinks they are amazing.

Judy didn't stop with chicken, she added some other yummies as well. It was quite a pile of joyful goodness as evidenced by the lunging, drooling puppies in the background.

Jam remained at the ready to leap up and eat a pile when the word go was given. Unfortunately, that word was never given.

Judy did give the word for every raiser to try walking in a circle around the treats to see if their puppy could make without lunging.

Fred had the leash. I had the video camera. I have to say that Mick, our last puppy to go was quite...unusual. You have to wait for it. I guess somethings are more important than food.

No More Duck Buddy

Below is a photo of duck buddy with his innards spilling out onto the floor. Rather a fluffy white mess.

The duck toy is on its back, with stuffing coming him stomach

When a friend of ours saw this in Fred's post and the original post on duck buddy, she very kindly emailed us and said stuffed toys were a no-no.

EEEK! Holy Crap. Jam is our third puppy. Are we ever going to learn this stuff? I ran to the computer to look up toys, because I was sure that if as long as the toy didn't have a squeaker I was on solid ground.

Nope. There it was in black in white:

The only approved toys are Gummabones, Nylabones, sterile bones (bought in a pet shop or catalog), and Kongs.

Stuffed toys were CLEARLY in the bolded NO category. And I completely understand. The main point of the rule is to make sure the toys the puppies play with are the safest possible. So, no stuffed toys. Jam will deal.

And we are aren't a complete waste of space. We do have approved toys in the house.

He's going to miss duck buddy though!

I think we all are. 8-)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Bath Time

By Fred

Jam was being such a good boy the other day that I let him explore the back yard while I cleaned up my tools with the water hose. I've been tiling the guest bathroom and using a grey mortar for the tiles. The trowels and bucket need to be cleaned right away after I finish or the mortar will harden.

In the past I've tied Jam to a lead while I rinsed off the tools, but this time I was sure he was ready to be free.

Of course he ran right for the rushing water and through the soggy puddle, turning his white paws to gray.

So he got a quick bath. Afterward, he promised not to do anything silly like that again.

Jam's Perfect Day

The day started with a Department Chair Retreat. Hardly an auspicious beginning for a perfect day, but nonetheless Jam was clueless about the day's agenda as he always is. He walked onto campus with spring in his step.

And he walked upstairs to the meeting with that same spring. This meeting would be a great test of his abilities to calm down quickly and would let me know how he would be in the classroom. I walked in with my bag of toys, laptop computer, and notepad and pens all in my big Landsend carryall and took a seat by the door. I hooked Jam to the table leg and spread a couple of toys on the ground.

Aside from slipping by me one time and managing to put his head into Cindy's lap without my knowing he had woken up and moved, he was pretty good about staying under the table and taking a nap. He made occasional forays out to take a nip at Nikky's book bag, but she did say her cat made a pillow of it and moved it out of harm's way.

Here he is sleeping while the rest of us drone on and on.

Of course, they did give us breaks. It wasn't a torture session! And during the breaks, I would take the coat off and make Jam sit to be greeted.

After the meeting, we went to lunch and he slept through lunch. Fabulous!

When I got home at 5, Fred and I decided to go to Bonefish near IRB for dinner, so we got Jam suited up. We were given a pager and we turned around in the very full bar to see a small space against the wall where we could stand with Jam out of the way. As I was walking away I thought I heard the word Berkeley.

When we got the wall, this lady places her hand on my arm and says, "He is just adorable. What is he going to be?" She and her husband both had big smiles on their faces. So Fred and went into out SEGD spiel and talked about Jam and Southeastern. Jam by this time had already fallen asleep on the floor in his patented imitation of the Neverending Story dragon (as seen below and in the header of the blog).

Fred and I had finished chatting with the couple at the bar and began to talk to each other and then the lady on my right tapped my arm and said,

"We raised a guidedog puppy." Pause. "But in New Jersey. Ours failed though and he's our pet now."

Small world. We had a delightful conversation with them about puppy raising until our pager went off. Then, our hostess, who turned out to be a 2008 graduate of my school (which is why I heard the word Berkeley!), took us to our table.

Then, Jam decided that he would play peekaboo with the table opposite us because our table was a table for two on a very heavily traveled waiter path up against a wall. Jam was constantly peeking out through my chair and trying to lung into the aisle. There was about 10 minutes of me and Jam negotiating where, indeed, he WOULD sit for dinner and it WOULD be a down under, under my chair.

This so amused the people at the table across from us that the lady had to mime to me how adorable he was, complete with cute facial expressions. I smiled and waved back to indicate I understood.

He fell asleep.

New people arrived at the table across from us. We finished dinner. Fred got up and took Jam's leash to get us ready to leave. At about this time, Jam came out from under the table with a sort of sleepy Brad Pitt look to him and did a little stretch, which set many a heart a flutter. There may have been some sharp intakes of breath.


"Would you look at him!"

The new occupants at the table opposite of us proceeded to ask me all about Jam and what he was going to be doing and told me how cute he was; all this as Fred is becoming a distant speck on the horizon. I manage to impart info quickly, yet in a friendly manner and continue down the aisle, only to be stopped by two elderly ladies.

"Oh, dear! He is just adorable. You know that."

I smiled. "Yes, he's a very good boy. He did very well tonight." Her friend leaned over.

"Just precious. So precious."

"Thank you." I patted her shoulder and wandered on down the aisle. I kept my gaze focused on the door.

When did I become Jam's stage manager?

And when did he become a rock star with fans?

Sigh. I fear a long, long year is ahead of us.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Byzantine Brain of Jam

Of course, that brain isn't Jam's. It is a drawing by Rachael Henrichson, but it makes me think that Jam's brain might actually be constructed something like her brain maze.


School started on Monday. I am always nervous about the start of school, so I inevitably wake up early: 5:15 am. Jam gets up with me and I feed him. That was my first mistake.

Jam's brain: Ah ha! Something new is starting. The curly haired one is actually getting up early and feeding me breakfast. I think I can manipulate her.

At school I am wearing my new back to school outfit (yes, I know! But some habits die hard and buying back to school clothes is one of those habits. 8-). They are nice linen big legged pants. They flutter when I walk. Jam begins to jump up and bite at them.

"No!" This is very weird. He has never done this before. Very strange. Off and on during the day he will attempt to bite my pants.


4:44 AM Jam wakes up and thinks, "If I woke up at 5:15 and got fed yesterday, perhaps I can get fed at 4:45 today."

Or as Wimpy would say: I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.

Or Wake up easily manipulated curly haired girl. FEED ME.

I wake up. We walk downstairs, he runs to the kitchen and looks back at me. I let him out to pee and then make him come back up stairs and go back to bed. GRRRRR.


4:15 AM Jam wakes up. 4:44 didn't work. Perhaps 4:15 will work.

Me: 4:15! AUGH!!!!

I'm like Charlie Brown. I constantly fall for Jam's sneaky trick.

Whine, I need to go out. Run to the magic door. Head toss, feed me! I'm so cute!

And to top this all off, he perfected the clothing bite. It happened on a poo walk. He had just done his business and then in a moment of poo-free joy, he did a little twisty jump, leaped and grabbed my skirt.


Here is a photo of the ripped skirt:

My skirt is ruined. Completely bizarre. I have no idea why he has started his new habit, but it's going to get very expensive for me if it continues!


Meanwhile, back at the crack of dawn, it is


That's 3:45 in the morning! and JAM THINKS HE'S GETTING BREAKFAST. I get up. We go downstairs and he runs to the magic door.

ACK! Again. I'm sooooo not falling for this tonight.

I. Am. Not. Falling. For. This. Tonight!

He thinks he's so clever.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Inside a Fuzzy Toy

By Fred

(Please note: See No More Duck Buddy for most up to date info on approved toys!)

Despite Cheryl's attempt to reinforce its stitching the other day, Jam's favorite toy burst open today, finally no match for a puppy's sharp teeth. Jam was playing, as usual, like a good boy, with no malicious intent toward the duck. Then the world stopped turning, and there he stood, wide-eyed and with a wad of white stuffing in his mouth and with a look of wonder on his face.

The duck toy is on its back, with stuffing coming him stomachDamn! I've been bragging about Jam and how he doesn't tear up his toys.

Now that he knows the truth--that his toy is filled with fuzzy goodness--will he be able to resist? Or is he now hooked on the fuzz?

We'll try another repair job, with stronger thread this time. I'm not giving up on him.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

School Starts Tomorrow

Every puppy is different. Bingo was a whack-a-doodle, Her Royal Highness Berkeley, well, her name says it all. but Jam. For a sense of what Jam is like, you really only need to look at his 6 week portrait below.

He's all business. Serious, jowly expression. "Get on with it, photographer! I have important guide dog work to be doing." He seems to be thinking.

He carries that out in his obedience as well. Full throttle, straight ahead working. That means, when you say come, you are going to get Jam in the face! We are working on stopping and sitting, but haven't yet reached the point yet.

When he sits, it's a full sit, military almost, boing! Yes ma'am! And his bottom hits the ground.

Of course with walking, he charges ahead, which isn't good. We're working on that. But he is lovely at restaurants and shops and malls.

I have a feeling that at school he will be much adored and will stop traffic just as much as he does at the mall. I've prepared a cute video about our puppy pick up of him to show on the first day of classes to the Upper Division students and hopefully to Middle Division students as well. I'll post the video when I after I show it to the students.

I think he's going to do just fine at school.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Risky Business

(Please note: For most up to date info on approved toys go to this post!)

Jam is quite the looker. He stops traffic. Much the way I imagine Tom Cruise did after the release of Risky Business. Risky Business is, of course,the movie of a young person, played by Tom Cruise, ... I'm going to stop now because I thought the movie was about him wanting to go to a nice college but ending up in a bad situation making some bad choices for romance and perhaps risking it all, but in the end finding out that people can be manipulated for money and sex. IMDB's summary has more of a Ferris Bueller feel to it. But it all boils down to boys, hormones and doing things you shouldn't, sometimes in public.

Now, why does that concern Jam? Funny you should ask.

Jam came to us out of the box, ready to go. So to speak. The second day we had him, we let him out of the crate and he ran over to the huge Orvis dog bed we had for Willow and Berkeley and he started humping it.

There is something a bit disconcerting about a 9 week old puppy humping a dog bed. I reached over and grabbed his collar.

"Jam, NO!" Then I dragged him away with him struggling to get back to that AMAZING DOG BED!!! Fred claimed it was AMAZING because it contained Berkeley's scent from when she was in heat. OK. I'll buy that. Pretty much, I'm the most gullible person in any room. I will buy almost anything anyone is selling.

Then we went to introduce Jam to Fred's yoga teachers. (I say Fred's because I'm not regular enough to claim them as my own! 8-)

Martha and her husband Claude would love it if we brought our puppies to yoga and could get them to sleep during a class. We've tried. Bingo was a washout. Berkeley had to be taken home. Yet, they still persist in being very open to the idea. They are so optimistic. Just what you want in a yoga teacher. Only seeing the good.

So we took little Jamster in to meet them and they were delighted. Then we let Jam down to walk around.

In the photo with Jam and Martha and Claude in the back ground there are some yoga pillows. Those are the pillows that are spread out throughout the room for people to use for corpse pose at the end of class to lie down on. When we let Jam down, the first thing he did was eyeball those pillows.

"Pillows!" In his tiny dog brain I think he equated them with a small dog bed.

And you know what dog bed means.

"JAM!!! NOOOOOO!!!!!" I run in slow motion as our 9 week old puppy puts the moves on a yoga pillow.

HUH HUH HUH! Jam is having fun.

I scoop him up.

"Oh, my!" Martha says in a very soft voice. Fred swoops in and takes the pillow and moves it way down the wall to the end of the room. I'm thinking, "Yeah, that pillow can't be far enough away!"

Do you see Fred holding Jam up? We can't afford to let his little humping feet touch the floor. Too many pillows to hump. I took Jam home after that photo.

I wondered if it was a pillow fetish. So I brought down 5 different pillows from my bed and set up my video camera and was going to create a video and do some training at the same time. Each time I put a pillow down Jam would sniff it and walk away.

Performance anxiety, I thought.

I turned the video camera off. Still nothing. It's only the Orvis bed upstairs and only when he comes out of his crate.

So then I suggested that Stephanie take Jam into work with her one morning in preparation for puppy sitting him in October when we go to New York to see friends. I brought over his diaper back and one toy: a stuffed duck, which he loves to distraction. There had never been any hint of inappropriate behavior between duck and dog up to this point.

Here he is on the way to work.

Jam didn't have a problem with the statue in Stephanie's office. They could almost be twins.

He doesn't have a fear of heights or railings either. Here he is looking out a two story window and watching the guys mowing the lawn. He was great in the glass elevator as well.

Here he is in the office and you can just catch a glimpse of duck in the background.

Stephanie had his coat off and had given him duck to calm him down as he was a bit crazy. He was playing and then all of a sudden:


"Oh my!" Stephanie thought.

As it turns out, we didn't know that duck had that appeal for Jam. Nor did we realize he would do it in public. But as Stephanie pointed out, his coat was off and it was in her office. That was some comfort.

The SEGD manual says that humping (they actually use the more delicate phrasing of mounting) is a problem behavior and ask that you contact your AC for advice. Our AC Judy said that removing the Orvis bed and correcting him when he attempts the behavior and then redirecting him was a good way to go for now. That he wasn't doing it often or in coat was good. She also suggested we talk with the new Puppy Dept. Field Representative, who is also a trainer, for more specific advice.

And as for duck. Well, we had to think about duck. Stephanie asked if we knew about his...fondness...for duck.

No. It was a complete surprise

She suggested a new name for duck and some leniency since it was the first time and he did have his coat off.

Since we will be supervising their playtime together, I suppose...he could keep...

Duck Buddy.

Friday, August 5, 2011

What JLo and Jam Have in Common

We've been having a problem with Jam vomiting in the middle of the night. What seemed to work was a crate snack: a snack given just before bedtime. But right before we went in for our flu booster shot, Jam vomited again and he threw up all of the crate snack, mostly whole and undigested. At 2 am.

The vet put him on Pepcid AC twice a day and said to continue the crate snacks. That was Tuesday. That evening at obedience Judy, our AC, told us that perhaps another part of the problem was that Jam was eating too fast and not digesting his food. She recommended that we get some slow feeder bowls or put big rocks (or something he couldn't fit in his mouth and wasn't a toy) in his current bowl that he would have to eat around and would slow him down.

We had already changed to make him eat with Willow so that he would know not to charge her bowl after he was done with his. We had started feeding them separately, but realized it was better that they eat together. Just for fun, we got them each a JW skid stop slow feed bowl.

Jam usually finishes his meal in about 45 seconds. The first time we fed him with the new bowl it took him 4 MINUTES to finish his lunch!

Here he is waiting for us to put down the food in his new bowl.

I've been thinking a lot about Jam and his eating fast and being a service dog and being under such intense scrutiny. It's sort of like having the paparazzi always around. Just waiting for that unflattering photo to appear. Take the one above for instance. He's a little pear-shaped isn't he? We might even be talking about the beginnings of a booty.

Now, he hasn't jumped into JLo territory.

As you can see, poor JLo was caught showing some perfectly normal cellulite on her legs and the photo shows a substantial booty. Jam is quite a distance from a JLo booty and his fuzziness (as shown below) would certainly hide any unfortunately dimples.


But he is under pressure to perform. Just like JLo. Does he feel the pressure? Is that part of his problem? At night when I hand feed him to get him to eat slowly, he sits very patiently and waits for each bite. He watches to see if my hand will go back up for more food, but he doesn't ever whine or act anxious or greedy.

But when he sleeps he lets it all hang out.

JLo wouldn't do that.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Swimming at Stephanie's

On Sunday we were invited to swim at Stephanie's house.

Willow is huge on swimming. I think that next to a frisbee, which we can't play when the puppy is around, pools are her favorite thing. Willow was in and out and swimming so much we made her sit on the step and cool down. Here she is with Stephanie taking a cool down break.

Jam was not so sure about the swimming, so we had to hold him and walk him into the pool. He didn't want to walk in by himself. Here Fred is holding him as he watches Willow swim by. Watching Willow was key (and being told to "man up!" by Stephanie 8-) as he became piqued and decided to give it the old Jammy try.

Fred starts to initiate the swim off. Jam seems willing.

And he's off! He swims to Stephanie, he swims to Nancy, he swims back to Fred and then he catches sight of the steps and says, "You people are nuts and I am out of here!"

He swims to the steps and gets out.

Willow jumped back in and started swimming. Jam shook his head and walked away. The mulched needed chewing. Perhaps he should go see to that...