Jan. 13th, 2011

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Another day, the end of which is leaving me feeling very exhausted and drained, yet satisfied at the same time. Wake-up, park/feed/water and park, obedience and human breakfast this morning all went without any real incident to speak of. I was prepared for some resistance in obedience, Dalton not knowing me from anyone at this point and the two of us being together for such short a time, but he did amazingly well. There were a few times I had to correct, I think, but nothing major at all. The ride in the van to White Plains was also very smooth, Dalton first sitting and then lying down quietly on the floor at my feet. I'm finding myself having to get used to his extra length as far as certain things are concerned, (placement, room for him, etc), but it will all come easier with time.

I had to wait a bit for my first walk with Dalton as I was the last of the three ACTION students to go out. That reminds me: I had wanted to mention previously that there are three ACTION students. When I went through the program the first time, there were only two, and apparently three only happens occasionally. Onto my first walk: it was really awesome! I had forgotten how fast I usually walk with LivDog slowing down. (I still love you, LivDog, don't worry!). I will say that wearing very high snow boots is not conducive to fast walking, even though my feet are warm. I am going to try wearing my sneakers tomorrow and putting yak tracks on the bottom of them if it turns out I need that. Very few corrections were needed on the walk, and he responded well to me, (I thought, anyway), even with the trainer's support leash still on him. Oh, another tidbit about this morning: I was sitting in the lobby with Dalton under my chair, waiting to load up into the vans, when I noticed he made a mad dash out from under where he was nicely positioned and into the aisleway. Only then did I realize Graham had come into the picture. After I got him repositioned, which took some effort, he then proceeded to start whining pretty emphatically. It turns out Dalton is hugely attached to his trainer, apparently.

Back to my first walk: Dalton's gait is more similar to a prance. He apparently does lift his feet up high and also holds his head up, like a pony. (My instructor mentioned that at first, not me!). That description isn't really all that far off, though, the more I think about it. Pony..dog...same difference! He is very tall and does have length on him. Said height is very conducive to finding doorknobs, as I found out on my second walk later in the afternoon. That walk, too, went well. The support leash came off during that one, and Dalton's response was still very similar. There were again a few errors, although sometimes I think it was more to do with me than with him. (I'm used to saying "straight" when in the street, but that has now been eliminated, and "to the curb" is used instead. There are other little things that have changed both in harness work and out that I am having to get used to). We're both learning each other, though, so it's naturally to be expected. It was on that walk that, as I said, Dalton's height played into finding doorknobs. We were back at the lounge, and I praised and treated Dalton for taking me up to the door. He had put his head near the doorknob at first, and, seeing that he got a treat when it was done the first time, continued to bop the doorknob with his nose at least one or two more times on his own, with no initiative from me. Silly dog! Smart, though, definitely! All in all, I really love to work him and have fun doing it, which is why all dog users are in this, is it not?

Upon coming back to Yorktown, we fed/watered/parked the dogs again, which went without incident. Dinner was next, which didn't go as smoothly. Dalton was very restless and would continualy get up as soon as I had him down many times. I was persistent about the behavior that I wanted, (or at least tried to be), and again, I know things will smooth out in time. Given that this was the first full day together, we're doing fine. He seems a little stressed, though, and so I'm trying to be as positive as I can be for him to make it easier and to associate me with good things. Perhaps playtime on Sunday will help in this regard. He likes his crate, so that's at least something that will help in the meantime. We were also given Nylabones after lecture, which took place after dinner, and he did chew on his for awhile in his crate. While I was in the shower and he in his crate, I was originally going to put Animal Planet on for him, but when I switched it on, I couldn't really tell what it was, (rats were mentioned, but I don't know if they were talking about domesticated or non; I don't want him to watch something that might not be nice!), and so I chose to leave him with classical music instead, which he seemed to like. We also had cuddle time on the floor earlier. I really hope that I can have contact with his puppy raisers and get tips from them. Not only that, I just like having contact with the raisers in general. They are an instrumental part of the whole process.

Both evening park times were fine. That brings me to now, sitting here writing this. I am pretty exhausted, and so want to get to bed sooner rather than later. A continued thank-you to everyone who has read and commented, either on the actual journal or on Facebook. I know I haven't commented back, but do know that it's more than appreciated. I definitely read everything, regardless! If anyone has any questions or would like more details about one thing or another that I either write about or don't, please do not hesitate to ask/tell me that. I'm happy to answer any questions to the best of my ability. I posted a picture of Dalton on Facebook; I should figure out how to upload it to LJ. I'm not sure if I'm forgetting anything that I wanted to put in, but if I think of something I forgot, I'll add it in tomorrow. Apologies for any typos or anything. Until then...

PS: I forgot to mention the food menu and so had to come back and post. Breakfast was eggs and toast and cereal, the last of which I ended up taking back to my room as I was too full. To drink I had coffee. I believe that the main choice was French toast. Lunch was BLT's and mushroom barley soup. I opted for a ham and cheese sandwich, chips and iced tea, but ended up with grape juice instead as there was no iced tea. Dinner was roast beef, mashed potatoes and broccoli. I had everything, save the broccoli, which I swapped for string beans. (I would have eaten the broccoli if it didn't have flower parts on it; I actually said I would eat it if it weren't for that - I don't really like those!). I had iced tea to drink again. For breakfast tomorrow is a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich, which I did choose to eat. Alright, I think that covers everything... So much to remember! I'm off to bed now. So tired...


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January 2012

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