Monday, September 22, 2008

Owner and Guide Dog Take Rewarding Path

Check out an article written by alumna Deborah Kendrick entitled: Owner and Guide Dog Take Rewarding Path published on Independence Today's website. Deborah's an experienced Guide Dog user and an award-winning writer, author, and poet.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Faraja Update

by Judy Toole

Remember reading about Faraja – one of the fabulously famous F litter pups? I have the joy of raising him, and I can tell you, he is a wonderfully delightful puppy. He's my 10th, and so far, it's hard to tell if he's going to be a relatively "easy" one because of the home raising. He was described in the blog as the one that liked to sit back and observe but is also quite capable of entering into whatever activity is going on. So far, he's quite self-confident. He's been very easy to leash train and house break.

Of course, I was interested in his unusual name, so I checked on-line through Google and found that it is a lovely Swahili word that means "comfort." Well, he not only likes to give comfort, but he also likes to be comfortable, and his favorite resting position is snuggled next to my Career Change Lab, Cobalt. Faraja absolutely adores her and even accepts "motherly corrections" from her. They play supervised tug games every day with each other and me. I can see Faraja watching Cobalt and copying some of her behaviors. As I teach Faraja to "sit," "down," and "wait" for food, I can see him watch Cobalt obey the same commands and copy her.

Faraja sees my Ragdoll cat comfortably ensconced on my sofa, chairs and bed, and can't understand why he can't cuddle with the cat the way he does with Cobalt--or at least enjoy the same furniture privileges. I've never had a puppy of this age even try, let alone succeed, in getting up on my very high four-poster-bed. (Even I need a footstool.) I've caught him twice on my bed but never actually in the act of getting onto the bed -- I'm not sure how he does that. I did have the camera close by the first time and captured the moment before I removed him from the bed. Now I'm watching for the behavior so I can correct it immediately.

Now that he's had his 12-week shots, we're getting out a bit more and Faraja is having to learn that he can't interact with other dogs without my permission. He's also learning the same lesson with humans (adults and children). He's not happy to be given these restrictions, but we've bonded nicely and he's also very eager to please me.

He had a play date with Clifford, a 5-month-old Guide Dog pup being raised by a neighbor. They played very nicely together under my supervision and then were able to just "hang out" in the same room for a few minutes. A few days later at our club meeting, both dogs appropriately demonstrated their "working" behavior.

As Faraja develops, it will be interesting to trace his progress. Stay tuned. Check out an album of Faraja's photos, too! Wonder what his siblings are up to???

Monday, September 1, 2008

Video Synopsis of Fun Day 2008

Check out this video taken during the Fun Day celebrations on our Oregon and California campuses.