Sacto and CFR Meeting

At Sacramento Fun Day today, I intended to take lots of photos of lots of cute doggies. But somehow, I didn't quite get around to it. It was really hot and dusty, and I think I was sort of preoccupied and out of it. Here are a few that I did manage to take, though.

Cabana and Poppy telling secrets. I hope Poppy is telling Cabana about the joys of "womanhood", now that Poppy went into season a few weeks ago. Poppy's raiser says that she has mellowed out a ton after going into season--I'm looking forward to seeing if that will be the case for Cabana.

This adorable little puppy is named Rosetta. I asked a lot of other people what their dogs' names were, but I'll be darned if I can remember any of them.

And here's a working German shepherd. His partner said he weighs 92 pounds. That's almost twice Cabana's size. Imagine getting on an airplane with this big fella!!

I got a mixed review on Cabana after meeting with Celeste, our CFR. Unfortunately, I got lost on my way to Sacramento and ended up being 30 minutes late (I drove by myself because my family had other commitments). I was worried because I had a bunch of shirts to sell in the back of my car. When I found the right location, I parked illegally for a few minutes so I could unload my car. A new raiser-to-be came to help me unload my car, and he offered to take Cabana. I wasn't sure how far away I'd need to park, and I knew Cabana probably needed to pee. So I let him take Cabana while I went to park my car. I did warn him that Cabana was a toughie--but heck, even a seasoned raiser would have had a hard time with Cabana at that point.

It was a big mistake on my part. Cabana was, of course, extremely excited by all the other dogs there, being handled by a new person, and being let out of the car after a 2 hour ride. She made a pretty embarrassing spectacle of herself, jumping and going bonkers. The poor new raiser--I hope Cabana didn't scare him off.

It turned out that Celeste was watching Cabana's horrendous behavior! Later, when Cabana and I went to meet with her, Celeste said, "Was this the dog that was going crazy on the field earlier today?" Oh boy, talk about a bad impression. Then, Celeste took Cabana's leash and walked her over to some chickens in a pen. Cabana resisted getting close to the chickens, and Celeste said that Cabana was acting fearful. Cabana was also panting and acting very stressed (which I think was from a variety of other reasons, not so much because of the chickens themselves).

Then, Celeste removed Cabana's head collar and tried to walk her with just the flat collar. After giving a strong correction, Cabana started coughing. Celeste said that this "collar cough" can possibly result in career change.

Celeste said that she knows some of Cabana's siblings and said they are all very high energy. Let me tell you, Celeste KNOWS her dogs. She remembered Cabana from our meeting several months ago, and she even remembered Cabana's exact birthdate! I was impressed.

On the up side, Celeste said that Cabana had improved greatly since our last meeting and that I should continue to do what I've been doing. That was a bit encouraging, at least.

Tonight, I keep telling myself that I can only do what I can do. The rest is just not up to me. Cabana is the dog she is, and she is a wonderful dog. But she can't help it if she likes people and dogs a LOT, or if she's a little afraid of chickens, or coughs when her collar gets pulled. About an hour after our meeting with Celeste, I walked over to those same chickens with Cabana, and she wasn't afraid at all. She went right up to them and acted completely appropriately, no aggression or excitement, just watching--which shows that no matter how many chickens I take her to see in the next few months, I still won't know how she's going to respond when someone else puts her in front of a chicken. It's out of my control--and that's the HARDEST part of this whole puppy raising adventure! (Or maybe just one of the hardest parts, since I'm sure turning Cabana back in won't be a bowl of cherries either.)

Becky  – (September 20, 2009 at 6:58 AM)  

I read this and am reminded again how incredible you puppy raisers are! Wow ... sounds like quite a day! Cabana is so adorable.

Maddie, Gabrina (IFT), and Betsy (PIT)  – (September 20, 2009 at 8:44 AM)  

Sounds like you had quite the day. Hopefully Cabana won't get career changed for collar cough. It looks like Gabrina is in the same boat. And it doens't make any sense to me. I thought every dog coughed when corrected that hard. Gabrina acted the same way when she was handled by someone else. When it was someone she knew didn't know what they were doing she acted horrible. And when it was someone who knew what they were doing she acted fearful. I wouldn't worry too much about it. When she gets into training they have lots of time for her to trust her handlers and act like the wonderful dog she is!

Kate Richardson  – (September 20, 2009 at 9:51 AM)  

I know that as puppy raisers, it can be really tough to see your dog acting less than perfect. I'm raising my 6th puppy is part of the special F-Litter (Christine's pups) that you may have heard about. He and his brother are about as "perfect" as I've seen pups in training to be. My past five pups, however, have been a different story. Watching someone else work the dog that you're used to working can be a trip, to say the least.

The first time that I had a dog evaluated was at the mall. I had a huge black lab named Yamaha who decided that he was going to poop right in the middle of our evaluation. Out of embarrassment and nervousness I over-corrected the poor guy and sent him over onto his back. My Advisor was wonderful about the whole thing and I haven't been nervous about it ever since!

Your "what's going to happen is going to happen" attitude is the perfect thing to keep in mind during days like that. It's pretty much impossible to have a perfect day with your pup when you've both had as big a day as you already had! Keep up the great attitude and Cabana will do great. I've seen dogs go on to be Guides that I (and most of the rest of my group) thought wouldn't even make very good pets!! The people at Guide Dogs know what they're doing. And so do you, even when it doesn't feel like it!

Poppy The Puppy  – (September 20, 2009 at 12:27 PM)  

Well, since I am heading to that new raiser's house this afternoon for a home check, I'm pretty sure Cabana didn't scare them off! But, remember to some moments a little later than their initial romp across the grass... Cabana did GREAT with the new family! She was composed and controlled in a situation where she could have TOTALLY taken advantage of people! I was impressed with how easily they could handle both our wild girls! They even took her into the museum by themselves (along with the rest of our puppies) without any of us with them for support. So, Cabana did no scaring off and actually, did really well in the situation overall.

I don't think that Cabana was stressed or fearful of the chickens. I think she was stressed overall and unsure of what was expected of her while near the chickens. She was handed off a LOT yesterday! And when you are a smart cookie, like Cabana, there is a lot of thinking that goes on as to who expects what out of you. Stress and fear are different.

But, Celeste did see Cabana's improvement and commented on her increased self control! Those are great things for Cabana!

You are 100% right - we can only work with the dogs we are given. We cannot force these guys to all be guides (much like you can't force both your girls to be doctors or lawyers). 17 puppies in, I still avoiding judging how my pups are doing to end up. My last, if I were the speculating type, I would have guessed he was graduating, with no question. But, he didn't. My last yellow, I would have NEVER expected to find work, despite being a dog who needs a job (he's a busy body). He's a hearing dog. Cabana will find her niche. And you are doing a fantastic job of supporting her along the way!

Lisa and Ellie  – (September 20, 2009 at 12:44 PM)  

I like your attitude about the whole thing. Cabana's been making huge strides and you can be very proud of that. We all have those embarrassing moments. Doesn't make the moment any less embarrassing though. Good luck - keep up the great work!

mariahleadme  – (September 20, 2009 at 2:02 PM)  

"Knew some of Cabanas siblings, and they are all very high energy".

The puppy club we are now raising a puppy for had the sister of my wifes Guide as a pup. They told us that Ramona as a pup was a handful, and after watching Roanna a few times definitely saw the likeness of her sister in her.

Its funny----when my wife went to Boring for her new Guide and was matched with Roanna, she missed Ramona who was in the class the month before. It would have been interesting to have a pup raised by the local club "come home" as a working Guide. But, since we are now involved in raising Guides, maybe someday we will end up raising a pup that my wife will be matched with when she needs a new Guide. Ya never know...........

Taelor and Pilaf  – (September 20, 2009 at 10:02 PM)  

Hope that the Sacto fun day went well! I live about 5 minutes away from Old Sac, but I couldn't go because all of the drivers in my house had to work that day. D=

Celeste is amazing, isn't she? I really enjoy just talking to her, and gleaning all of the knowledge from her that I can! She is really inspirational. And not only does she train guide dogs, she trains search and rescue dogs!

Yeah, she told us about the collar cough/ soft trachea thing at our last evaluation. Hopefully it was just a one time thing! =D

Taelor and Pilaf  – (September 20, 2009 at 10:05 PM)  

Oh, and just answering you, Maddie, the cough thing is a problem because of the way the harness presses into their neck area. If they cough when given a correction, then it is a sign of a soft trachea. If a dog has a soft trachea, then it is difficult/ painful for them to pull into a harness.

Ally, Teddy and Kira  – (September 22, 2009 at 8:18 AM)  

A trachea issue is no fun! One of my favorite GDB dogs was cc'ed for a soft trach and Loden was in a headcollar exclussively as an attempt to let his trachea heal itself. (It was S shaped in early x-rays and was believed to be one of the sources of his cough) Some dogs are still able to graduate and work long careers as guides even with a slight cough from collar pressure.

You and Cabana are doing amazing, keep up the good work and we're all following your progress closely and rooting for you! She'll end up where she wants to be, your job is to help her get there, whether that's as a guide or a pet. You are both in my thoughts and I love seeing your progress! :-D

Katlynn, DeSoto, Focus, and Ryder  – (September 22, 2009 at 6:00 PM)  

I went to the sacramento Fund Day 3 years ago and had a blast! Yes Celeste does know her dogs! I raised Focus Cabana`s half sister and he was a handful as well, I hope after Cabana if you get another puppy you get a clam and loving one like Ryder, because after a dog like Focus and Cabana it is very nice to have a dog that does not need walking daily.

Anonymous –   – (September 24, 2009 at 2:39 PM)  

I really admire what you are doing and sympathize with you.

PuppyDog is just our pet, we aren't raising him to work like you are Cabana. But still it's amazing how you can feel embarrassed like the parent of naughty child when your doggie isn't behaving.

Still, seeing dogs who can jump and play is a wonderful thing. There is nothing so heartwarming as a puppy having fun!

Keep up the amazing work,


Mary  – (September 27, 2009 at 10:30 AM)  

Thanks so much for posting the photo of the German Shepherd Guide. His name is Sanders and I was his puppy raiser. He and his partner met us at the Sacramento train station and we spent the day together. Seeing him with his partner in action really makes doing this so worth while! I was so busy talking I totally forgot to take pictures so it's nice to see one :-)

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