Tuesday, November 30, 2010

SSD Peach Pie is thankful for volunteers who travel

Some of our puppies travel a long way to become part of Susquehanna Service Dogs. We have relationships with service and guide dog organizations across the continent, and we often give and receive puppies. For example, SSD Pearl, the mother of the Gemstones litter, came to us from Pacific Assistance Dog Society, and when the Gemstones were born, little Amber went to PADS.

We have also received puppies from other organizations. In fact, our newest addition comes from Guide Dogs of Texas - but you'll have to wait until tomorrow to read about her!

SSD Peach Pie is another dog who came from PADS. This holiday season, she is thankful for the volunteers who donate their time to escort service dogs across the continent. In July, when little Peach Pie needed to fly from PADS in Vancouver to SSD in Harrisburg, PA, she was carried in the arms of a wonderful volunteer from U.S. Airways. Peach Pie is very thankful for this volunteer, who donated his time to fly her across the country.

Peach Pie also gives thanks for all of the volunteers who have driven to other states to pick up puppies. SSD Nubble, Dandelion, Daisy and many others may not have become a part of SSD without these wonderful volunteers.

Thank you so much for your time and dedication!

And we promise to tell you more about our new puppy tomorrow!

Monday, November 29, 2010

SSD Midge Gives Thanks for our Wonderful Vet!

Most of our dogs-in-training agree that going to the vet is not nearly as scary as it seems. We are very lucky to have wonderful veterinarians at the Palmyra Animal Clinic to take care of our service dogs-in-training. Everyone is so friendly, and they always let the dogs know how much they love them. Thank you for everything you do for us!

This holiday season, SSD Midge is especially thankful for veterinarian services. She went into heat in the middle of November, and she went to a vet in the Philadelphia area today to be bred. She was the mother of the Rock and Roll Stars litter, born in May 2010, and if everything goes well, she could become a mother again! This means that she'll be making lots of trips to the vet. Before she was bred, she went to the vet every day for tests to figure out the best time to breed her.

Several weeks after she's bred, she'll return to the vet for an ultrasound to see if she's pregnant. Then when her puppies are born, the vet will take care of them, too, giving them their shots and making sure they're healthy. With so many vet visits, Midge appreciates the loving and gentle care she gets.

Midge asks you to consider donating to SSD so she and her future puppies can get the proper veterinary care. Your $10 donation will help Midge and her future puppies live long, healthy lives as service dogs.

Donate now to care for Midge and her future puppies.

Thank you for your continued support for SSD Midge, her future puppies and the rest of us at SSD! We will keep you posted about Midge and her puppies. If she's pregnant, you will be one of the first to know!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

SSD Sonora is thankful for kennel maintenance

Is there anything better than snuggling in bed or on the couch on a cold winter day? SSD Sonora doesn't think so! When she was in the kennel for advanced training, she loved to snuggle on the bed with her kennelmate. Even though her run had two beds, she still loved to curl up with her kennelmate on the same bed.

Although she is now a working service dog who now snuggles with her partner, she is thankful for everyone who helps maintain the kennel for the dogs in advanced training. We have a wonderful staff person who cleans the kennel runs every day, and Sonora would like to add, gives the dogs peanut butter bones! The runs and the training room are kept nice and clean so they are a pleasant place to live and work.

Once a year, we spend an entire weekend cleaning the kennel from top to bottom until the kennel sparkles. A group of volunteers help us clean windows and doors, patch any rusty areas, clean and paint the training room, remove dead trees from the field where the dogs run and play, and repair fences. Last year we had over thirty volunteers helping us fix up the kennel! With their help, we were able to completely redo the fence in the field.

Sonora would like to thank everyone who kept the kennel clean and warm while she was in advance training. She's sure the dogs currently in advance training appreciate it, too!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

SSD Shamrock is thankful for puppy sitters

SSD Shamrock is thankful for puppy sitters. When his puppy raiser family went on vacation, he stayed with a puppy sitter, and he had a blast playing with new toys and meeting new people!

Our puppy sitters are a group of volunteers who take care of the dogs-in-training when their puppy raisers go on vacation or are otherwise unable to care for the dogs. Puppy sitters receive training so they understand our training methods and expectations for the dogs-in-training.

Some of our volunteers start as puppy sitters and later decide to become puppy raisers. But whether they decide to become puppy raisers or not, our puppy sitters are very valuable. Not only do they give the puppy raisers a break, but they also help the dogs-in-training experience another home with a different routine. When the dogs become working service dogs, they'll have to get used to a new routine with their new partner, and they'll also need to be able to adapt quickly when their environment changes.

Plus, the dogs usually have a lot of fun when they're with a puppy sitter!

Shamrock and the rest of us at SSD would like to thank all of our puppy sitters for helping us care for and raise the puppies! We would not be the same organization without you!

We're sure you have stories of the times you have watched a dog for a friend, family member or neighbor. We would love to read them! Please share your stories in the comments.

Friday, November 26, 2010

SSD Grace is thankful for puppy raisers

Today is one of the biggest shopping days of the year, and SSD Grace is hoping her puppy raiser brings her some presents!

Grace is one of the Rock and Roll Stars puppies, and she is currently living with her puppy raiser, learning how to be a service dog. This holiday season, Grace would like to give thanks for all of SSD's wonderful puppy raisers!

Puppy raisers are volunteers who welcome a puppy into their lives for 18 months. They train the puppy in basic obedience and good house manners, and they take the puppy out in public to many different places so the puppy gains new experiences and learns to give behaviors regardless of what environment it is in.

One of the most important things a puppy raiser teaches a puppy is self control. The puppy must be able to walk in a controlled manner beside its handler, greet other dogs and people calmly, and ignore food and other interesting objects in the environment.

All of our puppy raisers attend Puppy Class two to three times a month, where they learn new skills and behaviors to practice with their dog. Grace loves going to Puppy Class, where she can demonstrate her progress and see her brothers and the other dogs. Watch a video of Grace learning how to "heel":

In addition to training, puppy raisers provide food, toys, and best of all, lots of love! Grace would like to thank each one of our puppy raisers for their dedication and love. She and the other puppies wouldn't be able to become service dogs without you!

If you've ever raised a puppy, whether it's a service dog, guide dog or a beloved pet, share your favorite puppy experience in the comments.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

SSD Taz Is Thankful for Puppy Huggers

Young puppies are like sponges. They soak up new information and experiences. The things they learn when they are young set the stage for the rest of their careers as service dogs-in-training.

SSD Taz is thankful for the volunteer puppy huggers who visited him and his brothers and sisters when they were young puppies. These volunteers helped teach Taz that people are friendly and not something to be feared. He got lots of hugs!

But puppy huggers do more than just hug and play with the puppies. Puppy huggers also handle the puppies so the pups get used to having all parts of their body touched - ears, mouth, paws, body. It's important for service dogs to be comfortable being handled. When they're paired with a partner, the dogs need to be comfortable having their ears and teeth checked and cleaned and their nails clipped. A dog that pulls his paws away or nips at a person's hands may injure their partner.

Once the puppies go to the kennel for a week before they join their puppy raisers, puppy huggers visit to work with the puppies. Puppy huggers begin to teach the puppies loose leash walking, which is one of the most important things a service dog learns. Loose leash walking is all about self control. The dog walks nicely next to its handler with the leash nice and loose and doesn't lunge toward interesting smells, food, people, other dogs or any other distractions. Watch a video of Taz walking on a leash at the kennel with a puppy hugger.

Puppy huggers also helped Taz learn good crate behavior. They would put him in a small crate and close the door. Once he was quiet for several minutes, they let him out. This may be one of the most difficult things puppy huggers do. Some of the puppies bark and whine to be let out of the crate, but puppy huggers must ignore them until they're quiet - a difficult thing to do when our instinct is to comfort a whining puppy!

Taz is very thankful for all of the puppy huggers who helped start his training! Now, he and the other Gemstones puppies are almost five months old and are training with their puppy raisers, who will train they until they're 18 months old. On Friday, SSD Grace will tell you all about our puppy raisers and why she's so thankful for everything they do!

SSD Taz and the rest of us at Susquehanna Service Dogs wish you a very happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

SSD Graham Gives Thanks for Food

We don't know about you, but food is one of our favorite things about Thanksgiving, and we're pretty sure the service dogs-in-training agree! Although they don't get to eat turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie, they love the food they do get.

SSD Graham Cracker is especially thankful for food this Thanksgiving. Graham is one of the dogs in advanced training, and he gets two meals a day, plus peanut butter bones and training treats while he's practicing his service dog skills. While the dogs are in advanced training, they eat food that is designed to build strong muscles and bones, especially joints, so the dogs are as healthy as they can be. Graham and his kennelmates are thankful that they get such healthy meals because it gives them energy and strength to open doors, pull a wheelchair or search for a child.

This Thanksgiving, SSD Graham asks you to consider donating to SSD so he and his kennelmates have plenty to eat while they're learning how to change lives. At any given time, there are eight to ten dogs living at the kennel for advanced training. Your $10 donation will feed one dog for a week.

Donate now to feed a service dog-in-training.

Thank you for helping to feed the dogs! SSD Graham and the rest of us at SSD wish you a very happy Thanksgiving filled with food, family and friends!

Monday, November 22, 2010

'Tis the Season for Giving Thanks

'Tis the season for giving thanks! With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we started thinking about all of the things we have to be thankful for. You, our volunteers and our donors are at the top of our list! Thank you so much for your support, dedication and generosity. You make it possible for us to continue training service dogs to change lives!

SSD Gnat is thankful for everyone who donated space to Susquehanna Service Dogs for Team Training. Gnat was paired with his partner and went through Team Training in February this year. He and his partner learned how to work as a team at the Dauphin County Conservation District (DCCD). The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture generously donated the space at the DCCD so that the service dogs and their partners can bond and practice their skills before going out in public for the first time together. Watch the video of how well Gnat and his new partner bond when they first meet at the DCCD!

After several days of working together at the DCCD, SSD Gnat and his partner were ready to practice their skills in public. Thank you to the Colonial Park Mall, the Harrisburg Mall and the Whitaker Center for letting SSD Gnat and his partner and all of the other service dogs and their partners use your facilities to practice working together!

SSD Gnat and his partner took the public access test at the Colonial Park Mall, and now Gnat goes everywhere with his partner, opening doors and retrieving items. He has heard her say that having a service dog has given her her life back.

Please consider making a donation to support service dogs-in-training. You can help change a life, just like SSD Gnat changed his partner's life.

Donate now.

Thank you for your continued support! There are so many things to be thankful for this year. What are you thankful for? Please share your stories in the comments.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Nubble Keeps Learning

Nubble's puppy raiser has so much fun with him. Donna loves the cue "visit"where Nubble puts his head in her hand or lap. He just looks so sweet when he does it. Two weeks ago, Nubble was sitting next to Donna on the couch, and Donna asked him to "visit." He rested his nose on her shoulder and looked at her. "My heart was warmed straight through," said Donna.

Donna has also been working on the cue "lap" with Nubble. "Lap" means that the dog puts its front legs on the person's lap from the side. This has been a challenging behavior for Nubble, but the light bulb seemed to go off in puppy class last week. Donna sat in a chair so her knees were touching the wall, so that Nubble would have no choice but to approach her from the side. The first time Donna asked Nubble for "lap" by patting her knees, Nubble tried to "visit." When he didn't get clicked for that, he started trying many different behaviors - he tried going around behind Donna, he put his paws on the heater that was against the wall, and he even jumped right over Donna's lap! Finally, he put his paws on Donna's lap. Now she just needs to work on getting him to put his legs flat on her lap. But he seems to be getting the idea! Great job!

When the puppies are young, they sleep in their crate at night. As the dogs get older, they may not need to sleep in the crate anymore. Donna has been letting Nubble sleep outside of his crate, and there have been a few nights when he made it all the way through the night without having to be put in his crate. When he sleeps outside of the crate, he usually curls up on the couch or on the floor at Donna's feet. Sometimes he'll go into Gizzy's crate and start snoring. He seems to limit himself to a few locations for sleeping, and he's very well behaved.

Although he's generally very well behaved, he does have his moments. Donna works very hard to manage Nubble's environment so there aren't too many temptations and opportunities for him to get into mischief. She sets him up to be successful. Sometimes, though, dogs still manage to get into mischief. The other day, Nubble swiped an entire loaf of bread off the kitchen table! It was a specialty loaf, so it was too long to fit where Donna keeps the regular bread. She put it in the middle of the kitchen table so Nubble wouldn't be able to grab it. She had just left the room for a short time when she heard an odd noise. She had a feeling Nubble was up to something, and sure enough, he had grabbed the bread off the table! As soon as he saw her, he picked up the half loaf that he hadn't scarfed down yet and hid behind the couch.

He also chewed a book. Donna had left the book on the couch and although was in the same room with him at the time, but she thought he was chewing on one of his toys. The book survived with only a few teeth marks in the corners. Luckily it wasn't a library book! "I am considering this a 'lesson learned' for me," said Donna. "I still need to be diligent about his surroundings so he isn't tempted to get into mischief."

Nubble is making progress in his training. Donna is working with him to help him realize that he has back feet. (Dogs don't often realize they have back feet that they can move and control.) To teach him, Donna has been shaping him to put all four feet in a box. The box is big enough for him to fit in, but he has to lift his legs to do it. First, Nubble touched his nose to the box. Then he tried to bite it. Eventually, he started putting his front feet inside it. Because the back feet were more challenging, Donna watched carefully and clicked for any movement by his back feet. At first, she didn't realize that he was picking up his front feet at the same time his back feet were moving, so they had to backtrack a little bit so Nubble would understand that he only needed to move his back feet. Now, he puts all four feet in the box! Each time Donna and Nubble practice this exercise, they have to backtrack a little bit, but Nubble soon gets it again. (A funny thing happened the first few times they were working on the box. Gizzy, the family pet, was watching Nubble try to figure out what he was supposed to do. She walked over to the box, hopped right in, and looked back and forth between Nubble and Donna as if to say, "What was so hard about that?")

Donna has also continued to work on stairs. Nubble is now walking down the stairs quite nicely. He still wants to rush up the stairs, but it's nothing like it used to be. This past week, Donna tried something new. She had Nubble stay at the bottom of the stairs while she walked halfway up. Then she called him. With her waiting in the middle of the stairs, Nubble couldn't rush all the way to the top. He had to stop. Then Donna would have him stay while she went the rest of the way up. She would call him again. Her goal with this exercise was to help Nubble understand that he can stop and start again while he's still on the stairs. At first, she had tried this exercise with Nubble on leash walking next to her. However, when they stopped halfway up, Nubble would turn around to look at her, and then when they started moving again, he would walk up the stairs backwards! Looking back, Donna remembers that there was a time when he wouldn't even go up or down the stairs. He is definitely making progress!

On Saturday, Donna had a birthday party for Lindsey, who turned sixteen this week. Happy birthday, Lindsey! Donna has a large family, and this was the first time she had everyone over while she has Nubble. Because he doesn't have a good sense of personal space, she was worried that he might continually bump into people, especially Lindsey's grandmother. When her grandmother arrived, Nubble was on leash and he stayed very calm while she greeted him. Donna let him off leash as more family arrived, and he did very well greeting everyone. While they ate, Donna asked him to go to his crate, and he stayed there nicely with the door open. Since it was a gorgeous day, everyone went outside. Nubble ran around the yard for a little while with Donna's nieces and nephews. Before they all started playing together, Donna explained to her nieces and nephews what she expected of Nubble and how they could help her keep Nubble from getting too rambunctious. It was a great experience for Nubble. At one point, he ran over to Lindsey's grandmother, who was sitting in a chair outside, but he stopped short of crashing into her and just stood there and wagged his tail. Good boy!

Some of the family started a football game, and Donna realized this would be a great training experience for Nubble. No, he didn't play football. He stayed on the sidelines and watched. Donna used the comfort trainer, and although Nubble lunged the first few times the football was thrown, he soon realized that he wasn't allowed to play in the game and sat calmly at Donna's side. "It was great seeing him choose to look at me instead of the game," said Donna. "At one point, Gizzy ran into the game, and Nubble thought he could join in, but then he changed him mind."

Nubble did great during the entire party. While Lindsey opened her presents, he went over and rested his head in her lap. All in all, it was a wonderful day of learning for him!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Meet SSD Taz

Meet Taz! Taz is one of the Gemstones, born on July 4, 2010. As a puppy, he was just a little pale yellow ball of fur, but he sure is growing up. He weights well over 30 pounds already!

He has learned several cues, including sit, stay and down. He also walks nicely on a loose leash most of the time.

Although Taz is growing up, he is still a puppy. He loves to eat paper, and he likes to be up on the furniture. His puppy raiser, Kelly, is working with him to teach him that he can only be on the furniture when he's invited up.

Taz loves his puppy raisers, Kelly and Nicole. He loves them so much, that he has started to bark and get a little aggressive when other people or dogs approach Kelly. She had been avoiding other dogs because Taz would start to get so upset. For example, if she saw another dog when they were taking a walk, she would take Taz in the opposite direction and they would go around. However, service dogs need to be calm and controlled around other people and dogs, so his puppy raisers talked to our trainers. Now when they go for walks, Kelly is going to try just moving Taz to the other side of the street so that he can see the other dogs and know that they aren't going to do anything to him or his puppy raiser.

He has gone on several public outings, including Zoo America, Pumpkinfest, the Ghosts of Gettysburg tour, Target and Olive Garden. In restaurants, they are working on laying quietly on the floor and not trying to get at the table. Taz also went to the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Harrisburg. On the Walk, he had to go across the Walnut Street walking bridge. The bridge has a concrete sidewalk down one side and the other side is a grate. Taz walked on the grate for a little while, but his paws go through the holes, so they moved to the sidewalk. There were other dogs on the Walk, but Taz did great and ignored them! Great job, Taz!

When they went to Rutters, Kelly only took him inside for a few minutes so he could get used to the idea that he needs to pay attention to her and not sniff the food on the shelves or eat anything on the floor. This is a challenging place, and the short outings help set him up for success.

Taz went Trick or Treating! He and Nicole both dressed as devils. Trick or treating is a great time to work on "leave it," because of all the candy, especially candy in the street. However, Taz wasn't interested in the candy. No, he kept trying to eat cigarette butts. Kelly has been working with him so he realizes that he can't have them. She's using the same technique that we use to train "leave it" with kibble. She holds the cigarette butt in a closed fist, and when Taz stops trying to get it and looks at her, she clicks and treats with food from her treat pouch. It's going well so far.

He enjoys retrieving, especially socks. He has a non stuffed toy that he chase and bring back. However, when he gets something he knows he shouldn't have, he plays keep away and runs behind Kelly's big red chair.

Taz is still a puppy, but he's learning fast. We can't wait to watch him grow and learn to become a service dog!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Onyx Is Full of Surprises

SSD Onyx is full of surprises. On Halloween, she was down in Fredericksburg with her puppy raiser, Carol, to lead a ghost tour. When they arrived, Carol debated whether to leave Onyx in the car because Onyx tends to get very excited around crowds. However, she decided to bring Onyx with her while she checked people in for the tour,, and this black lab surprised her with her good behavior. She asked Onyx to sit and stay, and she did! As people came up to check in, Carol gave her treats. Onyx would look at people and wag her tail, but then Carol would get her attention again and she would stay. Great job, Onyx! Because this was a challenging outing for Onyx, Carol decided not to let people pet her, which helped Onyx stay in control. Her puppy raiser did a nice job setting her up for success!

Onyx had so much self control during the ghost tour that when a fire truck when by with sirens blaring, she put her ears back but didn't move or bark. Then, a woman walked nearby with her two dogs. Onyx ignored the one dog, but when she saw the other one, she lunged. However, Carol was able to quickly get her back under control and soon she was sitting nicely again. Normally, Onyx would have been very distracted throughout the entire half hour she was out, but she stayed calm and under control for almost the entire time! Her puppy raisers can definitely see her maturing.

Her puppy raisers took her to Target. Normally she would have her nose to the ground and try to eat everything as they walked through the parking lot, but she surprised her puppy raisers yet again. She walked nicely on a loose leash through the parking lot, never leaving Carol's side. Once they were inside the store, it was a bit more challenging, though. As they walked past the Halloween section, a motion-sensor witch caused Onyx to stop and stare. Carol worked with her, and they approached the witch again. This time, Onyx did much better at ignoring it.

For Halloween, Onyx's puppy raisers bought a fake arm and Onyx helped them decorate.

They visited Stratford Hall Plantation, Robert E. Lee's birthplace, and did a museum tour. Inside the museum, they have lifesize talking figures. Onyx went right up to the figure of Lee and put her head on his coat, but when he started talking, she got very confused because he didn't move. to get to the house, you have to walk over a suspension bridge made of wooden slats. Onyx went across, but the entire time, she had her head down as if she wasn't entirely sure about walking across the bridge. Carol tried clicking and treating her, but Onyx ignored it, so Carol switched to verbal praise. Onyx never stopped moving, though.

Once they got across the bridge, however, there were additional challenges. Chickens roamed the front yard. Carol tried working with Onyx to get her to walk calmly up to and past the chickens. They would walk forward a little bit, then go back when Onyx started pulling. They repeat3ed this process, but Carol recognized that the chickens would be too much of a challenge for Onyx and that she wouldn't be successful. They went back across the suspension bridge.

We're looking forward to the other surprises Onyx has in store!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween, High School and the King Frost Parade

Nubble had quite a busy week! Last Sunday, he and his puppy raisers went to Kirby Park in Wilkes-Barre for the Run for Ryan, a 5k fundraiser for a boy to get his own service dog. No, Nubble didn't run in the 5k, but he did get to walk in the park. It was a successful day for him. Although it took a little while for him to settle, especially with all of the dogs and children in park, he soon calmed down. He greeted some dogs very nicely and stayed calm while watching some cattle dogs playing with a frisbee. He was even fairly calm around the squirrels! He went nuts the first time he and Donna walked by the playground where all of the kids were playing, but Donna worked with him and after walking by a few times, he just ignored all of the activity. He did the same thing with some of the other dogs. He was interested in them at first, but after a while, he ignored them.

Wow, was he exhausted after all that!

Nubble went to the restaurant where Donna works for Kids Halloween Fun Night. There were crafts and balloons, and most of the kids came in costume - a wonderful training opportunity for Nubble! Lindsey and Donna's husband brought Nubble into the restaurant when Donna was almost done working. Donna asked her co-workers to please ignore Nubble so that he could experience a restaurant as a working dog without familiar people coming to say hello. He was on his best behavior from the moment he walked through the door. The hostess seated them near the front of the restaurant so he could see all of the hubbub. He went right under the table when Lindsey asked. He didn't even watch the kids running around! Many of the employees said that you couldn't even tell there was a dog in the restaurant - high praise for a service dog!

Last Thursday, he went to high school. Lindsey got permission from the principle, who was happy to let Nubble experience school. Nubble waiting nicely at Lindsey's locker while she collected her books, and although they missed homeroom, they make to their first class almost on time. He did very well in the chaos of the hallway with all of the students headed toward their next classes. Although he almost barked at a noise coming from a neighboring classroom during second-period English, Nubble did very well!

He only stayed at school for the first two periods, and on their way back to the office, Lindsey and Nubble stopped in the Lifeskills class. This class has a therapy dog named Lady, and when Donna came to pick up Nubble, she could hear him barking at her. Lady, good dog that she is, went to the office so he could settle down. Nubble loved all the attention from the students, and he handled greetings very well, staying focused on his puppy raiser. Thank you so much to the principle and high school for welcoming Nubble!

On Saturday night, Nubble and his puppy raisers went to Hamburg's annual King Frost Parade. Although Nubble had been to a parade before, this one was at night and it was a much bigger parade. Once they got settled in a good spot, Nubble settled down. While they waited for the parade to start, they practiced as many cues as they could and also did some shaping. "I absolutely love shaping," says Donna. "I love watching him figure out what I want him to do. I love watching him offer behaviors until he figures it out." It was a great way to pass the time!

The parade was wonderful experience for him. He did great watching the horses go by, although Donna moved him back from the curb so that neither dog nor horses would get spooked. Great job! It's always important to keep an eye on both the dog-in-training and the environment, other people and other animals. Nubble didn't mind the motorcycles at all. They practiced "leave it" when candy was tossed to nearby kids, and he quickly figured out that it was off limits.

There was a group with dogs marching the parade, and they were handing out dog biscuits! One woman asked if she could give one to Nubble, and Donna said yes. But Nubble wouldn't take it from her! He just looked at Donna instead. Great job, Nubble!

Walking on a loose leash back to the car after the parade was a little challenging because of all of the people, but Donna and Nubble managed with the help of the comfort trainer. Donna is trying not to rely on the comfort trainer in all situations, though, because it's easy to think that Nubble has mastered loose leash walking when he's wearing it. However, when Nubble is just wearing his collar, he tends to start pulling again. Loose leash walking is a work in progress.

It was a great week for Nubble and he made visible progress. Donna plans to work on his behavior around other dogs, on stairs and loose leash walking. We'll let you know how it's going!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Black Tie & Tails 2010

Where can you look around and see people dressed in tuxedos, elegant gowns, bat wings, and wizard robes? Black Tie & Tails!

It was a night to remember! Every year, we invite people and their dogs to don their best formal wear and come to the Sheraton Harrisburg-Hershey Hotel for an evening of music, dinner, dancing, and live and silent auctions. This year, we invited people to come in costumes!

Some people got very creative with their own and their dog's costumes. One woman even dressed as her dog!

Check out these photos of some of our canine guests.

One of the highlights of the evening is the formal introduction of our canine guests. Each dog and their owners are invited onto the dance floor to share a little something about what makes their dog special or unique.

Watch the video.

The evening also included silent and live auctions. This year, we had some great items in the live auction, including the rights to name an SSD puppy, a vacation in Maine, and a wine barrel full of bottles of wine and handcrafted items.

After the live auction, we danced the rest of the night away to music by The Waves. It was a wonderful evening! We hope to see you next year!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bobbing for Tennis Balls

We couldn't let Halloween go by without dressing up the dogs! Here are some of the videos and photos from our Halloween party. Enjoy!

What Halloween party would be complete without bobbing for apples? Instead of apples, we used tennis balls.

The dogs seemed more interested in drinking the water than grabbing a tennis ball, though, so we decided that the dogs just needed to touch the tennis ball with their noses.

Each tennis ball was numbered, and the dogs got prized based on what number they picked.

The dogs and their puppy raisers had some great costumes!

SSD Yukon

SSD Jagger the Penn State football player

SSD Lavender the crayon. She's from the Crayon litter!

Basil the skunk

SSD Scotia the cat

SSD Peach Pie the hot dog

SSD Sienna the chicken

SSD Taz, the bat

SSD Teddy

SSD Topaz

SSD Grace the Steelers fan

Some of the puppy raisers dressed up. This husband and wife team switched identities for the evening!

We had a wonderful time!