Does your dog ever get to play?

When we are out with Loken and he is working (he is very serious when he works), people sometimes ask (in a worried tone) whether he ever gets to play. The answer is “yes”. This is from our vacation to Oregon.

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Happy Birthday to Loken (and me)!

Last Friday Loken was three and I was fifty plus Loken’s age. We both had lovely birthdays, though I think Loken’s days are all pretty fine.

Loken got some fine presents, a new bone (from Kevin), a new toy (from Kevin’s class), and a new Public Display of Affection from the whole family. Can you spot it in this picture?

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As a bonus, I only had to wait 20 minutes at the Los Gatos DMV office to pick up the new plates. Without an appointment.

Loken is learning the “go to Kevin” command. On Saturday, he did it impromptu, no big setup or chance to smell the treats. Kevin told him “Loken, here”, so I slipped Kevin a couple of dog treats and gave the command. Loken was there at light speed, a big difference from the casual (but obedient) pace we are used to.

Loken continues to be Kevin’s best friend and the best dog in the world. Just ask Kevin.

Big Dog Party!

I always love the “big dog party” up in the tree at the end of Go, Dog. Go! You can make a reasonable facsimile of that with a backyard pool, twenty-five dogs from Canine Companions for Independence, and enough toys for each dog to carry one at all times.

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My (edited) photos from the party are at Flickr, in the CCI Dog Pool Party 2008 set.

For us, the most exciting part of the party was that when Loken needed a friend, he came to Kevin. This first year with Kevin and Loken is critical for their bond, and this was the first time he showed that Kevin was his best friend.

Loken had a good time, but he eventually got a bit overloaded by all the strange dogs sniffing him and and the energetic play. I was sitting with Kevin in a somewhat quieter spot to the side, and Loken found us there. You can see him looking squinty and stressed in this photo. After a bit, he put his head on Kevin’s lap. This is the same as the “Visit” command, but we didn’t give the command. It was Loken’s idea.

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Kevin gave him a hug (I did suggest that).

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Then Loken decided to hide behind Kevin, where he would be safe.

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It was wonderful that Loken went to Kevin. I was right there (taking pictures, duh) and Tina was right on the other side (you can see her in the pictures). We are big safe people and he trusts us, but Loken chose his boy when he needed a hug.

At home with Loken

We took Loken to church today as our first public trip and he was a perfect gentleman. At the snack time after the service, Kevin and Loken sat together and people came by to be introduced. The church cat was playing behind us, but Loken didn’t even turn to look.

We have had a couple of training sessions with him, some Heel and Side along with some Get/Sit/Give retrieves with car keys, and showing off Lap and Visit for a neighbor. He is testing us, doing a sloppy heel or dropping the keys and not going back for them. It provides a good chance for both Tina and I to practice our handling and let Loken know he isn’t going to get away with sloppy work.

We took some time this afternoon for play in the back yard. The tennis ball was fun, but Loken really likes his Hol-ee Roller. He ran around playing with it for a while after each throw. He brought everything back to Kevin, even when someone else threw it.

Afterwards, Loken settled down to watch some TV with Kevin. That was Loken’s idea. He actually left his beloved dog bed to be close to Kevin.

Kevin and Loken watching TV

Public Access Here We Come

Today was our ADI public access test and our CCI written test. The Coddingtown Mall was busier than usual, perhaps because it was over 100 degrees outside. It was noisy, echoey, and warm, but the dogs were well behaved.

Both Tina and I had trouble with the Get command, taking three or four tries for success, but we’ll work that out. Loken certainly knows the command, it is up to us to elicit his response.

The test is primarily about safety, and I didn’t see any issues on that front. We had to be extra careful about the hot asphalt and keeping the dogs hydrated. Tonight, we celebrate with the other families in our class.

CCI Skilled Companion Loken!

At CCI Team Training on Saturday, they told us our pre-matches were final, so we can tell the world the name of our dog – Loken. We headed home immediately after and found that our internet connection was cut (“backhoe fade” as a friend told us), so this post is delayed.

We are very, very excited, but also very busy as we study and practice for our ADI public certification test. This will be a quick post with a couple of photos, since I need to be in class in five minutes.

Loken meeting Kevin for the first time:

Loken really enjoys laying in the sun. He was raised in Seattle, so maybe that has something to do with it.

And a few pictures of Loken as a puppy, one with his Puppy Raiser. Thank you, Allen.