September 16, 2014

Riley's Vest is Ready

 Riley's vest is finally complete! I had our tailor sew on the velcro backing for her "Service Dog" and "Training" patches because the vest was too thick for my needle. If you start in the upper left corner and go clockwise her patches are : "Do Not Pet [STOP] Do Not Distract, CGC, AKC Star Puppy, "Training", and "Service Dog". The red heart tag in the middle is her rabies vaccine ID.

I picked this layout because she always heels on my left side. This is the side people will typically be approaching, so I wanted them to very clearly see the "Do Not Pet" and "Service Dog" patches.

September 12, 2014

Service Patches

Riley's patches have arrived! I ordered them from The Mutiny Shop down in LA and I'm really pleased with the quality. These patches attach using velcro, so I'm having a tailor sew velcro to the vest. When her training is completed, I can remove the "TRAINING" patch and replace it with another "SERVICE DOG" patch. The tailor says her vest will be ready by Tuesday. I'll post a few pictures with her vest once it's completed!

*Update - Since posting this, I have received a second set of custom patches from Bull Shoals Embroidery on Etsy. I decided to go with those patches instead because they match the style of the vest better. I may still use these patches in future on another vest.

September 10, 2014

Public Access and Zoom Room Job!

Now that Riley's passed her CGC exam (woohoo!) I've started working on public access training. I'm starting out very slowly to make sure she masters it completely and isn't overwhelmed or stressed. Our first outings have been to "The Habit Burger Grill" by our house. They have a nice outdoor patio with heaters, so we can sit outside at night and enjoy a nice dinner while Riley learns to chill in a down stay. My husband and I have taken her twice and each time she's been better at laying still and ignoring people coming in and out of the restaurant.

August 29, 2014

Riley in Watercolor

One of my other passions in life is watercolor painting. I haven't done any paintings in ages, so please go easy on me! I did this quick painting of Riley today using watercolor pencils. She's such a gorgeous girl. Watercolors definitely don't do her pretty face justice. Please let me know what you think!

Here is the original for reference.

August 28, 2014

Napa Vacation

The pups are having a blast on our vacation! We found a park called "Canine Commons" where dogs run off-leash through long grasses & can chase after birds. We've met 1 wire haired Vizsla and 2 short haired Vizslas on our walks. All the pups have been very well-behaved!

August 26, 2014

Agility 2

Riley has moved up to Agility 2! Her favorite obstacles are the A-Frame and the Jumps. She's not a huge fan of the Tunnel, but after a few tries she ran through like a pro! Agility class has been an excellent confidence builder for Riley and has also built up her endurance. We used to finish class and she would nap for at least half an hour. We got home from class on Sunday and she immediately brought me a toy for a game of fetch. Crazy pup!

Reuben (my amazing hubby) made a video compilation of her last Agility 1 class and her second Agility 2 class so you can see the progression from the first video.

Also, I have more exciting news! I will be working part-time (weekends) at the Zoom Room in Campbell once I have completed training/shadowing. I've always loved working with pups and I'm looking forward to being part of an excellent center!

August 22, 2014

New Adventure!

Riley's CGC patch arrived in the mail this morning! I am excited to announce that with passing this exam, we will be embarking on a new adventure (no pun intended!). 

Over the course of the next few months, Riley is going to be a service dog in training. Her new harness arrived in the mail yesterday & we took it on a test drive to our new local shopping center. They gave us 4 tickets for free hamburgers! (Riley is excited to try one.)

I've also ordered a special "New Trix" halter for practicing heel in high-traffic areas. I love the way it has nice padding for the nose & clips at the back of the head. Riley's at-home task training is coming along well. She can now go grab a small pouch and bring it to me on command. We'll be enlisting the help of a professional trainer to fine-tune her tasks.

I'll be updating this blog as her training progresses, so please check back to see how we are doing!

August 18, 2014

Desperation + Crazy Idea = Problem Solved!

As you may or may not know, poor Cooper cut his leg open on some mysterious object in our backyard a few weeks ago. We took him into the vet for stitches and he somehow ripped a few of them out a few days later. The vet said we could either get the wound re-stitched or we could do a daily soak in a special solution and keep him from messing with it and let it heal on its own. We opted for soaking the leg, which worked to keep it clean, but no matter what we tried he was still able to lick the wound. I even had him in a plastic cone AND the inflatable collar at one point and watched him very carefully perform some kind of insane yoga move to get his leg up and around in front of his face for licking.

How??? How could he still reach his leg???
I was about to give up, but then an idea came to me.

CGC Test!

I am proud to announce that on Saturday Riley passed her CGC test! Her new AKC name will now be Living the Life of Riley, CGC. I always wanted to try passing the test, but didn't think Riley could remain calm enough. When our trainer at Zoom Room said she was ready, I had my doubts. Riley breezed through the test without any issues! I put her in a down-wait for the last test item, which is staying with a stranger for 3 minutes while I was out of sight. She stayed laying down the entire 3 minutes & didn't break until I walked back up to her and released her! I'm so excited for our next steps in training. We'll be taking some therapy dog classes as well as doing some extra training for a special project. I'll make sure to update as she progresses! 

If you are interested in learning more about the CGC test, all the items are listed below (taken directly from the AKC website).

August 2, 2014

Farmer's Market

We took our weekly trip to the Farmer's Market this morning & Riley had so much fun visiting with everyone. She practiced sitting while being pet & it was a challenge! I'm looking forward to our obedience class today at Zoom Room.

Next trick: carry mom's grocery bags. She does make a good bag holder!

If enough people are interested, I'll do at tutorial on training your dog to sit still while they have something on their nose. It's a fun trick! :)

July 31, 2014


Guess who ate an entire bucket of liver treats this morning? That face says it all...

July 21, 2014

If you can...

"If you can start the day without caffeine,
If you can get going without pep pills,

July 20, 2014

Morgan Territory Hike

This morning Riley went on a hike with Louie & Risco! Poor Cooper had to stay at home because his leg is still healing. We hiked a new area we've never been before called the Morgan Territory Regional Preserve. 

July 17, 2014

Throwback Thursday - 7/17

Baby Riley! This is a picture I took the week we brought her home. She was so tiny! ❤️

Cooper the day we brought him home. He was 6 months old, but still very much a puppy! 

July 15, 2014

Top 10 Vizsla Toys

I've decided to start a "Top 10" series for my favorite Vizsla things. Vizslas are so different from other dogs that it has taken me years to find the perfect toys, treats, training aids, etc. for my pups. Please feel free to comment if you have another toy suggestion!

July 14, 2014

Obedience, Agility, and Emergency Stitches!

Good sit!
Obedience 3: Advanced obedience skills including extra control around distractions and beginning off-leash work. This class prepares your dog to take the Canine Good Citizen test.

The past few weeks have been eventful ones for my two pups! Riley was moved up to Obedience 3 after only two classes. The instructor said we were definitely read to prep for CGC! Her first Obedience 3 class went VERY well. She did a good job of focusing even when presented with distractions.

July 7, 2014

Disclosure Policy

Plate & screws from surgery #2
Vet bills are expensive! Riley has incurred to-date around $6k in bills for her two knee surgeries. Several people have encouraged me to start a indiegogo or gofundme campaign, but I feel really uncomfortable just asking people for money outright. I'm not saying this is a bad way to pay for your pet's medical bills, I just don't personally want to go this route. My only other option in this case is to advertise through my blog.

July 1, 2014

Pup-lates at Zoom Room!

Good girl!
"Using equipment you’d find in a human gym, your dog will learn core control and develop athleticism, balance, and strength. Perfect for dogs recovering from injuries, senior dogs, or those dogs that could stand to lose a few pounds."

June 24, 2014

Zoom Room Obedience 2 Class!

"Mom, you are SO embarrassing."

Riley is doing SO much better since her last surgery. She was a little stiff for a few weeks, but we've been giving her NaturVet Soft Chews, which contain glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, and MSM. I've seen a big difference already in her gait and flexibility. My little girl is a trooper! She's got a massive scar on her knee to show how tough she is. ;)

May 6, 2014

Surgery & Doggie Disco at Zoom Room

Ever seen a pup so happy at the vet's office?
Well, I dropped off my sweet Riley at UC Davis yesterday to be operated on by some of the most knowledgeable vets in the country. We had to make a hard choice between our local vet (Adobe Animal Hospital) or UC Davis. Adobe quoted us a much lower price, but UC Davis is the "Stanford" of the animal hospital world and I want the best for my baby. <3

April 14, 2014

Knee Surgery #2

Well, just a few weeks ago the incision site on Riley's knee from her TPLO surgery swelled up and started oozing blood/pus. The vet had warned us this was a possible result of the plate/screws being left in her leg long-term, but we decided to take the risk and see what would happen. They have advised that we immediately have all the hardware removed. We're looking at another $1-2k in vet bills for her second surgery. I've lost track of the total at this point, but it's well over $6k. I never imagined she'd be undergoing 1 surgery, much less 2 in her first few years of life. Please take the time to research any place you send your pup. I can't stress this highly enough. I'm thankful I've been able to prevent several other people from making the mistake I did. If I can save just 1 other pup from going through what Riley has experienced, I will be happy. It's amazing how even after all these medical procedures she still loves the vets! She's such a wonderful pup and I'm lucky to have her. <3