Sofi, Puppy K Graduate

Today Sofi joined those prestigious ranks of puppies who have graduated from Puppy Kindergarten! I’m so proud of her!!

Seriously, she was such a quick learner with everything – sit, down, wait, come, and heel. To me, the best part is that she learned all these commands without any treats. She did them because I asked her to. I feel like that’s more real world than using treats in training. A week ago, she even started learning a few tricks, including “sit pretty,” “crawl,” and “shake.” The tricks definitely have a treat attached, but since those are extras, I don’t mind.

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Sofi practicing the "sit' command in class.

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Sofi showing "down."

Tanya was an amazing trainer because she was really realistic, patient, and so accommodating. Last week we couldn’t make the training and she offered to stay after work on Monday evening so we could have a make-up class. How sweet was that? A private lesson! Sofi just loves Tanya, and I swear that she knows who she’s going to see as soon as we pull into the driveway of the facility.

As a graduation gift, Tanya gave each of the puppies their very own bag of treats – beggin’ strips, a frisbee, a Paws Crossing bandana, a Snoopy notebook (which I’m keeping for me, since Sofi’s not much for writing), and a rope toy. It just shows how much they go the extra mile at Paws Crossing. I was really impressed, to say the least.

Sofi and I are definitely signing up for the intermediate class, and I was so happy to hear that it would be held a bit later on Sundays – around 3:30pm. It’s going to be so nice to have my Sunday mornings back. 🙂

To celebrate the special day, Sofi and I went with Minnie, the girls, and Lori to a new dog park that Tanya had told me about. It is a lot nicer and friendlier than the one that we had been going to, and I think that Sofi is going to find lots of new friends to socialize with there. All in all, it’s been a big day, and Sofi is one tired puppy.

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Can't you just see the pride in her eyes. She knows she's a big girl now.

Bark in the Park!

Yesterday Lori and I headed to Bark in the Park, a festival for dogs and the people who love them.  There were tons of local vendors of toys and food; people offering pet services like grooming, doggie day care, and training; and lots of people selling things that you didn’t even know you needed for your  dog.

Lori suggested we get there early, so we headed out at 10am and found great parking a couple of blocks from the park.  The walk gave us a chance to let the dogs stretch their legs and get some of their excitement out of their systems.  Plus, the Naglee Park area of SJ has amazing houses – lots of old, Spanish style and Craftsman places that were traditionally owned by SJSU professors.  I told Lori that I’d love to take the dogs once a week to a new neighborhood where there would be plenty of new smells for them and lots of fun houses/nature for us to enjoy.

Bark in the Park was a lot of fun, and there were so many booths that it took us about 2 hours to make our way around.  There were all of my favorite local stores, as well as a few new ones to add to the mix.

  • We saw the two sisters who make Sofi’s favorite treats – homemade, peanut butter-flavored doggie cookie/bars.  Since they’re made with all natural ingredients, I have to keep them in the freezer and defrost them now and then for her treat.  They were featuring a new, seasonal flavor – pumpkin – which Sofi seemed to like just as much as the pb.  As if she needs more treats, right?
  •  Downtown Dogs was offering free small dog social coupons, so we’re definitely taking Sofi and Minnie one Saturday, once the weather gets a bit rainy. Even though we don’t live close anymore, the socials are a lot of fun, and definitely worth the drive.  The DD workers all asked about Lulu right away – I thought it was so nice that all this time had passed, yet they knew just by looking at me who I was and that I had been Lulu’s owner.  They all loved Sofi and told her that she had big shoes to fill.
  • I found Knotty Dogs, the vendor who had been featured on Bark in the Park’s FB page.  I love the idea of a chew toy that has a hidden treat in it.  Hours of fun for Sofi, meaning that I don’t feel as guilty about leaving her all day when I’m at work.  We got one for Minnie, too, and she loves it.  I’d highly recommend this toy.

Sofi got tons of attention from everyone who saw her – asking what breed she was, commenting about how beautiful she is, remarking about how calm and mild-mannered she is.  I was beaming like the proud mommy I am.  At one point one of the vendors said that they’d love Sofi to be their mascot/model.   She is a gorgeous dog, but even more than that, she’s a smart, sweet girl, and that’s why I love her.

The cutest moment of the day occurred when Sofi suddenly started pulling a bit on the leash.  She’d been really compliant all day, and it was strange that she suddenly wanted to GOOOOOO!  I had no idea where she was heading until I saw Tanya, our trainer.  It was remarkable that Sofi knew her in the midst of a huge crowd of people and doggies.  Smart girl!

We knew it was time to go when Sofi suddenly started laying down in a shady spot as we were asking a vendor something.  The poor thing was tired after such a big day.  We headed back to the car full of goodies to take home with us.  Sofi enjoyed herself so much that she spent the rest of the day like this…

A pooped pooch! You know what they say, "a tired dog is a good dog!"

 

Sofi’s 1st Day of Puppy K

Today Sofi and I got up bright and early for our first session of Puppy Kindergarten.  We’re taking it at Paw’s Crossing, and I couldn’t be happier with the set up.

Tanya, the trainer, has over 16 years of training experience, and she uses a very real-world approach.  She doesn’t reward the commands with treats, but rather with positive reinforcement and praise.  It makes so much more sense to me because when we’re out in the real world, I may not always have a treat with me to lure Sofi into doing what I’d like to her to do.  One of the Lillybits moms was surprised that the dogs would respond without a treat, but I just told her, “Sofi doesn’t expect a treat, so she’s not missing it.”  Plus, she loves all the attention, praise, and pats she gets this way.

The class only has 3 students – Oden, a crazy 5-month-old Jack Russel Terrier mix who can’t sit still, Zephy, a 7 1/2-month-old cocker spaniel/poodle mix who is scared of his own shadow and cowers at every turn, and Sofi, the well-adjusted Lillybits.  🙂  Truly, Sofi was the best of the bunch because she didn’t have any issues, other than the normal puppy distractions.

Tanya said that the main focus of the class is to learn some commands but to also have the puppies build up their confidence (and I’m sure for the owners to build their confidence, as well).  She handled the challenging class with ease, and was able to give us individualized attention, which I appreciated.

I also learned that when Sofi “shakes it out” (as if she’s wet and needs to dry off her fur), she’s actually releasing tension.  She did it a few times in the class after some interaction with Oden the Ornery.  Tanya said that it was excellent that Sofi already had that coping mechanism, because it meant she wouldn’t get overly anxious or frustrated.  She said it was something she was going to teach Zephy.  I think it’s fascinating to learn that Sofi knows how to shake off her tension, and as my sister said, I wish I could do that!  🙂  I think I’m going to be learning so much about Sofi and dogs in general, and I can’t wait.

Today we learned “sit,” “wait,” and “come” and Sofi did well with all 3.  Tanya did notice that Sofi doesn’t really like the leash, and recommended that I put it on her while we’re in the house, just so she gets used to wearing it.  The plan is to practice these commands while we’re out on our daily walk.  We can use “wait” as we go out the front door, “sit” throughout the walk, and “come” at the end of the walk, after she’s a bit tired out.

I even asked Tanya about Sofi’s penchant for pulling the toilet paper off its holder, tearing it up, and putting it all over the room.  I told her that Sofi never does it when I’m there, but only when she’s alone.  Tanya said that the Bichon in Sofi makes her a smart girl who’s figured out that she can only play with the toilet paper when I’m not around, and so she suggested that I boobie-trap the toilet paper.  She suggested putting some pennies into an empty soda can that I tape shut.  Then I can lay the can on the toilet paper roll just so, and then when Miss Sofi goes to pull a piece down, she’ll be in for a huge surprise.  I’m sure she’ll get so scared that she won’t try that again.  And just to be sure, I’ll leave it boobie-trapped for a while.  I love this idea!! (Not to mention the fact that I can put the toilet paper back on its rung again where it belongs!).

After the training, Sofi was one tired-out little girl, just as Tanya predicted.  She said that puppies get more tired by using brain power than they do when they are physically active.  Since a tired puppy is a good puppy, I’m all for that!

I learned A LOT today, Mom!

Groomed & Gorgeous!

I couldn’t be a prouder puppy mommy today! Sofi just got back from her first-ever grooming appointment, and the groomer said she was, “an angel. She stayed still the whole time, didn’t make any noise, let me do whatever I needed to. She was the perfect puppy! Bring her back anytime!!!” That’s one voicemail that I’m going to keep. 🙂

The funny thing was, when we walked in the door Minnie wasn’t sure who this new puppy was. I had to put Sofi down and then Minnie went up to her and said hello in that way that dogs do (smelling butts). It took Minnie a second to realize that this dog was Sofi. It was so hilarious and sweet, all at the same time.

I can’t say enough about the place that I got Sofi groomed, Paws Crossing. It’s truly a 5-star facility – ultra clean, organized, efficient, and friendly. They offer grooming, day care, boarding, and training. How could you want anything more? Plus their prices are really reasonable. I’m definitely taking Sofi there for training classes, and I’m sure she’ll be a guest of their canine cottages at some point in the future.

So now I’m sure you want to see what she looks like. Knowing me, you know that I have lots of photos to share, so no worries there.

First, let’s do a bit of a before and after, shall we?

She was absolutely adorable before, but I love the way she looks now, too. She cleans up well, no?!! Plus, I can see her eyes. She’s got pretty peepers!!

Here’s some video so you can see her full haircut.

And finally, here are a photoshoot worth of pictures. You call it obsessive, I call it capturing life’s sweet moments.


I love her coloring! She’s very caramel-colored now. After getting rid of all of that fluff, she’s actually a really petite little puppy.

Doesn’t she look like she’s smiling in this one? She’s THRILLED with her new ‘do.
And I am, too. 🙂