Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mellow...uh...Yellow? Black and Tan?

So we've managed to put all of the dog's...ahem... toys (totally disgusting that she has more toys than many children in this world do) in a dedicated basket.  Partially to keep them from tripping us all of the time, partially to give her a task- as in empty and refill the toy basket.  She's just about as tall as the basket now, so it's quite entertaining to see her get all the toys out-- she uses the "Justin" approach and just knocks it over to get to her favorites at the bottom.

For the most part, everything is going swimmingly!  She's bonding well with the family and is really a calm and mellow soul (with the exceptions of the 9am, noon and 4pm "Puppy Zooms").  In fact, I tried to get her on video exploring her toys, and, while I didn't get the cute puppy antic behavior on record, I think this little clip really shows her temperament.  What a therapy dog she'll be!  (On a related note, she's the FIRST puppy ever to fall asleep in Puppy Kindergarten!  In her defense, we were practicing a "settle down" command.  A+!)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Happy Tooth Day To You!

A week and two days after the first signs of 'wiggliness'.....
(I have a "tooth thing", so I hope everyone truly appreciates the strength it took for me to take the above photo.  I'm so grossed out right now)
And, so, for a celebration-- we made toothless cupcakes.  Yeah.  That's a whole lotta sugar....but we'll brush the remaining teeth really well tonight.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

"Adventure Saturday" aka "Single Parent Saturday"

It's our first official 'business school Saturday', which, to be honest, I've been dreading.  Taking care of the kids on my own during the week is no big deal-- we do our thing, keep to our schedule and go to bed.  On a Saturday?!?  What do I DO with them?  :-) 

So we packed up bright and early and headed out to Carpenter Nature Center for a cool Saturday morning hike.  I say 'cool' because it was in the low 70's (unlike the projected high in the 90's today), so I didn't make a big fuss when Justin insisted on wearing fleece pants and snow boots.  Whatever.
We had a lovely hike down to the river overlook.  Kolachi made it all the way there and back on her own four paws!  What a strong little pup we have :-) 
 Justin got a lift from Sister when his legs got tired.  What a sweet girl I have!



Happy Saturday Adventure to you!  And now to fill the rest of my very long single-parent Saturday... perhaps a trip to the grocery store and lunch out is in order?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Agility, Here We Come!

Since we have to keep these fuzzy little neurons firing and building new bridges, we got out the kids' play tunnel today.  I prepped Alex with the idea that the puppy might be a little frightened of this at first-- we would probably just work on getting her to play near it, and maybe next time try to lure her through.
Justin and Kolachi take turns running the tunnel.
Boy, was I wrong.  First time she saw it, she darted through!  Then, after Justin insisted on demonstrating how to crawl through the tunnel, she did it with a running start and dropped leash-- just like the agility dogs do ( least like how they begin!) 
Alex is certainly coming into her own as a dog handler/trainer.  She takes her job very seriously and is looking forward to being old enough to participate in Four-H with Kolachi in a few years.  She is more confident every day, and is picking up on some tricks to keep a puppy from nipping (and corrects her when she does). 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pool Party and the Pet Store

Alex had her next-to-last swim lesson this morning, and we snuck Kolachi in before-hours so she could soak up the rays and meet the instructors.  We walked (Alex biked) there-- it's about .5 miles, and she made it halfway before flopping into an immovable pile of fluff.  Luckily I anticipated this, and we loaded her into the wagon.  Unfortunately, I underestimated how hard it is to keep a puppy IN a moving wagon, so I ended up carrying her the last quarter mile.  
 Alex took a HUGE step today and swam the whole length of the swimming pool (with flippers)!  We were so proud of her-- she's really come a long way this summer.
 After the lesson was over, I was faced with a predicament.  I did NOT want to carry a puppy for half a mile.  Justin did NOT want to be in the wagon with his nippy new friend.  So-- we left Alex's bike safely at the pool, and Team Marotz got to work.  Alex pulled, Justin pushed, Kolachi rode and I walked next to her to  keep her safe and give her loads of treats whenever she settled and rode nicely.  We made it the whole way home like this!!  Too much fun!  I promised Alex that Kolachi would someday pay her back when we teach her to pull a wagon herself!
 During Zoo Camp today, Justin and I took Kolachi to an oversized, overstimulating chain pet store.  She was very brave, and earned the privilege of picking out her own toy.  She chose a little stuffing-less fox that she pranced around the store carrying.  Too cute!
 Justin wanted to get a cat perch for Percy.  I appreciated his sentiment, but told him we didn't have anywhere to put it.  He volunteered his bedroom.  Ha!  He just wants it as a jungle gym for himself!
We also got a dog tag engraved for her-- she was very good in the store, and is learning to walk well on a loose leash.  We overstayed by 5 minutes, though, because she did get very agitated and barky while I was trying to engrave the tag.  It was one of those "I knew this was going to happen, yet I didn't trust my gut" things.  Next time, we get in and get out and get on with our lives.  No browsing the cat department!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Zoo Camp Begins... Socialization Begins, too!

It's my goal to take a similar photo every week to show Kolachi's growth, which I'm sure will be quite amusing at the end of the year! Here's her "8 Week" photo.
 Alex started MN Zoo Camp this week- of course- the first week that our puppy is home and we're trying to housetrain her.  It actually is a really good thing, because what's better for car training a puppy than 5 days of back and forth to Apple Valley?  This first day she was a bit whiny in the car, but she soon settled down (after 10 min or so) and rode comfortably.

 After we dropped Alex off, Kolachi, Justin and I took a tour of a few parks in Apple Valley.  It was a good lesson in terrain, and Kolachi learned the cue "kennel up" rather quickly.  She's also working on targeting my hand in preparation for the "here" command.  We got her to jump up to touch/target it at the park today-- she's one smart cookie!
 Justin was SO excited to find a dinosaur to ride!
 Selfie with my big, bad German Shepherd.
 Playing at the park

 Waiting to pick up Sister from Zoo Camp-  I was pleasantly surprised when, after patiently sitting for pets from a bunch of adoring kids and parents, Kolachi recognized Alex, went up to her and wanted to play/interact immediately.  It's our goal to have 3 new experiences, meet 3 new dogs and meet 3 new people every day, so this was a success!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

First Day Home

First Day Home-- After a sleepless night (crying puppy until 2:30am, when I finally decided to lay down on the floor next to her and give her some physical reassurance via my hand next to her crate).  We had quite a few visitors today-- GranMama and GranPapa were here,  Auntie Rorie was here for some quick puppy kisses before taking off for her new place and Auntie Carrie came back for some more puppy love ;-)  Not exactly what I had in mind for a quiet coming-home weekend, but everyone was very respectful of our rules and didn't overwhelm our new little one with attention.
 Gentle Justin and his pup get some early-morning bonding in.
Because we had so many people, we decided to crate Kolachi during meal preparation and eating time-- that way she'd not have the opportunity to have a housetraining accident.  She did not agree with that, and protested very loudly.  Justin came up with a solution that allowed him to eat his pancakes in peace.
 Playtime in the yard!

Two gorgeous girls!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Puppy Pick-Up Day!

**Let me preface this saying that I am exhausted!  The only differences between the first few days home with a puppy and the first few days home with an infant are that a.) I'm not in pain from nursing and b.) babies stay where you put them-- in fact, I began this entry at 10:00am and finished at 7:00pm**
Dave and I dropped the children off at Auntie Carrie and Uncle Sam's house bright and early Saturday morning before heading out to St. Cloud to pick up our new baby girl.  Dave had not yet met Kolachi in person, so it was really fun to see him meet her for the first time!  We also met our trainer, Marilyn Tokach of Pure Spirit at River Rock  (I can't rave ENOUGH about her Twin Cities-based business-- and about her as an individual-- we've worked with her ever since we lived in Prior Lake with a basset hound and two bengals!) .  Since we're a first-time puppy family (Copper came home at 6 years old!), I want to make sure we start it off on the right paw.  
She has the cutest little pouncing run!
 Marilyn and Kolachi get to know each other.
 Kolachi and her brother Koda (he's staying at the breeder's to pursue some titles and potentially be a part of their breeding program).
 Puppy paws!! (I'm kind of obsessed)
 A noisy and somewhat messy car ride home-- good thing St. Cloud is only 1 1/2 hours away.  We only had to stop for a complete kennel clean-out once.  
 Marilyn met us at home to help us successfully introduce our little one to her new home, and check our puppy-proofing.  We taught her how to climb up steps right away!
 So tired from such a big day.  Three accidents in the house, but a successful potty outside!  It's the start of something grand--
 Auntie Carrie and Uncle Sam delivered the kiddos home to a tired and sleepy puppy.  Justin was actually pretty tired and sleepy himself, and the two napped next to each other for a while.
 Alex jumped right in to her role as co dog-trainer.  She is working on staying calm and not running to teach Kolachi that she is a person, not a puppy.  We don't bite people in our house.  GranMama supervises (she was in town to help Auntie Rorie move to her new apartment).
Or cats.  We don't bite kitties, either.  Right, Percy?  (He actually was a lot more 'involved' than I thought he would be-- refusing to give up roaming rights to the main floor).  There's been no hissing or chasing of cats so far.

Friday, August 16, 2013

A Wiggly Tooth!

It's time!  Alex discovered her first wiggly tooth on the plane ride home from Phoenix.  Her body is definitely getting ready to be SIX YEARS OLD in a few short weeks!  Yikes!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Morning of the Gilded Flicker

(squinting in the sun!)
It's been so HOT (Yeah- I know- It's August in Phoenix- what did I expect?) that we haven't even gotten out to go on any hikes this trip.  Alex and I were determined to make at least one, so we took off at 6:30am (about 92 degrees) for South Mountain. 
We made it about a mile and a half, round-trip, but found many, many treasures in that time: Saguaro bones and a mequite seed pod, and one other very special find--
 Alex was coming down a scree (loose rock) path and suddenly stopped short with a sudden intake of breath.  I froze, thinking she'd spotted a scorpion or (God forbid) a snake in her path.  Instead she bent down and (after kicking it to make sure there was nothing girl!) picked up a beautiful black and white feather with a bright gold shaft!
 Some gorgeous lichen-
 Soft buds on a prickly desert plant.
 When we got back to the house, I did some online research and found that we had found a feather from a Gilded Flicker!  So cool!!