August 20, 2015

Three Weeks with Wookie | Positive Experiences

One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that the world is a safe place, with kind humans and friendly dogs and other animals. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
It's been three and a half weeks since we chose Wookie from her pup family and brought her home to be a part of ours.  It feels like she's been around much longer already, life these past few weeks has been full!  We've had fun with her as our sidekick on summer adventures.  We're enjoying introducing her to the world.

She has dipped her webbed toes into eight different lakes.  The largest lake in the world, the third largest lake in Minnesota, and a variety of local lakes where she's gotten comfortable swimming and fetching.  She's also getting acquainted with our pond.

She has walked on small docks and huge piers.  Acquired her sea legs in the boat, and attempted a ride in the kayak with me.  She's also ridden on a four wheeler, in the car and truck, and on Mitch's lap in his skid steer. 
She explores daily all over our woods and trails, where she's gotten her nose on plenty of wild animal scents, and flushed her first grouse!  
She's gone exploring on a leash in a variety of public settings, too.
She's climbed hundreds of stairs, scaled rocks like a little mountain goat, and built sand castles by the shore.

We've been to the vet twice, where she was examined, adored, and got her boosters to keep her healthy.  And we've visited the homes of friends and family where she's met a variety of other people, kids, other dogs, and her first cat.

I note these things because it's fascinating to learn how important they are for Wookie's socialization and success in life as an adult dog.  Socialization (a good article here) has been at the top of all puppy info we've received from our vet and the articles we've read on training.  The general consensus from animal experts is that the very most important thing we can do for Wookie is introduce her to as much of the world as we can in a positive way. 
The most critical window for puppy learning is from birth to 16 weeks of age, and is considered to be closing by around 4 months.  Since we didn't get Wookie til she was 3 months old, we're grateful for the positive experiences her breeder family gave her, and we've been socializing diligently from the time we got her home.  These have been very important weeks with Wookie! 
It's recommended puppies encounter as many different people, places, surfaces, sights, sounds, smells and situations as possible during this stage.  The more people and places your puppy/dog experiences, the more well-adjusted she’ll be as an adult.

It's been neat to watch how she was a little unsure the first time she got in a boat, but the following week she stepped right in confidently on her own.
The first time she met my parents' dog, Angus, she cried with fright, the only thing she's shown real fear of.  (Angus looks like a big black bear and surprised her, coming out the door.)  But now that they've become acquainted positively, she begs him to play and he's the one who's unsure!

There are social checklists to introduce your pup to and environmental checklists to familiarize your pup with.  This exposure to many different kinds of environments is referred to as "stress immunization" so that these things aren't intimidating or frightening when encountered later in life.
We're making sure that as a puppy, Wookie is exposed to anything and everything that might be a part of our (her) life to come, so that she is a calm, happy dog who is easy and enjoyable to be around.  (It's paying off.. she is growing rapidly and such a laid back, well mannered pup!)
  
All this information on puppy socialization has me thinking a lot about our human kids, too.
We want their world to be filled with as many positive experiences as possible, as well. 
I often hope for young people to know that the world is so much bigger than this little area we live, and that they'll no fear in going out there and experiencing it. 
Learning how important it is for Wookie to have as many good experiences as possible for her success as an adult dog, I can't help but think of a couple of young men in our home, embarking on their senior year of high school and the big world beyond.  There have been times when we've urged them out of their comfort zone as kids (i.e. there was a time when they were stubborn about not wanting to fly or travel.)  I hope that these, and other positive experiences we've given them as they've grown, help them to go forth and take on new endeavors and opportunities without fear.  

Another school year is approaching for all of our kids, and there has been lots on my mind by way of the experiences they're having.  It is stressed that as essential as positive experiences are for pups, negative experiences are not good.  I think this goes for puppies and kids alike.  It's so important to me that theirs' are positive experiences, that their world is a safe place, with kind humans in it.  That's a topic to expand on another day, though.

One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that the world is a safe place, with kind humans and friendly dogs and other animals. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that the world is a safe place, with kind humans and friendly dogs and other animals. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that the world is a safe place, with kind humans and friendly dogs and other animals. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that the world is a safe place, with kind humans and friendly dogs and other animals. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that the world is a safe place, with kind humans and friendly dogs and other animals. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that the world is a safe place, with kind humans and friendly dogs and other animals. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that the world is a safe place, with kind humans and friendly dogs and other animals. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that the world is a safe place, with kind humans and friendly dogs and other animals. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that the world is a safe place, with kind humans and friendly dogs and other animals. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
A few photos from our past few weeks with Wookie!

Sandcastles.


socialize diligently from the minute you get your puppy home. - See more at: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/pets/dog-behavior/how-to-socialize-your-puppy#sthash.CrPyOSDC.dpu
Learning her ladylike manners.


She wasn't sure about those waves at the big lake.  They were bigger than her!


Calm waters at a small trout lake were the perfect place for a puppy swim. 


Her first water retrieval.. fetching some birch bark.


First truck ride to Granny & Grampa's house.


The most laid back car traveler ever.  Snoring while out on a day of adventure.
Wookie loves to hop in the car and see where it takes us.


First time on a floating dock, testing the water..


Wookie at Palisade Head.


Rock climbing on the Superior shore.


First boat ride.


After going for a swim, she curled up like a baby and slept through a warm evening of fishing.


Dewey morning tracks and a big sunrise shadow.


She sells seashells by the shore.  Or eats them, rather.  
Wookie wants to taste everything, including the snails that cover this beach.
Those are her kids out there in the water.


She is such a character!


And this is an awkward picture I tried to take with my phone late one night, but my favorite thing of all.
At the end of a busy day, Wookie was sleeping soundly nearby when she got up, stretched, and climbed up on my lap, half asleep.  She only made it half way at first, bottom legs hanging off the chair.  And then she climbed up higher with her little heart beating on mine, her puppy nose just under my chin, and she slept. 

She loves us. 

Peace, Love, and Positive Experiences for Everyone,

A critical time for your puppy’s learning is from birth to 16 weeks of age. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that the world is a safe place, with kind humans and friendly dogs and other animals. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that the world is a safe place, with kind humans and friendly dogs and other animals. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
socialize diligently from the minute you get your puppy home. - See more at: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/pets/dog-behavior/how-to-socialize-your-puppy#sthash.CrPyOSDC.dpuf
socialize diligently from the minute you get your puppy home. - See more at: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/pets/dog-behavior/how-to-socialize-your-puppy#sthash.CrPyOSDC.dpuf
socialize diligently from the minute you get your puppy home. - See more at: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/pets/dog-behavior/how-to-socialize-your-puppy#sthash.CrPyOSDC.dpuf
One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that the world is a safe place, with kind humans and friendly dogs and other animals. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that the world is a safe place, with kind humans and friendly dogs and other animals. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that the world is a safe place, with kind humans and friendly dogs and other animals. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that the world is a safe place, with kind humans and friendly dogs and other animals. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
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August 7, 2015

National Lighthouse Day

There are some things I just love the heck out of.  Like waterfalls and wildflowers. 
Of the man-made type of things I love the heck out of, lighthouses are near the top.

Today, August 7, is National Lighthouse Day. It was on this day in 1789, that Congress approved an Act for the establishment and support of lighthouse, beacons, buoys and public piers.
The designation of National Lighthouse Day honors the beacon of light that, for hundreds of years, symbolized safety and security for ships and boats at sea.
At one time, the beacon of light could be found across almost all of America’s shorelines.

We have significant maritime history and some great lighthouses right here in Minnesota. 
Yesterday took us to one of my favorite areas, the north shore of Lake Superior, the most unpredictable, deepest, and coldest of the Great Lakes.
First stop: Two Harbors, MN.   We walked out to the Breakwater Light. 
It was windy out there!


This area is also the site of the Two Harbors Lighthouse, oldest operating lighthouse in Minnesota, overlooking Lake Superior's Agate Bay.  The Keeper's Quarters of the lighthouse now operates as a bed and breakfast.

Of course, some 120 years after completion,  the lighthouse doesn't just overlook Agate Bay, but a large parking lot as well. Parking lots and vehicles aren't my photo forte, so I had to get crafty with composition.


Later evening brought rain clouds and Minnesota's favorite..  Split Rock Lighthouse.
Split Rock Lighthouse was built in response to the great loss of ships during a 1905 storm in which roughly 30 ships were lost on Lake Superior.
Built on a 130-foot sheer cliff, the octagonal building is a steel-framed brick structure on a concrete foundation set into the rock of the cliff.
The light was first lit on July 31, 1910.

While we had raindrops and I eventually got soaked, we also had the place almost entirely to ourselves!


The fog horns:

At the time of its construction, there were no roads to the area.  All building materials and supplies arrived by water and were lifted to the top of the cliff by crane.
A tramway replaced the hoist and derrick in 1916, an inclined rail system that ran uphill, pulling a cart up the tracks by cable.  A highway eventually eliminated the tram.  Its concrete remnants remain next to a great set of stairs. (I didn't count.. but read that there are 174 of them.)

Bummer for me when I reached the bottom (the best view of this iconic lighthouse from land), the pensive skies decided to open up and pour on me..  I got soaked!  Then again, the last time we were there was in good weather, but swarms of people.  You get what you get.



We've been trying to include as many small adventures into our summer as possible.
This was a good one, starting and ending with lighthouses.  (I'll fill in the middle later.)
Wookie enjoyed her first trip to Lake Superior, too. :)

Peace, Love, and Lighthouses,

PS:  Yaquina Head was one of my favorite lighthouses on the Oregon Coast.
And I fell in love with this little Lighthouse for Sale in Michigan a couple of years ago.
Where is your favorite lighthouse?

Sharing with Through My Lens

August 4, 2015

Meet Wookie, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Our trip to the SE part of our state (we were in your neighborhood, Troutbirder!) to see about a puppy was a success.  
Our family has grown by four feet.

Introducing Fräulein Wookie Amelia

Our Wookie girl is a three month old Wirehaired Pointing Griffon.
She looks so big in photos, but in real life she's all wiggly little pup with long legs, furry face, and a body that wags with her tail.   She's incredibly sweet and smart, with puppy antics to melt our hearts.

Coming home:


She loves to play hard and snooze hard.
Beach beard at the big lake:





Wookie is a bird dog. (Griffs are skilled, supreme bird dogs both on land and water.)
It's neat to watch her instincts already.  Her nose and ears are often to the ground as she follows a winding scent trail.  Her point is adorable and she retrieved from the water for us on first try.
I love her webbed toes!

Most important though, she's a family dog.  A week and change since joining our family, the bond is mutual.




We adore her, and it's a wonderful, special thing.. to feel that she loves us back.

Peace, Love, and a Pup at my Feet Again,