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Dog boots and coat for winter
Mom dresses me in dog boots and a coat every day in winter for our walk to the school bus stop. The boots keep the road salt off my paw pads and the coat blocks the wind. I know exactly what time to get ready and alert mom if she forgets. There is a first grade girl who loves to ask me to sit and shake while we wait for the bus. She laughs and giggles when I offer her my paw. A little puggle dog named Poppy waits too - but we only get to sniff noses. I would love to play but Poppy gets nervous and starts to bark so they move away. After school, mom and I wait at the stop. I always hear the bus before mom does and sit up tall as it comes over the hill.  Little sis comes out and carefully looks left, right, left before crossing the street. She just learned how to cross by herself this fall. The bus driver gives little sis a milk bone to give to me! Mom waves at him with a big smile. I love waiting for the bus and walking little sis home.
 
 
Mom and Dad want me to walk with a loose leash without an easy walker or other harness. When I was a young pup, I wore a Gentle Leader leash, but I absolutely hated it! I ran away when I saw it and only came when they offered me treats. I pawed at it and tried to take it off, but I was so energetic they knew they needed it to help to keep a hold of me. By the time I turned one, my parents let me wear an Easy Walker leash as I continued my training. As I approached my second birthday, mom's goal was to walk me with the leash attached to my collar without a harness. So she started practicing in the Petco Store where we go to training. Then she started taking me to the bus stop with the leash clipped to my collar. This is actually going very well! However, when we go for a walk I still get excited about squirrels and bunnies and choke myself so she clips the leash onto the Easy Walker for that two mile hike. She wraps the leash around her waist to keep her hands free and prevent yo-yo arm and she stops if I pull the leash taunt. I have learned to look at her and take a step back, but darn it, I really wish she walked or ran at my faster paced speed.  But I am definitely learning what to do. 
As we walk, she stops at every intersection and expects me to look at her. Once I do, she  either points which way to go or offers me a choice of this way or that.  I always have an opinion and signal with my nose. However, once in a while, she doesn't have much time and says we are going back home after two blocks. I dig my heels in and refuse to budge, but once I realize I'm not going to win I agree to go. Sigh. If only I could be in charge!!!
Mom still puts the Easy Walker on me for hikes or public access work, but to go to the car, bus stop, dog park or training she simply clips the leash to my collar. I am really growing up!
 
 
The weather is super hot but I have so much energy I need to do something! Mom spent lots of time in the morning working on our training games, but I just could not relax. So mom and little sis took me along to the grocery store. That went pretty well. They brought the groceries home and then took me to the mall. Now that was fun! It was nice and cool inside as we walked through department stores and through the halls. We rode the elevator a couple of times. Then they stood in line at a Jamba Juice stand. I sat when asked and stayed in down position while they shared their snack. I got to taste some too - mom used the straw to put a bit on the plastic cover. Slurp, it tastes fruity and cool on my tongue. Little sis said she really likes going to the mall and spending time with me. On the way home we stopped at the library. By now I was focused and sitting immediately when mom stopped and looked at little sis to see what would happen next. They just have to keep me busy or else I end up jumping around like Bobby Van in "Small Town Girl."
 
 
Mom and I take the girls to the bus stop in the morning and then we go on a walk. Mom likes to go different directions, but we have about five routes that are one to two miles long. One day this week, she asked me which way I wanted to go. She pointed with her body and eyes both directions and then said "show me". I knew right away which one I wanted and trotted off towards the neighborhood with the lake. I like it when I get to choose and I'm glad mom knows how to ask! 
 
 
We all love my wireless fence. I have so much room to zoom around and play and I follow my people all around the yard.  I don't mind putting on the beeper collar because I get to be off-leash when I wear it. One day I started to chase a chicken that was very close to my area, but as soon as it started beeping I ran back into the safe zone before I got a shock.  And mom forgot to take off my collar two times as she was rushing to the bus stop. The first time, it started to beep and she immediately jumped back into the safe zone and set the collar on the step. So yesterday as she was hustling us towards little sis's bus stop, I sat down and refused to move halfway across the driveway. I know what that collar is for! She turned around and thanked me over and over for reminding her she forgot to take it off when she put the leash on. I am Rocky the Wonderdog!
 
 
Today I got to choose where I wanted to go for a  field trip. Mom held out my easy walk leash for outside walks and my service vest. I immediately bopped the service vest, sat down and looked at mom. She loaded me and the girls into the car and drove to the medium sized mall. It wasn't nearly as crowded as the big mall and I felt very comfortable since I've been there twice before. We walked around and I parked politely as the girls looked at merchandise at the kiosks. Big sis had a long turn with a remote control flipper car. Little sis didn't have any problems with the elevator today and was very good about staying with the group as she held onto her short leash. Up on the second floor she got scared about the glass walls of the mezzanine overlooking the floor below, but she felt safer after mom changed our positions and put me next to the glass wall. She asked lots of questions about why this floor didn't fall down. When the girls had a drink at the food court I parked right on cue. With a couple of redirects I tucked much closer to the table; not perfect but closer to what mom expects. I did a great job!
After we left the mall, mom wanted to take a walk in a local park since the weather was unusually warm. We stopped at home to pick up dad and headed for our usual trail. Unfortunately, I was pretty much out of control - there were so many dogs and wildlife smells they could hardly hold onto me.  I even tripped and somersaulted dad by going under his legs when a large group of barking dogs went by.  I guess I had the zoomies.  I do have to say, every dog we saw there was pulling and lunging at their leash, but they were mostly smaller dogs and their parents physically dragged them away. Maybe it was the balmy weather and lack of snow that made all the dogs crazy today. Mom decided she likes mall walking better for leash work and letting me go off-leash at the indoor dog park for run around time.  Hopefully next spring I will be ready for the trail!
 
 
Mom noticed my front paw pads were cracking and peeling. She had been rubbing my paws with Musher's Secret, a waxy paw conditioner,  but I keep licking it off my front paws. So she got me these fine boots to wear to the bus stop. I got used to them very quickly and they keep the road salt off of my paws. I'm stylin now!
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Ultra Paws dog boots.
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What a good boy
 
 
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Service dog in training
Trainer lady gave mom this service dog vest. I wear it to the bus stop while little sis walks beside me holding her short leash. She walks next to the curb, I'm in the middle and Mom walks in the street. I'm learning to sit when I see a car and to pay attention to little sis's pace. Mom notices how well I behave when I have a vest on - I know I'm working and don't get to play or sniff around.  Everyone thinks I'm doing a good job learning to walk with a loose leash. I need to pass my Canine Good Citizen test before I wear it around town, but I'm getting close! I just need more practice meeting new people and dogs without getting excited and jumping.
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Little girl is my pal. She got new shoes that match my vest!
 
 
Little sis put this rock star shirt on me and got dressed up as a princess who likes bunnies. We went out after dark for a walk around the neighborhood. She and big sis were laughing and having lots of fun collecting treats in their pumpkin basket. I like going out with them, but why didn't they give me any treats?!
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Happy Halloween!
 
 
Mom takes me for walks and I have been doing a great job walking on a loose leash in the neighborhood. Well, except when I see a squirrel or a chipmunk. And then dad saw a mink in the yard - I just had to drag mom over to check out its trail the next time I was outside! Woof!
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mink in our yard