I love sweet potatoes! I always get some with my supper when mom roasts sweet potatoes with turnips and reds.  And for the next couple of meals she lets me choose between a little bit of cheese or sweet potato chunks. She lets me sniff both then I tap with my nose the one I want. My family notices sometimes I choose the cheese, but most of the time I choose sweet potatoes. Yum!
 
 
My birthday is November 16 and I turned three!  Everyone gave me hugs and extra special peanut butter cookies. The whole family went to the dog park and played for a long time. Mom knows I am a lot calmer and have grown a lot this year. I do not play with the puppies as much as I used to, and am pretty much done running the fence with the little dogs on the small dog side. I prefer playing with dogs my age and size. Mom notices I plan out short cuts. Instead of following the dogs running large circles around the park I anticipate their path, wait and then cut them off halfway with a big belly bump. Score!
Other things mom notices is that I have more patience when schedules are delayed or changed. I wait patiently for breakfast on week-ends when everyone sleeps in. I accept some days I don't get to go to the park until afternoon or that we stop at a store before the park. Yep, I'm a good ole ' boy and everyone loves me.
 
 
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Frozen kong dog treat
It is hot and humid here in Minneapolis, so mom is finding ways to help keep me cool.  Tena's Super Secret Kongcicle is a big hit! Mom used unsweetened yogurt, a dab of peanut butter and a mashed banana for the stuffing. She inserted an unfinished bully stick end piece and froze it overnight in the freezer. The extra yogurt mix was scooped into an ice cube tray for little frozen bites. The first time she gave me a cube I didn't know what to think and spit it out a few times, but by the next one I was all over it! When she goes to the freezer I hope and hope she will give me another yogurt frozen dog treat!
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frozen kong dog treat
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frozen yogurt dog treat
 
 
Mom and dad packed the car for an afternoon trip to Grandma Bev and Grandpa Frank's cabin on the 4th of July weekend. I watched them pack my food bowl so I knew I was going along too and jumped into the car as soon as they opened the back. No way was I going to stay behind! It was really hot in the city and they weren't sure if they should bring me, but the weather maps showed it was much cooler by the lake. So off we went and drove for a long time. I met Dad's Uncle Darrel and greeted Bev and Frank very politely. They hadn't seen me for a long time and were quite impressed with my manners. The cabin/trailers all have decks. They tied me to the porch and after sniffing everything pretty much settled and watched all the people. There was a great Dane on the porch next door and a chocolate lab puppy across the street. I figured out it was not a social dog situation and dogs were expected to stay on their families' decks. All the people drove around in golf carts. Soon crowds of people set up picnic tables and chairs right in the road. The roasting station was across the road and the food line at the cabin next door. When it was my families' turn to get food, Mom told me to stay on the porch. I whined a little, but I could see them the whole time and was quite relieved when they came back. Mom fed me while they were eating and then I got a special chew! I loved watching the people and didn't jump on anyone in the yard or startle when someone stepped over me. After dinner, the kids and Grandpa got in their golf cart and drove to the lake. I walked with mom as it was only a block or so, but I wanted her to hurry to keep up with little sis. We walked out on a creaky old dock and I was pretty nervous. They asked me to step on a pontoon so I did, mostly because it was less scary than the docks. Little sis noticed my tail was tucked under, but as soon as they got the pontoon going I went to the front to watch the loons and boaters. Mom fed me some yummy treats while we were boating and several more when we returned to the marina dock. My family was very proud of me and are excited to bring me again this fall!
 
 
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Soggy doggy in the shower
Mom takes me to the dog park almost every day for exercise. I get pretty muddy since it has been raining a lot this spring. If there is water in the rain garden, I make a bee-line to splash and play with the other dogs. This is especially fun on a warm day. All the parents groan a little because it is kind of stinky, but start to laugh when they see how much fun we are having jumping around like kangaroos. When we get home, mom leads me right upstairs and tells me to jump into the shower. I get a treat for that. Then she sprays me with warm water and sometimes uses shampoo to get rid of the stink. I got used to the shower pretty fast and get two treats when we are done. I have short fur and towel dry quickly, even without a doggy shake! 
 
 
Mom saw this clip  "Sh*t people say to Service Dog Handlers" on Youtube and wanted to share it with you. The metro area we live in is very educated about service dogs, but she has heard about half of the comments mentioned. In the year that I have been training for public access, only one person has questioned us. He was an immigrant with emerging English skills working at a lobby desk. Mom pointed out the service vest I wear and said it was OK for me to be inside, so he shrugged and let us continue on to the elevator. Any way, tell us what you think about the video!
 
 
Mom started reading articles about mushing and after talking with friends at the dog park bought me a skijoring harness. Next, she bought a used kick-sled on Craigslist, basically a chair on skis, and started training me to pull it. Mushers strongly suggest starting slow and keeping training sessions short. We started in the house pulling a cloth bag behind me while she sprinkled treats in front of me. At first, the resistance made me stop because mom is really insistent on not pulling on the leash when we go for a walk.  It was very confusing, but she cheered me on when the treats enticed me to pull. The kittens love jumping in the bag and going for a ride. After a few sessions I got used to the bag dragging behind me. 
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dog pulling the kitten in the bag
Next, we practiced pulling the kicksled in the driveway. She lured me with treats and quickly I learned pulling was fun!
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Pulling the kick sled is fun!
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Treats sprinkled every few feet encourage me to pull the kick sled!
We practiced in book store isles with "Gee!" for right and "Haw!" for left and "Whoa!" for slow down and stop. The lakes are not frozen enough yet for safe play, so we all went to the indoor park to pull a razor scooter. I like the exercise and come happily to put on the skijoring harness.  Within a few minutes I learned to pull the scooter. We do a couple of laps and then I get to play. So far, mom plays rabbit and runs ahead of me, but soon she thinks I can learn to pull on command.
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skijoring harness and scooter
 
 
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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.
 
 
I've been practicing using a ramp at training. First, trainer Lynnda had the ramp on the floor and I learned to walk across it. That went pretty well. Next, she raised the ramp on a low box. I got a little scared as the ramp flexes on the middle fold. It does have a non-slip surface, but the movement makes me nervous. She made sure I got yummy treats and we only practiced a few times so I could process what we did. The ramp was brought out  during the next few training sessions and each time it was raised up a little more. Last week, I went up and down to the 24-inch platform calmly and confidently without trying to jump off. Trainer Lynnda is so proud of me! 
 
 
I love to play games. Mom taught me how to play hide and seek with toys and mittens in the house months ago. We also play "Find Her" with little sis. She hides behind a tree or  bench outside, around a book shelf at the library and recently we we started playing the game at the dog park. Trainer Lynnda advised the command should have the same intensity of voice that mom would use if little sis was really lost. Last week at training mom asked how to get  me to stay with little sis after I found her. Lynnda had some great ideas. Big sis had several days off of school this week and helped by being the hider at the dog park. She gave me a treat when I found her and then told me to sit/stay. After five seconds she gave me the second treat. By then mom was arriving and gave me another treat because I stayed put. I am really getting the hang of it!