Category Archives: GDApupNimble

Nimble is our 4th SA Guide-Dogs puppy-in-training. Mom Lyla (a Golden Retriever) gave birth to Nimble and her sister Nutella on Mothers Day, May 10th 2015.
Their daddy (by artificial insemination) is a Labrador Retriever named Fisher who belongs to a USA Guide Dog school.
Nimble is half-sister to our first Guide Dog puppy, Volt as they have the same mommy!

Nineteen Weeks With Nimble

She’ll be 26 weeks old on Sunday, she weighed in at 24.2kg on the vet’s scale this morning, and she’s 52cm tall at the shoulder.
She’s eating 250g of Bob Martin puppy food twice a day, and she finishes all her food in one go without choking herself or gulping it down.

She’s happily jumping into and out of the car, the front footwell and the back seat, and whilst she is still not sleeping in the car – not completely relaxed – there’s no more “whale-eye”, and she no longer looks as if she REALLY wants out.

With the heat we’ve experienced in the last couple of weeks, we haven’t gone out a lot. Nimble has a longer than average coat, thanks to her Golden Retriever mom, and she gets really hot – moving into the shade every chance she gets. And hot tar or paving is no joke on bare puppy feet.
We visit out usual shops – Pick n Pay, Clicks, Kadies, Checkers – and whilst she is tempted to greet the children she sees, she listens when I tell her to “leave it”.
She is also definitely showing signs of entering her adolescent phase – she’s not a barker unless she gets really excited during a game, she has started to jump up on people who greet her, and she displaying some selective hearing at times, luckily SA Guide-dogs told us about this stage of puppy raising.
😀
Our training sessions are going well, and she responds really well to the clicker. We work on STAY, SIT, DOWN, WATCH, STAND, SIT-STAY, DOWN-STAY in our sessions, and we work on food distraction- she is learning to ignore treats I drop on the floor while I prepare the treat pouch for our training sessions.
We continue to work on loose-leash walking and dog distraction, but as with our other pups this is something I battle with. 😦 I am trying the exercises our Puppy Development Supervisor showed me, and when she’s wearing her Gentle Leader she’s a star.

And here’s some Nimble cuteness, just because!

snoozing in her crate

😀 caught her red, er… pawed?

cool bathroom tiles

HOT DOG!

“Please can I stay outside… It’s so much cooler in the sand!”

pretty girl, no more puppy in that face

trying to convince Penny to play with her

a damp towel on the bathroom tiles is perfect in the heat

Our garden is so dry and dusty with no rain and water restrictions, so wherever the dogs sleep they leave dusty patches on the floor. This is Nimble’s favourite corner.

It’s funny to visit the vet!

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Seventeen Weeks With Nimble

She’s 24 weeks old and she weighed in at 23.1kg on the vet’s scale this morning.
She’s eating 240g of Bob Martin puppy food twice a day. She would still have been on 3 meals a day, but she wasn’t finishing her lunch! All Nimble’s baby teeth have been replaced by her grown up teeth, and she doesn’t look much like a little puppy anymore at all. We are biased, but she is beautiful.

Our car work has improved, she isn’t completely relaxed in the car but she’s lying down more than not which is good. She’s not drooling, and she’s not whining, but she doesn’t want to be bribed either – not frozen, stuffed hooves, not pup-sicles, not treats. I’m also trying to ignore her when she’s uncomfortable so as not to “reward” her restlessness, and it is better.

 

She is SO clever! And such a live wire!
Our training sessions are going well, she responds really well to the clicker, and we’ve added STAY to our SIT, DOWN, WATCH, and STAND commands.
We’re working on loose-leash walking and dog distraction, but as with our other pups this is something I battle with. 😦 I am trying the exercises our Puppy Development Supervisor showed me, and when she’s wearing her Gentle Leader she’s a star.
Our puppy classes are now finished, so from now on it will be group training walks at malls with our PDS and home visits.
She’s experienced the very noisy floor scrubbers and polishers when we were in a mall one morning early, she’s seen the forklifts at Makro in action, and she went to a meeting with me where she had to lie good and quiet under the table even though there was another puppy there.

And here’s some Nimble cuteness, just because!

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Snuggly Nimble

Nimble loves company!

When Patrick comes home on weekends, then Nimble has a dog to snuggle with! Our own dogs are allowed on the beds and couches, so unless Riddick is napping on the floor, she doesn’t have a puppy to cuddle. As far as Penny has come since we adopted her, she doesn’t like to snuggle at all.

sharing her crate with Patrick

Patrick (red collar) and Nimble on the cool bathroom floor

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Fourteen Weeks With Nimble

Nimble is 21 weeks old, eating 210g of Bob Martin puppy food three times a day, and she weighed 21.05kg on the vet’s scale.

Puppy class last week was a group training walk around Brightwater Commons, with Nimble, Nutella, Pippa, Opal, Oliver and Olga. We did some obedience work, rode in a lift, had an up-close look at a Segway, looked down from the upper level, walked over the metal plate at the top of the escalators, climbed stairs, and got to watch some skateboarders do their thing. Then we headed for the parking lot where they drank water and relaxed in the shade of the GDA vehicle on the damp paving for a bit.
I was so proud of our Nimble! It was our first proper training walk with her wearing the Gentle Leader and she was an absolute superstar! Our Puppy Development Supervisor was very pleased with how she’s doing with it. We’ve been working on her putting it on and taking it off, and getting used to wearing it, but we hadn’t been for a proper walk yet and I was worried she’d spend all her time trying to get it off! By the time we went to get water and head home she was quite relaxed.
We also had our usual shopping trips, including one to Makro where she saw one of their forklifts in action for the first time! She barked at it a little, so we did some obedience exercises until she was calm again and then we left.
And this week was our last puppy class, with a short presentation from GDA’s Executive Director, Gail Glover. The puppies played in kennels while we had cookies and listened to Gail, so Nimble was sopping wet- of course- when I fetched her!

Nimble and I and another puppy raiser also assisted GDA at an event hosted by the Nationa Accommodation Association, where they received a couple of donations and got to meet quite a few new people.

 

We spent time last weekend at the Hobby-X expo with Patrick and Nimble, and they were both very well behaved. At one point, Nimble took a nap with her head in the water bowl she had just emptied! After three hours though, Nimble decided there was no way she was going to wear the Gentle Leader anymore, so we headed home.

 

Nimble’s big-girl teeth are fast replacing her puppy teeth. I’ve also replaced her puppy collar with her big-girl collar! She’s growing so fast!

Car travel is okay, she’s still not completely relaxed, but we have made progress, and she’s definitely happier if I put a cover of some sort over the footwell – typically a towel draped from the dashboard to the front seat. The one day we were driving home from somewhere – I forget where exactly – and it was so very hot I let her travel home on the back seat as we weren’t going far, with the air con going full ball. She seems much happier there but she’s not yet allowed to travel there on a regular basis. And coming home from Hobby-X, she and Patrick were together in the backseat, also because of the sweltering heat and it being a short ride, and I blasted the air con for all our benefits.
Over the weekend we spent a lot of time in the car, visiting my folks and my inlaws, and she’s fine on longer trips even though she doesn’t chill out completely.

    

And now, for your enjoyment, here is some mud-loving Nimble cuteness!

Patrick (red collar) and Nimble on the cool bathroom floor

A perfect muddy print of her chest and forelegs… On my bed!

she made confetti!

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Check out my Facebook page for regular puppy updates: A Pup’s Life

Twelve Weeks With Nimble

Nimble is 19 weeks old, and is now eating 190g of Bob Martin puppy food three times a day. We didn’t get to the vet for her weekly weigh-in as she spent the weekend at GDA’s kennels.

She attended puppy class with our Puppy Development Supervisor this week ‘coz she was at kennels, so I don’t have any pictures. Next week we’re having an outing to a mall so that will be fun.

We didn’t have a terribly busy week last week, but she had a ball in kennels!
She did get to see something different – they were trimming the trees in our street last week so we went outside to watch. Everything can be turned into a learning opportunity for a Guide Dog puppy, and when something out of the ordinary happens you must grab the chance to teach the pup how to react! There were orange cones in the road, falling branches, several different kinds of chainsaws, people wearing funny hats, and later in the day a truck came through with a wood chipper! She was quite relaxed and happy to go into the street and see what the noise was about.
She wasn’t terribly sure of the noise inside our garden – you can’t see into the street through our solid walls – but once I walked down the lawn with her and the other dogs she was fine.

And now, for your enjoyment, here is some Nimble cuteness!

She has a dinosaur-shaped Nylabone that she loves to chew on, rolling around with it and tossing it up in the air!

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Eleven Weeks With Nimble

Look how she’s grown! That’s our Riddick she’s snuggling with.

A rather skewed photo of Nimble on the vet’s scale – weighing in at 18.7kg – she was very distracted by a Rotty who was also in reception, both of them squeaking at each other!

She’s 18 weeks old, and she weighed in at 18.7kg on the scale at the vet this morning.
She’s now eating 180g of Bob Martin puppy food three times a day, and she eats really well, hardly ever guzzling big mouthfuls anymore.

Her baby teeth are falling out and being replaced!

Our training sessions are going well, she responds really well to the clicker, and we’ve added STAY to our SIT, DOWN, WATCH, and STAND commands.
We’re working on loose-leash walking, but as with our other pups this is something I battle with. I am trying the exercise our Puppy Development Supervisor showed us, and they have now given us a Gentle Leader that I have to train her to use.
We still have to do more work on her recall… :/
At puppy class this week, we walked from GDA’s offices to the Western Shoppe up the road. They sniffed saddles, examined horsey sculptures, and climbed some stairs. I didn’t have my phone with me though so I don’t have pictures.

I filled the kiddy pool for her after puppy class ‘coz it was so hot!

Our car work has improved her apparent fear of overhead shadows a bit, but she’s still giving me the whale-eye on occasion. Putting a towel over the footwell as a screen between her and the window has helped her relax in the car so we’re going to continue doing that.

We didn’t have a terribly busy week last week, but Nimble spent the weekend at GDA’s kennels with her sister and the “O” litter puppies. They were the cute factor at the GDA’s Annual Gala Ball last Saturday night, and the poor Miss Earth SA finalists who were walking them around the hall had their hands full, tottering around on their high heels with the boisterous puppies! Unfortunately, Nimble saw me in the hall and she got very excited!
Nimble spending her first weekend at GDA is a very important part of the preparation for her formal training. She will spend two short stays a month at GDA-one over a weekend and one during the week, so that when she starts her formal training she will be familiar with the people and the routines at kennels, and she won’t stress about suddenly being in a strange place.
We did have one long trip to a Netcare hospital, and Nimble was as good as gold! She slept under my chair in the Netcafé with her daddy while I visited my dad.

Nimble dragging a Miss Earth SA finalist around the hall

Under my chair in the Netcafé

Waiting in the car for daddy at the Gautrain station

Worn out after a weekend at kennels

And now, for your enjoyment, here is some Nimble cuteness!

sharing the dinosaur Nylabone with Riddick

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Check out my Facebook page for regular puppy updates: A Pup’s Life

Ten Weeks With Nimble

Wow, how time flies!

She’s 17 weeks old, and she weighed in at 17.7kg on the scale at GDA during puppy class (no picture of her on the scale).
She’s now eating 170g of Bob Martin puppy food three times a day, and I think she has a beautiful build. She’s still so soft, and the hair on her back and her ears is ever so slightly curly, and she has a cute little curl on the end of her tail.
She is SO clever! And such a live wire!
And we’ve swopped her “small” puppy jacket for a “medium”! 🙂
Our training sessions are going well, she responds really well to the clicker, and we’ve added STAY to our SIT, DOWN, WATCH, and STAND commands.
We’re working on loose-leash walking, but as with our other pups this is something I battle with. Our Puppy Development Supervisor showed us another exercise during puppy class today that we can use so I’m going to try that now as well.
We also have to do more work on her recall, which I thought was going great but seems to have slipped a bit…
At puppy class this week, we started with the circle as always, talking about how the pups are progressing in their training, and then the pups spent a few minutes in kennels with a sibling or two – Nimble and Nutella were together – while were all out of sight, and then they went to the GDA scale for a weigh-in.

puppy circle

heading to kennels for playtime and a weigh-in

post-puppy class water trough mash-up!

Our car work has improved her apparent fear of overhead shadows a bit, but she’s still giving me the whale eye on occasion. Putting a towel over the footwell as a screen between her and the window has helped her relax in the car so we’re going to continue doing that.

We had the usual shopping trips and car rides in the week, and on Sunday we visited the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens for the Sasol Bird Fair. I arranged access for Nimble in the days before we went, and she was a hit.
A few people told me dogs weren’t allowed in the park, a security guard and a guy from SANBI stopped us and asked why she was there, and a few people asked if they would be allowed to bring their dogs, and as I normally do – I explained that she’s a Guide Dog Puppy, which is why she wears the blue jacket, and that I had arranged permission for her to accompany us.
She was as good as gold and we walked all OVER the park! The kids were tickled pink by how she drank from the water fountain the same way they did!
By the time we left she was pooped and she slept all afternoon.

worn out after walking all over the botanical gardens

sitting good and quiet in the Clicks pharmacy

And now, for your enjoyment, here is some Nimble cuteness!

turning newspaper into confetti

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Check out my Facebook page for regular puppy updates: A Pup’s Life

Nine Weeks With Nimble

She’s 16 weeks old, and she weighed in at 16.6kg on the vet’s scale, a 1.15kg gain in the last week.
She’s now eating 160g of Bob Martin puppy food three times a day, and she has a beautiful build!
This week the vet’s office was quiet when we were there, but she was very excited to be there so we walked around outside till she quieted down a little. As bouncy as she was, she did a beautiful sit-stay on the scale.

Our car work has improved her apparent fear of overhead shadows a bit, but she’s still giving me the whale eye on occasion. She just isn’t relaxing in the car. She’s not drooling, and she’s not whining, but she doesn’t want to be bribed either – not frozen, stuffed hooves, not pupsicles, not treats. I’m also trying to ignore her when she’s uncomfortable so as not to “reward” her restlessness, and it is a little better… We’re now going to try putting some kind of screen between her and the window to try and help her relax in the car.

She is SO clever! And such a live wire!
Our training sessions are going well, she responds really well to the clicker, and we’ve added STAY to our SIT, DOWN, WATCH, and STAND commands.
We’re working on loose-leash walking, but as with our other pups this is something I battle with. Our Puppy Development Supervisor showed us another exercise during puppy class today that we can use so I’m going to try that now as well.

On Saturday we were at the TicketPro Dome for the Getaway Show, helping GDA sell raffle tickets and build awareness. Nimble did really well with all the attention.
Yesterday I took my dad for a check up at Jacaranda Hospital in Pretoria, and Nimble went with us. We dropped my folks off and went for a quick walk up the street so she could have a busy and see some traffic, and then we went inside to the cafeteria where she went to sleep next to my chair! Most people didn’t even realise she was there.

Puppy class this week was at GDA, and the food sponsors, Bob Martin, were there doing some filming during puppy class. It was a little tricky keeping quiet during the filming, and we had to stay put for quite a while, but once they were finished the puppies had a good romp in the garden before we did another training exercise.
When we got home she slept for a solid two hours before waking up for her lunch!

And now, for your enjoyment, here is some Nimble cuteness!

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Check out my Facebook page for regular puppy updates: A Pup’s Life

Eight Weeks With Nimble

She’s 15 weeks old, and she weighed in at 15.45kg on the vet’s scale this morning, a 1.3kg gain on last week.
When we went to the vet for our weekly weigh-in, she had to practice her patience ‘coz we had to have our one cat, Twister, seen by the vet as well, and we had to wait because the vet was already busy with another dog.

Our car work has already improved her apparent fear of some overhead shadows. She still gives me the whale eye on occasion, but she’s no longer shying away from the window.
She’s now staying put in the footwell when I get out of the car, but as soon as I walk around to the passenger side she’s up on the seat! I do bench her, but to keep her off the seat I have to bench her with too short a lead to even move around.
*thinking* maybe I can bench her on a very short lead just before I get out the car…

She is SO clever! And such a live wire!
GDA has asked us to start preparing our pups for the possible use of a Gentle Leader, either during training or with their owner.

Eating her lunch with her practice-Gentle Leader, so that if she needs one during training, or with her owner, she will be used the wearing something on her face. She doesn’t like it, but she’s getting used to wearing it for short periods of time.

Puppy class this week was at a little, kiddies farmyard, so the puppies could meet sheep, goats, donkeys, ducks, bunnies, chickens and so on. Many Guide Dogs go to work in rural areas and they can’t be spooked by animals. Nimble was a little nervous of the big animals at first, but with treats and praise she was sniffing them very quickly. Then the pups had time for a game of wrestle-and-chase as Labs love to do, and all went home filthy and exhausted.
In the evening, we went along with a GDA representative to a golf day prize giving and dinner, where SA Guide-dogs was a beneficiary. Nimble got lots of attention, and got to experience a few new things – a big eagle statue in a fountain, people carrying golf bags, golf carts, and a HUGE open space.

The ducks didn’t want to say hello…

Puppy Development Supervisor Ane helped with Nimble while I took photos.

Bored by the bunnies… 😛

Labrador wrestle-and-chase 😛

On the balcony of the Eagle Canyon Golf Club.

Speeches and auctions and prizes and lucky draws… So much applause and noise!

Using the puppy bag as a pillow at the dinner.

Being cute!

And now, for your enjoyment, here is some Nimble cuteness!




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Seven Weeks With Nimble

She’s 14 weeks old, and she weighed in at 14.1kg on the vet’s scale this morning, just over a kilo gained in the last week, and she’s now eating 150g of Bob Martin puppy food three times a day.
We continue to use pieces of chicken viennas as training treats, as well as the little Marltons bones (when I can find them).

I have had to coax Nimble into the car again lately as she’s suddenly a little spooked by the shadows of trees that hang over the road as we drive, but we’re working on it. She gets extra treats like a frozen pup-sicle(layers of frozen water, peanut butter, and doggy treats) to chew on in the car, and we’re moving things around over her head at home as well. If I’m in the passenger seat then she’s fine at my feet, but if I’m driving it’s very hard to monitor her reactions AND watch the road, but we’re making progress!
I’m also working on her staying put in the footwell when I get out of the car, until I get around to the passenger side and let her out ‘coz she’s taken to hopping up onto the passenger seat to wait for me! 😀

She is SO clever! And such a live wire!
We’ve switched back to the clicker for her training, with GDA’s okay, and she’s very quick to learn. She’s learnt “sit”, “down”, “up-sit”, and “high five” (not an official command, of course), and she has almost mastered “watch” and “stand”. We’re doing our daily handling sessions, at meal times, and I have now started putting a soft elastic over her face so that if she is trained with a gentle leader, she’ll be used to the sensation already.
She’s pulling on the lead a bit when she’s excited, but our distraction and recall exercises are helping with that a lot, and the “watch” command will make a big difference once she has that down, too.
She’s completely at home in her crate. She naps in it, sleeps in it overnight, and if I’m going to be out for a short while I leave her in her crate rather than take her with me. This is an important part of her training as she has to be okay with being alone on occasion.
We’re teaching her not to reach for the door handle as we can’t have her letting herself out whenever she feels like it, but I wish I could encourage it, just ‘coz it’s so clever!

The media event at GDA went very well, and she got to meet several new people as well as have a romp with her puppy class playmates.
She accompanied us, with Patrick, to the JHB Boat Show, where she stole a few more hearts, and she went with me when I had to take my car in to be looked at. The car place is right next to the highway so while we were walking around outside there were lots of noisy and fast moving trucks and cars going by.

And now, for your enjoyment, here is some Nimble cuteness!

snuggling with Riddick

napping in her crate on the blankie daddy got from the SANBS

This is why our dogs are so dirty all the time!

Napping with Patrick

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Check out my Facebook page for regular puppy updates: A Pup’s Life