Adagio’s first report card!

IMG_5406I miss Adagio. Steve misses him. We miss having any dog in the house. Maybe if we’d gotten another CCI puppy immediately after turning in Adagio, or if Tucker were still with us, we wouldn’t miss Adagio as much. But living the dogless life for the past 7 weeks has kept him pretty high up in my consciousness and made me look forward to his first report card with particular eagerness. Now we’ve finally received it, and it feels pleasurable to have even this distant contact with him.

It wasn’t perfect. It was lovely to see all the good behaviors checked (“allows/accepts physical handling/grooming,” “attentive to handler,” “calm,” “interacts appropriately with dogs,” etc.) But he got also check marks next to four bad behaviors (anxiety, barking, prey drive, resistance). The note from his instructor, Grace, explained a bit more. “Adagio has adapted nicely to the professional training environment. Initially, he would show some hesitancy going over grates or jumping on surfaces, even refusing to do so at times. We have made some progress in this area, and are still working on building his confidence on new surfaces. Adagio will bark at his handler when he wants attention. On leash, he is very responsive and generally very willing. He is progressing with all new and known commands. He has shown to be distracted by the cat occasionally, but we are working through this. Thanks for all your hard working in raising this sweet boy!”

In the final section of the report, evaluating overall performance, he got all “Moderates.” Overall, it feels like a solid B to me.

Reaching this particular milestone finally prompted me to do something I’ve been meaning to do for ages: look up how long each of our previous pups lasted in Advanced Training before being released. Here’s what I calculated:

Tucker — 65 days, released after receiving one report card

Yuli — 69 days, also after one report card

Brando — never released. He GRADUATED!

Darby — 40 days. She didn’t even make it to her first report card.

Dionne — 89 days. Our most challenging and difficult pup, we look back and can hardly believe she made it through TWO report cards before her ejection.

Kyndall — 46 days. In contrast, this sweet thing also got the boot before even reaching her first report.

Beverly — 28 days. They must have been doing report cards super fast during her stay. She got one report, but then was released for health reasons.

Today marks Adagio’s 49th day in Advanced Training. Will he get to his next report, scheduled for about a month from now? Stay tuned

Report card day!

As promised, CCI sent out the first report today on the puppies who were turned in112917 Beverly's report card earlier in the month. We felt so relieved to get one regarding Beverly. Two of our previous six puppies (Darby and Kyndall) were released from Advanced Training before they even made it to this first landmark!

What the trainer had to say about our girl made us feel even better. All the “good” behaviors were checked (“allows/accepts physical handling/grooming,” “allows/accepts cradling,” “attentive to handler,” “calm,” “interacts appropriately with dogs,” “interacts appropriately with people,” “seeks direction,””walks nicely on leash,” “willing”) and only one of the “bad” behaviors was (“surface sensitivity”).  A note stated that “Beverly has settled in to the kennel environment since turning in for Professional Training. She interacts appropriately with other dogs in the play yard and checks in with her handler frequently. Beverly is calm and accepting of all aspects of the grooming process.” She “has some some surface sensitive to the stairs in the grooming room and grates around campus” — something Steve and I were keenly aware of and worried about. But the note continues, “We are working on this and have already seen some improvement. In training, Beverly is a willing worker and responds well to motivation and correction.”

All in all, it’s the best first report we’ve ever gotten for one of our puppies, including Brando (the only one who so far has gone on to graduate.) So we’ve feeling hopeful.

Not long after getting the email with Beverly’s report, we heard from the puppy raisers of Keegan (Beverly’s CCI doggy friend who lives not far from us and was in all the same classes with her) that Keegan also got an excellent report. Furthermore, the two of them have the same instructor. So that means at least they see each other regularly.

112917 Beverly report
This is Beverly’s actual report. The ones above are Jeannette’s from the days of yore.

Lingering thoughts

Thoughts of Kyndall have popped into my head with surprising frequency in the three days since we bade goodbye to her. Owning any dog is a responsibility, and taking care of a puppy on the path to a life of service is at least as big a one. We’ve gotten so used to it over the years that it doesn’t feel like a huge burden. But every time one of our CCI dogs suddenly disappears, it takes a while to adjust —  to turn off our all-but-automatic caretaking instincts.

Now the Big Silence unfolds. We’re not allowed to visit any dog who’s begun Advanced  Training. CCI claims that it appears to unsettle them. In a few weeks, we’ll get a formal Graduation Photo. But our friend Bob Schneider, who taught photography on the college level, sent the following one, which he took while the formal photos were being taken. It’s hard to imagine another image could be better.

051616 portrait
Doesn’t she look alert?

We’ve been promised our first detailed report on how Kyndall is faring on June 29. The arrival of that document is always exciting. In the meantime, my feelings of sadness have evaporated. I am confident Kyndall’s having fun. All sorts of good things are ahead for her.

Dionne gets a second report card!

It arrived last Friday, and the comments of Dionne’s trainer, Kyle, might appear to be nothing worth getting excited about.  They were so similar to his comments in the first report card that for a minute I thought perhaps a mistake had been made and we’d been sent the wrong file.

But I compared them and found small differences between the two reports. The biggest one was that next to the Potential Breeder box, NO has now been checked, rather than YES.

Other than that, Dionne is still apparently displaying “a higher level of energy than normal, excitable greetings, distractibility, and rough play with other dogs in the play yards.”

Still.  What did excite Steve and me was that Dionne is our only CCI puppy, other than Brando, who ever got two report cards. Tucker and Yuli only got one before being released. Darby never even made it to the first report.

Brando, of course, was our sole star, going on to the glories of graduation and service. Could Dionne possibly follow in his footsteps? It seems unlikely (particularly in light of Kyle’s comments). But at least we can still dream…

Some news, at last!

Steve and I have been holding our breaths for what feels like weeks, waiting for the first Professional Training Report about Dionne to arrive. As noted in my last post, we celebrated when she made it past the point where Darby was released (before she even got her first Professional Training Report). We thought Dionne’s report was supposed to be e-mailed to us Wednesday. But Wednesday came and went.

It finally arrived this morning. Nothing in it surprised either one of us. Our first reaction was to try and parse out: just how bad is this report? Our conclusion: not that bad.

After the standard boilerplate paragraph about how the dogs have mostly been undergoing temperament and medical testing and being evaluated on how they were fitting in came the meaty part:

“Dionne has transitioned well into the kennel environment and is starting to adapt to the advanced training schedule,” we read. “At times she displays a higher energy level than normal, which can be counterproductive to training” (no!!!!! not Dionne, we thought, rolling our eyes), “but with consistent work we have seen some improvements.”

“She is easily distracted by her environment and other dogs and needs help refocusing on the handler.” That’s the Dionne we remember! As, to be fair, is the Dionne who “is relaxed during grooming sessions and does not require much help to get into a cradle position. She has shown some rough play behavior in the play yards with other dogs but can easily be called over to handler to break this behavior. Dionne has been progressing at known and new commands at a normal rate.”

They checked off “excitable greetings,” “rough play with other dogs,” and “distractibility,” among the bad behaviors she had exhibited. But they also checked the boxes for “interacts appropriately with people,” “walks nicely on leash,” and “willing.”

So I guess we keep holding our breath.  The next report — should we get one — should come in about a month.