Friday, December 26, 2008

Doggy Style:Ruff Wear

Backcountry Edge and REI Outlet are having sales on their Ruff Wear products. The sales even include the Ruff Wear Overcoat and the Ruff Wear Sun Shower rain jacket. Mr. B can be seen rocking the red Ruff Wear Overcoat, which happens to be Ms. M's. Due to the sale, we were able to buy the blue Ruff Wear Overcoat at a decent price for Mr. B. The overcoat has a warm fleece lining, waterproof covering and reflective strips for night walking. Mr. B and Ms. M have worn this through all sorts of conditions and the coat has stood up very well. We also ordered the green and red Ruff Wear Sun Shower rain jacket for Mr. B and Ms. M for the spring and summer rainy weather. We will review these once these are delivered.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Pooches: Snowing 4 to 8 inches

It's been too cold to go outside, and we've all been inside waiting out the storm. The pooches have been watching the snow like it's television. And we've been having flights of grilled cheese with tomato soup.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pooches: Organizing Dog Swag

Between the frisbees, balls, sea toys, and sweaters our pooches have alot of stuff. To keep stuff organized, and minimize the clutter, we bought a bunch of matching baskets. Now everything has a place, and it still looks nice in the house. We had bought our brown storage boxes from Victoria Hagan's collection for Target. While they don't have any in stock right now, they periodically carry some nice totes. We also found these on sale at CB2 that we use to organize our other items in our "linen closet".

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

DoggyStyle: The Dog Resistant Rug

We recently discovered FLOR tiles when we were searching around for a square rug. Basically, you buy the rug in individual tiles which you can configure in any shape or pattern you like. We chose Toy Poodle in Cocoa and Lime. We made a big square with a stripe in the middle. The best part is these rugs are really durable. This is Mr. B's favorite place to sleep. And, if anything happens to it, it is much easier to replace one tile then it would be to replace an entire rug.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pooches: Three Pitties in the City Part Deux

Life has finally settled down with the three pitties. Though they get along really well when we are around as the pictures show, we would never leave them running free when we are not home. We always keep them crated except for one, its not that they are vicious, but they roughhouse a lot like all dogs and without supervision the house would turn into ruins. To ensure that you come home to an intact house, we recommend that you crate all your dogs or let one dog free, but crate the others. To make crating a pleasant experience for all dogs, I recommend giving them a Kong filled with treats, and as I wrote before freeze the Kongs filled with treats to make them last longer.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pooches:Three Pitties in the City

For this week, we are watching my friend E's pit bull, while he is off in sunny California visiting his dad. So we now have three big dogs running around our place. Its been a bit hectic in the beginning to say the least, but doing a proper dog introduction has really made it quite easier. Here are some tips on how to properly introduce your dog to another dog, especially if you need to watch the dog. Just remember that a proper introduction cannot happen in one day and it requires a lot of patience.
1. Pick a neutral place to meet, somewhere that is neither dog's territory or where neither dog has been to, such as a park, a parking lot or such. Start by having the dogs and the handlers walk past each other. Have the other dog and handler start on one side of the park or parking lot and you will start on the other side with your dog. Calmly walk past each other, making sure the dog pays attention to you and not the other dog or handler and do not let the dogs meet or greet each other. Turn around and pass each other again. Do this until they have calmed down and could walk past each other without jumping or getting hyper.
2. Proceed to parallel walking, where you and the other handler walk the dogs in the same direction but a few feet apart and alternate which dog is ahead, but do not let the dogs interact with each other, especially no lunging, jumping or pulling.
3. If they appear to be friendly to each other, then find a place where they can meet. Allow them to sniff each other briefly, but pay attention to body signals. Immediately stop the interaction when it appears that one dog is afraid or being aggressive. If everything is going well, work on obedience training with one while the other dog gets to walk around either off leash or loosely on the leash.
4. On the second day, have the other dog and handler come over, but meet them on the street. Proceed to parallel walk down the street a couple blocks, so that each dog could get reacquainted, then proceed into the house.
5. Keep both dogs on leash, but let the other dog and handler walk around the house. When the other dog appears comfortable, take your dog off leash and let him/her walk around as he/she normally does around the house. When it seems that both dogs are getting along well, let the other dog off leash, but monitor their interaction. You should intervene when the interaction gets out of hand, but if they are playing allow them to play and have the dogs correct each other.
6. Finally, on the day that the other dog is staying with you, have them come up, but keep the dog on leash until he/she feels comfortable again. Allow the dogs to interact, but monitor them closely. Usually on the second or third day everything is back to a peaceful environment even with three pitties.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Pooches: Pirate Dogs Redux

Mr. B and Miss M can now be seen traveling around Chicago rocking their new Chilly Dog skull sweater. Normally, I am against putting clothes on Mr. B, but just like A and Miss M, he hates the cold. Both Miss M and Mr. B have short hair, so they need coats and sweaters to keep them warm during our walks in the winter. Also, the skull sweaters look quite nice and Mr. B has already received compliments from random girls in cars. If you are interested in getting this sweater or something similar, visit Doggystyle in Wicker Park.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Doggystyle: Miss M's Delicate and Dainty Feet

Miss M. really doesn't like the cold. The images of dogs romping in the snow doesn't hold true for Miss M. Even with all of her fancy coats and sweaters, she just doesn't like to go outside. Despite being a city dog, she has a hard time letting her delicate, little feet touch the snow. When I first realized this, I ran down do the dog store to buy the first pair of boots I could find. We ended up with these Muttluks. While they do work well, they are kind of a pain to put on. She walks like a duck in them. And you have to watch because sometimes they fall off of her feet and get left in the snow. This year I think we might pick some of these up for Mr. B. They serve the same purpose, they're easy to put on, and if we loose one it's easily replaceable.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pooches: Mr. B the Graduate

Mr. B has officially graduated from level 1 and 2 obedience training at Unleashed. Mr. B has now mastered the down, down stay, sit stay, come, loose leash walking and walking off leash. Before we started this classes, we have tried unsuccessfully to teach Mr. B down. After 10 minutes with Curtis, Mr. B learned down and down stay. A and I have gone through training with Ms. M through a variety of different places even Anti-Cruelty and I think this was the best training class I have been to, it is fast paced and the space allows for individual instruction. In addition, Curtis Scott leads the class. If you are interested in obedience training, please call Unleashed at 312.475.9910.

Friday, November 14, 2008

DoggyStyle: Miss M joins the Old Navy Ski Team!

We haven't officially gotten around to buying the pooches new coats. However, we were in Old Navy the other day, and spontaneously picked up this pink number for Miss M. She has been wearing it around the house and won't let us take it off. Not only does the puffiness keep her warm, but it also doubles well as an impromptu dog bed when Miss M decides to mix it up and lay down on the hardwood. The coat even has a little "Old Navy ski team" badge. Next week Miss M will be competing against the Abercrombie and Fitch snowboarding club.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Doggystyle: Mr. B Hates the Rain

We still haven't bought Mr. B a raincoat, even though he really hates the rain. And to make it worse, everyone we walk by wants to know why Miss M gets a fancy coat while Mr. B just gets wet. It's really hard to find coats that fit the pitties' chests--usually coats that big are meant for Newfoundlands and St. Bernards and they're way too long for the pooches. I happened upon this shop on Etsy that will custom make dog coats for our exact specifications. The shop also supports the Greyhound Rescue and donates 15% of profits to the group. I'm really liking the hooded raincoats. Even though Miss M has her fancy coat, she still doesn't like to get her head wet, it ruins her hair. I'm thinking we might get matching yellow raincoats. To be continued....

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Chicagoing: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

This past Sunday was the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. After a whole spring and summer of training, it was finally Ms. A's time to shine. I headed out with Mr. B and Ms. M to see Ms. A at three different spots, mile 11, mile 15 and mile 25. Mr. B and Ms. M were decked out in their marathon spectator gear. Ms. M was sporting a 'Go Runners' sign on her backpack and on her hat and Mr. B was wearing a 'Team Schwang' hat. As usual, they were a hit. A number of spectators stopped to take pictures of them and even with them. We even got compliments from runners while on the course. Overall it was a pretty overwhelming day. The pooches were just as tired as Ms. A when we all got home. Congratulations for completing your 6th marathon Ms. A.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pooches: Ultimate Kongs

One way that we have been trying to minimize Mr. B's isolation distress is giving him and Ms. M a Kong filled with treats before we leave. This has helped a lot and definitely keeps them occupied while we are gone. To make this ultimate Kong, I spray aerosol cheese or add peanut butter at the bottom of the Kong and then throw in less than a handful of dog food. Then I add bits of salmon skin, jerky treats, biscuit treats, and string cheese. Finally I block the top off with a biscuit and then spray some aerosol cheese or add peanut butter on top. To make the Kong last for more than a few minutes, I make about 6 days worth of ultimate Kongs and then freeze them. The freezing is key to making the Kongs last awhile.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

DoggyStyle: Miss M Hates the Rain

Miss M hates the rain. However, she does sport this fancy little jacket from Ruffwear. It's perfect for Bullies because the front is wide enough for their chests, but the overall jacket isn't too long. This jacket has a fleece lining so she also wears it in the snow, because Miss M hates the snow.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Schwang Swag: Rainy Days

Living in Chicago, we are forced to be out in the elements. I made this realization the first year I moved here, misjudging how impossible it was to run a few short blocks from the El to my office. I spent the entire workday waiting for my clothes to dry, and angering a few of my co-workers trying to dry off with a spaceheater that ended up short-circuiting their computers.Since that time I have figured out how to stay dry, while still looking nice.
Tretorn Plask Boots: Not only do these keep you dry, but they are really cute AND comfortable. They look so nice that you don't even have to change out of them. I end up getting a lot of compliments whenever I wear them.
Crocs Prima Ballet Flat: I had originally bought these for a trip to Spain where I needed a comfortable walking shoe that still looked nice. It wasn't until it started raining on their Santa Semana parade that I realized how lucky I was these were waterproof too. Plus they're really lightweight so I can throw them in a purse of bag if I suspect I will get caught in a storm.
Trench Coat: I bought a trench coat from Kenneth Cole a couple of years ago and I still wear it all the time. It's perfect in rain because it will keep me warm and it's long enough to cover my skirts and dresses.
Hat: I had purchased a cloche-type hat from J-Crew a few years ago. It helps keep the rain out of my face, while also keeping my hair dry.
Umbrella: I picked up a travel size Totes Umbrella, mine is peacock blue, that is small and light enough to keep in my purse at all times.
-Miss A

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Pooches: Cold Weather Approaching

It's beginning to feel a bit like fall. So much so, even The Pooches are hiding under their Ikea Rens Sheepskins.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pooches: Dyson vs Hoover

Though most of our house has hardwood floors, the dogs seem to think the best place to throw up, pee or poo is on the rug or on the carpeting in our bedroom. Safe to say that the rug and the carpets were pretty disgusting until we found the two best inventions for homes with dogs, the Hoover SteamVac with Clean Surge and the Dyson DC15 Animal. It is truly amazing to see how much dog hair is on our rug and carpet and they look fairly clean after vacuuming with the Dyson. When we were looking for a steam vac, we read several reviews and finally bought the Hoover SteamVac with Clean Surge. After one use, the carpet and the rug look amazing. Though they will never look brand new, the Hoover took out almost all of the set in vomit, poo and pee stains in our rug and carpet. I highly recommend both the Hoover and the Dyson for homes with pets or even kids.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pooches: Miss M and Mr B walk 4 Kilometers!

This past weekend, we participated in the PAWS Chicago's Eighth Annual Run for Their Lives 4K walk. Poor Ms. M and Mr. B had to walk 4K. They were pretty wiped out when we got home. At the event was a costume contest, an agility course and a whole bunch of booths with free treats and goodies. Though the weather was cloudy and a little chilly, it was still a great day with the pooches.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Pooches: Jookie Portraits

Miss M and Mr B had a chance to mug for the camera and have professional photos taken. Jookie Portrait Boutique specializes in children's photography, but also does work with pets. They were nice enough to offer a fundraiser for New Leash on Life, Miss M's rescue organization, with proceeds going to rescue homeless pups. The owner and photographer, Jill, was so nice and great with the pooches. We still have to order our pics and will post when we get them. In the meantime, you can view some of the proofs HERE.
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