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....

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