Friday, July 30, 2010

Pooches: At Home

We were always curious of what our pooches do when they are home without us. When we are home, they just hang out in different parts of the house,play with toys,smell the flowersand watch the outdoors from the front windows.We imagine that when we leave, they get into all sorts of crazy hijinks. So we decided to record their every move with the Pet's EyeView camera when we were gone. Much to our surprise we found out that Mr. B spends most of the time knocked out in his tepee. There are 40 pictures of his jowl and the rug under the tepee:Ms. M's day seems to be more adventurous: It starts of in the crate with her kong,
laying in the crate for awhile,
watching the outdoors from the window,
laying out on the hardwood floor,
hanging out in the living room,
and laying out on the hardwood floor again.
However there have been a few times that we have come home to find the house in disarray and Ms. M's crate moved while she was still in it. We would love to catch this on film as it's happening.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pooches: Crate Training

Poor Wilma, before we fostered her she was adopted by this great guy for couple weeks and then returned. In those couple of weeks, she was wined and dined and she lived a life without borders and crates, she basically had free reign in the house...then she entered our house. Though she lived in a crate at daycare before we fostered her, it was a real shock to her when she had to be crated at our place. Since we have the three bullys and we want to make sure that each have their separate space, we crate the pooches when we are not home. Luckily for us, we have two dogs that goes willingly to their crate/tepee and actually enjoy sleeping there. On the other hand, it was a struggle to get Wilma to go into her crate. The first several times, she would brace herself, jump onto her crate and/or run away to other parts of the house.
We started Wilma's crate training with her breakfast and dinner. We feed our pooches in their crate/tepee, so we have this system where the pooches run into their beds (crate/tepee) for their meals. In the beginning, we had to place Wilma's bowl way in the back of her crate, so she would have to enter and stay in her crate to eat. Over time, Wilma started associating her meals with the crate and she would go there during feeding times. The next issue was when we would leave the house. Though she would go into her crate for her meals, she would be stubborn again when she had to be crated any other time. We worked on this by only giving the pooches treats when they were in their beds. In addition, when we were leaving, we would give them each an incredible edible kong. Overtime, Wilma started sleeping in her bed and eventually she would go into her bed when we had treats or kongs. Each time we wanted the pooches in the crate/tepee, we would yell out "go to bed," and eventually Wilma started associating this phrase with the crate/tepee and treats or food as you will see in the video below. What you don't see are our pooches hauling to get into their beds. These are things that have worked for us, what other successful experiences have you had with crate training?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pooches: Daily Walk in 10 Pictures 07.28.10

We have been so lucky this summer with the amazing weather. We spend our days sitting out on the porch with the pooches prepping for the upcoming school year or doing work for our summer classes. Before becoming a teacher, I never realized how much work is done outside of the classroom. Regardless, we are trying to take full advantage of the weather in this great city of ours. With Wilma in the mix, we have been forced to leave our porch and go out and explore the city and meet new people. We have been to more street festivals this year than all of our years in Chicago. This past weekend, we went out to the inaugural Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival in Logan Square where we sat on the grass and the pooches met a ton of people. Mr. B took some snap shots with his new camera.
People were sitting all around us and like the social butterfly that she is, Ms. M would go from group to group.
People walking by could not resist Ms. M's smiling face and they would all have to stop to say hi. In the meantime, Wilma would just lay by us and hang out.
A loves hang out at the park and with Wilma in the mix, A had a companion that would lay nicely in the grass. In addition, Wilma would stop and smell the flowers, unlike Ms. M who would stop to eat the flowers and Mr. B who would stop to pee on the flowers.
Since we had three pooches, we were all forced to go on the daily walks together. It is always interesting to see what photos come out on Mr. B's camera.
Our neighborhood has an eclectic mix of different cultures that can be seen on our daily walk. We have Alcala's Western Wear, a country western clothing megastore,mobile ice cream carts and elotes carts,
permission walls on the side of buildings,
and a gelato place, Black Dog Gelato. The pooches are waiting nicely while A gets the cucumber and rosewater gelato that she craves everyday. We are happy to write that Wilma is on a foster to adopt adventure and we hope her new family will be her forever family.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pooches:Dogs without Backyards

While I was at the Angels with Tails adoption event with Wilma, I was surprised how many people I met who thought they couldn't own a dog unless they also had a house and backyard. One of the reasons we write this blog is to show how easy it can be to live in the city with big dogs. Like we wrote earlier, we feel despite living in a 2-bedroom condo our daily walks give the pooches exercise and socialization. Being exposed to so many people, other dogs, and loud noises has made them more confident and well-mannered. Plus, we enjoy the time we spend together.
On our walks we always pass dogs, who have their own front yards, but also have incredible fence aggression. Each time we pass they bark and lunge at us. We have never seen these dogs on walks with their owners, and I think living in the city they need more walks, socialization and stimulation than being stuck in their own yard.
At the same time, we often find ourselves saying we can't wait for the time when we too will own a yard for the dogs to play in. We know how much our dogs would love the freedom to run at whim, and if we had a yard they could do it any time they wanted. Plus, it would make our lives easier because we wouldn't be forced to walk through rainstorms and blizzards.
Seeing both sides, I was just curious how everyone else felt about dogs and yards. Do you think dogs can be truly happy without their own yard to play in?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Pooches: Adoption "Speed Dating"

Looking at Petfinder is just like online dating; sometimes the profile you drool over online may not be a 'love connection' when you meet in person. At the same time, you just might miss the profile of your perfect match.
This was the case for me and Miss M. I went to her adoption event to meet a different dog: a shepherd with one half of his face brown, the other half white. I remember seeing Miss M's profile and reading about how lucky her future forever family would be as she was rescued just one day before being euthanized. I was happy for that abstract future forever family but didn't even consider her a match for me. She photographed like a monster.
It wasn't until I got to the event and met the dogs that I realized Miss M, the dog I never would have considered, was my perfect match. And in an ironic twist of events, I just found out the original dog I was interested in lives just 2 blocks (in the entire city of Chicago) from our house. I was never close enough to realize it was him because he's always barking at the pooches.
This weekend was the ultimate adoption event Angels with Tails held in the West Loop. The event hosts several rescue groups from the Chicagoland area who bring out their dogs along a half-mile stretch. It was the perfect "adoption speed dating" event where interested parties were able to meet several dogs at a single time and check for potential chemistry.
Project Rescue brought out a great group of dogs, including this guy Roux. He is the male 60 pound version of Wilma:
They even have the same wrinkles on the top of their heads:
Wilma made a smashing debut, meeting all kinds of people. Many people who stopped to talk to her were intrigued that she was already full-grown despite looking like a puppy. They were impressed she was so calm and able to sit nicely despite all the other dogs, the people, and the Basset hound rescue dogs "singing" across the street. These people probably wouldn't have stopped on her profile on Petfinder, but had a different reaction meeting her in person.
We heard some people completed applications, so Wilma might be going on some home visits as the first step in finding her family. Hopefully she will find the perfect match!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Pooches: Single Red Female/ Wilma does Wicker Park

I always remember an episode of 'Sex and the City' where they said the reason Charlotte wasn't meeting men was because she wasn't "out there", and it is only by going out and doing things that she would stumble upon her perfect match. Since we've had Wilma, we've applying this same philosophy to have her "out there" so she can meet her future family.
In the past couple days we've taken Wilma out on the town hitting up some of the hottest spots in Chicago. Dressed in this pink camouflage bandanna--which can also be dipped in water to keep cool--and is a great conversation starter:
Wicker Park is a vibrant neighborhood teaming with boutiques, outdoor dining, and doglovers. Just walking down the street we meet a ton of people.
The have opened a lot of fun stores and boutiques on this strip which has been a huge draw for people. I like window shopping at this boutique:Le Dress. They only sell dresses and have one of the broadest ranges of dresses in all of Chicago. Just the other day they were even taping a segment for the Oprah Winfrey show here. We especially like it because they are nice enough to leave bowls of water out for the dogs.There are also tons of restaurants with outdoor dining where people gawk at the pooches. The Boundary always has people sipping cocktails and flowing out the patio at all times of the day (except for when I took this photo at 7 am). There are also a constant flow of people at Moonshine all day and Milk & Honey Cafe for brunch. The food at these restaurants is just mediocre, but Chicagoans will pay a premium to sit outside on a sunny sidewalk, surrounded by flowers, to people and dog watch. Walking by, we've met a ton of people who are curious about the dogs.
We mentioned before, one of the hottest new restaurants in town is a place called Big Star.The space is actually a former gas station, but it is always packed. People will wait up to 3 hours just to eat and drink on this patio. The big draw is the menu is cheap and it was developed by the famous chef who runs fancy, high-profile restaurants like Blackbird, avec, and the Publican, but here you can sample these chefs' talents for a mere $3. They developed a menu of fusion tacos that are unlike anything you've tried at any Taqueria: al pastor tacos with pineapple, lamb tacos with goat cheese, and the biggest draw is the pork belly taco. The best part is they actually have a take out window where you can buy the tacos in mere minutes rather than waiting hours for the patio. Wilma received a lot of attention at Big Star, then we headed out to picnic with our tacos at Wicker Park's park.Wicker Park park is a great urban community park complete with fountain, Sunday morning Farmers Market, pick-up soccer games, and lots of people picnicking and enjoying the sun.
Wilma had a great time hanging out:
Wilma was able to sit nicely at the park while we enjoyed our meal; a feat not all dogs are able to do. This dog kept peering around the tree to check us out.
After tacos in the park, we took Wilma to check out the gelateria: Black Dog Gelato. This much-hyped spot is worth the visit serving unique flavors like: Goat Cheese Cashew Caramel, Mexican Hot Chocolate, Whiskey Bacon, and Sesame Fig Chocolate Chip. I had a cup of the Cucumber Rosewater Sorbet which was so amazing and refreshing that I'm still having cravings for it.
We met lots of people; we're not sure if any of them are Wilma's future family, but at least she got "out there".
Wilma will also be at this weekend's Angels with Tails adoption event in the West Loop. The event showcases dogs from rescues throughout the Chicago area. We will be with the Project Rescue group at the Fedex at Madison and Sangamon.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pooches: Gender Issues

The other week, the idea was brought up that there could be several difficulties having same-sex dogs in a multi-dog household. We knew about our own experiences, but I was also curious about experiences other people might be having with the dogs in their households.
I had dogs with my family, but wasn't until I adopted Miss M that I became aware of issues with same-sex pairing. Being a Bully Breed, and being a big bully herself, I knew if we adopted a second dog it would definitely need to be a male dog to tone down domination issues. The summer we were looking to adopt, it was very difficult to find an adult male pittie in the entire city of Chicago. Our search took us all the way to Kalamazoo, Michigan where we were lucky enough to stumble upon our Mr. B: the perfect submissive male.
When we were looking to foster, we knew this opened us to potentially disrupting the "pack order" and bringing in same-gender dominance issues. We wanted to get a submissive dog that would put up with Miss M's bullying. Since Wilma is another female, we've been careful to teach her the rules of the house and hierarchy (Miss M eats first) and to keep them separately crated when we're gone. Our trainer told us that younger dogs could could try to move up the ranks at any time, and that girl-dog disagreements can be especially rough.So far, we haven't had any problems with the dogs, though I agree it is a good reminder to remember how the dog-world works with dominance issues.
I have seen so many of our dogs friends with great "packs" of animals of differing ages and genders, and I was just curious: has gender ever been an issue in anyone's household?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pooches: Daily Walk in 10 Pictures 07.21.10

Now that Wilma has joined our walks, Mr. B has pep in his steps. They like to walk together in stride on our daily walks.
On the other hand, Ms. M lags far behind. I guess the energy in the young pup Wilma is a bit too much for her.
The view of a Chicago intersection in our neighborhood from Mr. B's point of view. He is sitting patiently waiting for the walk signal.
Wilma and pack is waiting for our food order from Big Star's takeout window. On the other side is their outdoor seating area, that has waits up to 2 hours.
Mr. B decided to take some shots of people ordering from the takeout window.
One of the girls had to come and meet the pooches. I guess people smother the pooches so much that all they see are legs or even just a knee.
Since the wait is so long for seating, we decided to take our food to the park and have an impromptu picnic. Here is the scenic park from Mr. B's camera.
While at the park, the pooches met this nice young lady.
Mr. B tried to document their meeting with this quick snapshot. Again, someone's knee is in the photo.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...