Friday, October 29, 2010

Pooches: Mr. B's Hurt Feelings

While Miss M has had so much training that she could run away with Barnum & Bailey, Mr. B came to us "already trained". We knew pit bulls were loyal, and would do anything for their owners, but Mr. B takes it to a whole new level. He absolutely hates disappointing us, and he gets his feelings hurt very easily.
When we first met Mr. B, we spent that night camping in Michigan. Mr. B thought it would be a good idea to chew up the paper towels. When we caught him we yelled and took the paper towels away. He was so upset that he crawled away to the furthest corner of the tent and spent the entire night pouting:
While it's unfortunate he has such low self-esteem, it has worked to our advantage with training. Once Mr B. decided to shred a piece of junk mail
We yelled at him and he nervously retreated into his tepee.
Another time Mr. B found where we kept the food and dragged it into his lair:
We took him behind the counter and yelled. Every time he came near the counter we would yell, and now he won't go near the counter. Once we even left a "trap" of treats lined up behind the counter, and even when left home the entire day the treats were untouched.
Given how stubborn Miss M is, we are lucky that Mr. B does try to please us so much. Even to the extent that he lets us dress him like this:
And this:
And is always happy doing it:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

DoggyStyle: Big Dogs and Time-Saving Cleaning

A lot of people have questioned how we can have 2 huge pooches and a home filled with white decor. I don't think having dogs should limit our decorating decisions. Instead, we've taken some preventative measures to cut down on cleaning time and have a home we can all enjoy.
One thing that has made a huge difference is that our pooches wipe their feet at the door. The streets of Chicago have an inordinate amount of dirt and grime; just walking around the city in flip-flops will turn your feet entirely black. Besides walking through dirty Chicago streets, in the past month alone Miss M has stepped in other dogs' poo (twice!) and gum. Knowing the potential for tracking something awful through our home, we gladly spend the few extra minutes giving their paws a quick swipe.We use antibacterial kid's Wet Wipes, and the dogs have actually become accustomed to the routine. They patiently wait their turn at the door; Miss M even assists us by giving us each of her paws.
Our pooches absolutely love laying around on these Ikea Rens Sheepskin, but we know white rugs can be a huge risk
We use  these Earthbath grooming cloths between baths to keep their fur dust and dirt-free. Miss M absolutely loves the green tea scent and rolls around like she's at the spa. This system has kept their rugs looking white and fluffy even after a year of use from our pooches and their guests:
We actually don't let our pooches on the sofa or bed as a way of setting limits. Miss M is a huge bully, we know if she were given this privilege she would still push the limits and feel entitled to boss us around. They still like to lean and rub against the bed, but luckily our white bedding is easy enough to just toss in the washer:
And our white curtains can either be washed or vacuumed with the Dyson.
To eliminate time spent sweeping and vacuuming fur, we started giving the pooches fish oil with their meals to prevent shedding. It's just a quick squirt on top, and wiping Miss M's chin when she's done, to keep their skin healthy and decrease the amount of fur shed.
Just spending a bit of time doing these things has helped us save time trying to remove deeply embedded dirt. Does anyone else have any good  time-saving cleaning tips?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pooches: Daily Walk in 10 Pictures 10.27.10

We were lucky to have great fall weather this past weekend. Too bad these nice warm days are getting fewer and far between. Lucky for Mr. B, he found a new companion for the walk. The little chick must have been a lost kid's toy.
Whatever, Mr. B has, Ms. M wants. She tried to steal Mr. B's new companion out of his mouth,
but Mr. B prevailed and here he poses proudly with his new toy.
He waits so patiently for the light to change, so we can cross the street.
Ms. M is trying to mimic the model on boarded up post office. Sticker bombing or sticker tagging has become pretty big here in Chicago. In most corners of our neighborhood, you will find graffiti, tags and sticker tags. There are several stencil graffiti of Blagojevich around our neighborhood, including the famous one of Blagojevich in a track suit, maybe one day whoever is doing this will reach the level of Banksy
Ms. M has a strange obsession with skateboards. If my skateboard is anywhere within reaching distance to Ms. M, she will attack my skateboard and try to chew it apart. Whenever I skate with Mr. B, she will freak out and start crying and barking. 
In addition to stencil graffiti and sticker tags, we have some great murals around our neighborhood. One day we will write about the great street art that we find in our neighborhood.
Even after walking two miles, Mr. B still carried his new companion tightly in his mouth.
He even brought it home, but we made him drop it off in our front yard. Maybe one day he will remember his new friend and take it on a new adventure around the neighborhood.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

PSA: Human Dog Tags or Dangers at the Dog Park

Between microchips and a slew of dog tags, we all do a lot to make sure our dogs are easy to identify. But despite all of our efforts to keep our dogs safe, we sometimes forget to take care of ourselves. I never realized how important this was this until I was involved in a fluke accident at the dog park that landed me in the ER.
I was later told that a dog had run full-speed into my legs from behind, and I fell back so hard that my head bounced on the concrete. Considering how fast some of these dogs run, I'm surprised it doesn't happen more often.
 I was completely passed out, and since I cut my head when I fell, they called an ambulance to take me away. I couldn't speak, but I remember opening my eyes and looking up at this face:
I guess Miss M was standing over me and licking me. When they took me away in the ambulance, someone had the foresight to take Miss M home with them and slip their phone number into my pocket.
At the time I lived alone, and no one knew I had gone to the park. I didn't have any type of ID on me, so the hospital didn't even know who I was until I became conscious again. Plus, since we store most phone numbers in our phone, I couldn't even remember the numbers of people to call.
Besides a slight case of Vertigo, everything turned out ok in the end. This incident really opened my eyes; I never expected anything so dangerous to happen just by a routine visit to the dog park. Thinking about how many more dangerous things I do, I decided to get my own form of "human dog tag".
I bought this Road ID which slips into the laces of my shoes; they also have wrist and ankle tags. It lists my name and 3 people to contact in case of emergency. I wear this when running on the lakefront, and I make E wear one when biking. Considering I never thought something so crazy could happen at the dog park, I always want to be prepared because you never know when the next fluke emergency could hit.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pooches: The Unexpected Pit Bull

 In celebration of National Pit Bull Awareness day, we continued our "grassroots campaign" taking the pooches around the city to show people what pit bulls are really like. Most people are actually shocked to find out our dogs are 'types of pit bulls', then have a whole slew of questions about the breed. And this would happen even more often when we had Wilma who looked quite different from our pooches, but the term "pit bull" actually encompasses several types of dogs:
Miss M. is an American Bulldog mix. Some still debate whether American Bulldogs fall under the "pit bull umbrella", but they do have the same happy, goofy personality, plus the stubborn, bossy, bulldog attitude:
These dogs were originally breed for bull-baiting, and have "webbed" feet that can actually clasp things. When you shake hands with Miss M, she has a very firm grip:
American Bulldogs are also bigger and taller than the traditional pit bull, and tend to be a bit more lethargic:
Mr. B is an American Staffordshire Terrier. 'Am Staffs' are typically large-headed, wide-faced dogs with big smiles:
They tend to be shorter and have muscular bodies. Mr B is one of the only dogs I've met with a defined buttock:
They adore people and are extremely loyal. Being part of the terrier family, they also like rats:
Wilma was labeled as a pit bull terrier. Pit bull terriers tend to be on the shorter side. They can be smaller, and are typically more agile:
They are typically stockier with huge muscles. She still has a bit of filling out to do, but just check out the hocks on tiny, little Wilma:
Pit bull terriers are known for being very loyal to their people and easy to train; both reasons that they are so readily used in negative ways.
While pit bull was originally meant as a type of negative term focusing on dog-fighting, we are proud to have pit bulls and hope to show people what an amazing breed they really are.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pooches: Miss M's Very Own Dog

 Back when Miss M was an "only dog", the one thing she really, really wanted was a dog of her own. She used to watch longingly as other dogs passed by, and would nearly explode from excitement if one happened to look her way.
When we were ready to get another dog, we used to joke that we were getting Miss M her very own dog. We knew the new dog would need to have her approval, but little did we know what a diva she would become. We found a couple of dogs that we liked, but during the introductions Miss M only scoffed at them.
After we went through this whole drawn out process, and we found our Mr. B, Miss M continues to think Mr. B is really "her dog". She uses him as custom furniture:
 This one doesn't even look comfortable:
Controls where he goes:
And monitors his drink intake:
 Mr B has been a good sport through the whole process, but now he's asking for his very own cat.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Schwang Manor: The Non-Orange Halloween

 The other week when Mr. B went to the Farmer's Market, he was enchanted with the pumpkins.
 So much so, that he even chose to take a picture with his own Pet's Eye View Camera:
We did end up picking up some pumpkins, though not quite what Mr. B had in mind:
See, we already have a lot of orange in our house year round. From the decor in our second bedroom:
To the orange ottoman and pillows in our family room:
And our orange bowl filled with oranges:
So this year we decided to go with white pumpkins, and some "pumpkin tree" branches with little tiny pumpkins:
 And always judging our decorating decisions, Miss M was quick to show her displeasure:
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