Chix-A-Lot Friday: Agilidoggin’

Yesterday me and my Doodlebug went agilidoggin’ for the second week in a row, and holy moly was it agili-licious!

Mama signed us up for an intro-duck-shun class with her and dad, saying something about how it would be good for our confidence and working around other dogs or something like that. Mama says that agility is a good job for dogs who are nervous because it lets them focus on something other than their scarediness and have fun even though they are a little bit worried about the other dogs. And you know what? It’s true!

At tonight’s class, Doodlebug was ready to forget about all the other dogs right away. He put on his cooling vest (mama says he has to wear it because he has so many problems that he has to go to the Dogtor for all the time) and started hamming it up for the nice lady with the peppy attitude and the treats. What a dork he is!

I, on the other hand, took a little while to find my groove. You see, even though Dude is newer at this whole learning thing than I am and I am a reformed reactive dog, he has had a lot more practice lately than me. He has been going to the Center a lot and getting to play and work and practice around all kinds of other dogs. But me — I’m a little out of practice. So when we got there last week for the first time, I was a little bewildered! I took my time sniffing, peeing on stuff, and stone cold pretending the other dogs weren’t there. Until Dad got the squeaky toy. And then my worry was broken, and all I think was squeakysqueakysqueakysqueakysqueakysqueaky!!!

And I leapt, and I bounded, and I ran across all those jumps so fast that dad couldn’t even get the eyephone to go “snap” fast enough to catch me. Check me out, running and jumping at the speed of light!

Ok so then after we did all the jumpings, it was time to do the con-tacks. That means the things you walk on top of or jump on top of (rather than over and through them), I think. I like the “table” the best because you get to jump up on it and just sit there, and you get lots of treats and hugs. But I also like to do the kitty-walk. We walk toward it and dad says “walk it!” and I sashay like a supermodel, picturing myself on the runway wearing a fur coat made of kitty cats. Just look. Aren’t I glamorous up there, with my long supermodel legs and my beautiful, beautiful snow white furs?

Well then it was time to do the chutes and ladders tunnels. You might think that those things are scary for a dog like me, and you would be right. But I promised dad that I would be brave, so I went in that deep dark tunnel! And you know what was waiting for me when I got to the other side? Dad! Again! With treats!

After those first few times, I started to have fun, running toward the tunnel with him, then racing him toward the sunset — him on the outside and me on the inside. Just look how fast he has to run to keep up with my lightning-dog pace!

Doodlebug and I can’t WAIT for next Thursday so we can go agilidogging again. It’s the most fun we have all week!

Oh, and mama, we know the real reason you signed us up for agilidog class: you wanted to see which one of us boys is the better agilitator! Obviously, I am the better mathlete. But am I the better agilidog too? Check our blog facebook page to find out!

Holiday

With no big plans over the weekend and about 30 garden cucumbers to unload, we decided to take a little weekend trip to Galveston to visit the boys’ grandparents. The boys adore going up to Galveston. The Turkeyman lives there, after all, and the boys get spoiled with praise and pets from their grandma even when they’re being naughty and getting up on the sofa without permission. There is lots of room to run around, a deck in the back, and a porch that wraps almost the whole way around the house — perfect for viewing the golfers sweating in the sun on one side, the dogs in a neighbor’s yard on another side, and the shorebirds hunting fish on a third side.

The epic naps with the Turkeyman are another highlight. Chick has been snuggling with his Turkeyman for years on the sofa, but only this week was Doodlebug feeling confident enough with new friends to join in the cozy fun.

But it wasn’t just the Turkeyman, of course. After a particularly long and vigorous morning swim and run, Chick and Doodlebug played “where’s waldo” under the blanket with mama. You may be able to imagine (and have a peek at) one dog under there . . . but two?

This was our first trip down to Galveston since the boys’ Aunt Disneydog moved on to the next life, and the house felt a little funny without that tiny matriarch’s presence. But Doodlebug took his important role as the family dog whose name starts with a “D” very seriously, and posed for a photo shoot a la Disney on the porch, just like she did a few years back:

The highlight of the trip, of course, was kayaking. Both dogs showed off their boating and swimming skills in Sydnor Bayou, fearlessly taking on the wind, chasing birds, and towing the kayaks from the water.

Thanks for a great visit, A & H. And thanks for taking all those extra cucumbers off our hands!

Chix-A-Lot Friday: Extreme Napping

You know how some people are into extreme sports? Like extreme waterpolo or extreme hot air ballooning? And some college kids are into extreme drinking, and some toddlers are into extreme hissy-fitting?

Well the Dude and I, we are majorly into our own extreme sport: XTreme Napping. Here’s what it looks like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pretty intense, right?

In case anybuddy else is interested in trying this XTREME sport, here is a breakdown of how it works. Its anatomy, if you will. And one helpful hint: this sport is best performed with a willing brother. Do not go it alone!

One of these dogs is (or is not) like the other: Defining a “pit bull” dog

Pop quiz: which of the Chickderdoodles is a “pit bull” dog?

 A) Both
B) Neither
C) Chick only
D) Doodlebug only

photo by Juliana Willems

Here is the ringer:  They share zero common breeds as identified by their Wisdom Panel Insights DNA tests.

So . . . are they both pit bulls because they fit the general physical characteristics that many people think of when they think “pit bull” dog? Are neither of them pit bulls because neither is a pure bred American Pit Bull Terrier (whatever that is) or American Staffordshire Terrier? Are they both pit bulls because they have some DNA of at least one breed identified by the broadest definitions of “pit bull” dogs?

And even more confusing: is Chick less of a pit bull after his DNA test, which revealed no SBT or AST? And is Doodlebug more of one? And can two mixed-breed dogs that share zero common breeds both be “pit bull” dogs?

It’s easy for us — homeowners who live in a state with no breed-discriminatory legislation at the moment — to shrug our shoulders and say “who really cares, anyway?”  But in our home state of Maryland, and many other communities around the nation, the fate of huge numbers of family dogs hangs on these questions. Chilling, isn’t it?

Please share your answers to today’s quiz — and your thoughts — in the comments section. If we receive enough good feedback, we will put together a follow-up post next week!

DNA reveal & a contest winner!

First of all, a HUGE thank you to everybody who participated in our guess-the-breeds contest for our sweet Doodlebug. Regardless of his official genetic makeup, he is one special dog.

Many of you guessed that Doodlebug was part sugar and spice, part ladybug, or 100% sweetness. You are all right. Unfortunately, those breeds don’t show up in the Wisdom Panel test we used. Here is what DID show up!

A huge portion of the 100+ guesses we received included American Staffordshire Terrier — what most folks consider to be a true pit bull breed. You’ve figured that 1/4 of his heritage out — he is indeed 1/4 AmStaff!

Image borrowed from bestnew-pet.com

A smaller but still impressive portion of you guessed that our Dude is also part Staffordshire Bull Terrier. These cute little things are close relatives of the Am Staff, but they are a bit smaller, squatter, and more British. We think this grandparent is who taught Doodlebug his elegant English accent!

photo borrowed from myterrierdog.info

So that’s his pit bull dog half. Moving along . . .

Lots of entries included pointer (for his slim, athletic physique?), Boxer (for his intense eyes?), and Vizsla (for his beautiful red furs?). None of these came up.

Even more of you guessed that Dude is part labrador retriever. Part of us wishes that he were part lab and had inherited more of a desire to play fetch or swim, but unfortunately, he doesn’t have any lab ancestors that we’re aware of, and he definitely doesn’t swim or fetch like one!

His test did reveal a grandparent that is a distant relative of a Lab, so kudos to you who guessed a retriever breed anyway. One of Doodlebug’s grandparents was a Curly Coated Retriever. The Curly is the oldest surviving breed of retrieving dog, dating back to the 1700s, we think. It’s such an old retrieving breed, in fact, that Doodlebug’s retriever instincts must have gotten lost somewhere along the breeding process of the past 300+ years! Don’t feel bad if you didn’t get this one. Nobody else did, either. We had never even heard of this one before Dude’s test results came back!

image borrowed from puppydogweb.com

And finally, a surprising number of you guessed that Doodlebug is part Boston Terrier. Is it his energetic, perky ears? His slightly buggy eyes and inappropriate stare? Or his passion for sleeping with his tongue sticking out? We feel where you’re coming from, we really do. Turns out that Doodlebug’s last grandparent DID give him all of these charming characteristics, but that grandparent was not a Boston, but instead, a French Bulldog! Kudos to those who guessed American or English bulldog. You just got the nationality wrong!

photo borrowed from taildom.com

So there we have it, Doodlebug’s complete geneaology. Interesting? Surprising? Logical?

Now, on to the contest! Eight of our clever participants guessed TWO breeds correctly — seven guessed Staffordshire Bull Terrier AND American Staffordshire Terrier, and one guessed Am Staff and French Bulldog.  Since nobody guessed more than two correctly, we had ourselves an eight-way tie. We assigned a number to each of the eight closest guessers and randomly generated a winner using Random.org.

Without further delay, the winner of the 8×8″ custom pet portrait from our pal Kim’s amazing pet shop is Erin H-S, from Austin, TX! Congrats Erin! How are you going to pick one pet to feature out of your collection of four beautiful dogs?

Thanks again to everybody for participating, and don’t forget that it’s not too late to score a generous 15% discount on your own masterpiece by entering code CHICKERDOODLE at checkout in the Pet Shop. The code is only good for the first 20 people who use it — and it has already been well-used — so your time is limited!!

Chix-A-Lot Friday: A Contest and a Giveaway!!

Gosh you guys, for the past few weeks Doodlebug and I have been SO EXCITED we could just squeal. And the pressure of keeping our BIG EXCITING SECRET under wraps has been so intense that we’ve been huddled up squeezing each other’s paws to keep it together. Just look how determined we have been!!

But today’s the day. We have a double — no — a triple — no — a quadruple — no a FIVE-DUPPLE whammy for you.

I already thought that Chix-A-Lot Fridays are just about the funnest thing on the planet, but a Chix-A-Lot Friday with a fun contest, a few big reveals, and an amazing give-away?? This one really takes the cake!

The first big surprise is this: our Doodlebug’s custom portrait by our very talented friend Kim at Yellow Brick Home has arrived! Just look at the Dude in all his beautiful glory:

Isn’t he just almost as perfect as me?

To be totally for reals with you, friends, it’s hard to describe how cool these little paintings are. The photos don’t do them justice at all. Kim paints them with these tiny little paint brushes the size of one of my whiskers, and you can tell how much love, talent, and perfectionism goes into each one. There is so much detail. There must be 4 million different shades in Doodlebug’s beautiful red furs!

Ok, now for our second surprise. Kim’s gorgeous custom pet paintings business has just gone under a giant makeover — both in real life and online! We have loved tracking the progress of the beautiful little hand-crafted room where she creates these beautiful 4″ and 6″ square works of art.

And in conjunction with the new online shop, Kim is launching a new painting size — a glorious 8-inch piece. We have chosen six-inch paintings for both me and the Dude and four-inch pieces for each of our fosters (still in progress), but boy oh boy are we drooling over this new giant option. Mama is thinking of adopting more animals just so she can justify buying one for herself. Oh no!

On to surprise number three. To celebrate the new shop and our completed portraits, Kim is sponsoring a give-away of a custom pet painting in the new 8×8 size, only on our blog!! That’s right, all of your lovely folks are eligible for a FREE Pet Shop painting of your own. Pretty amazing, right? I mean, just look at this painting of handsome, handsome me. You could have one like this of your own favorite pet. He will never be as handsome as me, but he will be bigger in an 8×8 size!

Curious how you can win?

Just leave a comment on this blog post with your guess at the answer to surprise number four: Doodlebug’s DNA Test results! The Dude has had his Wisdom Panel DNA Test done, and the results are in. What kinds of dogs do you think he’s made of? The person who comes closest to guessing Doodlebug’s genetic composition from the breeds tested on the Wisdom Panel Insights test will win the painting. If there is a tie for closest, we will do a lottery among those clever folks. Submit your guess by Monday at 8pm Central. We’ll be announcing the winner — and Doodlebug’s breed composition — on Tuesday!

Jeepers, I’m just about exhausted from revealing just the first four surprises of our Five-dupple Whammy, but I’ve taken a short nap and now I’m ready to tell you the exciting fifth whammy: an exclusive, just-for-our-readers discount code! Yep, you’ve got it — Kim has generously created a special discount code, which will give the first 20 people who use it a 15 percent discount on anything in the Yellow Brick Home Pet Shop. That means all custom paintings — 4×4, 6×6, and the new 8×8 — as well as original paintings and gift certificates — are 15 percent off! Naturally, our special code is CHICKERDOODLE. And remember — it’s only good for the first 20 people to buy, so scurry along and make your purchase!

Ok, so a quick recap of how to take advantage of my every exciting Chix-A-Lot news:

1. Leave a comment on this post with your guess on Doodlebug’s DNA. You must do this by 8pm Central on Monday! Whoever guesses the closest to his real test results wins the 8×8 custom pet painting.

2. Visit Kim’s Pet Shop and drool, drool, drool over it’s magnificent glory.

3. Pick the item(s) you can’t live without, and enter code CHICKERDOODLE at checkout for a 15% discount on anything you wish to buy. But hurry — this is only available to the first 20 people who use the code.

Happy Friday, everyone!

What we’ve been up to

Wondering what we’ve been up to over here at Casa Chickerdoodle since we all-but-disappeared from the blogosphere? The answer is: plenty!

Naturally, the #1 activity for the boys has been sleeping on the job:

But they’ve also been out on the town, test-riding their new car . . .

sightseeing in Austin . . .

and helping out with home projects . . .

Our A/C broke down for a few days, and the boys declared it officially too hot to go running outside . . .

Instead, they took up Stand-Up Paddleboarding, which left them equally happy and tired, but much cooler and damper.

Doodlebug also signed up for his Canine Good Citizen class, which was very hard work . . .

And he graduated! Now he needs to keep practicing his meet-and-greets before he can take the test. Any Austinite humans and dogs want to help?

They’ve also been preparing a VERY EXCITING SURPRISE for everyone, which Chick will tell you about on Friday! Without giving away too much, we can tell you this: you’d better have your breed books ready and start selecting your favorite photo of your favorite pet — if you win our contest, your snapshot will become art!

As you can imagine, this busy and active life leaves the boys exhausted most evenings, and ready to fall onto The Dora in a sweet pit bull snuggle-pile. Sweet dreams, everyone!

 

Chix-A-Lot Friday: How play changed my life

Oh, hello friends! Is it Friday again? I’m so glad, because I have a secret to share: playing with toys changed my life.

And I’m not saying that lightly, either. As a young chap, I was a very nervous dog. I didn’t usually know what I was supposed to do, and I had a lot of energy. I would often use it on chewing up things, baking, or redecorating mama’s apartment in my own Chicklet style. Mama thought it was because I was a very naughty boy, but in reality? I just didn’t know how to be calm!

Then we went to training, and mama and dad were shocked that their first assignment was to play with me as much as possible. It was music to my ears! Mister Lee told mama that we should play as much as we can, but that she had to make the rules. She decided when it was time to play, when it was time to quit, and what the “terminal penalties” were.

There were a bunch of reasons that Lee wanted us to play. It was good for our relationship and for me being able to trust mama, it was a good way to burn off some of my energy and help me be calm, and it was a positive outlet for my natural inclination to chase, catch, and bite things. By teaching me to play fetch or run a lure course, mama could say “here is your opportunity to chase and catch,” and “chase this ball, not that squirrel.”  Mama says she can’t healthily control whether I chase and catch, but she can control when, how often, and what the subject is.

I adore playing fetch and tug almost as much as I adore my mama and dad and brother Doodlebug, and that’s saying a lot. And lately I’ve discovered a brand new love that may be my most naturalest expression of my instincts: running the lure. The lure is a simluated rabbit chase course using a series of pulleys, a motor, some thin chord, and a real rabbit (although they say it’s fake, I just don’t believe them). For dogs who love to chase small animals, it’s healthy, positive, controlled, rules-based, and awesome!

photo: Jim Isbell

photo: Jim Isbell

photo: Jim Isbell

photo: Jim Isbell

Dude and I have also been participating in some water sports with mama and dad lately. Water sports are different than chase and fetch games. They sure do tucker us out physically, but in a very different way. Kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding are balance games for dogs. They force us to be aware of the placement of our bodies, be careful how we sit or stand, and pay attention to the little muscles that we normally don’t notice — especially those of us who are anxious or reactive and normally focused on everything BUT our own bodies. Obviously, I make this look easy. But just try standing on a balance board for an hour and a half and see if you don’t need a nap afterward! A dog like me can run 10 miles and still be ready to party afterward, but put me on a kayak or SUP for an hour and I’m done for the day. The mix of physical and mental concentration and focus will wear me out like little else can.

photo: Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine

photo: Jim Isbell

And there are so many other dog sports that folks in the know participate in with their dogs. Sure they’re fun for the owners and the dogs, but they provide a lot more than just something to do for a couple of hours every Saturday. Ever wonder why you see so many border collies on the agility field? Because they are very smart, high-energy dogs that need more than just a jog around the lake to help them chill out. Sports like agility, weight pull, air scenting, and tracking are amazing for building dogs’ confidence, channeling their energy, exhausting them mentally, and helping them to relax around people and dogs – especially those who are worried or anxious, like me.

Mama knows lots of dogs who are reactive, destructive, hyper, and irritable because they don’t know what to do with themselves. There is nothing wrong with them, they just need a job. Once they start to channel all of that energy into something challenging and positive, other things can fall into place!

Have any of you had a transformative experience involving play or dog sports? Tell us about it!

 

Chix-A-Lot Monday: We’re Illin’

The Dude and I, we are illin’.

Or, I should say, I am formerly illin’ and he is still and always illin’.

Remember when we told you about Doodlebug’s ringworms? Well, they seem to be gone, but mama still has to keep covering him in this icky yellow smelly stuff every week! So whether he’s illin’ from the ringworm or illin’ from the yellow stuff, he certainly is ill, poor Dude. When he went to see the allergy dogtor about his balding in patches, she told him it was the ringworm. And the best way to treat the ringworm on a dog is a weekly bath — and it gets worse — followed by a “dip” in something mama calls sulfur-hated lime. I don’t know what that means except that mama mixes some nasty stuff with water to make some watery nasty stuff that’s bright yellow, smells like rotten eggs, and gets poured over my poor little brother every week. Can you imagine? And it gets worse still! After he is poured over (they call it dipping although the only parts of Dude that actually get dipped are his poor little white paws), he has to drip dry. This means no toweling off, no rolling around in the grass, and no zoomies all over the yard with me! And the pourage turns his beautiful white furs totally yellow while it dries. It’s so embarassing. Just look at him:

Only two more weeks, mama says.

As for me, I shouldn’t complain much. While Dude has been dealing with allergitchies, heartworms, ringworms, bacterias in his poo poo hole, and a scary seizure a few weeks ago, all I have had to complain about is a little yeasties in my ears.

When mama took me to the vet for my checkup, the vet told her that one of my lovely Chick ears was a little red and in flames (which is a silly thing to say because there was no fire in my ear), and had some yeasty buildup. I asked mama if we could use my yeasties to brew beer or bake bread, but unfortunately I grew the wrong kind. The doc said that she should swab out my ears with a 50/50 white vinegar and water solution for a few days, and it would clear right up. I do NOT like having q-tips stuck in my ears but I let mama do it because I love her so, and guess what?! My yeasties are all gone! So now the only time I’m shaking my head funny and sideways is when mama gives me a bath with the evil outdoor spitting snake:

Wish us well, and I’ll see you on Friday!

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