The commands that will save your butt

There are three concepts that your dog should absolutely know, and will someday save your butt — and hers. Stay where you are, come to me, and stop doing that. Naturally, these can be trained various ways, but above all other skills, these are worth spending time perfecting.

An example. The other day, we were working in the garden, and Doodlebug was basking in the sunshine, gnawing on a raw bone. The gate was open, because we were moving lawn bags from the back yard to the front. Ordinarily, this is not a problem — the dogs would rather be in the yard with us than anywhere else, so they aren’t typically tempted by an open gate.

That is, unless a cat runs by, or a person walking a small, energetic dog.

In this case, it was a person with two small dogs, yipping and running on retractable leashes. From across the yard, I saw Doodlebug perk up, lock his gaze, and start sprinting toward the open gate. Without even thinking (this is another benefit of much practice– you become well-versed in What To Do), I yelled “Doodlebug, TOO BAD!” This is our phrase for stop doing that. Doodlebug stopped on a dime and looked at me. “Doodlebug, COME! Goodboygoodboygoodboygoodboy!” Doodlebug galloped happily over to me and sat at my feet, wagging his tail, yippy dogs on long leashes forgotten. We ran inside together, me yipping and praising and offering him a big handful of treats. Doodlebug LOVES these commands, because in practice, each is a fun game. So whatever naughty business he might be up to, he assumes that whatever I’ve got is even better.

Teaching your dog “stop doing that” is so useful for interrupting a behavior that may be just annoying or against the rules, or may be immoral or illegal (picking up a huge hunk of chocolate, chewing on the furniture, putting another dog in her mouth). Teaching your dog “come to me” is critical for self-explanatory reasons. And teaching “stay where you are” — though less obvious on its face, is equally important (Why did the puppy-dog cross the road? It doesn’t really matter, but I hope he stays put until I can get there to clip on his leash and escort him back to safety!)

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I can run FAST.

It’s National Train Your Dog Month for another week and change. Do yourself — and your dog — a favor and find a fun way to brush up on your safety commands. You won’t be sorry.

Playtime with puppy

Sometimes, the boys are totally enthralled by the stories Puppy E reads to them. They like it when she teaches them about the world.Evangeline-131204-121

Other times, they get silly — especially Doodlebug — and inspire big, bright peals of laughter in the puppy as she looks on with delight.Evangeline-131204-124

But most commonly, everybody just chills out. Chick favors more classic relaxation poses, while Doodlebug prefers his signature Dead Bug Pose, which he has been perfecting for years.

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Last week we had a stretch of beautiful, 75 degree days here in Austin, and we took full advantage by spending all our time outdoors. Naturally, the boys wanted to join us in whatever we were doing. They happily found soft spots on the puppy’s blanket and basked in the pretty weather.
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Overall, everybody is getting along great these days. Chick and Doodlebug are enormously interested in the puppy when she’s eating finger foods in her high chair, but otherwise still think she’s kind of boring — which is ideal.

We carefully set everybody up for success to make sure that when we’re all spending time together, the puppy is not pestering the dogs by pulling on their ears, grabbing their beautiful furs, or touching them in any way when they’re sleeping.

We’ve also noticed that the boys are much more comfortable around the baby — and much more eager to be near — if they have plenty of space to escape if they want to. It may seem counterintuitive, but in smaller, more enclosed spaces, they often seem anxious to keep their distance, whereas a big, airy room or the yard are the type of environment in which the boys are likely to snuggle up close to the puppy while she plays. Evangeline-131204-161Evangeline-131204-143

Too pooped for turkey

Sure, we’ve been busy taking care of our puppy around here, but we’ve been busy with other things, too. Like jetsetting.

You may wonder, in fact, how I got SO pooped over Thanksgiving weekend at the Turkeyman’s house that I ended up like this all afternoon:Evangeline-131130-61

And I will tell you how it happened. See, we went out to Galveston Island State Park for some hikings one sunny afternoon — my brother, mama and dad, the puppy, the Turkeyman, and Grandma and me. IMG_1055

This was already QUITE exciting because the park has the most excellent muds and sniffs, but it was an extra-special day, because mama let my Chick and me run off-leash!

So we ran and ran and ran. Chick ran right, I ran right. Chick ran left, I ran left. In fact, everywhere Chick ran, I was right on his tail. I guess I think of him as a good natural leader. And he sure did lead me! He led me to many crab snacks in the tall, tall grass.IMG_1062-2

Every once in a while, mama would call us back, and we would run over to her for a little treat and a quick pat, and then she’d send us off again. And after a while, I got adventuresome enough to do my own runnings, without even following my brother! Here’s a picture of me doing an adventuring without Chick:IMG_1063-2

We ran for what seemed like hours upon days upon hours. So by the time we were done with our hike and just doing some observations from the tall observation deck, we were both falling asleep sitting up. Especially Chick.IMG_1073

So then we got home, and dad gave us a big hosing-down. Hosing-downs are not our favorite, but since our undercarriages were quite mudded from our adventure, we didn’t hold a grudge.

But what is a gentledog to do if his entire undercarriage is wet? This:IMG_1050So I wiggled and waggled and rubbed my wetness all over mama’s jeans.

And then, mid-wiggle, I fell asleep. And I had sweet, sunny dreams.

Evangeline-131130-60*Thanks to our grandma for most of these handsome photos of me and my brother*

Country dogs & a Chewy.com treat review

Last weekend the temps dipped into the chilly 50s overnight and low 80s during the day, and we packed up our puppy and headed out to the country for a weekend in the fresh air.

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We kicked it old school in a vintage 1960s airstream trailer at night, but during the daytimes, we kept busy. We did some hikings, and mama and dad did some air scenting with us (which means one of THEM runs and hides in the woods and one of US has to go find them by smell).

Chickerdoodle-120922-48Only here’s the thing. We are pretty new at these air scentings, so mama and dad decided to make it a little easier for us and bring an extra-delicious treat along on their hidings — a treat that smells so yummable that we would certainly find its scent and follow it, even amidst all of the deer and coyote smells out there.

We brought our Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Jerky Bars — the Salmon & Sweet Potato ones. We got these from our good friends at Chewy.com, who invited us a while back to be a part of their blogger reviewer team.

And let us tell you, folks, these are some awfully yummable treats. Unlike the Orijen treats we reviewed last time, these jerky bars are nice and firm, so they do not crumble all over the ground and our mama and dad’s pockets. And unlike the Orijen treats, they are SUPER smelly, which makes them most excellent for getting our attentions even when they are most distractible. But they still have very few ingredients, and all of the ingredients are real food — not strange additives — which our mama likes.

Anyhow, we brought these along, and they were just the ticket. Mama held our leashes and covered our eyes so we couldn’t see our treats dad running away and hiding in the woods, and we sniffed and whimpered in anticipation. When the time was right, mama cut us loose, and we went galloping and sniffing to find him. And find him we did.

And we got nice and tuckered out.

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What kinds of funs do YOU have when you go on vacation with your dogs?

**Post sponsored by chewy.com, but opinions are all our own**

 

 

Puppy Envy: why she’s top dog

As you’ve all probably noticed, we have been a little bit mysteriously missing lately. Well it turns out that our tiny dictator, Puppy E, has us all at her beck and call — and her wishes are not all that compatible with blogging! The boys are riveted with the miniature human. She gets all the privileges, has all the coolest stuff, and she gets even more attention out on the town than the boys do. Plenty to envy.

Here is the boys’ Top 5 list on the subject:

#5. She is an excellent sharer. Not only does she not show any interest in our tennis balls (what kind of puppy is she??), but she does not mind if we sniff at — and occasionally abscond with — her toys, which are always scattered about. If only we were so generous with our possessions!

#4. She does not get in trouble for her noisemaking. When we bark in the house, we get put in time out. When she barks? She gets picked up and scritched behind the ears — whether it’s happy barking or angry barking. How did she do that?

Evangeline-130816-218#3. Her wardrobe is better than ours. She has many, many fantastical garments with pit bulls on them, whereas we don’t have any puppy-themed outfits. We do have these cool t-shirts that our Aunt M sent us a while back, but obviously only one of them suits anymore. Wonder what we have to do to score some sweet new puppy-themed threads . . .

Snickerdoodle-120105-15#2 The camera adores her. We used to be the stars of the show in our house, and we did the Most Expertly modelings almost every day. Or so we thought — but this puppy is really stealing the spotlight. Boy, is she an expert at muggin’ for the camera!

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#1 She is the queen of lap-sitting.  Ok. So maybe 52 pounds (Chick) and 61 pounds (Bug) is a bit big for lap-sitting, but that doesn’t mean we don’t give it the ol’ college try. Usually, the answer is “no,” and that’s cool, we’ve come to expect it. But then along comes this puppy, and she gets scooped up by everybody and either held or snuggled. Totally awesome. Sometimes, we get to co-snuggle with her, and that’s pretty cool. Her generosity extends beyond toy-sharing, it seems!

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Lovings for visitors

 

Whenever we have visitors from out of town, the boys have to make them feel special — each in his very own way. After all, as far as the boys are concerned, everybody who enters the house is here for the Chick & Bug show. What other reason could there be?

So while Aunt Kareaux was reading books with Puppy E, Chick was giving her ankle a most heartfeult snuggle:Evangeline-130728-16While Doodlebug was teaching Uncle Anders how to breakdance.

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