Chix-A-Lot Friday: Happy Easter!

Want to know what’s even cuter than a bunny rabbit in a patch of bluebunnies?

image snatched from Google

A Chick in a patch of bluebunnies! Some people call them “bluebonnets,” their official name, but that’s not the important thing. The important thing is that they’re the official state flower of Texas, they are blue, and they are blooming right now!


We have some in our neighbor’s yard down the street, and I love to pause there during our walks to pose wistfully.

photo 1

My brother always tries to pee on them, which mama does not allow — I just like to stick my nose in them and give them some good sniffs. After all — you never know where the Easter Bunny might be hiding!photo 2

Hope everbunny has a delightful weekend!

Ready for baby mini-series: When it’s go-time!

We know we must be getting pretty close to our new two-legged puppy’s arrival date now because this whole week we didn’t get a single new dog-related toy or piece of clothing for it — can you imagine? Mama must think that our future two-legger has enough stuff by now. We sure hope she’s right!

Lately we’ve been practicing more of the same pre-puppy basics, like impulse control, smelling baby smells and listening to baby noises, and a little bit of riding in the car with the puppy-carrier. But most of this week’s activities have been behind-the-scenes. And by behind-the-scenes we mean that we have been working on our own projects (like eating frozen stuffed bones) while mama piddles around on her computer, generating lists and charts.

bonesHere’s a little confession: until this week, we thought that a stork was going to bring our two-legged puppy, and the four of us people and dogs would get to just sit around the house all cozy-like waiting for it to arrive. But this week, we learned that mama and dad are actually going to go somewhere to retrieve the miniature human. They’re going to walk out our door and not come back for probably two days — and we can’t go with them! This got us very worried.

Naturally, though, mama has a plan. And once she told it to us, we were not quite so worried anymore. First, she made arrangements for our grandma and the Turkeyman to stay at the house with us while they are gone, so that we have somebody to sneak us onto the forbidden couch give us pettings, let us out to potty, and feed us turkey kibble. Sure grandma and the Turkeyman are not the same as mama and dad, but they’ll do just fine — as you can see, we get along a-okay.

Chickerdoodle-120623-1-2We also have arrangements for some of our very good neighbor-friends (a few of mama’s fellow dog trainers) to come take us on walking adventures while our people are away. We are pretty good boys and are not too hard to care for, but mama feels better with us going out into the world in the over-capable hands of professionals than our grand-peoples, who will be plenty busy taking care of mama and dad. We aren’t sure exactly how many people are going to be taking us on adventures, but judging from the big stack of spare keys mama had made the other day, we suspect we’re going to be quite busy!

We’ve stocked up on kibbles, wet foods, and made sure we have plenty of our daily meds to last us while they’re gone, and mama has created a big typist’s instructionable that explains who eats what and when, how to give us our meds, the rules about furniture, toys, games, and treats, and all kinds of et ceteras. The instructionable is all printed out and ready, so that whenever it’s go-time, mama and dad don’t have to worry about explaining our routines to anybody. Everything will be there!

We realize, of course, that not every dog whose people are going to get a new two-legged puppy is lucky enough to have live-in replacements while their people are gone. Some dogs have to go to doggie camp, which is what mama originally planned for us to do. If we had done that, we would have prepared a little differently. We would have packed our bags with our foods, meds, leashes, and beds, and left them someplace easy to grab when Go-Time comes. Mama would have called ahead to our camp and made sure they already had all the info ahead of time on what we eat, our meds, etc, and arranged payment. And finally, she would have appointed a designated driver to take us there at Go-Time. Lots of friends have volunteered to help with dog duty while our people are away, so it wouldn’t have been hard to find somebody to be our personal limo driver for our camp adventure!


Finally, mama has stocked our freezer with mountains and mountains of frosty yummables — stuffed kongs, bones, and ice cube puzzles. These will be handy while our grand-people are staying with us so they have something to offer when we’re giving them the “I’m bored, please give me an activity” stare, and they’ll also be critical when mama and dad and the puppy return home and they’re a little more tired and busy than usual. We’ve never been disappointed with yummable entertainments, so we sure aren’t complaining!


Now it’s just time to wait — the easiest part for us dogs, and the hardest part for those humans.

Next week is our final “Ready for Baby” post! We’ll be talking about resources to learn more, from training classes to websites to books. Hope you’ll join us!

To catch up on the rest of our series, check out the following links:

Out and About

**If you are experiencing behavioral concerns with your dog, please seek out an experienced, reputable trainer in your area. In Austin, we sing the high praises of theCanine Center for Training and Behavior, where Chick and Doodlebug learn and play. For more info on picking a quality trainer in your area, see this post.**

Dear Doodlebug: STUMPED!

As some of you read last week, mama has let the kitten out of the bag: I am not perfect. That means that as hard as my giant brainiac brain might try, I can’t always answer your Dear Doodlebug questions. Sometimes I write you privately and tell you I can’t answer them because you need the help of a real-live dog trainer, and sometimes I try to be funny-like and non-answer them in my column. But other times, I just don’t know! So this week, I’m asking for the help of all you other brainiacs. Here are some Dear Doodlebug questions we’ve received lately that I just can’t seem to answer. Can you help your fellow Doodle-lovers?

Virtual slobbery kisses if you leave a comment with your ideas for any of these kind folks!

Dear Doodlebug, Do you have any advices for my mama on how to make a yummy kong last longer? Right now I get some puréed fruits and a smidgen of peanut butter in a large frozen kong. I’m proud to say I lick all of those tasty treats out in less than 20 minutes. My mama says she was hoping those Kongs would last longer so I am in need of a nap right about the time she and the new baby are in need of a nap. Any suggestions? Are there other yummy things safe for me to chew on that might tire me out? I should also mention that I have an annoying fur brother who is on the chubby side so mama is trying to watch our diet. I don’t see why I need to be punished for his fatness but whateva… Sincerely, Rosie

Who has an answer for Dear Rosie? Has anybody found a magic potion to put in a kong that takes more time and more brains to yummify than mushy pureed fruits and peanut butters? We have no idea!

stevie wonder-110618-45

Hi Buggy! So I’ve been shopping for a new messenger bag lately. This time I want a pit bull themed one. But I cant find any that are less than $100! Your momma seems to know plenty of artists and rescues who sell pit bull merchandise. Have any suggestions? It can be local as I live just south of you in San Antonio! Thanks for any shops you can recommend! ♥ yours and Chicks biggest fan Chelsea

Well Chelsea, we know that BADRAP has this sweet bag available on its CafePress store:

Screen Shot 2013-03-26 at 11.29.16 AM

But we aren’t sure of your other options. Other pit bull loving fashionistas, have you found cute messenger bags with America’s favorite dog drawn proudly upon them?

Hello Doodlebug,  I chew beds…not my own bed mind you, but my furry sister Trixie’s bed.  Mom & Dad have tried wedging it in a corner so that she feels extra comfortable and it’s not in my way, but I still chew it. Mom & Dad are not happy campers and Trixie is on bed #4.  I have a lot of chew toys, fluffy, stuffed, unstuffed, Kongs, tennis balls and deer antlers.  My favorite chew toy is Trixie’s bed (but I am told even though it’s small it is NOT A CHEW TOY.  We are both otherwise well behaved and not crated in the day, but Mom & Dad are thinking about crating me so that I don’t have access to Trixie’s bed.  I really don’t want to be crated.  Can you give me any advice? XOXO, Your number 1 fan, Emma

Dear Emma,

You are a funny one, aren’t you? It probably would not be a terrible idea for you to learn to crate, at least for now while your mama and dad figure out your chewfulness. There are things that can be done to keep you from chewing Trixie’s bed (putting it out of reach, teaching you that there is a penalty for going within 6 ft of it, etc), but as for WHY you chew your sister’s bed and no others, my brother and I are thoroughly stumped! Dear other friends, has anybody seen this sort of behavior? Any ideas WHY Emma might be chewing her sister’s bed and what can be done to manage it?


Dear Doodlebug, Why do pittie feet smell like fritos? Sincerely, Rita StinkyFeeta

Dear Tootsie-stinkster,

We have looked in ALL of our reference books, everything from our homeopathic vet car book to our Sibley Guide to Birds, and no dice. All we are left with is this ponderance: aren’t you glad that our feets DO smell like Fritos? Even more mysterious, though, is this: why does our mama LOVE the way our feet smell even though she does NOT love Fritos? Does anybody have ideas about why our sweet sweet feet smell like sweet sweet corn chips?

XO, the ‘Bug

Dear Doodlebug, The dogter really seems concerned with my overwhelming low weight. I am a Siberian Husky, and whenever we meet someone new, the first thing they mention is how tiny my waist is- it’s a bit embarrassing, really. It’s not like the hoomans don’t feed me though- there’s always kibble in my bowl I’m just never hungry! And although it is a bit part of my breed to go long times without eating because our sled dog history, my dogter still wants to see my weight up. Do you have any secret recipes you could pass along? Pound it, Kenji.


Dear Kenji,

We petbulls don’t really have trouble with not eating enough. If there are snackables available, they go straight down the hatchet! When we have had troubles in the past with foster dogs not wanting to eat, we have had lucks with cottage cheese, raw goat milk, and canned food. Also, frosting is a good option that your mama should consider. Have you tried mixing any of these with your kibbles? Also, we know that some dogs get bored of their kibbles fast, so maybe having a rotation and switching frequently will help? 

What about all you friends: any luck getting picky dogs to eat? Any good nutrient-rich kong stuffing recipes you can share?

XO, ‘Bug of the always hungriness

Chix-A-Lot Friday: My morning Choose-Your-Own-Adventure

Every morning while mama is still sleeping, dad gets quietly up out of bed to start his day, and Doodlebug gets up with him. This daily tradition started a while back, when mama and dad decided that Doodlebug and dad needed to build a stronger bond (and that Doodlebug could use more walkings). So morningtime comes, and dad and my ‘Bug tip-toe out of bed to start their day, with this:Chickerdoodle-130321-2

Sometimes it takes a slight rattle of a leash in the metal leash-bucket and sometimes it just takes the sight of dad getting up, but for Doodlebug, the morning adventure walk-or-run is a no-brainer. Doodlebug always chooses this adventure:


Some days I get inspired and join him, so the start of our adventure looks more like this:


But other days, I choose a different adventure while they go for their run-or-walk. One that looks more like this:Chickerdoodle-130321-33Mama and dad joke that I’m a lazy-bones, but really, I’m just trying to do the right thing — after all, somebody’s gotta keep mama company while the men-folk are out adventuring in the world!

554934_445756098838106_1016740359_nWe hope everybody has a nice weekend full of adventuresome walks and nice cozy nappings!

Ready for baby mini-series: Out and about!

Following along with our own tradition, we continue to devote MOST of our energy to stocking up on dog-related outfits and toys for our miniature human, who is scheduled to be brought by the stork in just about two weeks!

This week we scored an adorable and tiny t-shirt with these handsome fellows on it, from Angry Squirrel Studios. Pretty cool, huh?

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 6.00.48 PMWith just a couple of weeks to go, mama is starting to be really silly with this “getting ready” stuff. We keep telling her — we already ARE ready! We nap all day and don’t care about many new things or noises in the house, so what’s to prepare for? But we’ll tell you: there is plenty.

The other day, mama and dad’s friends brought over their new two-legged puppy for a visit. We dogs were outside, so we didn’t even notice. Mama cleverly suspected that we are not quite as ready as we think we are, so we brought us in all full of strategery. First she let me (Chick) come in, bringing lots of treats and reminding me to keep my four on the floor and be gentle. I gave the tiny human one little sniff and was ready for a nap. Naturally, I patted myself on the back for getting it so right! Then she let me (Doodlebug) in, but she snapped a leash on me since she suspected I might have more troubles being polite. And boy oh boy was she right! Even though you can’t tell from this photo, that tiny human looked JUST like a kitten! And do you know what Doodlebugs do with kittens? We stare at them with a great deal of focus, and if we are allowed to, we chasechasechase!

Nevie V-130126-23

So anyhow, mama brought me (Doodlebug) in on my leash, and I could not stop staring at the kitten miniature human — and not in a good way. Mama was not impressed, and she was surprised, since we had been doing so well with the exercises we told you about last week! So mama took the opportunity to do a “teaching moment,” asking me to turn my attention away and rewarding me anytime I did that. She also told me “good boy” (which I love hearing!) for offering a calming signal like a yawn or blinky eyes, and she practiced some Ttouches on me. I stayed on my tiedown the whole time our friends were visiting, and when they left with their tiny kitten human after a little while, mama decided that she was, after all, going to go to the store and get a “practice” miniature human for us to work with. She brought it home and wrapped it in used baby clothes from our friends, and has been treating it like our real future puppy. We even went for a walk together yesterday — and so far I am doing much better!

But what we REALLY wanted to tell you about this week is how to get ready for going out-and-about with your dog and miniature human!

Car Rides

One thing that mama thinks is important for some reason is “safety,” so over the weekend, mama and dad installed a special dog bed / carrier for the two-legged puppy in the car. Since we are used to riding in the back seat in our dog hammock and dog hammocks and special mini-human car carriers are not compatible, we needed a new plan. Luckily, mama anticipated this, and for a few weeks now, we have been riding in the back-back of the car, which we like quite a bit. Mama says she isn’t sure if we’ll ride there for the long term, but probably for the first little while, that will be our special area (while we are playing getting-to-know-you with the new puppy). And as with everything, mama decided that it’s best for us to get ready as early as possible!


We are generally very good car riders and quite polite, but mama one-upped herself the other day when she got a special new present in the mail from us. It was two car harnesses! We *love* our walking harnesses, so we were super excited to receive even MORE harnesses — we thought that more harnesses meant more walks! Well it turns out these new harnesses are just for riding in the car, and for making sure we don’t climb over any seats and into our miniature puppy’s lap — and for our own safety in case of car-related dangers.


Mama was real excited about these harnesses, because they were a gift from the EzyDog company! As if they had read mama’s mind and known she was shopping for car restraints for us, they sent her a magical email a few weeks back offering some free dog goodies for us to review. Mama jumped right on the opportunity and requested two chest plate harnesses, which seemed the most car-like in nature.


They snap on easily, fit nicely, and have a nice broad padded plate across the chest, which is important for car restraint gear. They also came with seat belt attachers, which we hope to use in the future after we regain our sitting-in-the-second-row privileges. For now, we are riding in the back with some short tether type attachments — long enough for us to get cozy, but short enough that we can’t launch surprise tongue-attacks of our future puppy’s food-covered face!


Leash Walks

Another thing we have been practicing is walking politely on a leash with our new puppy’s mobile unit. We have been working on this for quite a while, because it seems a little intimidating at first, and mama hopes to teach a class someday soon about this exact topic — so she wants to get it right! Just like with regular leash walking, we have been practicing in short bursts and short distances. Mama pushes the wheelie thing and our job is to walk politely next to her — not to pull ahead or lag back. Once the new puppy arrives, mama thinks she will be too tired and overwhelmed to walk us separately from the wheelie thing, so we are learning ahead to make the transition as smooth as possible. We are getting the hang, but it is tough learnings!

Chickerdoodle-130319-13Because mama’s job is to help dogs learn how to be most extremely polite, us Chick-n-Doodles are already very excellent leash walkers. But if we weren’t — and if mama were expecting a two-legged puppy — she would get started right now on our leash skills! Mama says that walking a dog when you have two hands and all your attention available is super easy compared to walking a dog PLUS a two-legged puppy in a wheelie transporter. So any of you waiting for miniature humans, make sure you brush up on your leash skills as soon as you can!

Mama says that we have to mention one very important safety thing about the wheelie thing and dogs. When you walk your dog with your wheelie, make sure the leash is attached to yourself (the dog) and your human (probably the human’s hand or around their waist), and NOT the wheelie itself! If you wrap the leash around the wheelie, the miniature human is at risk of a spill if the dog decides to bolt after a squirrel, chicken bone, or kitten in the street!

photo (47)Games

Games are not just for out-and-about play, but also for at-home and in-yard play. We are including them in this post because, like car trips and leash walks, they are a good form of exercise and an important way to have many funs with your dogs — even after your two-legged puppy arrives!

Some games — like wrestling, chase, and even tug of war — are more challenging for a person holding a miniature-human to play. So it’s not a bad idea to take some time ahead of two-leg’s arrival to teach or strengthen games that ARE compatible with one-armed playing by a human who is holding a mini human! Our mama decided that fetch was going to be our special game.

One of us (Chick) already loved fetch, but is working on bringing the toy right back to the human, which is going to be newly important in a few weeks. The other one of us (Doodlebug) thought that chasing toys was the silliest idea ever, so mama had to teach the game from scratch. Mama and I (Doodlebug) have been working on it and working on it, until it’s finally a solid game that we will be able to play, even if mama is sitting down and only has one hand available. The most important (and impressive) elements to our fetch game are (1) staying calm enough to maintain impulse control, and (2) bringing the toy right back to the person every time — not to near the person.

Here is our braggy video of Doodlebug’s magnificent new game:

That’s all we have for this week — join us next week when we talk about building a support network and planning for birth-time!


To catch up on the rest of our series so far, check out the following links:
**If you are experiencing behavioral concerns with your dog, please seek out an experienced, reputable trainer in your area. In Austin, we sing the high praises of theCanine Center for Training and Behavior, where Chick and Doodlebug learn and play. For more info on picking a quality trainer in your area, see this post.**

Dear Doodlebug: walking on stilts, finding forever, and butt-powered light switches

Dear Doodlebug is my favorite day of the week! It’s the day I get to exercise my giant doodle-brain and give you all of the advices you’ve ever wanted to hear! And this week I got a new picture-poster! Do you like it?

Anyhow, many important questionings in today’s post, so let’s get right to it!

Dear Doodlebug 2

Hi Doodlebug. On walks, I like to pick up and taste or eat almost everything. Flower petals, leaves, small sticks, berries, nuts. I also like to lick grass or bushes. Dad has given up on me. Mom is still quite a nag with constant, ‘leave it’ or ‘drop it’. She gets confused about the commands and I get confused too. Guess she doesn’t like cleaning up my yellow foamy puke when we get back home. Your brilliant help is much awaited. Cole, the short-legged poodle


Dear Dust Buster,

Firstly, have you found any especially scrumptious berries, sticks, flowers, or nuts that I should be looking out for on MY dog walks? I am still allergenic with berries and nuts, actually, so I am only looking for flower and stick recommendations right now. And grasses and bushes are ok, too. 

My first advices to you are to ask your momma and dad whether they have ever really taught you what “leave it” and “drop it” mean. For a dog to really want to do that, they have to think it’s a good deal. Like, momma says “leave it” and if I do leave it, I get something even better. This is the way we were taught it. It turns out we don’t ALWAYS get something better, but pretty often we do, so it’s worth the gamblings (not that I recommend gamblings, which are illegal for dogs).

My second advices are that maybe you could learn the difference between a sniffing and salad bar kind of walking and an exercise-only kind of walking? When we go walking, we know that we are on a business trip (and by business I don’t mean business, I mean exercise). Mama tells us “free” when it’s time to sniff, pee, and snack, and that’s when we do those things. This keeps us pretty well out of trouble.

My final advices to you would be that maybe you could get a pair of stilts? I am not an overly tall dog, but I am taller than a short poodle, and I wonder if it’s easier for me to resist the ground-candy because my sniffer is higher off the ground. So maybe try stilts and let me know how it goes!

XO, the tallest Doodlebug you know

Dear Doodlebug, I like to chew things.  I’ve destuffed all my soft toys, I’ve performed many a squeakerectomy, I’ve shredded my rope toys and I’ve even nibbled all my kongs down to little nubs.  I’ve heard about these lovely things called antlers though and was curious what you knew about them?  Do you think they could stand up to my serious chewings?  Have you heard anything bads about them breaking off and getting all swallowed up?  I’d love if you could give me some of your advices! Woofs and Kisses, Dottie Mae


Dear Chewbacca,

Wow, you really are a most excellent chewer! I can do good chewings too, but I have never nubbed up a kong yet. I did manage to turn a Bob-A-Lot into an abstract yard art installation once, and I have also turned a football into four quarter-footballs. And as you may have read in a previous week, my brother also is a most wonderful chewer, but his art specializes in chewing holes in my mama’s pockets when they smell like treats. He is one clever Chicken!

Anyhow, yes, I am aware of the magic antler, and I do love it! In case you don’t believe me, I have illustrated my antler lovingness with the photo above. What I am chewing on these days is a split antler, which is better for beginners or those dogs who are a little less motivated to reallyreally work for their yummables. I am willing to work pretty hard, but this split antler keeps me plenty busy and I haven’t made much progress on it. The whole antlers, which are NOT split into halves, are even tougher! 

There are some good things about antlers that are not shared by rawhides and other chewable yums. Antlers are all natural, they do not splinter or split, they do not smell offensively to the Humans, and they are delicious! Naturally, your mama will want to take your antler away and replace it with a new one when it gets to swallowing smallness, but that goes for any treat. I have heard of a dog or two in my day who can get to the very bottom of an antler, but let me tell you: that dog is not me. So I say, go for it, and let us know what you think!

Love, Your Semi-Chewer

Dear Dude-oodle-bug,  I would like to know how you made your foster home turn into your forever home.  Do you have a magic potion?  If so, can I have the recipe for it?  You see, I’m a foster dog, but I love my foster home and I would like to stay in my foster home forever and make it a forever home.  BUT, if you can’t give me your secret to making a foster home a forever home, can you give me some of your advices on making sure I get a great forever home that’s just exactly like my foster home?  Yours ever so truly, Sophie Sofa Snuggles, foster sister of the Corbin

Dear Sophie-who-is-now-adopted,

I don’t know whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing that I didn’t get to your question until after you cleverly figured out the answer for yourself — congrats on being adopted by a perfect home, just as perfect as Corbin’s!

Since I can no longer give you for-reals advices since you have brainiacked your way through this problem on your own, I will just tell you how *I* got myself adopted by my foster peoples. The first thing is to super-woo your foster siblings. Here is me working my magics on my Chicken after only a few days together. I got him to help me learn how to crate myself!


Now, this might be less of a big deal for some forever-family-elects, but as you probably know, my brother the Chick is quite grumpy, and although he tolerates many dogs, he does not *love* most dogs. The only other dog he has fostered who he really loved was Curious Georgia, and lucky for me and MY forever-home chances, they did not keep her because she lived with them just before they moved cross-country.

My people look for a few different things in dog-dog compatibility when deciding who is a good fit and who isn’t. They want us to get along swimmingly, of course, but they want us to get along calmly. They would not keep a foster, for example, who inspires my Chicken to run around like a crazydog doing zoomies, wrestling, and getting into troubles all the time. One key to their sanity, they say, is a calm dog-vibe in the house. So they prefer dog-dog matches where the two dogs are fine with each other’s company but can easily coexist without interacting all the time. Check and check.

The other big factor in my getting myself so adopted so quickly, of course, was that I gave them my big brown baby-eyes. Once I showed those to them, I knew it was all over — and so did they.


Admit it — you would keep me too, wouldn’t you?

Best of luck in your new home, Sophie!

XO, your fellow adopted-bull, Doodlebug

Dear Doodlebug, I am a Master of Trickery but I have a problem that hurts my brain.  Momma says I am an Overly Social Butterfly.  When Momma and Daddy get home, I let them ignore my adorable wiggly butt until I glue it to the floor to tell them I am ready for pettings. But when my human friends visit, Momma and Daddy ask them to not say hi or give me pettings until I stop talking and my wiggly butt hits the ground.  As a fellow Master of Trickery, will you help me think of a plot to trickery my way out of this rule? -Gambit of the Couches


Well Mr. Couch Surfer, Here’s the thing. Human friends do love wiggly-butted greetings, but you know what impresses them even more? Calm, gentleman-like greetings! I know! I didn’t believe it either, until my brother taught me, and it turns out he is right!

You see, we did these exercises in class where I got posted to a tree and everybody would ignore me until I sat down and stayed calm. Then once I did, I got all the lovings I wanted! Every time I’d pop up, the lovings (and yummables) would disappear. And when I’d sit down, they’d return! It was like magic! We repeated this exercise everywhere — in our kitchen, in our front yard, and out on walks. Even now we sometimes do it when mama and dad are expecting human visitors (the Turkeyman came to visit last night and I had to show him my best behaviors in order to get lovings, like the photo above).

Eventually I figured out that my butt was actually a magic light switch that could turn ON the lovings from people by sticking to the ground, and would turn OFF the lovings from the people by lifting up. 

I knew I already had many clevers, but I didn’t know that some of them were in my butt — wow!

Hope this helps you and your magic light switch Love, Doodlebutt


Even at quarter-past early in the morning, the boys could tell it was going to be a scorcher.

Chickerdoodle-130318-3So they did what all clever Texans do when they have the day off and it’s a hot one.

Chickerdoodle-130318-30They went snorkeling.

Chickerdoodle-130318-22 Chickerdoodle-130318-27Chickerdoodle-130318-12But just like perfect gentlemen, they refrained from getting their ears wet.

dry ears

All in all, a successful day.

Join us tomorrow for our regularly scheduled weekly programming!




Ready for baby mini-series: Curious baby-made matters

As you could have predicted, the most important part of our preparation for the two-legged puppy has been growing our collection of dog-related things for our the miniature human to wear and play with. This week we were delighted to get a big package from mama’s dear friend, Celebridog Handsome Dan’s mama. In it we found not only all kinds of interesting sniffing messages from Dan himself, but a variety of clothing items for our new puppy, passed down from Dan’s two-legged puppy, Josephine!

Check out this week’s bounty!

Chickerdoodle-130313-38But we’ve also been busy preparing for the puppy itself. In past weeks, we’ve focused on preparing for puppy-related things like changes in routine and spaces, and house manners. This week, mama is thinking about getting us ready for all the wonders that a new two-legged puppy makes. Smells, sounds, and all kinds of new messes!

A lot of the time, we go into the room-that-will-be-Junior’s and practice our basic manners while mama does weird stuff like fold clothes in that new miniature white prison cell, or put new-smelling lotions and potions on herself by the dresser. We think she’s just acting crazy because she’s waiting for the stork to come, but she claims it’s all part of the plan.


We have written to you before about impulse control and how important it is in a dog’s life in general. Well, it turns out it’s important when you have a tiny human in the house, too! One of mama’s favorite ways to solidify our impulse control is to practice it in challenging areas. For example, when each of us was learning the very-difficult-but-apparently-important skill of sitting and waiting to be released at the front door, we practiced not only our sit-stays, but all kinds of other impulse-control exercises in that very spot. We’d do fetchings there, we’d practice our down-stays, and we’d sit and wait for our dinner bowls. Now, we don’t normally have any problems with impulses in the-room-that-will-be-Junior’s since nothing exciting ever happens in there, but mama says we might in the future — if we don’t prepare. So for now, we are preparing — lots of sits, stays, downs, and leave-its in and around the special room. So far so good!


The clothes-folding and doing stuff in the miniature white prison cell, mama says she’s doing that to get us used to that being A Place Where Things Happen but it also being no big deal. So far, we think she’s super-right. What a boring place! She goes in there and does things in the prison cell, and we just yawn and lay down for a nap. Mama says that’s exactly what she wants — for us to think that no matter what is going on in there, it is a nap-worthy event for us dogs.

Chickerdoodle-130313-35We also mentioned mama using new-smelling potions and lotions, and making odd noises that we haven’t heard before. Because we can’t practice relaxing around the two-legged puppy until it’s officially here, the people are trying to approximate some of the sights, sounds, and smells that the miniature human will bring. The potions and lotions are warming us up to the way a tiny human smells, and the noises — which they are trying to hide but we have figured out are just coming from that small white rectangle they’re always looking at — are getting us used to how a tiny human might sound. Mama says that if they were less lazy, they would also consider getting a fake miniature human (the kind that’s made of plastic and you can get at the toy store) and dressing it up, smearing it with lotions and potions, wrapping the noise-making device up with it, and carrying it around like they might do with a real mini human. But let’s face it — our people are lazy, and they are pretty sure that because we dogs are also lazy, we won’t be too concerned about the tiny humans’ smells, noises, and carryings-on.


what is that strange sound?

One last thing that tiny humans make — other than noises, smells, and their tiny selves — is big ol’ messes. We have each been practicing since we were tiny babies ourselves first adopted that licking and nibbling on humans is never an ok thing to do, even if the humans are covered in food or other yummables. Mama is relieved that she taught us this from the start, because she thinks it may help the rule carry over to the tiny humans who smell and taste exactly like milk or apple sauce or coconut oil lotion. In case that rule fails, though, we also have a backup rule (a phrase the humans can say that actually makes us physically back our faces up) — if mama or dad says the magic phrase, we know our curious noses and tongues are unwelcome. It’s the same phrase they say when we’re taking undue interest in the snacks on the coffee table, so we think it will transfer well.

We mentioned in a previous post that we are not big toy-stealers or chewers, and mama is relieved about that, too. We can easily co-exist with a toy or other chewable, and as long as we know it’s not ours, we are probably not going to sneak off with it and chew its insides out. If we were more into toy stealage, mama would be working hard on teaching us which things are ours and which things are not ours — and making sure she has a bullet-proof “release” word that makes us give back whatever treasure we found. She’s just lucky we’re such easy boys and we don’t cause trouble with our thievery!

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Please join us for another installment next week, when we talk about hitting the town with your dog and baby!

To catch up on the rest of our series so far, check out the following links:
**If you are experiencing behavioral concerns with your dog, please seek out an experienced, reputable trainer in your area. In Austin, we sing the high praises of theCanine Center for Training and Behavior, where Chick and Doodlebug learn and play. For more info on picking a quality trainer in your area, see this post.**

Dear Doodlebug: butt-nuggets, butt-snuggles, and hunting for pizzas

Sweet Doodlebug… Why is it that when we go to bed at night you decide it’s appropriate to put the “butt-end” towards our face?  -Janine

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Dear Miss Janine,

I must answer your question with a question: what is so wrong with snuggling up to a butt-in-the-face? We dogs do it with each other ALL the time. It started out as a little bit of a practical joke (“ha ha, butts on your face!”) but then it slowly became not-a-joke. Kind of like what happened with hipster clothes. We realized that butt-cuddling not only keeps us safe from the dreaded morning-breath, but it’s also a nice soft pillow upon which to rest our heads. In all honesty, we do this to you humans as a way of showing you our dedication, loyalty, and deep, deep love. So please enjoy! And wear a nose plug if you must.

XO, Doodlebug, President of the Hipster Butt-Cuddlers Club

Dear Doodlebug, If there is anything deliciously stinky laying around, I just have to have it. Especially…and this is the embarrassing part…my own poops. They make the perfect little snacks. I was wondering if you know what it is about my poops that make them so irresistible to me?  Super Cooper the Pooper Scooper

Dear Pooper-Cooper,

I am about to impress you with my Large Word Knowledges, so make sure you are seated. What you are having is the coprophagia. It’s such a common passion that it has its very own word! Doesn’t that make you feel quite relieved?

The other thing I am about to tell you is that your snacking delight is quite normal, even if your mama does think it’s gross. According to science-humans, there are a lot of reasons that dogs get all coprophagical. Sometimes dogs eat butt-nuggets because they’re bored, other times because they’ve been punished in the past for going in the wrong spot. I have heard that some puppy mill babies or dogs who were kept in very tight quarters are more likely to coprophagitate. Another common reason is low-quality diet.

If you are not already, switch to a high-quality food with no fillers like corn, wheat, and soy, and no chemical additives. Some dog-scientists think that because lower-grade kibbles contain a lot of non-digestibles, they taste pretty similar on both ends of the dog, if you know what I’m saying. I have also heard that you can have your foster mama add things to your kibbles that may change the PH in your butt-nuggets and make them seem less yummable. She can try pieces of pineapple, cooked spinach, or one of the commercially-available additives (but make sure she reads the label to make sure they are not full of chemically ickiness).

Outside of diet, stopping your snacking habit is going to take some hard work from your people — always cleaning up right away after you go to the Drop Zone, never reacting in any way or making a big deal if you do capture a delicious butt-nugget, and making sure you are getting plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.

Best of Luck, Doodlebug who prefers kibbles to dog butt-nuggets, but will raid the kitty litter box with no hesitation at all.

Dear Doodlebug, We would like very much to know how you managed to get your very own secretary.  We thought we were cleverer dogs (because we can always find the leftover pizzas) but finding our own secretary has alluded us. If we could tell our secretary what to do, maybe it would keep one of us busy during the day so we don’t go looking for the pizzas. Please help, Lily (the pizza-finder) & Cooper (the accomplice)

Dear Team of Greatest Cleverness:

Ok, I will tell you my secret for finding my own secretary, but only after you tell me how you found the pizzas. I have always dreamed of finding the pizzas but this mystery has alluded me and my brother so far. In the photo below, you can see me pizzas-hunting in the tall grass. I will tell you that I do not know where the pizzas are, but I am pretty sure they are not hiding in the tall grasses of our yard. 

Chickerdoodle-120312-43We have had much better luck with finding the yummables in the laundries and finding the kitchen garbage, which was Great Fun the one time I got to play. Chick says he has found the garbage many times in the past, but he and I only got to do it once together before mama and dad gave up and bought a Smarter-Than-Dog trash can. Although our dumpster-diving days were over, we secretly high-fived over how many clevers we must have, making them have to surrender to the World of the Fancy Trash Can. Also, Chick has much luck in finding the little bits of treats left over in mama’s jacket and pants pockets. What he does NOT have luck at is removing the bits of treats through the prepared pocket opening, so he normally does this surgically, using his tooths. It is an effective technique and I love watching him perform these procedures on mama’s clothes, but I must admit mama does not look too impressed when she comes home and finds these new post-surgical features in her clothings. Apparently Chick has not yet perfected his stitching skills. 

Anxiously awaiting pizzas, Duder

Dear Doodle, A while ago, I started to notice that other dogs would sometimes leave their smell on stuff…you know like fire hydrants, fences posteds, chairs, things like that.  One day at the dog park I decided to mark mama’s jeans leg.  Then, what really sent her over the top was the day I marked one of my dog friend’s dad on his jeans.  Mama says I have a problem, but I really think this is not a problem.  Signed, One Confused Canine, Jake

Dear Improper Pee-er, 

I am not sure about jeans legs, but here is what I have learned IS okay to pee on:

  • grasses, trees, shrubs
  • dead things in the road
  • other people’s car tires
  • my brother’s head if he is taking too long with his peeings
  • the sign some of our neighbors have that shows a dog going #2 with a “NO!” underneath it

And here are the things that I am not sure, but I am starting to get the idea that it is NOT okay to pee on:

  • agilidog equipment
  • the porch furniture
  • the cedar posts that hold up our back porch
  • our neighbor-dog Abby, who barks at me through the fence
  • mama’s car tires

I admit, I am pretty stumped about jeans legs. Human rules of okayness are very confusing to us dogs, I know. But if your mama gets Very Upset when you do the jeans-peeings, maybe you should not do them? Surely there are plenty of other things at the park to pee on . . . like fences and grasses and other dogs and legs that are not wearing jeans.

Good luck to you, the Proper Pee-er

Dude, My Dad thinks my collar, with all it’s glowing pinkness, is too tight. My Mom thinks it’s just right. Please give Mom and Dad some advices about how to properly fit my collar so they can quit fussing about it. Yours, Karly the Girly Rottie

Dear Karly of the Pinkest Fashion and Fame,

I’m going to go ahead and guess that your collar is too tight. Usually if a person is worried about that, it is So. This is what I have learned. My brother and I have flat buckle collars from Paco Collars, and we wear those to show off our handsomes and also to keep our infos for when we meet fine ladies who want our digits. For this type of collar, you should be able to fit two regular-sized human fingers in between the collar and your neck. It should look like this:

Chickerdoodle-120807-3And for our walkings, we add a martingale collar — sometimes our very special, posh, and rotating collection of Sirius Republic collars, and sometimes just regular nylon collars. For those, you should also be able to fit two regular-sized human fingers in between the collar and your neck — when it is fully tightened

Best of luck in your fashion pursuits,

Your Clothes-Horse Bug

Dear Doodlebug, My momma says me and my brother and sister are spoiled. Whatever that means. We have lots of fun toys. Kongs, stuffies, bouncy ball toys, and even handmade special just for me toys. Is it possible for a super awesome dog like me to have too many toys?  Should we be good boys and girl and put our toys away or just make momma do it? I mean she’s the one buying all these goodies for us. What are your favorite toys and does you momma make you put your toys away?? -Seriously Spoiled aka Buddy

You Lucky Dog,

Please send your address. I’m coming to live with you! Can you believe that at our house we have NO toys left out at all? In fact, we don’t even have any toys of any kind — all of the toys belong to mama and dad, and they share them with us when we have been very good boys. But we have to earn it!Wait a minute . . . Come to think of it, actually, maybe it’s good that we don’t have toys left out all the time. I think maybe I would worry about them if I had to always be keeping track. This way they are put away, they come out when it’s playtime (and playtime is always VERY exciting since we haven’t seen the toy-of-the-moment in HOURS or DAYS), and they get put away in a basket far away when mama decides we’re done. I guess it’s not so bad!Also as a bonus, all the toys belonging to mama and dad makes mama and dad seem even cooler than they already were before. We are always paying attention and willing to do whatever they ask because we never know when it might become snack time or playtime!

XO, Unspoiled in Austin

PS- my favorite toys are rope toys, which are fun for tugging with my brother, and my red bumper toy, which is funnest for the fetchings!

Chix-A-Lot Friday: Dog preferences and Public Service Announcements

As some of you who follow our Facebooks may have seen yesterday, Doodlebug had a scary little incident on his morning walk with dad. They were walking along, minding their own business, when suddenly a fluffydog came barreling across the street directly at them, barking and carrying on, causing a big threatening stink.

Now, some of you know that Doodlebug is a recovering reactive dog (so am I). Around dogs he doesn’t know, he can be nervous and uncertain how to act. So for Dad and the ‘Bug, this incident was NOT welcome! But in the moment, their instincts kicked in — they took one look at each other and started running away, top speed. They BOTH wanted to get outta there! After a minute, the dog stopped chasing and Dad and the ‘Bug gave each other a high-five for making such good choices.

Us dogs run into these kinds of situations all the time — where we are confronted with something we are not too comfortable with, and asked to be polite. Sometimes you humans are able to get us out of the situation — like dad did with the ‘Bug yesterday morning — but sometimes us dogs have to try to just tolerate.

And sometimes, it’s you humans who put us in the uncomfortable situation to begin with!

Our pal Jess over at Dogs In Need of Space has put together some tremendous PSAs about dog etiquette, understanding dogs who need space, and all kinds of other wonders. Thanks to her — and many other advocates, trainers, writers, and dog lovers — the message is starting to get out: ALL dogs have preferences. ALL dogs are picky about something — often something that the average bystander wouldn’t realize.

So here’s us spilling the beans. We, too, need space. We’d love for you to spill the beans too — what would YOUR dog’s personal PSA say?

PSA dear doodlebug PSA sir chick

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