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?
With 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!
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!
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!
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!
Because 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!
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!