Deep thoughts, by Chick & the ‘Bug

Life is a little crazy these days with our miniature human arriving any day now. Granted, the boys’ perspective is that life is ALWAYS a little crazy thanks to them.

Anyhow, with life being double-crazy and concentration being hard to come by, we’re going to leave it to the dogs to do all of the deep thinkings for the next couple of weeks. So in lieu of your regular programming, you can look forward to Monday-Wednesday-Friday “Deep Thoughts” by Chick and Doodlebug for a little while.

We’ll be back with regular blogging as soon as we can, and in the meantime, enjoy!

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Chix-A-Lot Friday: Remembering Dora the Explorer (+ a sweet little bonus for you!)

Many of you remember my last foster before Doodlebug, America’s sweetheart Dora the Explorer. How could you forget? She might have been the most gorgeous dog we’ve ever laid eyes on (other than yours truly of course!), and with that silky grey fur, that sweet underbite, and those amazing ears, it’s no wonder she broke hearts wherever she went.

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She broke all our hearts again — in a sad way — when she got loose on a walk with her mama several months back and disappeared, never to be found again. To this day, she still hasn’t come home. We like to imagine that she was found by some kind family who just didn’t know how to locate her rightful owners. They fell in love, made her their own, and lived happily ever after. That’s how the story should end in our heads, anyway.

Dora-bull has been on our minds lately because we’ve just received our Yellow Brick Home Pet Shop tiny portrait of her, and we are in love all over again!

IMG_9046Dora’s portrait is our fourth 4×4 inch foster dog painting, on top of the two 6×6 inch paintings Kim has done of me and my silly brother the ‘Bug.


Since Kim’s art has become such a major presence in our home, mama asked her to document the process for us this time. We’ve been dying to know: what do these amazing mini works of art look like along the way? So today we’re thrilled to share a few insider looks!


Amazing, right?

And just for this week, as a special treat to all our readers, the Pet Shop is offering 10% off ALL products with the code DEARDORA!  This includes custom work, ready-to-go original paintings, prints, and gift certificates. Jump on it, the coupon expires at midnight on Monday, April 15!

As though that wasn’t enough of a treat for you already, we have another sweet announcement for Dora-lovers. Only the most dedicated fans will remember that when Dora was rescued, she was living in a back yard with one of her puppies, Boots. Well, Boots is now available for adoption through Love-A-Bull! He has all of her underbite, personality, and charms — plus a beautiful subtle, brindle coat.

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If you are still regretting not snatching up Dora when she was available, check out Boots on Love-A-Bull’s adoption page. Mama and dad have met him in person and can tell you with confidence: You will adore him!

Dear Doodlebug: Dog addictions, French grandparents, and being a dog model

Dear Doodlebug 2YIPPEE for me, it’s Dear Doodlebug day! Thanks for all the Very Interesting questions as usual, friends! I do feel that I have to remind you though: I am NOT authorized to answer serious behavioral questions over the interwebs. I am not a dog trainer, and even if I were, it would be reckless to answer your serious questions on the interwebs. Don’t more of you need love advice, fashion advice, or ideas about which TV show you should watch next? Those kind of questions are the reasons I really got into this business.

As always, please send any requests for advices to my secretary at info [at] loveandaleash [dot] com, and we will answer them as soon as we can!

On to it:

Hi Dude, My name is Huck and I am addicted to my mom.  I mean I love my mom so much that I will hold my bladder for a really, really long time to avoid going outside with my dad. I’m getting better with this and I mean my dad is a pretty good petter and I’ll take my belly rubs from anyone with a hand attached to an arm but I LOVE my mom.  I love her so much I only close my eyes and get my nap on only when she is in a reclined position or staying in one spot (like cooking dinner or reading her stories).  If she moves (rolls over in bed in the morning, adjusts on the couch, smiles at me, breathes, sighs, moves her hands) I am up off my bed to assit wherever I am needed.  It’s exhausting and, just between you and me, I think mom feels guilty that she doesn’t always need my services.  Any suggestions on helping me know when she really needs me?Thank you for your service to our dog community, Mr. Huck “Reporting for Duty” Spanner

Dear Huck,

I have no experiences with this first-paw, to be honest. My mama calls me a first-class whore (I wonder what that means) because I will go for a walk with anybody anytime, whether I know them or not and whether they have treats or not. My harness and leash are my biggest addiction, and whoever can deliver them to my body and then delivery me out into the world is A-okay with me!

BUT, my brother the Chick says that many moons ago, he had a foster sister named Stevie Wonder (above), and she was a little bit similar. She would only go out with our mama, and would go into a full-out panic attack when dad tried to take her anywhere. The girl was obviously quite confused! Mama didn’t know what to do, and she ended up making a blogging about it and asking our friends for their advices. You can read all about Stevie’s problem and our friends’ ideas here.

In the end, here’s how my mama and dad solved it with Stevie. Dad started being the Producer of All Funs and Other Goodies (PAFOG). Mama had been the primary PAFOG in our family before that, and once things changed and dad was the one bringing all the walks, all the dinners, all the pettings, all the trainings, and all the praise, things started to get better. At the same time — this was the really hard one for mama — mama had to quit being a PAFOG. For a week or two, mama had to cold-heartedly ignore Stevie’s requests for pettings, attentions, treats, and other forms of loving. It was heartbreaking for mama at first, but she knew it was for the best for Stevie. And you know what? It worked! 

Best of luck to you,

Your Doodlewhore

Dear Doodlebug, I am writing for some very important advice… I need help with my modelings.  I can’t help but notice your awesome snaggle tooth pose, and your brother’s perfect pouty face.  What is your secret?  The reason I ask is, my mama has plans to take some family portraits this year.  You see, my rude parents went off and got married last year and didn’t even invite me for one picture!  So, to make it up to me, we are going to take some snappies with the 3 of us around town.  I am a pro when it comes to modeling for Instagram, but I’ve never been ‘on location’ for a photo shoot.  Any advice for a first time dog model? Ringo


Dear Aspiring Dog-Model,

Have you ever wondered if there was more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good-looking? Well it turns out that there is — even if you are ridiculously good-looking, it takes more to be a dog model. Most of the magic tricks simply take practice, so you’ll have to learn as you go.

But there are two tricks that will be absolutely essential for your preparings for your shoot-about-town. First, make sure your photographer is comfortable with dogs and willing to make friends with you, handle treats, etc. You will be able to tell if the person is not that impressed with your handsome, handsome self, and it will make you not want to work it for the camera.  A tragedy!

And second, practice, practice, practice! In the days leading up to your shoot, have your people bring you to the exact spot where they plan to do their photodogging, and let you explore. Make sure they don’t have an agenda and that they can let you sniff, sniff, sniff to your heart’s content. Do this multiple times. On another visit, have them practice some basic skills with you in the same place — sits, downs, recalls, tricks, leash walking — whatever they’d like. The goal is to get you used to being in the place but not being totally distracted by everything going on. Once you can both easily focus and easily relax at your photo shoot location, you know you’re ready.

Good luck!

Doodle Zoolander

Hi Doodlebug!  My Mama also takes me to the Canine Center for help with my re activeness and I’m getting better ~ I passed the Vet visit this year with flying colors per my Mama…..but I got a problem with my older brother Merlin…see if loves those flying disks (frizz bees) to the point he won’t share…he’ll hog them and thinks he’s gotta hoard them…..Mama tell him to drop them, but when he doesn’t she just walks away….then I don’t play with those flying disks….but when I get the chance oh boy ~ I have fun….Mama used to put my big brother in the house and just play with me…..guess I gotta remind her to do that again.  But is there any other way for Mama to teach my big brother to let loose those flying disks? -Fun and Sassy in the back yard

Dear Fun and Sassy,

Next time you’re out at the Center, ask your trainer for their best advices. Guarding of objects is one of those things that seems so simple, but it can actually have a lot of different causes and motivations. I could offer you my guessings, but what if I guessed wrong? I wouldn’t want to set you and your brother Merlin down the wrong path.

Your mama’s instinks to put your brother in the house and JUST play with you are good ones, though, and can’t hurt. Tell her that you should each have individual playtime with those frisbees, and while one of you is playing, the other one can be inside working on some kind of fun puzzle.

Be sure to say hello to us and our mama next time you’re out at the Center!

Love, Your Doodle

Dear His Excellence Mr. Dude,You offered me wonderful advices when you first started your column about my crazy brother Wiley Coyote, but I have another problem I’m hoping you can help me out with. I recently got a new cousin, Finn, who is a beagle/jack russel mix. When we first met I liked him a lot and we would play and cuddle for hours, but recently he’s been driving me CRAZY. He won’t stop doing his humpty dumpty dance, licks my paws, and licks my private parts any chance he can get. No correcting from my uncle can make him stop. 😦 

I’d really like to be able to keep hanging out with my new cousin, but I’d rather he keep his tongue to himself and quit his annoying dancing routine. 

Do you have any advices? 


Max the Wonderdog

Dear Victim of Finn,

Sounds like your cousin needs to learn some impulse control! If your uncle will listen, tell him to enroll Finn in some private lessons or a class where a major component is relaxation and control-based exercises. Practice is the best way for a dog to learn that he can’t *always* do exactly what he wants! And as far as the humpty dance, Finn is going to need a consequence to his actions when he breaks a rule. If humping is against the rules, why should Finn care? What happens if he breaks the rule? In our house, rule-breaking earns us a time out, which we think is just terrible, because it takes us away from the action. It works for us. You’ll have to find something in your house that works for you — and for Finn!

Rock it, DB

Dear Doodlebug, 

I’ve been with my forever home for about five months and it’s going great! However, I’m having a teensie, tiny problem when I see other doggies when I’m walking. I don’t try to touch them with my teeth or anything like that, but I do what my mama calls my “tiger walk” where I walk really low to the ground and stare when they come toward me. When I get to them, I pop right back up and trot on my way — I’ve never lunged/jumped/tried to touch any dog, ever, even when they bark at me! But, my mama says that it scares doggies and their moms and dads because they don’t know that I’m not going to hurt them. Also, sometimes I just stop walking and stare at the doggies until they pass, which disrupts people walking and makes the owners scared to pass me. I just want to say hi and maybe guard my mom against vicious Chihuahuas, but she doesn’t want me to do this anymore. How do you react to dog friends on the street? Can your wise, handsome brain help me fix my jungle cat ways? 



Hey . . . are you the same Finn as the cousin Finn in the question I just finished advising about? You Finns are everywhere today!

Anyhow. The short answer is, you are being kinda rude, Finn. Direct eye contact is especially rude in dog-dog language, so even though you may not realize it, you are accidentally challenging the other dogs when you stare the way you do. I’m not hating on you or anything because I also have a very intense and rude natural stare, and mama has worked very hard to teach me NOT to whip it out on every dog we pass on the streets. I am much, much, much improved, but sometimes my eyes still do wander and get stuck on another dog. I just can’t help it.

The thing that helped us the most was Canine Good Citizen Class, which took our polite leash walking to the next level. We really had to challenge ourselves and our politeness and got LOTS of practice passing by dogs the right way, even at a close distance. We mostly focused on It wasn’t easy at first, but lots and lots and lots of practice made for a tired — and more polite — ‘Bug! The real trick is learning what you should be doing instead of focusing on the other dog, and practice doing that — first at a Great Big Distance that is easy for you to handle, and then gradually closer and closer, until you can pass dogs on the street without a care in the world. See what kind of advanced obedience, CGC, or leash walking classes are available in your area, and sign yourself right up!

Your ‘Bug, who blames his single French Bulldog grandparent for his inappropriate stare

Dear Doodlebug,  
My humans have decided to stop renting and they’re buying a house just for us doggies (I assume).  We’ve lived where we are now for 5 years so moving isn’t something my 12 year old sister, Jasmine, and I have to deal with in awhile.  Jasmine is already getting a little stressed with all the boxes everywhere and the strangers coming in the house to see if they want to rent it next.  Personally I love the new humans coming in and I think cardboard is quite a delicacy but Jasmine isn’t on the same page.  I do tend to get a bit wired when going to new places though so the humans are worried about both of our stress levels when the big day comes.  Do you have any advice to help minimize our stress during the moving process? 
Love and slobber, 

Domino from Paints for Pits

Dear Domino,

Your name has quite a ring to it, just like mine — Dear Domino, Dear Doodlebug, maybe we could team up on something someday!

Anyhow, back to your questionings: My brother wrote a post about the art of moving a while back. Ironically, it was in celebration of his first year NOT moving in his entire life! But maybe you will find it helpful?

XO, Your co-DD in Chief

Ready for Baby Mini-Series: Resources

Well, our puppy was supposed to arrive this past Saturday, but she or he is a total slacker and hasn’t even showed up yet! So we’ve got plenty of time to wait around, filling our days with agilities, walks around the neighborhood, and naps.

We’ve also had plenty of downtime to catch up on our reading. Mama has been reading lots of very boring things to us, which is just fine by us, because she lets us nap snuggled up with her, and she is quite comfy as a headrest.

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We’ve already spent the last few weeks telling you all of the ways that WE are getting ready for our future two-legged sibling, and we hope they’ve been helpful. But we also know that every family is different, and every dog has different needs. In addition to our ideas here, you may need other tools as you navigate your own journey. To that end, here are some resources to help:

Our favorite book on the subject is Your Dog and Your Baby: A Practical Guide. It’s easy to read, well-organized, and thoroughly addresses various common (and uncommon) situations involving babies and dogs.

There are several websites that offer webinars, articles, and other resources about issues related to dogs and children. The most prominent is Family Paws. Family Paws also offers a location-based search for trainers who offer their specific dog-baby preparation protocol, here.

As wonderful as books and websites can be, sometimes nothing beats a real-live trainer. Luckily, many training centers around the country offer  special classes, seminars, or private consultations about preparing for life with a baby and dogs.

In Austin, we recommend the Canine Center for Training and Behavior, of course, where the next Babies & Dogs seminar is coming up on Saturday, April 27 at 5pm.

In other areas, we’ve heard of the following classes from some of our readers. We can’t vouch for the training methods or quality at any of the centers below, so please do some independent research before signing up:

And finally, a few words about behavior issues. If you are experiencing behavior issues with your dog and aren’t 100% confident how to proceed, please seek out a seasoned, reputable trainer in your area, especially if you are preparing to welcome a baby or child into your dog-filled life. Most of these issues CAN be resolved with proper instruction and enough time. Do yourself a favor and get started NOW! For more info on picking a quality trainer in your area, see this post.**
To catch up on the rest of our series, check out the following links:
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