Deep thoughts . . . about pillows

14 boppy

 

**Don’t forget to enter our photo contest for a chance to win some handcrafted doggie ice cream and a whole bounty of other delicious treats!! Click here for details**

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Dogs and baby – the secret to success

Things are going really well in our household since Puppy E came home several weeks ago. And it’s not just good luck — we did plenty of preparation ahead of time to get the dogs accustomed to the routines, sounds, smells, and general presence of a baby in the house. But there’s a lot more to it than that, too. The biggest success factor, in our opinion, is to make sure that the dogs feel calm, relaxed, and safe in every single interaction with the baby.

The other day, a friend was bragging to me about how good her dog is with little kids. Several toddlers had been over at her house, and decided to play with her dog. The dog tolerated their ear tugging, tail pulling, and wrestle moves, my friend boasted, even though he was clearly unimpressed. According to my friend, the dog was looking to her, like: Mom, I know I have to tolerate this, but I am really unhappy. What struck me about this story was that my friend chose to observe and allow this behavior to continue even though her dog was uncomfortable, rather than intervening on his behalf.

This dog is nervous -- a good moment to let her know it's ok to walk away.

This dog is nervous — a good moment to let her know it’s ok to walk away.

What my friend didn’t realize is that on that day, she sent a message to her dog: you are on your own. Luckily, her dog is laid-back enough to have tolerated this particular interaction with these children without acting out. But there is no telling whether a day will come when he decides he has had enough and, fairly, tells the children in no uncertain terms to back off –– or worse. If the dog did growl, snap, or bite, he would most certainly be blamed. Called aggressive. But in reality, he had looked to his people the whole time to help out, but no one paid any mind. Can you really blame the guy?

It is our responsibility to be our dogs’ guardians. It is our duty to keep them safe and happy, and protect them in situations that make them uncomfortable. Even when the children are our own, we must look out for the dogs –- as well as the kids.

Doodlebug wasn't too sure about the puppy. We rewarded him for staying cool and didn't push the interaction any further.

Doodlebug wasn’t too sure about the puppy. We rewarded him for staying cool and didn’t push the interaction any further.

A new baby coming home creates a lot of excitement in a household. Dogs, accustomed to living in a house with no tiny humans, may be nervous or over-excited when the new human first moves in. Obviously, this is understandable. But it is during those moments of over–arousal that dogs tend to make poor choices or act un-gently. And and un–gentle dog, even if it is super friendly, can spell trouble for a tiny human.

So in our house, we were especially careful about one thing. Before the dogs were allowed to interact with Puppy E at close range, they had to be totally over it. We did not want any tap-dancing paws, fast–wagging tails, or excited puppy kisses. We wanted total boredom. And we got it. How? Simple. When the baby first came home, we kept the dogs busy with plenty of enrichment activities. Lots of walks, stuffed bones and kongs to chew on, puzzle toys to play with, and slow, controlled–based exercises in the presence of the baby. Things like sit-stays and down-stays. After a few hours for Chick and a couple days for Doodlebug, they thought the baby was the most boring thing in the world. A total non-issue. And that was exactly what we wanted.

Chick calmly investigating his puppy's swimming plans.

Chick calmly investigating his puppy’s swimming plans.

So now, all of our interactions are monitored. If either dog shows the slightest sign of being nervous or too excited, we gently invite him to walk away. The message? If you are nervous, you don’t have to stay. The dogs both seem to appreciate this, and now enjoy spending time in the presence of Puppy E without feeling any pressure to stay or to go. As Puppy E gets older and becomes mobile, new challenges will pop up. But we are betting that by setting up the relationship between the dogs and baby correctly from the start, we will be better able to face these challenges gracefully.

Doodlebug chillin' with his little sister.

Doodlebug chillin’ with his little sister.

For more about preparing your dogs for a new human addition, check out our Preparing for Baby Mini-Series:

Photo contest: show us how you chow down!

Well, the day is finally here! We’re announcing our grand contest to win a bundle of delightful treats from our new favorite treat company, Arrfscarf!Screen Shot 2013-06-03 at 9.46.36 AM

Yesterday we told you all about how we came to know Arrfscarf and their generous offer to mail us hand-crafted, wholesome doggie ice cream (beef brisket flavored!!) a little while back.

photo courtesy Arrfscarf

photo courtesy Arrfscarf

Today, we’re announcing a fun contest, in which you can win your own bag of goodies!

Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 9.04.45 AM

photo courtesy Arrfscarf

The winner will receive all this booty:

  1. One large bag of each variety of Arrfscarf hand made treats (total 4 bags)
  2. Two Arrfscarf Dog ice creams (3.5 oz. each)
  3. An Arrfscarf custom engraved sterling silver dog tag necklace, with your dog’s name
Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 9.08.02 AM

photo courtesy Arrfscarf

Here’s how to bring it all home:

1. Take a photo of your dog snacking on something fantastic — whether it be kibbles, a bone, grass, or your favorite pair of dress shoes (whoopsie!). The photo must be taken for this contest specifically!

2. Post it to our Facebook page — or if you are not on Facebook, email it to us at info@loveandaleash.com.

3. Make sure you get it in by Wednesday, June 19. This gives you two weeks to brainstorm, photograph, and submit!

4. Cross your fingers, toes, and paws, and check back on Chix-A-Lot Friday, June 21, to see who won!

And of course, the fine print: * The fine folks at Arrfscarf, along with Chick and Doodlebug, will select a winner from all photos submitted * Arrfscarf has the right to share and post submitted images via Facebook, twitter, and web * The contest runs for two weeks * The photo must be taken for this contest to be eligible to win

For more, check out Arrfscarf’s website or Facebook page!

Best of luck to everybody!
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Ice cream surprises — and a contest for you!

 

Some of you may remember that a while back, we did a blog post and giveaway for a large manufacturer of dog treats — ice cream, to be specific — and some cute little stuffed animal dogs.

We had lots of fun with the giveaway — as we always do — but we made a little bitty confession: we wouldn’t let our dogs actually eat the treats that we were giving away, because they’re loaded with corn syrup, additives, and other yuckies that are not a part of Chick and Doodlebug’s diet.

Something else great came of that contest: we were contacted by a small, craft maker of artisan dog treats, Arrfscarf. They had taken note of our complaints, and issued a challenge: try OUR ice cream and treats, and see what you (and Chick and Doodlebug) think.

We took one look at Arrfscarf’s website, and hastily agreed.

So not long after, we received a yummy-smelling package in the mail. It was loaded with dry ice to keep our boys’ ice cream chilled, and lined with some delicious looking treats.

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We even got to select our ice cream flavor: Beef Brisket. We worry constantly about the ingredients and additives in the boys’ snacks and food, but we felt at ease with this particular treat. The ingredients? Locally Sourced Beef Brisket. Organic Yams. Vanilla. Honey. Greek Yogurt. YUM.

photo courtesy Arrfscarf.

photo courtesy Arrfscarf.

There is much to love about this company, which hand makes its doggie goodies in Chicago. Their ice cream and other treats are nutritionally sound, they locally source their ingredients, and they carefully avoid any flavorings, preservatives, or colors. Ick.

Needless to say, the boys loved their treats. Chick took one lick of his ice cream, his eyes got wide, and he grabbed the whole cup in his mouth and bolted across the yard to his favorite eating spot to devour it. Meanwhile, Doodlebug maintained his discipline like a gentleman and licked at his ice cream diligently for a minute or two before also succumbing to the urge to crunch it all down in one heavenly gulp.

Chickerdoodle-130522-16 Chickerdoodle-130522-20 Chickerdoodle-130522-41

 

But there’s more! Arrfscarf has agreed to do a very exciting contest and giveaway with us, and we’ll be launching tomorrow! Tune in again for all the details. This is one contest you won’t want to miss!

The puppy’s dog bed

 

So, my puppy got a new dog bed. Only this dog bed has some crazy dangly things hanging above it, and quite honestly, they hang a little low for a full-grown dog to crawl under for a nap.Evangeline-130524-29

In any case, I thought I’d check it out for her to make sure it’s safe.Evangeline-130524-38I determined that it’s safe, and then I let the puppy lay down in it for a nap.

Only she did not nap! Instead, she laid on her back and kicked her legs and flailed her paws around. I guess she was also thinking that the dangly things were in the way. But instead of getting annoyed like I would have, she just kept smiling at the danglers.

Evangeline-130524-21So the Turkeyman and I laid on either side, real still-like, trying to show her what napping on a dog bed is supposed to be like.

Evangeline-130524-19Maybe she’ll learn eventually.

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Doodlebug Does Laundry

First, you divide up the whiteishes and the coloreds.Chickerdoodle-130517-8Then you examine all the smellies to make sure there aren’t any dog treats in the pockets. If there are, you helpfully eat them.

Chickerdoodle-130517-9Then, you sort out the delicates — carefully, so you don’t scratch them with your paws or your tooths.

Chickerdoodle-130517-2Finally, you go find your mama and collect your praises:

Chickerdoodle-130517-5Good boy, Doodlebug.

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