Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Rain, Rain, Go Away

With all this fluctuation we've been having in Erie weather, the dogs get quite muddy in the yard!


I don't know if it's because Edison runs harder or if because he is so much heavier,


but he always seems SO MUCH dirtier than Tess.


Someone looks guilty...

Monday, February 25, 2013

Feburary BarkBox

This weekend, Tess & Ed got a package in the mail.


That's right, they received their first of 3 Bark Boxes!  We found a super huge coupon for a 3-month subscription and scooped it up as a treat for the pooches.


After a thorough investigation,
Edison found his first victim toy.
Ed didn't even wait for us to take off the packaging from the Fetch 'n Floss
He quickly found the next item in the box: the Sprocket Pet Goods P:ECO the Penguin.

And Tess wasted no time checking out the Pet Qwerks Fetch 'n Floss.

Some delicious treats also came in the box, including Wet Noses Organic Dog Treats in Cheddar and Agave & Pear and Get Naked N-Bones.


The pooches loved both of these.


It was so much fun getting these surprises, and we're looking forward to what comes in the March Bark Box!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Is Your Dog SAD?

Tesla is by no means an active dog.


And while she's not active, she can be (in short bursts) playful.  She's always very aware of where her people are and ensures she is always laying on top of them near them.



A few months ago, I noticed her getting more and more aloof.  I find it hard to explain this change in behavior, since she has always been a lounger.  But she didn’t seem to care where we were.  At first, I thought this was a good thing – that she was becoming more independent and worrying less about having us in her sight.


But after a month or so, I started to get worried.  She had seemed to lose her joy.  We didn’t get kisses or exuberant greetings.  She didn’t have her short bursts of excitement.


I decided to ride it out a bit before talking to our vet.  I thought maybe getting her out of the house a little more might help.  I had also read somewhere that bananas are confidence boosters for dogs.  I have no idea if this is scientific or not, but I figured it couldn’t hurt.  So we doubled our effort to get her out & about, and we gave her some banana slices on top of her kibble.
Within a few weeks, I started seeing some of her old spark.  She seems pretty much back to her old self now – she is curious, cuddles, gives too many kisses, and wiggles her whole body when we get home.

I have no idea what it was or what corrected it.  Maybe she was affected by Season Affective Disorder?
Have any of your dogs gone through mood swings?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Baby Steps...

Do you notice anything out of place in this picture?

How about now?

That’s right...that is Edison in the rink at Mud Puppies during "Yappy Hour.”

The group last Thursday was small in size and number – 3 smaller females – and super laid back!  After a few minutes, seeing how the the group was not the overly playful type, we decided to bring Ed in and see how he did.

A huge thank you to Madigan & Callie (and of course their owners!!) for being so cool about Edison’s presence.  Everyone worked with us to give Edison a calm and positive experience in close quarters with off-leash dogs. 

Granted, he’s a long way from being allowed off-lead himself, but we’ve made a re-focused effort on getting him in control while off-lead around other dogs. 
We’ll be starting an intro to agility class in a few weeks (all on-lead!), but the instructor thinks that Edison could become pretty good.  We have a local facility that does full-scale agility and we’d love to make it a hobby for Ed & us.

Until then, we’ll keep working with Ed to get him to that point.  This is a good start!

A very happy Edison

While Ed's not aggresive by any means, he does get way too excited and to a state that is practically uncontrollable. 
Does anyone have any tips for working to get a dog comfortable around others off-lead?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Stylish? I think so.

As some of you have spied, Tesla and Edison have been sporting some pretty fantastic gear over the past week.

Can you see it?

Our friends over at Pitlandia recently made the big announcement of their Etsy store a few weeks ago.  And boy were we excited.  Tess has been coveting Athena’s beautiful bows for awhile now.


So, sure enough, as soon as the store was open, I found myself purchasing a few things.  Only a few days later they arrived on my doorstep, all the way across the country!

Unfortunately, the pooches have been a little camera shy this week and refuse to let me take good pictures of them!  Here’s a close-up of our loot!



But finally, I captured some good ones of them in their brand, spankin’ new Little Bow Pup bows & bowties!

We love dressing up the pooches.  Not only does it make me giggle every single time, I love the way that it makes them more approachable when we take them out.
Obviously, Tess needed something for Valentine’s Day (how else would she find a Valentine?), so we picked up the “I Heart U” bow.

Edison isn’t much for hearts, so he requested the “Pirates” bowtie.

We are very pleased with our new Little Bow Pup bows & ties and are excited to try out our other set.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Did You Hug Your Valentine?

Check!

Edison & Tesla have been busy passing out their Valentines all day, but wanted to make sure to send these(virtually) to you.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

For the Love of a Dog

I read a post over at And Foster Makes Five about the commitment required when taking in a new dog.  Through many inquiries about their current foster, Georgia (who is totally available for adoption if you think you’re her perfect family!), they have gotten the question “is there a trial adoption period?”  She poses a really great question as to whether or not this is a good idea.
Read more about Georgia here

This got us to thinking: is it?  While on the one hand it’s great to be able to ensure that a future pooch is a good fit for you and your family – and the reverse, that you are a good fit for the pooch! – there are some potential negative implications.
While I see the merit in either opinion, a trial adoption period could allow a potential adopter to back out of the commitment should things not be “perfect” in the first few weeks.
Edi has come a long way since his "Manny" days.

We started thinking of our first few weeks in hell with Edison.  They were miserable.  There was absolutely nothing. fun. about them.  We contemplated giving up on him and taking him back. 


We didn’t though, because we had made a commitment to this lunatic of a dog when we signed his adoption paper.  Whether or not it was explicitly written in the agreement (it wasn’t), when we signed the paper our signature meant that we would take this dog not only into our home, but also our hearts.  That we would give this dog all the basic necessities...and some completely unnecessary extras.


When things weren’t perfect with Ed after the first few weeks (does this ever really happen?), we worked harder.  We began reading anything we could get our hands on and trying any bit of advice out.  And if it didn’t work?  We’d nix it and move on to the next.  We spent hours at obedience class, followed by hours working our skills at home, in the parks, and at the pet stores.


Through a lot of hard work, we started seeing progress.  Now, he is a completely different dog than the one we adopted.  Our bond with him has benefitted from wanting to kill him the time put into him.  This bond didn’t come quickly or easily.  But it came, and it was so worth it!



Was it love at first sight for you? How did you know?  Or did it take time to develop?  If it didn't work out, how did you know it wasn't working?
And Foster Makes Five is also sponsoring a fundraiser with a giveaway – 10 giveaways to be precise!  You can see the loot already revealed here, here, here, here, here, and here (whew!).  And remember, there are 4 more days worth of stuff coming up!  For every $10 you donate, you will be entered to win one of these fabulous prizes!  Your donation will go to help save dogs like Georgia and give them a chance at a new life.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Dealing with Food Sensitivities

We've been pretty lucky as far as health issues go with our two pups.

Tess came to me as a garbage-connoisseur, a habit that was quickly kicked after the promise of daily meals was understood.  The unwritten meaning: she has an iron stomach and can eat anything.  Now the ever-spoiled pooch, she has a distinguished palate with no taste for anything green.
"Veggies?  No thank you."
Ed, on the other hand, will eat absolutely anything - and that's edible or inedible!

"I'll eat it!"

When we got him, he was on a dog-pound diet, that is to say whatever they had on hand.  We quickly changed his diet to what Tess was eating at the time: Hi-Tek Naturals Chicken Meal & Rice Formula.
 This is a mid-tier dog food, given 3.5/5 stars by DogFoodAdvisor.com.  What we liked about this food is that it's made in the USA and is a high-quality dog food at a reasonable price.



While Ed liked the food and ate it right up, it was becoming apparent that the food did not like him so much, if you know what I mean.  We attested this to the shock of a diet change and kept feeding him on his regular schedule.

After a few weeks, his stool became more solid, but it was definitely not normal.  We tried a few home remedies to firm him up (rice, yogurt, pumpkin) but nothing made it 100%.


After a check for parasites revealed he had hookworm, we though they could be the culprit.  Three weeks later, Ed was parasite-free, but not yet solid. Our vet then brought up food sensitivities. He said many dogs have trouble with different protein sources, especially chicken, and recommended we try a higher quality food with a more digestible protein source. He recommended Blue Buffalo Basics Salmon & Potato Formula.

We instantly saw the difference.

Ed has even lost some of his pudge while still gaining weight.
DogFoodAdvisor.com also gives this food 3.5/5 stars, although the salmon is the big difference for us. We have very little issues with Ed's stomach now. While we don't have to be hyper-diligent about his treats, we are careful to avoid anything chicken and choose higher quality treats when possible.

The biggest issue we came across with Ed's new dog food is that Tess wouldn't finish the old food! The scent of the salmon is so strong (read: delicious to a pooch), she refused to eat unless we fed her the Blue Buffalo. How about that for a spoiled pooch!



All-in-all, we've managed to get pretty lucky, as bulldogs tend to have more serious food allergies (different than Ed's food sensitivities). I had done some reading on raw diets, in case we had to go that far, but because Tess is a therapy dog (our organization rules say she cannot be on a raw diet for human safety reasons) and I'm unsure I'm willing to put that amount of work into it, we still use regular dry food.

Do your pooches have a special diet? Is it necessary or self-imposed? What differences have you seen in their overall health?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Snowy Day & Our New Ruffwear Coats

We've been eyeing up these coats for a few months now.




We've been on the lookout for good coats for these mutts for quite some time.  When I saw Mr. B & Ms. M's good review, I knew we found the right ones.



After saving up some cash-ola (good quality isn't cheap!), we placed our order for our brand-spankin' new Ruffwear K9 Overcoats, waited patiently, and then got our new coats!



We tested them out today with a walk in the snow to our favorite park for a quick walk.



We walk to this park alot in the summer time.  It's always full of kids playing soccer and dogs out for walks.  This little park is a great location to work with the dogs and distractions.



We are quite happy with Tess & Ed's new coats.  They fit like a glove - which is hard to come by with these barrel chests.



It was a beautiful day for a walk and the pooches had these great coats to keep them warm!



We are very pleased with the new coats and are looking forward to using them for the seasons to come.