Oi! I must be the worst blogger out there. Early July, we bring this amazing little puppy home and then boom, it’s a week before Hallowe’en and I haven’t managed to post a thing.
Only a couple of months into dog ownership/parenting and I likely have 100 blog posts worth of content, experiences, suggestions, tips and questions all stored up inside me. I foresee a writing purge in my near future, similarly to how I foresee a purge on candy and indulgence in the coming days as we gear up for Hallowe’en.
My partner, Jay and I are hosting a party at our loft this weekend and anticipate a house full of assorted faces, familiar and borrowed. We were discussing preparations and treats to have on hand when I pointed out we should avoid bringing chocolate into the house for fear of intoxicated guests dropping or sharing a chocolaty treat with Reggie.
With this top of mind, I was very pleased to have come across this article this morning suggesting tips to keeping your dog safe this hallowe’en. Thank you Dogster.com!
I made this large dog bed (the first image in the above sequence) nearly 2 years ago. Although, I made it with the intention of it being a dog bed, I have been using it as an extra floor cushion when guests are plentiful (read: we didn’t have a dog).
Now that we are getting a dog, and that dog is much smaller than that of say a Great Dane, I took inspiration from my first creation to make a much smaller and compact - appropriate - version of the “bed.”
The photo essay spells it out fairly accurately. I nabbed the coffee bean sacks from The Green Beanery on Bloor West and grabbed a down-filled pillow from the fabric store in Parkdale. This took no time at all, and although I could have done a nicer/neater job, I’m pleased to have even found an afternoon to pull this together prior to his arrival home (thank you Bossman for suggesting that I just “work from home” this afternoon following our morning meeting. Don’t mind if I do.)
Use and functionality of the bed is obviously forthcoming. If down feathers repeal liquid… *ahem* urine, and if burlap is cool, soft and comfortable to sleep on, then I’ve got this covered.
The past few days have consisted of cleaning the apartment, trimming our luscious plants to their prepubescent selves, tucking away appliance chords and crawling around the apartment cheek to the floor collecting hot tamales ‘n dust-balls from under the couch. If I were actually pregnant, I believe this is called “the nesting stage;” but given that I’m not ACTUALLY giving birth to our dog (surprising to some of my friends, I’m sure) this is more appropriately titled, “dog proofing” the apartment.
The pick-up date has been set for Tuesday, July 17th (4 more sleeps!). And although we still don’t know which pup is going to be coming home with us, we’ve still gone full steam ahead and have prepped the home for our new addition. The food supplements, which were strongly suggested to us by our breeder, arrived in the mail yesterday from the US (pictured above). I’ve called the vet, made the first appointment for Wednesday afternoon. 15 chew toys, a strategically placed crate, dog bowls, dog food and pee pads all await his arrival. We’ve narrowed the list of names to just two and have made arrangements with my parents to stay with them the night prior to pick up - the half-way point between our house and the breeders, (a five hour car ride trip away).
Regardless of how long we’ve been waiting, this suddenly feels rushed, and I’m buzzing with adrenaline.
UPDATE: One of these boys will be ours (… or least I’m pretty sure one of these dogs will be ours). The selection process has been a long one. Apparently all the dogs are amazing by measured standards, making it hard to determine which are show dogs vs. pet dogs. As of right now, this is the most up to date info we have: our pup will be coming from this litter. We should have him home within the next 10 - 14 days. Expect posts to be posted quickly and plentiful on Firsttimedogowner.com in the coming days - check back often. shit’s about to get real; literally.
“Nose, eyes, ears… In that Order!” – Cesar’s Way
Dogs understand the world around them by leading with their nose (a dog’s smell is 100X stronger than a human’s!), then their eyes and lastly their ears. Too often we get caught up in our own methods of human communication and approach dogs in the way we communicate with each other; which begins with our ears (speech), our eyes and then smell. Many people (myself included) are quick to vocally greet a dog on the street or when entering a friend’s home. We say hello, look at them and reach out to pet them. Technically, this is a faux ‘paw’ in the canine world.
A healthy happy dog is one that leads with his nose! I’ve seen it, and I’ve most certainly read about bulldog’s tendency to have higher instances of conflict with other dogs in public settings. Dogs with shorter snouts and breathing issues tend to have a weaker sense of smell. Too often owners communicate with their dogs as they do humans and as a result dogs lose the instinct to lead with his/her nose. When one dog advances to another with eye contact before a sniff, the results can quickly escalate to confrontation. Allowing your dog to engage with you by smell before engaging in touch or speech will build trust between Canine and human and it will encourage him to do the same with other dogs.
In preparing to bring a French bulldog into our home, we want him to behave as much like a dog as possible to ensure he’s as happy (and well liked!) as possible. With that, we’ll be training him to use his nose. Although the approach of nose, eyes, ears; in that order will be more of a training exercise for Jason and I than the dog, we do need to consider his nose when puppy proofing the home and engaging him in play.
I’ve been doing some research and I’ve put together some potentially useful training and play tools to engage his nose.
Also, when puppy proofing the home and encouraging our dog to sniff things out, we want to ensure his nose is keeping away from anything that would lead to ingestion, especially those house plants that are known to be poisonous to dogs. I’ve come across a couple lists that have been helpful, including a timely gardening list for those with outdoor space.
Woofstock 2012 took place in Toronto in the St. Lawrence Market area over the weekend. I shot over quickly before leaving the city for the weekend. Purina Dog Stars put on a great show before the rain started around 11 a.m. on Saturday. Jay and I took turns pointed out the handsomest dogs while walking up and down the stalls filled with dog treats, leashes, bedding, toys, etc.. We even picked up a Dean & Tyler pull toy for our forthcoming addition.
I’ve only ever gone to the summer edition of Toronto’s Woofstock but have heard rumblings of an indoor Winter Woofstock. This year’s Winter Woofstock takes place November 17-18, 2012 at the Direct Energy Centre, which - lucky for us - is closer to our neighborhood. Our pup should be old enough by then that we can join in on the fun rather than just watching with envy. If Winter Woofstock is anything like the summer outdoor event, we know to show up early; fewer lines for product samples and snagging the best views of the agility races just makes for a more positive experience.