Learning to Share

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A bit of false advertising πŸ™‚

When I shared the above photo with a coworker – they said

“Wow, that is a photo that makes someone go out and get a dog”.

We got a good laugh out of it but it’s true in a way. How many of us have been lured into buying something based on photography; a vehicle, vacation destination, clothes, new hair cut/color, etc.? But I digress – this post is about friends!

By nature, domestic dogs – canis familiaris – are social creatures and our two are no different. They love each others company. They share almost everything. I say almost because Cricket no longer wants Bug to go in her crate since the puppy pooed in it. Cricket is afraid of exactly two things in life: packs of raccoons and puppy poo πŸ™‚ Sharing is great…. most of the time.

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Shared corner of the couch

 

 

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Shared treat

`Cricket even crunches up things and drops pieces for Bug to eat. Sounds cute..usually is except when it’s things that they shouldn’t be eating like paper, dominoes, pencils or unidentifiable things from the backyard. Case in point:

The other night we were bringing the dogs in from their last potty break before bed. I notice Cricket has something in her mouth and she notices me noticing. Cricket quickly chews “it” (which of course gets Bugs attention) and tries to swallow “it”. And then promptly gags. If you have ever been around a gagging dog you know what comes next.

Out pops “it” and with a bit of dinner mixed in. Bug was positioned to receive her shared pieces… and she ate it. And then she gagged… and then Cricket ate it.. and then un-ate-it. And then it was Bugs turn. This was all happening as we were trying to pick “it” up and throw “it” away. We finally won that battle and I think “it” was an owl pellet. Cricket has an iron stomach so whatever “it” was must have been really foul! So I guess that photo may be a bit of “false advertising” since it is rarely ever that calm here. And maybe it’s not only people that can “over share” πŸ™‚

What is the difference between mouthy and bitey?

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A common view during Cricket’s puppyhood

When we think of mouthiness, we often think of people or most specifically the adolescent years/phase (cause let’s face it – some people seem to stay in that phase way longer than their teens!).

What I am talking about, however, is mouthiness in dogs. Retriever breeds in general tend to be mouthy – always wanting something (besides or with food) in their mouths. We’ve had two Golden Retrievers and one Lab – the goldens always had a toy in their mouth or carefully placed within reach for their entire lives. Lady had a stuffed toy one of the kids left out one day and The Pig had his Wubba. We did not experience puppyhood with Lady as she was a rescue but did with The Pig and his need to have something in his mouth extended to socks, underwear, baby blankets, gloves, hats, rocks and wallets. He was never a shoe or stick or (and here is an important distinction) human in the mouth guy. When the need to have something in the mouth moves from inanimate object to human being – the term moves from mouth to bitey.

 

All puppies go through a normal bitey stage and it helps them to learn to have a “soft mouth” (ie I can bite this toy hard but not this ankle/toe/face). It’s important that retrievers or any bird dog learn this – otherwise the bird they retrieve would be unusable. So why then, are Lab puppies so very, very bitey?

I have a few thoughts on that.

One: Labrador retrievers were not initially used as bird/hunting dogs. They were used to haul in fishing nets and were then selectively bred to become the dogs we know today. Now if you think about the difference between “retrieving” a heavy fishing net and “retrieving” a delicate bird, you can imagine that the force of the bite would be very different. The effort of pulling in the net and hanging onto it through the water would require a much stronger grip.

Two: Labs love their people. Labs love to be with their people. Labs would rather be with their people more than doing anything else in the world (except maybe eating).

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I love you so much!

Three: Lab puppyhood lasts a long time.

So if you have a dog that was born to have something in their mouth, have a strong grip/pull and have a Peter Pan puppyhood – the odds are in your favor that you will have months of bity-ness. I’m sure there are Labs out there who aren’t quite as bitey but Cricket wasn’t one of them. She still has a need to have something in her mouth- often things she isn’t supposed to like dish towels, rugs, remote controls, books, magazines,

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Cricket’s Wall O’Shame

mail, silverware, toilet paper

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Hey it’s healthy fiber right?

– well the list is pretty long… but the good news is, it’s no longer people!

Are You Sleepy..

IMG_0170 Cricket asleep on her potty pad – 8 weeks old

Puppies are said to sleep between 15-20 hours a day. Sometimes it seems like those awake hours happen when you want to sleep! We really were very lucky with Cricket – she slept through the night, unless she was sick, from the first night we brought her home. Actually she was soooooo active during her awake times that she slept soundly just about anywhere (note the above picture – fyi the pad is clean- she never used them for their actual purpose!) You know how some people can sleep anywhere – well Cricket is the dog that can sleep anywhere and through anything.

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L – R: Cricket asleep with a Bug on her, asleep on the cat bed,Β  on the kitchen floor

And some people or dogs are more picky about their sleeping arrangements. The perfect temperature, lighting, mattress quality… and I need you to wake up and re-adjust everything in my sleeping arrangements at least once – preferably between 1:30 & 2:00am. I don’t mind a second re-adjustment around 4:00am also.

IMG_0626 Bug asleep in her crate, on her bed, with her blanket, the appropriate amount of subdued lighting and her snuggle puppy https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004RQE5AY/ref=twister_B015KMVD30?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

 

So to answer my own question – yes, yes I am sleepy.

 

 

 

Bug’s Gotcha…by the heart strings!

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December 22, 2017

So about those “match me to my perfect dog quizzes” we reviewed in my last post… this time we choose the “what’s a good companion dog for a Lab” and guess what? It was a Lab… so since hell has not frozen over, I went a different route. Here’s my criteria for a second dog (also known as please,please,please help Cricket calm down or at least be bitey with something besides me..):

  1. Must like grandchildren and other animals but not insist that they be in your mouth
  2. Must be Lab proof (ie drool proof, mud resistant, sturdy enough to bowled over, sat on, played with, mouthed, *zoomied on, etc)

That’s it. After some serious searching through puppy websites, Lab websites, interrogating friends, coworkers and complete strangers out walking their dogs about the personality of their dogs we completely ignored it all and decided to get a breed we have wanted for years: A Bulldog IMG_0608

I always referred to them as English Bulldogs but according to the AKC, their name is simply Bulldog.http://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/bulldog/

Bug also has a fancy pants registered name and a grand champion pedigree. We’re not dog snobs but with Labs and Bulldogs you can come across some serious genetic disorders and unfortunately such popular breeds also have plenty of unscrupulous breeders, so having registration papers and pedigrees can help you avoid some of these concerns. It doesn’t help you avoid quite a hit to the pocket book though. Bugs “Gotcha Day” included a 3 1/2 hour drive each way. We were treated to a variety of barks, whines and snorts and many, many puppy kisses. But there was not one instance of bitey-mcbite-face – oh this is a match made in puppy heaven πŸ™‚

 

Gotcha Cricket

Friday August 26, 2016

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That was the day we picked up and brought home Cricket or her “Gotcha Day”. Cricket is her everyday name – she has one of those fancy pants official names also as she is a registered Labrador Retriever with grand champion bloodlines. What does this mean for us? It means she was expensive and that she is a Labrador through and through – otherwise known as a “Labrogator”.

Have you ever done one (or many) of those “what’s the best dog for me” quizzes? Here’s what happened when I did:

  1. Want an easy to care for coat? Get a Lab
  2. Want a happy-go-lucky personality? Get a Lab
  3. Want a kid and pet friendly dog? Get a Lab
  4. Want an easily trained and motivated dog? Get a Lab

You know what they don’t ask? How old are you – we’ll get back to this later πŸ™‚

Let’s get back to that quiz….

  1. Easy to care for coat – sure is, it’s all over my house not on the dog
  2. Happy-go-Lucky = my puppyhood lasts for years(andyearsandyears)
  3. Kid & pet friendly – yeppers, your child and cat fit in my mouth and there appearance is vastly improved by my super-duper glossy slobber.
  4. 1 Easily trained – I am sooooo much smarter than you (and faster and stronger andΒ Β  did I mention smarter?)

4. 2 Motivated – by FOOD and FOOD and Hey it could be FOOD

And here, in my opinion, is what the questions SHOULD be:

  1. Are you ten years old in mental age (about 20 in physical age)? Good, good
  2. Above average intelligence – like seriously above average? Excellent
  3. Are you water proof or at least drool resistant? Awesome
  4. Do you have the stamina of a horse? Strength of an ox? Speed of a cheetah? Yes, yes, this might work
  5. Do you enjoy being obsessed over, stalked and never, ever being alone (including when you are showering)? Oh I think we have the dog for you! GET A LAB

And finally – are you ready to fall head over heels for a drooling, shedding, bitey-oh-so-very-bitey, four legged bundle of enthusiasm? Happy Belated 16 month “Gotcha Day” Cricket!