Oh hey! I’m a big brother!

I hope you all are fans of our facebook page- because even though we don’t post a whole ton there, we DO post (Unlike the cobwebs going on, on this blog!)  But for those of you who aren’t… Chocko’s a big brother!  You didn’t think I’d be cooking that human forever did ya?

photo taken by Fields of Green Photography

photo taken by Fields of Green Photography

Photo taken bY Fields of Green Photography

Photo taken bY Fields of Green Photography

The little peanut is now 3 months old, and not so little anymore!  Chocko is doing fantastic with his baby human in the household.

august 2013 175Initially, Chocko experienced some anxiety – he would pace and wine, seeming confused and not entirely sure what to make of the serious change.  We made sure he kept his distance till he was pretty composed, and it only took but a week or two till he was pretty indifferent to the little guy.  Our biggest issue now?!  any guesses?

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Controlling his licker!  All he wants to do is lick (this is not new… this is how he’s always been!)  But obviously I can always tell him no and get up off the floor when I’ve had enough kisses, the little human cannot.  So we are making progress in this area, but it’s far from perfect.

We spend a LOT of time out walking and even some running recently (although a certain 4 legged someone has lost his stamina!)

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Hmmm, what else?  Anything you guys are curious about?  I’d love to hear from you!  I will be honest…the bloggings has subsided over many months (even before our summer hiatus) – mostly because the reason I started this blog… to share with you foster experiences and getting adoptables to find their forever home, was obviously not the current topics I’d be writing about.  And there are SO many other wonderful blogs, I stopped pressuring myself to “think of something already!”

So you probably won’t be hearing from us tons and tons, but if you ever need a point in the right direction for some pittie-full bloggings or adorable adoptables (or if you just need a Chocko brother update) we’ll be happy to help!

xoxo!

 

Preppin’ the Pup!

Among other things, we’ve been busy prepping this big guy for our little Bambino on the way.  We’re sorry we haven’t been around much! … ok ok … like at all… chock 116 edit

Mostly, we’ve been working on Chocko’s basic obedience, leash walking, and bestest house manners…but we’ve also been doing a crap ton of reading.  We read articles, books and tons of info on the interwebs, especially how our keyboard pals Chick & Dude prepped for their own little human puppy.

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We’ve even been listening to babies,babyprep 016

and sniffing babies,

Yes, that's a used wet diaper thanks to good neighbors

Yes, that’s a used wet diaper thanks to good neighbors

and looking at things that LOOK like babies

fake babies are pretty interesting to this guy

fake babies are pretty interesting to this guy

But the best practice of all, has been meeting babies.

Mama A and Baby E

Mama A and Baby E

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Now Chocko wasn’t this calm the whole time… this was the only few minutes I felt I could take a step back and whip out my iphone for a few quick pics to share with you guys.  Mostly he’s just really excited/overstimulated/curious about toddlers…Luckily, our Bambino won’t come out crawling around so hopefully that’s a plus!  He gets sorta anxious/starts panting and whining because he wants to be all up in baby’s face and we won’t allow that. The more exposure now, the better, but I’m still hopefully when it’s OUR baby he’ll be a little different… time will tell!  Huge thank you to mamabear A and her mini human, E for helping the Chockster with more exposure :) thanks friends!

For those of you out there that have brought a human baby home to your adult dog- how were you feeling before?  And how did that rank to what actually happened?  I’ll be honest and say it’s one of the biggest stressors for me- making sure this is as easy of a transition for the furkid as possible, and making sure I’m setting him up for success.  I’m hopefully I’m going overboard for no reason at all, but I guess that’s still a good thing! I’d love some feedback from you all!

Oh yea and then there’s that…

OOps… Chocko’s been meaning to share some big news with you and it keeps not happening….babyshower 081

So here it is!  Thanks to a good friend for this gift, he’s able to share it with you all by himself:

big bro 007

 

What?!  huh?  Yup!  Chocko’s going to be a big brother pretty soon!  He’s up for the challenge!  He’s already been up to his handy dog self, helping his dad put together the bambino-on-the-way’s crate, er crib.

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Let’s make one thing clear here, ok ma?  This blog is about me and my cute mug, got it?big bro 018

You got it, dude.

 

Chocko gets to work.

Last week Doodlebug challenged us to work!  Well, we are not ones to step down from a challenge, so we took his orders very seriously.  We used his magical formula:

Change enviroment: check

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Exposure to a Challenge: Check

FTKITE

and Active training: Check!

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We headed just down the road to Fort McHenry (remember when we took Bodie this time last year?) which is a wonderful place for us to visit.  The #1 reason?  No off-leash dogs!  Baltimore city is pretty notorious for off-leash dogs in the wonderful public parks (which we tend to avoid…sad face…due to all the unwelcome approaches), but since Fort McHenry is a National Monument, there are actual Park Rangers, which take the leash laws pretty seriously.  So, we realized we need to get here more often.  I’m embarrassed to say this was Chocko’s first visit, but it certainly won’t be his last!

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We knew just being in a new place would provide many challenges, and though we didn’t have any dog on dog interactions, (I think it would have been too much for him this first trip anyway) we had some unexpected (but welcomed) challenges!

First, that Kite!  A bright pink thing that whizzed in the sky, bombed the ground and made very odd noises… Chocko was very distracted and confused by it.

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Here he is, in a deep trance, staring at the pink whizzer.

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We also had obstacles such as….water!  I never would have imagined how distracted this guy would be by the splashing waves along the seawall.

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We embraced these two unexpected challenges and were able to work through them and get him to focus on me (still working on the ‘watch’ command) and walk with a loose leash.  Though it wasn’t immediate, we did succeed!

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Focusing with the splashing water in the background

Here he is doing a down stay (the down is quite difficult for this guy, as you can see from the awkward pose) with the kite in the distance.

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And a few prettier stays :)

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We incorporated all the elements and had an awesomely successful trip!  Chocko was praised with treats, love and playtime in between and during training commands and challenges.

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And how do we know just how successful it was?  By his epic sun-spot nap, of course!

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Thanks for the challenge, Dude!  We’re looking forward to many more walks at the Fort to practice in the near future!

Chocko gets Sirius about his collar

You all know we are HUGE fans of Sirius Republic, right?  I mean how could we not be?  Aside from making our favorite style collars (the martingale) at a wonderful price for a custom fit, they give back so so much.  Free “adopt me” embroidery on collars for fosters, and adopt me bandanas?  Not to mention the fact that they donate a ton to rescues nationwide (particularly ones with a focus on pitbull type dogs- wahoo!)  So, we basically love them.  Like loooooove them.  And Chocko has a crush on Chilly (he likes the older ladies), but don’t tell him I told you!

So naturally we’ve been drooling over the new line of leather collars, but leather always seemed so intimidating…you know how some people buy that nice sports car and keep it in the drive way, wash it, but never actually DO anything with it because they are too scared they will ruin it?  Leather intimidated me, so I never took the leap…

Until we got a special surprise in the mail!

The Freebird

The Freebird

Doesn't the color compliment my furs?

Doesn’t the color complement my furs?

Since this was a gift, we were very open to whatever would compliment our brown boy best.  We maaaay have mentioned we had our eye on the Freebird (though the Guinness is also right up there in the favorites department), and it arrived in the ‘tan’ color (there are several different leather colors you can choose from).

Check out the detailing on the collar

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I love that there are two D rings; the way it falls on Chocko, one hangs in the front and one in the back of his neck, which makes it perfect for both leash clipping and tag/ID clippings!  That is a huge perk in my book.  I also love the details in the wings and peace signs, how cool!

And you can’t ignore how handsome he looks in it, right?  I mean all he needs is a cigar and a card table, and maybe a glass of Scotch  (ew, forget the Scotch, but you get my drift), and his new alias could be The Underboss.

"You talkin' to me?"

“You talkin’ to me?”

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Are you interested in looking as dapper as this guy?

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Then head on over to Sirius Republic and get a collar of your own!  And here’s a special code for 10% off your order: CHOCKO – expires this Sunday, 3/31!

 Now onto Leather Care

I asked about what I needed to know, since this would be my first experience with a leather collar.  Here’s the response I got:

“The collar comes to you “finished”, which just means we have applied conditioner and finishing products to weather/waterproof it. Care is really easy, in fact if you don’t do anything to it, it should last beautifully on its own, although a little bit of conditioner occasionally will help it look and feel great. Just take some conditioner (we use Fiebing’s brand, but any leather conditioner will do), rub it into the leather for a few minutes with your fingers to help the leather absorb the conditioner, wipe off any excess with a soft rag. It can get wet, just make sure you wipe it off after. Don’t leave it to dry out in the sun or soak it in water for an extended period of time. If it gets dirty, wipe it with a damp cloth. Leather is such a durable material, with a little bit of care and common sense, it will last nicely for many years (I actually prefer the look and feel of older leather). 

I’ve also updated our website to include leather info and care, check it out here:http://www.siriusrepublic.com/leatherinfo.html.”

Wow, that doesn’t seem too complicated now does it?  And I have to agree, I prefer the look of old leather!  So now that I know we won’t break and ruin it, we’re off to wear in our collar!  Hope you enjoyed all the handsomeness.

**The Freebird was a gift to us and all the opinions in this post are my own.  Seriously…awesome freakin’ collar!**

Coming clean: Chocko appreciates his personal space

So remember a few weeks back, I told you all we had some announcements?  Well, we’ve told you about how temporary fostering went (2 thumbs and 4 paws up!) and about how much time Chocko’s been spending at the gym, but there’s still a few things we’ve been holding back!

Today we’re coming clean about Chocko’s personal space.  I’ve been meaning to post about this for abouuuuuut 4 or 5 months…oops?  I guess I was hesitant because, well, let’s be real…I didn’t want him to have ‘issues’ and I was in DE-NI-AL about his leash reactivity. As you know, Knox was pretty much a roll-with-the-punches guy and nothing really rustled his feathers…like at all.  I was thankful.  And spoiled.  I knew there were ‘reactive’ dogs, picky dogs, dogs that needed special accomodations…I never imagined I’d own one.  Well, I do.  And he’s awesome.  He just…likes his personal space when he’s out on walks.  I’m ok with that, most days.

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A few weeks ago our virtual buddies over at Love & a 6 Foot Leash posted a PSA about dogs who have preferences; both Sir Chick and the ‘Dude, renowned Wonderdogs, admitted their limits, so figured it was about time to do the same over here!

chocko pSA

Now we didn’t know Chocko was leash reactive at first.  And he’s only reactive sometimes.  He doesn’t make any loud noises, scary barks, or show teeth.  Which tends to deceive walkers, thinking he’s all approachable and wants to say hi.  Well, I learned that is not the case.  We adopted him in July, and it took a little while for his ‘reactivity’ to really show up, by October, it was clear to me that Chocko had a serious pet peeve:

Face to Face on leash greetings (the kind we run into kinda all the time turning a city block)  are his least favorite thing EVA.  You could see how a girl could be confused though, right?  I mean check him out below.  This picture was from October, at BARCstoberfest.  A crazy crowded scene full of dogs, and he does great in those settings.  He then ran with a MABB foster (Julius, who has since been adopted) in his first 5k, also kicking butt!  The day went off without a hitch.

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So really, it just took me a little longer to realize, look into (aka research) and acknowledge that those ‘boo’ turns around the corner that leave you face to face with another dog OR the loooooong, drawn out, face to face approach (his 2nd least fav) when you can’t jump into traffic, are not his cup of tea.  Do I know what goes on in his big blocky head?  No, I don’t.  I’m not an animal behaviorist, or a trainer, or an expert.  Clearly it took me quite a bit of time, with my lack of experience, to realize my dog’s needs.  My guess?  He’s a big wus.  I think he’s super intimidated and finds the need to ‘puff’, a kind of ‘I better get that guy or he’s gonna get me’ posture.  Either way, he certainly gets his point across, a big “get the f out of my space” (sorry for the language, but he doesn’t say it gently either, and that’s exactly what words I imagine coming out of his big mouth).

Once he’s introduced, he’s golden.  A little co-walk a few feet apart, followed by allowing him to be in the rear (and sniff the air a bit) then he play bows and rolls on his back, which he does often with his pals.  It’s his magic recipe.  chocko and tyson 037 edit

Flirting with Mollygirl

Flirting with Mollygirl

gremlin ruby 014Honestly, I’ve figured out what he needs, and we’re still working on getting him to not act on his impulse, ensuring he feels comfortable (and that it’s my job to protect him, not the other way around), and hoping he trusts us not to put him in a situation that makes him feel unsafe.  Sometimes, it’s out of our hands, but luckily we’ve been able to manage ok (maybe not ideal?  But good enough).  I’ve ensured that so far, since October, he has never been able to get face to face with another dog on leash without a proper intro.  I think that’s a success.  But we get hit with the random corner turns, and those get me in a funk.  He doesn’t do ‘perfect’ and sometimes neither do I.  We are a work in progress.  Which is ultimately why we haven’t fostered full time yet.  It’s not because he’s not good with dogs in the house, it’s because I can’t walk two big dogs at one time (and remember, that’s the only way anyone gets any potty breaks or excercise since we are yard-less).  I also don’t have the luxury of walking them separately with my work schedule so, fosterless we will remain until we are a little closer to perfect.

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If your still here, thanks for reading this REALLY long post.  It feels good to come clean.  And it feels good to love my dog in all his unperfectness (and who are we kidding, in all of my unperfectness too!)

Did you know? Chocko works out.

I mean by looking at this bod, did you have any doubt?  Chocko hits the gym, and often.box

Luckily for him, he just watches us all working hard and huffing and puffing.  He just gets to stand around looking like a model athlete (body by PB Kongs?  Should we market that?)

Body By Kong

Body By Kong

gym edit“OK Dad, I’ll Watch, you lift”.

But the truth is Chocko doessss work when he goes to the gym.  He works on box jumps (they come so naturally!) and staying on top of them till he’s released.

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He also gets to socialize off-leash, in a controlled environment, with some of his buddies!  Like him, a bunch of the girls like to play rough, so when they do play, we like to practice ‘stopping them’ verbally, and putting them in a sit-stay for a time out to catch their breath.

Here he is with Chloe, working on a down-stay.  photo-2

So in actuality, he does ‘work’ when he goes to the gym, just not like us.  He mostly stands around wondering why we kill ourselves with these things calls burpees, box jumps, double unders, deadlifts, and hang cleans…amoung other things ;)

***Please excuse the quality of these photos!  Most were taken with an iphone with terrible lighting!***

Flirting with Mollygirl

Flirting with Mollygirl