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.

babyshower 075

 

babyshower 073

 

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.

 

Advertisements

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.

photo-10

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.

iphonepix 253

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.

chock 164 edit

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!)

Check Check, 1 2 1 2

Hello interweb friends, are you still out there?  We’re here!  We are alive!  We are doing well. 🙂  and we hope you are too!

gym 2

 

Chocko has been spending lots of time at the gym (more on that later) but we wanted to make sure you were still out there because we have some exciting things to share in the next few days!

Have a great week!

Weekend in review…

I was not home this past weekend… I was out partying like a rockstar being a totally responsible adult in Atlantic City.  Hubby was doing the same in South Beach…didn’t I mention we have a lot of weddings and wedding related affairs coming up?  I wasn’t kidding.

So, lucky us that I was able to bribe a friend I’ve met through volunteering at BARCS to camp out at our place.  Well, lucky Chocko I should say.  Usually, we do a lot of dog swapping around here.  Between Chloe, Tyson, and now Molly (see below) thrown into the mix, there is  a lot of swap-a-bull dogs to go around.

Molly- adopted by G&A in June (previously know as Honey from BARCS)

But, since everyone seemed to be traveling, there was a lot of scrambling and ‘what to do with the dogs?‘  I’m not comfortable boarding Chocko yet, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be.  Knox was a doggie day care supastar but I’m not sure that’s Chocko’s groove (I’d say he’s dog selective…I think…which would count him out for daycare).  Besides, it’s been just under 2 months and I wanted him home.  Stability.  He’s still pretty anxious so a new environment wasn’t what I was going for.

But he got a whole lot more love then I ever imagined.  Here are just a sprinkling of iPhone (unedited) pics that were sent my way over the weekend… Knowing your dog is in good, capable, loving hands?  PRICELESS.

breakdancing

“Hi Ma! Everything is GREAT here! Enjoy those Jell-o shots!”

Cheeezin’

Lots of luvin… I’m pooped!

I wish I was able to be this at ease every time I left him.  What do you all do when you travel?  I’m always looking for suggestions/ideas!

And a big shout out to J for taking great care of our boy (and providing us with lots of pics from the weekend– all photo’s courtesy of J’s iPhone!)

Training time!

I know I know, we’ve been MIA.  It’s not the end of it either.  The humans are keeping up an insane schedule this summer so despite the expected lack of posts in the coming weeks, I promise that Chocko is getting everything he needs and more right now.

ready for my walk!

Our big boy is getting training walks twice a day, and also is going to his basic training class on Wednesday evenings.  He’s such a superstar, but there are definitely areas where he needs improvement.  His sit-stay?!  phenomenal!  Heeling?  Amazing… unlesssss another dog happens to be approaching.  This is his big obstacle.  He’s reduced his reactive distance down to about 6 feet, but that still won’t cut it here on our city streets where every turn brings a new dog.

He doesn’t wig out… he just postures, pulls, and sniffs – 98% of the time.  But because I have high hopes of fostering with him in the next few months, the rule will be no approaching other dogs until I say it’s ok (can you imagine me walking two unruly pitbulls down the street, dragging me around?!  Not the best public image, huh!).  So until he gets this rule, no leash hellos for a while.  And he’s doing better than I ever imagined!  The blanket rule- no saying hello to anyone (even to his buddies) is helping him so much.  Oh and hot dogs.  They help too.

And his ball.  His green ball.  That helps a lot.  Did you see the post from Love and a Six Foot Leash?  That inspired us to be ball walkers.  Doodlebug is so helpful.  Thanks Dude!

He’s such a natural!  You’d think he’d prefer a smaller ball but no…this is his favorite.  The Cuz, minus the legs.  Whatever works, right?!

I got the sit-stay down ma, can we WALK now?!

Anywho, thanks for bearing with us over the next 8 weeks.  Life is crazy right now – as in completely over-booked.  And after a long work day, the Chockster demands a long walk, belly rubs, and lovin’ – sans laptop.  So, you’ll still be hearing from us (and if you’re not a fan on our facebook page, head there since there are plenty of quick updates always!) but not at our typical few-times-a-week posts.

Thanks for hangin’ with us friends!  We’re off to walk!

Chocko has a playdate!

Look who came to play with Chocko this weekend!

Yup these two had a grand old time in our little (and I mean little) patio.  This fall, these two boys will be spending a month shacking up together!  So we are letting them get more and more acquainted with each other.  Which for the two of them, means a bit of butt sniffing and a ton of play time.

Tyson got himself a bit muddy….

So his mama broke out the hose (which he LOVES)… Chocko, not so sure yet…

These guys are gonna be golden together!  Chocko will be headed over to Tyson’s house in September while we are taking a lil trip overseas (ok not little, SO excited for it) and then Ty will be staying with us while his parents go on their honeymoon!  This plan was set over a year ago for Knox and Tyson, which is why Ty was basically the final decision in our Chockster adoption.  Phew!

Handsome boys in their Sirius Republic Collars

Party of three!

He’s ours.  He’s been ours since our love affair started.  He’s everything we want and need and his 20lb head is currently over heating my lap.  And it’s a wonderfully comforting feeling.

WE have a dog again.  It’s such a wonderful thing to say!  We were set up, but we were totally ready for it.  It’s time 🙂

It was this picture that first stole my heart… I mean is there anything NOT to love about a macho man in a tutu?!  I think not.  This photo credit goes to Lisa, who was his date at the Baltimore Pride Parade and also there for his intake/surrender.  The literal second I was liking/commenting on this picture, she posted the following on my facebook page, like the exact same second, saying that Chock was excited to meet me tomorrow at our fundraiser for BARCS.  To say that she knew what I was looking for was an understatement.  She knew all to well.

Look at that tongue!

The rest is history.  Brian and I have been ready for a dog for a while.  We contemplated adopting Holly, and Lovebug, and even Bodie (though I was so against a dog that young)… but all along, we were waiting for our perfect match.  There really is nothing imperfect about any of our previous fosters… but we just knew they weren’t our next heart-dog.  At one point, Brian suggested just heading to the shelter, and picking a random… just like we did with Knox.  It worked out for the best in the end, didn’t it?  His suggestions made sense…the longer we had a dog, the longer we nit-picked.  Knox was far from perfect, but with your dog, you make it work.  So when Chock arrived, we both knew it was a done deal.  A few quick things to iron out (like meeting his inherited bff, Tyson, which went amazingly), but we knew, he was ours.

And here he is.  Welcome Chock.  We’ve been waiting for you.  And we know Knox would approve 🙂

now about that ‘adopt me collar’…. it has got to go!