Finding a Home for Daisy

Blog readers and dog lovers – can we find a home for this sweet pup??

Daisy

One of our blog readers, Jessie, has recently moved and discovered that her new smaller back yard just isn’t enough for this sweet pup, Daisy.  She is trying to do the responsible thing and find a loving family that can give Daisy the attention, love, and exercise she needs!

The great news is that Daisy is good with other dogs and children.  (She currently lives with a 3 year old.)  She is full grown at 45 pounds and is up to date with all of her shots.  She is still a puppy, though (almost a year old) and has lots of that puppy energy.  She is currently living Spring, Texas.  

If you are interested in giving sweet Daisy a forever home – or have any more questions about her – email us here at blog@wagsandwhiskershouston.com.

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Puppies Vs. Babies – Potty Training

How many times have you heard “Dogs are a great way to prepare for having kids!”

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This statement inevitably divides a room – on one side you will find those who completely agree…and on the other side you will find those who are snickering, rolling their eyes, and insisting that babies are babies and dogs are animals.  Apples to oranges.

Now that I am a mom to both two-legged and four-legged, I can say I strongly agree with the former.  Exhibit A – “Potty” Training.

I think Buffy was possibly the hardest dog to house train EVER.  (I’m sure many of you would argue that your dog can claim that title.)  She simply refused to potty outside.  I tried EVERYTHING – I read every book; I took her out constantly; I rewarded with praise, rewarded with treats, rewarded with play.  I took her out at all hours.  I crate trained.  Nothing worked.  NOTHING.  My husband and I were at our wit’s end.  (Did I mention we lived on the second story of an apartment?  This meant leashing Buffy up and crossing the parking lot ever trip outside…and then walking back and forth in a small patch of grass while being watched by neighbors and passing traffic.)  Months and months on my hands and knees – patiently sopping pee up out of the carpet.  Countless shopping bags full of poop.

Flash forward 5 years.  Sebastian is of potty training age.  Don’t get me wrong, we have had accidents.  (I learned very quickly that the fact that he JUST pottied in the potty does not mean he will not potty again…right next the potty…before you can even get him re-diapered!)  I know we are a long way from being done with this chapter in the parenting book, but this has been nothing….NOTHING! compared to the potty drama with Buffy.  (The fact that Sebastian wears diapers that catch the messes does make a big difference!)

I like to think that Buffy was preparing me for Sebastian.  Buffy and her house training was the first “parental” challenge I had to face in my life.  The first instance where I was responsible for shaping another creature’s behavior.  The first time in my life where I had met someone who I could fill my heart with so much love while at the same time inducing such hair-pulling frustration.  I might have taught Buffy where to “do her business”…but she taught me the most important quality that every parent (no matter how many legs their baby has) must possess:

PATIENCE.

 

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Puppy Bowl X is Almost Here!

Super Bowl XLVIII is mere weeks away…but, with NFL playoff games in full swing, we still aren’t sure who will be taking the field in the big game.

The players for the 10th annual Puppy Bowl, though, have been announced.  If you have not watched a Puppy Bowl – what’s wrong with you?  Here are pictures of a few of this year’s players.  I dare you not to watch after seeing these heart-melting faces!

Aurora the Dalmatian from Spotted Dog Dalmatian Rescue

Aurora a Dalmatian from Spotted Dog Dalmatian Rescue

 

Bach a Bernese Mountain Dog/Poodle Mix from Friends of Pep Rescue

Bach a Bernese Mountain Dog/Poodle Mix from Friends of Pep Rescue

 

Brody an American Eskimo from Green Dogs Unleashed

Brody an American Eskimo from Green Dogs Unleashed

 

Lily a Bassett Hound from  Tri State Bassett Hound Rescue

Lily a Basset Hound from Tri State Basset Hound Rescue

 

Check out the complete, official line up here.  Kickoff is at 3 PM on Super Bowl Sunday (February 2 for all those non-football watcher out there.)  If you have never seen it.I’m not sure you can quite understand the level of cuteness that is achieved.  

Wags & Whiskers Wednesday (#28) – Puppy Edition

Happy half way through your week!

This week, I’ve had puppies on the brain.  I think a lot of it has to do with Petfinder.  As I have mentioned before, I am addicted to the internet…and I have yet to find anything more enjoyable on the world wide web than looking at pictures of dogs.  My husband and I have been toying with the idea of adding another dog to our family,  so finally my hours on Petfinder make sense.  (We are not going to get a puppy…but it doesn’t hurt anyone to look.)

To educate yourself on puppies (who doesn’t want to know more about them!) make sure to check out our post How Puppies Are Made.

And now, be prepared for cuteness overload:

 

 

How Puppies Are Made

FACT: Puppies are cute.

Other than that, what do you actually know about how those oversized paws and fragrant kisses came into being?

After doing some research and asking around, I found only one thing certain in the realm of canine reproduction – nothing is certain.  (Isn’t it the same with us humans?!)  Facts vary from breed to breed….and often from expert to expert.  So let’s just go over some basics…

Dogs reach sexual maturity (by scientific definition “when an organism can reproduce”) when they are anywhere from 6-18 months old.  This age will depend on gender and on the size of the breed.  Female dogs will then go into “heat” approximately twice a year.  “Heat” is the layman’s term for the proestrus and estrus stage in the reproductive cycle, and it is commonly used to define the time a four-legged gal can get pregnant.  Again, the amount of time a dog is in heat depends greatly on the breed, but usually last from 12-24 days.

First signs that your dog is preggers include decreased appetite, decreased activity, nipple growth, and basically any behavior that changes suddenly or seems abnormal.  A dog’s pregnancy last (again…on average!) 63 days.  A litter usually consists of 6 pups (with smaller breeds having less puppies.)  I did come across a statement that I hadn’t heard before in researching this article – “A general rule of thumb is that a mammal will produce half as many offspring as the number of teats on the mother.”  (Has anyone else heard that before….is that a general rule?)  The largest litter ever official recorded was 24.  24!!!!!  A Neopolitan Bull Mastiff by the name of Tia has that honor – one she surly worked hard for!

An interesting fact about female dogs is that they never go into doggy menopause.  This means that once male and female dogs hit their six month birthday – they will continue to be able to have pups through their senior years.

And that interesting fact leads right into spaying and neutering.  I assume that if you love your dog so much you are reading dog blogs – you don’t need a lecture on sterilizing your dog (or cat!)  Now that you are educated on the time frame of puppy reproduction, though, I am going to arm you with a startling statistic – ONE un-spayed dog and her descendents can produce 67,000 puppies in 6 years.  (Read it again to let it fully sink in.)  I love puppies as much as the next guy…but let’s make sure we have homes for all of them before we encourage our furbabies to have furbabies of their own.

My favorite fact about puppies, though, is that EVERYONE loves them.  Their cuteness somehow transcends…and I wouldn’t want to live in a world without them.

Pug Life

For six days of last week, I was lucky enough to be asked to stay and take care of three wonderful pups – two of which were Pugs.  My husband stayed with me, and in the midst of the chaos (Buffy came with us…and when you are inside with four dogs it can only be described as chaos!) he asked me “So, what are pugs for?” I am forever spewing random facts about dogs and dog breeds, so I understood his question to be inquiring about what pugs were originally bred for rather than what purpose they serve in today’s society.  (That purpose could only be to increase the world’s overall CUTENESS factor!)

I am embarrassed to stay, I was stumped.

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“The Pug is well described by the phrase “multum in parvo” which means ‘a lot of dog in a small space.'” is the first sentence of the pug’s profile on the American Kennel Club’s website.  Well, I definitely agree with that!  These dogs have lots of personality.  As a dog walker, I don’t come into contact with too many pugs – these guys usually don’t need a whole lot of exercise.  The ones I do, though, have giant personalities.  The tiny Pug puppy I was staying with was extremely playful and spent hours and hours chasing Buffy around.  Buffy….the lab….being chased around by a Pug puppy.

Pugs….

One of the oldest breeds of dogs?  They have been around since 400 B.C.  400 years before the birth of Christ!

They were kept by Buddhist monks?  Really?  I must say, I didn’t see that coming.  Most of the pugs I know are pretty playful and spunky….I can’t really picture them in Tibetan Monistaries.

Comfortable in small spaces?  That I totally knew.  They were so popular in New York City.  Those New Yorkers are always walking everywhere; they don’t want to have to walk their dogs after a long day of buses and subways.

For some reason, I also think of pugs in those beautiful old oil paintings in ornate frames in museums.  Turns out, I’m not completely crazy!  Apparently, a lot of wealthly ladies (who had money to throw around to get portraits painted of them) had pugs as pets.

La Marquesa de Pontejos (1786) by Francisco Goya

Countess Anna Orzelska (1730) by Antoine Pesne

So to answer my husband’s original question – Pugs weren’t really bread for anything other than what they do today – lay around and be cute!  They have been fashionable in many countries and royal courts, and can adapt to any lifestyle they are thrown into.  Great with kids, eager to please, adorable….sounds like a great breed to me!

Cute Dog Pictures!

This week, I’ve been staying with three pups while their parents are out of town. They have mobile Internet and left me no way to get online. (Yes, I’m dying!)

An iPhone, while a wonderful device, is not the ideal blog-writing machine. With my WordPress app, though, I’m posting a few doggy pics to tide you over until I get back to my trusty laptop. They illustrate not only how cute dogs can be, but also my love for my new Instagram app

Have cute dog pics of your own? Let’s make this a regular thing! Send pics of your pup (be sure to include his/her name!) to blog@wagsandwhiskershouston.com. We’ll show everyone your adorable pooch!!!

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Texas (FINALLY) Regulating Puppy Mills

It is hard to believe that Texas puppy (and kitty) mills have run for decades completely unchecked by anyone.  Free to treat the smallest, most helpless, and – in my opinion – cutest animals on the planet however they see fit.  Or, more accurately, the cheapest way they possibly can.  Finally, this has come to an end.

Texas’s breeders have never had to worry about the government keeping tabs on their dirty, often inhumane facilities….that is until September of this year.  The Commercial Dog and Cat Breeders Act was signed into law on June 17th.  Now breeders must obtain a license and be inspected (for the first time!) to prove that pins have adequate drainage, are made out of safe materials, and have enough space for the animals to sit, stand, turn around, and lie down.  Amazingly, the law also states that the animals must have clean water, proper handling, and veterinary care.  I can hardly believe that these things have to be spelled out.  The ASPCA reports that though they are happy with the law, it does not include all they had hoped for.  (Wire flooring and cage stacking are still allowed.)  Visit www.aspca.org/puppymills for more info on these horrible facilities.

I was so happy to hear about this law, but still have a hard time comprehending why anyone would buy a puppy from a pet store.  Even beyond the “why would you buy a puppy when there are so many great puppies & dogs in shelters waiting to be adopted” logic – you don’t have to be a dog whisperer to look in those cages and see these puppies cannot possibly come away unscathed by the way they are treated.  Physically and mentally.  I admit, I cannot resist a trip into the pet store when I pass one, but I would never buy so much as a chew toy from a place that kept pups in tiny cages on beds of shredded newspaper never getting to see the light of day. 

But, yay Texas!!!  The Commercial Dog and Cat Breeders Act is definitely a step in the right direction!

Dogs need friends too! (Tales of Socialization)

I see/read/hear about dozens of “best puppy advice” articles every day.  Friends are always telling me their doggy woes – eager to hear my own (free!) opinion.  (P.S. – Friends, I LOVE this.  Do not stop!)  I do not claim to know the “perfect” way to raise a dog.  I suspect the correct formula varies greatly from dog to dog….I mean it surely does in our own species…and like us crazy humans, I think there is more than one correct equation. 

I will tell you something that is a MUST for every dog and pup:  SOCIALIZATION.

In my younger days, my family had a standard, short hair dachshund, Skittles.  One of my earliest, most vivid childhood memories is taking him home.  My brother, me, and Skittles in the backseat – we thought we were in heaven.  I can remember running around the house with my brother in mock fear as Skittles chased us. Giggling, we would run and jump on the back of the sofa using the window to balance just out of his reach.  Of course,  he wasn’t actually chasing us; his little legs were just to short to keep up.  We all knew that he would never hurt anyone.

AnyONE.  One =human.  This dog was the sweetest, snuggliest, tail-waggin’, face-lickin’ pup a family could ever ask for.  Until ANY animal came within his view.  Then this dog turned into Cujo.  Growling, barking, full on attack mode.  Whether you or the other dog, it didn’t really matter; he was ready to fight.  Knowing what I know now, I can clearly see this is the result of him ONLY having playtime with children when he was a puppy.  I would love to believe that he was crazy overprotective of us because he loved us so much (Who knows?  Maybe he was!)  The reality, though, was that he was unfamiliar with the situation, and he didn’t know what the heck was going on.  (He might of even been thinking “What the hell is that thing?!” upon viewing another dog.)  He was like this with all animals.  We lived near a bayou, and Skittles often killed possums.  There was just no way to stop him.

Skittles lived a long and happy life.  He spent lots of happy days in our large backyard.  His walks often took  ridiculously complicated routes – we would have to change directions at the sight of any other dog.  But we loved him so much.  He would patiently wait while I made him don a party hat or tiara from one of my dance costumes – I still have dozens of pictures of him.  He was the lone child when my brother and I left the nest.  I do not know what my mom would have ever done without him.  I’m getting a bit teary eyed as I write this, and he has been in doggy heaven for quite some time now.  He would have been perfect if not for that one (not so) little trait.

My current pup, Buffy, is the exact opposite.  (Even down to the picture taking – she won’t even wear a tiara!) I won’t go so far as to say she likes every dog she meets, but she absolutely tolerates every dog and would NEVER lash out.  I have made it one of my top priorities to socialize her, and (not to toot my own horn) it has made her the perfect puppy.  I’ve walked her in all different environments, taken her to dog parks, taken her to doggy daycare, had play sessions with larger and smaller dogs, taken her into other dogs homes, had dogs come in to her house…whatever the canine social situation, she has lived it.  More accurately, she has rehearsed it.  It’s old hat to her by now!  No need to snap or attack.  The anti-Skittles. 

This weekend, Sully (maybe the CUTEST bulldog puppy I’ve ever seen) stayed with us while his parents were out of town.  Exuding an amount of puppy energy I have rarely seen with bulldogs, he ran into the apartment and immediately started chasing Buffy around.  When mom and dad got nervous that Buffy would snap at Sully for his aggressive behavior, I assured them there was nothing to worry about.  Buffy did have the body language of a fearful (and therefore possibly dangerous) dog, but I know my Buffy.  She might have been slightly ticked, but she was just trying to figure him out.  In less than 5 minutes, these two were best friends.  That is why I can give people the option of having their dog stay in house with me – Buffy will love them.  And (this just might be the mommy in me, but other people will back me up on this too!) they will LOVE Buffy.

The moral of this blog post?  SOCIALIZE! SOCIALIZE! SOCIALIZE!  Take your puppy with you everywhere.  Make sure they make lots of friends.  Put them in every different situation you can possibly dream up.  This will ensure a well balanced addition to your family – one that can go to the park, the beach, your boyfriends without turning into scary monster.  Most importantly, though, they will be happier beings for it.  Dogs are social, and what better gift can you give to your pup than the gift of canine friendship!