Friday, April 18, 2014

Miss Goofus and Mr. Gallant Part III: Dating Edition

We always joke how much our pups are like another set of commonly-mistaken-for twins-but-have-different-personalities duo: Goofus and Gallant. Much like Gallant, Mr. B is polite and respectful, while Miss M is like Goofus....and is not.
Let the pups show you what we mean:

Mr. B is an avid listener who enjoys hearing what his dates have to say:
Meanwhile, Miss M lets her date know she is talks too much:
Mr. B makes an effort to have a good time and enjoy the activities his date has planned:
While Miss M makes it obvious when she's not having a good time:
Mr. B is grateful for a nice night out and he gives appropriate G-rated smooches:
While Miss M not only does not return the kiss:
But she secretly sneaks some swigs from her date's drink:
In case you missed it:
Earlier Goofus and Gallant posts Part I and Part II.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pooches: Shrinking Mr. B

For Spring Break week we decided to take a bit of a break ourselves while revisiting some of our favorite posts. This was one of our most memorable and referenced posts.
Without any markers to show the passage of time, it seems like our pooches' signs of aging come out of nowhere. Sure we can have noticed graying in Miss M's ears, but since Mr. B is already gray it's more difficult to tell. Just the other week we had to doubletake as it seemed like Mr. B was looking a bit gaunt. We didn't think much of it and just started feeding the pooches a little bit more at each meal. 
Much to their delight.
It was only after running into our friend and his dog that he mentioned the gauntness too and we realized that Mr. B is really getting old. Our friend reminded us of his pit bull, Ditka, that lived to be 17 years old. The first thing he said he noticed when Ditka was getting older was the loss of muscle mass. Now it is impossible to notice that Mr. B is getting smaller.
And though I try with all my might to hold onto him to keep him from shrinking, I am coming to the realization that one day I will have to let him go.
Until that day, Mr. B and I will continue to have our grand adventures everyday.

The Velveteen Pitbulls
Grand Adventures
How we love them
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pooches: Mr B's Tepee Dilemma

For Spring Break week we decided to take a bit of a break ourselves while revisiting some of our favorite posts. This was one of our favorite posts back when Miss M didn't realize Mr B's tepee even existed.
There once was a dog named Mr. B.
Mr. B had crate anxiety, but he still liked having a place to hang out.. Now he lives in a tepee. 
He likes the tepee because he can hide all of his favorite stuffies and himself.
Since the tepee blends in so well, Miss M never even realized it existed:
Until one day she day she did realize:
 She enjoyed taking naps in the tepee:
And she moved in her girly things:
So now Mr. B is thinking of ways to take back his tepee. Does he need more 'dude-like' pillows? Should he get a sign on the front that says Mr. B? How else can he personalize his tepee?

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pooches: 36 Hours in Downtown Chicago with Dogs

For Spring Break week we decided to take a bit of a break ourselves while revisiting some of our favorite posts. This is something we might actually be doing while we are on our break:
 While we love traveling, we have found everything has become twice as expensive owning dogs. Besides the cost of our own trip, boarding for two dogs can be as much as our own hotel (per night!). We've been learning more about trips to include our pups which include things we all like to do.
I recently realized the New York Times has compiled their "36 Hours in..." series into a book. 
And I thought it would be fun to make our own dog-friendly version.
Last week we wrote about 1 day in downtown Chicago with your dog.
This is our Part II.

This time leave from your hotel heading in the opposite direction down Michigan Avenue. We discovered that while Miss M can navigate things like this with ease (and in costume!)  her Kryptonite is bridges. We could only cross towards the loop by going under and walking along the river. The area is fairly empty and quiet which can be good for dogs who are scared by noises.
If you are traveling in the summer, one of our favorite experiences is the Mercury Canine Cruise   which is a dog-specific architectural tour where you can cruise with your pooch down the Chicago River and part of Lake Michigan.

The Loop
The Loop is the part of downtown south of the Michigan Avenue shopping area where most people work. It's encircled by our Brown Line elevated train (which runs in a loop!) which makes it especially noisy and busy if your pup can handle it.
 In the Loop you will see much of Chicago's amazing architecture, take photos outside the famous Chicago Theater signs and over the holidays you can even visit the famous Marshall Fields windows (we did!).While most visitors don't know and they spend hours waiting in line at another location, this is where you should visit Chicago's Garret's Popcorn on Jackson or Madison (yes, it really is that good!) where you will be in and out in minutes. We also like Do-Rite donuts.
We never recommend dog parking, so only do this if you're with someone else.
Dogs aren't allowed in Millennium Park, but you can sit in Grant Park, or one of the pocket parks.

Public Art
Mr. B finds his dad!
Chicago has a lot of outdoor art including a huge Picasso statue in Daley Plaza, infamous Art Institute Lions and these unusual body sculptures in Grant Park. You can hang out in any of the plazas, or grab something to eat and sit at Buckingham Fountain.

Museum Campus and Lakefront
Some of the best views of the city are walking along the Chicago lakefront and through the museum campus. The area south of the museum campus is more isolated, and it even has stairs, which are perfect for these types of Pier Picnics. Take the lakefront path back to your hotel.

What are your must-see's that you would include in your 36 Hours?

Our dogs are cultured!
City Dogs
Dogs in Hotels
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Monday, April 14, 2014

SociaBulls: The "Underground World" of Pit Bull Owners

For Spring Break week we decided to take a bit of a break ourselves while revisiting some of our favorite posts. This was one of our favorite SociaBulls posts where we expose the 'hidden underworld' of pit bull owners:
On our last walk, one of our Chicago SociaBulls friends was joking about how everyone has this vivid, distorted impression of the hidden underworld of pit bull owners.
In reality, they will probably be surprised to find's just us.
The type of people who are motivated to wake up early on cold weekends, often driving long distances, just to take a walk with like-minded owners:
The type of people who dress our pups in coats, hoodies, snoods, and sweaters just so they'll be comfortable in the cold weather:
The type of people who may not own a pit bull-type dog, but realize they're all just dogs walking together:
The type of people who are toy inventors, lawyers, military veterans, teachers, media geeks, chefs, investors, scientists, social workers, carpenters, PhD's, voters, computer nerds, new moms, recovery counselors, vegetarians, and Chicagoans...just to name a few:
Because we are Chicago SociaBulls. We are pit bull owners and allies. We are the MAJORITY.
If you haven't already, check out this great campaign from Animal Farm Foundation which inspired us and showcases all the amazing, and regular, pit bull owners across the nation. And a great write-up from one of our friends here.

So, who else is part of this 'hidden underworld'? 
We love seeing how diverse pit bull owners and allies are, how would you fill in the blank?  And will you be submitting to the project?

Another 'Where's Waldo-ish" photo from our walks here . Can you spot Miss M and Mr. B?
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Friday, April 11, 2014

Pooches: Meet Mr. "Miss M Come"

We know Mr. B is good-looking.
We know Mr. B is loyal.
But we also know Mr. B isn't so bright.
When Mr. B joined our family, we thought we could train him to be a circus dog just like Miss M.
Little did we realize, he only has the capacity to remember 1.5 tricks: "Sit", sometimes "Down", and sometimes "Wave". (Remember this video??)
The one command he still doesn't know is "Come".
During our CGC test, that was the one section he nearly failed. The first time he did it, it seemed like he tried to run right past me. So they let him try it again.
The funny thing is, he won't respond to "Come".
He won't respond to "Mr. B Come".
But...once he hears "Miss M come" he will emerge from any dark corner of our home and come racing over knowing that something good is about to happen.
So does this mean he thinks his name is "Miss M Come"? Or is he maybe a bit smarter than we think?

This is what we mean
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Thursday, April 10, 2014

DoggyStyle: Custom Chicago Cubs Hoodie and a Baseball-Tee

When you have a big dog, it's so disappointing to find that a lot of the dog gear is only made for smaller dogs.
So we learned how to make our own.
We made the wonderful discovery of iron-on decal paper back when we were making this couples costume, and now we can't find enough things to iron onto.
Mr. B is wearing a Zack and Zoey hoodie in size x-large (Thanks again Lindsay G!). Mr B. has a large logo on his back, and we put smaller logos on both sleeves so you can still see his team-spirit from the front. We detailed more of the decal process in this post. 
Miss M is trying a new-to-us "3/4 sleeve dog raglan" from American Apparel.  It's funny that the site shows them on all tiny dogs, and Miss M wears a size 2XL (but don't tell her). It was fairly inexpensive at about $13.
Not all of the American Apparel stores carry the dog gear. We found ours at the Wicker Park location, and the seem to have more of the larger sizes. They even let the pups in the store to try them on.
We aren't sure about the fit as it seems a bit Travolta-ish with the really wide neck. Though Miss M is trying to tell us it's more like Flashdance:
We haven't washed it yet, so we will update on whether it shrinks a bit or what accommodations we make to make the neck smaller so it doesn't fall down.
Any other pups out there showing their team spirit?

These retro gym-wear hoodies
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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Things to do with Your Dog: Cruising in the Car

I always feel lucky to live in Chicago where a simple walk outside could mean a random encounter with a Zombie flash mob or  costumed shopping cart races.
Though when I was growing up in Nebraska, we really didn't have as much excitement.
It was really a car-culture where the biggest thing as a teenager was to drive up and down a certain street with your windows open and start having conversations with the cars driving next to you.
Which seems to be just as exciting for Miss M.
The pups love riding in the car and Miss M especially loves to feel the wind blowing in her jowls.
Seeing this gremlin-face pull up in the car next to them does really make people lower their windows and start talking to her.
We've also realized that especially if the weather is bad and we can't go for a long walk, riding in the car and letting the pups see everything pass by can be mentally stimulating and somewhat exhausting.
Are any other pups out there meeting friends on your car rides?

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Pooches: Making a "Stay Space" with Verbal Command

While we've learned to live in a smaller space with our bigger pups, we've also learned this means they become involved in everything.
Which isn't always good.
Like when they really want to meet that delivery driver who is terrified of dogs. Or when they want to come investigate the glass that shattered across the floor. Or when I'm trying to mop that one area they keep walking across. Or even when something unexpected like this happened.
So, we created a "stay space" in our home where we can send the pups if they need to quickly get out of our way. Our "Go to Bed"command elicits a type of robot-like response where the pups will retreat even if there is something more interesting going on.
This is how it worked for us:

Creating the Best Place Ever:
We have mentioned before that Miss M only lives for two things: breakfast and dinner. The mere mention of these words will bring on the crazy-eyes.
Knowing how food motivated our dogs are, we made their beds the 'best places ever' by only feeding them in their beds. They also only get their kings and treats if they go to their beds. When the pups see us getting treats out, they often automatically go to their beds.
Once there, they always practice waiting and they need to "stay" before they get their treat.

Linking the Verbal Command:
Since we already had the pups going and staying, as they were running to their beds we would add the verbal command "Go to Bed" and reinforce "Yes, go to bed" once they got there.
Miss M picks up verbal cues quickly, and I think Mr. B learned just by watching Miss M.
We even had our fosters learn the command by watching our pups. You can see our pooches moving with lightning speed, and former foster dog Wilma learning, in this video at the bottom here.

Reinforcing with Random Surprises:
Since the pups get their meals in their beds we are able to reinforce the command daily. Sometimes we even leave hidden treats and toys in their beds to reinforce that the bed really is a fun place where they want to be.

The essentials.
Making the dog-area 

Friday, April 4, 2014

The SmoochaBulls

Though we often show in the videos, Miss M and Mr. B smooching new and old friends,
it is a very different story when we are alone.
Though the pooches love to smooch us whenever we are within smooching distance, I actively seek out the pooches to lay a big one on their furry heads.
Though I never had stuffed animals, I imagine that our lovable SmoochaBulls are just like stuffed animals, only alive.
While A believes that she is my most smooch able member of our household, she is unaware that when she isn't looking I'm smooching our pooches' fuzzy lunkhead, kissable little button noses and rosy cheeks. Don't tell A, but the pooches are my most SmoochaBull members of our household, especially Mr. B.
If you have SmoochaBull pooches, please share your SmoochaBull photos on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
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