Monday, January 30, 2012

Potty Training

Matt got Summer when she was only 5 weeks old. She was a tiny little thing that cried constantly but she was extremely precious :)

The 'look'  - 6 weeks

Potty training was EXTREMELY easy. Much easier than I imagined. However I do think our schedule (Both Matt and I were in school) helped A LOT. This is how we did it...

Go out every hour.
To avoid accidents we took Summer out pretty much every hour. If she went potty we gave her a treat immediately and lots of praise. If we saw her potty in the house we would say no, put her nose in it, and then take her outside. Again, if she went potty we gave her a treat. 

6 weeks

If you don't see it happen, you can't do anything.
If you find an accident but didn't see it, DO NOT do anything to your dog. At such a young age it is YOUR fault, not theirs. However, when Summer got older and hadn't had accidents in a while we did punish her once. She had been out but didn't potty and not long after that Matt caught her going in the apartment. He swiftly spanked her on the butt, told her no, and took her outside. She didn't have anymore accidents after that. If she did, they were our fault (being gone for a long period of time).

Its a fact....
10-30 minutes after they eat they will need to potty. Take them out after they eat and everyone will be happy. This is a great time for a walk or play time outside. ALSO - most dogs will need to potty after a nap. If you can watch your dog and learn their schedule life is much easier. 

6 weeks

If you have to be gone for long periods...
I can't find the chart but I believe that puppies can't hold it for more than 6 hours until 6 months at the earliest. If you have to leave your puppy make an area where they can pee. For summer we took a shower curtain and made a puppy pen for her to stay in. It wasn't a huge area but it gave her room to play and to potty since we know we would be gone too long. We put her crate in there so she had her place to stay. We wanted her to learn that her crate was not a place to potty. We didn't have to do this for long as Summer quickly learned to hold it for as long as she could. 

6 weeks - with her sister Bijou

Every puppy is different so do your research and make sure you find what works for YOU and YOUR puppy. We got so lucky that Summer was easy to potty train but I also think it's just a matter of making sure she had plenty of opportunities to succeed. Raising a puppy is so rewarding and if you are patient with this it will make your life much easier in the future.

Our baby,
Summer is such an angel and will tell you whenever she needs to potty. She sits near the door, stares at you, and whines. According to my sister it sounds like she says, "I have to PEEEEEE!". Hehe :)

About 2 months

Friday, January 27, 2012

Raw Diet

Because I love my dogs so very much and have many opinions on these animals I have decided to start another blog just for them. Matt and I recently switched both dogs to a raw diet and I want to share my findings with the rest of the world :)

Why Raw?

Matt chatted with another pit bull owner at the dog park about a raw diet he fed his dog. This prompted Matt to start researching the subject for our own babies. Summer, our pit bull, has bumps on her skin (almost like hives) and dandruff. Bijou, our little mutt, is overweight by about 10 pounds and gets itchy around her face. Both girls also pass some awful smelling gas. After much research we decided to see if a raw diet would help.

What about Salmonella and other bacterias?

First off, I was very surprised when I spelled salmonella correctly. Hehe. A raw diet is not for every dog, however most healthy dogs can handle bacteria like Salmonella and E. Coli. Of course, you have to be very careful to protect yourself form these bacterias when preparing your dogs meals. Not only washing your hands and workspace but also washing the food bowls when the dogs are done.

Whats wrong with high quality dog food?

A couple places I have looked agree that if you can't or won't feed raw, the next best thing is a high quality dog food. Dog Food Adviser is a great website that lists 5 star dog foods. It also tells you the ingredients within the food. Most of these dog foods, and even some of the 4 star foods, work wonderful for dogs. I mean, dogs can eat anything honestly. My first dog lived a healthy happy life off of grocery store dog food. However, now that I have indoor dogs its more important for me personally to make sure they are healthy. Dry dog foods contain a lot of fillers. And despite the great analysis you find on Dog Food Adviser even they will say that you don't know the quality of those ingredients. Also, my current situation does not afford me to buy the best dog food. So instead of feeding lower quality, I decided to go raw.

Why don't you cook the meat?

Cooked meat loses it's nutritional value. If a humans stomach could handle raw meat it would be more nutritionally beneficial. Raw meat also has more moisture which is another important factor for dogs.

What do I feed?

This is where we have started. To keep the girls from getting sick we started by cutting back on their dry food and giving an egg for breakfast. When their dry food was gone we switched to rice and eggs in the morning, rice and raw chicken at night. Now a lot of people don't like to use grains since that is something that causes a lot of allergies. However the girls are fine with rice and we use it as a filler. I'm still a bit weirded out by giving them just meat or eggs. Oats and mashed potatoes are also other fillers that are more digestible. Summer had diarrhea, as expected, but adding a tablespoon or two of pumpkin has helped clear that up. Experts suggest feeding chicken for the first two weeks and then rotating meats.

EW! What's wrong with my dog's poo?

So your dog's poo may look a little strange. The first few weeks are an adjustment but in general their poo should be a bit lighter in color and softer (but not like diarrhea). One of the nice benefits of going raw is that your dog will poo less since their body absorbs most of what they are eating. NOW If your dog has diarrhea and adding sweet potatoes does not help, fast your dog for a day. Summer was having a lot of trouble and her body just needed time to recuperate and a fast helped her tremendously! And surprisingly she didn't complain about not eating. The next day she was a bit more energetic and her stomach was much happier.

The bottom line

Research! Do whats right for you and your dog. Summer's skin is clearing up and Bijou has already lost weight. Both dogs eat their entire meal, every time. I also enjoy making my dogs meals.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

babies :)

I LOVE dogs. Probably as much as I love to bake. Maybe even more. I think I love dogs more than horses. OMG. For anyone who knows me this is a shocking statement :)

My love for dogs has led me to start a separate blog. There are a lot of issues I'm passionate about when it comes to these amazing pets. I may offend some people but please know that is never my intention. I just feel very strongly against breeders and pet store puppies. There are WAY too many dogs (especially purebred) in the shelters and being euthanized.

BUT I'll save that post for later. Right now I want to talk about my Girls. I honestly believe that if you treat your animals like family they will have more personality. I feel like I have children half the time. Yesterday when I got home from work the girls would not leave me alone. Bijou kept poking me with her nose and Summer sat in view of the door. They may not talk to me in English but in their language that plainly said "Mom we want to go for a walk. We don't care if it's raining today." Which is extremely surprising because these girls are complete princess' and don't like to go out if it's wet. Especially Bijou.

Sometimes they do try to speak English which always has me giggling. Bijou can say "I Love You", and Summer has started saying "I have to PEEEEE!". No lie, just ask my sister :)

My favorite thing about these two is how they act just like sisters. Yesterday they had a HUGE fight. Summer poked Bijou and boy did Bijou get mad. I had to break it up because Bijou would not leave it alone. I took Summer on the couch, told her not to entice her sister, and then had Bijou come up next to Summer. She apologized by kissing her and everything was good :)

Going to the Dog Park is Matt and I's favorite activity with the girls (oh is that me and Matt??). It's just like taking your kids to the playground. But PLEASE do not bring young children into the dog park especially on the large dog side (the sign outside ours says no kids under 8. of course people ignore it). You make every single Pet Parent nervous. Just like if we brought our dog to run around a playground. No beuno.

And that I shall save for another post.

I love my girls and they are my children. I cook their food, take them to the park, and if I had the money I would definitely take them to daycare :)

Okay so I sound a bit crazy....but if you have one of your own then you understand, right?

 Our Girls Playing