Playtime and Growth Spurts
Okay, seriously. How can puppies grow so fast?! Just yesterday Miss M weighed like 12 pounds and could run under the dining room chairs. Now, she's almost as tall as the big puppies and can keep up with them in the yard. Our little baby girl is growing up. She is a quick learner too. Because we feed the puppies in their crates, they sometimes leave a little food in their bowls for later, knowing that the other puppies can't get to it. Miss M figured out that she can go to her crate and bark and I'll let her in. Then she can eat a little bit of it and I will let her back out when she's ready. She likes this system. I like it too because she's going in her crate quicker now when I tell her to go into her crate. Such a cutie!
The last couple of days have been really nice- no rain at all. Today, the sun even came out. I don't understand the weather this year, but I'm not complaining. Some years by the end of April, we are already having temperatures in the 90's every day. Last night though, it got down into the low 50's, and the high today was only in the mid-70's. If the weather would stay like this year round, it would be perfect. The puppies have been loving it. They've been able to go outside more, and we have been letting them play longer because it is so enjoyable outside.
Pit bulls are so remarkable. Their agility is amazing- they can turn on a dime. I'm still not sure how they can fly through the yard at top speed without running into things. We discovered yesterday, that they really like playing ball with us. We had gotten them a soccer ball to play with, and they chased it around a little before chewing it to pieces. We had gotten them a cheap rubber ball a while back, but they hadn't seemed too interested in it until we brought it into the yard yesterday. Dad and I kicked it back and forth across the yard to each other, and they went nuts and got super excited. Every time we would kick it, they would chase it, bump it with their noses, paw at it. It was a great game until Miss B popped it accidentally. I think we are going to have to find a more durable ball for playing in the yard.
On a different topic, I think our yard decided to make wine. We have a tree that I think may be a mulberry tree of some sort. With the storms last week, tons of berries were blown into the yard. The rain made a berry soup, which is now fermenting. Every time we walk into the middle of the yard, we get hit with a blast of berry nastiness. When the berries first fell, the puppies were very interested in them. Now that they have turned into berry shots, the puppies steer clear of the middle of the yard. The next few pictures show the extent of our berry yard still.
The cats are totally grooved in to life with the puppies. They have also really warmed up to the cat-tree/ scratching post. They have decided that the scratching post is the best place to nap because there are two levels. The puppies can reach the lower level, but they don't mess with the kitties if they are on the tree. Of course, just like the puppies, they prefer napping on our bed...
Kids and Puppies- a Match Made in Heaven
We have finally found someone who's "please give me some of your food" face rivals that of Miss M. This is the puppies' two-legged niece (Dad's granddaughter). The puppies haven't gotten to meet her yet. We want to make sure that they are out of the jumping up phase before introducing them to her. Plus, right now, she is still at a convenient licking height. Her face is pretty much right at nose level for the puppies. So, we are convinced that she would get way more puppy kisses than she would want. But check out the similarities between her expression and Miss M's.
We are convinced that it would be a match made in heaven. She likes the same kinds of things that the puppies like. She loves ice, she likes fruits (blueberries, watermelon, etc.), she likes cheese. She also likes to share her food. The puppies of course, love it when people share food. On top of all of that, she isn't old enough to have ideas about not sharing things that aren't healthy, like ice cream. Miss S is convinced that all puppies need a kid around to feed them things that Mom and Dad won't let them have.
One of the benefits of having fuzzy children is that you don't have to wait 18 years for them to graduate from school. Today, our puppies graduated from the Beginner Level of puppy school. They had to demonstrate what they had learned and passed with flying colors. They even got certificates. We were so proud of them. Each of them got a different sticker on their certificate. Miss M got "Star Student," Mr. M got "Teacher's Pet," Miss S got "Inseparable from her pack," Mr. C got "2 cool for school," and Miss B got "You are one smart cookie."
After showing off their skills and getting their certificates, the puppies each got treats and got to meet a new instructor in training who may train with them during the intermediate level.
Today was a pretty warm day, so by the time puppy school was over, the puppies were pretty tired. On the way home, we got them a cup of ice from the driveway so they could cool down quicker. Ice is much easier than water while in the car. Water would just be way too messy, but with ice, they get water but you can give it to them like treats. They love the crunch of ice. There was a recipe on Pinterest for banana "Popsicle," The person sliced up bananas and then froze them in an ice tray in water. So it's a piece of ice with a banana chunk inside. Genius! I have to try it.
This week is the last week for puppy school, and the puppies are getting nervous about the upcoming final exam and graduation.
Miss M: "You didn't say anything about a test. You said ride. You said puppy school. You said good puppy. You never said test." Miss B: "I can't take the pressure. I'm just going to lay on the floor in the middle of Petsmart." Mr. M: "That's okay Miss B. I'll just lay here too and use you as a pillow." Miss S: "Ooh. I think I see the treat aisle."
The puppies really like puppy school. Even Miss B who was scared of walking around the store at first, thinks she owns the place now. They know where the classroom is. They know where the water is, and they know where to go for potty breaks.
They are getting better and better at following directions. We've had them "leave it" at the beach walking past dead birds and fish so many times, that they didn't even bother going near the dead baby bird that we found in our yard today. We discovered that there is a nest in our grapefruit tree- complete with a mama bird. The baby was super young and must have fallen out during the high winds last night. We were proud of the puppies for not messing with it. This evening, the puppies were all playing with something that I didn't recognize. All five of them were pulling on it, but we couldn't figure out what it was. I told them all to drop it, and they all let go at the same time! It turned about to be one of Dad's mittens that had fallen on the floor when he was cleaning his closet. I was happy that we were able to save the mitten, but I was even happier that all of the puppies dropped the mitten when I told them to, even though they were really having a good time pulling on it.
So I guess tomorrow, we will have to make sure that all of their basic skills are strong so that they don't have any trouble passing their exams.
Storm, storm, storm, Good Weather
Our weather seems to be continuing the lather, rinse, repeat pattern. Yesterday, we had thunderstorms in the morning. This was one of Miss M's first thunderstorms. At first, she was a little spooked by the loud rumbling , so Mom played fetch with her in the kitchen, which then turned into a group fetch and a game of keep-away with Mr. M. Once she got into the game, Miss M forgot all about the thunderstorm. Miss B and Mr. C were never scared of storms as puppies, but I read online when we first got them, that if a dog seems scared of storms, you should play with them and make it more like a game so that they don't mind storms at all. I'm not sure if Miss M would have been scared of storms, but she did really enjoy playing fetch in the house. Miss M and Mr. C then took a nap with us on the bed for a little individual time about mid-morning during one of the heavier storms. It was so dark outside, it made the room really cozy, and we all slept soundly, despite the thunder.
Everyone was sleeping soundly until the cats decided that they needed to make noise in the hall looking for the puppies or us? Sometimes they just make noise inexplicably. Cats...
Today, the weather was really pleasant. Not too hot. Nice and partly cloudy. Tomorrow we are supposed to have heavy thunderstorms again. So today, we decided that we should go for a walk on the beach to take advantage of the small, good weather window. The puppies were all super excited to be going somewhere, and were so glad to be at the beach. We must have been there right after high tide because there was a lot of stuff on the beach for the puppies to smell and check out. As we were walking along, I spotted a Portuguese Man-of-War laying on the sand. I was glad the tentacles were all bunched up beside it because the puppies walked right by it not too far away. I don't think they would have appreciated it very much if they had stepped on one of the tentacles.
They are doing really well with "Drop it" and "leave it." Leave it even worked on some very tempting dead fish. Mr. M and Miss M both dropped various things they had picked up. So apparently they actually are learning at puppy school.
Miss S is very nervous about the group splitting up when we go out in public. There are garbage bins at intervals along the beach, but they are a short distance away from the surf. So any time the puppies decide to take a potty break, we scoop it and then walk it up to one of the bins. Whenever duty calls, one of us takes the poop to a bin, while the other waits near the water with the puppies. Miss S goes nuts when we split up. She sits still, but she whines and cries and makes funny noises until the other one of us is back. She does it with Mom and Dad, not just one or the other, which is kind of nice. She doesn't like part of the group to split off when we are out in public. She doesn't care at home, but it's different in public.
When we got home, both of the cats were waiting for us near the door. As soon as we were in the house, the cats just ran around the room loose while all of the dogs were out and moving around. The dogs didn't even pay attention to the cats at all. We are really impressed at how well the cats and dogs have been getting along and are glad that we took the introductions as slow as we did.
Today we took the puppies to their first social event. Their trainer, Ms. A, was hosting a puppy treat give away event, and they were invited. So, after feeding them breakfast and taking them out for a necessary potty break, we got them ready. They weren't expecting it at all and got super excited when the harness bag came out. They are pro's at going to puppy school, so as soon as we pulled into the parking lot, they knew right where to go.
We've actually never taken them to a Petsmart on a Saturday before. Usually we try to take them places when we know it won't be very busy to minimize the distractions. Today, there were tons of distractions. In addition to the treat party, it was adoption day, and there were tons of people in the store with their dogs. I don't think our puppies have ever seen that many other dogs before. They were really excited to see Miss A and were happy when she pulled out the treats.
Most of the other dogs there were small dogs. What we've noticed is that a lot of the small dogs are not super friendly. Our puppies really don't understand why the other puppies don't want to play. It's actually kind of funny to watch. They love puppies, and every time they see one, they want to go over and lick it and play with it. Mr. C totally wants to have every puppy he sees as his own. He's already had lots of practice with puppies (Mr. M, Miss S and Miss M). So he is sure that he needs to lick them and clean them and play with them and cuddle them... The rest of our puppies love other puppies too, and they get very confused when the puppies they see don't feel the same way. Of course, they also get confused when the cats get tired of being slobbered on, but that's a different story.
We decided not to stay right by the treat table the whole time and took them on walks around the store. They got barked at by the adoption puppies. Mostly, they just glanced at them and kept walking- with a little encouragement. They got barked at by a few other little dogs. Mr. M is the only one who barked back. We all had a good time and the puppies were very happy that they got to go do something fun. As usual, they slept most of the way home. We were very proud of how well they did walking around the store with so much distraction. It was super noisy, and there were people and dogs everywhere, but they stayed calm and just walked. They also had their picture taken a few times and got to meet several new people.
We decided it was best not to tell the cats where we went. We know they like dog food, and they are already jealous that the dogs get more treats than they do. But can you blame us? The puppies do things to earn treats. The cats just make noise and knock things off of the table. Plus, they already have a reputation for being bad travelers (picture a long car ride with two cats in a carrier full of poop and throw-up- not pleasant). Needless to say, we weren't even thinking about taking them anywhere.
Getting Smarter by the Day
We told the puppies that they needed to pay attention in school and learn stuff, and this was their response:
Believe it or not, this was at puppy school before class started. Can you tell that they are comfortable in puppy school? The puppies get super excited every time we go to school, and today was no exception. We took them out for a potty break before going in, and then we walked them around the store for a few minutes before class just to get some of their energy out ahead of time. They got to meet a really nice lady and smell neat stuff on the aisles.
After lounging around in the classroom before class started, we took the puppies to get a drink, where they got to meet another nice lady. They were very social today. Well, okay, they are social everyday, we just don't let them go up and meet everybody. Some people aren't fans of pit bulls, so we are very selective in who we let the puppies "talk" to.
Their instructor is really good about letting the puppies have a break midway through class to take care of any business they need to take care of, which is a good thing. Mr. C took advantage of this break today. This is the reason we carry poop bags in our pockets when we go out in public. I think we would get very unpopular very quickly if we didn't pick up after this many dogs.
Our puppies have been learning about financial responsibility as well. Here, they are scouring the store for things that are on sale so that we can spend, I mean, save more money.
As always, the puppies learned a lot in class and were tired by the time we got home- though not too tired to play with the new cool ball we got. Our trainer found it on the shelf in the store and knew our puppies would like it, so she saved it for us just in case. I should have taken a picture of it. It is out of a tough material and makes noises every time they make it roll or move. It was a big hit at home. Even the cats were interested in it.
On a funny note, this evening after the puppies were in bed, we went into Dad's dojo and found a visitor. Some people have plaques and pictures that gather dust. Apparently, ours gather lizards instead. How she can sleep like this is beyond me, but we left her there in hopes that she will eat any wayward mosquitoes that come along.
Kitty Snuggles and Playtime
Lately, Miss M had been a little disappointed in the kitties. Kitty P still doesn't want to play with her, and Mr. M has turned into a kitty hog, who doesn't want to let Miss M play with Kitty S. She hasn't had much kitty play time lately and was very sad about it... until today. Mom and Dad decided to take a short nap mid morning and let Miss M nap on the bed with them. At one point, Mom got up to get some water, and the cats followed her back into the bedroom. Kitty P wasn't interested in sharing the bed with a dog, but Kitty S jumped right up. Miss M was soooo happy. She got to snuggle the kitty a little and the kitty started playing with her- even chewing on her foot anytime she would take it off of the cat. We usually feel like the puppies are being too rough with their heavy paws, but the kitty purred the whole time, so apparently, she was okay with it.
Kitty P has been warming up to the puppies a little bit, but they don't trust her. She has scratched them a couple of times and even drew a little bit of blood on Mr. M when he got a little fresh one day. Today, she tried playing with the puppies several times- batting at their legs when they would walk by where she was laying on her back under a bar stool. The dogs didn't pay a bit of attention to her. I think they felt like it was a dirty trick.
The puppies have all been doing really well with their training and are getting better at leaving things alone when told. They have had lots of practice at "Leave it," this weekend. Miss M got to leave a frog alone. Miss S and Mr. C got to leave the trash can alone several times. Mr. M got to leave the sign in sheet for Dad's classes alone. Miss B has been trying her hardest to be good- which takes a lot of effort, and all of the puppies have been listening better in general. We were surprised by Miss M yesterday. She doesn't really like going into her crate and most of the time tries to run into the other room. If Mom is in the other room and Dad is putting the puppies into their crates, Miss M usually runs to Mom, hoping for Mom to let her stay out. So yesterday, we went to put them in the crate for breakfast, and Miss M started walking out of the room. Dad said, "Miss M. Go to your crate." It wasn't in a rough voice- just a normal speaking voice. She stopped, turned around and walked right into her crate. Mom closed the door, but we were so happy with her that we let her right back out as a reward.
We thought about taking the puppies to Grandma and Grandpa's house for Easter, but their two legged cousins were going to be having an Easter Egg hunt, and we are pretty sure that our puppies would find all of their eggs and eat the candy before the boys even had a chance. The puppies are very skilled at finding small plastic things to chew on. We bought them some of the Easter egg toys at PetsMart a while back. They had the plastic eggs torn open within minutes and had removed the squeaky toy inside. Unfortunately, they were more interested in the plastic eggs than in the fuzzy toy and proceeded to chew them into tiny sharp pieces, which we then had to pick up before they could eat them. So an Easter egg hunt would have been a bad idea. Plus, it was rainy today, and we didn't really want to go anywhere. Instead, we played in the house.
As an aside, our puppies have a habit of rearranging holidays. At Christmas time for example, we can have a tree, but presents underneath it are risky, given their love of opening boxes. They actually save us quite a bit of money at Halloween. We decided that it wouldn't be a good idea to have candy for trick-or-treaters. The puppies like people, but I don't think they would understand the costumes. I think it would freak them out too much. So instead, we save money and our waistlines by not buying candy- which is handy since we usually end up with way too much candy left over.
Cats These Days
We've come to the conclusion that there is something wrong with our cats. They are not normal. First of all, cats aren't supposed to like dogs. Kitty S meows looking for the puppies when they are in their crates. She even goes and lays by Mr. C's crate some times. The vet joked with us last time we were there- after they pooped their kennel during the car ride, again- that they weren't scared of 5 pit bulls but they were scared of the car. It's true. There is something wrong with them. They beg for food in the kitchen. Whenever Mom is cooking, the puppies keep her company in hopes of a handout- which happens fairly often in the form of peanut butter or a puppy treat. If the dogs aren't all already in the kitchen and Mom starts cooking, the cats both come in and stretch up on two legs to try and see what she is making. They meow in hopes that she will give them some of whatever she is cooking- which does not work. Apparently the kitty Jedi mind tricks don't work on Mom.
If we eat in the living room and the puppies are in their crates, Kitty S jumps onto the couch and tries to take food off of Mom's plate. It doesn't matter how many times she gets put on the floor, she jumps right back up again to see what's for dinner. Neither of us have ever had cats that do that.
On top of that, they play together. Cats don't usually pay much attention to each other, but these two play. And by play, I don't mean that they lounge around and lazily bat some small fuzzy toy around. They really play- like puppies. Mr. M and Miss M have an ongoing game where they chase each other through the house at top speed. They run into the living room, jump on the love seat, bounce off it it back onto the floor and take off running into the other room again. The cats do the same thing, but in our bedroom and hall instead. They are actually doing it as I type this. They jump on the bed. Then they fly off the bed, chase each other down the hall at top speed, turn around and chase each other back to the bed, where it starts all over again. There are no toys involved. They aren't fighting. They just play, and they take turns being chased. Just like the puppies.
On top of that, they like dog food. I get that the dogs would like the cat food- it's stinky. I get it. But not the other way around. The other day we fed the dogs in the kitchen just to practice eating all together. The cats were waiting patiently in a safe spot behind a bar stool while the dogs, who were paying absolutely no attention to the cats, were waiting for me to put food in the bowls. As soon as I set Miss S's food down, Kitty P (the one who only just tolerates the dogs), came out from behind the bar stool and went boldly right over to Miss S's bowl. Now, Miss S is normally the one who has been notoriously greedy with her food. The cat came right up and started smelling the food. Miss S paid no attention to the cat and just kept eating. The cat decided not to press her luck and took a few steps back, where she sat down and watched Miss S eat. One day, after putting some wet food into the puppies' bowls, I put the spoon down near the cats just to let them smell it. They licked the spoon clean! If pieces of dry dog food end up on the floor, they eat that too.
Maybe our cats aren't weird and times are just changing, but I doubt it. Cats these days!
The cats are really getting more comfortable with the puppies. The other day, we let Miss B take a nap with us in the middle of the day. The door was open, and Kitty P came running in and jumped on the bed- not realizing there was a dog there. Miss B lifted her head and acted like she wanted to investigate, but Mom put her hand on Miss B's head and she calmed back down. Kitty P just paused briefly and then plopped right down and went to sleep, less than a foot away from Miss B. We were shocked.
And did I mention that the cats like to chase the broom just like the dogs?
First time pitbull owners who found two pitbull puppies abandoned on the side of the road and decided to adopt them...And then loved them so much, they decided to get two wonderful mastiffs.