They were extremely excited to get to go for a ride again.
New and Improved Christmas Pictures
We decided to take the puppies for a walk again today. We want them to get used to walking in populated areas, but didn't want to start them out with a huge crowd. We decided to take them on Sunday afternoon when we figured most people would already have gone home.
They were extremely excited to get to go for a ride again.
One of the town squares had a really pretty Christmas tree set up so we decided to stop and take some pictures.
We had a little bit of help on the focus part today from an unsuspecting skateboarder who skated by while we were trying to get them to look in the same direction.
Of course, then they wanted to play with the skateboarder.
A Walk and A Christmas Tree
Saturday after Thanksgiving we decided to take the puppies to the beach for a walk and to see about getting some cute pictures with Christmas decorations in the background. The historic district is really cool normally with gas lit street lamps and Victorian style buildings that have been around since the 1800's, but at Christmas time, it is even prettier.
The pups don't have any experience walking around in large crowds yet, so we decided to walk on the beach instead and then just drive through the historic area to see how many decorations were already out. We learned a hard lesson on the way to the beach. We discovered that if we leave the leashes on and don't give the puppies something more interesting to chew on, they have a tendency to chew the leashes.
So before heading to the beach, we made a pit stop at Petsmart for two new leashes and some bones to chew on.
Once we finally made it to the beach, Dad was totally stressed out and ready to just turn around and go home. Mom was worried that the puppies would need a potty break before making the long trip back home and convinced Dad to walk a little anyway since they were already there.
As luck would have it, during our walk, we came across a family trying to take Christmas pictures on the beach. They had a little Christmas tree decorated with starfish set up as a back drop for their two girls. While the girls were playing at the water's edge, we asked if we could take some pictures in front of their tree too. The mom was more than happy to oblige and even took a few pictures of the puppies using her camera and a few of us all with our camera.
Trying to get the puppies to sit still for a picture with an interesting tree and two kids playing nearby was not as easy as it sounds.
We loved the little Christmas tree was an excellent idea, and we loved the little white starfish. We were really glad they let us take pictures and were super happy when she offered to take pictures of us. I didn't catch her name, but mystery Christmas Tree Lady, if you find this, Thank you!!
Even though the trip got off to a rocky start, we were really glad we went for our walk when we did. We were also glad we went to that area of the beach. That's not where we normally go, but if we had gone to our usual spot, we would have missed the Christmas tree. It's funny how things work out sometimes.
This Thanksgiving we had dinner at the beach, which the puppies all thought was a great idea. Mr. C felt that if we dressed them all in festive banadas, his chances of getting turkey would be higher. Mom was happy that he was so eager to get into the holiday spirit and picked out some harvest looking material. Originally, we were going to make them all fleece jackets, but the forecast called for temperatures in the upper 60's, which seemed a little too warm for fleece.
After getting to ride in the car for a while- one of their favorite activities- the puppies got to get out and visit with tons of people they had never met and three other dogs. Miss S really really wanted to play with the miniature pinscher, Minny, but Minny disagreed. Miss S can't figure out why all of the little dogs she meets are scared of her and don't want to play. Her two-legged cousin tried to help her out by holding up the little dog for her to smell, but the little dog still didn't want to play. By the time we left, Minny was more comfortable with the puppies, but wasn't quite comfortable enough to play.
By late afternoon, the shade and breeze on the balcony started getting a little too chilly and the littles started shaking. So we held them on our laps to warm them up. The older puppies stayed in the sun a little more and were too interested in what everyone else was doing to notice the cooler temperatures. At that point, we were wishing we had gone ahead and made the fleece jackets. Texas weather is so unpredictable.
It was a very good Thanksgiving. The puppies were thoroughly worn out by the time we left and slept almost all the way home.
Puppy Mornings and Bath Time
Before we had pets, I was convinced that having them around would make it much harder in the mornings by having to deal with them while also getting ready for work. Actually, they have made it easier to get up in the mornings. While the older two were still potty training, we got up every hour or two to take them out. We discovered later that they could hold it for longer than that and that we could go a little longer between potty breaks. Then we would get up again when the alarm went off. Instead of dragging our feet and putting off getting up for as long as possible, we now have a reason to actually get up. After all, the dogs can't take themselves out or feed themselves. Plus, how could you be sluggish and in a bad mood waking up to this:
We've decided they are not morning dogs. If it were up to them, they would probably sleep in until like 8 am.
Of course, if you are going to let the dogs up on your bed from time to time, they have to be clean. This is one of the areas where we really notice that the littles have personalities that are quite a bit different that the big puppies. When I turn on the bath water to run them a bath, the big puppies take off running and hide to avoid the bath water. When the littles hear the water running, they run to the tub and jump in. We usually have to bathe them first to keep them from jumping in with the big puppies.
Getting ready for the Holidays
We've been getting into the holiday spirit around here, and the puppies have been giving us a hand with the decorating. They are very diligent in their efforts to shred things in the living room. As demonstrated by Mr.M below.
They are all very considerate in making sure that no treats get left behind to clutter up the kitchen counter. They also offer to be taste testers on anything Mom is cooking- you know, just to make her feel like she is doing a good job at baking for the holidays.
They check out any stray boxes laying around the house to make sure that no gifts are left behind.
They also make sure to warm up the bed for Mom and Dad. It's like an electric blanket but without the electricity. Only really, it's like having a fossil fuel powered blanket. I'm sure they violate EPA emissions rules at times.
Leash vs. Leash + Person
Being on a leash is not the same as being on a leash with a person on the other end of it. I firmly believe that as a pit bull owner, you should keep your dog on a leash at all times if you are not in your own yard. I say this not because I think pit bulls are inherently vicious or that they cannot be trusted off-leash. I say this because I think that there are a lot of people who can't be trusted around pit bulls and who are just looking for an excuse to take out their own aggression on your unsuspecting dog.
That being said, sometimes you can have one of those moments where you just shake your head and ask yourself what just happened.
We had one of those moments last time we took the puppies to the beach. Mr. C and Miss B love the beach. They had been there about three times already and know the smells and sounds of it. So, when we arrived at the beach, they were ready to go. We got the littles out of the middle row seat and were standing there with them on their leashes getting everything put away in the car so that we could take the big puppies out and head over to the water. Normally, when we open the back, we are both standing there to get them out, but Dad opened the back without making sure that Mom was right there. Before he even knew what had happened, both of them flew out of the SUV and started running toward the beach. Mom turned around just in time to see them running through the parking lot toward the path over to the beach, dragging their leashes behind them.
Apparently, we haven't worked with them enough on coming when called with distractions present. We watched in horror as they trotted quickly away from us. We followed them, but they knew right where they wanted to go- and it wasn't the parking lot. We watched as they trotted together out of the parking lot, across the street, down the boardwalk and over the dunes. Once we got across the street with the littles, Mom handed their leashes to Dad and took off running after the big puppies. By the time she got over the dunes and through the vegetation, she saw them all the down at the water's edge. There was a group of people gathered on the beach for a nature lesson, but Miss B and Mr. C weren't interested in them. They wanted to go to the beach. Mom called them and they both came running with big pit bull smiles on their faces. They came running over, tails wagging, as if to say, "Look, Mom. We did it all by ourselves." As soon as they got to her, Mom quickly grabbed hold of their leashes.
The park ranger who had been leading the nature lesson came over, and Mom apologized profusely for them running around without a person on the other end of their leashes- which were still firmly attached to their harnesses. The park ranger was very understanding of their high energy nature and was just glad that Mom and Dad were there.
The whole experience was a wake up call. You can't get complacent. Miss B and Mr. C are very sheltered. Mom and Dad work hard to keep them out of situations that have the potential of not ending well. The people that they get to visit with are people who Mom and Dad think won't hurt them or try to trick them into doing something that will get them in trouble. As a result, Mr. C and Miss B think that everyone they see wants to say hi to them and get puppy kisses. They think that the beach is really just a separate part of their own back yard. They know all about the beach, so of course Mom and Dad would let them run free- just like the regular back yard, right? Mom was tempted to load them back into the car and drive them straight home, but the innocent, happy look on their faces changed her mind. They seemed truly proud of themselves for going right where Mom and Dad wanted them to go.
We've decided that we need to change how we get them out of the car. Opening up the back without having them sit and stay first is apparently a bad idea. Usually, we tell them several times to sit-stay as we open the car and then grab their leashes right away. Not doing this was a mistake. We have also decided that we have to work harder on their training. We were training quite a bit at first, but somehow the training kind of slowed down. So we need to pick that back up again.
Having a leash on is not the same as being on a leash with a person on the other end. Even the most diligent puppy parent can have lapses in judgement or moments in which they aren't paying as much attention as they should be. It has to be an ongoing campaign to stay focused. Puppies are full of energy and are curious and mischievous by nature. You have to be one step ahead of them and be quick to intervene when they look like they may get out of hand.
Most of the time the puppies are doing something cute or funny, the camera is in the other room. This evening, we decided to grab the camera and bring out the treats to see if we could get some pictures of how concentrated they get when there is food involved.
I think I need to make more treats.
Baby Gates and Tomatoes
Miss S and Mr. M have a completely different view of rules than Miss B and Mr. C did when they were younger. Take the baby gate for instance. Sometimes we use a baby gate to block off certain rooms. For instance, if we wanted to vacuum the floor and didn't want Miss B trying to do battle with the vacuum cleaner. When we put the baby gate up, Miss B and Mr. C would just sit and look at it. They didn't try going over or through the gate. Miss S and Mr. M have a different view of things. They see the gate as more of a challenge. Like a game that they have to play to get to where we are. They have no respect for the gate, and the gate has been no match for them. Ever. Not even when they were small.
The littles also have very little respect for the garden. Miss S has discovered that she can jump, but rather than stopping at Mom's chair like Miss B did, she discovered that she can jump into the raised garden boxes. She and Mr. M also discovered that cherry tomatoes are fairly tasty. That would be bad enough, but they also showed this discovery to Miss B and Mr. C. They trampled the one surviving tomato plant trying to get the tomatoes off.
Miss B and Mr. C have picked up a few of their bad habits but really like them anyway. They are very protective of the littles... Except when one of them poops on the rug. Then they are on their own.
Slippers and Fashion Statements
Though the non-matching slippers may seem like a fashion statement, things are not always what they seem. In reality, the slipper pair below is what happens when you leave slippers within reach of teething puppies. When Miss B and Mr. C were little, before we realized that no shoes would be safe for a while, we made the mistake of leaving two pairs of house shoes under the edge of the bed. I'm pretty sure I remember seeing bits and pieces of the brown one at some point. The blue one I'm not sure about. When the recent cold front hit, we started looking for slippers. We did find a left slipper and a right slipper. Unfortunately, they were not matching.
By the time the littles came along, we had gotten a little smarter. We don't let the puppies chew on shoes anymore. In general, they seem to be more interested in the laces than in the shoes themselves.
Needless to say, I think we are going to need some new slippers this winter.
Here are a few of our favorite pictures from this past weekend to get you through the rest of the work day.
Beaches and Bikes
Last time we went to the beach, we didn't get any good shots of the puppies from the front. So it was a perfect justification to go to the beach again. After running a few errands- like getting Miss S a new harness since she already outgrew the other one- we piled the puppies into the car and off we went.
Miss B and Mr. C had quite the adventure when they flew out of the car before we could grab their leashes and ran to the beach themselves, but I am going to write a separate post on that.
Once all of the pups were back with us, we had a relatively uneventful and pleasant walk on the beach. They found a nice couple to visit with again, who told us that they had recently lost a male pit bull with the same coloring as the littles. It sounded like he was in their backyard and disappeared. We feel like someone probably took him but don't know that for sure. It reinforced our belief that dogs, especially pit bull type dogs, should not be left outside unsupervised.
After their long beach walk, everyone was very calm.
As luck would have it, this weekend was Biker Rally Weekend in Galveston. Miss B has a thing for motorcycles and was very excited by all of the motorcycles on the way to the beach. Afterwards, we decided to ride into town and check out the party. We kept the dogs in the car of course. They have never been in this big of a crowd before, and that many people with that much motion and that much noise just doesn't seem like the best time to introduce them to crowds. The big puppies were very interested in all of the people walking around and the bikes. The littles really didn't care much and slept most of the time, except when Mom or Dad got out to take a picture.
It was a very exciting Saturday.
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.