Gabby and the Cats

Gabby and Charlie laying together on the couch.

Gabby and Charlie laying together on the couch.

Gabby, Maya, and I are staying at my parents house while I wait for my in-laws to find a house by where my husband is working. After they find a house, we’re going to move in with them until we can get our own place (as soon as possible!). My parents have Sunny and three cats. Gabby made me a little nervous with my grandma’s cat because she would stare at him constantly. The first night home, she started to chase him, which made me worry that she might try to hurt him. I wanted to try Gabby with my mom’s cats very carefully.

I’ve been working slowly to make sure that Gabby is going to be okay with my mom’s cats. The oldest cat, Gracie, isn’t really a problem because she just stays up out of sight most of the time. Charlie, the kitten, loves dogs and wants to be around Gabby all the time. The last cat, Izzie, doesn’t like Gabby at all.

I was worried that Charlie would be the problem because he doesn’t seem to understand that not all dogs will be nice to him. I worried that Gabby would try to play with him and trample him or something. As it turns out, Gabby and Charlie are great together. The only problem is that I sometimes have to tell her to stop when she tries to play too rough.

Izzie

Izzie

Izzie is the only cat that Gabby has issues with. She hisses anytime that Gabby is anywhere near her, which makes Gabby want to play with her. Sometimes, when Izzie is behind the love-seat, Gabby will lay in front of it and just stare underneath. It’s the opposite of what I’ve seen with other dogs. If the cats hiss at Maya, she backs away from them, but Gabby seems more interested in them when they hiss at her.

Gabby’s behavior doesn’t seem aggressive at all; if anything she seems to want all of the animals to love her. It’s like if they hiss or growl at her, she has to see what’s wrong with them. This could become a problem, but so far everything’s going okay. She just needs to be worked with a little more.

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How to Exercise Your Dog in the Winter

Since it’s starting to get cold here, I’ve been researching how to exercise Gabby and Maya inside in the winter. Obviously, I can still take them for walks until it gets to be too cold for us to be out. The problem is that I hate being outside when it’s cold. Even when it’s just a little cold, I don’t really want to be outside if I don’t have to be. I would rather work out inside than outside in cold weather, but I don’t want Maya and Gabby to suffer just because I don’t want to be outside.

Here are some of the ideas that I’ve found online and thought of myself:

1. Walk up and down staircases in your home or your apartment building. This is a way for both you and your dog to get exercise inside.

2. Take your dog to a doggy daycare. There are many dog daycare facilities that will give your dog a lot of exercise and give them time to socialize with other dogs. Just make sure to do your research to find the best place for you.

3. If you have a treadmill, you can train your dog to walk on a treadmill. You and your dog can take turns walking on the treadmill to get fit.

4. Have doggy play-dates. Take turns going to your friends’ homes and having them over to your home with their dogs. By having these play-dates, your dog will still be able to socialize even when it’s too cold to go to the dog park.

5. Play fun games with your dog. You can play games that involve hiding a piece of food or treat and having her look for it. You can also do this with people as a form of hide-and-seek for your dog.

6. Work on training. When you work your dog’s mind as well as her body, she will become more tired than if you were just running around with her.

7. Practice walking on a leash inside your home. It seems weird to just walk around your home, but the cold weather can be the perfect excuse to work on your pet’s walking skills.

8. Play fetch. It’s a classic, but it’s a great way to give your dog some exercise and teach her to bring items to you and drop them. This is good for all dogs, especially puppies and adolescents who like to steal shoes, socks, and other items and not give them back.

I will definitely be trying some of these tips over the winter, and I will keep you posted about our activities. Feel free to comment with some of your indoor fitness ideas for your dog, and I will be happy to try them with my fur babies:)

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Gabby and Maya Take Baths

I gave Gabby and Maya both baths the other day, which was not fun. They both behaved really well, but they were not happy. I wasn’t very happy either because by the time I was finished giving them both baths, my back was killing me. They are nice and clean now, and if I could just figure out how to get their breath to smell better, we’d be in great shape:)

Maya, before her bath

Maya, before her bath

Gabby, before her bath

Gabby, before her bath

Giving your dog a bath can be a huge hassle. I’m lucky that both of my dogs get so nervous that they usually just stand still while I wash them. I’ve had dogs in the past that would jump all over the place to try to escape bath time. One way to help with this is to keep the dogs calm before and after the bath. I’ve included pictures of Gabby and Maya before, after and during their baths to show what I’m talking about.

Maya, in the bathtub

Maya, in the bathtub

Gabby, in the bathtub

Gabby, in the bathtub

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I sat with them both for a while in the bathroom before putting them in the bathtub so that they would stay calm. Once they were nice and relaxed, I picked them up and put them in the bathtub. At that point, they both froze up, and I started my cleaning routine. I used a rag to clean their teeth (this is the easiest way for me to completely clean their teeth because they will not cooperate otherwise). Then I use the rag to clean out their ears (also easier than cleaning them outside of the tub). The last step is to do the actual washing with dog shampoo and then rinse them off completely. After that, I let them jump out of the tub, threw a towel on them, and tried to dry them off. Then, I sat in the bathroom until they calmed down enough for me to let them out. This took a little longer for Maya because she always freaks out and jumps all over the place after her bath.

Maya, after her bath

Maya, after her bath

Gabby, after her bath

Gabby, after her bath

Bath time was a lot of work, but I’m glad that I got it over with for this month. Now both of the dogs look even prettier than they did before (and they smell better too)!

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Why You Should Adopt From a Shelter

This is Piper. She is available from the Porter County Animal Shelter at portercoanimalshelter.com

This is Piper. She is available from the Porter County Animal Shelter at portercoanimalshelter.com

I believe that adopting from a shelter is the best way to get a new dog. By adopting from a shelter you are saving the life of a dog that could otherwise be put to sleep, you help discourage puppy mills and disreputable breeders, and you can buy the dog at a much cheaper price.

Save Lives

If you adopt a dog from a shelter, you are not only saving the life of that dog, but of the other dog that will take its place in the shelter. There are so many dogs being put to sleep each year just because there isn’t enough room in shelters. If everyone who wanted a dog chose to adopt from a shelter, we could save many of those dogs from being killed for no reason.

Discourage Puppy Mills and Disreputable Breeders

This is Spirit. She is available from Lakeshore Paws at lakeshorepaws.org.

This is Spirit. She is available from Lakeshore Paws at lakeshorepaws.org.

Dogs that are sold in pet stores almost always come from puppy mills. They are kept in cramped cages where they eat, sleep, and go to the bathroom. Then when you bring these dogs home, you get frustrated because you have a hard time housebreaking them. Housebreaking a dog should not be difficult if they have been raised in a normal environment. Dogs naturally do not want to go to the bathroom where they play, eat, and sleep. This is why most dogs appreciate being able to potty outside. If your dog was left in a cage constantly, they have a harder time understanding how this works.

There are some very reputable breeders out there, who take good care of their dogs and make sure that their puppies go to good homes. There are also many disreputable breeders who treat their animals like material belongings that are only there to make them money. You can bypass all of this trouble by adopting a dog from a shelter.

*If for some reason, you really want to buy from a breeder, please do your research. You don’t want to give money to someone who abuses their dogs.

Cheaper Prices

This is Blue. He is available from Lakeshore Paws at lakeshorepaws.org.

This is Blue. He is available from Lakeshore Paws at lakeshorepaws.org.

Why pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a dog from a breeder when you can find the same dog in a shelter for much cheaper? I hear people say that they are so excited about buying a new dog and that it’s worth the cost because it comes with “papers.” I assume they mean the pedigree papers that prove that their dog is purebred. The only reason you would need these papers is if you plan on showing or breeding your dogs. A dog that is going to be a family pet does not need papers stating that it is purebred. You can get a purebred dog from the shelter for a much lower price, and you will see all of the traditional characteristics that you expect from that breed.

*In my own opinion, having a purebred dog is overrated anyway. When you have a purebred dog, you are more likely to have a dog with the negative habits of its breed. By adopting a dog that is of mixed breed, the breed specific characteristics are much less pronounced.

 

 

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Bringing Gabby Home

 

Maya and Gabby Relaxing in the Backyard

Maya and Gabby Relaxing in the Backyard

After a long car ride, Gabby and I made it back to my grandparent’s house. Before I introduced her to Maya, I put her in the bathtub because she was covered in fleas. While she was in the bath, I brought Maya into the bathroom and let them sniff each other. This seemed to work well because Gabby wasn’t able to focus too much on Maya when she was in the bathtub.

I was worried that I would need to put Gabby in Maya’s cage the first night because I didn’t know how they would be together at night, but Gabby didn’t take to the cage very well. She started biting at the cage as soon as I closed the door. We will definitely have to work with her on that. After I let her out, she jumped up on the bed with Maya. They seemed to be fine, so I just let her sleep there.

Gabby and Maya Lying in Bed the First Night

Gabby and Maya Lying in Bed the First Night

Since I brought her home, she and Maya have gotten along even better than I expected. Gabby acts a lot like a puppy and doesn’t seem to understand boundaries. She will sit on top of Maya if that’s where she wants to be. Luckily, Maya doesn’t seem to mind too much. I’m so happy that we have two great dogs!

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Introducing: Gabby

Gabby, lounging in the sun right after we met her.

Gabby, lounging in the sun right after we met her.

Corey and I have a new dog! I went down to visit Corey, and we found a gorgeous stray pit bull. At first, we figured that she had just run off from her home, but a woman that lived nearby said that the dog had been coming to her yard a lot for a couple of weeks. She thought that the owners didn’t want her anymore, so they dropped her off in this neighborhood.

Well, Corey and I fell in love with her right away because she was so sweet and adorable. We really can’t afford another dog right now, but we’re going to have to make it work because we can’t let her stay on the street.

Gabby, with her new collar and leash on.

Gabby, with her new collar and leash on.

It probably would have been smarter for us to take her to a shelter, but pit bulls are less likely to be adopted from shelters. I couldn’t imagine just leaving her there and hoping she found a home. After spending the night sleeping in our car with her because Corey’s aunt doesn’t allow dogs in her house, I was able to take her home with me. We had a lot of different ideas for names, but finally decided on Gabby. She is going to be a great addition to our little family.

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Why You Should Think Twice Before Adopting a Puppy

There is no question that puppies are absolutely adorable. The problem is that many people bring puppies into their home without realizing how difficult it is to take care of them. Then they only keep the puppy until it is old enough to cause a lot of trouble, before taking it to the local shelter. I thought I would outline some of the negative aspects of puppy ownership to help prevent more adolescent dogs being taken to the shelter just because their owners weren’t ready to take care of them.

House Training

Teaching a puppy to only potty outside takes a lot of patience. The best way to do this is to get them on a schedule for eating and going outside. This requires you to structure your day around your puppy, not yourself or your job. Regardless of how well you work with them, you will still have messes to clean up in your home.

Teaching Not to Play RoughPuppy With Rope

Puppies are going to play-bite, tear at your clothes, and try to jump all over you. If you aren’t willing to spend the time to correct this behavior, you will eventually have an adolescent dog with a lot of problems. If you can’t correct your puppy because you think he is just too cute, you will never have a well-behaved dog.

Clean Up Garbage, Pieces of Furniture, …

Puppies tear up everything they can get their cute little paws on. Keeping them caged when you are away can help prevent this, but they will still find something to chew on. Chances are, you will lose at least one item that you really liked because your puppy chewed it up.

If you are willing to spend the majority of your day taking care of your puppy, then you may be ready for this commitment. Just make sure to do your research, so that you know what kind of puppy you want and how to care for it. If, on the other hand, you don’t think that you can handle this kind of responsibility, consider adopting an adolescent or adult dog from a local shelter. These dogs usually don’t take as much work, but give a big reward. You also have the added bonus of saving the life of an animal that may have been put to sleep if you had not picked it up.

 

 

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