Introducing our New Little Ball of Chaos to our Older Bigger Ball of Chaos

Indy's First Weekend
You may have seen this on my instagram feed.

Some big news: last weekend the Pie and I went on a little drive and came back with THIS furry friend. His name is Indiana Jones (named after my idol) and he’s 8 weeks old – well, almost 9 by the time you read this.

Indy's First Weekend

We got him as a companion to Gren, who can be rather jealous of the attention that I give to other small animals and babies. So the plan was to get him a friend to keep him distracted and to divert the amount of spoiling he gets so that we can start thinking about maybe having kids without dealing with the angst of a 40lb furbaby.

Indy's First Weekend

But that’s a way in the distance. This baby corgi is enough to deal with at the moment and needs some training. And he needs to establish a relationship with Gren. I did a lot of research before bringing Indy into the house and I will present here a few tips and tricks I learned from doing my research and from trying it out on the two fiends, interspersed with pretty puppy pictures. Make sure to do your own research when getting a puppy, including whether a puppy is even really suited to your home life and activities.

Indy's First Weekend

Plan it out: you’re going to need to set up some things when Puppy comes home, and one of those things is going to need to be some kind of crate or pen for Puppy to go into when Dog has had enough of its shenanigans and you don’t want Dog to EAT Puppy.

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Puppy penitentiary. The rug has a rubber backing to prevent accidents from seeping through to the carpet. So far Indy has been mostly accident-free.

And if you have a super neurotic dog who is really into his routine like I do, you are going to want to set up the pen a little in advance, just so he can get used to it being there. I moved things around in increments for a few weeks leading up to Indy’s arrival so Gren wouldn’t freak out about too much change at once. One day I set up the pen, and another I rearranged the kitchen to allow for a second set of doggie dishes.

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You also want Dog to sleep on a couple blankets in advance, to get the puppy familiar with his scent. This is a good thing to bring with you when you pick Puppy up so he’ll have advance notice of what he’s getting himself into. Not a bad thing to chuck into Puppy’s bed, either.

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Gren obliged when asked to shed his dog hair all over a blanket for Indy.

When you go to pick up Puppy, leave Dog at home. You have enough to deal with. Take Dog for a really really good walk before you leave so he’s nice and calm and tuckered out for when you come back.

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Something is definitely up.

Meet and greet: the first introduction between Puppy and Dog is very important because you need to let them establish their own hierarchy without any issues. You may think that Dog will be the boss because he’s oldest and has been there the longest but that might not be the case. And it’s not up to you to figure that out – this is the job of Dog and Puppy to figure it out on their own. Your job is to make it as easy as possible.

When you arrive home with Puppy, don’t go inside. Put Puppy on a leash (even if he’s not really all that leash-trained at the moment) and take him down the block or to the park. Have a friend or family member get Dog, put him on a leash, and meet you at the park. This is neutral territory.

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Gren is highly suspicious.

DO NOT. Just DON’T introduce Puppy to dog by holding Puppy and bringing him close to Dog. This puts Puppy on a different physical level than Dog and can make them both very uncomfortable as Puppy will feel vulnerable not being in control of getting away if necessary and Dog will feel that you have elevated Puppy to a different status.

Make sure both Puppy and Dog are firmly on the ground when they meet for the first time. Keep hold of both their leashes so you can pull them apart if necessary, but don’t pick Puppy up if you can at all avoid it.

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The sheer size difference between the two means we have to be extra careful.

Now that they’ve had a chance to sniff, take them for a walk. It doesn’t have to be a long one (Puppy will likely not have the stamina of Dog nor the leash training). This will just give them a chance to get used to each other still on neutral territory but also in doing a normal daily activity.

Bringing home baby: when it’s time to come home, make sure that Dog gets to go through the door first, before Puppy. This reinforces to Dog that you are aware of his place in the household and you are not replacing him with Puppy.

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In the house, you can take Dog off the leash and let him go and do whatever it is that he wants to. Chances are he’s going to follow you around because Puppy is a new thing. Keep Puppy on the leash and slowly walk Puppy from room to room, letting him sniff around a bit but not letting him go everywhere. Keeping him on the leash establishes boundaries for Puppy, so that he knows that this is your house, not his, and that he can’t just go anywhere he wants and pee on anything he wants.

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As you can see from his nose, Gren was never far behind in this tour.

Still on leash, walk Puppy to his water bowl (for the first bit, keep food and water bowls separate between Dog and Puppy to avoid fights), and show him places that he can pee (like the backyard or puppy pee pads).  Show him the place where he will be sleeping and introduce him to his toys.

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Once you’ve done the tour, you can take Puppy off leash and see what he will do in the territory that you have allowed.

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Keep an eye on Dog to make sure he’s not getting too stressed out by Puppy. If he starts panting and his eyes go wide he’s getting anxious. If he starts growling and showing his teeth to Puppy you should put Puppy away in his place for now.

Indy's First Weekend
Because Gren doesn’t have a tail and his ears always stick up, you have to be really good at reading his facial expressions. He pretty much never smiles, and usually only does so when he’s stressed out. So this is a stressed face for him.

A little bit of tension is expected and allowed if Dog is to establish a relationship with Puppy, but you don’t want full-scale hostility that could damage either animal in the long term. You know your Dog enough to know when he’s had enough and you need to respect his boundaries in that way by putting Puppy away for a while until they’re both calm again.

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Another stressed face. He got upset when Indy cried from his pen.

In the days to come: don’t under any circumstances leave Dog and Puppy alone together for several weeks, until their relationship is firmly established. If you aren’t there to break up potential fights then who knows what might happen? Keep Puppy in a separate area from Dog when you are not around to supervise.

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Dogs in motion are hard to capture in photography.

Show some respectremember that Dog was there first and until Puppy arrived he thought he was the only one in the world for you. When this fuzzy interloper comes around and everyone falls all over themselves to smoosh him, Dog can feel jealous, and like he’s being replaced. This can result in tension and aggression towards Puppy. So until they sort their stuff out, make sure to give Dog preference in all things. If you’re petting Puppy and Dog comes up and pushes Puppy out of the way so he can get petted, listen to Dog.

Prepping for Puppy 3

Give him the attention he needs to show him that you haven’t forsaken him. Keep letting him eat first, go through doors first, whatever needs to be done, until the two of them figure out who goes where in the family hierarchy.

Indy's First Weekend

We’ve got an uneasy truce after the first few days. Gren is constantly checking to see where Indy is, and he gets worried when Indy cries. But he also doesn’t like it when we pick Indy up to bring him up and down our stairs (small corgis are not allowed to jump until they get a bit bigger), and after 7PM he turns into a grumpy old man who wants nothing to do with the pup he was playing with just a moment before and will snap at him if he gets too close.

Indy's First Weekend

It’s a work in progress, but progress is being made!

Indy's First Weekend
Most expensive foot warmers ever.

 

Toothpaste for your Furbaby

Office Gren 2

We do our best to brush Gren’s teeth almost every day.  Granted, it’s a two-person operation: one person has to put the dog in a headlock and the other risks getting covered in paste and dog saliva on “scrubby duty,” but we do it because we love our little fiend.

I finally came to the end of the supply of dog toothpaste (vanilla flavoured, if you must know) that came with the latest doggy toothbrush (which I have since abandoned for a soft people toothbrush).  As I was about to go out and get some more, I chanced to look at the “all-natural” ingredients list.   Sorbitol?  I don’t even know what that is, but it’s the second ingredient.  And why does it need to be sweetened with stevia?  Since when do dogs need sugar?

Dog Toothpaste 1
I’ve since learned that tea tree oil should not be ingested. And after several reminders from you dear readers I edited the post, so although you see it in this picture I no longer use it in my recipe.

So I’m going to make my own.  And there’s a ton of recipes on the internet.  Many of them require you to use glycerin, which I guess is the sticky-togethery ingredient that actually makes the paste into a pasty substance.  But that sounds like a pain in the ass, so I’m going to go with a version that uses coconut oil instead (used in small quantities coconut oil is beneficial to your pet’s health), and modify it a wee bit.

Dog Toothpaste 2

Start with a bouillon cube, and dissolve that in 1 tablespoon water.  Or, in my case, use this gel-like one instead.  This is mostly for flavour, so use something your dog will like.  Gren has issues with chicken and beef so I would use pork or vegetable.

Dog Toothpaste 3

Add in 2 tablespoons baking soda (a deodorizing abrasive), and 1 teaspoon cinnamon (a fragrant abrasive).

Dog Toothpaste 4

I also ground up about 1 teaspoon dried parsley (for fresh breath) and added a pinch of ground cloves (an anti-parasitic).

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Looks tasty!  Actually it didn’t smell as awful as I thought it might: just like vegetable soup with too much cinnamon added.  Not bad in the end.

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Then you need to work in about 1/2 cup coconut oil.  If you have trouble mixing everything up you can soften the oil or melt it, but you want it to be solid in the end.

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You can store this mixture at room temperature in a sealed container for several weeks.  Brush often!

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Many sites actually recommend using your finger and a clean washcloth instead of a toothbrush for maximum efficacy, so we might try that at some point.  Fortunately, Gren seems to like the taste of this stuff better than what we were using before, so he struggles a lot less.

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Immediately after we brush his teeth Grenadier goes and gets his Tricky Treat Ball, which we fill with the other half of his dinner.  Trundling around with the ball, he will snarf up the kibble that falls out of the hole, and in gulping it down he will produce more saliva to further aid in cleaning his teeth.  When he’s done he usually drinks a whole whack of water too, to wash everything down. And then he goes to sleep.

Lazy

Corgi Fun Time

Porch Corgi

I don’t have a DIY post for you today.  But I think that corgis make every Friday a bit better.

Traveler has been a friend of ours for over a decade.  He went to high school with the Pie, and then I met him when I met Stef back in our first year of university in 2001.  And he’s probably wanted a dog since then.  But with school and work and his jet-setting lifestyle, having a pet wasn’t feasible.  Until now.

Signal Hill

Recently, Traveler began his search for a pet in earnest.  He was looking for an adult dog, so he could skip the puppy stage that would require him to be a helicopter parent.  And, having met Grenadier and fallen in love with him (because no one is immune to Gren’s charm — NO ONE), he wanted a corgi.  I put him in touch with the man who bred Gren, thinking that he might know a retired breeding bitch in need of a home.

It was serendipity, really.  The breeder wrote back that the one girl from Gren’s litter, Bahkita, was available.

The pups at 6 weeks. Bahkita is on the left, Gren is the big lug next to her. Photo by Ben Lobo.

Every dog in that litter had come out with huge ears (you’ve seen Gren’s, right?), and Bahkita’s were a little on the floppy side, so he couldn’t in good conscience breed her knowing her pups might not conform to the champion standard.  And as much as he would have liked to keep her, city by-laws prevented him from having more than three dogs at any given time, so she needed a home.

Surveillance
Gren’s ears at six months.

On the Friday night after I arrived in Ottawa last week, Traveler and I (and Gren) drove out to the breeder’s house for a meet and greet.  In-residence were Patty (Gren and Bahkita’s sire), Bahkita (Gren’s sister), and a three-month-old puppy.  Add Gren to the mix and there was a party in the making.  I apologize in advance for the blurriness of these photos.  It’s hard to take decent shots of animals who will not sit still.

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Ganging up on Gren.

It was shocking to see how large Gren had turned out.  We had always known he’d be big for a corgi, and at his last weigh-in at the vet’s he clocked in at 34.4lb, which is at the extreme high end of the corgi weight scale.  I had thought that Patty, his dad, would be the same size but I was so very wrong.

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This is Patty. He likes to climb people to get kisses.

All the other dogs present were pretty much half his size, with shorter coats and narrower shoulders.  Patty, whom I’d always thought was big, weighs about 26lb.  Bahkita weighs about 22lb.  These are normal ranges for Pembroke corgis.  Turns out I just have a gigantor corgi on my hands.

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Don’t be fooled by the puppy on the ground. She was in control the whole time.

Despite being the biggest in the bunch, Gren’s natural submissiveness meant that he was dominated at every turn, even by the puppy.  It was pretty cute to see him getting beaten up time and time again.  He needs a blow to his ego every once in a while, the spoiled jerk.

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More ganging up on Gren.

After playing like mad with three other dogs for an hour and a half, Gren came home and promptly fell asleep on my brother’s feet.

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And outright refused to get out of bed the next day.

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Traveler ended up taking Bahkita home on Saturday morning, and on Sunday night, after she’d had a chance to settle in and get to know her new family, Traveler brought her over for a short playtime with her big brother.  My pictures here are a little better, because they were both tired and therefore slower.

Bahkita and Friends

Bahkita and Friends
Already very attached to her new dad.

Bahkita and Friends

We look forward to having many more play dates like this in the future.  Stay tuned for Christmas when we will be featuring Corgis in the Snow!

Gren Learns to Swim

Gren Learns to Swim

We didn’t have much of a summer in Newfoundland, so when the Pie and I were visiting family in Ottawa we took advantage of the proximity to our cousin’s cottage and decided to teach Grenadier how to swim.

Gren Learns to Swim

Now, some dogs, like labs, goldens, duck tollers, and PWDs, are born swimmers.  Other dogs, especially those whose front ends are significantly heavier than their back ends, like pugs, bulldogs, daschunds, and yes, corgis, are not.

Gren Learns to Swim

Even so, it was something we wanted to get Gren used to doing, just so he would have some options on a hot summer day.  Aside from some wading about and a briefly traumatic fall into a turtle pond, Gren was a land-lubber.

Gren Learns to Swim

For safety’s sake, and because corgis are not natural swimmers, we got Gren a dog’s life jacket.  Make sure when you are looking for a life jacket that the seams are tightly sewn and the workmanship looks good.  Ensure that the fit is correct for your dog’s weight, as well as his length.

Gren Learns to Swim

You should be able to comfortably lift the dog up by the handle of the jacket when the jacket is properly secured. This handle is especially useful when your dog falls off your boat and you can just haul him back on.

Gren Learns to Swim

This Outward Hound version is widely available and nicely affordable at around thirty bucks retail.  I like the additional flotation under the chin, which helps keep the dog’s head above the water — this is a plus (and a must) with brachiocephalic dogs like pugs and bulldogs, who don’t have the long snouts of other dogs.  And remember that even with a life jacket, you should never leave your dogs unsupervised in the water!

Gren Learns to Swim

Gren likes to paddle in the water, but he’ll never be a big swimmer.  Whenever we had him out over his head his first move was to head for shore.

Gren Learns to Swim

He did swim out to “rescue” the Pie at one point, because he was too far away, but that was the only time he left the shore of his own will.

Gren Learns to Swim

He was really not a big fan.

Gren Learns to Swim

Newest Member

My Valentine to you is puppy love ♥.

I’d like to introduce you to someone.  The chick with the Justin Beiber haircut?  No, no, that’s just me.  You know me.  I want to introduce you to the little guy on the right.  That’s our future puppy, Grenadier St. James.

At the time of this post little Gren is only 6 weeks old and not quite ready to leave his mum, but he’s already cemented himself into our hearts.  Cait’s heart too.  The Pie is jealous that he doesn’t get to meet him until April, but what can you do …So anyway, in about two weeks a small furry sausage of a corgi will be running around wreaking havoc in our household and I’m sure will be the inspiration for many a blog post to come.Stay tuned.  Chaos will reign.