Gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now!

Peach is steadily on her way to earning her “Master of the Outdoors!” achievement. She is a rather good girl, house-training-wise, especially considering she has every ability and opportunity to wander into a quiet corner and piddle where we’ll never find it. Instead, she is predictable. She stops to drink and snack about twice a day, between her two large meals, poops about twice a day, and pees at least six times. She is taken out first thing in the morning, last thing at night, and either after a long nap, before or after we leave, or if she just asks.

How does Peach ask to go outside and tame the great, snowy Canadian wilds? With music.

Poochie Bells

To the left, you’ll see some Poochie Bells. Poochie Bells are not a new idea, but they’re one great and functional take on it. When I was a kid, our dog had a bell, and she rang the bell to let us know she wanted to go outside. My last two dogs never really caught on to the idea. The male had a health issue that caused him to be unable to control his bladder, so he didn’t really have the option of asking us, and the female thought the bells were just a thing to get our attention in general.

I don’t actually have any Poochie Bells (Though I would like some!) but I do have some jingle-bells on a string, attached to my front door. I showed Peach they were there, had her ring them for a few treats, and left it at that. I figured she would someday ring them by accident while playing, and learn that her action had a positive consequence. Boy, was she quick on the uptake!

About ten days after the bells went up, Peach used them. I wasn’t home, but my boyfriend was, and he said she rang the bell, and went outside, and peed. She then proceeded to ring the bell three more times last night. And today, she continued her ring-a-dingling. She does it with a purpose. She rings the bell loudly, then sits oriented towards the door and looks back at us. She has a purpose: to pee. She has a tool to tell us she has to pee. And she will use it.

ID 4 Life

There are many ways to identify your pets now. Some dogs still get tattoos, most wear registration or rabies tags, many have microchips, a permanent form of identification. I’m a sucker for the adorable- I may have mentioned this, with my Bone Bowl and wicker dog basket and tiny sweater?- so I absolutely needed a cute ID tag for Peach. But what was cute enough for her?

"Hello, my name is ADORABLE."

I didn’t want a regular disc tag, although I did check out the Tag Studio’s excellent customisation options at length. I didn’t want another Boomerang CollarTag, even though they’re a great option if you hate dingle-dingling as much as I do. I just like the tag to be very visible, to attract attention in case of emergency. I even checked Etsy for lots of different options for graphic tags and hand-stamped tags, but none of them felt right. Until I remembered that Dog-Milk did a review of some dog tags by Animal Outfitters, who made “Hello My Name Is” tags.

I thought, that is what I need for Peach. But I didn’t like how the tags were in settings, and the price was a little prohibitive. So I looked up other options on Etsy, and found ID4Pet. They do many graphic tags in shiny, resin-like material. You can buy your dog a fake license tag, or a heart-shaped tag, or a Keep Calm tag. They’re almost endlessly customisable, because ID4Pet allows you to select your colour and font choice. On some tags, you have more options than on others. All seem to be double-sided.

I ordered Peach a tag, and then realised that we may be moving soon and change our phone number, so my cell would be a better option. ID4Pet offers to make a second tag with a different number or in a different colour/font combo for a little over half the price of the first tag. If you’re smarter than me, you take up the offer immediately and save on shipping. If you’re not… Well, I’ll be waiting another two weeks to receive my second tag. They do take a while to make, as they appear to be baked to set the resin that makes up the majority of the tag, and makes it so shiny, durable, and waterproof.

Cuteness level: Over 9000.

I received Peach’s tag today and affixed it to her collar with a second jumpring, to keep it forward-facing. She tried to eat it until she got used to it, and then I snapped a few adorable pictures. I chose a small tag, in tea rose, with font option #22. It suits her, and is probably my favourite tag I have purchased to date. And I have gone through lots of tags in search of adorable!

Working like a dog!

Since I was a wee thing, my family has told me I should be a veterinarian. I am passionate about few things, and animals are one of the things I hold closest to my heart. Learning about them, teaching them, watching them grow. Raising my cats from newborn kittens was one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced. Being a part of Peach’s early development? A dream come true.

So when I had the opportunity over the summer, I became part of a local business project. At our farmer’s market, I made and sold dog collars, leashes, toys, and treats. I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped, mostly because my market was not actually our poor, destitute city, in which many dogs don’t even use leashes (Despite leash laws) After a time, I found that I was unhappy with the quality of the supplies I was using, and moved on.

Peach's leash and collar.

When Peach was coming, I was once again unable to find her any apparel I really liked. So I ordered new supplies, and when they arrived, I made new products. I had enough left over to make collars for both of my cats, as well. It struck me that, in trying to make something to suit my dog, instead of something to suit an arbitrary collection of “needs” I felt I had to fulfill, I had created the product I initially set out to create in June of 2011.

So today, I’ve opened the Etsy store Little Blond Dog designs, in honour of my little princess. Thus far, of course, with only a few supplies left, I have only a few items up. I hope to be able to add more patterns, more sizes, more styles, and more things to my shop, in time.

In time, I am also hoping to become a CCPDT certified dog trainer… I just need to find out how to get there!

Egon and Astrid's collars.

Stop Growing!

It dawned on me today that in the two weeks Peach has been part of the family, she’s grown.

It’s a little hard to see with a small breed. They start small, and end small. Peach was about the size of a big Teddy bear syrian hamster when she was born, and she was the biggest puppy. She’ll ultimately end up about 7 pounds as an adult. There’s not much of a change from here to there, considering how some giant breeds start out small (4-5 pounds) and end up enormous (200+ pounds)

Pictured: Most appropriate canine diner ever.

But Peach is definitely bigger. I can see it more in how she approaches the world than how she looks, physically. Two weeks ago, she had trouble reaching her double-diner, which is the Bone Bowl (It’s amazing and flawless and fulfills my need for adorable things) She would insist on standing in the space between the knobs on the diner to reach her bowls. Now, she stands with ease in the middle to reach either of the metal dishes containing her delicious meals and water.

A week ago, she couldn’t jump up over my arm and onto my lap(top) while I was on the couch. Now she bounces a little and I have to tell her she can’t use my computer. In a similar vein, she couldn’t reach the seat of the couch with her paws, and now she’s this close to being able to run and jump up on it with us. She is still dwarfed by her sibling-cats, but now she can hold her own against them when they wrestle with her. Also, she can eat a whole treat in two bites, instead of in four hundred.

It’s amazing to be on the inside watching an infant animal grow, but sometimes, you miss the little things. An inch or a pound, and to visitors, the dog looks totally different. But since we see that inch or pound gain millimeter by gram, it’s hard to see the growth. We just suddenly realise, hey! My dog isn’t as small as he was! And then I write a blog post.

Because that’s what crazy people do.