Monday, December 31, 2007

Year in Review

Biggie's Resolutions 2008:
1. No more Cujo.
2. Stop sock stealing.
3. Overcome separation anxiety.
4. Become a gentler crotch-sniffer.
5. No more wastebasket diving or sidewalk (garbage) surfing.


Biggie's (half) Year in Pictures:



May - Four days old. 


May - Eyes just opening... 

June - Biggie snuggles with his big brother Yetti, while Apollo naps with Spirit and Tex.


June - Litter box training in the whelping box. 


June - Almost weaned. I think Biggie is the fat one on top squishing his way in. 


June - Biggie and Tex in the back row. 


June/July - He does clean up nicely. 

June/July - Mellow puppy. 


June/July - Fatty in the pool!


July 15, 2007.



July - Biggie opens a present. 

August - Biggie takes a rest after the photo shoot on the dam. 


September - First Biggie/Tex reunion.



November - Biggie takes a rest from chasing our friends' guinea fowl, turkeys, chickens and ducks (and actually catching a duck).

December - Biggie and Tex reunion and photo shoot.

December - 7 months old, almost... 

December - Wrasslin' in the snow, at 7 months.

Christmas

Christmas Day, looking like Daddy Y.

December 30 - snuggling with 6-year old Anna. 


CHRISTMAS PRESENTS!!

Biggie's first Christmas, and he totally gets the whole concept of opening his Christmas presents:


Actually, opening the presents may be as much or more fun than playing with them.  



In the foreground you can see the small Orvis rooster, still intact, luckily, since even the Orvis flagship store is out of them until 2008. In the background is an orange dog toy that Biggie found in the condo - left by the previous owners, apparently, since we didn't buy it and we have no idea where he found it.





After Biggie pulled the presents out of the shipping box, he proceeded to tear the box up more. That was not so interesting for us humans, so we finished with some posed shots. 


Giant cow knuckle and 15 pizzles!

And a birdhouse puzzle with 3 little squeaky birds to extract. This takes Biggie 3 minutes or less to finish, but he will carry the house and birds around the condo with him. If anyone has any better ideas for challenging puzzle toys, let me know. Hole-y roller and Kong roller have already been done to death, they don't take him too long either. 


FOOD PORN



Isn't that the most beautiful picture in the world? My mommy says this might be a boring blog entry because it's all about what I eat, but I think it's one of the most important posts because I LOVE MY FOOD.

My mama Snow ate a raw diet when she was growing me, and when I was weaned, I started on canned pumpkin and yogurt gruel. It made me very dirty but I really liked to eat it! Mama Clare called it "pumpkin neck." You can see my pumpkin mouth here, when I was about 5 weeks old:



Mama Clare thought I would be the biggest puppy from my litter because all I liked to do was eat and sleep. Shortly before we went to our forever homes, Mama Clare switched us to Eagle Pack Holistic Select adult kibble with a big dollop of pumpkin (we LOVE pumpkin!) because not everyone is up to the raw diet. It is a LOT of work in the front end, but raw diet advocates say it all pays off in the BACK end, if you know what I mean!

Anyway, I was always a good eater and kibble was no different. I pretty much inhaled it. We ate adult kibble because as large-to-giant breed puppies, it's really important to grow us sloooow. And on top of that, we needed to be trained to be calm before and after eating so we don't get bloat. So I would sit in my crate for half an hour, eat my kibble soaked in warm water (in my crate), then wait another half hour in my crate before I got a potty walk. Mommy did this three times a day! Now, I like my crate more than most puppies, since I associate it with food and treats A LOT, but even this was getting a little ridiculous. 

After Mommy and P-Daddy had me for about a month, they realized their dog food mail order bills were about $75 a month, and this was just for a 3-month old pup! Also, I made a lot of poop for such a little guy and it was really smelly. And I farted a lot - pretty much any time I got excited, agitated or worried. Mommy and P-Daddy had a lot of fun blaming me for all their bad smells. So since Mama Clare and Aunt Cindy all fed their kuvasz on raw, Mommy decided to try it a little. She'd read some good things about the raw diet (also caled "BARF" for Bones and Raw Food) at NJBoxers.com and here, so she thought she might give it a shot. 

The food probably costs about the same or a little less now, mostly because in NYC everything just costs more. I've been on raw for 4-1/2 months now and I love it. P-Daddy complains about the work but he's learning to use the food processor, and we buy our meat in bulk now so it works out ok. 

Here's the general rule of thumb on how much to eat - for baby puppies, about 10% of current body weight per day, divided into 2-3 meals because we can't really fit that much in our tummies and we need to learn how to chew. Another rule of thumb is 2% of expected adult body weight. So I get around 2 lbs of food a day now, in 2 meals; sometimes a little more when I am very active or when I give my mommy and daddy big googly hungry eyes. I'm probably leaner than most of my brothers now. P-Daddy thinks Tex looks big and manly, but I like to tell him that my svelte figure will fill out in the end. Besides, Tex was lifting his leg long before I was - I just started this week and still only do it about 50% of the time.

Each meal is a variation of this:

approx 1 lb raw meat, with bones
1 c. veggie mix
1 T. canned pumpkin
1-2 T. lowfat yogurt
1 egg with shell in the mornings
supplements (joint supplements, fish oil, probiotics/digestive aids if necessary)

MEAT:
my staples are RAW chicken necks and backs and chicken leg quarters (which have a drumstick, thigh and piece of back), bones on, skin off. 

If there is a sale on whole chickens, Mommy will give me a whole one in pieces, with organs, over a day or two. 

I also get pork necks, pork rib tips, lamb bones for stew, beef parts, ground beef, ground chicken, turkey wings, organ meats (chicken livers, gizzards, beef liver, etc.)  and most delicious of all, white fish with bones, all from FreshDirect or Esposito's Pork Shop, my favorite place to visit in NYC. Pork needs to be frozen for 3 weeks and then it is safe to eat raw. 

VEGGIE MIX:
My humans get a weekly delivery of organic fruits and vegetables from Urban Organic (I know, they sound like such Bobos with their mail order organic whole food silliness, don't they? But I get yummy food as a result, so you won't hear me complain.) Whatever veggies they don't eat or don't like or starts to look a little limp when the next delivery is coming, goes into the food processor and gets ground up for my veggie mix, sometimes with a little olive oil and apple cider vinegar. They make a pile and freeze it in plastic Chinese food takeout containers (why don't they ever share that delivery food with me??) for later use. Here's a rough list of what goes into my veggie mix; it varies week by week (yum):

collard greens
broccoli
spinach
kale
carrots
squash
cauliflower
apples
lettuce
cucumber

I love leafy greens and will eat them in pieces as a treat when Mommy's making veggie mix. Also carrots and cucumbers. Mmmmm.

(when Mommy is feeling lazy she will sometimes mash frozen vegetables from the supermarket AS LONG AS THERE IS NO CORN)

BENEFITS:
The links above talk about the benefits, but there are a few main ones from mine and my humans' point of view:

1. Human-grade food at roughly the same price as high quality kibble. Also healthier and cheaper for my humans because sometimes they eat my chicken (after cooking it first, of course) instead of bad takeout/delivery food. 

2. Less waste, less odor. The veggies were things that would get thrown out otherwise. But more importantly, because there are no fillers and my body digests this stuff very efficiently, my poo is smaller, easier to pick up in NYC, degrades faster in VT, and doesn't smell so bad. Pork makes it a little smelly, though. I'm probably around 80 lbs. now but I make about as much poo as a dog half my size or smaller. Mommy really appreciates this because she can do a very effective 1-hand poop scooping instead of a dual-hand plastic bag pickup. I don't fart anymore either. Or maybe they don't stink anymore, which is good enough for my folks. Also, my breath has no odor, which is good when I am licking my peeps or panting in their faces because I want them to wake up. 

3. Chewing. I learned how to chew my food at an early age. It still amazes my people that I can down a chicken leg quarter in about 2 minutes, but I do CHEW it. Crunching through those bones keeps my pearly whites, well, pearly white, and works off a lot of energy. It also helps keep me from chewing inappropriate things, like shoes and furniture. I still chew a few things, but not that much. In my almost-6-months living with Mommy and P-Daddy, the only impermissible things I have destroyed are 1 window crank-handle and I left a few teeth marks in an outdoor restaurant's bamboo chair leg (Mommy left a BIG TIP that time for sure). Otherwise I stick to my bones, chew toys, pizzles (bully sticks) and the corrugated cardboard boxes I get from time to time.  

4. Other health benefits. The omega-3 oils are supposed to help me learn faster and keep me more focused and calmer. I have to say I am one smart, good-looking puppy, though at least some of that may be due to my good breeding as well. I know how to open my pen and crate doors from both directions as long as they are not latched (I'm working on the latched part!!!), I stand patiently for my seat belt and know how to get in and out of the car when I'm supposed to, and I know how to undo my car seat belt in dire circumstances. I also remember people once I've met them once, and I love to play hide and seek. I also learn new commands in minutes, though whether I choose to obey them is up to me. I will work hard if properly motivated (cold cuts, bacon and cheese make me do anything). My coat is very thick and soft although it smells a little like fish sometimes.

(ed.- Clearly, Omega-3 oils, despite being touted as the wonder supplement, do not encourage obedience, humility or modesty)

HOW DID I GET STARTED?
It takes about 24-48 hours to detox, so we waited for a quiet summer weekend in Vermont. I was 3 months old and I had my yummy pumpkin and yogurt, and a chicken wing or two. It took me a while to figure out I was supposed to use my sharp little puppy teeth to chew it. It also took me, like, 20 minutes to eat that first wing. I really didn't drink very much water since there is so much more water in raw food. Then Mommy and P-Daddy took me out every 2 hours to see if I would do anything. Remember, this was when I was potty training, too, so we were always going in and out and in and out.... Finally a day later I made a teeny tiny poo, then everything stabilized and we got back on schedule. 

When I was teething I was really no different from before. Since I got to chew so much, most of my puppy teeth came out when I was eating. 

I now have a routine for meals, and it takes me less than 5 minutes to eat. As soon as my bowl comes out I am sitting in the kitchen waiting for any little pieces of food anyone wants to hand feed me. I love licking the spoon with the yogurt and pumpkin on it. Then I heel with the food bowl as we walk to my crate, and sit again while my food bowl is put in my crate. Once Mommy or P-Daddy says "ok" (sometimes they make me hand target or do some other tricks first), I open my crate door and go in and CHOW DOWN. First I lick the egg up, then I start licking the veggie/yogurt/pumpkin mix. Eventually the meat gets in the way and I pull it out of the bowl and leave it on the floor for later (this is why I am fed in my crate). I finish my "salad," then eat my meat. Once that is gone I lick the floor of my crate and my bowl for any additional food, and then finally I eat the eggshell. If Mommy and P-Daddy have left the room, I give them a yip to let them know I'm done. Then I sit and wait for them to come let me out. They take the bowl and wipe down my crate, though they don't really need to do that since I licked every single food particle already. The only variation on this routine is if there is liver or fish, which gets eaten immediately

All this talk about food is making me hungry. Off to see if I can wheedle a marrow bone from Mommy.






Puppy's first snow

December 2 (ok, we're a leeeetle behind) I saw my first glimpse of the white stuff that I now know comes in so many consistencies, flavors and depths. But when I took Mommy on her first walk in this stuff called "snow," she didn't know what to do with it either because she wore her pajama pants and slippers outside and she got all wet! hahahaha. (Mommy Note: I forgot to look out the window before going outside.) I tried to catch snowflakes in my mouth and dug in the "snow" to find the smelly sidewalk underneath. It was still there. I did my business - first business in the snow! Then we came in to tell P-Daddy, who was still in bed. Once I woke him up and got him excited about the snow (a little paw on the clean sheets and a cold wet nose bump usually does the job), he got so riled up he got the CAR out and we all went for a ride! 



Here you can see me resting up for the excitement that ALWAYS comes after we go for a ride in the CAR. I know I'm going to need my energy. Daddy used his energy making silly faces. Mommy kept saying she was tired because she had jet lag because she was away in You-Rope on "business." This is odd because the only "business" I ever have to do, I can do pretty much anywhere outside as long as Mommy has a plastic bag. So I don't know why she had to leave me for so long. We have plenty of plastic bags at home. 


But anyway, I digest. When we go in the car it always puts me to sleep and it's a great place to be because pretty much anytime I'm in the car my core flock of Mommy and P-Daddy are BOTH there. So it's a good time. By the way, for you safety-conscious dogs out there, I am ALWAYS in a seat belt in the car. I'm big enough to stay strapped in and use the armrest as a pillow for a nice nap. It's my preferred position. (I have also learned to undo my seat belt, but I only do that in dire situations, like when I have to go diary and Mommy is driving and not listening to me. Then I undo it and stand and breathe in her ear and whimper out the window. Luckily Mommy is smart enough to understand.)

Little did I know that we were taking the CAR to see my big brother TEX! Tex's pop made him a big giant playpen outside and it was full of snow. We got to wrestle and play and we even had a little fight, but don't tell Mama Clare. Mine and Tex's people said it was because of something called "hormones," but we got along ok after Tex realized it was me. 

First he jumped on me like usual:


Then we patrolled his play pen together. It's so big! And it's outside so we can bark at things if they come by. Tex has a little big brother named Shay (short for Shakespeare) who is a little deaf. Shay actually stays close to the house so he gets to play outside the play pen. Shay bosses Tex around a little but we both respect him because he's a grownup. He may be smaller on the outside, but he's bigger on the inside. 


After we ran around and wrestled a bit, I decided to see if Tex's snow tasted like my snow. It was just as wet, but it wasn't as fragrant as NYC snow. (Tex, I've since learned that VERMONT snow is the BEST except that I think some bad snow made Mommy fall while she was skiing and she hurt her shoulders. Now she is staying home with me while P-Daddy skis, which is pretty good except for the P-Daddy being away part. So maybe snow is a good thing after all because she's not leaving me alone for hours and hours and hours like she usually does when we're in Vermont.)



Eventually our humans went inside to eat and we stayed outside to play a little so we wouldn't bother them while we were eating. 




So it's a little late, but Mommy had to learn how to use her new laptop and iMovie, and she was too busy skiing all week until she got hurt yesterday and now she can stay home with MEEEEEEE (See, Wimsey, I am learning from you! Although I didn't make her get hurt, she did that all by herself, she has double shoulder dislocations and has to walk around with her arms in these sling things that look like giant socks that I will plan to steal later). But first here is a video of Tex chasing me in his giant playpen when we were 6-1/2 months old and we saw our first snow. It was loads of fun! (We actually had a real fight for a moment in there which is why Mommy put the music in the video because otherwise we sound a little like wild monsters! ARR! ARR! ROWWW! ROWWW!)




video

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Seasonal poll to the right... --->
We're still in Vermont, I've been playing with dogs and generally having a great time other than overindulging in some rawhide last night that has my tummy a bit upset. 

Hint: If you are still looking for belated Christmas presents for Mommy and P-Daddy, they might like some more Nature's Miracle for the Vermont condo. And paper towels...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Biggie in Vermont


Yes, we got a little snow in Vermont last weekend. And P-Daddy is not a midget.
Big long boring post on my diet is in the works but Mommy's work keeps getting in the way.
LOST DOG IN CHICAGO: Newfoundland with white on his chest and paws, who answers to Johnny or Tug has been missing FOR A WEEK. He's microchipped and his family is offering a $5000 reward, no questions asked. Please give this family the Christmas miracle they need. Go to Nanook and Pooka's blog for details: http://nanookthenewfy.blogspot.com/

Friday, December 14, 2007

Thanksgiving Part 3 of 3

Hi, Biggie here.
The Orvis Christmas present tragedy took me out of the loop for a while and I've been battling some tummy upset as well. I'm not quite 100% but enough to post a quick one. Maybe I'll have to let Tex tell the story of our play date and first snow.

On top of that, P-Daddy's pictures are stuck on his computer and Mommy got a new kuvasz* for Christmas that she is playing with and she has been having trouble getting the pictures off of it. So this picture was hung up in cyberspace for a while. But the best part of Thanksgiving was having so many kids to chase me and play with me. Can't you tell? Have a great weekend, everyone. Stratton got 8 more inches of snow last night and more snow due tomorrow night, so Mommy says she's gonna take me and P-Daddy up to Vermont to bark at skiers!

*(that's Biggie-speak for "laptop")

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Puppy News Flash: TRAGEDY!! Christmas disaster!

ORVIS IS ALL OUT OF MY FAVORITE SQUEAKY ROOSTERS! First, my giant rooster is out of commission with a busted wing. Grandma needs to sew it up for me, but now Grandma isn't coming to Vermont to visit me. A new giant rooster won't ship until MARCH 2008.

Not only that, but the smaller Orvis roosters that come in red, green or blue, are also all out of stock. They won't ship until January or February of NEXT YEAR, and I was going to buy Christmas roosters for everyone! Ok, the blue ones sort of suck because they don't squeak, but the red and green are pretty cool!

What am I going to get Tex and Spirit for Christmas?? Maybe I will have to find a way to send them some of Mommy's dirty socks and some trash in a giant cardboard box.

And - my shipment of beef pizzles last night came up a little SHORT... (if you don't know what beef pizzles are, they are the best dog chew treat in the world, but P-Daddy always gets a funny look on his face when I am chewing one) I only got 7 instead of 10. That won't even last me to the end of this week!

This is not a good sign. All my Christmas presents are going to be late.

I may have to make Mommy and Daddy take me to the Orvis Flagship store this weekend so I can pick out some presents.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Thanksgiving Part 2: Guest Bloggers Buddy and Benji


BUDDY: Hi, we decided to tell you a little about what Thanksgiving was REALLY like, before Biggie comes back and spoils it with more pictures of himself...

BENJI: ...acting all cute and stuff, like he wasn't this big galumphing dork of a puppy who just pestered us all the time!

BUDDY: Benji! That is so not fair! Biggie was cute; he was just a little... er... energetic. You didn't have to bark at him so much.

BENJI: My couch is just that. MY couch. Mine.


BUDDY: In case you couldn't tell, Benji's the grouchy one -

BENJI: -harumph!

BUDDY: --and I'm the more cheerful one. We're both Shi-tzu-poos (I know, I know, I've heard it before) but we have very different personalities. We do both bark, ...

BENJI: the home must be defended!

BUDDY: But all we do is bark.

BENJI: I'd just bark them all away. You know that.

BUDDY: A lot of good our barking did to chase that Big puppy away.

BENJI: Well he's not here now, is he?

BUDDY: I don't think our barking had anything to do with that. I think his mommy and daddy took him home.

BENJI: Nah, I barked them all away too.

BUDDY: Yeah, whatever.

BENJI: Hey, you didn’t have a big spongy nose all up your business the whole time! I didn’t get a moment’s peace. He kept wanting to smell me, to see what was going on. I swear, if I have to hear, “Whatchoo doing? Can I see? Can I play? Whatchoo doing? Whatchoo doing? Can I join too, please please please!” one more time, I'm gonna blow!



BUDDY (aside): I guess now would not be the time to spring the Huckleberry surprise on him…

BENJI: I heard that! What’s Hucklebeary surprise? I loves surprises as long as they are tasty. Huckleberry sounds tasty!

BUDDY: Huckleberry is, like, our cousin. Or maybe our nephew. Tyler’s been cheating on us and now he has another pup to cuddle. And I heard that Huck likes to play chase like Biggie.

BENJI: Oh no, oh no! I will just bark him away!

BUDDY: He might take all our toys like Biggie did.

BENJI: That’s ok as long as Huck brings us special gifts and treats. We’re easily bribed.

BUDDY: Actually, even if Huck’s mom and dad throw a stick for us once in a while, we’d probably be pretty happy.


BENJI: And besides, anything is better than 70 pounds of rambunctious puppy.

BUDDY: True dat.

video

Monday, December 3, 2007

Training Challenge: Laundry Poaching


Here's a post where we need your input, dear readers.

Kuvasz are intelligent, silly and a delight to be with. The problem is that if you don't find good games to play with them, they will invent a game and train YOU. This is Biggie's new game (developed in the last 2 days) if he is loose in the apartment and I'm trying to do work or something else that doesn't involve food:

Ignore readily available chew and squeak toys.
Wander quietly into bedroom, rummage in laundry basket.
Appear silently in front of Mommy with dirty sock or underwear in mouth.
Stand just out of reach.
Wait for Mommy to notice.
Trot away.
Make Mommy chase. Run only as fast enough to keep Mommy close, but not close enough to grab.

If Mommy doesn't see right away, approach again, letting sock or underwear dangle more.

Shake head vigorously from side to side, or pretend to eat the clothing.

Repeat as needed.


While he's an equal opportunity sock stealer, he only takes Mommy's underwear. That was probably TMI.

Yes, I could confine him while I am doing other things, or keep him on a leash. But Biggie's in his pen or crate during the day when I am at work, and sleeps in his crate at night. So it would be nice to have him out of the pen/crate for a while.

Any suggestions? (I will post my current strategy in a later post.)

Friday, November 30, 2007

Where's my mommy?

Where's my mommies? I miss my mommy. Mommy-O went away somewhere and didn't take me with her! (Biggie, I'm in Europe and will be home tomorrow!) And I miss Mama Clare and my very first Mommy Snow! Here is a picture of my pretty Mommy Snow. I can't blog any more now, I am going to go sit in my pen and mope.


(moping)
(more moping)
(bark at noise in the hall)
(still moping)


I also miss my sister Spirit, the Little Princess.
We're both around 70 pounds at 6 months. I'm 26" at the shoulder but my brothers are all around 80 pounds and Yetti is more than 2" taller than me! At this point I'm so lonely I wouldn't mind being sat on by my big brothers. :(

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving, Part 1



Greetings from Virginia! I got to spend Thanksgiving weekend with my puppy transport team and lots of relatives and doggies at the house where I first met my mommy and daddy. I miss Tyler and Emily though!

On Wednesday we had a long day and I rode in the car for 4 hours. We got to the Andersons' and I was CRRRAZY! My mommy doesn't have any pictures because it was midnight and she was dog-tired from driving the whole way. I ran around with Buddy and Benji, the shi-tzu-poo boys. When I first met them I was around the same size. They chased me and barked at me a lot - it was really fun! Then I wouldn't settle down when everyone was trying to go to bed because I slept on the drive down and still wanted to play.


On Thanksgiving morning Mommy took me for a long walk to try to tire me out. We met a golden retriever named Lance who is 4 years old and about my size. We wrestled a lot. Lance tried to hump me! By the time it was noon it was 75 degrees out even though it looked like "fall" (whatever that is). Mommy said I needed to save my energy for the Armour kids but I still wanted to play. There were delicious smells coming from the kitchen and I went in the backyard and played with Buddy and Benji. I think Benji is THE SHI-tzu-poo! He is so cool I want to follow him around. It is Very Important that I know what he is doing AT ALL TIMES because if I bother him enough he chases me. hee hee hee.

Here you can see I finally got Buddy and Benji to chase me. Happy, happy day!!





Woohoo!!







Buddy is chasing me, it is SO much fun. Look how fast I can run!







Heeheehee, chase me!












Ok, now after you chase me I chase you, right?


Please, will you chase me?







I'm only 6 months old, and BOY does it feel good to stretch my legs!!







Buddy and Benji don't like it so much when I chase them. I think they sort of like it but they are a little scared because I make a big toothy smile.



Please, please, PLEASE chase me! I know you are a little grumpy, Benji, but really all I want to do is play with you! You can even jump on my head.







Finally, even I got a little tuckered out, and that was before the Armour kids got here.