Checking in on Nutmeg and Nora

Our two little munchkins have been pretty busy since we last checked in with them. They went to the vet, and we found out that they had each lost about a pound since their last check up in the summer of 2010. For dogs who only weigh 15 pounds, that’s a significant weight loss, however, I’m sure they’re on their way to gaining it all back and then some!

We feed them Bil-Jac food for small dogs, and at first they didn’t care for it. The note on their old vet records said that their diets consisted of that fancy Cesar dog food and table scraps. However, they had been living in a kennel for two months, so did they really have a reason to be picky about their food? It could have been, instead, that they were not used to their surroundings and were so nervous that they lost their appetites. I’m happy to report that two times a day now they devour the food in their bowls like it’s filet mignon.

We asked the vet what we could do about their fighting, and explained the nature of their conflicts. The fights were getting pretty bad with one (usually Nutmeg) nearly pinning the other down, causing much yelping. The vet was perplexed because she said they don’t fight over what most dogs will fight over, and that’s food. Indeed, if one finishes her food before the other (usually Nora), she’ll head over to her sister’s bowl and stick her nose right in there, resulting in two dogs eating from the same bowl. They’re not agressive with their food at all.

They seem to have most of their fights about,
a.) toys,
b.) me, or
c.) some invisible thing that throws one into a violent fit against the other.

Tusslin' over a toy

The vet advised us to put the aggressor in time out, whichever is the troublemaker at the time. We have to make sure we have the same toy for each of them and then have leashes on them so we can pull them apart if needed. We’ve also been able to monitor them better when they’re around me, giving them warnings when they start their low ominous growls. They’ve been getting better about their “she’s looking at me wrong,” fights when they’re in their crate. Yes, they’re in the same crate. That crate is so big and has taken over the first floor that I am resisting getting another one. I’d rather see them try to just get along. If it were to get to the point that one was in danger, I’d break down and get another crate, probably two small ones. You never know. Then again, we expect that they’ll get to the point where the crate isn’t needed anymore at all, as was the case with their two, 100-pound predecessors.

Trying to get the Swiffer duster from top of piano

They’re coming along with their housebreaking, but I don’t think we can expect miracles overnight. Thank goodness for XO Cleaner. We’ve used that since Happy was a pup eight years ago. It seems that Nutmeg thinks it’s okay to use the crate as a toilet, but what can you expect? She was in a kennel for two months, and her cage was her bathroom. She also likes to go someplace quiet and do her business. So, she’s on the leash most of the time in the house, and therefore, so is Nora. They don’t mind at all and probably love that they get to follow us everywhere. So, as long as they’re right with us, they don’t have any accidents, and we give them lots of positve reinforcement when they do what they need to do–outside. I think we’re quite a ways away from the day when they’ll actually let us know when they want to go out, like Happy and Scout did.

How to split a Swiffer duster in two

Speaking of positive reinforcement, we’re using that a lot whenever one shows the least amount of affection to the other. That seems to have helped a bit. At least it seems like it’s helping. . .

Now that Nutmeg and Nora have been here for three weeks, we can’t imagine life without them. We love how they jump up into our laps when we sit down in the living room, or when we’re at the dining room table playing Bananagrams. They even tolerate each other when both want want to sit on one lap at the same time. We love how they show so much affection toward us and how they no longer flinch when we reach out our hands to pet them. We love how excited they are to go on their nightly walk and how that helps us burn off some calories from dinner.

As Daughter Kasey said, they’re just perfect and everything Jim and I hoped for.

That’s all for today. Stay tuned for more adventures of Nutmeg and Nora!

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