All dog owners have one thing in common: we’ve all got poop bags.(Well, we’ve all probably also got dog hair on our pants, a living room littered with stuffed toy carcasses and a variety of weird meat products in our pantries, but that is beside the point. We’re talking about poop bags. Get your head in the game.) The real question isn’t whether you’ll have a bunch of poop bags around, its how you’ll choose to store them. Some people, like me, choose to keep them tucked away in a cupboard like our doggy command centre, but these other creative poop bag storage solutions kind of make me want to put them out for display.
Spring has sprung, yo!… [read more]
Noisy dogs are one of the most difficult apartment living problems to solve. No one wants live alongside a dog who is always making a racket and no one wants to be that neighbour either. Part of being a good neighbour is taking steps to help minimize dog noise in an apartment. These tips can help.
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Ever since we moved into the apartment, I’ve been looking for the perfect welcome mat.I’m super fussy about what makes it into my space and while I put down one of those rubber bottom grey utility mats right away, to protect my beige carpet from our winter weather and holy woof, THE MUD. While I’ve found a few really cute mats for dog lovers, I haven’t found the mat just yet. Felix thought I should get this one. Kol is pretty sure this is that mat we should get, just on the of chance that people take it seriously and he gets a few roasts out of the deal.
Both mats were just way too small for what I need and while they’re cute, they’re just a little too generic dog lover to me.They’re cute, but they could honestly go in any dog loving home anywhere. I want something a little more us. That’s why I was so excited to discover this custom mat tutorial. I can totally make my own mat and it can be everything I want. Heck, I could even use the giant utility mat I already have and make it 100% Casa de Koly fabulous.
Like this, yo:
THIS IS HAPPENING.
Have you ever considered making your own mat? What would it say?
Like a lot of dogs, Felix is involved in a passionate love affair with his toys.Considering that he didn’t know how to play with toys when we adopted him, I’ve always found his genuine delight in his favourite stuffies incredibly endearing. I’m always on the look out for things that might thrill Felix and when I see one, whether it’s a super soft little toy or a giant stuffed dog, I just have to get it for him. Fe rarely destroys a toy, he just makes them crusty and spitty and gross. The don’t get wrecked though, which means that over the years, he’s accumulated quite the collection. In the old house, his favourite place to keep his toys was under the kitchen table. Here is the apartment, his toys have no designated “spot”. No, no, these days he prefers to keep his collection scattered all over our apartment.
As much as I love Felix and how happy his toys make him, I’m not cool with them being all over the place.After all, exactly how many toys does a dog need? He can fit like one, maybe two, toys in his mouth at one time? If he tries, he can maybe lay on two or three more? If I was a stronger human, I might be able to purge the whole lot, save only the cherished few, like dirty, stinky yak and get rid of the rest. After all, there really is a shameful amount of toys in our house. We can’t possibly need them all, but I can’t bring myself to do it. Felix loves them. I love Felix. And so, the toys stay stay.
In order to make us both happy, we’ve started a dog toy rotation.Have you ever gotten fed up and started gathering up toys to throw away or donate, only to find that all of a sudden toys that have been long neglected are being grabbed and played with? Like humans, dogs can be over whelmed by too many choices and get bored with toys they’ve had a long time. To solve this problem and keep the house looking tidy, I gathered up all but a few of Felix’s toys. The rest were tucked away into our DIY Designer Toy Box (Well, most of them were. A few were boxed up in the craft room, but I’ve got my eye on this awesome bucket-turn-storage-ottoman that I’m dying to try my hand at.) Every few days, I gather up the toys and replace them with three different ones. Felix has a never ending supply of “new” toys and I have my uncluttered room.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that Felix enjoys his toys even more now.It seems like each day he is delighted with the new selection of toys. He plays with them more and his play is more jubilant and full of shenanigans. There are a couple staples that will hopefully never go away, like that awful dirty, stinky yak, but it seems that, at least when it comes to dog toys, less is more.
Do you rotate your dogs toys? Do they treats their “old friends” as new again each time you bring them out?
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When you have a fearful dog, making sure they have a refuge or a “safe place” to go to when they’re feeling stressed is an absolute must.For Felix, that place has always been a small plastic crate with the door off. It’s long been the place he heads to when he’s overwhelmed, when Kolchak is driving him crazy, when I am driving him crazy and when he wants to have a nap. Part of making him feel secure in stressful situations in ensuring his crate is in an accessible location, close enough to the action that he still knows what is going on (and so that it doesn’t aggravate his separation anxiety), but removed enough that he isn’t right in the thick of it. Generally, his crate is tucked into a corner of the living room. That’s where it needs to be and I hate it.
This crate is not doing anything for my living room decor.It’s an ugly colour. It’s cheap plastic. It looks totally out of place. We tried a wire crate, but Felix didn’t care for it. It was too open and airy. Part of what Felix loves about his crate is the “den” aspect. He likes his crates small, compact and dark. Despite the fact that it doesn’t nothing for the look of my home, I respect his wishes. I long ago resigned myself to having a lovely living room with a really ugly crate in it.
Lucky for me, Felix is an evil genius.For months, I’ve been searching for the perfect end table. After our move last fall, I still haven’t fully furnished the new place. I’m fussy and I refuse to buy anything that isn’t perfect. Last weekend though, you guys, I FOUND IT. From across the Target (say it with me, in your best snooty accent please: “Tar-jae”. We have class, yo.) I spotted this super gorgeous metal basket weave table and I swear, I could hear an angel chorus sing. Obviously, the stars were all aligned because when I ran over (possibly shoving people in my excitement) I found that it was on sale for less than $25. It was like the Holy Grail of shopping finds. I brought it home and laid it on it’s side while I scrubbed the price sticker off it and a funny thing happened.
Felix stole my new end table.
No seriously! He stole it! He’s a rotten little sneak thief! He crawled inside, turned around twice and laid down. He stayed there for three hours. I tried coaxing him out with treats, but he’d go right back in after. I tried luring him out and then flipping it right side up, but then he’d sit there, pawing at it and with every swipe, I’d have a heart attack that he was going to scratch it.
As I watched how much he wanted this thing, I came to thinking… it kind of looked good down on it’s side like that. Certainly better than the cheap plastic crate did.
I decided to let Felix keep it.I put his crate pad in the bottom. I tucked it in beside the couch and I wished him a happy nap time. Small dog owners are actually really lucky. We can skip the pricey designer dog beds and DIY our own solution with totally unexpected containers. Anything could be a unexpected dog bed that works with your decor. Imagine it: dog dens made from a wicker laundry basket, an end table, an outdoor planter or even a a hearth rack. Big dog owners have a tougher time, but non-conventional beds can be found. I’ve always really admired Mr. B’s rockin’ teepee. If your goal is to have a dog friendly home that doesn’t look like it’s gone to the dogs, some times you have to think outside the box.
Do you have anything in your house that isn’t meant for dogs, but works for you?We’d love to hear about your creative solutions.
In an attempt to make my house look less “Playskool Chic”, I recently made these No Sew Fabric Baby Gate Covers.And by recently, I mean “way back in the Fall when we moved.” I’m the worst. Baby gates are an eye sore, but a necessary part of life at Casa de Kolchak. We’ve talked about how Felix has some reactivity issues, and we’ve shared some of the ways we’re combating them. Baby gates are an integral part of my behaviour management strategy. Once something has set Felix off, one of the most effective ways to calm him is to gently lay my hand on his butt or his back. I don’t know if it’s my presence or that the touch just snaps him out of the moment, but it is *extremely effective*. It’s my Felix-y kryptonite. The only problem is that this is a rather large apartment and often, by the time Felix has been aggravated by keys in the hallway or the cleaning lady vacuuming or whatever the woof is setting him off this time, are you kidding me Felix?, he’s already taken off at a dead run to the source of the noise. I can never stop what I’m doing and get to him fast enough. Breaking the house into smaller areas and gating them off means that I am never too far to comfort my boy if he’s having a melt down. Gates are also super handy for keeping the dogs in the kitchen while they are chewing raw meaty bones, in the bathroom while they are wet after a bath and in my bedroom at night (I hate sleeping with the door shut). I also use ours in the sliding glass door, so that I can let in fresh air, but still keep Felix off the deck (where he would like to bark at all the passersby.) When his torn ACL was at it’s worst, we used gates at the Daddy’s house to keep him from going up & down the stairs. edit: I’m told that parents of tiny humans have the same challenges containing the loveable little maniacs and keeping them safe. What I love about these covers for tiny humans is that you could spray them with stain blocker (or make it of laminated table cloth material or that great water/stain repellent material designed for deck use), make a few spares and just toss them in the wash when sticky jam fingers have mucked ’em up. So much easier than constantly scrubbing down the gate!
Baby gates are almost the solution to all my woes. Too bad they’re so darn ugly.I don’t care what anyone says, a baby gate isn’t doing anything to enhance the look of my apartment. They’re useful and practical and totally unattractive. (Sure, you can get some nice ones, but holy woof! Are they ever pricey?) I’m not alone. Way back when we made our DIY Designer Toy Box, Kimberly from Keep the Tail Wagging admitted that she wanted to cover her gates too.
I decided that if gates were necessary, the least I could do would be to make them a little stylish.BEHOLD: the no sew baby gate cover:
- Fabric – Measure the width of your opening + 4″ x 2 times the height of your gate + 5.5″ (Always check the discount bin at the fabric store. You can get small pieces of really nice fabrics for dirt cheap. Another place to find cheap heavy weight fabric? The window hanging section. I happened to snag another one of the curtain panels I used in my living room, on closeout for $5! I was lucky – the panel was already the same width as my doors.)
- Hook & Loop Adhesive Strips – I used about 18″ total, for the whole project.
- No Sew Tape – You could also use heavy duty double sided carpet tape, but I like that the no sew tape is washable. Fabric gets dirty, yo.
- Office Stapler – This part is totally optional, but I find the hook and loop comes off fabric after a while. A staple will make sure it stays in place.
- Staple Gun (or Crazy Glue) – I have these cheap wood gates, so I used a staple gun, but if you’re working with a plastic gate, Super Glue will get the job done.
- Measuring Tape
- Prep the Gate – Cut hook & Loop into 1.5″ strips and place as marked by the x’s below.
- Staple (or SuperGlue) into place. Flip over the gate and repeat. (Make sure you use the same side of the hook and loop for every strip. I used the hook side.)
- Prep the fabric – Fold over 1″ on each side and iron into place. (Make sure you measure and do not fold over too much fabric, otherwise your finished cover will not be wide enough.)
- Hem the Horizontal edges. Fold over the bottom horizontal edge of fabric another inch and apply the no sew tape between the two layers of fabric. Set the no sew tape according to package directions (Generally, you place a hot steam iron over it for a set amount of time without moving it. ) Repeat with the top horizontal edge.
- Add the hook & loop – On the patterned side of your fabric, place your hook and loop and stick in place, using your measuring tape to ensure you are placing the strips the same distance apart as on your gate.
- Staple the Hook and loop in place. I used one staple in each corner of the strip.
- Flip the Fabric over and apply the no sew strip. Fold the right vertical edge of the fabric over by 1″ and place the no sew strip between the two layers of fabric. Set the no sew tape according to package directions. Repeat with the left vertical edge.
- The iron is out anyways, why not iron the whole thing? I wish I had! That wrinkly photo is cringe worthy! I’ll be ironing it tomorrow.
- Set up your gate in the chosen doorway. Match up your velcro pieces to place the cover over the gate.
- Stand back and admire how woofing crafty you are!