Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pooches: California Winters

We took a few awesome neighborhood walks on Saturday because here in SoCal, January can be quite harsh.  It was a beautiful, sunny, 70ish degree January day.  I know, I'm bragging and I shouldn't because some of you out there are probably knee deep in snow.  Let me know if you want to come visit Los Angeles...we have an awesome air mattress!

The pups were quite excited to take advantage of the great weather though, especially since it had been raining for a few days.

"I am SO bored of sitting on this couch..."
 When we started to put on treat bags, they knew exactly where to sit.
"Leap frog on 3!!! Just kidding...we're sitting pretty so you'll take us out."
Then, they gave us their best super cute puppy eyes to get treats.


Maggie is especially good at these faces...especially because of her giant ears.


The time had come to finally walk!!  Thank goodness!!  This was our first real walk together since both Nigel and Maggie have been working on their polite leash walking skills.  For Maggie, we pretty much don't exist while on walks unless we're giving her a treat for sitting and waiting at the corner.

"Squirrel...you are MINE!"
We worked on some 'sits' together.  Nigel is working on taking his treats gently because he's got some chompers that can really surprise you.


Then, we practiced for synchronized dog walking...complete with head movements.


Maggie did her best impression of one of the Queen's Guards.


Nigel tried to make her laugh but alas, she just looked bored and continued to stare straight ahead.


Then, they practiced more head movements.  We thought they may be practicing for some doggie flash mob that they haven't told us about yet.  Kids.

OPPOSITE SIDES FACING IN! GO!!
FRONT AND BACK!
OPPOSITE SIDES FACING OUT!
Overall, it was a successful afternoon.  The pups were pretty beat and slept for a while afterwards (which is always lovely for us!).  Nigel complained a little about his darker and thicker coat because he gets warm faster but he made it back to the apartment (we told him we wouldn't carry him).

Maggie also hit a milestone of sleeping in her crate almost the whole night with the door OPEN!!  This was huge since she has only either slept in the bed (before Nigel) or in her closed crate.  It was also one of the first nights she just went in there to sleep without us asking.  It was pretty great.

We enjoyed our weekend with these two wrestling crazies.  Hope everyone relaxed too!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Strangest Vet Visit Yet

Last week, Nigel went into our awesome vet's office for what I'm now considering the strangest vet visit that we will (hopefully) have for a long time.



We adopted Nigel from my mom who was fostering him.  He didn't come with paperwork about being neutered though he definitely looks the part, if you catch my drift (he's missing some things down below).  In Los Angeles, you must present paperwork that your dog has had a rabies shot and is neutered or spayed before being able to license them with the county.  Every pet owner is supposed to license their pets each year (though I doubt that actually happens).
I'm a pretty mellow dude, I betcha I'm actually neutered.
When asked, our vet told us that she couldn't officially give Nigel a certificate of being neutered because there is a slight chance that he could have undescended testicles and actually NOT be neutered.  Of course, there's a blood test that can be done but it's a big ticket item (over $250!) to find out.

Our options were to take Mr. Nigelpants to another vet who would only charge us for a vet visit and then say he was neutered or to get the test done.  At first, we definitely were going to just find a vet to say he was good to go.  Then we got to thinking and were a little nervous about the whole ordeal because WHAT IF he actually wasn't neutered and we keep saying he is?!  The last thing we would ever want to do is help overpopulate Los Angeles with more pitties (though his puppies would be ADORABLE probably).

We decided to pony up and pay for the blood test.  We want to be absolutely positive that he is, in fact, neutered and not wonder about it for his whole life.  On Wednesday, we got the good news.  Nigel is indeed neutered and we can go ahead and get him licensed now.

Anyone else have weird vet stories!?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Good Things Come to Those Who Crate

Maggie used to be a crate barker (and sometimes whiner). Like in a hardcore kind of way. We did all of the normal things to get her to settle like giving her awesome, treat-filled Kongs, putting on classical music, feeding her in there, working with her going in and out in shorter increments, blankets over it to help her feel nappy, and my favorite method of making her crate into a magical treat maker (ie hiding treats in there). The pooches also sleep in there right now because we need them to like their crates (and 95 pounds of pup in our queen size bed is rough).

Once we brought Nigel home, she magically stopped barking. It's like she was just telling us before, "I am soooo lonely when you leave me!!!!" We're so happy the girly has chilled but now we have to work some more with the mister.

Nigel is quite the whiner and even tries to dig a little bit. We're thinking that he just needs some time to adjust to our schedule because I was on break but now we'll be on a real routine. And if it took Maggie almost 4 months to be chill in her crate, Nigel deserves some time to get there.

We can't even imagine being at the point when we can leave them out together but we hope we'll get there someday.

What have your crating experiences been like??!

And of course, enjoy a few mushy pics. Nigel is posing underneath our new sign we got as a gift (thanks, Mom!!).



Sunday, January 20, 2013

Magdog: Walking Like a Pro!

When we're out walking, it's easy to forget just how much of an utter mess Maggie was before we really started working with her on her leash walking and reactivity.  But then I recall trying different helpers like front-clip harnesses (ouchy hotspots, returned), backpacks (she doesn't mind it but I don't think it helped much with walking, keeping it for camping tough), a simple Cesar Milan style loop collar lead (fine but the leash part is too short), a Gentle Leader (didn't work super long on this one but she HATED wearing it at first) and using a Chuck-It to startle her into walking back behind us (in all fairness, this doesn't really scare her at all and did help us to teach her where we wanted her to be but many people would probably disagree with this method).  Back in October, if you would have told me that she could on a walk with only one bad reaction to a dog and ignoring 1-3 other dogs, I would have laughed in your face.

ALAS!!!  I am a believer.  For the last two days, Miss Mags and I have switched back to treats and working on loose leash walking and "stop and wait's" at corners (silly city walking means we have lots of corners to stop at).  She has been a GEM.  I don't know if it's the fact that we have Nigel now and walk time means individual time or what, but she is rockin' out on leash.

Her reactivity is still pretty bad with some dogs but next week, we start working with a positive reinforcement trainer to combat this issue.  I don't know why I didn't find her before in all my trainer searches but she specializes in working with reactive dogs and I'm SO happy to have found her.

Brandon's method was working pretty well with Maggie but with two dogs now, we need to modify.  Nigel is a little lot more of a 'fraidy guy than Maggie is (he's a little older, a little gentler and a lot less puppy-ish than she is).  We had fully, 100% bought into Brandon's methods for Maggie but for the two of them, it's just not right.  They both respond really well to food based rewards and we want them to be trained in obedience too (so Maggie needs work on NOT reacting on leash so she can be in class with other dogs without creating a ruckus).

I'm starting to read more about positive reinforcement training and just dog behavior in general.  First up is The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell.  She talks a lot about how our physical movements are MUCH more important to dogs than our verbal commands and how we are constantly conveying information to them (think about how changing your smile to a smirk can take a millisecond and be such a minute movement).  Her writing is incredibly accessible and her blog is awesome!  Review to come when I'm done.

And since this bloggity blog post is awfully wordy, here's some fun smushy pictures of the pooches.


This is Killian, my 17th birthday present who lives with my mom in Chicago.  (Okay, she truly is HER dog but she was my lady till mom had to keep her and smush her.)




Hope you had a great weekend!!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Pooches Picks: Snood Glorious Snood!

We first learned about snoods from Mr. B and Miss M over at Two Pitties in the City.  They're quite the fashionable pooches and when we first got Maggeroni and Cheese (one of her ridiculous yet awesome nicknames) we realized that she would look adorable in a snood too.  Then it got cold outside and we realized that keeping her warm was going to be much more than a fashion statement.  She shakes like a leaf when it drops to only 50 degrees.

We love snoods!!  Check out how the backseat of the car was turned into a giant dog bed.
Luckily, our good family friend likes to sew.  She also happens to looooove pooches.  She whipped up a batch of homemade fleece snoods for the whole crew!  Nigel originally had a black snood with "Rockstar" on it but we decided to switch his and Maggie's (an awesome Cubs snood) because he looked a little girly wearing it.  Maggie was fine with the switch because frankly, she knows she can pull anything off with those giant ears.


Poor Magdog, you can see her battle scars from her short fight with Nigel.
Nigel seems to be more conditioned for the cold weather, having been a Chicago boy for a while.  Maggie, however, is still shaking like a leaf for the past week of early walks.  I can't blame her though, I'm pretty bundled up too since it's just around 40 degrees here in SoCal in the morning right now (I know, I know, I'll stop complaining).
  
Go Cubs go!!!
Do you snood??  What kind of material do you or your pooches like the most?


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Raw Food Diet NOM NOM NOM

When we tell friends what the pooches eat, we immediately get the response, "What?!?!"  Maggie and Nigel eat only raw food.  Maggie eats chicken backs, turkey necks, beef, pork, fish, organ meats, eggs and a special concoction of veggies (and a tiny bit of fruit).  Nigel just started the diet last Friday so he is starting slowly with only chicken backs and wings.

We started Maggie on a raw food diet because my sister and brother-in-law have had their two pups and three cats on raw for years now.  They swear by the diet and we saw all of the wonderful side effects in our furry niece and nephews.

The benefits?  No bad breath, way less stinky (or stinkless) small poops, teeth stay clean, and super shiny coat.  Disadvantages?  I'm not so into handling raw meat.  Some people are nervous that dogs can't handle the raw bones but they can!  Raw bones are much more flexible than cooked bones.  And we buy into the argument that dogs' digestive systems have not evolved to process grains like ours have.  Both dogs had some major stink breath before going raw and after only FIVE days, Nigel's stinky breath is a thing of the past!  (That being said, we don't believe that a kibble diet is bad for dogs.  All of our dogs growing up ate kibble and they are all fine.  We just really like the benefits of a raw diet.)

How does it work?  Every week, we head to the LA Farmers Market (permanent farmers market) and buy a large quantity of chicken backs and turkey necks, sometimes for as cheap as 59 cents a pound!  Then, we pick up some non-meaty bones meat (so really cheap beef, chicken, pork or fish) that's on sale at our local grocery store.  Using a formula of how much the dog should weigh and factoring in how active she is, we give Maggie about 22 ounces of food each day.  For right now, Nigel is getting a little less than he should while he transitions but we'll be adding more and more as we go along until we find the right number for him.

Here you can see a BIG day of prepping foods.  We used the mat that Maggie normally eats on top of to lay everything out, then Lane went to work chopping up the meats and packaging them in tupperware.  A $20 kitchen scale is our best friend but Lane got a nice butcher's cleaver for Chanukah and it makes such a difference in the prep work!  We probably put together 12-14 days worth of food that day.  And by we, I mean Lane did most of the work and I put the tops on the tupperware because my hands weren't meaty.

Do the dogs like it?  Maggie was hesitant when we first started but she took to it quickly.  Nigel looked as though he had been eating raw meat for years during his first meal.  They look forward to meals just as they did with kibble.

This was one of Maggie's first raw meals.  She started out by just licking the wings and didn't really understand that she had to CRUNCH through them.  She understood what to do pretty quickly though.  The hardest part was teaching her to stay on the mat.  Now, we lay a mat down in her crate (one that is washable and gets wiped down with white vinegar after every meal).

But won't it make my dog bloodthirsty!?!?  Many people feel that feeding a dog raw meat may make them become savage beasts or something.  Maggie is the same Maggie she was before she started eating raw food.  She's just as sweet and super cuddly as ever.  And there's no bloodthirsty evil gleam in her eye that says to us, "I'm going to tear you apart and eat you for dinner!"

What's the transition period like?  I will say that when both dogs first started on their diets, they had some runny poops for a few days (sorry about the TMI).  After the initial period that many raw foodies call "detox," both were doing well and having regular schedules again.  The process is very slow.  You start with just one kind of bony meat, like chicken wings, for a full week and only then can you graduate onto drumsticks (slowly adding meatier meat to the diet).  After two weeks, we added some turkey necks.  Then at the end of week 4, we added some beef but not a lot (so she ate meals that would be part turkey necks or chicken backs and some beef).  Then after week 6, we added pork (which needs to be frozen for some time, we go with 5 days, to ensure there are no harmful parasites or bacteria stuffs in them).  After week 8, she got her first fishy meal and also started eating organs at that point.  We also added in a veggie cube that is supposed to be similar to what a dog would come across foraging on their own.  And we squirt in some salmon oil on her raw egg to give her some omega 3's.

This seems overwhelming!  How would I even start?!  This website, FAQ's on NJ Boxers' Site, was super helpful for getting started.  The first week or two that Maggie ate raw, she just ate wings and drumsticks that you can buy at the supermarket.  Then we started trying to find fresher and cheaper at different places.

There's so much more I could say about the raw diet the pooches eat but there are also a gajillion websites out there.  So, if you're interested in something relating to the raw diet we follow, leave us a comment and we'll reply!

Anyone else feeding raw diets to their animals?  What other benefits do you see??

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Pooches Picks: Gearing Up


We're gearing up for a camping trip (hopefully the first of many) with both pooches.  We already bought a variety of gear (not all just for camping) and we're stoked to go sometime in the next few weeks.  This is definitely one of the biggest benefits of living in Southern California!

Here's what we've got so far and our first impressions:


This is a rockin' travel bed for the pooches.  We have one in our family room and one goes in Nigel's crate at night.  They LOVE the soft top part and I love that I can throw it in the washer and it keeps its shape.  It also dries quickly.  If you keep it in your Amazon cart, watch out for a sale at some point for about $26 a piece.  It's pretty big, Nigel can lay on it comfortably with lots of extra room (he's 56 pounds and pretty long).  It also comes with a stuff sack so you can put it away just like our human sleeping bags (which honestly makes them very cute too).

"It's cool, we both like this half of the backseat. And the travel bed is here, sooo...."  Also note Maggie's use of the arm rest as a head rest.  Good thinking, kiddo!

Chaco Collars and Leashes

While I am definitely stalking the Sirius Republic website for collars for both pooches, we needed something now before we make our final decisions (this is serious, people...or Sirius, bahahaha).  I found these Chaco collars and leashes at REI and I love that they're so light.  We're graduating from the regular old nylon leashes you buy at Petco or Petsmart and I'm totally digging these leashes.  And they're super cute.  The collars were $12 a piece so if they get trashed while camping, I'm not going to be too upset.  They also have a nice little area to put the tags so I don't have to struggle to get the tags on the metal loop.  The leashes are $20 each and they have a cool buckley thing so you can use it like a regular leash OR make it into a belt leash for hiking!

Nigel's new leash

Maggie's new collar



We didn't get ours at REI but at Petco.  This water bowl is great in its collapsicity (that's not a word but I like it) and it's lightweight so it's easy to throw in Maggie's backpack.



We looooove the Kurgo Car Harness.  It's easy to put on and doesn't rub under their arms.  I bought both on Amazon and weirdly, Nigel's has the "nesting" metal buckles while Maggie's uses plastic buckles.  Both work and both keep them safe and separated in the backseat of the car.  The red also looks quite dashing against Nigel's dark as night complexion.

I love this picture of her.  She was stoked for our road trip to AZ!  This was also about 20 minutes before she had an allergic reaction and her muzzle blew up to twice its normal size.  Panic attack (for me) and a trip to the emergency vet (for her) ensued.  99% of all of those kinds of reactions are an insect bite or sting according to the emergency vet.  Giving 1.5 regular Benadryls to help calm the swelling before leaving the house is totally fine for a 40 pound dog.

Side view of Maggie's harness.  I like that it comes with a seat belt loop with a sturdy carabiner.

We originally bought a 2 person tent at REI which would have been big enough for both of us and Maggie (we know because we opened it in our apartment!) BUT with the acquisition of the bigger Sir Nigel, we need some more space.  This tent is on sale for $200 right now (we had a gift card, thanks Mom-in-law!) and its rain fly is a bright, sunny yellow.  It's pretty small still while in its bag.  We haven't opened it yet, our apartment isn't THAT big, but we're excited to use it because REI tents are super easy to put up and take down.


Coleman Steel Belted 54 Qt. Cooler

We needed a cooler before heading to AZ so we could pack up Maggie's crazy raw food diet ahead of time.  We were staying in a hotel and didn't want to futz with chopping raw meat when we got there.  We were trying to buy a much cheaper and smaller cooler but alas, REI actually didn't have that cooler in stock (even though it's mean website SAID that it did! Shenanigans!!).  Instead, we sprung for this incredibly expensive retro cooler that honestly keeps ice icy for two to three days at a time.  It's actually pretty incredible.  We didn't need to change the ice out on either trip to and from Chicago over winter break.


That's what we've got so far!  The only thing we haven't found yet is some kind of easy tethering device.  Anyone have any recommendations?!  

Have you camped with pooches?  Anything we seem to be forgetting that's a must pack??

Monday, January 14, 2013

Thank you very much, new blogger friends! ***UPDATED!***

Since starting this blog, I've felt an amazing sense of friendship over the web with all the wonderful dog bloggers out there.  Even if part of this friendship is simply feeling less alone about dog issues or supported by comments left on tough posts, it feels pretty real!

And now, we have been nominated not only by one but TWO of our new bloggity blogger friends for the Liebster Award!!  Super huge virtual hugs (or high fives?!  I don't know how close we are yet...  :-) ) to our new friends at Pitlandia and A Peace-a-Bull Assembly for nominating us for this lovely award.  We are honored!!



"Liebster means Dearest in German, so the Liebster Blog Award is the Dearest Blog Award. It’s an award intended to recognize worthy, lesser known blogs and to help expose their work. Of course, accepting The Liebster Award comes with a few rules!"

Liebster Blog Award Rules:
These are the rules as have been given to me:

  1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you
  2. Share five things about yourself
  3. Answer five questions presented by Pitlandia and A Peace-a-Bull Assembly
  4. Ask five new questions to your nominated bloggers
  5. Reveal your top five picks {with less than 200 readers} and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog
  6. Copy and paste the award on your blog
  7. Hope that the people you’ve sent the award to forward it to their five favorite up-and-coming bloggers and keep it going!

Thank you again to Pitlandia and Debra at A Peace-a-Bull Assembly!!!

Five things about myself:

1.  I LOVE chocolate and sushi.  Not together but just in general.
2.  I am obsessed with everything Disney.  I even worked at Disney World back in college on an internship program.
3.  We are gearing up (literally) to take the pooches camping soon.  We even went back to REI to get a bigger tent since we adopted the giant headed Nigel.
4.  I love cooking and am hoping to refine my skills this year.
5.  I am trying to get into photography and just bought my very own micro 4/3 camera to play with!

(I'm following Debra on this and telling a little about the pooches too!) Five Six things about Maggie and Nigel (I want to be fair here):

1.  Maggie makes some of the funniest whining sounds that it's hard not to laugh a little when she starts.  We'll try to capture her on video soon!
2.  Nigel is the snoriest of the snorers.  He sounds like a person snoring.
3.  Maggie has the softest fur on her head.  She feels like a stuffed animal!
4.  Nigel is probably the messiest drinker I have ever met.  There is water slobber everywhere near the water bowl.
5.  Maggie has the most adorable, little white eyelashes.  People stop us on the street to stare.  It's hard to walk around with her because she gets all the attention.
6.  Though I've made Nigel seem like a bit of a boor, he is a 56 pound gentle giant who gets very scared if we raise our voice.  He's a bit of a 'fraidy dog so we have to be pretty gentle with him.

The five questions posed by Pitlandia:

1.  What's a book (training, behavior, fiction, etc.) that you would most recommend to a new dog owner? I only read one Cesar Milan book when we adopted Maggie.  The other info I have read is all from blogs and websites.  My recent favorite with SO much info is Dr. Sophia Yin's resource website
2.  What's your favorite command or trick that you've taught your dog? We taught Maggie to jump up to give a high five and called the trick "Up Top" because it was funnier.  
3.  What's one goal that you have for your dog in 2013? Devote as much time as possible to training and having fun with the pooches.
4.  Where's your favorite place that you've traveled to? I traveled to Ireland with my husband, sister and brother-in-law in 2009 and it was pretty amazing.
5.  Do you prefer coffee or tea? That's tough.  I'm more of a tea drinker but love a good cup of coffee too.  Especially one that is overly sweet and full of chocolate or caramel.


The five questions posed by A Peace-a-Bull Assembly:

1.  Most of us have a common theme in the titles of our blog, but tell us: how did you come by the name of yours?  I love the show Sex and the City and since Maggie truly is a pocket pit, I liked the idea of the play on words.  Then, later I found Two Pitties in the City and all of the similar blog names.
2.  What is the be-all end-all favorite treat of your dog(s)?  They LOVE Motivate Bait and their bacon flavored training treats.  They will sit for dayyyys for that stuff.
3.  What has been the biggest challenge of dog ownership?  In general, becoming more patient.  It's so easy to get angry at them when they're doing something wrong but it's also easy to remind myself constantly that they don't realize that they're doing something wrong until I tell them!  I'm a more patient person now because of them.
4.  And what has been the biggest reward?  The cuddles and smooches.  I just can't get enough of their cuddles.
5.  What is your favorite "me" activity?  Right now...dog blog stalking!  In general, reading a book outside with a good, crisp beer (I lurrrve beer).  Or watching The Biggest Loser.



My Five Nominees:

1.  Pawsitive Feedback is LA trainer Dorna's blog that has so much wonderful information both about her own dogs and things she's learned as a trainer and at training expos.  
2.  The Lazy Pit Bull is also full of wonderful tips and ideas.  They're also working to debunk the myths about pit bulls and advocating for worthy animal causes.  I've been lurking for a while and it's a great site!
3.  Pitties for Your Thoughts fosters and has adorabull pictures that I can't get enough of! 
4.  Another wonderful foster and pit bull loving family blogs over at It All Started With a Pit Bull.  I don't know about you but I am obsessed with their precious pooches!
5.  From, The Pits began as this blogger's project to "profile the most underrated and under-appreciated type of dog I met day after day at the shelter: the “pit bull” type dog" but has turned into so much more!  She fosters and chronicles working with her dog, Monster.

Thanks again to Pitlandia and A Peace-a-Bull Assembly!!!  Have a great week!!!!

I did exactly what Debra at Peace-a-Bull did...forgot my own questions!!!  Here they are.

1.  Is formal training "worth it" and why?
2.  What is your favorite activity to do with your pooch(es)?
3.  If you like to cook, what's your best dish?
4.  What do your dogs do that makes you laugh EVERY time!?
5.  What are your favorite things about dog blogging?



Friday, January 11, 2013

Kisses, Cuddles, Play...REPEAT!

WOW!  We are loving that Maggie and Nigel are getting along so well together since their little bout of fisticuffs on the drive home from Chicago.

Maggie always looks so pensive.

They sleep next to each other on the couch now, even cuddling sometimes.

Who wouldn't want to cuddle up to this face?! (He snores like a loud human, so maybe some people wouldn't want to cuddle up.)

Sir Nigel looking very happy to play with Maggie but sad to leave his foster momma (my mom).

It's hard to tell in these pictures, but Sir Nigel has the biggest, giant blockhead.  It's awesome.

"Which side looks better in photos!?  My blue eye side or my hazel eye side!?"

Supermodel Maggie thinks that his giant head is a little overrated but still likes to lick his jowls whenever he lets her.


They're getting along really well but almost TOO well.  Maggie has a nasty cut that hasn't fully healed so we can't let them play again yet.  Nigel seems okay with the lack of playtime but the Magsters is definitely rearing to go (even though she's the wounded one).  They're super precious together and while we're still working through some of the harder parts of being a two dog house (walks are a bit of a mess!) we're slowly getting there.  Based on Maggie and Nigel's role models, Mr. B and Miss M over at Two Pitties in the City, we know that there's hope that I will someday be able to walk both dogs at the same time without wanting to curl up into a ball and sleep for an hour.

How did your transition to a multidog house go?  And how long did you wait before adding #2!?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Cha-cha-cha-changes!!!

Well, we haven't blogged in a while due to an exciting trip home to Chicago for winter break.  We became an aunt and uncle for the first time which was super exciting.  Our nephew is a sweet little nugget of love and we were incredibly sad to leave him and his proud new parents.

But we also have really exciting news about our little family...it just got a little bigger!  Or, more precisely, 56 pounds bigger!
Meet Nigel!!!  He's a 1-2 year old pitt mix who was being fostered by my mom for a few months.  We met him over winter break and he is SUCH a love.  He's friendly, pretty calm, very obedient and overall, a great pooch.
He's also quite a handsome fellow.

We're so happy to have Nigel with us.  Even though we live in a fairly small apartment in Los Angeles, it feels pretty doable so far.  We're still negotiating the specifics of being able to walk two dogs and helping them through the transition.  They've been sleeping in their crates and though I really miss cuddling with Maggie at night, I have to say that I have definitely been sleeping better.
Nigel is making the transition like a champ.  He's become very comfortable on our couch (yes, we let them snuggle on the couch) and he and Maggie are little play machines!

The only snafu we had was based on human error when we put their food bowls next to each other to eat.  The sad result was a short fight that ended in Maggie getting a little scratched up but she'll be fine.  The pups have been getting along wonderfully since them.

I can't believe that only three and a half months ago, we were a no-dog household and now we're a two dog household!  And obviously, they were the best decisions we've ever made.