Nintendogs: Chihuahua and Friends Puppy Diary #3

Part three of our puppy diary sees Dogzila taking a bath, finding a cool pair of glasses, and entering a disc competition.

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In our previous puppy diary entries, we've talked about the adoption and initial training of our female boxer dog, Dogzila, as well as our taking her for her first walk. We've found the early days of Nintendogs: Chihuahua and Friends to be enjoyable and frustrating in more or less equal measures to date, but we're pleased to report that it's becoming more rewarding every time we play. Just today, for example, Dogzila found a pair of novelty glasses on the sidewalk, as well as a bark ball that she's absolutely terrified of.

Puppy Diary: Day 3

Lost and found.

As Dogzila's trick list slowly improves (she can now roll over, shake hands, and chase her tail on command), we've found that she seems much more enthusiastic about spending time with us. She still doesn't get on too well with a lot of the dogs that we encounter on walks, but that really doesn't bother us too much because right now our walks are primarily about finding free stuff and practicing for upcoming competitions.

Dogzila's new party glasses are an office favorite.

Every time we walk Dogzila, her endurance level increases slightly, meaning that we can make her next walk a little longer. This means not only that there are more opportunities for her to find cool items on the sidewalk (recent lucky finds include a lily she can wear behind her ear and a pair of party glasses that she wears in today's video), but also that we can reach previously inaccessible areas, such as a discount store where we can buy cheap items and a gymnasium where Dogzila can train for agility competitions by navigating a course of jumps and tunnels. We've visited both of those places, but after Dogzila's disappointing non-attempts to catch her flying disc in the park, in our last diary entry, we've taken every available opportunity to improve upon her disc-catching skills, in the hope that she'll start making us some prize money.

The trick, it seems, was to get Dogzila to the park at a time when there were no other puppies around to distract her. That, and for us to do a far better job of throwing the disc for her. Dogzila is now not only catching the disc like a champ, but is, in fact, a champ. We won both the "beginner" and "open" disc competitions on out first attempts, and in today's video you can watch her finishing third in the "expert" class.

As something of a reward for Dogzila when we got home, we allowed her to feast on the best dog food our money can buy right now and to drink milk instead of water. We also bought some short-hair shampoo to bathe her with; we were pleased to find that the interactive bathing sessions in Nintendogs (complete with a stylus-controlled soapy sponge and showerhead) are pretty amusing.

Since Dogzila was looking her best and in a good mood after her bath, we decided that the time was right to try out Nintendogs: Chihuahua and Friends' "bark mode," which searches for other Nintendogs in the area and gives you the option to interact with them. As luck would have it, GameSpot's own Bethany Massimilla was playing with her German shepherd, Ubu, at the time. Although the puppies aren't best friends yet, we're pleased to report that Dogzila made absolutely no attempt to eat Ubu on this occasion--though that's probably only because she's a lot bigger than the Chihuahuas that our "fiery young female" normally likes to pick on.

Leave it to Nintendo to make bathing a puppy a fun gameplay feature.

Dogzila and Ubu exchanged gifts the first time they met, and then we spent a little time throwing a tennis ball for them to play with. It quickly became apparent that Bethany's pooch is far more obedient and easy-going than Dogzila, though the more disappointing thing about their encounter was that, upon comparing notes with Bethany, we realized that the puppy play session wasn't synchronized on the two DS handhelds and was actually quite different for each of us.

When Dogzila's meeting with Ubu came to an end, both Bethany and Ubu were automatically added to our friends list, and we took our very tired puppy home for some rest. We're not sure what we'll attempt to do with her once she wakes up, but we think she's pretty close to mastering the "jump" command, and although the obedience competitions still seem a long way off, we reckon she could do pretty well in an agility trial.

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