Thursday, November 24, 2011

Holiday Sales!

I love the holidays - I love getting great deals on agility and dog training stuff!!

Clean Run is offering free shipping now through the holidays - I ordered a bunch of stuff that I have been holding out on specifically because shipping charges are insane!!

NTI Global is also having a holiday sales - 15% off all agility stuff and 50% off thier handling fees - free shipping as always. I have been wanting to order a tunnel and chute and I think it may be time!!

is having an online and in store Black Friday sales (Canada too!!) - lots off stuff 50% or more off - stores open at 7am!!

The Dog Shirt Store is also having a Black Friday sale throught November 28 - lots of fun stuuf on sale - always good for a laugh!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Food, Food, Glorious Food!

My dogs love agility, but they really love food! There isn't much that they won't do (or at least attempt to do) for food.

In the beginning, feeding Travis was a challenge. We continued feeding him the food the breeder had been feeding him but we switched to twice a day feedings instead of once a day. Travis didn't eat. He wouldn't eat. This went on for months. When he got really hungry he'd obviously eat his food but on a day-to-day basis he'd only pick. He would never eat his food in one serving so we always put his food in his crate with him. Yes, we tried denying him food to force him to eat in one sitting but at most he'd pick at a few morsels and move on. We'd take away what he left and offer it to him again in 12 hours - be he'd only ever eat a few bits. Clearly the dog didn't like his food.

I'll state now that at no time was my dog in danger of starvation - he maintained a healthy weight at all times. Our vet advised us that he may simply be a "eat to live" dog instead of a "live to eat" dog.

When Indie came home Travis showed interest in the puppy food. We thought that a change in Travis' diet might be in order because he did obviously did want to eat. I figured that Travis should be able to like the food he is eating - after-all don't we enjoy our food?

I think we tried at least 2 different formulas or brands of food before the "incident" this past Valentines Day. The day or two previous Travis had eaten another dogs kibble of a questionable quality. Expectantly, the diarrhea ensued.

Long story short Travis was put on a food only available from a vet. At first we thought he enjoyed eating it because he hadn't eaten anything in the previous 3 or 4 days. Turns out he really did like it.

With our vets permission we continued to feed Travis this new food and he continues to have a healthy appetite for it. He eats two meals a day (quickly) with no digestive problems! He was now eating 3/4 cups twice a day.

My story continues...

When Indie came home (4.5kg) from the breeder we were advised to up his food to something like 1/4 cup, 3 times a day. Over the next 2 weeks we saw Indies legs grow like weeds but he wasn't putting on weight (he was being fed 1/4 cup more a day then when he was with the breeder). So we up'd his food to include another 1/4 cup each day. Two weeks passed and he still wasn't putting on weight - the legs kept growing however. Indie was starting to look unhealthy. For his age/weight we were over feeding him by 1/4 cup a day - what was going on? Desperate to put weight on him we stared feeding him 1/2 cup three times a day - twice what the bag said he needed and the same amount of food Travis (at 13.5kg) was eating.

After two or three weeks Indie started to fill out to a healthy size. We decided to continue feeding him as we were until he started to fatten up - he never did. In fact by about 7 months (about 9kg) he started to look skinny again so we switched him to twice a day feedings with 1 cup at each sitting - 2 cups of food a day!!!

The lessons in all this...
1) Feeding your dog a food he likes has benefits - you can monitor his weight regularly and adjust his food accordingly. You can't put weight on a dog if he won't eat what you give him.
2) The bags feeding guidelines are just that - guidelines. Adjust your dogs food as they require.
3) A 7kg puppy can out eat an adult dog twice his size.

Today, we feed both dogs the same vet food. Our regular feedings for both are 3/4 twice a day but we monitor their weight weekly and adjust as needed - sometimes Travis gets less and sometimes Indie gets more.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Howl-o-ween!

Halloween can be a scary night for dogs - especially sensitive Shelties.

We don't decorate our home until we get home from work because I like the effect of going from nothing to awesome. So when we got hone we hauled all the Halloween stuff out and Indie immediately knew something was up and he wasn't going to like it.

Set-up took about an hour which plenty of opportunity to dress the dogs up in silly costumes and take some pictures. Both dogs were less than amused but tolerated our amusement with the promise of cookies.

When the doorbell started ringing little Indie almost lost it. The combination of frazzled Halloween decorating, baking pumpkin seeds in the oven with the fan running (Indie hates the fan sound) and the doorbell with little intruders with axes and swords damn near killed the little bundle of nerves.

Never to be one to pass up the opportunity for some training we started associating the doorbell with the "crate" command and a reward. When there were fewer kids coming my husband started ringing the doorbell. By the end of the night we had eliminated the insane,emotional barking over reaction but he was still bolting to the door with a growl - all be it a little less hostile like.

I am not 100% sure why the barking stopped: he could have tired out, been overwhelmed, caught on that it was my husband at the door or he truly started to react to the training.I figure it's time to work on this (one challenge at a time) anyway - we'll keep at it until its all fixed and we have TWO great dogs running to their crates when there are visitors at the door!

We always get lots of great comments about our "Scary House" but thus year there was a first - I made a kid cry. I think the whole experience was just too much. This is why I do not dress up - I think it would just be the candy coating on the apple to push fear in to kids.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Great Pumpkin(s)

Yes, I am in fact tooting my own horn.

Each Halloween my family gets together to carve pumpkins. They are always really awesome. I'd like to take credit and say that my family is composed of pumpkin carving geniuses but were not, really.

There are templates out there that you can use to carve these really awesome pumpkins. Some are easier than others but the really challenging ones are often the most impressive.

The one right below is from today but also included some more from previous years!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

You Know You're a Dog Person When...

** I highlighted all the ones that have actually apllied to me... :)

1) You have more dog beds, chew toys, collars, leashes, harnesses, and dog crates than you have dogs.
2) You meet other people with dogs, and remember their dog's call name after 30 seconds, but don't get the owner/handler's name until you've met them 2 or 3 times.
3) You don't think twice about trading licks of an ice cream cone with your dog.
4) Your parents give up on grandchildren and start to refer to your dogs as "your kids" or your children." (Bonus: they start to call them "our granddogs.")
5) 90 percent of your Internet connection time goes to the dogs (seeing what's new when you enter your breed into the browser, reading up on multiple lists, checking out photos, sounds and FAQs, etc.)
6) You have hundreds of pictures of your dogs on your desk at work, in your wallet, etc., but none of your family or yourself.
7) No one wants to ride in your car because they know they'll get dog hair on their clothes.
8) You reach into your pockets for change, and liver treats, dog kibble, and pick-up bags fall all over. (Bonus: You've done this in a classy establishment.)
9) You've had long meaningful discussions with your friends on the best way to trim your dog's nails, but have never had a manicure or pedicure in your lifetime.
10) Books and movies are ruined for you if the dog references are incorrect.
11) The highlight of your day is spending time with your dog.
12) You watch simply awful movies because your breed is either featured in a cameo scene or there's a 3-second camera shot during a crowd scene.
13) All of your clothes have dog hair on them, even when they come back from the Laundromat or dry cleaners.
14) The only thing your friends, colleagues, and passing acquaintances say to you when they see you is, "How are the dogs?" or "How many dogs do you have now?"
15) Your photo Christmas cards feature your dogs (humans optional).
16) Your jewelry box contains no jewels - just those fasteners from vari-kennels.
17) Every time you read the name, Bob, you think the guy's first name is Best of Breed.
18) You ask your vet if you can ride in her sports car sometime.
19) Your house isn't carpeted - the fuzzy furballs under your feet are soft enough.
20) Your hungry hubby comes home from work, lifts the cover of the pan on the stove and says, "Is this people food or dog food?"
21) Your hungry hubby once ate the dog food and asked for seconds.
22) Your mother-in-law keeps asking when you are going to have children.
23) You don't give a second thought to using the brush you just used on your dog to give a quick run through your own hair.
24) At your dinner parties, you always double check the butter before putting it on the table.
25) You put important papers in your latest issue of your breed magazine. You know you will find them there.
26) You have dog hair stuck on tape on wrapped gifts.
27) You have dog toy/treats in your briefcase.
28) You have several albums filled with the 8 by 10 pictures of your dogs, but you can't locate any pictures of your kids to send to grandma.
29) You show up at the car dealers with a ruler, to measure and see if your big dog crate will fit. Before the actual purchase, you make the dealer cringe by insisting that you load both crates and dog into the shiny, new vehicle to make sure it works!
30) You can't get the groceries in the car because its: a) already full of dog food or b) you have that big old crate in there.
31) You visit relatives only if there is a dog show nearby.
32) You remove all the seats from the van except the two in the front so you have room for crates.
33) The passenger seat is full of dog stuff.
34) You cringe at the price of food in the grocery store, but think nothing of the cost of dog food or treats.
35) You have six squeaky hedgehogs...but only one with a squeaky that works.
36) Your mother knows the implication of a "major breaking".
37) You put popcorn in the clean dog dish for a movie treat.
38) You pull out your credit card and little bits of liver are stuck to it.
39) When you get your latest roll of film and there isn't a single picture of a two-legged person in it.
40) People at work have stopped offering you their lint brushes. They realize it is a hopeless case.
41) Friends no longer ask, "how was your weekend"; they ask "how did the dogs do?"
42) All babies and youngsters are "people puppies".

-- Author Unknown

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dog Property Laws

1. If I like it, it's mine.
2. If it's in my mouth, it's mine.
3. If I can take it from you, it's mine.
4. If I had it a little while ago, it's mine.
5. If it's mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.
6. If I'm chewing something up, all the pieces are mine.
7. If it just looks like mine, it's mine.
8. If I saw it first, it's mine.
9. If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine.
10. If it's broken, it's yours.

-- Author Unknown

Monday, July 4, 2011

Spartan Sprint

Ahh…my vacation was great. So great in fact that I forgot all about everything electronic and just hung out with the dogs and my husband in the great outdoors all week! It was awesome.

To celebrate my last day of vacation, yesterday I participated with my younger sister in “Ottawa’s” Spartan Sprint. I say “Ottawa” because the event was actually held at the Camp Fortune ski hill in Chelsea, QC.

I’ll be honest – I haven’t worked out in a few months and the weight has slowly been creepin’ back on – about 12 pounds over the past 2 and half years (right on the national average apparently). I had the good intention of training for a few weeks before hand but it just never happened. So, the day arrived and even though I was not in the best physical condition it wasn’t going to stop me from trying.

The race started out by heading right up a hill – OMG!! The thought crossed my mind that I might not be able to finish but I pressed on as I had only just started. Thankfully downhill was less challenging – my extra mass helped propel me downhill. Over a short wall and into a mud crawl under the barbed wire. Up another hill with a tire and back down into another mud crawl under more barbed wire! Up another hill, a rope climb, down the hill. Push-ups, up another “hill” (by this time the qualified as mountains), down the hill, water wade, sewer crawl, brick dragging, a higher wall, a javelin throw, ice crawl under more barbed wire to the dual against the “Spartan Warriors” and a final leap over the flaming logs and across the finish line! All the while the sun pounded down, no wind or even a hit of rain in the sparsely there clouds. Funny enough during my 1 hour and 20 minute run I was not once thirsty or hot – I think I had sun stroke, not good.

It was definitely a challenge but it was a great experience and I am glad that I finished. I am even more glad that I had the opportunity to do this with my sister! We’re going to try again next year and hopefully improve on our course time.

Check out this video I found about our event.

See you next year Spartans!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Happy Birthday Indie!!

Today was my little Indies first day as a ‘dog’. I’m saddened that I can’t call him ‘puppy’ any more……they just grow up too fast.

We decided to spend the day having some doggie fun!! I arranged for the birthday boy and his big brother to take part in a ‘herding instincts test’ at Ewenique Farm in Alfred, ON. I thought that it would just be fun to take part in a dog activity that isn’t very popular among the majority of dog-people and to see if the boys could live up to there name.

I have always thought that Indie had some herding instinct simply because, well, he already herds the cats, Travis and us!! I’ll admit however that my hopes for Travis were, well, much lower.

We arrived well ahead of our scheduled time and took the opportunity to watch some other dogs work. The 3 dogs ahead of us worked well and were keen on the sheep – most a little too keen. While we watched we had some admirers ask to take picture of the boys – we obliged and why not – they are so darn good looking!! My husband later told me there were some whispers (in French) that there was some doubt ‘Shelties’ (aka Shetland Sheepdogs for those of you who are unaware of the Shelties proper name) could herd sheep. I am a little unsure of why there was a disconnect between a Shelties herding abilities and there name but apparently there was.

When it was our turn Indie went first – it was his birthday after all! I was told right away to take him off the leash. Indie stood around for a minute, barked at the evaluator and then at the experienced dog (Kate) in the pen with us. When the evaluator had Kate move the sheep forward, Indie immediately took off to join in the fun! He was quick and worked close to the sheep – thankfully no nipping! He continued well as long as the sheep were moving and kept close. As soon as the stopped or moved away a look of ‘duh’ swept over him. Kate would get them moving again and the fun would start all over again!

Next up was Travis – my hopes were almost non existent. Travis is my Velcro dog and I can tell you now there was no way I was chasing sheep around for his enjoyment. After the initial shock of ‘OMG my feet are muddy’ Travis realized there were sheep in the ring…but better yet another dog!! After a quick visit with Kate – who outright ignored him – Travis was on to bigger and better things…me! The evaluator encouraged me to get Travis interested in the sheep (I thought it was futile) but lo-and-behold….Travis moved out around the sheep! He was mostly slow moving them around the pen and would frequently come back to me, but whenever Kate had the sheep moving fast Travis would jump in on the action. He always kept his distance but he thought it was great fun to chase them around a little!

In the end, both Indie and Travis passed their herding instincts test!! It was great fun for them and for me as I have never taken part in an activity like this before. While it isn’t on my immediate radar, I think this is something we may pursue more in the future.

I have herding dogs!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Shannon Darch Animates

Our Sheltie breeder posted some info about an artist on her Facebook page. Right now it appears as though she only has a Facebook page but as soon as she has a website I’ll post the link. Search “Shannon Darch Animates” for more information….

Agility Nerd

I came across a great agility blog yesterday in my search for agility tips. He also has a Facebook page. Hope you like it as much as I do.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Red Gate

Yesterday we took our very first trip out to Red Gate Arena . We were invited out by an acquaintance who would be working her two Shelties that evening. Since we definitely need the work, and I would never turn down the opportunity for some agility fun, we headed across town…way across town.

What a fabulous place! Clean, lots of space, and great equipment! Travis and Indie made fast friends with the other dogs (even though one of other males peed on Travis’ head – it was amusing) and played and ran around the arena like crazy! I was never sure if Travis really, really liked agility, but he proved he does by flying around and taking jumps all by himself – I would have been really impressed had he laid-down when he jumped up on the table, but I can’t really blame him with all the fun he was having.

Well it was time to get down to business. My first task was getting Travis into some weave poles. He did ok, but he popped out a few times which I didn’t expect. I think it was because the poles were set a little closer together (21″) than what we had been training on at home. He was having a hard time collecting himself, but practice makes perfect.

Not wanting to leave Indie out of the excitement, I switched dogs and introduced him to a 6″ jump. It was more for me to learn some new handling skills than for Indie – his focus just isn’t there yet. We tried some tight turns and we had some success which I am more than happy with – no need to rush him.

Then back to Travis for some work on the – very scary – teeter-totter. When working in the outdoor field he was doing great and he had lots of confidence on all the equipment. As soon as we moved indoors the “bang” from teeter going down, and then back up, freaked him out. It had been next to impossible to get him back on it. We tried a few times, and then a few more. I lowered the teeter to about 12″ and then we started progressing. We’ll need to work on his confidence over the next 2 weeks or we won’t do well at our first trial on April 1. It is only a matter of repetition for Travis; he just needs to be desensitized to the noise.

Back to Indie and into the scary tunnel! What a brave soul he is. The first two times he really hesitated but then he was scooting right through like a pro! We slowly kept moving the tunnel out straight to its full 20′ length and he never backed down! Truth-be-told he’ll do anything for a treat (especially hotdogs!)

I’m going to try to make arrangements to go two or three more times before the 1st – combine that with our Sunday classes – so we can have more confidence building time and practice some new handling skills.

I’m really proud of the progress the boys have made – I’m sure it only gets better from here!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Snip, snip.

Last Thursday was a big day, well for me, because my little Indie went into the vets for…”the big snip”. From the time we dropped him off until we picked him up I was a nervous wreck.

Being the bright light that I am I decided to try to quell my nerves with an energy drink (or two) but as you can imagine that only made things worse. Now, nervous and jittery, I had to find a way to get through my work day.

Eventually noon rolled around so I gave the vet a call to check up on Indie to see how the surgery went. Not knowing I was nervous, and was hyped up on caffeine and sugar, the vet tech. said “Um, sure…let me, um, get the vet for you.” Now to me this means bad new is impending. So, hyped up on caffeine and sugar, nervous, and now paranoid, I wait on hold for 5 minutes!!!

Turns out Indie came through fine and could go home in a few hours. Phew…now I am just jittery.

When we collected him after work we were instructed to keep him quiet for 48 hours and then only minimal exercise for 7-10 days. Clearly this vet doesn’t own animals, let alone an 8 month old puppy. We managed to keep him “quiet” for the evening and part of the night but I am sure that was only because he was a doped up on pain killers. I took Friday off work so I could stay home with him in case he was in distress – turns out he woke up full of fit and vigour and looking to cause some trouble.

So, after 48 hours of “rest”, and a few more grey hairs for me, we took him for a short jaunt down to the gas station so I could get some more energy drinks – I swear I do not have a problem. This walk only seemed to give Indie more energy and the prospect of sticking to the vets instructions of minimal exercise for another 5-8 days pretty much went out the window.

They say that fixing pets typically has a calming effect on them – clearly more unfounded advice from vets without pets or 8 month old puppies. I am of the opinion that this procedure has awoken a little monster within my cute, innocent puppy. This morning he was chasing, biting, literally jumping on and generally tormenting less that willing participants – Travis and Dash.

The terrifying part is that he did it all with a calm but calculating smile on his face. I need to get this puppy a job – and quick.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Where have I been – on vacation!!

I arranged for the boys to spend 2 weeks with their uncle Chris while we spent some time in NYC and took a 10 day cruise to the Caribbean. I had left Travis with Chris before, and I worried like a typical “mom”, but this time I didn’t have nearly as many worries – Chris had after-all returned a living and health fur-baby to me.

I had, as I always do, prepared an extensive list of care instructions to help Chris Now, I have a question…is providing a list of care instructions for dogs normal? I think it is – others think I’m weird (I am sure my husband is one of them). I mean would you leave your children, with someone who has never cared for children, without giving them some basic instructions: when and how much to feed them, what they are allergic to, that they are afraid of the dark and to leave a nightlight on, and their doctors contact information? Seems likely to me, and since I have repeatedly been told that my [well behaved] dogs are more work to take care of then children, it only makes sense to provide instructions. So, I did.

Since Chris didn’t read my instructions, Indie (from what was reiterated to me) ate receipts, chewed a leather belt/fluffy socks/an area rug, and best of all ate cat poop.

I am never trusting any real children I may ever have with, well, anyone.