Friday, October 2, 2015

Fit Friday: Tournament Wrap-Up and Glycoflex Plus Giveaway

Koira in her Back on Track jacket, chilling out after running.

The tournament this past weekend was great. We headed up to Ridgefield, WA for the weekend, staying at a Motel 6 (yay to no pet limits or pet fees) a little bit north in a cute little town. I shared a hotel room with a teammate, which was fun and saved us both some money, which is always great.

My team, Animal House, has a sort of reciprocal relationship with the host club for this weekend, Stumptown. Basically, they own mats for about one ring of the tournament, and we own mats for one ring, so we borrow the mats from the other club in order to have a two ring tournament, and we also send people to help them set up, and they send people to help us set up at our tournament. It is a great arrangement, as it makes things that much easier for both clubs. I went up on Friday (leaving late due to Pallo's seizure the night before, arranging vet visit for this week, picking up meds for Koira, and having a flat tire on the car) to help with set up. You have no idea how much work goes into a tournament until you are part of it.

It was all worth it, though. The tournament, as I said, was pretty great. One of the things I am the most happy with is Koira's performance.

I made sure that Koira got a nice long warm up and a bit of active stretching before every single race. She got to go out to potty, giving her a bit of trotting and movement. We did stretches to each side, bows, sit pretties, waves, and some low tugging, all of which helps get her limber and warm and ready to go. We also made sure to use her Back on Track jacket, which is basically a ceramic infused fabric that is supposed to help keep muscles warm and prevent cramping. Race horses use these jackets, and a lot of the top sport dogs do as well. I don't know that it is any more effective than any other lightweight jacket with the same coverage would be, but since I have it, I use it. I do like how well it covers, with it really getting down to the elbows, down over the hips and butt, and up the neck and down over the chest and belly. This jacket went on as soon as we finished our cool down walk after a race when Koira went back into her crate, and came off right before we went into the ring.

No pictures of my own dogs since I am the one with the camera, but here is a fun one of another dog crossing the finish line.

For our warm ups in the ring, I did the drill I've been doing with Koira, where someone else releases her and I reward her right after her box turn up close. The whole point is to increase her confidence and drive to the box. I couldn't have done it without the help of my own team and the help of other teams as well, especially Stumptown and Fierce Flyers, whose people stepped in when asked and helped out with releasing Koira when my own team didn't have extra people. There is something awesome about a team sport where not only does your own team help support you, but where every person on every team in the region will step up and help when needed. It is something I love about this sport for sure.

But, long story short, Koira rocked it this weekend. She started in all of her races (4 races on Saturday, 5 on Sunday, 4/4 heats both days). My start times weren't amazing, but with the exception of one absurdly early start, we did pretty good. My best start was 0.009 in the first heat of the first race on Sunday. Koira's times back in June and July weren't great- 6.0-6.5 seconds for almost every run. So imagine my happy surprise when she was putting in her previous times of 5.0-5.3 on average, with only a few heats slower, even on Sunday afternoon. She was double striding on the way to the box most of the time, but doing it fast. I hope with more work and longer on the Glycoflex Plus she will go back to single striding the jumps.

Wyatt 30k-5350
Wyatt, an Aussie who has been with Animal House from the beginning (and on two teams before that) crossing the finish line of his final title earning heat.

Something else that just helped keep the mood up and the energy there all weekend was having Wyatt, one of the founding dogs on Animal House, get his 30k point title, FDGCh, in the first race on Sunday morning. He is such a great dog, and his owner Patty is the "fearless leader" (as I call her to her amusement sometimes) of Animal House. So being part of Wyatt getting such a high title and high achievement really put some jazz into everyone on the team this weekend.

Wyatt 30k-5366
Team celebration and congratulations after the title heat was completed correcting and in time. It had to be a quick celebration so they could get back to the race, but it was joyous all the same.

So all in all, it was a really great weekend for everyone.

Now, for the giveaway part of this!

As I've posted about before, I signed Koira up for the Glycoflex Plus Challenge by Vetriscience (which you can still sign up for!). Basically, Koira is taking Glycoflex Plus for free for a month. I posted a "before" video of her before we started the supplement. I still need to get an "after" video because I forgot to have someone video at the tournament or at practice last night. But given that her times at this most recent tournament improved 1-1.5 whole seconds (which for those not involved in the sport, this is HUGE, teams often win by the fraction of the second!), I think it is safe to say that the Glycoflex Plus is helping. I plan on keeping Koira on it for the foreseeable future. And sure, some of the improvement is probably from training and drills that we've done in the meantime. But a supplement is just that- it supplements whatever else you are doing. If your dog has hind end weakness, you don't just give a supplement, you also do exercises and activity that will maintain or boost hind end strength. But I am pretty sold on this supplement being a big help.

And, thanks to the generosity of Vetriscience, the makers of Glycoflex, I am able to give away a bag of Glycoflex Plus to one of my readers! This means that if you sign up for the Glycoflex Challenge and get your free bag, you can win a bag that would give you a second month (or more depending on how much your dog needs) of product. Or, if you haven't done the challenge, you can enter this giveaway and win a bag to try, no strings.

For this giveaway, I decided to skip the gadgets and tech used for tracking entries. Instead, I'll track it with comments. Leave a comment here on this blog post. If you don't know what to comment, just tell me why you think your dog would benefit from Glycoflex Plus. But you can comment anything you like. You get one entry for commenting on the blog. If you want to stop over at the Vetriscience website and check it out, stop back by here and leave a comment telling me what other product you are interested in from their lines of human, canine, and feline products and why. Each comment is an entry, up to the total of two per person (one general comment, and one after visiting Vetrisceince). Unfortunately, I do have to restrict this to US shipping addresses only. Winner will be announced next Friday, October 9th.

Disclosure: I was given GlycoFlex Plus product for free in exchange for an honest review and promotion of the Glycoflex Challenge. I was provided with a free product to give away to a reader. The opinions expressed here are entirely our own honest experience with this product.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tasty Tuesday: Merrick Backcountry Jerky Treats

Working with is one of the highlights of my month. I get to try out some great new products with my dogs or cats, and then I get to share them with all of my readers. Yes, I get a product provided to me in exchange for writing a review. But the opinions of those products, those are all me.

With that said, this month, I tried out Merrick Backcountry Jerky treats, in the Pacific Catch Real Salmon variety. Now, in interest of full honesty, I will tell you straight off that these treats stink. Bad. I mean, they don't smell off or like something is wrong with them. They just smell very, very fishy. So if you are super sensitive to smells, you might want to skip these or try one of the other flavors. However, stinky treats certainly have their place. Super stinky treats are a great high value, attention getting treat for dogs who need extra motivation to engage in training. The dog can smell the treats extremely well, and may work harder to earn them since they smell so good.

The texture of these was really nice. It was easy to rip into smaller pieces to use a small treats. I brought them along to a flyball tournament this past weekend, and used them for Koira's warm up routine, which involves both static stretches as well as active stretches and warm ups, like touching nose to hip on each side, using a treat to lure the behavior and encourage length of time on the stretch. She also bows, sit pretty and waves, backs up, spins both directions, and does a few other tricks. The point is both to warm up to prevent injury, and also to distract her enough that she doesn't lose a bunch of energy barking impatiently to go into the ring.

Koira chilling in my chair after racing 

I didn't actually get a chance to grab pictures of the treats themselves. They just look pretty much like jerky, and the strips are about as long as my hand. The bag has a good number in it, plenty for warm up and cool downs all weekend, plus some extra treats here and there because she looks so cute.

Overall, I'd recommend these treats. They aren't super expensive at $8.99 right now, though they aren't a rock bottom price either. But they are made with good quality ingredients and are a pretty high value treat for most dogs. I tried them on Koira, of course, but also a few of the other dogs on my flyball team, and everyone loved them. And despite the strong smell, I didn't feel like they left my hands smelling nasty after handling them, which is a plus.

And sorry for the quality of the pictures from the tournament. These ones were grabbed with my cell phone, because Koira was being just so cute.