Saturday, October 13, 2018

Fall Dahlias

We took a minute this week to stop and get some photos with the dahlias.

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Monday, October 8, 2018

Our Second Rally Trial

This past weekend, Ptera and I attended our second UKC rally trial. This trial had one rally trial per day and one obedience trial per day, so we had two chances at a Level 2 rally Q.

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Pretty pretty ribbons

Ptera pretty much just rocks, and despite a few little bobbles, we pulled off two Qs, two first places, and her United Rally Obedience Level 2 title. Two trials, two titles. Apparently that is how we roll. Also, apparently we just really like the number 97, as that was our score both times.

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Paleoterrorist No Fly List URO2

We also spur-of-the-moment did a day-of entry in Novice Obedience, which we have never ever practiced for. I haven't read the rule book, and wasn't actually 100% sure what was required when we went in the ring. Not surprisingly, we did not Q, but what was surprising was how well we did do, despite all of this.

Ptera had never done a Stand for Exam until about thirty minutes before we went in the ring, and both days (because I am a glutton for punishment who thought entering both days was an excellent idea) she was rock solid in it, with zero deductions.

Day two went even better than day one. Had she not come up on her Honor Down about ten seconds before the end, we'd have qualified by the skin on our teeth. Downs are our nemesis, and always have been.

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Such pretty downs

What this trial showed us is all of the places we are doing really well already, and all of the things we should be working on before our next trial. Top of the list, getting a solid down stay. I would also like to improve the picture of our heeling when moving, as it is easy for me to lose her between stops, turns, etc, both in Obedience and Rally. I need to step back and reward for the picture I want, not just the general idea.

We'll also be working on our Hold in case we decide to try for Open obedience sometime in the future (and for future adorable photos of her holding things).

I have to say I am really enjoying this UKC journey we are on. I don't know if we'll stick with obedience and rally long term, or if this will just be something we do for a little while. For now, at least, we are having fun.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Our New Car #chewyinfluencer

Back in late May, I sold my minivan and purchased a little Honda Fit as my new all-around vehicle. The van was fantastic, but with my daily drive to work, the gas mileage wasn't ideal.

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Very blue

The Honda Fit has way better gas mileage than my minivan did- almost twice as good- but way less space. I've been experimenting for the last few months with the best set up that keeps the dogs safe and contained, and all of our gear accessible but secure.

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Very green

In July, I purchased two used crates for the car. One is a green Impact crate, and one is an older aluminum Bob McKee crate that is less pretty but just as functional. These crates will keep my dogs much safer in case of an accident, but also are much easier on my hands, as they don't use squeeze latches like our previous car crates.

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Snug and secure in her Impact crate

This month, we added a Frisco Quilted Water Resistant Hammock Car Seat Cover, courtesy of Chewy.com. It might seem silly to put a hammock car seat cover into the back seat when my dogs ride in crates, but really, it is genius. (We were provided with this car seat cover in exchange for our honest review, but were not compensated in any other way.)

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Flight in the Bob McKee crate

Adding the hammock means the seats are protected from scratches from the crates, and from any dirt, grime, or water as the dogs hop in and out of the car. The hammock also allows the crates to sit more securely, without the risk of tipping into the open foot space. (Ideally, the crates will be secured with cargo straps soon, but I am still working on good anchor points.)

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Back to back crates

The two crates manage to fit back to back just barely, and you can see that the hammock, at the bottom of the picture, stops just below the air holes in the crates, allowing for plenty of airflow.

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All my extra gear is tucked in around and under

The hammock also allows me to tuck commonly needed dog gear in next to the crates without worrying that it will slip down into the cracks of the seat or onto the floor, never to be seen again. In the above photos, you can see toys, towels, leashes, and treats tucked in next to the crates. It also leaves the floor space clear to stash stuff and stay tidy. Each side of the car has one locking lidded box- one is emergency car gear, one is a first aid kit. These are easily accessible but out of the way. I also have extra blankets tucked under the back seat, as well as the sun shades I use in the summer. In between the front seats, I can reach back to the foot space and access a small trash can I have stashed there, as well as some bottles of water, or other gear I want handy but not piled on the passenger seat.

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Koira lounging in the back
The big thing I haven't figured out yet is the best way to travel when Koira comes along on adventures. I've debated a seat belt in the front seat (with the air bag off, of course), but that means no passenger can sit there. I can put her in the green Impact crate, but it is tight, and means Ptera and Flight have to ride together in the Bob McKee kennel. For this beach trip, I tossed her beg in the hatchback area, next to the three gallon water jug and my camera bag, and she was happy enough. I would love a more secure solution for her riding with us, though.

Overall, I am really happy with our set up so far. I am sure it will continue to evolve, but it is in a great place right now. The quilted car seat cover was a fantastic addition to our set up, and I would absolutely recommend one to anyone else, even if your dogs ride in crates. This particular one is very sturdy, and doesn't feel cheap at all. It has held up great over the last month against rain, mud, sand, and water, and it was super easy to install.

How do your dogs ride in the car?