Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: I and Love and You

At BlogPaws in Las Vegas this year, I met a ton of different people, including bloggers and company representatives. One of the booths that my dogs wouldn't stay away from was the I and Love and You booth, so when I was contacted and asked if I wanted to do a review, of course my answer was yes.

I was sent two products to try. The first one was a bag of their dehydrated raw food.

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One pound of this dehydrated food equals ten pounds of prepared food. When trying this food out, Koira got a little more than one cup of the dry food, with water added to fill her bowl. She was seriously a huge fan. She would do a little tap dancing routine while I prepared the food, and seemed heartbroken when I left the food to sit for a little bit and absorb some of the water (though I also fed it immediately a few times with no ill effects). Actually, when I left the food to sit for a few minutes, I would often have to go chase the cats away from it, because both Martha and Theodore Trex apparently loved this food as well.

Overall, I was really pleased with the food, and would certainly use it again. It would be a great food for a raw feeder to use while traveling (way easier than packing frozen meat, since it doesn't require a cooler or anything). And, since this food is available not just online and in high end pet stores, but also at Kroger's stores, it is easy to find and pick up when needed. No need to wait for your online order to ship out to you for your trip. Locally, Kroger's is Fred Meyer, and the store in my town carries a variety of I and Love and You products.

The other product I was sent to try was a Boost-a-Pest flea and tick tag.

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The tag has no chemicals and is supposed to work with the dog's natural energy to help repel fleas and ticks. I had Pallo try it out, since it does use a jump ring to attach to a collar, and Koira can't have metal jump rings. The tag itself is small enough that I think it would work just fine on pretty much any size of dog, even really small ones. If I'm being honest, I was skeptical of this tag working, since it seems like some kind of voodoo magic that makes it work. That said, this has been a really bad flea year, and Pallo has always been one of those dogs that seems to get fleas all the time. Go to the park, come home with a flea infestation. Every time. And that hasn't happened recently. It seems like fleas really are staying away from him. And the tag is supposed to work for a full year. Let me tell you, I plan on getting another one in a year, since I really do think it is helping, and seriously, we need whatever help we can get around here during a bad flea year.

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Pallo is wearing his flea repelling tag in this photo. It looks just like a standard small tag.
Overall, I am just a big fan of I and Love and You. While they did send me these products for free to try out, all opinions posted here are mine alone, and totally truthful. I highly recommend this company and their products.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Flyball Turns

Last night at practice, and at practice last week, I spent time concentrating on Koira's turn. I have a feeling I will have to spend time working on her turn regularly for the rest of her life.

The last tournament we were at was two weeks ago, and by the end of the weekend, Koira's turn was back to being almost non-existent. I think a big factor in that is that we had been missing a number of practices and running in line ups at the practices we did make it to, often with no prop due to not having enough people available to place a prop. Combined, all of that caused Koira's turn to degrade before we even made it to the tournament, and the tournament just crushed her turn the rest of the way.

I have no photos of Koira doing box work recently, or of her at the recent tournament. But this is a photo I took at our last tournament.

Last week, I tried out a new prop in front of the box. It is a clear plexiglass prop that fits right up close to the box really nicely, and is really hard to see even knowing it is there. I combined that one with another plexiglass prop that is set next to the box on the side she turns toward, to help keep her turn fast and tight. I worked her up close quite a bit, doing snap-offs without the props, then with the props. Then I moved back one jump at a time, giving her more speed going into the box, this time with the prop in place the entire time.

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Again, a photo of a dog at our last tournament. This one is Shadow, and this run gave her the points needed to complete her Iron Dog, meaning she has been successfully running flyball for ten consecutive years.

This week, I started off the same, doing snap-offs with no props. Then I added the props and had someone else hold Koira back behind the first jump and release, so I could still reward right after the box turn. That worked well, so I had them hold Koira back before the start line and release her. I didn't have time to get to the other side to reward like I do for snap-offs, but while standing on the side toward which Koira turns, I tossed her tug down and over for her if her turn was reward worthy. It seemed to work out well. One of her turns was horrible and exploded the props, but the next two were nice, so I had them take the prop out from in front of the box (leaving in the one to the side) and her turn was nice. We put the prop back in, did one run with a really nice turn, then took the prop back out for the next repeat. We ended on that next one, which was an absolutely gorgeous, fast turn.

I am hoping that by doing some heavy box work in the next few weeks that Koira's turn will hold up at least somewhat during the tournament in the middle of next month. If only we were allowed to run with props, her turn would be awesome! Of course, that is the challenge.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Hiking at Walton Lake

To see the rest of our trip posts, check out Paddleboarding at Walton Lake and Camping at Walton Lake.

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At the trailhead (photo taken with my point and shoot camera)

We only stayed at Walton Lake for two nights, but went on a few different hikes in that time. The one we did multiple times was the path around the lake itself. It was a mostly gravel path that stayed close to the water and followed the edge of the lake all the way around. Near the day use area on the opposite side from where we were camping, the path is actually paved for a short ways for wheelchair access. The entire path around the lake was probably just under a mile long by my best guess, and we did it multiple times each day there.

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Taking a water break

On Thursday and Friday we also did one longer hike as well as the lake path and spending time on the water. We chose different paths each time, but both were similar terrain through the woods on narrow but well worn paths. Being so close to a campground, I am sure those paths get plenty of traffic (and we picked up a good deal of garbage left behind by other hikers while we were hiking ourselves).

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Showing off their boots on a log

Since the area we were in can have bad cheat grass and lava rock, I had the dogs wear their boots on our Thursday hike, and had Koira wear hers while on the lake path some of the time, since it was gravel and she is pretty tender footed. Luckily, I saw no sign of cheat grass even away from camp, so for our Friday hike the dogs got to leave their boots back at base.

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Dog boots back at camp, between hikes.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Paddleboarding at Walton Lake

The whole point of staying at a campground at Walton Lake was so we could go paddleboarding and kayaking while we were there. Originally, we were going to go to Green Peter, which is closer to home. But Green Peter has speed boats, which means wakes and possible danger of being hit if you are in the water. Since a friend of my mom was staying at Walton Lake for the week, we decided to go there instead, and avoid the potential danger involved elsewhere.

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Kayak and paddleboard, with lifejackets, sat waiting at the lake's edge below our campsite.

Since we just have the one paddleboard, we also brought along my kayak to use as well. I like the paddleboard better, both because it is easier to load and carry on my car by myself, and because it is better for doing with the dogs. I can really only fit a single dog in the kayak with me, and it's kind of cramped.

Of course, the most important thing before getting into the water is making sure everyone is safe. I always wear my lifejacket when I am kayaking or paddleboarding. The law says I have to have one on the watercraft with me- I know, however, that if I need a lifejacket, unless I am already wearing it, chances are I won't have enough time to get it on. Same goes for the dogs. All of us always wear our lifejackets. Period.

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Adorable in her blue lifejacket. 

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Pallo wears the older orange lifejacket. It still works well for keeping the dog buoyant in the water, but the handle isn't as reliable on it. Since Koira is more likely to need to be hauled back up out of the water, she wears the one with the better handle.

While I can and have put both dogs on the paddleboard with me, I wanted to spend some time with each of them individually. We all have the basics down of paddleboarding, so now it was time to reinforce the desirable behaviors and work on getting rid of the undesirable for Pallo, this means no whining, not standing at the very tip of the board, and not moving from the front to the back of the board over and over.

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Pallo standing in the right place, back from the nose of the board and on the anti-slip matting.

For Koira, this means no barking and no jumping off the board without specific permission to do so. She has upset the board a few times previously, knocking both me and Pallo into the water. She gets so over the top excited about being on the water, just like she does at dock diving, that her brain kind of checks out a little bit. And since she does dock diving as well, she has no hesitation at leaping off into the water. For her safety and my own, I needed to get that behavior to stop.

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Koira, sitting where I want her, calm, no whining, no jumping off, no chasing ducks. 

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I used the treat pouch at my waist to reinforce the desired behaviors, and stopped regularly to reward.

Overall, everyone made some great progress. Attaching a treat pouch to myself really made both of the dogs check in. I was able to reinforce desirable positioning and behaviors for both dogs, which resulted in calmer, more enjoyable trips on the lake. Now to see if we keep that when I add both dogs.

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Koira, sitting centered, attention on me, no whining, no jumping. She is hoping for treats. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Camping at Walton Lake

Wednesday afternoon, I took off to eastern Oregon to go camping for three days with my mom and the dogs.

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Pallo was hanging out in the tent during our afternoon break. Koira was laying outside in the sun.

We arrived after dark on Wednesday evening and quickly set up the tent.

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I set up an x-pen around the tent for the dog to hang out in while we were in camp. Easier than tethering, and the dogs like being able to go inside and lay down or hang out outside in the sun.

Thursday, we spent all day hiking and on the lake, alternating between the two. One end of the picnic table bench had all the dogs' boots laid out between hikes, while the other side had their life jackets drying in the sun between trips to the lake.

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The dogs' Ruffwear boots. Eastern Oregon has a lot of lava rock and cheat grass, both of which can be hard on dog feet.

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The dogs' lifejackets got dried out in the sun between trips to the lake. 

Lots more pictures, and more about our trip, to come later.