Monday, May 30, 2016

Primal Dog and Cat Treats

Our treat review this month was of Primal Dog and Cat treats. We were sent the turkey liver munchies flavor. This flavor is literally made up of a single ingredient, turkey liver, and is made in the US, which makes me feel comfortable feeding it to my dogs and cats.


I used these in the puzzle toy I reviewed earlier, and also used them to help out with a bit of a patriotic themed photo shoot for Memorial Day.

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Theodore Trex was officially a fan, and after initially huffing off because I put a scarf on him, he came back begging for treats again.

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Patriotic jungle cat

Ptera was also a big fan. We need to work on her stay a bit still, but she is getting the hang of it, and was certainly eager to get some treats.

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Overall, these treats were a big hit with dogs and cats alike. Martha and Koira didn't participate in the photoshoot, but did greatly appreciate the treats as well. The treats were a variety of sizes in the bag, and while some were easy to break apart and some were a bit harder, I didn't mind, because if I didn't want a big treat, and couldn't easily break the big one I picked up, there were sure to be some smaller ones I could easily grab instead. They were mild in smell, and didn't leave any lingering nastiness on my fingers after using them. I'd get them again for sure.

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We were sent these treats in exchange for our honest review. All opinions are our own, and we were not compensated in any other way.

Chewy Review

This month, I was offered an Outward Hound Spinner Blocks puzzle toy to review.

I brought this toy along when traveling to a flyball tournament this past weekend, and tried it out in the hotel room.

Koira was first up. She has a good bit of experience with puzzle toys, so I didn't think she would have many problems with this one. She experimented a bit, and decided pretty quickly that she was supposed to remove the yellow blocks from the toy. However, she found it pretty hard to do that. Pawing at them doesn't knock them loose, and it took a good number of tries before she was able to get them with her teeth. I think on any harder of a surface, or on any day she hadn't just run flyball all day, she probably would have just flipped the entire toy over to get the blocks out. The video doesn't go all the way to the end (thanks to running out of memory part way through filming) but once she got the blocks out, she quickly figured out how to rotate the top piece to expose the other treats.

Ptera has much less experience with puzzle toys. Between that, and how difficult the yellow blocks are to remove even for a dog as big as Koira, who can get her mouth around them, Ptera didn't even have any idea of how to go about this with the blocks in. But she did well when I put just a couple treats in the open squares, and one in each of the covered round pieces.

Overall, this wasn't my favorite puzzle toy. I felt like the yellow blocks were more frustrating to remove than anything, rather than something that made the dog think, and since most frustrated dogs will either start pawing madly/biting/flipping (and be rewarded when the pieces fall out) or give up, it wasn't my favorite part. And I don't know that a dog Ptera's size would be able to remove the blocks at all without flipping the entire puzzle, since she can't really grab them in her mouth at all. Once the yellow blocks are removed, the toy is pretty easy, since opening one of the hidden compartments opens all of the compartments. All of that said, I am sure that there are some dogs who would absolutely love this puzzle to death. I think it just wasn't the right fit for my girls. It was well made, and even Koira grabbing the blocks repeatedly didn't appear to put any marks on the puzzle.

We were sent this item in exchange for our honest review. We were not compensated in any other way, and all opinions here are entirely our own.

Monday, May 16, 2016

JRT Fun Day

Yesterday, I headed up to Castle Rock Fairgrounds in Washington for a Jack Russell Terrier fun day/play day. I figured that Ptera would have fun, I would get to try some new sports with her, and there likely would be something for Koira to do.

From a few weeks ago, when she was still trying to figure out how ears work

The first thing we tried was called Go To Ground. The idea is that the dog goes through a series of tunnels made by wooden boxes, which can have turns, until they find the rat. The rat is on the outside of the tunnel, but can be seen and smelled through the white bars at the end of the tunnel. Once the dog finds the rat, they are supposed to work it for 30 seconds by scratching, barking, etc.

We started out by introducing Ptera to the rat. She was immediately obsessed. We ran her through a single short, straight tunnel to the rat, and she had no issues. She didn't work the rat at all, but did stay there smelling it. We ran her through some longer tunnels, including one with two turns, and she did awesome on all of them, going straight in and straight to the rat, without trying to come back out of the tunnel. Each time, she stuck with the rat, but didn't really "work" it, so we encouraged her to scratch and bark. The last part of the tunnel has a lid on the top that we open to get the dog out, so we would open that and get her ramped up. With encouragement, she worked the rat from inside the tunnel. Outside the tunnel, she didn't need any encouragement.

The JRT fun day also had something called brush hunt, which is similar to Barn Hunt, but in brush rather than straw. We didn't have much brush to use, so it was a pretty easy set up. Ptera found her rat pretty easily, and worked it really well.

Lure coursing and racing were the other two events offered. Lure coursing is the same as what we do with our coursing club, though set up a bit different since JRTs have different needs from sighthounds. It is more of just a fun way to get some energy out of them than anything else.

Ptera also did racing, which is just a long straight away where they race with other dogs. The start box was really our main hurdle. It was a brand new thing, with loud dogs in the other boxes banging around, and due to some technical issues, the box wasn't able to be opened right away when I put her in the first time. I ended up holding her in the box the next time, rather than closing the back door, and that went better. I think I would need to spend some time introducing her to the box by herself for her to really like the racing game.

Unfortunately, Koira didn't really get to do anything. I did have her meet a rat, which she thought was great. But the straight racing boxes are too small for her. The ground was wet and it was raining, so I didn't feel safe letting her do the lure coursing. The course they set up was fine for JRTs, but was twisty and tight in places, and I thought Koira's speed and size would put her at risk of injury if she ran that course on wet grass. The Go To Ground tunnels were also much too small for her as well. So really, outside of meeting a rat and a few short walks, Koira had a pretty boring day. I tried to make it up to her by taking her to flyball practice on our way home.

I'll be honest that I don't know if I'll have Ptera do any of these sports officially. I likely will put her in Barn Hunt to find rats, but I don't know if Go To Ground is something we'll compete in. JRT racing we might try again, but I would want a slow introduction to the box to do it. But it was fun to meet other JRT owners, see the dogs in action, and was an overall really fun day.

Saturday, May 14, 2016


Tulip season has passed. We're waiting on the lavender to bloom now.

Luckily, while the tulips were still going strong I found an adorable little local tulip farm, and stopped by one morning to get some photos. Pallo's new mama came along to be my photo assistant, and brought Pallo for his glamour shots.


He wasn't really into the posing thing...

Koira of course is a pro at posing. She wasn't so sure about the stool we had her standing on with her back legs, and tried to come through the window a few times. Pallo's mama is inside the building steadying her and keeping her from leaping forward.


Ptera was, and still is, new to posing, but I think she managed to rock it pretty well. She is a happy, eager to please little dog. She is super smart, so while it can take a little bit of explaining what you want, once she figures it out, she does her absolute best to do it.


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day

Years ago, I went on a student exchange to Mexico, and my mom came down to visit me. We did a ton of awesome things together, including climbing a volcano. This is from that trip, and you can see the caldera of the active volcano behind us.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Flyball Training with a JRT Puppy

Happy Wordless Wednesday. How about a silly picture of Ptera, and then some videos of her flyball training so far?

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Silly little puppy

I've been videoing Ptera's training sessions since bringing her home. She is a puppy, so we are taking it easy on the jumping, but she is a quick, eager to learn pup.

Here is our first ever session of over-and-backs:

And passing drills with a small dog:

....and with a big dog:

We also just introduced the wall board last week.

Lets just say that I'm thrilled with where we are right now. I'm not going to push her, and I want all of the basic concepts solid for her before we move on. But I'm happy with where we are, and am looking forward to the months to come.

And of course Koira is having a blast as well. She may be 8, but I have a feeling she has many years of flyball left to run.