Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Ptera's Flyball Debut

Two weeks ago, I made a last minute trip to Canada. I didn't think I'd be able to go originally, due to work schedules and lack of money. But my work schedule made it possible, and a super generous friend let me ride up with her and stay in her camper van for the weekend, even though it meant she had to leave later in the day than she had planned. And another friend generously let Ptera take a spot on her club's team, giving her a spot to run.

Crazy little dog

Koira stayed with my mom for the weekend. The friend I rode up with has dogs that Koira doesn't like, and that don't like Koira, so it was just easier that way. And it gave me a chance to really concentrate on Ptera for her debut weekend.

She is super intense

I have to say, Ptera exceeded any and all expectations I had for her. I went up there figuring I would run her in one or two races a day, and she would maybe get her first title (20 points), or, at a stretch, her second title (100 pts). On Saturday, she ran in two races of five heats each, and she ran perfect. She didn't have a single error. One dog had an error on one heat with a dropped ball. And the team was running times in the 18-19 second range, which was crazy for my tiny dog's debut. At the end of the day, Ptera had picked up 126 points and her first two titles, Flyball Dog (FD) and Flyball Dog Excellent (FDX).

At Koira's first tournament, she earned 7 points. At Pallo's, he earned 17 points. In a single day, Ptera had exceeded all of my expectations.

Loving the game

Unfortunately, the team we were running with ended up with a number of dogs needing to be pulled on Sunday. One was sick (I think it was an IBS flare up, or something along those lines), and one started limping after the first race. Ptera was moved onto a different team to cover for the sick dog, and the team with the dog who started limping ended up having to pull the team because that was their only height dog. It was a bummer, even if it didn't impact my own dog.

Super intense and focused for a runaway over jumps back to me

I don't remember how many races Ptera ran on Sunday, but it was more than on Saturday. She ran like she was an experienced pro, getting some great passes, and with only two errors on Sunday from fumbled balls. At the end of Sunday, she had earned 376 points, bringing her up to 502 total for the weekend, and earning her third title, FDCh. I never imagined she would earn that her first weekend out.

I don't think I can even express how crazy proud of this tiny terror of a dog I am. Pallo debuted as a solid dog, but with a team who didn't achieve much. Koira debuted with the same team, and did better than most of the dogs, but had her own issues, mainly her box turn, that have held her back from really achieving the points. And my own lack of money for travel hasn't made our flyball career as lucrative as others, as we have to sit out many tournaments each year. But I am so incredibly proud of this tiny dog, and so thankful for all of the people that helped us out and made it possible, with carpooling, camping, putting Ptera in a lineup, risking having an unknown green dog from another team debut with them, and all of the people who asked how she was doing, who took videos of her, and encouraged us all weekend.

So that is my super wordy wordless Wednesday.
The video is of Ptera's real first race. The pictures, though, are from a practice back in July, when we did a team photoshoot.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Rachael Ray Nutrish Soup Bones

As a fun extra review this month, we tried out Rachael Ray Nutrish Soup Bones from Though the name is Soup Bones, these are dense chews that are entirely edible, and not bone. They are soup bone shaped, though, which is where the name comes from, I think. They are in texture closer to something like a Greenie, as a heavy, dense, but chewable treat.

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I tried these guys out with Ptera. She is a firecracker, and having something to chew on for a while helps give her something to do that doesn't involve destruction or mayhem (what was I thinking getting a JRT, again? Why didn't someone stop me?). She is a bitty little thing at only 10 lbs, so I cut each of these "soup bones" in half for her so she wasn't getting an absolutely humongous portion. They were tough, but cut in half easily enough with a serrated blade.

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First attempt at a grab. She stopped and looked at me to see if I would stop her before she actually picked it up.

Ptera actually interrupted my attempt to get pictures of the soup bones by themselves first, and I managed to snap two pictures before she picked it up and took off. I do not generally let my dogs steal things, but ultimately, I was planning on inviting her into the photoshoot anyway, so I just rolled with it when she invited herself. Obviously she was eager to get ahold of these, and she greatly enjoyed it once she settled down to eat.

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Blurry photo as she grabbed it to take off

I would say that these are a hit with Ptera. They don't last a super long time, maybe 5 minutes at most, but it is a lot more time than it takes for her to eat most treats. She isn't a power chewer, but is very food motivated (what a difference from when I brought her home this spring!). The ingredients aren't what I would want in a food to feed every day, but there is nothing that I am uncomfortable feeding on an occasional, treat only basis. Overall, I would say that we would purchase these in the future as a short lasting chew, especially at less than $5 for a bag (or less, depending on flavor).

We received this product for free in exchange for our honest review. We were not compensated in any other way, and all opinions shared here are entirely our own. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Treat and Food Roll Review

This month, we reviewed Blue Buffalo Wilderness Wild Rolls for These are basically a semi hard, semi dry food/treat roll. It can be fed as a food, or cut up and used as treats.

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I have used food rolls before as training treats, so was interested in trying this out for the same thing. I like that these are a balanced food, so giving a large number of treats means I can reduce the amount of food given at meals without worry about unbalanced diet (not that it is something I particularly worry about most of the time, but it is still nice to know).

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One of the biggest problems with using food rolls, in my experience, is that they can get really crumbly when you cut them up. These ones weren't bad that way, though. There were some crumbs as I sliced them up, but the pieces stayed pretty intact when put into a treat container, and when broken into smaller pieces in my hands, they didn't disintegrate like some of them can. As they were cut up and dried out, they did crumble more than when freshly cut, but still didn't fall apart.

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Of course, another essential part of it is whether the dogs liked them. And the answer is, absolutely. Both dogs really liked these treats. I generally just mixed them in with other treats and kibble to create a variety, and the dogs did approve. I also used them as the treats for Ptera's Christmas photoshoot, and they helped us get some excellent photos.

We received this product for free in exchange for our honest review. We were not compensated in any other way, and all opinions shared here are entirely our own. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Wisdom Panel Results

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Looking adorable

Our Wisdom Panel results came in a couple weeks ago. It actually took exactly two weeks from the day I mailed the test to when we received our results, which was awesome.

Wisdom panel result

Ptera is a Jack Russell Terrier. Jack Russells are not AKC accepted, so the two AKC breeds of Parson Russell Terrier and Russell Terrier came up as the results. Since these breeds are both considered Jack Russells by the wider world outside of the show ring, I think this is a very reasonable result for a purebred but not AKC registered JRT.

Wisdom Results
Half Parson, half Russel

Even though the results are exactly what I expected, I thought they were pretty fun to read over. And since I got Ptera second hand rather than from a breeder, there was always the possibility that her original owners either lied to me or were lied to themselves, or were mistaken, about her breed. She is a particularly dainty jack, after all.

PCA Test
Just one of the additional tests that happen if you mark purebred for your dog

Overall, I thought reviewing the Wisdom Panel was a ton of fun. It was nice seeing a confirmation that Ptera is a JRT, and would have been nice to know if she was not and had something else mixed in. While I would never swear these results are 100% perfectly accurate, I do think it gives a very good idea of what breed or breeds a dog may have in their background, and is just plain fun to do.

While I was provided with this product in exchange for a review, I was not compensated in any other way, and the opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Wisdom Panel DNA Test from

Years ago, I used Wisdom Panel to get an idea of what breeds Pallo had in his history. The results were very interesting, but I often found when I shared them with people, that people were very skeptical about the DNA testing, sharing stories of how supposedly purebred dogs tested as something completely different, or mixed breed dogs came up with totally absurd dogs in their results. I didn't care that much, to be honest, because I just saw it as a fun way to have somewhat more of an idea of Pallo's history and make up.

Spotted something interesting

When contacted me and asked if I was interested in reviewing Wisdom Panel, I thought it would be a lot of fun. I originally wasn't sure if I should test one of my own dogs (and if so, which one) or use it on a friend's dog whose breed makeup was more of a mystery. Ultimately I decided to test Ptera. I met both of Koira's parents, saw the rest of the litter, and even saw pictures of two of her grandparents. I know what breed she is with very little question in my mind.

Ptera, on the other hand, I got at 6 months old, and I only have the word of her previous family that she is a Jack Russell Terrier. I think it is absolutely believable that she is just a small jack from a family or back yard breeder. But I also think it would be fun to get some verification from Wisdom Panel.

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Wisdom Panel

The test itself was super easy. The package that the swabs come in have the directions written directly on it, so you can't lose them, and the entire thing turns back into a mailing package to send the swabs back in (return postage included).

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Viewing the instructions and swabs

Ptera didn't exactly approve of being swabbed, but she tolerated it well enough. The hard part for me was making sure that she hadn't had any food or treats for a few hours before swabbing her.

A big difference between the test now and the one I did years ago with Pallo is that before you send the test back in, you activate it online and include the activation code on the test when you send it it. And instead of needing a different test for purebred or mixed breed dogs, you just select if your dog is purebred, designer bred (two known breeds), or mixed breed. They still do all the same testing no matter which you select, but if you say your dog is a purebred or designer, they do additional testing within the database for that breed or specific breeds.

Wisdom Panel
Going online for the activation code

Jack Russell Terriers are not the easiest dog to get dna testing done for, because they are a very diverse breed. The JRT is actually an overall name for Jack Russell Terriers (who have their own registry, the JRTCA), Parson Russell Terriers, and Russell Terriers. Because they are different breeds and different registries, I just selected the Russell Terrier when asked if Ptera was purebred, because JRT was not an option. Because she obviously is not a show bred Russell Terrier, I do expect there to possibly be some other breeds represented in her lineage by this test.
Where we're at now

A fun thing with the Wisdom Panel is that you can track the progress online. For impatient people, this is awesome, because you can see when the sample arrives at the lab and what stage of testing it is in. Right now, Ptera's test is in the Data Being Analyzed stage, which is super exciting and means I should be getting her results soon.

Jack Russell 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Fall Color

I found some awesome fall color despite most of the trees being stripped bare from the wind, and had to take the opportunity to take some photos of the dogs.

I'm lucky that my dogs are generally good at posing and figure out the game pretty quick. But that doesn't mean I don't get some hilarious outtakes sometimes.

Skeptical dogs are skeptical

They do know how to pose for a pretty photo, though.

Posing like pros