Friday, June 28, 2013

Fit Friday: The Good Stuff

The good part of staying fit is always the food. Fitdog Friday doesn't always have to be about how we exercise the mind and body. I think it can be about how we feed it as well.

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My dogs are both fed a raw diet. But raw meat is hard to use as treats without a major yuck factor. When I was contacted by and asked to review some Orijen Regional Red freeze dried treats, I had to say yes. Freeze dried is the next best thing to raw, and these treats contain only the meat and liver from lamb, wild boar, and Angus beef, and are sourced and produced in Canada.

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Lets just say, these were a major hit with my dogs. I used some for flyball practice last night with Koira, and some to help me get these photos this morning. Something I really liked about these treats is that they don't leave any residue on my hands like some freeze dried foods can- and there was no nasty liver smell either! Also, they are large enough to be easily visible when used as a tossed treat to reward motion.

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Koira found these treats to be lip licking good, and Pallo agreed (though without the photo shoot). In fact, these treats were good enough for Koira to be okay with taking these photos in the yard on a Friday morning, despite it being garbage day. If you know Koira, you know that means she not only loves these treats, but has made some progress in her sound phobia as well.

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*I recieved the Orijen treats for free in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to give a positive view, all opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own, and I was not compensated in any other way.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Some Local Color

After a few days of isolating myself in my house so as not to spread chickenpox, I was going totally stir crazy with cabin fever. And despite plenty of training and playing fetch in the yard, I think the dogs were too.

I wanted to go do something without risking spreading chickenpox to other people. I ended up taking a drive out to the country. When I went past a sign for Harris Covered Bridge, I decided on the spur of the moment that I wanted to stop and see the bridge. I don't know how common covered bridges are in other parts of the country, but we have quite a few of them in Oregon. Each one is different and unique in its own ways. I'd never seen the Harris bridge before.

Harris Covered Bridge-4519

It was difficult to get a good picture that both showed the bridge itself and had a dog in it. I ended up really liking the one of Pallo, above. I got a similar photo of Koira, below, posing in the same place. But she was a bit more nervous about standing on the railing, so I didn't want to back up as far as I had with Pallo. The vertical photo isn't my favorite for a covered bridge, but I think it turned out okay.

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Part of the appeal of the covered bridges is the architecture on the inside. All of the exposed beams and supports make a really intricate background, with the outside visible on the far end and right below the ceiling.

I ended up getting two shots I really liked of both dogs in the bridge. This first one is a close up of both dogs, but with the bridge architecture prominent enough to make the photo interesting. Don't worry- while the bridge is still in use, it is back on a very small gravel road with very little traffic. We saw two vehicles the entire time we were there, and were off the bridge in plenty of time.

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I think I like this photo even better. It is still just the dogs in the bridge, but the bridge itself is so much more prominent in this photo. I love the back lighting on the tresses above the dogs especially. Don't be fooled. It was a very cloudy, rainy day. The inside the bridge shots were mostly taken towards the north end of the bridge during the rain downpours, while the outside shots were during the clear times of the afternoon.

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When I got Pallo out to pose for a shot by himself, he flopped onto his belly with his hind legs in their frog pose. This is a pretty unusual pose for him to stay in for very long, and I'm not really sure why he chose to lay like that in the first place, since it wasn't particularly hot out. But either way, it is seriously adorable. Asking him if he wanted some breakfast resulted in the intense eyes and cute head tilt.

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Koira's alone shots were a little more difficult. We had a little bit of lightening and thunder along with the rain, so she wasn't relaxed enough to lay down and didn't particularly want to sit down for very long. I did get a nice shot of her standing in the bridge, though. And I am glad that she doesn't look too nervous in the photo. I don't think she was too worried about the thunder, since she was still willing to listen to me, perk her ears at my noises, etc., she just didn't want me to get too far away from her.

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If you couldn't guess with the wooden decking of the bridge, this is also where I took the "always by my feet" photos from the Wordless Wednesday post. I'm still trying to decide if I like those pictures better the orientation I posted them with, or flipped 180. Overall, I had a great time on our outing, and am really pleased with the photos I ended up with. 

Between our impromptu trip to the covered bridge and a nice hike in the forest, we managed to stave off cabin fever for a while. Now, I am finally getting over being sick, so can go back out into public. Just in time for me to be gone from home for a week. I'll still be trying to get some posts up this week, and I'll try to stop by everyone's blogs (I read all the new posts, I just don't comment as often as I should). Hope everyone has a great first day of summer tomorrow!

Thursday, June 13, 2013


I have the chickenpox.

This is kind of ridiculous. I know that. But seriously, I have the chickenpox.

I actually feel fine, I'm just covered in itchy red spots. So I am not going to work for the next week in hope of not infecting everyone around me as well. But I'm not allowed to go do anything fun either! No flyball, no roller derby, no Saturday market. I'm seriously debating driving down to the Wildlife Safari, because it is something I could enjoy from my own car and not worry about infecting anyone.

I'm bored already!

Stupid contagious disease.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Roller Derby: Week 2

Yesterday, I had my third Roller Derby Boot Camp practice, which also started our second week of training. We practice twice a week on Sunday and Thursday evenings.

Thursday was kind of a rough day for me. Partly I think it was that I was missing flyball practice to be there, which messed with my mental game a bit. Since the Thursday practices for both of these sports overlap, I will be juggling between the two for a while. Also hard was that I decided to try borrowing some of the loaner skates they have available at the training building. I've been skating in my mom's old rink skates that she is letting me borrow, which aren't ideal for derby. But trying on all those other skates did nothing but hurt my feet in all variety of ways, until I finally switched back to the rink skates.

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My rink skates

On my way to practice yesterday I was feeling a little hesitant. I also fell a lot on Thursday, partly because of the different skates we were trying. I know I will fall a lot in derby. It is part of the game. There will never be a point where I will never fall. But it was a little discouraging. Last night's practice totally made up for it though!

The first thing we really learned was crossovers. This is basically where you pick up your outside foot when turning, bring it over in front of your other foot, set it down, and push out with the foot that stayed in place. It helps you corner faster and picks up a LOT more speed than just leaning into the turn or pushing a bit with the outside foot. It is also hard to get coordinated enough to do. It felt like the kneepads were in the way, my feet were huge and awkward, and like I was about to fall over the entire time. But, after a few rounds of the track, I was starting to get it, and when I did it right for the first time, it felt amazing.

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Practicing stepping to the side doing crossovers before hitting the track with them

I think learning the crossovers was the biggest thing in practice for me yesterday. We also practiced T-stops, which I got way better at, and plow stops, which I haven't had much problem with because of my experience skiing and skijoring, where you use a lot of plow stops for slowing down and controlling your speed on hills or behind dogs. Then, as we were about to practice two knee slides/stops, my skate broke. The pivot cup (a piece that holds the skate wheels steady in place) snapped, making my skates unstable and unsafe to skate on. I quickly walked on my knees to the chairs, got those skates off, grabbed a random pair from the wall that looked like roughly the right size, and got back into practice as soon as I could.

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Getting instructions before one of the drills

I don't know if it was my confidence or if the skates were just a better pair than I tried last time, but I felt pretty okay in them the rest of practice. We didn't have a whole lot left at that point. We made a pace line again (spaced 1 arm length apart behind another skater, all in a line, the goal being to keep the same speed, distance, and spacing) and then practiced weaving up the line between the skaters, while maintaining spacing. It was really hard to do the weaving because when going to the inside of the line, it was easy to skate too fast and get ahead of them. And then going to the outside of the line, it was super easy to skate too slow and get left behind. But everyone did really awesome with it.

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Practicing stepping side to side and front to back without rolling

I think the best single thing in practice was doing the 25 in 5 again. We did it last Sunday as well. Basically, the point is to skate laps for 5 minutes, with a goal of being able to skate a minimum of 25 laps in that time. Last week, I skated 14. This week, I made it up to 19! If nothing else, that shows me how much faster doing crossovers is. And I can't wait until I am in better shape and get better at crossovers, because I know my speed is going to pick up a lot more the better I get.

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Water break!

Friday, June 7, 2013

FitDog Friday

I've been busy with work, life, and roller derby this week, so the dogs haven't been getting as much crazy attention as they are used to. That doesn't mean we aren't getting out and doing things, though. This week, we mostly played games of fetch at the park down the street, but added in some trick training (backing onto a slanted board, getting four feet into a container, balancing a cookie on the nose until released) as well.

It is much harder to both throw the toy and get decent pictures than you might think. Or at least, it is for me. I might just be really bad at it though. That should never be eliminated from possibility.

The retrieve
And I will say, between throwing the ball and holding a Canon T4i with a 70-300mm lens in one hand, playing fetch at the park is something of a workout for me as well. My wrist muscles are going to get all bulky if I keep shooting one handed with that lens!

Getting the ball first
Don't worry, Pallo was there too. I just mostly only got blurry or super dopey pictures of him this time out. And really, there are only so many dopey pictures of Pallo with a Grinz ball that need to be posted to the internet before it gets old.

Have I mentioned how much I LOVE this Grinz ball, by the way? Both of my dogs totally love it, Koira even has had a few major chew sessions with it, and it still looks this amazing. I might end up buying one of every color of the rainbow, except that this one is still so perfect looking, I don't have any need for more of them!

A tired dog is a happy dog

And at the end of the day, the statement is always true: A tired dog is a happy dog! Go out and have some fun with your pups!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Dogs in Cars

Okay, it isn't quite wordless. It is Wednesday though!

I've been seeing a lot of people posting and sharing some rather sensationalized memes about dogs in cars in the summer. As an active participant in dog sports, and someone who often travels with my dogs in all kinds of weather, I leave my dogs in the car sometimes. I believe 100% that this can be safe for the dogs, as long as common sense on the part of the owner is used.

This infographic, which I found on Facebook by Canine Lifestyle Academy, gives a much more reasonable approach to dogs in cars.

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Monday, June 3, 2013

Mischief Monday: New Sports

I am sore this morning. Kind of an all over muscle soreness with a few concentrated areas that hurt worse- my hip, my elbow, and the portion of my foot with the blister. All of this, because I joined a new sport. We had practice for the first time last night. And the mischief part of that? It doesn't involve the dogs. The new sport is Roller Derby.

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Geared up but afraid to stand up
I don't normally post my non-dog stuff on the blog, I know. But, this new sport will be practices two or more times per week for at least the next seven weeks, so will be taking up a lot of my time, and I think I might want to have something to look back on and see how far we've come. So far, it is a lot of fun, but I kind of feel like the trainers are trying to kill us and have us melt into the ground. First, we skated in circles (once we got the courage to stand up on skates for the first time in years!). Then, we did falling and stopping drills where we were introduced to some of the basic ways to stop yourself when moving- three of which involve deliberately falling- knee stops, using left, right, or both knees. What falling on your knees repeatedly means is that you have to get up off your knees over and over and over again, and my thighs are telling me about it this morning!

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First attempt at 25 laps in 5 minutes. No, I got no where close!

After we got the hang of the basic ways to stop, including T-stops and plow stops as well as the knee stops, the real torture began. (By this point, by the way, I had fallen once on accident, landing on my not-padded hip and my elbow, both of which are also telling me about it this morning.) We did a time trial of how many laps we could finish in 5 minutes. Man, I started off pretty strong, but by that point, my legs were killing me and I'd developed a blister on my foot, and it was all I could do to keep going after a few laps. To pass Boot Camp, you need to skate 25 laps minimum in the five minutes given. I made it to 14 and felt dead at the end. I'm confident that by the end of Boot Camp I'll have a hard time believing I could only make 14 laps and that I thought it was hard!

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Being pushed by a partner around the track.
We also did a bunch of different drills. One of them involved being pushed and pushing a partner around the track. It sounds like it would be easy to be pushed, but staying in a deep enough crouch to not fall over but not actually moving your own legs for momentum really makes the thighs burn deep. And pushing a partner was surprisingly easy in comparison. We switched back and forth who was pushed and who was the pushee to help spread the pain more evenly.

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Equal spacing and speed practice, with extra crazy mixed in
We also did a line drill to practice even spacing and speed. The spacing and speed part wasn't too hard until some of the trainers and more experienced girls started weaving back and forth up the moving spaced line! Thinking about where the weaving skater was, looking back for her, and not freaking out when she passed within inches of me, all that made the equal spacing a lot more difficult.

To throw in a little more torture, we were introduced to burpees on skates (which I now need to seriously practice without skates, along with my lunges, because ouch) as well as a "Simon says" type game on skates.  Basically, torture.

But in the end, it was so much fun. I can't wait for the next class.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

I Bought Koira Some Teeth

If you remember, I posted a little while ago about how Koira needs dentures. Well, I found the perfect solution.

Only problem is she keeps putting them in crooked!


And Pallo keeps stealing her dentures too. At least he puts them in straight though.


*Note: I promise Koira actually has all of her teeth. She just looks toothless half the time.