Monday, December 30, 2013

End of Year

And now, the year is drawing to a close. Here's some little wrap up from the last few weeks.

Recently, we have had some excitement. In the past couple of months, Koira's box turn finally seemed to click with her. We collected about a bazillion Christmas cards from fellow bloggers. We did a gift exchange with Mason, and sent him some treats, a collar, and one of the tags I started making. He sent Koira and Pallo a selection of tasty treats that they have been enjoying since Christmas, including two adorable gingerbread man treats. There is a picture on my mom's camera of them with those balanced on their noses by the Christmas tree.

Koira's nail seems to be healing slowly. I really probably shouldn't have run her at practice yesterday. I am sure it did nothing good for her toenail. But she was so happy about getting out and being there that I just can't feel guilty for taking her. I do need to make sure her nail gets healing, though, or else she will end up out for a lot longer than a few weeks.

Pallo has his funky flyball behavior. I'm not sure what is up with him still, but we are playing our different games, changing our behavior, and bringing some thinking back into it. We'll see if it gets us anywhere. I am relatively sure it isn't a physical problem, but now that the holidays are over and life has a chance to calm down some, I will try to get him in for a massage and see if the massage therapist spots anything that the vet missed.

Flickr is still doing its weird thing of not letting me share my own photos, so I've been using the Blogger upload. So expect few photos until Flickr gets its act together, probably, since the Blogger upload kind of hates me.

Here are a couple of photos of Koira's healing toenail from tonight. It isn't gory or anything, but you can tell how much it must hurt. Her other toenails are a little long, yes. They needed clipping when this happened, and I have been avoiding doing it since her foot is pretty sensitive right now. I am planning to take her to a groomer to have them done.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Awesome Practice

We had an awesome practice this morning. My team recently (this month) started offering a second practice each week. It is dependent on the building being available, but we now have a Sunday morning option as well as our regular Thursday evenings.

The Sunday practices are smaller and we structure them differently from our team practice. Instead of doing mostly full runs in lineups, which is what we do most of on Thursdays, we have been doing a varied practice on Sundays. Power jumping, wall board practice, drills, games, etc, tend to be the thing. It helps to mix things up a bit and work on different stuff.

This morning, I did wall work with both dogs. Pallo has always been good with wall work. He hits a vertical wall board pretty much exactly the same as he hits the flyball box. Ideally he would hit the wall board higher than he hits the box, but his turn is nice enough that I am not going to mess with him too much. Koira was doing some gorgeous bounces off the wall board. One of my awesome teammates figured out a way to attach a padded wall board to the wall of the training facility without making it permanent or damaging the walls, while keeping it sturdy enough to use safely with the dogs. Koira's bounces were high and tight and beautiful, despite her poor wrapped up foot.

I had Koira in a pretty heavy duty foot wrap, since her toe nail is not anywhere close to healed yet. She seriously wanted to play, though, and has been getting a bit stir crazy from only on leash walks. So I just put some gauze around the toe to pad it, wrapped it up with vet wrap, then covered the whole thing with athletic tape to keep it from coming off. Of course, she lost two different wraps first before I got one on her that stayed. The toe did end up bleeding a little, but not horrible, and less than what she has done to it on an on leash walk. But... she had so much fun, and she really, really wanted to play. I just couldn't make her sit it out.

We also did some jump grid work with Pallo. Basically, we took four jumps and set them up in a square, and had him navigate them in various ways. It helps get the dog to think about the jumps and pay attention to the handler. Doing these grids is part of my plan to change Pallo's picture at flyball and get him to start thinking about what he is doing instead of melting into an excited pile of goo and being unable to do anything.

Zip the Tervuren

The other drill I did with both dogs was to set them up to do runaways while another dog did full runs right next to them. We set up two lanes with only about a foot between them instead of the 8+ feet normally separating the lanes. Then, I would hand my dog off to someone at the box and go down to the run back area. The dog in the other lane would do a full run down to the box and back, and the person holding my dog would release my dog to run back to me when the dog doing the full run hit the box. It helps get both dogs really digging in to beat the other one back. Koira ran against Zip, an incredibly enthusiastic Tervuren on our team, while Pallo was matched against Trix the border collie, the fastest dog on our team (he did get a bit of a head start to give Trix a better match at the finish line). Both dogs had a blast.

Trix the border collie, fastest dog on our team

We ended practice working with Rush, a Jack Russel on our team who has some issues with jumping. She has some poor structure in the rear, but her issues with jumping seem as much mental as physical. Even though she is experienced, she sometimes skips jumps, and she looks very awkward while jumping much of the time. Launching too early for the jumps is a big part of it. Just to see if we could figure it out, I sat on the floor near the lane and started putting slats down as stride bumps for her. We tried one slat to start with, then ended up adding three more in strategic locations. Her last run was amazingly smooth- the best, smoothest jumping I have ever seen from her. We had three slats on the ground between the last jump and the box, and one between the two jumps. She was being started two jumps back. We'll probably have to work on it and adjust it, but I have high hopes, and think we will see some amazing things if we keep it up with her.

Rush, jumping way too soon, at a previous practice.

Of course, a small practice meant we were all busy helping out or running dogs, so the pictures I included are from our practice just before Christmas. We have an annual potluck and team meeting, so I went even though I didn't run either of my dogs. It meant I got to spend some time taking pictures of the rest of the team, which was fun. But as usual, I can't get photos of my own dogs!

Tank, another team dog. I just love this picture of him.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Black and White Sunday: Cave Bed

Here is the photo of poor Koira, deep inside her (new) cave bed with her poor hurt foot. You can kind of see her wrapped foot in there even. I'm glad I got her this cave bed for her birthday, because she loves it, and I think everyone needs a cave bed for when they aren't feeling well.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Review: Last Minute Gifts

Are you a last minute shopper? Still don't know quite what to get for someone this year? Well, I have a couple of reviews today, both of which would make awesome last minute gifts for the dog or dog lover in your life.

The first one is for the Happy Dog Box. This is a monthly subscription service, where you or the person you gift this to recieves a box in the mail each month full of surprise treats, toys, and other awesome dog products. I know I would LOVE to get a subscription for 1, 3, or 6 months of the Happy Dog Box for Christmas, so I imagine most dog lovers would react similarly.

They include a little card that tells you what is in the box and a description of the products

I love the box, and actually have been using it to store the treats I use regularly with the dogs. You can see Koira's nose down in the corner, giving it a sniff

Here are a few of the things that were in our box. There were a few more items in there that didn't make it into the photo, though.

These chicken treats were our favorite item out of the Happy Dog Box. They are made in the USA and have great ingredients, and they are the perfect size to fit into the large size Kongs that I use for my dogs.

The other product I'm reviewing today is this Natural Balance gift pack from I think anyone who has used knows that they have some great customer service and a huge variety of products available. Natural Balance is a great brand of food, so this gift pack was well received by the dogs. Depending on where you live, you might even be able to order today and have it delivered before Christmas still!

The gift pack comes in a cute little box with information on what is inside

The dogs are great fans of these sweet potato and chicken treats, though they are a bit small for using in Kongs and too large and crunchy to use easily in training. 

The Natural Balance food roll and a small can of wet food were the other things included. I've been using the canned food for giving Koira her pain medication and antibiotics for her toe. So far, so good- she hasn't spit out any of the pills, and likes this food enough to just gulp it all down together.

Here is Pallo balancing a couple of the Sweet Potato treats on his nose. He is less than thrilled with it, but enjoyed munching down on them when I said "okay"!

I was sent both of these products at no cost in exchange for an honest review here on the blog. All opinions expressed are my own only, and I only agree to review products I would purchase myself or that I believe my readers will be interested in. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013


Poor Koira had a rough day yesterday. At roughly 3:30 am, she asked to go outside to pee. She came back in seconds later on three legs and with a blood trail. Somehow she managed to catch her toenail in or on something (possibly the door jam?) and rip her toenail partially off. This caused the quick to be exposed and start spurting blood, and was probably incredibly painful for her.

I quickly flipped a light on and examined her foot. A light tug on the nail proved that it was still pretty firmly attached despite being at a right angle to how it was supposed to be. Instead of messing with it more, I wrapped her foot in gauze, taped the gauze down, then wrapped her whole foot and lower leg in vet wrap to keep the gauze on. As painful as I know it had to be, a broken toenail (or even a broken or dislocated toe, which were both slight possibilities) is not an emergency vet visit.

Luckily, my vet is awesome enough that they were able to get her in that afternoon despite a fully booked day. I dropped Koira off and they sedated her, did an x-ray (no breaks or dislocations, yay!), and removed the toenail. The toenail, despite being broken, was still attached firmly enough that sedation was necessary for removing it without some pretty intense pain. The vet was impressed with my 3 am wrap job (I guess all that wrapping at flyball really does pay off!). I picked Koira up a few hours later, still a little groggy from the sedation (and myself a little woozy from spending an hour at the dentist). She had a newly wrapped foot and leg, complete with chickens on it.

The nail should grow back on its own over time. Koira will be on antibiotics and pain meds for the next week, and leash walks only for at least a week. After that first week is up, we will have to play it by ear and see how she is healing. If the toenail starts growing back/hardening quickly, we can get back into things sooner. If she plays hard enough that she makes it bleed or break open again, we'll have to keep with lower activity until the nail is more advanced. After a few days in the wrap, we will be starting epsom salt soaks a couple times a day, which is supposed to both help prevent infection and promote hardening of the nail.

In case anyone is dealing with this same issue, or has it come up in the future, my personal experience so far tells me that if the nail were to completely come off, or be loose enough to easily be pulled off, a vet visit wouldn't be immediately necessary. However, if the nail is still pretty firmly attached, as Koira's was, it would be best to have a vet remove the rest of it under sedation, since it will be very painful. Also, if you don't immediately go into the vet, you should make sure the nail area is clean and contact the vet at any sign of infection. If treating at home, clean the nail area and wrap with gauze and vet wrap for at least three days, keeping the wrap clean and dry and checking for signs of infection such as swelling, increased pain, etc. Then start doing soaks in epsom salts twice a day for a week to harden off the nail and help prevent infection. Please keep in mind, though, that I am not a vet or medical professional of any kind- this is simply my own opinion and what I would likely do in the future.

I did have an adorable photo of Koira curled up in her bed with her little foot all wrapped up, but Flickr is apparently refusing to let me grab the html code on any of my photos. So you'll just have to picture it (and join me in hoping that flickr fixes this problem quickly!).

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Visiting Santa

They were so excited to see Santa, it was hard to get them to sit still long enough for a good photo.

Photo credit is not mine- it belongs to the photographer at Coastal Farm and Ranch, where we had the photos done. I have permission to share them on my blog and facebook.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Fit Dog Friday: Icy

With the weather here lately, we have been having a strange mix of energy and laziness. The dogs are getting chances to run off leash at the park, of course, and are greatly enjoying the snow. Icy paws and shivering drive us back inside before too long, though. Plus, the ice on the sidewalks means we aren't taking many on-leash walks, especially after dark when it starts getting really cold.

Koira's Birthday-0119
Jumping the "tree protection area" fence

Those of you in colder areas like Minnesota might laugh at us here, but the fact is, we just aren't used to it. Yes, I have boots I can wear in the snow- but they give me blisters if I got for long walks in them. Yes, the dogs have coats- but they don't have booties that stay on, and their poor feetsies get cold quickly. As for the ice, it isn't just that walking on ice means we might slip, it is that the cars driving by are on ice as well, and I am afraid they might lose control, leave the road, and hit us- and we won't be able to get out of the way quickly.

Koira's Birthday-0058
Play bounce

So, while we have been making an effort to stay active and get our exercise in (and enjoy the snow while it is here), we are looking forward to it thawing out and our normal winter weather of endless rain coming back. Rain we can deal with, rain we can walk in.

Koira's Birthday-0079
Prick eared bouncing

Saturday, December 7, 2013


We are still enjoying a thick layer of snow over the valley floor. For people who aren't from this area, let me tell you, this amount of snow is unheard of here. We were predicted to get 1-2 inches of snow, and that would probably have been our only snowfall for the year. Our normal snow is also heavy and wet. Somehow, though, we lucked out this weekend and ended up with 9 inches of light, fluffy powder to play in.

The snow really is that deep. Actually, deeper, since he is standing in an area where the dogs were already wrestling and playing and packed the snow down a bit.
For snow depth reference, Pallo is just under 14" at the shoulder, while Koira is around 19" at the shoulder. Pallo's legs are entirely buried in the snow, and he has to plow through it with his chest.
Pure happiness
We seriously never get snow like this. I am trying really hard to enjoy it fully. Luckily I had both yesterday and today off of work, which is a good thing. The roads are pretty scary. Since we rarely ever get snow, we really are not equipped to deal with it. No roads in town have been plowed, no deicer has been put down, nothing. And no one here knows how to drive in the ice/snow, which means there are a lot of dangerous drivers on the road.

Plowing through the snow. He either has to smash through it with his chest, or bound through it like this.
I'm taking these two days to try to just enjoy the snow with the dogs. I took them to the little park yesterday and got all of these pictures. I'm thinking we will head to the big park in a little bit so they can really run. Its a bit longer of a walk, though. Koira's feet got really cold and red yesterday (we walked a friend of mine to work in the snow, which was about an hour of snow walking). I know I have boots for her somewhere, but I am not sure which dog stuff bin they are in.

She doesn't seem bothered by the cold much when she is romping, just when she is walking
I hope everyone else is having a good weekend as well! I know many of our friends here in the Pacific Northwest have some snow as well (though I hear that we got more here than most), and other parts of the country are getting some serious winter cold in the -40 range. So everyone stay safe and stay warm!

Bounding through the snow, on a one-dog-sledding-team, over the hills we go...

Friday, December 6, 2013

First Snow

Last night the air was freezing cold but crisp and clear. This morning, we woke up to 8+ inches of light fluffy snow. The dogs don't really care for snow in the yard, but they love it at the park! We went out and had a good romp.

Lots of games of chase

Snow-induced zoomies


Vampire teeth come out in the snow

Gorgeous dogs in the clean white snow

Have you gotten any winter weather yet?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Monday's Mailbox

Monday's Mailbox

I absolutely love getting mail. I think the dogs like it too (though more so when there are cookies involved!). So I was super excited when this past week brought the first of this year's Christmas cards to the mailbox.

Dec 2-1935
There's mail!

Looks like we have three new Christmas cards! The one from the Cowspotdogs arrived first- they must be super organized over there. I have all my cards ordered, but haven't gotten around to addressing and sending all of them yet.

Dec 2-1937

Look at these gorgeous cards. I just love getting Christmas cards, and can't wait for more to come!