Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Treat Review

This month, courtesy of Chewy.com, we got to try out Halo Liv-a-Littles chicken breast treats.

These treats look kind of like sticks of chalk, and feel sort of like chalk as well. They smell very chickeny, but not in a bad way. Opening the screw top container gets the dogs' attention immediately. The treats themselves are super easy to break into pieces of any size, or even turn into a powder to top food for a picky eater. I love that you can actually see the texture and grain of the meat and can recognize it as chicken.

Only I was sent the chicken breast variety, rather than the salmon.

Both dogs and both cats were big fans. I am a fan of the container, which stands up to the dogs much better than the plastic bags most treats come in and keeps the treats safe and air tight. These sell for 7.29 for a 2.2 oz jar of freeze dried treats, which I think is a reasonable price considering the quality and appeal of the treats. Since they are easy to break up, they can last quite a while as well, though I imagine they could go pretty quickly if you are doing a lot of training with them. But then, most training can make you go through a ton of treats, no matter what kind of treat it is!

Disclaimer : Chewy.com sent us a container of Halo Liv-a-Littles Chicken Breast treats in return for our honest review. Our opinion is purely our own, and no other form of compensation was given.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

BlogPaws Las Vegas (Part Two)

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Once I arrived at the conference, the first thing I did was drop Pallo off at the provided pet park. Juggling two high energy dogs in crowds takes a good deal of effort, so I love that BlogPaws provides another option for people who want to bring their dogs along to the conference. Pallo spent most of the conference happily playing fetch at the pet park while Koira hung out with me.

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I think half the people at the conference ended up with a picture of Koira doing her dead cockroach impression. At the various sessions and keynotes, she always chilled out, either roaching or sleeping on her side, sometimes using people's feet as pillows. She was a handful on Thursday, despite our walks that morning. As the conference went on, though, she got really tired. Since my dogs are used to spending time in their crates every day while I'm at work, spending a whole day walking around surrounded by people and activity really took it out of both of the dogs. They both slept great each night when we got back to the campground.

While the keynotes and session speakers were interesting, the part I really like about BlogPaws is meeting fellow bloggers. No one thinks I'm weird for writing a dog blog. And everyone is just as crazy about dogs, cats, or other pets as I am. There is something really comfortable about that.

Of course, the most fun to meet visitors at the conference were the other animals that came along.

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Snotface the ferret sat next to me and Koira at one of the keynotes, and I got a few photos of him. He was being totally adorable, climbing around, looking at everyone, and then curling up on his mom's lap to sleep.

The most exotic of the animals at the conference was without a doubt the capybara, Mia.

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She is still a baby, so will get a lot bigger. She was super sweet. I had never felt a capybara before. Their hair is super coarse, a lot like the bristles on a pig. Mia kept trying to suck everyone's fingers, since she was bottle raised. Her mom had to ask people not to encourage it, though, because Mia will have some very impressive teeth when she gets older (though her teeth were already plenty big at the time), and sucking on people isn't a good habit for an adult to have. Overall, she was super sweet, and it was really interesting to talk to capybara owners and learn a little about them.

Of course, there were also a lot of other animals that I met, including cats, dogs, ferrets, and birds, along with their owners. And of course, there were the people who came without their pets for one reason or another. A BlogPaws conference isn't an appropriate setting for every animal by any means, with a ton of people, animals, and activity happening constantly. Even Koira, who is used to that kind of thing from flyball and other traveling, got really tired by the end. I made sure to keep an eye on her and anyone approaching her to make sure she was comfortable. She did amazing, even with a few dogs who were totally rude to her, but as she got more tired, I tried to keep her more shielded from everything in case her temper got shorter.

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On Friday and Saturday, I took some time during sessions to sit on a couch with Koira, so she had a chance to sleep. The sessions were calm, but didn't have a comfy spot for her to curl up, and she didn't sleep as nicely in sessions. So I took the time to charge my phone on the charging station and let her sleep. In fact, my big suggestion for BlogPaws in the future is to have a "quiet room" with covered dog crates available. If there was a person who could stay in the room with the dogs, with the phone numbers of the owners in case there were any issues, it would work out great. It would give the dogs a place to sleep and get away from the crazy noise and bustle of the conference. It would also offer an alternative to the pet park, for those dogs who aren't suited to an open play area full of dogs.

I still plan on writing some more about BlogPaws, but I don't want to make a single post hugely long. So I'll put together another part to finish up our epic BlogPaws trip.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Dock Diving Firsts

I spent most of Saturday at a local dock diving practice with the dogs. Koira loves, loves, loves dock diving, and that is a known fact. Pallo, on the other hand, has previously gone off the dock a total of twice, both of which were pretty much tricked out of him by ramping him up so high that he ran too fast to stop at the edge of the dock at the last minute.

But let me tell you, there is a first time for everything. And after three years of dock diving, Pallo finally jumped off the dock. On purpose. On his own. And the awesome people at Northwest Challenge videoed Pallo's achievement for me, and I seriously can't thank them enough.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

BlogPaws Las Vegas (Part One)

Last week, me and the dogs took a road trip to Las Vegas, Nevada for the BlogPaws conference taking place just outside the city. When I first got a ticket for the conference, I debated if I should drive the 16 hours down, or fly. If I flew, it would obviously be much faster, but I would have to leave the dogs at home, have to stay in a hotel, and would have limited space for bringing stuff home with me. By driving, I spent about the same amount on gas as I would have on a plane ticket, but was able to bring the dogs along with me for the trip. We also were able to camp, rather than staying at a hotel, which I really enjoyed. Lake Las Vegas Bay campground was only 10 minutes from the hotel where the conference took place.

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The view from our campsite on Thursday morning.

Compared to Oregon, Nevada is dry. This shouldn't be a shock, and it wasn't one to me. But it was kind of amazing to me just exactly HOW dry Nevada was. Previously, my only time in Nevada was limited to a few hours in the Las Vegas airport between flights. Driving out of Oregon, through Northern California, then down the western edge of Nevada through the desert was a long, dry, windy trip. Luckily, the weather was clear and around 85 during the day, which isn't nearly as hot as it can get there.

I arrived at the BlogPaws conference on Wednesday evening before heading out to the campground. We arrived at the campground after dark and quickly set up the tent and went to bed. The conference didn't officially start until mid day on Thursday, so I spent Thursday morning hanging around the campsite with the dogs. I moved our tent to a different campsite (the one I picked the night before had no daytime shade trees) and we went on a few short walks and one short hike around the camping area. I tried to reach the river I could see in the distance, thinking we might at least be able to see some real greenery there. Unfortunately, there ended up being a cliff between the campground and the river, with no good trail options that I could find to get down there. The dogs stayed on leash, since it is a national park, and when I saw the cactus and other plant life, I was glad of it. My dogs aren't used to pointy plants and might have done something stupid if they were off leash. Not to mention the risk of snakes and scorpions if they were to stick their noses under rocks or into holes.

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The dogs, playing with an empty water bottle, in front of our tent

As the day warmed up, me and the dogs set up a chair in the shade and spent most of the rest of the morning reading. The shade was actually quite pleasant, as it was windy enough to keep plenty cool. I did wet Koira down once, after getting back from our short hike to find the river, as she has more problems cooling down than Pallo. We did meet a fellow blogger who was also staying at the campground during the conference, and walked around the campsite with her for a little bit, looking for a third blogger who was supposed to be staying there as well.

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Koira doesn't believe in getting up early in the morning during trips.

Of course, I had big intentions before heading down that I would see some sites on the way and while I was there. Full disclosure, I ended up driving down to the strip in Vegas once, Friday evening, driving down part of it, then returning to our campsite without even getting out of the car. And other than that, we saw gas stations and rest stops along our route. The petroglyphs I wanted to see ended up too far out of our way to be worth it once I decided not to stop at Crater Lake (where the weather was supposed to be 40 degrees and cloudy). I have to face facts- I would much rather just drive through without stopping places. Stops are work, no matter how neat the place is that I plan on stopping at.

Now, this post is already pretty long and I haven't even really gotten to the part about the conference yet! So I'll leave it here for now, and post the rest later.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: From BlogPaws


While at BlogPaws last week, I was one of the lucky winners of a piece of digital artwork by BZTAT, and I had to share it. (The story of our trip is coming along shortly, now that I am caught up on sleep again!)

Friday, May 9, 2014

FitDog Friday: Back in the Lanes

Koira's rehab from her neck injury back in February has been going great. We haven't had any set backs or reinjuries. And Koira is back in the flyball lanes.

After slowly building her activities back up, first with on leash walks, then with off leash play, then with adding in fetch, I reintroduced her to flyball. The first time back, we just did a few runaways over jumps. The next time, we did some runaways over jumps and some wall work. We did wall work and runaways for a couple of weeks, then at the end of April, Koira was reintroduced to full runs in flyball.

And she totally rocked it.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Pallo's Frisbee Antics

We're off on our great adventure to Las Vegas to attend the BlogPaws conference. While we're gone, I have a few blog posts scheduled to go live. I'll post our photos and story from the trip when we get home!

Pallo is less disc crazy than Koira. Koira didn't used to love discs, but she kind of takes my word for it if I tell her a toy is awesome. So when I asked her to play with a frisbee, she caught on pretty quickly and now is absolutely bonkers for the sport. 

Pallo is totally okay with playing some disc. He'd rather play ball. But if disc is what is happening, he'll go along with it. 


Of course, he manages to look pretty enthusiastic about pretty much anything he starts into. Silly boy.


He also makes almost no effort to ever catch the disc in the air, and seems to enjoy chasing the rollers. Nothing wrong with that as along as you don't expect to score points in a Distance/Accuracy competition!

Still, Pallo has fun playing disc.


While we're at BlogPaws, Pallo will likely be spending most of his time at the provided daycare. Hopefully he'll be able to talk plenty of the people there into playing with him so I have a nice, tired dog by the end of each day!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Mud Bath

Nothing like a nice mud puddle on a sunny day

Proper mud bathing techniques can take years to perfect.

On the Road

Normally, we travel for flyball tournaments. Occasionally, we'll travel for lure coursing. This time, we're on the road to BlogPaws.

Two years ago, I won a ticket to the BlogPaws conference in Salt Lake City. Me and the dogs took a road trip from Oregon to Utah to attend and had an amazing time. This year, we lucked out once again. Our blog-friend Snoopy bought a ticket, but ended up unable to attend the conference. But Snoopy and his mom are pretty awesome, and they offered to give their ticket to the first reader to message them asking for it- and that first person was me.

So, for two years now, I have been able to attend BlogPaws because of the awesome generosity of our fellow bloggers. This week, thanks to Snoopy, me and the dogs are headed down to Las Vegas, NV for the BlogPaws conference. I've never been to Las Vegas except for one brief stop at their airport years ago, and while it has never been on top of my list of places to go, I am pretty excited to see the city. It is pretty iconic, after all. And while I don't plan on blowing thousands on gambling or getting married by an Elvis impersonator, I think I can still enjoy the sights of Vegas.

Most of my time is going to be spent at the conference itself. I had a blast two years ago in Salt Lake, so I am confident the conference is going to be a lot of fun this year as well. But I do want to make sure I have a chance to do some exploring this time. While in Salt Lake, I never went farther than for a walk around the blocks near the hotel. The only sights I saw were the ones alongside the freeway on our drive. So when in Vegas, I will need to at least take a single trip to the Strip, if for no other reason than to snap a picture and say I've been there.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

My Graceful Dog

Koira is normally pretty graceful. She is sleek and elegant and powerful.

Nailed it.

And then you pull out a frisbee. Koira tries really, really hard to get the disc. Sometimes, like the above photo, she does it with style. Sometimes, she flubs.

Not quite understanding the physics involved in disc catching


Spit flying, disc wobbling, muscle rippling catch

I think it just goes to show that no matter how graceful and beautiful the subject, a photographer can get an unflattering photo. Then again, it can sometimes be the outtakes that are the funniest looking back on them. And I do have to take some of the blame for those flubs- while Koira has some catching issues, I was also throwing the frisbee left handed while kneeling with my camera, taking photos with my right hand. So my throws were perhaps not quite predictable.

This may not be super graceful, but I love the power and intensity.

Still, my little girl kind of rocks.

Happiness, embodied. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014