Saturday, June 13, 2015

Bad Dog Trainers

I recently learned that not everyone has seen this video. And seriously, everyone needs to. It is hilarious and true all at once.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Operation Dog Pool: Complete

I finished the dog pool set up. Last week on Thursday, we set up the pool itself. On Friday, I built a ramp and mini dock for the outside of the pool, so that the dogs didn't have to use the human pool ladder. This morning, we finished attaching our new in-pool exit ramp with some vinyl coated steel cable, and took some videos of the whole setup in use.

I think the dogs are going to have a blast in the pool this summer, what do you think?

Friday, June 5, 2015

Fit Dog Friday: Pool

On Wednesday, I bought myself and my dogs a pool for the summer.

Pool Ramp-0088
The new pool. Taken with my underwater camera, so seriously lacking in picture quality.

I've seriously been wanting a pool for years, and now, I finally have one. It is twelve feet long, six feet wide, and three feet deep, which makes it plenty deep for the dogs to swim, and even big enough for the humans to swim a little bit as well.

Pool Ramp-0089
Also taken with the underwater camera, but I liked the picture anyway. You can see at the bottom that Koira can't possibly wait to get into the pool.

The pool got set up yesterday, and this morning, it finally finished filling and was ready to use. And just in time, because our forecast has temps in the 80s and 90s all week.

Pool Ramp-0096
I actually did three separate sessions of pool time with Koira. She kept getting to a point that she was shaking violently. I'm not totally sure if it was from excitement or from being cold. I was in the water with her and not particularly cold. But once she started shaking, I took her out for a break to calm down and warm up.

I tossed Koira's lifejacket on and we played in the pool for a bit. I had worked with her yesterday on climbing the pool ladder (without the pool in the picture) and she did okay. It became abundantly clear, however, that it just wasn't going to be the best long term solution. So this afternoon, I set about making a ramp and mini dock for her for the pool.

Pool Ramp-2396
This is the new mini dock I just worked on today. It overhangs the pool side by just a few inches, and is topped with an old yoga mat to give some traction. 

By the end of the day, I had a mini dock and a ramp up to it from outside the pool. It still needs a few adjustments here and there (a few more slats on the up ramp to give her more grip, and plug the hole between the ramp and the dock part with something so she doesn't catch a foot in there) but overall, I am calling the mini dock project complete.

Pool Ramp-2398
You can see here the ramp to the ground. I need to add a few more cross pieces to give more traction. I also need to close that gap between the ramp and the dock, and hammer in that nail more- I just noticed the nail in the picture, otherwise I would have fixed that earlier. 

What I still need to work on is something the helps Koira climb OUT of the pool. The pool ladder kinda sorta works, but not well, and I want Koira to be confident in the pool. Part of that means she needs to be able to get out easily. At the same time, I really don't want to spend fifty plus dollars on a pool ramp for my dog. So I am researching DIY pool ramps and trying to figure out what course we want to take. I was originally actually going to do a ramp similar to the one outside the pool, but realized that the wood is just too buoyant and won't stay down in the water. And then wood will likely get waterlogged and slippery after some use. If you happen to have any ideas, please, let me know.

Pool Ramp-2401
Eagerly waiting on the other side of the fence. 

But, no matter what we decide for the dog ramp, I think it is safe to say that Koira is looking forward to a summer full of swimming in the new pool. You can see, even when I was just taking pictures of our mini dock, she was jealous and wanted to come swim. Silly girl.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Mackerel for Dinner

Koira is back on raw food after being on kibble for about 9 months. Her muscle tone just hasn't been what I want it to be, and she has been having a hard time gaining any weight at all, so I put her back on raw in hopes that it helps.

So far, her raw diet is a mix of chicken quarters, beef heart, lamb liver, kidney, and heart, and now, mackerel.

Checking out the bowl.

A local raw feeder purchased some mackerel for her dog, who decided she wouldn't touch the stuff. So I was able to buy 15 pounds of it from her for Koira to try out. Luckily, it seems like Koira is willing to eat them!

Nomming on fish
These guys are small enough that a pound of them is about 7-10 fish. I fed them frozen to Koira because years ago when we did whole (large) sardines, Koira wouldn't touch them if they were thawed, but would eat them frozen.

Lots of effort to get through the frozen fish.
I might try letting them thaw a little, though. They were pretty cold while she was eating them, which she didn't seem to appreciate too much.

Just two left to go.
It took a little encouraging for her to eat these, but once I handed her one, she went to town on them. One by one, she plucked them out of the bowl and enjoyed.

Mackerel is surprisingly bloody.
Althogether, I think Koira is doing really good back on a raw diet. She hasn't gained any weight or muscle tone yet, but it hasn't been very long either. We'll give it some more time and hope she starts picking those up soon.

I really, really love this photo of her for some reason. You can't see it, but she has part of a fish in her mouth right here.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Kurgo Harness Review

I was recently contacted by Kurgo and asked if I would be interested in reviewing their new Kurgo Dog Tru-Fit Enhanced Strength Harness. I'd actually been thinking about trying a car harness for the dogs to use with my new, revamped car set up, since the seat belts are actually accessible now, so I was happy to review this harness.


I actually gave them Koira's measurements for the harness, thinking I would use it for her in the car to keep her from diving onto the floorboards and riding there. When I got the harness, though, I realized how much metal was on it. As far as safety goes, that is a great thing, because it means you won't have plastic snaps breaking if you get in an accident. For the rare metal-allergic dog like Koira, though, it means she would break out in hives if she wore this harness too much, though I could put it over a lightweight t-shirt or something.


With how close my dogs are in size (despite the height difference) and the adjustability of this harness, I was able to change my mind and use it for Pallo instead. Not only do the neck and chest bands adjust, but there is an option to adjust the length of the chest band depending on how deep of a chest your dog has. For Pallo, I pulled it into the smaller setting, as you can see in the above photo.


All of the hardware on this harness is, as I said before, solid metal. Even the attachments where you close the harness up around the chest are metal, and designed in such a way that there is no way they would be coming undone if you were in an accident, or if you dog just wore the harness around. They were actually so hard to undo that I had some serious issues when I was fitting the harness, until I gave in and read the instructions and figured out that there is a right and wrong way to do it. And I rarely read instructions, especially on things like dog harnesses. It was mildly annoying to have to read them, but at the same time, the clasp being designed in this way makes the harness that much safer for my dog, so I guess a little reading is worth it.


The chest plate is wide and tapers between the legs, supporting the entire chest area of the dog. You can tell in the above photo that it goes up to the top of the breast bone on Pallo, and a little higher, but not seriously up into the neck area.


There is a front hook and a d-ring on the back of the harness, so you can use it as a walking harness as well as in the car. Pallo was plenty comfortable wearing it, and while I wouldn't use such a heavy breast plated harness if he were doing a lot of running, it seems fine for going on walks. We briefly tried out the front hook and ended up just getting the leash tangled in his legs until we gave up. But then, we've never used a front hook harness and his short legs tend to make leash tangling more of an issue anyway.

Kurgo Harness-2291

I had Pallo wear this harness when we went on a four hour drive up to Washington for a flyball tournament. The tether worked well hooked onto the seat belt. Pallo was still able to lay pretty much however he wanted to without getting seriously tangled, though I did have to untwist him once on the way home. But once in about six-plus hours of driving isn't too bad.

Kurgo Harness-2289

An unexpected plus side is that Pallo is not only safe in the car in case of an accident, but he can't get into things if I leave him for a minute. I wouldn't leave a dog hooked into a set up like this if they are going to be alone for long, but when I stopped at a rest stop, I did leave him hooked up. Benefit to that is that he couldn't get into the fast food wrappers in my car trash from the dinner I grabbed on the way home. He normally will get into and shred any fast food wrappers he can get his teeth on, and while I obviously try to make sure they aren't left where he can get them, I'm human and occasionally forget.

Kurgo Harness-2288

I think Pallo may have been a little uncomfortable about the getting hooked in process, as I had to scoot him around to get the carabiner to hook onto his harness (I decided to just leave the seat belt hooked with the attachment on it, due to the type of set up I have in the car right now). Once he was hooked in, though, I don't think he cared much.

Kurgo Harness-0670

Overall, I thought this harness was well designed and well built, and has a good chance of helping to keep your dog safe in the car.

The harness is even crash tested, for additional peace of mind.

Right now, you can get 20% off Kurgo outdoor dog gear using the discount code K15Road.

Disclaimer: I was sent this harness for free in exchange for my honest review. The content of this post is my own and was not influenced by the company. I did not receive any compensation outside of the harness required for the review, which I am able to keep.