Thursday, August 31, 2017

Chewy Review: Nutro Wild Frontier #chewyinfluencer

A while back, we did a full review of Nutro Wild Frontier in a venison flavor (officially called Woodland and Trail recipe). This month, we had the chance to review a different formula, and chose the Cold Water recipe, which is a fish and chicken food. We were given this food in exchange for our honest review.

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Waiting for foodstuffs is so hard

My absolute first reaction to this food was being thrilled at the size of the kibble. The kibbles are a really nice, small size, and rounded in shape. I might be a little obsessed with kibble size and shape right now, because we've been doing training with meals. Smaller kibbles mean more treat opportunities before we run out of meals. And the rounded shape is easier to handle than kibbles that are triangular or square.

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Tiny little kibbles

A 4 lb bag of this food, which is what we were sent, has lasted Ptera about two weeks at one cup per day. On right now, this bag costs just over $17, which makes a reasonable monthly cost for food. The 24 lb bag would actually last long enough for us that I won't buy a bag that big if only Ptera is eating it (Koira is eating mostly raw food, rather than kibble). We actually had to throw out about eight pounds of kibble this month because it had gone rancid (which is nasty, and you really don't want to have happen). That is actually why Ptera started eating the Nutro full time.

We have been training with meals roughly half of the time, sometimes both meals in a day will be training meals, sometimes a few days in a row all meals will be in a bowl, etc, depending on how much free time and motivation I have to get some good training in. Even eating this as her main food, Ptera is happy to work for it, and is thrilled to start training times. When I fill her bowl, she actually runs over to our training area immediately and I have to call her back to her rug if she is eating out of the bowl for that meal. Of course, I still measure out the correct amount of food for each meal, whether we train with it or feed it out of a bowl. Ptera actually has gained a little weight this month, so I am scooping "light" half cups of food for meals instead of full or rounded cups.

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Om nom nom

My final impressions of Nutro Wild Frontier are that we like it, regardless of which formula we are using. Ptera is a fan of it, the ingredients are decent quality, and I don't have to feed a metric ton of it to keep weight on her.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

WW: Drift Creek Falls

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Hiking down to the falls

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Good dogs

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Ptera spotted a squirrel

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Koira isn't a fan of heights, but posed on the suspension bridge for a photo with the falls

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The dogs with Drift Creek Falls

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Drift Creek Falls, with the suspension bridge on the right

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The falls from above

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Ptera's view from the bridge. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A Guest #chewyinfluencer

We had a guest help us with one of our reviews this month.

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Our special guest #chewyinfluencer

Domestic silver fox, nicknamed Pancake by a friend of mine (because he flattens to the ground like, you guessed it, a pancake when playing with the dog) came by to let me get some photos. He agreed to help us review the Zignature canned food we picked this month, in the Catfish flavor. As usual, while we were provided with this product by Chewy, we were not compensated in any other way, and all opinions are entirely our own.

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He is handsome and he knows it.

Foxes are pretty much omnivores, much like raccoons. They eat a lot of different foods, but apparently do best when they get both meat and vegetables/fruits in their diet. One of the favorite treats for Pancake is actually melon, which he absolutely loves, and he looks like a fruit bat when eating melon. I now know why some bats are nicknamed flying foxes. At the same time, he did enjoy the meat-based dog training treats I have on hand, and eats cat kibble as a main portion of his regular food (supplemented by a number of other things, the details of which I am not sure of, since I'm not actually the one feeding him anything other than treats).

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Sampling the Zignature canned food

So, a little about this food (even though foxes are totally distracting and steal the show). Zignature is an excellent line of high quality dog foods, and they are especially good for dogs who need specific diets. We previously reviewed the Kangaroo variety of the Zignature food, and found it an excellent option. I actually have a friend with a dog who eats the Zignature Kangaroo (mostly the canned food, but a little bit of the kibble) because he has some undiagnosed medical issues (not for lack of trying to diagnose them) that have caused him both to have digestive issues and to not want to eat at all. He seems to be doing really well on this food though, so fingers crossed that they have figured out what works for him.

Opening a can of the Catfish flavor that we have this month, the food looks pretty much like any other pate style dog food. The smell isn't the normal gross dog food smell that comes off cheaper cans of dog food, though. The smell isn't super strong or offensive, but is somewhat fishy. Forgivable, I think, for a fish based food. The can had some liquid in it, as well as the pate, which was a tiny bit messy since I wasn't expecting that when I went to scoop some food into a bowl for our review panel. The taste test was a resounding success. Ptera absolutely loved it. Theodore Trex had to be locked in the other room to not end up in all the pictures. And our special guest reviewer was pretty sure it was the best thing ever.

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Ptera got to try some too.

Overall, we really liked this food. The ingredient list was great, the company has a great reputation, this option is at a more affordable price point than some of the other Zignature canned foods, and it was a big hit with animals of three species. Of course this is not the cheapest canned dog food out there- but I think it more than delivers for the price in terms of quality.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Stacking Box

Just a quick DIY post today. I've been working on teaching Ptera to stack properly, mostly so she is more comfortable when being measured for jump heights. I have been attending conformation classes to help with the being-handled-by-the-judge part of things, but having Ptera understand how she is supposed to stand in the first place is an important step. To help with that, I built a stacking box, with the purpose of showing her exactly where to put her feet.

Making a stacking box is pretty easy. Tools needed for this were a saw, a drill, a staple gun, and scissors. Supplies are wood (I had cheap 1x4s that were for a different project that ended up changing plans), screws long enough to attach your wood together, a piece of a yoga mat, and some staples long enough to attach the yoga matting to the wood. How much wood or yoga mat you need depends entirely on the size of your dog. You want the box to be longer than your dog, and somewhat wider than their stance. I just held my wood up to Ptera and guessed. If you don't own a saw with which to cut the wood, get your measurements before heading to the hardware store, and ask them to cut the appropriate lengths. Generally, they won't do cuts with less than 12 inches on either side, and sometimes they will charge for more than 2-3 cuts, depending on where you go. You want two long pieces, and four short pieces.

Drill, saw, cut boards, and screws

You start off by making a box out of the two long pieces and two of the short pieces. I didn't predrill any holes, and did end up with a little bit of splitting on my wood. You can predrill or not. Either way, I highly recommend starting the screws in the short end piece first, before attempting to attach them to the long pieces. It makes the entire process much easier.

Attaching the short piece (with screws already started) to the long pieces to form a box

Once you have a box made of two short pieces screwed to the ends of the two long pieces, it is time to place the other two short pieces. These are the parts your dog's feet will be on. The first piece can be attached to the front of the box.

Short piece for front feet is attached to the box

Once the board for the front feet is in place, carefully decide exactly where you want your dog's back feet to be. I put Ptera up on the table and had her measure (which holding the loose board so it didn't slip), but you can also measure with your dog standing in a proper stance (especially if you have assistance so someone can measure while you hold the dog in place).

Getting the right placement for the back foot board

Once you have the correct placement for the back foot board, go ahead and screw that one on as well. At this point, I also lightly sanded down a few splintery areas from cutting and where the board had split while drilling. This is also the point where you would add stain or paint, if desired. I left mine raw, for now.

All screwed together

Next, cut some matting (I used a small piece off the end of a yoga mat) just wide enough for your dog's feet when in a proper stance. Attach the matting using a staple gun (you could also glue this, probably, but I am too impatient to wait for glue to dry). Make sure to put the matting exactly where you want your dog to put their feet. The boards are to give your dog a rough idea of where their feet go, the matting is exactly the correct place. Having a different texture so your dog can tell when they get it right is a good idea here, and the yoga matting also helps keep them from slipping.

Yoga mat added with the staple gun

Now, you are ready to use your stacking box.

Learning how to use the box.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Happy National Dog Day

Happy National Dog Day! Hope you enjoy spending the day with your dogs. I'm spending it building a cool DIY project for Ptera- I'll share the full process on Monday.

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Monday, August 21, 2017

Total Eclipse: Totality

I live in what has lately been called the "zone of totality" which basically means, I had a chance to see a total solar eclipse without leaving my own back yard.

As the sun becomes obscured by the moon, the shadows change shape through the trees. Instead of circles of bokeh light, everything becomes crescents.

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During totality, it is safe to look directly at the sun without any protective eyewear. And it was amazing, and stunning. The whole world went dark and cold for just over two minutes, before the moon started moving out from in front of the sun. I can't imagine the terror something like this would cause if you didn't know what was happening or why. Eclipses historically are signs of horrible things to come, and I can see why an ancient civilization would think that. But then, the sun reappears, and within a few minutes, the sky is bright enough to not be able to tell the difference.

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The "diamond ring" as the moon moves away from the sun after totality

Hope you all had a chance to view the eclipse.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Stay Cool This Weekend

We're headed out for another weekend of dog sports. Hope you all stay cool!



Wednesday, August 9, 2017

TA, Part Six: The Ferry Home

We made the last ferry back to Port Angeles just barely. They put on about three cars after us and that was it. But we were super relieved to get on the ferry and be on our way home.

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Victoria was beautiful from the boat as we pulled away, making me want to come back even more. We also ran into a group of fellow flyballers on the ferry. We didn't bring all the dogs on deck with us this time so that the level of craziness was a little lower than the first trip. but we made sure to get a group photo.

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Since it was actually still light, if late in the day, we had some fun with photos around the outside decks on the ship.

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This fire station was one of my favorites. The wind was blowing like crazy, which you can tell from Ptera's ears.

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And from Tazer's fur.

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Our dogs weren't the only ones on deck. This is Mischa, who rode on the ferry out with us on Friday, and we met again on our way home. She is the same age as Ptera.

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After the ferry docked, we cleared customs, dropped off our extra person and dog at their car to make their own way home, and headed back to Oregon. I stayed the night at a friend's house before continuing home the following day. This tournament was quite a trek to get to, but it was a ton of fun. I would happily do it again.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

TA, Part Five: Victoria

At the end of a long weekend, the last thing you want is to be stuck in a foreign country for another night, in a city you have never been to. We hadn't realized we needed a reservation for the ferry so far in advance, and when we went to make our reservation, the ferry was full. They always leave some room for first-come, first-served people as well, but it can fill fast. Sunday evening, the last ferry is at 7, and when we arrived for it hours in advance, we were told we had about a 50% chance of getting on the ferry. Yikes. But, with nothing else we could do about it, we took it in turns to walk around the city of Victoria for a little while as we waited.

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I can't say I know what all of the buildings are that we saw, or the right names for anything. If I do this trip again, I will plan to stay on the island until Monday afternoon, and have a full day of checking out Victoria before I leave. It is a beautiful city.

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Sonic and Ptera overlooking the harbor

We didn't take all of the dogs with us, and made sure at least one person stayed with the car (the car holds your place in line, basically, and you aren't all required to be there until the customs check 90 minutes before sailing).

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Rizzo was being pushy and annoying on leash, so got stuck in a bag instead. I think she acted like that on purpose to get carried. This was a hot walk, but not horribly so with a bit of breeze.

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I believe this is the Parliament building, though I won't swear to that. Sonic and Ptera were being my expert posers.

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And then a memorial statue, I think to soldiers in WWII. But we were on a deadline to get back to the car for the customs check by this point, so we didn't spend much time exploring or doing things like reading placards.

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Huge awesome tree that we just had to pose the dogs with. I believe this is a redwood. It is amazing looking.

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And finally, pretty close to the ferry area, we passed this fountain. I am unsure of what it stands for, but it was gorgeous.

As little time as we had in Victoria, I am glad I was able to explore for a little bit, and see at least some of the must see attractions in the city. I am sure I missed about a thousand times more things than I was able to see, and would love to come back sometime with more time to explore.

Monday, August 7, 2017

TA Part Four: Closeups

This could basically be a post called "Fun with Fisheyes" to be honest. A collection of all those absurdly close up photos I just had to take while at the tournament.

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Prima, posing like the pro she is

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Super excited puppy

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Dixie was on the team Ptera ran with for the weekend

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Little miss Karma

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Steeem. This is so him. He is the most absurdly friendly dog ever, in a totally overwhelming way

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Impatient to get in the lanes, and telling us about it.

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Bryn wasn't super sure of the fisheye at first, but was willing to investigate

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Milo always sits pretty for his treat at the end of his runs