Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Chewy Product Testing for July

Chewy again gave us a new variety of treats to try out this month! And this time it was a treat EVERYONE could share!  We tested out Blue Wilderness Chicken & Duck Grain-Free Cat Treats.  That's right, cat treats.  I love using cat treats as dog training treats because they are so small!  And because these are grain free, both dogs could enjoy.

First up, the cat got to try them out.  He is very picky but I thought this flavor and the fact that they are soft and moist would entice him.  I called him and told him to sit, which he did.  Then held the treat up for him to bat at and then eat off the floor.  (He doesn't like to eat from your hand.)  Not happening.  He batted it from my hand but did not even taste it.  One sniff and he was done, apparently he only like fish-flavored treats.  (Probably because Dot is allergic to fish and he knows he won't have to share!)

The dogs were a different story.  Both of them LOVED the cat treats.  Dot seemed to like them a little bit more than Taco, who I'd say would put them above string cheese but below hot dogs.  The only complaint I had was that the tan color blended in with most flooring so it was hard to use them as a training treats for things like 2x2 weaves where I want to toss the treat out for the dog to get.  White string cheese or dark treats like jerky work best for that, depending on the floor color.

They were a little greasy in my hand when I squeezed them but didn't leave a mess in my pocket, always a plus!  I would by these at the pet supply store as a quick treat option.  No cutting like string cheese or cooked chicken, and they come in a handy resealable pouch!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Corgi Rescue Auction

While I don't currently have a Corgi, the name of the blog IS Corgipants and Corgis are still near and dear to my heart!  Lakeshore Pembroke Welsh Corgi Rescue is having an online auction to benefit their organization and I have donated one of my custom-made Corgi costumes.

 Over the years I've made lots of different Corgi crafts to donate to charity auctions. One of the most popular is the Corgi butt pin!  These are polymer clay which is then painted.
Mike helped me create this shirt, which was a fundraiser at one point for Lakeshore. It's also available in a Pembroke only and a Cardigan only version.
This purse has a warp-around Corgi. I stole the idea from a Dachshund purse I saw!
These two wall hangings were made using this Sharon Malec applique pattern. I should do another in black -headed tri to hang in my own house!
I did a few more polymer clay items, like these bracelets. I made the corgi beads and the little bone and paw print dangles using clay.
And these, believe it or not, are pens. You pop off their little butts and they are ball point pens! These are made by disassembling the pen, creating the body around the pen tube, then putting it back together after it's baked.

I also did a few paper crafts using hand-but silhouettes, like this framed scrapbook page. It's got all the FRAP phrases from this post on it.
These are notecards, simple but fun.
And this last one is a post-it note holder for your desk made from a plexiglass photo holder.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Breed Specific Terminology

This picture has nothing to do with this post, but who likes posts without pictures?  This is Dot earlier this month, taking first in a Rally class.)
Does your breed have terminology all it's own?  I'm kind of obsessed with the strange code that different breed aficionados have for behaviors, colors and characteristics they find unique to their breed.  Being a Corgi person, we'll start with a Corgi term

Frap - This is a common word in the world of Corgis and also Scotties, frapping is when a dog races around excitedly, spinning and turning circles and figure eights at top speed for no reason at all.  This activity is also called hucklebutting in Bull Terriers.  Here's a blog post I wrote about it!

Trancing- A really strange activity performed by Bull Terriers and sighthounds, the dog rubs it's body against low-hanging tree limbs, blankets or curtains and starts moving in slow motion.  More info here

Twizzle- The twizzle is the bit at the end of a Lab's tail that should be twisted together to form a tight spike.

Fluffies- Another Corgi term, this describes a coat of extreme length with exaggerated feathering on ears, chest, legs and feet, underparts and hindquarters.  This is also in Rottweiler term!

Blenheim- This is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel term for red and white coloring.

Landseer- The Newfoundland term for black and white.

Harlequin- The Great Dane term for white with black patches.

So, does your breed have a weird term for something they do, a color pattern or a certain physical trait?
I linked up to Ruckus' Thoughtless Thursday because this post has been a draft for YEARS because I wanted to find more examples, but decided "What the heck, this list will never be as long as I want so I'll just post it now!"
Ruckus the American Eskimo Dog Blog

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Occupying Canine Minds-DogTV Review

When you leave the house, how do you occupy your dogs while you're away?  Some dogs are happy to sleep, watch squirrels and keep themselves content.  But others need to be left with tasks and toys to keep them busy and out of trouble.  While we don't have separation anxiety issues, I like to know that when I leave them alone, our dogs are having a good time and aren't getting their noses where they don't belong.  I alternately crate them and leave them free in the house so that they are comfortable with both, handy for when they need to be boarded or if they get injured and need to be crated for longer periods.

There are a lot of complicated food-dispensing toys on the market today but I find Kongs are still a proven (and safe) way to keep a dog working at a puzzle.  Some toys I've seen have hard plastic parts, parts that can come unscrewed or unhinged, and I would NOT leave those toys with a dog home alone.  I feel safe leaving a treat-filled Kong out while I leave the house, especially now that we have the new radiopaque Blue Kongs!  For a short session, peanut butter works fine, but if I want to occupy a dog for a longer period, I will mix dry kibble and mashed banana together, stuff it into the Kong and freeze it.

We also tried out DogTV.  This is a TV station designed for dogs, which they say is "scientifically developed to provide the right company for dogs when left alone."  Both of our dogs were unimpressed.  Some of the "programs" included caterpillars crawling across the screen to a background of classical music and children's giggles, video of a dog on the beach with water noises and children saying "good dog", canyon views and children's voices accompanied by classical music and video of butterflies with classical music and windchime noises.  It reminded me a little of Baby Einstein DVDs (which have been debunked as helping your little one's development) in the way stimulating visuals were combined with classical music.  I gathered that some of the segments were meant to be soothing while others were meant to engage and intrigue the dog, the theory being that the more lively shots keep the dog's attention while the more relaxing videos help calm the dog.  As I said, both of our dogs were less interested in DOGTV than I have seen them in human TV at times.  But maybe that's the point.  You wouldn't want a dog excited and anxious listening to howling dogs and chasing cat videos all day, that would make for just as much anxiety as the seperation anxiety DogTV purports to help alleviate.  Maybe our dogs weren't affected because they don't need what DogTV is offering.  Bottom line, we canceled our subscription.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Happy Friday

Dot and Taco have FUN!

We've got a regional Brittany specialty this weekend, should be a blast!  Hope you have a great weekend too!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Taco's Debut and May Review again gave us the opportunity to  review a product this month.  For May we chose Orijen Ranch Raised Lamb Singles Freeze-Dried Dog Treats.  These are lightweight, dry treats made from lamb.  Unlike some freeze-dried treats (like liver chunks) which can crumble into fine power, I found these easier to break in half.  Both dogs loved them, but when using them for an active training session they made them very thirsty since they are so dry.  I alternated them with cooked chicken so we didn't have to stop for drink breaks as often.

Taco got a lot of these at his very first Rally Trial this weekend!  We have mainly been working on his heeling progression and AKC Beginner Novice exercises so I admit we had not practiced rally very much.  But for level 1, the signs aren't really complicated so I signed him up for two runs on Saturday.  He has been practicing other important trial behaviors like waiting quietly in his crate, passing other dogs, watching other dogs compete and party while he is in his crate and waiting patiently on leash while we wait to go in the ring so he was VERY good for a newbie dog.  

His first run was the better of the two, score of 209 and a first place.  His second run had a couple of baubles, he needed a second command on a couple of exercises and we had not practiced the call to heel bonus so he understandably confused.  Score of 193 and second place.

Now it will be Dot's turn.  AKC obedience this weekend, practice match next weekend and then two more trials the next two weekends including a new-to-us Brittany regional specialty!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Happy May Day!

I thought I'd celebrate May Day today with some Fairy Corgis!  You may not know this but I have a little Etsy shop where I sell a few sewing patterns that Mike and I have come up with.  And I also sell custom Corgi Fairy Steed Costumes!  They include a fairy saddle and a flower neck garland And Corgi people go ga-ga over them!  Sully was always my faithful model but now I have to put them on a stuffed Corgi when I want to email someone progress pictures of their set.
 This pretty set was for an auction at a regional Corgi specialty.  Usually people order them for costume contests and Corgi picnics.  But I have made a set for a Corgi to wear in it's owner's wedding.  I made a set of four, in different "forest" colors for a group to wear at a "Meet the Breed" event.  And I've made a saddle for a young man who was a knight in shining armor for Halloweeen so his Corgi could be his "noble steed"!
 Our Corgi friend, Merlin, indulged me as well, modeling his lovely green velvet set.
 Sully in pink!  It's so embarrassing.
He only looks slightly happier in green.  :)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Recent dog events

I've been a bit busy with dog events lately! 

A couple of weeks ago, I had Dot in Open A at a trial in Indiana.  When scheduling trials, I always forget that Indiana is 1 hour ahead (unless it's an IN town near Chicago)  and therefore I have to get up an hour earlier, which is exhausting.  I have erased the next few Indiana trials off the calendar for this reason!  Anyway, I was happy with Dot's performance even though no dogs in Open A qualified.  (At least we weren't alone!)  She went around the high jump on the way back and then went down in the long sit.  It was a good effort from her considering she has not been in the ring much at all .  Our last Open attempt was last November.

This past weekend, I Chaired my very first dog event!  I was Secretary/Chair of our club's VST test this year.  It was an awesome event.  Saturday we had fantastic weather for plotting the tracks, sunny and a bit breezy but nice and warm!  Sunday was overcast and we had sprinkles here and there but it did NOT pour on us or lightening while we were out there so I am calling it a huge win!  Of 7 dogs, we had no one pass but that is not unusual.  We still enjoyed a day full of donuts, fun with our dogs, mexican food and camaraderie.  Now to mail all the paperwork off to the AKC and claim myself a successful Chair!

Dot moved up from Agility Prep to Agility 1 and is still loving it!  Our 2x2 weaves have progressed to weaving 4 poles, she loves the dogwalk, aced the tire and is getting plenty of friendly experiences on the baby teeter.

Taco started his very first class ever!  He is in our club's Sub-Novice class, which is the per-requisute for most other classes.  We skipped Home Companion since he already has his CGC.  Our club has a red bandanna program, dogs that need extra space wear a red bandanna and I put one on Taco.  I struggled with whether I wanted him labeled as an "aggressive pit" when that is really the farthest from the truth.  Taco has shown some signs of leash frustration and has lashed out a couple of times when he got overstimulated and was not able to get to another dog to PLAY.  He wants to play so badly, and when he's not allowed to it turns into frustration and comes out looking like a snarling and growling aggressive pit.  So I went with the bandanna, only so that people give us a little space and he doesn't get super-stimulated wanting to play nearby dogs.

One of our regional Brittany Clubs (we have three within driving distance!) hosted the Central Futurity at our club's building so I got to be one of the club-rep welcomers and see all the adorable Brittanys.  I was a little shocked at how much grooming was going on!  I think of the Brittany as a wash and wear dog but there was a LOT of clipping, trimming and thinning going on.  No wonder Dot doesn't look anything like those dogs, she needs a few sessions with a pro!

This will be week 4 of 4-H class and all is going as planned.  A few advanced students are starting retrieves, while others are working on mainly on the basics.  Our beginner class has a "silver lab", a Weimaraner and what they list as a Mastiff mix that all look remarkable similar. Add to that an Aussie, a toy poodle, a yellow lab and an Airedale, we have quite the variety!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Evo Wild Cravings review thanks to (with giveaway) again gave us the chance to review some new-to-us treats!  Evo Wild Cravings Red Meat Formula Dog Treats are really unique in that they are a dry treat that is completely grain free and made with a high level of quality meat.  And boy do they smell (and taste) like it!  At least I assume they taste like it because the dogs were as interested in these DRY treats as they are in string cheese and hot dogs.
I like that the treats are easy to break into smaller pieces which makes them work well for training.  Usually a dry treat would not be enticing enough to keep Taco focused during a group class but these worked really well at Sub-Novice class last night.  I alternated between these and string cheese and did not notice a drop in focus when using these.

I also used these to reward Dot after putting on her ointment (she had an infected whisker follicle that needs 10 days of ointment.  It's always SOMETHING!)  and she LOVED them.  She hates the ointment on her lip and would melt and hide under the table but show her one of these and she'll stay in the kitchen for her treatment!

For the chance to win some credit at to spend on whatever you want (but these are highly recommended by our two chow hounds!), enter the giveaway below.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

2014 4-H Dog Training

Last week our spring 4-H dog training classes started!  I think I say this every year but what a GREAT bunch we got this year!  My co-leader was on vacation so I got to substitute teach the beginners and wow!  They were stupendous!  My advanced class, a wonderful group of returning students, has quite a variety of training levels.  Some are just out of the beginner class and some have been training for several years and are ready for more advanced exercises like retrieving, broad jump and drop on recall.  It can be hard  to teach such a diverse group but there is no reason the whole class can't work on every exercise at their own level.  Just because some may not need to know retrieve for a couple of years doesn't mean they shouldn't start training it now!
I wanted to share some pictures from last fall's dog workshop day.  We had several guests come to present different topics and the 4-Hers also got to each give a demo about training techniques. 
 A local groomer came and showed us a TON about grooming.  Dot helped out by letting 4-Hers practice their dremeling skills on her nails.
 We made fleece tug toys to take home.  (In 4-H colors!)
 We had guests from the ASPCA Poison Control Center speak about health topics.  Here they are demonstrating safe ways to pick up an injured dog.
 An APDT trainer came and showed us games we could play with our dogs, like this hunting and sniffing game!
 This poster shows some (not all) of our fantastic sponsors.  I have had the greatest experiences soliciting donations from dog product companies.  Most are so receptive and generous in wanting to help out young people to learn responsible ownership and training!  And we owe a huge thank you to the Illinois 4-H Foundation for a grant to buy this awesome Dog Learning Lab Kit which will get a ton of use in our classes and events!

This workshop day was all day and included lunch.  I was inspired by several state 4-H programs that offer workshops and camps at the state level for those in the dog project.  Illinois does not offer anything like that but our county-level event was well-received.