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Flashy Friday Week 2!

Flashy Friday! Week 2 -  "Spin" Whew! A whole week between posts, sorry guys! Like I've mentioned before we're pr...

Monday, August 31, 2015

Flyball Fun!

Flyball Demo!

This past Sunday our flyball club is hosted a flyball demo day at the Oregon State Fair! We were super excited to go because since it is not a tournament they were letting "green" (inexperienced) dogs run and practice in a tournament like environment! That means us!

We've been slowly making progress in flyball with Dante and Ziva but we've had a couple hiccups in our training.

Quick Recap - Past 2 Weeks

Two weeks ago, Ziva was minding her own business in a flyball lane all to herself practicing her box turn and was attacked by a fellow teammates Schipperke that came flying out of practically no where if you ask Ziva. A little black flying ninja! After that incident she kept checking over her shoulders and behind her - we didn't accomplish much after that.

Photo Credit - Animal Planet
Ziva - 

She's also been dropping the ball a lot, something she wasn't doing during our private sessions. In fact she never drops her ball. I think it's because she is nervous at the club, so to help with that I've been working on teaching her "Give", a command that means - put it in my hand. She's always handed me her ball, I don't like bending down for it so I never taught her to "drop it". My goal with "give" is to teach her that if she drops the ball early and I say, "give", I want her to pick it back up and put it in my hand.

Dante - 

At home Dante can do a really long run with two jumps, and a box turn with ball retrieval (using a prop to help him remember to pick his feet up). I'll try to get a video tomorrow if it doesn't rain. I was really hoping to have him to a full run this week at our club's practice but we had a bit of a setback.

Remember that little black ninja? Yup this past week he got Dante this time, we're not sure if he broke skin (it's hard to tell with how dark Dante's hair is) their was blood though, but Dante could have bitten his tongue, happens pretty regularly with him. That little dog needs some work to say the least, he needs to learn to stay in his lane. It's too hard for me to be watching all of the other dogs around us when I'm working with my dog. On a good note, the team is awesome and everyone is helping out. From hence forward we won't be running in a lane next to the ninja. Some dogs just don't like each other, that's ok but they do need to learn to ignore each other.

Needless to say, Dante didn't recover his brain back. We ended his training on a good note but he too was suffering from the paranoia of checking over his shoulders and behind his butt to make sure their weren't any more sneak attacks coming for him.

Sunday - Demo Day

But Sunday was a great day for both dogs! I wasn't sure of the environment so I didn't bring my camera...what a dummy! So here are some fun shots that So Fly was wonderful enough to let me share with you guys!    

Photo Credit - So Fly
Photo Credit - So Fly
Ziva was pretty freaked about the fair environment but we were their all day and with frequent walks and lots of love she relaxed quite a bit by the end of the day. We got to meet tons of people, she was fawned over by strangers which she loves, and we got to watch the flyball and dock diving dogs!

When the experienced dogs weren't running it was the green dogs turn to play in the race lanes, Ziva decided that instead of doing flyball she wanted to do agility so after her four jumps she cleared the flyball box and the back fence as well! On a good note she did a sharp turn and came right back at me like a boomerang - just like she used to do in agility.

Photo Credit - So Fly
Dante once again played the roll of Space Cadet, but he did much better than our last practice. We practiced his "run backs" (start at the flyball box and run back to the start line), we attempted some ball retrievals but he was more interested in the environment and what was happening all around us, and then we got a couple box turns in but mostly it was just a good excuse to get him used to the craziness that is flyball.

Overall I loved the fair environment, I wish I had more opportunities like this to take the dogs out into. We got to practice walking in crowds, heeling in a very HIGH distraction environment, we were surrounded by strangers and strange dogs, lots of barking and excited dogs from both flyball and the dock diving dogs. And they made me proud! They were very nice meeting everyone, elderly adults, and children they were super gentle didn't jump up (except once but he was a pretty tough looking Marine who was super excited about meeting Dante so he kind of asked for it hahaha) and Ziva even had some nice interactions with a few other dogs! I think we've got a nice handle on her reactive dog past at this point.  Hooray!!

You know what else? I finally met Blitz, the little ninja and in person he's quite nice. Hopefully flyball practice this week will go without incident.

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Melvin's Project Joy

What is Melvin's Project Joy?

Melvin's Project Joy was created to honor the memory of Melvin, a beautiful yellow lab who recently passed away. Instead of focusing on the sad they want to spread joy to other rescue dogs and their families and they partnered with Sirius Republic to do some giveaways and spread some love.

The month of July was about those of us living with anxious dogs.

My regular readers are already aware of Ziva's story, for those of you who are new to the blog here is a quick summary.

Recently Ziva turned 2 years old, she is an adopted American Pit Bull Terrier from California. She was most likely the product of a backyard breeder or accidental litter and was found dumped at an industrial work site as a puppy. The nice workers who found her rather than taking her to an overcrowded CA shelter gave her to a rescue group who sent her to Oregon where we found her through our local rescue.

When we adopted her into our family a little over a year ago she was just under a year old and she suffered from huge amounts of fear and anxiety. Any loud noise and she would tuck tail and hide if not dart behind us, new objects would cause her to back pedal and pull very hard on her leash to get away from the "scary thing." But we saw so much potential in this cute little girl, she immediately trusted hubby and she had a great spark of life in her. She was clearly gentle and we knew she'd be a great match for our family.

After adopting her we worked on crate training to help with her anxiety, lots of exercise, positive reinforcements regarding her crate, music, audio books and months of trying different things we finally got her to settle down in her crate. Now she loves it and it is her safe place, she often goes in to chew her toys in peace or to get away from her crazy brother Dante or her foster brother Jack when they get to rambunctious. Now a year later we don't even need to lock her in anymore! *fingers crossed!* Because she is no longer destroying things when we leave.

Our biggest success though with Ziva was getting her into a local shaping class using a clicker, she learned shaping very quickly and we began to use it to introduce her to new objects and to work on her self confidence through having her accomplish new tasks.

Learning new things and suceeding with tricks and her anxiety began to noticeably diminish even more, and she stopped spooking.

We then began putting her into agility training (agility with Ziva HERE), the obstacles and successfully completing circuits changed her life! Now she flies through courses running full blast and approaches most new things with curiosity rather than fear. She is also now capable of running full blast past crazy barking dogs (Ziva's Reactive Past HERE)  and she can focus on tasks.

Living with anxiety is never easy, but we are learning how to conquer fears. And she's become such a wonderful self confident girl who is a great adventure buddy ready to tackle any challenge and learn new things.

Now Melvin's Project Joy... 
Our story won their month of July giveaway!!

Ziva's new collar.
Our prize was a gift card to Sirius Republic
and with it we picked out a new collar with custom tags for Dante.
Ziva recently got a new collar but don't worry she was heavily compensated with treats!

I just love it, don't you?! I think it looks like a man's tie and the color is so dashing on him!
He is such a mama's boy, I love our custom tags on it! 
His name and our phone number is on the back of the tag.

It is never over, 
some days bring different challenges,
 but every day we make progress with our little girl.

Thank you to Melvin and Jake's mom!
Big Thank you to Sirius Republic for the beautiful collar!!

If you are not familiar with this blog you definitely need to check them out!

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Mama's Boy

Happy Wordless Wednesday

Here's a photo Dz Dog Dad took of Dante working on some off-leash heeling with me.


Friday, August 14, 2015

Flyball Friday!

First Club Practice!

Last night we got to meet the flyball club! I wasn't really sure what to expect for our first practice but I gotta say it was amazing meeting and helping out!

The club was really organized, after everyone helped to set up the flyball lanes, dogs were put into rotation using a whiteboard to list out names and orders. 

Based on levels of experience, beginner dogs got to run in lanes by themselves while the more veteran dogs ran in pairs. Super distractable beginners, got a mini fence put in-between the lanes to help block the view of the other dog and lower the level of distraction.

Dante's first run was next to another beginning dog, a cute little Jack Russell who couldn't get her eyes off of him. They needed a fence.  *Must be love..*

Photo Credit - What is Flyball?

So to warm up we began at the box, Dante wasn't so sure at first about a stranger restraining him but he quickly warmed up when he realized it's the same game we play at home.

Beginning at the box, the box loader held Dante back while I ran down the race lane - his goal was to successfully run the lane and take all four jumps ending with his reward at the start line.

One thing I learned in agility is where you position your body changes what your dog may choose to do. I wasn't sure Dante would complete all four jumps so I was baby stepping him by only asking him to do two jumps, this put me off to the side of the lane and so he veered and was not taking the jumps. Finally the loader suggested I go all the way to the end (start line), make direct eye contact and call him to me.  It worked!! Dante took all four jumps!

After the warm up we began practicing our box turns and sequencing the jump to the box turn.

Us practicing ball retrieval at home with Dante, his reward for bringing it back is that we'll play tug!

Setting up for Success

Since it was our first practice in a new and very distracting setting, I wasn't asking for too much.
We started with just a couple box turns to remind him what he was supposed to be doing, then added in the ball retrieval. In case you don't remember, here is us practicing at home. At home we have been  doing one jump, and using a prop which goes right in front of the box to teach the dogs to jump on the box. We need to start weaning out the use of the prop.

We then started backing up and adding in more distance. By the end of practice we were almost to the point of adding in a second jump!

I was surprised at how well Dante did! He's normally my space cadet who struggles to stay focused on me, but he did awesome! I'm a proud mama, he listened thought about taking off to say hi to another dog only once (I snagged him in time to remind him not to), and we accomplished more than I thought we would.

Ziva on the other hand, for being my confident agility girl was playing shy at practice. She was displaying a lot of her nervous behaviors, tail tucking, head down, slinking around looking at everything. She warmed up though! Her runaways were perfect, probably because she's my OCD princess (crazy story here), she veered once when she dropped the ball, self corrected, and still went over the proper jump! Love that brain of hers!

Her box turns though were sloppy and slow, unlike at home where slow is our only problem, but as we keep going her confidence will build so i'm not too worried. The whole club was wonderful and welcoming, like a big happy family! I never felt this way at agility practice so it's a refreshing change, probably because agility is such a solo sport though.  

Our Homework!

Box turns while weaning out the prop! 

Continuing to practice Dante's dead ball retrievals.

Sending to the box from a further distance. Can't wait for next week! Sorry no pictures from practice last night.

I call this one, "CHOMP!!"

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Dante is 3 years old!

Happy 3rd Birthday Dante!

Oh my dog, time flew by so quickly! We've now had Dante for 2 years! I can't even believe how quickly time has flown with this wonderful boy.

For how we came to adopt Dante, check out that story here.

Love at first sight.
Dante back when we had our foster Tex-Anna.
Dante was our first dog as a married couple, we waited until we had purchased our first home before adopting a dog. Before we adopted our Dante, we had Sasja and Tex-Anna, fosters, and rescues.

Dante is my beautiful brindle boy with amazing personality to go, I just want to say thank you, you idiots who got rid of such a great boy, because now we have him!

When we first adopted Dante he came with major separation anxiety, a couple DVD collections, books, and door trimmings later we managed to beat it with positive training, exercise and crate games.

Now he's 100% trustworthy, lovable, snugglebug, goofball, whom I affectionately refer to as my "Space Cadet". He's kind of like Kronk in Emperor's New Groove, not a mean bone in his body, he tries really hard, not stupid, but he's also not the brightest bulb in the batch.

But what he is: Dante is a wonderful Breed Ambassador.

Dante is my boy, he's strong and confident. He's my go anywhere, do anything dog, 100% stable and trustworthy. He loves other dogs, cats, and all people.

He's my adventure boy! 

He's not always the best on a leash right at first but that's because he is bursting with life and loves to do what you are doing!

My mom likes to borrow Dante when she goes running, he loves it and behaves for her, she's taken him as far as 18 miles! Now I don't need protecting, and Dante is not a protection dog, but I do feel safe and people tend to leave me alone when we're out hiking, unless they are dog lovers, in which case we love to meet them!

Gentle Giant.

Dante is also very gentle, he was terrified of the kitten we fostered last summer, I think he was worried about hurting it. And recently he found some baby bunnies, and i'm proud to say he (and Ziva) didn't hurt any of them and we were able to get them all safely on their way! One baby bunny has a crazy story to tell though because Dante licked it.  BOL!!

Just wanted to be friends, I don't know why mom freaked out!
Dante is a lover.

He loves his sister and all other dogs, he's always played really nicely but he's happy to wrestle with any dog who dares think they can best him! Tug of course though, is his favorite game, he'd play tug all day if he could!

Enjoy your time with your pups, because time is fleeting. 
Next month Dante and I are hiking Broken Top, i'm so excited!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Magical Training Treats

Freeze Dried Beef Tripe
Magical Treats

So after hearing horror stories about how tripe (although loved by dogs) smells like zombie breath, I must confess I have been a terrible mom and have not introduced my pups to tripe...Until now!

We were contacted by Raw Paws Pet Food to do an honest review in exchange for some yummy treats, guess what we got? 
Freeze Dried Beef Tripe!

And I am happy to announce it does not smell like zombie breath, it actually has a halfway decent scent. But boy did it catch the dogs attention, as soon as I brought the package into the house and opened up the layers, all three dogs were all over me!

The scent was so enticing that as soon as I walked out of the room, Jack stole the package! 
That little hound thief!

So if you think the package looks a bit rumpled, well it's because it was wrestled out of the mouth of a hungry hound!

Their are a number of ways you can give this to your dogs:

You can sprinkle it over their kibbles or raw food.

A meal fit for a pibble princess!

Or you can use it as a magical training treat! 
For Dante, Ziva, and Jack it was like training crack. 
I've never had such undivided attention from them.

I think I have discovered a high enough value treat to beat out the toys, and that is quite a feat for play driven dogs like Dante and Ziva!

The hound however will do anything for food, his absolute favorite up to this point has been cheese.

"Can I haves it now? Sorry, not sorry I stole the bag..."

"What ifs I begs for it?"

From hence forward I think it'll be a staple of ours for training in high distraction environments.

It's not to stinky for us humans.
Plenty stinky for dogs.
Freeze dried comes in small perfect nibble sized pieces.
Perfect sized if you want to portion it over a meal or use it for training treats.
Dry and doesn't leave your hands icky or greasy like most dog treats.
Healthy all-natural treat for your dog!

Hmmm..nope nothing here!

A couple of things stood out to me about this company, they support the healthy lifestyle of raw feeding for pet owners, and their mission is to make raw feeding affordable. You can read their mission HERE.

One reason we don't feed raw is the cost, but at some point we would like to switch and i'll definitely be keeping this company in mind. The second thing is how do you even begin to feed raw? What's great about this company is that they have a knowledgeable staff and offer many resources to begin your raw feeding journey including a feeding guide/schedule, serving size calculator, and a customized meal plan. 

And to top it all off, the meats (proteins) are USA grass fed and free range, they are free of antibiotics, no hormones, no additives, no GMO's, humanely harvested, and grain free! They offer a wide variety of protein choices, and a variety of healthy treats.  

I hope you'll check them out! And for those of you looking for new treats to train with, or who have a toy driven dog, definitely check out the freeze dried beef tripe.

100% Dz Dogs Approved

* was not monetarily compensated for this post, 
and receives no money for the web links in this post.*

Friday, August 7, 2015

Rebel Rock Trail, Oregon

Rebel Rock, Oregon's Hidden Treasure

DzDog Dad recently was hired for a new job, something we've been looking forward to for a long time.  I'm so proud of him!

Rebel Rock Trail head is located back behind Cougar Reservoir located near Blue River, Oregon.

To celebrate his new job we decided to hit the trails with all three dogs in some new spots. Here is a place we found: it was quite the long drive to get to it, but we ended up packing a lunch and hiking about 12 miles. It was gorgeous and totally worth it!

Being so far out, we had the whole trail to ourselves. We only saw one other car parked at the trail head and our paths never crossed.

It was magical hiking beneath such old giant trees, and it was very peaceful. The only sounds were the birds, creek, jingling of the dogs collars/leashes, and the sound of our feet hitting the soft dirt along the trail.

And we picked the perfect day, low 80's the temperature was just right for hiking. Clear blue skies, tons of natural light, the shade from all the tall trees kept us nice and cool.  For the first couple of miles the trail followed a creek where we stopped regularly to water the dogs, then it began it's upward ascent along a gorge. 

Taking a water break, so we took Dante's pannier section of his pack off.
Jack loves apples!
I hiked holding onto Ziva and Dante, Dante wore his awesome Groundbird pack, carrying extra water for the dogs, collapsible water dish, and poo bags (we always practice leave no trace). And Jack was a great trail buddy, sticking right next to or behind DzDog Dad.

Sorry I don't have more photos, we were silly and forgot to bring along my camera so we had to resort to using our cell phones. It feels like such dinosaur technology after using my new Nikon!

Have you ever seen a wet plott hound? Pretty cute right?!

All the dogs had a blast! Ziva however was truly in her element, sniffing everything, and I am pleased to say her recall is rock solid! We did a bit of off-leash work with just her and she's the perfect little velcro dog, she stayed really close by, responded to verbal commands, and was constantly "checking in" (giving eye contact, looking back at us to see what we were doing).

* *Unless your dog has a rock solid recall (Jack and Dante do not), and even then depending on your environment. Please be responsible and leash up! 
Also, be sure to follow local/trail leash requirements and dog rules, most of the trails in our area require leashes, especially the busy trails, and it is ALWAYS frustrating being ran down by off-leash dogs in a leash required area. Don't be that guy!* * 

We loved this hike so much that I plan on going back!

Get out and explore your area! Maybe you'll find a hidden treasure like we did!

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