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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...

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Summer Wrap Up

A Look Back at our Summer.

This summer was awesome!  

I'm feeling a bit reminiscent today so I thought it would be fun to take a look at what we did this summer.

But first, can you believe that we've had Jack since April?!  Oh my... what a long and crazy road, but worth it!  Meet Jack HERE.  Hopefully, fingers crossed!  He'll be heading to his new home in a week or so!  Still need to do a home check, but they've already met him and he did great with the whole family and their kids, and they loved him!

Jack has come such a long ways since he first joined our family in April, we've begun working on his off-leash training. It's gotten a lot better but I still get a bit nervous when I take the leash off of him, this is a personal issue and not a reflection of his current behavior *I wish I could let things go as easy as a dog does* he's been a charm off leash these last few times I've worked with him. He took off on me to chase the neighbors naughty dog, but I was able to walk right up to him and put the leash back on him without incident - in the past it's been a chase and a game to him.

His crate manners are excellent, he's not harassing Ziva as much as he was in the beginning - in fact they are best buds and love to snuggle together! He's been great in the house, minus the occasional trash can digging incident (silly me leaving it out where he can get it), and he's learned a variety of fun tricks! Really he's a pretty easy dog, i'm looking forward to being able to send him to his forever home for more love and attention.

This summer though -  I graduated in June.  Yippee!! All done!

Ziva hurt her knee so we decided to try a new sport and joined Flyball!

And then we spent the summer playing in the river, running trails, hiking, visiting family, having fun BBQ's outside, and getting into mischief with Captain Jack! 

And of course the not so fun stuff, Dante's broken tooth and his sinus infection.

Some highlights included hiking Eagle's Rest with Jack!

Rebel Rock Trail with all three pups.

Lookout Point Reservoir with just my camera and Ziva.

And as a kick off to fall, Dante and I did Broken Top Mountain!!

Stay tuned fall fun to come! 

And we have a couple awesome reviews in the wings as well as a giveaway we'll be doing soon!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Broken Top, Oregon

Broken Top, Oregon

Last year I hiked the South Sister in Oregon with my best friend and Dante. It was and still is the toughest hike I've ever done! We were beaten up, broken down, and exhausted after that 12 miler that literally took us all day to do. But we learned from our rookie mistakes and someday we're going to conquer her again! Only better and stronger!

Summit of the South Sister. Middle & North Sister behind us.
This year we decided to make a girls weekend out of it and decided this year's challenge would be Broken Top! 

Broken Top is a stratovolcano that last erupted about 100,000 years ago, it's last eruption it caved in on itself and is now a beautiful craggy peak known as Broken Top. It's summit is 9,175 ft in elevation whereas the South Sister was 10,358 ft in elevation.

There are many ways you can choose to hike Broken Top, being a group of non-climbers we decided to do the Lost Lake hike up the North East side of Broken Top located in the Three Sisters Wilderness. We took this yellow highlighted route for our trip, only we started off of National Forest Road 380 at the Crater Trail - Trail Head (green arrow on the map). Our route ended up being 6.4 miles, which was shorter than we had anticipated (8 miles), but it was a blast!

Map via:
Being September we wanted to get an early start just to ensure we wouldn't be hiking in the dark, we weren't really sure how long it would take us to finish.

Broken Top trail No. 10 is labeled as an 8 mile moderate hike, but we weren't clear on what "moderate" actually meant. Did it mean painfully but slow incline the whole way? Or lots of loose rock like the South Sister? Just to be safe we decided to start early and rousted the whole group to be out the door by 5:30 am. To hit the trail about 7 o'clock in the morning. 

To get to the Trail Head No. 10 where we wanted to start we had to take what hikers in the forums called, the "Road From Hell" and they weren't kidding! 

The National Forest service road is about 5 miles long and the last 3 miles are full of potholes, giant rocks attempting to jump out and destroy the underside of your car, and huge ruts in the road. We crawled really slowly to the trail head, bouncing around on the rocks we could drive over, swinging wide across the road to avoid the larger more dangerous rocks, and at one point having to leave the road to pass an otherwise impossible short section of nasty rocks. My lovely friends laughing and joking, drinking our coffee the whole way to the trail head while hilariously and in a very exaggerated manner - throwing themselves against the high side of the car for fear of us tipping (no we weren't going to roll but it sure felt like it!). I'm so glad we made this a group excursion this year! What a fun group of ladies to spend a whole weekend with!

We finally made it to the trail head and discovered we weren't the only lunatics to brave the road and make it. What was shocking though was the snow! It was pretty fresh within the last 48 hours or so, but on a good note it made following the trail very easy, we just stuck to the tracks of the couple groups ahead of us. Thankfully we all wore enough layers, and had hats to keep our ears warm!

As the sun kept getting higher in the sky we kept having to strip layers, and with zero wind we also loaded up on the sunscreen.

It was a gorgeous hike and absolutely perfect weather! Dante had a blast of course, he was totally showing off his Ruffwear jacket and Groundbird Gear pack.  One problem I ran into was I had over packed for this trip, after the South Sister last year I didn't want to forget anything important. 

I think this is Mt. Bachelor looming behind us.

I had of course my keys, phone, moleskin, a small first aid kit, emergency blanket, compact flashlight, protein bars, sandwich, 3 liters of water in my hydration bladder, water filter, knife, and extra socks. On top of the sweatshirt, jacket, hat, the sunglasses I was sporting, and of course my camera!

Dante I had packed him his own water 1 bottle for each side of his pack, poo bags, trail treats, and his Ruffwear boots (just in case) with socks.

As my layers came off my pack became stuffed! I could have emptied out some of my water but again - better safe than sorry!

We stopped regularly to chat, take pictures, and just enjoy being outside. We ended up covering ground much quicker than we thought we would.

At one point we came across a very wet section where I promptly ended up soaking both of my feet, brrr!! After dancing a silly jig about how cold my toes were I took Dante the long way around, I think this area is the meadow of flowers everyone talks about when there is no snow in the spring/summer season. It's most likely a bit boggy because it was certainly holding onto the water.  We also passed some pretty little snow run-off creeks, and tiny waterfalls.

Ball Butte, Three Sisters Wilderness
Dante of course loved the whole trip, we haven't been hiking for a little while so his leash manners were not very nice for this trip. He got better as the day progressed and he became tired but now I know what we get to work on when we get home!

Looking back at Ball Butte, and Mt. Bachelor behind us.

Ball Butte (Left) Mt. Bachelor (Right)
Broken Top ahead!

At first we were a bit unsure of which route to take, either head into the canyon towards Lost Lake or around and up the other side towards Broken Hand (weird name right?)

We ended up choosing Lost Lake, and we were not disappointed!

Heading into the canyon.
Welcome to Lost Lake!

Lost Lake with Broken Top in the background.
Lost Lake, Three Sister Wilderness
We made it!

And our view from the top was amazing!

Here is a shot of the Middle and North Sister, apparently they are even harder than the South Sister to hike! And some crazy lunatics hike all three sisters in a day, not sure how that it possible but I bet ultra runners can do it since they run 100+ mile races.

Middle Sister (Left)  North Sister (Right)

Can you spot Dante and I?
We even met this sweet older lady up on top, Dante loved her but I think she just hung around us for the dehydrated lamb treats I was feeding them both. 

After September 15th, the trails open up to allow dogs off-leash otherwise the rest of the hiking season all dogs are required to be on a 6 foot leash. During the rest of the season these are busy trails and lots of people including horses use the trails.

I had Dante on a leash for most of this trip because he wasn't listening to me very well, and their were lots of chipmunks that he wanted to chase and the last thing I want to do is have him be a dummy and go over a cliff after some silly rodent. You should have heard his whining though!

Another shot of Broken Top, I loved all the colors in the rock. Apparently this side you don't climb up, the rock is very brittle, but you can climb up on the West side (or so i've been told, but you won't see me doing it!).

Dante in one of his better moments, we were away from any potential fall hazards so I let him off-leash for a while.

Please always follow the rules of the trail, we like to keep these trails open and it's idiot dog owners who don't follow the rules that get ALL dogs banned from certain areas.

During the off-leash allowed season, it's important that if you ARE going to allow your dog off-leash, that you maintain voice control and still keep them nearby - not every dog or human for that matter on the trail likes to be ran up on even if your dog is "friendly". 

At one point we saw a dog off-leash and no humans around, he was too far away from us to grab him or I would have leashed him up and taken him back to the trail head to find his people. He ended up vanishing we never saw him or him with any humans, I hope he found his family though, but it's a lot of area for a dog to get lost in.

Overall it was an amazing trip and definitely makes my top three favorite hikes ever! Can't wait to go back!

Thanks Ladies!

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Monday, September 21, 2015

Sneak Peak!

Peak, Get it?

Guess where we went this last weekend! Go on... Guess!

South Sister, in the background
Here's a couple hints,
#1   See that snow covered mountain behind us? That's the South Sister, we hiked to her summit last summer (click for that fun adventure!) and it was very painful! But isn't she gorgeous!

#2   This stratovolcano last erupted about 100,000 years ago and 
is located in Oregon within the Three Sisters Wilderness.

It's Broken Top!!

I haven't had time to go through most of my photo's yet, so another post with our fun adventure is coming soon!

Stay tuned!

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Jack's Loose! (Leash Walking)

From Runaway Risk to Off-Leash Hound!
Part 1. Level 1

Don't worry, he did great! In case you forgot we had some hiccups with his training in the beginning because he was a runaway risk.
Jack in the Beginning  and A Gate for Jack

We've been working really hard recently on improving Jack's off leash manners and recall because he might be going to his new family in a few weeks!  *Fingers Crossed!*

Using treats and a tennis ball sometimes for rewards I've been slowly working on his manners in different distraction environments.

Levels of Distraction - Level 1

I would place this environment at about a Level 1 Distraction, we are on the street early in the morning, no one is up and about except for the occasional car driving past. Other than that it's super quiet. I started him off on leash and made sure that I had his attention, did some leashed heel work hands free using a carabiner to attach him to my belt. In one hand I had a clicker, in the other hand was his treat (in this case we were using mozzarella sticks!)

What did we work on?
Every time he gave me eye contact, *click* treat, staying in the proper heel position *click* treat, sitting when I stop walking *click* treat, ignoring a distraction (cat ran across the road) *click* treat!

Still level one, we just moved to off-leash. By starting out on a leash I was setting him up for success by helping him to dial in and pay attention to me, this is training time.

Off-Leash Video #2
Sorry it's so dark...we're hoping for some rain today.

A video posted by DZ Dog Mom (@dzdogadventures) on

Happy Wordless Wednesday! More to come soon!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Lookout Point Reservoir, Oregon

Lookout Point Reservoir, 

My life has been pretty crazy recently, got some family stuff going on and last weekend I just needed to get out and have some "me" time.

As much as I love all my pups including out foster boy Jack, sometimes it's really nice to just take one dog out for a relaxing adventure. Last Saturday I was inspired to get out and enjoy our nice Oregon weather, the fall is slowly starting to creep in which means our mornings are getting nice and crisp, then warming up in the afternoon. I decided it would be fun to just take Ziva on this trip, we left right after breakfast, I packed up my trailrunning backpack with my camera, water for the both of us including water filter (just in case!), collapsible bowl, pepper spray (you never know), snacks, and we were off! I wanted to do Goodman trail which is an offshoot on Hardesty Trail, we've done both but my grand plan was to go much farther than I have before and really enjoy the trail. And it's a long drive from where we live so you kind of have to plan it.

Sadly when we got there their was a trail race taking place and the whole parking lot was full of people, dogs, and cars! Bummer! Ziva started growling almost immediately so change of plans... 

Driving back I was super bummed, and honestly thought about canning the whole stupid idea.. *I'd had a rough week*. And just chalk it up to the universe not going my way once again.

But looking at Ziva's little grinning face in the backseat, and having my awesome camera with me I decided to head out to a place hubby has taken me before, Lookout Point! Our first blog post HERE.

Our photo from February 2015.
The water level is a lot lower so we're doing rain dances and hoping no more forest fires break out. Personally i'm hoping for snow this year!

September 2015
Ziva and I had the whole place to ourselves, and since we didn't end up hiking I threw her ball for her and we walked around exploring a bit.

Can you spot Ziva in her natural habitat?

This is a man made reservoir which is why you see all of the super old tree stumps, they had to clear the land to hold the water. When this is full all the stumps are under the water, cool huh?

When the water is low it looks pretty eerie but makes for some cool photos!

Happy Fit Dog Friday!

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

How We Helped Our Nervous Dog Finally Feel Safe

A Strong Relationship is Built on a Foundation of 
Mutual Trust, Respect, & Devotion.

Dog's have different personalities just like humans do. One thing that I think is very important is choosing the right personality that best fits your family when you are looking for a dog. This sets you up for success in the long run. In adopting Dante and Ziva we were looking for very specific personality traits and they've been amazing!

We adopted Ziva knowing she had some anxiety issues we would be working through with her. The key is working WITH HER.

The best advice I can give someone with a nervous or anxious dog is to keep working with them. Don't give up! Don't push them too hard yet either. In Ziva's case she trusted us, as long as she wasn't panicking or trying to run away we slowly kept exposing her to the things she was wary of.

This is essentially threshold training, you bring your dog as close as you can while maintaining a positive experience until their discomfort causes you to back off - but only as far as you must. Slowly over time you build up to being closer to objects, and increasing your time spent around them. All the while praising your dog and rewarding their bravery.

I love my girl!

Practicing, "Look".
I have treats and a tennis ball hidden in my pockets!
Not many people fully experience a strong relationship with their dog, if you have experienced it you know it is addicting and wonderful! Dog's are truly amazing creatures, and they can teach us soo much.

Every time you work with your dog you are either strengthening or weakening that bond. If you hit, kick, scream, use a shock collar or other pain causing device you are damaging your relationship.

Rewards, praise, time spent together, and training builds up your relationship with your dog. If you allow your dog to rule the house, no discipline, no training, they drag you on a leash... you are not actually building a relationship their is no mutual respect or teamwork involved, in fact most likely no relationship really exists except in your mind. As far as your dog is concerned you are the bringer of the food, you've barely scratched the surface of what your relationship could be.

Dogs are a lot of fun! But you have to be willing to work at it.

How To Build your Relationship with your Dog.
  1. Spend Quality Time Together.
    Just like with another person, spend time together. Get off your phone, put it away. No texting either! Building a relationship means sharing experiences. Just go out and play, or walk, look at the trees together. Watch birds, run around in your backyard, be silly with your dog. Rub their belly, or scratch their favorite spot - you know right where it is... Ziva loves her ears being rubbed. Even grooming your dog can be quality time - take your time, don't be in a hurry.
  2. Train Your dog.
    A well trained dog is more trustworthy, they can (breed/individual dog depending) be allowed off-leash because you know they will return when called. Training relaxes you, which relaxes your dog. Training also reduces the frustration you may otherwise experience with your dog for displaying bad behavior. Dante and Ziva displayed such wonderful manners thanks to all our training that they were invited back to our friends' vacation home! A home where he never allows dogs, EVER. The Advantages of Pawsitive Pet Training.

  3. Be a Clear Communicator.
    Everyone hates a misunderstanding, keep your words consistent. Hubby and I are consistently checking in with one another regarding what vocab/signals we are using. When you say, "stay" mean it. Practice it, work it in different scenarios. Be consistent with your signals too, in agility I've noticed dogs get frustrated if their handler is not clearly signalling what is to be done, and then the handler gets frustrated because the dog isn't doing what is being asked! I've noticed the Australian Shepard's seem to do it the most - they tend to jump, bark, whine, and mouth at their handlers clothing when frustrated during training sessions in our class.
  4. Care About Your Dog's Health.
    Tasty food shows you care, but don't care so much to the point of obesity please! Exercise your pup, a healthy dog will live a longer, happier, healthier life. Pay attention to their body, watch your dog's feet, check them thoroughly after hikes for ticks or injuries. The more you care for your dog, the more they trust you and the more likely you are to notice and catch the beginning stages of a medical problem.
  5. Don't Get Angry At Your Dog.
    Yes, your dog may know that the did something wrong. But maybe in the heat of the moment they were overwhelmed and that rug that they ate represented a mighty dragon they were fighting in a fierce battle over the house! Just kidding..but seriously awesome relationships are not built on a foundation of yelling, screaming, and anger. Never hit your dog, or punish them just because your are mad - that is you taking your frustration out on your dog, you are not actually teaching them anything in this case.
  6. Find Out What Drives Your Dog.Dante loves to tug, we've been revisiting his recall training because it was getting sloppy. We were spending so much time training, and working with Jack that poor Dante was getting playtime but no training himself.

    Jack is food driven.

    He started to ignore us when we called, and he quit checking in (giving frequent looks in our direction) be it on a walk or off-leash. Well this led to no more off-leash time, he could no longer be trusted. It isn't that your dog is bad though, they need practice. Our bond was clearly slipping. Your dog needs to find you to be the most fun thing around! Practicing re-call with Dante we would take his favorite tug toy, hide it in our jacket, let him sniff about but not get too far. Then yell, "Come!" And whip out his toy!

    He quickly figured out that sticking nearby was worth it if it meant he could play. Working with him several times a week has really helped his recall. We also hide pieces of hot dogs, and cheese in our pockets. When he comes when called, he is rewarded.

    When we're out on a walk, every time he looks at me I reward him for checking in and in just two weeks we've noticed a huge difference in his attentiveness.

    Flyball has also really helped with Dante's attentiveness!
Working on our off-leash "heel" after some exercise.
7.   Consider Learning a Sport!
Their is a sport for every dog, barn hunt, dock diving, lure coursing, agility, flyball...
I would highly recommend looking into classes in your area. Sports are a great way to strengthen your relationship, socialize, and get out and have fun with your dog! Not to mention you're surrounded typically by other awesome dog people. 

Remember, while training is important it isn't everything. Your dog should find you to be fun, they should desire to come back to you because they know you represent positive rewards as opposed to punishment.

How Do You Build Your Relationship with your Dog?

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