Monday, August 30, 2010

Obedience and Flyball

Roo went to his 4th obedience class on Saturday.  I can't believe there are only 2 classes left!  I showed our trainer the videos of him doing Down Stay and Leave It.  I had been going along with Down Stay and ignoring Sit Stay because everytime I said the "Stay" part, he would end up lying down.  I can do a Sit Stay now for a couple of steps, but if I step away a little farther, he decides "Oh this might take a while, so I'm gonna lie down."  It's been frustrating, but the Down Stay has been excellent.

So anyway, it was a good thing that I had recorded it to show he can do it, because he refused to do it in class.  So embarrassing.  Then after awhile, he got so bored with the commands that he wouldn't even sit if I told him to.  My trainer said we needed to start all over since he won't even sit now.  But I don't think that's true, he's just starting to pop some attitude and do the commands whenever he feels like it.  He knows them, he's just starting to ignore me sometimes.

Our trainer knew we were wanting to get Roob into disc sports soon, but she was actually on a flyball team.  She told me all about it and that they practice on Sundays so I could go check it out.  To be honest, I wasn't that interested at first.  Disc dogs look way more fun than some dogs running up and down a track.  But when we got there, I was amazed by how fast these dogs were running.  Some of them would run the track in 3.5 seconds!  These dogs were way faster than I had imagined!  They were all so excited, barking like crazy for their turn and had such a blast!  Reuben sat in my lap on the sidelines and he would watch them go back and forth over and over again.  Sometimes he would want to jump out of my lap to run out there with them.

So I wonder....maybe he would really like flyball?  Whatever he wants to do to burn up that extra energy and have a good time, I'm all for it.  Maybe we can do both disc and flyball?  My concern was that I didn't think Roo would ever run that fast, but seeing that 90% of the team was Aussies and Border Collies, perhaps he would be that fast when he's grown and had plenty of practice.

Another big concern was that he doesn't really get excited about balls.  But my trainer told me that it's not about the ball, it's about the tug toy celebration at the end.  "Bring me the ball and we get to play tug."  Well now...Roo loves tug ropes!  It sounds more like his kind of sport now!  After all the practice runs were over, they took down the jumps and it was time to play recall with the puppies.  Someone held Reuben at the end and I started running down the lane with a tug rope.  He went on a full sprint to get to me, but when he got to me, he wasn't interested in the rope.  He wanted me.  He bit at my pants every time I ran down the lanes.  I was really disappointed.  Of course, it wasn't his tug rope, so we are going to work on it with his very own and see if it changes his mind.  But right now, to him, my pants are way more fun than any toy I hold.

Roo - Leave It....

Oh my!  I completely forgot to post Reuben's latest obedience skill - Leave It!  Here we demonstrate with the tempting, delicious doggy cookie with carb chips.  Oh my.....Can he do it?  Lets see!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Reuben - Down Stay

We worked on down stay for a bit this week.

See how far away I can go!  I'm so proud of my boy :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

As The Kong Turns

Rueben LOVES his Kong....or, he did love it.  I noticed last week that his interest in his Kong has diminished.  Perhaps I wasn't keeping enough variety stuffed inside to keep it exciting.  Or perhaps I was making it too tough to get it out.

Then on Sunday, as I handed him his Kong, I realized....Oh DUH!!  It's obviously way too small for him now!  No wonder why he's not interested anymore.  He can't even get his big tongue in that tiny thing.  My boy has outgrown his baby Kong!

So it was an immediate Kong emergency!  To keep Roob's boredom at bay, I stuffed his holy orange ball full of treats.  He started to roll it around on the floor to get the treats out while I headed to Petco.



We made it to Petco and I actually had a coupon for $2 off.  But you wouldn't believe it, but apparently there is this shortage of medium size Kongs in the classic and puppy versions.  Petco only had small and larges.  The only medium sized one was the one that has the squeaker in it.  How are you supposed to stuff goodies in that?  No way!  The manager said that for some reason the demand for medium size has been way more in demand lately than the supply.  She hasn't been able to get a shipment of mediums for over 2 weeks.

What I love about living in the city is knowing that there are several Petco's nearby.  So the manager starts making some calls and finds one with a few mediums left.  So off we went on a Petco tour and I was able to arrive home with a properly sized Kong to make a puppy very happy.

He went into Kong euphoria.





I'm just starting out on finding crazy ways to stuff a Kong.  I haven't got a ton of experience built up. So I'd love to hear how you all stuff them.  I've always mixed in some dog food into mine, but I switch it up to include cheerios, oatmeal squares, dog cookies, cream cheese, crunchy peanut butter and Kong Stuffin peanut butter paste, and some grilled chicken and a little mashed potato from leftovers I found in the fridge. I try to make it up ahead of time and throw it in the freezer.  It makes it hard and lasts a lot longer.  And whenever that "moment" comes, I know to grab it out of the freezer and chunk it his way.  I need to buy some more Kongs over time, so I can have a good rotation going.

As for the baby Kong, Jaymie says she likes it just fine!  So now she's into the Kong craze.

So, is there anything crazy you are putting in your Kongs?

Avoderm Again

It wasn't too long ago when I tried to switch Reuben's food from Beneful Puppy (what the breeder was feeding) to Avoderm Puppy (after a saleswoman convinced me to switch).  Reuben had some serious diarrhea during the switch that was over 3 days.  I ended up cursing Avoderm and dumping the 15lb bag in the dumpster and saying goodbye to the $27 I spent on it.  We immediately went back to Beneful Puppy to get everything back to normal before trying another puppy food.  But things didn't go back to normal.  Roob's tummy problems had continued and just gotten worse.  So while he was at the vet for 2nd round of shots, we found out he had a bad case of the tapewormies.  This was the REAL cause of the issues.  After getting him the medication that he needed, everything went back to normal and Reuben felt so much better.  But even though his tummy was better, his scratching came back.  He was itchy all over and I knew it was because of the poor quality food.  It interrupted our walks and our training sessions.  He was scratching all over.  His skin was pretty flaky, too.  It was time again to try to switch to something better.

I researched and learned A LOT.


I feel like I owe Avoderm an apology or something for my accusations.  And I wish I didn't get angry and throw away my $27.  I started to do more research on many puppy foods and Avoderm included.  I narrowed it down to Avoderm and Blue Buffalo.  Both are actually ver high quality foods.  A third choice would have been Wellness Super5Mix, but the big fish bone scare was weird and it was way more expensive.  Avoderm gets 4 stars on Dog Food Analysis. And it even got 5 stars on some of the other dog food rating sites.  The one thing that concerned me was the big avocado controversy. This is what caused some ratings to go down just because avocados are controversial. Ever hear that avocados are toxic to dogs?  Then why on earth would they include it in their food for dogs?  I found out recently that it's only a Guatemalan species of avocado that is harmful.  We don't even eat those kind.  About 20 years ago, a goat ate a Guatemalan avocado and died from it.  Somehow, that spread that dogs will die from avocados.  And then I found out that there is a mild toxin in the leaves and bark of the tree and it has to be consumed in large amounts to do any damage.  So it seems like it was a rumor that got out of hand.  People worry just to worry and make things into a bigger deal than what it really is.  Avoderm uses avocado meal and oil only....the good stuff.  To add to that, Avoderm has been fed to dogs and cats for 30 years.  Not one dog or cat has had any negative effects from the avocados.

Avocados have so many health benefits that I eat a ton of them myself.  And after reading a lot of customer reviews, the most compliments were on the coat.  And I'm not surprised.  Not only are avocados packed with vitamins A, B6, C and E, but they have a ton of other nutrients and especially good fatty acids.  It's like a super fruit!  These are amazing for skin and coat.  I read many people that show their dogs feed them avoderm for that amazing coat.  And since Roob's coat is one of my favorite physical characteristics, I want something that is really going to enhance it.

All of their formulas are completely natural.  The puppy formula is chicken and brown rice.  Chicken meal is the first ingredient, and since it's already dehydrated into meal (and not the raw full meat with water included) I can be assured that is truly the first ingredient.  A lot of great dog foods say meat as the first ingredient, but they mean the weight of the meat raw with up to 80% water and sometimes bone included too, before it's dried out and ground into kibble.  After it's dried and ground up, it could possibly much further down the list of ingredients.  This leaves grain as the number one ingredient.  Protein is the biggest of importance and knowing that chicken meal is the first ingredient was a huge plus for me.  There is even herring meal included for some extra omegas.  NO corn...YES.  A ton of added vitamins for eyes and brain function....YES.

The only negative thing I saw was there are 2 different types of rice as the 2nd and 3rd ingredient (ground whole brown rice, ground whole white rice).  If you combined them, would the weight of both of the rice outweigh the chicken meal?  Then that would be the first ingredient - rice.  Who knows?  This is the only reason why I started to consider Blue Buffalo.  But they don't have meat meal listed as first ingredient, they have fresh meat with water included as the first couple of ingredients.  So the rice wasn't enough to budge my decision.

Everything looked perfect.  It's obvious I needed to try Avoderm again.  That's what I've been doing for the past week.  I bought a small bag this time.  And I have been doing the switch WAY longer.  We are now at about 70% Avoderm and 30% Beneful now.  And so far, no tummy problems!  The itching has mostly gone away.  There are still a couple of moments of itchiness, but for the most part, it's completely gone!  But you know what I've noticed just within the past 2 days?  His activity level is shooting through the roof!  He is bouncing off the walls way more that I thought he would.  So I guess that's great for his health, but not good news in our home.  lol  More walks and longer ones are in order and bed time is getting to be more of a hassle.   It's like telling a 5 year old kid to go to sleep.  But perhaps this is the real Reuben all along?  Maybe the Beneful was making him more fatigued?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Roob's New Bling

Reuben loves his new shiny tag. When we put it on him, it didn't bother him one bit, even if it has a new sound to it.

I think he really likes it. It always looks like he's showing it off.


But I'm glad he can't read. And I can't bare to tell him...his name is spelled wrong on the tag. So shhhh!!


You see, never send a man to do a job, right? I have been wanting to get Reuben a tag for a while. And since we were at training class yesterday, I sent Jason to go get Roob's tag made. Jason came back to me to show me the tag and he said, "It looks really good!" Ugh...I shook my head. Do you know how to spell your son's name? But anyway, it was over $10 worth, so we decided to keep it. It still does the purpose. At least the phone number is right. And we will keep this a secret from Reuben.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

New Dog Water Bowl

I know, I know...how exciting can a new dog water bowl be? Well, it's called a No-Spill Water Bowl. And it's mainly used for travel. You can have it in the car, and the water won't spill out of it. It's super neato! The water goes into the base, then there is a floating plate that just sits on top of the water. The floatation is around the sides of the plate, and it dips down in the center with several holes. This allows just enough water on top of the plate for the dog to lick out of. The top black part is a lip that prevents any possible splashing and it goes pretty far from the sides of the bowl, so the dog can only go through the very center of the bowl. There are several types online, but I found this one at Petco, large size $19. Which is cheap compared to the $30 ones I saw online. I believe the medium size was $16.

So why am I using it in my house? Someone actually gave me this idea that it will prevent Reuben from digging in the bowl. Reuben has a BIG urge to dig in the water. He digs and digs and splashes it all over the floor, then he lays in it to get his belly wet. It has been so frustrating to get him to stop! We've had this bowl for about a week now and he hasn't dug in it one bit. Now more toweling the floor every 5 minutes and no more slipping and sliding around with wet feet! The first day, he stuck a paw in it, but realized the big black lid prevents him from digging. Then he never tried again. This bowl has been my life-saver!!! And i never thought to spread the news about it until I noticed MANY dogs at the dog park were also digging in the water bowls there. I had to tell their owners the wonderful news.

We also took this bowl in the car when we went to the lake earlier this week. It has velcro strips at the bottom, so it attaches to any carpeted floorboard. The dogs definitely appreciated having the water available in the car. Not one splash!

But it doesn't prevent sleeping at the water bowl. Reuben still gets up from heavy naps, walks to the dog bowl, lays down and drinks water while sleeping. He's got a ton of weird quirks, and this is definitely one of them. Here he is.



Blog Hoppin'

Haven't been able to hop on the Saturday Blog Hop in a while! Glad to be part of it today!

Today will be another busy day. I'm about to run out to a bridal shower and then race my way back to take Reuben to his puppy class. We didn't practice much this past week, so I'm not sure how well he will do today. Yikes!

Friday, August 20, 2010

MINI DIY DAY

Oh I realized that I never got around to posting pics of the MINI DIY Day that happened a few weeks ago! Yikes! Can't believe how bad I'm behind! Better late than never!

This is half of the MINI of Dallas service garage. We got to use all of the lifts for free!


And here are some of my favs



















There are a ton more, but I guess I need to stop there

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Vacation


Oh my! I've been gone over a week! I haven't really been busy, so I have no excuse other than this week has been my stay-cation. Reuben will be 13 weeks this coming Sunday and he weights 16.5 lbs.

He did okay on his 2nd training class. He was more distracted as there were more dogs in the class this time. There were times he wouldn't even respond to his name. The loose leash walking has really been helping! He's really catching on. I also have taught him "shake" (his left paw), "paw" (his right paw) and "speak" just within the past 2 weeks. They all came within 5 minutes of teaching. I can't believe how fast he catches on.

We had been hitting up the dog park nearby in the mornings all week. He has mainly been with the small dogs area. He started off stuck to my legs the entire time. But by the end of this week, he takes off running as soon as we get through the gate. He's been playing a lot with many dogs his size. We also end the visit by checking out the big dog area. He is definitely not ready for it yet, but I want him to be exposed to bigger dogs. We spend 5-10 minutes in it and he can say hi to the dogs there. This morning, he watched another dog chase and jump for a frisbee. He ran after him trying to get the frisbee...YAY!

On Tuesday, we went to the lake to swim and we took the dogs along. But this time, Reuben took to the water much better this time. He actually started to wade out in the water on his own until it covered his back. When we went out there to swim, he came along for the fun. He swam back and forth, and all over the place. I couldn't believe it! He loved it! He even went to get a ball and his frisbee in the water. But swimming with toys in his mouth was something to learn because he would swim with it for a little while and then spit it out. We had a float out with us that was a little island for the dogs to chill on. Which was good for Jaymie because she can't swim well at all. She sinks like a rock. She was wearing her lifejacket, but she prefers to just chill on a floaty. I was soooo upset that I didn't bring my camera, but I did have my iphone, so excuse the bad quality.






The end of this video is so funny! He swam out to Jason and then he swam back to me, but at the end, he leaps to try and grab my phone. Luckily, he didn't get it, but it was really funny.

Also, here are some wet dog pics.


Jaymie said the lake was way too hot for her. She mainly stayed in the shade if she wasn't on the float with us in the water.


And another video of him having a great time.

On Wednesday, Jason and I headed out to Six Flags. I was dying to ride some big roller coasters because it's been FOREVER! We started off riding the Titan twice, then hit up some random water ride, then Batman and then Mr. Freeze. Batman is my absolute favorite, so I was wanting to ride it another 5 times, but Mr. Freeze made both of us motion sick. Going forward on the ride was fun, but once it goes up really high and then falls back down for you to ride the whole ride backwards...ugh. We took a break and I got back to normal. I was ready to go do some more, but Jason was still sick and it wasn't going to be an all-day thing. We were there for about 2 hours before we left for home.

On the way home, Jason was pulled over for speeding. He was riding along with traffic down the interstate, but I'm sure bright yellow Mustangs can easily be picked out of the crowd. The ticket was a ridiculous $250! I heard on the news that our city government is absolutely broke, but didn't think they were THAT desperate! Needless to say, that put a damper on our vacation.

We would have stopped it there to save up for the ticket fees, but we had already bought tickets to Hurricane Harbor for the next day. So today, that's where we went! For those of you that have never heard of it, it's a big water park in Arlington. But here is the kicker, it's my FIRST EVER water park! Yep! I've never ever been to a water park ever in my whole entire life. So I was thrilled!! If we had the money for an actual vacation, I'd be hitting up a beach. I haven't been to a beach in years. So I was so excited to see a big saltwater wave pool!!! Oh my, it was in heaven! It actually felt like I was at the beach! After that, we went through a lazy river that went through the park. Then we hit up several different water rides. I had a blast! I was so sad to leave. I can't believe this park is so close to home, yet I've never gone! Now I'm thinking of season passes for next year!

Tomorrow, we will be hanging at the pool and eating all day. Oh yes, I've been eating and being very bad to my body all week. I've been avoiding the scale like crazy. Saturday, I'll be at a bridal shower, and then running as fast as I can to puppy class. It seems like I'm always late to puppy class because there is something else going on right before it. grrr. And then after that, my vacation week is over and it will be back to work, I go :(

Monday, August 09, 2010

First Dog Park

After getting the green light from the vet for puppy classes and other social dog events, we chose to try out a fun dog park yesterday. This is White Rock Lake dog park, and part of it is right on the edge of the water, with the fence going out into the water. We started out in the small dog area. I don't think he will be ready for the big dogs for a while. Some small dogs came up to smell and say hello. Reuben didn't like that there was more than one at a time. He stood between my legs for a little while, before venturing out to say hello.


Then a dachshund kept giving him kisses. So he decided that was his new friend.

Then another new friend was made.

But after wading in the kiddie pool of water, he found a new friend which was a little pomeranian pup. Then he finally started to play.





We decided to try out the lake area so Reuben could see some dogs having a good time in the water. I didn't get many pics of this because I was in the water. I stood in very shallow water and Reuben would leap out at me for me to catch him. This was an old abandoned boat ramp and there was a drop off the concrete, but it wasn't so far down that he couldn't jump down to it. But for some reason he had the "I trust you to catch me in mid-air" thing going on. It was a new thing that I didn't expect. I didn't know if I should discourage it or not. I know in disc dogs and agility, the dogs jump into the owner's arms at the end in celebration. So in that sense, I find it okay. But if he does it in these moments, there might not be times I'm ready to just randomly catch him whenever he feels like jumping to me. Everyone thought it was super cute, but I was in shock. He did it over and over again. He would jump out of the water, run up the ramp, then run back down to me and jump at me again. I caught him every time, but I know he won't be so light and easy in the future.

But he did see a black lab jump out for a swim to get a ball, and Reuben decided to follow. I was so happy to see him swim out. It was just the one time, but he swam out a bit and immediately came back. We showed a lot of praise. I think he enjoyed it, but with waves washing up ashore, he wasn't too confident to do it again. With the concrete drop offs and big rocks laying around, it's kind of hard for a small dog to get around. I think I might find a sand bank somewhere and try again. But there won't be any dogs out in the water to follow or play with.

Here he is hanging out with Daddy in the water, watching another lab swim around.

I really wish this pic was in focus, but it's cute anyway. This is at the end of our visit and Roob is giving that, "I'm done" look. His eyes are olive green again. Weird.

And it was no surprise that he slept the whole way home and most of the rest of the day.