Friday, August 29, 2014

Awesome and Cheap Pet Tags from PetTags4Less (Review)


I have ordered several times now from Pettags4less and each time I was really pleased with the tags I got!  I have ordered tags for my own dogs as well as tags for identifying 4-H equipment and they have all proven to be durable, well-made and very customizable.
Taco and Dot wearing their tags.
I was a little worried the first time I opened a package from Pettags4less.  The aluminum tags felt very lightweight and the custom wording seemed to be painted on.  Bust rest assured, it is NOT painted on!  The information is laser engraved into the aluminum and does not rub off, even after years of everyday wear.  This picture shows a selection of the aluminum tags I've ordered.  The silver one is the first tag I ordered for Taco and it shows that it is pointless to order a silver tag because the laser engraving does NOT show up well.  Learn from my mistake (at least it was a cheap mistake), order a colored tag! 

Watch the tags being engraved in this video:


I have only purchased the aluminum tags and have been very happy with them.  Their aluminum tags are available for as little as $2.29 each and they offer daily deal tags each day for $1.98!  But they also have a ton of other fun tag types, like their Designer Pet Tags (with or without QR code), Nickel and Gold plated tags, and photo tags engraved with your picture.  And they've got blingy tags!  Shipping is always free, no matter the size of your order.  And rescues get a discount, just register for a Wholesale (Rescue) account.

Disclaimer: The links in this post are referral links.  If you click, register and make a purchase, I earn a small amount of credit toward more fun tags!  So thanks for clicking, registering and buying!  I was not compensated in any way for this review.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Games We Play

I LOVE games!  Active games, group games, puzzle games, all kinds of games.  And when teaching dog training, especially to young people,  I like to incorporate games.  (It can be frustratingly hard to try and get ADULTS to have fun and play a game!)  Some are individual games to play on your own because it gives the student something fun to do at home and that motivates them to practice more.  Some are team games that are competitive because competition motivates some (not all) people to put extra effort into an activity.  Some of my games have winners and there are prizes, sometimes it is just for the sake of having fun and there is no clear winner.

Some games are winners, and we play them over and over or at least every year.  Some games are losers, they get tried out, fail and we never play them again.  Here are some of the games we play!

Winners

Giant Tic Tac Toe- This one has been a favorite.  Draw a really big tic tac toe grid with chalk.  There are many variations but we play an easy version in teams of 3 or 4.  Teams take turns sending out one dog and handler to the game board.  If the player gets their dog to perform the correct position (sit, down or stand) inside a square on ONE COMMAND, they get to put a marker for their team in the square.  We use big fun foam shapes for markers.  Because only one dog is out on the board at one time it is also a good version for any dogs with dog issues.

A harder version is to use dogs as the Xs (downs) and Os (sits), leaving them there in a stay.  If a dog moves, it is removed from the board. This version only works if you have enough dogs to fill the board, of course!  Otherwise, the marker version works well if your class is small.

52 Card Pickup-  Spread an entire deck of cards out on the floor.  Then the group heels around, halting on each card they come to.  If at least one hair of their dog is touching the card, they get to pick it up.  You can call out stand or down and the next halt they do must be in that position.  Once all the cards are picked up, each handler counts their cards and the most cards wins. 

Dog on a String- This is basically a precision heeling game.  Tie a piece of thread to each dog's collar, this will function as the leash.  Call out increasingly difficult commands (as in Command, Break and Out if you've ever done this class as a horse show) and any dog not performing the commands correctly or anyone with a broken thread is out and comes to the middle of the ring to keep an eye on those who are still in the game.  Last one left with a thread and able to complete the last command wins.

Mind Your Ps and Cues (from this website)- This game was FUN.  The students had a blast rearranging their cards into a mini-performance for the rest of the class.  Those that got the "your choice" cards had fun thinking up something creative to put in that spot.  And we all had fun watching and clapping for each one.  This is a great game to break the class out of their routine and get them interacting with (and rooting for) each other.  That said, it can take up a LOT of class time so don't schedule it for when you need to get to an important lesson.  And picking a winner is pretty much impossible to have a LOT of small prizes so you can give everyone something!

Losers (for us, at least)

Add-A-Cue (from this website)- I don't know if our club is just way too smart or has elephant memory but this game went on WAY too long because they were way too good at it!  They thought up some really fun and creative things to do besides the usual sit-down-stand and everyone had fun trying each new variation and trying to remember the whole sequence.  But the trouble was, they DID remember!

Simon Says/Red Light Green Light- These are two standards to I tried to play several times but they are just way too easy.  You can try and make them harder with increasing difficulty of commands but Simon Says is only fun if people mess up and do it when they aren't supposed to and our group has been WELL TRAINED to listen to the judge's orders and they almost never mess up in that way.  Red Light Green Light has the same problem along with it being about getting to the other side quickly which I don't find terribly compatible with dog training goals so we stopped playing it.

It's the Pits- I can't find the website I got this game from but it basically consists of each dog and handler doing a recall individually.  The trick is that the handler has a penny under each arm and they must recall their dog without moving their arms and letting the pennies drop.  This was way too easy for our advanced group and our beginner group (sadly) hardly has time for games during their class as they have a LOT of get through.  I keep this in my back pocket for when I have someone who can't seem to keep their hands at their sides but as a group game it was a huge fail, not fun.

Links for game ideas:
http://www.dogobediencegames.com/games/2
http://pawsabilities.net/dogOlympicGames/
http://blog.seattlepi.com/caninevoice/2009/05/25/cool-group-games-for-dogs-and-their-people/
http://www.oes.org/page2/25072~fun_ideas_for_obedience_class.html

Monday, August 18, 2014

August Chewy.com Review

This month, Chewy sent us a big bag of Merrick Kitchen Bites Brauts-n-Tots Grain-Free Biscuits Dog Treats to try out!  I have tried (well, Sully had tried) Merrick's canned food offerings before and they sure have unique flavors!  These flavors from their dry and canned food lines are recreated in their biscuits.  

The ingredients in these biscuits are really simple:

Deboned Beef, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Peas, Organic Cane Molasses, Canola Oil, Carrots, Apples, Flaxseed, Cumin, Gelatin, Mixed Tocopherols (a preservative), Rosemary

No grains, no fish, so they are Dot-safe!  I have been using them as a little goodie when the dogs come running in from the back yard and also as a little bedtime snack when they go in their crates.  Broken in half, they also made a great toenail time snack (the dogs get a treat every so often while I'm dremeling their nails.)  They like them a lot.  In our dog's scale of tasty dry biscuits, I would say they rank above Hill's Ideal Balance Oven-Baked Naturals with Lamb & Apricots Dog Treats but below EVO Wild Cravings Red Meat Formula Dog Treats.  I'm not sure anything can top the Wild Cravings line, but both dogs agree these Merrick biscuits are darn tasty and worth buying!

Disclosure: Chewy.com provided me with one package of treats to review.  I was not compensated in any other way and the opinions are all mine and the dogs.

We are participating in Sugar and Kol's Tasty Tuesday Blog Hop!
 
 

Friday, August 15, 2014

More Innovations in Pet Products

Continuing our coverage of new products this year, Dog Products also won awards in several other categories at Global Pet Expo 2014.


Second Place in the Boutique Category
Wobble Ball Enrichment Dog Toy
 It's a Kong Wobbler.  But with more pieces.  This is cute, way too cute (and fragile) to be a dog toy.  I am not a fan of hard plastic toys for dogs.  Noisy, scratch easily and you won't be able to see the dog and his pumpkin inside for all the slobber, floor dirt and boogers.








Best In Show in the Natural Pet Category
Carob Chip Cookie Mix by Puppy Cake



Cake and cookie mixes for dogs!  Love the idea, convenient and makes it easy to have a dog party without a trip to the specialty bakery.  But once you look at the ingredients, you will agree that $6.99 is a little steep.  This mix makes 18 dog cookies!!  That's almost 40 cents per 2-inch cookie.




















Winners in the Point-Of-Sale category for their in-store displays were:


Best In Show
4pets ProLine

A competitor of the Variocage









 

















Anyone seen this in stores?  It looks like a really fun, interactive display, for the humans at least!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

More Innovations in Pet Products

The 2014 Global Pet Expo gave out awards for new products in several different categories.  In the Dog category, the winner were:



Best In Show
DOGSFOOD 
You buy a bag of DogForDog DOGSFOOD and they donate an equal product to various animal shelters and rescue groups.  DogForDog, the company that also brings you BOGSBUTTER, $10 per jar peanut butter.  For dogs.  There are several other companies that do this, BogoBowl seems to be quite popular. 









Second Place
iFetch
You've seen the videos of the dachshund playing fetch by himself with the homemade sling-shot machine.  Well this is the $99.95 version spawned from a Kickstarter campaign.


Third Place
K-9 Kannon Mini 
 Another ball-throwing device?  Yes.  And poor reviews say this one does not launch the ball as far as a chuck-it.  I thought perhaps there was a market for this with people with mobility limitations but it still requires quite a bit of arm use.

BOUTIQUE
Best In Show
biOrb AIR Terrarium
Reef One
Booth 1243 
Second PlaceWobble Ball Enrichment Dog Toy
P.L.A.Y. (Pet Lifestyle and You)
Booth 727 
Third PlaceAstoria Cat Scratcher
Architect Pets
Booth 4344
- See more at: http://globalpetexpo.org/press/pressrelease_detail.asp?id=134#sthash.qkBuLpqW.dpuf
BOUTIQUE
Best In Show
biOrb AIR Terrarium
Reef One
Booth 1243 
Second PlaceWobble Ball Enrichment Dog Toy
P.L.A.Y. (Pet Lifestyle and You)
Booth 727 
Third PlaceAstoria Cat Scratcher
Architect Pets
Booth 4344
- See more at: http://globalpetexpo.org/press/pressrelease_detail.asp?id=134#sthash.qkBuLpqW.dpufV
BOUTIQUE
Best In Show
biOrb AIR Terrarium
Reef One
Booth 1243 
Second PlaceWobble Ball Enrichment Dog Toy
P.L.A.Y. (Pet Lifestyle and You)
Booth 727 
Third PlaceAstoria Cat Scratcher
Architect Pets
Booth 4344
- See more at: http://globalpetexpo.org/press/pressrelease_detail.asp?id=134#sthash.qkBuLpqW.dpuf
New Products Showcase Winners

Monday, August 11, 2014

Innovations in Pet Products

We LOVE new products and we're gearing up for this years Total Pet Expo by reviewing some of the most innovative products from the past year.  First up, let's see what fun products won at last year's Total Pet Expo.

Innovation Gold Medal Winner
Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff Snoop puzzle ball
 This toy (shown with bones in the orange one and a 2.5” Orbee-Tuff® ball (not included) in the blue one) has a deep crevice  around the opening to keep treats concealed.  While I like that this toy is non-toxic, recyclable and 100% guaranteed, I don't like that it is not rated for durability.  The website says "
This toy is intended for puzzle-play, not chewing, so it is not rated on our Durability scale."  In my book, a toy that you are going to stuff with treats may possibly some heavy chewing.  Having interacted with this toy before, it is very squishy and would NOT hold up in our house.

Innovation Silver Medal Winner
Krocodile® – Pill Splitter and Crusher
 Krocodile Pill Splitter and Crusher
Not sure I would pay $40 for a pill splitter when they are less than $10 at the pharmacy.  A "unique" draw to this one is that they offer Kroc Belly pouches for use when crushing to eliminate cross-contamination if you are crushing multiple Rx with the same device.

Krocodile® – Pill Splitter and Crusher
Krocodile® – Pill Splitter and Crusher

Friday, August 1, 2014

Taco's Incident

Does Taco look sad in this picture?  That's because he ripped up his paw out in the yard and had to have stitches!  He has been a really good boy about the whole thing.  He does wear an e-collar when we aren't around to supervise but most of the time he is leaving it alone.  This picture shows his foot bandaged up, but the bandages came off today and he gets his stitches out in a week or so.

I would like to eliminate the chance of this happening again but I still can't decide what he tore his paw on.  Maybe a jagged piece of fence?  Maybe one of the large branches we have down in the backyard?  I hope he lost interest in whatever it was after this happens so it doesn't happen again!

We have been leash-walking him so he doesn't get rambunctious and re-injure it before it heals, keeping him contained in the house and watching him like a hawk.  We had to skip Beginner Novice class this week but we still got in some stay and attention work at home, to keep his brain working!  He's a little mopey but not limping so paws crossed he will heal quickly and be back to normal soon.

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!

Disclosure: Chewy.com provided me with one package of treats to review.  I was not compensated in any other way and the opinions are all mine and the dogs.

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.