Wednesday, February 26, 2014

WinsDay #11-Review of BowWowFlix and Dog Exercise/Conditioning DVD

As I've said before, I love to learn new things and DVDs are a great way to learn at your own pace.  BowWowFlix is a service, like Netflix, that allows you to rent dog-related DVDs.  I signed up for the 1 DVD at a time -UNLIMITED DVDs per month plan, which is $11.95 each month.  You can cancel at any time and there is no additional sign-up fee so you can pay for the service the months you think you'll have time to watch DVDs (winter) and cancel it when you're too busy (summer).

I found that my first DVD arrived quickly but when I shipped it back, in the prepaid mailer, it seemed to take quite a while to be removed from my account, which is when a new DVD will be sent out.  This happened each time I returned a DVD and I wondered how long they sat around at the facility, waiting for someone to switch them out for a new DVD.  Also, popular titles like Crate Games are seemingly always checked out.  The way your queue works is that they send out the next title on your list that is available so if you really wanted a certain DVD, you would have to have ONLY that title in your queue, otherwise you would most likely get other DVDs that are available instead of the one you really want.  This wastes your subscription by having periods when no DVD is sent out.

Despite the flaws, I did get to watch some really great DVDs without having to buy each and every one!  And if you're willing to pay for the 2, 3 or 4 DVD per month subscriptions, you could get a lot more watching in since there are not times when you have no DVDs.  There is another similar service called TawzerDog, I'd be interested to hear if anyone has experience with their rental program.  I went with BowWowFlix because it seemed to have more titles that I wanted at the time.
One of the first DVDs I rented was Building the Canine Athlete: Strength, Stretch, Endurance and Body Awareness Exercises.  I rented this DVD because I wanted to create a warm-up routine for Dot and a core and hind leg strengthening program.   Dot is very straight in the stifle and I want to keep her hind strong in order to prevent cruciate ligaments injury.  I've learned it's important to warm-up and cool-down before doing any sort of jumping, quick turns, etc.  You know, dog sports stuff! 

I really liked that I could click to each individual exercise and not have to watch the whole DVD to get to the ones I wanted to see.  The exercises included are divided up into four categories: Strength, Body Awareness (Proprioception), Strength and Endurance.

For Dot's core and hind end program, I chose:
* Roll Over-This is great for the core as it takes the dog twisting and contracting all their torso muscles to get all the way over.  Be sure and do it both ways.

* Beg-Stand-Beg -Strengthener for rear limbs and abs/spinal muscles.  Dot had to work up to a begging position by first sitting up while I steadied her with my leg on her back.  Then she needed only a light hand touch to keep her upright.  Going from a stand to a beg instead of a sit takes a huge amount of core strength and Dot is still working on this.  I am not pushing her because it also puts a lot of pressure on her folded hind limbs.

* Crawl- A whole-body workout in one exercise, crawling takes almost every muscle in the dog's body!


* Step Through Ladder -Dot needed this skill for agility prep anyway so we started it.  It takes her some thought to get all her feet where she wants them.

* Spins- Dot loves to spin!  Practice spins on a surface with good traction, you do NOT want a slip and fall while rotating.  Also practice on hills to get a variety of muscles involved.


* Play Bow- A really good stretch to do before more active exercises, this one gets the spine and legs loosened up.

* Passive Range of Motion -These are stretches done to the dog by the handler, while the dog is either standing or lying on it's side.  Really well explained in the DVD, you first flex, then straighten each joint, rotate the shoulder and hip, compress and rotate the ankles and hocks in order to move fluid into the joint and pull the limbs to traction.


* Trot on Leash- Which we amended to walk on leash because I don't want really long stretches of trotting which is high-impact.

But these are just a few of the exercises from this great DVD!  Does your dog have a "problem area"?
WinsDay is not just the place to show
off ribbons.  Maybe you learned something new about a breed or dog sport
 that you'd like to share or maybe you have a doggy giveaway going on at your blog and would like to give us all a chance to win!
 Maybe your dog earned its CGC or you started working on a new level of
obedience or agility.  Maybe you mastered doorway manners or housebroke
your new puppy.  These are all wins, celebrate them with us!


Friday, February 21, 2014

K9 Kamp-Snow Search

We are stuck here in the snow and yuck so to bust out of our cabin fever we decided to participate in K9 Kamp this time around. It's being hosted by Peggy's Place, Slimdoggy and To Dog with Love and the theme this time around was Hide and Seek. We got out of the house to play a little game of Snow Search. First I threw a treat down where I knew she'd see it and told Dot to look for it. Then I started to throw down more than one at a time so it was more of a search mission. Dot really seemed to get into it once she knew there were treats under the snow! It was a lot of fun to watch her dig and hunt. And judging by the nub waggles, Dot had fun too!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

WinsDay #10 Dot learns to speak

Dot is our barky dog.  She's always barked at the mailman/Schwan's man/UPS man/etc.  I never really did much to stop it other than occasionally holler at her from the back of the house, which does nothing because she has never been taught that it means anything.  It just makes me feel better!  But since Taco came into the family, she has gotten worse.  Taco makes almost no noise at all.  Ever.  So I hope he doesn't pick up this habit of hers.

In order to start to curtail the outbursts, I decided to train Dot to bark on command.  In theory, you can then teach the dog a shush command which will carry over into everyday use.  Here is a video that outlines the process.  But Dot is not as easily fooled as that demo dog.  After one, maybe two coerced barks she realized it's just me knocking or ringing the doorbell and stopped barking.  So I had to really get her hopped up and excited, then try and get her to bark by going crazy with the knocking and pointing out the window and saying "who's here, who is that?"  It worked!  She learned the command for bark after about two weeks of very short training sessions about every other day.
In this video, she barks on command a few times, getting treats for doing so. Then she barks on command and is rewarded for NOT barking when I give the Shhhhh command. (Also note the Taco head peeking out, waiting on the couch. When we train in the living room, this is our waiting spot for the dog not working.

WinsDay is not just the place to show off ribbons.  Maybe you learned something new about a breed or dog sport that you'd like to share or maybe you have a doggy giveaway going on at your blog and would like to give us all a chance to win!  Maybe your dog earned its CGC or you started working on a new level of obedience or agility.  Maybe you mastered doorway manners or housebroke your new puppy.  These are all wins, celebrate them with us!


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

February review and giveaway

This month, Chewy sent us a package of treats from Wysong.  Wysong is a USA company known for their holistic recipe pet foods developed by in-house pet health doctorate professionals and made with ingredients from USDA and FDA approved domestic sources.  They donated generously to our 4-H Dog Training Club so they must be good people!

We were sent Wysong Dream Treats to test out this month.  We got the chicken variety but they also offer rabbit and quail.  I don't know how they knew but as soon as I brought in the box the postman had left, the dogs were ALL over me.  No need for a taste test with these treats, the dogs were going crazy before I even ripped open the well-sealed package.   And the reason for their excitement?  These treats are MEATY!  Here's the ingredients list:

Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Organs, Ground Chicken Bone, Natural Flavor, Taurine, Organic Blueberry, Organic Barley Grass, Chia Seeds, Broccoli Sprouts, Carrots, Plums, Whey, Sea Salt, Dried Kelp, Yeast Extract, Citric Acid, Mixed Tocopherols, Rosemary Extract, Yeast Culture, Minerals (Potassium Chloride, Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate), Calcium Carbonate, Vitamins (Ascorbic Acid [source of Vitamin C], Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Dried Bacillus licheniformis Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus oryzae Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus niger Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus lactis Fermentation Product. 

So basically chicken meat and bones, ground up and dehydrated into airy little pucks. The texture is kind of like dehydrated liver treats, kind of crumbly and easily broken into little pieces.  The dogs LOVED them!  They worked well for training but don't hold up on a pocket so you have to keep going back for another little disc every once in a while.  They got Dot as excited as she gets for nuked hotdogs, which is what I use when I want the MOST action and enthusiasm out of her in obedience.  Dream Treats ranked very high with both dogs and the ingredients I feel very good about giving to both DOT (grain allergies and super sensitive tummy) and Taco.

Disclosure: provided me with one package of Fromm Chicken with Carrots & Peas treats to review.  I was not compensated in any other way and the opinions are all mine and the dogs'.  :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

WinsDay #9 Drill Team

Obedience Drill Team is something many states offer at their State 4-H Dog Show. Illinois does not so I have never been involved with it, let alone coached a team. But this year, after several years wondering if our Dog Training Club could get a team together, I finally bit the bullet and started one! Our team has 5 people in it, a rather small group, but hopefully it will grow as people become familiar with what we do.

What do we do? We do synchronized obedience routines set to music. Sort of like marching band with dogs! Due to the weather, we have only had a few practices so I won't show you a video of us just yet. I choreographed the routine to Sousa's Invincible Eagle march. Instead of our semi-rehearsed routine, for now here is a video of an awesome team performing at Crufts!
Here's a fun one that is more along the lines of what I hope our team will be like:
And here's a 4-H team: Join us for WinsDay and show off your dog showing/trialing/training pictures and stories.  Show off your ribbons, tell us about your latest training triumph or ask a burning dog show question you're dying to hear others' opinions on.

WinsDay is not just the place to show off ribbons.  Maybe you learned something new about a breed or dog sport that you'd like to share or maybe you have a doggy giveaway going on at your blog and would like to give us all a chance to win!  Maybe your dog earned its CGC or you started working on a new level of obedience or agility.  Maybe you mastered doorway manners or housebroke your new puppy.  These are all wins, celebrate them with us!


Friday, February 7, 2014

Make Your Own Dog Show Survival Kit

Aren't there things you always need at dog shows but have to scrounge around to find, or make do with what you can find?  Inspired by some of the creative "Survival Kits" I've seen on crafty blogs (Teacher survival kits, campus survival kits, cubical survival kits, etc.), I created this Dog Show Survival Kit.  This is packed with stuff that you might have already thought of, maybe have stashed in your car or at the bottom of your bag but I hope this gives you a couple of new ideas AND inspires you to keep them all in one handy, easy to reach place.
Everything shown below fits into this plastic pencil case.  This kit contains things you might find yourself wishing for during a conformation or obedience trial or things that you might find yourself in need of back at the hotel.  It does not include any actual dog equipment like leashes, collars, etc.  I have to HOPE that you would remember that kind of stuff when your destination is a dog show.  These are the things you will probably need at some point but might not always think to pack.

The Paper Stuff
Form- with dog vaccination records, registration numbers, jump heights and titles won for each venue.  Some shows require that you double check the dog's registration number and jump height.  Don't just pretend, actually read and check.  Typos happen.  If you have a memory like mine then you need a cheat sheet for this info. THIS copy is the back-up cheat sheet for when the one you keep in your training bag gets soaked with Pepsi. (not shown)

Post-It Pad and Pen- For when you meet a new friend and need to write down their deets, or take notes on something cool you saw in the vendor area.  Also handy for a quick go-out practice session.  A

The MacGyver Stuff
Rubber Bands- You never know if the show site will have your preferred size so bring your own and never suffer from pinched upper arm flab (this is my issue) or a loose armband (something I have never experienced but have seen happen to those with small frames). B

Zip Ties (and twist ties)- Zip ties are my go-to quick fix for just about everything!  In an emergency, they can fix a crate, a collar, a shoe, your car, just about anything!  Twist ties are their younger cousin, good for holding up signs and bundling things like stray pens or jerky sticks. C

Paperclips- Not as essential as zip ties, but I am a fan of using a paperclip to keep important papers from sinking into the depths of my training bag (I paperclip things directly to the top of the bag). They can also reset your watch and are handy for hanging up ribbons.  They're small so keep a couple around. B

Safety Pins- Extremely important should you pop a button, they can also create a blanket fort for a cage-reactive dog or secure a broken strap/handle on a bag or soft crate. B

The Clean-Up Stuff
Poo Bags-Not only great for picking up poop, making a make-shift trash bag for your garbage and you can stuff your ribbons and camera in one for a rainy dash to the parking area. D

Band-Aids- Might as well extend this to a mini first aid kit if you have the space.  Never know when you'll snag your leg on a sharp object or pick nervously at your fingers until your cuticles start to look like a lava flow. E

Tylenol/Advil- I don't know about you but the cacophony of a show site mixed with the flourescent lighting of an indoor venue give me a huge headache.  Save yourself from retreating to your car and looking like an anti-social hermit, just take an NSAID and enjoy the company of others. E

Gum/Mints- Do NOT go in the ring with gum in your mouth.  But if you forgot to brush or you ate a garlicky lunch, these will be most appreciated by those in the surrounding area. F

Travel Tissue Pack- If it's cold, my nose runs.  If it's really nice out I have allergies and my nose runs.  If I see a really awesome performance or a dog that reminds me of one I've lost, I get teary and my nose runs. G

Hand Sanitizer/Wipes- Ever been to a dog show at a fairgrounds where the bathroom is basically a communal outhouse and instead of paper towels they have one of those weird cloth towel roller things with stains all over it?  SO worse than a port-a-potty! E (these are inside my first aid kit)

The Optional Stuff
Blank Greeting Card- Use this to thank someone who did you a solid like loaning you a leash or you can fake having known it was someone's birthday and they'll be super-jazzed. H

Emergency Poncho- See poo-bag above, it's like a HUGE poo-bag.  For your body. Also can create a floor cover if the venue requires you to tarp under your create or it's wet outside and you want to spectate but didn't bring a chair.  I

Chapstick- If your stand mouth-agape at fantastic OTCH dogs for too long, you will need to replenish the moisture on your lips. J

Sunscreen- Mainly for outdoor trials like agility.  Do not underestimate the sun's power even when it is super cold out! K

Bobby Pins and a Ponytail Holder- If you have long hair, these will help keep your sanity.  (Or just get a drastic haircut like me!)

Sewing Kit-This takes precautions one step further than safety pins.  The tiny scissors can come in handy for things other than sewing.

Small Tube of Super Glue- This can fix things that zip ties and safety pins can't touch.  Things like the end of your dumbbell popping off or the handle coming off your travel mug.

Sharpie-I find that good markers are always in high demand at dog shows.  If you are the person with the Sharpie, you will be an invaluable and beloved person. L

Floss-I like flossing (it can replace cuticle picking when I get nervous) and I HATE having something between my teeth. M

Tide-To-Go Pen- Glob of ketchup on your khakis?  No worries!

Lint Roller- If you still care about the hair.  Or if you've got a young person in showmanship.

Glasses Repair Kit (or spare contact lenses)-  If you wear glasses, you know that the one thing worse than rain on your glasses is breaking your glasses at a really inopportune time.  Like a dog show! Also, a terrible place to lose a contact. N

Mini Flashlight- Hopefully the times you are picking up poop in the dark are few and far between at a dog show, but there will be early morning and maybe a few late nights (Friday night rally trials for example).  Or if you're staying overnight at a hotel, who KNOWS how well lit your patch of grass will be, if you even have a patch of grass!  Don't leave your poop behind because you can't see it!

There you have it!  Did you see something on the list that you'll add to your kit?  Are you going to rush out today and buy a pencil case?  (97 cents at Target!)  Now you tell me, what did I leave out?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

WinsDay #8 Ian Dunbar DVD Review

We're ready, pass the popcorn!
I consider it a win anytime I get to learn something new and DVDs are a great way to learn at your own pace.  Dot and Taco are ready for movie night! Not sure how thrilled they'll be with tonight's selection: Raising the Bar in Dog Training, a lecture with Ian Dunbar.  Not that they don't like training, but I suspect they may loose focus after the first few minutes without any actual dog content (there are NO dogs in the whole program). 
Dot thinks DVDs are the most boring thing on earth.  "Why would you want to watch this plastic box?!"
This is a 3 DVD set and I watched over the course of a few evenings as I had time.  The first two DVDs are the lecture portion (from a lecture at Zoo Atlanta given in 2008) and the third is a Q&A session held after the lecture.  I really like Ian Dunbar's style, he's very conversational and has a TON of anecdotes about his own dogs and the thousands of dogs he has worked with.  Is you've never seen him, there are numerous videos on DogStarDaily on a lot of different topics.  (And while you're there, check out the wonderful Online Dog Training Textbook that covers a wide range of training topics from puppy to adulthood.)  That said, his stories can be a bit long at times and sometimes meander a bit from the topic he was on when he started the story.  For this reason, I watched the majority of this series at 1.5X speed, which makes everyone sound like they're in a huge hurry!  I'm used to it though, that's the way I watch most dog training DVDs.  :)

The focus of this lecture is taking training from basic manners to more focused and competitive performance of behaviors.  So Ian takes us through the steps of training a behavior, then what he believes is involved in making behaviors snappier, more consistent and reliable.

Ian's progression in dog training per this DVD is:
1-Teach the dog what we want.
2-Teach the dog to want to do it.  Give them the right motivation.
3-Enforce compliance.
4-Refine performance for pizazz.
5-Protect reliability and precision.

The first section of the lecture focused on basic tenants of training (so step 1) and how to use different tools such as scent, verbal commands, hand signals, body position, movement, etc. to train. 
Most interesting to me were his use of scent as a cue (perfume on the leash to mean a certain behavior is required) and teaching a command that means slow down in order to teach a command that means speed up.

The second section took us through steps 2-5.  By the right motivation Ian seemed to mean something other than food.  For real-life use, transitioning from food rewards to a life rewards, something like scratches, a run around the yard or a game of tug, might be more useful.  He suggested making a top 10 list of things your dog enjoys.  Eventually no reward is needed as the dog is internally rewarded.  The item that jumped out at me the most from the Step 3 section was his discussion of repeat commands.  Ian sees repeating a command in a different tone ("calm insistence" he called it) as a useful method for reinforcing compliance when the dog does not perform on the first command.  Instead of repeatedly saying the same command over and over, you are say "Sit" once, then saying your slightly more peeved "SiiiiiiiiTTTT", so that the dog knows "oops, I messed up".  He considers this negative reinforcement as when the dog performs, you remove the pressure of your insistence.  Interesting concept and I've tried to work in a more annoyed voice when a second command is needed.  I also found his discussion of Step 4-Refining you performance to be useful.  Once your dog knows what is expected and is well motivated, he suggests you implement testing into your training to gauge your dog's performance.  He uses success per x number of reps to give you a percentage of correct performances.  If you dog is doing it correctly 50% of the time, train more.  If your dog is doing it correctly 95% of the time in your living room, take it outside and test again, then try other locations and distractions.  Ian also explains that different rewards for varying levels of pizazz can help refine performance.  If the dog does a slow finish right but it is straight, a dry cookie might be the reward.  If the dog does a fast, snappy right finish then you might dole out three pieces of chicken in a row.

DVD 3 is a Q&A session with both Ian and Kelly, his wife.  The questions start off with someone wondering about the K9 Games competition Ian started but then no longer offers in the US.  This they focus heavily on puppy classes and how puppy class should be run.  Ian suggests potential adopters be able to test out a dog in their home for a week, which I'm sure not many shelters or rescues are prepared to let happen.  But it made me think, sometimes this is allowed when buying a horse, so maybe some rescues in certain situations would be willing to allow this.  A short discussion on bite inhibition wraps up the Q&As.

This lecture was slightly tedious at times, but included some really interesting stories and methods.  I'm sure anyone could watch and find something of interest but at over 4 hours long, I can't image sitting through it at normal speed.  I may have a pretty short attention span, but I'd rather be out doing rather than sitting and watching, so I like DVDs that get me to the doing quickly!

Note: I was not compensated in any way for this review.  I bought this DVD myself and the opinions are all my own.

Join us for WinsDay and show off your dog showing/trialing/training pictures and stories.  Show off your ribbons, tell us about your latest training triumph or ask a burning dog show question you're dying to hear others' opinions on.

WinsDay is not just the place to show off ribbons.  Maybe you learned something new about a breed or dog sport that you'd like to share or maybe you have a doggy giveaway going on at your blog and would like to give us all a chance to win!  Maybe your dog earned its CGC or you started working on a new level of obedience or agility.  Maybe you mastered doorway manners or housebroke your new puppy.  These are all wins, celebrate them with us!