Monday, March 24, 2014

Drill Team routine Spring 2014

Previously I wrote a post about our Obedience Drill Team starting up and posted some videos of other teams.  Now here is one of our OWN team!  Sadly the Freestyle Match we were going to attend was canceled due to bad weather so we only got to perform it for an audience at our Fun Night.

We also learned a shorter routine that we had hoped to perform at our Home Companion Orientation to welcome the new students to our Dog Training Club but not enough of us were available.  I'm hoping this summer our numbers will grow so that we can perform at a few more events.  :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Petbrosia review

 Petbrosia bills itself as a natural dog food blend that is matched to your pet based on their breed, age, weight, food allergies, activity level, and other needs.  I took this to mean that the formulas were customized for your specific pet, but I was mistaken.  They have several base formulas and the one that best fits your pet is chosen, but ingredients may not be added or removed for your pet's specific diet.

To see how their formulas differ, I created  several pet profiles:  an older, overweight dog, an active puppy, Taco (an active young adult) and Dot (a dog with dietary restrictions).  Formulas selected for all profiles use the same ingredients list, just in slightly different order.

The old, overweight dog gets slightly less protein and fat and slightly more fiber, standard for a weight-control dog food.
nutritionals for old, overweight dog
The puppy under 1 year gets slightly more protein and fat, standard for a puppy food.
nutritionals for puppy under 1 year old

Taco. The only difference between his and the puppy's is chicken fat and sweet potato are reverse in the order of ingredients.  Taco's food has amounts that are standard for an adult food and calorie count is nearly identical to his current food.
nutritionals for Taco's food

But it became obvious that the formulas are not customizable.  When I made a test pet with all allergies marked (Chicken, Corn, Wheat, the formula given still contained Chicken and Potato.   The website says "An expert will review your pet's allergies before finalizing your order. Petbrosia does not contain corn, soy, or wheat."  But had I not read that small print, I could easily have assumed that the formula the website produced was right for my pet and was instantly given the option to order it.  When I contacted Petbrosia about this I was told that every order is reviewed by an expert pet nutritionist before processing and if they are unable to remove or adjust to what the consumer request they email or call the customer to let them know.

In the case of Dot who cannot have fish oil or fish ingredients, I was told that Petbrosia is "unable to remove the fish oil. As this is an ingredient that can not be taken out as by removing fish oil would change the omega-3 to omega-6 profile and would not be beneficial to the pet."  The formulas they offer are equivalent to standard dog food and not truly customizable and that's a shame.  I thought this would be a great option for those of us who have pets dealing with food sensitivities.  But it sounds like that is not what Petbrosia is for.

So I went ahead and ordered a blend for Taco, who has no diet restrictions.   He ate the food, as he would any food you put in front of him.  One thing I noticed was that the recommended serving for him was 2 1/2 to 3 cups per day.  I had been feeding him almost 4 cups of his previous food, but the calorie content was about the same.  He had not been getting fat previously but he HAD been super active, sometimes with excess energy he didn't know what to do with.  The feeding guidelines for Petbrosia reminded me that I could probably just feed him less food and bring that energy down to a manageable level, and that is exactly what happened.

One neat thing I do think they have going for them is that the website will track your pet's changes and the algorithms will adjust based on the information provide; therefore, the blend will adjust to your pet as your pet ages.  Without even having to think about it, Petbrosia will start to send you adult food when your puppy becomes a full grown dog and then as it grows older, the formula will adjust to senior formula.
Disclosure: Petbrosia provided me with one 3-pound box of dog food to review.  I was not compensated in any other way and the opinions are all mine and the dogs.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Obedience Club Fun Night

Me as Master of Ceremonies
The dog training club I belong to wanted to start doing Fun Nights again after a long hiatus.  I volunteered to organize since they!  The first one was in February and went off without a hitch.

The objective of this first event was to get people who had never trialed a dog, those from our puppy elementary, puppy kindergarten, Home Companion and sub-Novice classes to try out obedience and rally.  We offered Beginner Novice and Novice Obedience and Beginner Rally run-throughs.  Where is the fun, you ask?  We started out with a few rounds of musical chairs!

My version of musical chairs for people and dogs goes something like this:  Arrange chairs in a circle facing out with lots of space in between.  In front of each chair place a hula-hoop.  When the music plays, dogs and handlers walk the big circle around the outside hula-hoop circle.  When the music stops, handlers get their dogs into a hula-hoop and they must sit-stay while the person sits in the chair.
Musical Chairs and Hoops
We did have some new faces show up and try their hand at something new to them.  But for the most part it was familiar faces from the club, which is fine.  We all had fun.  It can be hard to get beginners to join something as regimented and formal as obedience.  It is an intimidating sport but I hope these fun nights (with candy and prizes as incentive) will bring out more and more to see that we all mess up and we were all beginners once.

What does your club do to encourage newbies to try out dog sports?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

DIY Agility Jumps

Jumps are the most basic of agility equipment, definitely something you can make and use at home for training.  Here are some of the best tutorials I've found online to help you make functional, durable and pretty at-home agility jumps!
Ammo the Dachshund has some great agility tutorials!  Easy to follow, with lots of pictures, the jump tutorial tells you what to buy and how to put it together

If you're more of a video watcher, this guy's series of videos goes through the step-by-step process of jump making.  INCLUDING making your own jump cups. 

Jump cups are probably the most complicated part of assembling jumps.  There are several methods but I  like this guy's the best because it uses an EASY TO FIND coupling. (His jump-making method however uses the exceedingly more hard-to-find 4-way connector that you can usually only buy online.)
If you can find the components, there is also this option for making jump cups from a saddle piece used in irrigation systems. I could not find this anywhere but online. Instant Agility has a post about other alternatives for jump cups so you're bound to find a method that works for you!
How about adding some wings to those jumps!  This great tutorial from Camp Bandy is for free-standing wings so they can be used with any jump!
Want to make a tire jump?  There are a couple of different options.  Tell me this isn't just a hulahoop inside of a jump standard.  Easy peasy!  If you want to get a little more fancy, Camp bandy again has a great tutorial for a more involved PVC and drainage pipe version.
And who wants plain old white jumps?  This tutorial from Make Magazine shows you how to dye PVC pipe ANY color you can think of!  Although I might steer you toward colors that contrast with your training area and that dogs can see accurately.  Here's a great article on canine color vision and how it impacts agility equipment.