Thursday, April 17, 2014

Recent dog events

I've been a bit busy with dog events lately! 

A couple of weeks ago, I had Dot in Open A at a trial in Indiana.  When scheduling trials, I always forget that Indiana is 1 hour ahead (unless it's an IN town near Chicago)  and therefore I have to get up an hour earlier, which is exhausting.  I have erased the next few Indiana trials off the calendar for this reason!  Anyway, I was happy with Dot's performance even though no dogs in Open A qualified.  (At least we weren't alone!)  She went around the high jump on the way back and then went down in the long sit.  It was a good effort from her considering she has not been in the ring much at all .  Our last Open attempt was last November.

This past weekend, I Chaired my very first dog event!  I was Secretary/Chair of our club's VST test this year.  It was an awesome event.  Saturday we had fantastic weather for plotting the tracks, sunny and a bit breezy but nice and warm!  Sunday was overcast and we had sprinkles here and there but it did NOT pour on us or lightening while we were out there so I am calling it a huge win!  Of 7 dogs, we had no one pass but that is not unusual.  We still enjoyed a day full of donuts, fun with our dogs, mexican food and camaraderie.  Now to mail all the paperwork off to the AKC and claim myself a successful Chair!

Dot moved up from Agility Prep to Agility 1 and is still loving it!  Our 2x2 weaves have progressed to weaving 4 poles, she loves the dogwalk, aced the tire and is getting plenty of friendly experiences on the baby teeter.

Taco started his very first class ever!  He is in our club's Sub-Novice class, which is the per-requisute for most other classes.  We skipped Home Companion since he already has his CGC.  Our club has a red bandanna program, dogs that need extra space wear a red bandanna and I put one on Taco.  I struggled with whether I wanted him labeled as an "aggressive pit" when that is really the farthest from the truth.  Taco has shown some signs of leash frustration and has lashed out a couple of times when he got overstimulated and was not able to get to another dog to PLAY.  He wants to play so badly, and when he's not allowed to it turns into frustration and comes out looking like a snarling and growling aggressive pit.  So I went with the bandanna, only so that people give us a little space and he doesn't get super-stimulated wanting to play nearby dogs.

One of our regional Brittany Clubs (we have three within driving distance!) hosted the Central Futurity at our club's building so I got to be one of the club-rep welcomers and see all the adorable Brittanys.  I was a little shocked at how much grooming was going on!  I think of the Brittany as a wash and wear dog but there was a LOT of clipping, trimming and thinning going on.  No wonder Dot doesn't look anything like those dogs, she needs a few sessions with a pro!

This will be week 4 of 4-H class and all is going as planned.  A few advanced students are starting retrieves, while others are working on mainly on the basics.  Our beginner class has a "silver lab", a Weimaraner and what they list as a Mastiff mix that all look remarkable similar. Add to that an Aussie, a toy poodle, a yellow lab and an Airedale, we have quite the variety!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Evo Wild Cravings review thanks to (with giveaway) again gave us the chance to review some new-to-us treats!  Evo Wild Cravings Red Meat Formula Dog Treats are really unique in that they are a dry treat that is completely grain free and made with a high level of quality meat.  And boy do they smell (and taste) like it!  At least I assume they taste like it because the dogs were as interested in these DRY treats as they are in string cheese and hot dogs.
I like that the treats are easy to break into smaller pieces which makes them work well for training.  Usually a dry treat would not be enticing enough to keep Taco focused during a group class but these worked really well at Sub-Novice class last night.  I alternated between these and string cheese and did not notice a drop in focus when using these.

I also used these to reward Dot after putting on her ointment (she had an infected whisker follicle that needs 10 days of ointment.  It's always SOMETHING!)  and she LOVED them.  She hates the ointment on her lip and would melt and hide under the table but show her one of these and she'll stay in the kitchen for her treatment!

For the chance to win some credit at to spend on whatever you want (but these are highly recommended by our two chow hounds!), enter the giveaway below.

Disclosure: 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.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

2014 4-H Dog Training

Last week our spring 4-H dog training classes started!  I think I say this every year but what a GREAT bunch we got this year!  My co-leader was on vacation so I got to substitute teach the beginners and wow!  They were stupendous!  My advanced class, a wonderful group of returning students, has quite a variety of training levels.  Some are just out of the beginner class and some have been training for several years and are ready for more advanced exercises like retrieving, broad jump and drop on recall.  It can be hard  to teach such a diverse group but there is no reason the whole class can't work on every exercise at their own level.  Just because some may not need to know retrieve for a couple of years doesn't mean they shouldn't start training it now!
I wanted to share some pictures from last fall's dog workshop day.  We had several guests come to present different topics and the 4-Hers also got to each give a demo about training techniques. 
 A local groomer came and showed us a TON about grooming.  Dot helped out by letting 4-Hers practice their dremeling skills on her nails.
 We made fleece tug toys to take home.  (In 4-H colors!)
 We had guests from the ASPCA Poison Control Center speak about health topics.  Here they are demonstrating safe ways to pick up an injured dog.
 An APDT trainer came and showed us games we could play with our dogs, like this hunting and sniffing game!
 This poster shows some (not all) of our fantastic sponsors.  I have had the greatest experiences soliciting donations from dog product companies.  Most are so receptive and generous in wanting to help out young people to learn responsible ownership and training!  And we owe a huge thank you to the Illinois 4-H Foundation for a grant to buy this awesome Dog Learning Lab Kit which will get a ton of use in our classes and events!

This workshop day was all day and included lunch.  I was inspired by several state 4-H programs that offer workshops and camps at the state level for those in the dog project.  Illinois does not offer anything like that but our county-level event was well-received.