Friday, June 28, 2013

A Chewy Review

A little over a year ago I did a review of dog food and service from (then Mr) You can find that blog entry here 

Since then I put the boys back on raw food until January of this year and then we started using half raw and half kibble. With the addition of Spot and coinciding with more self-imposed budget cuts and the ever-skyrocketing price of food, we are using probably two-thirds kibble now. Much of it has been purchased online from Chewy. I have been really happy with their service. It takes about a week for the product to arrive from PA but if I planned for that it was no problem. They had great prices on the foods I am using, Fromm and Nutrisource grain-free.

A couple of weeks ago, Chewy asked me if I would review some treats for them on my blog. I said, "sure". They sent me a bag of Orijen duck dog treats. I don't use many dog treats any more since I am not training agility or obedience any more. The boys get a biscuit (normally a lowly Milk-Bone) when they get into their crates at bed time and other times rarely, just because. Ryme is really picky and won't eat fancy organic treats. So I just buy Milk Bones-- I figure everyone needs a little junk food treat now and then! But, I have several friends who feed Orijen dog food; I know it is the Cadillac of dog foods right now...I would use it if not for the high cost. I know they make good products and I have used them in the past. So the boys got to try the Orijen duck dog treats as soon as they arrived.

Ryme would be the ultimate test of the Orijen duck treats. The other three dogs inhaled them. Ryme took his and chewed and swallowed. He liked them. Everyone liked them. Bedtime was a very happy time for the dogs!

These treats are expensive though. $7.99 for 2 ounces.  But if you are into that sort of thing... I suppose they are worth it because they seem to be extremely palatable.

Overall I think Chewy gives great service and has competitive prices on dog foods. I don't know if their prices on treats are competitive. But my dogs sure did like those duck treats. Too bad the boys won't be getting more...unless Chewy sends us some more to review! Humm maybe I should email and say we need more raw data to make a decision......

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sonoma Marin Fair - 2013 "The Dog Days of Summer"

The Sonoma Marin Fair in Petaluma was a surprising success for us this year. The sheep were crossbred whitefaced ewes from the Hagemann Ranch near Bodega Bay. Someone mentioned they were Dorset-Corriedale but I don't know if that is correct. They certainly fit that description if that is right. They were definitely fun to work! It was an overcast, cool day, just perfect for working dogs and sheep.

Ryme and I had to go first in the running order. I knew that everyone was watching because they wanted to see how these sheep would move and work (RESDA has not used this flock this year for a trial--this was their first outing). My goal for Ryme was to gather the sheep even if I had to leave the post and retire, fetching them to the exhaust. This was Ryme's first time in RESDA Open at a Fair.  My plan was to leave the post immediately if he had trouble with anything at all. Entirely amazing was the fact that Ryme not only brought them to me but once we got them going they were "his sheep" and he controlled them without tension throughout the run...which turned out really pretty! We got all the obstacles on the first try, and smoothly, including chute and pen. What a shocker!

Ryme received 2nd place and Reserve Champion Sheepdog!!

Coal ran late in the order. By then the sheep were getting a bit cranky. Coal had one ewe who did not play well with the others. We did our best to keep three sheep together through the course. We made several good tries at the chute but finally moved on, and penned them. I was mostly happy with Coal's work. He had a bit too much eye on these sheep but it was not impossible to work with. We have not had much chance to practice in the last month or two. It's only recently that we've had a good place to train, again. Coal's work was good and he received 6th place!

Overall results can be found here on the RESDA website.

A pictorial slideshow of some of the event can be found here: Sonoma Marin Fair Slideshow.

Yeah! What a nice confidence booster for all of us. Thank you Sonoma Marin Fair and thank you to Adobe Animal Hospital in Petaluma, who sponsored Ryme's nice plaque, showing the theme for this year's fair, "The Dog Days of Summer".

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Answer is Yes

I am getting asked a lot of versions of this question lately.

"Have you started your pup?"
"Has Spot been on the sheep yet?"
"Do you like him?"

The answer is Yes. I have started Spot on the sheep. He is only a little over nine months old, though, so "starting" him hardly seems like the right word to use. I have exposed him to interacting with sheep, I guess would be more precise. He and the sheep and I, doing the dance. Oh my. It's fun. I am enjoying every minute of it. It's hard to not like Spot. He's happy, he's friendly, he likes everyone, 2-legged and 4-legged. This is his happy face:

Spot June 2013
Obviously the above picture is NOT of Spot working with the sheep. Are you kidding? These people who can balance an iPhone, a keen puppy, a group of sheep and themselves (and stay upright and not get killed) really have my respect! Pictures of Spot on the sheep are going to have to wait until someone else takes them! :-)

Right now I'm not drawing any conclusions. I'm not giving him any real commands, but just not letting him harass the sheep. The lesson learned right now is to have the appropriate sheep and facilities for starting your dog. I tried to start him on the sheep that we use for our advanced dogs and that did not go well. I am so fortunate to have some place to take Spot to get a few beginner sessions in, on broke sheep. Nice happy broke sheep who are used to doing this dance with beginner dogs. They know the ropes. Whew. Speaking of ropes, today we added a long line. Oh my did that help. Just a little power steering for me, not controlling his method but being able to stop the action when necessary.

What is he like? It's hard for me to say. He's a keen puppy who has a lot of want-to. He has some really nice moves. It's really too soon and I am keeping my mind as open as possible to let his instinct develop.

That said, we are going to take a couple weeks off of working, so that his maturity can develop some more. I think it will only benefit the both of us. We've gotten our start, and we'll pick it up again soon.

'Til then...the answer is YES.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Mother's Day Photos 2013

Coal 5th place Open - loved these sheep! They were so fun to work.

Ryme in Pro-Novice.

Photos by Patti S.; used with permission.