Saturday, April 30, 2011

Kyjen Firehose Tug Toy Review

The boys LOVE new, tough toys, and this Kyjen Fire Hose is a great example.

The elastic tug makes a great handle, to keep my hands out of the grabbing teeth of a certain canine who is not very careful!

West liked the toy, but it's hard to get him to play on cue for the camera. Archie, on the other hand, was more than willing to play, pose and tug!

West chased Archie who chased the Firehose...

The only downside I could find was that the handle gives Archie a good place to hook his mouth around, so I'll need to do a little training to ensure he grabs the hose, not the handle! As you can see, he'd prefer the handle..

This is better...

West did get a turn, but on video, not pictures..

It makes a great fetch toy too. It throws very nicely, and lands with a "splat" which is perfect for agility training!

After about half an hour of extreme play and tugging, the toy is still almost-new, though a bit muddy!

The boys are thoroughly enjoying this toy. Because of the handle, I wouldn't leave it alone with them (they both would like to chew the handle off), but there isn't much they can tug hard on without damaging! Definitely a win!

This toy was provided free of charge by Kyjen, as part of their Toy Testers program. This review is unbiased.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

An afternoon playing

The boys spent the afternoon playing mostly together. I caught a tiny bit on video :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A weekend of play

West, Archie and I spent a few days house sitting in town. Sunny, one of the dogs I was looking after, was a fantastic playmate for West. Here's some video I got on Friday afternoon:

He also met Lindsay again, which was totally a non-event. Lindsay and I played with the manners minder, and hopefully got some nice video so I can enter a contest to win another one!

I wasn't feeling well, so Friday was otherwise pretty quiet. West spent most of the day playing with Sunny in the Xpen or the back yard.

Saturday, we loaded up and headed to 5star so I could teach. West was so good in the car. When we parked at 5star, I was gathering up the key etc, and someone pulled in beside us and a man LEAPT out of his truck (he must have been in a hurry!) and startled West, who barked a couple of times. Poor West. He recovered quite nicely though!

I brought him into the centre, and he ran amok for a few minutes, then he sat in a crate in the back room while class happened. Afterwards, I brought him out to do a few jumps, and he ran over the aframe a couple times chasing the dogs around. I put his calming cap on him (tons of people outside. I could have moved the car around back, but this seemed easier) and walked him out to the car. He was totally fine, no reactions at all despite the milling people.

We stopped by Lindsay's briefly, and West waited sans-cap in her driveway in the car. He napped, but woke up and watched me when I returned.

From there, we went into town and parked my car. I moved Archie's crate and West into the Santa Fe, then we went up to Ben's vet appointment. West did more waiting in the car (all of which was in the shade, lest you think my dogs are cooking!) then we went to TRU to meet with a friend. More waiting.

Then, I had the two people I was meeting come outside and we let West out (fenced area) to meet them. He quickly was willing to approach both of them, and though he was nervous of the barking dogs nearby, he didn't appear concerned about the strangers at ALL. Fantastic! They were both women, which was helpful for him, I think.

He did let out one sort of surprised half-bark at one point, but within a few seconds, was approaching for pets again. I'm not sure what triggered it, but it may have even been the loudly barking dogs. I need some recordings of barking dogs for both the boys to start getting used to. Leave a comment if you have any in mp3 format!

Back in the car, back to my car, then home. I left West in the Santa Fe, cause he was totally out napping on the seat. He had a good drink and pee when we got home, then crashed out for the rest of the night. Busy day for a little West!!!

Today was far less eventful. We went out for some play, and I saw my aunt and uncle had come to visit. I popped the dogs away and we visited for a couple hours, then took 4 of the dogs to the beach (west, archie, ben and gypsy) for a walk. My uncle is about the most dog-terrifying-appearance person I could imagine.. Tall, facial hair, dark clothes, baseball cap low on his head.. He said even the gas station attendants where he delivers fuel are afraid of him :) Anyway, West and Arch and I hung back about 10' or so and followed them until the dogs could be off leash. After I let him off, West approached my aunt for pets several times throughout the walk. He did not make worried looks or bark at my uncle at all, though he also didn't approach him. We did no specific work though, just walked down and back. My aunt commented that he seems to be doing very well.. and he is!

I figured he'd be tired after all that, but he spent a couple hours trying to get Archie to play with him. Archie tried out his new lifejacket in the water for the first time today, and he wanted to NAP! Poor West misses Sunny, I think :)

My aunt took some photos today, not sure if she got any nice ones, but if she shares, I'll pass them along!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Finally met Mary!

West came with us to agility class last night. I'm house sitting for a few days, and can have the dogs here with me. It was most convenient to have mom meet me at 5star with the boys, so that's what we did.

We got there early, so I brought West in to meet Mary before class. She just stood a few feet from the door, and I brought him in. I asked her not to offer him treats until he'd said hello, and within maybe a minute, he was up on her "hugging" her and soliciting pets. He looked fantastic. Mary asked me what he'd done for agility, so I tossed him over the jump (10") to try and show her his usual frantic bulldoze behaviour, and he took the jump perfectly! Silly pup! He did about 15 of them for Zukes, then I put him in a crate in the back room while we had class.

I brought him out at the end of class to "look at that" with the strangers in the room while others practiced stays and recalls-to-heel. He did very well, and had no reactions at all. By now, the next class was gathering outside the door, so I asked Mary to invite them all in before I put West in the car. She had everyone come in and stand across the room, so we had a big open space with no strangers. I jogged to the door and West came along without concern. He hopped in the car without hesitation, and sat there calmly while I moved Archie's crate into the car, and a few other door-open-and-closings. I put his Cap on him while I ran into Coopers, then he napped on the seat (sans cap) on the ride back.

Once we got to the house, I put Archie in the back yard, then removed West's thundershirt and put him in the backyard too. I went and let the resident dogs out into the yard, and West and Sunny had a big zoomy play while Archie sort of chased them around.

West and Sunny have been playing pretty much all the time since! They're great for each other. Both are napping now (actually, all 4 are) finally!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Toys, toys, toys...

This isn't the review, at least not yet.

A friend sent me a package, including some books/dvd's I'd asked to borrow, and conveniently, another snake very similar to the one I won from Kyjen a few months ago. So I now have two almost-identical toys, and two dogs..

I had tossed the smaller, new snake to West, and was playing with archie with another toy, but as soon as West squeaked the snake, it became more valuable. Knowing I had a similar one, I got that one out and tossed one to each dog. I'd love for Archie to figure out playing with toys TOGETHER with West, since West gets that, but it just hasn't happened yet. These snakes are long, so maybe a good tool to get them playing without having to be too close together.

West is persistent, I'll give him that. Archie eventually breaks down and plays with him for a few seconds (not with the toy) then snarks and leaves. He also decided a couple times that West could not have ANY snakes, so went and stole West's AND had his. I just tossed it back to West. West now has both snakes, but he's mostly interested in playing with Archie, who is... not.

Still, Archie is out loose and West is able to breathe, walk around, drink, move, etc without fear of being pummeled. West's dog communication skills are very good in many, many ways, including deferring to an older dog! Go West!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Catch up MORE.

I've been busy. West has been busy. Archie's been busy!! It's spring, finally!

West and Archie have been spending several hours at a time loose together inside the past week or so. This is a huge step from the "West is not permitted to breathe, blink, or otherwise move at any time" policy Archie had kept in place. The biggest difference that I can tell is that Archie got a new bed, and the cats moved outside, so the bathroom is now opened up with his bed there. West and Archie even play together occasionally, though there really is NOT room for that! Silly boys.

Anyway, this is great news. It certainly means both dogs can have way less crate time, and way more fun! It's also less stressful for me to not be worrying that Archie will snap at any moment. Good boys!

West has come such a long way. He came to Claudine's, and was car sick again for the first time since he quit many months ago. My mom brought him into town for me, and she didn't know how to get his thundershirt on, so he only had the neck piece on. That's the only difference, as far as I can tell. He recovered quickly and wasn't sick on the way home, though.

West played with Claudine's dogs a bit. Mostly, they were more interested in other things than playing with him. He took cheese from Claudine and got some cuddles. He saw several people walk past the yard, and a couple even stopped to chat with Claudine, and he did not bark. He was stressed a couple of times, so I called him to me, but he coped very well. Craig was a bit too much for him, we'll have to go more slowly with that. He had a hat on, and has facial hair. I really need to find a group of dog savvy 17 year old males. Anyone? ;)

Connor is young, which means little/no facial hair, less deep of a voice, and not so "scary" to West. I expect that's part of why he did so well with him. Great steps! Especially since there wasn't really any effort to help West adjust.. he just decided Connor was okay, on his own!

West got along fantastically with Wendy. He was quickly leaping on her soliciting pets. I've got a reaction twice now from people who know West's story from the start, and that's "Is he gonna bite me?" The answer basically is no. It's not quite that cut and dried, but believe me, you'll have LOTS of warning before he bites you. Unless he's playing tug. Sigh. work in progress. But basically at this point, I can REALLY EASILY tell when West is too stressed, and he ALWAYS barks/snarls/woo's to let people know, so it's obvious even to non-dog savvy folks. This doesn't happen hardly ever anymore though, really.

West also played with Wendy's pup, Ruby. They are great friends, and we're meeting them for a hike this week, I hope. Wendy's just got the Agility bug, so she's become very interested in learning about dog sports! :)

That's pretty much it. I got a toy to review in the next few days, but I'm at a Stacey Peardot-Goudy conference this weekend, so I'll be busy. Maybe I can get it up, but if not, it'll be next week. Any guesses as to what the toy is? ;)

One more little thing, West is FINALLY putting on a little weight! I think it's mostly the diet changes.. I've been feeding him a couple times a day, and after his "real" meals, he gets some kibble to top it off. Good boy, West.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Way behind, so much news!

I'm very very tired and very busy, so I'm WAY behind on posting..
West met Claudine and Craig. Warmed up to claudine brilliantly. Craig was not as cooperative as I needed him to be.
West met a young guy, Connor, who was out at our place. I wasn't home, but apparently he did not bark at all, and approached within a few feet without any signs of stress.
West met Wendy and had a playdate with Ruby, a 10 mo old GSD. I'm staying at Wendy's for a week in May, so the fact that they get along great is good news.
While I've been so busy earning money, Chris has been taking West out for walks to the river (ON LEASH) and he's been doing very well!
And Archie and West have spent the evening loose together. The cats moved out to the barn, so I have the bathroom opened up with a bed and "escape" for Archie. They even PLAYED.

More details later, I promise..