Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Doggy Blocks! Brain Games for Dogs! #chewyinfluencer

We got a second chewy.com package this month and Zoe was happy to help open it! 

Chewy.com is an awesome company that ships all of your favorite pet products right to your door! They have amazing customer service and their shipping is incredibly fast. They are one of our favorite companies!

If you've been following my blog at all, you will know that I feel mental stimulation for dogs is extremely important. My dogs absolutely love trying out new puzzle toys and we were super excited when we were given the opportunity to try Doggy Blocks by Outward Hound!

Doggy Blocks is a neat puzzle feeder that has hidden compartments. The toy contains 4 square treat chambers and four hidden cups. The dogs must pull all the blocks out and then learn how to rotate the tops of the toy to get to the hidden cups. Several scent holes will help to trigger your dog's natural curiosity and help them to stay motivated and get all the treats.

Interactive, treat-seeking doggy fun

Keeps your pup playing longer

4 treat-hiding cups

8 treat chambers

Adjustable difficulty knob on bottom

 Made with durable food-safe plastic

BPA, PVC, & phthalate free

Doggy Blocks is a pretty simple puzzle toy for the girls but I like that it's adjustable. If you watch the video, this was only their second time trying the toy out and I had it set on the easiest possible setting.

Phoenix says puzzle toys are hard work and make her sleepy!

Overall I think this is a pretty fun toy and the girls really liked it! I do worry that Zoe might be able to pull or pop off the top part that spins. It feels kind of flimsy to me. As a general rule, I never leave my dogs unattended with these kinds of toys, though! Doggy Blocks is easy to set up and clean and I would recommend checking it out if your dog is in need of a new puzzle toy!

ZoePhee received the Doggy Blocks puzzle toy in exchange for an honest review. We were not monetarily compensated and all opinions are my own. Chewy.com is not responsible for the content of this blog post.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day

Today we are celebrating, honoring and remembering our heroes! 

I created this photo last year with Zoe saluting and I love it so I figured I'd share it again! 

I hope everyone has a wonderful day!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Phoenix Makes A New Friend!

So I finally started feeling better this week and we made it out to the park. Phoenix found a new friend! It's so funny because she's always liked little dogs and this little guy was such a great match for her!

I wish I had gotten more of their playing on video because they were doing so well! 

If you watch the clips closely, you can sort of see that Phoenix was worried about their other dog, the black one, even though she was unsure about him she didn't react or get snarky. Overall it was a pretty good trip out to the park!

I hope you all have an awesome weekend!

Monday, May 23, 2016

After A Long Day...

The last thing you want to happen is this:

The indignity of having a cat snuggling with you is more than Zoe can handle.

"Somebody get this damn thing away from me!!!"

Zoe does not appreciate cuddling with Lilly. It was so funny! 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Throwback Thursday

This is a throwback photo from when I first got Phoenix. She loves toys so she would collect as many as she could and lay in the bed with them. This was one of the first times I actually caught her being calm around my cat, too.

So I ended up catching a cold and I'm not feeling that great so I will be taking a couple days off from blogging and there will probably be a lull between posts as well. We haven't done anything and I don't want to be boring.

I'll see you all on Sunday with our black and white post! I hope everyone has an awesome weekend!

Monday, May 16, 2016

No Fetch, Squirrels!

Saturdays are hard. On Saturdays we have to get up at 5:30am to take my husband to work so I can have the car. Both dogs hate getting up early and I'm right there with them. Most of the time I can barely get Phoenix out of bed.

We recently changed routines as well. The past couple of weeks, I had been taking the girls hiking but they've been eating too much grass and becoming sick. They were also getting really stressed out there to then have to go and be at my work.

So this past Saturday, I decided to try playing fetch with them at the school that's near our apartment after dropping my husband off. It worked out pretty well until somebody (**cough** Zoe **cough** **cough**) saw the squirrels running around.

Zoe dropped the ball and took off after the squirrels. Luckily the whole place is thoroughly fenced.

Structured "training" fetch or squirrels? It was an easy choice for her. On the bright side, Phoenix did not take off with her and she held her stay. After treeing the squirrels, Zoe came when she was called. I rewarded her for coming and promptly tied her up to the bench.

"I'm the GOOD dog!"

I was able to move further away from the trees and Zoe did have some successful retrieves even though the squirrels were still really distracting. After we played fetch I released them back to the squirrels and let them be dogs for a while. Then we went back to playing fetch. Before we left the school we did a short training session practicing recalls.

The school yard seemed to work out way better than going to the big park for hiking! I'm pretty happy with how everything went, despite Zoe taking off. It was so early in the morning that we had the whole place to ourselves so it didn't really matter if Zoe was a little naughty. The dogs were so much less stressed at my work, too. 

Happy Monday Mischief everyone! What's everyone been up to?

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Green Pet Shop: Cool Pet Pad Review!

It's finally warming up a little bit in Oregon! We are having some strange spring weather where it goes back and forth from being hot one day and cold the next. We even had a record breaking day where it was 90 degrees! Our apartment unit was not blessed with air conditioning so finding ways to keep our pets cool is pretty important to me. I was so excited when I was asked to review a Cool Pet Pad from The Green Pet Shop

The Green Pet Shop is an amazing company that offers products made from recycled materials and products made from all natural, organic ingredients. They are an amazing company and I really appreciate that they are trying to help the environment while also keeping or pets safe and free from chemicals.

The Cool Pet Pad is an award winning product that begins to cool your pet as soon as they touch it. The pad is made with non-toxic gel that is pressure activated. It does not need water or electricity to cool your pet. 

  • No water or refrigeration necessary
  • No electricity
  • Re-charges automatically
  • Lasts for years
  • Helps prevent overheating
  • Cools & soothes
  • Fits standard size crates!
  • Perfect for cars
  • Folds easily
  • Wipes clean
  • Non-toxic

Zoe and Phoenix both love the Cool Pet Pad. It's also been a magnet for my cats as well. Lilly and Pandora love lounging on it. All of my furkids are generally pushing each other out of the way to use this pad. It's pretty hilarious and I probably need to get a second one. I think this is such a neat product and I love that it's so simple and easy to use. It's awesome that it doesn't require water or electricity to cool. I'm sure that we will get a ton of use out of it as summer is coming! I would definitely recommend checking it out! 

ZoePhee was provided with a large Cool Pet Pad in exchange for an honest review. We were not monetarily compensated and all opinions are my own. The Green Pet Shop is not responsible for the content of this blog post.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Wild Rose Garden!

I know I've been crazy with the spring photos this week but oh my gosh, I love SPRING so much! It's my favorite season, despite having allergies! The wild roses are blooming at our park and I have been driving my dogs nuts posing them for photos! The day I took all these photos I ended up getting soaked up to my things from all the tall grass but it was so worth it! I really like how this one turned out and I hope you guys like it too!

Is anyone else getting spring yet?

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Dog Owners: Stop Making Other Dog Owners Feel Guilty!

Dear Owners of Goofy, Happy-Go-Lucky, Friends with EVERYONE dogs,

Please stop making other dog owners feel guilty because their dog can't be friends with your dog. It is so hurtful when people make passive aggressive comments. As humans, we love companionship and crave a sense of belonging so I completely understand when we project those feelings onto our dogs. We all just want our dogs to have other dog friends. To watch them playing gleefully at the park with their friends is a dream that I totally share with everyone else and I get it. As humans, we don't like everyone we meet and our dogs are the same way. Some dogs will never want other dog friends and this needs to be a thing that we are okay with.

There are dogs in this world who are afraid, if not terrified of other dogs. There are dogs who just want to stroll along with their owner and their owner is good enough. These dogs are not sad dogs. These dogs are awesome, happy dogs and being with their people is fulfilling enough. There are other dogs, like Zoe, who used to love other dogs but are getting older and maybe experiencing pain and they don't need or want new dog friends. They just want to go around and sniff all the sniffs and be with their people. To enjoy their remaining years in peace. They don't need other young, playful dogs jumping all over them because they hurt and they might react grumpily. 

It is a gift that we tell you our dogs are not friendly. A GIFT.

We are trying to spare your dogs from an unpleasant experience. When you push us and bully us into letting our dogs interact with your dogs, bad things can and will happen. We are only trying to protect all the dogs, yours and ours. Every time our dogs have a bad experience it can take weeks, months if not years of work to help them feel better again.

Dog Owners, I beg of you:

Please stop with the condescending comments about how my dog must be a bad dog if she doesn't want to be friends with your dog.

Please stop with the guilt-ridden, passive aggressive comments and apologies to your own dog for not getting to play with my dog.

Always ask before you allow your dog to interact with someone's dog. If they say no, please be okay with it.

Stop letting your dog drag you into every other dog's face that you pass on the streets, parks, trails, etc.

Stop letting your off leash dog run up to other dogs.

Please don't blame us when our dogs snap at your dog when you disregard our pleas for you and your dog to stay away. 

Please be kind and considerate because everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.

Every time I have to apologize and tell someone that my dog is not dog friendly, I die a little inside. It's the truth. I love my dog so much and I would love nothing more than to take away her fear of other dogs and see her playing happily in the park with other dogs. That's my dream for her but it's not HER dream.

Phoenix just wants good food, fun toys and to be with me and Zoe. I am so lucky that both of my dogs get along so well in the home. Other people are not as fortunate with their dogs and I need to spend more time celebrating all the good things.

Phoenix is a very happy dog. She loves her life with me, she loves Zoe. She is a very fulfilled dog. She gets the best food, treats and toys money can buy. She gets to play all the games I can come up with. She gets to run free whenever I can find quiet trails for her to do so. She doesn't want new dog friends. She prefers playing with Zoe, me and her other human friends. Not liking other dogs doesn't make her a bad dog. She's fun, she's funny and she's perfect in almost every way. She has a smaller bubble than some reactive dogs and she's able to go and do stuff with me that a lot of reactive dogs can't.

I honestly wish that people in the dog community would just understand that not every dog wants to be friends with your dog and that it's okay. It really does need to be okay. I wish that the owners of goofy, happy-go-lucky, friends with everyone dogs would be kind to those of us who's dogs are not in the mood to meet their dogs. Our dogs are just dogs. They are not much different than the other dogs but they just want to be with us.

A wise friend told me: "Your dogs are for you, they get along, they are not for other people. They are not toys for other people's dogs." She was not wrong.

Have you ever experienced a situation where a pushy dog owner was insisting their dog interact with yours? How did you handle it?

Monday, May 9, 2016

Stop And Smell the Lupines?

Photographing Zoe is hard. 

She can be weird out in the environment and she generally does not like to pose. 

I was trying to photograph her with these lupines but she had other ideas!

I did eventually get her to look at me!

Phoenix is definitely the easier "model" to work with and I'm so happy with this shot! 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

It's A Jungle Out There!

It's finally Spring!! The roses are blooming and the grass is up to my knees and in some places up to my waist! We went to the park on Saturday morning and it was cold and misty out! If you can see the little spots of "light, fuzziness" around Phoenix, it's actually the steam coming off her body!

I hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

An Awesome Raincoat: Hurtta Torrent Coat

Ah, the Pacific Northwest. So green, so pretty, so RAINY! With an average of around 155 days of rain each year, water and mud is something we deal with a lot. Zoe and Phoenix both tend to be pretty finicky about bad weather and I honestly don't blame them. The girls don't enjoy being wet and honestly, who really likes that wet dog smell, anyways? It rains all winter long and a lot in Spring and Fall. We also happen to live in the Colombia River Gorge so we often deal with freezing wind, too. My dogs don't like the rain, Zoe specifically hates the wind and it's important for them to have quality coats that protect them from the elements.

With Spring on the way and the weather warming up a little, I noticed that the dogs were starting to get too warm running around in their winter coats. So I decided that they needed new raincoats. My dogs have a passion for fashion and our old "off the rack" rubber duck rain coats were just not cutting it, plus they were yellow and ugly. I wanted light, breathable fabric that would also be able to protect them from rain and wind without making them too hot.

The Hurtta Torrent Coat is the answer to everything I was looking for in a Spring/Fall raincoat. This coat was designed for demanding conditions and to protect a dog from the rain and wind while also being lightweight and breathable.

The Torrent Coat has similar features as both the Summit Parka and the Ultimate Warmer, minus the warm fleece lining. It's like those two coats had a baby and it came out as the Torrent! The Torrent Coat has the awesome over the back buckle and neck covering that I loved from the Summit Parka and it has the nice front and back end covering from the Ultimate Warmer. The Torrent Coat covers their entire chest area, which is nice for those times when they are running around in tall grass or blackberry bushes. Phoenix doesn't have much hair covering her chest/belly so it's great to have that area protected.

The Torrent Coat allows for complete freedom of motion and it did not cause any rub marks anywhere on my dogs. They were both completely comfortable wearing them. Like the Ultimate Warmer, this coat buttons under the tail for extra protection from the rain and wind. You just need to leave it unbuttoned until the dog has gone potty. The coat also features a button opening across the back so that you can easily access your dog's harness and 3M reflectors so your dog will be visible and safe if you want to go for walks in the dark.

The girls and I really like the Torrent Coat! I think it's an awesome rain coat! The Torrent Coat would be a fabulous winter coat for all of those long haired dogs who get too warm running around in other heavier coats but who need to stay dry. It's an awesome Spring/Fall coat for my dogs with short hair so they can stay dry but not overheat on those days where it's warmer but still raining. I love how light but durable the fabric is and how the dogs were able to run around in the blackberries without it tearing.

The Torrent Coat comes in either Cherry (hot pink) or Raven (black) and is available in Hurtta's full range of sizes. I would definitely recommend checking it out!

You can find retailers in North America by going here: Hurtta247 Stockists.

I would also highly recommend checking Hurtta out on Facebook and liking their page. They often look for product testers and run their own giveaways. The best way of finding out all the Hurtta news is by liking their page. 

ZoePhee received two Torrent Coats in exchange for an honest review. We were not monetarily compensated and all opinions are my own. Hurtta is not responsible for the content of this blog post.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Frog Dog!

I was pretty excited that I was finally able to get a cute "frog dog" photo of Phoenix! She does this all the time, especially when she's playing with toys and it's the cutest thing ever!

Do your dogs do the "frog dog"?

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Phoenix & Zoe Training Class Updates!

I've been going back and forth about doing another training update, hopefully you guys aren't bored yet. This week was another really good week at training class and I'm pretty happy with both of my dogs! I'm sorry for not having any actual photos of them in class. I just didn't have time this week.

Phoenix did really well in her Impulse Control class this week and it's definitely something I want to celebrate and also tell you guys a funny story. If you follow me on facebook, I apologize for you having to read this twice. Our trainer set us up to do a game called "Over the River", basically they put down long lines and the dogs are supposed to stay on their side of the river while we cross the long lines. Anyways, it was really funny because as the training assistant was setting up the long lines, Phoenix picked up the drop leash and tried to give it back. It was such a cute and hilarious moment in class and it's something I wanted to remember.

Phoenix is feeling a lot better about the class and she isn't as fearful. She's still nervous any time we do stuff that requires her to be closer to dogs or the trainers but she's able to do it and she hasn't shut down. This past week she was even able to tug during class. Next week is her last class and I'm sad about it because I feel like she could really use more classes like this one and now that I've switched to working Fridays I won't be able to take her.

Zoe is having a blast in her nosework class. She absolutely loves it and she's doing great! I'm so glad I found something that she likes. She gets so excited when it's her turn to search! I've taken everyone's suggestions from last week's post to heart and I've been working on getting her the reward faster for finding the scent and I've also been working with boxes that are weighed down so she can't flip them. It's going really well and she's gotten to the point where some of the time she will gently scratch the box instead of throw it across the room. Which is great progress for it only being a week!

This week Zoe met one of her classmates and for a moment I forgot which dog I had and sort of had a mini panic attack. The dog is a rottweiler/airedale mix and he's huge. Zoe did great and was wagging the whole time but after a few minutes I ended up pulling her back and away from him because I don't like doing on leash greetings anymore after having Phoenix. Zoe is getting older, crabby and less tolerant of other dog's shenanigans so it's best if we are careful.

Phoenix is also loving her nosework lessons. Basically whatever Zoe learns in class, I come home and teach to both dogs. Phoenix gets really excited and she's been having a hard time waiting for her turn to search, which I'm going to work on with her. I'm glad both dogs are really excited about searching and I'm having a lot of fun with it too!

So that's about it for our training updates from this week. I hope it's not too boring for you guys!

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Power of Play: How play opened up a new world for my fearful dog!

If you google the "power of play for dogs" you will find hundreds if not thousand of articles. It's so important that there are special classes and books that just teach you how to play with your dog. Play is so beneficial to our dogs and it's a lot of fun, too! I love playing with my dogs and most of the training we do is based in fun games and play.

Why play with our dogs? 

It makes them so happy!!!

Dogs are social animals and they really enjoy being with us. Play is good for your dog physically, mentally and emotionally. Your dog gets exercise, they get to work their brain and it helps to build your bond. Everybody benefits from play.

One of the first things I noticed about Phoenix when I adopted her was how much she loved toys. She would grab a toy and play by herself or try to play with Zoe. The only thing Phoenix loves more than a new toy is food and trying to figure out how to balance the two out has been a fun journey. If you want to know how to teach your dog to work for both food and toys or you have a dog that needs to learn how to play with toys, I would recommend watching this Kikopup video.

What kinds of games can I play with my dog?  

Tug is a great game and most dogs really enjoy it. All dogs can enjoy tug but I recommend putting some rules on the game. My dogs are not allowed to touch the toy until I give the okay, they must drop it when I ask and they are not allowed to put their mouths on my hand. It doesn't matter who wins the game of tug and most of the times I let my dogs win. When they win, they generally bring the toy back to me for more fun.

Fetch is a great game and it's one of our favorites! It's so easy to add training to fetch, like asking the dog to sit or down before you throw the ball and returning to you with the ball is a lot like training a recall. We start playing this game in the house without any distractions and I use a favorite toy in the beginning. Every time my dogs bring me their toy they get a tasty treat. As they get really good at fetching, we start moving the game outside and I use a variable rate of reinforcement for bringing the toy back. I still like to give them treats for fetching and I generally start the game off by rewarding them for bringing the toy back each time then move on to my variable schedule. Some dogs love fetch so much that they don't need any treats but each dog is different. Any dog can learn to play fetch, though!

Flirt Pole is a great toy to have that works a dog's prey drive. They get to stalk, chase and catch their toy. It gives dogs like mine, who would like to hunt real critters, an outlet for their natural instinct without harming any real animals.The flirt pole has been very beneficial to Phoenix. See the story below:

Play has been extremely beneficial in helping Phoenix overcome her fear of my husband. When we got her we couldn't touch her and even after she started trusting me she still didn't care for him. We ended up making her a flirt pole and it was hugely instrumental in helping her to develop some trust with him. 

The flirt pole is a long horse whip that we tied a toy to. Horse whips are really cheap, just stop by any feed store, you can generally find them for around $10-15. We use a Skinneeez toy but I have a friend who's dogs will chase a bag tied to her flirt pole.

With the flirt pole being so long, it enabled Phoenix to play with my husband without having to get too close to him. They were able to develop some trust without much pressure. Having this sort of toy was very empowering to Phoenix because she could make her own choice about interacting with my husband and she could decide how close she was going to get to him. Being able to make choices is another very powerful thing for fearful dogs.

Hide and Seek is an awesome game that my dogs love to play with me. A lot of the time I will play this at the park we go to. I will hide behind a bush or tree and they have to come find me. It can also be done at home if you have a big enough space. You can ask the dog to stay or have someone hold the dog then go hide. Once you're hidden, call your dog and when they find you have a treat party. This game has been huge for us and it's taught my dogs a lot about keeping an eye on me and paying attention to where I am when we go hiking.

Find It is a fun game where you hide your dog's favorite treats or toy and then ask them to find it. We play this game pretty frequently. I will put my dogs in the bedroom and hide food all around the living room and then release them to go find it. Just be careful if you have multiple dogs, especially if you have one that guards. Generally, Phoenix is pretty good about staying out of Zoe's way so they are okay to do this together but if you're not sure only do one of your dogs at a time. Zoe will even bring me my hidden car keys!

Personal Play/Roughhousing is not something we do often because my dogs are really sensitive to pressure and they don't like roughhousing with me that much. Zoe does enjoy a good game of chase so I will chase her around the house and push her around a little bit. Generally you can tell if a dog likes something if they come back for more. So if you're roughhousing with your dog and they run away and won't come back or they look at all stressed by what you're doing, stop and try something else. Stress Signals in Dogs.

Puzzle Toys are awesome and I highly recommend them. Most of the time, if we are not using a meal as a training session, my dogs are fed out of their puzzle toys. My dogs actually prefer playing with their puzzle toys over eating out of a bowl and they are so great for mental stimulation! We've reviewed some awesome puzzle toys and you can find those reviews by going here: Puzzle Toys

Dog Sports, there are endless activities for dogs these days! Here's a list of all the different sports available: Dog Sports

There are so many games you can play with your dog and I just don't have time to list them all. You can make up your own games or even vary some of the ones I listed above! You just have to figure out what your dog likes best and go with that! Don't forget to mix it up sometimes and keep things interesting!

Play has been so helpful with Phoenix's fears. Fetch, tug and chasing the flirt pole gives her a fun job to do that is incompatible with worrying about other things in the environment. We slowly worked up from playing in empty fields to playing in fields with distractions. In the photo above, I was actually playing fetch with Phoenix at an off leash area. You can see there are several dogs and even a child in the background. Phoenix has learned (for the most part) not to worry about those things when we are playing. Learning to play has really opened up a whole new world for Phoenix. She learned to trust me, she learned to trust my husband and she learned how to have fun with us. She's gotten so much more confident and sure of herself. It's been so awesome to see how much a difference play can make in my dog's lives!

I really enjoy incorporating play into all of my training sessions and the dogs love it, too! I highly recommend playing with your dogs and training should always be fun! Go play with your dog!

How do you play with your dog? What is your dog's favorite game?

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Play With Me!!!

I love it when I am able to capture silly photos of Phoenix! Here she is clearly wanting to play with Zoe! We went down to the river for the first time in about a month and both dogs were really excited. 

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you're all having a fantastic weekend!