Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Monday, December 25, 2017

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays everyone! 

The girls were super excited when we got some snow over the weekend! 

"Don't throw snowballs! Throw chicken!"

I hope everyone is having a fantastic holiday season! See you next year!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Unboxing Fall with Hurtta

Happy Fall everyone! I hope you are all enjoying the cooler weather and pumpkin themed goodies that come out this time of year! Pumpkin donuts, anyone? How about a pumpkin spiced latte? ;)

The leaves are falling, the air is getting crisp, dogs and humans are freezing their butts off! Or are they!? Not these dogs! Zoe and Phoenix will be super warm because they have new jackets straight from one of our favorite companies.

Hurtta, one of the best companies we've ever worked with, recently revamped some of their products and released some new colors! We received a box full of goodies and I decided to do an unboxing haul on camera for you. Unboxings are pretty popular on YouTube and I figured it would be a fun way to show off the new fall gear!

A couple of things to note before watching this:

  • This is my very first time talking to the camera and filming myself and I was extremely nervous about it. All of my previous videos are just of me training the dogs or the dogs running around in their gear or trying out new toys.
  • Filming yourself is difficult if you're not used to doing it. I had a hard time getting the camera to focus at times.
  • I had the worst cold when I filmed this so I was a little stuffy. (Perfect time to try something new, right!?)
  • I pronounced Lupine wrong. I do believe it's pronounced like the flower. I am not sure if I pronounced Lingon right. Sorry, Hurtta! 
  • I accidentally opened Zoe's jacket which was bigger and put it on Phoenix and that's why it looks so huge on her.

I am absolutely thrilled with our new gear from Hurtta. One of my favorite things about Hurtta as a company is that they are always innovating and improving their products. The changes to the Y harness are fantastic. I absolutely love the new colors they've come out with and I'm very happy with everything we got.

We can't wait to get out into the wilderness with all our new gear and I'm excited to share all of our next adventures with you in the coming year!

If you would like to see our other reviews on specific Hurtta items you can find them by following this link: Hurtta Reviews

We received products from Hurtta in exchange for our honest thoughts. All opinions are my own and Hurtta is not responsible for the content of this blog post. We were not monetarily compensated.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Happy 5th Gotcha Day to Phoenix!

It was 5 years ago today, that my friend and I went to meet a scared little dog that looked a lot like Zoe! Click here to read her full adoption story: Phoenix's Adoption Story

In 5 years I have learned so much from this dog. At first, I didn't like her that much but she's grown into my heart dog and I'm so thankful to have her in my life!

Phoenix has made so much progress in the last two years and I am so thankful for the opportunities my job has offered us in terms of classes and working with trainers who are well versed in behavior.

If you had told me a year ago that Phoenix would be doing play groups, making her own friends and would be successfully making new friends out in the real world, I would of laughed at you and asked what you were smoking and why aren't you sharing? I never thought she'd ever be able to do play groups, let alone have friends outside of our home.

I am very happy to report that every week she continues to do better and she amazes me with her ability to learn, adjust and be forgiving of my mistakes. I am the luckiest dog mom!

Every birthday girl needs presents, right!? We took Phoenix to the pet store yesterday and she got to pick out a new toy and we got her and Zoe some bully sticks! We have a work meeting today but after, we're going to go get some ice cream. I can't believe I've had her for 5 years!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Forest Fires Are Devastating!

The ground is covered in ash!

Around 12 miles from my home, the forest is on fire due to illegal fireworks. I'm completely devastated. Our iconic Multnomah Falls is burning. People have been evacuated from all the surrounding towns and it's just awful.

I took the girls for a walk out at our park this morning and it was so full of smoke that I had to wear a mask and we had to leave early. 

I'm so sad and I hope they ban personal fireworks. I'm so over them.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A Beach Trip!

Peter Iredale Ship Wreck! Check out those wind blown ears!

A while ago, we made it out to the Oregon coast for two fun days of fetch at the beach!

I've been so busy that I haven't been able to post about it until now!

Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach

Zoe managed to have some off leash fun at the beach! 

We generally keep her on the leash for the most part because she saw bunnies one time and never forgot that there might be prey animals to hunt!

We trust Zoe a lot more when she's gotten a little tired. Here they are having a burst of zoomies!

Phoenix is very serious about her ball time! I was so proud of her! She didn't care about any distractions or other dogs at the beach. All she wanted to do was play fetch! She's come a long way!

Oswald West

We visited three different beaches and they had fun on each one!

Overall we had an amazing time! We absolutely love the coast!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Silhouette Sunday!

There's nothing better than a dog getting to do her favorite thing on the beach at sunset!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Summer Water Fun with the Hurtta Life Savior!

It's finally warming up here and one way Phoenix loves to beat the heat is by swimming! She really enjoys fetching things out of the river and she could do this for hours. It's fun to watch her swim and she has a great time but sometimes she gets so into it that it's hard to tell when she's getting tired. Safety in the water is really important to me and we were really excited when one of our favoritge brands offered the perfect solution: Life Savior

The Life Savior, is a  new generation streamlined life jacket for dogs, made by Hurtta. This life jacket is ideal for swimming, water rescue, rehabilitation, boating and hunting. The special design of the floats make the jacket very light and ensure a comfortable fit. The light design of the jacket allows for freedom of movement for your dog in water and on land. I love how light weight the jacket is. Our swimming spot is a bit of a trek for us and the light weight design is very helpful. Phoenix can either wear the jacket as we're hiking or I can carry it. Even soaking wet, the jacket is light.

The buoyancy of this life jacket has been thoroughly tested by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. The life jacket has an adjustable belt and front that allow it to fit most breeds of dog. The back of the jacket is fitted with sturdy handle by which the dog can be guided in the water or lifted out. A protective underbelly section distributes the dog's weight over a larger area and keeps the jacket firmly in place. The reflective fabric and 3M reflectors on the back of the jacket provide visibility in the dark.

We had an awesome time testing this life jacket and I noticed a huge difference in Phoenix's confidence in the water. I could tell that the life jacket was helping to make her buoyant and swim more correctly (sometimes her back end sinks). I love the feeling of safety that this life jacket provided me with. Phoenix can now play as much as she wants in the water without me worrying that she might get too tired. I also really love sturdy the handle is on the back of the jacket, I was able to lift her completely out of the water with it. The Life Savior is a very sturdy life jacket and I can tell we will get a lot of use out of it!

If your dog spends a lot of time swimming or near the water, I would highly recommend checking out the Hurtta Life Savior! Life jackets save lives!

Does you dog like playing in the water? 

Don't forget to check out Hurtta out on Facebook and like their page! They often look for product testers and run their own giveaways. The best way of finding out about all the Hurtta news is by liking their page. 

ZoePhee was provided with a Life Savior 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. 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

4th of July Safety!

The 4th of July is so much fun, said no dog ever.

Many pets are terrified of fireworks and other loud noises. These sorts of noises are hard to predict and even harder to work on with training. My dogs are usually over threshold immediately upon hearing the first bangs or pops.

Fireworks can cause a great deal of stress in dogs. Some signs to look for would include:

  • Shaking or Trembling
  • Drooling
  • Barking or Howling
  • Refusing to Eat Food
  • Pacing, unable to settle
  • Trying to hide or trying to get into or out of the house, fence or enclosure
  • Loosing control of their bladder, bowels or anal glands. 

Things we can do to help our dogs get through the night:

Exercise your dog early and make sure to walk them before it gets dark. I'm planning on running the girls several miles out at the big park in the afternoon. Hopefully they will be tired and sleep through the festivities.

Keep your pets indoors! Many pets who are left outdoors during fireworks end up panicking and getting lost. If you must go outside, keep your dog on a leash attached to a harness. Harnesses are a lot harder to escape from. Pets should also be wearing ID tags with your most current information.

Close your curtains or blinds. Turn on your TV, fan or radio to provide them with some background noise and distraction.

Some dogs find hiding in their crate to be comforting. My dogs love their crates and I will often throw a blanket over their crates, too which gives them an extra sense of security.

If your dog will take food, you can try to keep them busy with a food puzzle toy, like a stuffed kong. 

Some dogs do just fine with the noises but other dogs, like mine, are not easily calmed by petting or talking to them. They are just too upset by the noise. Pets who are very frightened and who might hurt themselves should never be left alone. If nothing seems to work for your pet, you should consider speaking to your veterinarian about sedatives. We've had really good luck with trazadone but it's important to consult with a veterinarian to find out which drug might work best for your dog.

I hope everyone has a safe holiday!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Silhouette Sunday

Happy Sunday everyone! We recently took Zoe and Phee on a weekend trip to the Oregon Coast! We visited three different beaches and toured Fort Stevens. The girls had a blast and as soon as I'm done editing the photos, I will share more of our trip with everyone!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Monday, June 5, 2017

Making Better Choices!

Hi everyone! I hope you're all having a great day. Today I have an update on how Phoenix has been doing. As most of you know, we started Phoenix in play groups at my work back in the beginning of February to try and help her with some of her dog/dog issues. Along the way, we've had some struggles and we've learned so much about her. Phoenix also attends our reactive dog class whenever there is room for her and helps other dogs learn how to be calm around each other, so she's getting some additional counter conditioning on leash with other dogs in a controlled manner. Working my own dog in that class has been really helpful for me and has helped me improve my handling skills which is great for Phoenix and great for all the dog training classes that I help with.

The main thing that Phoenix struggles with is greeting new dogs. She is fearful and face-to-face
 (----> <---) greetings are hard for her. Sometimes a face-to-face greeting can illicit a soft snarl and flash of teeth all the way up to an actual snark with light contact. I say light contact as she has never hurt anybody.

The other issue that we've seen is what we call "breed-specific (hereditary) chasing and nipping. This behavior is very interesting as it seems like something she has a very hard time controlling on her own. It's like some sort of compulsive action that she can't help doing. When she sees a dog moving, her first instinct is to chase them and nip at their butts.

We've also seen some low-level separation anxiety from me. As soon as I would leave the room, she would continually pace and try to figure out where I went or try to get back to me. Transitioning times between employees and dogs were pretty stressful for her.

I'm happy to report that things are going a lot better and it seems like each week she does better. We've been setting her up to win with new dogs by introducing her dead last. That way the new dogs are distracted by the rest of the group and Phoenix is also distracted by the group. She is not able to zero in on a new dog to chase and nip or get snarky upon greeting them. We control the greetings by feeding the other dog so Phoenix can sniff them without conflict. We are very careful and thoughtful on how we do greetings and it's really helping. She's doing amazing outside of my work when we go hiking and meets new dogs on her own without help. We have not seen much snarky behavior in weeks, most of what we see is avoidance or a very low level lift lip. We've even seen her solicit play from new dogs out at the park, which is amazing.

A post shared by Lauren Miller (@zoepheedogs) on

Playing in the water surrounded by new dogs she's never seen before!

The chasing and nipping has gotten much better as well. Today I actually saw her think about **NOT** doing it. She started to do it and then stopped herself, turned around and came back to me. She was SO good!!! I was excited to see her do that. She is also not nipping as much if she does end up chasing and is able to recall off the dogs and come to us. We've also seen some play that did not include chasing with her, actual play bows and jumping around a little. It was so cute!

The separation anxiety and worrying about where I am has gotten much better. My coworkers report that she's doing really well and participating in all the training activities that they've been doing. She's still really worried when the dogs are transitioning to go home but we wait until she's completely calmed down before she's allowed to get back to me, which seems to be helping a lot too!

I'm so happy with her progress and I'm really glad that I stuck with the play groups, even though she had a hard time at first. I'm so thankful that I work with awesome trainers and that my coworkers have been so helpful with her. The support I've gotten has been amazing. I wish everyone had a facility like this to help them.

Note: Our play groups are not in any way close to what you would find at a traditional "Doggie Daycare". Our facility is first and foremost a training facility where we work with the dogs to help them with their issues and understand them better. I do not recommend traditional doggie daycare for dogs who have dog/dog issues, as they can end up flooding a dog and causing more issues. A training facility that understands behavior, does training and careful, thought out introductions is where Phoenix goes and it's the only sort of facility I would ever recommend. Pet owners need to thoroughly vet the places they are taking their dogs. 


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Nature's Logic Review!

"I'm hungry! Let's Eat!"

Hi everyone! I hope you're all having a fantastic day! Today I have a dog food review for you. We were excited when Nature's Logic asked us to try their food. I've heard wonderful things about this company. We actually tried a few samples of the food a few months ago when Zoe wasn't feeling well and it was the only thing we could get her to eat.

Nature's Logic is a company that provides pet owners with a variety of top notch pet foods, treats and supplements. They were founded in 2006 by Scott Freeman. Scott wanted to develop a pet food that focused on the benefits of whole food nutrition without using added synthetic supplements that other food companies use. Since nothing like this had ever been created, Scott sent the food for AAFCO feeding trials to have them substantiated for All Life Stages. They passed with flying colors. The ultimate goal of Nature’s Logic is to provide the most nutritious and safest product that people can feel good about feeding their canine and feline family.

All of food from Nature's Logic are 100% natural and free of common allergens. There are no synthetic vitamins or minerals.

Nature's Logic receives a 5 Star rating from Dog Food Advisor

Nature’s Logic Canine Venison Meal Feast is a blend of Venison meal from New Zealand combined with Nature Logic's concentrate of dried vegetables and fruits. It’s ideal for dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds.

Nature’s Logic Canine Rabbit Meal Feast is a blend of rabbit meal from European-raised rabbits combined with Nature Logic's exclusive concentrate of dried vegetables and fruits. It’s ideal for dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds.

Both of the dogs really enjoyed the food we tried from Nature's Logic, even Zoe, who is super picky! They both did really well on the food. I really like that the food is all natural and doesn't contain any synthetic vitamins or minerals. I'm really happy with how the dogs did on it and we will definitely be getting this food again. I would recommend checking them out! 

ZoePhee was provided with samples of Nature's Logic dog food in exchange for an honest review. We were not monetarily compensated and all opinions are my own!


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Phoenix Does The Tunnel! Training Tuesday

Things are going a lot better the past two weeks at work with Phoenix. We have only had one new dog join the group and she's getting along okay with him. She also learned a new skill this week: Going through the tunnel! 

A post shared by Lauren Miller (@zoepheedogs) on

A few years ago, there was no way she would do this. I'm pretty happy with her progress. She's doing really well and she's such a good girl. She's trying really hard to figure out how to dog with other dogs. 

Phoenix's favorite friend from work is Percy, the border collie. We spent some time last week doing agility with all the dogs. They got to do the jump, tunnel and our pause table.

A post shared by Lauren Miller (@zoepheedogs) on

As you can see they really like all the training they get to do!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

To The Woman Who Hates Dog Harnesses

This morning I got a pretty hateful comment on one of my old reviews for some leashes. The comment was in regards to my dogs wearing harnesses:

"oh god... harnesses.. great way to teach your dogs to pull are you too stupid to actually train your dogs to walk CORRECTLY on a collar?!?!?!?"

Usually I don't feed the trolls but today I decided I wanted to talk about this, since there's a huge misconception about harnesses.

Harnesses DO NOT teach dogs to pull on leash. Humans teach their dogs to pull on leash by not teaching them what they would like them to do instead of pulling. It can also be an impulse control issue as well. A "back clipping" harness **can** give a dog more leverage to pull if they have not been trained and the dog can be more easily reinforced for pulling because the owners might have less control. This is a training issue. It's NOT about what sort of gear you choose. Dogs can pull in any sort of gear at any time, even aversive equipment.

Now let's address the "too stupid" part. It is actually much more challenging to train a dog to walk nicely on a harness than it is a collar and if I can train a dog to walk politely in a back clipping harness, surely I can teach a dog to walk nicely with the leash attached to collar. My dogs can and do walk nicely in their collars all the time and I spend several nights a week helping other owners to achieve this as well, you know... at the dog training facility, where I work...

I **choose** to use harnesses on my dogs because I feel they are safer and more comfortable for the dog to wear. If a squirrel were to run across our path and they do lunge for it, their necks and tracheas are protected. Even the most well trained dogs might go for a squirrel or something and I'd rather the dogs not hurt their necks. I think a harness can be a great piece of equipment to use on a dog, especially for hiking and other outdoor adventures and we will continue to use ours.

We are product testers and I am fully aware the harness on Phoenix does not fit her very well. I didn't feel like bringing her home, putting a different one on her and re-filming.

For further reading about harnesses you can check out my friend Emily's post here:

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Best Gear for ALL of Your Adventures! Giveaway!

It's that time of year again! Spring and Summer fun with dogs! 


Goodbye winter! Hello fun activities! No matter what you're choosing to do, whether you'll be hiking or maybe taking a new training class, I have a gear recommendation for you! Zoe and Phoenix absolutely love going on new adventures, hiking trips and exploring the great outdoors and we always have a blast testing out gear. We only share products that we completely believe in.

Hurtta is one of our favorite companies, they have been producing top notch dog gear for the last 20 years! They offer a variety of different items from amazing dog coats to cooling coats, boots, life jackets, harnesses, leashes, collars. You name it and Hurtta probably has it. One of my favorite things about Hurtta as a company is that they are constantly testing and improving the quality of their products.

When we go on our outdoor adventures or training classes with Zoe and Phoenix, the first thing I always pack is their harnesses. I prefer training and walking my dogs with their leashes attached to a harness and I feel that harnesses are the best way to keep dogs safe in the outdoors or challenging conditions. 

Phoenix practicing "Treibball" wearing her Y2 Harness and a long line for safety!

Attaching a leash to the collar could be harmful to a dog's neck if they were to see something and suddenly jerk on the leash, not to mention the added pressure on their necks can cause some dogs to become reactive or stressed. (For more information why you shouldn't attach a leash to your dog's collar, please see this article: "Is it harmful to attach a leash to your dog's neck?" by Emily Larlham)

We generally only use our collars for their tags, quick potty trips out in our yard or when we go on our off leash hikes, where the leash is only attached to the collar from the car right to the trail and then they are taken off the leash.

The Padded Y and Padded Y2 Harnesses are my favorite harnesses from the Hurtta line. These harnesses are great for walks, hikes and dog sports of all kinds! This harness is also great for dogs who may suffer from neck or back issues, if the dog happens to pull on the leash, the close-fitting harness distributes pressure evenly across the chest, preventing damage to the dog’s vertebrae and trachea. These harnesses are padded with neoprene, they are light weight and so comfortable for the dogs to wear. They do not cause any rubbing of the fur or skin. The harnesses are easy and quick to put on and my dogs have never had a problem adjusting to wearing them.

The Padded Y2 Harness is a little different from the original design, it has an O ring in the front and a longer strap on the back. I really like the updated design and I like that I could attach a leash to the front of the harness on the chest if I needed to. Both of these harness styles are excellent. The Y2 does run a little bigger than the original so if you're upgrading you might want to get one size smaller than the original Y that you had.

These harnesses have one point of adjustment so measuring carefully is important. The chest measurement is the most important one, from my experience.

The Active Harness is a great harness for any adventurous dog! This is my favorite one for hiking trips. This harness is sturdy, padded and has 4 points of adjustment. It's a little more heavier duty than the previous harnesses. The back has a handle that is comfortable to hold on to. I really love this harness and use it on narrow trails or when we go hiking where there might be sharp cliffs. It makes me feel like I'm keeping my dogs safe in those kinds of situations. I also like the added handle that I can hold on to when we pass other hikers. The handle is also useful for keeping dogs secure in vehicles.

The Padded Harness was our very first harness that we purchased from Hurtta. It was what started our obsession and deserves an honorable mention! I've had these harnesses for as long as I've had Zoe. So going on 6 years and the harnesses are still in excellent condition, despite all the adventures we've been on, all the mud dirt and times I've dropped them in the washing machine. This harness is different from the Y and Y2 as it does not have a strap that goes between the legs. The design on this one is for over the head and buckling behind the front legs. My dogs do seem to pull a bit more in this harness and it's a great harness for nosework or any sort of scent detection where it's okay for a dog to pull.

The Padded Collar is neoprene-padded, reflective and is comfortable in use and provides long-range visibility. If you would like to see us putting the padded collar through it's paces, check out our video of Phoenix swimming: The Hurtta Padded Collar is the only collar I trust them to wear and not get ruined when we go get muddy at the park or hitting the trails!

The Mountain Rope Leashes are comfortably and soft to hold in your hand. They are highly durable and resembling climbing ropes in structure and materials. Hurtta recently updated their leads, replacing the mental with aluminium, which is highly durable, stainless and extremely light. Rope leashes are my favorite kind to use and I love these!

All of the harnesses, padded collars and rope leads have 3M reflectors that help keep you safe in low light conditions. All of the gear from Hurtta is machine washable. I would recommend using a garment bag and a gentle cycle. Don't dry the gear in a machine, air dry only.

We absolutely love our gear from Hurtta! Everything we've ever gotten has lasted for years. Hurtta is a fabulous company and wonderful to work with. I highly recommend checking them out and giving their gear a try!

Happy Spring everyone! What sort of adventures will you be going on this year with your dogs?

ZoePhee received products from Hurtta in exchange for our honest thoughts and opinions. All opinions are my own. We were not monetarily compensated.

We are partnering with Hurtta and Major Dog to give one of our readers a chance to win a prize pack worth up to $100! One (1) lucky winner will receive the Harness of their choice, a Padded Collar and a Mountain Rope Leash from Hurtta and a Tiger Toy from Major Dog. The giveaway is open to USA and Canadian (excluding Quebec), age 18 years or older. Please follow the directions on the giveaway widget to enter. The winner will be notified by email and have 48 hours to reply before I choose someone else. Good luck everyone!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A Work In Progress...

Today we've got a Phoenix update! Phoenix goes to play group once a week on Mondays and she is doing pretty well with our established group. We don't see her playing very often yet but she's able to hang out with the other dogs and she does try to play with a few of her favorites. She's just not sure how it all works yet. "How do I get these dogs to play with me?" (That doesn't involve chasing and nipping or third wheeling.) Attending play group has also helped her with her dog interactions in the real world. She has been doing great when we go to the off leash hiking park. She's even solicited play from some random dogs we've come across out there!

With all the good stuff, Phee still struggles sometimes when she meets new big dogs. Greetings can be stressful and she gets scared. We had three new dogs start yesterday and she had trouble with one of them. I guess one out of three isn't ridiculously horrible but sigh... The greeting was not what we usually do with her, the dog showed up early (new dogs are supposed to come in last) we didn't control our antecedents very well and we had a snarky incident. Nobody was hurt but it wasn't pretty. Then the rest of the session, Phoenix struggled with that dog being in close proximity to her. Eventually everybody did settle down and everything was fine but it was not her best day.

Everyone at my work is very supportive and we think these are issues we can work through with her. There are other dogs that come who used to have way worse issues and they've been worked with and are doing great. I keep trying to remind myself that all dogs have good and bad days, just like us! Training takes time and she is only able to go once a week. My co-workers tell me that she is doing better each week and she also does better when I am not in the room with her.

When things go wrong, it's so much harder when it's your own dog. I can watch other dogs have their grumpy moments all day long but when it's my dog, it really gets me emotional. My boss has given me a mantra to repeat: "Conflict is normal". So I try to remember that shit happens, they're animals. We just do the best we can and that's all we can do.

So that's my Phee training update. She's a work in progress! Overall she's doing well so I'm trying to look at the bigger picture and not let an occasional off day get us down.

I also just wanted to let you guys know that I've been having technical difficulties with my computer and camera so it's been making it hard to blog and visit blogs. So this is why you guys haven't been seeing much of me.