Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: My camera died :(

My camera died while I was in the middle of taking pictures of my dogs! It was painful, but I purchased another one - the upgraded version of the one I have. The Sony a6000. This camera is faster than my other one, we'll see how picture taking goes! Here are a few shots I got before 'the incident'.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tasty Tuesday: Evolve Treats Review

This is my very first "Tasty Tuesday" post! I've been meaning to write a review on these treats for some time. I have not been approached by this company to review these treats, I purchased them on a whim and really like them.

I found these treats at WinCo, when I first started purchasing them, this 48oz bag was around $12. They have since raised the price to around $14 but this bag lasts me a long time. My dogs do not have any special dietary sensitivities and I was well aware I was purchasing a "grain free" product from a grocery store. These treats are made in the USA and produced by Sunshine Mills. When I looked into the company for this post - they produce grocery store brands of food and it appears they have had a dog biscuit recall in the past. The biscuits that were recalled contained tainted wheat gluten. These treats specifically do not contain corn, wheat, or any other grain by-product.

  • Crude Protein: 16%
  • Crude Fat: 8%
  • Crude Fiber: 3%
  • Moisture: 26%
Salmon, Sweet Potato, Salmon Meal, Pea Flour, Garbanzo Bean, Potato Meal, Potato Starch, Molasses, Glycerin, Chicken Fat, Gelatin, Salt, Phosphoric Acid, Sorbic Acid, Natural Flavor, Blueberries Apples, Carrots, Natural Smoke Flavor.

This treat meets the standards of the AAFCO food nutrient profiles for the maintenance of adult dogs.

Unfortunately it does not say what the caloric content is of the treats but I have been using them for training and tracking and my dogs haven't had a problem with weight gain.

This is what the treats look like.

These treats are super easy to break up into smaller pieces.

I typically break the treats up into smaller pieces like above. I primarily use them for bait for tracking, but I also use them as training treats. All of my dogs like them and eat them readily. I have bought three bags so far and they have all been consistent as far as appearance and moisture content. Aside from this salmon flavor they also have a Turkey & Pea flavor. I haven't purchased the salmon for any particular reason other than the fact that the WinCo I go to has the big bag in the salmon flavor. I plan to continue to purchase these treats. Before I found this brand I would typically buy a Natural Balance log and cute it up. Cutting the big logs up is rather time consuming and I have to freeze most of it because I don't go through the log fast enough. What I really like about these Evolve treats is that if I have forgotten to break up some treats ahead of time, I can quickly and easily break some up before we go out on the field. It is super convenient and easy. Plus, my dogs seem to really like them!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

2015 WCSO K9 Trials

Yesterday Washington County Sheriff's Office hosted the 2015 k9 Trials. It's an event where various k9's from various police agencies show off their skills and compete for the top dog award.

The categories the dogs competed in were:

Area Searches for Suspects and Evidence [Someone hid in a box out of sight of handler and dog.]
Agility Course
Fastest Dog [They used a portable radar unit and had the dogs run towards it for the helper.]
Suspect Apprehension
Vehicle Extraction
Handler (Officer) Protection
Top Dog

They explained to the crowd that the dogs help because people tend to respect the dogs and often times the police will not have to use force to apprehend a suspect because they will give themselves up if there are dogs around.

I wish I had taken notes, I can't remember specifics but one dog has had 44 captures in his career, another dog tracked a hit and run suspect for 3 miles, another dog had just caught 2 suspects within the last two days. It appears that these dogs are very good at their jobs. Some of the dogs were detection dogs [drugs], some of the dogs were tracking/apprehension dogs, some of them were dual purpose.

It was fun to watch the officers work their dogs, it was also fun to watch each dog work differently. I did grab a few pictures and thought I would share my favorites.

He's not supposed to be biting the pants.

This Shepherd was awesome!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Seppel's IPO-VO/2yrs Post FHO Surgery

This weekend we tried for Seppel's IPO-VO title.

The IPO-VO title is a scaled down version of an IPO1 title. The track is shorter, the obedience routine is shorter, and the protection routine is not only shorter but you can hold onto your dog throughout.

The trial started with the obedience phase first. Since I went on vacation in May we really didn't have a lot of time to practice for the trial. We only had two days to try to proof him to the gun shots. Unfortunately that was not enough time and he immediately broke his down when they fired the shots. That cost us 20pts. When we walked up to do our OB routine the judge asked me if I knew he was going to react that way. I told her that I did. She said if he reacted the way he did in the heeling portion she would have to excuse us. She told me talk to him during the routine. Well, I did go ahead and talk to him during the heeling and he actually responded really well. He hardly reacted to the shots. He blew his down out of motion [he sat]. However the recall was really fast and although he was crooked he finished left quickly and I didn't have to give handler help. His retrieve was perfect. His jump was crooked but he at least went over and came back. We scored a 70 which was barely passing, but he did pass.

After obedience we did protection. Seppel was ON! He barked, he outed when I asked him to. We ended up getting a score of 92. This is the first time we have ever competed in bite work and I was really happy with his score.

The next day we did tracking. Usually they do it all in one day but there was some scheduling conflict. Unfortunately Seppel would not track for me. In tracking you have to follow 30ft behind your dog. We have not practiced that and as soon as I was at the end of the line Seppel stopped and came back to me. He would not restart. We ended up with only 30pts. 10 for the scent pad [beginning of track] and about 20 paces in where he stopped. [We got points for that distance haha]. It sucked to not get the title, but it was really not his fault. We did not have a lot of time to prepare and I feel like he did really well considering he missed out on a lot of training.

There is another trial on October. We will go to that one and try for the VO again. I am not usually obsessed with scores, but this time the goal will be to get a higher score in OB. I don't think we will try for an IPO1 until next year. He's just not ready, we have a few things he still needs to learn. Overall we had a really great time and I am SOOOOOO proud of his protection score!


 ALSO - On June 19th it will be his 2yr anniversary since he had FHO surgery on his right hip. A lot of people find my blog because they are researching FHO surgery.  I've put together a quick video showing some of his rehab as well as some pictures and his VO protection routine. Surgery was the best option for us. It has rendered my dog pain free and he can do all of the things he could do before.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Upping the ante.

I've had a breakthrough that I can't really take credit for.

Let me start by saying, my dogs are not picky. I can feed them virtually anything treat wise, they will eat it. I can feed them any food, they will eat it. I know something is wrong if someone refuses food - because unless they are sick none of my dogs would ever skip a meal! That being said, I typically use kibble or soft treats that are easily broken up into pieces when doing any sort of training.

I've been really frustrated with both Seth and Seppel's heeling. It's been an even bigger problem during trials because they are both uninterested and lack luster in their performances. Lately I have felt that their lack of motivation has transferred into our training sessions. Some of it is me - I have never trained a focus heel in my entire life and other than one advanced obedience class, I am self taught. I just got home from a road trip, on that trip I was able to meet several internet dog friends. One of those friends offered up some training suggestions. One of those suggestions was to feed a higher value treat.

I try really hard not to anthropomorphize my dogs. While I understand the idea of 'doing something' and being 'paid' properly, since my dogs are really not picky I thought what I was doing was adequate.

I was wrong!

Yesterday I cut up some cheese to use for training bait. Both Seth and Seppel were super excited about it and were a lot more animated and willing to do what I asked of them. Today I went to the pet store and got some dehydrated chicken feet. I wish I had taken video [I'll get some soon]. Seth was VERY motivated to work! Moreso than I have seen in a long, long time. I have had issues with him lagging when in heel position and nothing I tried would speed him up. He was extremely excited for the chicken foot and was a lot quicker! I tried the same thing with Seppel, only using it to practice going over the jump for our upcoming trial on Friday, same thing for him - extremely motivated.

I can honestly say that my dogs while not picky, do seem to respond to better rewards! I'm excited to see where this takes our heeling progress. I am also going to try some other things like chicken or other meat so I can rotate the rewards I use and hopefully keep them interested!