This is the cutest video of a friend’s golden retriever’s introduction to “The Mirror”. Posted by http://www.karenhocker.com
Archive for January, 2011
Durability Rating: (1/5)
The PawTracks TireBiter, from Mammoth Pet Products, has been in the dog toy basket since Cassie was a puppy. It’s basically an 8″ mini rubber reinforced tire with lots of nubbys like an actual car tire. It’s very durable, and is one of the oldest toys in the bin. So from a durability standpoint only, it’s a great choice. I’m sure there are dogs that absolutely love this toy. As you can see from the photo, it’s got quite a few teeth marks in it, but it’s in great shape even after 3 years.
Our dogs, however, rarely choose this toy to play with or chew. They are willing to play with it if I select it and roll it around for them, but they don’t pick it out on their own. Plus, they’ll switch to another toy if they have the opportunity.
I think the problem with this toy is the rubber smell. It is, after all, a real tire, and has that strong oily petroleum odor that doesn’t go away. The toy smells like a gas station. If I think this toy has a strong odor, I can only imagine how a dog’s sensitive nose reacts to it. They just don’t like it!
The TireBiter is also a heavy toy, making it a less than ideal interactive toy to play with in the house… it tends to land hard and bounce when thrown or rolled, so we need to be careful where we toss this toy for the dogs. It’s a much better outside toy, but because of the nubby texture, it gets filthy from being in the yard, and then I don’t even want to pick it up!
Finally, in researching this toy, I looked at other people’s reviews on this product and saw quite a few people complain that their dogs were sick after chewing this toy, so please do your research before buying.
I’d love to hear if other people have tried this toy and have had a more positive experience with it. It’s a great idea for a toy, but just not that appealing in our home.
Here we are in the dead of the New England winter. There is about 3 feet of snow piled up outside, and the temperatures will be dipping to zero tonight. What to do? Dream about summer, of scuba diving, and yes, of sailing. While I’ll happily bemoan our long and harsh winters here, I have to also admit, we are very lucky for three seasons of year to live near the ocean and get to play out there on the water.
My husband Mike and I keep our 32′ Sabre in Salem Harbor during the sailing season (yes, the Salem where the witches were hanged in the 1600′s). We try to get out on the boat as much as we can. Of course, we love to have the dogs go sailing with us too. Both Cassie and Moxie are great on the boat, and really love our adventures.
This past summer, we got to do a one week sail down Maine. It was our first summer with Moxie on the boat. Having two dogs on a 32′ boat, along with 3 adults and all our gear was sometimes a challenge. But for the most part, we were really pleased with how well Moxie adapted to life at sea.
This year’s trip included stops in Rockport, MA, Portsmouth, NH, Kennybunkport, ME and Portland, ME (and then back again). We arrived at Chicks Marina in Kennybunkport mid-afternoon on a lovely summer day, and tied up on their transient dock space. While Mike and his cousin, Jack, put the boat in order, I leashed up the dogs and took them for an afternoon walk.
One of the challenges of sailing with dogs is making sure they have plenty of “off-the-boat” time and exercise each day. So when I noticed the marina had a boat ramp, I asked the staff if we could let the dogs swim in this protected area. I was so happy to give them some quality time in the water, thinking this would certainly tire them out and they’d be content to chill out on the boat for the remainder of the day. HA!
Once we decided the dogs were pooped enough from swimming and chasing after a stick, we took them back to the boat, hosed them off, and toweled them dry. Then we settled in for a nice “Dark & Stormy” cocktail and enjoyed the boats passing by on their way in from a day on the water. In my mind, one of the greatest pleasures in the world is relaxing on the boat, with a drink in hand, after a fine day of sailing. Ah, THAT is a nice memory to have on this snowy night in January!
Jack returned to Finesse after a hot shower in the marina (another fine pleasure), and Cassie, being a true golden, was overjoyed to see him… after all she hadn’t seen him for about an hour, and that’s, what? a whole DAY in dog hours! Jack is a really good sport about the dogs, but who can blame him for not being quite enthusiastic about being cuddled by a wet dog right after a nice shower? Cassie is persistent though and was being a real nudge.
So, in a moment of just trying to save Jack, I did a very stupid, dumb thing… I called Cassie, saying, “Cassie, look at the ducks!”
Yeah, I can hear you groaning at me! What was I thinking? I know! I realized what I had said immediately, but not before my dog flew through the lifelines and splashed 6 feet below us into the current. CRAP!
Now, in my own defense, Cassie had never jumped off the boat before, (not that she didn’t think about it) so it really took me by surprise when she actually did! We had lots of practice reminding her to stay in the boat. “Stay on the boat” and “Get back in” and “Leave it” are familiar phrases in her vocabulary. But lobster pots, sea gulls and nearby boats are mighty tempting for a golden, and before this moment, we had been lucky.
Now she was off on a mission to get those ducks, who didn’t even have the decency to fly away. No, they taunted her by just paddling away, flicking their tails at her, and Cassie was only too happy to give chase. Mike and I were off the boat in a flash, chasing after her along the dock, and howling her name in vain.
This of course was quite entertaining to all the other boaters we passed along the dock. A half a dozen boats later, Cassie was still on the hunt — she was past the end of the dock, and still going strong. At this point, she was heading into the channel with the outgoing tide, and into oncoming boat traffic. Our hearts were in our throats as we called in vain from the end of the dock.
Durability Rating: (5/5)
My sister told us about trying deer antlers for chew toys, so we’ve been experimenting with them at our house since November. Our first try was a 5″ section of antler. At about $10, we decided to buy one and see if they liked it. Of course, we immediately learned that sharing a chewie was not going to bring peace to our household, as both dogs really liked the chew and spent a lot of energy trying to steal it away from each other. Also, after a few weeks, we took it away, as they had worn it down to a size that gave us some choking concerns.
Our next try, at about 8-9″ and about $19.00 was much better choice for our dogs. These chews were split down the middle, exposing the antler marrow, which the dogs loved and went after first. What is left now is the much harder outer section, and these have been in use since November, and still going strong. The dogs chew on them every night when they are asked to be in a long down stay while we have our dinner.
We’ve tried a lot of different animal based chews before, and the dogs are pretty happy with most of them, but we haven’t been pleased with certain aspects of animal-based chews, including:
- Gruesome body parts are not at all appealing and make us feel guilty and a little sick
- There is often a fairly obnoxious odor when the chews are slobbery
- Messy, messy on the floors
- Rawhide and some of the other chews can be dangerous if in ingested
- Some chews can cause stomach upset and diarrhea
Elk and deer antlers, on the other hand, are naturally shed each year. After shedding the antlers are collected then cut into lengths that are appropriate for various sizes of dogs. All cut edges are sanded smooth for the dog’s safety. Most antler distributors state that their antlers are harvested from natural shedding, however, some companies also use antlers obtained from deer and elk hunting season.
Deer and elk antlers are a great choice for many reasons:
- Safer for enthusiastic chewers, and far less likely to chip, splinter or peel
- Available in several different sizes for small and large dogs
- Great source of calcium, zinc, manganese and potassium
- Help keep tartar knocked down on teeth
- Completely natural healthy dog treat—none of the bleaching, chemical processing, or dying typical of traditional rawhide bones or pig ears
- Great indoor chew, leaves no greasy mess on floors
- Does not stink, like hooves or bully sticks (especially important for bringing on the boat!)
- No stomach upset
- Most distributors will state whether or not the antler was harvested from hunting, or from the forest floor, so you can choose a completely renewable resource chew in which no animal was harmed
- Very long lasting
Antler dog chews are available online, but we found them at our local pet supply boutique. By buying directly, you can choose the exact size and shape that is best for your dog, as each antler is unique in size and shape. However, if nobody sells them near you, there are many buying choices online. Give them a try and please let us know what you think!