Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lescher Farms Dog Park

The dogs and I got out of the house yesterday to head to the dog park. We went to one in Lake Oswego (outskirts) as I wasn't in the mood for a ton of mud and this one has wood chips. Turns out that was wood chips and slop this time of year. We started out in the "regular" fenced area but when a young Aussie wouldn't stop tumbling Juicy, we decided to try the "Shy and Timid Dog" area. I felt a little bad about going there in case there were truly timid dogs there because Vegas, while gentle and mostly indifferent to dogs, is big. Turns out, too, it was more small dog park than it was shy/timid.

Juicy got chased right away and I thought it was another bad omen for the park. After all, her tail was down and her ears back. All she could/would do was run and try to get away. Finally, about 15 minutes later she started relaxing, greeting dogs, and eventually played with the Cairn Terrier that had chased her when we first came in. Of course I took a bunch of pictures.

This orange Pom (above and below) was really cool! I admired his play drive - tugging, chasing, fetching. His mom said he could do it all day. All I know is he didn't stop while we were there.
This is the Aussie pup that wouldn't leave Juicy alone. :(

I couldn't help but stop and try to capture these cute birds on the fence. Two of them hung out for quite a while and let me get about 10 feet away. I didn't push my luck.
This is a different one that had landed and just as I went to shoot it took off. I didn't expect the shot to come out as anything but a blur. Pleasantly surprised!

This little dog is a rare breed called the Miki.
Chewing on a stick...
A giant Papillon

The cute Cairn that first chased Juicy then she decided was okay to play with. The name her family kept calling sounded like "knee-high." LOL

I came home with muddy dogs (not in the plan) but fairly tired dogs (definitely in the plan). Good deal, too, cause the rain and breeze came in just after we left.


I started tracking again recently, this time including Juicy. So far we've only had one impromptu session just searching for treats outdoors in the park and two official tracking sessions complete with three tracks. The first session my son came with me and he laid the tracks.

Juicy had three runs with five, 10, then 15 paces each. They were all straight tracks starting with a glove and treat, and a glove and treat at each of the pace points. The first time was fairly difficult. She doesn't know a lot of verbal commands so she just didn't know what I was asking. After we did complete that first line though, she nailed the next one and the third. And it was a little breezy, too, with air coming up off the river. All in all, a great first session.

Leo got longer tracks as he's more experienced. We did 15-25-40. The first track he did well although he almost completely ran the track a half dozen feet to the right on the sidewalk which I thought odd. The next one he struggled a bit more with but nailed in fairly short order anyway, and the third no problem. As always, it takes much longer to lay the tracks than to run them. All were double-laid as well.

The next time I took the dogs myself which meant I laid them and worked them, not always the best but sometimes you just have to make do. Juicy had two runs on straight tracks, same thing - 5-10-15, and the third I decided to try a 90-degree left turn. Once she stopped focusing on going to the top of the slope and into the road, she picked up the track at the turn and found the glove just fine.

Leo's first two tracks had a right-hand 90-degree turn. He struggled a bit the first time but the wind was picking up some which made it more difficult. None of them were as smooth as he usually is so I'm not sure we're ready for turns yet, at least not when there is wind.

Hopefully I'll have time to get them back out again in the next couple of days. I'm fortunate there's a park three blocks down the street that is only mildly used during the "off" seasons.

Product Review: Paw Hide Dog Toy Puzzle

A year or more ago I started seeing the Nina Ottosson toys available through many online sellers. I was fascinated and loved the idea of something else to engage the dogs indoors since so much of our year is spent in the rain. The down side was, her toys are outside my budget. So I started the search for alternatives that fit my budget. I found a couple, although many seemed much smaller, less complex, and most likely a lower quality product. However, I was willing to try two. The first is by Kyjen, called the Paw Hide.

Here's a video clip of several attempts by Leo to work the toy.

The price was definitely right at $14.99 versus $50 plus of the other brand type toy. The complexity was decent as was its suitability for multiple sizes/types of dogs. The toy also seems fairly durable and is very washable. I would probably go so far as to toss it in the dishwasher if it got that bad. I don't have a large home so having something compact is important, too. I kept the box and just store it boxed in the front closet so it's accessible when we want to use it, but out of the way when we don't. 

The design definitely means the dog has to figure out the best way to get the yellow cups out that suit to his or her mouth or paw size. For instance, the Poms' mouths aren't big enough to pick them up and out nor can they nose them out. That left Leo with one option...spinning them and waiting until a toenail hooked into the hole in the top of the cup. However, it worked. 

Vegas really didn't have much patience and I don't have a lot of feedback from her perspective. She did mostly knock the whole thing over when she did try playing with it which is par for the course. It did live up to the roughness though. 

All said and done, I'd give this toy three paws out of four. I don't think the plastic is hefty enough to hold up to a really rough dog as the pieces aren't thick. Plus, once the dog figures it out, the dog just has to have the patience to repeat the practice over and over each time you pull the toy out. Fortunately, the PomPowered duo are food motivated enough to play again and again and again.

(On a side note, I pulled it out with the little one the other day. I had video but can't find it right now. Anyway, she figured out how to get the cups out and did so. But she happens to be a carrier Pom...meaning she was then intent on carrying the cups ten feed away and never even noticed the treat! Leo was overjoyed.)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Rain Free Saturday Jaunt

Four OFF the floor!

Hunting for worms.
Good wait, Leo.

THREE off the floor!
Happy, happy, happy.
All smiles.

Oh, hi Mom!