Monday, December 30, 2013

A Trip to The Park

     Hey, everyone! On Christmas Eve, the peeps and I went to buy some satsumas (a type of orange) and then stopped at this beautiful park that was about 45 minutes from home. It was a beautiful, albeit chilly, day and we had such fun! I was, of course, perfect.






Rollin'













What's that I see?

Ducks! I flushed 'em out.




Gorgeous live oak covered in Spanish moss.





DM: Even though she's on leash, recalling is a constant. 




Do you wonder why one of my nicknames is "Buggy Buggy Big Ears"?


Leggy girl.

There's something under this grass, I just know it!










Kisses and Tail Wags,
Dachshund Nola

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Black and White Sunday


Nikon D3100, 18-55mm AF VR Nikkor Lens
36mm
f/5
1/60
ISO 450 

Join me and my co-host Sugar for the Black and White Sunday Blog Hop! Grab the badge below and link up!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Friday, December 27, 2013

Review Day

     Hey, y'all! I've got four reviews for you today, so let's jump on in!



     First up we have Train 'Em Tasks. Train 'Em Tasks is an Etsy shop that makes task cards packs for training. They offer agility, Rally, competitive obedience and pet/basic training (I believe these are mostly, if not all, AKC based). In each category there's different packs you can choose; for example, you could pick an agility pack and go with Agility Jump Skills or a Rally Pack and pick Novice. Here's a bit about the shop:


How my shop came to be is kind of funny. I had created the task cards as they are now called a couple of years ago because with Lars, I had started to get overwhelmed with how much stuff we had to work on between obedience and agility. I would get frozen with what to work on and then just fall into things we could do well because they made me feel great about where we were and avoid stuff that really needed work. On the flip side of that...if something showed up at a show or class that we needed a little bit more work on, I would become obsessive about getting that right. Both myself and Lars would become stressed over me hammering, hammering, and hammering what was broken in our routine. I made sure that I added some "Play" cards in the mix of my "prototype cards" because I had gone to a seminar about building drive in your working dog. Play was something that was talked about a lot and how important it is to build a dog's relationship with you. Especially in competitive obedience, engaging play isn't something people really spend time doing with their dogs. I created two large bags with all of these cards on them and kept adding cards as we progressed in skills and experience. I won't train without pulling cards now because it really helps me plan on what exactly I am going to work on - whether it be small pieces of that exercises, the entire exercise as it would be done in a show, or games based on that exercise. Now that I have two dogs and both at very different levels of obedience...I am using the task cards to teach Ocean higher levels. Of course he can't do a complete Utility Obedience exercise like Lars can, but I will start working the foundations of it with him if a UD card is pulled. I think the task cards will have him more prepared for higher level work sooner than Lars was because I was adding those cards as Lars and I advanced on. One more reason why I like using the task cards and especially in obedience is as Lars is in the proofing stage now of Utility, they make sure we work on stuff he knows and knows well. Despite him being a very confident dog, he does stress some when we do all new stuff. He really likes it when I throw in exercises he knows he can do 100% with the new stuff...it keeps him motivated in his work.
So, fast forward to this summer and I was discussing training blogs and journals on Dogforums with a bunch of people and some how the task cards came up. I think it was someone asking how do you collectively decide on what to train. I brought up the task card system and people told me I should make those and sell them because they would buy them. I found that idea to be very interesting and I just filed that away in the back of my head. With my day job, I was thinking about making a change and I decided that I should test the waters with the cards. I spent most of my free time in July - August making cards in different forms, researching materials, and other business issues and ideas. I opened my etsy shop at the end of August and pitched the idea to a bunch of my training friends on Facebook. Train 'Em Tasks has been very well received by those friends of mine and the sales started to roll in. Once I saw that the task packs and bags were useful to people, I decided to formally launch the business and created a website, twitter, and facebook page. From the response I've gotten from those who have ordered task packs (both friends and strangers,) I have a product that could really be something successful. So, I'm thinking of new ways to being to take tasks to higher levels like someday having a stand alone store along with Etsy, being present at large dog shows/trials as a vendor, having my task packs offered at training facilities or pet stores. That's sort of the big picture I have as I am working on small picture things and developing Train 'Em Tasks. :)





     Mom and I are training for Rally-o, and I have my first trial in March, so we picked the AKC Rally Novice Task Pack. The pack has 34 of the 36 Rally Novice signs (start and finish excluded), and four "PLAY!" cards. They came in a good sized drawstring bag that's easy to have both the cards and treats and even a toy in it, and, with the of a carabiner, clips easily to your belt loop so you can take it on the go.
There are a few ways you can use these cards. You can do as they're intended to be used, and grab a few cards (at random, or the ones you need to practice on) and work those exercises, or use them to set up a mini Rally course so you and your dog can get comfortable doing these sequences and get a good flow going. That's how Mom and I have been doing them, and it's a blast! DM: I knew Nola would like Rally, but I wasn't anticipating how much she'd LOVE it!











PROS:
Awesome service (Mom sent several emails back and forth with the shop owner that weren't even related to the review; she was giving us some much appreciated Rally pointers)
Comes with a bag
Very fast shipping
Good prices
So useful
Easy to read print

CONS:
Nothing!


     I give Train 'Em Tasks my highest rating of 5/5 stars!




     Up next is PetBox. PetBox is a monthly subscription box that brings your dog or cat premium goodies you get to customize, and for each box sent out PetBox feeds a rescue pet. You can customize the box for your dog, cat or both. Tell them your pet's size, age, gender, ect. You can pick everything in your box, or choose to be surprised.  That's something I really loved about this! With every other box I've seen, you don't get a say in what your pet gets. This way, you can choose what your pet would actually like/use, and not waste your money on things they won't touch.
















    Now we have Zututh, makers of dog toothbrushes in your choice of manual or automatic. If you've followed my blog for awhile, you know we're fanatic on dental health here; I get my teeth brushed every night, and at 3 years old my teeth are in immaculate shape. My vet always compliments my pearly whites!




     I was sent both their automatic and manual toothbrushes, both in size small. The head of these brushes is unique in it's shape, the handle is easy to grip, and they're a very good price. However, the toothbrush isn't long enough to reach my back teeth very well. So if you're like me and have a long, skinny muzzle, these might be a bit difficult to use.










Kisses and Tail Wags,
Dachshund Nola