Monday, April 30, 2012

CoatPlus Winner & Partial Review

Folks, we have a winner for the Arenus CoatPlus™ supplement, and that winner is Nancy. Congratulations, Nancy! I hope you and your pup find the supplement to be a great success.

As for us, we've been using it for a couple weeks now, so I can certainly give you all my first impressions of the product, but I still don't have any input on its results/effects. Once we are done with every last capsule in the bottle, I will post an update to let you know if Desmond is all soft and silky smooth and itch-less.



For now, let's review what we know for sure so far.

1. The capsules are smelly. To a dog. I don't smell a damn thing, quite frankly, but Desmond sniffed the crap out of the package when it arrived, and then the bottle when we removed it from the box, and then the pills when I opened the bottle. Sheesh, dog. Hold your horses.














2. The capsules are apparently not as yummy as they smell. To a dog. We thought, based on the way Desmond sniffed everything, that he might just plain eat the thing--like he does with his probiotic supplement and heartworm pills--but the dog who will turn down his nose at a slice of processed wrapped-in-plastic cheese product also did not want to nosh on this beefy capsule.






3. The capsules are beefy. Yes, they are beef flavored, but that's not really what I mean. I mean they're large and in charge. I would not even attempt to swallow such a thing, as I'm the type of person who has a hard time with Zyrtec, and this is literally the reason I don't take vitamins. Lame, I know. But I don't need to swallow these things, thank goodness. Desmond doesn't seem to have trouble with it, so that's a plus.



4. The capsules sometimes get left in the dust. Desmond pulls off simultaneously being a picky jerk and a food-obsessed maniac. He sometimes scarfs down his meals without the assistance of any food or flavor boosters, like veggies or added protein or a little canned dog food. Other times, he will look at his plain, dry bowl of kibble and scoff. There's no telling when he'll go either route, so we just wing it.

Along with his kibble, he gets his B multivitamin, which is also pretty big (though not as big as the CoatPlus) and very obviously smells and tastes like a yucky vitamin. Some days, he leaves this pill in his bowl, but this usually happens when his food is kibble only. Or it happens when he winds up biting into the pill instead of just wolfing it down along with kibble. Then we'll find pieces of the pill leftover, and that's understandable. I don't blame the guy!

Vitamin B on the left, CoatPlus on the right

In any case, that's a long way around to get to this point: We thought he might go ahead and eat the CoatPlus along with his kibble. He would not. We either had to add extras to his food to make him so excited about eating that he just blindly gobbled or we had to stick it in some peanut butter after he ate, and then he put it down no problem. He has not attempted to eat just the PB and spit out the supplement. That's a good thing.

And that's kind of as far as I can go with this review. Does it seem like Des is scratching a little less? Yes. Does it seem like he feels softer in places where he wasn't all that soft before? Yes. But I don't feel confident saying this is due to the supplement, as it might just be me thinking I see/feel things. That's why I want to wait it out so I can be sure.

I was actually thinking of cleaning my house so I could see how much less dog hair accumulates all over the place, but that seems like a lot of work, and--let's be honest--I'm too lazy for that. Oh well, it's the thought that counts.

An update on Arenus CoatPlus will be coming up in a few weeks! Desmond's looking forward to it.



Friday, April 27, 2012

5:30 AM Walks

I'm sure by now you've heard me mention about a million times that I walk Desmond at 5:30 in the morning, Monday through Friday. I'm a morning person, so this isn't the worst thing ever, but it really really really really really really really is the opposite of fun in the winter. And in some of the fall. And in early spring.

Being out in the dark--which is what it is between Daylight Saving changes--is not my idea of a good time due to my paranoia and neurosis (discussed here). Being out in the dark when it is also cold makes me rather angry.

But being out at 5:30 when the sun is already peeking his head out at me is great. It's great because I get to see a whole lot of pretty things, thanks very much to our geographic location, an on-the-water neighborhood on the South Shore of Long Island.

One day, in the far-away future, I'd love to have a boat. Or a big fancy house right on the water. Or both.
I always try to get nice pictures of Des with the pretty scenery, but it's nearly impossible. This is due to the fact that my phone camera is crap, so any tiny movement causes blur, and also the fact that Desmond looks entirely miserable/annoyed/sad at all times.
He moved a little when I took this, and look how blurry it is.
Also, look how sad he is. What a drama queen.
He honestly looks like he's lost in thought--the saddest thought anyone's ever had.
That's a little better. To look at him, you'd never know what a spoiled-rotten princess he is.

I've posted about our waterfront walks before, albeit briefly, and I try to keep an updated collection of all our morning pictures on the Life With Desmond Facebook page (which you should totally go Like if you haven't already!), you know, for posterity. There are a bunch there already, if you'd like to take a look.

P.S. For anyone who is wondering, no, I do not get up at 5 AM on weekends to walk my crazy dog. But because of his leash reactivity, we kind of can't walk him at any normal hours when people and their dogs are out. We're working on things, but he's still not ready for that kind of exposure. So, we take him to the dog park, where he can be around dogs off-leash (not that the walk from the car to the gate isn't quite a challenge, since he can see the dogs the entire time). I'd like to start taking him hiking, too, but our weekends tend to be very busy, so that's easier said than done. I do plan to make it a priority though. My hope is to get one hike in per month. I figure if I start with a goal like that, I may have a shot at meeting it.
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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: After the Dog Park




Hope you're all having a lovely week!

Have you entered our Arenus CoatPlus giveaway yet? It's not too late! 

Enter via the Rafflecopter here: Arenus CoatPlus Giveaway

Monday, April 23, 2012

Arenus CoatPlus Giveaway

Is your dog itchy? My dog's itchy. Desmond scratches himself pretty often, especially around the collar. 


Does your dog shed to the point where you've considered getting floors or furniture to match the color of his coat? Oh, that's only us? Hmm...  


Or maybe Mr. Wonky Legs just needs some more omega-3 fatty acids in his diet. 


There once was a time when we used a fish-oil supplement that we poured on his food. He liked it just fine, and it did make him feel extra crazy soft and awesome, but it stunk pretty bad and made a mess. We didn't buy any more after we finished the first bottle. 


We also tried feeding him white fish dry food, but that also stunk. A lot. Like ridiculously a lot. I will likely never lose the memory of that particular smell. *shudder* 


So when I was contacted with an offer to review the Arenus CoatPlus™ supplement--and I saw that it wasn't another bottle of oil but gel capsules instead--I was pretty pumped. When I was informed I could also do a giveaway, I was extra pumped. 



(image used with permission)


Unfortunately, I'm not able to post the actual review of the product yet, as I've only been giving it to Desmond for a couple of days; there hasn't been enough time to see results. The review post will follow in a few weeks, but the giveaway starts now!
(image used with permission)


Here's a little more information about the supplement--which comes in different sizes for small and big dogs--and your pup's skin & coat health:
Proper fatty acid nutrition is essential for maintaining a healthy skin and coat for your dog. Without these beneficial fats, or the proper balance between Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, dogs may develop a dull coat, with brittle hairs that break easily and shed. In addition, fatty acid deficiency may result in flaky, itchy, and scaly skin. 
While many dog foods provide enough fat as a whole, they may not contain sufficient levels of Omega-3 fatty acids. Necessary levels of omega-3’s, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are less common in pet food because the combination of these two together occurs in significant concentrations only in marine oil sources. 
CoatPlus™ by Arenus is a nutritional supplement that will supply your dog with the daily recommended allowance of Omega-3 fatty acids in a convenient, soft-gel capsule. This high-quality, concentrated fish oil is an excellent source of EPA and DHA. CoatPlus also provides the additional vitamin E that nutritionists generally recommend when consuming fatty acids.
Sounds pretty good, right? Maybe I should be taking a fish-oil supplement myself!


If you'd like to win a full-size bottle of this supplement for your dog, enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway will run through 4/29. Apologies to my Canadian friends, but this is open to U.S. residents only (18 & over). Please email me if you have any questions or problems with the widget.



Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How to Fail at Gotcha Day & Blogiversary

For your entertainment, I'll be adding some random
"Des is resting so let me bother him" pix.
Well, I've done it again. I am so not caught up on things behind the scenes at LWD (including commenting on your posts--I've got a backlog that goes back to March. Yikes!) that I have completely glossed over both Desmond's Gotcha Day and our blogiversary.

Desmond's Gotcha Day was April 1. I had great intentions. There was going to be a cheesy photoshopping job involved. My grand fantasy definitely included exploring a new park/hiking spot. I contemplated taking him back to the spot where we adopted him and taking a pic. I even ordered him some gifts and followed through on our plan of getting him pet insurance in honor of him not dying or breaking a leg during his first year under our care.

But none of those things happened either at all or at the right time, and I failed to take pictures of his loot when it did eventually arrive. We did not have a special celebration. We didn't even get him something from the barkery. Luckily, Desmond has no idea what's going on, so he didn't seem to care.

I'm now contemplating ditching his birthday celebration in the future (since it's estimated anyway) and focusing on his Gotcha Day instead. I think both of them being so close together threw me off.

Shortly after that non-event came and went, I failed to honor another: my blogiversary. April 5th of last year, I started this blog. It's probably hard to believe, but I was even more inane and rambling in that first month, mostly because I was pretty sure only my parents, my in-laws, and Aunt Jane were reading it.
"Mother, you are a constant annoyance."

Then came you guys--the awesome folks in this crazy dog-bloggers community--and along with that came a feeling that I needed to be a little less "Dear Diary" and a little more, "Well, would ya look at that; I'm writing a blog and people are reading it." Emphasis on the "little", obviously.

So, thank you very much to everyone who is here to remind me this isn't completely pointless. I heart you!

Because I am not nearly as cool or ambitious as one of my favorite Canadians, Kristine at Rescued Insanity, I don't have much to offer you except links to my top five most popular posts (that are not giveaways) and five of my favorite early posts that didn't get a lot of eyes but I'd love to revisit. There's some history there and some, "Oh my god, what were we thinking??" My first post is linked above. Enjoy!

  1. A Rant by the Owner of a Leash-reactive Dog
  2. 2012-ish Goals
  3. My Dog Ran Away Last Night
  4. Mr. Chewy Review & Donation Opportunity
  5. Breed Discrimination Really Pisses Me Off
"Just because I didn't even move this time doesn't mean I'm enjoying this."
  1. Our Creepy-footed Kangaroo
  2. Desmond's Big Weekend
  3. The Bathroom Incident
  4. Our Gardener Should Be Fired
  5. Obedience Training Lesson 1 (From the beginning, something wasn't right, but I just didn't know any better.)
Paw cross! I need to get this on cue one day.


P.S. I do have some reviews & giveaways lined up for the next month or so. Stay tuned! Desmond looks thrilled about that, doesn't he?

P.P.S. I want to post about my ABC externship, but I feel like I should at least ask permission. This Sunday, at class, I will attempt to remember that.

P.P.P.S. Are we the only loonies with pet insurance? What do you have? How long did you mull over this decision? Do you think it turned out to be worth it?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Freedom Harness vs. Dog Mom

Look at my thumb:



Do you know why my thumb is bandaged? No? Because I'm a good dog momma. Maybe too good.

We just got the Freedom harness, because Des grew out of his Easy Walk and I don't think the Easy Walk was really working that well for us anymore--granted, that may be due to it no longer fitting--so I thought I'd branch out. Plus, as a future trainer, it's good to be knowledgeable about various training products. (Hey, maybe I can deduct it from next year's taxes...)

For reference, the photo above includes the EzyDog leash we reviewed months ago and still love, the Freedom, and the Easy Walk. And also my dog-walking hat. No sunglasses allowed (not that I need them at 5:30 AM), only hats. Your dog needs eye contact to understand your attempts at communicating.

See how the Easy Walk isn't fitting quite right? It's too small now, so it pulls and shifts and pushes in all the wrong places. Plus, the parts I need to stay tight don't stay tight. And I'm not sure it was ever really wide enough anyway.

I have spent a week or so showing the new harness to Des, having him touch it, putting it on but not closing it, closing it but keeping it loose, and all that good stuff you should do--with lots of treats--to desensitize your dog to a weird contraption thingamajig.

The weird contraption thingamajig

This morning, I started to tighten/size it before briefly putting it on him, and when I was clasping the straps together, I ran into trouble.

Trouble = injury.

I already knew the clasps were somewhat tough to handle. They're pretty heavy-duty plastic, which is good but means they snap sharply and loudly when you click them into place.

See? Heavy duty.

The first time I did it the other day, I was unsuspecting and poor Desmond jumped out of his skin. The clasps are not too far from his ears. I apologized profusely and gave him lots of loving after, because I felt like a dumb jerk. I should have known better. Not-so-good momma.

Since then, I have been very carefully clicking those bad boys together. This morning, Des wouldn't pick his head up for me (he was sniffing toward my treats pouch on the floor next to where I was kneeling) so I knew the snap would be super loud.

But by using extra caution, like a good momma would, I somehow managed to make the clasp pop back toward my finger after it was halfway in. I guess it used its kinetic energy to sort of spring back at me full force. Or would that be potential energy? Ugh. This is why I dropped my physics class--not once but twice--in high school.

Anyway, it slammed into to tip of my nail and bent my nail in such a way--and I don't know how this is even possible--that the middle of it cracked but the tip remained unharmed. Ouch times 10. Also, blood. Quite a bit more blood than I'd have expected.

I screamed and cursed bloody murder when it happened (husband came out of the shower and everything), so Des got scared, ran away, then came back over and threw up. While still semi-wearing the harness. Now he's probably scared of the harness. Oy vey. 

So here I am in a bandage, thumb throbbing, typing on my phone in such a way that I'm getting a pinky cramp. All because I was so concerned about my pup's ears.

But how could I not be concerned about this cutie's ears?

When we finally get it together here and have a fitted, in-action harness, I'll report back with opinions, but so far it's Freedom harness: 1, dog mom: 0.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Dollars for Daffy Fundraiser

Have you guys heard about the Dollars for Daffy fundraiser that the Barkers Dozen is running? You may have seen Rama's Mama talking about it on her blog, or if I'm really lucky, you've seen me talking about it on Examiner.com.

Meet Daffy! (photo credit: Ingrid Trinka via the Barkers Dozen)

Dollars for Daffy is a fundraiser for a sweet rescue dog who is suffering from a somewhat-mysterious neurological disorder. Her hu-mom, Ingrid, is unable to get her to the treatment she needs, which is quite far from where they live. Ingrid and Daffy have a very interesting history in addition to their medical challenges. You can find out how to donate and read more of their story in my article: Help a dog in need with Dollars for Daffy.


I can't help but end today's post with a pic of my dear doggie, as this is his blog after all. This is what happens after he goes to the dog park. Hooray for the dog park!

Notice his new collar? It's reflective! And I got a leash that matches it, but it's in orange so they make up Mets colors, sort of. It's shockingly hard to find Mets colors that are not on what is blatantly a Mets collar, which I do not want. Joey thinks it makes him look like a girl, though, because it's light blue. I don't think it's that bad, but what do I know? Truly, I only bought the set because I am required to have a 4-foot leash for the training classes, and I decided I wanted a collar to go with it. This has turned out to be a very long photo caption, hasn't it? Don't worry: I'm going now.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

YumZies Grain-free Treats Review

UPDATE 4/8: Can y'all believe I forgot to give you our Mr. Chewy promo code for 10% off??? I'm such a jerk, right? Ugh. Anyway, here it is: DESM8618. Don't forget that this promo code gets you 10% off your first order and Mr. Chewy sends $10 over to Bideawee to help them help doggies and kitties. Can't beat that! And here's some super awesome news, since the existence of the Life With Desmond Mr. Chewy promo code, a total of $350 has gone to Bideawee!! That's pawsome!


***
Our latest product review comes courtesy of Mr. Chewy and is of a product that's not very easy to find: a soft, natural, grain-free, gluten-free training treat. These are made by Nootie, the company better known for its line of shampoos.


Many grain-free doggie offerings are hard like biscuits or are basically jerky--not that Desmond has anything against biscuits and jerky, but he definitely loves treats that are soft and smelly. Desmond's momma prefers those treats, too, because they're the best for training this crazy dog to not be so crazy. And also to do cool tricks. 

The YumZies we tried are barbecue chicken flavor, which is different from anything Des has had before. I requested the mini version of the treat--again, for training purposes. The mini treats are actually not all that mini (more on that soon), so I wonder what the size of the regular treats are, but they sure do smell good (I did not expect them to, because of the flavor. I think all BBQ flavored people snacks smell funky.) and Desmond is a big fan. Know who else is a big fan? Me. Because they don't make my dog's butt stinky. Woo!

The ingredients of the treats make me smile as well. There's no wheat, corn, soy, artificial preservatives, or artificial flavors. Instead, there's chicken, fish oil, and ginger and pea powder. The treats stay chewy--according to information provided by Mr. Chewy--thanks to glycerin and lecithin.

Let's take a closer look, shall we?

"Another delivery for me, I presume."

How cute is the little dog on the package?

"Yeah. Great. You're showing me the bag. When are you gonna open it?"

"Stick my face in the bag? Don't mind if I do!"

After I let Des into the bag, I made him work on some Leave-Its. This close inspection of a treat was too much for him to handle, and he wound up eating this one right after the pic was snapped.

He did better here, but still wouldn't take his eyes off the treat.

The reward. (And, yes, those are still my same dog-destroyed blinds hanging on the window back there. One of these days, I'll get new ones.)

A super Leave-It we sort of copied from Married with Dogs, which you may have seen me mention on our Facebook page.

OK, so here's the thing about the size of the treats: They're pretty big for mini treats, even for my not-teeny dog. We do a lot of food rewarding around here for good behavior, and I frequently use treats for helping Desmond keep his focus on me instead of the world on our walks. Because of this, I want to use the smallest possible piece of food I can that Desmond will tolerate/pay attention to (this is also why I don't buy crappy treats). That means I break up every treat, no matter how small it starts out.

These mini YumZies treats had to be broken up into quarters, more or less, which I don't mind at all, but I found that they were actually a little difficult to break. Meaning, I needed to use two hands to do it and wouldn't be able to break one up with my non-leash-holding hand on a walk. That being the case, I have not tossed any of these into my treats pouch for that purpose. YumZies serve a better purpose for us as prepared clicker training treats. I'll take some out and break them up ahead of a training session. That works just fine for me.

So, as you can see, a whole piece is more or less dime sized (can you believe I didn't have any dimes the day I took this picture?). And, yes, the treats are marbled, although I'm not savvy enough to know why. They are also, as you can see, somewhat crumbly when you start messing with them. This doesn't really bother me, because I just toss the crumbles onto his dinner/breakfast, but some folks may not be down with the crumbles.
If you're looking for a bottom line, here it is: Yes, I would buy these treats. I'm very curious about the other flavors, which are cheese, hickory bacon, and peanut butter. I'm pretty sure Desmond would enjoy them all.

Disclaimers and notes: Mr. Chewy sent me these treats for free in exchange for my honest review. Mr. Chewy is cool like that. Also, I personally contacted Nootie via email after asking the Mr. Chewy rep a specific question about the treats that he couldn't answer. The person I spoke to at Nootie obliged and was very transparent. I felt comfortable giving these treats to Desmond in light of our conversation.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Fetch Videos! Plus, More From the Long Island Dogs Examiner

The Long Island Dogs Examiner being me, of course. :-) These are two of my recent articles that you may find of interest. The first one gets into the bully breeds situation a bit and the second one features cute puppies who need homes.
  1. Dogs saving lives on Long Island and beyond
  2. Adoptable puppies at Ruff House Rescue

You may or may not have noticed that I added the LI Dogs Examiner RSS feed to the LWD sidebar here. That automatically updates every time I post something new on Examiner.com. I also have the tab at the top of the blog that contains all my past articles, but I think that's something that will go on its merry way when I redesign things here.

And I will actually and really do that. My awesome husband has already created a logo for me, and I can't wait to share it with all of you. I will probably be lazy and stay on Blogger but upgrade to a dynamic blog theme/design. In the process, I will likely screw up a bunch of stuff and things will not work, but we'll deal with that later. I promise you that I will not under any circumstances turn on the supremely awful Blogger captcha thing in the comments section (if IntenseDebate doesn't play nice with dynamic Blogger blogs)--it's the least I can do.

As always, if you're interested in becoming an Examiner, let me know, and I can refer you!

Now then, the super-amazing and fantastic and incredible videos of Desmond not-at-all-gracefully playing fetch in our house that you've all been waiting for!!!

Get ready to be wildly underwhelmed and disappointed... 


If that doesn't work, please click here.



And if that doesn't work, please click here.

While I'm throwing pleases around, let me also ask you to please understand that these videos were taken before we started working on Desmond's fetch manners. He's now on his way to an automatic sit after dropping the ball/before we throw it again.

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