Thursday, May 31, 2012

K9 Kamp: Week Two

Let me get this over with and just tell you the name of this past week's challenge: Play With Your Balls. (Hey, folks, I don't name them I just participate.) You get a few seconds to snicker, and then we're moving on...

...

OK.

We were tasked with playing fetch but making things a bit more exciting--and also getting our own butts moving in the process. Desmond loves his b-a-l-l, so I had no worries about getting things done. My biggest worry was that he would finally destroy the only ball we currently have (it's this Ruff Dawg one, which I got from Fab.com, which really is fabulous and you should join it just for Pets Thursdays!), and I'd be forced to acquire a new one in a hurry.

We used to play fetch every day, but as Desmond's energy levels have simmered down in his second year of life, we've been playing only a couple times a week. For this, we played almost every day.

Here's our list of K9 Kamp activities:
  • One or two sessions in the house, with the ball; one with a jumble of rope that used to be a ball. Very little human calorie burning took place here.
  • Two sessions outside with the ball, where I ran around with or away from Des like a psycho and dodged what felt like a million mosquitoes, gnats, and flies.
  • One session outside that was just Des and my mom, using his moose KONG knot toy, which he attacked and killed in the process. It is now just a rope.
  • One session outside where I kept teasing him by waving the ball over my head to make him jump. I consider this an arm workout.
  • One session of Desmond in the Middle, outside with the husband. Truth: I am terrible at this game. Joey was embarrassed.
  • There were also two failed sessions. One involved our still-useless Unbreakoball. The other involved me trying to work on Desmond's Drop It during fetch, and Desmond deciding treats are more important than chasing the ball again, so that was the end of both the game and the training. As if we don't feed him or something. Um, hello?? You're three pounds overweight, my dear. We feed you plenty!
 
"I seriously have no idea what you want me to do with this thing."


Here's proof that Desmond is too sexy buff for his shirt:
He can't close his new Mets jacket.

But he knows the importance of angles and lighting. If he stands just so, you'd never notice the chub.

Meanwhile, the back of the jacket is huge on his super-model-skinny waist.

In addition, I managed to fit in three workouts of my own, and I also planted my vertical herb garden and helped clean the house & put up our screen house over the holiday weekend, so I claim exercise there. Most of that sounds not that hard--and it's not--but it was like freakin 90 degrees. I really need to get a pool.

Of course, Mr. Wonky Legs also made it to the dog park a couple times and went on his regular walk/jogs in the morning. His pants feel looser already!

How did everyone else do?

 

P.S. If you don't have that Right Said Fred song stuck in your head now, I have failed.


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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Sleepy Doggie

I swear Desmond does more than just lounge around and sleep...

Yes, he is resting on Joey's hand, which was in mid-air



Monday, May 28, 2012

The Honest Kitchen Treats Review

Recently, I've become quite intrigued by The Honest Kitchen, because of the advertised quality of their products and the uncertainty I feel about dog food and treats at this point. I know other folks and their dogs--like the crews at Dog Blog USA and Take Paws--love THK, so I had really been meaning to pick up some edibles for Desmond. Best laid plans...blah blah blah. 

Then Mr. Chewy asked us to review some Honest Kitchen treats (which inspired me to finally order a sample of their dehydrated food--let's hope that making it goes better than attempt #1 did--and that's entirely unrelated to this review or Mr. Chewy), and I happily agreed to do so. I chose Pecks, the buffalo & blueberry flavored bite-sized cookies. You know me, always looking for smaller treats.



I was a little nervous about this one, having realized that Desmond is Mr. Picky Pants lately, and I really wanted to be pleased with the treats. Pecks definitely look and smell good. (I didn't have my husband eat any this time, even though the package clearly states these are human-grade munchies.) 

That's a real blueberry in there. :-)
Although I did not make it very easy to tell with my photo, these bite-sized treats are not as small as I would have preferred them to be. They're a little smaller than thumbnail size, and I can't break them into pieces unless I basically crush them into crumbs/powder. 

Not the end of the world, though. I just don't use them for walks/training. We've been using them for random moments or during human dinner (we have Desmond trained to beg politely, meaning as long as he is lying down quietly while we eat, we'll toss him some snacks every so often throughout our meal).

Does Desmond like them?
Based on the drool spots, I'll say it's a positive review.
Based on the attitude, I'll say Desmond would like me to leave the treats on the bed and just go away.

I am happy to report that these were a hit! Desmond is still enjoying them now that we're close to finishing the package, which has been rare these days for crunchy treats. Phew!


I'd surely order these in the future and would try the other flavors (chicken & cranberry, duck & cherry) as well. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem that the Honest Kitchen offers any moist treats--Desmond's fave--but they do have Ice Pups, which are unlike anything I've seen before. It's a mix that you can make and serve warm, cold, or frozen. They also make dehydrated haddock treats, but I want nothing to do with that. I do not even want to contemplate the smell. No no no. Seafood stinky. 

Here's a somewhat random tidbit about Pecks: they are seemingly impervious to ungraceful, lazy dog moms and humidity. 

When I mauled opened the box, I made it un-closeable. Yes, that's a word for today. The treats come in a little plastic bag inside the box, but I am lazy as well as constantly in a mad rush, so I rarely even attempted to close/fold the plastic bag. 

Essentially, these treats were sitting open for a few weeks--a few weeks that happened to be fairly warm and humid, and we haven't really made use of our air conditioners yet, so a climate-controlled environment this is not. The treats are still just as crunchy as they were on day one. I find this pretty impressive. 

And now, for no reason at all, here are two more pictures of Desmond looking oh-so-happy. 



While we're here talking about Mr. Chewy, let's not forget about their awesome discount & donation program. When you place your first order on mrchewy.com and use the Life With Desmond promo code DESM8618, you'll get 10% off, plus Mr. Chewy will donate $10 to Bideawee. So far, Mr. Chewy's coupon for Life With Desmond readers has provided $720 to Bideawee. That rocks my socks off! Let's keep it going.

Disclaimer: In case it's not clear, Mr. Chewy asked for a review of the Honest Kitchen treats and shipped them over to me in exchange for my honest opinion. They did not ask for all the pix of Desmond, but I'm sure they wanted them anyway.  :-)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

K9 Kamp: Week One





Well, the first week of K9 Kamp is over, and I'm happy to report that no one has lost a limb or managed to set themselves on fire or anything.

On a scale of 1-10, I'd say scored about a 6 on the Walking on Sunshine challenge. I'm disappointed. We walk every weekday morning--I thought we would rock the crap out of this one by kicking it up to some wild-good jogging times. We started out strong, doing intervals of jogging on our morning walk, but we ran into two problems. Amazingly, neither are related to Desmond's leash reactivity.

Problem #1: Humidity

Dude. It's May. In New York. Not August on the Bayou. What the heck? All week long, it's been either raining, about to rain, or just finished raining, and the temperature has been 65 degrees (I have no idea what that would be in Celsius, sorry). It's been gross. And foggy. And gross. Granted, we are never more than a half mile from the water no matter where I take Desmond on his walk, so I guess that's not helping matters and is making things somewhat Bayou-y.

In any case, humidity is not a great motivator. It is a great sticky-maker and a great slow-you-down-er. It is also a great, "Oh my god, am I even getting any oxygen?"-er. Jogging, or even walking, through soupy air is not a good time.

Problem #2: Desmond is lazy

I don't know if this is selective laziness or if it's related to Problem #1, but it's slowing things down quite a bit. By this morning, I couldn't get him to even power walk with me. Lazy bum. He saw a few squirrels and gave only a half-hearted effort to chase them. It was almost sad.

What did we accomplish?
  • Five 45-minute walks instead of five 30-minute walks (I don't walk him on weekend mornings, because he gets a lot of exercise at the park or doing other things)
  • One great walk/jog followed by two OK walk/jogs followed by one power walk followed by one very lame and slow walk
  • Three 20-minute workouts during which Desmond either tried to play with me or chewed vigorously on an antler
  • One pilates class that Desmond had nothing to do with but I think it counts anyway
It could have gone worse, for sure. I was expecting to get dragged along the sidewalk, face-first at some point. So yay for that not happening. 

Week Two starts tomorrow. Bring it on! I'm ready. Desmond? I guess we'll see.



Wanna see how the other bloggers and their pups did? Check them out here:


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Healthy Dogma Review

I recently received some products from Healthy Dogma to review. Quite a few of them, actually, which was rad. Yes, I just brought back rad. You can't do anything about that. Healthy Dogma is all about, well, your dog being healthy. Check this out:

image captured from the Healthy Dogma website
Feeding Desmond healthy stuff is a definite interest of mine, so when I opened the box to find Apple Barkers, Peaceful Pooch, Blissful Banana Crisps, and PetMix Lamb & Green Bean dehydrated food samples, I was a happy dog momma.


The Apple Barkers biscuits looked and smelled pretty good.

PetMix


All the loot

Desmond realizing what's going on

Getting a nice whiff

Does he like Apple Barkers?

I guess so! (I like to make him work for things now.)



The banana crisps look so good, I am tempted to eat them myself.

There are only two ingredients--bananas and coconut oil--so I probably can eat them myself. Maybe I should recruit Joey...

"And what do we have here?"

Crunchy 'nanas
Everything was going great! Desmond liked the biscuits and bananas. But about a week or so after we got them, he decided to shun these treats. He would no longer eat them unless I tossed them in with his food. I wasn't sure what to make of this, because he has been awfully picky lately, so I brought the biscuits over to his DBFF Kona's house for her to try. She gobbled them up no problem whatsoever. That being the case, I left her with the rest of the container. No sense in them going to waste here. 

The bananas I still put in his breakfast every day. I really want him to eat those--they are good for him! I still think they look freakin delicious, personally, so I don't know what his problem is. Maybe he's onto me, with the healthy stuff...

Then we have the natural calming supplement. It's a powder you sprinkle onto your dog's meal. And it stinks to high heaven! We had some all-natural calming drops a while back that also stunk the same way, so I am guessing they share an ingredient and it's that ingredient which STINKS. Blech. 

In any case, I've been adding a teaspoon, as directed, to his food every morning. He does seem a little calmer before we leave for work, but I know from my past experience that Desmond requires something a little stronger to achieve real calmness. I'm sure other dogs have success with these kinds of things, but Desmond not so much. 

Honestly, I'm still giving him a scoop of it every morning, because--again--I don't want to waste it. Lately, though, I've been having a little inner debate about the amount of supplements we give our dog, and I think I would like to cut down, so it may be time to stop with this one as well.

The last review product is the dehydrated food. This is my first real experience with this type of food, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Lesson #1--another stinker. What is the deal with so many healthy, edible dog products smelling like the worst thing ever? There has got to be a better way. 

Desmond was not offended by the smell, though. He was excited and came over to be annoying in the kitchen while I attempted to prepare this stuff. This is not his usual meal-prep routine. He knows better. So, I'm guessing the scent of the food is very dog-pleasing.

Now, let me just say that I am not good with things like measurements and math and numbers and the like. This is why baking makes me want to cry. So, when I was following the directions for how to make the food (3 ounces of PetMix plus 1 cup of warm water), I was unsure of myself.

First of all, how the heck do you measure 3 ounces of something? And are liquid ounces different from dry ounces? Luckily, I found a measuring device that had ounces all spelled out for me, so I went with that and decided to just not worry about the liquid vs. dry thing.


By the way, see that ajar cabinet in the back? That's where we keep our garbage now, so Desmond won't rummage through it looking for leftover Chinese food. And, yes, that is a child safety device on the door. All of our lower cabinets and drawers have them.



So I mix up the stuff and set a timer. It has to stand for 5 minutes. Desmond proceeds to throw a tantrum in the kitchen.

Freshly mixed




Timer goes off. Food looks pretty much the same to me as it did before. Hmm... I must have screwed this up somehow. But I followed the directions. So, what gives?

Five minutes later



OK, let me add some more mix and see what happens, directions be damned. Still not looking quite right. Screw it, I'm putting in the whole packet (there wasn't enough left at this point to make another batch anyway). Now it looks more like what would be right.

After adding the entire mix packet



Lesson #2--ignore directions?? I still have no clue, though, because I've never done this before. Maybe it's supposed to be liquid-y? Maybe I should have looked it up online? Oh well. Too late. Not that Desmond cared. He was all about eating that stuff.

I did actually take the bowl away from him twice, because I was worried he would puke due to his water-chugging issues. He was like Mom, for reals? but he did wait patiently each time. Good doggie. 

What are my final thoughts on all of this? I don't think I would order these products. I feel kind of bad saying that, but it's true. The treats and supplement don't hold much value in this household, and the food was possibly more work than I'm willing to put in. That being said, I'm curious about the meat flavored biscuits. Those might be more up Desmond's alley. Or maybe he's just like his momma and would rather eat junk food. :-)

P.S. Since drafting this post, I asked my very fantastic husband to taste the banana crisps. He expected them to taste like...more. As a disclaimer, I'd like to say that no one from Healthy Dogma suggested that a human in the household give the product a whirl. This was my bright idea only. Also, I was not compensated for this review with anything other than the products themselves. Opinions are mine and only mine, as you can likely tell from their general Lauren-ness.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Our First Attempt at K9 Kamp

Let me keep this short & sweet.

I have a destination wedding in the Bahamas in less than 45 days. That is some seriously scary stuff. I am by no means in the same shape I was at my own wedding, less than four years ago, and I'd like to rectify that.

Desmond just learned at the vet last weekend that he is now a hefty 58 pounds. That's three pounds overweight. Had his momma given more of a crap when the scale told her that she was three pounds more than she likes to be, she would not currently be nine pounds beyond her desires. And her pants would fit, even her biggest ones. We won't contemplate the bathing suits.

Both of us need to cut back on the treats and meal portions and increase our calorie burning. So, in addition to making a point of doing a bit more running during our morning walks and being more careful about what we ingest, we're joining Kelly & Koly's K9 Kamp for the first time.





I guarantee you one of us is gonna get hurt. We are neither graceful nor athletic, and we both have a wonky something or other.

Let's hope my husband gets some of this on video so you can all have a good laugh.

Come on, doesn't this look like a dog who is just full of energy and so coordinated?


Lots of other bloggers are in on it, too! Check it out:




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