Saturday, January 30, 2016

Collars and leashes

I have developed some preferences over the years of owning dogs when it comes to leashes, collars etc. I've tried MANY different versions and some fare better than others. I gave up on retractable leads a long time ago. While I know they are popular and I did at one time use those for multiple dogs, I feel they lack the ability to have good control in various situations. Not to mention for larger breed dogs, which I always have, they are really less than effective.

A while back I bought a leash that had what was referred to as having a traffic handle. It's a standard looking 6 ft. leash, but with an additional short looped handle at the one foot point for holding your dog close when crossing the street, needing extra control when other "less than well behaved" dogs approach, or people who are clearly NOT fond of dogs. This last one becomes apparent when walking a giant white dog. He (Monroe) has a bit of an imposing appearance. It attracts some people and frightens others. He doesn't change how retracts, but people give off very distinct energy around dogs. Comfort or fear, with some middle ground.
Traffic control leash by Dog Collars by Design / Etsy
I had no idea how much I would grow to LOVE these leads with traffic control handles! Brilliant! I makes it easy to walk the big guy at a heal where he is comfortable with a little slack, but still the ability to react if needed. Freyja (Aussie) likes walking at the end of the leash, but reigns in when we pass other dogs, runners, bikes etc. I joke she is training for the Iditarod, but I do think she'd take a spot on a team if offered the lead dog position!

The one thing I did notice about these traffic control leashes, which I got at the local PetSmart/Petco..(one or the other), is they only come in one size, two lengths. 4 foot and 6 foot. When I used the one I have now on Monroe as a Puppy, it was clear the heft and weight of it, especially the heavy duty clasp were a bit overwhelming. Even for a giant breed dog!

This lead me to start looking around, online pet stores, Amazon etc. I was still able to only find the same bigger or even MORE expensive versions. SO.... I decided to search Etsy. I found a seller Dog Collars by Design who had a nice variety of collars and leashes, prices were reasonable and they would customize. I ordered a simple 3/4 inch wide webbing collar in Navy and a lead to go with it also in the 3/4 inch width. I asked for the traffic handle to be at the one foot point. Julie, one of the co-owners of the shop contacted me when they were ready to make the lead. We had multiple conversations working to get the specifics right.

I got the order a couple days ago and everything came out great! The lead is EXACTLY the way I wanted. It will work much better than the bigger, wider, heavier ones till the little guy needs that. Then I will go back and order a bigger one! I also ordered a second collar for when he gets a little bigger!
Dog Collars by Design / Etsy

I think the moustache collar will look SOOOO cute on him when he gets a little bigger! It will stand out nicely against that creamy white coat.

The order took about 2+ weeks to be made and shipped which was made clear in the listings and on the main page. Certainly worth the wait to get things just right!

I also now prefer to use a front hook, no-pull style harness on the dogs. I do train them to heal and some are better at DOING that than others. Freyja WILL heal, but prefers to wander out front. She actually makes a routine of going out and back quite a bit, just to touch base and make sure I'm still there!

I got a couple harnesses from a place online called Walk your Dog with Love. I like them and they work well, but I had a few things I'd change if I could. They go on easily and work quite effectively, but I am not a big fan of the way they go under the dogs armpit. I have two double coated dogs with a whole lot of hair! So far I haven't noticed anything getting matted out bound up under there, but it seemed like a problem could arise.

SO... I found another Etsy seller..3 Pooches. She also has a website 3 Pooches Collars. She has a very nice patented harness that I have ordered for the new little guy. It is also a front hook, no-pull harness, but also has a clip on the back of the harness which gives you options. She sells a leash that will clip to BOTH hooks for training or controlling a heavy puller.. this looks like a sound design, especially for big dogs with a strong tendency to pull!!!

3 Pooches No-pull Harness / Custom design version
This harness can be ordered in the sizes give, or she'll do a custom fitting for dogs that don't fit standard sizes due to a big chest, narrow chest, long body etc. I also liked that it can in several widths of wedding making it more suitable for the puppy. I ordered a 3/4 in wide medium since it ranges in size from 15-24 inches. This is the dog's girth. I used Nutmeg (kitty) as my size model. She was less than pleased to be measured for girth.. she may be a wee bit body conscious since she's a tad overweight. This size should fit the puppy for quite a few months and of course be useful on any future puppies.... I haven't received this harness yet or tried it out, but it get great reviews on Etsy and that is usually a good sign.

And so that Freyja didn't feel left out of all the fun.. I ordered her a new "bad ass" girl collar...
Pink Skull Tattoo / 3 Pooches Collars
Monroe got a cool new "big" dog collar when we were on vacation in Oregon in December. We bought it at a little dog boutique at the beach, but it's from a company I really like called Ruffwear. They are out of Bend, Oregon. The collar we bought can be seen Here. This one is built for tanks! If you have a tank of a dog.. I'd highly recommend this collar! If life gives us what we REALLY want, we will live there (Bend, Oregon) someday! Everything Ruffwear makes is awesome! Nothing super fancy, but functional and great ideas. I even bought Freyja a raincoat for our walks since she has such a heavy coat and takes FOREVER to dry. Having something that helps keep her dry is nice.

That's all for today! Till next time.


Friday, January 29, 2016

A New Chapter

So... What is this blog all about...?

Life. My life in particular, which involves a husband of 26 years, a Daughter (almost) 22 years old, currently two dogs. One Australian Shepherd female, 7yrs old... Freyja. One Great Pyrenees Male, 20 months... Monroe. AND.. The Queen who rules us all, 4 year old Nutmeg, the tabby cat.

I am a creative soul. I rarely sit still for very long and when I do I am usually creating something. I cook, used to garden till we moved to Texas and ended up with the Flintstones soil and an environment the required a blood sacrifice every time you went outside, except in the winter when all the mosquitoes have gone to HELL for the season! IF I could ACTUALLY dig in the soil and NOT have dozens of bites, I would still be gardening. As it stands now, I just kill everything via neglect.

I intend to write about what I do... Cooking, crafting and pets! LOTS of pet stuff is likely! I have been focusing on a natural approach to pet health, nutrition etc over the past few years. If I can find an alternative to using antibiotics for an ear infection (which I have) than I much prefer that!

I am NOT a trained veterinarian, pet nutritionist etc.. I research all of the information I implement into use in our home. I HIGHLY recommend you research before trying anything unknown to you.  I am simply stating here what I try. I do not profess to be an authority. I do think sharing ideas is good and can be helpful for others. Take what you want from here, leave what you don't.

For the past 5 years I have been selling my wears (Jewelry) in a booth at the Gruene Market Days. I enjoyed this a lot and loved all the people I met. BUT, I feel that has run it's course for many reasons and I am moving on to other things.

The first week of March I will be getting a new puppy... An English Cream Golden Retriever...

One of these cute little guys will be headed our way from Iowa. He and I have special plans! I will be training him to be an emotional therapy dog. We will work as a team and visit hospitals, schools, nursing homes etc. I am very excited about this new journey.

It will take a good bit of training, time and focus to get where we need to go, BUT.. that is where we are headed!

I am no longer making jewelry for sale, but I will (hopefully) get what I still have left in inventory photographed and put on my website later this spring. Right now I am on a MAJOR cleaning spree! Clearing out every closet, nook and cranny in this house including the dreaded hoarder garage! I am determined to make a difference and really clear things out! I'm either selling it, giving it to the Goodwill or throwing it away if I don't need it! 

I have been at this task for almost two weeks now and I was OVER it a few days after I started, but I am GOING to finish!!!

You CAN walk down the hall, mostly unencumbered now... I DO still have ALL of my Christmas decorations up, but that will be remedied soon. I'm imperfect and I am TOTALLY OK with that!

Till next time!