Wednesday, 17 January 2018

2017 Favourites

Hey! I know this is quite delayed, especially compared to everyone else's favourites. I apologise. I would love to pretend it is because I have spent the last three weeks hard at work thinking about my favourites, I haven't. Better late than never though. If you are an avid Daisy Pets follower and reader, I have a feeling you can guess a lot of my favourites but I hope to throw a couple of curve balls in there. I would also love to hear your favourites so leave me a comment on this post, on my Facebook or Instagram. I am also going to have a recap of 2017, and goals for 2018 video on our Youtube channel next Saturday, so head over and follow so you can be informed when that comes out!

Favourite Boredom Breaker: Kong Wobbler
Our Favourite Boredom Breaker product is the Kong Wobbler. I don't think this is going to be a surprise to anyone! Ever since Animates sent us this toy we have been using it frequently, if not daily before the Planet Dog Snoop was purchased, now it's more like every second day. This is how I feed Diego's breakfast when I head off to work, and it gives Diego a good few minutes of entertainment as he has to push it around to release his food. This is also a god send for Diego's excessively fast eating habits. It is quite a pricey toy, but well worth it. Diego hasn't managed to damage it apart from teeth marks on the outside but as a puppy he did chew another one until it could no longer be done up.

Favourite Ball: AlienFlex Meteor
2017 seemed to be the year I deprived Diego of a ball that he absolutely adores. Usually it is the Planet Dog Diamond Plate Ball which has been his favourite since 2015 but he lost it at the end of last year and I never got around to buying him another. Terrible dog mum I know! Diego has had multiple balls over the year, but none have really stuck in my brain as one he keeps going back to. However, the Alien Flex Meteor we got from Animates has stuck around for multiple months, has been played with at least a few times a week and is still in perfect form. It smells like bubblegum, has a random shape, and can double as a boredom breaker if you stuff it with treats.

Favourite Tug Toy: Katie's Bumpers
I only got this toy in December, however I know this is a top quality tug toy. I have really struggled to find Diego a decent tug toy that we can play with that doesn't get ripped within a few games. This toy is made out of the same material as fire hoses and is strong! Diego and I have played with this toy a lot and it only has a tiny hole in the corner. To be honest, that corner hole is because I left him with it on accident. From our general playing he hasn't made a dent in it! The handle also has a comfortable grip which makes tug play a lot more fun for me, I was sick of getting rope burn. The size of this toy means it would be good for dogs of Diego's size and upwards.

Favourite Training Treat: Daisy's Doggy Deli Treats
I couldn't decide out of all the amazing treats that Daisy's Doggy Deli make as to which one is our favourite, so I included them all. The main three are the chicken and beef jerkies, and the chicken & turmeric sausages! Diego adores these treats, and they work amazingly for trick training at home as well as training on Diego's reactivity issues. They are a healthy alternative to the jerkies available at the pet stores and supermarkets as they are just meat. They also are super smelly, peaking even the fussiest dogs interest. Feel free to check out our blog posts for more information on them!

Favourite Human Product: Oh My Fluffy Dog Apparel 
OMFD hit the New Zealand Dog Instagram Scene recently and has just exploded. They are all over my home screen, with dog owners across the country sporting their amazing tops and hat. I understand why, I am one of them. I have purchased three shirts, a sweatshirt and hat from them and intend on purchasing a lot more. They are amazing quality, with quirky dog related puns on the front and an incredible dog face silhouette on the back.

Favourite Walk: Waiohine Gorge (Tararua Forest)
This year I completed a bunch of amazing walks, especially during #300kmJune, however my favourite has to be one that we completed at the start of the year. This was Diego and I's first time meeting Ollie and it surprisingly was a hit from the start. We went on a hike to this beautiful clearing beside a picturesque river where we sent up camp. Stayed overnight and hiked out the next day. It was an awesome hike, with incredible views and was fairly easy the whole way. The whole journey Diego and Ollie spent racing each other around and every stop they would go into full wrestle mode. It was also the hike where I badly rolled my ankle only an hour or so in, and still had to complete atleast 7 hours of walking over the next 24 hours. I would definitely recommend this one, and would look at doing it again. I also got no photos of this walk, so of course I need to go back!

Favourite Instagram: TheDustyDingo
This Instagram is one of my favourites as you can tell they absolutely love their dogs, and are also so supportive of everyone else within the industry. Recently they have revamped their Instagram to show their weekly videos of training Dusty a new trick and I love it! Mady is a super talented dog trainer, and Dusty is both clever and gorgeous. I would definitely recommend checking this Instagram out if you are interested in anyway in trick training your dog. She also has recently started a blog and her posts are great! Make sure you check that out as well while you are at it.

Diego was lucky enough to be invited to the studio to participate in a photoshoot for Wolves of Wellington's Kickstarter campaign. Gretchen was amazing to work with, and although Diego's tongue was flopping all over the show, she managed to get some wicked photos of Diego sporting their new gear. Diego is currently the face of the Shaka Harness on their website! It's so cool to see those photos all over their Instagram and website and get to know the workings behind a professional photoshoot and setting up a Kickstarter. They also gave us a personalised bandana, plus a collar and leash as thanks for helping them out. 

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Why I went back to Orijen Dog Food?

Hey! Mid last year I made a blog post about Black Hawk Dog Food in which I discussed the positives of the food and the fact that I have now transferred to this food from Orijen for Diego. In that post I described how Diego had Orijen since he was a puppy, and had transitioned onto the adult formula when he was of age. They then annoyed me by making their bags smaller for the same price (one of the most expensive dog foods on the New Zealand market). That was the perfect time for Black Hawk to send me a PR package and bag of free dog food to trial with Diego. After that first given bag, I then purchased my own bag of food and wrote the review at that time.

I want to start this with saying that I have not changed my views from the original Black Hawk post. I still love the product, love what it contains and am stoked that New Zealand now has more options for quality dog food. I was not paid to say any of this, and although I was given some food, they never asked for a review or post. They didn't even really bring my blog into any of the emails, apart from offering my readers a bag to win.

This is about to get into the realm of TMI, but Diego has always had soft stools. All through puppyhood it was hard to get his poo's hard. Jokes aside, I literally went through a lot of strife on worrying why my dog constantly had soft stools. I took him to the vet multiple times where they took bloods and examined him, all to no answer. They finally told me some dogs were just like that, which now I don't really believe but hey. As Diego grew into adulthood he still got soft stools but not nearly as frequent and they generally had a cause (Going for a swim at the beach/river, eating human food, etc). I forgot that this was a major problem for Diego apart from telling people to not feed Diego food they shouldn't.

I started feeding Diego Black Hawk food and noticed that he had soft stools, but put it down to the fact I was doing more training with him and using a range of treats. I never guessed it was the food because I started both the new food and the training with him at nearly the same time. I started to cut back on the range of treats and start to feed him only treats from Daisy's Doggy Deli which I knew were only pure meat. After a few weeks of this he was still having soft stools, so I completely stopped any extra treats. All he ate was Black Hawk dog food. Still he was having problems, and that's when I decided that sometimes the devil you know is better.

I put Diego back onto Orijen food just after Christmas and have had only one soft stool since then. I don't know why this is, but my theory is that it is what his gut knows. He is a super sensitive soul and his body doesn't cope well with change of any sort. He gets sick drinking the water in Rotorua compared to Wellington. He vomits if he eats someone's dropped potato chips or any human food for that matter.

I don't think this makes Black Hawk a bad product. Diego's skin and coat were AMAZING on Black Hawk, and the ingredients list is great. I believe that like humans, certain foods work for certain dogs. Diego with his sensitive gut seems to be better on food that he has been on his whole life, and I don't see myself making a change again. Other dogs will thrive on this food and it's quality because they are not as temperamental in the gut area as Diego. I bet that Chico would be fantastic on this food and thrive, same with Ollie. I have learnt that Diego just isn't that dog.

My final takeaways from this are:

  • I don't think I will review dog food on my blog again. It is a tough subject, and obviously you need to be on the food for a while to see it's true results. I don't regret my decision to review Black Hawk and will still recommend it, but I feel like I now look a little silly. Plus, I am probably not going to try other dog foods again.
  • Diego is a sensitive sod.
  • Orijen Dog Food is still crazy expensive and my wallet cries every time I buy a bag. However, offers a 10% discount if you chose to auto-ship which is amazing!

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Garage Project Mashbone Treats

Hey! I originally got sent the Mashbone treats from Garage Project a few months ago, but the next day while I was at work, Diego decided to do his own review. He grabbed the packet off my dresser where I had left them and completely demolished everything, leaving no crumbs behind or even much packaging for that matter. I took this as a sign that he must of enjoyed himself even though I personally didn't get to see them for myself. I was upset about this because I had really wanted to write a review on the treats as they are different to anything we have reviewed before. Thankfully, when checking out the new Smackbang store in Wellington, I noticed they had some for sale so took the opportunity to pick up another pack.

Garage Project is a small brewery in Wellington, New Zealand focusing on craft beer. They are well known here and provide some of the most delicious craft beers if you are that way inclined. They decided to actually do something with the 'junk' that comes from making beer instead of just throwing it out. They took the spent mash byproduct from the brewing process, which is both high in protein and fibre, and mixed it with New Zealand grass-fed beef to create what is now know as Mashbone Brew Bites. Working with both vet specialists and food technologists from Massey University they developed and refined the recipe to make it both healthy for your dog but also good for our economy and environment by using locally sourced ingredients. There are no fillers, or preservatives in this product and you can be content in your purchase knowing you are helping locals as well as the planet.

I would describe these treats as a cracker. They are thin, dense and cut into perfect rectangles giving them a cracker appearance. They are a good size treat for just giving to your dog, but would definitely need to be broken up to be used as a training treat. For $11 you get a 90g resealable bag of treats. I love the design of their logo, very clever and a lot like their Garage Project beer branding. Otherwise, their packaging isn't much to write about, just a plain bag with a resealable tab at the top.

The treat itself isn't strong smelling, just a musty, savoury scent if you put it close to your nose. It does leave this same smell on your fingers, but in the world of dog treats, this is the least smelly treat I have dealt with in a while. Breaking the treat into halves or quarters is easy, just a quick snap. To go any smaller than that is a mission. It requires quite a lot of finger strength, and the right positioning to crack it. I also have a slightly longer thumb nail which I have to push into it to try and coax it into snapping. This means it is hard to use as a training treat for Diego. As he is just below knee height he does need quite a little sized treat to be used effectively in training. To get one of these treats to be the right size is quite difficult and also would need to be done before training starts, you couldn't do it during a session.

The other problem with using these as a training treat is the crunch to them. They are super crunchy! For Diego to get through even a little piece requires a lot of chewing before swallowing. This would mean I couldn't overload him with these treats when learning a new move as he would be constantly chewing. A bigger dog may have less of a problem with this, but as always I do need to point out what I have found with Diego.

I am now in a predicament to when I would use these treats. They are not smelly enough to use for walks where he needs something to take his mind away from any distractions, they are too crunchy and hard to break for training, and they are the wrong shape and texture for a Kong. This is a predicament I find myself in a lot with different treats as those are my main three uses for treats. I don't ever just hand Diego a treat for him to enjoy because I already have to try and limit his treats each day from the above. I have to admit I did use this packet for trick training, but on tricks Diego already knew well and could deal with the chewing throughout. I know other people use treats for other purposes so may find more use out of these treats than I did.

Now, to the actual important part, what did Diego think. Diego isn't a super fussy dog, he is half staffy after all so will gobble nearly everything. He did enjoy these treats, and as I am typing this review with the bag in front of me he keeps crawling closer and closer. At this current moment his head is now resting on the laptop while his eyes gaze lovingly at the bag. He did perform all his repertoire of tricks for them, and they kept his attention during a whole training session. Which doesn't sound like an achievement but generally half way through a training session he will run off to get a ball instead.

This was a hard review to write. I always want to be open minded, and honest with you all. I really wanted to love these treats as I love the whole concept around the brand and it's morals. Unfortunately the actual treat did fall short for me, and although Diego did enjoy them, he wouldn't go crazy for them. I don't want to put anyone off buying them though, because it's not a hate for me. I actually do like them, they just don't suit my needs at this stage. If you have a use for this kind of treat, then please go out and buy them and tell me what you and your dog thinks. If you are more into trick training, or need a very smelly, enticing treat, than I would probably look elsewhere.

Has anyone tried them already? Please tell me what your thoughts were! I would love to know.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

2018 Pet Blogger Challenge

Every year since 2015 (WOW!) I have been doing the Pet Blogger Challenge. This is a chance to look back at the year that was, evaluate how you done and what you learnt and then also look forward on a New Year to set new goals and challenges. It also is a great way for myself and others to connect with others in the Pet Blogger Community, something I know that I need to do more of. After you have read mine, I would love it if you go to the bottom of the post to all the other wonderful posts by other amazing bloggers and read a couple :) 

For those who may be visiting your blog for the first time, how long have you been blogging and what is your main topic?
I have been blogging since 2014, where I originally started the blog as an outlet for my love of animals and writing. I never started a blog while Daisy was alive, and once she passed away it was so upsetting that I hadn't had anything physical to remember her by. Now, my blog focuses on living with Diego, I mainly review products, places and events related to owning a dog but also throw in some posts about my personal thoughts on things, as well as struggles of owning a reactive dog (more in 2018 on that!)

What was your proudest blogging moment of 2017?
This is hard, I promised a big year for Daisy Pets in 2017, and although I had a bunch of successes, nothing has stood out as the proudest blogging moment. A couple of memorable moments was completing #300km June where Diego and I walked three hundred kilometres in the month of June raising funds for HUHANZ; Diego getting chosen by Wolves of Wellington to star in their Kickstarter Campaign; and writing for PetLife Magazine.

Which of your blog posts was your favorite this year and why? (Please include a link.)
This was a personal favourite for me as I spent a lot of time working on it and it was awesome to collaborate with a food company. Black Hawk's PR company approached us when they were first releasing in New Zealand, and sent us an amazing box with some samples as well as ingredients to make a human dish inspired by the dog food. I thought this was such a great idea, and Diego loved the food so I purchased more. I hiked a bag of food up a mountain incline to get some amazing views with the bag, instead I got photos of the bag up in the clouds! I also got an amazing response on this post, due not only to the giveaway but it allowed for open discussions on dog food choices.

In terms of your blog, how do you measure success?
I haven't really thought of this before, I mainly blog for the social side of it, for providing something to my readers but not for 'success' or 'fame'. I guess because of that I measure success in how many people I have helped, or who enjoy my content. When they comment on my posts, on Instagram or Facebook I feel so happy and realise that there is a reason for what I am doing. 

In what ways has your blog changed during 2017?
Each year I think my blog seems to change and adapt. I have now veered away from blogging about my Guinea Pigs, and although I still own them, I didn't find I was passionate blogging about their doings. In 2017, I really started to review more and more products and this is something I really want to continue within the New Year. I think I have finally started to find my niche. 

What was the biggest blogging challenge you overcame in 2017, and what did you learn that could help other bloggers?
In 2017 I opened up and admitted that I was struggling with Diego's reactivity. I got an amazing response on Facebook which made me realise that this is not something I should be ashamed about or hiding. It made me go see a behaviourist who gave me some tips and tricks to help Diego. He also told me that Diego isn't an aggressive dog, he just is nervous and has pent up energy. We are still working on this, and in 2018 I would like to blog about it more.
What I learnt from this is to not be ashamed of what you see as flaws. Own them. This opens you up to the ability to get help, or you will learn they are not actually flaws. 

When things get hard, what keeps you blogging?

  1. (Question submitted by Pamela Douglas Webster of Something Wagging This Way Comes)
In 2017 I got the dreaded writer's block. I didn't feel like writing any more, it didn't feel fun to me and it was more of a hassle than something I wanted to be doing. You can see this in my lack of posts throughout the year. I would really enjoy working on certain posts, and get really excited for them, but after that post had been written I would go back to not really wanting to do it. As I write this, I am now wondering if I have really gotten over this, or I am just in the New Years Honeymoon Phase... I guess we will see as this month and year progresses. What has kept me going during these times, even if I don't post as much as I would like, is my readers. I have such supportive and encouraging readers and they really are the reason I am still doing this today. They learn from me, but I learn so much more from them and I love the friendships I have been able to make through doing this. 

Looking forward to 2018, what are you hoping to accomplish on your blog this year?
In 2018, I am hoping to accomplish my goal of posting two blog posts a week (Monday and Thursday NZT) as well as one video a fortnight. This video will range anywhere between a vlog of my daily life, a walk we have been on, a review of a product and so much more. I am really inspired by video content so want to be able to make more in the future. I also have a couple of personal goals until August to sell one piece of merchandise, collab with a brand/business to make a product together and get featured on another blog! 

In addition to what you’d like to accomplish, is here one specific skill you’d like to improve or master this year?

  1. (Question submitted by Jodi Chick of Kol’s Notes)
Definitely my photography/videography. I feel like I say photography every year but I think it is one of those skills that you can keep improving and you should keep working on it. Videography will be nice with me making videos more I would like to improve my filming and editing of these.

Now it’s your turn! You have the attention of the pet blogging community – is there a question you’d like answered, or an aspect of your blog that you’d like input on? Share it here, and we’ll answer you in the comments
How do you get your blog seen? Have you stepped into the YouTube space and how have you found it? :)

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Christmas 2017 Gift Guide

I can't believe it's already Christmas time, it has sprung up on us! That's why my Christmas Gift Guide is somewhat late, however I have made sure all these products are still available to order online until Christmas.

Oh My Fluffy Dog Shirts
These are the most comfortable shirts I have bought all year, and not only that, the designs are amazing! Whenever I wear these tops I get a load of compliments, the large designs really bring in attention. They are made here in New Zealand by an amazing couple and their three pooches. They are constantly bringing out new designs, and I have to say I have loved every single one and have purchased every design! These are the perfect gift for a dog or gym lover in your life.
Use the code "daisypets" for 15% off all their stock for the month of December.

Wolves of Wellington Bandanas
You guys already know how much I love these bandanas since I talk about them at every available opportunity. I find these the perfect gift for a dog in your life as a lot of people won't personally buy them for their dog, but would love to have one for their dog. You can also get the Letterman Bandana and make it personal by having the letter of their name on the bandana!
Use the code "DAISYPETS" for 15% off for the month of December.

Bow Wow Boutique Collars and Leash
This company will forever be my favourite leash and collar company. Alex is super nice, and will make sure she can do whatever in her power to make the perfect product for you. I always am gifting their products to friends and family as you can make it personal with the different fabrics. These are very long-wearing and durable products, and can cope with the most hard-wearing dog.
Quote "Daisy Pets" when ordering for free shipping until the 25th of December.

NZ Natural Pet Food Company Treats
I love these treats, and love how innovative they are. Diego also is a big fan of the flavour which is probably the most important part of a treat to the dog. They are made in New Zealand with natural ingredients and can be used as a meal or treat which is perfect for Summer adventures. I recommend giving these as a gift as they are quirky treats, especially for people who like going hiking or camping, and it's awesome to be able to gift an awesome New Zealand product to other dog owners.
Win your own pack of Woof dog treats! All you have to do is comment on either this Instagram Photo or this Facebook Post (or both) saying what is on your wishlist this Christmas. Make sure you are following both DaisyPets and NzNaturalPetFood on whichever social media you are using. Will be drawn on the 15th of December. 

Bark Bag
Bark Bag is a subscription based delivery service where monthly they deliver your pooch a box of treats and toys. This is run in New Zealand and has a great range of healthy dog treats. For Christmas you can buy your own dog, or gift to another person a Christmas Bark Bag which contains amazing products, and is gift wrapped. Also, for every Bark Bag purchased they will give a rescue pup a meal.

Omega Plus Fish Oil
This is our favourite Fish Oil to add to Diego's diet, and gives your pooch a great boost of omega 3's and other nutrients. This is the perfect gift for your own pooch, or a friend's dog as a lot of people don't think to supplement their dogs diet, and this is the perfect product to introduce new nutrients into their dogs diet.

Kong Wobbler
One of our favourite boredom busters! Diego is absolutely in love with this toy, and I find it the perfect way to slow down his eating and encourage him to scavenge a bit more. It's great for all sizes of dogs, and even once they are used to it, still takes them time to get every piece of kibble out of. This is a great gift for Christmas as they are a bit pricey, but well worth every dollar.

Planet Dog Snoop
Another amazing boredom buster! We only recently got this and Diego has been crazy about it ever since. In the same theme as the Kong Wobbler, you put kibble in it and they have to work to get it out. This provides endless entertainment and can be made harder as your dog gets used to it. Diego also uses it as a chew toy afterwards, and can play fetch with it and it stands up to his constant chewing. They also provide replacements if your dog manages to chew through their products.

Daisy's Doggy Deli
Our favourite small New Zealand based treat business! Suzanne is amazing, and is super accommodating to all your dogs needs and preferences. She makes a range of treats, and all of them are as great as the next. Diego goes crazy for all her treats, and you don't have to feel bad feeding them as they are natural with no preservatives or nasties. I have gifted these to multiple people this year and everyone has said only great things.
Use the code "Daisypets" for 10% off your order for all of December. 

Hope you enjoyed our gift guide. Was there anything you would have added to it?