Sunday, 21 May 2017

Wolves of Wellington Bandanas

Hey! I am a person that has multiple pairs of shoes, each a different colour to try and match whatever sport gear I am wearing on a certain day. I also now am trying to extend that into Diego's wardrobe because he needs to be as much of a fashion mogul as I. He does have a couple of different collars and leads, but my new favourite way to change up his look is with bandanas. I feel like they give him an extra kick to his look, and really increase his street cred. We also always get compliments when he wears bandanas out in public.

If you have been following our blog for a while you would know that we absolutely adore Wolves of Wellington. They are fellow Wellingtonians and are an awesome brother sister duo, with some pretty sweet dogs. They offer a range of quirky products that are not usually available in New Zealand, and are finally bringing New Zealand up to speed with the rest of the world in regards to cool new dog products. They also have a range of products called 'Pay it Forward' in which a portion of the profits go towards HUHA, a local animal charity. In this range they make amazing bandanas, which Diego has slowly been getting more and more of.

These bandanas are made in New Zealand, and are offered in a range of sizes to fit any dog. These are tie bandanas, which means that they are easily adjustable and can be worn alone or in conjunction with a collar. They are also offered in a variety of quirky and original prints to really stand out from the crowd. They also have the most incredible vegan leather patch with their logo engraved into it. Makes the bandanas a hundred times cooler. Diego owns three of these bandanas, and they recently released more prints which I have my eye on so it won't be long til that number increases. I have also purchased my sisters dog, Ollie one for while he is completing #300kmJune with us.

I have a few bandanas from a few companies and I think that there is a couple of main points which make the Wolves of Wellington ones stand out. The first is the fact that they are tie up. This makes them so much easier to chuck on, as I have them pre-tied and I just push them over Diego's head. I like how I can also put Diego's onto other dogs just be re-tying it and it looks snug and is a perfect fit for either dog. I find I can easily interchange them between Ollie and Diego, even though there is a huge size difference between the two dogs.

The other thing that makes the Wolves of Wellington bandanas stand out is their range of fabric prints. They find quirky, interesting fabrics, that you don't see at any other bandana company. I have had so many compliments on Diego's Mambo Bandana with people saying they love the colour combination with the pattern.

The bandanas we own have stood up to true tests with Diego often running through mud or swimming in the river. They still look as good as new, and have shown no wear or tear just yet. I think the true test will be during our walks of June as they will be worn for a lot of the walks. However, they are easily hand washed, and can be ironed to remove any pesky wrinkles if you feel the need.

If I were to suggest anything from Wolves of Wellington to first time buyers, it would definitely be any of the bandana range. They are inexpensive, with a cheap shipping option if you are only buying bandanas, and I have found arrive within the week. You also have the pleasure of knowing you are not only supporting local, but also helping out an animal charity that does amazing work for the animals of New Zealand.
If you purchase any of the range I would love to see photos of your pooch repping their new Wolves of Wellington Bandana, so use the #daisypets when posting photos to social media so I can get my Instagram stalk on.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Daisy's Doggy Deli Treats

Hey! Recently, we were lucky enough to be sent a bunch of Daisy's Doggy Deli treats to try out and give our feedback on. I had recently been very close to running out of treats for Diego so this couldn't have come at a better time! The lovely Suzanne sent us so many different types of treats to try, and I will let you in on a little secret, they are amazing!

Daisy's Doggy Deli came to fruition after Suzanne realised what horrible ingredients are added into a lot of the commercial food and treats for dogs and she did not want to be feeding that to her beloved pooch. Daisy herself is a rescue pup, and was originally on commercial dry food, before being transitioned onto a raw fed diet. Daisy's Doggy Deli uses 100% New Zealand grown, free range meat cuts and gives you a treat that you can clearly read and understand everything that is in them!

First off we tried the Chewy Lamb Bites which is just 100% lamb that has been dried instead of cooked. This means that you are keeping more of the nutrients in the food! These are also perfect for raw fed dogs. I talked about them a bit in our One Trick to a Better Walk Post as these are a perfect treat to take with you on walks.

I am surprised at the appearance of this Chicken Jerky compared to a similar product you would buy from the shop. This stuff from Daisy's Doggy Deli looks fresh, like real meat cuts, and is a vibrant, meaty colour. Compare that with the dull, strange coloured chicken which also doesn't look like chicken at all, that you get from a pet store. I know which one I would prefer to feed to my dog! I used this product on walks as well, and it worked a treat. It's not as scented as the Lamb Bites so didn't peak Diego's interest as easily when distractions were around, but worked amazingly otherwise. It was easy to tear into smaller pieces with your hands, and didn't leave too much of a residue or smell. They are also easily digestible, either ripped up or given in these jerky strips. 

These Homemade Dog Cookies are super cute in little heart shapes, and remind me of the dog biscuits that we often make! These are made with human grade quality ingredients, and have no nasties added. The treats themselves are Peanut Butter flavoured and Diego goes crazy for them. I have been using these ones as training treats at home as they are easily broken into smaller pieces for small rewards. Currently I am teaching Diego a few new tricks with these and he seems to be understanding the concept quickly, which I think is due to these tasty morsels. 

Out of the two cookie varieties we tried, Diego definitely loved these Sardine Oatcakes the most. These treats are made out of real Sardines out of a tin, instead of just flavouring which a lot of treats contain. You can tell they are made fresh as well, because the fishy scent on these cookies is intense! For some reason, I am not sure if it was my fridge or the actual formulation of these cookies but they were hard to break! I had trouble making them into smaller pieces for Diego to enjoy, really having to tear at them to get them to rip apart. I love adding fish into Diego's diet as it is high in Omega-3's and protein, and these are an easy way to add it into his every day life.

We did also receive some awesome dried pig ears, however Diego gulped those down before I even got to take photos of them! As I was saying about the Chicken Jerky, the Pigs Ears looked a lot more real and meaty than their commercial counterparts. Diego really enjoyed them, and it took him a little bit to get through them, making them a good boredom breaker. 

With these treats, because of how fresh they are, they do need to be stored in the fridge. This isn't too bad of a problem as the packets are thin, and easy to stack on top of each other, but it is something to be mindful of. They also do not have the longest shelf life as they have no chemicals, or preservatives in them to keep them longer. Suzanne is currently working on trying to increase this shelf life without the unnecessary preservatives which is a great thing! Currently they last roughly seven days after opening, and a few weeks unopened. 

All in all, I absolutely adore these treats and am so glad that I have found a New Zealand based company that is caring more about the health of the pets they are feeding than a huge profit margin. I am definitely going to be repurchasing these again (I have already purchased some to be sent to my mother for Chico and Ollie) as they work absolute wonders when out on walks with Diego. The price range in my opinion is affordable for such high quality treats. I highly recommend you check them out for yourself!

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Open Letter to my Mother

This post isn't really pet related, very loosely tied into my animal loving lifestyle, and I hope you don't mind. Today, in New Zealand, it is Mother's Day which is a day that you are meant to celebrate with your mum. Unfortunately, we are both extremely busy in different parts of the country and I don't get to make her breakfast in bed, or take her out on a brunch date. Instead, here is my open letter to my amazing mother.

Hey Petra,

Thank you for all that you have done for me, and the four other creatures that you call children. The older I get, the more I realise how incredibly hard your job is, but also how you have done it so well. Raising five children is hard enough, but doing it alone for half of them is even harder. You have put your whole life into raising us, making sure that we are happy and healthy, and slaving away at multiple jobs so you can feed our many interests.

Thank you for allowing me to get Daisy when I was an annoying ten year old who thought I knew exactly how the world worked. Now that Tammin has got Ollie, I have realised how much extra work Daisy was for you. You never let it show though. You helped out so much with her, and were always ready to help me if I ever asked. You often groomed, walked, cleaned up after, paid for and generally cared for Daisy when I couldn't or wouldn't. You were there with me for all the big parts of that dogs life, and when she finally crossed to the other side, you slaved away in a storm to make sure that she was buried with love.

I want to thank you for allowing me to be raised with many animals over my childhood. You gave me the love of animals and showed me the many sides of pet ownership. We raised many litters of rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, and birds as well as owning many more unusual and quirky pets. You happily let me explore my interest in animals, and listened to hours of me rambling on about boring facts that I had read up. You happily encouraged this passion, and we spent many a weekend browsing the pet stores, and library so I could learn more.

You have instilled a great work ethic in me, and all your adult children by not forcing or telling us, but by showing us the way. You have always done so many different tasks, jobs and activities without complaining or showing weakness. You have shown us that even on our sickest days, it is better to just put a brave face on and take the day head on. Your passion for your work shines through you, and you can tell that you love what you do (most of the time). You have also shown us that as a woman we are no less capable than a male to do every day tasks. You are always doing things that would generally put under a male's role, but have done them extremely well. I don't know any other woman who will be brandishing a hammer to whip up whatever you need done. Or who would climb haphazardly on a ladder to fix a water leak with no one else home.

I love how supportive you are of everything us children do. You like every single one of my Daisy Pets posts, and similar to when I was young, you listen to me ramble on about products I like, products I want to try, facts I have learnt, and places I want to go. You never complain, and always show such a keen interest in what I do or plan to do. I don't think I would have been able to continue blogging without your constant support and encouragement.

You have taken Diego on as a grandson, which is honestly great when I know you would probably like some human grandchildren. You are so good with him, and I am forever thankful for the fact you had him in your care for most of 2016. You really have made my life a lot easier by being so caring and nice to the main man in my life.

I think if I grow up to be even a quarter of the woman you are, I would die happy. You are the most incredible, inspiring, humble, beautiful woman I know. You do so much for everyone else in your life, and always make sure that the people in your life are happy. You push your own needs to the side to give others the opportunity to do what they love. I love this side of you, although I do wish you would take some more time for yourself.

Mum, you inspire me so much. Thank you for being a constant rock in my life, thank you for teaching me to be a better person, thank you for being an amazing mother.

I love you and appreciate you so very much.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

One Trick for a Better Dog Walk

I am not sure if this is a personal problem, or something that everyone does... but I will religiously do something for ages and then randomly stop and forget about that thing. Only to come back to it months down the track and wonder why the heck I stopped in the first place. This has happened to me recently with taking treats on walks with Diego. I used to do this every walk when Diego was a puppy, and since moving back from Whanganui I have never grabbed my treat bag. What a terrible idea that was.

Diego has started to gain some bad habits on walks, nothing too drastic, but enough for me to want to nip them in the bud. He has a fairly good recall, but lately, he has taken more interest in smells and exploring than a super fast recall. He also has started to be leash reactive, and although I know it is a fear response instead of aggression, I don't want it to become a permanent feature in our lives. I will be looking at working with a trainer on this as well, but the little things I can do on walks will help in the long run in my opinion.

We were lucky enough to get sent some amazing treats from Daisy's Doggy Deli which are 100% natural, meaty treats! They are super fresh, and you can see the difference between their treats and store bought equivalents. A lot of the treats we get are for trick training at home, and I found that these treats weren't the best for this purpose. Being 100% meat treats, it made them hard to break into little pieces, and I spent more time trying to tear them up than actually treating Diego. That's why I decided to take them on a walk with Diego, and they work perfect for this purpose.

I took out the Chewy Lamb Bites and found them the best thing to take! They are super smelly, and a bit greasy so be aware that your fingers will get a little bit funky during the process. This smell and grease is very easy to wash off after a walk though! This smell really grabs Diego's attention and was the perfect treat to use with a 'look' command. I was able to divert Diego's attention from multiple dogs that he usually would have reacted over. His recall also became back to his usual standard of near instant! You can slightly break up these treats, but they are still going to be on the larger size to training treats. I would suggest for Diego's size upwards these would be perfect.

We still have a lot to work on while out and about during walks, but bringing treats is definitely the way to go. I am annoyed with myself that I stopped this because I really see an improvement overall in Diego's attitude when I clip on my treat bag. I don't even have to give him any treats! Just bringing the bag makes him more calm and receptive to my commands. I am excited to try the rest of Daisy's Doggy Deli treats while out and about on walks, and stay tuned for a full review of their products.

What's your favourite product to take on walks?

Friday, 28 April 2017

Dog Friendly Walk: Mt Climie

Hey! This past week, Diego and I went and explored a new walk that we had never done before. It's one of those walks that you are always meaning to do, and have always lived near, but never got round to it. Finally we done it, and I don't know why we waited!

Mt Climie is located in Upper Hutt, and is easily accessible from Tunnel Gully. It's as easy as going to the very last carpark in Tunnel Gully (There's only two carparks) and then the track itself is right in front of you. It is signposted at the base entrance to the walk, as well as shortly into the climb where there is a fork in the path.

Mt Climie is a 100% uphill track. There was very few periods where the track was semi-flat, otherwise you will be constantly going uphill. However, I found the gradient to be perfect for walking, where it isn't too hard that you can't go on, but not too easy where you can't feel your body working. It was also a gradient where you didn't have to stop for rests all the time, if at all. We also had people running and biking past us, so it is an achievable hike.

The views from the top are absolutely stunning, and make the two hour climb worth it. You have a complete view of Upper Hutt, and Lower Hutt, as well as peeks of Wellington and beyond. There is also a decent view of the Wairarapa on the other side. We went on a cloudless day and the view was breathtaking, photos do not do it justice!

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Current Boredom Breakers

Hey! If you didn't know already, I work a full time job, and Diego, the poor sod has to stay at home alone during my hours of work.  I did try and find a dog for him to hang out with during the day, but he much prefers not to have to share his food and toys. This means I have to find new ways to entertain him during the day and keep his mind occupied since we have moved away from my mother and Chico.

Recently, I have put three enrichment/treat toys on rotation with a similar recipe inside them and it has been working well. I usually make up two of the toys daily, and just change around which two are used each time. I have been doing this over the last month or so, and Diego seems to really enjoy it. Inside the toys I use his usual dog food, which currently is Orijen Adult, some of the Omega Plus Fish Oil and a tiny bit of peanut butter. I feed these toys instead of his breakfast, and this makes sure he isn't getting overfeed or too many extra treats.

The first toy is the mainstream Kong toy. This is one of the first toys that was put on the market as a tough toy, that can be filled with food and treats to entertain your dog. I purchased my Kong online second hand (although never used as it was still in its packaging, it had been sitting around their home for several years) back when Diego was a puppy. This has been well loved, and lost multiple times but it always finds a way back to our collection. With the Kong, I put peanut butter in the top hole as a plug, and then fill the rest with food. Once full, I add a couple of squirts of the fish oil, and then close up the bottom with more peanut butter. I let this sit while I am getting ready in the morning, and during Summer I would put it in the fridge. This lets the oil sink in a bit more to make it less likely that the kibble would just fall out.

The next toy is the Bionic Bone which is branded as another tough toy that you can fill with food and treats. This one is a different shape, and adds more challenge than the Kong. I follow the same process as with the Kong when filling this one, doing a side at a time and making sure the toy is completely filled with kibble. I find that Diego enjoys this one more as it takes more time and effort to get all the kibble pieces out. However, his tongue doesn't reach all the way in, and the shape of the toy means that food can easily get stuck in the middle. This isn't too bad with this dry mixture I have been using, but when I used to use canned dog food, it caused quite a mess. This one also holds less kibble than the other two toys so is good as a time-user that doesn't mean lots of food.

The last toy is the Furchun Cookie that I reviewed a few months ago. With this toy, I don't add the peanut butter or fish oil, just the kibble. It's perfect as a quick to prepare toy when you are just rushing out the door. This one holds more food than the other two options, but it doesn't hold Diego's attention for as long. This one is generally given to Diego daily, with either of the above options as it is good to make sure Diego is getting his usual serving of breakfast, but not too much peanut butter or oil in one day.

I find that adding these toys to Diego's daily life has made him a lot more calm, and he actually seems excited for me to leave in the mornings so he can get his toy. These are not used in replacement of walks, training or any other stimulation that I give him when I am at home. These just make sure I don't feel completely terrible about leaving him at home alone. I love these toys, but would really love to add some more to my rotation so if you have any ideas feel free to leave me a comment below, on my Facebook page, or Instagram.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Book Review: Team Dog

Hey! I love researching and finding out new ideas and ways of training dogs, so when I saw this book at my local library, I had to give it a read. Team Dog is written by Mike Ritland who also wrote Trident K9 Warriors which I reviewed in 2015. Mike Ritland is a Navy Seal, turned military dog trainer who specialises in training some of the most amazing war dogs for the US. This book sells itself as a how-to guide to training your dog the Navy Seal way.

As always, I don't want to give away too much of the book for those that are going to want to read it. I have made sure to bookmark some important pages and quotes that I appreciated though, which will get you all thinking a little bit more about how you are currently training your beloved pooch.

A big principle of Mike's is that:
Whatever behaviour is consistently rewarded will be repeated. AND
Whatever behaviour is consistently not rewards will be extinguished.
This is a very simple way of looking at dog training, and one that I have noticed across many different training styles. He dives deeper into this principle, and explains how to do both of those main points correctly to get what you want from your dog. Quite a big portion of the book is centred around this concept, and how he uses this to train not only the military dogs, but also how it can be effective in training your house pet.

Mike also delves deeper into some common faults that people complain to him about with their pet dog, including chewing of furniture and other objects, barking and not listening. I enjoyed this chapter as he gave answers to a lot of the questions that people are asking, but also admitted that there is a range of scenarios that is why your dog is acting like it does. If you have a dog with these common faults, I would definitely recommend checking this book out for this chapter!

A lot of your 'faults' with your dog can also be put down to the lack of exercise and mental stimulation. Mike brings this up multiple times within the book, making you think about the amount of time you have your dog just relaxing around home. Dogs are very active animals, but a lot of how people are currently keeping them, means they do not get as much exercise as they need. My favourite quote from the book is 'many cattle have better lives than some of the pampered pets'. This is true in a lot of situations, because at least cattle get to graze, and walk around like they have been for hundreds of years. Dogs on the other hand, are completely dependent on how we treat them, and exercise them to meet all their needs. I know plenty of dogs that don't get enough attention, or even leave their yard, so this statement really makes a lot of sense to me.

Overall, this book has some great points about dog training, and the difference between training a house dog compared to training a dog to go into war torn countries. Some of his ideas are not what I personally would do when training Diego, but that is like most, if not all, dog trainers out there. The book itself is set out in a good way, making it easy to understand what he is getting across. It also follows a good story line, not bouncing from ideas too drastically, or going back on ideas that have already been mentioned.

I think this is a book to read for those that are interested in learning about different ways of training dogs, or who have a dog with a common problem like barking or not listening. This book isn't a 100% comprehensive book on dog training, or philosophy so I don't believe it should be used as the only dog training manual. In conjunction with other dog trainer principles, or just a basic knowledge on how the dog thinks and behaves I believe this book, and Mike Ritland's approach will give you a nice well-rounded dog with minimal faults.