Apple & Oat Puppy Bites

I have many different talents and skills, but I must be honest an admit that being a culinary genius does not rank amongst them. Don’t get me wrong, with a lot of practice and hard work I can now confidently whip up a meal for a group of dinner guests without the threat of poisonings or having the house burn down (mostly), but being in the kitchen doesn’t come naturally so I’m usually weary. This changes however when my taste testers are my canine kids.

In their eyes everything I whip up is absolutely delicious and truly gourmet! This means that I love finding new treat recipes for them, and regularly use them as rewards for training and good behaviour.

We’ve run out of treats, and my cupboards closely represent those of Old Mother Hubbard, so I searched for treats that were simple in terms of ingredients and skill level. That’s when I came across this great recipe from Two Little Cavaliers for Apple and Cinnamon Treats.

These were quick, easy and they passed the all important taste test!

Apple & Oat Pup Bites

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Oatmeal
  • 1 Cup Apple Sauce
  • Pinch of Cinnamon
  • 2 Large Eggs

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 180C (about 350F)
  • Combine oats, apple sauce and cinnamon
  • Add eggs to the mixture and combine until sticky and smooth
  • Scoop into molds, or drop a teaspoon full onto greased and oiled baking sheet and flatten slightly (this is what I did)
  • Bake in oven for +/- 25 minutes
  • Allow to cool
  • Give some to the dogs to test, and store the rest in an airtight container

… and of course the pictorial recipe review:

ingredients

Combine

Mix Egge

bake

result

Dogtails’s Effectiveness Summary:

Issue Addressed: Training, Nutrition, Food, FUN

Tool(s) Used: Your kitchen and baking skills

Cost: Low

Ease of Implementation: Easy

Effectiveness Rating: 5/5 I wasn’t very sure if the dogs would like the apple and cinnamon taste as it’s a new one to them, but I’m happy to report that they all gobbled them up!

…. and don’t worry, I learnt my lesson from last time so these were introduced sloooowly and carefully to avoid any major tummy upsets! 🙂

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Do you ever make your own homemade treats for the dogs? If so, what do you make?

7 in a bed and the little one said …

You know those moments when your life resembles a song so closely you think it was written just for you? Well, lately I’ve had a song of a different type running through my head day and night. A nursery rhyme. Yup – the one about the nightly fight for us all to find the perfect spot to sleep for the entire evening without falling out of bed! We are literally at maximum capacity over here!

 

Luckily Cooper and Phoebe prefer their own beds, but that leaves me, my partner, 3 cats and 2 little dogs to fight over the queen bed! This is also not made easier by the ongoing disagreements between one of the cats and Bella (who is obsessed with crawling up to all the cats and staring at them for hours expecting some kind of spectacular tap dancing event, or something equally thrilling, that only she knows is coming).

With all these bodies fighting for space and snuggles no wonder it’s so difficult to get a decent nights’ rest!

When doing a quick google search you can see the opinions are divided on whether it’s a good or bad thing of you allow your pets to sleep in the bed with you. Does it cause interruptions in your sleep? Yes. BUT It raises your oxytocin levels (those feel-good hormones) increasing your sense of calm and wellbeing. So as with most things, you have to decide which outcome is more important to you.

In our house however, bed sleeping is such a habit that we couldn’t even change it if we tried. And frankly, I don’t know if I would want to. The occasional shuffle or need to move (often in an odd unnatural serpentine fashion so as not to disturb the sleeping pets!) is totally worth all the happy snoring and cute dreamy huffs as they each follow their dreams every night.

In case you think I'm exaggerating, I made a handy visual guide to the nightly sleep and bed space wars. That bed is so full there's barely space to represent it as a diagram even! :-)

In case you think I’m exaggerating, I made a handy visual guide to the nightly sleep and bed space wars. That bed is so full there’s barely space to represent it as a diagram even! 🙂

… So for now I’m off to bed, hoping that all 7 of us stay in and no one falls out!

“Roll over, roll over…”

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How about you? Do your pets share the bed with you? Or do you think it’s a bad idea?

Phoebe passes the Silver CGC Test!

So many celebrations over here! Phoebe has made me so proud by going out there and getting her second Canine Good Citizen rosette!

Phoebe has officially received her rosette for passing the Silver Level of the KUSA Canine Good Citizen test!

Some of you may remember when I was so nervous about enrolling her for the Bronze Level KUSA Canine Good Citizen Test – which she passed with flying colours! As a reactive rescue dog seeing her achieve that was beyond my wildest dreams, and then she went ahead and once again overshot all of my expectations making me so very proud.

I once again went into it thinking that it would be totally fine if she didn’t pass first time round, participating is good enough, and I don’t mind a second go at it if we needed it. But of course she did great first time round at everything. But to be honest, I wasn’t quite as nervous this time because the biggest worry is her getting close to other dogs and only the Bronze Level had this one.

For those who aren’t sure what the Canine Good Citizen Test is, it’s an international standard test presented by Kennel Clubs to test if your dog can achieve the basic expectations of a ‘well-mannered’ dog. You can go here to read more about it.

So what did the Silver Test entail?

Similar to the previous test we had to hand over the vaccination cards to be checked before doing anything. Our Evaluator, Mrs Liz Chamberlain, was really nice and made sure we were all at ease with the dogs before starting so that there was no stress on either side of the leash! As she did this she was also walking around and observing the dogs for manners and sociability.

She first started by testing the two Bronze CGC participants (who also did Silver on the same day), and then commenced with testing us all for the Silver Level.

Then we were onto the formal part of the test:

Test 1: Play with Dog

This is to demonstrate that the dog will play with its handler. Play is an extra dimension to a dog’s life and can be a used to make training fun. When instructed to do so the handler should commence to play with the dog. Play should be under the handler’s control and if it involves articles the dog should readily give them up. Formal retrieves will not be deemed as appropriate play.

Suki and Mirco play with their Mom's for Test #1

Suki and Mirco play with their Mom’s for Test #1

Test 2: Roadwork

This is to demonstrate that the dog has the ability to walk on lead under control. The handler and dog should walk along a pavement, execute a turn, and then stop at the kerb where the dog should remain steady and controlled. Having observed the Highway Code, they should proceed to the other side, turn and continue walking. Distractions are incorporated, such as normal passing traffic.

All walk in a line around the block to test roadwalking skills

All walk in a line around the block to test roadwalking skills

Test 3: Rejoin Handler

This is to demonstrate that the dog will remain steady when the handler leaves the dog but the dog will rejoin the handler when instructed to do so. Having left the dog and moved approximately 10 paces away, when directed to do so, the handler should call the dog. Having rejoined, the dog should stop close to the handler in any position, the lead shall be replaced.

Test 4: Stay in one Place

This is to demonstrate that the dog will stay on the spot while the handler moves away. The handler should place the dog with the lead attached in any position of their choice. Upon instruction, having quietly dropped the lead, the handler will move a distance of 5 paces away for a period of 2 minutes.

*Note we did this in conjunction with Test 10. We took our clipboards, walked a couple of paces away and only when we finished the questionnaire could we rejoin the dogs

Phoebe, Emily and Mirco eagerly parctice their "stays" for a minumum of 2 minutes while we fill out the Q & A of Question 10

Phoebe, Emily and Mirco eagerly parctice their “stays” for a minumum of 2 minutes while we fill out the Q & A of Question 10

Test 5: Vehicle Control

This is to demonstrate that the handler can get the dog in and out of a vehicle in a controlled manner. Without pulling, the dog should be taken on a lead towards a vehicle and remain steady whilst the handler opens the vehicle door. The dog should not attempt to get in until instructed to and should enter willingly. Thereafter, the door should be closed. The handler, Evaluator and, if necessary, a driver will get into the vehicle. The engine should be started and run for a short time to enable the Evaluator to assess the effect upon the dog which at all times should remain quiet, relaxed, and under control. The dog will then be instructed to exit in an orderly manner.

Test 6: Come Away from Distractions

This is to demonstrate that the handler has control over the dog when there are distractions. The handler should take the dog, on lead, to a gathering of people with dogs also on lead. When instructed to do so, the lead should be removed and the handler should walk or run away calling the dog, which should return without delay and be placed on the lead

For this test we were all placed about 3-5 metres from each other in a loose circle in the shade with us and our dogs in a relaxed lie down, then we had to go through the middle with our dogs. This made me nervous as Phoebe’s reactivity is better, but still there – especially as there were two other dogs doing the test whom we didn’t know. Luckily we were allowed to run through, and not just walk slowly. I’ve learnt this is a key handling trick to keeping Phoebe’s attention on me when other dogs are around because her drive to stay by me when I run away is far greater than worrying about any other dogs she would have to turn away from me to get to. She flew through the path without even registering the 5 other dogs! How awesome is she? 🙂

Test 7: Controlled Greeting

This is to demonstrate that the dog will not jump up at visitors etc, The Evaluator will greet the dog as might be done when entering a house. During this greeting, should the dog jump up, the handler must be able to make the dog cease doing so.

Emily waits patiently as she waits to see what her Mom wants her to do while she greets the evaluator

Emily waits patiently as she waits to see what her Mom wants her to do while she greets the evaluator

Test 8: Food Manners

This is to demonstrate that the dog has good manners when aware of peoples’ food. Food should be handled or consumed while the dog, on a loose lead, is taken in close proximity to it. The dog should not unduly respond to this temptation (i.e. not to beg for food or steal).

This is one command our group is usually good at, as we do the “Leave it” command with the dogs regularly, but the evaluator had some treats that were apparently amazingly tempting! All the dogs passed, but only just. I need to find out what those magical treats were!

Those tasty treats were almost irresistable for all of the dogs, but when the tester accidently dropped them on the ground Mirco was amazingly controlled. Well done!

Those tasty treats were almost irresistible for all of the dogs, but when the tester accidentally dropped them all over the ground Mirco was amazingly controlled. Well done!

Test 9: Examination of the Dog

This is to demonstrate that the dog will allow inspection by a stranger as might be undertaken by a veterinary surgeon. The dog on lead will be required to be placed for inspection of mouth, throat, eyes, ears, and feet when standing, sitting or lying down as required. Other than mild avoidance the dog should allow inspection without concern.

Phoebe calmly stands for her examination

Phoebe calmly stands for her examination

Test 10: Care & Responsibility

This is to demonstrate that the handler has a good understanding of the responsibility required to care for their dog and the responsibility with regards to their neighbors and community. The handler will be asked 6 of the 10 questions by the Evaluator from Section 1 of the non scheduled document titled “Care and Responsibility”.

Learning these 4 pages for the test was very nerve wracking for us! The thing is, the questions are hard, basically because they’re all complete common sense, so it’s easy to forget to mention specific clauses. For example, Dogs Rights is a section of 7 different clauses to remember, included in these is the right to food, the right to water, the right to shade and the right to affection. They’re so straight forward they’re easy to forget!

_____

… and with that, we were all done and we anxiously awaited the results of our test…

And then it happened! She came up to us one by one and we each proudly received the certificates on behalf of our dogs. What a great moment for us all!

Receiving Phoebe's Silver Canine Good Citizen Certificate and rosette

Phoebe curiously looks on as I receive her Silver Canine Good Citizen Certificate and rosette on her behalf

We were all so happy for our dogs, and each other! It’s such a rewarding feeling after all that hard work. Each one of us had specific areas of concern for our dogs, but they all shone and performed beautifully!

Do you recommend the Canine Good Citizen (Silver) to others?

I am still a big fan of this test because of all it represents to the dogs and other dog owners. And especially for those who have reactive dogs, getting these qualifications behind you is a real boost for your confidence. The preparation is also great because it gives you very clear and specific goals to tailor play and learning time with the dogs.

I think the Bronze Level is the basic one everyone should go for, but in all honesty, the Silver isn’t too much more difficult, so try getting that too (even on the same day, like two of our class members did!).

Will there be more?

Well, after looking at the requirements for the Gold Level I was adamant that it would be too difficult, but as it now turns out… we’ve decided that all four of us who got the Silver will go ahead and give it a try! Why not? It’ll take a few months of hard training, but we’ll get there, I’m sure!

The evaluator, Mrs Chamberlain, also encouraged us to all enroll for the Gold as she says so few people go on to complete this, and it’s a really nice test to practice for and judge. Looks like we’ll be fulfilling her wish!

And once we do that, who knows, maybe I’ll have time to fit in some training preparation for Cooper to try out since he did so well at his Obedience Class tests! Who knows what the future holds? 🙂

The Canine Good Citizen graduates from "Dog on the Couch" School! The two  on the left (Mirco, Suki and owners) got both their Bronze AND Silver, while the two on the right (Phoebe, Emily and owners) achieved the Silver

The Canine Good Citizen graduates from “Dog on the Couch” School! The two on the left (Mirco, Suki and owners) got both their Bronze AND Silver, while the two on the right (Phoebe, Emily and owners) achieved the Silver

Phoebe’s Effectiveness Summary:

Issue Addressed: Obedience, Focus, Fun

Tool(s) Used: Obedience Training and Behavioural Training

Cost: Moderate (we go to Dog on the Couch school every week, so this can add up depending on your trainer)

Ease of Implementation: Moderate

Phoebe’s Effectiveness Rating: 5/5. Phoebe loves attending her classes, and through these guided lessons we both learn new coping methods and ways to have fun. Preparing for the Canine Good Citizen Test was sometimes difficult and stressful, but ultimately fun and rewarding for us both.

Note: This is a very overdue blog post because we did the test 3 months ago, but better late than never, right?! Practicing for the Gold Level is underway as I type!

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Is the Canine Good Citizen Test something you’d be interested in doing with your dog? Do you think your dog would pass easily, or that there would still be a lot more work ahead of you?

#DogTreatFail: More Tummy Troubles

Another week of dealing with the Dreaded Digestive Distress! 😦 This time it’s for Bella and Rocky.

So this week I decided to bake the dogs some treats for when we are around the house and going for walks. I decided to make another batch of Phoebe & Cooper’s Peanut Butter Deliciousness that Phoebe and Cooper loved so much, and got cracking in the kitchen.

This is such a quick and easy recipe that I finished a double batch within an hour, and was waiting to let the treats cool before storing them in containers and in the deepfreeze. As usual Phoebe and Cooper very calmly but expectantly came to lie by the kitchen door to watch me as I work, knowing that they would be first in line to get any stray pieced of dough and would help with the “cleaning” of utensils. Rocky and Bella are still figuring out that there’s often “food falling from the sky” if there’s a human in the kitchen, but they too eventually sauntered into the kitchen eagerly waiting for an exciting taste of whatever was being made up on those counters!

Who would've thought that these tasty bites could cause so much trouble? And look, I even made little personalised cookies for each of the dogs!

Who would’ve thought that these tasty bites could cause so much trouble? And look, I even made little personalised cookies for each of the dogs!

Rocky and Bella have never had these before, and I was excited to see how much they would enjoy this new treat. Well, they certainly enjoyed it, but I made an absolute rookie mistake in allowing them to overindulge on dough and cookies that afternoon…. I hadn’t slowly tested and introduced the new food….

I’m sure many of you can now guess where this post is going… *sigh*

Yup, I hadn’t considered the fact that Bella and Rocky have never really been spoiled dogs. Loved, yes. But not really doted on physically and emotionally. Ergo, they’ve barely had any dog treats in their lives, nevermind decadent peanut butter ones!

And so, my happiness at their joy at gobbling up these treats and excitedly snacking on dough balls was very suddenly turned right around when I woke up the next morning only to find multiple puddles of smelly diarrhea all over the house. (They are house trained, but unlike the other dogs they don’t “ask” to go out if the door to the outside is closed. If it’s closed they just take it as a sign that anywhere else in the house is fair game. **double sigh** Yes, it’s something we’re working on!)

The worst part of it all wasn’t even cleaning up the mess all over, but how guilty I felt that I was the cause of so much tummy ache! Bella totally refused to eat, even turning away from hand feeding meat bits and Rocky only nibbled a bit here and there. The poor things!

Spending the day in recovery. Bella stares mournfully out of the window as her tummy grumbles, and Rocky sleeps the day away...

Spending the day in recovery. Bella stares mournfully out of the window as her tummy grumbles, and Rocky sleeps the day away…

Luckily it only took them 1 day to bounce back to their normal selves. The linen and wooden floors didn’t recover back to normal in quite such a short time, but I suppose all that elbow grease and inhalation of cleaning fumes was a good way to make sure I never again forget to test those new foods out sloooowly!

Rocky & Bella’s Effectiveness Summary:

Issue Addressed: Treats, Nutrition

Tool(s) Used: Your kitchen and baking skills

Cost: Low

Ease of Implementation: Easy. Well, I find all unintentional failures at trying something out happen to go off fairly easily and spectacularly.

Effectiveness Rating: I’m still gonna stick with a 5/5 for the biscuits for Phoebe and Cooper. For Rocky and Bella however  I’m going to have to go with a total #DogTreatFail of 1/5. Luckily they got better quickly without needing veterinary care and that a day long fast fixed everything that had been disturbing their digestion, but from now on I know to be far more careful of what and how many treats they have at a time!

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Recently Cooper also had some tummy troubles (though a bit more serious), so I’m learning the signs, symptoms, and how to clean up after a dog very quickly! Have you got any tips on avoiding the Dreaded Digestive Distress issues?

Cooper’s Tummy Troubles

Poor Cooper recently had a bad bout of tummy troubles that at first I wasn’t too concerned about, but it soon reached a point that had me very worried.

It all started with him vomiting one Monday night at about 2am. I woke up when I heard the convulsing, and waited for him to finish as I soothed him in my half asleep state. The vomit was clear (like spit) with a few grass blades in it. I then took him outside where he happily ran around, sniffed a bit, drank water, and generally didn’t seem to bothered. We then both went back to bed and all was fine. I just assumed it was a normal bringing up that dogs often cure themselves with through eating grass.

I started to get a bit more concerned when this happened every night for the next 4 nights in a row. All the same story: happily fast asleep, the hurk-hurk convulsing sound, spit-like grassy vomit, frolic in the garden, water and happily snoozing again. Even though he didn’t seem very bothered by it, I figured something was a bit off. By the weekend he was vomiting like this twice in the evening and I realised I would be needing Veterinary intervention soon if it carried on.

Throughout the week I was monitoring his food and water intake, swapping to a day of only boiled chicken and white rice for both the dogs, and doing thorough sweeps of the garden to make sure there weren’t any old bones or pieces of stolen trash that Cooper was secretly snacking on during the day. All seemed good, and despite this rude awakening every night Cooper seemed to be in tip-top shape.

Until the next Monday morning (7 days since the first sign of tummy troubles). I once again woke up to the now familiar hurk-hurk sound and was slowly coming over to soothe him, clean up and take him out when the smell hit me like a double-decker bus. This clearly wasn’t just spit and grass that he was throwing up anymore. When I gingerly turned the light on I realised that he was now vomiting up a light brown sludge that looked and smelled awful. In fact, if I had not been there to witness it, I would actually have assumed that this was an accidental case of explosive diarrhea, and not vomit.

Clearly something was very wrong.

When we went outside Cooper vomited a bit more, but didn’t really want any water or to go back inside immediately. I sat with him for a while in my lap and then in a moment of panic woke up my Boyfriend and asked if he thought it was necessary to go to an emergency Vet. After spending a few more minutes with Cooper he perked up again, drank water and snuggled back on his bed as if nothing had happened. I decided it was safe to have an (uneasy) sleep for 2 hours until the Vet opened when we could take him during consulting hours.

We arrived early at the Vet and they were happy to take us. The Vet did a basic check of Cooper and decided it would be best for him to stay the day while they checked every option as there could be a number of reasons for his situation and all things had to be ruled out through different tests and procedures. We reluctantly said goodbye to Cooper and hoped that he wouldn’t have to be away for long.

Before we left, the Doctor explained the most likely causes and actions, as well as how they would test for everything. This really helped to set us at ease as we knew what was happening and the most to least likely diagnosis.

After spending the night under observation the Vet called us to collect Cooper and take him home for the rest of his recovery. It turns out that he had a bad case of reflux which was getting worse, and slowly disrupting his digestive system more and more. We were a bit worried, but the Vet put us at ease explaining the medication and food needed to make him healthy again, and as it was caught before any serious damage was done, he should recover fully within a week.

Combined with a diet of soft, saltless chicken and rice meals we were given a course of medicine for the week. The medicines were:

  • Amoxicillin: a penicillin-like antibiotic that fights bacteria in the body.
  • Lokit: to treat ulcers of the stomach and the first part of the small intestine that connects to the stomach. It is also effective in treating gastro-oesophageal reflux, the backward flow of stomach acid contents into the oesophagus. (Also called Omeprazole)
  • Metronidazole: antibiotic treat various conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, nonspecific diarrhea disorders, infections caused by Giardia, and periodontal disease
  • Ulsanic Syrup:  a gastro-intestinal medication, mainly used to treat ulcers
Cooper Medicine

The full medical treatment for Cooper’s tummy ache

So how is Cooper doing now?

After a week of the medicine and a careful diet Cooper has thankfully bounced back completely to full health once again! It’s great to have the whole house getting a full nights’ sleep free of any tummy aches, vomiting or general unease!

Cooper happy

“Woof!” A happy, healthy Cooper!

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Cooper’s Effectiveness Summary:

Issue Addressed: Dog vomiting, Digestive reflux, Digestive health

Tool(s) Used: Various antibiotics and medications

Cost: Medium to High

Ease of Implementation: Moderate. If your dog is ok with Vet’s and taking medication then this is easier

Cooper’s Effectiveness Rating: 5/5. This ailment was not one that could be solved at home and needed Veterinary intervention. At home I could take care of his diet, but he wouldn’t have made such a speedy recovery without the Doctor’s interventions. I’m happy to report that this was a simple problem that was nipped in the bud, and left Cooper finally feeling much better and healthier!

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Have you had an experience with similar ongoing digestive or reflux problems with your dog? How did you treat it?