2019 Holiday Gift Guide for dog lovers

It’s that time of year again and our resident reindeer and elf are ready to share some of their favorite gift ideas for all of the different people and pets on your list.1

To celebrate the season

  • Advent calendars $3 and up

IMG_2030Advent calendars have come a long way from when I was a kid. The assortment is enormous with items to appeal to even the fussiest person on your list.  Of course the traditional chocolate can still be found in stores everywhere, but other calendars are filled with toys, beauty products, beer or wine, and now there are even calendars for dogs and cats!

For the big dogs 

  • drying robe from Ruff and Tumble $50 and up
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Photo from Ruff and Tumble

We spend a lot of time in the water and I’ve had a very difficult time finding a drying robe that will fit a large dog. A friend referred me to Ruff and Tumble and the first one I bought was actually too big! They are located in the U.K. but they are very quick to ship. They are a little pricey but quality is wonderful and they are very long lasting. I recently got a pair of the drying mitts and they make drying muddy paws so easy. Find out more here.IMG_2912

  • a new leather collar or leash $30 and up
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A small selection of the many leashes we have on hand.

Several years ago I discovered that for dogs with long, thick hair around their necks, a round leather collar is the best collar to prevent matting and tangles. Ever since then, that’s been my collar of choice but it’s a little boring. I admire dogs with different patterned or jeweled collars, but I resist the urge to buy one for my dogs. As a result, I have a pretty big leash collection. I have leashes for training, swimming and walking the neighborhood.  I love buying a new leash and I have leashes that range in size from 2 feet to 30 feet.  I love the variety and I choose what to use based on my mood and what we are going to be doing.

Click here for my favorite round leather collar,  here for Hund collars, here for custom leather leashes and collars,  and here for patterned collars by Foggy Dog. They donate food to shelters with each purchase.

  • Oma’s Pride dog treats $8 and up
O'Paws Chicken Hearts
Photo from Oma’s Pride
  • High in fatty acids, vitamins A and B, Iron, and Taurine.
  • Sourced & produced in the USA.
  • 100% natural — no preservatives, additives, or flavorings.

Suggested Use & Instructions: Use as a treat, snack, or training tool. Feed whole or break into smaller pieces.

Ingredients: Hand-sliced chicken hearts

I can teach Winn to do anything when these treats are involved! Her favorites are the chicken hearts but she really isn’t choosy. There’s really nothing else to say, she loves them.

Click here to shop the collection.

For working newfs and their owners

  • Water Work, Water Play by Judi Adler $40 plus postage

IMG_1831-1The best Newfoundland specific water training manual out there! This book explains how to get started and how to be successful with each componenet of the Junior, Senior and Excellent test. If you know someone  interested in water work, this is the book for them.

Purchase this wonderful book here.

  • Katie’s bumpers $10 and up

IMG_3407Durable toys made from firehose. Great for big dogs, strong chewers and water play!

Click here for Katie’s Bumpers Amazon store

  • Garden totem or other pottery pieces from Prairie Dog Pottery $25 and up

IMG_2036A dear friend gave me this garden totem when Winn and I passed our first Water Dog test. She introduced us to water work and taught us how to do each different exercise. The metal rod I put it on for the planter is a little long, but I’m holding a spot for something special when we pass the Draft Test.

There are so many wonderful items to choose. In addition to the garden totems (with many different dog breed pieces) she has a huge selection of pottery items. I’m especially fond of the coffee mugs with a Newfie pulling a cart.

Brouse through her different collections here.

  • Newfie socks from Newfielove.com $16.15

PictureThe shop at Newfielove just keeps getting bigger. She’s got bibs, mugs, pillows, towels, t-shirts and sweatshirts and a whole lot more. I think these socks are pretty darn cute and the perfect gift for someone who might be bashful about advertising their newfie love. Check out her shop here.

  • Sea Bags $30 and up

IMG_2046.jpegThis company recycles old sails into bags. I’ve been a fan of theirs for a long time. I appreciate their reuse, repurpose mission and I’m nostalgic about the many years I spent living on the east coast. They are located in Portland, ME and have opened several stores in New England and beyond.  Winn knows this bag is “her” bag. It’s always packed with treats and all the things we need when we are training or testing. I’ve got my eye on a custom bag. I want to have one made with the image of Winn either pulling the boat to shore or jumping off of the  boat.

Click here to shop their pets collection but don’t be surprised if you spend more time looking around at all of their other items.

A little bit of whimsy for dog lovers

  • Dog Bingo by Polly Horner $29.95
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Photo from Polly Horner

How about a board game the whole family can play? You can learn more about other fun products by Polly Horner here and purchase Dog Bingo here.

  • Dog tail hooks $29
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photo from Grandin Road

I absolutely love these hooks and that they come in two sizes. These are available at Grandin Road here. There are similar options at several other online retailers if you want different colors or sizes.

  • Holiday kitchen towel from Sur La Table $12

IMG_2033This towel is pretty cute and there are lots of other options available to add to your kitchen. Dog lovers 12 days of Christmas towel available here.

  • Teddy the Dog $5 and up

IMG_2038Teddy the dog offers a huge variety of items featuring almost every dog breed with a silly pun. For the hard to shop for person, surely you will be able to find something here!

We hope you’ve gotten some good ideas for somebody on your shopping list. Most importantly, enjoy your time with your loved ones and give everyone extra hugs.

Happy Holidays!IMG_2064.jpeg

 

 

It’s Pumpkin season!

Pumpkin season seems to start at the very first sign of the fall temperature drop.

There’s a certain coffee company that has a specific drink that people seem to go crazy for and when the rumors start about its availability, that seems to signal everything else pumpkin related.

I may be the only person on the planet that doesn’t like the idea of pumpkin spice in my coffee, but I do love pumpkin pie and pumpkin muffins. I also love finding the perfect assortment of pumpkins, large and small, to add to my porch and window box decorations. I usually put them out a couple of weeks before Halloween and hopefully they last until Thanksgiving.

Since this is Thanksgiving week, I thought it was appropriate to share my recipe for another seasonal doggie ice cream flavor. (I usually make frozen treats during the summer months but Maisie has decided she likes ice cream before bedtime, so now I try to keep some on hand all of the time.)

This month’s flavor: Pumpkin Apple!Pumpkin Apple pup treats-3

A little draft season wrap-up

Winn and I recently entered a Newfoundland Draft Test put on by our local Newfoundland Club.

We’ve been training for a few months. We started shortly after her 2nd birthday in March, which is the recommended age to start draft training. With all of the Rally classes we’ve had, she adapted to maneuvering with the cart really well and we entered the Draft Test at the Newfoundland National Specialty in April.  We didn’t pass but I came away with a better idea of what a test is like and some things for us to work on before we tried it again.

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Winn and I passing through the low narrows at the National test. It was cold there too and we had the same judge!

I put the cart away while we focused on water training for the next few months and then pulled it out again about 6 weeks ago.

Training this fall was challenging. The weather was pretty terrible with lots of rain but surprise, surprise the dogs were happy as can be pulling their carts around on the cool fall weekend days! fullsizeoutput_2e8eIt was great to practice with a group, we had a maneuvering course set up, a beautiful forest preserve to use for the freight haul, and it was really helpful to have several dogs together to practice the three minute out of site stay.

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The dogs must remain in a stay without moving for three minutes while their handlers are hidden out of sight.

As an added bonus, there was a tiny dog on site that was more than happy to fulfill the role of “intriguing distraction”, which was almost more that Winn could take until we plopped him in her cart and she took him for a ride.

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Luke The Distracter

The weather for the test was cold and sunny and the site for the test was really beautiful.  It was a perfect setting, the dogs were frisky with the cool temps and there were lots of people on hand to help out and cheer on all of us that were entered.

Of seven entries, there was one team that passed. There are so many details to accomplish, it really is a beautiful sight when a team makes it successfully through a test.

What kind of things make you fail? Winn and I failed because she got a little too far away from me, she must stay within a four foot radius, and I had to grab her to keep her from getting off course which is an automatic fail and dismissal (you must be hands free for each of the exercises). Another team failed because the dog refused to back up. There are two back-ups required and she just wasn’t in the mood for the first one. One team failed because there was a problem with the cart. There is a full inspection of the harnessing and cart once the dog is hitched. All of these things happened at the very beginning of the test.

A couple of teams failed on the maneuvering course, either bumping too many times or not completing the obstacles correctly. One team failed on the freight haul, which is the very end of the test because her handler told her to turn right instead of left and she sandwiched her handler on the bridge. We all got a good laugh at that one, it’s pretty much always handler error. The dogs take our cues, whether it’s from stress, sloppy hand signals or forgetting our right and left.

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Beautiful Ella, she came sooo close to passing!

We will keep practicing and hopefully pass a test sometime in the near future. Winn has such great instincts and the best part is that we have fun working together and that’s what it’s all about!

If you’d like to read the requirements for passing the Draft Dog test click here. There have been changes to the basic obedience since this was written but the overall test remains the same.fullsizeoutput_2e23

Holy crap, what was that!

We all hear “things that go bump in the night” and usually I blame the unexplained on the dogs. They are both quite large, and when they are wandering their footfalls can sound like person walking down the hall.

Recently my husband has been traveling a lot for work. A few nights ago when he was out of town, Maisie, Winn and I were are abruptly awoken at 2:00 am with a terrible crash and a high pitched shriek. Maisie immediately started barking but stayed planted in the middle of the bed. Winn stood up and perked her ears. I jumped up and scrambled around looking for the phone.IMG_1736.jpegAs I was pre-dialing 911, Winn started ambling down the hallway to investigate.  I stood just outside my bedroom with my finger on the dial button and watched Winn go in and out of the laundry room, sniff the closed door of the empty guest room and look out the window facing the back yard. I called out to my son and got no response while Winn stood at the top of the stairs, sniffing for anything unusual. Eventually she turned back around and headed toward my bedroom. I figured it was safe to follow her since she was obviously giving me an “all clear”. I admit, I was not brave enough to venture downstairs to face whatever/whoever had made such a crash.IMG_1719.jpegFor the next 45 minutes, I stared at the ceiling clutching the phone to my chest and tried to come up with a reasonable explanation for what we heard. Maybe a raccoon fell out of a tree and yelped when he landed on the deck. The only problem with that theory is that the noise really seemed to come from the front of the house and not the back. Maybe my son came home, tripped, fell and then screeched like a girl. He didn’t answer when I called out his name, could he possibly be laying unconscious on the floor? Nah, Winn would have run to his rescue.

I finally fell asleep to the sound of the two snoring dogs snuggled up next to me. I figured I was safe enough with Brave Winn and Barky Maisie by my side.

The next morning when I woke up I had forgotten about the commotion from the night before. When I got to the bottom of stairs, I was momentarily confused by what I saw but then I couldn’t help but laugh.

Are you ready to see what I found?fullsizeoutput_2df5.jpeg

There it is, the terrorizing culprit. A cordless leaf blower.

I had been working in the front yard the day before and when I came inside I set the blower on top of the box by the door. My son must have bumped it when he came in for the night leaving it precariously perched on the box for a couple of hours until it teetered off. At that point, it crashed to the floor, landing briefly on the trigger, expelling a quick, noisy blast of air directed at the front door.

Winn was correct with her assessment, no danger here. Just a large object going bump in the night.

 

 

National Lobster Day!

I grew up in New England, and lobsters were present at our table multiple times a year.

My preference was always soft shell because I love to rip into them using my hands without relying on cracking tools. Soft shell (available late summer, early fall) are typically only available in Massachusetts and Maine, they don’t transport well because they don’t survive as long out of the water. I really miss the ease of soft shell but since hard shell is the industry standard, I’ll take a lobster any way I can get it. I close my eyes at the prices I pay in the Midwest because I love them on the table for family celebrations, Christmas Eve and just when I get a craving.2ciO9F2vTdqQKXdJd6kIlQ

So now, in honor of National Lobster Day, here are some fun pictures for your entertainment!

a shared life with our very large dogs

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