Tag Archives: traveling with dogs

Nothin’ but Newf!

Have you ever wanted to see a Newfoundland Dog up close? How about 500?

Yes, you read that right, last week, almost 500 Newfoundlands and their owners gathered at the Newfoundland National Specialty in Frankenmuth, MI.

The National is a week-long celebration which is much more than a typical dog show. It includes working events such as carting, obedience and rally obedience. There are parades honoring living legends (Newfoundlands 10 years old and over) and rescues.  Special recognition is given the Top 20 conformation and Top 10 obedience dogs as well as to Versatile Newfoundlands, who have earned an AKC championship, an AKC obedience title, NCA water rescue dog title and NCA draft dog title. That’s just a few of the events on the weeklong agenda!

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Obedience and grooming were in the blue and white building, vendors were lined up in the big tent on the left and the main show ring was in front of the big white tent.

In short, it highlights the many different aspects that make the Newfoundland Dog so special.

This year I attended for the first time. Winn and I arrived Monday night and stayed through Thursday afternoon.  We were entered into two Rally Intermediate trials with the hope that she would get her title while we were there.  The requirements for the title are three qualifying legs under two different judges.  We earned the first two legs the previous weekend, so we just needed to do well in one of the two trials to accomplish our goal and we did! On Tuesday morning we scored a 93, got second place and earned the title.IMG_6746.jpgMy daughter met me up there to cheer me on and after getting our ribbons, she and I were able to wander around, enjoy many of the other activities and explore the cute town of Frankenmuth. The working events were scheduled at the beginning of the week and we watched friends in the obedience and rally rings and also observed the specialty carting event.IMG_3008IMG_3023We had a picnic lunch, went to Bronners the World’s Largest Christmas Store and got milkshakes and ice cream to celebrate our success in the ring.IMG_6773IMG_6818IMG_6809I don’t know a lot about conformation showing, but I really enjoyed watching the puppies in the ring.  Who doesn’t love watching puppies?

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6-9 mos. puppy dog Hotel California Tender Ebony
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6-9 month old puppy dogs
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6-9 mos. puppy dogs
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4-6 month old beginner puppy
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12-15 month old ThreePonds Boatswain
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9-12 month old Sugar-Mtn’s Pray For Peace

The planning and coordination that went into this big event was incredible and I was amazed by the spectacle of it all.  The amount of gear that gets hauled around for the show dogs is mind boggling.  When Winn and I go to a trial, I bring a soft crate, a chair and a bag with snacks, water and something to read.  That’s nothing compared to the crates, tables and grooming tools that accompany the conformation dogs.  There was a separate washing station set up near the hotel and then the dogs were moved into their reserved grooming spaces to be finished. Wire crates, which are very heavy, are used in the grooming area because they are more secure and frequently one owner is traveling with multiple dogs.  This ensures that they are safely secured while the attention may be on another dog.IMG_0688IMG_6880In between our trials, I walked around with Winn to chat with several of our friends who were there but I also found myself just watching it all in amazement.  I met some new people, stopped to watch some grooming in action and spent some time with this beautiful brown boy (who was at Westminster last year) and his owner.  There were very few brown Newfoundlands there and she sought us out and introduced herself.  She loved Winn and took us around the room to meet her friends and fellow brown Newfoundland lovers.

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GCH Royal Flush Davos of Bogmist nicknames Pupachoo, Chopsy  and Chop-Chop

I had such a good time on this trip and Winn was a terrific traveling companion.  She can still be a little shy when meeting new people so I passed treats to those who wanted to meet her and she figured out pretty quickly that meeting new people is tasty.  I made a funny observation while there: owners tended to offer the treats from their open hand under her chin; handlers held the treat between two fingers above her nose. The difference made me smile every time. IMG_6854 Winn was great in the hotel.  She figured out the elevator really quickly, knew right where our room was and loved to hang out on the balcony and watch everyone coming and going through the parking lot.  She ate well and slept hard. We did hear some barking from time to time, but she never made a peep.  She was the perfect hotel dog.IMG_3026IMG_3040On Thursday morning we met up with her breeder.  He and his wife arrived late the night before and this was the first time we had seen each other since pick up day when Winn was 10 weeks old. He was showing Winn’s big sister Bertie on Friday and he set up her crate next to Winn’s.  The two girls hung out together for a little while.  It was so nice to see him with Winn, she’s changed a lot over the past year!IMG_6879IMG_6900My only regret is that Annie wasn’t with us.  My primary interest in going to Newfoundland National was to march in the Rescue Parade with her and I figured if I was there with Annie, I might as well bring Winn along and we could participate in Rally.  I also knew that having Winn by her side would make Annie feel more comfortable.  It really hurt to be there without her, but I brought the honor flag I made at the Blogpaws conference and attached it to the bag that I carried around with us.  While Winn and I were competing, Annie was right there next to Winn’s crate.  It did bring a little comfort, feeling like she was there in spirit.  I never would have thought about going if it wasn’t for my desire to celebrate Annie and how special she was.IMG_3030.jpg

Tomorrow’s post is about Precious, the namesake of Annie’s rescue group. She was there, I spent a little time with her, and she marched in the Rescue Parade. She proudly represented the 43 other Newfoundlands that were rescued with her, many of whom are no longer with us.

 

 

BlogPaws with Maisie

Last week Maisie and I drove to Kansas City, MO for the BlogPaws Conference.

The agenda was filled with a wide selection of seminars, lunchtime keynote speakers, one on one sessions with experts and blocks of time set aside to explore the exhibition hall which was packed with vendors. Of course we also had time to socialize at meal time and happy hour and the big finale was an awards ceremony.  Some of my favorite moments came from those conversations.  I met so many interesting people and got some good tips along the way. Having Maisie with me was a huge help. She gave me the confidence to walk up to a table full of strangers and ask “do you mind if we join you?” and she instantly drew the attention away from me if I was feeling tongue-tied.

I loved the exhibition hall.  I discovered several brands that I wasn’t familiar with. They each gave us samples and I’m really excited to try their products.  I plan to write a series called Big Wet Dog Reviews with our honest impressions after we’ve tried them out for a while. Newfie’s needs can be different from the average sized dog so I’m looking forward to giving our unique perspective.

We also received a swag bag which was huge and it will take us a while to get through everything that was in there! I’m sure I will share some of the goodies with friends and family.IMG_2792

I have to brag about Maisie for a moment.  She was so well-behaved! We are working so hard on training to become a Certified Therapy Team and this was a great opportunity for me to evaluate our progress and take note of the things that we need to work on.  It was a lot of stimulation for her.  Not only were there lots of people that we had to navigate around, especially as we worked our way through the buffet lines, but a lot of attendees had their pets with them as well. Maisie has distraction issues, but she listened well and was quick to give me her attention when I asked.  She laid quietly (most of the time) at my feet during meal time and in the sessions and was able to recover quickly when she got barked at by another dog. In addition to a Service Dog and a puppy training to be a Service Dog, there were two Therapy Dogs who were able to walk by everyone, human and animal, without breaking their stride or concentration. They were both such great examples of working Therapy Teams and I will think of them as a reminder of what we need to look like when we are out and about.

Maisie also adapted well to staying in a hotel. We rode the elevator multiple times a day and we walked 1/2 block away to potty. She doesn’t normally sleep on the bed, but the first night she was pretty anxious and was a complete bed hog as she snuggled next to me. The next night, she sprawled out on the other bed and we both got a better night’s sleep. The one thing that tripped her up the whole time was when we encountered pets in strollers.  All of our training has focused on walking by animals of different sizes on the ground, but the stroller pets were at her eye level, moved differently, and each stroller had a different smell and surprise. (Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures, I was too busy trying to keep her attention and heel past them.)  I mentioned it to our trainer when we returned to class and she thought it would be a good idea for them to get one so that we can all train to that distraction.

In additon to all of the education, networking and entertainment, I was especially interested in the Honor Flags. Annie was the inspiration for the blog and writing about her progress was my primary focus for the first few months. It seemed so appropriate that I would make a flag to honor her since she was the reason that I created the blog! The display was set up in a quiet corner right outside the exhibition hall and since I’m not terribly crafty or artistic, I brought a picture of her and used the supplies provided to create something to add.

IMG_6537After I hung her flag, Maisie and I went back into the exhibition hall but I needed a few more moments to get my emotions in check.  I flopped down in a chair and was looking through my photos when we were approached by the Chewy camera team (Chewy acquired BlogPaws).  We were right next to a blow up pool and they asked me if I was planning on putting my big dog in the pool.  I chuckled and told them I wasn’t because I was afraid she might put a hole in the side, but then we all decided that since it was the last day, we should give it try!  Maisie hammed it up for them and we all laughed while they got lots of picutres from different angles.  She was such a hit that they approached me later on and asked if I would be willing to be interviewed for a promotional piece for next years’ conference. They wanted to know about us, the blog and our conference experience and I got a little teary as I told them about the Honor Flag project.  I’m sure I didn’t look my best, but I hope that footage turned out well, it would be one more special way to celebrate my dear, Sweet Annie.IMG_6559

Getting road trip ready

How should I restrain these big dogs in the car?

That’s a question that I have contemplated many times.  I have surveyed other Newfie owners, read multiple blogs, and scoured the internet for suggestions.

The overwhelming consensus is that most people keep their big dogs loose in the cargo area of their SUV’s.  We have done this for years, but I keep worrying about something happening and them getting hurt.

The ideal situation is a strong, reinforced crate in the back. Recently, I heard of someone that was in a terrible accident and her dog was saved by being in one of these crates.  The challenges are, 1. the options are very limited for giant dogs, 2. I need at least two if we are all traveling together and only one will fit in my cargo area and 3. they are incredibly expensive.

The one that I’ve considered is the Gunner Kennel .

I do have an extra wire crate and have used that on occasion when I’m transporting only one dog, but it just doesn’t seem sturdy enough. It’s not an issue of keeping them under control, they lie down and sleep as soon as we pull away from the house, I’m looking for a way to keep them from flying through the car.  I don’t think a wire crate would stand up to the pressure of a 100 plus pound dog suddenly hitting the sides and since I have the ability to “catastrophize”, would they get speared by a wire?

I’ve looked at many harnesses, but since my dogs don’t ride in the middle seat, I would have to figure out a different way to belt them.

We have an old jeep, our “beach buggy” that we used to take Maisie and Annie to the beach.  (It’s our 25 mph transport to and from the beach, 1 mile from our house.) We removed the back seat, found a bed that fit the area perfectly, attached leashes to the cross bar and then hooked into their harness to keep them restrained. (We also bought the Petloader steps  for Annie because she didn’t like using a ramp or being lifted).IMG_1258 (1)IMG_1351

I decided to try this option with Winn on our recent road trip to Ohio. I researched crash tested harnesses and the one I settled on was the Kurgo.  We found one for Maisie at an REI Garage Sale a couple of years ago and I was pleased that the Kurgo was still listed at the top of the review charts.  Maisie’s is too small for Winn (they are vastly different sizes) and since Winn needed her own anyway I purchased one for her and two seat belt straps with swivel attachments to secure them each to the tie downs in the back of the car.

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Maisie has a different model (green) but they both fit the chest nicely.
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They are clipped on their backs which also allows them to sit or lie down comfortably.

This solution worked very well for our long, highway drive.  Winn was able to change positions and if she needed a potty break, I could see her pop her head up to give me the signal. It was also very easy to load her into the car and then hook her up. While I hope we never have the opportunity to test it, I feel better knowing that if something terrible happens, they will stay in the relative safety of the cargo area.IMG_6261

We have several road trips coming up and I’m relieved that I’ve settled on a solution.  Maisie and I are going to Kansas City, MO for a blogging conference, Winn and I are going to Frankenmuth, MI for the Newfoundland National and all of us (I think) are going to Ontario, Canada for a Water Dog training seminar.  Now I can focus on writing about all of our adventures!

disclaimer: the links I have provided are non-sponsored, they are items that I have found   on my own for my personal use.

Winn’s fist road trip (in pictures)

IMG_2351Iowa has really beautiful rest stops.

The Great Platte River Road Archway Monument in Kearney, NE.

First time staying in a hotel.

IMG_2429Loving the rural setting among the corn fields.

We visited old friends and found the Richthofen Castle in Denver, built by the uncle and godfather of “The Red Barron”.  It is alleged to be haunted due to an onsite TB sanitarium and a sensational murder in 1911.

IMG_2575Winn had her first patio dining experience.

We did a little shopping and were mesmerized by all of the western style boots.

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She was very patient in between stops,

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and sat up periodically to gaze out of the window.

IMG_2578Our final check out before heading home, we are all ready to sleep in our own beds!

Next up: The purpose of our road trip and painting with a puppy.