Category Archives: product review

A Cure for Sheddy McShed Shed?

Beautiful elderlab Viola has a big problem twice a year in the spring and the fall.  She becomes Sheddy McShed Shed and on a daily basis I pick up at least a Yorkie dog worth of hair.  In the spring it is worse and I would say she drops at least two Pom pups a day with the annual shedding of her undercoat.  I can pick out full tufts or clumps of her undercoat emerging through her top coat.  She hates it when I pick at her.

Sheddy McShed Shed

Sheddy McShed Shed

I have all the shedder tools ever developed and some do their job better than others.  Not sure what the ionic brush is supposed to do but it is a favorite because it is so easy to clean and I feel like something positive is happening because the little red light is on!  Having a multiple dog household means that when we do husbandry things it is a free for all because I’m not so disciplined to go someplace else and do one dog at a time.  Actually that is a really good idea but my girls are somewhat panicked if I don’t do the group thing.  You see, I work from home and most of them hang out with me 24/7 unless I’m at a pet sitting, dog walking or training client’s house.  And even then, sometimes, one or two of them get to hang with me there because some of my clients love the dog-on-dog interactions.

But having all these dogs and my foster(s) really puts a big wear and tear on my house and I’m so busy all the time I have limited time for cleaning activities. Not to mention I don’t really enjoy cleaning activities like some other folks I know who use cleaning as a stress reliever – really!  I’d like to introduce them to chocolate personally.  When I find a tool that makes me want to vacuum, well I really need to tell the world about it!

So I’d like to introduce you to my little friend, the Dyson Animal DC 50.  It’s one of those ball action vacuums.  And even though my carpeting has seen way better days, it makes those cool carpet cleaning lines!  I can’t believe the stuff it picks up!  Of course you can see everything in the clear cylinder that holds all the dirt and dog hair and toy stuffing and chewed up rope pieces and leaves that have been drug in from the outside.  The suction is incredible – per the Dyson commercials on TV.

By the way, I have no affiliation with Dyson other than I’m totally obsessed and want one of everything.  They are not paying me anything BUT if they happen to see this blog, I would love a Dyson no blade fan/heater thingy.  No really, they aren’t paying but I want to give you my honest opinion on this appliance.

I LOVE it!!! It is so lightweight and it maneuvers really easily. I love this new design which allows me to move from carpeting to hard floors without stopping to change setting.  The one thing that I don’t like is that the dirt catch bucket is smaller than previous designs so that means that I have to empty it more often.  And, it’s purple which of course is my favorite color!

What appliances make your life easier?

The Dyson DC-50

The Dyson DC-50: Look at all that dog hair!

Whacky Wednesday Product Review — Bake-a-Bone — Except It’s Tuesday

Bake-a-Bone "As Seen on TV"

Bake-a-Bone “As Seen on TV”

Sometimes I am like a dog with a bone.  Literally.  I can’t help myself when it comes to “As Seen on TV” products so when I saw a special through Coupaw I had to have it!  I mean, who doesn’t need a dog biscuit maker?  The Bake-a-Bone unIt is very light weight and pretty easy to use.  You just plug it in and when the red light goes out and the green light comes on, you are ready to bake dog biscuits.  Plus it is shaped like a bone so you won’t confuse it with your panini maker or waffle maker!

The Bake-a-Bone brand also has come out with biscuit mixes that you just add water to.  That is what I used today for the maiden voyage of Bake-A-Bone, the Triple Peanut Butter variety.  In addition to PB, you have Cheesy, Bacon, Bare Bone, Snickerpoodle, Banana, Breathmint, and Thanksgiving.  All of these varieties can be purchased online at the Bake-a-Bone website but I was able to purchase my mix at PetSmart.  There was, however, only the Triple PB variety.Mmmm Triple Peanut Butter

Dump the mix in a bowl, add a cup and a half of water and mix thoroughly. I’m not a baker but I always hear bakers take about not over-mixing because you don’t want your dough to be tough so as soon as there was no loose flour on the bottom of the bowl, I declared the biscuits mixed!

The inside of the Bake-a-Bone is like a waffle iron but instead of a waffle pattern, you have four bone vessels.  I will admit that I have a couple of pretty ugly looking dog bones because I didn’t make sure the batter reached all the rounded edges of the bone and a few times I overstuffed the bone causing pieces to squish out over the bone shape but once cooked, those snapped right off.

Just like a waffle iron!

Just like a waffle iron!

The batter smelled very peanut buttery so if you or any of your two legged kids have peanut allergies, don’t buy this variety!  I looked at the ingredients and there was nothing listed that a human wouldn’t eat so I went ahead and tried some of the excess.  It didn’t taste as peanut buttery as it smelled but sort of tasted like a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat toast.  The package said that it made 24 dog biscuits and it did, but because I had used some extra batter in the beginning before I had the quantity right, the last two were barely full cookies.  Those are the ones I gave to Sophie!

After I finished baking the last batch (each batch cooks for eight to ten minutes) I unplugged the machine and let it cool for about five minutes.  Then I spritzed the surface with water and put a damp paper towel between the plates.  After a few minutes, I just wiped down the inside with the paper towel and it was ready to be put away.

IMG_1060All four girls gave it a paws up, five out five tail wags!  I give it a thumbs up because I can pronounce all the ingredients, the mix is very convenient and the machine was very easy to clean up.  Next I will have to try my own recipe for ginger pumpkin dog biscuits to see how they cook up in the Bake-A-Bone.

Yummy PB Dog Biscuit

Yummy PB Dog Biscuit

Wednesday Test Drive – Premier Easy Walk and Bergan EZ Steps Stretch Couplers

This week, I have some new clients — Hemi and Precious Spoodle. Their owners hoped I could work on some basic obedience with Hemi and to get him to not pull so hard on the leash. Hemi is actually their “grand dog” but their son, Hemi’s dad, is out of town this summer on an internship. Hemi’s about 11 months old of unknown breed. Precious Spoodle is about seven years old and has always walked on a flexi lead. Both owners have said that they don’t go for walks because the dogs stop and smell everything!

The first day I walked Hemi and Precious, I used their own leashes and I thought my shoulder was going to pop out of the joint! Hemi is a strong dog and quite a puller. He wears a regular web collar attached to a six foot lead. Precious wore a web collar attached to a 12 foot flexi which she often utilized to its full length. Once that flexi is fully extended, it is quite difficult to get her to keep moving!

The next day, I decided to test drive a new no pull harness I got at PetSmart. It is pink and a size medium. I told Hemi, named after a really big engine in a truck, that no one would see him in pink and he shouldn’t worry about it being an affront to his manhood. He has nothing to worry about, he doesn’t even lift a leg while peeing!

premier Easy Walk

XS, S, M, L and XL — prices vary

The harness was very easy to figure out and there are two clips for easy on and off although I kept the clip on the shoulder clipped and had the dog step into the arm holes. Then I fastened the strap around his under chest. Before attempting to put this on Hemi, I let him sniff it and gave him a treat. I also lengthened all the straps as I wasn’t sure this would fit him. He’s not yet fully developed but he is on the larger side. This particular harness was a size medium. It fit him but left no room for growth. If I were buying this for him, I would go with a size large.

Next was the leash situation. For my personal dogs, I use a Bergan EZ Steps stretch couplers I purchased from keepdoggiessafe.com. I purchased as a three-lead. I removed one of the leads and set it up for Hemi and Precious. What I love about this lead is the handle. It reminds me of a waterski rope handle but much more comfortable. The grip is a soft, rubber handle that really helps when the dogs are pulling. It gives you something smooshy to hold on to and keep your leverage.

Also, the couplers themselves are made with a reinforced core to prevent leash snapping — something I’ve been a victim of with flexis far too many times! The EZ stretch coupler also easily converts to a single lead or multiple leads. I have three leads on mine when I walk my dogs. The leads are long enough to let each dog do their own thing but the unique way they attach to the handle prevents tangling.

stretch-two-dog-couplerI was very pleased with both of these products and how the dogs reacted to them. We were able to go for a nice, long walk without too much stopping. Hemi did not pull wearing the Premier harness and even though Hemi is bigger than Precious, the EZ Steps stretch coupler let them do their own sniffing. Overall, I think it was a better experience for both the dogs.

For Premier Easy Walk, we give it 4 out 5 paws! My only criticism of the harness was that one of the clip buckles was hard to undo. For the Bergan EZ Steps Stretch Couplers, we give it 4 out 5 paws! Nearly perfect with exception of not having the option of putting your wrist through an additional loop. If you don’t have a good grip capacity with your hand, it may be hard to use this leash.

 

Automated or Human Launch – What Do Dogs Prefer? Review of GoDogGo

Phoebe (L) and Bailey (r) go after the tennis ball

Phoebe (L) and Bailey (r) go after the tennis ball

My dogs are absolutely ball crazy. I don’t leave loose tennis balls around the house because Bailey will walk around crying like she is in intense pain until she puts it in my lap and backs away anxiously waiting for a toss…even a small toss that she can pick off mid-air and then the crying cycle begins again. Phoebe only gets excited when I have the ball in hand when I step out onto our back deck.  She’s more practical than Bailey.

baileyandphoebeball

Joyful!

We have a lot of products designed to get the ball moving.  We have slingshots, chuck-its, golf clubs, canons and my latest purchase, the GoDogGo Fetch and Ball Launcher System, http://godoggoinc.com.  T

oday, Phoebe and Bailey would like to tell you about their experiences with this automated ball launcher.  As usual, they don’t agree on the overall satisfaction — Phoebe gives it a resounding paws up but Bailey gives it a tails down.  First, we’ll hear from Phoebe.

Phoebe:  I really like this machine…alot!  First, it was really easy for Mom to set up.  She didn’t have any D batteries so she used the big orange extension cord to plug it into the wall socket on the deck.  It was nice we could use it right away and not wait for her to go to the store to buy the batteries…that might have taken a long time!  So once she plugged it in and put the balls into the basket, we were ready to go.  Mom pressed the button on the remote control and we could hear something sort of winding up.  I’m so used to watching Mom throw the ball that I didn’t associate the noise with the ball being thrown the first couple of times.  I kept watching her and missing when the ball popped!  So Mom finally made pretend she was throwing the ball so I would run down the stairs.

The GoDogGo ball launching system

The GoDogGo ball launching system

Mom was not looking at the remote control when she mashed the button and evidently she set it on auto 7 seconds.  This meant a new ball was launched every seven seconds.  I’m fast, but I’m not that fast.  Bailey was freaked out but I’ll let her tell you about that.  The only thing I’m not crazy about is that the ball pops up high but not very far.  Mom’s a terrible thrower and I think she throws further than the machine.

I haven’t learned 100% yet to bring the ball back and put it in the bucket.  I usually drop it at Mom’s feet  so I’m sure I’ll be able to figure out putting it in bucket.  Overall, I give it a 4 paws out of 5!  I like it very much and will fetch and fetch and fetch until Mom decides I’ve had enough.

Bailey: I don’t like this machine at all!  The noise scares me and I take the ball and run away.  Usually when we play ball, it is one ball at a time.  I will admit, I’m a little on the OCD side…ok I’m very OCD!  Ball playing should only have one ball at a time and if I do not get it, then my sister Phoebe will get it, and bring it back to Mom.  When we first played with this, Mommy made the mistake of pushing the button on the remote that auto launched balls and they were all over the yard.  I went to each one and tried to fit it in my mouth but I have a delicate mouth and could only fit one at a time.  It freaked me out that there were so many balls in the yard at once so I just got one and ran away back into the house.  The other terrible thing is that it made a large whackadoodle noise every time it sent a ball flying.  It was too scary for me and I missed out playing ball which is my favorite thing in the world.  So for how much it cost, how loud and scary it is and the lack of distance, I can only give it one paw out of five.  The good thing I will say about it is that it holds a lot of balls.

Kritter Keepers:  I love the concept of this but at around $150 it is a pretty expensive dog toy especially when one of my dogs is afraid of it.  I have taken it with to different clients’ homes and have had some good results with it.  No one else seems to be as afraid of the noise as Bailey.  I think the sound cues would be great especially for a puppy just starting to play ball but for dogs like my Phoebe who are very sight oriented, she hasn’t got the sound cue and looks at me to “throw” the ball.  All of us do wish the ball went further.  As a safety precaution (the machine can whip the ball out pretty fast — think pitching machine) the projection of the ball goes up rather than out.  Since I usually hit tennis balls off my deck with my tennis racquet, my dogs are used to trying to cover a great distance in a short period of time.  The almost always overshoot the distance when using GoDogGo.  Overall, love the concept, not crazy about price point and think there could be some improvements in design.  I give it a 3 paws out of five.