Friday, March 06, 2009

News and Notes

SUMMARY: stuff..

Yesterday I did just a wee bit of agility with Tika in the yard. You have seldom seen her so excited to be doing agility! Wow was she fast--on the contacts, in the weaves, in her table down. Fast fast fast! Maybe it was good to take a couple of weeks off. Not that I usually practice that much, but we did usually have class every week and I'd do SOMETHING on the equipment with them almost every day. Maybe she will keep it up this weekend. Maybe I'd better put her over some jumps today (still too wet and slippery on the ground yesterday).

Boost wanted to go, too. So I set up a completely straight tunnel so she wouldn't slip (wet wet wet) and set it so that her exit put her in line for the dogwalk, which I figured wouldn't be hard on her backside. This was one happy dog! You can tell because she starts going into a superfrenzy on her toy afterwards. I dunno what I'm going to do with her all weekend! At least at this trial there's a huge fenced field where she can run loose and we can throw a toy or practice obedience or tricks or groundwork or something.

Daylight savings time starts Saturday night! Always interesting on a trial weekend to see who shows up at the wrong time on Sunday. I feed my dogs usually around 10:00 and 6:00. And they know it. They start hanging all over me and mooning around until I feed them. My dogs have NO PROBLEM adjusting to daylight savings time for their meals. But it takes them about 6 months to decide that it's ok to wait an extra hour when standard time rolls back in.

For some mental exercise, I've started teaching the dogs to bring me their bowls for meals. I worked really hard last week for several days just trying to associate the word "bowl" with the object and having them get it from a short distance with nothing else intruding. First time I put them out on the deck and said "bring me your BOWL," tika veered off to the side and brought me her BALL. Doh! OK, back to square one, associating the word DISH with the object. Silly trainer.

The price of everything dog related seems to have shot up. For several years I've paid roughly the same for my 40-lb. bags of kibble--somewhere between $25 and $30 regular price but you could often get it on sale for the low $20s. Last fall, BAM!, shot up to $40 a bag! It does last about 4 weeks, so I'm feeding my dogs on $1.50 a day, which is way less than *I* cost to feed. But still, wow, what a jump, and it feels worse because it was so sudden. Same thing with bully sticks. Could get a dozen at Costco for $12.99 for the longest time. Then, overnight last fall, BAM!, $20. I'm less eager to pay almost $2 each for a chew that lasts about 20 minutes. Although I *do* cut them in half usually; scarfing down a whole one usually gets me dog vomit sometime during the night (like, say, last night for example, when I didn't cut them in half).

That's all for now. This weekend: CPE. Next week: Boost visits the orthopedist.

6 comments:

  1. Have fun this weekend! It's always so exciting after being off for a while. Can't wait to hear how it goes :)

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  2. I work at a little independent pet store. Have you tried Bravo bully sticks? They are about $8.50 a piece, but we find they last 2x-5x longer than any other brand. The dehydration process is different with Bravo bullies. My Sheltie keeps a Bravo bully for about a month, whereas he can plow through a Red Barn bully stick of the same length in about 3 days.

    Also, the increase in your dog food price is due to the increase of, well, everything else. :( Meat prices for dog food have increased by 140% in some cases, lamb and venison especially. Corn has gone up, which you need to use to feed livestock. Gas has gone up, which you need to use to transport all the various "parts" of dog food (livestock, livestock feed, grains, packaging, finished product to distributor, distributor to store). I do feel your pain!

    Depending on what brand you feed, I might know of ways for you to get a discount. Some companies have coupons if you know where to look (Nature's Variety) or are willing to fill out short surveys (Wellness -- I got a $10 off coupon once!).

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  3. Yeah, I understand WHY it went up--it's still jarring when my income hasn't. Sigh.

    Bully Sticks--my dogs go through the red barn ones in about an hour, I'm guessing. Thanks for the suggestion--I might try a Bravo and see what happens.

    Kibble--I use Nutro. They have a program where you buy 10 and get one free, which helps a little. Any other suggestions are welcome.

    -ellen

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  4. Any brands made by Natura (California Natural, Evo, Innova, Healthwise, and Karma) should have a buy-12 get-one free program. Canidae has the same program, they're just made by a different company. Natural Balance also has one, but it's for the consumer to deal with (you need to save reciepts and UPCs and all sorts of stuff).

    I would recommend any of these brands over Nutro. Natura does more safety checks than any other food manufacturer out there and you are receiving top-quality food without paying through the nose for it. A 30# bag of California Natural will run you about $50, but you will almost definitely feel less CalNat than Nutro because there are less fillers.

    Natura's website has a great "food comparison" tool where you can select the food you feed and a potential Natura product, and it compares the ingredients. It will also define ingredients if you click on them, so you can get a better feel for what, say, "chicken by-product meal" is.

    http://www.naturapet.com/tools/comparison.asp

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  5. Thanks for the info; I'll check it out.

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