Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Go Fetch! The best toys for playing fetch.

First off, I really apologize for these gifs I keep using but quite frankly I love them so it's probably gonna keep happen. Sorry not sorry. Now back to your regular scheduled programming...

Does your dog love to fetch? Maizy does. While any dog can learn to fetch breeds like Springer Spaniels, Labradors, Golden Retrievers and Poodles tend to be fetching machines. They were quite literally bred for it! While your dog may not be retreiving tonight's dinner, playing fetch is great way to give your dog a "job" and ensure they get enough exercise. It also easy to sneak in some training while you toss a ball around. Plus it's just fun!

Hint: Ask your dog to perform a "trick" like a sit, down or stay before you throw the toy. The chase is the reward for a job well done!

While you may think you can throw just about anything (and you can, I've had Maizy fetch crumpled up napkins), the right toy can make your fetching experience that much better. There is a HUGE market for these types of toys - ones that glow in the dark, ones that float, ones that go farther, ones meant for catching... the possibilities are endless. So without further ado, here are some of Maizy's favourite toys to fetch, and some not so good ones.

The Ultra Durable

If you need a toy that will last and last, the Chuckit! Amphibious Bumper Stick is the toy for you. The first day I got this toy, I brought it to the park where two bulldogs preceeded to play tug of war with it for 45 minutes. I was sure that when I got it back it would be destroyed but to my surprise, it didn't have a single tooth mark! Sadly, I ended up losing this toy down a waterfall.

Pros: Very durable, floats for water fetch, the rope allows you to keep your hands somewhat clean, easy to throw
Cons: The price, at $14.99, is a bit steep

Practicing water retrieves with the Chuckit! Bumper. 

The Super Fun

Dogs love this whacky, wiggly, 'S' shaped toy; it's not unusual for somebody to go out and buy one after playing with our toy at the dog park. The Zogoflex Bumi is great for fetch, tug, or just running around with. Dogs love to throw this toy by themselves because the 'S' design causes it to bounce wildly. 

Pros: Durable, floats, made out of a soft plastic-y material that it easy on dog's mouths, and dog's go bonkers for it
Cons: Slippery when wet: I have accidentally chucked this at somebody because the toy gets so slippery. It also really picks up dirt (though it rinses off easily). At $14.99 it is not cheap. 

Playing with the Zogoflex Bumi

The Inexpensive

If you don't want to drop 15 dollars on a dog toy, this is the toy for you. While it's not on the same level of awesome as the two toys above, this is a great every day fetch toy. In fact, this is the toy we use most often! Doggie Dooley, Toss N Clutch is easy to throw, brightly coloured and won't break the bank.

Pros: Only $5.99, brightly coloured, and I can throw it pretty far. It also makes a good tug toy!
Cons: If you have a heavy chewer, this toy is not durable enough. While Maizy has no problems, another dog at the park manged to put a number of holes in the ball.

Looking cute with the Toss N Clutch! 

The Swing and Fling

The Starmark, Swing & Fling Durafoam Fetch Ball was Maizy's very first fetching toy. She actually manged to magically find this toy in the garden and we ended up buying another one. The rope on this toy is really long which is great for throwing and for tug. The ball is soft but robust. However, Maizy has managed to remove the rope from the ball on both of the toys we bought her.

Pros: Long rope, bright coloured, floats
Cons: At 14.99, there are more durable toys for the price tag

Puppy Maizy modelling the Durafoam Fetch Ball.

The Weird

We would rather play with a stick
than the Longshots Launcher
I was tempted to title this 'The Awful' because this toy was no fun at all. The Longshots Duck Launcher is a great idea but poorly executed: I couldn't get the darn duck to launch! If I did manager to "launch" the duck, it went a measly few feet. You are apparently supposed to be able to launch the duck 40 feet but I could not get the toy to work.

Pros: The duck was a nice toy by itself, which Maizy promptly hid somewhere in the garden, never to be seen again
Cons: Hard to use, generally awful. I'm not sure how much this was because it was a gift, but whatever the price, it was not worth it. It was just a weird toy. 

The "Best Toy Ever" According to Maizy

The Kong Tennis Ball Squeaker is perhaps Maizy's favourite toy because, well, it's a squeaky ball. There isn't much to say about them because they are really just a squeaky ball. Maizy goes insane for them. On the other hand, they drive me insane because she will stand there and SQUEAK, SQUEAK, SQUEAK for ages. We only bring these balls out for a short period before they are banished again because they are super annoying. If she didn't love them so much I would never buy them again. 

Pros: Dogs adore them. Like really, really adore them. Her happiness is worth my ears. You get two balls for $7.49 or cheaper if you go with the smaller size. 
Cons: The squeaking!

Note: Kong does have toys where you can turn the squeaker off, which I think is brilliant and so I bought her two of them. Predictably, she doesn't play with them, even if the squeaker is on. Sigh! 

So there you have it folks, our favourite and least favourite fetching toys. Now get out there and play with your dog!  

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Fit Dog, Fat Human

The first step is admitting you have a problem and I have a problem: I really, really love junk food. Chocolates, cookies, chips, candies, all of it. I also love sitting around on my butt. This has lead to me getting a bit too squishy. I'm not fat, but I'm on my way there.

Maizy on the other hand is trim and slim. She gets lots of exercise following horses on trail rides, playing fetch, hunting feral cats, and swimming.

Girl look at that body - I work out! 

So something had to change on my end. I could either stop eating the food (HA!) or get off my butt and burn some calories. I really, really hate "traditional" exercising. You will not find me in a gym, ever. My body is (currently) too beat up for running. Sit-ups, push-ups and planks are, I'm quite sure, torture methods. Really, if there's not an animal involved I'm not going to participate.

So that leaves me with few options but thankfully one of those options is A) fairly painless, B) you can do it pretty much anywhere and, C) I can bring the dog. You've guessed it: Walking! 

I do already take Maizy on walks of course, but those are more "hurry up and poop" walks. These shorter, more ambling walks will still be happening but the plan is to add one, large, heart rate upping walk 6 times a week. I'm starting off at at least 30 minutes, with plans to increase to an hour over the next few weeks. Hopefully this should keep the fat gaining at bay and maybe I'll even lose a few pounds. At the very least, Maizy will enjoy it and that is what's really important.

I'm hoping to head to a hiking trail tomorrow morning so my next post should have some cute Maizy pictures.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Guess Who's Back, Back Again... Maizy's Back, Tell a Friend

Okay, early 2000's pop culture references aside, FitDogBlog is back! I totally have that song stuck in my head now.

But I digress! August through October was kind of chaos. Namely, my horses relocated not once but twice, which is incredibly stressful and time consuming. They're now settled in their brand new home and we are absolutely loving it. Maizy is in barn dog heaven: there's a large lesson program which means tons of kids to snuggle and there are TWO ponds to swim in. Seriously, she hasn't come home dry once in the last month. There's also tons of room to run, play and get covered in dirt.

There are lots of new friends to give belly rubs! 
When we aren't at the barn - which quite frankly, is never - lots of other things have been going on. Maizy did another round of agility classes and we have been helping out with one of my friend's training classes. Maizy has become the "go to" dog for introducing reactive dogs to other canines. Her calm nature is perfect for ensuring that other dogs have a positive experience. We have also been working on some new tricks and will hopefully be attending a trick training class in the new future. Busy busy busy!

Unfortunately, Maizy has also developed a bit of spay incontinence, which means she pees while she sleeps and dribbles urine. Thankfully infection has been ruled out, so it's just a matter of management at this point. There will be a blog post on this in the near future.

So that's really been it! I'm excited to get back into writing. Stay tuned!