Wednesday, October 30, 2013

How to attach a lead to a show collar

Forgive me, for this is one of my peeves.  This is wrong.  Yucky! Nasty!  Eww!  Gross!  Don't do this to your nice leather show leads!

The Correct Method
The maker of one of my nice show leads showed me this method because he cringed every time he saw an exhibitor treat his leads so roughly. 

Step 1: Thread the collar loop through one ring of your show collar.

Step 2: Thread the other ring of your show collar through the collar loop on the lead.

Step 3: Pull the "free" ring so the attached ring slides to the end of the collar loop.

Viola!  A smoother lead-to-collar connection, with less stress and damage to your expensive show lead!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tuesday Reviewsday: Hill Top Leather Shop

I know, I know, I'm sorry guys.  Recent health issues have really thrown me for a loop, and Prairie Dobe Companion has been shoved to the back burner for much longer than I anticipated.  I'm going to make a huge effort to get back into the swing of things though, which includes six Tuesday Reviewsday posts that are finished and waiting in the queue!

The first of which is a review for a leash from the super-nice folks at Hill Top Leather Shop.  I like to give leather goods a long time to get broken in before I review, because leather is an organic material and needs time to age - like a fine wine!

Hill Top leather collars and leashes are all made by hand by this family-owned business. Even their engraving is done in-house.  They've been in business for 23 years, and live with a menagerie of animals - dogs, cats, horses, and ponies!

Hill Top leather definitely looks and feels "equine."  Their leather is sturdy and highly buffed to a shiny gleam.  I suppose it makes sense that in addition to pet gear, they also make tack for horses as well!  They sent me a 5.5ft long, 5/8" leather leash with a padded leather handle.  This type of leash retails for $31.00, which I feel is a great price for a custom handmade leather leash, made from leather of this quality.

Like most leather of this type, it was very stiff for a few weeks.  It didn't burn my hands, but it was stiff. After about a month of constant use it did soften up.  I haven't been able to get it as soft as some of my other leads, simply because my leash was made out of a very thick, strong piece of leather.

The hardware, while heavy, is extremely high quality.  I did let Jayne pull like crazy on it, and I never got the feeling like the hardware was going to fail.  (And yes, Jayne has broken hardware before!)

The leather in the handle was very soft, and of course I love the color!  (If you don't know I have a thing for purple by now, you may need to read more of my blog entries!)  Hill Top Leather offers twenty different leather colors for lining, which is nice for leashes but even better for collars!  In addition to the lining colors, you have ten different "base" leather colors to choose from.  You can go with a classic combination - black and brown - or you can spice things up a bit with a bolder combination... teal base leather with lime green padding comes to mind!  My one complaint with the handle probably has more to do with my fat wrists than the handle itself.  I had trouble getting my wrist through the handle, and the handle itself was too bulky to slide over a finger comfortably, like what I do with thinner-handled leashes.  Don't judge me - it's just what we do in the obedience ring!

I'd originally thought this leash might be a good option for the obedience ring.  Due to the weight and sheer substance of the leash though, I think I'd categorize it as an excellent "pet leash" for a large-size dog instead.  For the money, I'd recommend Hill Top leashes to anyone looking for a quality leather leash with a bit more pizzazz than a simple one-color leash. 

Closing comment:  I really, really want to give one of their collars a shot.  I like that they engrave their own nameplates, and I love that they offer zany colors in endless combinations.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Hodgepodge 18.0

Oh. My. Gosh.  It's been two weeks since I've posted anything. I am so ashamed!  I don't really have a good excuse, except that I'm on a new medication that makes me very sleepy all the time, and I also have a cute little red DoberBoy here for awhile.  His name is Tab and I think he's basically the cutest little smooshy-face boy ever.

Last weekend I took Rocket and Kaylee down to Lincoln, Nebraska for another CAT event.  Despite it being cold and windy, they had lots of fun and each earned one more leg towards their CAX titles.  Behold, photos of my ridiculous dog being ridiculous. (Photos by Wendie Schneider)

Last but not least, I got to see one of Kaylee's sons a few weekends ago.  His name is Unix and I love him to bits.  He's a pistol, jut like his mom.  I wish I could kidnap him, but his owners would probably kill me!

That's it for now.  I promise I'll try to do a better job of keeping Prairie Dobe Companion updated!  I have a few reviews to write, and we have a trip to Minnesota for more lure coursing this weekend.  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tuesday Reviewsday: Dr. Harvey's Oracle

Lookie, another dehydrated food review!  Are you all sensing a theme for September?  This week, we're going to talk about Dr. Harvey's newest dehydrated food - Oracle.  The folks at Dr. Harvey's sent over Oracle formulas for both the dogs and the cats.

Oracle is a complete grain-free freeze-dried diet, containing actual chunks of USDA meat.  Other ingredients shared by most formulas include eggs, sweet potatoes, green beans, zucchini, alfalfa, kelp, and ginger.  Measure out the appropriate amount, add water, wait awhile, and feed; it's as simple as that.  

Upon opening the cat formulas, I was greeted with what is quite possibly the best feature I've seen for dehydrated food to date... a scoop!  No more rooting around in the utensil drawer for measuring cups!  (I'm a bit afraid to admit how excited I was over the scoops. I'm pretty sure my husband thought I was nuts.  Oh well, he should be used to it by now.)

For the cats, a little Oracle goes a long way.  Each 21 oz. bag ($38.99) can feed a cat for two weeks.  $2.78 per day to feed is a relatively decent deal, on par with feeding quality canned food.  Of course, with Oracle you don't have to deal with empty cans that stink up your recycling bin.  I count that as a win, especially since I'm usually the one who has to deal with the "clean up" associated with feeding our pets.  (Side note: The bag says it lasts for 14 days, but the recommended feeding amounts are just guidelines. I found that it lasted even longer.  Yeehaw!)

Here's what each formula looks like in dry form.  I have labeled each formula with a primitive stick-figure drawing of each protein source.  Chicken goes buk buk, Cow goes moo, Fish go blub.  (But what does the Fox say?)

And... wet and soaking!

Check out those chunks!  Those are actual freeze-dried chunks of chicken, beef, and cod.  The fact that this food has actual chunks of identifiable meat is great. The cats apparently thought it was great too!

They didn't seem to like the little veggie bits though.  Ah well.  The dogs were happy to clean up after the cats, so it wasn't a big deal.  I will say that while Oracle still has the problem of sticking to bowls like cement when allowed to dry, it does clean up much easier than other products we've used.

While it is more expensive than other freeze-dried diets, it's not as expensive as I would have expected. The high meat content and the large chunks of meat definitely make the price easier to swallow.  I don't think I'd be able to afford to feed Oracle to the dogs, but I would strongly consider feeding it to the cats intermittently. As I've said in the past, my cats usually eat raw but need something different when I'm away from home and the feeding is left up to my husband.  Out of all the dehydrated foods I've tested so far, this is probably my favorite. Probably because of the friggin' scoops.