Sage Monkey

Sage Monkey

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Anatomy of Digging a Damn Good Hole in Daddy's Yard

Digging holes is hard work. So is constantly filling them....just ask my boyfriend Jim and he will tell you. In the almost 3 years we have had Cleo she has only ever dug one hole in the backyard. She would stick her toys in it, drive me crazy drinking muddy water out of it and would wedge her spotted butt in it when it was hot out. As far as dogs go I'm pretty sure she loved that hole. Little Luna had even gotten into loving that stupid old hole as well. But most importantly Cleo never dug more than that one hole. Then about 4 weeks ago Jim filled it in in anticipation of his daughter Samantha's college graduation party. And now? Well now we have tag team hole diggers. The dogs have spoken Jim!! They want their hole back. Pretty sure they are starting a war and this how it begins:

First things first....go over to where Dad has planted new grass and dig a hole there. 

When he gets mad and fills it (after berating me for not stopping it because I was too busy taking Dog-a-razzi pictures) go dig another one on the other side of the yard. But this time make it big enough to catch a lawn mower tire. Genius. And clearly well thought out might I add.

Send in Shortround to get the hole started. Be sure to use the shovel method to move the most amount of dirt as possible.

The hole needs to be well rounded to optimize fighting space for later so be sure to shovel dig from all angles.

When you start to get too tired just lay on your side and continue digging. There apparently are quotas to be met.

And if you have to take a break make sure you stay hydrated and have a snack. 
**Note: Chewing like a cow is not required. It's just how Lulu does things**

And then finally bring in the big guns to make sure the job is getting done right.

It's all about team work.

I tried to reason with them. Told them Jimbo was gonna be unhappy. (Clearly this is a lie....I would have told them "no" but to Jim's credit I was too busy being the Dog-a-razzi. Someone has to document these things). Anyway, this hole is just one of about four more. I tried to tell Jim they are doing this because he slighted them by messing with their hole. It's all about retribution people.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Sweet Potato Dog Treats

Last year my girlfriend Jackie gave me some sweet potato dog treats that were wrapped in this bacony meat stuff. Cleo LOVED them. I have looked everywhere for similar treats and have been unsuccessful in finding any that are manufactured in the United States. I found plenty that come from China but I am definitely not buying those. So that left me with having to make them myself mad scientist style. Which is fine since I make most of Cleo and Luna's dog treats anyway and who doesn't love a good recipe creating experiment?  Click here for some recipes I have shared in the past.

These treats are pretty easy to make since the dehydrator does most of the work. I make huge batches of all kinds of jerky during hunting season so I have a pretty snazzy Cabela's dehydrator but any simple one will do the job. Some people when they make jerky or dehydrate foods they use their oven. I personally am not a big fan of this for two reasons: 1. Most ovens (like mine) can't or won't hold temps below 160 degrees so instead of dehydrating your baking. 2. I don't want to give up the use of my oven for hours at a time. a self proclaimed cooking and baking junkie any excuse for me to get another gadget, electronic or swanky cookware thing, well I'm all over that. But as previously stated an inexpensive dehydrator will work just fine.

A couple of things about the recipe first and then I'll stop blathing on and give it to you. You want the sweet potato pieces to be the same thickness so use a mandolin. Keep in mind the thicker the slices the longer it will take to dehydrate. And just when you think I can't possibly spoil my dogs anymore than I currently do I am wrapping these sweet potato treats with prosciutto. Yea....that's right delicious dry cured Italian ham. Yummmmmm. I originally thought I would use bacon but my experiences with making jerky have taught me that fat doesn't like to be dehydrated and considering bacon is mostly fat it left me to find alternative choices. I will also share that I did not have the prosciutto sliced for me at the deli counter. I bought it presliced and packaged as the slices tend to be more uniform. Also as an aside I'm pretty sure that you could use regular ham, turkey or roast beef lunch meat as a substitute for the prosciutto. I personally went the prosciutto route since its dry cured ham and the less moisture the better when dehydrating. And before anyone flips out that I'm giving my dog ham and that I have doomed them to get Pancreatitis I already tackled that subject from my soap box when I made Pineapple and Ham Quail Biscuits. Feel free to check it out. So without further ado:

My Sweet Potato Dog Treats

What you need:
~2 medium and similar shaped sweet potatoes
~Approx. 9 ounces of prosciutto

1. Use a mandolin to slice the sweet potatoes long-wise. If the slices are so thin they feel like potato chips you need to increase the thickness. About a 1/4 inch is perfect. Then with a knife cut each sweet potato slice in half longways.

2. Cut each slice of prosciutto longways into two or three pieces. Wrap one prosciutto piece around one sweet potato slice and repeat. It is very important not to walk away or get distracted during this phase of the recipe.

Clearly it's not just my dogs who are ill behaved.  Please note how they cast the potato slice away like it was worthless. cat chewed. 

3. Place the freshly wrapped treats onto trays in the dehydrator. How long it takes for the treats to be done will depend on the thickness of the treats, what kind of dehydrator you use and how full it is. It took my dehydrator about 4 hours on 150 to 160 degrees to finish. If your unsure check them intermittently every two or three hours to see if they are ready.

4. Remove them from the dehydrator and let them sit out for approximately an hour before storing them in the fridge or feeding them to your doggie children.

Finished product

Cleo and Luna approved this recipe and want you to know they give it four paws up. 

The treats came out great so I think I will be sliding this recipe into regular treat rotation. Be sure to check us out and follow us on facebook: Adventures of a German Shorthaired Pointer.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The GSP Puppy Chronicles: Kicking mischief up a notch

Luna(tic) has generously kicked up her A-game this week getting herself into as much trouble as possible. She is exponentially lucky to be so cute and even more blessed to have such pouty eyes. She is proving to be the handful I swore she wasn't. Oh silly naive me. I mean I guess I knew she had it in her since I wrote the The Puppy Chronicles: 12 Weeks old and looking for trouble. But still, she has managed to raise the bar. Please see below for some photographic proof of a few of her recent antics.

Exhibit A. - Aren't all welcome mats for chewing??
*Please note the lack of guilty face

Cleo loves to sun herself on the deck and in the yard. Now that we have Luna on the electric fence we have been letting her out there without a lead tie off to lay with her. Things have been going great so far. This weekend I walked inside to grab some water while Jim was working in the yard just feet away and when I had returned I found she had stolen the welcome mat, flipped it upside down and began deconstructing it. Please note all the shredded bits of mat in the background. I told her no....told her to "leave it" and put the sad and shredded mat back where it goes until I can pick up a new one this week. About 20 minutes later she grabbed it and made a mad dash across the yard with it. She had that look in her eye like Thelma and Louise did when they were running from the cops. So of course I run after her yelling like a fool trying to reclaim my tattered mat. I have no doubt that I am the "entertaining neighbor".

Exhibit B. Trash tastes delicious. Especially when its BBQ. 
*Please note Luna still licking the driveway.

Jim's daughter just recently graduated from Ursinus College and we threw her a graduation party this past weekend. It left us with a surplus of trash that we couldn't all fit into the containers we have. We knew it could be a gamble but Cleo has never been a trash picker and we prayed Luna would follow suit. So Jim and I finally sat down to relax yesterday from the cleanup and within minutes we heard a clinking noise. We rolled our eyes and trotted off around the side of the house to find both dogs feasting on hot wing, rib and pulled pork trash left overs. Pretty sure that equates to dog heaven. Cleo just looked at us like, "What? She pulled it all out.....". As an aside Jim later harassed me over the fact I took this picture instead of helping him pick up all the food. I told him it was in the name of blog journalism.....I have an obligation to report the truth. I'm pretty sure he flared his nostrils at me. 

Exhibit C. - The straw that broke the camels back

That was once a jade plant. A beautiful, healthy and very much alive jade plant. Luna(tic) managed to efficiently annihilate it in minutes while rubbing the dirt into my carpet and covering my freshly cleaned hardwoods with potting soil. On word for you. Jerk. Ok....two words. Dog Jerk. 

Allow me set the scene for you. Jim and I are snuggled on the couch watching the Nascar race. He gets up to get a drink and walks over to check on Luna and Cleo laying in the dining room chewing on each others faces.  Jim returns to the couch with Cleo in tow. 
Me: What's Luna doing in the dining room? Does she have a dog approved toy? (Aka she's not chewing on the legs of my antique Pennsylvania House cherry dining room table is she?)
Jim: Yes....I just gave her a dog bone.
(Two minutes and one beautiful jade plant life later) 
Me: Are you sure she's just chewing a bone?
Jim: (Eyes roll) Yes.
Me: Ugh.....I'm gonna go check.
(10 seconds later I see spotted hell puppy shaking her head violently with jade plant remnants in her mouth)
Me: LUNA!!!!!!!!!

I was mad but still managed to laugh at the absurd amount of destruction she had created. I don't think she even realizes that it was wrong. You know when you see those youtube videos of people busting their dogs doing inappropriate things and the dogs seems all remorseful and aware they messed up?? Yeah....not this dog. She's kinda proud like, "Look what I have created!" I have no idea what this will lead to. It makes me wonder what else she has up her sleeve. It also makes me worry that she will be the dog that after doing wonderfully and proving herself months from now that we will slowly let her not be crated during the day and then randomly one day we will come home to half a couch. I guess only time will tell. 

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Puppy Chronicles: 17 weeks old and causing a ruckus

See that crazed look in her eye!?!?

Luna(tic) is officially 17 weeks old today. In the last few weeks her energy level has gone from light speed to ludicrous speed. And I'm praying we don't hit plaid soon.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about I'm clearly quoting the movie Spaceballs, which is 1987 at its best by the way. We've quickly realized that it's getting harder and harder to wear her out.

The rips.....

Lulu gets herself in such a frenzy in the evening that she grabs a toy and rips around the yard like she's been possessed by a demon. Then she'll stop on the fly and start to dig a hole. She's like lightening in a bottle.  Her and Cleo will have epic face biting battles and although Luna now weighs 30 pounds (half Cleo's weight) she is still no match for her. Cleo will take and enormous amount of crap from her then finally snap and go stuff her in a bush. Please see exhibit A and B below.

Exhibit A: Luna getting what she had been asking for

Exhibit B: Luna getting in a couple good bites

In other news, last Tuesday we sent Luna to a half-day at doggie daycare for her first time. As a childless 30 year old chick the only thing I can imagine it to is dropping your kid off for their first day of kindergarten. I was all nervous about it and had a slew of questions and all this pointless info to give them. You would have thought by the way I was acting that these aren't the people who have watched Cleo twice a week for the past two years. They quietly nodded along and then slowly shooed me out. Needless to say she had a great time and I think it was really good for her to be with other dogs without Cleo around. She has since gone back twice.

We also just picked up her electric fence collar and have started training her too it. That's what that ugly green collar is in all the pictures. We have a little over an acre and half and Cleo is trained to one as well. Luna has picked it up wonderfully. Overall she has been so easy to train. It's been a blessing having Cleo fully trained and Luna just seems to follow suit. I couldn't ever imagine doing this and having their ages being closer together. Not to say they aren't a handful anyway.

Cleo doing laps

I thought that I would just throw in one more of Ms. Sassy Spots, AKA Cleo doing her own spastic laps around the yard. Also Cleo is back in heat. I'm sure I'll do another post on that in a week or so. She's only about 3 or 4 days in so I haven't started drinking heavily yet. Just I'm not.

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Del Val NAVHDA Training Clinic: Making Progress!

You gotta keep things interesting.....

Saturday Jim and I took the girls back down to the Colliers Mills WMA in NJ to train with the Del Val NAVHDA Chapter at one of their clinics. There are so many nice people there willing to help you achieve your goals with your dog. It's such a positive and fun atmosphere to train in. Saturday was a blast not only for the great training but the head of our group rescued some ill prepared and in my opinion slightly stoned teenagers from a watery sand pit and I got urinated on by a huge turtle. That's right.....I said I got urinated on by a huge turtle. I think it was a red eared slider but I'm not entirely sure. I wasn't to angry about it tho because I'm sure in some far off country its a sign of good luck and who can't use a little more good luck!? Good times people.  Good times.

George - Owned by Kathi Harrington

Anyway.....last weekend while I was vacationing in the snow laden mountains of Montana with my best friend Jen, Jim worked the girls in south jersey. I got to hear all about how well Cleo had done on her duck search and how Luna at 14 weeks had an exceptional track. I'm pretty sure he was just trying to make me jealous. So all his glowing feedback had me looking forward to this weekends training and I have to say that I wasn't disappointed at all.

Cleo on point

As usual we started off with fieldwork. Cleo had a good morning finding and staying steady on all her birds and much to my excitement she retrieved to hand without dropping or adjusting them on the way back to Jim. She also completed a duck drag tracking wonderfully and delivering the duck to hand. Success.

Luna on point

We also put some pigeons out for 15 week old Luna who excitedly pulled Jim to the bird field. When she was released it was apparent she wasn't just running through the field she was hunting and she even displayed some style. I think we have ourselves a little huntress. She found and pointed both birds.  We also did a small 20 yard track for her. She had no problems with it and quickly located the chukar and picked it up. It's a great feeling to know we are laying a great foundation for her.

Luna Lu with her chukar!

There were quite a few other dogs within our group. Below are some pics of those dogs in action.

Lilli the Drahthaar

Blackthorn's Bonnie


Kathy Harrington & George

We also worked steady by the blind and duck searches during the waterwork portion of training. All the dogs did really well with it but if you ask me I think the star of the day was Kathi Harrington's George who did all of the UT exercises for the first time and knocked them out of the park.  He sure is one nice pup.

Handsome George

During steady by the blind Cleo did so-so walking at heel. She was rather distracted by a group of members setting up a second launcher for training for VC but in reality that's no excuse. She remained by the blind but did drop the duck the first time through. We worked with her and by the time we moved on she was no longer dropping the duck.

Cleo returning with the duck 

When it was time her duck search was pretty good. Apparently it was not quite as good as last week but she has progressed more in the last three training sessions than she did all of last year in terms of duck searches so we are super happy. We are moving in the right direction and it feels great.


George returning from his first duck search!

So turtle pee and all it was a great day of training! Check us out on facebook and like us for more updates: Adventures of a German Shorthaired Pointer.