Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Dog Olympics 2012

The Olympic Games are not just for humans any longer.  Maybe some of you will be as surprised and happy as I was to see there are Dog Olympic Games happening in various places around the world!  Wish some of them were closer because I think this would be an awesome event to take part in.  Here are some that I came across.  Maybe there is one nearby you!  If anyone has been to one or plans on going, please share.

Canine Max Dog Games- Gloucestershire- October 13-14

Dog Olympics- Wheaton IL- August 4

Doggie Olympics- Fort Collins CO- September 23

Doggy Olympic Games- Various Locations and Dates

Dog Olympics- Orchard Park NY- August 25



Murray 2007

Murray 2007

Murray 2007

Murray 2007


Piper 2004

Piper 2004

Piper 2004

Piper 2004

A Natural Flea and Tick Remedy...Maybe?

Apple Cider Vinegar - A Holistic Remedy for Dogs - Whole Dog Journal Article

As I have mentioned before, Murray has some kind of skin condition/allergy that shows up only on the skin along his spine.  I keep returning to the idea that it is somehow linked to the topical flea and tick meds I use (Advantix) because that is exactly where they are placed once a month.  I was due to apply the meds for the month of August about a week ago. I first decided to hold off until we shaved and bathed him on Friday,  using the excuse in my head that we'd wash all the medicine away.  As the weekend came and went, and now we're 4 days past his bath, I am still hesitant to apply the meds.  To be honest, I know dogs need flea and tick repellent (warm months of the year), but I really wish there were more natural and safe solutions out there.  Long story short, I have been researching today.  I came across many many different plants, oils and solutions that some people swear by, while others did not (and just about scared me to death!).  The only one I felt safe mentioning and/or trying myself was apple cider vinegar.  I read about people saying it has to be ingested by the dog and some people who use it simply as a skin spray on their dogs, and some people who did both.  Being conservative, I would probably start by using it as a topical spray.  Please share in the comments if anyone has experience with this solution and how well it worked.  I am probably not going to try it out until September because we are doing some traveling in August and I am too nervous not to have the boys fully protected with their Advantix.

Apple Cider Vinegar Flea and Tick Spray

Equal parts apple cider vinegar and water.  Mix in a spray bottle and spray on liberally, or pour into a sponge and massage into skin.

Bed Hog

I couldn't get to sleep last night.  I stayed up late, and all Murray did was beg me to go to bed with him.  Piper and Jamie were already in bed, but Murray doesn't go without me.  When we finally went, he took up my whole side!  I can't move him though...it's too cute :)

Taking up my whole side of the bed

His tongue is out!!  LOL 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Murray #1

We loved Mad About You and loved Paul and Jamie's dog Murray.  This is where we got our Murray's name :)

To Eat Or Not To Eat...

We struggle with food in our household.  I suppose I should not say "we" because Piper will eat anything you put in front of him, and sometimes things you don't put in front of him!  Looking back, I feel bad that I was not a more careful (or maybe thoughtful is the word) dog mom about what I fed Piper when he was growing up.  Lots of time I would feed a grocery store brand, and I didn't think anything about the ingredients and what was and wasn't in those foods.  When we got Murray, we kept him on the puppy food his breeder had used.  I can't recall exactly what food it was, but it was NOT grocery store dog food.  Our vet recommends taking our puppies off puppy food after a couple months, so we switched Murray over to adult food around 4 months old, and so began the "food games" that we play until this very day.  There are two main reasons we are constantly looking into new dog food to try.  One was Murray's on and off again skin condition.  From the moment he came home as a puppy, we have struggled to try and figure out what causes these little scab like spots that show up all down his spine, but the food he eats certainly seems to have a role.  The other reason is simply that Murray gets bored with his food very easily.  I would say we have been through 5 or 6 different brands of food in the time we've had him.  Three have stood out as food we used for a longer period of time.  He did well for a long time on Canidae.  While I still would recommend their food, I also say it with caution.  From what I understand, they changed up their formula a couple years ago, and it started making Murray sick.  It didn't seem to agree with him.  We moved to Purina Pro Plan for a long while and I recommend it to this day.  It was great because it has a "shreds" line with actual shredded (or at least it looked like it) pieces of the meat mixed in with the kibble.  Murray's boredom was not a problem because we could switch between their chicken, beef, and lamb varieties, and he LOVED the shreds.  While his boredom was not an issue, his skin was still and ongoing battle.  We weren't necessarily looking to switch up our food again yet, but I came across an article about "grain-free" dog food.  I read testimonials from people that were very positive, and after some more research, decided to give it a whirl.  We settled on the line from Taste of the Wild.  They had 4 flavors we could rotate through to reduce boredom and the grain free poultry, lamb and fish is known to be foods most closely related to what dogs are meant to eat in the wild, hence the name. Grain free is also looked to for reducing allergies, and is more easily digestible, so this was a win win for us!  I kid you not when I say that Murray's skin was almost completely cleared up within a month of feeding the Taste of the Wild Lamb.  We continue to rotate through the different flavors of Taste of the Wild still today, but this summer I have noticed Murray's skin issues have popped up again.  Not quite as bad, but still there. I am now in the process of looking into the flea/tick meds we use because of the location of the skin conditon.  It is exactly where the meds are placed, and the fact that they returned about the same time I started using the flea meds this season, might signal the problem.  So, I'm off to pour some yummy Taste of the Wild Fowl for the boys...and yes, in case you're all wondering, the fowl smells ;)

Taste of the Wild (fowl)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Murray Wants the Ball!

We took Murray to dog school a couple months ago and during one of the lessons, our trainer has a toy in her hand, and Murray couldn't keep his eyes off it!


We celebrated Grandma's birthday (and Murray's adoption day) last night at camp.  Didn't take many pics, but thanks to Cathy, Katie, Steve, Rory, Liz, Don, Jeremiah, Kelly, Darrin and Devin for being there too!  You didn't get into any pictures!  Murray was perfectly behaved, of course.  Piper had to stay home, as his social skills are not anything to brag about.  He would have been trying to run out the door, sit on people and just being an all around nudge.  A good time was had by all...and Piper got a left over hot dog when we got home.

**Update**  Thanks to Jamie, Evan and Becky too!  Even though you're in pics, you deserve a mention too!

Murray and Evan looking for the visiting dogs
Murray giving Grandma a b-day kiss and Jamie being nutty

Becky and Murray love 
The birthday scene

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Happy Adoption Day!

I think Murray knows today is the day, 5 years ago, that we drove 5 hours to Ontario, Canada to pick him up and bring him home.  He just has a bounce in his step today.  We got him at  DoodleLane after asking the advice of my cousin who already owned 2 Doodles and had done some leg work.  I remember calling   DoodleLane to ask if they had any litters on the way from the 2 parents on their website I wanted a puppy from.  Low and behold, they did!  On June 8, 2007 my Murray was born and I came home from work that Friday to the exciting news on my voicemail.  We were told there were 8 puppies!!!  There were a couple more but the 9th got stuck and the rest didn't make it :(  A couple weeks went by with a few updates on the puppies and eventually we were told we could pick our new baby up on July 28, 2007.  About a week before, the puppy pictures were posted online and we had the second choice after someone who got on the list before us.  We did, however, get our first choice (although I doubt it would have mattered, they were all so adorable).  Then away we went on July 28.  When we arrived, Murray's brothers and sisters were out playing in an outside pen.  Murray, however, was resting inside awaiting our arrival.  He took one last potty stop, then off we went to become a family.  He literally slept on my lap the whole way home.  We took several pee pee stops, but apparently not enough, as he peed on me somewhere mid-trip.  So, we took a pit stop into some outlets nearby and Jamie bought me some shorts and a t-shirt.  We got home late that Saturday night, spent some time meeting Piper and settling in.  Five years has flown by...I can't believe it's been that long.  Today he will celebrate his grandmother's (my mom) birthday and secretly be celebrating his adoption day too.  I'm sure pics will follow tomorrow.  We love you Murray!

Murray his first day home

You came to us 5 years ago
We loved you and watched you grow
You're such a good boy
And bring us much joy
We love you more than you know

About 4 months old

Full  grown

Friday, July 27, 2012

July Shave and Bathe

The time has come :(

Today is the day Murray hopes never comes each month in the summer (and Jamie was a big complainer about it today too).  Murray is so happy when it's over, but he is the saddest dog around during his monthly shaving and bathing.  As soon as he hears the hallway closet door squeak open, he heads for the hills!  That is where we store the shaving supplies.  It takes both Jamie and I to move his sometimes limp and sometimes stiff 94 pounds around on the floor.  Once in position, it's like he plays dead.  I do the shaving (and sitting and rolling around in his gobs of hair) and Jamie does the holding, and most of the positioning.  Piper gets a mini shave down.  Just the spots that are matted and need it.  He doesn't tolerate much shaving without some lip, literally.  You probably wonder why I don't just go to a groomer.  I could easily say that shaving at home saves money, and it does, but that's not my main reason.  Murray is very attached to me.  When he meets new people he is very cautious and sometimes scared.  Also, when I leave him home alone he gives me such a depressed look as I go out the door and drive away, it just about breaks my heart.  So, I cannot imagine dropping him off to have his shaving done, alone with a stranger... something he hates most in the world.  Yes, most people will say he'd be fine and he'd adjust, but it's just not something I am going to do to him or me.  After the shave he bounds from the sea of hair on the floor and next comes the bath.  He doesn't love this either (as I discussed his lack of love for being totally wet) but somehow he gets through.  He also has a skin condition I will talk about later, so I think the soothing oatmeal bath feels good once he gives into it.  Piper, who loves water, doesn't care for the bath either.  Maybe I should look at myself as the bather haha!  He doesn't give me much of a problem though.  The pictures below tell the whole story themselves.  I know Murray is happy today is coming to an end, and I think I am right there with him!

The Tool Box
The Tools

During Shaving :(
Am I done???

We could make another dog!

CAUGHT!  Bath Time!

A Good Shake

Running From The Hose

All Done!
All Done!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Keepin Cool Part 2

So I have 2 dogs, both well known to be "water dogs", right?  The Golden Retriever, Piper and the Goldendoodle (Golden Retriever/Standard Poodle mix), Murray...all water breeds, or so I thought... HA!  Piper LOVES the water.  If he can hear it off in the distance splashing or running, he goes tearing to it.  God help us when we're on a trail that leads to water.  He will drag you over shrubs, rocks and stumps if he has to.  Murray gets equally excited, but is never going to dive right in.  In the summer we put a kiddie pool out in the yard for the boys.  Piper has always plopped himself right in and basically just soaked the day away in there...usually after rolling in dirt so the water gets good and muddy.  Murray will jump in, kick around, stick his face in...but don't ask him to sit or wade any deeper than knee high.  We have come to learn Murray likes to be able to touch the bottom and he HATES his butt to get wet.  I had never heard of this before.  He is my strange little guy.  Pics below are the evidence.  Piper lounging away, and Murray standing stiffly.  Either way, these pools are great for keeping dogs cool in the heat, mud and all!

Murray NOT sitting down

Piper enjoying his muddy cool pool

Murray Loves This Game :)

The first shot is one of Murray's balls out in the yard.  Then Jamie goes to the back door and asks him to get the ball.  Sometimes he waits for you to ask him even when there is no ball outside!  He's a nut for his toys!

A Place to Lay My Head

Murray loves it when I say "Wanna go to bed?"...his ears perk up and his head tilts as if he is making sure he heard me right.  We have a nightly routine of going outside one last time and then coming in for a tiny bedtime food snack (which Murray needs and I will explain later).  Murray grabs a toy (which he knows them all to be called "balls") and we all race upstairs.  Murray knows this is his time to spend on our bed.  We used to do this with Piper too, but when it came time to get down on the floor, Piper would snarl and become impossible...so per our dog school trainer, we do not allow Piper on the bed at night.  So Murray settles in for an hour or so while Jamie (my husband) and I wind down watching TV and playing on our iPods.  When the time comes for both boys to settle on the floor, they get to split a milk-bone and head to their "beds".  Piper prefers a cushioned mat on Jamie's side of the bed but they also both alternate and share an awesome dog bed from Orvis.  We have an Orvis bed in our living room too...which Murray loves, but it generally gets taken over by the cat and Murray doesn't cross the cat.  We decided to get a second Orvis bed for the bedroom as we now know Murray is definitely a "bed dog".  So if anyone is looking for some great dog beds for their pooch, check out Orvis.  We are lucky enough to have an outlet not too far from us.  If you can locate one of those, you'll really save some bucks.  And just to brag a little, Piper's brother was a doggie model in the Orvis catalog!  What great genes LOL.

Here is the Orvis dog bed page for some fun browsing:

Orvis Dog Beds

Murray as a pup on his Orvis Dog Nest

The bedroom Orvis dog bed

Piper trying out the new Orvis bed in the car on the way home!
Murray's turn!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Keepin Cool

Murray has some trouble with the sometimes extreme heat of summer.  Even though we do live in the northeast, summers are hot, especially this one!  We trim his coat pretty short about once a month, but if he is more active than just a short jaunt in the yard, he overheats.  I bought a "cool collar" a few years back that seemed to make a big difference.  I went into a panic after my uncle's dog died after a walk in the summer heat and I raced to Petsmart to buy anything that said "cool" on it (see...a little crazy).  I found the "Outward Hound Cool It Bandana".  You wet it down and then I placed it in the fridge or sometimes a short while in the freezer.  Seemed the cool wetness around Murray's neck and chest kept his temperatures down.  Well, that bandana had lived it's last days and I am now looking to either buy it again, or ask if anyone has a better recommendation they have come across.  If anyone is interested in the bandana, I have not been able to find them in stores any longer, but it can be ordered online in all sizes.  Oh yeah, I am not a mean dog mom...Piper doesn't have issues with heat.  As long as we use common dog sense, he is fine and not in major need of a cool collar, but I will probably get him one this time too!

Murray sporting the cool bandana

Hello :)

Murray's Mouth...what does that mean?  Well, I have a lovable, smart and all around adorable dog named Murray.  Is it going too far to say he is the light of my life???  Well, crazy or not, he pretty much is.  He's a 5 year old Goldendoodle who, from the moment we picked him up,wanted to cuddle, learn, do all he could to please us and just simply BE with us.  I do have a second dog named Piper and he is great too.  He was more of a "difficult" dog from the moment we got him though, but with lots of love and patience he has come a long way.  He is an 8 year old Golden Retriever, and a BIG one at that (he pushes 100lbs.)!  The 2 boys get along great!  Murray immediately submitted to Piper when he came in as a puppy, so he's always been the one in charge and Murray is just fine with that.  In this blog I plan to share our adventures, review products I come across and any other dog tips and tricks along the way.  I am not an expert and I have many moments of "not knowing" things about dogs.  In those times I can be found searching the web, calling my vet (sometimes frantically and sometimes overreacting as my husband might say) or calling one of my dog friends for advice.  Now I can even post questions here!  Yay!  So, thanks for stopping by and welcome to Murray's Mouth!



She Deserves Better