We were super excited when Lower Forge Brewery opened, as it is located in the next town over from us – historic downtown Medford!
This brewery has great beer, and is extremely dog friendly!
We were super excited when Lower Forge Brewery opened, as it is located in the next town over from us – historic downtown Medford!
This brewery has great beer, and is extremely dog friendly!
On Christmas Eve we were alerted by a friend about a “Puppy free to good home” post on Craiglist. These friends wanted to adopt this dog, so we contacted the owner, who was unaware of the dangers of posting his pup for free on Craigslist. The owner was very appreciative for us explaining to him the dangers his family pet could have faced. The owner was thankful knowing his pup would be going to a good home with a loving family who would care for the dog. We headed out on Christmas Eve to pick up the dog, and transport her to her new family. Now named Molly, this pup and her new family had a very Merry Christmas!
Every year, millions of animals are posted on Craigslist “for sale” and/or “free to a good home.” Most of these animals end up in less than ideal situations. These poor Craigslist critters sometimes end up in labs as test animals, used in illegal dog fighting rings, utilized as bait dogs, used by backyard breeders, etc. These posts have contributed to the torture and death of thousands of animals.
Please help educate others about the dangers of Craigslist animal sales and re-homing posts.
Merry Christmas, Molly!
You may remember that when Hooch was a puppy, he won a contest to have his own greeting card. Well, the greeting card is in print, and it will be ready for purchase after December 26, 2016!
Here is the original photo I took of Hooch in September of 2014. Hooch was 4 months old in this photo, and was still afraid to go in the lake. This sad little puppy face was laying on the dock at our house watching his big sis, Limoncello have fun diving and swimming!
Front of greeting card:
Wagging Tail Portraits has their Wet Nose Greetings in over 90 stores so far, including 10 Whole Foods Markets in the Mid-Atlantic area!
Each year, Wagging Tail Portraits donates a portion of their proceeds to animal rescue groups!
Check out their website for many unique gift ideas featuring YOUR pup!
Village Idiot Brewing is located in historic downtown Mount Holly, NJ.
The tasting room was an old bar, and had a great atmosphere!
There were many interesting choices for our beer tasting!
Another great dog-friendly brewery – Spellbound Brewing!
A very cool tasting room filled with friendly people and a festive Christmas atmosphere!
Do you like great beer and a super-dog-friendly atmosphere? Then you’d love Flying Fish Brewing Company!
We had a blast here enjoying some very tasty beer selections, and meeting other people and their dogs! A German Shorthaired Pointer came in and immediately warmed right up to Margarita!
We enjoyed doing a beer tasting here – so many great choices!
We will definitely be back to Flying Fish Brewing Company!
Brian and I have always searched for dog friendly wineries to try. Just recently we began trying the dog friendly breweries in South Jersey, not realizing just how many there were! Forgotten Boardwalk Brewing Co. has definitely been added to our “favorites” list!
To start – check out the cool over-sized Connect-Four game at the brewery entrance!
The beer here was delicious, and the people were friendly and knowledgeable.
Best of all, the brewery has two skeeball machines, a spin wheel and fun house mirrors – and they donate a portion of the proceeds from skeeball to a different charity each month! When we visited, the charity-of-the-month was the Animal Welfare Association in Voorhees, NJ!
The brewery was very festive for the Holidays, and even had a beer can Christmas tree.
I highly recommend their Funnel Cake beer!
I love that they have a bunch of board games available for people to play while enjoying a few of their beer selections!
We can’t wait to visit Forgotten Boardwalk again!
Beco Pets products are two-for-two here at Cello’s Corner!
As you know, Margarita tested out the Beco Ball on a Rope a couple of days ago, and she thoroughly enjoyed it! We were asked to review another product from Beco Pets. This time, Lager had the pleasure of trying out the Beco Flyer!
The Beco Flyer is made from natural rubber and rice husk, making it non-toxic, and flexible, and perfect for a game of fetch!
We loved that the Flyer’s packaging was printed on recycled paper!
The flyer is very flexible , and the raised profile made it easy for Lager to pick up.
Watch how flexible this Flyer is:
The flyer was easy to handle, and all it took was a simple toss to get the Flyer to soar across the yard!
Lager had a blast chasing after this non-toxic toy!
Overall, Lager thoroughly enjoyed himself, and the Flyer helped make fetch a bit more fun as the bird dog in Lager enjoyed tracking this toy as it soared through the air. We were very impressed with Beco toys so far, and look forward to trying other products from this eco-friendly company!
The students at The Calais School have created a “Wall of Stars,” honoring Veterans and current Military members. One of the students made a star very special to our hearts… Lager (War Zone name, Nayt).
A fellow GSP Rescue of NJ volunteer and friend, and GSP Rescue of NJ alumni, Sage the GSP, told one of the school’s students about Lager. Thank you to this student who chose to honor Lager, and created this star so perfectly!
We are grateful to have Lager be a part of the Wall of Stars at The Calais School, and we will forever cherish this!
Keeping our Pointers both physically and mentally stimulated is very important to their health and happiness. We are always looking for new, Pointer-proof toys to help us bond with our pups, as we exercise the four of them. Our family is also very conscious about recycling, so I was more than eager when we were asked to try out a couple of products from Beco Pets!
Beco Pets is a fast-growing company focused on creating products for your pooch that are also good for the environment – all without compromising on quality, price, or safety for your fur-child. Whenever possible, Beco uses renewable or recyclable materials.
All rubber parts of Beco’s items are made from environmentally friendly rubber materials. Beco uses ethically sourced risk husk, which makes the rubber biodegradable, and free of BPA and Phthalates. Plant fiber plastic, made mostly of bamboo (they even recycle chopsticks!), makes their bowls 100% biodegradable. Plush toys and beds are made with stuffing from recycled plastic bottles, and only natural dyes are used for coloring. This company even recycles their cardboard boxes into the packaging for their items!
The first item we explored was the Beco Ball on a Rope.
The ball is made from natural rubber made from rice husk fibers, and the rope is made from 100% natural cotton.
This toxin-free toy is great for playing tug or fetch! We decided to let Margarita test-out this new toy!
Margarita also loved running around with this toy…
…and taking some time to stop and chew on it as well!
Here is Margarita enjoying herself with the Beco Ball!
Overall, we were very impressed with this product. Not only did Margarita thoroughly enjoy playing with this toy, it held up well to some tough chewing and rough-play, and best of all, it is non-toxic and eco-friendly. We look forward to reviewing the other products from Beco Pets, and Margarita looks forward to more fun with her Beco Ball!
Thank you, Beco Pets for giving us the opportunity to try out this product!
Brian and I had just started to decorate for Christmas when we received a group email from one of the rescues we volunteer for. A fellow German Shorthaired Pointer Rescue of NJ volunteer has a friend who runs Min Pins and More Rescue. They had a dog who needed to be sprung from a shelter ASAP, and were looking for someone who was available to pull the dog and transport him to his foster. The shelter where “Rocco” was is not far from us, so we dropped the decorations, and started on our way to the shelter!
Rocco was quickly attached to Brian!
Rocco was surrendered by his owner for being “untrainable.” (Don’t even get me started). He mastered a “sit” before we even left the shelter grounds!
We let Rocco stretch his legs a bit, then headed on our way to drive him to his foster mom.
Welcome to your new life, Rocco!
We received an update about Rocco just a few days later – he met his FURever family and was adopted!
Guess who we ran into while Rita had her first swim lesson? Santa! This was Margarita’s first time meeting Saint Nick – she loved him!
Those of you who follow our Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter pages, know that Margarita cannot swim very well. When we saw her lack of confidence while in our lake, we decided that it would be beneficial to have a swim instructor evaluate her current swimming ability, and help her improve enough to feel comfortable swimming with Limoncello, Hooch, and Lager. We took her to Green Leaf Pet Resort, where we had taken Limoncello and Hooch in the past to swim during the winter months.
Green Leaf was very festive and ready for the Holidays!
Margarita’s instructor, Krystal, was so patient and kind!
With a little coaxing and a lot of patience, Rita was swimming with some guidance.
Margarita is definitely going to need some further instruction. We plan to continue to take her twice a month through the winter months in hopes to become a more confident swimmer this year.
Happy Thanksgiving 2016 from the Liver Killers!
We camped this Thanksgiving at American Heritage RV Park in Williamsburg, VA.
View from our campsite:
The weather was nice enough that we were able to get outside a lot with the pups. We went on several hikes:
…and at night, our pack of GLAMpers relaxed in the camper bed …
We liked this campground a lot and had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with friends. We hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving as well!
Those of you who have been following our website know that Hooch was invited to compete in a Purnia Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge Qualifier at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA. Well, as an added bonus, we were able to get Limoncello qualified to compete in this qualifier as well! We knew Limoncello would jump no matter what, but we were very unsure about Hooch, as for the first time, we were on a dock with no railings (scary!).
It turned out that Limoncello jumped very well, and Hooch – well – was “HOOOOOOOOCH!”
Limoncello rockin’ the dock:
Hooch giving the crowd some entertainment… (wait for the very end!)
We also enjoyed walking around at the Kennel CLub of Philadelphia’s National Dog Show!
Neither dog qualified to move on to the Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge, but we sure had a great time, and enjoyed every moment of this new experience!
Rita participated in the “Day of the Dog” 5k race through Virtual Run Events!
Our time was 33:01 – we managed to shave off 56 seconds from our last race!
This was a great run, as the fall colors were absolutely amazing!
20% of our registration fee was donated to Freedom Service Dogs. Freedom Service Dogs is a nonprofit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by rescuing dogs, and custom training them for individual client needs. Clients include children, veterans, active duty military, and other adults. Their disabilities include autism, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Rita’s total race miles: 9.35 miles
This was a great stop-over with an easy pull-through site. The owners were very nice also!
Our site (#41):
Morning walk before we hit the road to our final destination…home!
During the 2015 DockDogs World Championship and the 2016 DockDogs World Championship we stayed at the Holiday Inn Dubuque/Galena, in Dubuque, Iowa. The hotel was located directly across from the competition arena.
Our room (2015):
View from our room (2015):
Even with the hotel being under construction in some areas, the hotel was clean, and the staff was friendly!
Last year we attended the DockDogs World Championship with all three of our diving dogs qualifying to compete. This year, we were lucky enough for all three competing dogs to qualify once again for the DockDogs World Championship in all the disciplines in which they participate! Check out our 2016 Season in Review and see some of our team’s Worlds Bling by clicking HERE!
We drove our motor home out to Iowa this year! We had custom window decals made and updated the “Miles to Dubuque, Iowa” with every stop-over!
Dubuque, Iowa – Dog Town:
Limoncello competed as an Iron Dog.
Speed Retrieve: 8.531 secnds
Extreme Vertical: 5’4″
Total: Iron Dog Points: 2754.14 points
At the big Golden Paw Awards Gala, Limoncello was named DockDogs #1 Ranked Warrior Iron Dog in the World!
Hooch competed in Elite Division Big Air, and Top Gun Division Extreme Vertical.
Big Air: 23’3″
Extreme Vertical: 5’10”
At the big Golden Paw Awards Gala, Hooch was named DockDogs #1 Ranked German Shorthaired Pointer in the World!
Lager competed in Senior Division Big Air (with Jenny) and Top Gun Division Extreme Vertical (with Brian).
Big Air: 19’3″
Extreme Vertical: 5’10”
Although Margarita doesn’t compete, she was sure ready to cheer her siblings on with her Super Fly suit and painted pink piggies!
Our fellow GSP Rescue of NJ friends, Jen and Grace, drove all the way from New Jersey to Iowa to be with us and our team. Jen and Grace took Margarita every day during the competition to run at the dog park! Margarita even took a trip with Jen and Grace to see the Mississippi River. Much to Margarita’s delight, her Aunt Jen and Grace also took her to get a McDonald’s chicken sandwich for lunch one day, and to Starbucks to enjoy a puppuccino! I think Margarita had THE time of her life!
We are so proud to have been able to compete against the best dock diving dogs in the world, and are so very pleased with the performance of our pups!
After a long road trip from New Jersey to the 2016 DockDogs World Championship, we arrived in Dubuque, IA!
Even though we stayed at the Holiday Inn in Downtown Dubuqe with all the other competitors, we had driven our motor home out to Iowa, and needed a place to park it for the week. Swiss Valley Campground was the perfect place! Once we saw this beautiful 62 acre park, we wish we had camped for the week instead of staying in the hotel!
Immediately after arriving, we had to pack up all of our dock diving gear, and head over to the hotel in our rental car!
The two “Princess and the Pea” gals “helped” us pack:
We said goodbye to the camper for the week – but got to stay the night here at beautiful Swiss Valley Campground on our last night in Dubuque, IA, before heading back home to New Jersey.
Our second stop-over on the way to the 2016 DockDogs World Championship was at South Bend / Elkhart North Koa in Granger, IN.
Morning walks and some relaxing time before we hit the road on our last leg of our road trip to Dubuque, Iowa:
Updating our “Miles-To-Iowa” sign!
On our long trip out to Iowa for the 2016 DockDogs World Championship, our first stop-over was at Shawnee State Park in Schellsburg, PA. Shawnee State Park is a 3,983-acre Pennsylvania state park in Juniata and Napier Townships, Bedford County, Pennsylvania ans is absolutely gorgeous!
Our site (#69):
View from our site:
Morning walks before continuing on our way to Iowa:
At each stop, we changed our “Miles-To-Iowa” sign!
Although we were only here for a short one-night stop-over, what we saw of the park was absolutely gorgeous! I hope we get to come back to this state park for a weekend camping trip sometime soon!
The 2016 DockDogs Season ended in October, with the World Championship being held in November. The Liver Killers had an amazing season last year. This year was just as exciting!
Limoncello the “Dock Diving Diva”
Limoncello had an incredible season, earning new Personal Bests in Big Air (25 ft), Speed Retrieve (7.33 seconds), AND Iron Dog (2,883 points)! She earned an invitation to the DockDog World Championship in all disciplines for the second year in a row, although Brian decided only to accept the Big Air and Iron Dog invitations. Cello is the # 2 German Shorthaired Pointer in the World for Big Air, and also earned the #1 spot for overall Warrior Division Iron Dog in the World!
Overall World Rankings
Hooch the “Dock Diving Dude”
Hooch had a big year also! After his “scare” on the dock last November at the World Championship when they shut the lights down and had spotlights on the dock, Hooch carried that fear until almost May of this season. He finally gained his confidence back, and began to jump HUGE! He earned a new Personal Best in Big Air (25’4″!!!!), and also is the #1 German Shorthaired Pointer in the World! Hooch earned himself an invitation to the DockDog World Championship for both disciplines in which he competes (Big Air and Extreme Vertical). Hooch was also recently invited to participate in a qualifier for the Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge! That qualifier will be in November as well.
Overall World Rankings
Lager the “Deployed Dock Diving Dawg”
Lager continued to excel in his first full year of competition. Lager secured an invitation to the DockDog World Championship for the 2 disciplines in which he competes (Big Air and Extreme Vertical).
Overall World Rankings
Margarita the “Team Cheerleader”
Margarita joined our pack right before the start of the dock diving season, and has been a wonderful team cheerleader! Margarita is still learning toy-drive as she gets used to the water and learns how to swim. She has come a long way, and we are very, VERY proud of her!
We are super proud to be a part of some very unique and prestigious sponsorships this year!
Limoncello, Hooch, Lager, and Margarita were featured in several publications this season!
The Liver Killers are happy to report that along with the help of some friends and fellow competitors, an abundance of food, toys, and supplies were donated to a few really great organizations…and a grand total of $3,868 was raised!
As we begin to prepare for our second long trip out to Iowa for the DockDogs World Championship, we continue to reflect upon the amazing season we had, all the exciting adventures we encountered, and the many incredible people and dogs we met because of our pups and this wonderful sport. We cherish every moment, and embrace it ALL: the highs and lows, the laughter and the tears, the (VERY) early mornings, the late nights, our every-growing camping group, and the comradery shared with friends at the events. We are truly blessed to be a part of such an awesome community. Never have we met such a large group of the nicest people who not only strive to improve within their own team, but will at the same time stop and help other fellow competitors to enhance their game, and applaud fellow opponents just as enthusiastically as they cheer on their own dog. The patience, advice, support, and guidance we have received from friends, family, co-workers, bosses, fellow competitors, and social media followers is beyond overwhelming, and greatly appreciated. Thank you ALL for being a part of this thrilling ride with us. We look forward to writing the next chapter of this adventure together!
We are both honored and excited to have the privilege of competing against the top dogs in the world. No matter where our dogs rank at the World Championship this year, we are beyond proud of all of our pups, and thrilled that we have the opportunity to share this grand experience. We cannot wait to spend the week at the World Championship with our DockDogs family!
We are excited to announce our new partnership with Undone Watches! Undone Watches allows you to create a unique watch that reflects your individuality. Each watch is a unique message! Visit them today to design yours!
Our personalized watches:
Trimming nails is a part of having 4 legged children. Nails that are too long can chip or break, causing a painful condition for your pup. Additionally, nails that are too long can make it difficult or painful for your dog to walk. In extreme cases, the nail can even begin to curl under and embed itself in your dog’s paw pad (ouch!) We trim our pack’s nails about once a week. The boys, Lager and Hooch, need a good trimming each week. The girls, Limoncello and Margarita, usually don’t need much at all. Every dog’s nails grow at a different rate, and some dogs wear their nails down naturally with their day-to-day activities. No matter what your pup’s daily schedule is, nail trimming is a must. But what do you do when your pup is not a fan of nail trimming, or your dog has dark nails, and you are fearful you will cut the quick? (double ouch!!)
I have to admit, I have always been too nervous to trim our fur-kids’ nails. However, during our once a week “spa night,” I clean ears and teeth, while Brian cuts nails. Although Brian is perfectly comfortable doing this, it has always been a chore to “guess” where the quick is in our dogs’ nails since three out of the four dogs have extremely dark nails. Dark nails make it impossible to see the quick, and Brian has on more than one occasion nipped the quick. This is painful for the dog, and has made both of us feel very badly.
That is why I was super excited when we were asked to try the Zen Clipper. We were sent a sizing chart to help us choose which size clipper would be best for our dogs.
After following the easy measurement directions, we decided that Blue Size 7 was the correct size choice for our pack.
When our clipper arrived, I was impressed with the packaging, and clear directions.
I loved that the clippers were not bulky in size, moved smoothly, and were extremely easy to squeeze. The clippers are stainless steel, and have a conical blade, which is what allows you only to cut the tip of the nail when you are using the correct size for your dog’s nails. The handles are coated in plastic, and were comfortable on my hand.
Brian was pleased with how easy the clippers were to use.
We followed the direction on the package to insert our dog’s nail into the conical blade of the clipper, and squeezed the clipper to cut the nail.
We were very happy with the Zen Clipper. It sure made Nail Clipping Night at our house much less stressful!
Zen Clipper is designed, manufactured, assembled, and packaged in the United States.
You can download the sizing card and order clippers for your dog, cat, bird, reptile, or other small animal on their website. Also, check out Zen Clipper on Facebook and Twitter , and be sure to tell them Cello’s Corner sent you!
All of our camping trips revolve around the pups’ dock diving competitions, except the holiday camping trips we take on Easter and Thanksgiving. We very rarely catch a free weekend – let alone one that matches up with another camping buddy. However, this particular weekend in October we were able to make it happen!
This was only our second trip in the new RV. I decided to ride on the couch with the pups for a little bit to help get them settled.
All settled in and ready to roll!
It was a very chilly weekend, but we enjoyed every minute at Pomona RV Park and Campground!
You would never know this campground was just 10 minutes away from Atlantic City Casinos, boardwalk, and beaches, as it was very quiet and peaceful!
We stayed on site C3:
Lager just loves his new GLAMping window!
We spent quite a bit of time indoors getting a break from the cold, and enjoying getting to know our new camper. We could relax for sure knowing Lager and Limoncello were on patrol!
Hooch and Rita decided to let Cello and Lager do all the patrolling while they soaked up the GLAMping life!
We did get some warmer temps where we were able to sit outside and enjoy the fresh air – Rita seems to be more of a cold-weather kind of gal, as she enjoyed every minute sitting outside!
It was a wonderful weekend (not too far) away! We appreciated time with friends, we were delighted to spend some time figuring out all the buttons and controls on the new RV, and enjoyed the campfires each night!
You may remember that Limoncello was featured as “Miss November” in the Animal Welfare Association’s 2014 calendar.
On October 9th, we came home from a camping trip to find a package on our porch. I knew I hadn’t ordered anything, so I was anxious to see what it was. What a surprise! Limoncello had been chosen to be included in the 2017 Workman’s 365 Dogs Page-a-Day Calendar!
Those of you who have been following our adventures from the start, know that we started out tent camping, moved on to a travel trailer, and then a 5th Wheel. Even though we enjoyed all of our camping methods, once we adopted Margarita, we discovered that we needed to travel in a way where all of us could be a little bit more comfortable while on the road. We decided to trade our 5th Wheel in for a Class-A RV!
Our first trip in the new camper was to Lancaster / New Holland KOA !
What a gorgeous view from the campground:
Our campsite (Site X-16) … we LOVED our site!
We enjoyed this campground very much – one of the days was very rainy, which gave us some time to get acclimated to our new RV!
Once the weather broke, we were able to enjoy the outdoors at our great site!
Friends of ours live nearby the campground, and were nice enough to come by with some Lancaster favorites that we have never had before!
We had a fun (and most importantly – SAFE) first trip in our new camper – during one of the very, VERY few camping trips where dock diving was not involved!
Margarita ran the “One Tough Mother Runner,” hosted by Virtual Strides!
Did you know that there are more than two million children in the United States who have lost one or both of their parents? Research shows that 1 in 20 children experience the death of a parent before the age of 16. The “One Tough Mother Runner” race helped to benefit Family Lives On – an organization that provides ongoing support to these grieving children. The Foundation’s Tradition Program encourages the healthy emotional development of these children by providing annual opportunities for remembering deceased parents, and creating a safe haven for children for grief, communication and celebration. For more information about this charity or to make a direct contribution, please visit FamilyLivesOn.org.
During our first race, Rita decided several potty breaks were needed, which slowed us down quite a bit. However, this time I was the one slowing us down, as I just didn’t have the energy to keep up with her! Rita was raring to go, and ran the entire time with stamina to go even further! Rita even got to see her first deer (a baby!) on this run, as we had to stop to let the deer cross the road so it didn’t get “spooked.”
Our finish time was 33 minutes, 57 seconds for this race. We were able to shave off 7 minutes, 32 seconds off our first race!
I am someone who could never – would never- even think about running without music. I actually am not a huge fan of running, and a playlist of my favorite songs usually distracted me enough to get the job done. I did not wear ear buds while running along with Margarita, as we do not have roads in this town – we have trails – and they are very narrow! I wanted to be sure that I was 100% aware of our surroundings while on the “roads” in our town in order to protect Rita from moving cars, spooked deer darting out of the woods, or loose dogs. I have to say, praising Rita and the interactions I have with her during our runs are far more motivating than ANY playlist!
Congratulations on a job well done, Rita!
Rita’s total race miles : 6.24 miles
The Liver Killers are proud to announce that we are now sponsored by Ken Tidy Photography ! Ken Tidy has long been known as one of the most talented photographers in our area, capturing stunning action-packed images that truly express each dog’s individual personality. His images have been shared across the DockDogs world, and we are truly honored that Ken has chosen our fur-kids to represent his amazing work. We super excited about this sponsorship! Be sure to check out some of Ken’s amazing photography, and schedule a session with him to capture YOUR pup!
Each Thursday during June through October, The Old Oar House Irish Pub hosts a “Doggie Date Night, ” where dogs are welcomed to join you as you dine in their outdoor seating area. A portion of the proceeds from your food bill goes to the Cumberland County SPCA. This particular Doggie Date Night was a very special (and rainy!) one… Margarita and her heart-throb and fellow English Pointer, Mr. Spock, helped out the Cumberland County SPCA, and got engaged!
Margarita got Mr. Spock some special engagement gifts!
And Mr. Spock had a good friend make Margarita the most perfect and beautiful engagement necklace!
There were lots of party decorations and favors!
All our 4-legged friends go dressed up for the PAWty!
Margarita showing off her new necklace:
The happy couple enjoying some of their engagement cake together:
What a fun night with good food, friends and pups! Best of all, we were able to help out the Cumberland County SPCA!
This annual event, held at the Ocean County Decoy and Gunning Show, will always hold a special place in our hearts. Although back in 2013, this event was only our second-ever dock diving competition, it was our very first DockDogs event with Limoncello.
During this event in 2013 is also where we signed up as members with our first DockDogs Club ~ Delmarva DockDogs . It is a joke among our DockDogs friends that we belong to every club on the East Coast, as we are now members of the Delamarva, Keystone, Chesapeake, Tidewater, and even Rideau River [in Canada!] DockDogs clubs!
The 2013 event is also where we met Annie from The Little GSP , who not only helped us with all of our “newbie” dock diving questions, but she also was the inspiration for the start of this blog, which also led to our Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Flicker accounts! Annie’s amazing photography is also what inspired me to start the ongoing process of learning how to take better quality photos of our pups. Check out some of her amazing shots on Flickr by clicking HERE!
And here we are in 2016: Back for our fourth year in a row, this time with 4 dogs! As always, we camped at one of our favorite spots, Atlantic City North Campground.
Big Air Finals:
Big Air Finals:
Big Air Finals:
Margarita had a big weekend cheering on her German siblings while spending her days with her heart-throb and fellow English Pointer, Mr. Spock!
What a fun and exciting weekend for the Liver Killers!
All 3 dock divers made Big Air Finals:
And we took home lots of bling!
Click HERE to see Rita’s Races!
Why run with your pup? As explained by DogVacay, running is a mutually beneficial activity that can serve as a great bonding experience for you and your pooch.
While walking is good exercise, most dogs need an opportunity to run in order to burn off their energy. Running uses different muscles than walking, and will increase your dog’s heart rate more than walking. Activities that increase heart rate are known as cardiovascular exercise, which will help increase the strength of your dog’s heart and can extend their lifetime. Many owners also note that their dogs are less likely to be destructive when they are allowed to run regularly. While the health benefits for your dog may be enough to encourage you to run, running with your dog is also great for your own health. Research has shown that individuals who are moderately active experience great health benefits, like weight loss, muscle building, and protection against diseases. Running a few times a week with your dog is a good way to maintain a moderate level of activity for both you and your pup.
Along with the physical benefits, there are many mental benefits that come from running with your dog. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce mental disorders, including anxiety and depression. Add this to the fact that spending time with a pet has been shown to reduce these disorders, and running with your dog can become a great part of your treatment plan. Running with your dog can also help reduce stress, as touch and movement are the two quickest methods of relieving stress. Moving with your dog and patting them as praise for good behavior can really help to better your mental outlook. In addition, running with your dog is a great bonding activity that can help to better your relationship.
A Perfect Match
A dog is a perfect running partner. Research done at the University of Missouri has shown that individuals who exercise with their dogs are more likely to stick with their workout routine. Your dog will begin to look forward to your regular runs, and you will find it hard to resist those big eyes and wagging tail. Runners also find that bringing their dog along on their runs helps them to focus less on their running time or calories burned, and instead turn their attention to enjoying their workout. Running with your dog will help to motivate you both to enhance your physical and mental health.
Before leashing up your pooch and hitting the road or trails, be sure to read Active.com’s training tips to ensure your pup is prepared:
Before you start running with your dog, make sure he is healthy and ready for the exercise. Dogs that are too old or too young might not be able to handle a running program. In fact, dogs that are younger than 18 months should stick to walking. Puppies’ bones are still developing up to 18 months old and running can impact the development of bones for optimal long-term physical integrity. Walking with a younger dog will help build a strong base for a future running program.
For dogs that are 18 months or older, start the same way you would. If your dog is new to running, don’t set out for a 5-mile run. Start slow and build your mileage together. Consistency over time is the best approach.
Start with a 10-minute run and then add 10 minutes each week until you reach your desired time or distance. Gradual build up allows for the muscles and connective tissue to adapt and grow to the activity without injury.
With time, your dog will adapt to your pace. This can be frustrating in the beginning. Many dogs want to go much faster than you are capable of and you find yourself trying to hang on to the leash. Others dogs may lag behind and appear distracted, which leads many dog owners to think their dog doesn’t like to run.
In both cases, the dog simply doesn’t know what he’s supposed to do. You have to teach him how to be a runner. With a little patience and time, the two of you will be running side-by-side at a good pace.
Dogs that already walk nicely on a leash will transition to running with ease. A dog that pulls can be challenging.
The first thing to do is shorten the leash. If you have a 6-foot leash, and you let your dog get in the habit of walking ahead of you, he’ll continue to pull. Instead, keep the leash short enough that your dog is by your side, 2 to 3 feet at the most.
There are many 5K and 10K running plans to help you build distance and pace. You can try one of those or start out with something even easier.
To start, figure out your average mile time. Use a local track or mark the distance in your car and then time your mile run at a comfortable pace.
Once you have a comfortable pace, take that time and multiply it by the miles to get your run time for a 5K (3.1 miles) or 10K, (6.2 miles). Example: 11-minute mile x 3.1 miles = 34.1 minutes
Begin running with your dog 10 minutes every other day for a week. Then, the next week add another 10 minutes to your running time. Continue training every other day. The third week add another 10 minutes. The fourth week add another. Continue this process until you reach your projected time. Once you reach your projected time, keep running with your dog.
Brian and I think Margarita would make a great Therapy Dog, but we were unsure of the requirements, OR if Rita would truly make a good candidate for this type of work.
Last night we took her to a Therapy Dog workshop at WonderDogs in Berlin, NJ, where we have taken both Limoncello and Hooch for obedience training when they were young pups. (Click HERE to see Limoncello’s graduation from Puppy Head Start class at WonderDogs, click HERE to see Hooch’s graduation from Puppy Head Start class, and click HERE to see Hooch’s graduation from the Terrible Teens class at WonderDogs!)
Jenny and Rita getting ready to start the first activity at the Therapy Dog Workshop:
Margarita lovers her “place” mat, and was a well-behaved, attentive student:
The instructor, Judith Azaren, focused on a variety of skills, including:
We feel as though Margarita did very well for her first time being presented with the tasks that were covered in this workshop.
Margarita quickly learned to look at me to earn a reward when she discovers staged piles of treats on the floor. Therapy dogs come across many items on a floor, such as medication/pills accidentally dropped on the floor. It is imperative that the dogs look to the handler rather than ingest what they find:
Here is Margarita weaving past other dogs, and not engaging:
Rita practiced loose-leash walking:
Margarita did well working around distractions such as crutches, wheel chairs, walkers, and a vacuum cleaner:
Margarita picked up on the “touch” game very quickly! Each time she touched my hand with her snout, she earned a treat. That was a fun game for her!
Here she is working on “touch” while not engaging with other dogs as they walk by:
Working on “touch:”
We have already contacted several Therapy Pet Registering organizations in order to start the process of Margarita’s evaluation and registration. We are hoping that with some additional training and practice, we will be able to have Margarita certified as a Therapy Dog so that she can help provide affection and comfort to those in need!
Do you think your dog or pet may be a good candidate for becoming a Therapy Dog? Each organization has different requirements, so be sure to do your research. Here are some of the most well-known for therapy pets (click on the names below to be directed to the organizations’ website):
We had never been to New Hampshire before, so we were super excited to cross the border!
We camped at Autumn Hills Campground in Weare, NH when we attended The Hopkinton State Fair dock diving competition.
Our campsite at Autumn Hills: Site T17
This was our first time at the Hopinton State Fair in Contoocook, NH. What a beautiful area, filled with great vendors, and friendly people!
20′ 1st Place Master
20’11” 1st Place Master
Extreme Vertical: 5’0″ 4th Place Cadet Division
Speed Retrieve: 8.370 seconds
Big Air Finals: 22’1″ 1st Place Semi-Pro Division
Extreme Vertical: 5’8″
Big Air Finals: 22’3″ 1st Place Pro Division
18’7″ 4th Place Senior
19’1″ 1st Place Senior
18’3″ 1st Place Senior
19’2″ 2nd Place Senior
Margarita worked her magic and wooed the crowd all weekend long. People of all ages came by our canopy to say hello to her and give her some pets!
Liver Killer Bling:
Both Limoncello and Margarita did very well this weekend! Both gals ran 2 Novice runs, and both secured one qualifying Novice score toward their Novice title. The Novice level requires the dogs to find the tube containing the rat, complete a tunnel, and have all-fours up on a hay bale (in no particular order) within two minutes. Cello and Rita will need two more qualifying scores to earn their Novice title.
Instinct Run: Qualified! 13.53 seconds (new Personal Best!)
*For those of you wondering why we participated at the Instinct level when Rita is already titled at this level, you are allowed to still do an Instinct run to get your pup warmed up as long as the dog has not titled in Novice.
Novice Run 1: Qualified! 1:44.71 seconds
Novice Run 2: Rita completed the tunnel, and before she could attempt the hay bale climb, Jenny jumped-the-gun and called the wrong
location of the rat.
Rita’s First Qualifying Novice Score Ribbon!
Instinct Run: Brian called the wrong location of the rat.
*For those of you wondering why we participated at the Instinct level when Cello is already titled at this level, you are allowed to still do an Instinct run to get your pup warmed up as long as the dog has not titled in Novice.
Novice Run 1: Qualified! 1:50.82 seconds
Novice Run 2: Cello executed the tunnel and the hay bale climb, but Brian called the wrong location of the rat.
Brian and Cello in Novice Run 2:
Cello’s First Qualifying Novice Score Ribbon!
Overall, we had a fun day, and enjoyed Barn Hunt with our two little gals!
Rita and I ran our first 5K together through a site called Virtual Strides. Virtual Strides provides an opportunity to participate in a virtual race (which can be run or walked!) anytime — anywhere– with whoever your want — and even indoors on a treadmill! Once you register for one of the virtual races, you can complete the distance any time and anywhere, and upload your finish time to the website. Virtual Strides will mail you a finisher’s medal after you upload your results, or at the end of the race period, whichever comes first. The best part is that a portion of the race’s proceeds gets donated to charity!
Rita and I ran the “Run Free” race.
This race benefited the National Mill Dog Rescue. National Mill Dog Rescue has pledged to put an end to the puppy mill industry, and has saved more than 10,000 dogs since 2007. National Mill Dog Rescue hopes to educate the public to acquire their companion animals through reputable breeders, shelters, and rescue groups.
Rita did GREAT! This was the first time I ever ran without music (running with music has been a MUST for me). I wanted to be sure I could hear everything around us in order to protect Margarita in case there was a loose dog, etc. I have to say – talking to Rita through the run was way more motivational than any music!
Our finishing time was 40 minutes, 25 seconds. Not bad considering Margarita decided she’d stop 3 times for potty breaks, TWO of which needed to be bagged-up, if you know what I mean!
I submitted our results, and a few days later, the race medal arrived in the mail!
Rita’s first official medal! She now has a spot of her own, among her siblings, on the “Wall of Fame” in our bar room.
Lager was featured on dog.derp.of.the.day ‘s Instagram account!
Margarita had shown great interest in this sport up until the extreme heat wave set in. She does not do well in the heat, and we are unsure if the extreme temperature is the cause, but she seems to have lost interest in Barn Hunt. We had been practicing for a couple of weeks – both at barn facilities, and at home. Rita had been actively finding the rat and enthusiastically signaling the location, and had learned “up!” as the command to jump up on to a hay bale, and “tunnel!” as the command to go through the hay bale tunnel. She was executing all those elements over the past couple of weeks, but appeared uninterested at the trial. We will continue to bring her to practices, as well as sign her up for trials through the Fall and next Spring to see if the cooler weather helps spark her interest again. Despite her nonchalant attitude, and her Mama’s lack of skills in reading when Rita picked up the rat scent, Rita did pretty well, earning her Instinct Title!
Instinct Test: PASS! Time: 49 seconds
Rita’s Instinct qualifying ribbon
Novice Class: Timed out
Rita pretty much shut down in the heat of the day, and wasn’t very cooperative in the barn ring. She did give indication that she found the rat (which I missed completely…something I definitely have to improve upon if we continue to participate in this sport!) and would not complete the hay bale climb or tunnel.
Rita is now Instinct titled in Barn Hunt!
We decided to make Sunday a “Girls’ Day,” and bring Limoncello along to participate in Barn Hunt!
Margarita showed NO interest again today!
Novice Class: Disqualified!
Margarita again would not execute the hay bale climb or the tunnel in her Sunday Novice run. She did find the rat (and Jenny was able to identify Rita’s barely-there-signal!), however, Rita then immediately peed in the barn (oops!), which according to Barn Hunt rules is a disqualification.
Cello had never even practiced before today, yet passed her Instinct test in just a few seconds, and did really well in her Novice run!
Instinct Test: PASS! Time: 17 seconds
Limoncello’s Instinct qualifying ribbon
Novice Class: Fail: Brian called incorrect location of rat
Limoncello completing the hay bale climb and tunnel requirements:
Limoncello hunting for the rat:
Overall, it was a very fun day learning more about Barn Hunt, and how to read Rita and Cello’s instinctive hunting behaviors!
While we were competing at the Cabela’s Dog Days of Summer with Delmarva DockDogs, we found out that this particular Cabela’s store is dog friendly. Margarita got to go on her own shopping spree!
Margarita inside of Cabela’s:
Margarita shopping for the perfect toy:
She picked out a stuffed bunny:
Margarita wanted to be sure to test out the bunny before we left the store:
This Cabela’s was EXTREMELY dog friendly. The staff here welcomed all dogs, and could not have been nicer!
We participated in Cabela’s Dogs Days of Summer with Delmarva DockDogs at the Christiana, DE Cabela’s this past weekend… what a BLAST we had!
We were able to camp right at Cabela’s!
New team banner!
All the pups did GREAT at this event!
24’5″ 2nd Place Elite Division
Big Air Finals: 24’4″ 5th Place Pro Division
Extreme Vertical: 5’2″ 4th Place Cadet Division
Speed Retrieve: 7.747 5th Place Turbo
Iron Dog: 2825.02 4th Place Titan
25’0″ 2nd Place Super Elite Division (***First SUPER Elite jump and first Super Elite medal!!)
25’3″ 1st Place Super Elite Division (***First Super Elite 1st Place medal)!
Big Air Finals: 25’4″ ***NEW PERSONAL BEST!!! (4th Place Pro Division)
Extreme Vertical: 6’0″ Third Place Top Gun Division
19’3″ 3rd Place Senior
20’8″ 5th Place Master
19’11” 1st Place Senior
19’11” 1st Place Senior
Big Air Finals: 20’6″ 4th Place Pro Division
Extreme Vertical: 5’10” 1st Place Cadet Division
Rita enjoyed all the attention of people stopping by our team canopy to say hello. Margarita even got to go on a shopping spree in Cabela’s, as this store was dog friendly! Click HERE to see what toy Rita picked out in Cabela’s!
Liver Killers Bling:
As we are trying to acclimate Margarita to the water, we began to discover her focus was on chipmunks running in our yard, rather than learning how to swim. After seeing a few of Margarita’s chipmunk-hunting videos, a few dock diving friends, as well as some of our Instagram and Facebook followers suggested that we try Barn Hunt with Rita. Until that point, I had never heard of this sport! So I decided to research what it was all about, and how to get Margarita involved.
So What is Barn Hunt, Anyway?
Barn Hunt is a timed event that tests your dog’s hunting and marking ability in a barn-like setting, around bales of hay. Climbing and tunneling skills are also incorporated, as is your ability to work as a team with your pup. An important skill of the handler is the ability to identify when your dog is marking the find (rat). Some dogs signal by flicking their head, pointing, or pawing and barking at the found rat.
Have no fear – the rats are never harmed. The dogs locate rats who are safely enclosed in aerated tubes that are built to be tough enough for dogs to be unable to crush or even get a tooth into. The tubes are also large enough for rats to be able to turn around, and they are kept on bedding so they are comfortable. The rats are people’s personal pets who are used to living and interacting with dogs. The rats often spend their time grooming themselves, or even sleeping in the tubes. Rat care and safety is of great importance to the sport. Rat care guidelines were developed with assistance from well-qualified sources who have spent decades studying, housing, and caring for rats.
There are certain dogs, such as Jack Russell Terriers and Cairn Terriers, that were initially bred to go underground to pull prey from their dens. Wild rats were found to spread diseases such as leptospirosis, and often ruined homes and crops, so other breeds, such as Rat Terriers and Miniature Pinschers, were bred for above ground pest elimination. These rat catching dogs would be taken to farms and to fid the area of the rats. These dogs were also used in World War I to help control the rats in the trenches, since they posed angers to the troops. Even more breeds such as Australian Shepherds and Border Collies handle rodent removal as part of their job around the farm.
How Barn Hunt came about
Barn Hunt evolved into a sport because of one dog – a Miniature Pinscher named Zipper. I was thrilled to read this, as Brian and I had two Miniature Pinschers, Dante and Cleopatra, who we love and miss dearly. Zipper’s owner, Robin Nuttall, was very curious about what the Min Pin was bred for. In her search, she discovered that Min Pins were bred to hunt mice and rats in their owner’s home. But at that time, Min Pins were not accepted into AKC Earthdog competitions, which are restricted by breed, and created to offer breeders and owners of small terriers a systematic guide to measure their dogs’ natural talent as well as their instinctive hunting and working behaviors when presented with an underground hunting condition. Zipper displayed great interest and ability in what he was bred to do, so Robin started working on trying to get the Miniature Pinscher breed accepted in to the AKC Earthdog competitions. However, she ran into some issues. Robin knew that there were informal Barn Hunt-type fun events happening at some of the Earthdog events, but those were mostly open to only Earthdog breeds, were rare, and difficult to find. Robin decided to write a set of rules for a national, titling, progressive sport. And though the sport was originally created for the real work of vermin hunting breeds, the sport now welcomes any and all dogs of any size, breed, or mix who can fit through an 18 inch-wide bale-height tunnel. As of September 1, 2014, Min Pins are now allowed in AKC Earthdog events! However, If Min Pins had been accepted in Earthdog when Robin got her beloved Min Pin, Zipper, Barn Hunt would not exist as a sport!!
Barn Hunt Today
Today some consider Barn Hunt to be the fastest growing dog sport in the United States. The popularity of the sport has escalated with dogs and their humans having so much fun. Barn Hunt encourages everyone from seasoned dog sport competitors to people who have never even been to a dog show before to take part in this great sport. Barn Hunt titles are also now recognized by both the AKC and UKC.
Ready to Give it a Try?
Be sure to visit the Barn Hunt Association to read the official rules for both competitors and spectators , and to register your dog. You can also find workshops, fun tests, and trials near you by using their events calendar.
If your dog enjoys investigating and sniffing around your home, they would most likely like to barn Hunt! You are your pup will start off with an Instinct Test. The beginning level is the Rat Instinct Class (RATI). One passing leg is required to obtain a title. There are three tubes placed in plain sight on the course, one dry, one with bedding from the rat’s cage, and one with both bedding and a rat. This is an optional class for dogs without an Instinct pass, and for dogs without a Novice title to use as a warm up. Time allowed is one minute and before time is called handler must have declared which tube has the rat based on the dog’s indication. There is a tunnel on the course but the dog is not required to go through it or climb on the hay bales at this level. If your dog correctly identifies the canister with the rat, you and your pup are ready to try the Novice level.
To earn the Novice Barn Hunt title (RATN), three qualifying legs are required. In this level there is a start box and the dog must leave the box ahead of the handler. Time starts when the dog exits the start box.This course has 3 hidden tubes – one empty, one with bedding, and one with a rat. These are tucked into the nooks and crannies between or on top of the bales and covered so they are not apparent to the handler. Completions of all elements – tunnel, climb, find the rat – within 2 minutes – is required to pass this course. Time stops when those three elements have been accomplished.
The advanced titles are Open, Senior and Master.
Where to Start
Visit Barn Hunt Association’s event page. Here, you will be able to choose a location to search, or view all events on a calendar. There is also a club listing where you will be able to find local clubs in your area. Also listed on the calendar are clinics on Barn Hunt. Taking Rita to a clinic was the first thing I did in order to learn about the rules, and to introduce Rita to hay bales and rats.
All information found at: