Thursday, December 25, 2014

It's Snowing!

We're very late this year for snow on the mountains and today we finally had a good dump up at Seymour Mountain. The mountain still isn't fully open for skiing so we had several slopes to ourselves. We took the Goldie Lake Loop and were the only ones on the trail (we could tell because we were the only footprints in foot-high snow).

She's flying!
new snowfall
so proud of my happy puppy!
It's such a different element to hike in
small snow covered lakes

Whiskey and her Great Dane puppy buddy Hanna (7 months) were so excited about the snowfall. They chased snowballs, ran ahead on the short trail, and met many other happy dogs at the parking lot all under the thickening snowstorm.

Great exercise in deep snow

winter wonderland!
pointing the way
Grooming new runs
waiting for more snow

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Winter on Wreck Beach

While during the summer it's the hippie nudist hangout, in the winter Wreck Beach is pretty much empty and inviting to energetic off-leash Vizslas. We met up again with Whiskey's sister Millie (and Millie's owner) and let them race up and down the beach for several hours.

It was raining the entire time but you can't even tell from the photos and the happy puppies. Just a small warning there are only garbage bins at the top of the stairs (not at the bottom during the winter) so it's easier if you can wait until your dog takes a poop before you head down.

Friday, December 19, 2014

St Marks Summit Hike

Another great day for a hike last weekend. It's been raining so much that parts of Vancouver have been under threat of flooding but everything stopped by the time the weekend hit. We decided to push forward with slowly increasing our hiking distances and drove over to Cypress to do St. Marks Summit (11km, 460m gain, 4 hours)

St Marks trail
really really dry ski slopes
Scouting out the trail in front
Daddy showing Whiskey how to climb

St. Marks is the first summit on the Howe Sound Crest Trail that goes from Vancouver's Cypress Mountain to close to Squamish at 30km over several mountains. Luckily it's dog friendly and we saw very few people on the way. Usually the trail is much more populated but it's off season and the threat of snow on the trails keeps most people away. It's been too warm to even gather much snow on the top of the trails but it was snowing for most of our hike! It's so beautiful.
Snow! It's snowing big snowflakes
Switchbacks going up
Happy hikers
We went through many types of atmosphere up here
Whiskey had a couple adventures this time. At one point she had climbed up a steep rocky point and couldn't figure out her way down for a couple minutes. Then poor Whiskey was happily galloping around at some point and fell through a pond covered in ice and snow. She was so cold but it seemed to make her run around even faster. We kept her moving and chasing sticks and didn't stop very long at the top (there was no view in the clouds but the view is usually breathtaking). Soon she dried out and we were back on the dry ski slopes.

Poor thing can't get down
I match the tree!
Who's that in the crack?

How beautiful can British Columbia be?
It was so nice to get outside in the crisp air without the hassle of snowshoes. I've been carrying a small jar of Musher's Secret Paw Wax just in case her paws have trouble in the snow and ice but so far we've had no issues. I was a wee bit worried that it was a longer hike than normal for Whiskey but she spent the rest of the night running around at a friend's house and never really crashed much. It's weird because it seems like hiking energizes her instead of making her tired. Usually she spends the day sleeping and doesn't seem so excitable.
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Dremel Trimming Naills

We've been instructed by our breeder how important it is to trim Whiskey's nails and keep the quick short. She suggested us to trim every week with a Dremel and although it's been a 2 person task, we can finish it in 10 mins.
Moo watching on while Whiskey gets her nails done
The noise of the Dremel and being constrained is scary for a dog not used to it. The easiest position we've found is having her lying on her back on someone's lap while the other person works around and does the manicure. Press down on the pad so the nails come all the way out and get as close to the quick as you feel comfortable, rounding out any sharp edges. We start with her back paws so the tool isn't in her face straight off.

take your time and round out edges
Even though we've done it since she was a puppy, she doesn't love it and still struggles and grunts.

Whiskey shows you her paw while her back nails are done
Taking photos while you hold on a struggling puppy getting a pedicure is a challenge
Here are some tips for Dremeling your dog's nails:

-Whiskey always gets a special treat in the end. I put the treat in my pocket so she can smell it the whole time and she knows it's coming. You can also give her a smaller treat with each nail, or each paw.

-Get more people if possible to help. I typically hold Whiskey while Thierry works the Dremel.

-Work the back paws first as they are further from their head not as scary as starting near the face.

-Talk to your dog and tell them how wonderful they are in a low voice during the whole time.

-Have some styptic powder on hand in case you trim too deep.

-Make sure you have lots of light!

-Do it often so they get use to it

-Don't stop the session as soon as they struggle, otherwise they learn if they struggle, they get out. If you need to release your dog, do so after they are calm.

-Trim nails when they are calm, relaxed, after exercise

push on each toe so the nail comes out and trim close to the quick
Here are some tips if you've never done it before:

-Get our dog used to being flipped over on their back and held. Give treats and talk in a soothing voice only letting them up when they are calm.

-Turn on the dremel and give treats to get them used to the sound

-Touch and handle each paw until they don't mind (we clean her paws all the time when we get back from a wet/muddy walk).

-Just trim one paw at a time, and work your way up.

-Keep a bag of treats next to you and give them a treat for each nail when they are calm (reduce treats over time). Be generous with the treats at first.

-If when you release the dog, they don't run off, and are immediately interested in snacks, you're doing great!
start young and it'll be easier!

Be calm yourself. Whiskey is easy to do since she's still a puppy and we were able to train her. Moo (my cat with attitude) is another story. We need to be in a zen mood to trim Moo's nails. Make movements, slow and deliberate. If you are scared or anxious, the animals pick up on that. If you are confident and calm, they will be more receptive.

All done! Where's my snack?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Stawamus-Chief Hike

This weekend we finally had beautiful weather and enough time to head to Squamish for "The Chief" hike. One of our old favorites it has become so popular that over the last 5 years it's come to rival the "Grouse Grind" for the must-do hike in Vancouver (even though I don't consider the grind a hike). I now only do the Chief when conditions are such that I can avoid crowds. In November when the trail is full of ice and snow, the peaks chilly with arctic winds, we met relatively few hikers and had a blast.

on top of the Squamish world
Ice and sun
Whereas 7 years ago when I first did this hike there were few stairs and it really did feel like a natural hike, nowadays the trail is mostly comprised of  man-made wooden or rock stairs, especially to the first peak.  There are 3 peaks in total and I normally climb the third, then second and call it done. Most people do the peaks in numerical order so you avoid any lineups going the opposite way. Also the trail down from 3rd peak is the most rugged and hardest on bad knees (we've got a few bad knees in our pack) so I prefer going up that way.

We start at the Shannon Falls parking
Just starting out
Seriously Mom? You want me to climb that?

I'm doing it! Whooop!

Whiskey was super stoked to get going, especially since she was shivering right out of the car. Of course as soon as we started the upward trail we were all shedding our layers and pretty soon down to one shirt.

Puppy on a mountain
On Third Peak
It's an amazing view from here
Looking north to Whistler
In the summer I would lie down and nap here
Watch out for chipmunks and crows that like to lure the dogs to the edge
Looking south from 2nd peak
The peak on 3rd was happily wind-free, and as we crossed the quick section to 2nd peak the sun was threatening to set. Coming down from 2nd peak is a challenge with a dog (many people don't attempt 2nd with a large dog) because there is a ladder and chain section. Whiskey was a little nervous but was carried down with no drama (except the Vizsla drama). Check out those sad sad eyes! She was gripping so hard, I sometimes wonder that she isn't human.

Heading down from 2nd peak
It's a good thing she's so used to being carried
Oh that sad face
the drama! It was too icy to put her down

Here I'm happy I don't have a larger dog
We handed her down
For those that want to avoid crowds in the summer, a nice side trail off from Chief is the Upper Shannon Falls hike. I'm sure we'll do that one with Whiskey soon! I'm just super stoked that she's big enough now to do "proper" hikes.

Our hiking family