Saturday, August 30, 2014

Prey drive and Bird Dog

This is our second time meeting up with Eric and his hunting Vizsla Yoffi.  Eric had suggested trying out birds with Whiskey to see if she had interest and drive.  Guess what?  She totally does!

very interested in the pigeon

sniffing out the bird launcher
It was really dark so the pictures are all blurry but we basically gave her a quail to see what she would do with it.  The bird flew off a couple yards from the path and Whiskey ran off, sniffed it out, played with it and killed it.  She even retrieved it, but didn't want to give it back (we didn't ask persistently). So we've got a bird dog!

The goal thereafter is to make sure she doesn't catch a bird again. We also watched Yoffi train with pigeons, working on his hunting and pointing.  Yoffi moved like a pro!  When Yoffi was done, we told Whiskey to "find it" and Whiskey even found the pigeon (just made it fly up) in the bush.  It was pretty far away so I was well impressed.  Whiskey was on a bird high for the next hour, all excited and silly. We aren't hunters and don't think we'll pursue this much, but were really interested to watch a Vizsla work at what they were bred to do.

*The next couple days Whiskey was very bird crazy and hunting (sniffing) everywhere.  She was a bit more "wild" but thankfully wouldn't chase birds that were at a distance.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hikes and bikes

Whiskey is 4.5 months old now and we are increasing the length of our hikes a little.  We tried Eagle Bluffs which is 8kms with a 350m incline.  It has a beautiful scenic viewpoint of the whole city and is a great place to bring friends new to Vancouver.  Taking it really slow, we spent most of the hike talking to friends (usually we add more training and stick throwing in a hike).  Whiskey had no problems finishing the hike and we took her on a walk in the evening as well.

playing on the ski slopes

the view from the top
water please!

the former olympic site

well tired afterwards
We're started introducing Whiskey to bicycles to get her used to walking or running next to them.  Eventually we would like to exercise her next to a bike but right now we are not using this as a form of exercise, rather just up and down a parking lot for training.  We also want to start maybe mountain biking with her through the forest but since I would have to learn how to mountain bike, we can assume the pace would be slow enough for a puppy.  Also, the other day we introduced her to skateboards!  She's a pretty inquisitive pup.

I don't understand this contraption but I'll kiss you

all four legs on the board!

she loves running beside the board and barking

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A very busy day

This week I'm off work, and I'm really looking forward to relaxing at home with the pets.  Since we don't own a car, we decided to rent from a car share a couple times this week to get out of the city.

Today we tried out Jug Island in Coquitlam.  It's a short little hike with minimal incline and a great way to start the day.  The highlight of the hike is a little beach that faces the Indian Arm and Jug Island.  We caught (and released) some tiny crabs, talked to kayakers and just chilled.  As a joke, Thierry tossed a stick in quite far into the water and Whiskey actually retrieved it!  She swam out further than she's ever been before, although it was a bit of a panicky swim back.  We were so proud!

working on our agility (yes they made it to the top!)
our hiking group
Whiskey fetches and swims!
catching small crabs
we are going higher and higher with this little girl
On the way back we popped into a wild game butcher for pet and human meats (kangaroo, bison, venison, elk, ostrich, wild boar).  I think we're stocked for awhile now!  At the moment I'm trying out various foods for Whiskey so we'll let you know how our experimentation goes.  We've got tons of kibble and even raw samples from Petapalooza.
a bison heart is enormous!
Continuing on our day, after we dropped the meat home, we took Whiskey off to the vet for her last set of shots (Rabies and Lepto).  She was amazing and even got a little handkerchief.  As long as she's eating a snack, she doesn't even feel the needles. So as far as Whiskey understands, the vet means lots of attention, pets, and snacks!  I wonder if she'll wise up eventually.  The cat is under no such illusions.
Whiskey has no idea she's getting a shot
After the vet, we drove to the off-leash dog area of Spanish banks where we met the cutest German Shepherd puppy.  Whiskey was pretty tired but perked up for some glorious playtime, digging and sniffing.  Then it was back home for a dinner of turkey hearts and gizzards, and we all fell asleep really early (except for Moo who then demanded attention).

Spanish Banks has a beautiful view
Whiskey with Nala, the German Shepherd 
These two played rough and cute!

Sunday, August 24, 2014


We just got back from a pet-event (is that even a word?) called Petapalooza and had a marvelous time. Dogs of every size, shape and color were out and the exhibitors were generous and informative.  We went to almost all the booths and I think Whiskey is all snacked out by now.
Wow and event just for pets (mainly dogs)

Whiskey recognizes her friends from the park better than us
There was a "running of the Bulls" which included the tiniest "racetrack" with French and English Bulldogs racing for a prize.  It was so packed I wasn't tall enough to watch (try shoving into a crowd with a puppy at your heels, it's not possible) but from the cheering it must have been funny.  Also we saw some flyball demonstrations.  I now wish I lived in a more rural area so we could join a flyball team!  There were so many breeds represented out there today, I even met one I didn't know existed (a toy Australian Shepherd?).

but mom! it's water and I don't want to
Someone crashes a doberman party
We were so happy Whiskey is socialized enough to deal with the noises, people and smells everywhere, although we found out she's just started to learn how to hop onto tables (another thing to train now).  Soon, we were walking home with a bag full of samples and goodies, a tired pup, and happy smiles.  I really wish there were more of these events to go to!

Hanging out with friends afterwards

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Hunting/Field Vs Comfirmation/Show Vizsla

Yesterday we met up with a fellow Vizsla owner Eric, and his 1.5 year Vizsla Yoffi for a romp in some fields.  We  drove 45 mins to arrive at this huge field in Maple Ridge where Yoffi normally runs and trains with birds.  We didn't have birds this time but thought the dogs would love to run and perhaps flush out their own.

As soon as Yoffi jumped out of the car we could immediately see the difference between a Vizsla from a hunting stock and one from a confirmation stock.  Whiskey's parents were both shown in confirmation shows where the goal is to conform to the breed's published standards.  In shows they are handled by strangers, shown in front of crowds, and need to stay relaxed in these situations.  Hunting Vizslas are bred for their drive and endurance and are tested in the field.  So while Whiskey is very mellow for a Vizsla, Yoffi shot out of that car like there was a free bacon festival ahead.

Yoffi pulling and ready to hunt
As we let the dogs off leash in the fields, Yoffi took off bounding around happily monster-trucking through the fields and bushes.  Whiskey stayed close and sniffed alot, at first keeping close to us in an unfamiliar environment, then eventually running after Yoffi.  Yoffi was playing pretty rough with Whiskey- more from held-back energy than anything else.  He also headbutts humans for hellos!

Whiskey leaping over the grass like a rabbit-antelope
a huge space for dogs to roam
Ears flying, dogs diving
Vizsla play is full-on

Pros of Confirmation/Show dogs
-in general these dogs would be better for city life as they are bred to show well and have a temperament conductive to have lots of strangers touch and inspect them
-they must also show good character to be tested (no aggressiveness, shyness)
-they are bred for their looks so they are beautiful!
-they usually need less off leash running and roam closer to you during walks
-they don't need to work as much
-these dogs will not be bouncing through the walls as fast as a hunting dog if they don't get a walk
-might be better bet if you have small animals like cats in the house (although probably fine if grown up with one)
Whiskey's Daddy
Pros of Hunting/Field dogs
-obviously if you want to hunt, you would look for a breeder that hunts and has Field Trail Champions
-these dogs are amazing to watch do the job they are bred for.  They are still couch potatoes at home, but are on full "work" mode outside
-bred less for looks and more for personality and intelligence
-I've heard show dogs are smaller, more sharply muscled, noisier and more generally hyperactive (Whiskey is smaller, vocal, but very mellow, not hyperactive)
-you may have heard with other breeds, working dogs are usually healthier and living older because they are bred for physical purpose but Vizslas are a very healthy dog that has been much better bred than Labs, German Shepherds, Dachshunds for example.  Check this article out!
Vizslas were never overbred and trendy like Dalmatians and are generally a very protected healthy breed.  In conclusion hunting dogs have not been proven to be "more healthy" but they certainly have more endurance and energy!
Yoffi's crazy energy in a picture
practicing "Whoa"
Best of Both Worlds
Of course confirmation dogs can be hunters and hunters can be confirmation dogs if you get the right bloodlines that is!  I've shown examples of extremes, but every dog is unique and with a good breeder you should have a well balanced dog.  For example Yoffi is a beauty with great muscles and amazing fur while Whiskey was pulling like crazy when she saw a deer and flushed out a little bird the other day on a walk.  Also with breeding you are increasing a chance, of a specific trait and it's not a guarantee at all.

 So driving home that evening we reflected we were really happy we got a confirmation dog, as Whiskey is not "calm" but she's practically comatose compared to Yoffi.  With both of us working full time jobs and not hunters it would push our limits to have to drive out of the city everyday to exercise her.  Of course we're both avid hikers and Whiskey gets plenty of exercise a day.  On the other hand, Eric says Yoffi wouldn't do well in a dog park with other dogs and people around, and that he was really crazy as a puppy.  So although Yoffi is an incredible athlete and intelligent hunter, we're super happy Whiskey's been so "easy" to fit in our lives.  As I'm typing this, she's sleeping at my feet.

Hunting or show, these dogs are gorgeous
Whiskey copies Yoffi
I'm so happy we came!

Yoffi glups it down

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Puppy stung by wasp

My little Vizsla just got stung by a wasp at the park.  I think it was karma for stealing someone's last slice of salami just minutes ago.  Missing the drama, I was working when she was out for a walk in the park and just got home to this:

She was stung on the right muzzle 
Someone's not feeling so well
Poor thing!  Her swelling is going down and I'm just happy she got stung on her muzzle, not inside her mouth. Apparently she was off leash roaming the park as usual and came back with a swollen muzzle.  Soon after she vomited, and needed to be carried home.  We've been seeing several wasps in the area and I even got stung a week ago. My partner couldn't find any stinger on her muzzle and just watched her carefully.  After half an hour though her swelling went down and she didn't have any other symptoms.

A little extra clingy tonight
By the time I came back home an hour later she was wagging her tail (though not rushing the door like normal).  She ate a little wet food and I applied a mix of water and baking soda to her muzzle. Poor little thing!  In the morning the swelling had gone down and she was back to normal.  We just got back from the park and I had to pull her off from investigating more wasps in the grass.  I guess puppies don't learn!

baking soda paste to help the pain

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sunshine Coast dog-camping

It seems like we're always on the 'go' these days.  We just got back from a weekend on BC's Sunshine Coast where we had a fantastic time with Whiskey and a group of friends.  At the moment I'm exhausted, the dog is happy, we've got a ton of stuff to unpack and a dirty house to clean.  Here's how it went:

Ferry ride
We had our first ferry ride with a dog.  Unfortunately dogs aren't allowed past the car deck so our top-deck photo-ops are over.  We did however walk all around the parking level saying hi to everyone and sniffing all the ropes.  Good thing it was a 40 min ride otherwise we might have gone for a poop though.  Whiskey's been great with the car these days although we make a big effort to make sure she's tired before a long ride.

our little poser
I wonder who peed here?
Blackberry season
It's blackberry season and boy are they everywhere!  Every stop we made whether it be a scenic view or pit-stop there were heavy bushes waiting to be picked.  Here we are waiting for the ferry, collecting and eating our fill.  Whiskey is a fan of  sweet ones and gobbles them up from my fingers.
it pays to be tall!
sooo many wild blackberries!

On-leash campground
It was a dog-friendly campground, much less rugged than our last trip though a clear downside was that dogs had to be leashed at all times.  There were RVs, tents, yurts, cabins, and a motel section along with a dock.  It was really hard to keep her on a leash while doing all our activities and we still needed to give her all the exercise she required.  It was half as productive (putting up the tent, cleaning, cooking, eating, packing) and half as relaxing.  On the upside it was good to have her on-leash when there were deer around.  I've never had her pull so much before!

Whiskey helps rearrange firewood
Whiskey is still too scared to dive into water from a dock.  She'll fetch up to her tummy, and maybe take one step further, but beyond that she's whining and stressed when we ask her to do more.  So it was a big shock when we were hanging out on a little platform and our little Whiskey took a couple steps backwards, falling in the water!  She was only in for a second before we fished her out, but was shivering for an hour afterwards, even with a towel-down and lying in the sun.  I guess she was just stressed.
Come on in!  The water's great.  *lots of whining*

shivering and miserable in the sun
overseeing activities on the lake
Dog limitations
We ended up at Alice Lake just past Squamish on our way back.  Little did we know, dogs must be leashed and are not allowed on the grass, paths, or beach areas (so where are they allowed??).  It's frustrating when you're with a group of friends but have to chose the dog.  We ended up taking a hike while the rest of the group sunbathed, swam, and relaxed by the beach.

We did one hike on Sunshine Coast: Mt Daniel as well as another one at Alice Lake: the Four Lake Trail.  Mt. Daniel is about 6km and 440m climb which is the most we've tried with Whiskey.  She was running until the end!  Alice Lake was unplanned but was absolutely gorgeous.  The trail was easy and beautiful (around 6km) and the landscape was astounding for a rainforest.  For both hikes we had loads of fun.  Sometimes I can't believe my luck when I go hiking with Whiskey.  She never fails to make me laugh and smile and she's just so fearless and silly.  I'm addicted!

trail of Mt Daniel

having fun off leash finally!
The view from Mt Daniel

a little log climbing is good for the vizsla soul
the amazing trail of the Four Lake Loop