Archive for the ‘PRODUCTS WE LIKE’ Categoryby Northernmost on February 23, 2015 in Equipment & Gear, Hilary, PRODUCTS WE LIKE, Wilder with No Comments
We are trying out some new harnesses this spring, they are from Italian sports and utility dog gear brand Neewa and available in Sweden from Baggen® (which is also where we buy our comfortable skijoring belts, the Baggen Softbelt). We have been using the same type of harness for many years so it’s interesting to try something new and be able to compare fit, comfort and durability etc. The harnesses from Neewa seem like an interesting new option that’s available to a good price. Their top of the range Race Line products are developed together with professional mushers and made of super-tough yarns to be able to maintain their technical properties in extreme weather conditions. I really like the feel of these harnesses and they seem to sit very comfortably on our dogs. Looking forward to trying them on some sledding trips this spring!
Neewa’s Sled Pro Harness is designed to especially for “purebred Nordic dogs”, such as the Alaskan Malamute and Greenland Dog. They also have harnesses that are suited for more lean sled dogs with narrow chests, as well as harnesses for cani-cross, tracking and every day use.
Hilary is wearing the Sled Pro harness while Wilder is wearing an adjustable harness, which is ideal for a younger dog that is still filling out. Both harnesses are in polypropylene with padding on the neck and ribcage areas. The “Pro” model has reflective inserts for high visibility at night.
All Neewa harnesses are made with non-allergenic and breathable materials.
I love this fresh blue colour in spring!
You can read more about Neewa on their website.
We went for a walk along the coast yesterday to check out trail conditions by the Bothnian Bay. This is one of our favourite areas for sledding and skijoring but sadly the warm weather during February has melted much of the sea ice and the trail from January was completely gone.
The rapid weather changes have created paper-thin ice flakes….
…and glass-like ice on top of the snow…
…I love the beautiful formations of ice and snow that we found on the beach…
And here’s another diamond in the rough – our two-year-old boy Wilder! We love everything about this handsome fella – temperament, looks, working ability and intelligence. Okay, so we’re a bit biased – but he’s beyond amazing, really ♥
Aww ♥ This heart-melting print is available on t-shirts, longsleeves and hoodies from Rocking Da Moots. Mother-daughter company Rocking Da Moots in Oregon donates 5% of sales to rescue and has raised over $11,000 so far! A wonderful initiative worth supporting!
Need something to keep the kids busy during the summer holiday? The Alaskan Malamute Coloring Book available from the AMCA Health Committee contains fourteen hand-drawn pages depicting the daily life of a Malamute puppy. All proceeds from the sale of this book go to benefit health education and research on health issues in the Alaskan Malamute. What a great idea!!
You can buy this lovely book for USD $6.00 or buy two for $11.00 + shipping. Shipping fees outside the U.S.A. to be calculated and added onto purchase. Please contact Sandi Shrager at AMCAhealth@gmail.com to arrange an international purchase.
Payment can be made via PayPal to: AMCAhealth@gmail.com (please select option to “pay money to family and friends”, and pay transaction fees), or, via payment by check payable to AMCA (Alaskan Malamute Club of America) sent to: Mary Jane Holabach, 2055 Statesman Drive, Woodland, WA 98674, U.S.A.
The KONG Safestix is a great alternative for dogs who love to play with sticks but need a safer toy that can be carried around, chewed, thrown and fetched without inflicting injuries.Our vet once showed us his thick file with photos of dogs that had been admitted to his clinic due to various injuries caused by sticks…it was scary stuff that worked as a real eye opener! Nowadays when our dogs pick up a stick in the garden we encourage them to play with the Safestix instead. It’s a safe toy that can’t break into pieces and that works equally well in summer and winter. We haven’t tried it in water yet but since it floats it should be a great toy for the beach too! Just one word of warning – the Safestix is a *weird looking toy* and in a non-dog context it may seem odd lying around your house 😉
The flexible Safestix is made of durable plastic and long enough for two dogs to share comfortably.
The rounded ends make it easy to grab and throw and to play tug of war with 🙂
Available in vibrant colours it is easy to find in snow and grass.
We use size Large for our adult Mals.
And no, we are not sponsored by KONG…
….we just like recommending safe toys to other Mal owners 🙂
♥ Happy weekend everyone ♥
It’s amazing how much fun you can have with a little red ball…
The KONG Stuff-A-Ball is a durable rubber ball that is perfect for playing fetch and retrieve. It can be stuffed with snacks to make it extra appealing but if you have ball-crazy dog like Leia, chasing the ball on the beach is all it takes to have a good time 🙂
It’s been a lousy winter here on Sweden’s northern coast. In fact, this is the first time in fifteen years that I’ve gone through a winter without proper snow. We received a tiny bit of fluff in January but for the most part the ground has been covered in a thick layer of ice with only a dusting of snow on top. It’s easy to get frustrated when you have eight dogs that are eager to hit the trail but what can you do? Well, we decided to put on our studded shoes and take the dogs running instead. Between January and now all our dogs have run an average of 30 km per week and even though most of the ice is gone now we continue to run. What’s great about running is that you only need a pair of good running shoes, a hip belt and a leash and you’re ready to go. Having two eager dogs in front of you is the best motivation 🙂
Wilder, 14 months, harnessed up and ready to go.
Running IN the sea is also fun – but icy cold in March!
When we start out from home we have to run along the road for a short while before we reach the forest track. We try to avoid hard surfaces as much as possible as it can be too tough on joints and feet. I easily get shin splints if I run on asphalt for too long or too often.
We don’t always use necklines but it works really well for Tuisku and Lyra who keep the same pace. Tuisku is a little bit faster on the way out and Lyra is a bit quicker on the way home.
My running buddies today – Wilder and Hilary.
“I hate running, but I love having ran” used to be my favourite quote but I don’t hate running anymore, the hardest part for me is getting on those running clothes and walking out that front door. I dont really know why its so hard, as soon as I get out the door I actually love it.
The Swedish Baggen Softbelt is our favourite belt for canicross and skijoring. We use it together with the Baggen Expandable Leash (2 metres long) which has a built-in bungee. I have the X1 belt, which looks the same as X2 but provides softer damping, while Fredrik who is taller and stronger uses the X2. You can buy detachable leg loops from Baggen that stops the belt from sliding up around your waist when you run or ski.
Another good canicross belt is the Norwegian Non-step Comfort Belt. This belt has no in-built bungee (and must be used together with a bungee leash) but is designed to help spread the strain over a larger area of the hip/back. As the name hints, this belt is really comfortable but for my sensitive back the Baggen Softbelt works best, especially when skijoring on a bumpy trail.
Our studded Icebug shoes have really saved us this winter but now the roads are almost ice free and I have to get a new pair of shoes that work for both road and trail running.
Running equals happiness – have a great weekend everyone!
We are very excited to follow New Zealand artist Jewel Mathieson as she is currently working on a portrait of Hilary and Thunder for her new book “Indomitable Spirit” which is due to be published in late 2014. Jewel shares updates from her work on Facebook and it’s very exciting to watch her amazing portraits come to life, step by step. We’re hoping to buy the drawing of Hilary and Thunder when it’s completed and we are of course going to order a copy of the book too! You can see more examples of Jewel’s beautiful work on Pet Portraits by Jewel Mathieson
The drawing is still in an early stage but we can already see that Jewel has captured Hilary’s soft and sweet nature and Thunder’s gentle “old soul”. Amazing!
Jewel works in coloured pencil and the many layers of fur are made up of hundreds and hundreds of tiny pencil strokes.
After eight more hours of work, Thunder’s coat has so much detail and depth that you could almost touch it. Wow!!
The book “Indomitable Spirit” focuses on the early working breeds of the Arctic as well as on today’s descendants of these dogs. Among the 57 drawings that will be included in the book are Joe Henderson’s freighting team in Alaska and Malamutes from Nordiclight and Tsawake, as well as Karen Ramstead’s North Wapiti Siberian Huskies who are competing in the Iditarod this year. Our boy Thunder turns 10 years old this summer so Jewel’s portrait will be a lovely and very timely tribute to a wonderful member of our family ♥
If you have a long coated Malamute that easily develops mats and tangles, or perhaps a normal coated dog that isn’t too keen on being brushed (the tail area for example), try Cowboy Magic Detangler & Shine to make the grooming session easier for both of you. We use this excellent product on Leia to prepare her coat for a bath. We start by working through her coat with a comb and our fingers and when we find tangles or mats we rub Cowboy Magic Detangler & Shine directly into the affected area. It takes just a small amount to break up mats and brush out tangles and the grooming session becomes a lot more pleasant for the dog. We always do this before bathing, as when the coat is wet the mats and tangles will be even harder to get out.
Cowboy Magic Detangler & Shine is a popular horse grooming product but works equally well on dogs and on human hair. It contains no water or alcohol and doesn’t dry the hair. There are some other good products in the Cowboy Magic product line, such as the Rosewater Conditioner and the Greenspot Remover. You can read about them here. We buy ours from Hippotique in Sweden.
I love products that make grooming easier and the Cowboy Magic Detangler & Shine smells really nice too. Now when all that old coat is gone, Leia is finally ready for a bath!
Leia as a baby puppy in Finland. Photo courtesy of Virve & Teemu Kaivola. She will be 9 years old in February. I’ll get some fresh pictures of her after her bath 🙂
The weather cleared up quickly after the storm on Saturday night. On Sunday morning we woke up to blue skies and a cold house so instead of staying in and waiting for the electricity to return we put our running shoes on and went for a trip to the coast. The snow-free beach is perfect for jogging and we had a nice day out with Gemma and Tuisku. People say that running is addictive and maybe it’s true, I mean, why walk when you can run?
♥ Our running buddies Gem and Tuisku ♥
The sand dunes are great for running…
…but after a while your legs feel like jelly.
Tuisku always gets wild when we go to beach but we didn’t let him go swimming this time as the temperature was below zero.
The sea has many faces – it can be wild and cold…
…and calm and inviting.
I love my new running shoes – Pytho 2-L BUGrip from Swedish Icebug. They are lightweight and water resistant and keep the feet dry in both rain and slush.
The sole has integrated steel studs which provide good traction on everything from ice to slippery rocks. A perfect shoe for safely walking and running the dogs during fall and winter.
Tuisku doesn’t need studs to manoeuvre on slippery surfaces – Malamute feet can do that naturally.
Our precious Gem at 6 years of age.
Posing for the camera 😉
And here’s another one of G & T together – they look so cute in their red harnesses.
The power didn’t return until late on Sunday night but it didn’t bother us much as we spent the whole day out of doors, cleaning up the garden after the storm and playing with the dogs. In fact, being without TV and internet during the weekend is not a bad thing. Maybe we’ll try that again next week?
To beat the autumn blues we make sure to keep busy eight days a week! Yesterday evening we took Wilder and Titan to the dog club for some indoor rally training. As it turns out, our dogs are not the only Malamutes at the club; yesterday a sweet 7-year-old girl called Nala joined the class too. Fun! Our own training didn’t go super yesterday, the focus wasn’t there and the execution was more than just a bit sloppy. As we continue training we need to increase the reward criteria gradually and wean our dogs off the treats. But for now the main thing is that we’re having fun and that they feel confident in their work. For a 4-year-old dog that has never done any type of formal training (apart from the obedience training we integrate in our harness work) Titan did well and his tail was wagging non-stop!
Good boy Titan!
As you can see, I’m holding the leash in my left hand. This is not ideal for rally training but a bad habit that I have. By taking photos during training I notice my mistakes and can correct them. Here, for example, I should have started out with my left leg, not the right, as I wanted Titan to follow me.
Titan surprised us by nailing the station “Down and walk around your dog” at his first attempt.
The weave cones were harder, probably because he is a large dog and my handling was pretty poor.
An important part of training is learning how to wait patiently while the other dogs are having fun.
Wilder kept a constant eye on me during the “Down, and walk around” exercise.
He’s making good progress at the static exercises (sit, down and stand) but struggles with his heelwork. In fact, I think all our dogs struggle with heelwork and since Rally-O is all about moving smoothly on a loose leash, this is something that we really have to work on.
Oh no, the leash is in the left hand again!
Wilder at the start of the class…
…and after two hours 😉 Nothing beats Rally Obedience in making a Mal tired!
Every time I struggle with training I return to Ruth Kellogg’s excellent work “Happy Dogs with Benevolent Leaders” published in 2012. This CD-book is made up of 900 pages jam-packed with detailed and practical advice on everything from daily Malamute care and pack management, to building the foundations for formal training. In the three accompanying DVDs, Ruth and her Inharmony Malamutes (ages ranging from young puppies to adult dogs) demonstrate in videos how to introduce and train all the foundation skills needed for sports like rally, obedience and agility. I find her work very inspiring, not the least because she is a Malamute trainer and most other authors of dog training books are not. Before we re-start our heel training, I’m going to re-read the chapter about Precision Heeling and watch the accompanying video on Disc #2. I’m certain it will put me right back on track!
This year everyone seems to be talking about the benefits of apple cider vinegar (ACV) for dogs. Below are ten common claims about ACV:
- Eases the pain of arthritis
- Improves digestion
- Clears up urinary tract infections
- Gives a shiny coat
- Kills bacterial and fungal skin infections (good for hot spots and itchy skin)
- Cures dandruff
- Is a natural flea, tick and insect repellent
- Neutralises dog odours
- Softens calluses
- Boosts the immune system
It sounds like a miracle cure so we decided to see what apple cider vinegar could do for a mild fungal infection (Leia) and dry and flaky skin during shedding (Gemma). Since June we have been adding a teaspoon of unpasteurized ACV to their food twice daily and in addition to using ACV as a dietary supplement we have also used it diluted as a rinse after bathing.
Unpasteurized apple cider vinegar from House of Hafi in Sweden.
Raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar from Bragg.
After four months, Leia’s coat has less pink discolouration from licking and her skin seems to be in overall better condition (more calm, less red). It also seems to be working for Gemma, as her dry skin is gone and the new coat that is coming in looks shiny and healthy. We are happy with the results and if we don’t see any negative side-effects we may continue using apple cider vinegar as a regular supplement. The flavour is quite strong but our girls don’t seem to mind, and compared to the medicated dog shampoos you can buy at the vet’s, ACV is a completely natural product and is relatively inexpensive too.
Always consult a vet
Before trying natural remedies to treat skin disorders, you should always consult your veterinarian. If you want to do your own research, the website WebMD has an excellent slideshow where you can see images of some of the most common canine skin problems. For more info about the possible health benefits of apple cider vinegar for dogs, I recommend the following pages:
We introduced Gemma to a new toy yesterday – the KONG Bounzer! In the adverts for this toy it says that dogs will go crazy for the KONG Bounzer and I can say without exaggeration, that’s exactly what happened – Gemma went totally wild!!! 🙂
Unlike most KONG toys the Bounzer isn’t designed to be stuffed with treats and it doesn’t squeak, instead this is a lightweight interactive toy with a handle on top which makes it great for tossing.
The Bounzer squishes and releases air when grabbed by the dog, before it quickly bounces back to its original shape. I think the quiet hiss of air is part of what makes this toy so intriguing.
This is fun!!!
When tossed and rolled the Bounzer bounced all over the place and gave Gemma a real workout!
The Bounzer comes in three sizes: Medium, Large and X-Large, we use X-Large for our Mals.
Nice attempt at a balancing act!
The determination in her eyes says it all 🙂
I’m gonna get you!
Weeeee!!! Gemma played nonstop for about 20 minutes with this toy. A perfect way to have fun on a cool morning or evening at home or in the park.
While the Bounzer is made from a durable material, this is NOT a toy that we let our dogs play with unsupervised. Instead we use the Bounzer for interactive games and when the play session is over we put the toy away until next time – that way its attraction will remain high and the toy will last longer. You can buy the KONG Bounzer from www.vetzoo.se in Sweden and from most well stocked pet stores around the world. Highly recommended for dogs that love to fetch and retrieve 🙂