Perfect trifecta for brilliant behavior?

Could it be?  Have I found the penultimate trifecta that inspires genius in Inara?  That keeps her from over-reacting but keeps her drive up enough to provide a brilliant rally performance?  I’m not sure I should share this secret!  But I will, because I know others may benefit from it.  It has three main ingredients (hence the word “trifecta”).

1.  New treats:  Nothing extraordinary, just a generic lamb-based food roll cut into training treat sizes.  Inexpensive, easy to carry, not messy.  Stinky but not in an offensive way.  However, they must taste divine.

2.  New diet:  Inara used to be on high-protein grain-free kibble.  Last week I switched her to raw, which has about 18-20% protein, about half of the kibble she was eating.  Pertinent?  Perhaps…

3.  Calming collar:  I bought this from Ginger 3 or 4 weeks ago.  I hadn’t noticed anything at first, but last night Inara was such a different dog that I’m wondering if this is one of the key aspects of the trifecta.  Anyway, it’s a possibility.

So what happened last night that made me discover this miraculous trifecta?  We had Rally class.  It’s a new session (last night was week 2) and there are three pit bulls (two of which are reactive), a 10 year old Border Terrier (completely inoffensive but apparently has a target painted on him) and a reactive Lab.  The first week Inara had snarked at the Border Terrier, just to let him know that she was a bitch.  Not that that’s difficult for other dogs to notice.  😉  But last night the Lab broke free from his owner, just one of those horrible accidents that happen, and went after the Border Terrier in a very intent way.  Fortunately everybody was on their toes so the kerfluffle was short and no harm was caused.  However, the noises during the incident!  Holy cripes.  Barking and snarling and more barking from the reactive dogs.

All but one.  Inara whipped around to see the fiasco but as soon as I called her name, she whipped right back and focused on me.  Not a peep out of her.  *insert SHOCKED face here*  That’s right, my dog who still barks upon entering the building just to announce her presence did not bark.  My dog that holds a grudge against any dog that snarks at her did not bark.  My dog who occasionally barks obnoxiously at dogs completely ignoring her did not bark.  Not only did she not bark, she stayed focused on me, eating treats and looking relaxed.  *insert shocked face again*

Short of magic, the only thing that changed last night was that perfect trifecta.  Same seat.  Same dogs.  Hell, I probably had the same outfit on.  Same everything, except the trifecta.

So, gentle readers, there you have it.  Treats cut out of a lamb food roll, new lower protein diet and a calming collar gives you a perfect dog.  Who knew?

She of the trifecta

I feel like chicken tonight!

So I fed it!  That’s right, switched Inara back to a raw diet.  She was on it years ago but it just got too expensive.  However, I spent some time sourcing food and I can feed her for less than a dollar a day, about the same price as her kibble.  I’m also keeping an eye on CraigsList for a used freezer so I can buy in bulk.

Inara seemed VERY excited when she saw me getting chicken out for her.  It makes me happy to see her enjoy a meal so much, and know how healthy and appropriate it is for her.

Being the total dork that I am, I took video.  So, enjoy!

Let’s talk food

I am a food snob, at least when it comes to Inara.  From day one of getting her, she was fed quality food.  And then I switched her to raw for a while.  “Raw what?” you may be asking.  Raw meat and bones.  Sounds gross, but the benefits of feeding this natural diet are phenomenal.  Click here for an excellent overview of how to feed raw.  Unfortunately that became too cost-prohibitive, so I switched back to kibble.

Not long after that all those pet food recalls began happening.  Fortunately I was feeding high-end food (Merrick) and none of their foods were recalled.  It’s such a travesty that it takes beloved family pets dying to make people aware of what they are feeding, what is actually in those crap foods that are so cheap to buy.  Cheap now, yes, but in the long run?  Possibly obesity, possibly higher vet bills, possibly cancer, possibly early death.  I know, I know, your family always fed Alpo to the family dog and he lived a ripe old life.  Good chance that was sheer luck.  

It’s critical that you learn how to read the ingredients label on your dog’s food.  If, like me, that is way over your head, I highly recommend this site:  Dog Food Analysis.  It rates foods on a 0-6 star basis.  Inara is currently eating Wellness Core – a 6 star food.  It’s expensive, I won’t lie – $55 for a bag.  But because she eats such a small amount (1.5 cups/day) a bag lasts me about 6 weeks.  That’s about 70 cents a day.  

The higher-quality food you feed, the less you have to feed because it’s not packed with fillers.  A side benefit of eating less, is pooping less.  One of my girlfriends feeds Ol Roy to her dogs (J, you know who you are!), and holy hell let me tell you about how much they poop.  It takes two hands to pick it up.  Ga-ross!  I can pick up almost 3 piles of Inara’s poops in one hand.  

I also feed a couple supplements just to aid in Inara’s long-term health.  She gets 1000mg of salmon oil with breakfast, and a multi-vitamin in the evening that has glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM (sulfur).  All of those supplements aid in joint, skin and coat health.  I get them from GNC – so much cheaper than buying stuff made specifically for dogs!  

All I ask is that you really take a look at what you are feeding your dog.  As I said above, it may be more expensive up front to buy good food, but it’s cheaper in the long run.  

 

Glossy coat, great tuck - she's healthy!
Glossy coat, great tuck - she's healthy!