I got my first BarkBox in the mail on 3/19/14 (they ship on the 15th of each month) and I wanted to share with you all the goodies I got!
March 2014 Large Dog BarkBox
If you are not familiar with BarkBox, it is a monthly subscription for your pup that contains all types of goodies. You don’t get to choose the goodies they are selected for you based on the dog size you select when ordering and they vary by month. What is also great is 10% of the proceeds go to charity. The prices range by the length of subscription you get, however if you read a lot of the reviews the total retail price of the items it usually much more than the cost of the box. What is also nice is the items are not always things you would buy yourself so you are trying new things.
Items in Box:
Petprojekt Egg: Retail price $14
Pet Qwerks Doggone Times: Retail Price $7.79
Wagatha’s Breakfast Biscuits: $5.99
Superior Farms Venison Waffles: $9.99
Etta Says Crunch Duck Chew: $.99
Total Online retail NOT including shipping: $38.76
If any of the items are worth reviewing individually (good or bad) I will be writing it up as soon as I have had a chance to play with or eat everything.
Variety of Goodies you probably wouldn’t normally try or can even find locally
Different options based on your dog’s size (0-20lb / 20lb-50lb / 50lb+)
Makes your pup feel really loved
Save $$ if you compare on online prices
Portion of proceeds go to charity
It is a subscription, so you have to make sure you cancel it if you are done.
You may get things your pup don’t doesn’t like is not allowed to have, after all it is a surprise!
As of 3/20/14, and this includes shipping to Continental US
$29 for 1 month
$72 for 3 months ($24 per month)
$114 for 6 months ($19 per month)
$199 for 1 year ($16.58 per month)
Get $5 off if you use this link (my referral)
Yes, but I would probably recommend getting at least 6 months to get the price down.
Their customer service is great! Dad got this as a present for Mom on her birthday (which was really a present for me!) and he messed up on the order but it was quickly fixed up with a call and he said they were super nice.
Time to talk about my 2nd and most used backpack I currently have (new one doesn’t have the miles yet), it is the Kyjen Outward Hound Quick Release Dog BackPack. This backpack is also a hand-me-down much like my first training pack, however this one is a better quality and was purchased back in 2010. Since this is an older model some of the features may have changed but I hope to give you an idea of the pros and cons so you can see if they are improved now.
Starting off with the basic build of this pack. The pack has 2 main compartments, 1 on each side. The compartments are closed with a zipper that has 2 heads which I have both meet in the middle for easy access. There is also an outside compartment made of a net that is not sealed and doesn’t hold anything for very long. The compartments are nice and wide giving lots of room for storage and not too deep to cause sagging when you add weight. The packs are made of nylon and that nylon is also used in the section that connects to each compartment to each other over the back. On the top of the pack (top of my back) there is a large handle, I believe this handle is supposed to be used if I need assistance getting over or through obstacles. This handle might work for an ankle biter, but for a doberman its nothing more than an emergency handle. In front of the handle is a little loop with a buckle, this is used a leash keeper. My leash has two handles for short and long holding so Mom loops each handle into the keeper and it allows me to carry the leash still attached to me but not have to be “on the leash” if we are in a place that allows off-leash. The straps on this leash are the typical adjusting nylon straps with quick release buckles, two straps run underneath (girth) and one around the chest (not a Y strap which I think their newer ones use). The only protection to prevent rubbing is a nylon pad that is attached to pack near the buckles and are supposed to be placed behind the buckles to prevent the buckles from rubbing (so they will easily slide out if you shift). Since this is the only form of protection that means the nylon straps are against the skin. This may be okay if the pack fits perfect and you don’t have sensitive skin, however I am pretty sensitive so this is no enough like it was for Trey. To get around my issues Mom doesn’t strap the girth straps down tight, now this might not work for every dog, it is going to depends on the load and your dog because it could cause more rubbing. For me running with it loose is fine, no rubs and the pack only occasionally slides to the side. If this didn’t work Mom was going to make a fleece sleeve to slide over the nylon then strap it down.
The way the compartments are connected to the pack is by the top part of the pack, this means that the pack fill float out if you go for a swim however is also means they will bounce if you carry a lot of weight. The packs are also removable so you can just take them off before going for a swim without having to unbuckle the harness but to be honest we have never removed them before. If I am on leash I can carry a few water bottles, leashes, and poo bags without any issues because it is a serious walk, but if I am off-leash I am jumping around so much Mom normally just loads the pack with poo bags, hand towels to wipe paws and an extra collar.
Carries decent weight (2 water bottles each side and could have done more)
Durable (lots of miles and no tears or breaks yet)
Pack is removable from harness.
No Y strap on chest (but this might be fixed in newer models)
No protection from nylon rubbing and the buckle protection is a joke
Not breathable, although we don’t sweat it will still retain heat so I don’t wear on hot summer days.
Bounces if you are an active dog
Mom got this for $17 on Amazon.com back in 2010
Yes, for a good mid-range backpack. If you just want to add some weight to your dog when walking or carry a few extra things this pack has served me well. If you have a thin coat/skin then if you find this model I suggest making fleece sleeves to put the straps through. If you are serious about packing weight I would go with a higher range model.
Remember to pack the weight on your dog evenly and check for always check fit during your first several hikes. Also this isn’t my first backpack or my last (I have upgraded!). You can ready about my first backpack here My First Backpack, Dickens Closet Review. I will update this with a link to my review of my newest Ruff Wear backpack when I post that.
Outward Hound BackPack, notice the buckle protector out of place
If organic and/or peanut butter treats are your thing and you have a Costco membership then these treats might be up your alley. A few months back at Costco, Mom saw a new selection of treats show up on the shelves along with key phrases we love, Peanut Butter, No Corn, No Wheat, and No Soy all words that say BUY ME and so she did (3 boxes that are 3.5lb each). Lately it seems peanut butter is the magic glue of the dog treat world that makes biscuits nom nom nummy and allows them to be made without the ingredients that, in large amounts make my coat dull and itchy. Now for the actual taste, they’re peanut butter biscuits, of course they are good, I haven’t met a PB biscuit I haven’t loved. Now you might think that it’s a biscuit so I would eat it no matter the flavor but that is not true. There have been many times that I have been offered biscuits at the various pet stores and I just drop them on the floor for Big Brother Trey to eat, I am actually fairly picky. These treats are also organic, which doesn’t mean much to me but Mom says it is supposed to be better for the environment so I guess that is good for everyone. Their size is also on the smaller size for us Dobies, however it makes them the right size for practicing trick catching, like balancing them on my nose until mom says I can eat it. Since they are smaller I can have multiple treats in each training session so I can get a few practice shots in.
NOM NOM NUMMY! (Taste)
Harder to find
Sorry we don’t remember, but Mom is wouldn’t have bought them if they were overpriced.
Of course I would! I guess if you are a large dog looking for a large biscuit for a 1 time a day treat then they would be to small, but I always work for my treats.
Over the years we found that Costco’s pet toys/treats are on a rotational basis, meaning they will stock something for a month then skip a few months before bringing it back. Mom has learned if she finds something we like, then go right back and buy several months supply otherwise you will miss out. Last time these were on the shelf here in Redding, CA Mom bought 3 of the 3.5lb boxes and she hasn’t seen them since, so I am glad she stocked up! As of March 2014 they are not currently on the shelves but that doesn’t mean they wont be next week!
I’ll try to keep this review short as my normal reviews, but I have to warn you, backpacks are a big deal to me so I might ramble on. I think every pup hitting the trails or road for a good run should have one. A backpack is a good place to carry your spare leash, poo bags, water, nom noms, even a GPS all for yourself, and you can help your human out with their stuff too. A backpack is a good way to burn some extra calories and build muscle during your daily routine, after all who doesn’t want a healthier body?
This backpack was my first and it was actually a hand-me-down from Big Brother Trey that was purchased approximately 5+ years ago and I haven’t seen it in the stores since. Trey put a few miles on this pack so by the time I got it, it was well broke in and starting to show. For a first backpack that will get light use I really have to say it is pretty good despite being cheap (compared to other packs). So lets start off talking about the basic build of this pack. There is nothing special to this pack, like most of the lower end packs there is 1 chest strap that goes around the front under my neck. If you look at higher end packs you will notice they now go with a Y design that connects the chest strap down to one of the girth straps to prevent rubbing at that base of neck (check Ruff Wear packs). It also has two girth straps and run under my chest. These girth straps attach to the bottom of the pack which has ups and downs to this design. The up, is that it keeps the pack from bouncing around when you are jumping around. Other packs only connect the bags to the harness from their tops so they flop loose, the reason is for dogs that might go through deep water with their pack, it allows them both to float up (assuming the load floats) making it easier to swim. I have seen some packs give you the option by only connecting the top, but then having loops at the bottom of the packs that you run the girth straps through if you want the load secured down. Each pack is only 1 big compartment that is closed with a zipper, the compartment is big, however I would not load it down with weight. The height and width of the compartments are decent but depth wise it is pretty deep which I think the fault. If you load to much weight the pack sags down and will still bounce the load around which will not make for a good packing experience.
Now to the material, the part of the pack that touches my back is mesh and the rest of the pack feels like a very light weight neoprene. The soft mesh makes up the part of the pack that goes over my back connecting the packs and makes up the back sides of the packs. This mesh makes the pack nice and comfortable to wear, it conforms nicely to my figure, it’s soft and VERY breathable. The down side of this mesh is that is snags and will pick up loose materials it brushes up against (think running through tall grass or bushes). The outside of the packs are made of this neoprene type material that is also nice and soft but doesn’t pick up material like the mesh. This neoprene also gives it the appearance of being water resistant but just remember the part of the pack against my back is mesh, so it’s not. The straps are made of the typical nylon, however each strap has a some of the neoprene that wraps around it and secures with Velcro so the neoprene should stay between my skin and the nylon straps/buckles however those straps don’t stay in place (look at pic with of Trey wearing it). This brings me to the buckles, CHEAP, yeah so far my review has been fair, but the buckles are a big disappointment. By the time I got the pack one was already broken and not long after a second one also broke.
I now have two other backpacks I will talk about in the future, lets just say I have been working my way up learning what works for me. This one now just sits in my toy box for spare parts and possible use in a future costume.
Great for training if you are worried about a good pack getting destroyed
Buckles really cheap
Wouldn’t carry to much weight
The neoprene wrap that should protect you from rubbing against the nylon doesn’t stay in place
No one remembers the price and it is no longer available new.
Only as a training pack or if you are only looking to carry a leash and doggie bags, it is not something I would trust with weight. So if you can pick a used one up for a couple dollars it would make a great trainer if you pack is with light weight stuff, like towels or even shipping/packing material just to fill it out.
With any pack, make sure you balance your weight on each side. So if you choose to carry water, make sure you try to take equal amounts out of both sides when you stop for a drink. If you are looking for a higher end pack check out Ruff Wear, if you are looking for an in between pack look for Outward Hound packs. I will follow up with reviews of those.
Trey in the Dickens Backpack
Dickens Closet Backpack
Dickens Closet Backpack
Dickens Closet Backpack, notice the wraps that are supposed to keep the nylon strap from rubbing doesn’t stay in place.
I have to tell you about my favorite training treat, Bil-Jac. You can already see how this review is going to go, LOVE EM! When I was a wee little pup going through all the basic training Mom always used these. They are small really tasty treats that smelled like heaven. These little things could get my attention in a hurricane. Mom did complain they had a really strong smell and was glad the came in a sealed pouch but no complaints from me!
Small size, perfect for training
Strong smell to get the pups attention
Nom Nom Nummy!
No Corn or Soy!
Strong smell (only a human complaint)
A moist treat, so if not left it in the sealed pouch it will drys out (but I would still eat it).
Yes for training or quick rewards, however because of my size for a normal treat I would rather have a cookie since they last a couple bites were these I just suck down.
As I said above they are a moist treat that will dry out so don’t dump the whole package into your treat pouch, just enough for that day. Also they aren’t moist, like touching raw meat, more like Playdough.
Saw a new pack in the store, it looks like they slightly changed the packaging, but I still have a couple bags at home. Hopefully they haven’t changed anything else.
Bil-Jac Treats (back side)
Bil-Jac Size, The treat is on a dime, there is also a quarter there for reference.
Big brother Trey is a speed eater, when there is food in a bowl you hear a vacuum turn on and I hate vacuums! To keep the Hoover in check Trey has to eat from the bowl pictured below. The bowl does work, it slows him down and reduces the risk of bloating (although he never has bloated). The only down side I could see is the amount of food that can go in the bowl. Trey gets 2 cups of food in the morning and at night, this bowl might hold 1 cup more, but not much more than that without defeating the purpose.
Works!, it slows them down
Non-skid rubber on bottom
If your dog is a chewer it wouldn’t last (plastic)
May not work well for dogs that get more than 3 cups of food per feeding
Yes, for non-chewers. I would not recommend for poor eaters for prevention. Why not you ask? I am a poor eater, as in I don’t always finish my meals or tend to skip meals, this bowl only made eating more work so I wasn’t very motivated to eat with this bowl.
Suggestions for Manufacturers:
How about a metal one for chewers?
The Kyjen company had come out with some new slow feed bowls that look like so much fun! They have lots of designs and colors, you can see them on their website Kyjen.com. If we ever need to get another one they are on my list.
Wiggly Giggly you made me laugh, you also tasted good. Yep, you know what that means, I ate it or as much as I could before you were whisked by Mom. I got this bright colored dumbbell during on of my many adventures to the pet store. Mom first spotted and picked it up and it made a funny sound, you know one of those sounds that makes you turn your head sideways. From the moment I heard that sound I wanted it and with my patented puuuleeeazzze momma I promise to love it forever look I shot to Mom, it was quickly bought and paid for. When I got home Mom tossed my new toy to me to let the fun begin, and begin it did. I carried it around for a few minutes waiting for Mom to turn her back, then I began my quest to find out what made that noise. Unfortunately less than 5 minutes into my quest I was discovered and it was taken away never to be seen again. I do mourn the loss of this bright funny sounding toy and wish it lasted longer, perhaps if it was a little tougher I would have gave up finding the noise maker and just enjoyed it.
I always have my eye open for new chew toys. If you haven’t noticed by now I love to chew, I was raised on Nylabones so I am always looking for something of equal quality. To me a good chew is something that lasts a while (hours to days+) and of course tastes good! Mom has got both Trey and I rawhide, non-rawhide bones (Dreambones), real bones, bully sticks and other various chews but rarely had something lasted as long as Nylabones. The only thing even close is rawhide which comes with its own dangers. I have to say these Prairie Dog brand Elk Antlers Mom picked up at Petco (they have open bins with them) are right up there with my Nylabones. They are tasty (especially the marrow we try to get out first), they are rock hard, don’t splinter and don’t leave carpet stains (well I leave slobber marks) like rawhide or bullie sticks. So far I think these will last as long as a well loved Dura Chew Nylabone.
Before I was allowed to get an antler Mom did some research. Based on everything she read she looked for a non-bleached whole (not split down middle) antler. She also learned you do NOT want to order them online. If you read all the reviews on Amazon you will get people that loved what they got and others that complain all because of size variations. The antlers seem to be sold by length which doesn’t give the whole picture because something 6 inches could be the width of a dime and something 4 inches could be the width of a silver dollar. With that type of variation it is best to go get them in store and hand pick one that works for you.
Last as long as Nylabones of equal size
Doesn’t splinter like cooked bones
Helps to keep teeth clean
Can cause damage to molars if you try to split in half.
Hit and miss with online ordering
$15-$30 depending on size from Petco, Petsmart and other local pet stores.
Yes, but under three conditions. First do NOT order online, go in store. Second don’t get one that is split in half exposing all the marrow because we will eat all of that first and fast (will be gone in no time). Finally ONLY if you are not the type of dog that will try to split them in half. With these, Nylabones and other hard chews you do run the risk of breaking molars (choosing a proper size will help with this). If you were raised on Nylabones like me, you know how to work these hard chews down to nubs.
Like other chews, be sure to dispose when they get down to a size, that they are a choking risk.
There are also deer and moose antlers available, however they say Elk is recommended because of the marrow ratio and the deer antlers are even harder, more likely to cause tooth fractures. Good information can be found on Mountain Dog Chew’s website
Okay, I have to confess, I have a cat toy that I don’t share with the cats. That’s right the FroliCat BOLT Laser and I love this thing. It is a laser that when you turn on it has a laser that goes around in circles but it switches back and forth so it is not just round and round. When it comes to this thing I am obsessed, Dad will turn it on and I will stomp that laser into ground, biting it until I get tired and or it does its auto shut off after 15 minutes. Mom and Dad now hide the laser because I will walk up to it and stare at it until someone turns it on, I will even stare at it, then look at Dad then back at it until he gets up to turn it on.
My big complaint is that I am on laser #2 and from the way the motor on this one is sounding I may have to beg for #3 pretty soon. The first one had some battery corrosion, but even after cleaning it up the laser was really dim.
Somewhat random circle pattern
Auto Shutoff after 15 minutes
You may have to hide it
Not durable, odd for a toy you don’t directly touch.
If you love lasers, YES!! If you don’t know, I suggest your parents buy one of those cheap lasers pointers you can find at the pet store cat section or Walmart (around $5) before you buy this one which is around $23.
There is also a FroliCat Dart, we decided not to get this one because it would have to sit in the middle of the room so it could spin around, the Bolt however can sit up on a something on the side of the room so it doesn’t get stomped on or knocked over.
Excuse the dirt, but isn’t that the sign of a well loved toy? I have to show you one of my two favorite frisbee/disc type toys (I’ll talk about the other later) it’s the Flying Squirrel made by Chuck It. This frisbee/disc type toy is made of a canvas type material with rubber like weights on each of it feet for balance. What is great about this toy is the hang time it has when Mom or Dad tosses it in the air it takes much longer to come down to the ground than normal frisbees. The hang time is a great confidence builder for pups learning to catch frisbees or dogs that are just not good at catching them. I have to admit, I am not the best at catching flying objects so when the squirrel goes flying can usually catch it and I am able to make a victory lap around the yard. The hang time is a great upside for learning, but if you are an experienced frisbee catcher than this toy will bore you, because that great hang time takes away from this distance and speed so it’s not as challenging. Back to the love.. this frisbee is pretty tough, well tougher than normal plastic ones. The squirrel has been around our house for well over a couple years and still doesn’t have a hole (can’t say the same for my Kong frisbee but that is another review), take in mind Trey (my big brother) and I will frequently play tug-o-war with frisbees if there is no clear winner in the race to catch it.
Excellent hang time
You don’t get the distance or speed compared to a normal frisbee
I have to share this little gem I got at the Love Your Pet Expo back in 2011. Mom was talking to the vendor (sorry don’t remember the name) and they said that this was a great ball because it bounces in different directions because of it’s shape. This Bionic Ball is a very thick rubber with a large hole in the middle and ridges along the edge, these make is bounce in random directions when it hits the ground. I have to say, I love it! This ball is always loaded and ready to go in my tennis ball thrower because it is one of the few heavy duty balls that fit.
Well I have to admit, this is a size medium which is supposed to be for 15-35lb dogs, but if you want to use the tennis ball thrower that is the size you need, otherwise I still would not hesitate to grab a large or x-large if I see one, well I would ask Mom to get it for me, she is a sucker for the look.
Bounces unpredictable directions
Fits in tennis ball thrower
Not found at the big pet stores so you can’t get a feel for it
YUP! If you love to fetch balls, then grab this in medium, if you just like to carry balls then it would probably be best to grab their recommended size.
I hope one day I can talk Mom or Dad into getting me a few of these, I want one so bad!! Trey says I should get the shark one, I think he needs to request a custom batman one so he can know what its like to have cropped doberman ears (would be much easier to match his color) or the skunk one, it would match his smells some nights!
Here is the site, which do you think would look best on me?
Mom and Dad restuffed my bed. Trey and I have 3 large doggie beds at home, they are all from Costco and when new they were pretty comfy. The problem is after about a year the stuffing goes flat and it’s just like laying on a blanket on the floor, not bad, but not as good as it was new. Instead of buying another bed Mom and Dad decided to restuff the beds. Originally they wanted to use cedar since it repels fleas but since we don’t have fleas and reading that some dogs have reactions to the smell Mom and Dad decided to use pine shavings then get a small bag of cedar to add. So down to the feed store we went and picked up a bag of pine shaving (used for horse bedding). Next we went to Petco to look for a small bag of cedar, they didn’t have any so we went to Petsmart, they had a place for bags but all out, guess we will have to keep checking back.
After we got back home they opened the bag of shavings and split half the bag between two beds and parked it right next to Mom’s half of the people bed. Well it wasn’t just a few minutes later Mom starts complaining about her eyes watering. Apparently these shavings have an odor probably caused by the sap and drying process. It was strong so the beds had to go outside and Trey and I had to share a bed (supplemented with blankets). The next day Mom poured the shaving into one of our empty used baby pools and put it out in the sun for a 2 days. After some air time the beds are back in their place and boy are they comfy!! Mom complains they are a little loud at night when we move around because of the crunching sounds which took a week to settle down. Next time we might try the paper bedding of course Mom will probably let the price decide that.
Won’t this be great when it is done? It looks like this section of trails with be 12.5 miles, however the overall plan is great! Right now, all they need added is a trail between the Cloverdale Trailhead up to the Oak Knoll Trailhead on Muletown Road or the Placer Connector Trail in that same area. If that connection is made you can go from the Clear Creek Trails all the way to Whiskeytown. Although I imagine they will have issues when it comes to crossing Clear Creek on Placer at the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge, it’s not really built for pedestrians.
If you go out hiking/walking/running in the rain or snow you really should get a slicker (its also nice for potty time too). My pink one was purchased from Petco a few years back so we don’t remember the price and we just can’t remember where Trey got his yellow Dickens brand slicker. Both are pretty much the same quality wise the only difference is that Trey’s has a pocket on back. Here are my thoughts, overall it accomplishes what it was made for, keeping me mostly dry during rainy day hikes and mostly dry during potty time on rainy days.
I feel I should explain what I meant by “mostly dry during rainy day hikes”. Perhaps it is because I am very fit with a big chest and small waist (I would be a hot human!) but this coat slips sideways on my constantly while hiking. I have to admit on hikes I am running all over, up and down hills and jumping every which way so I really test the fit of anything I wear. The chest strap on this will not stay in place, it slips back towards my waist area so Mom just straps it back by my waist while hiking. However if I am just going outside for a quick potty or a walk on the leash the coat doesn’t slip as far to the side or as often as it does when I am running like a mad women.
The design does have some strong points, it’s nice that it doesn’t hug the body so rain just rolls off the coat instead of rolling down the side and onto my belly, but that is where the good design stops. First on the down sides is the rear strap that is supposed to keep the coat down on windy days, this is the biggest downfall. First the strap on Trey’s broke after a few uses, mine lasted long but was well stretched and useless before it broke. Trey also has a complaint about the rear strap, he says it is very close to his manly bits so on some males that may be an issue if you choose to use the strap.
As far as additional useless features there is a hole on the base of the neck for a leash to go through, perhaps this would work with a short neck dog, but for my neck, it is no where near my collar and putting the leash through would cause the slicker to ride up. If you are built like me and need to wear a leash with this it just has to go through the front with your face so it might cause the neck part of your slicker to not fully protect your neck. The second useless thing is the pocket on Trey’s slicker. Putting anything in the pocket (if you had something that small) with weight would cause the slicker to shift side to side unless you have a wide back or put something like paper in there.
For wear and tear the chest strap on Trey’s appears to be detaching from the coat itself near the pocket, which means it may be dead by the end of this winter if we ever get rain. Also both Trey and I have torn a small hole in our slickers, however the size of the holes hasn’t changed and probably wont unless it snags and could easily be repaired with duct tape (you could probably even find a matching duct tape color now).
Keeps my back and neck dry mostly dry
Useless back strap
Rides sideways I am really active
Would be nice they could redesign the back leg straps. Perhaps individual leg straps made similar to the chest strap otherwise don’t bother unless it is really windy.
Would I recommend?
Yes… No… Maybe, it’s cheap and it mostly works, if you are just looking to cover yourself during potty breaks or walks on the leash the go for it. If you are really active like me then you might try one, see how it works for your body type. Mom may continue to buy when the previous one is beyond repair but she might consider making me a custom one combining the good features of this raincoat and some of the other types of blankets (she’ll post that if it works out).
A few more notes are that our winters here are not cold, so if you need something that also provides warmth then I would look at other options or you could wear a blanket under this. I am also not sure how well these would work on thick or short necked dogs like rotties or bullies, the neck hole fit me fine, however I have a thinner long neck, so I would strongly suggest short or thick necked dogs go to the store to try it one before buying.
Trey and I in our slickers
Trey and I in our slickers
My Rain Slicker
Trey Rain Slicker
Slicker slides sideways if you don’t snug up the chest strap