Thursday, September 18, 2014

DIY Dog Toys: How to Make a Rope Tug Toy #Paw2014

Today's post is inspired by Tractor Supply and its PAW in-store event, which is going on NOW through September 20!

PAW stands for Pet Appreciation Week and we love that Tractor Supply is dedicating this week to special in-store events that all culminate with a Main Event on September 20, featuring pet adoptions, giveaways, special deals on pet supplies and more!

What's REALLY cool, is that all year round the folks at Tractor Supply are involved in the well-being of all the animals in their neighborhoods.

And since you can always pick up the supplies you need at a great price, we went on a hunt at Tractor Supply to find the perfect supplies for a fun and inexpensive DIY dog toy project… one that we can use at home AND that we can share with local shelter pets to help enrich their lives.

How To Make a Simple Rope Tug Toy

Supplies you'll need

  • Nylon braided rope (we found ours in the bargain bin at Tractor Supply for even more cost savings)
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Optional: x-small tennis balls (we used Kong x-small squeaky balls from Tractor Supply)

Step 1 -- prepare your rope

Cut your rope to a 10-foot length. Tape the ends of the rope so that is doesn't fray while you're working with it.

Step 2 -- make a Monkey's Fist knot

Starting in the middle of the rope, start forming a Monkey's Fist knot.  This is the most difficult part of the project, but I can vouch that it's super easy to learn. I had NO previous knot-typing experience and now that I've learned how to make one, I can make this entire toy in about five minutes!

Start by wrapping three turns around your fingers.

Place the end through the middle, and make three more turns around the first ones.

At this point, you can insert the x-small tennis ball. This will help form the knot but it's not essential.

Make three more turns, passing the rope around the outside of the second set of turns and inside the first set of turns. This will help secure the knot.

Tighten up the knot by pulling the pieces of rope taut throughout the Monkey's Fist.

Here are a couple of links I found quite useful while learning how to tie a Monkey's Fist.
Instructions for tying a Monkey's Fist knot
Video for tying and tightening a Monkey's Fist knot

Step 3 -- braid the ends

Finish the toy by braiding the ends so that both you and your pup will have something to grab onto!

Take the extra rope on one end and loop it up so that there are three pieces to work with.

Start braiding from the top and finish it by looping the rope through the final braid. Repeat on the other end.

Voila! You're done and you have a fun rope toy, perfect for doggie play time.

NOTE: Play time with toys such as this rope toy should always be supervised. It's intended as an interactive toy that you can use to play WITH your dog -- whether it's your dog at home or a toy you provide for the play and enrichment of animal shelters dogs. This toy may not be suitable for dogs who like to eat rope, as ingesting rope can be harmful to your pet.

Take a look at Rocco, enjoying a good game of tug with me!

At Tractor Supply, it's always like a fun scavenger hunt for me, looking for the best items I can use in their bargain bins. The rope I used in this toy was a super find, so I was able to make each of these toys (without the tennis balls) for only 60 cents each! Add the tennis balls and you're still only looking at a price of about $1.90 per toy.

By shopping the dollar deals, we could buy plenty of supplies to make lots of toys
and get a little something extra  for Rocco!
Rocco says he's keeping this one!
In addition to the great assortment of products and great deals, I love shopping at Tractor Supply because Rocco gets to go with me, and the nice folks there give him yummy treats at the checkout counter!

Don't forget to head to your local Tractor Supply this Saturday for the special PAW Main Event! Each store is hosting its own activities so you might want to check the schedule at your local store before you head out.

Happy shopping!

This post is sponsored by Tractor Supply Company and the Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Tractor Supply Company, but To Dog With Love only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Tractor Supply Company is not responsible for the content of this article.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Rocco's Big Birthday Bash #Giveaway! More than $500 in prizes!

Today, Rocco turns two! And since he's had such a terrific year, he wants to give you all the chance to win one HUGE giveaway filled with some of his favorite things.

I know the list is pretty long, but all the items here are things we love and we hope you love them too! We've got it all covered -- from hydration and fitness to toys, treats, chews and grooming.

Huge thanks to PetSafe, DogTread, Paw it Forward, EarthBath, Petco, Zuke’s, Best Bully Sticks, The Company of Animals and Merrick for contributing the awesome products to Rocco's Big Birthday Bash prize pack!

Here's a look at the amazing prize pack Rocco's assembled for his Big Birthday Bash Giveaway! One lucky winner will receive this entire haul… a $500+ value, filled with goodies you and your dog are sure to LOVE!

Take a look at all these goodies and then enter via our giveaway widget at the bottom of this post!

For hydration

Most dogs and cats need about an ounce of fluid per pound of body weight per day.  Here's a way to help keep them healthy and hydrated.

We love our Avalon fountain in red!

We love the Avalon Fountain from PetSafe. It comes in both red and white and continuously recirculates and filters your pet's water, keeping it cleaner and fresher the a normal water bowl.  You can read our review of the fountain here.

For interactive play

Play is one of the most important things you can do to build your bond with your pup, and besides, it's just plain fun! We love these interactive toys to help stimulate and enrich the life of your dog… and you too!

We love Nina Ottosson toys at The Company of Animals for fun, interactive games you can play with your dog. The Dog Magic is a perfect way to start. It's relatively easy game for any dog to play, where they have to dislodge bones to access hidden treats. Treats can be placed under one, several, or all the bones to vary the difficulty.  We're also including a bag of Coachies Training Treats from Company of Animals, a perfect pairing with the Dog Magic.

Dog Magic and Coachies, the perfect pairing from The Company of Animals

We also love interactive toys that can be used for rewards, fetch and find it games! Two of our favorites are the Busy Buddy Rip 'n Tug Lotus and the Busy Buddy Rip 'n Tug Hammerhead Shark.

The Lotus is perfect for rewarding your pup for a job well done!  Fill the fabric pouch with your dog's favorite treats, close the fastener and use the toy as a fun reward. We like using it after an agility run or for throw and chase games! 

We've used the Hammerhead Shark for tugging, find it games and for attaching it at the end of a line for chase games.  We stuff it with tasty treats or kibble and Rocco goes to town with it!

The Rip 'n Tug Lotus and Hammerhead Shark are two of our favorite treat-stuffing toys!

Rocco LOVES his Tennis Tail. It's simply a Tennis ball and fuzzy squeaky toy all in one bundle of toss and fetch fun! He loves to chase it, bring it back and carry it around.

The awesome Tennis Tail

For conditioning

Rocco's been busy building out his dog gym and one of his favorite pieces of equipment is the K9FITbone from DogTread.  It's incredibly versatile… use it alone for balance and stability training or combine it with a second FITbone for even more challenges. It's a great way to build confidence and body awareness in younger pups too. 
Rocco has fun balancing on the K9FITBone and he likes to include it as part of an obstacle course too!
And, if you're feeling adventurous, you can use it for yourself to do planks (rest your forearms on the bone) or for glute lifts (place your feet on the bone and raise your hips while engaging your abs and glute muscles).

For grooming

Grooming is not one of Rocco's favorite things, but Earthbath makes it easier by making a whole collection of wipes you can use between baths.

This entire collection of convenient Earthbath wipes are included in Rocco's Big Birthday Bash giveaway!
I love using this variety of wipes for everyday grooming, and I also pack them in my bag for travel or for day trips. Even when we go hiking, I'll stash some grooming wipes in my bag for easy cleanup -- a necessity for a long-haired dog like Rocco!

These smell fresh and clean and they are made with all natural ingredients like Hawaiian awapuhi extract, aloe vera and vitamin E.

Treats and chews

Perhaps Rocco's favorite things in the world are his treats and chews.  He's assembled a few of his favorites to add to his Big Birthday Bash prize pack.

I've used Zuke's treats ever since I can remember. We love the healthy, natural ingredients and Rocco loves the taste. We're including three bags of Zuke's Supers and three bags of new Zuke's Genuine Jerky in our prize pack! 

You can read more about Rocco's love for Zuke's  Genuine Jerky and Supers in these reviews. 

Rocco will do anything for Zuke's Supers and Genuine Jerky!

There's nothing like settling down with a good chew and Best Bully Sticks has some of the finest. Included in Rocco's Big Birthday Bash prize pack are:
Best Bully Sticks offers a variety of healthy long lasting treats and chews

Every dog needs a good dental chew, too. So Rocco's adding Merrick Brush Bones to his Birthday Bash prize pack. Merrick Brush Bones dental chews are available in a variety of sizes and are:
  • Grain-free and gluten-free
  • Made with all-natural ingredients, without sorbic acid or sodium copper chlorophylin
  • Made in the USA; no ingredients from China
  • Available in innovative shapes and textures to combat plaque and tartar and support fresh breath

For making you feel good

Getting out for a dog walk and doing something good for others are two things that can help make you feel great.  You'll get both from this adorable Paw It Forward matching set: collar, 6-foot leash and bandana. 

The Paw it Forward movement celebrates great dogs that are changing the world throughout their unconditional love, heroic actions and powerful inspiration. You can get involved by sharing great dog stories and by purchasing Paw It Forward merchandise, where 10 percent of all net profits support the specific causes of each individual dog or merchandise collection. 

Paw It Forward collar, leash and bandana set
Rocco wants to help make your pup a Paw It Forward Ambassadog by adding this cute set into his prize pack.  Collar and leash are available in Green or Blue webbing, with reflective ribbon for night walking. You'll be able to choose a collar size in small, medium or large and a bandana size in x-small or one size fits all.

To accessorize your walks and training

You need something handy to store treats, poo bags, keys, your phone, clicker and a little cash. We love the Treat Pouch Sport from PetSafe. Everything fits in this nifty little pouch and you can either strap the adjustable/removable belt through your belt loops or just clip it onto your pants.

We use the Treat Pouch Sport on all our walks!

Because everyone needs a little extra cash for pet essentials

Rocco's including a $50 gift card to Petco in his Big Birthday Bash prize pack so that you and your pup can take a little shopping spree for anything we might have missed! While you're there, check out the Petco Halloween selection filled with cute costumes and toys and the fun Star Wars toys!

We can think of lots of things to buy with a $50 Petco gift card!

Enter to win Rocco's Big Birthday Bash Giveaway! Value $500+!

One lucky winner will walk away with this entire multi-brand haul, a $500+ value from the folks at PetSafe, DogTread, Paw it Forward, EarthBath, Petco, Zuke’s, Best Bully Sticks, The Company of Animals and Merrick!

Keep it all for yourself or parcel out the items for all your doggie pals. You're sure to be the most popular dog in the neighborhood! 

Enter via the giveaway widget below. Enter as many or as few ways as you like. Just enter… or you won't have the chance to win!

Good luck!
Special thanks to PetSafe, DogTread, Paw it Forward, EarthBath, Petco, Zuke’s, Best Bully Sticks, The Company of Animals and Merrick for providing the prizes for this giveaway. All prizes will be shipped separately from each participating brand. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Fun and Prize Winners at #WorkLikeaDog Twitter Party

Rocco finds motivation to work in  Zuke's Genuine Jerky
We had a terrific time at the  #WorkLikeaDog Twitter Party last night! The Tweets were flying, the prizes were flowing and photos were fabulous!

Co-hosted with our Event Barkers partners DogTipper and All Things Dog Blog, this party celebrated Zuke’s treats and the annual search with The Bark magazine  to find the country’s most dog-friendly workplaces.

Is your workplace dog-friendly? You can still nominate your company or organization!

The party was so much fun as everyone shared photos of their dogs “working.” Here are just a FEW of the many great photos everyone shared:

The Tweets were flying…and so were the Zuke’s prizes! Here’s a list of our lucky winners:

3   Pre-Party Winners (6 bags Zuke’s Genuine Jerky — 2 in each flavor —  and one-year subscription to The Bark magazine)
  • @AnnaZed
  • @janie189
  • @SharonGilbert6
6 #WorkLikeaDog Party Prize Winners (Two bags Zuke’s Genuine Jerky in assorted flavors; Two bags Zuke’s Lil’ Links in assorted flavors; Two bags Zuke’s Z-Filets in assorted flavors; Two bags Zuke’s Mini Naturals in assorted flavors; One-year print subscription to The Bark magazine)
  • @angiedepue
  • @Mom321
  • @lesaann98
  • @mileydailyscoop
  • @KimTrax13
  • @Val23G 
Grand Prize Winner (One bag Zuke’s Genuine Jerky in every flavor; One bag Zuke’s Lil’ Links in every flavor; One bag Zuke’s Z-Filets in every flavorOne bag Zuke’s Mini Naturals in every flavor; One-year print subscription to The Bark magazine)
  • @JetisExpecting
Congratulations to all the winners and special thanks to everyone who took part in the party and pre-party fun; we loved seeing all your photos! Please be sure to check out Zuke’s and all their healthy treats. Rocco is loving Genuine Jerky, the newest addition to the Zuke's family of treats!

Rocco gives a paws up to Genuine Jerky from Zuke's!

We are working with Zuke’s through our partnership in Event Barkers to produce this Twitter party and share product news with our readers. Prizes will be provided and shipped by Zuke’s. At To Dog With Love, we only share information we believe in. All opinions expressed herein are our own.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Your Guide to #WorkLikeaDog Twitter Party, Sept. 14!

Are you ready to #WorkLikeaDog and celebrate dog-friendly workplaces?

We are more than ready to get this party started! Here are all the details you need to enjoy this party to the fullest!

This Sunday, September 14 is the day for the #WorkLikeaDog Twitter Party, brought to you by Zuke's, the makers of healthy and yummy USA-made treats.  There will be lots of fun and prizes, valued at more than $750 in all!

And, be sure to bring and share photos of how your pups Work Like a Dog, whether it's at the office or wherever your "work" takes you.

Rocco says tasty office snacks are a must while working like a dog!

Here are some quick details about the party:

Bark's Best Places to Work presented by Zuke's

The annual search for the most dog-friendly workplaces is on! Three winning companies will be featured in Bark's print magazine and each of their office pups will receive a year's worth of Zuke's dog treats! Enter here for a chance to win! We'll be chatting about the benefits of dogs in the workplace at #WorkLikeaDog!

Just a few more things to help you enjoy the Twitter party to the fullest!


@EventBarkers will provide prize winner notifications every 10 minutes. Be sure to follow them so you don't miss out! If you win, they'll DM you with prize details after the party.

How to Win

Before the party, enter our pre-party giveaways on the widget at the bottom of our RSVP post.  At the party, simply join in the conversation using hashtag #WorkLikeaDog and you'll be entered for a chance to win some awesome prize packs filled with a variety of natural Zuke's treats! 

How to Follow

The Tweets will be flying so you might want to visit our #WorkLikeaDog TweetChat room to help you follow the action.  Once you're there, you can Tweet from the party room and you won't see any non-party Tweets in your stream.

When to arrive

Come a little early and check in with @EventBarkers when you get there to let them know you've arrived. The party officially starts at 8 p.m. ET but we'll be opening the doors for you at 7:30 p.m. ET. The first winner will be announced promptly at 8 p.m., so don't be late!

Who to follow

In addition to the hosts listed above, all our Event Barkers members -- including our canine team -- will be sharing lots of fun and useful information at #WorkLikeaDog.

Here's your complete primer for who to follow!

@EventBarkers -- Prize information and giveaway winners
@DogTipper -- Benefits of bringing your dog to work and fun questions for you!
@ToDogWithLove -- How to set up a dog-friendly workplace complete with tasty office snacks
@AllThingsDog -- Training tips for your pup at work
@HollywoodDogs and @5MinutesforFido -- fun #WorkLikeaDog photo sharing
@RoccoHavanese -- Favorite treats and office snacks for #WorkLikeaDog inspiration
@AllThingsDoga -- How Doga inspires #WorkLikeaDog motivation
@Learnin2BGreen -- About Zuke's eco-friendly practices
@ZukesPets -- Will answer your Zuke's related questions

We can't wait to see you at #WorkLikeaDog this Sunday!
Rocco says, you all come play with us at #WorkLikeaDog!

We are working with Zuke’s through our partnership in Event Barkers to produce the #WorkLikeaDog Twitter party and share product news with our readers. Prizes will be provided and shipped by Zuke’s. At To Dog With Love, we only share information we believe in. All opinions expressed herein are our own.

Our first AKC Agility Titles!

Photos by In Motion Photos 
Rocco zooms through the tunnel!
This past weekend we competed in our first AKC trial of the season (and only the second one in Rocco's career) and we earned our titles in both Novice Standard and Novice JWW (jumpers with weaves)!

It sure was hot out, so we had to be careful not to overheat and we both made sure to stay hydrated too.  We'll be glad when it starts to cool off -- maybe in a few more weeks.

Rocco was a little Roc star, running his heart out and grabbing his third qualifying run in each class to earn his titles.

After Novice, we move up to the Open class where things start getting a little more difficult.  We head to another AKC trial this weekend where we'll compete in the Open class for the first time.

Our title run in Novice JWW

Here's our Novice Standard run for the title!

Here we go on the way to our Novice JWW title!

Once again we had loads of fun… which of course is the most important part! Agility is really just a game of chase -- with a few obstacles thrown in! And Rocco loves to chase me… around the house, in the backyard and on the agility field!

Next Tuesday, Rocco turns two! I can't believe how fast he's growing up! Stay tuned for Rocco's Big Birthday Bash Giveaway next week! We've put together a collection of his favorite things for a HUGE giveaway valued at $500!

The fun and games continue every Friday with FitDog Friday, the weekly Blog Hop brought to you by To Dog With LoveSlimDoggy and My GBGV Life to promote a healthy active lifestyle for pets (and their people, too!). Join in every Friday by linking up your FitDog story or visiting the blogs in the Hop.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Fido's Freebie Friday asks, "Are You Ready to #WorkLikeaDog?"

Welcome to another edition of Fido's Freebie Friday (FFF), the weekly giveaway blog hop for all things pet!

This Sunday is our next Event Barkers Twitter Party, and while the subject is #WorkLikeaDog it's sure to feel more like fun and games than work!  Along with sponsor Zuke's, and our co-hosts  DogTipper and All Things Dog Blog, we're looking forward to a fun-filled party with more than $750 in prizes!

You can still RSVP for a chance to win three pre-party prizes, each valued at $70+ and filled with Zuke's goodies and a one-year subscription to The Bark magazine. 

We'll also be talking about Bark's Best Places to Work presented by Zuke's. If you think your company is one of the most dog friendly in the land, enter here for a chance to win a year's supply of Zuke's treats for all the office pups and a feature in the Spring 2015 issue of The Bark!
Rocco says,  get ready for his BIG Birthday Bash Giveway! It's a doozy!
And, while we're taking BIG giveaways, next week we'll be giving away a HUGE prize to one lucky winner in Rocco's BIG Birthday Bash Giveaway! Rocco turns two next Thursday and he wants to celebrate by sharing a collection of his favorite things -- a prize valued at $500 to one lucky winner!

In the meantime, check out the selection of this week's giveaways in the Fido's Freebie Friday Blog Hop below. You can enter them all or add your own! We make it easy by linking them up all in one place.

Here's how to participate

The rules for Fido's Freebie Friday are super simple. Here's all you need to know to link up:
  • You have up to 45 characters to describe your prize and include an expiration date
  • Fido's Freebie Friday Blog Hop is open to posts with prizes for pet products or services, including pet-related or pet-themed items for owners. Use your specific post url to link up.
  • Or simply enter the giveaways that interest you for a chance to win some fabulous prizes!
Fido's Freebie Friday opens each Thursday afternoon for linkups at 4 p.m. ET, and renews each week at the same time with a new listing. Link up anytime during the week!

For more information, you can check out the help page. Your hosts are All Things Dog BlogDogTipper and To Dog With Love.

Happy (s)hopping!

Individual rules of entry and guidelines for winning may apply to each listing. All Things Dog Blog, Doggies and Stuff, DogTipper and To Dog With Love take no responsibility for the legality of the rules governing the listings on other sites and giveaways that are posted here. We simply provide this forum as a gathering place for pet products to be offered. Fulfillment of each giveaway is done by the blog conducting the giveaway, not by the hosts of this giveaway hop; please contact the giveaway host with any questions regarding a giveaway or giveaway prize.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Review: Zuke's Genuine Jerky Fuels Rocco to #WorkLikeaDog

Rocco is a treat connoisseur, so when he got the chance to sample new Genuine Jerky treats from Zuke's he put them to his rigorous test.

Do they make me want to run faster and jump higher?
Are they healthy and nutritious?
Do they smell and taste delicious?

The answer, says Rocco, is a resounding yes!

We took Genuine Jerky to our recent agility trials and while no treats are allowed IN the ring, it's important to have savory, healthy treats that your dog LOVES when they finish their run and head outside the ring! Great rewards are super important!

Here's a look at just some of the ribbons Rocco earned the last two weeks with the help Genuine Jerky!
Here are a few reasons I love Genuine Jerky as much as Rocco does!

  • It smells mouth-watering delicious when you open the bag.
  • The pieces are easy to tear or cut into even tinier pieces.
  • If you need to bite off a little piece (it is jerky consistency so some pieces are easier to tear than others) it actually tastes really good (yes, I tasted it) AND it's made to human-grade standards with 100 percent grass-fed New Zealand beef.
  • Genuine Jerky is made with limited ingredients -- high in protein, grain-free and has no nitrates or nitrites. Its simple recipe contains all-natural ingredients like beef, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, paprika, onion powder and celery powder. Yum!

Rocco can't wait to dive into Genuine Jerky!
There he goes! 
Rocco came up for air long enough to give Genuine Jerky a high five!
Genuine Jerky is available in three tasty flavors: Original Beef, Teriyaki and Barbecue. Each 4 oz. package is $9.99 MSRP. 

Win Genuine Jerky and more at Zuke's #WorkLikeaDog Twitter Party!

Join us at the #WorkLikeaDog Twitter Party with @ZukesPets on September 14, 8-9 p.m. ET!  There'll be lots of fun and, along with co-hosts DogTipper and All Things Dog Blog, we'll be giving away more than $750 in prizes from Zuke's and The Bark magazine.

Before Sunday night’s party, here’s what you can do to prepare… and help increase your chances to win!
  1. RSVP for the #WorkLikeaDog Twitter party. (And, even if you’re not on Twitter, go by and enter the pre-party giveaways!)
  2. Tweet or Instagram a photo of your dog “working” for extra entries in the pre-party giveaways. Be sure to include the #WorkLikeaDog hashtag. (See the widget in our giveaway post for more details.)
  3. If your workplace is dog-friendly, be sure to nominate it in Bark‘s Best Places to Work Presented by Zuke’s contest!
  4. Mark your calendar for Sunday, Sept. 14 from 8-9pm ET for some fun at the #WorkLikeaDog party!
Rocco keeps his eye on the prize!

We are working with Zuke’s through our partnership in Event Barkers to produce the #WorkLikeaDog Twitter party and share product news with our readers. Prizes will be provided and shipped by Zuke’s. At To Dog With Love, we only share information we believe in. All opinions expressed herein are our own.