Friday, February 20, 2015

Want a show beagle like Miss P? 5 things to know

ZOMG Miss P, Miss P!

Courtesy Westminster Dog Show
Westminster's 2015 Best in Show is gorgeous and she knows she is the best!

Are you in love? Are you ready to run out and get a Miss P of your very own to show in the ring.

Well guess what?

You probably won't find a Miss P in a puppy store. And she probably won't be online either.

Here are the five things you need to know about getting a beagle like Miss P.

1) Not every beagle is a show beagle.

Miss P photo courtesy Westminster Dog Show
Look at Miss P and look at my Lulu. They are both adorable. But only one is a show dog. And that's ok. Most beagles aren't.

There are show beagles -- they conform to a rigid standard and are bred for show. And then there are field beagles -- beagles bred for hunting and tracking. They have their own standard, but they won't look like show beagles.

Check out the standards information from the National Beagle Club.

There are lots of beagles that don't conform to either standard.

Lokavi Beagle show beagle puppies.
2) A beagle like Miss P takes research.
I have personal experience with pet store puppies. My parents bought a Lhasa Apso when I was a kid. He cost at hundreds of dollars, had papers and everything. Mom thought she would breed him. She didn't, know why? He was a miserable, spiteful son of a bitch who had every allergy known the man. At least a year after we had him he started losing his fur. A Lhasa without fur is not cute. He didn't have the health nor the temperament to be anything.

We learned after that the pet store got puppy mill dogs.

Puppy mills are notorious for churning out hundreds, if not thousands of dogs. The dogs who do the breeding live their lives in cages, are poorly cared for, poorly fed, are not necessarily bred with good genetic stock and in-breeding can also be a problem. And you may hundreds of dollars, if not more for that dog.

Getting a dog from a breeder may not protect you from these problems either. Not every breeder is reputable. And if you are buying a dog, sight unseen, online, you don't know what you will get? Would you buy a car that way? Think of a dog as you would a car. They may cost as much in upkeep.

Lori Norman is an AKC reputable breeder. She owns Lokavi Beagles in South Florida. She doesn't breed out her female dogs. They have maybe two litters and are then spayed. Norman once told me that when you adopt a beagle from a reputable breeder, you adopt the breeder as well. A good breeder will be part of you life.
"Reputable breeders will use their normal screening processes to be sure their pups end up in a good, prepared, and responsible home," Norman said.

And outside of that, beagles aren't always the easiest dogs to live with. If you've never had a beagle before, watch this:

3) A beagle like Miss P costs money.
If someone tells you that they have AKC show quality beagles with papers for next to nothing -- question. Question the bloodlines, question the dog's care, see everything.

Lori Norman's beagles are from grand champion stock. Her beagles are not going to cost less than a thousand dollars.

Beagles at an AKC dog show.
Likewise, Miss P, being from the same genetic stock as Uno, the first beagle to win Westminster in 2008, was not cheap for her owners to buy. And when she has puppies, you can bet those puppies won't sell for less than a few thousand dollars.

The only reason to buy a show beagle puppy is really to raise it to show, unless you have tons of money lying around to blow on a beagle.

4) Showing a beagle is not cheap.
If you look at the info for Miss P, you'll see she has three owners. None of them are the man who actually handled the beagle in the ring.

Many show beagles are owned by a group of people. That's because it is so expensive to show a beagle. You have to travel all over to events to show the beagle so they can collect enough points to get to these bigger shows. They need to be groomed (even beagles!), they need show training. There's room and board too. And food. And show fees.

5) There are lots of beagles out there who are inexpensive, feisty and loveable.
The good news is if you think, after seeing points 2, 3 and 4 that buying a beagle is not for you, you can still get a beagle.

Rescue one!

There are beautiful beagles who need rescuing all over the country. They fill up shelters and dog rescues. Some are discarded hunters. Some are discarded bred-out dogs from backyard breeders or puppy mills. Some are former research lab beagles. And some are just beagles who were unlucky in finding their forever home.

Here's some great beagle rescues in the US where you can start to find the right beagle for you.
And don't forget and Adopt A to find beagles in shelters and rescues all over the country.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Beagle best in show at Westminster

You know it had to be!

Courtesy Westminster Kennel Club
Congrats to G.Ch. Tashtin's Lookin' for Trouble, aka the divine Miss P! The second beagle to win the Westminster Dog Show!

Courtesy Westminster Kennel Club
There's lots to consider when it comes to show dogs and what this means for the breed (and what we want people to know before they consider a beagle). But for the moment, lets just celebrate a beautiful beagle enjoying the good life.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Concerned about #DogDentalHealth? Get nubbly with WHIMZEES

This post is sponsored by PetSmart, and the BlogPaws Professional Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Dental Health Month, but Life With Beagle only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. PetSmart is not responsible for the content of this article.

Can your dog chew their way to better health?

While tooth brushing is still the gold standard for cleaning doggy teeth, giving your dog a dental chew is a great way to keep your dog from the dentist's chair.
Have you ever flipped the lip? It's the best way to check your dog's teeth?
Never thought about dog dental health? You should (especially if you're a beagle parents because, you know, beagles eat ANYTHING). Some 80 percent of dogs have signs of dental disease by the age of three. Dental disease can lead to other diseases in dogs, just like it can in humans.

Plus as dogs get older it could mean teeth cleanings where dogs are put under, or even tooth removal. Talk about expensive! You can avoid all that just by taking care of your dog's teeth now.

What kind of dental treat should you give? Well, in our opinion, it's all about the nubs!

 What are WHIMZEES™?

These treats from Holland are a crazy fun way to keep the tartar in your dog's teeth in check.

There are only six ingredients in WHIMZEES, with no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives (top ingredient? potato starch). The treats are colorful, sure, but it's done with natural extracts. The green ones, for instance, are made with alfalfa extract, while the orange ones are made with extracts from the Annatto fruit.

The company comes out with some new styles every year so there's lots to choose from: gators and hedgehogs and toothbrushes and more. And in different sizes too.

And almost all of them have those bumps you see there -- they're nubbly. The nubs and the shape designs actually help to increase blood flow through the gums. And THAT helps prevent tartar buildup.

"Can I eat it now?... How about now?"
Those nubs are great in helping your dog's teeth stay in good shape.

How can you buy WHIMZEES? We went to PetSmart® to check it out.

Take note: PetSmart has a sale for #DogDentalHealth Month!
PetSmart has a display like that one in the stores, plus WHIMZEES in the treats aisle, PLUS single packs on shelves near the registers. 

That is another great reason I love WHIMZEES -- you don't have to buy a big bag. You can buy single treats, so you can mix and match sizes and types. On this trip I bought a bag of toothbrushes, and a couple alligators.

I actually love the alligators best, not only because they are hysterical, but because the dogs seem to chew them slowly. The slower they chew, the better it is for them.

There are lots of dog dental treats available at PetSmart. Make sure which ever one you choose is a good, chewy treat that helps your doggy keep those teeth clean.

Be sure to follow WHIMZEES on Facebook and on Twitter.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

10 Dogs who think Valentine's Day is... meh

Saturday is Valentine's Day, that crazy time of year where everyone is all hearts and flowers and chocolate and LOVE and stuff.

And what says love more than DOGS? Especially cute dogs doing Valentine's Day things?

All my fellow bloggers are doing it. I'm seeing all these special Valentine's Day doggy treats, and special arts and crafts and games for doggies and lots of pictures with hearts and flowers and it's all... soooooooooo... CUTE.


I admit I have never been one for Valentine's Day. And the whole making your dog join the lovey dovey stuff is just another way we anthropomorphize our pets because we like them better than humans. Not that I do that AT ALL, said the woman who takes her dog out for breakfast on her birthday, and here's Lulu eating a biscuit.

I love familial love. I love the love of good friends. And I love the love between pet parents and pets. But when it comes to Valentine's Day love, I have to quote the Rock 'N Roller:

Love stinks. Yeah, yeah.

Here are some dogs who might just feel the same way.

1. What this dog thinks of your special Valentine's Day doggy dinner.

"Oh, you bought me the SPECIAL kibble. Thanks."
2. What Maymo and Penny think of your Vermont Teddy Bears.

Courtesy Maymo the Lemon Beagle.
3. What this dog is thinking about your special Valentine's Day treat for them.

"I Just get the bone? You couldn't spare me the steak too?"
4. What this dog thinks of that fancy new collar you bought.

"Oh, it's Tiffany box-colored, not actually something from Tiffany..."
5. What this dog thinks of that fancy tuxedo.

"I'm just getting dressed up for this picture?" 
6. What this dog thinks of the Valentine's Day date locale.

"The park again? How unoriginal."

7. What this dog really thinks about being made to pose for this romantic gesture to your significant other.

"You best be replacing this rose with a bone."
8. What this dog really thinks about this "kiss" lipstick smudge shirt.

"What was wrong with this lady's lips?"
9. What these dogs really think about these silly hearts.

"We hope you're coming to US for pets because we can't walk with these stupid things."
10. And finally, my own Lulu. I bought her a new toy, a stuffed champagne bottle. I requested it special from the store. I thought it was cute, and Lulu can't resist a squeaker. Plus, every time she walked into a room with it I could quote "Absolutely Fabulous" ("Champagne, champagne for Lulu!").

But, no. Unimpressed Lulu was unimpressed.

Oh well. Happy Valentine's Day to those more romantic at heart.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Dog Parent Confessions: 5 bad habits to avoid

Ever let your dog get away with murder (not literally, of course)?

Today, after Lulu ate a whole bowl of breakfast, she somehow knocked the cat's bowl off the counter. Wet kitty food pieces flung all over a pile of dirty laundry I had on the floor.

And instead of cleaning up the mess myself, I scolded Lulu as she picked the pieces off the clothes (I did pick up the clothes and threw them in the wash after).

It got me thinking about what other bad habits I let Lulu and Jasmine get away with. This is my confession. Do as I say, not as I do.

1. Eating off the floor... or the table... or other surfaces... especially if they make the mess. My back is bothering me and I didn't feel like cleaning up the mess myself. Why is this a problem? I basically rewarded her for knocking the cat's dish over. Normally this would not happen.

But that's not the only time I let the dogs get away with things. Like if I'm cooking dinner and broccoli falls on the floor, I call the dogs. We all probably do it. But it's not necessarily a good idea.

2. Walking on the furniture.

It started as letting the dogs in the bed. And the couch. Then Jasmine got into walking on the couch and jumping over the couch -- and I kinda let her do it because the picture opportunities are awesome. I took the one above just today. But it's not good for the couch.

3. Not making Lulu take treats gently.

"Gentle" is an important command every pet should make sure their dog knows. It will save your fingers when giving your dog a treat. But I sometimes I let Lulu get away with it mostly because I'm being inconsistent (my trainer would smack me).

4. I bathe Lulu and Jasmine less than I probably should. To be fair, beagle parents love to say that you can go months without bathing a beagle. Still, I'm pretty sure Lulu and Jasmine could use baths slightly more frequently than that. Especially since Lulu has a habit of rolling in the grass (though it doesn't look like she rolls in anything gross).

5. I enjoy watching Lulu when she gets clever. Lulu has quick reflexes and a sharp mind -- mostly when she wants something. At my last birthday party no one was watching when Lulu swiped a piece of chicken from the food table (boneless and skinless). She moved so fast no one could even get it from her. I grabbed her to bring her inside, but then I stopped and asked someone to take those pictures. I wasn't happy she did it, but I marveled at how she did it. We beagle lovers know our dogs can use their skills in a blink of an eye to get a piece of food. But lets be honest -- we probably should do a little less of this and a little more of making sure it doesn't happen.

These are some of my bad habits. What are some of yours?

Friday, February 6, 2015

Disney's 101 Dalmatians is now on Blu-Ray! Win a copy

What's the first Disney movie you ever saw?

I could all be imagining things, but I saw one of my earliest memories as a kid was seeing "101 Dalmatians" on Long Island at the old theater on Main Street in Riverhead. I vividly remember seeing a shot of black-and-white speckled puppies across the screen.

Courtesy Disney
One of the first Disney classic books I ever got was "101 Dalmatians" too.

So when I was approached to do a giveaway for the upcoming Blu-Ray release, I was intrigued. I wish I could enter!

"101 Dalmatians" Diamond Edition Blu-Ray and DVD comes out next Tuesday. And this is your chance to win a copy!
"101 Dalmatians," for the few dog lovers who have never seen it, is all about a dalmatian couple, Pongo and Perdita, who have to save their puppies from Cruella De Vil, a fashionista with designs on a dalmatian puppy fur coat.

What's new?

The new edition includes a bunch of bonus features, including a new short called "The Further Adventures of Thunderbolt," a look at the making of "101 Dalmatians," some classic dog related Disney stories like "The Best Doggoned Dog in the World" and more.

There's some bits for dog lovers in this movie:
  • Dog owners look and act like their pets
  • Fur is murder
  • The Twilight Bark -- I do hope it's real
  • And, appropriate for Valentine's Day, that there's a Roger and Pongo for every Anita and Perdita (I especially hope this one).
Courtesy Disney
Oh, and lets not forget an iconic villain with an iconic villain anthem.

 Ready to enter the giveaway? Just fill out the Rafflecopter below! There are two mandatory requirements (comment below, and join my newsletter), that's it!

The giveaway ends Feb. 20. Enter today.

FINE PRINT: Disney is providing the copy of "101 Dalmatians" for the winner. I am not receiving any other compensation.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Dogs in trees in Winter Park

Does your dog climb trees?

Lulu doesn't, but Jasmine is like a goat or something. She always has been, but in her old home the tree was lower. This gorgeous tree at Lake Baldwin Park in Winter Park has a higher trunk, yet there she is!

Also, pretty neat -- take a look at the faces carved into this tree!

Is your dog a tree climber? What kind of dog do you have?