Monday, October 27, 2014

Product Review: Nite Ize Nite Dawg LED Collar

Although fall is my favorite season (leaves! holidays! pumpkin flavored things!), one thing I don't like is that it gets dark earlier and earlier each night. In the summer, we had plenty of extra sunlight to take Badger and Mushroom for a nice long walk/run after I got home from work. Now, it gets dark before I even head home. Last month, I started looking for some nighttime and colder-weather running gear, both for humans and dogs.

After some research and soliciting suggestions from friends, we ordered the Nite Ize Nite Dawg LED Collar from The collar comes in two colors, red and orange, so we ordered one of each because we like Badger's and Mushroom's things to be easily distinguishable. When we first received our order (along with a bag of dog food and some treats), we found that Chewy had forgotten one of the two collars, as there was only one in the box! This was easily rectified by calling them - they sent us the missing collar immediately. We were pleasantly surprised at how easy they made it.

So far, the collars have worked well. They are bright and easy to turn on/off by pushing a button on the collar. We've only used the solid glow setting, but there is a blink setting as well. Here is a picture of what they look like at dusk:

A good warning to bunnies as well

The collars are most visible when viewed directly from above. From the front, sometimes the dog's head can obscure the collar's light. When we were running on the trail at night, Mushroom was perfectly visible by my side, which helped me avoid running into her. When Badger and L were coming toward us, I started being able to see Badger's collar light at about 30 feet away.

The one issue we've had with the collars is that sometimes they loosen up by themselves. This isn't as big a deal with Badger's collar, since his neck is about the same size as the collar on the largest setting (we bought size M). Mushroom's neck is smaller, and we have had to readjust the collar every few days as it slips to the loosest setting. Normally, this is okay because they wear Gentle Leader head collars when we walk them.

When I run with Mushroom, though, I prefer to use a flat collar. We ran another doggy 5k race yesterday, and she wore her old, non-light-up collar because of the fit. We also didn't need the light because the race was during the day. Badger wore his new LED collar. Overall, the collars are good for short-distance visibility, which works well for our purposes (walks around the apartment complex and running on trails where motorized vehicles are not allowed).

Waiting for L to get our post-race fried chicken

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Badger plugs in

Mushroom is solar powered
In case you are wondering, yes, we do have dog beds.

Where are some weird places your dogs like to lie?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Something's missing!

You may have noticed something missing from my last couple of posts. Look closely...

I'll give you two more hints:

What could it be?

Do you see it yet?
If you guessed that the Badgershrooms are missing their collars, you're right! When the dogs first started sleeping in our bedroom, the night was filled with the jingling of collars. Now, all is quiet, with the exception of Mushroom barking in her sleep, Badger licking his paw, and Mushroom licking everything. So not really quiet, but quieter.

A typical night's noises: slurp... slurp... flapflapflap (a dog's ears while shaking)... flapflapflap... myoof myoof (Mushroom's sleep barking)... sniff sniff SNIFFFFF (Badger's loud sniffing)... dig dig dig (burrowing into a dog bed)... slurp... slurp... pant pant... thumpthumpthump (tail)... flapflapflap

For two dogs who don't bark very often, Badger and Mushroom are still surprisingly loud. But no jingling, which is a vast improvement. The only thing is, now we frequently forget to put their collars back on (since their leashes are attached to Gentle Leader head collars), which is what happened in Wednesday's post.

Do you have "loud" dogs?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Yours and mine

Badger has a bad track record with soft toys. Just last month, L found a stash of soft toys in the closet and thought, "We should slowly reintroduce these to the dogs. They might be better now that they're older." A couple minutes later, Badger had de-stuffed one of his sharks, and the toys were back in the closet. So much for that idea.

We also have some soft toys that we never ended up giving to the dogs. We'd buy them on a whim or receive them in a BarkBox package, realize that Badger would eat them almost instantly, and put them into protective custody in our bedroom. Now that the dogs sleep in our bedroom, we were a little concerned that they would get into our stash of "not-for-the-dogs" toys (and our piles of laundry)...

Like a dragon on a hoard of gold

Luckily, Badger and Mushroom don't even seem to realize that the toys and clothes are for anything other than comfy bedding. In fact, we got a new Molly Mutt stuff sack and constructed a bed for Badger, only to have him pass that up to sleep on a pile of clothes and toys.

"OMG! Mushroom stole my bed!" - Badger

The dogs seem to innately know the difference between their toys and not-their-toys. I'm not sure how or why... Any guesses?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Things that go SLURP in the night

I woke up with a startled shout in the middle of the night. Something wet had touched me on the mouth. As I squinted into the darkness, I could discern two furry shapes. One was retreating, and one was coming toward me.

I tried to block my face with my hands, but I was too late. A second wet slurp planted itself on my cheek. My fingers dug into a thick, fluffy coat. Badger. Several football seasons ago, we taught him to come toward us when we cheer. My shout must have sounded the same to him. I patted his back. Good dog.

A sleepy voice behind me mumbled, "Are you all right?" It was then that I grasped what had happened. Mushroom must have given me the initial kiss, which woke me up. After I yelled, she scurried off, and Badger took her place at the side of my bed. "Yeah," I responded. "Mushroom licked me in the mouth. I'm going back to sleep."


Monday, September 22, 2014

We survived!

Our family of four (that's twelve legs total) survived our first doggy 5k on Saturday. It was a great experience for the dogs, who got to practice staying calm around LOTS of other dogs (with the help of frozen hot dog chunks). And it was fun for me to see so many dogs - I kept pointing at dogs and telling L, "I want that one."

Before the race - Mushroom wanted to say "hi" to all the other dogs. Badger wanted to say "hi" to all the humans

Mushroom and I ran/walked in a little group that included a couple with their spotted black and white dog, a backpack-wearing guy and his adorable brown mini-pit, a mom running with a big dog while her daughter pushed a tiny dog in a stroller, and an old man with a beautiful prancing border collie. The old man ran the entire way and ended up finishing well ahead of the rest of us, which I found very inspiring.

L and Badger (neither of whom like to run), walked the course astonishingly fast, finishing just a few minutes behind me and Mushroom. (Or maybe we were just slow). We celebrated afterwards by going out for greasy, unhealthy fried chicken for the humans and some extra kibble for the dogs.

After the race - waiting in the car for L to get fried chicken

Chicken spotted! (Sorry Mushroom, not for you)

I spent yesterday feeling pretty sore, but now I'm ready to sign up for our next 5k! (There are a couple coming up - apparently fall is doggy 5k season.) This time around, I'd like to practice pacing Mushroom a little better - she tends to want to sprint at the beginning and runs out of steam after a couple of miles.

Does anyone have doggy 5k training advice? Also, seeing as it's starting to get dark pretty soon, advice for running with dogs at night time would be helpful too!