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iWildWolves Photography

Capturing the essence of animals through my lens

Posts tagged ‘play’

Avoid expensive vet bills, how to remove Foxtails at home.

Last night I spent a good 20 minutes going through Beowolf’s feet and fur plucking out FOXTAILS! The previous years have never been this bad with foxtails and Beowolf has always been lucky about not collecting foxtails but I find myself picking them up around the house as he drops them.

 

Given my experience at the clinic, I know just how nasty a foxtail can get. Abscesses and infections lead to expensive vet visits and weeks of antibiotics. Well, the good thing about foxtails is they are predictable and work in the same way, their anatomy is designed to “dig” with reverse burs that hold it in place which is why they don’t fall out on their own sometimes.

They can burrow into the skin and work their tract anywhere in the body, leaving room for infections to fester and grow. Sometimes they can work their way out, but it’s not often we see that. Usually once a foxtail burrows and hides it takes a trained hand to remove it, so address it early on before it becomes a problem.

 

Luckily they are easy to remove!

**If a foxtail has gotten in your dog’s Eye(s), Nose and/or Ear(s) do NOT try to remove them yourself unless you are a trained professional. Please to prevent further injuries, take your pet to the vet**

 

Signs your pet may have a Foxtail in it’s:

Eye(s):

  • Squinting
  • Rubbing
  • Inflammation/ redness
  • Pain
  • You saw it go in

Ear(s):

  • Tilting head to the side
  • Shaking head a lot
  • Possible pain while touching the ear
  • Vocalization (whining, crying, yelping, biting)
  • Scratching ears a lot
  • Inflammation/ redness in ear(s)

Nose:

  • Sneezing a lot
  • Reverse sneezing
  • Bleeding from nose
  • Pawing/ scratching/ rubbing nose
  • Inflammation

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Removal of Foxtails from these areas requires a certain tool, a method of restraint safe for everyone or sedation, and training in the removal of foxtails by a professional. I have seen people injure their pet trying to do this at home and needed further medical assistance than they would have. Please don’t be that person. Maybe someday I will do a tutorial on how to perform those tasks at home, if I get 100 likes on this post I will do a video.

 

Here is what you can do at home now!

Here is what you will need:

  • Tweezers/ hemostats/ forceps
  • Grooming clippers (long hair dogs/ foxtail infestations)
  • Mild soap and water (Dawn is always a safe bet, not too concentrated)
  • Neosporin (with Lidocaine or Pain reliever)
  • Treats

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Hopefully, your dog will be tired during a foxtail check since he likely just came from running around outside.

 

First what you want to do is a thorough once over, do this in the light to make sure you catch every one of them, as just one can cause damage. Light dogs should be extra thorough, foxtails range in hues of gold and can blend in with fur quite easily! Now you can use your fingers for these but for stubborn ones you can use tweezers or hemostats. Be careful to avoid plucking any hair, if this is painful or uncomfortable for your dog this can keep them from trusting you with their paws in the first place. If you think you will need to take a chunk of hair with a foxtail, just shave between the paw pads. It’s much less uncomfortable than plucking healthy fur from between their toes!

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Hot places for foxtails to live:

  • Between the toes, including underneath the paw pad
  • In the groin area or belly (longhair or double coated dogs)
  • Tail fur
  • Neck/ collar area

Once you’re sure you checked everywhere then it’s time to clean up. If there were spots where foxtails pierced the skin then gently clean the area with soap and water and apply a little bit of Neosporin. This should prevent any mild infection and if necessary, you can put a cone on your dog to prevent licking which can cause problems in itself.

 

Ways to keep foxtails from clinging:

  • Shave paws, even if it’s just the paw pads underneath (longhaired dogs have long fur here)
  • Take your pet to the groomer for a Summer cut
  • Brush your dog (I would never shave Beowolf, so I brush him and keep up with baths to prevent the fur from turning into Velcro)
  • Do a good once over after your dog comes in from outside

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I hope this was helpful and will update it as more tips and tricks come!

I found this small inexpensive instrument kit that has everything you would need for at home minor treatments.

Click here for the Ultimate Kit!

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Epic tech fail! I lost all my photos… *Update: I got more!*

I AM DEVASTATED!

We started the day with so much potential. I got up early and got ready to take the dogs out to see the poppies… again. This time we got a hot tip on a public field with LUSH poppies! So we hit the road up to the 14 North until Avenue J exit. Go west on Avenue J until you pass the solar panel facility and to the right just before it DEAD END. You will see the large meadow of bright orange flowers!

The best part? It was totally empty! There was an elderly couple who were nice and only stayed around to say hello to the dogs, oh yeah, Valentine made a new friend!

 

I was able to let the dogs out off leash and they could run through the flowers and enjoy themselves. To my surprise, there were already trails made throughout the field, so they were pretty good and kept from being destructive.

 

Now I had pictures to show and was going to make a cool video and post it but when I uploaded all of my footage to my Enuoda flash drive, the DATA DISAPPEARED! EVERYTHING GONE! My laptop nor my phone can find the file! I have no idea how to fix it, yes I knew that sometimes flash drives don’t last or can break, but all of the ones I had lasted forever! I was using this one strictly for “On the Go” photos, transferring my phone images to my laptop where I can edit them. I was in freak out mode for a while but I’m holding out hope.

 

If anyone knows how to fix this please comment below! I’ll keep the flash drive and try it here and there by chance it will work, at that time I will upload images to this post!

**Update**

So I wasn’t going to go down quite that easy, I was in such a bad mood that I lost all my photos that I knew the only thing that would make me happy are to go get more! So that’s what we did, I originally wanted to go back to catch the scene during the Golden Hour, so no time like the present. I loaded up a little after 6 and to my surprise, there wasn’t much traffic! We made it back to the field which was completely empty! Not a single car drove by the entire time we were there, we even stuck around to catch the sunset behind the mountains. The dusk was so pretty that I even got a ton of photos afterward, and yes this time I remembered Slytherin so I got great shots with him!

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Just goes to show, anything can happen, but it’s all about what you do afterward that makes the difference. I learned a lesson with my flash drives and now I back up all sessions until the transfer is successful. I didn’t throw my flash drive away and will recover those images someday, but I got some killer shots the 2nd time around and I couldn’t be happier!

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Basic things to know about the USMRA aka Mondioring for sport dogs

Keeping up with the theme of this past weekend’s San Diego trip I get a lot of people on my social media asking me what USMRA is, no it’s not a branch of the Marine Corp, though I know the acronym is similar and confusing. USMRA stands for the United States Mondio Ring Association, the sport along with many others originated in European countries and is very popular still out there. The USMRA is a member of the American Working Dog Federation (AWDF).

Other ring sports include:

  • Schutzhund
  • French Ring
  • PSA
  • IPO

USMRA Mission

  1. The mission of the USMRA and AWDF is to promote, conduct and administer Mondioring trials held to the FCI standards.
  2. To promote proper and humane training and handling of all dogs that participate in the sport.
  3. To promote sportsmanlike conduct at all Mondioring activities.
  4. To promote education about Mondioring by establishing nationwide trials open to the public as well as participants.

So what is Mondioring exactly?

I have been involved in the sport going on 4 years now, I live on the ranch that holds trials each year and twice a week we have club training, but unfortunately, I do not have a dog of my own to work. With 2 of my own dogs that deserve my attention, I can’t afford a 3rd high octane working dog. It’s not fair to me, my dogs, or a working dog I would get. Everyone knows I’m chomping at the bit to get a dog of my own, and they all ask me when that will happen. Though I don’t participate as a handler I do participate in many other ways and watch from the outside looking in, so that’s why I feel like I’m qualified to explain this to people who aren’t circling the sport or been around it their whole lives. SO let’s dive in!

Here is my elevator pitch on the sport. Mondio is a competitive sport that demonstrates obedience and personal protection at different levels through a series of exercises. Different from the other ring sports, Mondio practices with many distractions like what may occur in the real world outside of the arena. Strangers approaching loudly, shaking hands, toys, and food on the field to deter a dog. It’s all about control and training.

Therefore I love the sport, as someone who suffers from anxiety these days (who wouldn’t with all the mass shootings and human trafficking) I find I look over my shoulder everywhere I go and always have Beowolf by my side. Beowolf is not trained in personal protection at all, but he has an incredible judge of character and will literally push me off the sidewalk is someone sketchy is passing. However, the training for Mondioring is designed around that. In obedience classes, I find I started using the same commands and training techniques I see in the arena and it really helps with keeping him close. everyday life

Really this is a hobby for many people in the sport worldwide, for some, it’s their full-time job and they’ve made a career out of it but for many, they come home from working 9-5 and pull out Fido for training.

Who can participate?

Well right now there are still new regulations being formatted to evolve with the sport, however, USMRA participates in International events such as “Worlds” which is a worldwide trial for the top 6 in each country for each level. As it stands here are the criteria for dogs participating:

  • All new registrants must be purebred and registered through an organization. *This rule is in dispute amongst everyone so it may change*. This includes all breeds! The most popular are Belgian Malinois, German shepherds, and Dutch shepherds “Dutchies”. But can include large and small breeds from American Staffordshire terriers and Pugs to Cane Corso, Rottweilers and St. Bernard’s. If it’s purebred and has teeth, it can work! Currently, mixed breeds can participate but cannot place. boxer puppy
  • All dogs are to be intact (Not spayed or neutered). *This rule is also in dispute* Females can get away with this as you can’t obviously see the uterus from the outside and nobody does a physical to check, but males are harder to fool the judges. If you want to participate but your dog is neutered, there are things called Neuticles which are testicle implants, this is cosmetic surgery so be aware and do your research.
  • Behavior- Dogs don’t need to be outgoing and super friendly though that makes life easier for everyone, for those of you who have aggressive or sketchy dogs, this also may be the sport you can participate in. The sport teaches you how to control a dog who is “on a bite” and teaches your dog an “off switch” it will also teach your dog an “on switch” too so they are less likely to take matters into their own paws. Since the dogs don’t intermingle and many handlers are familiar with an intense personality, nobody is judging you! I know of several dogs are only like their handler and nobody else, when on the field the dogs learned this is time to work and after that, they are put away. Contact your local club coach for a consultation if you are interested in pursuing the sport with your dog.
  • Healthy- Vaccinated and in good physical health. The sport is a sport for dogs, not slavery, so the health and well being of dogs are the first and foremost top priority. Limping dogs, dogs with cuts or torn nails, health issues are not permitted and will be asked to leave the field. Many handlers will pull their dogs the morning of competition if they are subpar on their health, for many handlers in the US these are pets first and a working dog 2nd. So health is always a priority.

*As regulations change I will be updating this post. The coach for the Santa Clarita Mondio Club is close to those on the board committee so all changes, I will be among the first to know. *

Levels

There are 4 levels of Mondioring that are all based on the level of training for the dog. It’s not based on age like shows or other sports but where the dog is in training, the higher the level the harder it gets, and more exercises are involved. Again this sport is designed to build a bond and boost confidence in a dog, not deter it, so putting a dog in a level it’s not ready for is STUPID.

Brevet (Br-e-vay)

This is the beginner level, for young dogs or dogs just starting in the sport.

Obedience Exercises:

  1. Healing without a leash heeling
  2. Absence of handler– Dog is in the “Down” position while the handler leaves for 60 seconds. The dog must stay put until handler returns and releases the dog from the down position. There may be a ball or toy thrown to distract the dog, but this is at a distance so it’s not too hard.long down
  3. Retrieve– Basically a single game of fetch with a “personal item” likely something you’ve been training with. Dog retrieves the item, then comes back to sit in front of the handler. The dog has 15 seconds to complete the task. (Below is Oj Knighten and Dude. Oj is a handler and professional dog trainer in Los Angeles County, see his Instagram)retrieve 2

Jumping Exercise:

  1. Hurdle– The height is based on the standard for the level, which is 0.8 meters. hurdlehurdle 2

Biting Exercise-

  1. Face attack with Baton– The “Decoy” stands at a distance and wave the baton lightly, these sticks make a clattering noise and their bark is worse than the bite. The handler sends the dog to bite the decoy and after 10 seconds the handler gives the command to stop. At which point the dog must stop and either guard or lay down, then the handler can call the dog back or walk over and Heel him away. 
  2. Defense of the Handler– This one is fun, it’s very interactive with the handler and the decoy. The Decoy’s job is to be very annoying and will try and get your dog to bite, however, the dog is not allowed to bite until the decoy hits the handler with both hands. He must use both hands and it must be clear and audible for the dog to understand, at which point when he bites after 5 seconds the handler will call off the dog at which point the exercise ends the same way it did with the face attack.

Click here for Full Brevet rules

Level 1, 2, and 3 consists of all exercises in Brevet, with additional exercises.

Must pass each Level twice to be certified and advance to the next level *Same goes for levels 2 and 3*

Obedience:

  1. Send Away or Send Out- This is like the fake game of fetch. The dog is sent to retrieve an item and once he passes through a certain threshold the handler is to call him back. He is to return to a heel position.
  2. Positions– Handler is to command the dog to change positions from a distance. Sit, Down, Stand. In any combination. The judge or field assistant will tell you the combination during the exercise. positions
  3. Food Refusal– As the name says, handler leaves the dog in a Down position while someone tosses food in front of him. The dog should ignore the food, licking or eating results in failure of that exercise.
  4. Little Wood– Only level 2 & 3. The handler is given a small piece of wood to rub his scent on it, then across the field will place it in the middle of 3 other identical pieces of wood. The dog is to sniff out the scent and retrieve the correct wood.

Jumping Exercises: You can select the height your dog jumps, but you get more points the higher the jump.

  1. Palisade– Level 1- 1.8-meter height; Level 2- 1.8, 1.9, 2.0, 2.1; Level 3- 2.2, 2.3m palisade image
  2. Long Jump received_620808161438781 20161029_144239(0)
  3. Hurdle– Level 1- 1.0; Level 2- 1.1; Level 3- 1.2 (Below is Francois Massart a french handler/ decoy/ professional dog trainer in Temecula, CA. See his Instagram)Screenshot_20190419-162844_Instagram.jpg

Biting Exercises:

  1. Face attack with Baton and obstacle– Only Level 2 & 3 are with an obstacle (something for the dog to jump over like a tunnel or row of water barrels) obstacle 2 e collar present
  2. Face Attack with Accessories– Only Level 2 & 3. An accessory is a bundle of objects the dog should run through to get a bite. (Below is Allison a handler and Decoy check out her Instagram)Screenshot_20190419-163308_Instagram
  3. Flee Attack– The decoy is running away, and the handler sends the dog after the bite. flee
  4. Stopped Flee Attack or Call Off– Only Level 3. Same as Flee attack except handler is to call dog back before it contacts the decoy, the dog should return to a heel position. call off
  5. Search and Escort– Only Level 2 & 3. Basically, a game of hide-and-seek with the decoy, the dog should sniff him out and bark until the handler comes and gives dog next command. Then the dog should stay with decoy’s every move and prevent him from escaping via a bite, a lot of dogs are trained to walk between the legs of a decoy making it harder for an escape. DSCF8267
  6. Object Guard– Only Level 3. The object can be anything and the dog is to stand and guard it against the decoy who is trying to steal it while the handler is out of site. The dog should initiate a bite within a certain distance from the object, then let go to return to guarding the object. object 3

So how do we know who wins?

The best part is it’s a paired team sport, nobody competes against one another, everyone upholds the most sportsmanlike conduct. We all cheer and clap for each other and help everyone out, tips, videotaping and taking pictures among other things. Each exercise is scored on a point system, everything is worth a certain amount of points and the judges remove points as needed. In any event either everyone can pass, or nobody can, it all boils down to each individual team. It’s just you and your dog on the field, all your training and hard work come down to what happens on the field. team

What’s the reward?

Eternal GLORY! Just kidding but seriously everyone competes for a title for their dog and bragging rights. There is no prize money, though, every trial has raffles and you can win some dope stuff! Like I said earlier in the post, this is a hobby for pet owners as well as professional trainers, but everyone has the same amount of fun! Not to mention opportunities to travel for trials and meet new friends. friends

Do the dogs like it?

Do they ever! This is a sport designed for dogs, many thrive in this sport especially mouthy energetic dogs like the herding and working breeds. Most were bred to do exactly this and many owners admit that on their days off the dogs still want to work. You can hear excited cries as the dogs are on the field, they can’t control themselves and are eager to get out and work. They were born to work and do something, sure maybe the obedience part isn’t as fun but their reward in a “tug” or ball is well worth it, not to mention many decoys refer to themselves as a human tug. puppy dutch

What if I don’t want to compete?

There are many pet owners who don’t compete with their dogs but come to training just the same. We are a community of dog lovers who all mostly have the same breeds and can relate. We talk, we laugh, we eat and work dogs! There is no rule that says you have to compete if you train, in fact, if Valentine was able or Beowolf was younger I would participate in training but wouldn’t do the competitions. Like I said it’s a hobby and a fun one at that, creates a bond with you and your dog, teaches you about handling a powerful dog and builds both of your self-confidence! Contact a local club for any questions. *If you don’t plan on competing then a mixed dog can participate*

What if I don’t have a dog?

That’s not a problem as neither do I. You can volunteer at trials, help with your local clubs offering services and such (snacks and in my case I am the Vet tech on duty). If you’re interested in being a decoy the best part is this is an equal opportunity sport, both men and WOMEN can be decoys! Even I have taken a bite from one of our dogs in the club and let me tell you, it’s a major rush! I would do it more, but we have plenty of decoys to help and the coach doesn’t want me to get hurt since I need to be on my feet all day and I’m out of shape to handle the stamina and weight of the suit. received_809283349448893

Where can I check out an event?

Trials are held throughout the year by various clubs, this is nationwide as well as worldwide! National events are held in the spring and the International World’s championship are usually the first week of October. Trials are really fun as each one has a theme so the club decorates and makes it as interesting and unique as possible! Click on this link to see when and where there is a trial nearest to you! jurassic mondio

Check out this video of Jessica and Khaleesi from the USMRA Nationals April 13th. She is a level 3 competitor from our Santa Clarita club. Jessica is a teacher and Khaleesi is a family dog!

So I won you over and you want to know how to get started?

Check out this link to the official USMRA site to find a club near you.

Santa Clarita Mondio Club Southern California.

Hope you like this post, come check out a trial if you’re ever in the area!

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4 Dog-Friendly Beaches in San Diego you HAVE to check out this summer!

If you are in the San Diego area and are looking for a Dog-friendly beach you must check out Ocean Beach dog beach.

 

Ocean Beach

This is an off-leash dog beach, separated from the “No dogs” side AKA the Not Fun side by a large rock formation. Of the Southern California dog beaches we’ve gone to, this one is by far my favorite! The beach stretches a mile long so you can walk along with the whole thing and back while your dog runs in and out of the water and checks out things getting washed up on the shore. I also like this area more for the community that goes there, for the most part, everyone both human and the dog has proper off-leash beach etiquette. The dogs either mind their own business or kindly tell the others to back off which from what I’ve seen while going there they listen.

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I consider this beach to be kind of a two-part beach, along the oceanfront side the white frothy waves come in and out which is excellent playtime for dogs and make beautiful pictures for the photographing owner. There are lots of tiny seashells that get washed ashore as well ranging in many shapes, sizes, and colors! If you keep walking the water flows into a shallow river and the banks are more solid, however, lots of critters live down below, you can tell by how many air pockets there are! The water slows to a still the further you go where at the end it’s blocked off for a bird wildlife protected area.

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Getting there:

You can take any freeway route that will meet up with the 8 junctions. You want to take the 8 West toward Beaches and follow signs for Sunset Cliffs. Keep in the left lane because there will come a fork in the road, you want to take a left at that fork (which has 2 lanes) use the right lane just to make merging easier. Next, you will take the first Right onto West Point Loma Blvd (you can also make a right on Voltaire which is the next street up). From here you will pass by all the vacation housing, make the first right you can take on Voltaire and you drive right into the parking lot.

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Parking:

  • Free!
  • I have never had trouble finding parking, but it can get full depending on when you go.
  • Handicap accessible
  • Clean apart from sand
  • Closes at 2am
  • Opens at 4am
  • **There is NO overnight parking between the hours of 2am-4am if you’re stealth camping I hear nobody seems to bother anyone though careful not to risk a ticket if you can’t afford it**

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Policies:

It’s an off-leash dog beach so all dogs should be off leash, leashes in these situations can lead to fights. (the Only fight I saw on the beach was with a leashed dog)

Clean up after your dog! There are bags at the entrance and trash cans all over so there is no excuse for not cleaning up after your dog. **I will admit, sometimes a dog poops in the ocean when waves are crashing all over and so collecting the feces may not be possible. Yes, Beowolf I’m looking at you! (His first time) **

No fighting! Dog or people. People who come to the beach don’t want drama so if you or your dog can’t handle the uncontrollable situations at an off-leash dog beach then consider therapy and training before going. Valentine will never go anywhere that’s an off-leash social dog area, she’s a wild card and still in training, as she was attacked by 2 dogs when she was 10 weeks old she may never be able to do this but I’m hopeful one day she will trust me enough for this.

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Del Mar Dog Beach

I’ve come to this beach a couple of times and I like it. It IS a leashed dog beach which means all dogs always need to be leashed. This beach runs along with large rock formations, caves, and is at the base of the mountains of Del Mar so there is lots of privacy and areas that if you trust your dog they can quietly go off leash. The beach runs onto “Private Property” which homeowner will come out and scold you for being on their beach. I still think the idea of this is stupid but whatever, I either keep it moving or turn back the other way.

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Like OB this beach has was I call 2 sections. The coastal rock formation side and a lakeside. To the left of the beach under the bridge where the cars are usually parked is a large open lake where the ocean water channels into. There aren’t many places to set up camp or anything but if you’re just planning on swimming and letting the dogs swim it’s great! There are also lots of creatures that find themselves washed in and stranded during low tide so you can check them out and maybe do a little fishing (though I wouldn’t recommend this if dogs are playing nearby). I find this beach a little more crowded than OB, there are residential housing everywhere and this is the place to bring your dog if you have one so there can be a lot of dogs and families here.

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Getting there:

Getting to Del Mar dog beach is so easy! It’s off the 5 freeway and exit Via De La Valle, hang a right and then a left on Camino Del Mar and you should start seeing parking on the side of the road. **This is also where the Del Mar Racetrack/Fairgrounds are so again aware of what time of year you are going to account for traffic and parking**

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Parking:

  • Free
  • Difficult to find parking as it’s street parking everywhere so there are no lots to funnel into. This also means depending on where you find parking you may be in for a hike to the beach or paying.
  • Probably not handicap accessible or no different than any other street parking scenario.

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Amenities & Policies:

  • There are tons of trashcans to keep the beach clean and a dog poop bag dispenser so again no excuse not to clean up after your dog.
  • Lots of porta-potties as well! Though in the hot sun it’s not ideal when you gotta go…
  • Dogs have to be on leashes and it actually says on the website, standard 6-foot leash. The retractable leashes give you no control if there were to be a tussle and I’ve seen a dog get dragged because another dog chasing a ball ran through the line and yanked the handle from the owner. It didn’t stop until both dogs were in the water and the owners got into a huge argument over the leash!
  • Proper dog etiquette!

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Other Dog-Friendly Beaches in San Diego

Fiesta Island dog park- 1750 Fiesta Island Rd, San Diego, Ca. 92109

Coronado Beach and Dog Park- Ocean Blvd, Coronado, Ca. 92118

 

I have not been to these other 2 beaches though I want to! If you guys want me to take another family vacation south to check these ones out let me know!

We’re off to see the poppies, the Antelope Poppy Reserve!

Ok first of all if you sang that headline to the jingle of “We’re off to see the Wizard” then 10 points to Gryffindor!

I don’t know about you but I always wanted to lay in a field of poppies just like Dorothy did, okay she was high from the poppies, but you get my point. there’s something about laying among fragrant flowers. I love the smell of flowers, it’s one of my favorite things to shove my face into a bouquet of wildflowers and just inhale. The sweet earthy smell takes me to a place where nothing else matters. So last weekend when I was driving to Mount Pinos I could see the pre-spring bloom on the hillside and that’s when I got the brilliant idea to go see the poppies. If you haven’t seen the blog about that trip check it out here https://wordpress.com/post/iwildwolves.wordpress.com/26  So I invited my family to go with me and started my research on a short day trip. Here are just a few bullet points of what I look for in my research.

What I usually focus on is:

  • Location and directions- Because duh.
  • Price of admission- Whether I’ll need to pay for parking or need a certain amount for entry. Also whether I need cash or can use plastic.
  • Pet policy- Probably the most important information to research considering their presence is the entire concept. Some places only allow service animals and others allow pets. I also look to see if there is a leash policy, I carry mine regardless but still I find inspiration here and there to let them off leash.
  • Site policy and rules- In the case of a state flower reservation there are strict guidelines to adhere to for the protection of the flowers and environment.

When it comes to the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve the rules are as follows:

  1. Come dressed to hike- Antelope Valley is a desert so it is dry, with lots of sun and very little shade (none on the trails). Bring water. I would also bring a hat and/or sunglasses. Make sure you bring comfortable shoes too.
  2. DO NOT STRAY FROM THE TRAIL- Honestly, all caps is necessary. The California Poppy is a State Flower and damaging the flowers can result in a fine! Not to mention it’s rude to every and Mother Nature.
  3. Parking- Parking is free on the main street but is $10 in the lot.
  4. Don’t pluck the flowers- Refer to number 2.
  5. Only services dogs allowed– Refer to number 2.

To be honest, I originally wanted to go to Walker Canyon Poppy Field by Lake Elizabeth, its a more lush field where the flowers grow a little taller. Dogs are allowed on leash and there are no rules about sticking to the trails. Granted you shouldn’t damage the flowers or pluck them for sake of preserving nature. But I was good with optical illusion and just finding a thick spot of flowers would give me what I needed for pictures.  Unfortunately, the family preferred to stay close to home and reviews of traffic were bad, so it was off to the desert again.

“If you love a flower, don’t pick it up. Because if you pick it up it dies and it ceases to be what you love. So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation.” — Osho

My aunt decided to drive and we all gathered into her vehicle and drove north to the reserve. Traffic wasn’t bad at all, in no time we could see the reserve and we slowed as we got in line to find parking, we were at a consistent low speed and there was plenty of parking on the side of the road. The parking lot was full but that’s okay the walk up to the entrance wasn’t bad and we didn’t have to pay, and there is a big sign at the entrance where you can take a picture; otherwise, you would only get one from your car as you’re waiting in line for the lot. and chances are there were people standing in front of it to get a clear shot.

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I put on Beowolf’s service vest and we started our walk, of course, I got a shot of Beowolf in front of the sign. There were portal potties waiting halfway up to the fields which were nice since I had to go already. Afterward, we made it to the entrance where a security guard stopped us, apparently they don’t allow service dogs into the reserve, which is false because it’s the law. To be honest, I don’t think this kid even knew the laws, he was likely high and got hired on seasonal for the spring bloom. So I cut him a break, I reassured him that Beowolf is a seizure alert dog and if I for whatever reason have a seizure he is to notify me so I can sit or make it to safety. I don’t get them all the time, but enough to wanna ensure my safety as well as others, it’s also genetic my sister gets them worse than me. The guy finally backed off when I reassure him my dog is trained and won’t “stray from the trail”, which when I turned around and head up the hill the first thing you see is people sitting in the middle of a bunch of flowers! He was harassing me when there were people behind him doing what he was already accusing my dog of doing!? (For the record Beowolf didn’t step foot off the trail and was gentle with flowers he sniffed.)

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Nobody was policing the trampling and plucking of flowers, blatant disrespect of nature to be honest. Being a lover of nature preservation it broke my heart to see the defilement of precious flowers and not say anything, but oh I wanted to and my personality won’t allow me to talk under my breath so I let the comments slip here and there.

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We walked along the trails, it was beautiful but there were lots of people, I think there were more people there than flowers. There were more weeds than anything, and the ground was very dry and barren. I couldn’t even really do optical illusion photography because there weren’t enough flowers.

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For it to be a super bloom it was really a letdown, but overall it was a nice day. I was dying for water, I never got an opportunity to fill my water bottle and it was a hike at first leading up to the peak. I decided to go check out the information center and see if they sold water, or in the least had a water fountain.

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The information center was smaaaall. But it was clean and very nicely put together, adorned with beautiful pictures and displays. He got our fill of water and I restocked my water bottle and did a little more walking, but there really wasn’t much reason to go down a lot of the trails. In most of the park, there were huge fields where there were NO flowers at all, I’m sure we’re still early in the season but I came today.

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Bored, hot and tired we went and rested by the picnic area where my cousin Mia and I waited for my Aunt to rendezvous, as they went on the more extensive hike earlier. I’m definitely going to make another trip to the poppy fields, but next time I’m going to Walker Canyon Poppy fields. Traffic I can deal with if the environment I’m going to is nicer, all I want is flowers as far as the eye can see, not dry desert.

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By the way, I don’t mean to offend anyone who is a desert lover, I can definitely see the beauty to the desert and all it’s living beings, botanical, mammalian and reptilian. Just I live in the desert mountains of Santa Clarita and I love lush GREEN!

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I would rate this trip a 2.5/5.

Depending on the time of the season you can probably see more or fewer flowers, as of this time of year and post weeks of rain and a recent week of sun there was only 18% flowers on the fields. There were actually more patches of flowers off the side of the road, lush and thick where everyone was getting pictures in. Although if given the option, I should have had my aunt drop me off there so I can see the flowers and they can pick me up when they leave the reserve. Oh well, future lesson.

Roads: Pretty much paved the entire way up. Clean and free of rocks.

Affiliate Disclosure

Attention! This post contains Affiliate Links.

An affiliate link is a special link I use from a company to advertise the items I personally believe in and use or mention in my blogs. They are there to help you find similar or the same items through a direct link taking you to the buyer’s site. The best part about this is that everyone wins! You are NOT being charged by clicking on the link, there is no obligation to purchase anything. However, by using these links, if you were to purchase an item then I get a percentage of that sale, because I brought you to the website where you can buy it. Affiliate links are safe and easy to use and like I said, it’s no charge to you! Win… win… win!

Gear: Good old fashion tennis shoes, leggings, a camelback that I got from Amazon https://amzn.to/2Jqdl4F .

Beowolf didn’t need his boots for this one, but any later in the season, I would start carrying them on the trails. I’ll be in the market soon for new dog boots for both Valentine and Beowolf, I’ll do a blog about that and post it HERE for you to see. Subscribe to my page to be updated when I post that. I also had a hat and a knitted sweater.

Weather: Caliente! Ok no, it wasn’t, it was hot b the sun was beating down on you but it was a little windy which cooled you off.

Hope this helps you with questions you would have about going to Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve. Subscribe to my page to see when I post about my next trip to the Walker Canyon Poppy Fields.

A girl, 2 dogs, and an adventure to Mount Pinos.

After our last trip to Mountain High a couple weekends ago, I was more than excited to take Beowolf out again.

For those of you who haven’t read that yet, you can check it out here

I decided that handling both dogs was just a lot for me in the conditions we were in last time and Valentine really didn’t enjoy the snow so I felt leaving her home would be better for her. However there were plenty of setbacks, I needed to get my Rav4 a tune-up, just to make sure my wheels are in tip-top shape, especially if I’m going to be driving alone and it’s been raining a lot lately. Unfortunately, the mechanic was only available after 1pm and by the time he was finished I wasn’t going to have time for a trip up the mountain, so I put it off for the next weekend. The following Saturday was a bust too, it rained and rained all week and didn’t let up in time. We had much better luck the next weekend, I decided to try and broaden my horizons and not just go to Mountain High, not to mention I was informed of more open flat areas where my dog can really run and that was more incentive than facing traffic and difficulty parking.

Mount Pinos was recommended via a social app. Mount Pinos, Frazier Park, CA.

From my house it was a 1-hour 45-minute drive, I took the 14 South to the 5 North toward Sacramento. The drive was equally as beautiful as the previous one, the mountains were all covered in green and the poppies were beginning to bloom! Once I made my exit I drove up the mountain for about 7 miles, I made a few stops along the way to let the dogs out. Yes, I caved and took Valentine with us, I figured she can either get out and play if we were isolated enough and if not she would be equally happy staying in the warm car but enjoying the road trip.

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At the first stop, there wasn’t much snow until you get out to look around and then down the side of the mountain there was lots of snow. The scene was gorgeous, and the fresh morning wasn’t too cold. A couple miles further up there was a small space where I could park and there was much more snow, I parked with ease and got ready. I let the dogs out and off they went down the side of the hill, it was easy to walk down and around the hillside where Valentine and Beowolf charged through the snow with such excitement. I was instantly grateful I brought Valentine, this time around she loved the snow, it wasn’t too cold for her at all and she didn’t even need her jacket. I let the dogs do their business far into the hills and trees where nobody could walk anyways, and likely wild animals did the same too.

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After I got my fill of pictures and videos we packed back into the car and drove for another few miles, the snow really got lush further up the mountain and it was amazing! As I came around a bend I saw a very big space of untouched snow with only a slight slope to get down, I parked by another car where a family was playing just off the road on their own. I left them alone and took the dogs down the slope, they ran and I slid, going back up was tricky but worth it. As we reached the bottom, the snow was slightly more hard packed making it easier for them to run full speed, but it was perfectly soft to sit in.

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I got excellent footage of the dogs running and playing through the snow, there was a small stream that wasn’t frozen, and it added to the sounds of nature. My dogs aren’t afraid of water and so they were happiest trying to play and splash in it. There was so much space for them to run that Valentine was able to pick up serious speed and flew as high as I’ve ever seen her as she lept over trees and over the stream! We stayed down there for about 30 minutes and then climbed up the hill, it was tricky as parts of the snow were unpacked and slipped from under me, being a self-proclaimed problem solver we figured it out and we’re back to the car in no time. Needless to say, I need to start working out if I’m gonna be going on more adventures because I got so winded in the high elevation!

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When we got to the Rav4 I saw the family that was there before had left, and so I put the dogs away for a break while I charged my phone (it died) for a little. Then I let them out to run there again, I got plenty of pictures for a couple projects I’m working on and when the dogs started panting and looking tired I decided to call it the day. We loaded in the car for the last time and headed down the mountain. It was really easy getting back to the freeway and it was a quiet drive home but so worth it! I was eager to get home and look at the images I got on my phones (yes I used 2 different phones). My timing was great too as I was just ahead of traffic and made it home in no time!

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I would rate this trip 5/5.

Affiliate Disclosure

Attention! This post contains Affiliate Links.

An affiliate link is a special link I use from a company to advertise the items I personally believe in and use or mention in my blogs. They are there to help you find similar or the same items through a direct link taking you to the buyer’s site. The best part about this is that everyone wins! You are NOT being charged by clicking on the link, there is no obligation to purchase anything. However, by using these links, if you were to purchase an item then I get a percentage of that sale because I brought you to the website where you can buy it. Affiliate links are safe and easy to use and like I said, it’s no charge to you! Win… win… win!

Pet-Friendly- It’s pretty much first to come first serve, you can go to one of the campsites or just stop on the side of the road where it’s safe to park. I didn’t visit a campsite, so I don’t have feedback for you regarding the pet policy, however, I was not disappointed and had plenty of space for them to run free. Next winter season I’m going to take snowboarding lessons so I can utilize slopes and take better action shots.

Roads- The roads are clean and dry from any ice and debris. It was also pretty isolated, not much traffic and there were plenty of places to park and get out for some quality snow time. I did, however, buy chains for this trip.

**These are the ones I got but all chains should be specific to your vehicles tires so do you research first**

Snow- Snow is very clean and there are lots of spaces to get off close to your car and do some sledding or just to play.

Gear- Beowolf, of course, goes naked. Valentine also didn’t need her jacket at all, she was so warm from all the running and she’s far from a delicate flower so a little snow can’t stop her. As for myself, I used the same

Wantgo waterproof jacket

Thermal socks

Snow boots

There were even points in the day where I didn’t even wear my jacket for the sunny spots.

Hope you all enjoy this blog.

Check out my next blog when I take the dogs and my family to see the California Poppy Fields.

A girl, 2 dogs and a quest for SNOW in Southern California.

For the past 9 years, I have wanted nothing more than to take Beowolf to the snow. He’s a Wolfdog for crying out loud, the snow is where he thrives! Over the years as every opportunity that arisen to take Beowolf up to the snow something always came up. Car trouble, work obligation, lack of money, etc. Not to mention driving up to the snow alone is not ideal, I never felt like risking it, the Jeep although durable was no young buck and the heat was out! So I often tried to rely on friends, who all pretty much had the same excuses as me.

For the past 4 years since moving back down to SoCal, and living in view of mountains, I haven’t wanted to take a trip to the snow so badly! Every winter after a good rain at home, the next morning I look out my windshield on my way to work and can see the beautiful snow-capped mountains that surrounded my valley. I kept planning trips to go but again the same old excuses, on repeat.

As of recent (6 months or so) I have adopted a new attitude… a Fuck It attitude, no longer being too cautious to say or do something and that includes solo adventure trips. After all, the one thing I envy is travel and getting out of the everyday scene. Coming from someone who moves on faster than a butterfly migration, since childhood, staying in one place too long gives me an itch only I can scratch. I soon realized I can no longer rely on someone else to take me on an adventure. So I threw away the excuses and said, Fuck it, pack your boots Beowolf and Valentine we’re going to the snow!

The first trip: Mountain High Resort, Wrightwood, CA.

I heard of this place from a co-worker and when I asked around I got pretty good feedback. It’s only 38 miles from where I live, and GPS said it was a 1.5-hour drive. DEAL! A friend was even going with me, so it was gonna be a great day trip! I rush ordered a jacket for Valentine and gathered up all my snow gear and awaited the weekend, I have a new (to me) Rav4 and just got a fresh oil change with a full tank so I felt good about the drive.

Saturday morning arrives and I jump out of bed blasting music as I get showered and ready for the day, hinting to Beowolf about what awaits him! Just as I finish my makeup and load everything into the Rav4, my phone dings. It’s my friend giving me the same excuse she always gives me but in the end, she cancels. The old me would be pissed, the old me would cancel the day and try and salvage doing something here, but that was the old me. The new me already knew my friend was going to flake because it was her habit, so I told myself no matter what I was making that drive. I text a few family members where I was going and loaded the dogs up. I stopped for snacks and then we were on our way, Mountain High here we come!

The first leg was mostly the 14 North going along Palmdale and it was a drive I made many times before, so I was used to it. Then it took me up toward Devil’s Punch Bowl, another place I’ve taken the dogs a few times. Then it took me down a new road, which after the recent rains it was flooded and so I got detoured only to find out that was Private Property. So I speed off hoping to force GPS to link me to one of the alternate routes I saw earlier, of course, it works.

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So I’m back on track, the Rav4 is feeling good, I’m excellent on gas and my music is on MAX! The rest of the drive was not only fun at some points, but beautiful, the dry desert suddenly became green lush mountains. The redwoods grew brighter the deeper we drove, it was breathtaking. As we entered the tourist housing section I rolled down the windows letting the crisp air in and the dogs stuck their heads out, Beowolf is so excited he can’t decide where to look. He’s used to hikes and trips, but he doesn’t really know what I have in store for him.

I pass through the small town and head into the mountain, as I start seeing large areas of snow we start easing into traffic. Blah. But you know what I didn’t care about it; the dogs were happy with their heads out the window, my tank is still almost full and I had my music on so I was fine. Eventually, we crawled by the resort that was packed and so it was time to find a parking spot further up the mountain. I drive maybe a mile from the resort and find a secluded area with loads of space to park and play, so I pull in and park it.

Excited beowolf

As I finish getting ready like 5 cars pull in behind me, really? Just as I was about to pull out the dogs and let them run, but no, so I leash them up and get them out. Beowolf doesn’t even know what to do! He’s so excited and poor Valentine is like whoa WTF. With nowhere for them to play safely, we must walk back down where the designated area is, the walk to the park was no picnic at all. Beowolf pulled as much as he could and Valentine pulled in the opposite way, I decided against putting on their pinchers, they had been doing so good with training I didn’t think I needed them. Big mistake, I hadn’t had to walk in the snow for years and the edge of the road was so crowded with people. I already had too much to carry and thanks to Beowolf I had a big bag of doo-doo dangling from me as well, I eventually led us along the crest of the hill where I can relax and give Beowolf some slack, I could finally walk and eventually fell into a groove.

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When we got to the area to play there was a nice big space where nobody was, so I decided that was the perfect place to let the dogs off leash, well not Valentine.

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She was not having a good time at all, she was shivering despite the coat and I never factored in the way people would look to her in their big coats, not to mention the snow was deep and it was hard for her to move so she felt trapped. I kept her with me by my side while Beowolf ran around and sniffed and played.

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He was so happy and so was I, it was so fulfilling getting over my own anxieties going places alone and driving in the snow to reach that place. Beowolf is already a sight when he runs loose, but against the beautiful backdrop, it made my heart so warm! I decided, in the end, it was worth going alone and I was going to take them out more. The walk back to the car was so much better, I decided to walk in the street, there was little traffic and my dogs have the training to heel alongside me so when a car came we just moved over and waited for them to pass. Took us 5 minutes to get back to the car.

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Upon our arrival, every car that was parked around us before was gone! So I put Valentine away and let Beowolf run some more. Then we packed in the car and headed down the mountain, stopping once more to take some more pictures.

The drive home was even more spectacular. A very winding road leads Big Pine down the mountain which gives you captivating views with each turn, I don’t know about you, but I always loved driving and wanted to be a stunt driver for commercials. I felt like I was in a Rav4 commercial, listening to soothing music driving down the mountain and at sunset no less! All in all, it was a great day, I would totally go up for more trips, I saw more isolated areas that would be great places to stop next time too! I got amazing photos and Beowolf got to finally experience snow! We made it home at 5pm.

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Overall I would rate my experience a 4.5/5.

Affiliate Disclosure

Attention! This post contains Affiliate Links.

An affiliate link is a special link I use from a company to advertise the items I personally believe in and use or mention in my blogs. They are there to help you find similar or the same items through a direct link taking you to the buyer’s site. The best part about this is that everyone wins! You are NOT being charged by clicking on the link, there is no obligation to purchase anything. However, by using these links, if you were to purchase an item then I get a percentage of that sale because I brought you to the website where you can buy it. Affiliate links are safe and easy to use and like I said, it’s no charge to you! Win… win… win!

Pet Friendly- I’m not sure about the actual resort location but further down the mountain there are a lot of places to get out and let them run, but it’s a steep mountain and it’s close to the roads, so keep em on leashes or long leads, or consider training so they have a reliable recall. Beowolf was able to run and he doesn’t wander so I’m not worried about him, but Valentine can panic and bolt into traffic.

Roads- Well maintained. There were lots of signs for chains and I saw a couple of cars with chains, but nobody was enforcing it at that time. There were thousands of parked cars I was checking their tires for chains but barely anyone had any. I didn’t have any for this trip, so I was relying on my 4-wheel drive and if that wasn’t enough then I would just turn around and find another spot. Go as far as I can safely go, that was my motivation. **I bought chains later and keep them in the car**

Snow- Clean. Except for edges of the road. The place needs a trash can for disposing of trash and dog poop properly. Don’t worry, my tree-hugging ass doesn’t litter so I took the 2 bags home and disposed of them there. Thank goodness for scented bags.

Gear- For my dogs, Beowolf has a double coat and I keep him as natural as I can, so nothing for him and he didn’t care. I do carry boots in case of injuries or for the summer. Valentine wore a Mogoko Reflective Reversible Dog Jacket from Amazon. It fits her great, she is 55 pounds and it keeps her chest warm. It is also inexpensive to just keep on hand regardless so I keep it in a winter adventure container.

For MY gear I wore a Wantdo Waterproof jacket I also got on Amazon. It is super warm! And comfy with lots of pockets for me to keep all my things, and bags and treats, etc. You can find it here

I also had on a pair of thermal socks and a pair of women’s snow boots  I bought a long time ago for just being around the ranch. Clothing I just wore a long sleeve top and a pair of leggings and was fine. **If you plan on doing more playing in the snow I would recommend something waterproof but it’s up to you**

Hope this blog was insightful,

See my experience driving up to Mount Pinos, Frazier Park, CA. 

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