Honest Abe's Doggie Fav's

Even though around here we spend a great deal of time on home improvements, DIY and furniture makeovers, we also spend a lot of time with other peoples dogs as a pet sitting home, and now a new puppy of our own.

It's dog week here, but rest assured there are still some DIY projects that go along with new dog ownership, and I am not becoming a pet blog.   And lest you think I favor dogs, I also like cats, we just don't have one anymore, and I'm worried I could become the crazy dog lady.  But the truth is this little pooch has been occupying a lot of my time and the last three home projects all involved keeping the house and dog safe.

In the last post I told you how a new pup has claimed this place as his domain, what went in to the decision to get another dog after not having one for 1.5 years and how we were turned down for a rescue puppy because we have a doggie door that goes outside.  Today you'll find out his breed, and the products I am finding to be money well spent.

Abe's age is now 19 weeks, he's lived here for 10 and he's catching on to the rules very nicely.

And yes he is spoiled.

New Puppy Product Recommendations,
 Abe on his outdoor Coolaroo Dog Bed

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At our house it's not as simple as just picking a dog name and that's it.  Everyone has an opinion, you know?  Since pleasing the masses is always preferable, I took suggestions and reserved the final say along with kid #6.  Abe's arrival took place Mothers Day Weekend, so the offspring were in attendance and most of them offered up names.

Sorry ESPN, his name is not going to be Randy Moss.

Mr. Moss was a former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver and apparently son #2 always longed for a pet with that name.  He persisted in calling the dog Randy Moss for long enough that a couple others did as well and don't tell him, but I was almost warming up to it, even a couple weeks after he had his real name.

Mr. Moss is kind of a cute name.

On the drive home I referred to him as Hank, a name I thought would be good for a floppy eared dog sitting on the porch while the mister slowly rocked in a rocking chair.  I was surprised to be met with groans of "nooooooo, not Hank".  Ok then, not Hank, and I asked the gang to come up with something I liked better.

There were lots of good suggestions, but in the end the eldest offered up a name via text.... Abe.  Pretty good considering the last pet I let him name was a kitten named after the Foo Foo bunny song.

The youngest and I were the final approvers*, and we both thought, "yeah, we like it", so Randy Moss became Abe.  He's got his tag now stamped with "Abe" so it's official.
* yes Dad and Kirby, I know approvers is not a real word.

New Puppy Product Recommendations,

Honest Abe's predecessor Moses, had a tag from an Etsy shop called The Copper Poppy, and I love their cute tags.  There are several styles to choose from, and the shopkeeper is easy to work with and has a fast turnaround time.  Check the Copper Poppy out if you're in the market for a new dog tag with a shape different than the usual bone.  Tell her Abe sent 'ya.

Abe's breed.... These days full bred dogs are all the rage and we've had our share.  Are there even mutts around anymore if a person wanted one?  I haven't seen dogs at the grocery store entrance in 20 years.  If you read my last post you know I had some criteria for picking this dog, and while he came from two pure bred parents, the fact they were of different ancestry technically makes him a mutt because he is not full or pure.  And we don't care.

When I saw his puppy face I thought hmmmm.... what is he?  Sometimes he looks kinda like a really big dachshund or some kind of hound, and he is neither.  His pop is a full bred Vizsla, and his momma is an English Setter.  Abe looks mostly like his dad, and an English Setter looks basically like an Irish Setter but his mom was black and white, sort of a hairy dalmation-ish coat.  Seemed like an odd combo to me so I asked if it was an "oops" litter, but the guy told me it was no accident, and said that he breeds a litter of the mix every year because they make such great dogs. 

So far I believe him, and unlike the rescue I tried to adopt from, he didn't care that we have a dog door 😛.

New Puppy Product Recommendations,

The trek to pick up the puppy happened rather fast.  I found him on a Wednesday evening, and Friday we took a couple hour trip to Southern Minnesota to fetch him.  Hank-turned-Randy Moss-turned Abe, slept all the way home and I was liking him already as he contentedly snuggled in my lap.

New Puppy Product Recommendations,

Speaking of sleeping, I probably spent more time researching dog beds than on any other aspect of dog ownership, but a comfy pup was important to me.  I figured his good sleep meant my good sleep.  Someone told me Vizsla's like to rest their heads on things and snuggle in, so they would love a bed that was squishy and easy to put their muzzle in, plenty of height so their body doesn't weigh it down and end up actually resting on the floor, and with a bumper to put their head on, so that's the kind I purchased.

New Puppy Product Recommendations,

The trick was deciding how big he might get so I didn't need to retire the bed to purchase another as he grew.

I ended up with the Villa Bagel Dog Bed as it hit the criteria check points on the comfy canine scale, plus the cover comes off to wash, mighty important in my view.

New Puppy Product Recommendations,

As you can see below, in addition to his own bed, he gets a lot of sleeping done on a king size mattress with fitted paisley sheets. 

New Puppy Product Recommendations,
This is NOT Abe's bed!
Abe is currently having a kennel built in our mudroom that fits his bed, and he can access it inside and outside with the option for us to contain him when the need arises, like to protect my couch when I'm not home.

Speaking of outside, the first photo in this post shows Abe laying on his outdoor Coolaroo Dog Bed.  This is great for outdoors, and keeps him outside lounging longer rather than being under my feet.

New Puppy Product Recommendations,

Reading about feeding a dog these days is quite an information undertaking, you almost need a science degree to decipher what to feed the family pet.  All 99 million dog food brands claim to have the most healthy one of course, and equally they all have "experts" who agree their brand is the best.

Scrap Wood Pipe Dog Feeder,
Scrap Wood & Pipe Dog Food Feeder
I did a little research before heading to pick him up, and bought a bag of Canidae Pure Puppy, grain free and with limited ingredients.  Sounded like a good start but I also thought it seemed pricey per pound so I did a little more research and talked to our vet, then decided to try American Journey which was having a buy one get one free sale.  American Journey is the house brand for  Abe seems to eat everything, including stuff he shouldn't, so he likes it just fine for now.  He'll probably stay on a large breed puppy food for his first year, so I may switch the brand up. 

However since that American Journey purchase there is new and somewhat conflicting information about feeding dogs grain free diets.  His vet brought the studies and warnings to my attention, so we will be switching him to something with rice added.  You can Google FDA and Canine Heart Disease for more information.  My personal opinion is that dogs are carnivores and really what they want is meat, not green beans, not wheat, not fruit.  So I schooled myself in dog food along with an independent site that rates them, and found some good brands, that are affordable.  But truth be told our Rhodesian Ridgeback Capone lived to 14 years of age eating plain old inexpensive dog food.

You probably have different opinions, and I'm no expert, do what works at your house.  I have narrowed my choices down, and if you are like me you might not have even heard of some of these brands, but you can easily research them yourself.

If any of you have experience with these pet foods let me know... Victor, Muenster, Dr. Tim's, Hills Science Diet and good old Purina - Savor version.

New Puppy Product Recommendations,

I also stocked up on Bully Sticks since owners of Vizsla's were recommending them.  Bully Sticks are a natural, one ingredient, tough, safe, easily digestible chew.  They are not rawhide.  With a teething puppy I wanted to make sure none of our furniture was destroyed while he goes through his mouthy stage.  So what is that one ingredient in Bully Sticks you might wonder?  Well there is no other way to say it..... the part that hangs under a bull!

Bully has braided chews, rings, springs and sticks.  Abe has tried them all and enjoys them all.  With his temperament it's important to change things up so he doesn't lose interest and devour things he shouldn't.  Bully chews last a decent amount of time, but like any chew you have to monitor the last couple inches so your dog doesn't choke.  My suggestion would be to buy the ones that say odor free, some of them are stinky!

His current favorite chews are beef knee caps and beef trachea.  Yeah, the name on those took me by surprise, sounded a little gross, and I had never heard of them but I looked them up, then ordered some of both.  I'll be ordering more.  Research those on your own to find info about them.  I don't know that Abe will always have these chews, but for now while I want to retain all the digits on my hands, I'm happy he has chews to occupy himself, but of course you should always supervise.

As far as toys, Abe has quite a few.  Not all dogs get into dog toys, Abe does, he's a player.  I would rather invest in dog toys he plays with than a new couch if he gets bored and destroys it.  What my dog enjoys your dog might not, but these are big winners around here......

His flying frisbee.  He started playing fetch his first day home, and this West Paw Zogoflex Zisc is his favorite outdoor toy to go after.  It's flexible and the blue color is easy to find in the grass.  He will chase balls too, but he tends to go lay down with those and just chew on them after he brings them back.

A Water Bottle Cruncher comes with a crinkly sounding bottle inside that you can replace at any point with another.  Our other dog loved this toy so I decided to see how Abe felt about it - he approves.
For teeth cleaning and fun chewing, this bright green Hapire Dog Toothbrush dental stick fits the bill.   These days veterinarians suggest brushing a dogs teeth.  Sorry to our vet, but that's probably never going to happen at my house, and this chew toy lets Abe do that himself.

Abe has an assortment of Kong products, the stuffable black chew is a must have, and I add a little peanut butter or cheese from a can to the inside, or for a fun treat in the heat, freeze water in it.

Possibly my favorite item out of all his new products is this Kong Wobbler.  One thing we got use to after Mo died was being able to leave our food unattended on the table, and we like being able to do that, so I'm trying to train Abe to enjoy his mealtime away from our mealtime. If you have a puppy or dog who eats too fast, or you just want to buy some time and keep him busy at your meal time, try the wobbler.  It's a game, the dog has to whack the wobbler to get his food to fall out.  Abe is a pro at it, and it keeps him busy in the mudroom while we eat our dinner so there is no dog underfoot.  Of course later he checks out any scrap that has fallen to the floor from the table.

We already had a blue Kong Wubba that belonged to Moses, and Abe is happy to gnaw on it.  It's pretty tough and tactile for him with a squeaker ball inside.  If some of the fabric shreds I just take the scissors and cut that frayed stuff off.

Since playing fetch is a favorite for Abe I wanted to get balls that were easy to locate in our woods, nice bright colorful, and ones without the fuzzy coating for him to chew off.  These ChuckIt! Ultra Balls are squishy but firm so he can't destroy them.

I have leather seats in my vehicle and even though Abe doesn't shed much like his predecessor did, I wanted something to protect the seats from his claws.  Again, there are lots of products out there so to make my decision I read reviews and considered price.  I landed on the Vailge full seat cover for pickup trucks.  I love it!  It's tough, fits great, has a mesh panel so on stressful vet visits Abe can see me up in the front, and it came with a buckle that goes into the truck seat belt and attaches to Abe's collar to keep him from flying around when I'm driving.  It also keeps him from typical puppy behavior of jumping out of the car till I get his leash attached. The other nice thing about this seat cover is that if you need the space, it has a zipper on one side that can be unzipped for a person to also sit in the backseat without having to take the whole cover off.  I'm very pleased with this product and I felt the price was better than most of the ones I saw.

New Puppy Product Recommendations,
I can't end without mentioning the collar that got passed down from Mo to Abe.  FurEver Brite Glow in the dark collar.  The collar is now 7 years old and good as new. I wrote why I wanted a glow in the dark collar for Moses HERE, and just last week Abe's neck was big enough to wear it.

Here is the collar after Abe came back in from charging himself up outside.....

There 'ya have it, those are the items that are currently saving my sanity, and fighting any doggie boredom while satisfying Honest Abe's puppy chewing.  He has other stuffed squeaky toys and so far he hasn't been the type of dog to shred them to get at the squeaker, so I'm not real sure how tuff those other toys actually are because I know Moses would not have rested till he could free the noise box from the stuffing!

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  1. My friend has has Vislas for years and won’t have anything else—she loves them!
    **I am of the belief that we are old enough to make up any words we deem necessary.

  2. Abe is just the cutest. His parents are both great breeds, very clever. Im sure he will bring you years of joy x

  3. I love Abe and his sleeping positions. He is such a similar color to my Peanut and Reeses. Same kind of ears.

    Hills brand food we took them off a month after were on it and no regrets. It has been recalled often for making many dogs sick.

    We do extensive research too. I have to worry about pancreatitis. Not uncommon but our girl Peanut had a severe case so because they're siblings they are on low fat.

    Our vet is very hands on and we use Origen fit and trim Has alot of wild caught fish and healthy meats. They love it.

    Hope you show Abe in posts at times. I absolutely love the dish made for him.


  4. Bully sticks have been a savior in our house with our new puppy as well. You might want to get a Westpaw zogoflex qwizl. We use it as a bully stick holder and they can get down to a nub left without worry of them choking on that last few inches. And as expensive as the bully stick habit can be, those last few inches add up! We also feed our puppy away from the table, and his dinner is served up in a kong which keeps him occupied for at least 30 minutes while we eat. I fill the kong with his kibble, run some water through it, add a plug of peanut butter and freeze it. Works like a charm!

  5. Abe is a beautiful dog! Wow, a Vizla….that is a breed I'd never heard of. But he looks so healthy and happy and definitely "king of the castle". Congratulations

  6. My late sis-in-law had Vizslas and they are great dogs! Abe is lucky to have you AND doggy doors. Eddie was on Hill's Science ID for his tummy issues and he did great on it. Gracie started off on Hill's CD for her urinary infections, but then she had tummy issues as well (and a longer list I'll not go into), so she's been on Hill's ZD and it's manna from heaven, in her opinion. Happy pupppying!!
    xo -andi

  7. Abe is very cute. We got our Vizsla-English Setter mix in July of 2021 from a breeder in Rushford, Minnesota. Very sweet and loving puppy. Who knows, maybe they are siblings from different litters.


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