Our Puppy “Muus”
This post is a little bit more personal than my previous ones.
Around 2 years ago my wife and I drove down to Tennessee to pick up a little Border Collie puppy she had seen on Facebook. We were going to become dog parents for the first time! We couldn’t wait to have a cuddly little puppy in the house.
Border Collies are a herding dog breed that are notorious for being smart (TOO smart) and having a ton of energy. We read online all about how they need constant stimulation, are prone to separation anxiety, bark a lot, etc. Meh, it’s just a dog. We’ll figure it out. I own a gym so he can just run around the gym a bunch, right? Easy enough. We named him “Muus” after a guy named Ham Muus (to which I have some connections to). Great name for a cute dog.
Well, the next few months were absolutely insane. Turns out a puppy is a HUGE responsibility, and while we thought we were prepared, it was still a shock. I felt like we barely slept, we couldn’t turn our backs or have time to ourselves for even a second without him chewing or ruining something, and every waking second was spent trying to protect the dog and our apartment. It also didn’t help that he had a few medical setbacks that we were constantly trying to figure out.
But we stuck it out, learned a lot, had a ton of help from a ton of people around us, and eventually (finally) fell into a rhythm with Muus. And despite my best efforts, I’m now 100 percent a “dog person” and relate every single thing to my dog. You know that type of person… can never NOT talk about their dog? Yeah… that’s me now. Sorry.
Despite our shaky start that probably wasn’t the best for our health and fitness (eating regular meals and sleeping are typically seen as things you should be doing to stay healthy), Muus has become a central part to our family’s healthy lifestyle.
We take him hiking or swimming nearly every weekend. I enjoy taking him on runs, my wife plays with him in the backyard and teaches him tricks, we go kayaking with him, we play tons of fetch. We walk him daily even when I’m wayyyy too tired and would rather just sit on the couch. This dog motivates us and helps us get away from the television, he forces us to do active things because if we didn’t, he’d have too much energy and keep us up all night!
Over the past few years we’ve stumbled upon some products that have really helped us get the most out of our adventures with Muus. Whether they are for his safety or just our own enjoyment, we often get asked about these products because we are constantly posting pictures about him. Here’s a list of our “must-haves” for adventures with a puppy:
1. The Ruffwear Float Coat
This is the life jacket we use for Muus. It looks awesome and he seems really comfortable in it – even if he is capable of swimming without it we just feel more safe with him in it. We tried a few other cheaper options but Muus always looked like he was extremely uncomfortable with how they weighed him down.
2. Sevylor Inflatable Kayak
We loved the idea of kayaking with Muus but were too cheap to get real kayaks (plus the cheaper real ones seemed very sharp and uncomfortable). Not to mention if you buy a kayak you need a way to transport it, which costs more money. We ended up gambling and purchasing this inflatable kayak. I know what you’re thinking… won’t a dog’s claws pop it? We were worried about that too but read a lot of reviews online and ended up being very pleased with how durable it is. Easy to inflate quickly and then pack down quickly and put in the trunk. Muus has jumped and climbed all over this thing and we haven’t had a single issue!
3. Great Lakes Collagen
This is a 2-for-one, because our whole family takes collagen every morning! Muus had a very sensitive stomach for a long time and was often on a limited diet. Many of his prescribed foods didn’t contain much protein at all and he was too skinny for the first year and a half of his life. Plus, he’s not much of an eater in general. He always just gets too distracted and just wants to play.
We spoke to a number of people and they suggested a collagen protein supplement, which is safe for dogs and helps him get some added protein in his food. It’s also good for his hair, skin, and bones.
What’s funny is that this all coincided with my wife and I experimenting with collagen in our own diets! It’s a super easy way to add some extra protein in the morning by adding it to any drink. I started adding protein to my coffee in the morning to reach my protein goals, but learned that whey protein can get denatured in hot drinks. So I began looking for different protein supplements and collagen can be added to hot drinks (coffee!) with no issues.
Now… we all drink collagen every morning. Great Lakes Collagen is a great local company (to us), it’s got pet products and human products, it mixes well, and the unflavored powder goes basically unnoticed in any drink we put it in. Great stuff!
4. 30 Foot Leash
We take Muus hiking as often as we can. My ultimate goal is to be able to have him off leash and have him stay by us. Right now he’s just a little too crazy for that, though. He might see a squirrel or a rabbit or hear the slightest little noise and take off. His brain is programmed to herd things that are moving.
So as of right now he has to stay on a leash most of the time. We use this 30 foot long leash when we are out on trails and nobody else is nearby. This gives Muus the freedom to run around and explore without him technically being able to get away. It also helps us work on recalls and getting comfortable with Muus wandering away from us a bit. It seems like he always comes back (especially if we have a treat in our pocket).
Would definitely recommend this to anyone who is looking to give their dog some freedom. Especially if they aren’t comfortable with their dog off leash!
5. Ruffwear Hiking Pack for Dogs
This is a fun little pack that Muus wears to carry all of his own things (poop bags, treats). Ruffwear makes a lot of different versions of this pack but we found that this cheaper option still works great! It’s fun knowing our puppy is carrying his own supplies and it doubles as a harness so that he isn’t choking himself whenever he is pulling hard on a walk or hike.