Sometimes Slow and Easy Wins the Race

Sometimes, waiting for the right time, or the right opportunity is exactly what was needed.  I am going to give nothing away as it is not set in stone.  Ha!!  Nothing in life is….but I may just have one of my dreams come to fruition…unexpectedly too!  At least, it wasn’t something I expected to happen this soon.  Whooop, whooop!!   Doing a silly little happy dance and things aren’t even confirmed yet.  But everything is pointing in a positive direction. 

Positivity is just as contagious as negativity!  You get much better results from being positive though.  🙂 

LIFE IS FREAKING AWESOME!!! 

Strength comes from Within.  The power to change is mine and mine alone.  😉

 

Copyright © 2012 Sandy Allen/Shadowlands/Shadowlands Canine Training/FireAndIce Reg’d Doberman Pinschers & Alaskan Malamutes/Unleashthehounds blog/Unleash the Hounds Grooming Spa & Training Center.   All rights reserved. Revised: ALL PICTURES AND CONTENT ON THIS BLOG ~ UNLEASHTHEHOUNDS ~ ARE THE SOLE PROPERTY OF Sandy Allen/Shadowlands/FireAndIce Reg’d Dobermans and Alaskan Malamutes/Unleash the Hounds Grooming Spa & Training Center, and may not be used, copied or reprinted without express permission from the owner. Copyrighted 2012

Being an Ambassador

Regardless of what breed or mix you may own, when in public, you represent all of those with that breed.  Good training is essential for a well socialized and calm member of society.  It is not a dog friendly world out there, what with all the BSL and bad press.  We should all take a conscious stand and represent ourselves and our breed in the best possible light, especially while out  in public.
 
Good training not  only makes the dog easier to handle, but also makes your life with your dog much more enjoyable too.  🙂
 
Copyright © 2011 Sandy Allen/Shadowlands.  All rights reserved. Revised: ALL PICTURES AND CONTENT ON THIS BLOG ARE THE SOLE PROPERTY OF Sandy Allen/Shadowlands K9 Training/FireAndIce Dobermans & Alaskan Malamutes and may not be used, copied or reprinted without express permission from the owner. Copyrighted 2011
 
 
 

How Do We Keep Our Dogs Safe, as Well as the Public?

I’d like to think that all dog owners out there think about others as well as themselves each time they go out in public, but frankly the news tells us otherwise.  So how do we, the responsible dog owner, fight the reputation those irresponsible dog owners have given us?
 
Those that know me and my dogs, know that I am a responsible dog owner but is that enough?  Unfortunately, the answer to that is no.  In this case it has only taken a few to give the many a bad reputation, but it will take the many to fix what the few have done. 
 
So where do we start?  Well obviously the answer is to spread the word that there are good dogs as well as good dog owners out there.  Sound simple enough but the public and the media only care for those dramatic stories that increase their popularity and sales.  So what now?
 
I have often thought that part of a breeders’ contract should state reaching a certain point or certification (CGN or CGC) of obedience with each of their puppies/available young dogs or adults.  The same goes for shelters.  They should partner up with an organization that does training.  PetsMart works with the Humane Society here and it would make sense to me for them to help those dogs from not being returned yet again, by ensuring they are signed up for training before they leave for their new homes.
 
With training comes socialization and to a certain degree, some predictability.  A well trained and socialized dog goes everywhere and is exposed to all types of people, environments and situations.  With more exposure to different stimuli, the more likely your dog will react in a predictable manner in any given situation.
 
Please always remember dogs are animals first and our pets second.  So although we may do everything right, we must always be aware of the body language they are displaying and at first signs of anxiety or stress, we must remove them from the scene.  Do NOT over react.  Calmly walk away and remove yourself and your dog from the situation.  Give your dog a chance to calm down and relax.
 
Hmmmmm…so now your dog is calm, well trained and socialized.  With your knowledge of his behaviour, his training and being exposed to different stimulis, you and he make a good and strong team and make great ambassadors for the dog world.  Congratulations!!!
 
That is the type of example we need out there.  When you are proud of your dog and how well behaved he is, you  cannot help but share what you know.  Not only by example but by talking to those that stop to say hello when you are out.  And children always love petting our dogs.  Tell them the rules once and they don’t forget.  It is great to hear them repeat it to their friends when they stop us in the street to come say hello.  If we can get our children to know better, to listen to the rules of not approaching strange dogs, or not petting unless given permission, of respecting dogs while sleeping or eating, we will have less and less cases of dog bites.  And just like that, we are spreading the word that good dogs and owners alike do exist!!
 
So with training and socialization comes a consequence of sorts.  The likelihood of a well trained animal being surrendered to a shelter is extremely low as there would be no reason to do so.  Now that is a consequence we should all be happy about.  🙂
 
Copyright © 2011 Sandy Allen/Shadowlands/Shadowlands Canine Training/FireAndIce Reg’d Doberman Pinschers & Alaskan Malamutes.  All rights reserved. Revised: ALL PICTURES AND CONTENT ON THIS BLOG ARE THE SOLE PROPERTY OF Sandy Allen/Shadowlands/FireAndIce Reg’d Dobermans and Alaskan Malamutes and may not be used, copied or reprinted without express permission from the owner. Copyrighted 2011
 

Dog Shows and Breeders

One of the most important aspects of the dog world, in my opinion, is integrity.  Without integrity you have nothing.  Integrity shows through in your breeding, your sportsmanship in the breed ring as well as obedience, rally etc.  With integrity comes ethics, morals and above all else honesty.  Without any of these, you sincerely cannot call yourself a reputable breeder. 
 
There are those in and out of the ring always ready to have a snide remark at the ready, whether you won or lost (usually more so if you win).  They may do so in earshot of potential puppy buyers, or just other breeders/handlers.  For those that belief these naysayers, then they have a lot to learn about life in the dog world.  For those that roll their eyes and continue on about their day as if nothing was said, good for you.  I think most of us have been at the biting end of those remarks.  I wonder if the sayer of these hurtful things have realized they speak louder of the one saying them than of whom they are about?
 
There are many reasons dog shows have a certain reputation.  I believe the standoffish way most handlers can be right before they enter the ring.  Although the general public may not realize you are preparing the dog for the show, it is never all right to be rude to what may be a future client or just a fellow breed enthusiast.  A polite, “I’m sorry, we are just about to enter the ring, by all means come and see me after we have shown and I will be more than happy to speak with you.” would go alot further than just shutting them down. 
 
I have always loved the hustle and bustle and the energy the shows produce.  The vibes that seem to just burst out of the doors just makes you hum with energy and excitement.  Those beautiful dogs in the grooming area getting their touchups, the pups getting massive doses of socialization and not to mention feeding off of the energy too. 
 
I recommend to anyone that a dog show is the place to go if you  need an emotional boost and an energizer!  And this is just for the audience.  Can you imagine the rush for the participants?  Does that question show how much of a newbie I am?  LOL!!  That’s alright.  I think there is noting wrong with being new at something.  If we were all experts then where would the fun be in life?
Copyright © 2011 Sandy Allen/Shadowlands.  All rights reserved. Revised: ALL PICTURES AND CONTENT ON THIS BLOG ARE THE SOLE PROPERTY OF Sandy Allen/Shadowlands K9 Training/FireAndIce Dobermans & Alaskan Malamutes and may not be used, copied or reprinted without express permission from the owner. Copyrighted 2011
 

What to be Aware of When Looking for a Breeder

So what makes a good breeder?  What should we look for when looking for a breeder?  What things should we be aware of that should raise red flags for us and warns us to stay away?  These are some of the  questions I also hear often as a trainer. 
 
Generally speaking, a good breeder will list all health tests and pedigrees.  They show their dogs in conformation and/or obedience etc.  Depending on their breed, they may work them too.  They don’t usually have litters all that often, generally 2 litters a year, some even less than that.  They want a relationship with their puppy buyers.  They have a detailed puppy application and along with this will also be copious phone calls and emails.  There may also be a lengthy waiting list for one of their pups.  A sure-fire sign is in how hard it is to acquire one of their pups.
 
They usually try and pair up the right pup with the right family ratherthan first deposit gets first pup etc.  Deposits are held only if an appropriate pup is whelped.  If that arrangement does not work out, then the deposit is returned.  The health tests that are done are usually more than just the bare minimum.  Health and temperament are very important factors and their sites generally portray as such.
 
Some of the signs of a questionable breeder could be regularly having litters or always having puppies available.  Taking non-refundable deposits, especially if that deposit is half the price of the pup.  They don’t work with their dogs in any venue.  No conformation, obedience etc.   
 
No screening of their pups future family.  If you can pay for a pup, you can have one.  Their site wil generally state “will ship anywhere” which can also be a red flag.  They don’t usually list pedigrees of their dogs or post “ask for pedigree details”.  A reputable breeder is proud of their dogs and where they came from so they usually post pedigrees or all pertinent information. 
 
Now just because a breeder may do one of these things, good or bad, does not make them a good or bad breeder.  You must take they picture as a whole but these tips are some place to start when looking for a breeder.
 
Copyright © 2011 Sandy Allen/Shadowlands/Shadowlands Canine Training/FireAndIce Reg’d Doberman Pinschers & Alaskan Malamutes.  All rights reserved. Revised: ALL PICTURES AND CONTENT ON THIS BLOG ARE THE SOLE PROPERTY OF Sandy Allen/Shadowlands/FireAndIce Reg’d Dobermans and Alaskan Malamutes and may not be used, copied or reprinted without express permission from the owner. Copyrighted 2011
 

Reputation

As a trainer, I am well aware that my reputation is everything.  We can spent hundreds each year on advertising but the one thing that will make us or break us is word-of-mouth.   Free advertising is great, as long as you are good at what you do.  I like to think that I am good at what I do.  I can get most dogs to do my bidding…even the most stubborn ones.  I have had my fair share of glares from clients who have struggled with a task,  and for me to pick up the leash and the pup says “sure, what ever you want I will do”. 
We have all been there.  Yep, even the teachers had to be students at some point.  But despite the evil eye I may receive once in a while, all my clients have left knowing I am only a phone call or email away.  But more importantly, they leave with smiles on their faces and the start of a better relationship with their dog and a much better handle of how to deal with the little bumps in the road that is life with dogs.
I make no guarantees as you will only ever get out of them what you put into them.  If you don’t practise, I will call you to task as you are paying me to help you with your dog.  I don’t want to waste your time or mine. Reprimands are always respectful.  Most clients roll their eyes and say “I know”.  Lol!! 
I want to maintain that connection I get with both my two and four legged students.  I send out Christmas cards and give updates regularly.  I let them know that I am here should they need me at any time for anything.  That is my after-care service to each and every student I have.
My reputation precedes me and I hope it always shines me in a favourable light.  As a trainer my reputation is everything.  But what happens if someone is not saying nice word-of-mouth news?  My first question would be is it true?  If it is then I don’t see how you can either complain or deny it.  All you can do is fix is as best you can and learn from it.  None of us is perfect.  Now sometimes you have disgruntled clients that maybe had unrealistic expectations, those people you really can’t help too much.  You can try to appease but sometimes it doesn’t seem to cut it.
The real  issue is those that maybe have an issue with your experience, popularity or in the amount of knowledge you have.  The ones that come across as jealous and petty.  Those are the ones that are what I classify as a real problem.  They are the ones that tell outrageous stories with not a shred of proof or any facts to back them up.  These are the folks that do the most damage.
So let me go one step further.  In the dog show world I have seen more than one handler congratulate the winner, step out of the ring and cut the dog down, the judge, the handler and the breeder to anyone who will listen or in ear shot.
I am not going to go into the rights and wrongs of this behaviour but what I do want to address is the damage this causes.  To hear this about someone, anyone is distressing.  We are all involved with a particular breed or breeds because we love them and are passionate about maintaining the breed standard and true type.  If we all had the same “type” then there would be no need for dog shows as we would all have the “best”.  But why do some feel the need to put others down?  So they can feel better about themselves?  So they don’t have to take a long hard look at their own representation of the breed?  Or is it simply green eyed jealousy?
I honestly don’t have any idea.  Sure, we all feel disappointment that we didn’t get that coveted ribbon, but to the point of talking trash about someone? A potential client could have been behind you and looking to use that handler.  Some snide comment may have stopped that person in their tracks.  Or, a potential client was looking to use you as a handler, a comment like that may have turned them right off and gone elsewhere.
This behaviour has consequences.  We are fighting against BSL and the A.R’s too keep them away from our pure bred dogs.  Being bitchy at ringside or just talking trash about other enthusiasts is unprofessional and puts a bad spin on dog shows/handlers/breeders alike.
Let’s stop letting the few dictate the reputation of the many.  I for one am tired of defending my having/breeding/training/advocating purebred dogs.  When did the purebred dog become the enemy and the mix breed or mutt become the more acceptable of the two?  Part of that lies with us and those that have helped destroy the reputation of the shows and the organizations that run them.
 
Copyright © 2011 Sandy Allen/Shadowlands/Shadowlands Canine Training/FireAndIce Reg’d Doberman Pinschers & Alaskan Malamutes.  All rights reserved. Revised: ALL PICTURES AND CONTENT ON THIS BLOG ~ THE VOICE BOX ~ ARE THE SOLE PROPERTY OF Sandy Allen/Shadowlands/FireAndIce Reg’d Dobermans and Alaskan Malamutes and may not be used, copied or reprinted without express permission from the owner. Copyrighted 2011
 

Checklist & Questions to be Asked/Answered When Researching Breeders

Here is a list of questions to ask, notations to look for and red flags, that if present, you need to run the other way.  Now, I will say this, not everything in life is black and white.  There are allowable exceptions to SOME rules, but not all.  I will make notes for those areas that can have allowable exceptions.
 
Above all else, please remember these are just guidelines, they are not gospel and they are most certainly not set in stone.  Trust your gut along with these guidelines and you should be on the right track.
 
Most of us do research and initial contact via the internet so all that follows will fall under that assumption.  Obviously they can be applied to face-to-face meetings also.
 
Information on their sites:
 
~ pictures of both Dam and Sire
~ pedigrees of both Dam and Sire
~ health tests performed and results for both Dam and Sire
~ Dam and Sire’s titles and achievements (this is so you, the consumer, can have a better idea of what temperament the pups will have.  I.e. both parents having Schutzhund titles may mean the higher probability the pups produced will have a very healthy working drive and may not be the appropriate pup for a first time Dobe owner or one that is not looking to work thier Dobe in any venue)
 
You want to see pictures of the breeder and their family interacting with the dogs etc.  You ideally want to see that their dogs are part of the family.  Now having said that, some breeder prefer to keep their sites more professional and I can understand that.  So it is up to theconsumer to find out if the dogsare considered part of the family etc.  There is no harm in asking where they sleep etc.  If they get defensive, you simply know that breeder is not right for you and move on.  Please remember too that when you email or call any breeder from spring through to the fall, they may not answer right away as that is push time for conformation, obedience shows etc.  Don’t fret, they will get to you.  😉
 
Now I am going to touch on the number of litters per year a breeder “should” have.  A good breeder can have on average (with different bitches) 1-4 litters a year.  Most do not have that many, but because they may do does NOT make them a bad breeder.  I don’t believe numbers of litters should be a factor when under say 5 litters a year.  Some breeders may leave a 5 year span between breedings andthen dedicate one or two years to whelping.  You have to look at the big picture, not just at numbers.  Oh, and this is one of those times where there are and should be exceptions to the rule.  🙂
 
As you are reading their information, by all means, write down any questions you have as you go along.  Sometimes there is so much information, we forget what we wanted to ask about.  Have paper and pen on hand and just jot down any question or note.  You may find the answer further along, or it may be something you need to ask.
 
They should have a contract for you to sign and that includes a Non-breeding agreement.  The pups should be microchipped/tattooed (I prefer microchip).  And they should also state in their contract that ifyou are unable to care for your dog for whatever reason, they will take the dog back.  Period.  In my contract I have stated that I must always be the Emergency Contact on the dogs’ microchip information so should anything happen, they will NEVER end up being one of the statistics.
 
Checklist for Dobermans & Alaskan Malamutes:
 
_____VwD status of Dam and Sire (DNA or parentage) ~ Dobe
 
_____ OFA Hips/Elbows and results ~ Dobe and Mal
 
_____ CERF eyes and results ~ Dobe and Mal
 
_____ Echo/Holter (yearly) and results ~ Dobe
 
_____ DCM -DNA and results (optional as this is currently less than 60% accurate but new test may be available in a year or so with 97%accuracy and that one should be used) ~ Dobe
 
_____DNA Colour and results ~Dobe and Mal
 
_____ DNA Coat Length ~ Mal
 
_____ Thyroid (yearly) and results ~ Dobe and Mal
 
 
 
The Dam nor the Sire’s registration number must NEVER start with WZ as that means they carry the Albino mutation and should never be bred. ~ Dobe
 
Red Flags
 
Some red flags for breeders in general.
 
~ Will ship anywhere ~ most good breeders prefer not to ship if they don’t have to
 
~ To visit MUST be by appointment ~ Now I have amended this as apparently I was not very thorough in portraying a difference between making an appointment to hide what you don’t want to be seen and to make things look presentable, compared to making an appointment because this is the breeders home and you, the consumer, are complete strangers.  This is not an appointment to an office, but their own residence.  I would also like to state that once pups are on the ground, some breeders will not allow strangers to enter the home due to the high risk of parvo that it may bring.  an option, which I think more and more breeders are doing is using Skype or YouTube to share and show how the pups are being raised, especially for those that are further away and unable to visit the breeder.
 
~ When you visit if they are unable to provide proof of any/all healthtest results, or neither Dam nor Sire is present (not unusual for Sire to live elsewhere), tell them thank you for their time and get the hell out of there.
 
~ List “Wobblers Clear” as a test result ~ no such test to be clear of ~ RUN
 
~ List “DCM Clear” as a test result ~ no such test result.  It will either be Negative, Positive-Heter or Positive-Homo. ~ RUN
 
~ If they tell you that their lines are free of any health issues ~ RUN ~ as that is simply not true whether they be North American or Euro lines. They all have health issues and if there were ANY line free of disease, you can bet your butt that every breeder out there would be demanding one of their pups.
 
~ Non-refundable deposits that consist of half the price of the pup ~ RUN.  Now some good breeders do ask for a depost on average between $200-$500.  There are a lot of varialbles for this.  The only time these deposits become Non-refundable is when you the consumer back out of the contract regardless of the reason.  This is usually listed in their contract.
 
Above everything else, seeing the litter should be the last thing you do.  If you are not comfortable with the breeder then you don’t want to purchase a pup from them.  A good breeder wants to establish that lifelong bond with you as they want you to be able to give them updates, ask them questions, participate in reunions, share in the glory of achievement and share in sorrow of the loss of a friend.  Agood breeder will an open door policy for long after you have bought and paid for that pup.
 
Copyright © 2011 Sandy Allen/Shadowlands/Shadowlands Canine Training/FireAndIce Reg’d Doberman Pinschers & Alaskan Malamutes.  All rights reserved. Revised: ALL PICTURES AND CONTENT ON THIS BLOG ARE THE SOLE PROPERTY OF Sandy Allen/Shadowlands/FireAndIce Reg’d Dobermans and Alaskan Malamutes and may not be used, copied or reprinted without express permission from the owner. Copyrighted 2011