For Our Furbabies No Longer With Us

For those of us who have experienced the tragically short life of a beloved canine.



Fireworks and Dogs Don’t Mix

The coming weekend happens to be a long one for us Canadians. Queen Victoria’s birthday. Our fabulous May 24 weekend.

Everyone heading for the cottage for the first time after a long winter. And of course, family fun with fireworks.

Now I am a huge advocate for taking your well mannered canine family member everywhere he would be welcome. However, to watch fireworks is NOT the place to take him.

Even if you have a dog that is very laid back and reacts to little, to have them endure the unpredictability of a fireworks show is bordering on cruelty. You also stand a high chance of your pup running off in fear.

The risk of a possible fear bite or your fur baby running off in fear is not worth your joy at having him with you for a couple of hours. Not to mention the anxiety and possible long term affects it may have.

Do everyone a favour and be that same responsible owner that had your pup socialized and trained, and leave your four legged family member peacefully at home.

Have a great long weekend. 🙂

Something Has to Give

Today we saw the sentencing trial of Robert Fawcett of the Whistler sled dog massacre.  What a dispicable display of so-called courtroom justice.  What does one say to such a deplorable display?  The Crown has put forth a sentence of  three years probation, no jail time, $5000.00 fine and a lifetime ban of owning animals.  WTF??  Did he not pay attention to the trial?  Did he not read the transcripts?  They were not his dogs!  A lifetime ban is absolutely ridiculous!

The slaughter…massacre is a good word for it since from the description of the scene of events, it was not dealt with humanely in any regard…of 56 healthy animals gets only 3 years probation, no jail time, and a measly $5,000.00 fine???

When he can get a maximum of five years in prison and up to $75,000.00 in fines for the nine dogs he did admit to causing unnecessary pain and suffering to.  With that information….why is the Crown putting forth such a lousy sentence?  What gives?

Animal Cruelty laws have got to change in this country!!  We have people massacring dozens of dogs and they could possibly only face a slap on the wrist, yet we are pulling non-threatening, non-dangerous dogs out of family homes and keeping them isolated and in prison for months at a time because of how they look?  How warped is that?  WTH is wrong with our society, government?  WTH is wrong with ALL of us?  Why are we not ALL standing up as a united front and screaming, demanding this change…and now as we won’t stand for it anymore?  The government is supposed to work for us, not us work for the government.  It’s about damn time we took that power back.  Standing united, we can make this change.

Let’s not start boycotting all sled dog operations all because of one company or one man!  Let’s be the intelligent beings we keep saying we are.  You don’t destroy the forest for the sake of ridding it on one blight.  Let’s stop with the all or nothing attitude and think outside the box.  Boycott Outdoor Adventures if you must, but don’t spread hate.  Protect what we love, the animals.  These animals love what they do…recognize that and rejoice in that.  What needs changing is how they are then retired and rehomed.  Stop looking at the whole as a bad thing.  Negativity only breeds negativity.  If you want to change something for the better, than change the way you approach the problem.  We, as in dog lovers, are a massive percentage of the population…by sheer numbers alone, we could demand change.  Why are we not standing united?

Copyright © 2012 Unleash the Hounds blog.   All rights reserved. Revised: ALL CONTENT ON THIS BLOG ~ UNLEASHTHEHOUNDS ~ ARE THE SOLE PROPERTY OF Sandy Allen/Unleash The Hounds, and may not be used, copied or reprinted without express permission from the owner. Copyrighted 2012

Happy Birthday!!!

I just want to give a shout out to my middle “child”, FireAndIce’s Totally Certifiable aka Luna (Lunatic)!!  She turned 7 years old on May 24th!! 

Luna is 3/4 Border Collie and 1/4 GSD.  Personality and movements are 100% Border Collie.  🙂


Canine Aggression at Home

In the dog world, it is unusual to encounter hostility between opposing sex dogs.  I will not say that it doesn’t happen but most fights are either between two males, or two females.  Rarely are they between a male and a female.  I only mention this as it has been a bone of contention for one particular family.  They only have the two dogs (will not mention any breed or family details) and things have become so hostile that they have literally split the house in two.  The male lives on one side and the female on the other.  They have two baby gates stacked on top of the other to separate them.


I am looking at my three asleep on the floor in front of me and I shake my head.  Age has no bearing on this behaviour I might add.  Mine range from 13 years(neutered), 7 years(spayed), to almost 2 years(intact).  Three different breeds with three different personalities.  They are all fed in the same room at the same time, they are given treats together and I always end training sessions with all three doing the same command at the same time.  They are all over 60lbs, the smallest just over and the biggest just under 100 lbs.  There is zero tolerance for resource guarding in this house and any signs are nipped in the bud the moment the first sign appears and are never seen again. 


I have to wonder how things can get to this point.  Did it just happen overnight?  Were there signs that these two animals detested each other?  Why was nothing seemingly done about it before it reached these proportions?  Which of the two are the problem or are they both the aggressor depending on circumstance?  Are they aggressive with any other dogs or, heaven forbid, any people?  Have they hurt anyone?  These are the first few questions that are going through my head.


The biggest question that is going through my head is “what did you do about it?”.  When there was the first sign of animosity, what did you do about it?  When the level of animosity escalated, what did you do about it?  When you realized you were in over your head with these two (yes, splitting your house in two is being in over your head), what did you do about it?


Yes, we all hate to admit defeat or admit that something is bigger than we are and help is needed, but to have your house split in two because your dogs will not, and do not get along, is no way to live.   At what point should we say to be damned with pride and seek help from those with the experience and know-how to so?  For me, that would have been the moment one or both stopped listening to me when I corrected the slightest hint of resource guarding or aggression VERY early on.


Would your opinion change if one of these dogs assaulted an adult in the face that was completely unprovoked?  By unprovoked, I really do mean unprovoked.  The two adults were standing, talking for about 10-15 minutes before the bitch decided that she wanted to help rearrange the woman’s face.  Would you have admitted defeat then?  Or would you have said she (the bitch) must be coming into heat and is a little grumpy?  Would you have stuck around after that incident happened or made your sincere apologies and got the hell out of there? 


If that had been me, and I will state clearly that never would be, I would have been absolutely mortified.  I have to say that without a doubt, this bitch would have been corrected equal to her actions, and that correction would have been immediate and to the point.  And I honestly wouldn’t be able to apologize enough to the woman.  Now I will state right now that the bitch “tagged” the woman’s face so injuries were only very minor.  I only say this to clarify that it was not a mauling, no stitches were required etc.  Regardless, it was a bite and is still very serious in nature.  Continuing on, I would have ensured she was indeed alright, still apologizing and I would have left.  You couldn’t have paid me to stay.  What I would then have done was get on the phone and start making inquiries into getting some help with her.  And I would make damn sure that she gets the training, socialization, discipline that she needed before I ever took her into the public again.  Even if that meant she must wear a muzzle.  That is what I would do before ever letting something like that happen again.


I don’t care what kind of excuses you want to come up with.  There are NO excuses for a dog putting their teeth on a person, especially unprovoked.  WE are the ones that are responsible for the rearing, training and socialization of our dogs.  WE are the ones that need to ensure the safety of the public AND of our fur-babies.  To not take both into consideration is irresponsible and you bring down all dog owners by doing so. 


And quite frankly, to those that choose to continue with the excuses, I ask this:  Is your arrogance/ignorance over your own dog’s behaviour, worth the life of an innocent bystander, family member or even the death of your dog?





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



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