Monday, August 31, 2009


Most people have a few different types of collars that they use for their dogs. They all serve a different purpose for different stages and times in a dog’s life.

The basic types of dog collars are: the traditional buckle type collar made of cloth or leather. These are the type of collars that you might see the pet dog owner use. They like the variety of fabrics to choose from. Then there’s the choker chain collar that trainers and show people use. And then there is the Martingale dog collar. It’s a restrain collar like the choker, but it’s a gentler collar so it doesn’t choke the dog.

I love using the Martingale collar on puppies when I am first trying to get them used to having something around their necks. It’s more gentle and kinder to use than the choke collar.

What is a Martingale collar? The Martingale collar used to be called the Greyhound dog collar. These dogs needed a special type of collar because their neck is bigger than their heads. Now it’s become a popular collar for many show dog people of different breeds as well. It is a collar that helps keep the dog comfortable while restraining him on the leash. Looking at this collar, you will see that there are two loops; a large one and a smaller one. The large loop slips over the dog’s neck. The smaller loop has a ring attached to it. This is where the leash clips onto the collar. It is the smaller loop that tightens the larger loop if the dog should try to pull out of it.

The Martingale collar comes in a few different choices. You can get the all chain type, the fabric type or a leather chain combination. A couple of years ago, I had a Martingale collar custom made for one of my dogs that I was showing. It was the leather chain combination. The leather part went around the dog’s neck and the smaller loop was made of the chain. I used to show some of my dogs with a martingale collar years ago and figured I would do it now as well.

The day of the dog show arrived and I put my bitch in the Martingale collar. I groomed her and took her to the ready ring for my handler to take her. She took my girl one time around the ring and as I’m watching her, she removed the Martingale collar and replaced it with a CHOKE collar only she didn’t put her on the choke. She just clipped the two rings together and that’s how she showed her.

Most professional dog handlers have a preference for what type of collar they want to use on the dogs that they’re showing. Sometimes it will depend on the dog as to what type of collar they will use. Check with your handler as to what type of collar they prefer.

As with any collar, never leave it on your dog. Although this is a safer collar to use, remove it when you’re not using it with a leash. Like other collars, it can still get hooked to something and choke your dog.

I find that the Martingale collar along with being gentler on the dog’s neck is also kinder to his fur. There are many places that you can buy a Martingale collar. There’s a gazillion web stores that sell them and many pet stores as well.

Prices will vary as to the type of material used for the Martingale collar (chain, fabric, or combination leather/chain): $10 right on up over $30.

My rating: construction: (4), durability: (4), safety: (4), value: (4)

Friday, August 28, 2009


I had planned on doing an article about SUV’s in relation to them for traveling with dogs to shows but in my research I came across this unique car. I love the concept and I thought I would share it with you. Perhaps you already know about it or are looking to buy one.

I have owned two Honda’s already and they are always top rated for quality and efficiency so I’m assuming that this car will be no different in those areas.

I am including a link so you can look at the pictures of this SUV for yourself and see what you think. I think it would be ideal for those times when you want to take your dog with you for a ride in the car and don’t feel like hauling out a crate. Although, many show dog people already have their crates in the car.

Just take a look at these pictures for yourself and see how nice and dog friendly this car is. There is a safe “soft” crate like enclosure for your dog yet he is surrounded by the inner structure of the car for security and safety. It’s very easy to let the dog in and out of this car. Plus look at the cushiony bed pad in that crate.

This car was designed to make everything comfortable for your dog including a spill resistant bowl, elevated bed, a fan, and a ramp to help the dog get in and out the crate more easily. It stores under the bed when not in use. There’s even additional space for cargo.

The Honda Element won the “dog car of the year” award in 2007. While catering to the dogs comfort, Honda still recognizes the need for comfort for the dog owner himself! The 2009 model has been revamped and comes in three different sizes. The finalized version of this dog friendly car will be debuted in the fall.

The only drawback that I can see is that you can't really see your dog all the way in the back of the cargo area. I like to be able to turn around and see that they are alright. I'm going to have to get in touch with Honda and bring up my concern to them. Not that I'm expecting them to change their design anytime soon, but it might be a good idea to plant the "seed" in their minds anyway. It can't hurt.

The MPG for city is 18 and hwy is 23. Prices range from the basic price of $20,275 on up depending upon all the bells and whistles that you add.

Although I’ve never seen or driven this car, I know the reputation of a Honda made car is usually excellent so I will base my rating on what I know about the company.

Here is the link so you can check it out yourself.

My rating: construction: (4), durability: (4), styling: (3), value: (4)

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Along with puppy dog kisses, a buddy and companion to enjoy things with your dog can unwillingly play host to some unsavory “bedfellows!” You might want the dog in the house, but entertaining the attached “creepy crawlers” is more than you bargained for.

Because the pet industry is a multi-billion dollar business, it’s not hard to understand then why the pharmaceutical companies would be at the forefront of this highly profitable enterprise. These companies have made a business out of appealing to the distraught pet owner’s sensitivities for the concern and love of their animals. One would think that their marketing department’s motto might be the old saying, “Nothing is too good for my pet.” And indeed, looking at the sales of flea, tick and heartworm preventatives these companies marketing departments advertising campaigns have proven to be very successful.

Many times when something is new and introduced to the public, we don’t get to see the long term results of some of these products before it’s too late. In other cases we might see them right away. From my research for this article, what I have gathered is we have compromised our dog’s health all in the name of wanting to keep them healthy. Now how could that be? We are doing what every other concerned pet owner is doing. We are trying to prevent our animal from the discomfort of bug bites and the itching and scratching that follows. More importantly we are trying to prevent our dogs from having long lasting health problems that if left untreated may put our dog’s life in danger.

With this in mind, we buy the hyped up advertising we see thinking we are doing the right thing for our animals. What we are buying and paying BIG money for is poisons. So you would think that the intelligent consumer would question "Why is it that I’m trying to prevent my animal from getting sick and now I’m putting poisons on or in his body?" How does that make sense? If by reading the label on the package of the flea and tick preventative that I should wear gloves so I don’t get this poisonous concoction on my skin, why am I putting it on my dog’s skin? Is his life not as precious as my own?

More and more research is finding that these topical solutions are producing some serious side effects in some dogs. These include: liver damage, kidney damage, hair loss, severe skin rashes, epileptic seizures, brain damage and inability to walk. Over time, some may get renal failure (kidney failure) or complete liver failure.

What I found most disturbing when researching this article was about the heartworm preventative that we use for our dogs. This is especially true for me as I just got off the telephone this morning having placed an order for my dog’s Interceptor. Like so many other pet owners I’m doing what I think is the best thing for my dogs, which is trying to keep them healthy. Because I’m trying to keep them healthy, am I unwillingly contributing to their health problems? I’m just doing what I always do. The medicine runs out, I call the supplier and place an order, not realizing that I just put out money to purchase some more poison disguised to taste good and my dogs readily take it thinking they’re getting another treat.

I used to treat my dogs with Frontline topical solution once a month. Now this is something I found incredible and gave me reason to pause. These products, the flea and tick solutions as well as the heartworm preventative must be very strong and powerful to only have to give it to them once a month and the pesky little “buggers” will leave my dog alone.

All of this got me to thinking. If I go out of my way to buy my dogs natural, holistic or organic, or human grade foods and supplements, then why am I ruining all the good that I’m trying to put in his body by poisoning him with all these chemicals in the flea, tick and heartworm preventatives? Does this make sense?

Two months ago, I stopped giving my dogs the topical solutions known as (Frontline, Frontline Plus, Advantage, and Bio Spot), etc. I now treat them every morning with a homemade solution of lavender oil and water which I spray on them. It smells good; it’s convenient, less expensive and I know that I’m not poisoning any of my dogs.

What I also discovered in my research is that a healthy dog is one that these ugly “creepy crawlers” are not attracted to. They much more prefer the unhealthy, sickly or puppy skin than a dog that his healthy. It makes sense because in the wild, only the strong survive. According to these articles, if we feed our dogs a raw diet or a healthy mix of less grains and more meat we might see our dogs become healthier and not taste so good to “those insects.”

The animal lover is left with the question if I don’t treat my dog with these products, he might get infested with those little “buggers.” On the other hand, if I do treat him with these products will he become sick and develop cancers or other deliberating diseases? It leaves us confused and conflicted. Each of us must decide what is good for our animals because they look to us to protect and care for them. It makes me feel guilty each month when I hand them a tab of poison known as heartworm preventative. I pat them on the head and tell her she’s a good girl. All in the name of love! Hmmmmmmmmmm!

There are so many articles on the internet about this subject; way too much to write about here on this blog. I encourage all dog owners to do your own research and then TRY to make an educated decision about how to treat your pets. Their health and life depend upon it!

Prices for flea and tick preventatives: $15 right on up depending upon the size of the package and weight of the dog that you are treating.
Heartworm preventatives: $38 on up depending upon the size of the package and weight of the dog you are treating.

My rating: ingredients: (1), preventative (2), safety: (1), price (1)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I used K 9 Puppy Gold supplement on my last litter. I wanted to give my puppies the healthiest start that they deserved. I wasn’t disappointed. My puppies were strong and robust and put on weight quickly. Healthy puppies make happy puppies and that made this breeder confident that I was doing everything that I could to give my puppies the right start in life.

What is K 9 Puppy Gold? It is a human grade supplement made by Animal Naturals. It recreates canine mother’s milk to promote immunity, stronger joints and lean puppy growth.

What does it do? It promotes antibodies and resistance. It helps produce strong connective tissues, durable joints and muscle; your puppies will have healthy lean growth and sturdy bones, ideal growth and development ratios, antibodies and resistance, and it’s trans fat and lactose free.

It contains canine milk's bioactive proteins, micellar casein, colostrum, glucosamine and immune factors including lactoferrin. It’s the next best thing to the mother’s milk! And the puppies love it!

Many breeders will even feed this to their pregnant bitch to help promote her milk production. Even after she has had her litter, she can continue to be fed this supplement while she’s nursing.

K 9 Puppy Gold is a powder that you mix with water and add to the dog’s food or can be fed alone. I always mixed it in their food. The jar contains a large scoop to make sure you are giving them the proper dosage.

You can feed the puppies this supplement until they are 4- 6 months old. I didn’t keep them on it that long, however. When they were 4- 5 months old, I switched them to Vibrant Pet’s Canine Athlete Ultimate formulas because of the high grade probiotics and enzymes and the Glucosamine that I knew was so important for their growing bones and joints.

K 9 Puppy Gold comes in sizes that range from 1 lb. to 30 lbs. I found that I was going through this supplement very quickly because of feeding the puppies four times a day and also adding it to the mother’s meal. It’s not an inexpensive product, but I was very happy with the results that I seen with my puppies.

The list of ingredients of vitamins and nutrients are very impressive. Add to that that many of these ingredients are human grade. It made me feel confident that my puppies were getting a top grade product that helped me give them a positive start in life.

Prices range from: a little over $20 - $320 for a 1 lb. container up to a 30 lb. container. Look around on the internet for the best prices as they will vary from website to website. Also some breeders are distributors of this product so ask others for their recommendations.

My rating: quality: (4), benefits: (4), ingredients (4), does what it says it will do: (4), price: (2)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


There’s nothing more exciting for a breeder than when he anticipates a beautiful new litter to be born. If he is a student of the breed, many long hours and investigation in to the puppies pedigree was considered before the breeding even took place.

There are many things a breeder will take into consideration before he chooses a stud dog for his bitch. Obviously he likes what he sees in the stud dog that he picks. He’s an attractive representative of the breed. He perhaps has the attributes that the bitch lacks. His pedigree boosts a long line of ROM (register of merit) producing dogs behind him. For many breeders this is important knowing that the stud dog comes from a long line of producers. Being a champion and being a producer is entirely two different things. So some breeders will only breed to a stud dog who is a proven producer of excellent progeny. Some breeders will breed to a relatively unknown stud dog because of the pedigree that makes up his DNA.

Besides the breeder liking what he sees in the stud dog and what he sees that he produces, there are also other things to consider. Besides looking for the obvious…..good temperament, hips and elbows x-rayed and that the dog is an excellent representative of the breed, he will also look at the health behind the dog he is considering to be the sire of his litter.

With the economy being fractured the way it is, some breeders have had to take into consideration other things as well. That is what it will cost to breed to this dog. Will he have to ship his bitch somewhere to breed to him? Then there is the stud fee to use this dog.

Stud fees can normally run anywhere from $500 on up to close to $1,000! Now I’m told that some of the other breed of dogs is even higher than this. If the breeding of dogs has become a sport for the rich only, then I wonder if the showing of dogs will follow the same way as well as has been evident in the smaller entries seen at dog shows in recent years.

Breeding to a top producing stud dog can become a luxury that many breeders can no longer afford. Should a stud dog owner reduce the breeding fee to use his dog because the economy challenges him to do so? Will he turn away potentially good bitches for his dog because the bitch owner can’t swing the expensive stud fee? How important is it that his dog is used and that the animal’s offspring will be in the genetic pool for years to come?

No one questions the amount of hard work it takes to own and breed a stud dog. But this would be true whether the dog’s stud fee were $50 or $1,000! The question is should there be a ceiling price on a stud dog’s fee? The old saying, “It’s what the market will bear,” would surely not be in the stud dog owners favor with the now depressed economy!

In my opinion, lowering a stud dog’s fee is in no way lowering the value of his dog. I feel if we as breeders want to perpetuate the future of our dog’s genetic make-up we need to make these stud dogs more readily available to the bitch owners. If the real estate market, the car industry, and the price of lobster…..all high priced items have come down in price to reflect the sinking economy, I believe that stud dog prices should as well, or at least make them more reasonable. I don’t see breeders in this economy getting any higher puppy prices in the pet market because they told the potential owner that the puppy was out of a champion.

I believe keeping a stud dog’s fee reasonable makes good marketing sense. It makes his dog more accessible to the bitch owner. More of his puppies are seen at the dog shows, there by more breeders get to see what this dog produces. More breeders who see and like what he produces, brings in more stud service for the dog. It’s in, my opinion, a win – win situation. The stud dog is more recognized and used and the bitch owner has more demand for her puppies.

There are MANY wonderful stud dogs for the breeder to consider besides breeding to the top stud dog in the country. Many dogs are overlooked because the owner didn’t have the funds to advertise him like the top dog. These dogs can offer someone an impressive pedigree and many attributes to compliment his bitch. Don’t pass up the opportunity to breed to a dog because someone else isn’t using him. Look around. Check out who his parents AND grandparents are. See what his brothers or sisters look like. Study the pedigree and then make an educated decision.

Stud dog prices: $500 on up

My rating: Stud fees: (2), value (2), choices of stud dogs available: (4)

Monday, August 24, 2009


So your dog just won his first major and you’re excited. Or maybe your dog won his futurity and you are so proud that you can’t wait to share your excitement with everyone. Winning at dog shows is the breeder/exhibitors ultimate goal for all the hard work that went into developing a show dog's potential. Receiving a beautiful picture of your dog's accomplishment is ALMOST as exciting as the win itself!

People congratulate you. Hands are extended and shaken. Pleasantries are exchanged between you and your handler and the judge raves on and on about the excellent quality of your dog. With your trophy and ribbon in your hand, you walk to a designated spot after the show is over to take a picture of your dog

If winning at a dog show is the ultimate goal, then the taking of the picture of the win is the icing on the cake. This is the picture that serves as a reminder of this very special day. With this picture in your hand, it assists you with your bragging rights. This is the picture that you’ll send to the judge to thank them for the win. This is the picture you’ll put in your photo album or hang on your wall. This is the picture that you’ll use to advertise in the German Shepherd Dog Review. This is the picture that you’ll send to some German Shepherd Dog e-mail lists to share with other breeders. But what if “this picture” isn’t a good picture? Part of the fun of bragging about your dog’s win is having a gorgeous picture to flaunt and flash for people to “ooh and aw” over!

Part of what a specialty club does when planning a dog show is hiring a photographer to take the pictures of all the winners. It is in the best interest of the club and for the exhibitors that the club hires a photographer that is familiar with taking pictures of the German Shepherd Dog. This is a unique breed in many ways and one of those things that make him unique is the way he is set up in a show stance. No other breed of dog is set up like the German Shepherd. If the photographer is not familiar with the structure of this dog and the way that he needs to be set up, then the owner may be in for a very disappointing picture.

Because the German Shepherd is set up to show not only his front structure, but also his top line and rear angulation, the photographer must know how to capture this in his photograph. The dog will be set up with his left leg stretched out behind him and his right leg under him a bit forward to balance his weight. Many times I’ve seen a picture that is not centered and the photographer takes the picture more towards the front of the dog distorting the look of the hindquarter.

From personal experience…..I showed a young bitch a couple of years ago in her futurity. When it came time to take her winning picture, we took her to a field and the handler set her up. The photographer took several pictures and I anxiously waited for them to be developed. The photographer had a website for those who wanted to view their dog’s pictures so they could choose which one they would like to buy. Well ALL of my dog’s photographs were horrible. I didn’t buy any of them. Now this is heartbreaking because you now have nothing to show for your dog’s win. Looking at the rest of this photographer’s pictures of this futurity proved to be the same quality of photos throughout. Most were disappointing. If I recollect correctly, I don’t think this photographer had much experience photographing German Shepherds. I’m sure he must have been a decent photographer, but not of the German Shepherd Dog.

I believe that each club should hire a photographer that has experience in photographing this breed. There are some excellent photographers out there. The club needs to find out the photographer’s credentials before hiring him.

Most of the time, I have been very satisfied with my dog’s photos taken by professional photographers. Having lived on the east coast all of my life, I was very fortunate to have most of my dog’s pictures taken by the great photographer, Norman Seldes. I’ve seen beautiful photography from others across the United States. All one needs to do is look in the German Shepherd Dog Review to see the great work some of these photographers do. So check around to see who is available in your area. Having a beautiful picture of your dog’s win is something you deserve to cherish for years to come.

Show pictures can vary in price depending upon the photographer’s expertise in photographing dogs. Expect to pay $35 and up.

My rating on an experienced GSD photographer: experience: (4), knowledge: (4), value: (4)

Friday, August 21, 2009


Any dog that spends any amount of time outside should be provided a place of shelter to protect him from the elements. There are so many different dog houses available to the pet owner. Depending upon your dog’s needs, size, climate of the area you live in, and the price you want to pay, the choice is almost endless. I have had a couple of different houses for my dogs. One was the homemade type made from wood and the other is the plastic type.

The different types of dog houses to choose from can be anything from portable, insulated, igloo, dogloo, collapsible, cedar, wood, tents, a-frames, you name it, someone is selling it.

The things you should be looking for in a dog house are the obvious…….shelter, insulation, durability, and construction. These things will dictate the price of the dog house as well.

I have found with the homemade type of dog house (you can find detailed instructions on the internet) if they are made from wood that they don’t last as long as other types. They end up rotting and they’re not as easy to clean and take care of. This is not the type of house you want with a dog that loves to chew. However, that being said, when you build your own dog house, you can pretty much customize it to your dogs needs. The dog house that we made from wood had a special panel inside that if the dog laid on the other side would prevent him from drafts and the cold. We also used insulation in between the walls and floor of the house. Watch out if you use shingles on the dog house as some dogs like to lie on the top of the house. This can become very hot.

Whether building a dog house or buying one, make sure that the floor is elevated off the ground to prevent it from getting too cold, but more importantly to help keep it from getting wet. Also make sure the house is well ventilated. Dog houses can become very hot or not provide enough warmth in the winter if they are not insulated. This should be a MUST when looking for the proper shelter for your dog. The dog house should provide warmth in the colder weather and protection from the heat in the hotter weather. This is why insulation is so important.

Some dog houses have a hinged top that you can lift open to clean it inside. We made this type of roof for our wooden dog house as well. It’s also convenient for when you want to add some type of bedding like hay or shavings to help keep your dog warm.

My dogs now use an igloo type of dog house with an extended opening in the front for rain resistance. I’ve had it for over 20 years. It is definitely a heavy duty constructed plastic house. You can hose it out to clean it because it has a hole on the bottom for drainage. It’s nearly destructible although when my dogs were a little younger, I found them trying to chew on the opening edges of the entryway. Their teeth marks are still there, but the house never had any pieces chewed off of it. It was too heavily constructed for even the young determined strong jaws of a German Shepherd to pull apart.

You can purchase your dog house over the internet if you want. There are many manufacturers to choose from. Some feed stores carry them as well as some of the larger pet stores like Petsmart or Petco.

Prices can vary greatly on the dog house depending on the manufacturer and the style and type of house you desire. I’ve found houses selling from $99 to $400! If you’re building your own dog house, expect it to be at least $100 or more. So shop around and get your best price but make sure it meets the requirements of your dog’s needs.

My rating: wood houses: durability: (2), construction: (3), protection: (4)
Plastic houses: durability: (4), construction (4), protection: (4)

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Are you of the belief that the price of a show dog is what the market will bear? Is there a limit to what you will pay to get a “star?” Are you willing to take out a second mortgage on your house? Just how important is it to you to have this kind of dog? Is it for the prestige of ownership? Just how far will you go to get this kind of dog?

The words “Show Dog” means different things to different people. Does a breeder have a responsibility to the buyer if his “show dog” doesn’t turn out to be such? Just what does it mean to be a show dog?

A breeder can attach any name to what kind of quality his puppies and dogs are. You might hear him say that this is the pick of my litter, this one has show potential, this one is show quality, and this one over here can finish. Can he back that up with a guarantee that his dog is what he says it is? No one can guarantee that the show dog that you buy will turn out to be the star that you were looking for. A top breeder of champions who has years of experience and expertise in her lines is a better indicator of the quality of his pups than a non-experienced breeder. But still because genetics are what they are, no one can guarantee you that that potential star will be so……not at a very young age anyway.

Let’s look at the terminology that some breeders might use to explain their dogs quality. Pick of the litter: this just means that one puppy stands out from all the rest. Does it make him a show dog? Not necessarily. It just means he has the best quality of the litter. The next one might be the show potential puppy. This means that the puppy at this stage doesn’t show any undesirable faults. The show quality puppy is the one the breeder doesn’t see any faults and has good structure, movement and temperament according to the German Shepherd Dog standard. He can be shown…..doesn’t mean he can be finished. Then let’s take a look at the puppy that can finish. In my opinion, no puppy should be rated like this at such an early stage. The older puppy or younger adult might be better suited with this label. The only dog who a breeder should say can finish is one who has completed his growth stages and has no disqualifying faults and one who goes beyond the ordinary. He should be something special.

If you really are looking to buy a show dog, then the smartest thing you can do is to buy an older puppy or a young adult. Hopefully at this age, they have gone through all their “stages” of growth. All their teeth are in by now and you can see their bite. A good breeder will have had preliminary hip x-rays done on them. Their ears are standing. The breeder can now say with “almost” certainty whether or not this dog has the quality of what it takes to be a competitive show dog.

Who should you look to buy your show dog from? REPUTATION is the number one thing you should consider before closing the deal with a breeder. Don’t just look to see their winning records. Investigate their reputation. Ask other show dog people what kind of breeder this person is? Do they stand behind their dogs? Are they good people to deal with?

If you don’t know too much about what makes a good show dog then you will be depending on the breeder’s knowledge. Educate yourself by going to shows, joining breed clubs and asking lots of questions. Don’t go to a breeder without some kind of education about this breed and what constitutes a good show dog. Also realize that a breeder might not sell you his best dog because of your lack of experience.

Should you only buy a “show dog” from a top breeder? No, not necessarily. The smaller but knowledgeable breeder can produce just as good quality as the “bigger guys.” Don’t overlook them! What you are looking for is quality and that can be found if you take the time to do it.

And what about those prices on these show dogs? How much are you willing to pay for your future star? A breeder can attach any price to any dog in whatever amount he thinks the dog is worth. You on the other hand should have a ceiling price in mind……one that is the top price you are willing to pay. Now many breeders if they are selling you a top show bitch may only sell her on a co-ownership. That means she will still remain in the breeders name and yours and she may want a puppy back, or puppies and sometimes alternate litters from her. Know what you’re getting yourself into BEFORE you sign on the dotted line. Now’s the time to ask questions. Now is the time to read the small print. Make sure you know exactly what the breeder has laid out in the contract and make sure this is what you agree upon. NEVER BUY A DOG SHOW QUALITY OR NOT WITHOUT A CONTRACT – NO MATTER WHO THE BREEDER IS!!! YOU BUY A DOG WITH A CONTRACT – PERIOD!

So how much is this dog going to cost? Besides the initial layout of the purchase price, you are also looking at the handling expenses of showing the dog. The majority of breeders will want the animal professionally shown (see yesterday’s blog on this subject). A top show dog should have the best of care – food, grooming, and conditioning. You’ve just purchased the cream of the crop, so nothing but the best will do. Depending on the breeder a show puppy and in some cases a young adult can range in price from: $2,000 right on up the scale. I’ve heard of adults being sold for $35,000 and more. But mostly this is for a stud dog. I’ve never heard of a bitch being sold for this kind of money. Also imported dogs can run you thousands more.

So there you have it. Is it worth it to spend this kind of money on a show dog? That answer depends upon you. You don’t have to spend a fortune to own a good show dog. But realize the show dog will and should be more expensive than the pet puppy. You are not only buying the dog, but you’re buying the pedigree of generations of great dogs behind him. You are buying the expertise of the breeder. Hopefully the breeder will be your mentor and guide you to a successful career with your new show dog.

My rating on breeders of top show quality dogs: knowledge: (4), success rate: (4), being good mentors: (3), fair pricing and value: (3)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Showing dogs is a competitive sport. Sometimes having a good dog isn’t enough. Sometimes you need that something extra.

With today’s economy, showing dogs has become a luxury that many people can no longer afford. But if you breed and show dogs, the call of the competition ring is calling to you so you may have to ask yourself can I win showing my own dog? The answer is of course you can! Then the next question you should ask yourself is, are you up for the challenge? Are you in good enough shape to run around the ring several times? Will your dog perform for you or will he just run by your side? Will he set up for you and look noble and alert in the ring or will he be trying to turn around to lick your face? Can you take losing to a professional handler many more times than you would like? Can you be a good sport and come back and hope to win the next day and the next until you finish his championship?

Naturally you can train your dog to bait for you when you set him up by waving a piece of liver in his face while telling him to stay. But how do you get him to pull out for you? Showing a dog yourself in an all-breed show is easier because of the size of the smaller ring. Baiting a dog is a very accepted practice in the all breed shows and many times you’ll see it in the larger specialty rings as well.

Showing and winning with your dog can be a very rewarding experience. However, statistics will prove that more dogs finish their championships with a professional handler showing them. Should you give up then? Not if you truly enjoy showing your own dogs and find it a fun thing to do. There’s nothing more marvelous than finishing you own dog, I would assume. I don’t know. I never did it myself. Just know that when you step inside that ring, you will be rubbing elbows with some of the top professionals in the breed. Watch and learn from them. Some of them are even friendly enough to give you a few tips, but remember they are being paid to win and they might help you some, but their there to beat you.

I have always used professional handlers to show my dogs. I’ve probably hired most of the top handlers on the east coast at one time or another. For those who are new to the show world, you might ask, just what is it that a professional handler does? For many years, most of the time the owner of the dog would bring the animal to the show and the handler would take him into the ring and show him. Some of the better handlers would even help you groom the dogs. Now days, some of the handlers have facilities to train and board your dog to prepare him for the show ring. You pay him normally a monthly fee to board and train the dog. Many owners will send their dogs out with a handler when they can’t go to a show themselves but want to show under certain judges. Then they wait for the handler to call them with the show results.

You hire a professional handler to do what you can’t or don’t want to do. The handler will show your dog according to that dogs best qualities. Normally the handler has an eye for a good dog. He knows the best of your dog and also his minor faults. It is up to the handler to bring out the best and hide the rest. Example: your dog is a beautiful standing dog when he's in a stacked show stance, but his croup is a little flat. The handler will know how to groom the croup to make it look less flat.

A good professional handler will be honest with his client. If a dog is not of the best quality to be competitive in the ring, then he should tell you so. A good handler knows what type of dog wins in the show ring. You are paying him to be honest with you and to let you know if you have that kind of dog. You’re not only paying him for his expertise in the ring, but also his knowledge of the breed and knowledge of what the judge likes. Remember he wants to win almost as much as you do. Also you should know, just because you think “Rover” is the best thing on the planet, doesn’t mean he has what it takes to be a winning show dog. Take him home and love him anyway.

Many times you will see today’s handlers grooming your dogs for you before he goes into the ring. This is an added bonus of hiring a good handler. Also he might take the dog out into the field to work with him ahead of time especially if it’s a new dog that he hasn’t shown before. This gives the handler and dog some time to get familiar with one another. This gives your handler a “feel” for your dog. Sometimes the handler will advise you what type of collar they like to use and what length leash would be best to show your dog with.

How do you find and decide who to hire to show your dog? The best advice I would say is to go to the shows and watch the handler’s performance in the ring. Watch how they handle the dog. Talk to the people who sit at ringside and ask their opinions about different handlers. Word of mouth is probably the best advertisement when choosing a handler. If they have a website, go on it to look and read about their accomplishments. If you ever decide you want to send your dogs for training visit their kennels and look for cleanliness of the place and most of all look at the condition of the dogs they have there already. Also, how does your dog react to this person? Does he like them? Does the handler show a genuine interest in your dog? Ask other people if they have sent their dogs to this person’s kennel.

Professional handlers can be expensive. You will not only pay for their handling of your dog, but you’ll also help pay for their traveling expenses to get to and from the show. You’ll help pay for their meals and hotel if they are staying over night to show your dog. Besides the handlers fee of showing your dog in a class, if he wins and has to go back in to the Winners class, you might get charged again for that class. If he wins that class and goes back in for Best of Breed, you might get charged for that class as well. Check with your handler BEFORE you show to know what his expenses and fees will be. If the handler is showing more than just your dog, he usually divides his traveling and expenses among his clients. Again check with him BEFORE you commit to him.

Realize that there are good handlers and not so good handlers. A good handler is one who is knowledgeable about the breed and the judges (their likes and dislikes), who has a love for the breed, who has a good way of interacting with the dogs, who shows the dog to the best of his ability, and one who has a connection with your dog and who will do his best to bring out your dogs best! Most of all a good handler loves what he’s doing and that love extends right on down through the leash to the dog that he’s handling. Your dog should not be intimidated by the handler – respect him (yes), but not intimidated by him. If it’s not fun for your dog, then he’s not going to show well and won’t be a winning dog.

No matter which way you choose to show your dog – either by a professional or yourself, it should always be fun for you and your dog. If it isn’t then you need to address why that is. There is nothing more rewarding then showing and winning with your dog and when he finishes his championship, the pride you’ll feel – well there’s nothing quite equal it in the dog world.

I am all for the professional dog handler. I have NEVER had a problem with any of them and as I’ve said, I’ve hired the best of them. I would recommend them over and over again.

Professional handler rates: this will vary greatly by each individual many times according to his years of experience and expertise in winning - $45 a class and up. Special fees for winners and Best of Breed you should be aware of ahead of time. Traveling and expenses will vary. Also remember many clients will give a bonus to a professional handler if they win the points or take Best of Breed at the show that day. A bonus is just that – a bonus. It should be something that the client gives as an extra special way of saying “thank you.” It should not be a given nor should a handler tack it on to your bill and expect you to pay it.

My rating: expertise: (4), professionalism: (4), knowledge: (4), value: (4)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Because of the recent dog food recall over the last couple of years, some people have been looking for other types of food to feed their dogs. Many people have turned to foods that were organic thinking that they were getting a better quality of food. But just how organic is your dog’s food really? Well it say’s it’s organic on the bag, so it must be so one would think.

Learning to read ingredient labels can prove to be tricky. Sometimes they can be misleading. It’s not only important that it say’s organic, but it’s how the manufacturer uses that word when explaining the content of the bag.

The National Organic Program (NOP) develops, implements, and administers national production, handling, and labeling standards for organic agricultural products. The NOP also accredits the certifying agents (foreign and domestic) who inspect organic production and handling operations to certify that they meet USDA standards.

In order for a manufacturer to say that their product is 100% organic, then the product ingredients must be 100% organic. This does not include the water and salt that may be added to the product. Even so, the product may not be 100% organic because of the vitamins and minerals that AAFCO requires to be put in dry dog food.

Claiming a product is “organic” means that the ingredients must be 95% organic not including the added water or salt. They must identify the organic ingredients in the ingredients list.

If you see on the bag of food “made with organic ingredients” then this product must contain at least 70% organic ingredients not including water or salt. These organic ingredients also must be listed as organic in the ingredients label. Although they can not display the USDA organic seal, they can list the agents who certified the organic ingredients in their product.

If a manufacturer wants to identify some of the ingredients in their product as organic but it has less than 70% organic ingredients total, then they may do so without the organic seal or identifying agent.

Only two types of dog food (100% organic or organic) may show on their product the “USDA” organic seal.

Because organic meat is very expensive, the consumer should be aware that the meat content may be less in the organic food than the meat content in the non-organic food. So the consumer is left with the decision of feeding an organic food with less meat or a food with more meat but not organic. How important is it that your dog’s food is free of pesticides, drugs and other synthetic substances that the organic food affords them? Or is it more important that the ingredients list more meat in their products? The decision can only be made by trial and error. You can try the organic food and add your own meat source. It’s really all about how well your animals are doing on your food of choice and also the longevity of your dogs.

First came the pet food recalls; then came the recession. First we had to worry about what was in our dog’s food and now we have to concern ourselves if we can afford to continue to feed our dog’s a higher priced food. Years ago our family’s dogs ate whatever store brand canned food momma could get her hands on. Fido’s tale never stopped wagging as he scoffed down the hash like pate, yucky smelling blob. He lived 15 or 16 years and never seen the inside of a vet’s office.

So with the demand for better quality dog food, many manufacturers are popping up all over the place trying to meet the demand for high end products. We as consumers must read and understand the labels and try to make an educated decision when it comes to what we feed our animals.

Organic Dry Dog Food: expensive – can run anywhere from $50 a 33 lb. bag and up.

My rating: quality (4), nourishment: (4), value: (3), affordability: (2)

Monday, August 17, 2009


This is the time of the year that most people take a vacation. What do you do with your pets when you want to go away? Very few people take them with them but it’s not unheard of. Most people, however, make other arrangements for their “furkids.” Many years ago, I had boarded a dog or two but then I discovered pet sitters who came to my house and this is my choice when I need to be away for any length of time. That said, dog boarding has come a long way since I tried it years ago. Let’s take a look at the two options.

Some of today’s more innovative boarding kennels use the most up to date equipment and procedures for the comfort of your dog. Most boarding facilities will have indoor/outdoor runs for your dogs. Very few put dogs in crates at night unless they are staying at your veterinarians. Many of the boarding kennels with the indoor runs have a cot for the dog to lie on. Many of the outdoor runs are covered to protect them from the elements. The majority of the runs are made of cement flooring for easy cleaning.

When considering boarding your dog you should always check the facility for cleanliness and check to see how the place smells. Some of the things you should discuss with the owner is: that your dog has fresh, clean water available to him, that he will be fed on the schedule that you feed him (1 time a day or 2), if your animal needs to be on a special diet, (you should bring your dogs food so it’s not changed), ask if there is someone on duty at all times, and ask about the veterinarian services. I would bring my dog a few toys from home and a blanket to lay on in the indoor run so he has something familiar with him.

Some boarding kennels have a great new service. For an extra charge some dogs will have their own “special” room with a camera. The owner of the dog is given a special code that he uses to go on the internet and he can watch his dog anytime that he’s in the room. My sister did this with her dog one year when she came to visit me. I watched her dog barking when he was left alone, pacing the room or peacefully sleeping. I think this is a great idea to help give you peace of mind.

Also some of these newer facilities offer play time for your dog. The dog's with the good temperaments and who are friendly with other dogs are allowed a supervised play time with the other dogs. It gives them the much needed exercise and interaction with other animals and people. Some facilities will also walk your dog. Check with the establishment before hand and to also give your permission to do these things with your dog.

Some of the kennels will bathe and groom your dog for you before you pick him up so check to see if this is something they offer if you’re interested. Some of them do it free of charge.

A dog sitter is a person or persons who come to your house to take care of your animals. Some come in at designated times of the day and evening and some stay overnight. The dog sitter will come to your house a few days before you leave to get acquainted with your dogs and to go over everything that needs to be done. They’ll feed the dogs and provide water to them, they’ll clean the dog runs and put them away at night if this is what you want done. I let the dog sitter know if there are any particular things that they need to know about each dog. They are supplied all the important telephone numbers……not unlike what you would do if you had a baby sitter come in to take care of your children.

I have never been disappointed when I had someone come in to dog sit with my animals. I call the sitter several times a week to check to see that everything is alright. Most of the time that I’ve boarded my dogs, I was happy, except sometimes they would have a “kennel” smell to them which I didn’t like. It indicated to me that perhaps they didn’t clean the kennel as much as they should have. But this was rare.

There are advantages and disadvantages with each of these methods. The advantage of the boarding kennel is that MOST of the time there is someone there with the dogs. Some of the newer kennels have that camera that I mentioned earlier. The disadvantages are that the dog is taken from his own environment and this can be very upsetting to him.

The advantage of the dog sitter in your home is that the dog never has to leave what is familiar to him. The disadvantage: the dogs can become very territorial to strangers coming on their property, that’s why you MUST introduce the dogs before hand to the pet sitter. Also most sitters do not stay overnight so your animals are left alone until the next morning. Remember when someone pet sits, you are allowing a stranger to come into your home. Make sure that they are bonded.

So which ever one you choose for your dogs, do your research on the facilities or the people who come in to your home. Get references on the people who you entrust to take care of your beloved pets. Make sure you get a contract to know what they are responsible for and what they’re not responsible for.

Leaving our dogs is never an easy thing to do, but sometimes it’s a necessity and we want to do the best by them and cause them the least amount of stress.

Prices may vary where you live so check before hand because it will be different with each place you call. Boarding can run $25 a day and up and house sitters can be quite a bit more expensive than this because of the traveling they have to do to come to your house a few times a day.

My rating: Boarding kennels: cleanliness: (3), safety: (3), reliability: (4)
Pet sitters: cleanliness: (4), safety: (3), reliability: (4)

Friday, August 14, 2009


Owning dogs we all know how much they love to chew on things from the time that they’re little puppies right on through their senior years. There are a zillion products on the market to cater to your dog’s need for exercising his jaws. The challenge isn’t trying to decide which one to buy; it’s trying to find one that won’t be dangerous to his health.

Some of the most popular dog chews are the rawhides. Rawhides come in all sorts of sizes and shapes from sticks, to pieces and even to be made to look like a bone. One can only guess why they made them to look like anything at all. The dog certainly doesn’t care what it looks like. He just can’t wait to get his teeth around it. So the manufacturer makes it to be appealing to the consumer. I’ve seen these chews in beef and chicken. Rawhide can be in one big piece or sometimes you’ll find it compressed.

Now take a look at the back of the package and where the product is made. 99% of the time it is made in a foreign country. What are they processing their product with? What’s really in that rawhide? Can you trust it to be a healthy product?

Besides where it comes from and what’s in the rawhide product, just how safe is this for your dog to consume? Many years ago, before I knew any better, I would give my puppies rawhide because of their great need to chew on something. I can not tell you how many times the rawhide would get all mushy and they couldn’t swallow it and they would begin to choke. I would have to stick my hand down their throats to pull the yucky mess back out again. And what about the adult dog that does swallow it? It is not uncommon to hear of dogs rushed into surgery because they have a blockage due to eating rawhide!

I classify pig ears in the same category as rawhide. Again they are excellent for chewing on, but like rawhide, where do they come from, and what is it doing to your dog’s intestines?

Some of the Nylabone products claim to be edible and digestible and does not contain any plastic or sugar. I have used the Nylabone products for my own dogs. I’ve given them the pressed digestible bones without any problems. Still I wonder how easy it is for them to digest this product.

Some people have now resorted to giving their dogs more healthy things to chew on like peeled sweet potatoes, carrots or other vegetables that are not toxic to dogs.

So there you have it. I’m sure some people will continue to use these products anyway claiming that they have never hurt their dogs. Maybe they’re just fortunate. Hopefully they always will remain so.

Prices will vary depending on size: $3.99 and up

My rating: rawhide (1), pigs ears (1), Nylabone digestible (3)

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Years ago it was very hard to find a hotel or motel that would accept you if you had a pet, especially if that pet were a dog. In recent years, the hotel business realized that many people travel with their pets and they wanted to accommodate their guests and some of them opened their doors to the “well behaved” fur kid. However, like in many areas in life, some people abused that gesture and trashed the hotels property and some of them once again closed their doors to the public who insisted on traveling with their beloved canine.

The best way to find out if a hotel allows pets is naturally to call them first. Don’t just arrive expecting everyone will welcome “Rover” because he’s with you. Also check on the internet. There are hundreds of websites that can guide you to “dog friendly” hotels. But even if you see that they accept animals, it is still wise to call ahead of time to make sure. Sometimes they have changed their policy since that listing on the internet website. Many of them will charge an extra fee for animals. A few of them will return this money if they check the room and it’s left in good condition, but many of them do not return the money. Check with the hotels policy before you book your reservation.

Here are some of the things that you should look for from your “pet friendly hotel.” When I travel with a dog, I always ask for a ground floor. Because many hotels expect you to keep your dog contained while in the room, I need a first floor accommodation because of the crate and luggage that I need to get into the room. It’s hard enough getting my stuff and the dogs stuff into the room in the first place. I don’t want to have to travel up and down elevators all day. Also I like a ground floor because it’s easier for me to take my dog out for a walk. I look for a room that has a micro-wave and a refrigerator to cook and keep my dog’s food in it.

Just because a hotel accepts dogs, I still expect it to be clean and comfortable for me. I’m not looking for any “flea bitten” (no pun intended) low life second rate hole in the wall. So the cleanliness of the hotel is just as important to me as if I were not traveling with a dog. It doesn’t have to be a 4 star hotel, but I certainly don’t want a 1 star either!

As dog owners, we have a responsibility to leave the premises the way that we found them. That means picking up after our dogs in the room and outside on the lawn. That also means we need to keep our dogs on a leash at all times. The other guests in the hotel doesn’t really appreciate riding in an elevator with an 85 lb. German Shepherd leaning against his leg no matter how much we assure them that it’s alright!

The two last hotels that I stayed in with a dog were a Holiday Inn Express and a Red Roof motel. Both of them were excellent places for my overnight stay with my dog. They were both clean and well taken care of. They had good grounds for my dog. The staff was friendly and helpful and I would not hesitate to return to either one of these chains of hotels again.

The prices can run $75 and up with a deposit for the dog.

My rating for the two hotels that I stayed in with a dog: cleanliness: (4), friendliness: (4), accommodation: (4)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


With today’s economic instability, it’s not unusual to see many dog breeders/owners looking to save money on the care of their animals without sacrificing quality. As little as a year and a half or two ago, many people were using the top dog food brands and paying exuberant money for it. The economy was thriving and people weren’t concerned about losing their jobs or their homes. Nothing was too good for their animals.

Well times have changed and for some the way they feed their dogs. People had to look at the prices of some of these high quality foods that ran $50 to over $60 for a 33 lb. bag. They were forced to look for a good quality dog food that still provided the nourishment that they demanded for their dogs. It proved to be a daunting task for some and many found that they had to sacrifice certain things in their dog foods that they had become used to before. Some people began mixing two dry foods together hoping to hold onto some of the quality of the “higher end” dog food.

Conscientious breeders were always concerned with the ingredients in their dog food. Then there were others who really didn’t know everything about the ingredients. And some dog food companies didn’t list certain things on their labels and it was perfectly legal. One of those things was an artificial preservative/pesticide known as ethoxyquin. It is used in some dog foods to preserve fish meal and help to prevent fats from becoming rancid. How some companies get away with saying we don’t use ethoxyquin in our food is because the place that they buy their fish from can use this product BEFORE it becomes an ingredient in the dog’s food. So the dog food company can just list the name of the fish in their ingredients. They don’t have to say that it was preserved before they bought it. I know this to be true as I called one of the dog manufacturers and they told me that they don’t use ethoxyquin in their products, and that was true. However, when I asked them if their fish was preserved with this pesticide she told me, she didn’t know what the fish companies did BEFORE they bought it.

Some authorities (breeders, DVM’s etc.) believe ethoxyquin is responsible for chronic degenerative diseases, allergies, dermatitis, congestive heart failure, kidney failure, live pathologies, tumors and cancer.

It remains a challenge for some of us who want to maintain a good quality food for our animals without paying a premium price for it. Is it true that we pay for what we get? But do we have to pay for additives that can prove harmful and in some cases deadly to our dogs? I researched this subject to write this review and was shocked by a letter that I read from a DVM who had very strong concerns about this preservative. You can find that letter by typing in the words on Google search “Ethoxyquin Preservative” without the quotation marks and it should pull right up for you.

Here is a list that I found that says that their foods are Ethoxyquin free. Obviously this list could have changed and there may be others that you can add to it. It was very hard to find brands that made this claim. This list comes from someone who compiled it. It did not come from the company websites. This is what I found: Canidae, Eagle Pack Holistic Select, Fling River Ranch, Fromm Four Star Nutritionals, Gold Nutritionals, Orijen, TLC Whole Life Dog Food and Wellness. A few of these foods I’m not familiar with, but the other ones I can say are all high end, expensive foods. I feed my dogs Eagle Pack holistic and have also tried Wellness and Wellness Core and Canidae dog biscuits. I am seriously considering mixing Diamond Naturals with the Eagle Pack Holistic because it is now over $51 for a 33 lb. bag! Is there no end to these escalating dog food prices?

So to Ethoxyquin or not to Ethoxyquin that is the question. Some of us are so concerned about what we’re feeding our dogs, and forget about the hundreds of preservatives we feed ourselves everyday. It makes one want to start farming and growing your own food again. Well.............maybe!

My rating: dog food without Ethoxyquin: (1), value of dog food (3)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Few of us can attend all of the National specialty shows put on by the German Shepherd Dog Club of America and hosted by a regional club every year. But for those of us who can’t attend this most spectacular show, there’s another way you can enjoy all the ring side action without ever leaving the comfort of your home. I’m talking about the “bringing it to you while it happens” DVD’s of Bob Lindsay.

I’ve seen and ordered both his futurity DVD’s and the Nationals DVD’s. Bob is a breeder, exhibitor himself so it gives him an advantage knowing what the viewer is looking for when they buy a DVD of a dog show. That makes all the difference in the world to the buyer because he knows he’s getting his money’s worth. Bob makes sure that all the four winners in every class can be viewed. You get to see all the class winners and the winner’s dog and winners bitch as well as the Best of Breed competition and all the Selects and puppies. It’s just like being there only it didn’t cost you anything except for buying the DVD’s.

Although all of Bob’s DVD collections are done professionally and accurately, the thing that sets him apart from other DVD’s on the market is his own sense of humor and commentary he gives every so often. That’s what I enjoy; is this man’s warmth and love for the breed which comes through in everyone of his presentations.

The quality of the picture and audio of the DVD’s are all done very well. The National Show usually consists of 5 – 6 or more DVD's and they are all labeled so you know which class you’ll be viewing. They come in a hard shell DVD case to protect the product for years to come.

No serious student of the breed should be without these DVD’s. You’ll find yourself reaching for them time and time again. Where else can you see a dog stacked and looking gorgeous and then slow the DVD down and watch him in motion? These DVD’s are educational as well as entertaining. It’s a wonderful tool to have when considering using a stud dog for your breeding program.

The price for Bob’s DVD’s will vary according to each National and how many DVD’s were taken of that show. The last National DVD’s I bought cost me a little over $100. His wife Sandy is his “secretary” and usually handles most orders. You can reach them at:

My rating: quality of DVD’s: (4), informative (4), entertaining (4), value (4)

Monday, August 10, 2009


A classic never goes out of style. It’s something that’s relevant when it was first introduced and all these years later, it’s just as relevant. Many books have been written over the years about the German Shepherd Dog. Some of them are very well done and can prove to be a valuable addition to your library. However, one book in my opinion has it all and that is THE GERMAN SHEPHERD TODAY by Winifred Gibson Strickland and James A. Moses. This book is now on its third edition.

First let’s take a look at its authors. That alone should tell you that the contents of this book come from years of experience owning and working with this breed. Winifred Gibson Strickland is a top obedience trainer and conformation breeder who is also an obedience judge. Having owned both conformation and obedience champion dogs attest to Ms. Strickland’s knowledge of the German Shepherd Dogs versatility. James A Moses is a name that’s symbolic to the German Shepherd Dog breed. He is a top professional dog show handler and breeder and is associated with some of the top winning dogs and kennels of all time. He is a master marketer and visionary having broken all records and made new ones along the way. He’s the only German Shepherd Dog handler to have won Best in Show at the prestigious Westminster show and broke all breeding records by promoting and showing a dog that became the top producing dog in the history of the breed.

Put together the two minds of these German Shepherd Dog experts of the breed, and you can see why there is a wealth of information between the pages of this book. It gives the reader a history of the breed going back to where it all began in Germany through the years of its development up to today’s style of dog. You’ll read about the proper care of the new born puppy, what to look for in a puppy, how to train your new dog, how to live with him, what to look for in the temperament of this breed, how to read pedigrees, etc. It will give you advice about grooming your dog, how to set up a dog for the conformation ring and many other useful tips to make your life with your dog more enjoyable. You’ll see pictures of Ms. Strickland doing obedience work with her dogs.

If you’re a student of the breed or just in love with the German Shepherd, then you’ll going to enjoy looking at all the fabulous pictures of some of the top dogs in the history of the breed. You’ll see where it all began and how the breed has evolved to what it is today.

When I got my first copy of this book back in the later part of the 70’s, I was a new breeder/exhibitor. I read every single page of this book and since then many times over. It was instrumental in helping me learn how to build a whelping box and more importantly it taught me about tube feeding a puppy. Little did I know that I was going to have to use that knowledge and tube feed a litter of puppies. That book stayed in my whelping room and many times I would read it while waiting for a new litter to be born.

THE GERMAN SHEPHERD DOG TODAY is a must for your German Shepherd Dog library. You’ll find yourself referring to it time and time again. You owe it to yourself to own a piece of German Shepherd Dog history that awaits you between the covers of this book.

You can pick up a copy of this book on most of the larger book sites on the web. Amazon sells it for a little over $29. Sometimes you’ll be able to find it on e-bay as well.

My rating: informative: (4), knowledgeable authors: (4), easy to understand: (4), value: (4)

Friday, August 7, 2009


Many times over the years as a breeder or owner of dogs, if I were to mention to the average pet dog owner, I put my dog in a crate, you would think that I just sentenced them to a prison. Anything from “That’s mean and cruel,” to “How could you do that to the poor thing?” would be some of the feedback that I would hear. Truth be told as any breeder can attest to, having a dog crate is a “must.” We would tell you, it’s the best house training tool for a puppy or youngster, a good place to feed a dog when you’re feeding more than one at a time, you can use it to ship a dog, it’s a great place for them to sleep in the house, and a wonderful “escape den” for the dog when he just wants to “chill!” As long as the crate isn’t used as a place of punishment or kept in it for hours upon hours, then it’s one of the most important things that you should have as a dog owner. It’s something that I recommend to all of my puppy buyers.

Now just what kind of crate is available for the dog owner? You can buy a dog crate that’s either all wire or one that is constructed of polypropylene (looks like plastic). I personally prefer the plastic type. There’s something about the wire crates that bother me. It looks like a foot or puppy’s leg could get caught in between the wires. Although, this type of crate is probably great for the best air circulation.

I like the plastic type of crates because they seem to be constructed to last a life time. I have two crates that are made by Sky Kennel. They are the 500 size which measures 40” long, 27” wide and 30” high. This is a good size for a German Shepherd Dog. He has plenty of room to lie down in. Now mind you I only own bitches, so for the adult male, you might want to look into getting a larger crate to accommodate his size. Of these two Sky Kennels that I own, one dates back when I bought it in the 80’s and the other one is only a few years old. They’re both the same size, and both are sturdy. The only real difference that I see is with the door and the bolts holding the crate together. The door lock on the newer one has a handle that turns and then bolts the door locked. The older one has the bolts sliding into slots to hold the door locked. The screws that hold the crate together is probably the thing that I like the least about the newer model. The old model has the old fashioned screw and bolts. The newer model has the bolts, but instead of the metal screws, it has plastic screws. I don’t find that they would be as durable as the old ones. They are easier to remove, but I question if they are as secure.

Another favorite crate that I also used to own is the Kennel Aire crate. They too are made very similar to the Sky Kennels. They were made to last a life time as well. The plastic crates are easy to clean. If need be, you can take them apart to clean them, but most of the time this isn’t necessary.

The plastic crates have plenty of ventilation because of the wires at the top sides and back of the crate as well as the wire doors. Many of the crates come with a detachable bowl for water. You can buy rugs or mats to put on the floor of the crate for the dogs comfort. I have found that this wasn’t always the best thing to do with puppies as they love to chew everything. In fact, I have an adult dog that still does the same thing, so no rugs for her. Sometimes the dog just likes to lie on the bare floor of the crate because it’s cooler for them to do so.

Because dogs are pack animals, their natural instinct is to look for a “den to nest.” Don’t be surprised if once you start to crate train your dog that you find him periodically going into the crate on his own just to “get away from it all!’ I always leave the crate door open during the day in case one of them wants to lay in it.

There are many different places on the internet as well in some pet stores to buy your dog a crate. Prices (depending on size) can range from $150 to over $200. Check around for the best prices. This is a small price to pay because these crates last practically forever!

I’m going to base my rating on the plastic crates as I don’t use the all wire crates.

My rating: durability: (4), comfort for the dog: (4), easy to clean: (4), value: (4)

Thursday, August 6, 2009


When I discovered Vibrant Pets supplement, I did so because I was on a mission. I wasn’t necessarily looking for a coat conditioner like many people who show are. That’s just a welcomed bonus with this product. No, I was looking for a holistic, all natural product that I could give to help one of my dogs who was diagnosed with a condition called SIBO (small intestinal bacteria overgrowth). I had never heard of this condition before, but here it was and I knew I needed to do something to help my dog. She did not look healthy. She was too thin although she had a good appetite. Her coat looked awful. There was no life to it….it was dull and she looked like she was a dog from a third world country. Because of this medical condition, she wasn’t utilizing her food properly. It would go right through her and she always had soft pancake like stools. Because she wasn’t getting the proper nutrients from her food, she looked unhealthy and wasn’t thriving very well. I wasn’t willing to give up on her because I loved her dearly and it was my responsibility to do everything I could to help her live a more “normal” life.

So my search began. I think I tried MOST every supplement/vitamin product on the market. Yes, and many of them were the big name products that many of the show people use. I ordered them on line, in the stores, and from private dealers. All of the products were good quality products, but none of them helped my girl.

My veterinarian put my dog on an antibiotic called Tylan. It helped her tremendously. I was told she might have to be on this for the rest of her life. That did not make me happy knowing she might have to be on an antibiotic forever! So after much trial and error, I found the product Vibrant Pets supplement on the internet. I read all the testimonials and I saw that Jimmy Moses used and endorsed the product. So I figured I’d give one more supplement a try. My girl ate her food fine with this product in it. She was still on the antibiotic. Then one day I got a call from the owner of Vibrant Pets. What a friendly man he was. So I told Lee about my girl and her medical condition. He says to me, “I’ll tell you what, take her off of the antibiotic and double dose her in each meal with Vibrant Pets. After two weeks, you get back to me and let me know how she’s doing." So I tried just about everything else, so I decided to take Lee’s suggestion.

Within two weeks time, my girl was off of the antibiotic for good. She got her double dose of Vibrant Pets and her stools began to get more firm. As time went by, she began to gain weight, and her coat no longer looked dull and lifeless. I was so happy and thankful for this product. So I talked to Lee again and I told him his product was a miracle for my girl. I told him that I would keep her on it for the rest of her life.

As a little experiment……I tried to cut back on the Vibrant Pets that I gave my girl. Lo and behold, her stools started to soften up again. So I will always keep her on the double dose. Will Vibrant Pets cure her of her SIBO? No it won’t, but it will help her live a full and active life. This product doesn’t cure diseases, but I believe it can help an animal live a better life with their disease.

What’s in this stuff you may ask? Well it has 4 probiotics, 6 enzymes and 6 enzymes supporters, 12 vitamins, 16 metals and compounds, 4 fatty acids, and 8 amino acids. Everyone reads that probiotics is good for the digestive system, but did you know that all probiotics are not created equal? Temperature: As Probiotics are living bacteria, they are temperature sensitive. Virtually all Probiotics sold have a threshold of 105 degrees Fahrenheit. So, if your Probiotic supplement sits in a truck on a hot summer day or in the cargo hold of a plane stuck on a hot runway, your Probiotics may be useless. Vibrant Pets is revolutionary in that it uses new, more temperature-resistant Probiotics that have a threshold of 140 degrees. This way, we can guarantee that your Probiotics are potent no matter what time of year they were transported to your home.

The testimonials from people of how their dogs with hip dysplasia,arthritis, SIBO, cancer, hot spots, dull coats, etc. have been given a new lease on life because of using Vibrant Pets is inspiring. Helping your dog live a happier, healthier, more vibrant life is what this company is about.

Vibrant Pets is a human grade, holistic product and is made and manufactured in the US. It comes in three different formulas and three different sizes. It’s economical in that it comes with a small scope and you feed one scope per cup of food. Some products come with a very large scope and before you know it the jar is gone. Right now the company is developing a new formula that they hope to introduce to the public soon.

There are many breeders now who use this product for their champions and up and coming stars. But here’s a little unknown fact. Because this is a holistic, human grade product, there are many people now who take this supplement mixed in a little juice in the morning. No joke. Even the owners of this product drink it down every morning!

All of my dogs are now on it. Because they are German Shepherds, I worry about the digestive problems of this breed. I’m most concerned about bloat, torsion and toxic gut. I’m not saying this product will prevent those conditions, but I know that I’m doing the best I can when it comes to their digestive health.

Whether you are looking to improve the look and condition of your dog’s coat, or looking to maintain or improve his health, there is a Vibrant Pets formula for your animal. I thank God for this product because my dog looks like a different dog now. Her coat is shiny and healthy, her eyes are clear, and her body is strong. Her stools are good, her appetite is great, and she’s a happy girl with lots of energy. In fact, she needs to go on a diet. She’s too fat!

To order this product with free shipping and the best prices, contact me at: or 845-386-9317.

My rating: quality: (4), does what it says it does: (4), customer service: (4), economical: (3)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


A few years ago I read about a product that everyone was talking about. It was called the Furminator. It was suppose to be a quicker way to help remove your dogs shedding coat and in particular the undercoat. If you are like me and own German Shepherds, you know all too well about the constant shedding of these dogs. German Shepherds have a thick undercoat, so removing it is always a challenge.

I have always used a shedding comb on my dogs for years along with a grooming brush. So I decided that I would order this new product to see what all the fuss was about. I don’t remember if I ordered from Amazon or e-bay because I was looking for the best price. These were definitely pricier than the tools that I was using to groom my dogs.

So the Fuminator arrives at my door and I quickly open the box to see what this “miracle” comb looked like. The teeth of the comb are very tiny and close together. It has quite a sharp edge to it so it comes with a protective piece that fits over the teeth of the comb. You can actually sharpen the edge of this comb if needed, so that’s why it’s important to store it with its protective shield.

Now I was told not to brush too hard with this comb as it could be uncomfortable on the dog’s skin, although it does not cut. It just grabs and removes the undercoat. It is recommended that you do not apply too much weight or pressure when using the comb on your dog. Some dogs may have sensitive skin and may become irritated. You need to brush away from the skin, not toward it. If your dog has any tangles or matting, sores or scabs, do not use this tool. These conditions need to be treated by your groomer and veterinarian.

My take on this product – Although it removed lots of hair as it claims to do, I still preferred my old trusty shedding comb. I found that you must be careful not to apply too much pressure as noted because it can be uncomfortable to the dog. I know when I get to removing my dogs hair, I can get carried away trying to remove as much as I can and sometimes the dogs can be sensitive to that.

Prices can range from: $29.99 - $49.99

My rating: durability: (4), does what it says it will: (4), safety: (3), dogs comfort zone: (2), value: (2)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


I happened to try Spot Shot instant carpet stain & odor elinimator because I had a coupon for it. Having three German Shepherds in the house, I find I always like to keep something like this on hand for those little (and sometimes big) mishaps. Well I like this product so much that I not only use it on the carpets, I use it where ever there is a need for a quick clean up after one of the dogs leaves a muddy footprint or a morning bile deposit somewhere. I find it’s also excellent to clean up a blood stain on the carpet as well. They advertise that it even removes tough old stains.

Spot Shot is non-toxic and is safe for children and pets when used as directed and it is certified biodegradable. It safely eliminates stains and odors on carpets and prevents them from returning. Although it’s safe for most carpets and rugs, it is not recommended for wool carpeting.

I love the smell of this stuff. I do open the windows though when I need to clean something bigger than a small spot on the rug. I’ll give you an example of what I use it for. I use it for my dog’s crates if a bitch is in season, or if someone throws up in their crate. I just had this happen the other night. My one girl is such a glutton when it comes to food and she was running around a lot the other night and jumping in the air catching treats that I was throwing to her. She got herself so wound up that when I put her to bed, she threw up those treats in her crate. Lovely! So out came the spot shot. I cleaned up the mess and sprayed this product lightly over the surface of the crate. I wiped it down with a paper towel and then dried it before I put her back in there. I wanted to make sure it was dry and with the windows open it got enough ventilation. Smell was all gone and I put her back in her crate.

Spots on the rug come right up. I spray the spot, let it sit for a few seconds and clean it. Spot is all gone! It leaves the room smelling really nice after a clean up.

Spot Shot is available at most grocery stores so it’s convenient to buy. You can also buy it on the internet. The price can run anywhere from $6 to $8 depending upon the size of the bottle. It comes in a handy spray bottle so it is easy to use. I see that the company also makes this product with a label that says “dog’s” on it. I didn’t see that in my store, but found it on the internet. I don’t know if there is any difference to the product because I didn’t have that option when I bought my bottle.

I’m not recommending this product be used for big jobs because it’s not labeled for that. But I do think it’s excellent for the quick, unexpected, “need it right away” type of clean ups that we all have occasionally when owning dogs. When I clean up something in a crate, all it takes is a light spray over the area. You do not need a lot of this stuff to get the job done. A light surface spray is all that's needed. Don't over do it.

My rating: ease of removing stains: (4), fragrance (the smell of the product) (4), ease of use: (4), availability (4), price: (4)

Monday, August 3, 2009


I’m not a big time breeder so when I needed a whelping box for my last litter, I was looking for something that was easy to assemble and clean and could be stored away when not in use. After much research, I decided to buy the Dura Whelp whelping box by Breeder I liked that they advertised that it was easy to use, easy to store, and that it was the safest and cleanest boxes available.

The box is made of corrugated plastic and comes with a 3 year guarantee. Included with the box is a puppy rail to ensure safety for the puppies so they don’t get squished against the wall by their mother laying too close to it.

So I placed my order with the company and questioned my own ability to set this thing up. When it comes to putting things together, I confess I am mechanically challenged even if it does have step by step instructions. So I found myself on the telephone with the company asking questions about how to do this and how to do that. They were patient with their advice but I can’t be too sure of what they may have been thinking at the time.

The whelping box ships to your door folded and fitted snuggly inside the shipping box. It’s quite heavy and for one person to remove this well packed product can prove to be a daunting task. There is very little assembly required to set the box up. It comes with 4 screws and the door slides up and out. The whelping box is durable yet flexible.

You can also order a washable rug for the whelping box. Cleaning the box itself is a breeze. Just wash it down with bleach or other disinfectant. The company also sells a
Puppy heating pad and heat lamp. The box is available in 4 different sizes ranging in price from $149.95 - $219.95. The Therma Whelp (heating pad & lamp) is $149.95 or $159.95. The pads (rugs) sell from $29.99 to $39.99.

I only had a two puppy litter and was able to keep both girls in there for several weeks. (See my two girls in the above picture). However, I found that the puppy rail was not as strong as I would have liked it. My one huge girl kept getting stuck under it and then it started to lift. I would question the durability of the box with a large litter. I loved the convenience and ease of keeping this box clean and I liked how easy it was to pick up the rug and put it in the washing machine. I wasn’t crazy about the heating pad and lamp. I found it to be a little cumbersome. The puppies can actually lie on the metal base (pad), but found that you have to watch how warm that gets.

Overall, I liked the Dura-Whelp box, but found it to be quite pricey once you start to add in all the extras and tack on top of that the expense of shipping. It is now packed away back in the shipping box it came in. It’s very easy to store and take out again for the next little bundle of joys!

For more information:

My rating: ease to assemble: (4), easy to clean (4), strength and durability: (3), price and value for the money: (3), customer service: (4)