Friday, October 30, 2009


Many of us try to feed the best dog food that we can afford. I try to feed my dogs natural or holistic types of foods. I was in the supermarket yesterday doing my grocery shopping and I always see what coupons (I’m a coupon Queen) I have for my dog’s snacks. Let me tell you, I must have read practically every ingredient label on the boxes of dog biscuits or treats they had on the shelves. Most all of them list wheat as the first ingredient, and then you’ll see the other unsavory ingredients like corn, by products, soy, etc. listed next. So here I am writing about the benefits of feeding natural ingredients in our dog’s food and I’m looking for dog treats in the grocery aisle of the supermarket!

Two days ago I got an e-mail sent to me from the Director of Brand Marketing for the dog food that I recently reviewed called Organix. He sent me an article that his company Castor and Pollux who produces this food was just honored by Dog Fancy magazine as the top new product for dogs. This product is called “Good Buddy Mac and cheese” dog biscuits. I admit that I've never used it for my dogs yet. Part of the sales of this dog treat goes to feed shelter animals. This company donated meals for 750,000 shelter animals last year!

Buying treats in the pet stores can be very expensive and it’s rare to have a coupon to buy them with. One of my dog’s favorite dog biscuits from these types of stores is the Canidae dog biscuits. These are the ones that snap in half so you can divide them among two dogs. They go nuts for these cookies. But they’re not cheap.

Some people give their dogs fruits and vegetables. I read that some breeders give their dog’s sweet potato’s which is a healthy alternative for snacking. If my dog’s are in the mood and nothing else is being offered to them on that day, they’ll eat carrots. My dogs are excellent eaters so they’ll eat most anything that’s offered to them, but carrots they can take or leave.

Even if you buy your dog’s treats in a pet store, always read the label. It doesn’t mean because it’s more expensive that it’s any better for them. They can still be selling the same ingredients in their biscuits as you would find in the grocery store only with a fancier label.

I’m not a baker. I like to cook, but I won’t win any awards for my baking expertise. There are recipes for dog biscuits that some people will bake for their canine friends. This way you know what’s in his cookie and you don’t need to use any preservatives. This is probably a whole lot cheaper to do than to buy the commercial brand of treats and a heck of a lot healthier. As I’m writing this, I’m thinking of doing this myself if I can find an easy recipe to follow. I’d probably save myself a whole lot of money! Does anyone have any great recipes for dog cookies or treats? Here are a couple of recipes that I found on the internet you may want to try.

• One 15 oz. can mashed pure pumpkin (NOT the spiced pie filling)
• 3/4 cup cream of wheat (or rice cereal if wheat-sensitive) you can mix this dry--no need to cook it first
• 1/2 cup dry powdered milk
Directions: Preheat oven to 300 F.
Mix all ingredients together. Drop small spoonfuls (about half of a tablespoon) onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake at 300 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

FROZEN DOG TREATS (You can make these in ice cub trays)
• 1 tablespoons honey
• 3 tablespoons peanut butter
• 1 ripe banana --
• 16 ounces plain yogurt
Mix the peanut butter, honey, and fruit together until well blended—mash with a fork or use the blender. Add the fruit mixture to the yogurt and mix well. Freeze in ice cube trays. Crack trays and release treats as needed!
Mix all ingredients together. Drop small spoonfuls (I use about half of a tablespoon) onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake at 300 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

For any treats that you make (besides the frozen ones), you can store them in an air-tight container or put in the refrigerator.

I’m sure your dog/dogs will love most any treat that you give them. For my readers who are pet owners, please never give your dogs CHOCOLATE anything and no grapes or raisins either. Someone told me recently that they give grapes to their dogs and they’re little tiny toy dogs. I told her not to feed them grapes anymore especially the size of these little guys. They can be toxic! If you are unsure of what to avoid when feeding your dog, just do a search on the internet and it will list all of the foods to avoid giving to your dog.

Watch out for the trick or treaters tomorrow night. Make sure your dog doesn’t get into the kids candies and tell the children to leave the treating of the dogs to the adults.

I think giving dog’s snacks as a reward or training incentive is good for them. Or you can do what I do, give it to them just because I like to spoil them.

My rating: healthy, natural dog snacks: (4), supermarket brand snacks: (1 -2), homemade dog treats: (4)

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I discussed this subject over a year ago on one of the German Shepherd Dog lists that I belong to. I thought I’d bring it up again for those who didn’t see it and for my readers who don’t belong to these e-mail lists.

So you meet the love of your life and he/she has everything that you are looking for in a potential partner except one thing……he doesn’t like dogs. Oh it’s not that he doesn’t like them, he just doesn’t want to live with them. He’s of that old school thinking that a dog is just a dog. He doesn’t feel like you do that the dog is part of your family and you could never see living your life without one of them to share it with. Can you sway him over to your way of thinking about your canine friends? If you did talk him into accepting a dog, will he be happy with the arrangement or will it cause problems in your relationship?

Let’s face it, not everyone wants a dog kissing them, pawing at them, jumping on them and leaving their hair all over everything that they come into contact with. It takes a very special kind of person to share their life with a dog. Perhaps he never owned a dog in his life. Maybe his mother was a “cleanliness freak” and would faint having a dog come into her house to mess it up. Maybe he just believes that a dog is an animal and is expected to live outside, but not in the house that he dwells in. It doesn’t make him wrong and you right. It’s just the different ways that we were brought up.

Perhaps you’re saying to yourself that you could never be with someone who didn’t share your love of animals and especially of your dog. You’re of the thought……love me, love my dog. Well we don’t choose who we fall in love with. You have chemistry with this person and you want to be with him. When you’re in a new relationship, sometime sacrifices and adjustments have to be made. Love is about making compromises to make one another happy. Having one dog will be adjustment enough for the non-pet lover. But what about those of us who have more than one dog? How will the new “love of your life” cope with that? Well you’re probably saying that you had your dogs first and if he wants to be with you, then he’s going to have accept your dogs. If he has a hard time with this, do you let him walk out of your life or do you make some adjustments? Someone is going to lose here. The dogs or your love interest.

I know of people who are in these types of relationships. One of them lives, loves and breathes dogs. The other “tolerates” it because of his partner’s commitment to her animals. Is he happy with this arrangement? Probably not, but because he loves her and wants to make her happy, he accepts it. The real problems start when the one who loves the dogs expects her partner to share in the work and upkeep of taking care of dogs. Little by little she may ask him to help feed them, pick up after them, bring them in, etc. This is where the animosity can set in. You may have talked him into living with your animals, but he didn’t sign up to take care of them. If both people can accept one another’s limitations and work with one another so you are both happy, then this arrangement can work out. He may never share your love for them, but he can grow to accept them and that can lead to a happy environment to co-exist in.

No one would want to be put in a situation where they would have to choose between the human type of love and the love they feel for their dog. Ideally it would be best to marry someone who loved animals like you do, but that’s in an ideal world. It doesn’t always work out that way. The best thing to do is to be honest right up front in the beginning of a new relationship. This way there are no surprises later. This is when one can choose to walk away if they can’t accept animals in their lives. All you animal lovers are probably saying you wouldn’t want to be with someone who didn’t share your love of animals anyway.

Let’s take this one step further. So you find someone who although never had a dog will accept your dog/dogs and it seems like you found a match made in Heaven! There’s just one other little thing that you need to tell this “angelic” soul mate. You breed your dogs. There will be puppies and the associated smell that comes with them. You have a stud dog and bitches will be coming to stay at your house. You might have to drive to the airport a few times a month to pick up the pretty ladies. You’re going to need him to help you breed the two dogs. This might just prove too much for the non-dog lover. You just might be pushing it with that kind of request.

You need to let him know that there is a thing called dog shows and you like going to them very much. Sometimes there’s more than one show on a week-end. Then there’s that really big show in the fall called the National Specialty show and it will normally run for about a week. You got to let him know that this is how you spend your vacation money. He needs to know that there will be dog runs and dog houses displayed across his backyard. His beautiful green lawn will now be decorated with little yellow patches here and there just to add a little interest. It’s probably a good idea to let him know that “Rocky” likes to share your bed and will be quite upset relinquishing it to him.

So if “Mister Wonderful” can accept you not smelling of that sexy little designer fragrance he loved when you first met him for the “doggie” aroma that assaults his nostrils now, then he’s a keeper. If he can accept you wearing sweat pants a lot more than those tight jeans he turned around and followed you into the supermarket for, then he loves you just the way you are. He might not love the dogs (not the way that you do), but because he loves you, the dogs are now a part of BOTH of your lives. And because you love him, you may find that you too will make sacrifices and compromises to keep peace and harmony in your relationship.

My rating: dog lover with a non-dog lover: (2 -3)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


So my good friend calls me up the other day and tells me that she is in her kitchen staring at her new male dog that she just bought. After just losing her favorite dog to old age, I knew that she was looking for another dog to live in the house with her. So she tells me that she just imported this dog from Germany. I was so excited and happy for her because I knew how much this dog meant to her. She tells me where I can see a picture of him which I found on her website. He is a very handsome black and red male with a beautiful plush coat. Black and red……… typical for the German import dogs. It got me wondering why the German dogs are so well pigmented and the American dogs not so much. I mean I really, really like that black and red pigment. I’d even take a black and orange pigmented dog!

So I started to think about this year’s National from last week. I was very impressed with the overall quality of the dogs that were displayed there. I think the breeders have come a long way from even just a few years ago. I saw better fronts and side gait and better overall breed type. But even so, I didn’t see any black and red pigment. Naturally I was viewing the show from streaming video on my computer so I couldn’t see pigment up close and personal.

How can American breeders improve upon pigment in their litters? Where do we go to get it? There are a few dogs that I know that have gorgeous pigment like the double “Select Rouge,” the gorgeous “Select Annie” (although she is American/German cross) but I don’t know too many others. Do we need to out cross to a German dog to bring this gorgeous pigment into the genetic pool? Where and how do we get it? I remember some of the old dogs from the past that had beautiful rich pigment like “Joey Baby”, and Select Lothario.”

I am not a genetic specialist so I don’t claim to know everything there is to know about pigment. I just know that I love looking at a pretty dog. Red sables are just as beautiful as a black and red pigmented dog in this writer’s opinion. I don’t know how to get it, but I know I want some of it!

So today’s entry on my blog is short and sweet…………….just please tell me how do I get that gorgeous red pigment into my lines? And no, I can’t afford a German import.

My rating: rich, red or orange pigment: (4), American bred dogs pigment: (3)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Probably one of the biggest expenses we dog lovers have is veterinarian costs. The “average” money spent on a dog per year is over $400. That’s the average cost, not including any emergencies your dog might have. Also this doesn’t include breeding expenses like having the bitch tested before she’s bred, x-rays to determine if she’s pregnant or any other special procedures related to breeding. Then after a litter is whelped add on top of the other things already mentioned examinations, shots and worming and that $400 per dog per year has just increased ten fold!

With today’s bleak and sluggish economy, many people have had to lessen the amount of their dog’s usual veterinarian visits. It’s unfortunate that some animals are not being given the medical attention that they need because of their owners own need to provide for their human family first.

When one thinks of pet insurance for their pets, most people consider purchasing this for the “big ticketed” type of emergencies like an accident. Most animals if properly taken care of will never have a really big accident that will cost their owners thousands of dollars! So the chance that your dog will be involved with this type of emergency is small compared to the everyday expenses that most people take their dogs to the vet’s for.

According to my research for this article the top ten dog diseases that most pet insurance claims were for: ear infection, skin allergy, Pyoderma and hot spots, Gastritis and vomiting, Enteritis and diarrhea, Urinary tract infections, benign skin tumors, Eye inflammation, Osteoarthritis, and Hypothyroidism. With this list we can see that gastrointestinal problems and allergies are the two biggest reasons our pet visits a veterinarian.

Check around with different pet insurance companies just as you would your own. Some of these companies will not take on an animal that has a pre-existing health problem. Some will……so be sure to check before you sign up with a company.

Most basic pet insurance companies will cover things like medications, x-rays, laboratory and diagnostic tests, surgery, hospitalization, euthanasia. Some policies even cover basic preventative care that can include annual check ups, vaccinations and fecal examinations. And then some other policies will even include visits to specialists.

I’m always amazed when I do research for some of these articles the many things that I learn as well. According to a report by CNBC, pet insurance is now the third most requested sponsored benefit in the US! I never knew this!

Many companies will base your plan on the species, age and any pre-existing health problems your dog may have. Some companies have no age limit but most have and they can start about 6 weeks old to 8 years of age. Another interesting find pertaining to the German Shepherd Dog, some will not cover breeds that are prone to developing diseases common to the breed like hip dysplasia. So do check to make sure about this.

If pet insurance is not something that you can get or if you are turned down because of an existing health problem, there are a couple of other alternatives you may have for your dog. Check with your veterinarian if he offers Wellness packages which are discounted prices for shots, etc. Also you can check out a program called Pet Assure which offers discounts up to 25% on veterinarian costs and up to 50% on supplies and services. Lastly, if you are a pet owner who is in financial need, there are non-profit organizations that offer financial aid.

Depending upon which insurance program you decide to sign up with, the annual deductible is around $100.

Obviously preventative care is the best defense we have in insuring our dog’s health. Feeding the best food and supplements we can afford is always a good place to start. Having a clean environment for our dogs to live in is another way to help insure the animal’s health.

My rating: insurance….is it worth it? (4)

Monday, October 26, 2009


The fun of showing a dog and winning at a National Specialty show is that your dog just competed against the top dogs in the country and won! Besides the thrill of the victory, some of the top breeders and exhibitors just saw your dog do it! The applause is deafening, the excitement contagious and long after the clapping dies down, you will revisit that day over and over again in your mind.

Looking over the history of the past German Shepherd Dogs on the reviewed site of the German Shepherd Dog Club of America I counted nine dogs (I may be off a smidgen) that were Grand Victor more than once. The first dog was Ch. Cito Bergerslust, SchH and the last dog to do it was the beautiful Ch. Marquin’s Extra Extra. The dog that won more Grand Victor titles than any other was Ch. Arko v Sadowaberg of Jessford CD who achieved those titles back in the 1930’s. He was awarded this honor four times! I don’t know what the entries were back then or if there is even a record of it, but I’m assuming it was smaller than in the years that followed. For comparison, I only counted three Grand Victrix’s that ever were crowned more than once and all of them were in the beginning of the recorded breed’s history.

As anyone can tell you who has competed on the National level, it’s a whole other ball game than showing at a local club’s specialty. Those shows are just a stepping stone to the ultimate platform to showcase ones dog. These dogs are not just taken out of a crate and thrown into the arena. They have been conditioned, exercised and trained for this day. This is what their breeder/owners have been planning since the puppy was born. It takes a very special dog to win a very special title at the National. Win, place or show, it’s such an honor to step foot in that ring!

Because the cream of the crop and the best of the best are paraded for all to see the competition is tougher than at any other American dog show in the country. The judge examines, he watches, he touches, he thinks, he compares and then when the audience can’t stand it for a second more, he points to his winner. A new Grand Victor and Victrix now reigns supreme over the German Shepherd land of champions! The owners are elated, the handlers are exhausted but proud of their win, and the spectators stomp their feet and clap their hands in approval of the judge’s choice.

The hoopla and good wishes will continue for weeks following the show. It’s a win that for all those connected to this very special dog won’t ever forget. But what about all the other entries whose dog was just as good and perhaps under another judge would have been crowned the new Grand Victor? So like many will do, they’ll plan to show again at next years National and hope that they too will experience the thrill of victory.

The next year comes and with the same enthusiasm and dreams of grandeur, some of the same dogs that were shown the previous year are shown again this year. The dogs exhibiting number is picked up by the owner and given to the handler. The ring steward checks the numbers of the dogs as they enter the ring. Lot’s of familiar dogs and new ones too trot into the ring. Along with this year’s entries, last years or the years before Grand Victor proudly gaits into the ring as well. How do you feel about this? If he wins again, how does this make you feel? Do you think it’s fair?

I talked to people on both sides of the fence about this subject. Some feel that the dog has already won. Let a new Grand Victor be crowned. They feel that the breed should have a new and different Grand Victor each year. Other’s feel that it’s a sport and they can show the dog as many years as they want. It is after all, a competition. Also it’s a different judge who will judge the dogs but why take the chance of seeing the Grand Victor lose? They feel if you want to show the dog again for people to see how beautifully he’s matured; put him in the Honor Parade!

When you look at competitive sports, time and time again you will see past champions and winners compete the following year or in following events. Boxers win the title and then they fight defending it. Baseball teams, football teams, basketball team, etc. win the title one year and come out and compete the following year to defend it. Then the argument I hear is they are franchises and owned by people and get paid big advertising dollars. At a dog show, a Grand Victor doesn’t have to defend his title. No one can take it away. No one is paying the owner advertising money. To show a Grand Victor again is a choice that the owner makes. They don’t have to do it.

Okay then so that is the discussion that was put to me and I thought I’d share it and see what others think about it.

My rating: I can understand both points of view, so……retire the GV from competition on the National level: (4), on the other side……it’s a sport & he should still be able to compete: (4)

Friday, October 23, 2009


The German Shepherd Dog is prone to gastro intestinal diseases. Why this is, no one knows for sure. Among some of the diseases that this breed can have is a condition called Inflammatory Bowel Disease or IBD.

IBD is a when one or more sections of the gastrointestinal tract have been invaded with inflammatory cells. Left untreated, this inflammation can cause the intestinal tract to become less efficient at absorbing nutrients from their food. The result can be a dog that loses weight, vomits and has diarrhea. Many times this condition develops slowly and can go on for several months or even years before a real problem presents itself.

There are several types of IBD. These different types affect different parts of the gastro intestinal tract and the different cells that are affecting it. Because there are many different things that can inflame the dog’s intestinal tract, other diseases must be ruled out before a true diagnosis of IBD can be confirmed.

The four different types of IBD are: The most common type is Lympho plasmacytic. The second most common type is Eosinophilic which is also the most severe form of IBD. Food allergy and parasites must be ruled out for the inflammation before a diagnosis of IBD is made. Then there is the rarer form of IBD known as Neutrophilic. Bacterial infection must be ruled out for a proper diagnosis. And lastly another rare form of IBD is Granulomatous. Foreign bodies and fungal infection must be ruled out for this diagnosis.

The cause of IBD is not truly known although genetics, intestinal infections, food and abnormalities of the dog’s immune system can all play a role. The intestines produce a large amount of food and bacterial particles called antigens. It is these antigens that can cause an allergic immune type response. Bottom line, when these inflammatory cells invade the intestines, it interferes with the body’s ability to absorb and digest nutrients.

Some common antigens are proteins and preservatives from the dog’s food, parasites, virus’s and bacteria, and ingested foreign materials (garbage, toys, etc.). These things can start the abnormal immune response and even when the antigen is no longer present, the inflammation continues. When an exact reason cannot be found for the inflammation, this is call idiopathic, or true IBD.

The most common signs to look for are vomiting and diarrhea. Putting the dog on antibiotics and changing his food may help for a short time, but eventually the symptoms return. Usually the signs will slowly progress and then can become severe and sudden as the disease progresses. With IBD, the stomach, colon and small intestines may be involved.

When a dog has stomach inflammation, this is called gastritis. Typical of this condition is loss of appetite and vomiting. The dog may vomit undigested food, partially digested food, a clear or brownish liquid and sometimes a small amount of blood.

When the inflammation is in the small intestines, this is called enteritis. This can cause vomiting, weight loss and diarrhea. The dog may be lethargic and doesn’t look like he’s thriving very well. The diarrhea is usually a large amount and can happen one to three times a day.

When the colon is inflamed, it’s called colitis. This condition causes diarrhea in smaller amounts, but can happen up to ten times a day. The dog many times will strain while defecating and have blood or mucus in his stools. These dogs usually remain active, eat well and don’t lose weight.

Many conditions can cause a dog to vomit and have diarrhea and this can be the most difficult part in diagnosing IBD. After all testing is done which may include, a complete blood count, chemistry panel, urinalysis, fecal examination and culture, ex-rays of the chest and abdomen and sometimes an ultrasound, intestinal parasites, bacterial, viral and fungal infections, dietary allergies, foreign bodies and cancer. To determine intestinal malabsorption, specialized blood tests such as colbalamine and folate are often recommended to determine the severity.

If all tests fail to reveal another disease that’s causing the intestinal malabsorption, then IBD is suspected and a biopsy of the intestines is required to make a definite diagnoses. Once the biopsies are performed, then they are sent to a lab for a microscopic examination. A diagnosis will confirm if the IBD is mild, moderate or severe. This will help your veterinarian determine the best treatment for your dog.

Most dogs will require medication and dietary management to treat their IBD. Highly digestible diets are usually recommended for these types of dogs because nutrients are more easily digested and will reduce the amount of diarrhea. Usually it will take 8 – 12 weeks to see a positive change in the dog. If the dog’ colon is inflamed, then the vet may advise the dog get more fiber in his food.

The medicines that are usually used to treat this condition are: Corticosteroids (steroids, cortisone, and prednisone). These medications help reduce the inflammatory process and inflammation in the intestines. Since steroids can have potentially serious side effects, your vet will usually start at a lower dose until the dog can be helped by dietary measures alone. Another medicine that sometimes can be used is called Metronidazole which is an antibiotic that helps restore the normal balance of intestinal bacteria and has anti-inflammatory properties. Sometimes dogs with more severe IBD may be treated with Azathioprine, chlorambucil and cyclosporine that reduce inflammation by suppressing the immune system. Sometimes your vet will recommend treating the dog that vomits and has diarrhea with an antacid, anti-nausea, and anti-diarrhea medicine.

Although dogs with IBD can be treated and controlled, it is a condition that can not be cured. These dogs will require a strict diet and anti-inflammatory medicines to manage their disease. Unfortunately some dogs will not respond to dietary changes or medications. These severe cases can sometimes lead to intestinal cancer.

If a dog is diagnosed with IBD, it is wise to have your veterinarian check him over a few times a year to make sure the disease has not progressed to a worse condition.

My rating: early diagnosis of symptoms: (4), importance of dietary changes; (4), medical attention: (4)

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I’m always amazed at how happy my dogs are to see me. I can roll out of bed, hair disheveled, with a cranky disposition talking to myself, with arthritic limbs limping across the floor and there stands my dog wiggling her body, making sounds of delight, tail knocking against everything, with eyes filled with love………… do they do that? If I go out of the house for just ten minutes and return, you would think by looking at the reaction of my dog that I’ve been gone for ten days! She’s jumping all over me, licking me, talking to me, and you would have thought she lost her best friend by the way she’s acting. And that’s just it……we are their best friends. We are their everything! How did we get so lucky?

Dogs don’t have any sense of time. So if we are gone ten minutes or ten days, it’s all the same to them……we were gone. That’s all he knows. Now we’ve returned and he’s so happy to see us again. Any time away from us is too long in the dog’s eyes. I told you in another article I’ve written, that I believe that dog’s are co-dependent animals. They’re attached to us at the hip. We know that all animals (in fact all living things) have a purpose here on earth. What’s the dog’s purpose? What reason was he put here? I feel God put him here to be a companion to man and what better companion can a man have than his dog?

When you think of it, it doesn’t take too much to make a dog happy. Food, water, and shelter are the requirements for all animals to live a normal life. However, the dog is the happiest when he is a part of our lives. Besides his basic needs, the dog has an enormous desire to be a part of our lives. The German Shepherd Dog is not content being a kennel dog. Because of his exceptional intelligence, he’s the happiest when given something to do and when he’s with us. These are hard working dogs, but at the same time a fun loving dog. He loves rides in the car, going to the park or beach. He loves taking a walk or a hike. Just watch how happy he is crashing through the woods or high grass. Watch him as he rolls on a freshly mowed lawn kicking his legs every which way. Life for the dog is wonderful. Why? Because he’s doing things with us. These are activities that require human interaction. This is when he’s at his best. It’s almost like he’s saying, “Look at me. Aren’t I smart? Aren’t I talented?” They love the applause and attention that they get when they are doing something with us. They thrive on the “good boy”, “good girl” reaction they receive from us!

Because the dog wants to please us so much, when we chastised them, you would think that their whole world just fell apart. No one can deny that these dogs are very emotional. Just take a look at the way they put their heads down, the lively brown eyes that we saw a few moments before are now “sad puppy dog” eyes. The tail may be tucked and he may slink across the floor and go lay down over in the corner. The one that he adores is unhappy with him and he reacts in a defeated “child like” way.

No where is there more of a pure love than what we receive from our dogs. Nothing is asked of us and so much is returned. If a person gets mad or deceives someone else, then the other person might hold a grudge or leave the deceiver. With dog’s, it doesn’t matter what you do to them; they’ll still love you no matter what. Stupid, you might say. Maybe even foolish some will say. The dog loves blindly……with no judgment or preconceived idea of what you should be or what you should look like. In his eyes, you are fine just the way you are! It’s amazing that they can love so strongly, yet they don’t hate. They may fear, but they don’t hate.

I am convinced that dogs are on another level of consciousness altogether than you or I are. Their senses are much more attuned to things than you and I am even aware of. They know when storms are coming sometimes before we do. They know when we are blue, lonely or depressed. They pick up on our emotions without being told that we are feeling that way. The dog can sense our moods. Many times their sense of smell can detect that we have a medical condition even before we know about it. If a dog’s owner dies, it’s not unheard of that the dog will moan the loss of his best friend.

It matters not what type of food you feed the dog, just as long as you feed him. It doesn’t matter that you don’t live in a mansion, just as long as he’s by your side. It doesn’t matter if you’re an old “fuddy duddy” just as long as you’re his “fuddy duddy!” It doesn’t matter to the dog that you just yelled at him to leave you alone and go lay down. Nope, just as long as you reach out and pet him once again. You can be miserable to the entire world that knows you, but to your dog you’re the best person on this earth.

The man may domesticate other animals and love them as much as he does his dog, but many times the other animals love is more restricted. No one makes a fool of themselves for their owner like the dog! Might as well face it, the dog is addicted to love!

When you think of it, the dog is a wolf that’s became domesticated. The wolf is a known predator that uses his intelligence when stalking his prey. When the wolf became a pet to man, he also became submissive to the human’s will. Make no mistake about the German Shepherd Dog (and in fact all dogs) that know how to read their masters and many times can play them to make the master do his will. They have learned through the years what works with us and what doesn’t. They’ve learned to “bargain” with us knowing if they do something we like, they’ll get rewarded for it. Some times they’re one step ahead of us.

When one thinks of all the love that they have had in their lifetime, I bet not one of them can compare to the love that they’ve received from their dog. No one could ever duplicate the purity, the selflessness, the forgiveness, the wholesomeness and joy that a dog is able to give. Oh we may have loved people better than our dogs, but we’ve never received from another person the kind of love that we receive from a dog. It’s impossible for a human to do! With a human’s love, there are too many conditions. With the dog’s love, the only condition is that you show up!

My rating: dogs love: (4), peoples love: (1 – 4)!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


On the average, not too many owners have lots of complaints about taking care of the German Shepherd Dogs ears, unless you’re talking about having to tape a youngster’s ears to help them stand. But that is a whole another story for another article. However, there are those certain dogs that seem to have chronic ear problems. One of my shepherds that I had years ago always had yucky, black “uglies” in her ears. My vet would give me medicine which would clean up the mess and she’d be fine for awhile, but as time went by, she’d have it again. It’s so long ago now that I forget what the actually condition was called. It was probably ear mites and they were “stinky” as well!

If a dog’s ears are not properly taken care of then infection can occur and even in extreme cases, loss of hearing. Checking the dog’s ears should be a normal part of the dog’s grooming procedure. Also if the dog shakes his head a lot or carries his head to one side, there’s a problem. Surprisingly, ear problems are one of the most common conditions in dogs. Most of the time if the dog’s outer ear canal is infected its called otitis externa. This condition affects about 20% of all dogs.

The reason that dogs get these ears problems is due to the shape of the canine’s ears. The dog’s ear is long and L – shaped. Bacteria and debris collect in the L – shape area of the ear. Add that with the warmth and moist environment in the ear and it’s easy to see why infection may occur. This is why it’s important to keep the dog’s ears dry especially after bathing him. Dogs that produce an over abundance of ear wax or hair growth in the ear canal are also at risk for ear infections. Another thing that can cause ear infections is skin allergies and hormonal disorders such as hypothyroidism. I didn’t know that. I just learned something new.

If your dog is an outside animal who likes to run in the woods or go for hikes with you, pay close attention to his ears. Foreign bodies especially plant material can cause infections to start. Also check your dog’s ears for ear mites and ear tumors.

If you notice any of the following symptoms, check your dog’s ears. He may have an infection. If he scratches and rubs his head, if he tilts his head and holds it to one side, if he doesn’t want you to pet him on the head, he could be in pain, there may be a discharge or an odor, if you look in the ear you may notice a swelling or redness in the ear, or if you notice that you dog is more irritable and lies around more, he may be in pain.

If your dog has any of these signs, its best you have him examined by your vet. He will have the instruments to look into the dog’s ear canal and determine the best approach for treatment. Leaving a dog that has an ear problem untreated can not only lead to deafness, but the infection can extend to the inner ear and become life threatening.

There are natural treatments in the market place that you can use to clean the animals ears gently. Poking around with Q-tips is never advisable. They can rupture the ear drum or push the debris down further into the ear canal. When using a solution, apply in the ear canal. Massage the base of the ear to help loosen the wax or debris. The dog will shake his head and this is alright because it will help further loosen the buildup. Use a cotton ball to remove the excess fluid. Repeat the above until you feel that all of the debris is removed. Some veterinarians will recommend that you trim any excess hair in the dog’s ears so there is better air flow and this can help prevent an infection. They may also suggest that you treat a dog that has allergies or hypothyroidism which may be a contributing factor if your dog has chronic ear infections.

Many German Shepherd Dog breeders use a home made ear solution called The Dixie Ear Treatment. The ingredients are: 16 ounce bottle of Isopropyl Alcohol, 4 tablespoons of Boric Acid Powder and 16 drops of Gentian Violet Solution 1%. You mix this all up in a plastic bottle. You treat as described in the above directions for a natural ear solution only with the second application, you wipe with a cotton ball or tissue but you don’t massage. You leave it there for the dog to shake out the debris. Depending on how severe the ear infection is, you can treat two times a day for one to two weeks. Then the following week, you can treat one time a day for ten days. Then treat once a month as needed. This mixture seems to work well on most ear problems. Most of the ingredients can be found in your pharmacy. I’ve never used this treatment on my own dogs so I’m just reporting what I hear a lot of people use on their dogs. If you are unsure, always check with your veterinarian for his advice before using this solution or any other one.

My rating: checking your dogs ears as a necessary part of grooming: (4), natural ear solutions: (4), Dixie Ear Solution (based on what other breeders say): (4), medications: (3)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Recently I had the opportunity to try a dog food that I never heard of before. Because I am always on the look out for dog food products that are natural, holistic or organic, I was delighted to find this product. The ingredient and protein list met my qualifications of the type of food that I like to feed to my dogs.

Organix dog food products are made by a company called Castor and Pollux. They are a leader in innovative, natural and organic products. Because I have written about organic and holistic products before, I was happy to see that these companies’ products met with the USDA natural organic program requirements.

I tried the Organix Canine Formula for adults. It had no corn, no soy, no wheat and no Ethoxyquin! I was very happy to see that it had no ethoxyquin because I also reported about this ingredient several weeks ago. This is what some dog food companies use to preserve their fish ingredients. It is banned from use for human consumption because it is a known cancer producer. So why do dog food companies think it’s perfectly alright to use it on our beloved pets? Cancer is one of the top killers of dogs! Anyway, this company doesn’t use it, so this made me feel more confident about using their product. It is very hard to find a dog food company that doesn't use this ingredient. Just go check out some dog food web sites. How many of them say that they don't use ethoxyquin? Organix's web site says that it doesn't use this ingredient. This is just one more reason they have my vote of confidence.

The Organix formula that I used for my dogs contains organic chicken, fruits and vegetables along with glucosamine and probiotics. The crude protein is 26% while the crude fat is 14%. The first five ingredients are: organic chicken, chicken meal, organic brown rice, organic peas, and organic millet. The kernel is small in size so it was easily digestible. My dogs loved it and their stools were firm and compact. I introduced them to it slowly by mixing it with the food that I currently feed so I wouldn’t have to worry about any tummy upsets.

Many dog food companies are now adding probiotics to their products. I am such a big believer in probiotics for the German Shepherd Dog who is known to have a delicate intestinal tract.

Organix dog food is in the pricey range of canine foods. But if you are of the belief that you get what you pay for, then this is definitely a dog food that you might want to check out. The bottom line is: does your dog like it? Are his stools good? Does he have good energy on the food you’re feeding? Does his coat look healthy and shiny? Is his muscle tone good?

This dog food has been recommended by Whole Dog Journal for the last six years. You can read more about this dog food and the company that produces it at: From their web site, you’ll be able to find a store in your area that sells their products.

My rating: quality: (4), dogs liking it: (4), stools: (4), price based on many ingredients being organic: (3)

Monday, October 19, 2009


Well another German Shepherd Dog National Specialty show is over, but the excitement surrounding it isn’t. Some people are just returning home now and others have “almost” settled back to normal. Telephones are ringing, e-mails are sent, and announcements about peoples show wins are bragged about over the German Shepherd e-mail lists.

I can’t remember seeing more outstanding quality than I’ve seen at this show. The breeders should be very proud of what they are producing. I saw better movement than I’ve seen in a very long time. The breed type was beautiful. There were a few dogs with questionable temperaments, but over all, the temperaments were fine on most of the dogs. Speaking of temperaments, I would like to address the temperament testing that I seen at this show and others that I’ve been to.

By now, most people who own a German Shepherd know that they should be aloof but approachable. They shouldn’t be shying away. They shouldn’t be tucking their tails, and most certainly, they shouldn’t be growling or trying to bite the judge. It doesn’t take too much effort on the experienced judge’s part to know when a German Shepherd is displaying bad temperament. He can tell by looking in the dog’s eyes, or by the way he holds his body. Sure, some dogs are very well trained to stand for the individual part of the examination. It is up to the judge to determine whether or not this dog has the ideal temperament according to the German Shepherd standard.

Two of the three judges, did a quiet approach to each animal and watched their response and judged them accordingly. They did not take an extraordinary amount of time to determine the dog’s temperament. I loved their approach. If an animal displayed inappropriate temperament, they were not considered for an award, and in some rare cases, some were excused. The other judge had her own way of judging temperament. She too got her best dogs up in the front of the class. However, in this writer’s opinion, she devoted way too much time on temperament testing. If a dog displays bad temperament, I do not think it’s necessary to keep going back to it time and time again. It only stresses the animal more, and the public display is embarrassing for all associated with the dog. I feel the audience takes note of it the first time. Going back to the dog repeatedly doesn’t change the dogs mind about the judge. It only makes him more distrustful the more that he’s pushed. Bad temperament should not be overlooked; however, spending too much time on this doesn’t do any good for anyone. Eliminate the dog from consideration or excuse it if need be, but get on with it and go to the next dog.

This is not the first time that I seen judges push a dog’s temperament. Going over the dog for what it seems like the hundredth time, stroking it, lifting its tail time and time again, feeling this muscle and that muscle, is just too much. If the dog is supposed to be aloof, then he’s not too happy with this public display of “affection!” I don’t know the AKC rules for judging temperament but I'm sure they have guidelines for doing it.

There is nothing more wonderful than owning a German Shepherd with the IDEAL temperament! In fact, it should be one of the most important things when judging these magnificent dogs. Take a look at this years Grand Victor and Grand Victrix. They are both excellent representatives of the breed and something that we all strive for. These are the type of dogs that you can take anywhere and be proud of. However, there has to be a better way of determining a dog's temperament than mauling it to death. Again, these are my opinions about this subject and I'm sure you all have your opinions about it as well. Temperament should reign supreme, but how a judge determines it is another matter or personal interpretation.

All three judges did an excellent job, in my opinion finding the “best of the best!” How they went about doing it was an individual preference and showed what the most important thing was for them when they judge the dogs. Make no mistake; it couldn't have been an easy task to do. They were standing for many hours while judging the entries that were brought to them. Overall, I think most people would say that they all did a good job judging.

Once again, I congratulate all the winners. You won against some of the best dogs in the country…………lots of reason to “strut” your stuff!!!

My rating: temperament testing – quiet approach to the dog: (4), petting, stroking time and time again: (2)

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Wow, it is 7:00 pm in on the east coast where the National Specialty Show just ended! It started a little after 8 am this morning. All those people there must be so exhausted! I don’t know how some of them do it. The judges probably want to take a hot shower and go to bed! The handler’s body must be just about falling apart. Some of them were in practically every class! I’m tired just watching most of it!

I must say the quality at this year’s National is outstanding. I have to applaud all the dedicated breeders who are doing such a great job of breeding some beautiful animals. Today’s classes were even larger than the last two days. I always enjoy watching the 12-18 class because it seems there is a lot of quality in this young class and today was no exception. The Novice dog and American Bred dog classes were equally outstanding. It was this way in both the male and bitch classes. The judges certainly had their jobs cut out for them. They really took their time in their decisions. Gloria really had some tough decisions going back and forth on some animals that she couldn’t make up her mind about right away. That’s how deep the quality was in the classes. Lee had some gorgeous bitches presented to him.

One of my favorite parts when I attend a National is watching the Stud Dog and Brood Bitch presentation. This is where some of the top producers and their progeny are showcased for breeders to share with the rest of us what these bloodlines are producing. What beautiful quality there was this year. One dog dominated and he was absolutely breathtaking as were his children. What was even more outstanding was that two of the other stud dog classes were his sons.

Today, Lanalee interviewed a few prominent people in the German Shepherd Dog community. Among them was Ed Barrett. He told her how he got started in the breed and some of the important people that helped him. He got a little emotional when he was talking about certain dogs. I’ve known Ed since the 70’s and you can always expect a colorful conversation when talking with him. He is definitely one of the most popular judges in the German Shepherd Dog world. I believe he has judged more National Best of Breed competitions than any other judge. (Correct me if I’m wrong). I guess we like him!

Well that’s about it for today. Once again, the members of the GSDCA who have been instrumental in bringing the streaming video of the National for us to view needs to be applauded for all their hard work so the rest of us can enjoy the show. Tomorrow we’ll get to see the Open Dog and bitch classes and then we'll see who will be awarded Winners Dog and Winners Bitch. Also we'll see the Veteran’s class and the Best Puppy will be chosen.

My rating: judging: (4), quality: (4)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Again, I was very thankful for being able to view the dog show by streaming video from my computer. I thought that today was a very exciting day to kick off the official start of the conformation judging at the GSDCA National Specialty show in Ohio. I thought the quality in both males and bitches was very good. We saw some beautiful animals in the Futurity/Maturity finals. Again, I will not be naming the dogs that I saw as it’s up to their owners to do their bragging and I don’t want to take away their rite to do so. But I will comment on some of them without naming them. I will also comment on what I thought about the judging.

Today we had two judges. In the regular classes, Ms. Gloria Birch judged the dogs and the bitches were judged by Mr. Lee Brown. For the Futurity and Maturity classes the judges judged the opposite sexes than they did in the classes. I thought that both of them got their better ones up front. They also had their own unique style of judging. Gloria definitely pushed temperament more than Lee did. This is not to say that Lee didn’t look for good temperament. They both did. It’s just that Gloria really pushed it. If she thought an animal had questionable temperament, she would go back to the dog time and time again. It didn’t change the dog’s mind. They still didn’t want her touching them. The more she pressed, the more they resisted. If Lee seen poor temperament, he didn’t make a big deal about it. He just eliminated them from any placement. I saw a couple of dogs be excused. However, over all temperament was very good for such a large entry.

In the male classes, most of the time I agreed with what Lee put up except in one class. I knew as soon as I saw this particular dog walk into the ring, that this was Lee’s type of dog, or at least the type that I’ve seen him put up in pictures in the Review or on the lists. Although a very deserving dog, he wasn’t my type of dog because I felt he had more rear than shoulder which made him look unbalanced when he moved, plus he wasn’t enough dog for my liking. However, I wasn’t judging and aren’t the owners happy about that. Still the dog was a quality animal and one his owners can be proud of and again, I didn’t get to see the dogs up close and personal as Lee did. Now Mr. Brown’s Best in Maturity Dog (again in my opinion) was OUTSTANDING! I’ve read about this dog and his wins before, but when I seen him today on the video, I was very impressed. I think he is what the breed needs. He’s very masculine, balanced front to rear, nice coat, excellent temperament and a very good mover. It’ll be fun to watch this one in the specials class. Also a beautiful sable bitch that Lee put up was dripping in breed type. She is just the type of sable bitch that I love. She was plush and beautiful.

One of Gloria’s 1st. place puppy winners was a beautiful black and tan stallion youngster. He too I read about winning at many of the recent shows. He had beautiful breed type, masculinity and easy, flowing motion. I think this one is heading for many more wins for his owners!

I was glad to see some of my friend’s dogs competing and winning. Congratulations to everyone. I think the breed as a whole has a lot to be proud of. The breeders seem to be doing a very good job of producing some beautiful breed type and correct motion. OK, this is short and sweet………..looking forward to the next classes over the next few days.

My rating: judging: (4), quality of dogs: (4)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Well I got absolutely nothing done today. I always do my blog in the morning, but me along with over 200 other people were watching a streaming video offered by The German Shepherd Dog Club of America. We were all watching the specialty show before the National begins tomorrow. I was watching the show from 10 am this morning until roughly around 4 pm this afternoon. As I said, nothing got done around here and I admit, I didn’t get out of my p.j.’s until noon time when I had my lunch. Lazy, no good for nothing that I am! About the only thing that got done this morning were the dogs feeding and watering.

The streaming video is a first for The German Shepherd Dog Club of America. Thanks to some very unselfish people who donated their time to this effort, the rest of us got entertained for nothing! For a list of all who were involved with this project, you can check it out on the streaming video’s website under show catalog. From what I heard Lanalee Jorgensen – Law say on the video, Mr. Lew Bunch was instrumental in getting Purina to sponsor this streaming video. Bob Braue did the camera work to bring it all into our living rooms. Lanalee was the commentator for the length of the show. There was only sound when Lanalee came on to announce what dog it was that we were watching or to comment on the candid shots of people in the audience. I tried to think of whether I would have preferred having constant audio so I could hear the applause and chit chat or if I liked it better with silence as my friend until Lanalee interrupted with her occasional sense of humor. Sometimes I think I would like to hear the excitement in the arena especially for Saturday and the specials class, but then I wonder if all that noise would give me a headache and I should count my blessings.

I won’t name the names of the dogs who won. That’s already been written about through Evan Ginsberg’s blog and commentary. Also you can view the name of the dogs that were entered in the catalog on the streaming videos website. I will however, comment on the judging and as always this is just my opinion. The males were judged by Mr. Robert Drescher and the females were judged by Ms. Vicki Roye. I’ve seen Bob judge before, but I’ve never seen Ms. Roye judge. I would have preferred to have seen one judge, rather than both of them. I like to follow what one judge does and likes rather than switching over to a different judge half way through the show.

I thought the quality was for the most part very good. I saw nice breed type more so on the bitches than the males. But the males, I’m happy to saw had good secondary sex characteristics along with good bone. I thought that Mr. Drescher did a very good job. I could follow what he was doing and what he liked. He unfortunately had to deal with some bad temperament problems, but dealt with it very professionally. One young dog appeared to have snapped at him. It happened so quickly, but next thing I knew he excused the dog. Another dog that had gorgeous breed type and pigment also displayed poor temperament, but did not try to bite the judge. You could tell Bob really liked this dog, but he gave him a chance and went back to the dog. The dog shied away again and was put to the end of the line. Over all the rest of the male classes exhibited good temperaments. He found his better movers and rewarded them with the win or class placements.

The bitches, in my opinion, showed better overall temperaments. I don’t recall any temperament problems in the classes. Ms. Roye was a little harder for me to follow. Some times she had breed type in front and other times a better mover. Naturally being a chair side judge like I am, I didn’t have the view of the dog’s mouth, so this too would have helped being a deciding factor in some of the placements. However, I thought she was more inconsistent in her choices. Where I could follow what Bob was doing, I couldn’t say the same for the bitch classes. I thought some of the good ones got away. But that’s just me.

The Best of Breed classes got a very large entry and I was happy to see some champions that I’ve never seen before. I really liked the Best Opposite Sex champion winner. She had the side gait and the breed type that I favor. I did get away from the video a couple of times, but correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that Kent Boyles won Winners Dog, Winners Bitch and Best of Breed. I could be wrong and I’m sure if I am, someone will write to tell me so.

I along with many others am most appreciative for the hard word that the many volunteers and the parent club have done to bring us this wonderful entertainment. It isn’t perfect and they are still feeling their way around it, but boy, we’ve come a long way since last year and the years before. Improvements that are needed and I’m sure will change as the time goes by is the need for zooming in on the dogs for close up shots especially when they are gaiting. Right now it’s hard to truly evaluate their side gaits from a distance. In an ideal world, if we had the capabilities that we do when we watch a video on the television and have the option of slowing it down to watch each step the dog takes, then we would all be very happy. But for now, I think this was a great way to spend my day. It didn’t cost me anything and it was very enjoyable. I also would like it if the commentator would say who we are looking at while the camera man is zooming around taking pictures of some unsuspecting audience members. Sometimes Lanalee would mention a few, but it would be so great to know who we are looking at because most of us know what Jimmy Moses or Fran Ford looks like, but what fun to put a name to a face to someone we correspond with on the show dog lists. Just a suggestion. Thank you one and all for all that you do! I can’t wait for the National that starts tomorrow.

I will not be blogging a great deal this week because I will be watching the show with the rest of you. If I blog at all, it might just be a short one. More than likely, I’ll wait until it’s all over to start the blog again. Have fun everyone!

My rating: video: (4), volunteers: (4), Show List & Evan’s blog: (4)

Monday, October 12, 2009


For those of you who don’t show your German Shepherds and don’t really know too much about the dog show world let me tell you what some enthusiastic, nervous show dog people are experiencing this week. This is the big fall event that every German Shepherd Dog breeder, exhibitor and handler looks forward to. This week is the National Specialty Show put on by the German Shepherd Dog Club of America. This year it’s in Ohio. This is the show where the “best of the best” in the German Shepherd Dog world meet to compete for the most prestigious of awards. Win, place or show…..this is the arena to do it in. People from all parts of the country will come here to strut their stuff. The atmosphere is filled with excitement and all are in good spirits for they come to share, compare and watch and enjoy some of the most beautiful German Shepherds in the world.

Right now as I write this, someone is feeding and caring for the future Grand Victor of the United States. He may be lying on someone’s rug or running outside in his dog run, but somewhere, someone owns the future Grand Victor! How exciting is that?! So just what does it take to be a Grand Victor? A Grand Victor is the champion of all champions! When the judge points his finger and says this is it, the enthusiastic crowd responds. Camera lights flash, congratulations are expressed, people run down to the arena floor to get up close and personal with the new winner and still others are left crying in the other corner for having seen their own “hopeful” not achieve this highest of awards this year. The judge congratulates the handler and tells the owner that he was delighted to have had the opportunity to judge and award such an excellent representative of the breed this title.

So the Grand Victor probably is still home right now. To him it’s just another day. Perhaps he’s going to be bathed once again today. His owner sprays and primps up his coat. My, he does smell wonderful. Maybe he’ll be road worked later on towards the evening. He’s fed the best of food, enjoys the health benefits of his supplements and chews contently on his milk bone. To him, life goes on like it normally does. He’s not planning for the big show coming up. He leaves that up to his owner.

The hotel reservations are once again confirmed. The car is filled with gas. Oil is checked. Tires are new. Luggage is packed. Supplies and crate are loaded in the car. Snacks are put in the back seat for later on to enjoy on the long trip to Ohio. Alright, everything is in place and the new Grand Victor is loaded in the car. Little does he or his owner know that a big new beautiful trophy will accompany them on their way back home! It’s what they’ve dreamed about all year long, but right now they haven’t realized that dream……..not yet!

So what does our future Grand Victor look like? Is he any better than your dog or mine? Is he the pretty, plushy dog with the black and red pigment? How about the hard dry, athletic dog that moves nice and easy? Is he a big dog, or maybe a medium guy with great secondary sex characteristics? Does he have an obedience title? Does he have an OFA number attached to the back of his name? Is he a happy go lucky kind of dog? Perhaps he’s a quiet gentlemanly type of animal. Oh there may be better movers. There may be even better looking dogs, but something about this dog will make him stand out among all the rest. He will have that “look at me” type of attitude. He will dare the judge not to put him up because he’s just that darn good! One things for sure his life and his owners will be forever changed.

The Grand Victor is afforded the opportunity of being a part of history for the breed. Many more times than not, he will have the best bitches in the country sent to him for breeding. The door is wide open for him to make his ROM (register of merit) because of the excellent quality of bitches he entertains. Because he is the Grand Victor, does this make him a better producer? Of course not; he just has a better opportunity to become one. He’s not any better of a producer than he was last week before he won his new title. It’s just that more people are breeding to him now. Not every Grand Victor has been a great producer.

The new Grand Victor becomes the “who’s who” in the German Shepherd Dog world. All eyes will be on him especially the first year that he achieves this new title. Breeders will be looking to see what he can produce. Phone calls will be made, notes will be compared and the new Grand Victors offspring will be scrutinized by those who are looking to produce their own Grand Victors. The smart breeders will know that it will take the new “star” more than a year to prove his worthiness as a producer!

So although the new Grand Victor will look forward to returning home to play ball with little Johnny once again, his life has taken a new detour and his chance to alter history is just beginning. His overjoyed owners will soon be answering more phone calls, entertaining more people with their bitches……….their work has just begun. But this is it……..all their hard work has finally been rewarded. Just a few short days ago, they left their home with a champion and returned with a Grand Victor!

My rating: Grand Victor should be the “best of the best”, (4) best of opportunities afforded to him: (4), GV = producer? (3)

Friday, October 9, 2009


Nothing is more aggravating for the dog owner than a picky, fussy eater. And why does this happen to be the dog that you have big hopes for in the show ring? By the time you’re just about ready to have a nervous break down switching and trying new foods for “Ms. Priss”, she decides to eat something you give her. FINALLY! Oh, no, no, no…….don’t get too comfortable and feel you’ve finally conquered this food war. Your little darling has other ideas in mind. This new food might have tempted her for awhile, but she’s wondering what else you have hiding in the refrigerator that she can get you to give to her. All it takes for her to accomplish her goal is to……….go off her food AGAIN! You don’t think that they have your number? Oh yeah, they do. Our spoiled rotten dogs are no different then children. They know what works to get them what they want from you.

Unless there is a physical reason like an illness, most dogs are good eaters. It’s something that comes natural to them. They should never be thinking about it. You put the bowl down and they eat. It’s when they are thinking too much about it, that it becomes a problem and a “pain in the arse” dog is created. If he is not sick……then the fussy dog is created. Any dog can have a tummy ache and not feel like eating. Then you need to find out what is causing the problem for him.

Some dogs can be very emotional or very sensitive to their surroundings. Every little thing might bother these kinds of dogs. Any change in their environment can set them off and make them refuse to eat. As we all know, dogs are creatures of habit. That’s why it’s smart not to change their feeding schedule too often. Stick to a routine.

We all have had a favorite dog. This might be the dog that we lavish more affection to. He might be the one that we give lots of treats to, and even the occasional table scrap to. He knows you adore him and sometimes he will milk everything he can get from you because he knows all he has to do his look at you with those “big browns” and you’re going to give in to him. Being the pack leader that the owner needs to be must also extend to feeding the dog. Now some dogs may not like a certain brand of dog food. That’s alright. Once you have found a dog food that he likes, this is the food you should stick with feeding him.

I believe more than anything else, it is we humans who cause some or our dogs to have bad eating habits. If you see your dog walk away from his bowel and not eat his food, the first thing to do is to make sure the dog is not sick. Once your find out that he doesn’t have a medical problem, then you know that the dog is “playing you.” It becomes a battle of wills. If he doesn’t eat, you will add a little of this and a little of that…..anything to get him to eat. If he waits a little longer, maybe next time you’ll add a big old piece of steak to his dinner. This is not a stupid breed that we chose to own. The more we fuss, the more they win their way. Don’t ever think that your dog can’t read you. He can pick up on just about any mood that you are experiencing. If he feels that you get anxious around the time that you have to feed him, he picks up on this mood. Then he may choose not to eat. You get mad. You get frustrated and may tell him, “That’s it. I’ve had it with you. Either you eat your food or you're not getting anything.” Yeah, sure……..until the next time you add something else. Maybe he’ll like that additive better! He’ll wait!

If you make feeding time a big production, then that’s what you’re going to get……a big production. I’ve had dogs who were fussy eaters twice in my lifetime. One was a young male that I was showing to his championship. It was crucial for him to look good out in the ring against tough competition. It was always about a week or two before a big show that he would decide he didn’t want to eat his dinners. Did he pick up my excitement about the up coming shows? Maybe; I don’t know. He decided he wasn’t going to eat and had the attitude that there was nothing I could do to change his mind. I mean I was on my hands and knees with the dog pleading for him to eat. The more fuss that I made with him, the more that he’d turn his head the other way. I reduced myself as the alpha in his eyes by taking his food and shaping it into little meatballs. I’d open up his jaws and shove the meatball in the back of his mouth, then close it and wait for him to swallow it. Sometimes he did and more times than not, he’d hold the food in his mouth and not so politely, spit it out onto the floor. Did he gain any weight? Did he become a better eater? Did he look forward to his dinner? No, no, and again no! I created a monster all in the name of wanting the little darling to eat and get some weight on. Looking back on it, I now realize that eating time wasn’t a pleasant experience for my dog. I’d never put another dog or myself through that again.

My other dog, who tried to pull rank on me around supper time, is one of the girls that I own now. When I first got her, I wanted to show her how much I loved her and I spoiled her. Stupid me; I began to give her treats from the table. Smart her, she liked them better than her dried out dog food. She wasn’t dumb. Given the choice, the people food was always better than the dog food. After throwing away bowl after bowl of expensive dog food, I said enough is enough. I’m not a rich woman and I couldn’t afford to throw out this food. So I’d put her food down. She had 15 – 20 minutes (tops) to eat her dinner. If she walked away from it with her nose up in the air, then she wouldn’t see her second meal that day. She’d go to bed hungry. The next day, I’d offer her a much smaller meal. If she was hungry, she’d eat it. I kept on doing this until she got the idea that she better eat because nothing else was being offered to her. No dog snacks and most certainly no people food. She had a choice, either eat what I gave her or don’t eat at all. A healthy dog won’t starve themselves.

If we keep making special foods for them by adding all sorts of “yummies” to their food, we will create finicky eaters. If they are not given a choice of a menu to choose from, then they will eat whatever it is that you give to them.

Something that I have found that works well with a fussy eater is to feed them in a crate next to another dog who loves to eat. They’ll see the other dog gobbling their food down and many times this will give them an incentive to eat for fear that the other dog will get their dinner.

So before you reach for the Xanax, take control and make feeding time a regular part of your routine and stop giving special attention to the bad eater. He must be made to realize, dinner time is for eating. Any other activity is not acceptable and if he tries to interrupt your rules, he doesn’t get fed. Believe me, he’ll begin to wonder how come his bowl of food isn’t put don’t for him to turn his nose up at anymore. He’ll see you feeding the other dogs and they’re gobbling their food down happily. Perhaps, he’s not getting his that night. Once he knows that you are not going to cave into his “spoiled brat” ways, he will eat his dog food like it was a plate of filet mignon!

My rating: finicky eaters: (1), dealing with them: (1), success rate as long as it’s not medical: (4), happy dog, happy owner: (4)

Thursday, October 8, 2009


The three most important people in the show dog world are the breeder, handler and the judge. In this chosen sport of ours, they all play an important part in the future of the breed.

With much dedication and hard work, a breeder can hope to realize his dreams of producing the best representative of the German Shepherd Dog. Although some people are talented enough to show their own dogs, most don’t. For these people, paying for the services of a professional handler who knows the breed standard is the only way to go. Then there is the judge who hopefully has had many years of breeding and showing of the German Shepherd to be the best judge possible. Let’s take a look at just what it is that each of these groups of people does.

The breeder is the person who through much research and investigation decides to breed the best two dogs he can afford hoping to produce the dog closest to the breed standard. He knows which bloodlines are known to produce certain traits in the dog. He’ll know which dogs are known to produce good shoulders, good hindquarters and breed type. He’ll also pay attention to dogs that may have genetic health problems in their pedigrees. He will talk to other breeders who may have bred to the same bloodlines to find out what they got in their litters. He’ll be aware of the dominate genes as well as the recessive genes. He’ll inquire if the dog’s carry the coat gene, or the gene to produce blacks. Does the line carry the blue gene? Are there ear problems in this line? Is this a good bloodline for sound temperament? Is the dog that he breeds to dominate for producing his phenotype (what he looks like) or his genotype (what’s behind him in his pedigree)? And then even after all the breeders research on the prospective breeding he has planned, he might get something totally different than he expected from this combination. That’s the wonder and the mystery of breeding dogs. You plan on one thing and the genetics of the dog dictates something totally different. Breeding is never an exact science. It looks great on paper. The two dogs are superior representatives of the breed but the genes of the two might have something totally different in store. The breeder may decide to line breed the dogs (common ancestors in their pedigree). They may inbreed (father/daughter, mother/son), etc. Or they can do an out cross breeding where there are no common lines in their pedigrees at all. What ever the breeder decides to do, hopefully they have done their homework and will produce the best combination of blood lines that they possibly can. Being a breeder is expensive if the best possible food is fed to their dogs, the best veterinarian care is utilized and the general well being of their dogs is of the utmost importance.

The professional handler has come a long way from years before. Years ago, the professional handler was just that…..a dog handler. Most of the time, he had another full time job and showing dogs was something that he/she did on the week-ends. Now days, MANY of the top handlers not only show dogs, they breed them as well and some even have kennels where they train and teach their clients dogs how to be show dogs! It is the handler’s job to take an assignment to handle a client’s dog and show him to the best of his ability. If he is a top handler, not only does he show the dog to the best of his ability, but he shows the dog to the best of the dog’s capabilities. What this means is that a good handler knows the dog’s good points as well as his bad points. It is up to the smart handler to emphasize the one while diminishing the other. I know I talk quite a bit about the late, great handler, LaMar Kuhns. It’s because he was a showman! This man would make eye contact (like most good handlers do) with the judge. If he had a dog whose strength was his exceptional shoulder, LaMar made sure the judge knew it. He’d set that dog up and actually stroke and outline the dogs’ fore assembly while stacking him. It was like he was saying to the judge: "I know you like good shoulders, so look here what I brought to you." He was challenging them to deny him. If the dog was a beautiful dog standing, he would set the dog up to perfection. Then he would lean on one leg with the other stretched out before him and sit back on the back leg and let the audience “oooo and ahhh over the dogs’ extraordinary top line. This is what you pay a top handler for……to showcase your dog. Some handlers like Leslie or Kent excel at moving a dog. The dog is usually on a very long leash and they are using all of it. In my opinion, it is VERY IMPORTANT for the handler to like your dog…..even better if it loves your dog. The handler is there for one reason only and that is to win! He must feel that the dog he takes into the ring is one that he can win with. If you feel that he is using your dog as a filler (to load up an entry), it’s time to change handlers. Also important to note……..take a look at the handlers winning record. See who he wins under. Is he a specialty handler or does he do more winning in the all breed rings? Also each handler has their own style of showing a dog. Some are known to be great at stacking your dog. Some are known to know how to move your dog to the best of his advantage. Get to know the handler’s style of showing dogs.

Then there is the all important judge. Like in everything else (breeders and handlers included), there are good judges and there are bad judges. There are knowledgeable judges and one’s you might scratch your head wondering how they ever got their judges license to begin with. Again, it is up to you to do your homework when choosing a judge to show your dog to. Remember you are asking this judge when your dog steps into the ring to give your animal a fair evaluation. As I said before, hopefully this judge has many years of breeding, studying and knowing the breed inside and out! Hopefully, you as the breeder/owner are bringing the best of your bloodlines for the judge to evaluate. Remember if you belong to a breed club and especially belonging to the parent club, The German Shepherd Dog Club of America, you are afforded the opportunity to vote for the judges that officiate at the dog shows. Don’t whine and cry that the judge is a crook, if you didn’t vote in your club for the judges that you want. Are there crooked judges? It’s almost like asking, are there crooked politicians. Yes to both of these questions. (Again, this writer’s opinion). MOST judges can’t be bought, bullied or convinced to put up someone’s dog that is not the best in his ring! The judge loves what he is doing. It is a privilege to be asked to judge someone’s show. Most have good reputations and want to do the best job that they have been asked to do. You bring an educated judge a great dog and he’s going to find it. If you think that you haven’t been given a fair chance or you suspect that something is just not right with this judge, then get the message across to them by not giving him another entry. Better yet, make sure you vote for a better judge next time at your club. There are many good judges that we are blessed with in our breed. All too many times, the same people get asked to judge because of their name or position in the breed. This happens time and again at the National level and with the futurity/maturity shows. The argument for this would be that these are the people who know the breed best and therefore, these are the people best qualified to do the best judging.

Breeder, handler and judge……they all go hand in hand in importance to the relationship of the show dog. The handler can’t get a job without the breeder; most breeders can’t or won’t show their own dogs, so they can’t show without the handler. And then the judge can’t get any assignments if there weren’t any breeders to produce dogs and there were no handlers to show them. So they all need one another. Who do you think has the most control over the direction of the breed’s future? I would say that the most important of these three is the breeder (#1) and the judge. The breeder produces the quality or lack of and the judge decides if it meets the breed standard. The breeder may produce championship quality dogs, but he can’t hope to realize this without the judge’s approval of what he brings to him in the ring. So we as breeders need to know our breed standard and strive to produce it. If we can’t do it ourselves, hire the best handler to showcase our dogs. Then get to know what the judges like. Watch what they put up. Decide if you like what the judge does and then either vote for him or someone else to show under.

My rating: importance of a good breeder: (4), importance of a good handler: (4), importance of a good judge: (4) and MOST IMPORTANT is educating yourself on the breed standard and knowing which judges judge according to that standard: (4)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


A couple of years ago, I wrote an article about dogs and their Zodiac signs. It was fun and I received a lot of positive feedback on it. So I’ve decided I will write about the different astrological signs each month.

This month, I will write about the astrological sign of Libra. The Libra dog is born anywhere from 9/24 – 10/23 although others say it is 9/23 – 10/22. This is the sign of the scales. They are one of the most beloved signs for they represent balance and are usually even tempered which makes them easy to get along with.

Dogs born under this sign usually make good show dogs. They love to perform for an audience and live for the adoration they receive for their performance. The only trouble an owner may have with the Libra born dog is that he can be lazy so sometimes training him can prove to be a challenge. Although he can be surprisingly energetic, he must be given a task to do to keep him interested. Remember this is the sign of the scales and just when you think you have him figured out……BOOM……he may surprise you!

This is the type of dog who is easy to live with. He detests an argumentative household for he is a very “easy to get along” with type of dog. Usually this is not the type of dog who looks for confrontation, but if challenged can be a formidable opponent. They love company so therefore, are very sociable creatures. They are much attuned to their owner’s personality traits and have a great desire to please them.

The Libra dog can become very bored of routine so needs different stimulation to keep him at his “happy best!” They have an insatiable curiosity for new adventures. That’s why these types of dogs make great traveling companions and excellent show dogs. They always look for new places to explore. They excel at the Futurity and National levels or in the Group finals.

Because of this dog’s eager to please, easy to like, type of personality, he is an excellent ambassador for the German Shepherd Dog breed. This is normally a good looking dog and even when genetics might get that wrong, his “look at me” character makes you forget about anything that “mother nature” forgot to bless him with! They can just about charm the pants off of anyone that they meet!

This is a very intelligent type of dog who also does very well in the obedience ring once you get him off of that sofa that he loves to “nest” in. But once he starts bringing home all those blue ribbons and receives all that enthusiastic applause that he craves so much, coaxing him off the sofa will soon become a thing of the past.

This is the type of dog that loves luxury. Woe to the owner of a dog that is born a Libra and is assigned to the mundane existence in a kennel run. You might find him very vocal, “antsy” and disruptive to all in his immediate vicinity. He wants out and into the house relaxing by a fireplace lying on a big soft comforter. He likes to be fed a raw diet or a natural, holistic food please. His taste for the finer things in life is something that he is born with. Tampering with his “luxury” loving nature and expecting him to exist in anything less, well it’s just unheard of for the dog born under the Libra sign!

The Libra dog will add much enjoyment to his owner’s life. Because of his need to please and be with you, he makes an excellent companion and one that his owner can be very proud of. These dogs make outstanding therapy dogs for their love of social connections and acceptability makes this sign second to none. Libra dogs do what ever it is that you ask of them. It’s a win/win situation both for the dog and the owner who loves him!

My rating: Libra dog as a great dog to live with: (4), training….with persistence (4), personality: (4), good looks: (3)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


When researching for this article, I found it very interesting to learn that food allergies in dogs is very uncommon. Further, it is a condition that is over diagnosed by some veterinarians. According to an article written by a veterinarian, only 10% of dog allergies are food related. Flea and environmental allergies will cause more itchiness and skin problems than a food allergy.

Many times a dog may have food intolerance, but not a true allergy to the food. There is a difference. When a dog has a real allergy to food his symptoms will be severe itching of skin, hives or skin breakouts, etc. Food intolerance on the other hand, may cause the dog to vomit or have diarrhea and does not create a typical allergic reaction. Because of the vomiting and diarrhea, many pet owners and veterinarians will assume the pet has a food allergy.

When a dog has a food allergy, it can strike at any age and may be caused by a protein or carbohydrate in the animal’s food. The things that can trigger a food allergy are beef, dairy products, chicken, wheat, chicken eggs, corn and soy. Many of these ingredients are in most of our dog’s food. These are the foods they are fed day in and day out so they are exposed to these ingredients on a regular basis. However, for a dog to develop a true food allergy they must not only have this chronic exposure, they must also have the genetic profile to develop this allergy.

Although food allergies are not common, adverse food reactions are. However, not all animals will react to certain ingredients in their food. There’s no way to predict who will. Some of the things they may react to are artificial dyes, preservatives and additives, and the gross rendered stuff that some companies add to dog food. That’s why it’s important to try to feed our dogs products that are natural or holistic or a raw diet to avoid some of these unsavory ingredients.

If a dog has a true food allergy, these are some of the symptoms you might notice. He might exhibit itching of the face, feet, and sides of the body, legs and anal area. These dogs also may develop yeast ear or skin infections. They respond well to antibiotics, but once the treatment is stopped, the symptoms return. Another sign of food allergy might be increased bowel movements or soft stools. As a reminder and to point out the difference, a food intolerance may cause vomiting and diarrhea.

The only way to find out if your dog has a food allergy is to perform a food trial with him. Blood work and skin tests are not reliable ways to determine if he has this condition. Although you will get results from these tests, they don’t accurately correlate with food allergies present in the dog. According to this study, it is not recommended by board certified dermatologists at this time.

The only true way to determine if your dog has a food allergy is to do a food trial using unique (novel) protein and carbohydrate foods to avoid possible allergens to which your dog has been previously exposed in order to cleanse their system of potential allergens. This trial period must be conducted for 8 – 12 weeks in order for it to be successful. During this trial period the dog must only eat the prescribed food with nothing else added. That means, no table scraps, no treats, no vitamins, no oils, and no medications such as heartworm preventative.

When the food trial is over, then the offending ingredients must be avoided. On the negative side, your dog may be fine for the next couple of years, but then he may develop a new allergy to something else.

Feeding a dog a raw diet is very beneficial if he has food allergies to preservatives, dyes and artificial additives. Because there are none of these ingredients to worry about with a raw diet, your dog may benefit from this way of feeding. If this is something that is not appealing to you, then going the natural or holistic route would be the next best thing for a dog that is sensitive to the ingredients put into that bag of dog food that we buy.

I think most breeders now are much more aware and educated about reading the ingredient labels on the dog food bags. Advising your pet buyers to continue on the same diet that you feed your dogs is a wise thing to do. Most of the time the new pet owner is receptive to following the diet that you advise him to follow if he wants his puppy to continue to be healthy. Some might consider buying a more expensive brand excessive and may want to feed him a store brand food. It is up to us to try to educate the pet people so they will have less reason to call us all hours of the night when Fido has a diarrhea attack.

My rating: natural or holistic foods: (4), raw foods (4)

Monday, October 5, 2009


How spoiled is your dog/dogs? Most of us have one or two house dogs and many others have at times (when they’re brave enough) all of their dogs in the house together. Dogs like humans, like their “creature comforts.” They know lying on a rug is nice, but stretched out on a bed; chair or couch is even nicer! In some homes, they’re allowed to do this. In others they are “doomed” to spend their days on the rug. Poor thing! I admit that I don’t like dogs on the furniture and especially not in my bed. But I used to have a sofa just for the dogs where I would put an old quilt on it so they could get themselves all nice and comfy and cozy. See the above picture of my dog “Rajah” with my mother on “his” dog sofa! Truth be told, "Rajah" was a lap dog and he wasn't trying to push my mother off of the sofa. He was trying to get her to let him lay across her lap. That's why she's looking at him laughing because he was trying to figure out how he was going to get away with that!

Well I ran across this advertisement the other day for pet covers. Plus even nicer, they were offering them for 10% off which I included the special saving code in the next paragraph. So I look up their ad and was very pleasantly surprised to see what nice products they were selling for those of us who own animals. Comfort for the dog and ease of mind for us.

The company is Sure Fit. They sell furniture slip covers. They now sell furniture throws for pet owners that allow their dogs to lay on chairs and sofas. They are very affordable and are easy to take care of. They protect the seat, back and arms of the furniture and are washable. Unlike regular slipcovers, these throws just drape over the furniture. They range in price from $29.99 - $39.99. Check them out at Also I am including a special code for you to save 10% off of your purchase. The code is: WWSF and it expires 11/30/09! This makes it very affordable for most budgets.

Another great company to check out is Orvis. They offer waterproof dog blankets, throws and covers but are much more expensive than the above company. However, they do have a great variety to choose from. Their prices range from $69.00 - $159.00!

Frontgate offers pet furniture slipcovers as well. You can get the traditional slipcover and now they even offer one with a bolster pillow that extends all around the back and sides of your sofa to give your furniture even more protection from hair and scratches. Plus it’s not a bad place for the dog to rest his weary little head. Their pet products are more expensive. They can run anywhere from $69.00 - $169.00.

Many people just throw an old quilt or blanket over the furniture so their pet can lay on it without ruining the upholstery. The nice things about slipcovers are they just look better on a piece of furniture than a worn out blanket does.

The better quality slipcovers can last for a few years and are easy to wash and take care of. They come in a variety of fabrics and colors.

My rating: durability: (4), fashionable: (4), comfort: (4), value: (4)

Friday, October 2, 2009


There’s an old saying that goes, “Good fences make good neighbors.” No where is this more true than when you own dogs. Keeping them contained in your yard is a must especially when you own German Shepherds. Dogs by nature are curious creatures and given the opportunity to take a walk down the street would prove too tempting for most of them to resist. I owned a dog many years ago who would always find a way to get out of the yard. Mind you it was fenced in, but she would find a section that was wearing away from age, push her body through it and lead the rest of the dogs who may have been in the yard with her, right down the road. Thank God I lived in a rural area because she was the leader of the pack as she and they took a stroll right down the middle of the road. If we mended one area of the fence, she’d be sure to show us where another area needed fixing. She was no longer allowed to stay in the yard without supervision.

So besides keeping our dogs in kennel runs, being responsible dog owners, we also need to fence our yard especially if you live in a residential area. If you have to take the dogs out of the run to bring them in or while you’re cleaning the kennel, they must still be contained. There are some different choices of fencing one can use depending upon what you can afford to spend and also one that meets the zoning code of your community. This last sentence reminds me of someone who I know who is quite wealthy and lives in a very “posh” neighborhood. She rescued a dog and was now faced with the dilemma of keeping him contained on her property. She asked my advice and although I told her I was completely against electric shock underground fencing, she went and got it anyway. Her number one reason………the neighborhood! She said that she couldn’t put up fencing where she lived. The neighbors wouldn’t like it. And you know what, I’ve ridden up and down her neighborhood where there are multi-million dollar homes and she’s right. Not one property had a fence! How snotty!

Different types of fencing:

Picket fence - I always assumed that this were shorter type fencing, but from what I’ve read they can be made to the height that you need. They’re made of wood and supposed to be strong. Also it prevents anyone from poking through at the dog.

Split rail – This provides more of an open view. If using this type of fence for your property it is extremely important that you use a fabric inside the fence like chicken wire or mesh fencing. Obviously if you don’t then the dog can slip through the rails. When you use the mesh fencing with the split rail, it becomes invisible so it still looks attractive around your property.

Chain link – is one of the most popular fences. This is the type of fencing that most people already use for their dog runs. It comes in a selection of different heights. Zoning seems to allow the use of this fencing more than most other fences that are available. It doesn’t obstruct the view and it lasts longer than many other types of fences. On the minus side, children can poke their fingers through it.

Stockade fencing - is privacy type fencing. It is a wooden type fence that has close slabs so no one can look through. They are tall so this is an added bonus. This type of wood will eventually start to rot, so check into a safe wood preservative to make it last a longer time.

Vinyl fencing – this is an expensive alternative to wood fencing, but it can be most attractive and last a longer time. This is a great privacy fence as well that has its slabs close together to insure that it is.

Wrought iron – this can be a very beautiful type of fence around someone’s front yard. It is more for looks than containment as the fencing leaves many wide open spaces between each wrought iron bar.

Brick, stone walls – Magnificently beautiful and very expensive. One might find this type of fencing preventing spying eyes from the most lavish estates. With the proper height, the dog wouldn’t be able to escape this type of enclosure.

Snow fence – I admit, I never heard of this type of fencing before. It is low gauge wire fabric type of fencing which is stretched and installed on brace posts. You can get this fencing 6 feet high. It’s a cheaper fencing and one must be aware that this type of fence is prone to rusting.

Farm fence (or chicken wire) - is the cheapest fencing. It is stretched and installed on brace posts. Like the snow fence, stretching this fence is what gives it its strength. The holes are larger on this type of face so a puppy will be able to put his head through it. This is not a fencing that will enhance the look of your property. However, if you have large acres of land, this is something you might want to consider for the sides and rear of the property. This fencing is prone to corroding over time and must be checked for repairs or replacement.

Hybrid fencing – this is the modular fencing. I use this type for my dog runs. They are chain linked. This type of fence clamps together and if you want to add width or length to the run, you can. Also these are not permanent structures and can be taken with you if you move. Because they are not anchored or permanent one can avoid many zoning codes and regulations.

Invisible fencing – this is when an electric wire is put underground around the perimeter of the property. The dog wears a collar with a receiver. When he gets too close to the edge of the property, the collar begins to beep and then he gets zapped with a mild electric shock. This can run the property owner thousands of dollars. Plus the collar that the dog must wear can run over $300! All this does is MOST of the time prevents the dog from leaving the property. It does not prevent other animals, children or intruders from coming onto the property. And then there are those dogs that will leave the property anyway even though they’ll get zapped for doing so!

So as we can see, there are many types of fencing to choose from depending upon your towns zoning regulations and your budget. Fencing is very expensive and can run into the thousands of dollars, but when you own dogs we have to be aware that if they get out of our property, it may cost us many more thousands of dollars if we get sued. So if we have dogs, we must be sure that they are contained.

My rating: Most of the better fences will do a good job of containment (chain link, stockade, vinyl, etc.): (4), chicken wire, snow fence: (3), brick, stone: (4), invisible fencing: (1)