Friday, February 26, 2010


The Wellness recipe for dogs was first introduced in 1997, but the company began doing research in the early 1990’s by working with a team of animal nutrition experts, veterinarians and scientists to develop their brand of dog food that they would be proud to put their name on. They created a food that was nutritionally balanced and contained only whole foods with no wheat, corn, soy, preservatives, artificial colors and flavors. The company’s philosophy is food is the first step to a long, happy and healthy life and a proper diet can be a preventative step to combat future ill-health.

Recently I had the opportunity to try one of this companies top sellers; Wellness Super 5 Mix. Their Super5Mix recipes represent a synergistic combination of natural ingredients. This food contains natural, premium ingredients which include pure protein sources and wholesome grains. Then they combine them with their unique mix of complementary nutritional supplements. They call it their 5 for Life Supplement System. They add fruits and vegetables for their antioxidant power, phytonutrient rich botanicals and herbs for wellbeing, and utilize omega-fatty acids for cellular function. They also include essential vitamins, chelated minerals and active probiotic cultures. Anyone who has been reading my blog knows that I am a big fan of probiotics especially for the sensitive digestive track of the German Shepherd Dog.

Their Wellness Super 5 Mix comes in a variety of yummy flavors that your dog is sure to enjoy. Wellness uses premium meats: deboned chicken, New Zealand lamb, and ocean whitefish. I chose the chicken formula for my dogs. My dogs readily ate this food with not a crumb left in their bowls. I am happy to report that their stools were firm and not loose which is always a concern of mine when trying a new food.

What does their trademarked “5 for Life Supplement” mean? With the exception of their Whitefish and sweet potato recipe, which is a limited ingredient diet, the rest of the meat varieties contain fruit and veggie antioxidants, Omega 3 & 6 which are essential fatty acids for cellular function and healthy skin, a botanical blend, essential vitamins & minerals for cellular health, immunity and disease resistance and ActiCoat with live active probiotics which are added after the cooking process to promote a healthy intestinal tract and overall digestive health.

Wellness recipes include guaranteed levels of key nutrients like Taurine for optimal heart health and a combination of Glucosamine and Chondroitin to promote joint health. Calcium, Phosphorus, Vitamin E, Beta Carotene & Lycopene are also at guaranteed levels.

The first eight ingredients in the Chicken formula that I chose for my dogs are: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Ground Barley, Ground Brown Rice, Tomato Pomace, Rye Flour and Canola Oil. The protein level is 22 and the fat level is 12 so this made me feel positive about this food as well. The protein level wasn’t very high and I liked that.

Every year, the Whole Dog Journal, a respected guide to natural dog care, reviews dry dog foods and compiles the "Approved Dry Dog Foods" list. For 10 years Wellness has made the list and they are proud they made this list again this year.

The Wellness Company is so sure that your dog will love their food that if for any reason that he doesn’t, you can get a full refund of your money. Now that’s what I like to see is a company that stands behind their products. They know that if your dog is happy then the consumer is happy and happy customers are life long customers.

I was hoping to be able to review this company’s grain free product called “Core,” but I haven’t gotten a chance to try this yet. I hope to in the near future and at that time I will do a review on that one as well. For now though, my dogs and myself were very happy with the Wellness Super 5 Mix. I think it is a product that will be beneficial to breeding and show animals as well as anyone’s beloved pets. The company also makes allergy formulas, canned food and treats all with the health of your dog in mind. To check out more information about the Wellness brand of dog foods, just go on their website at:

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

Thursday, February 25, 2010


When I write my articles either I’m writing from what I know or have experienced or I am doing research on the subject that I may not be familiar with. Today I was going to write about the German Shepherd Dogs top line and once again I was looking for material on the web to help me provide you with the best information about this topic. As you all know there are a gazillion websites out there all claiming to know what ever it is that they are writing about. Beware! They all don’t know what they are talking about! Just because they write about something doesn't necessarily make them an expert on the subject!

Case in point: One website that I was just on this morning was talking about the top line of our breed and she/he talked about the MANY disqualifications of the breed……none I may add that were even remotely true. The writer claimed that different top lines were a disqualification. For my readers, please note the following are the ONLY disqualifications of our breed according to the German Shepherd Dog Club of America: cropped or hanging ears, dogs with noses not predominantly black, undershot jaw, docked tail, white dogs and any dog that attempts to bite the judge. That’s it! However, there are some things that are less desirable, but are not a disqualification! Example: a long coated dog.

If you are a student of the breed or you just want to know the most up to date information about the German Shepherd Dog, do yourself a favor and check out the best place to get the information you need which is on the German Shepherd Dog Club of America’s website ( Most all of the information that you need is right there and is set up and maintained by dedicated volunteers of the breed. This is the grand daddy of all websites for anything pertaining to this breed. It is the Parent club for German Shepherd enthusiasts.

Remember when you are looking up websites for information, many of them are written by people who have their own agendas and ideas about things. Because they write about it doesn’t mean it’s true and it doesn’t mean that they are the “end all” and have the final say about something. Check out the writers credentials. Explore different websites and question where they are coming from. There are many great writers on the web and many dedicated individuals that have many years of experience and expertise on any given subject. Just do your research and if you question something, refer back to the Parent Club website to check it out.

When I write about something, I never claim to know everything there is to know about a given subject. I realize some things are open for discussion and there are MANY more people than I that have more knowledge about certain topics. My writing just opens the doors for communication and that’s always a good thing. No matter how long we’ve lived, we can always learn more. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always had a thirst for knowledge.

Beware of websites that try to persuade you one way or the other to the writer’s viewpoint. You will find websites written strictly about the American bred German Shepherd. Then you’ll find ones written strictly about the German bred German Shepherd. It doesn’t matter where they’re born, they’re all still German Shepherds. You might view the different pictures and see a distinct difference in the look of the two dogs. You might see a difference in the dog’s top lines from these two countries. You may see a difference in their pigment as well. Is one better or more desirable than the other? It’s all a matter of taste or preference. Some American breeders wouldn’t be caught dead with a dog that they considered to have more of a roach look to his back. Then the German breeder might be critical of the sloping top lines seen on the North American German Shepherd. Remember when a breeder breeds a litter; he tries to breed to the standard as he interprets it. “One size fits all” is not necessarily true when it comes to breeding. I am of the belief that a good dog is a good dog not matter where he comes from.

When it comes to looking up information about the health or genetics of our breed another great place to get the help that you may need is to join a German Shepherd Dog e-mail list. You’ll find many of them on Yahoo. Check them out but beware again, not all of them might be the type of group that you may want to become involved in. Check out what their group is about and their requirements to join in their discussions. You can get some GREAT information and help when you need it from these groups. Many of these groups have breeders, judges, veterinarians, handlers, etc. that are part of their memberships. Some lists that you may like to inquire about are: (my list) –, (see the GSD Showcase Yahoo button to join on this blog), (with this list you will need two referrals to join),, and if you like to help with the rescue efforts of the German Shepherd Dog, here is a great group you may like to consider, If it’s information you want, anyone of these excellent groups should be able to help you.

So as you can see there are many wonderful groups and websites that can help you achieve all you want to with your dog. Just do your research, ask around and then inquire about the group you may want to join. Most German Shepherd Dog people are friendly and many are very knowledgeable, but there are those who claim more knowledge than they actually have. So just do your homework.

From "The German Shepherd Dog: A Genetic History" as written from a satisfied customer.....Geneticist and German Shepherd breed devotee Malcolm B. Willis, Ph.D. is the acclaimed author of the definitive work, The German Shepherd Dog: A Genetic History. With his comprehensive explanations of genetic principles, Willis details the genetics of reproduction, behavior, hip dysplasia, and other inheritable diseases of the German Shepherd dog. This book is an essential addition to every breeder's library. It is also a remarkably educational resource for anybody who is committed to fully understanding the genetic history of the breed and preserving its future.

My rating: GSDCA website: (4), e-mail groups: (mostly 3-4), GSD websites: 0-4)!, The German Shepherd Dog: A Genetic History: (4)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


He just might if he has arthritis! Anyone that has arthritis can usually tell when rainy, cold weather is on its way. Their stiff, achy joints usually alert them even before they watch the six o’clock weather forecast. Having arthritis can be life changing when even rising up from your chair can be challenging. Our canine friends face the same hurdles that we do when dealing with their everyday normal life. You may find that your dog is now leading a more sedentary life than he did before.

Just what is arthritis? It is a degenerative condition that affects one or more joints. In dogs, most arthritic conditions are an inherited orthopedic disease such as osteochondrosis or hip dysplasia, or those with a joint injury. Then other cases of arthritis are related to an immune-mediated joint disease or a joint infection.

Osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease) is a common disease that affects one out of five dogs in their lifetime. You may think that this problem is confined just to the older dogs. It is not. You may see hip dysplasia, ruptured cruciate ligaments, patella luxation, joint trauma and other joint conditions that can cause degenerative arthritis even in the younger dogs. The larger dogs like the German Shepherd are affected more often that the smaller dogs. If the dog is carrying too much weight, he is more likely to experience symptoms because of the extra strain placed on his ligaments and joints.

When a dog that has degenerative arthritis gets up in the morning or after a nap, he may experience different degrees of lameness, stiffness, and joint pain. Just like people, they may become irritable and have behavioral changes due to his increasing disability and pain. When it is cold and damp, this will increase the animal’s pain and stiffness. Degenerative arthritis is progressive and in time makes the dog’s life miserable.

Your veterinarian will make a diagnosis based on an x-ray of your dog's joints. X-rays will show bone spurs at points where the ligaments and joint capsule attach to the bone. There can be different degrees of joint space narrowing and increased density of bone around the joint.

Unfortunately degenerative joint disease is incurable, but with the proper treatment can substantially improve your dog’s life. Treatment may involve physical therapy and putting your dog on a diet to maintain his proper weight. You may need to use analgesics and corticosteroids to help relieve pain and improve function and the use of chondroprotective agents to repair the joint cartilage to prevent further damage. Also acupuncture has shown good results with dogs that suffer from arthritis. It is recommended that all of these treatments be used at the same time. In some severe cases, surgical fusion of painful joints such as the hock or elbow relieves pain and restores limb movement in some dogs.

It is recommended that the arthritic dog have moderate exercise to help maintain muscle mass and preserve the joints flexibility. However, don’t over exercise the dog as it can be counterproductive. They should never be allowed to jump up and down and should be discouraged from standing on their hind legs. He should be exercised on a leash. Swimming is an excellent exercise that improves muscle mass without over stressing the joints. Exercise can be increased as the dog improves with the use of medications.

Immune-Mediated Arthritis - this is an unusual group of diseases in which antibodies are directed against the dog’s own connective tissue, resulting in either an erosive or non-erosive arthritis. In erosive arthritis, cartilage and joint surfaces are destroyed. In non-erosive arthritis, there is inflammation but no tissue destruction. It seems that non-erosive arthritis tends to occur in mid-size and large breed dogs that are usually 5 to 6 years of age. The cause is unknown. The signs that your dog may have this condition are intermittent fever, loss of appetite, joint swelling, and a lameness that often shifts from limb to limb. A form of non-erosive arthritis occurs with systemic lupus erythematosus.
Along with doing joint x-rays, your veterinarian will do a Synovial fluid analysis to help distinguish immune-mediated arthritis from arthritis from infectious arthritis and osteoarthritis.

The treatment for immune-mediated arthritis is usually an anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive drug which includes corticosteroids and chemotherapy agents. The treatment must be continued for at least eight weeks and sometimes even longer. Sometimes different drugs and drug combinations might be used before determining which protocol might work best for your dog. Rheumatoid arthritis is less responsive than non-erosive arthritis to drug therapy. Most of the time you will see the smaller breeds of dog affected by rheumatoid arthritis.

If your dog has an infectious disease this may produce arthritis. Rocky Mountain spotted fever is associated with Rickettsial arthritis. Canine ehrlichiosis and spirochetal arthritis is associated with Lyme disease. All of these are tick-borne diseases. Fungal arthritis is a rare complication of a systemic fungal infection. The tick borne diseases respond to doxycycline or tetracycline. Still some dogs may have permanent joint damage.

There are a number of medications and supplements you may use to treat your dog’s arthritis problems. There are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications but they do not repair or heal the cartilage. The best way to use these are with supplements and given with foods. These medications do provide rapid pain relief.
There are a few NSAID’s that have chondro-protective characteristics meaning they protect against the breakdown of cartilage. Then others like aspirin actually destroy the cartilage in the dosage required for the relief of pain. This is one reason why aspirin is used less frequently for treating osteoarthritis.

Rimadyl is an excellent drug with a low incidence of gastrointestinal side effects that has proven itself over time. In order for Rimadyl to work, it must be given daily. It provides good pain relief and seems to slow the arthritic process. There are no detrimental effects on the cartilage. However, some breeds of dogs have shown a higher predisposition for liver toxicity when using this medication.

Etogesic is a newer NSAID which only requires one dose daily. This drug may prove as effective as Rimadyl. These drugs are available by prescription from your veterinarian. It’s interesting to note that many over the counter NSAIDs that are used for pain control in people are dangerous if given to the dog. Check with your veterinary for approval when using any drugs on your dogs. Never use more than one NSAID at the same time.

Before starting your dog on any drug that may have potential serious side effects, they should have blood work first to assess the liver and kidneys. The drugs could prolong bleeding times and interfere with clotting, and the potential to cause life threatening liver and kidney problems as well as gastrointestinal ulcerations. The first signs of trouble that you may see is your dog having nausea and vomiting. The dog’s blood work should be rechecked every six months or sooner if you notice problems. These drugs should not be combined or given with steroids.

The most common side effect is GI bleeding. This can be difficult to diagnose and quite extensive before signs become apparent. Misoprostol is a drug that prevents ulceration and helps heal ulcers caused by NSAIDs. Sulcrafate is another drug that protects against mucosal damage. Your veterinarian may prescribe one of these stomach protectants if your dog is taking an NSAID for chronic arthritis.

Oral corticosteroids are used for their anti-inflammatory effects. Low dosages appear to protect cartilage, while high dosages may destroy cartilage.
Regard steroid use as a highly dangerous medication. The use of steroids can have many side effects. They may interfere with cartilage repair. They may cause your dog to consume more water and foods making him have to eliminate more. The long term use of this medicine can lead to liver and adrenal problems. That said, steroids can still provide quick relief for many conditions and for immune problems they may be the drug choice. Steroids should not be combined with any of the NSAIDs.

The chondroprotectants are compounds that appear to modify the progression of osteoarthritis by preventing further breakdown of cartilage. The breakdown of cartilage is the first step in the development of degenerative joint disease. When chondroprotectants are used early in the treatment of osteoarthritis this is when they are the most effective.

Adequan which is similar to glucosamine is given by intramuscular injection two times a week for at least four weeks or more. It can be used as a preventive in dogs that are a high risk for developing degenerative joints disease such as hip dysplasia. Most nutraceuticals that are used to treat osteoarthritis contain glucosamine, polysulfated glycosaminoglycans and chondroitin sulfate compounds known to be involved in the synthesis and repair of joint cartilage. Some high end dog foods now contain some of these components in their ingredients. There are also a number of dog supplements that you can add to his food that also contain these nutraceuticals. They are not used to replace traditional medications, but are used as a follow up therapy.

Chondroprotective may be given along with an NSAID. This combination reduces pain and helps alleviate the joints inflammation. The chondroprotectants can be used to help prevent the developments of osteoarthritis. Before adding any supplements to your dogs treatment, always check with your veterinarian to avoid adverse interactions with medications that your dog may be on.

From the book, The Arthritis Solution for Dogs: Natural and Conventional Therapies: "An excellent book for each of us concerned with keeping our dogs happy, healthy, and athletic for as many years as possible. I recommend that all animal lovers read Dr. Messonnier's book." —Dr. Christina Chambreau, founding member and past chair of the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy.

My rating: arthritis medications: (4), supplements: (3), The Arthritis Solution for Dogs: (4)

Monday, February 22, 2010


Some dogs LOVE going for rides in the car and others, absolutely HATE it! The best time to start training your dog is when he is a puppy. OMG, all of us have some horror stories to tell when it comes to taking puppies in the car. One puppy in the car can be enough to make you not want to ever take him again but have you ever taken a litter or puppies in the car? If you are a breeder, you most certainly have. Be prepared to take loads of newspapers with you and rolls and rolls of paper towels and a bottle of a good smelling disinfectant! You’re going to need it! You’re going to be making many stops along the road.

Going for a ride in the car might sound like a good idea to you, but what does it evoke in your dog? He might get anxious just hearing the car keys rattle in your hand as you walk to the door calling his name to come to you. And if he’s a true car hater, he just might put the brakes on altogether as you TRY to coax him out of the house and into the car. Try lifting a 90 lb. German Shepherd who goes dead weight on you as you try to get him into the crate. His legs stiffen, his paws and toe nails are sticking out at “attention” and as you try to battle his uncooperative body into his crate, his stiff legs prevent you from even getting his front part of his body in the open door. Don’t expect him to help you by making this easier on you. All he knows is that you are TRYING to make him do something that he absolutely HATES!

Just what makes a dog hate riding in the car so much? It’s usually due to his not so fond memories of a sick tummy and throwing up all over your nice clean car. Hey he didn’t mean to do it, but you forced him into this torture chamber and now you’re paying the consequences for it. Many times when a puppy is first introduced to the car, he is anxious or excited and many times fearful of his new surroundings. It’s unfamiliar to him and he’s not quite sure what to make of it. Then you turn the key on and all of a sudden his firm footing is not so firm anymore. Add to that all the bumps and turns in the road and it can all add up to a very unhappy little fellow with a sick little tummy.

So what can you do to make the car ride more enjoyable to your puppy? First of all, let the puppy get familiar with the car BEFORE you start riding down the street. Let him smell his new surroundings and make it a fun experience for him. Maybe take him for some short rides at first. Perhaps just down the street and back home again all the while talking and reassuring him that everything is alright. For dogs that get sick tummies, some people swear by giving the dog ginger snap cookies. Ginger is supposed to be calming to sensitive stomachs. What you are trying to do is to make the puppy’s first car ride an enjoyable one, not something that makes him sick. If you don’t want a sick puppy or dog, DON’T FEED HIM BEFORE YOU TAKE HIM IN THE CAR for a few hours. (Except for the ginger snap cookie)!

Here are some tips to ensure that the car ride is safe and enjoyable for your dog.

Your dogs should always be in a safe and secure crate that is well ventilated. The wire crates and the hard plastic ones (shipping crates) are usually the best for the size of a German Shepherd. Make sure that the crate is large enough for your dog to stand up, turn around, sit and lie down. Also make sure the crate is secure in the car so that it’s not going to shift back and forth and it won’t roll or fall over especially if you have to put the brakes on and make a quick, unexpected stop. Many times if you crate your dog at home, he will associate the crate in the car as a friendly place because he is already familiar with it. Leaving a dog to ride loose on the back seat is not safe. Truth be told, I have done this more times than not. My bad…….! I have done this when I’m taking a quick little ride and won’t be gone long and want the company of one of my dogs.

Feed your dog three to four hours before you make the trip with him in the car. Also don’t feed him in the car when you are traveling. Your sweet gesture towards your dog can backfire……all over your car!

Never leave your dog in a car when the temperatures are extreme. Even with the car windows open on a hot day, your car can become a furnace in no time and heatstroke can develop. If you are showing your dogs, pay special attention to your dogs that are left in crates in the parking lots. If it’s very cold weather, your car can feel like a refrigerator holding the cold in and in turn having your dog freeze to death.

Besides carrying all those newspapers, paper towels and disinfectant that I already mentioned, here are some other things you should take with you. Obviously you already have his leash and collar with you…….DON’T LEAVE THESE THINGS ON HIM without being supervised. I never leave a choker collar on my dog when he’s in the car or anyplace else for that fact. I put the dog in the car and then remove his collar. I don’t want to chance him getting his choke collar hooked to something and he chokes to death. You might be taking with you his grooming supplies if you are showing him, medication and a first aid kit, maybe his favorite toy, his food and treats and lots of WATER!

Make sure your dog has identification in case he should get loose. He should be micro-chipped or tattooed. You might have a collar on him with his identification tags which would have his home address and cell phone and contact information.

If you are one of the guilty ones like me that (occasionally) let your dog ride loose in the back seat, then please don’t let him stick his head out the window. I know, I know……he love’s to do this. This is one of the joys he has in life! But no matter how good it feels having the wind blow in Rovers’ face, this can give him inner ear damage and lung infections and he can be injured by flying objects and bugs that may get into his precious little eyes. If you don’t want to crate your dog, you can put him into a harness that attaches to the back seat of your car.

And what ever you do………DON’T LET YOUR DOG RIDE LOOSE IN THE BACK OF A PICK UP TRUCK!! This is one of my pet peeves. I want to pull up next to the driver and scream at him for allowing his dog to travel in this EXTREMELY UNSAFE way! But then when I see his tattooed, bulging muscles leaning out the open window and his tobacco chewing grin, I decide to quietly groan under my breathe instead! What are these people thinking when they do this? Obviously they are NOT THINKING at all! I’ve seen dogs up on their hind legs with their front paws on the rim of the cargo area that they are kept in. Oh the dog is having a ball alright……breeze blowing in his face…….free as a bird. But unlike that bird, if the driver has to put his brakes on all of a sudden, the dog will literally be flying free as a bird, but only without the bird’s wings to save him from hitting the pavement full force!

If you’re going to be traveling across state lines, it’s advisable to bring your dog’s rabies vaccination record. Some states require this proof at certain interstate crossings. I’ve personally never experienced this with my dogs, but it’s always better to be on the safe side.

As I said before, bring lots of water for your dog to drink. Its better that your dog drinks water that came from his own house or bottled water than to drink water from another area he’s not used to. Sometimes this can result in your dog’s tummy becoming upset.

If you do lots of traveling with your dog, it might be wised to invest in rubberized floor liners and waterproof seat covers. Let’s face it, owing German Shepherds we can all attest to this breeds constant shedding of hairs. It’s also a good thing to bring a hand held vacuum like a Dirt Buster with you for easy clean ups.

Traveling with your dog can and should be a positive experience for both of you. Taking a little precaution to ensure that it is will save you a lot of aggravation in the long run.

From the book "Living with Dogs"....In 26 stories and 400 full-color photographs of homes, collections, galleries, meets, shows, kennels, and camps, Living with Dogs celebrates the devotion and passion of the millions of Americans for whom a life without dogs is not worth living.

My rating: traveling with dogs: (4), "Living with Dogs": (4)

Friday, February 19, 2010


I admit this is a very different subject for me to be writing about on a German Shepherd dog blog. However, it’s also a very familiar subject for me to be writing about because I have lots of experience in this field. Over on my e-mail list that I own, “The GSD Showcase” recently a member sent an e-mail stating she was looking forward to meeting someone’s widowed father at a dog show. I read the exchanges going back and forth on this subject and I jokingly wrote about this looking like a dating service and that I had a lot of experience in that field. Well I got several letters from members saying that I should start a website for single show dog people. I laughed and said “You’re kidding, right?” No they weren’t kidding. They were serious. They wanted to meet other single, available dog show people. Someone wrote to me, “Barbara, make sure they are not just pet people. I want someone who understands the addiction of showing and breeding dogs!” Well I must admit that this is something that I had tossed around and thought about for a couple of years now.

For those of you who don’t know my background, let me tell you a little bit about it here. Back in the 90’s I used to publish a magazine for single people. I didn’t continue it for very long because it was SUPER expensive and it was eating up my savings. Then while living outside of the Atlanta Georgia area (Roswell), I was hired by the largest dating service (at that time) in the country. It was called “Together.” They had three offices in the Atlanta area. Then I moved up to Connecticut, which had five offices. I worked in three of them and eventually became the manager of their Westport office. I LOVED what I did. We matched single people with other single people that had similar personalities and goals.

Anyway back to the single “looking for love” dog show people. I’ve investigated the “gazillion” dating websites on the internet. You can find just about any type of dating site that might be of interest to you. There are many, many ‘dog lover’s” dating websites as well. I did not, however, find dating sites for dog show people. Now the problem that I could see with this concept is that the doors would need to be open not just to German Shepherd Dog show people, but other breeds of dog show people as well. Why? There’s just not that many in the German Shepherd Dog community that are single and available that I’m aware of anyway. The people that I mentioned this to didn’t seem to have any problem with show dog people from different breeds; they just wanted someone to share and understand their passion that they have for showing and breeding dogs. So do you think that you could date or marry someone for instance, that showed and bred the hairless Chinese Crescent dog? More importantly, would your German Shepherds happily share their domain with this little hairless dog?

I’ve already had two friends of mine tell me that they know two single women who would be interested in this concept. One is a German Shepherd lady and the other one is a Sporting Group woman. From past experience, it always seems that the ladies are more apt to give something like this a try. The men on the other hand are a little more hesitant in the beginning. Then eventually they come around. Please remember people, that just because you belong to a dating service DOES NOT MAKE YOU DESPERATE! OMG, you don’t know how many times I have heard those words in this business. If you ask your friends or family to set you up with someone, does that make you desperate? If you meet someone at a restaurant, singles event, bookstore, etc., does that make you desperate? Of course not! It doesn’t matter how you met someone, it just matters that you met someone at all! The time has come that all single dog show people unite and stand up and be counted saying, “We’re not going to take it anymore! Even dog show people need love!!!”

I believe that if you are a single person in the show and breeding arena, it will be harder for you to meet someone. Why? Most people are not into living with lots of dogs sharing their home turf. Many people love animals and dogs in particular. They’re not against having a pet in their homes. However, the problem arises when you start dating someone and tell them that you share your life with five or more dogs and those dogs just happen to be German Shepherds! Oh yes, occasionally you can find someone that won’t object to sharing you with your dogs, but it’s rare.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could rent a “love boat” and invite all single dog show people on it for a week-end? Dog show people are the most comfortable around other dog show people. Perhaps there could be a hospitality room for single people at the Nationals!? The problem can arise that some or probably most of these arrangements would produce long distance relationships. But it would be fun coming up with ideas so our single dog show community would have ways of reaching out to other like minded people. Look…. most show/breeding people spend lots of time on the telephone or the internet communicating with other breeders already. So there are already many avenues of communication people can use to get to know one another.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be with someone that loved dogs as much as you do? Wouldn't it be fun picking up dirty "doo doo" dog runs together? Wouldn't it be fun whelping litters with one another? Wouldn’t it be fun going to the shows with this person? However, it could run into problems if the Crescent dog’s National Specialty was held the same week as the German Shepherd Dog specialty was held! Oh my!

Anyway for those who inquired about this, there you have it. I’m putting it out there and will be looking for feedback from my readers about this subject. Do you think it’s a good idea? Is it something that could be successful? Are there enough single people that would be interested in meeting other single people in the dog show community? I don’t know. I’m just putting the word out because some of my readers have approached me about it and I told them I would follow through with this. So there you have it. Are there any TDHSW men out there???? Now go ahead and try to decipher those initials and let me know what you come up with!

From the book "BECOME YOUR OWN MATCHMAKER"....If you've ever found yourself picking off your nail polish, sitting in your sweats with an empty carton of Ben & Jerry's, wondering, "Where are all the good men, and why isn't a gorgeous one standing shirtless in my kitchen mixing me up a pomegranate mojito?" I hate to tell you this, but it's your own fault. Not to worry -- I'm here to help you make that fantasy a reality, with one major addition: you'll be sipping that mojito with a big, glittering diamond ring on your left hand.

Sounds too good to be true? It isn't. As a third-generation matchmaker and the president of one of the world's most elite dating services -- the Millionaire's Club -- I've put myself in the enviable position of being friend, confi dante, and relationship counselor to men and women the world over. I know what the good guys want in a wife, and what sends them screaming into the night. Now I'm sharing their secrets with you.

I've compiled my best tried-and-true advice and I'm going to tell you the things that even your best friend doesn't have the courage to break to you. If you follow my formula, the man of your dreams will appear in your life, and you can be in a committed, monogamous relationship with him in less than a year. Get ready -- I'm about to show you how to make all your relationship dreams come true.

My rating: dog show people need love too: (4), Become Your Own Matchmaker: (4)

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Like many of you, I was glued to my television this week for two nights watching the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. While listening to the commentary, I thought that I heard one of the announcers say that there was only one Best in Show winner ever from the Herding Group. Wow….why was that I wondered? So I just went onto the Westminster Kennel Clubs website and did some investigation. Now remember, the Herding Group was held for the first time at Westminster in 1983. Prior to that, the German Shepherd Dog along with some of the other breeds came from the Working Group. For a little trivia….the Germans Shepherd was known as the German Sheep Dog from 1908-1918 and as the Shepherd Dog from 1919-1931.

As I continued my investigation, I found the chart that showed how many Best in Show dogs ever won from the Herding Group. The Herding Group was only awarded this honor four times! Of those four times, three of those dogs received that award while they were in the Working Group. The fourth dog to win Best in Show from this group was the German Shepherd Dog and when he won it, he won it from the Herding Group, not while he was still in the Working Group. That said then, the German Shepherd Dog is the ONLY herding dog to win it from this group! Why does this group not get the same recognition as the other groups I wondered? Looking over the past Working Groups Best in Shows, they have to their credit 15 wins! 19 Best in Show wins from the Sporting Group, Hound Group has four wins, 45 wins over in the Terrier Group, nine wins from the Toy Group, and ten in Non-Sporting. Those feisty little terriers certainly know how to charm the judges!

So it looks like the Herding Group and the Hound Group are running neck in neck for the least amount of Best in Show winners honoring their breeds. The German Shepherd Dog has had 14 Group Wins at Westminster which is a nice record for our breed.

Right now the German Shepherd Dog is listed as the second most popular breed according to the American Kennel Club 2009 dog registration statistics. The Labrador Retriever holds the number one spot. In my life time, I’ve never seen the German Shepherd Dog not be in the top five most registered dogs. In fact, if my memory serves me correctly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen them slip down below the number 4 position.

There is very little that you can ask of this dog that he won’t be able to deliver. We all know of their heroic contributions in war times. Many times when we see pictures of natural disasters, it is not uncommon to see a German Shepherd’s nose to the ground sniffing out a helpless person that’s buried under the rubble. His search and rescue efforts are numerous. Time and time again we see this dog in the cities Police departments. He is used as a narcotics and bomb detecting dog. We also know that this dog has been used throughout the years as a top Seeing Eye dog for the blind. He’s been a “movie star” in so many Hollywood productions that it would take pages and pages to list them all. He’s a herder of sheep, a therapy dog for the sick and lonely, a guardian of home and property, a babysitter for our kids, and a "demander" of a spot in our heart! Could any other breed of dog have such an illustrious resume?

Then someone questioned if this is one of the most wonderful breed of dogs, how come they don’t win more Best in Shows at Westminster? Quite simply, they are not judged on their accomplishments OUTSIDE of the ring. All of their heroics, all of their contributions to making man’s life easier are pushed aside. When they step into this arena, they are judged on structure, movement, temperament and breed type. The judge is looking for the dog that he considers being the closest to that dog’s breed standard. I personally feel like many other breeder/exhibitors do, that many times the dogs winning record precede him into the show ring at a level of a show as Westminster. We are watching some of the top winning dogs in the country compete at this most prestigious of dog shows. Personally, I would love to see a major upset at this show….that is where the top winning dog in the country whose owners and handler experts to win loses to the a dog that no one expected to take the top honor! Wouldn’t that be something? I am and have always been the champion of the underdog! Wouldn’t it be fun to be surprised? When I hear the announcer say that we are watching the top winning dog in the country and then he goes Best in Show…..well, where’s the excitement in that unless you are the dog’s owner of course?!

There have been some top winning German Shepherds in the United States that have won many Best in Show awards at the All Breed shows. And yet, only one of them won Best in Show at Westminster all the way back in 1987……the great showman…….Manhattan! I’d love to see it happen again! Manhattan like previous Best in Show winners brought his show winning record along into the ring with him so he was not an unheard of dog. He was very well known and very well loved. He had the crowd support on that wonderful night and he stepped it up and the more the crowd applauded, the more the dog responded and showed his little old heart out. Was he the greatest German Shepherd champion that ever lived? No, perhaps he wasn’t. But on that night, he challenged those hardened hearts and non believers and even those few had to admit this dog asked for it, wanted it, and knew he owned that arena and that crowd and ultimately the Best in Show honors!

I think that is why this years winner although certainly a deserving champion, did nothing to excite me. It was like; “Ho hum, another dog show”…….I didn’t feel this dog as previous dogs have done……asked for it. He never seemed to get caught up in the crowd’s enthusiasm and excitement and it was like this was just another dog show to him.

And speaking of that…….some of the dogs at the show seemed so bored. There was a program on Monday night following the Westminster's presentation. It was very interesting showing some of the past winners and also different dog shows across the country. One thing I noticed was that some of these dogs looked so bored. It was like the dog show was all they ever really knew. I wondered how many of them ever chased a ball, played with children or for that fact was ever taken out of a kennel except to go to a dog show. Now mind you, many of these dogs are member’s of their owners families, but I couldn’t help wonder about some of the others.

In my opinion, I must say that our breed was very well represented at this years Westminster with some top quality champions. They were all lovely and must have done their owners and breeders proud. Congratulations to one and all! Oh well, I can’t wait until next year to see which German Shepherd will win the breed and who knows what? Will there be another Best in Show winner in our breed's future? Will it be in my lifetime? Is there a future Westminster Best in Show German Shepherd lying by someone’s feet right now? Can’t wait to see him/her!

From today's book selection: "The Joy of Breeding Your Own Show Dog": Back by popular demand - the only breeding book endorsed by top breeders. "There are many books on breeding dogs, but Ann's book is so on-target and comprehensive that it has become a bible among successful breeders. The news that Howell is making this modern classic available again is to the benefit of both new and future generations of aspiring breeders."-- From the new Foreword by Wendell J. Sammet, The American Kennel Club's first Breeder of the Year (2002)

My rating: German Shepherds are the best inside or outside the ring:(4), "The Joy of Breeding Your Own Show Dog": (4)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I’m not dumb enough to think what I write will set the world on fire or that it’s going to change the world…..or more importantly the people in it. But maybe, just maybe it might touch someone enough…..

Because we all share our love for the German Shepherd Dog, it brings many different people from all walks of life to this hobby of ours called “showing dogs.” It attracts the little guy to the big shot to the "wanna be’s" to the well established. The sport of showing dogs doesn’t discriminate. Its doors are open to all who show a desire and dedication to promote our breed. Many, many years ago the only people that showed dogs were the aristocratic of society. It is after all, a very expensive hobby to be involved in.

With today’s technological advancement in communication people can share their love of the breed and acquire knowledge about it quicker than ever before. In a matter of minutes, most all of any information you need is readily available at your fingertips. There are thousands upon thousands of websites available for the serious student of the breed. There are a tremendous amount of e-mail lists that one can choose to belong to with other liked minded individuals. Here is where you’ll see an exchange of ideas and information. We are a passionate lot of people and some have stronger convictions and viewpoints than others and sometimes heated arguments will occur. I’m all for a lively discussion as long as everyone plays fair.

PLAY FAIR………hmmmm……...we would hope that when we show our dogs that our dogs are getting a fair look from the judge. But this article isn’t about what goes on inside the ring. This is about what goes on outside the ring! Some of you may know that I have an on line store where I sell many dog related products like t-shirts, mugs, greeting cards, mouse pads, etc. I’m always looking for cute little sayings to put on them. Well someone gave me an idea for this. She said how about using these words on some of your products……”Dog shows…the only place where there are more bitches outside the ring than in it!” I laughed out loud with that one because she was very new to the sport of showing dogs but she had already picked up on the atmosphere at some of the shows that she went to.

We question why our clubs are becoming smaller and smaller. We wonder why the entries at dog shows can barely pull a major. It’s not about the dogs. It never was. It’s about the people that show the dogs. People haven’t lost their interest in the German Shepherd Dog. They’ve lost their interest in showing the German Shepherd Dog. They can take their dog home with them and give them all the love they need. They can enjoy their dog playing ball with him in the back yard. No the complaints that I hear is about the treatment people are receiving from the so called dog community. These complaints are not just from the new person to the breed. These complaints are by people that have been in the breed for many years having owned Select and Group winning champions. One person told me that she’s just about ready to stop showing dogs.

The spoken word is probably one of the most powerful of tools that man has available to him. It can provoke comfort, love, and affection and can make someone’s day. On the other hand, words spoken in anger or with venom can hurt, ridicule, and break hearts. It can win wars or stop wars depending upon the words one would choose to use. They’re only words, but they can be stronger than if you were to punch someone. Their sting can last a lifetime. The sting of a punch may last a couple of days. The sting of words may never go away.

We all have our perception of what an ideal dog should look like. We have a standard that dictates what they should look like. When it comes to being a human being, there is no standard. One size does not fit all. It is not our business to go around telling other exhibitors how they should dress or comb their hair. It’s not our business to tell one another who to hang around with and who to stay away from. It not our business to tell someone that their dog is nothing but a pet unless that person asked us for our advice. It’s not our business to go around breaking hearts and squashing someone’s dreams. It’s not our business to laugh at and make fun of someone because he doesn’t fit into our perception of what beauty should be. If someone wants to dress comfortably going to a dog show, it’s not our business to tell them that they need to invest in new wardrobe.

We never know what is going on in someone else’s life. Not everyone tells you of their illnesses or family problems. We may not be aware that this person is a month away from losing her home. Maybe she’s eating another can of pork and beans tonight. We don’t know what anyone else’s life is like. Showing kindness and offering help when it’s needed is probably one of the most rewarding of experiences. The person that we are making fun of may not be our “ideal” person, but her heart breaks just as easily as ours does. She goes to dog shows because she loves the breed. She may be looking for a little friendship from people that love the breed just as much as she does. No time like this time to extend kindness when the economy has taken so many victims.

Oh my (I apologize), I didn’t mean to get too preachy here, but recently I’ve heard some heartbreaking stories about the mistreatment from some in our dog community. It breaks my heart when a friend breaks down and cries or threatens to leave the showing of dogs that she loves so much. That said, MOST people in the dog show community are some of the most wonderful people that you will ever meet and many long standing friendships have lasted for decades. MOST people are willing to share their years of knowledge with those who chose to listen. For the MOST part it is a fun community of some great people that you will cherish for the rest of your life!

We are all on this journey together sometimes choosing a different path to take, but all looking for the same thing.....acceptance. I should hope that when we all leave this great big earth that we would want to be remembered more about who we were as a person than about the dogs that we owned. And as for the dogs…… well they are wonderful just the way they are because they like us humans just the way we are!

A road-trip and self-discovery book with a difference: McIntyre hitchhiked across America with no money, accepting only the "kindness of strangers"--rides, food, shelter, and the occasional beer. This book grew on me with every page, just as McIntyre's feelings for the ordinary people he met grew with every mile. Few books I've read since Studs Terkel's Hard Times (a classic oral history about the Great Depression) so effectively captured the day-to-day lives of typical Middle Americans, with all their strengths and weaknesses. Highly Recommended.

My rating: KINDNESS OF STRANGERS: (4), kindness to all: (4)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


It’s not unheard of to hear a person who owns a dog say that he and his dog have formed a bond or an attachment to one another. Even more common to hear is someone saying that their dog is their best friend. Have we attached human emotions that we feel to our dogs? Do dogs really feel emotions or do they respond to their human owners by instinct?

The dictionary defines emotions as a heightened feeling – a strong feeling about somebody or something. Instinct is described as a biological drive – an inborn pattern of behavior characteristic of a species and shaped by biological necessities such as survival and reproduction.

The limbic system of the brain is the location of emotionally charged memories. An animal that is traumatized shows many of the same physiological signals in the brain as a human who has been traumatized with the same symptoms. An animal can show the same behavioral and physiological signs of depression as a human does. So similar are these signs that vets have prescribed human drugs for animal’s emotional and behavioral problems, such as Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil. The animal’s chemical neurotransmitters are the same as humans. Their hormones are similar. The same hormones perform the same functions – oxytocin, for example initiates maternal bonding of tenderness, affection and protectiveness that all mammal species feel, including humans. We can interpret this to mean that the tenderness or grief over the loss of a loved one is real whether it’s felt by a human or an animal. The distress or pain of a baby of any species, the need to nurture and protect this young one evokes a motherly response across all the animal kingdom.

Dogs are considered social animal’s comfortable living in a pack. Therefore, it is necessary for them to use their intelligence and instincts to survive and maintain order. They learn to interact in their pack, and respect their pack leader who is considered the alpha dog.

Living among humans, the dog has adapted to their owner as being the alpha or leader. Some might say that the dog acts out of instinct towards his human leader. This is where he gets his food and shelter. But if given the same equal amount of food and shelter from someone else, they would still want to stay with the original owner because of the emotional bond with this person. So could one conclude then that the dog acted out of emotions rather than instinct?

The dog stands out among other domesticated animals for he is perhaps the only one that is fully domesticated of the different species. H.Hediger, the director of the Zoological Gardens of Zurich, writes that the dog, basically a domesticated wolf, was the first creature with which humans formed intimate bonds that were intense on both sides. He continues that no other animal stands in such intimate psychological union with us; only the dog seems capable of reading our thoughts and “reacting to our faintest changes of expression or mood.” So one must never forget that a dog is really a wolf and his instincts are that of a wild animal, but one that has allowed man to become part of his world. This is something that no other wild animal would ever do, even when they seem in some ways to trust and respect man.

Another fascinating fact about the dog is that no other species of animals has shown that it prefers the company of man to that of his own species. If given a choice, the dog would choose man.

Samuel Coleridge was one of the first to note that “the best friend a man has in the world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter….may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to him….may become traitors to their faith….The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog.”

One emotion that all animals have in common is the emotion of fear. It is after all the emotion that’s most important to survival. And what about the emotions that some say that dogs display? Dogs have been known to whine and carry on hysterically when left alone. When their owner returns, they show joy by circling around and around, tail wagging happily and jumping up to plant a sloppy kiss on his cheek. One dog will show jealousy when you are petting another dog by pushing his body between the two of you so he’ll get all your attention. What about the dog that has been abused and beat up? Is it fear that we see in his big sorrowful brown eyes when someone raises a hand or voice around him? Is it fear when his body involuntarily begins to quiver and shake? Then there’s the issue of forgiveness. If the dog is shown the least bit of kindness from a new person, his great big heart will shower the new person with an abundance of affection forgetting it was a person who caused him so much pain to begin with. And what about grief? Do you think a dog can feel this emotion? Is it grief he feels when his owner has died and he no longer feels the comfort of his hand stroking his neck? Is it grief a mother dog feels when her litter of puppies dies at two weeks old from a virus? She searches unsuccessfully to find them and she physically becomes sick? Emotions or instinct?

Scientists like to avoid this subject pertaining to dogs and emotions. After all, emotions are contributed to the human being and isn’t this what sets the human apart from the dog? To say that the dog could experience emotions that were only considered a human feeling would change everything we were taught to believe. Aren’t we “way up here” and they’re way down there?” Aren’t we at the top of the hierarchy of the animal kingdom?

One thing is for certain, anyone who owns a dog knows that man could never love completely, totally and unselfishly as a dog does. The dog is incapable of holding grudges. There’s purity to his love. He loves blindly. It is rare for a human to love with so much abandonment and forgiveness as a dog. The author Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson wrote in his book “Dogs Never Lie about Love” that “dogs are love.” So the question shouldn’t be whether dogs love, but rather how they can love with such a complete and enormous surrender of self.

The love humans feel for one another can turn to hate and distrust when the first blush of affection subsides. Sometimes loving someone doesn’t survive through a growing friendship when one is truly known. When the true person is revealed, is when the emotions felt for another is tested. For a person to love someone who has done them wrong is very difficult. The dog loves a person no matter if his true colors show deceit, weaknesses or unkindness. This is probably the biggest reason we call our dogs our best friends, because we know when it comes to love, our canine friends are the teachers and we become the students.

This is why man loves his dog so much. The dog loves him no matter what the scale shows his weight to be, no matter how old he is, no matter what mood or disposition he’s in – tired, weak, strong, indifferent or foul of temperament. Many a person carries on a conversation with their dog. The dog seems to sense when he is sad, or glad. They respond to his every mood. They listen to him when no one else cares to. Man never fears being judged the fool. His dog thinks he’s wonderful just the way he is. The dog then has an amazing capacity for an unlimited amount of love towards his master which comes naturally to him. This is perhaps why the man and his dogs love and affection lasts a lifetime. This is the kind of love that humans hope to have with each other, but sadly most only experience in the movies.

As science looks more in to the study of dogs and emotions, there are uncomfortable issues that we face about our domesticated friends. We are forced to face as a society what part we play in the treatment of these animals that are born with the capability to soften even the most hardened heart. For if indeed, our dogs have emotional feelings similar to mans, what does this say about how man treats these creatures? After all, not all dogs are domesticated and pampered. Some live their lives in cages, while others are used for experimentation. Some are bred every season; some from their first season to their last and then when they are all used up, they’re destroyed.

So then what can be concluded about this most unselfish of animals known as the domesticated dog? If he can feel emotions like man who experiences love, grief, loss, jealousy, fear, and joy, should he be any less recognized and respected? Because man has superior intellect it should stand to reason that we would treat the dog who shares a similar emotional make-up to us with dignity and care. For the loving heart of a dog is ours for the taking to do with as little as we want or as much as we like. Treat it with care. Man should wish that he could only live up to be what his dog thinks of him.

For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend - From her book, the author says....."Don't fool yourself: if you yell at your dog for something he did twenty seconds ago, you're not training him; you're merely expressing your own anger."

My rating: For the Love of a Dog: (4)

Monday, February 15, 2010


It’s easy to say that a breed club fell apart because of the economy. Gas prices have skyrocketed and the expenses to keep that car running smoothly have followed their lead. But that would only be telling you a half truth. Yes, the economy has taken its toll on most of us and we have to re-train ourselves to handle our finances differently because of it. But is it really true that the club fell apart solely because of the economy? How was the club doing a few years ago when people weren’t as concerned about their financial future? Was it thriving or was it on its way out?

A breed club is a place for like minded people who love their dogs to gather and meet and discuss all things related to their breed. It’s a place to talk about breeding, training, and the health of their dogs. It’s a place to exchange ideas. It’s a place to vote in new officers to run the club and help to insure that things run smoothly. It’s a place to talk about how to generate revenue for the club to help make it prosper so it can put on AKC sanctioned dog shows. It’s a place to invite guest speakers to come and give your club a lecture. It’s a place to learn, to share and to socialize among your peers. But like any other organization, it is also a place to work. Unlike a job, it is not something that you do to get paid. But the rewards that you reap sharing in a hobby that you love can be all the payment that you need. However, when it’s the same few people doing all the work, that’s when you may see a club begin to shift and the walls of its foundation begin to crack. In many cases, this can be the beginning of the end.

A lot of hard work, determination, dedication and passion go into making a successful club. You have your governing body of people who are elected to office to run the club. This normally consists of a President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, and a board of a few people. These people are the back bone of any club. Then you will have other volunteers for different functions in the club. You might have people that volunteer to bring refreshments, a coffee pot, etc. and maybe you’ll have someone willing to devote many hours of their time writing and putting together a newsletter about the club. There are people who set up the dog show rings and then take them back down again.

Just why do people belong to a club anyway? What do they get out of it? Why should they leave the comforts of their home to go sit on a cold hard chair instead? Why should they go and listen to people bicker about who should judge their upcoming specialty when they can stay home and argue with their kids instead? What brings these same people month after month back to the club and the “same old, same old?” Is it because of their love and passion that they feel for their breed? Is it because they want to brag about their newest litter that was just born? Is it because they want to show you a picture of their stud dog winning Best of Breed just last week-end? Yes, yes, and yes to all of the above. It is a gathering place where like minded people meet up and talk “dogs.” And that is the key…..LIKE MINDED PEOPLE!

You don’t normally converse with like minded people where you work. Your relatives for the most part couldn’t care less about the up coming spring dog shows. Your kids are tired of hearing about bloodlines and breeding all the time. Your neighbors don’t care where the next National Specialty dog show will be held. Only other like minded people enthusiastically look forward to talking “dogs” with you. You can talk with these people on the telephone and communicate with them on the internet. But it’s a whole lot of fun seeing these people in person and sharing pedigrees, showing pictures of your dogs and strutting yourself proud when you brag about your newest litters and show wins. You have a captured audience at a dog club.

Breed clubs should not only be all about work. It should and needs to be a place that is fun to go to. Some of the clubs also offer breed and obedience classes. This is a wonderful place to get puppies and youngsters out for training and socializing. It’s also another excuse for LIKE MINDED PEOPLE to gather.

One of the most important things that a club should do (in this writer’s opinion) is to make sure that it WELCOMES its newcomers! Some of the clubs that have been in existence for a long time may have in its membership some long standing members. A club MUST be a friendly and welcoming place to come to or what is the point? I think that the President of the club should make an effort to greet and welcome every new member that comes to his club. If a club wants its doors to remain open, it must open its doors to the “newbie’s” with open arms and acceptance. They must not be made to feel unwelcome but instead should be recognized as the FUTURE of the breed. What we do now will either ensure the future of our breed or see the demise of it.

There’s nothing sadder then to see a club that was in existence for many years that crumbles and goes into its grave with the other “used to be” clubs. I see a picture in my mind of the long ago members that are no longer with us but who were the backbone of these clubs. I can see them standing up offering a suggestion. I can hear their laughter when they told a joke or two. I can see them standing in one of the corners sharing a coffee with another member and eating someone’s chocolate chip cookies. I can see them getting up and shaking hands after accepting their vote in as President of the club. I see William Goldbecker standing over there sharing his knowledge with a newcomer and I hear Marge Dolan on the other side of the room telling someone about her newest litter. I hear Connie Beckhardt’s friendly laughter when she would come to judge our shows. I remember hanging on every word LaMar Kuhns would say when he came to give a speech at our club. These are the shadows and echoes that are left behind by those we should never forget……for these are the people that made the clubs great. We owe it to them but more importantly to ourselves and to our breed to make sure that what they did for our breed clubs by giving it structure and purpose was not done in vain. They set an example or just how great our breed is. We can chose to follow in the footprints that they left behind by continuing a tradition that is rich in history and by leaving our own footprints for the next generations to come. Or we can watch as another club is put to sleep. And the more clubs put to sleep, the more dog shows that get buried along with it. No clubs……no dog shows. You have to have a club to put on a dog show. No dog shows……no new champions and no new obedience title holders.

The days of “Ask not what your club can do for you, but what you can do for your club” have sadly being replaced with a complacent society raised unfortunately with the attitude of “What’s in it for me?” Now days, “instant gratification and I want it now” has for the most part replaced the old school of thinking that a lot of hard work, sweat and tears will reap the rewards of your hard labor. Then what’s the answer? Can these two ways of thinking co-exist side by side in a breed club and be successful? Sure they can. If the “old timers” set the example and share some of their wise wisdom with the newcomers than the newcomers can show us a newer and maybe a better way of doing something. It should never be an “either my way or the highway” type of attitude. It should be about acceptance and respect from both parties ideas and contributions. And while the old timers might listen to what the newbie has to offer, the newbie needs to understand that these are the people that made this club what it is and respect the need to continue their ethics of working hard to make the club successful.

Because showing dogs is a hobby, it should be fun. Breed clubs should be a fun atmosphere. Although it takes a lot of work to make it successful, never forget the real reasons people go to dog clubs to begin with……to learn, to contribute, to share and to enjoy their hobby. All work and no play will play itself out fast. I can hear some of you saying right about now, “But it’s always the same ones doing all the work.” Then in my opinion, don’t ask for people to raise their hands and volunteer because the same ones will sit back and let everyone else raise their hands like usual. The President and officers need to approach each person individually and ask for the help that they need. Sometimes certain people need to be approached and “put on the spot” if you will. It’s a lot harder to refuse when you are signaled out. It won’t always work…’ll hear the same excuses of why they can’t, but I bet you’ll get a lot more yeses than when you asked for a show of hands for help. We must come from an attitude of “If I ask they won’t deny me” instead of “Oh, I just know that they will refuse me.” You just might be pleasantly surprised. People need to know that they are important and what they have to contribute matters. This might be known as using reverse psychology but many times it can work. Let people know how important they are and many times they’ll give you more than what you asked for. Try it. You got nothing to lose but your club!

Make your club a friendly place to come to. We sometimes get caught up with our friends and save them a seat next to us at the table. How about offering a seat to a newcomer when he comes in the door? Wouldn’t it be nice to see that you just put a smile on their face rather than the usual “head held down look” they normally display for fear that no one will say hello to them? Make your club a place of warmth and acceptance and friendliness and instead of closing your doors for the final time you may just see a whole lot of new people looking forward to opening them. Is your club a friendly place to come to? If you were just starting out, is it a place you would want to go?

My rating: Breed Clubs: (4), Dog Shows: (4), unfriendly, unwelcoming atmosphere: (0)

Friday, February 12, 2010


Well in two days, it will be Valentines Day. Most people associate this day with love. It is a time for young lovers and old to remember their sweethearts and share this special day in some special kind of way. For those of us that don’t have a sweetheart, we might just plan the day spending it with our beloved dogs…….because after all dogs are love!

I wrote this following article several years ago and just re-read it again this morning. I thought it fit into the theme of Valentines Day very well. If you don’t have someone special in your life, but God sent you a dog or dogs to love then you are truly blessed. Go give them a hug and I’ll bet you’ll get more love and kisses in return to overflow and warm your heart.

So for those of you that have read it before, indulge me if you will. For my new readers, I hope you enjoy it. Happy Valentines Day everyone and I’ll see you again on Monday!

Barbara J. Galasso

I think I've finally figured out why DOG spelled backwards is GOD. They say that man is made in God's image. While this may be true, I don't believe we were given his soul. I believe that is something we have to earn. Hence the "free will" that man was born with.

The Dog on the other hand, looks nothing like God's image, but most definitely has his soul. He loves unconditionally, holds no grudges, knows how to do without, can live poorly without complaining, doesn't have the means to gossip, doesn't commit crimes unless it's for survival reasons, is obedient, worships his master, is an excellent parent to his young setting good examples, always happy and playful, and always forgiving.

He’s incapable of regret, so he doesn’t beat himself up about missed opportunities. He never lives in the past because he’s too busy enjoying today. He never worries and wonders what’s going to happen tomorrow. He lives in the here and now relishing the moment and never misses the opportunity to enjoy the day he is given.

He’s true to himself. He never worries what he looks like, or how he acts. He just does whatever it is that makes him feel good. He doesn’t lose sleep over anything because he never worries about anything. He doesn’t keep score of what someone did or didn’t do for him. He never holds back from giving his love as a punishment. He just gives it freely and without any conditions.

He never discriminates. He doesn’t care about wealth and riches of the world. It doesn’t matter to him if he’s riding in the latest Bentley or a beat up twenty year old car. He’ll eat whatever is given to him and be thankful for it. He doesn’t care if you are fat, skinny, rich or poor. He doesn’t care if you are smart or dumb, educated, politically correct, black or white, religious or not. It doesn’t matter to him if he lives in a shack or a castle, just as long as he lives with you. . He’ll sleep on a cold hard floor and in the morning still greet you with a heart filled with joy just for seeing you.

He’ll lick away your tears when you don’t want anyone to see them fall. He senses when you are hurting when you don’t want to share this with anyone else. He can tell when you’re sick before the doctors even know it. He can take care of you if you are handicapped and no one else will sit with you. He can bring you your slippers and bring you the paper. He’ll never get an attitude and feel like he’s waiting on you. He does it because he always wants to please.

He would do very little other than survive if he was made to live in the wilderness. But he wasn’t born to live in the wilderness. He was born for one reason and that was to be a companion to man. He was sent to us as a gift. And being born to live among man is when the true nature of the dog is brought out. He’s a showman, a worker, a guardian, and a teacher. For it is when you live with a dog, that you are taught what unselfish love is, what unguarded laughter is, and if you truly open this gift that was sent to you, you’ll see the way to the light. The dog speaks to you with no voice, but rather through a silent understanding that if you listen closely enough you will hear. If you watch closely enough, you will see.

Man is given the intellect to teach the dog his lessons, but it is the dog, which although born with less intelligence, is capable of teaching the man more lessons than he could ever learn in any university.

He wasn’t born with a "free will", so he does things by instinct rather than by choice. But he’s freer then any man. He'll never go to hell because he's incapable of sin so therefore, all dogs are guaranteed a place in Heaven.

If I am ever reincarnated, I think I’d like to come back as a dog.

If you want to read more heartwarming stories about dogs and their unconditional love, I highly recommend you check out "Stories of Dogs and the Lives They Touch."

My rating: the love from a dog: (4), Stories of Dogs and the Lives They Touch: (4)


Thursday, February 11, 2010


Most dogs don’t have to be bathed very much unless you are showing them or you live in an area where it’s always raining and the dogs love rolling around in the mud. But for those times that you do bathe them, there are so many different shampoos, conditioners and coat enhancement products on the market to choose from. I just love opening the bottles to smell the delicious scents.

GROOMING PRODUCTS: (shampoos, conditioners, sprays, etc.)

CHRIS CHRISTENSEN: This name brand has long been associated with some of the best dog brushes on the market. The company offers a nice choice of grooming products as well. With vitamin enriched formulas they offer several different types of products from shampoos, conditioners, finishers, etc. Their Day to Day shampoo is made for all skin and coat types. It is enriched with Vitamin E, Colloidal Oatmeal and natural botanical extracts to gently clean and restore natural moisture. Mild enough to use everyday, natural conditioners add body and sheen.

BIO-GROOM: This company offers a wonderful variety of hair and coat products made to address certain problems. For instance, their Bio-Med shampoo offers a therapeutic, tar-sulfur formula that brings relief without offensive odor. Excellent for skin and coat damage associated with flea bites and hot spots. They make products to help intensify the shine of the coat. They have mink oil spray, herbal shampoos and oatmeal rinses.

1 ALL SYSTEMS: Many show people are familiar with and use this line of products for their dogs. They have a super cleaning and conditioning shampoo that is specially formulated with rich conditioners which cleanse the coat thoroughly without stripping or softening. It rinses out quickly leaving a sparkling, residue-free coat. Its unique formula removes only excess oil and dirt and not the natural oils. It contains all natural, healthy ingredients with NO alcohol, oil or silicone products. It will not affect natural color or texture. Safe and gentle enough to be used everyday, even on the most sensitive skins and coats. They make wonderful coat conditioners and grooming sprays.

WHOLISTIC PET ORGANICS HEAVENLY HERBAL SHAMPOO: Although this is the only product that I saw this company make, I liked the ingredients so I’m included this one as well. They advertise it as the best and safest way to clean your pet. This USDA Certified Organic shampoo is a non-toxic alternative to conventional, chemical-laden shampoo. It is made from organic coconut, olive and jojoba oils, organic aloe vera, and a combination of natural and organic essential oils. It is naturally mild and moisturizing for even the most sensitive of skins, this herbal shampoo is free of petroleum, free of animal by-products, free of all artificial ingredients, free of Sodium Laurel Sulfate, and no animal testing ever used! It rinses easily and completely with a clean, fresh citrus scent.

CINDRA: This is another brand that is associated with the dog show people. It’s been around for years. They have a cleansing, moisturizing and a texturizing shampoo. I have been told by some show people that the texturizing shampoo is a great product. It is a bodifying shampoo for thin or limp coats. It is a hair keratin formula which increases volume and texture. It improves the body of the coat and is easy to rinse with a low-sudsing formulation. It is highly concentrated. Another favorite with the show dog people is the Reconstructor conditioner.

EARTHBATH: This is a line of products that I wasn’t familiar with until I talked to a breeder that swears by this company’s shampoos and conditioners. And I’m one for anything that is totally natural. From their website, they say, their ultra-concentrated, totally natural pet shampoos are made with natural essential oils and other good stuff from nature. They never contain parabens, harsh soaps, artificial dyes or fragrances, phosphates, or toxins, so you don't have to worry about what might be left behind on your pet or the environment. Exceptionally mild, effective, and safe for pets over 6 weeks old. My friend told me she is in love with the smell of their products.

PLUSH PUPPY: Here is another line that many show people are familiar with. Their line of coat products has increased over the last few years. They offer shampoos, conditioners, finishers, brushes, etc. Their line of shampoos varies from body builders, hydro-bath, deep cleansing, etc. They have a huge line of finishing products, probably more than I’ve seen with the other companies. I’ve used the volumising cream and their shine and comb product on a bitch that was bald when I showed her at her futurity. It definitely made a difference in the appearance of her coat. She never shined as beautifully as she did that day. It made her have such a high sheen to her coat.

FURMINATOR WATERLESS deSHEDDING SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER: Most German Shepherd people are familiar with the excellent Furminator comb to remove this breeds undercoat. However, most people are unaware that this company now offers a line of grooming products as well. They say that this shampoo and conditoner promotes healthier skin, shinier topcoat, and a reduction in excessive shedding. It helps eliminator odor and leaves a fresh, clean scent. It’s enriched with Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids loaded with vitamins and proteins. The coconut-based system lifts and attaches to dirt, allergens, and loose fur, allowing for easy removal with the FURminator deShedding comb. The non-drying, hypoallergenic formulation also helps remove loose hair and strengthen hair shafts. The re-nourishment and revitalization of the shafts prolong the growth cycle and reduce shedding to a more natural process

There are many more grooming products that I haven’t listed here that I’m sure many people are happy with. I find that the products that contain oatmeal or aloe are excellent for soothing the dog’s skin as it is not harsh and doesn’t strip the coat of natural oils. It is like anything else that you buy…..what ever works for your dog is the one that we normally stick with.

Some grooming products can be on the pricey side. You need to find the one that can do the job that you are looking for and that fits your budget.

Human shampoos and conditioners are not made for the dog’s skin and coat. You might find that some of them can be too harsh and strip the dog’s coat. Buy products that are made for your dog and if he has certain coat or skin conditions, choose one made to address that problem.

Darn many of these shampoos and conditioners smell better than my shampoos and conditioners. No, I’m not going to start using them on myself but it’s mighty tempting!

My rating: shampoos and coat treatments specifically made for dogs: (4)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Over the last few decades there has been a tremendous increase in chronic ill health of our pets. Our animal’s immune system has been compromised and we’re seeing more and more illnesses that were rare just a few decades ago. The illnesses that we are seeing now are chronic skin and ear allergies, digestive upset, thyroid, adrenal and pancreatic disorders, seizures, gum and teeth problems, degenerative arthritis, kidney and liver failure, and cancer. Something else that we are seeing a lot of is a record number of behavioral and emotional disorders including alarming and unexplained fears and aggression, as well as difficulty focusing and paying attention when being trained.

The two biggest factors in our pet’s health problems has been the severe overuse of vaccines and nutrient poor and toxin filled commercial foods. Instead of finding out the cause of the disease, we have suppressed the symptoms with antibiotics, cortisone and related drugs. This can mean that the disease progresses and goes deeper. Homeopathy offers a viable alternative in truly curing pets and making their bodies healthier.

Our dogs are just like us humans that are affected by the health hazards on our planet. They too are bothered by pollution, poor nutrition, stress and unhealthy lifestyles just like we are. These days, emotional and psychological problems like depression, anxiety, ADHD and behavioral problems are just as prevalent in pets as they are in their owners. Like us they suffer from physical ailments such as diabetes, arthritis, chronic fatigue, digestive disorders, cystitis, kidney and liver disease, skin disorders, obesity and thyroid dysfunction. Perhaps we can help our pets live a healthier and longer life by making lifestyle changes and using natural medicine.

Some holistic veterinarians believe that most dogs will eat anything that they can get their mouth on if they are lacking in the nutrition to supply them with adequate energy. To help ensure a wholesome diet with the appropriate nutrients avoid diets that are made of inferior ingredients or ones that are made using high heat for processing and choose a diet for your dog that is comprised of human quality whole food ingredients.

In my research, according to Dr. Francis M. Pottenger's nutritional studies (and I quote) “A regular diet of cooked or canned foods causes the development of chronic degenerative diseases and premature mortality. Professor Jackson of the Dept. of Anatomy, University of Minnesota, has shown that rats fed for 135 days on an 80 percent cooked food diet resulted in an increase pancreatic weight of 20 to 30 percent. What this means is that the pancreas is forced to work harder with a cooked food diet. "Although the body can manufacture enzymes the more you use your enzyme potential, the faster it is going to run out..." wrote Dr. Edward Howell, who pioneered research in the benefits of food enzymes. (End quote).

In the wild, predators will first seek the stomach contents and organ meat of a killed animal. Partially digested fermented grass is what comes out of the stomach and intestines of the dead animal. It is the food that the dead animal had eaten that day and not yet passed out as manure. It is full of all types of beneficial microbes and enzymes as well as omega 3 from the grass. Animals like the coyotes, foxes, and wolves all feast on it.

Feeding your dogs foods that are fresh or raw will contain the highest level of enzymes. Enzymes are what assist in your dog’s digestion. Internal enzymes are damaged by factors, such as chlorine in drinking water, certain medicines, air pollution and chemical additives.

Scientists believe that mineral deficiency subjects our animals to more diseases, aging, sickness and destruction of their physical well-being than any other factor in personal health. Veterinarians that are concerned about nutrition and the role it plays in our animal’s health are beginning to recommend to their clients that they supplement their animal’s diet with a daily dose of flaxseed oil, fish oil and other nutrients for optimum health and vitality. Your dog’s food should provide all of the nutritional components which are necessary for his healthy organs and systems that produce a healthy, strong body. A properly functioning body does an amazing job at preventing disease and healing itself, and to do this it requires the energies and nutrients of a well-balanced diet. It means we need to pay better attention to what we are offering our dogs in his diet. We need to read and understand the labeling on our dog’s food.

In addition to the beautiful coats and a decrease in some skin disorders flaxseed has proven beneficial in other areas of the dog’s health as well. It serves as a source of valuable energy, keeps less desirable saturated fats mobile in the blood stream, increases oxygen uptake to the cell, decreases recovery time from strenuous exercise, and prevents and heals worn and chaffed paws. Numerous studies conducted on animals and humans show that flax has powerful anti-tumor properties and may reduce tumor size by 50%.

Why do dogs eat grass? It seems that they have a craving to eat earth - particularly clay.
If your dog had access to wheatgrass, he would readily eat this. It seems that wheatgrass juice is the nectar of rejuvenation, the plasma of youth, and the blood of all life. The elements that are missing in your body's cells - especially enzymes, vitamins, hormones, and nucleic acids can be obtained through this daily green sunlight transfusion. When people have utilized Wheatgrass juice in their daily diet, they have benefited in numerous ways: cleansing the lymph system, building the blood, restoring balance in the body, removing toxic metals from the cells, nourishing the liver and kidneys and restoring vitality. What this all points to is a healthier way of life. Maybe this is indeed, the way that Mother Nature meant us to eat instead of feeding ourselves and our animals on preservative and chemical loaded foods.

It seems that Magnesium as well as certain other minerals can be a valuable addition to your dog's diet ensuring they have a healthy body. If you have an ill dog that is stressed or irritable, magnesium supplementation could be a very helpful addition to his daily diet. Magnesium can be very beneficial for your dog's heart. Even when mild, Magnesium deficiency can increase susceptibility to various types of neurological and psychological stressors in dogs. Mild magnesium deficiency appears to be common among dogs with disorders considered functional or neurotic and appears to contribute to a symptom complex that includes sleep disorders, irritability, hyper-arousal, spasm of striated and smooth muscle and hyperventilation.

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are responsible for basic cellular health in all body tissues and are fundamentally important for all animals. Many researchers consider EFAs to be as vital to our health and our pets' health as vitamins and minerals. A dog immune system functions the same as ours. EFAs play a major role in the maintenance of healthy coat and skin for cats, dogs, and horses. Without essential fatty acids in our diets, cells can not be formed or function efficiently. Like we do, animals also use EFAs to produce hormone-like substances called eicosanoids, which are involved in many important biological functions in the body. Essential fatty acids are the building blocks for prostaglandins which work to regulate hormones, immune and nervous systems plus cardiovascular function. This is why these fatty acids are called essential fatty acids.

Holistic foods, treatments and supplements for our dogs is becoming increasingly popular especially after so many dogs and cats became sick or died from the pet food recall of a couple of years ago. Concerned animal lovers have looked for a better way of taking care of their beloved companions. More and more breeders have decided not to vaccinate their dogs as much as they used to as more studies and research has indicated that more is not necessarily better for the welfare of our animals. Many breeders have switched the food that they feed their dogs after better educating themselves to the danger of some of the ingredients listed on the side of the bags of commercial foods. The more we know about what it is that we are putting inside our dogs, the more we are contributing to the health and longevity of our best friends.

My rating: holistic health care: (4), holistic dog food: (4), Vibrant Pets: (contains flaxseed which you visibly can see right in the supplement): (4)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Keeping your floors clean is always a challenge when you own pets. You definitely find yourself doing more “domestic goddess” duties when you share your home with an animal. And when that animal is a German Shepherd Dog you might even find yourself cleaning more so because of this breeds reputation for shedding his coat non-stop! Now days there are so many different options of mops to choose from and at different prices there is sure to be one that meets your needs.

The Swiffer Sweeper (go ahead, try saying that ten times fast) seems to be the mop of choice for many households. Having dogs, you can be rest assured that you probably have more spills, and muddy footprints than the average household. The Swiffer Sweeper and its associated products are meant to make our lives easier. Are they really better than your average mop and bucket of soapy water? With this product, you eliminate the need for these old fashioned ways of cleaning. But are you really ready to give up your mop and bucket? Well this is what I found about the Swiffer Sweeper Company of products.

SWIFFER SWEEPER: It seems that most people enjoy using this mop and it seems the company has addressed those households that own pets. They have the Swiffer Sweeper that traps and locks dirt and dust from virtually any surface in your home. It’s a two in one cleaning product. Clean with a Dry Sweeping Cloth to clean up to 50% more dirt, dust, and hair than a broom, then finish with a Wet Mopping Cloth to dissolve dirt and grime better than a mop.

SWIFFER SWEEPER VAC: The new Swiffer SweeperVac has a textured Swiffer Dry Sweeping Cloth to trap and lock fine dirt and dust plus a powerful cordless vacuum for grabbing larger pieces of crumbs, leaves, pet hair, and cereal. It’s an all in one tool. It’s lightweight and compact and works great on virtually any surface in your home. It doesn’t require any vacuum bags. You can easily dispose of dirt, dust, and particles from the see-through dirt cup with just one push of a button. It comes with a money back guarantee.

SWIFFER WET JET: It cleans most any floor in half the time. With a dual-nozzle sprayer and a strong-grip pole, these all-in-one mopping system breaks up and dissolve tough messes better than a mop and bucket. Plus its cleaning solution is designed to penetrate layers of dirt, absorb dirt and grime into the Wet Jet pad, and lock it away for good. You can scrub really tough, dried-on spots or messes with a large scrubby strip to get you a clean you can feel. This also carries a money back guarantee.

The Swiffer line of products includes other cleaning tools besides the floor products mentioned above. They also have dusters with long handles to clean those hard to reach areas like the corners of ceilings. They carry an antibacterial cleaning solution, solutions to clean and condition wood, and refills for the Swiffer products.

Most people that use the Swiffer products are very satisfied with this line of cleaning tools. They liked that there is no wringing or dripping when you use their mops. They are lightweight and easy to use. Someone complained that it wasn’t really good on tile or grout floors. Then someone else complained that they weren’t as good as all the hype. Another person complained that there are too many extras that you need to buy with these products…..batteries, cleaners, and pads. This can make it very expensive when you need to refill the products. Many said that this mop is good for quick clean ups and not as good for cleaning a larger space.

One good thing I always see is coupons for their products in the Sunday papers. Their website also offers coupons to help with the expense of their products. Look for when these items go on sale and then use the coupons to get a better deal on them. Seems to me when a company has to offer lots of coupons on their products, perhaps they are a little in the pricey range. So is putting out the extra money for the Swiffer Sweeper a good investment? What do you think? Do you Swiffer Sweep your floors?

My rating: ease of use of the Swiffer: (4), expense of the Swiffer: (2)