Friday, July 30, 2010


Well here it is Friday and the start of another week-end already. I’ve never seen time go by so quickly. My mother always told me after my twenties, time will fly by quickly. Well I haven’t seen my twenties in quite sometime, but I can attest to the fact that time indeed flies by too quickly. For instance, where the heck is the summer going? In a couple of days, August will be here. And fall, I just love the fall, but it goes by way too quickly and then we’re looking at “Old Man Winter” who always hangs around a lot longer than we want him to. Oh well onto today’s subject.

I got a little more mail than usual this week about some of the subjects that I wrote about pertaining to breeding problems with the German Shepherd Dog. Quite a few were very concerned about the practices that they are witnessing in our breed by those breeders that never take into consideration the health of our breed. Someone wrote to me to tell me of a breeder that continues to breed one of his animals that has produced mega in two litters and is now repeating it for the third time. Must make that almighty dollar no matter how you have to do it! And now he can use the bad economy as an excuse!

Someone also wrote to tell me of a so called “big shot” breeder that just dumped his dog in a shelter because the dog that he had been using for his breeding program was no longer of use to him so he dumped him in a shelter complaining about the dogs bad temperament. As this writer continued, just imagine how stressful the kill shelter environment was for that already fearful animal!

Then there’s another letter someone else wrote talking about those breeders that knowingly breed dogs with terrible temperament and then send it off to a handler for training so he can be shown. The dog may be so well trained in the ring and behaves flawlessly, but step out of the ring with a crowd of people gathering around him and his shaking legs can barely hold him up. This man questioned how these people sleep at night. My response to him was, “Oh they sleep very well.” These are the type of people in the breed strictly for what the breed can do for them. Winning at any cost is their motto.

Oh and here was the best one. Someone wrote to say that a dog that someone bought for showing turned up having seizures and the owner decided he wasn’t going to use the dog for his breeding program. The breeder has the nerve to ask him, “You’re still going to show him, aren’t you?” Where’s my gun???

I have a couple of problems with some of this. First of all, why are dogs that have bad temperaments being sent to handlers to “fix” so they can be shown in the first place? Answer: So they can produce another champion and give some more ROM (register of merit) points to their undeserving breeding animals. And why are handlers even taking these dogs to train them to stand for examination? Let’s take it one step further, WHY ARE SOME BREEDERS BREEDING TO DOGS WITH BAD TEMPERAMENTS TO BEGIN WITH? What is that about? What are they doing to the breed? And even more amazing, they're paying a big stud service for the "privilege" of breeding to the bad tempered male! In this writer’s opinion, breeders are responsible for nearly ever genetic problem that we have in this breed.

As in one correspondence that I had with someone last night, we discussed that if the “forces to be” tells the fancy that this is the dog that they should be breeding to then those that are easily influenced will do just that. Then I don’t call that person that is easily influenced a breeder. They’re just a follower.

Someone wrote to ask how come some judges are putting up bad temperament? Now they’re not talking about dogs that have a reputation for this type of temperament. They’re talking about those dogs that spook from the judge in the ring and they still put them up because of who’s on the end of the lead or who owns the dog. In these types of scenarios, I’m always amused (sort of) when I see the “big shot” owner on the outside of the ring bringing attention to herself to make sure the judge knows who owns that dog. It’s is so obvious what they are doing.

Our dogs deserve better reputations than this. Bad temperament is a reflection on bad breeding and lack of proper socialization in my opinion. If a breeder knowingly breeds a dog that has a bad temperament or breeds to one that does, the offspring shouldn’t have to suffer because of their greed and lack of concern for their dogs. Giving them the needle or dumping them at a shelter isn’t the answer. Why should the dog have to give up his life when they are the one that made him this way in the first place? The answer is don’t intentionally breed to bad temperament. Everyone now and again may produce a puppy or two that doesn’t have the ideal temperament. But to knowingly breed to it is a crime against this noble breed.

I’m smart enough to know that just because I write about this it won’t amount to a hill of beans to those that are guilty of these practices. But for those that do care and love the German Shepherd Dog, hopefully they will stay away from those who continue to poison the genetic pool with their unhealthy breeding practices.

From the book: FRIENDS TO THE END: THE TRUE VALUE OF FRIENDSHIP..... Friends and life. Life and friends. The two are so tightly interwoven it's impossible to imagine one being remotely worthwhile without the other. As Bradley Trevor Greive points out, "there are very few truly solitary creatures on this planet. And most of them have serious personal hygiene issues." What makes friends so special? What does our choice of friends say about us? What sparks the best friendships and keeps them burning? In Friends To The End: The True Value of Friendship, BTG uses hit trademark witty narrative illustrated with irresistible animal photos to explore the daily magic we experience through our friends. Best described as a cross between his famously successful Dear Mom and The Blue Day Book, Friends to the End examines themes such as why we can't live without friends, how great friendships grow from humble beginnings, how to identify different types of friendship, what to do when good friends turn bad, and why it's all so worthwhile. "When I think back to all the really great or the horrendously bad times in my life," says BTG, "I can't help but think about how my friends made the former all the more enjoyable and the latter at least survivable. I want this book to help people appreciate friendship for all it is and all it can be." Friends to the End promises to have the same cultural impact achieved by his previous books. His modern classics The Blue Day Book and Dear Mom have been New York Times best-sellers and made the author a household name in more than 35 countries. BTG's seven previous volumes have sold more than eight million copies worldwide.

My rating: Temperament problems: (1)

Thursday, July 29, 2010


I’ve done articles here before about the different coat colors and coat lengths of the German Shepherd Dog. We have a breed standard, but you could line up all these different dogs with their unique coloring or coat length and there really wouldn’t be any consistency in their breed type. Oh they may all be beautifully structured, but they really wouldn’t look alike except for the erect ears that this breed is known for. So even if they all were the best representatives of their breed only in different colors and coat length, no two of them would look alike.

Many pet people have never seen an all black German Shepherd for instance. Some have never seen or know what a sable looks like. A bi-color may totally confuse them. Most people have seen a white German Shepherd so that wouldn’t be too confusing. Probably the most favored color is the black and tan dog.

Over time if you live with one of the different types of this breed, your eye gets used to looking at that type of dog. Correct or not, this is what you’re used to seeing so when you see something else that doesn’t look like your dog and may even be a better representative of the breed, you still think that you dog has the better quality. That’s because that’s what your eye is used to looking at.

For example, if you are used to showing a specialty type of dog that has more hindquarter than an All-Breed dog, than that’s what you think is correct. It works both ways. The All-breed exhibitor will think his dog is the correct standard for the breed. If your kennel is known for producing good fronts, you will automatically be looking at the competition to see if they have the front and side gait that you’re used to looking at. The same thing goes for the kennel that consistently produces good hindquarter angulation. If a dog has anything less than what you’re used to looking at, then you’ll think it lacks hindquarter. It’s all because this is what you are used to looking at in your own dogs.

Many times you can follow a specialty judge and know what he likes by looking at the type of animals he’s bred and raised. If he’s bred some top winning dogs, many times that’s the type he’s going to put up. It’s what he’s used to looking at everyday and it’s what he’s won with. Some judges are movement judges. Some are breed type judges. Some like lots of rear. Some like lots of front. Ideally you want to show under a judge that takes the whole package into consideration when he judges. Hopefully you show under a judge that has a “trained” eye. He’s lived with and knows dogs and specifically the German Shepherd Dog.

It can be very difficult for some people to develop a “trained” eye. You will never know what a good dog is unless you’ve lived with them and bred them. Living with these beautiful specimens of the breed is all the education one needs. To have bred and lived with dogs that “take your breath” away is the best education you could ever hope for when you step into the middle of that ring. No book, no magazine, no video could ever prepare you to what it’s like living with one of these properly structured animals. I used to love letting my dogs out in the back yard and just sit watching them float around the yard like it was no effort at all. And that’s the key……a good dog moves like there is no effort at all. The other dogs will have to put out more energy to move. That’s probably why you see your better movers in the ring floating rather than charging. The dog that is not as good of a mover will have to put out harder to make up for the lack of his proper structure, whereas the good mover makes it look easy. You won’t see him huffing and puffing at the end of his lead like the charging dogs in the ring next to him.

Someone said to me not too long ago when talking about a fellow exhibitor, “What does she see in that dog? Why is she still showing him?” She said that the dog was a really horrible dog. I replied to her, “It’s what she’s used to looking at.” Is the owner right or is he wrong in showing his poorly structured dog? It’s really not a question of right or wrong. It’s all about what her eye is used to looking at. Until she educates herself, she will still think her poorly structured dog is correct.

So if your dog lacks the front or rear and he’s not a very good mover, you won’t really know it until you put him in the ring next to those that have these attributes. When you watch a dog that is not properly put together, because you live with him, you believe he’s the best thing next to a “hot off the grill” cheeseburger. Then when you put him in the show ring and you see the other dogs, you think that there’s something the matter with the other dogs. They look nothing like your dog does. It’s all what your eye is used to looking at. This is called being kennel blind. Your education begins when you are forced to re-evaluate your breeding and show stock.

You can chose to like whatever it is that you find appealing in this breed’s structure (hindquarters, fronts, movement, etc.) but for all the variety that is out there, there is only one correct structure and that is dictated by the German Shepherd Dog Club of America’s breed standard. Once you become familiar with it, you may come to realize what your eye has become used to is not what the standard calls for in a correctly structured animal.

My rating: Get familiar with the breed standard: (4)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I have been in touch with three German Shepherd Dog Rescues that receive this blog from me each day. Almost two months ago, I sent a letter to them asking if any of them would like to write a story about their organization and their work with the rescue of our beloved breed. I told them that I would be happy to use some of their stories about these wonderful dogs that they help give a new lease on life to. Dawn Restuccia, President and founder of “Last Hope, Save Haven” contributed this story. Thank you Dawn for sharing this with us. In a few weeks, I’m expecting another story from one of the rescues that receives this blog. I look forward to sharing more of these sometimes gut wrenching stories with you……because not all dogs live in an air conditioned home stretched out on an overstuffed sofa.

Dawn Restuccia
(Guest writer)

She was a washed out black and tan German Shepherd...probably a product of some uncaring puppy mill breeder by looking at her structure. Who had previously owned her, no one knew; for she was deposited in the "night box"...a small cage outside the facility to accommodate people who can’t dispose of their pets during the daytime hours.

She found the filthy hammock pushed into a corner of her cell, and laid her exhausted bones down. At least there was some comfort to be had; lying on the concrete would have been excruciatingly painful due to the prominence of her bones through her sparse fur. Her soft brown eyes searched beyond the chain link, hoping to see a kind face; a familiar face. What had she done to deserve this? Surely they would come back for her....she would just sit here as she had done so many other days in the past; waiting for her food....waiting for water to quench her thirst....both of which had come all too infrequently.

From the day she was brought home as an innocent happy puppy and shackled to what would be her only shelter for the next four years, she would wait. People would come and go; she could only wonder what green fields they must be visiting, for her prison consisted of a mud pit full of feces and flies. Sleep became her only release; and in her dreams she was running and playing with others of her kind....the pain in her stomach from hunger was no more. The scrap of rug she was given to rest on wore away....her ears tattered from the fly bites who tortured her incessantly.

Muscles that should have carried her on strong legs slowly atrophied from disuse and the stare in her eyes became vacant...lost. The day arrived that her human came and unshackled her, leading her to the car that had brought her here. She could hardly contain her excitement! Was she going to see some new park? Perhaps go for a walk? The person put her into the back seat, and started off on what could have been her last journey.

As he pulled into the lot, he scarcely said goodbye, unbuckling her collar and shoving her into a cage with many other dogs that had been discarded that evening. She wanted to cry "WAIT!!! forgot me!!!"....but had no voice to utter the human words. She could only bark out her fear echoed by the voices of the others who shared her fate.

It was a long and frightening night, with the sounds of the woods all around edging close to where they lay huddled for warmth. When the attendant arrived in the morning, he removed them, one by one; leading them to their cells. A bowl of food was shoved in as well as some brackish water; the first food she had seen in many days previous. Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad here; at least the void in her stomach would be filled.

For days she lay watching and waiting. She heard them say that her life was worth $13 though she did not understand. Other dogs were led out of their cells, tails wagging, hoping for a walk or a few minutes of respite in the sun...never to return. She watched and waited wondering when it would be HER turn. Then one hot afternoon, a soft spoken woman approached her cell door. "Could you please take her out?" she asked the attendant, who happily complied. Gentle hands caressed her, feeling the years of starvation with every stroke. A cloth collar was buckled onto her thin neck and she was led quietly out the door and into the sunshine. The thirteen dollars had been paid. Her life was finally beginning. Her Angel had come.

This is dedicated to a washed out black and tan emaciated German Shepherd Dog who sat in a rural shelter; her face in a corner. She was rescued and with love and luck, will find her place in this world. After all she has been through, her trust in us has not failed...the pull fee for her was $13!

I wrote this a few years ago in honor of this dog that WAS saved by Rescue. While we do not know where she is now, we can only hope that she is lounging peacefully at the foot of her Master. Please know there are many dogs like this sweet angel quietly awaiting their fates in "shelters" across the country. We are all that stands between them and the abyss...

They give us all they have to give...they deserve no less from us.

From the book:  "ONE AT A TIME"........."Amazing, heartbreaking, tragic, loving, magical..." -- Sherman Alexie, director, poet, author of Ten Little Indians

One of the most beautiful books on animals ever produced... A magnificent work, and one that gets my highest recommendation. -- John Robbins, author of Diet for a New American and The Food Revolution

Presenting life and death in an animal shelter in unvarnished, uncompromising terms … an emotionally moving and profound piece. -- Midwest Book Review, December, 2003

Riveting, stilling, chilling and intensely motivating... shows clearly that each and every one of us can make a difference. -- Marc Bekoff, author of The Ten Trusts (with Jane Goodall)

This book has the potential to save millions of lives - if only we would open our hearts to its message. -- Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, author of The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats

You will be breathless from cover to cover. -- Jim Mason, author of Animal Factories (with Peter Singer)

My rating:  German Shepherd Dog Rescues: (4), dogs living (barely) in shelters: (1)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I got a pretty good response to my three articles about breeding problems. Then I got a private e-mail from someone who asked if I would continue this subject but to dive into it a little deeper. She asked me if I could write about those breeders that knowingly breed dogs with genetic health problems in their bloodlines. She was most concerned with those that use dogs for breeding that has produced bloat, mega, toxic gut, temperament problems, hips, elbows, etc. She continued by saying that we all know several big time breeders that may produce puppies with mega that will put them down but still breed their littermates. She wanted to know if this is contaminating the gene pool or not.

So this writer made me think about this subject and what I knew about it. And yes she was right, we probably all know of some of the breeders that she is talking about. For instance, someone told me recently of a litter that was born a few years back that has several dogs being shown right now. One of the littermates was put to sleep because the puppy had mega. This very same litter also has a few with bad temperament problems that are being trained for the show ring right now. These types of breeders may think that they are fooling the public but people talk that have had contact with these dogs that they’re showing or training. This genetic problem of poor temperament is sometimes overlooked all for the sake of attaining an undeserving dog’s championship so the parent’s can obtain some more ROM (register of merit) points. I don’t consider these types of people breeders. I consider them polluters…..those that chose to pollute the gene pool with genetically inferior animals all in the name of producing some show dogs.

Before I go any further, I want to say that not all show dogs are genetically inferior animals. Most breeders are good, honest people trying to produce the best dogs that they can. Most show dogs deserve to be show dogs and deserve to be bred. I'm addressing those that choose to breed pretty darn anything that they want to breed if it's going to help them attain their goals. I'm just trying to address the writers questions about those breeders that knowingly breed animals with genetic health problems.

Some are of the belief that if the mother only produced these genetic health problems in one litter and never again, then what’s the harm in it? Oh, but what about her grandchildren or great grandchildren that are now being bred and are producing these genetic health problems? Just because they don’t have the problem themselves doesn’t mean that they don’t or can’t carry the faulty gene through their parents or grandparents. This is a reason why the genetic pool can become so unhealthy.

It is very tempting as a breeder that has just produced a puppy that is everything that he had been hoping for in a show quality dog to breed him anyway even if his littermates were not healthy. They figure, what the heck. Who will know? Maybe no one at first, but eventually the bloodlines will tell. You can only hide it for so long before the genetic problems keep popping up time and time again in the offspring.

Rumor has it…….that some Select dogs, some champions, some ROM titled dogs have had their share of genetic health problems. Heck if you breed long enough, you will probably run into some of these problems. But what about some of these dogs that have the problems but yet the owner/breeder continue to show him anyway? What the heck do they care? They got their show dogs and that’s all that matters to them.

What about some breeders breeding dogs that have bad elbows and even those with bad hips? These are the type of breeders that I classify as the “right now” breeders. Yeah, I just made that up. But what I mean is that they only care about what’s happening right now in this dog’s lifetime. They’re not concerned about the future of the breed and how their genetically inferior dog may be impacting the German Shepherd gene pool for decades to come. It’s all about the winning…..right here, right now and the heck with tomorrow.

And what about those unsuspecting buyers that buy a show dog sired by one of these genetic disasters? They trust that the breeder is selling them a good quality dog. And maybe the youngster is a good quality dog, but carries every major health problem you can think of! Then the next question is what type of obligation does the breeder have to give to a buyer about these puppies genetics? Do you believe that the buyer is buying the dog as is…..what you see is what you get? Maybe you’re of the belief that the person is buying a show dog and that’s what you’re selling them? When a person buys a show dog, aren’t they going to want to breed her when she finishes her championship? So does the breeder have the obligation of selling a show dog that can be bred?

So you spend your couple of grand. Your puppy finishes quickly. You breed her time and time again but each and every litter has genetic health problems. You’re frustrated that your beautiful quality show dog will probably never see one of her offspring shown. But hey, you should be happy, she was a quick winner. You now own yourself a genetically inferior but show ring worthy champion. Congratulations!

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My rating: Choosing to breed genetically unhealthy dogs: (1)

Monday, July 26, 2010


I read with sadness last night on one of the e-mails lists that I belong to of the passing of a friend and lover of the German Shepherd Dog. Syd Mailberg had passed away. This was just what I was not prepared for or wanting to hear. Many of you may know her for having had strong opinions about the breed and being a very intelligent woman with her knowledge about the German Shepherd Dog that she shared with so many of us. But there was another side of Syd that expressed her gentle side freely through her marvelous paintings of the breed that she loved so much. Equally impressive was her paintings of nature and landscapes. Some of you are fortunate to own some of her beautiful artwork.  The painting above is one of Syd's beautiful paintings called "Blue Bonnet." 

Syd and I were collaborating to do an article about her fantastic artwork here on my blog. I had contacted her a little less than a year ago asking her if she would be interested in showcasing her work and the stories surrounded them. She was delighted and excited to do this with me. Unfortunately, her heart was in it, but her body didn’t cooperate.

I “met” Syd on one of the e-mail lists several years ago. My opinion of her was that she was a very strong woman with very strong opinions. She could be challenging, direct and very strong in her convictions. You could tell she was a no nonsense type of woman that didn’t take too much “grief” from anyone. I remember she wrote to me privately one time about something I wrote and she was questioning me about what I knew about a certain subject. When I eased her mind with my forthright answer, she and I grew to respect one anothers opinions. I think when Syd and I really connected is when she lost her beloved husband a few years ago. She was very down and depressed about his loss. I wrote to her privately and wrote some comforting words for her and this is when the “tough as nails” persona melted away and the soft, warm side of Syd shown through. She wrote to me on several occasions complimenting me on some of my writings.

Many of you didn’t know this unless you belonged to my list (The German Shepherd Dog Showcase); she sold some beautiful items and jewelry that she owned through my list. A great big percentage of what she sold those items for went to “Last Hope, Safe Haven” as a donation. I know it was quite a substantial amount. This organization works to help find rescue homes for unwanted or sheltered German Shepherds.

I’ve saved some of her e-mails and was just looking at a few of them again this morning. I’ve got other ones I’ve saved from a few years back but there on my hard drive from my old computer. Here are a few that I share with you that she wrote to me over these last couple of years.

In this short e-mail, she’s replying to an essay of mine titled “The Seasons of Life.”

It's all beautiful, but this line is particularly poignant to me. Everything that is meant to be born is. Syd

This next one is probably in response to her beautiful artwork!

Barbara, I just wanted to thank you privately for being so generous with your praise, and for being so kind to everyone, (and encouraging). It is not going unnoticed. Shalom, Syd

Syd wrote about some artwork that she had done……She writes……This is one of the prizes that was awarded years ago at the National Chukkar Trials…I had a lot of fun painting around 6 commissioned portraits of the winning dogs. Syd
I responded to her……More beautiful work Syd.

You are so kind, Barbara, you make us all feel good….thank you. Syd

This is in response to something I wrote on my list about the price of artwork.

She writes……I hear you, and agree with everything you say...also about being in "The Zone", when it just goes without seeming effort. Very rare state. My last painting took a couple of months, hours and hours of research, I used over 30 reference works in its creation, caused a blood clot to form! From leaning over and painting day after day. there is hazard, my right leg is swollen, and I will need extensive treatment...can you believe this? LOL. I think you are extraordinarily generous with your work, it is very demanding to write as well as you do, it is art in its highest literary form. When the price of a pet puppy equals a beautiful work of art, and the customer says too much money, surely makes you want to quit. Thanks... Syd

Part of a letter I sent to Syd…………….Hi Syd: I would like to do an article about you on my blog (Inside the German Shepherd Dog's World). If you consent, then I'll need some more information about you. I want to concentrate on your paintings of the German Shepherd Dog.

Hi Barbara, I definitely want to do this, just need a few days to get it all together. Thanks so much again. Syd

Then I didn’t hear from her for awhile and saw her “pop up” on my list again, so I sent her this e-mail.

Wow.........there you are Syd. I've been so worried about you and not
knowing who to ask. Of those that I did ask, no one heard anything.
You poor thing. I went through these things with my mother when she was
going through chemo. Do you have someone there to help you? You
shouldn't be going through this by yourself. I wish I lived closer so I
could help you some. Please do get well Syd. I don't like knowing
you're feeling so gosh darn awful! Take care my friend and do try to
keep in touch when you're up to it. Rest and be well...........Barbara

One of my children is here with me all the time. Bless them, and you, too, for offering to help. I assume your mom recovered? My thoughts to her. It is amazing how much worse the cure is than the disease seems to be...LOL I can still squeak one out...If you could just mention to the list that I am in chemo, it is nasty, but will improve eventually...that is the reason no reply this past month. Take care and thank you so much. You are indeed an angel. Syd

Then later that same day (1/11/10)……. Thank you, Barbara, I feel better already~ seriously, I have been feeling guilty for not the list. Love, Syd

There were a few others where she would explain in a little more detail of what she was going through, but I didn’t want to share her misery here with you. One of her dear friends kept in touch with me as well to let me know what Syd was going through and I truly appreciated that.

As in life, from the beginning to the end, she was a fighter……the alpha and the omega. She didn’t walk away from this life without putting up a fight. Through some correspondence that I had with Syd’s daughter Edie, she is truly her mother’s daughter in personality and strength of character. My heartfelt condolences to Edie and her husband Jim for the loss of this “force to be reckoned with” woman. Earth and the German Shepherd breed have lost one of the “good ones!” Heaven braces itself for this outspoken woman with the heart of gold. Her husband anxiously waits for his bride! Rest in peace Syd and be patient with the residents in Heaven. Most of them have been there a long time and they forgot the ways of the world.

Well my friend, I’ve been longing to get you on my blog for a long time now. I just didn’t know this is the way that I would have to be doing it! I'm going to miss you my friend. I love ya!

To see Syd’s beautiful artwork, check out her website at:

My rating: Syd Mailberg's artwork: (4), Her friendship: (4)

Friday, July 23, 2010


Mastitis is an inflammation and infection of the mammary glands. I only had this happen once to one of my bitches. It was very painful for the bitch and lots of work for me. One of my breeder friends is going through this now with one of her “first time mother” bitches. It got so bad for her bitch that she was bleeding and now she has had to take the puppies off of the mother at two weeks of age and has been bottle feeding the new babies.

Mastitis if localized to one gland by show no signs of illness. If it spreads throughout the mammary gland, she may show signs of illness. The bitch’s mammary glands should be checked daily for signs of warmth, pain or hardness. Her milk should also be checked daily for color and consistency. If the bitch has mastitis her milk may be off color and clumping. She may run a fever and even refuse to nurse her puppies. Upon diagnosis of the condition, treatment will depend on the severity of the condition. Treatment may include antibiotics, hot packing the affected glands and milking out the affected glands. If the milk remains normal, the puppies can continue to nurse from the affected gland.

When the uterus gets an infection and inflammation it could be caused by a condition known as Metritis. The symptoms will usually be noticeably 3-7 days postpartum and include fever, foul-smelling vaginal discharge, lack of appetite, listlessness, lack of maternal instincts and decrease in mild production. A diagnosis is confirmed through blood work and x-rays. The reason an x-ray is done is to make sure that no fetuses have been retained. The treatment for a bitch that has metritis is antibiotics and fluid therapy. Having the bitch spayed is curative if she is able to handle the surgery.

Pyometra is an infection in the uterus in which the uterus fills with pus. This is typically seen 2-12 weeks after a heat cycle. The symptoms you may see are vomiting, listlessness and an increase in drinking. If the cervix is open, a discharge from the vagina is seen. If it is closed then no discharge is seen. A diagnosis is made by a physical exam, blood work and x-rays. Ideally a vet may want to spay the bitch. If the bitches’ condition is caught early enough, she will need to be stabilized before surgery is attempted. If the breeder wants to keep this bitch for breeding, antibiotic therapy could be tried, but it usually is not successful.

Subinvolution of placental sites occurs when the uterus does not fully repair itself after delivery. This results in a vaginal discharge beyond the normal six weeks postpartum. Usually treatment is not necessary as the bitch is healthy and able to become pregnant again.

Because subinvolution of the placental sites, metritis and pyometra may all have a vaginal discharge, a proper diagnosis is necessary as metritis and pyometra need to be treated.

When uterine prolapse occurs, the uterus is pushed out of the body through the vagina. Treatment consists of manual replacement of the uterus or an ovariohysterectomy (spay).

Normally in a bitch the size of a German Shepherd, retained placentas a rarely a problem. Usually the placenta is passed within 15 minutes of each puppy and the bitch may eat it. Treatment may include an oxytocin injection.
Sometimes a mother will show a lack of maternal instinct for her puppies. I have never had a bitch do this although I had one bitch that was what I call a “dense” mother. She’d nurse and clean her puppies just fine, but lack of normal German Shepherd intelligence is something she didn’t display when it came to taking good care of her babies. She was very people oriented and cared more about you coming in to greet and pet her than nursing her babies. She would stand up in the whelping box and step all over her puppies. I leased this bitch and although beautiful in breed type, she was in “another world” when it came to true German Shepherd intelligence.

Some think that a lack of maternal instinct for a bitch to care for her puppies is due to genetics and the amount of maternal drive the bitch’s dam showed for her offspring or it could be illness or stress due to the owners own level or stress or poor environment. Sometimes a first time mom will need several days to find out what her role is being a mother and will need assistance from the owner in helping her until she does. She may need to be made to lay down for the puppies to nurse and be praised when she shows interest in the puppies. If she is going to come around and care for the puppies, it should occur within several days.

Also sometimes if a puppy is very large or is not positioned in the birth canal correctly, the bitch may have a difficult time delivering the puppy. I’ve seen puppies stick their little heads out of the birth canal only to be sucked back up inside the mother again. This always makes me nervous. You have to wait until the bitch produces another contraction and many times you will find yourself having to gently grab the puppy and pull when she is having a contraction. This can be painful and a tough birth for her and hard on you if you are delivering the puppies by yourself. It’s always better if you have the assistance of someone else so that they can hold the bitches head while you gently remove the puppy. No matter how gentle you are, the “momma” dog is going to feel pain.

So although most German Shepherds don’t have too many problems when it comes to whelping a litter, sooner or later you will run into one that does. Good luck and here’s wishing all of you happy and healthy litters of newborns! Oh yeah, the next time a pet person asks you “Why do you charge so much money for your puppies,” show them this article!!!!! Who ever said there was money to be made breeding dogs hasn’t tried it yet.

From the book: BREEDING BETTER DOGS....DogRead book of the month March 2002 This book was chose to be on the prestigious 'DogRead' ... as a book selection of the month. We only do 12 books or videos a year. The author comes on line for the whole month to answer questions on the book. To be selected for this group means the book or video MUST be one of the very best it its field. treshell owner DogRead..........This is an exceptional book. Easy to understand, gets you involved and interested in a subject that might scare a few away. I love it and often go back to remind myself of the basics.

My rating: Breeding should be done by educated breeders: (4)

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Have you ever bred a bitch that aborted her puppies? This is called a spontaneous abortion. A bitch may also resorb her puppies. There may be a number of reasons a bitch will do this. They may be fetal defects, abnormalities or damage to the uterus, ovarian failure to maintain progesterone levels, infections, trauma, too strenuous exercise or malnourishment. Usually you won’t even know that she has resorbed a litter because no signs are seen and it happens early on in the pregnancy. On the other hand if she aborts a litter, a vaginal discharge, contractions or expulsion of the fetuses may be seen. Sometimes she may eat the fetuses and you won’t even know she had an abortion. Interesting to note, sometimes a bitch will only abort part of a litter and carry the rest to term. If you suspect that she has aborted her puppies, it is wise to have an ultrasound done to determine if there are any heartbeats which would mean she still is carrying some puppies. If she is aborting her puppies, very little can be done in the way of treatment. Restrictive exercise and the administration of antibiotics is normally the way to go if an infection is the cause. Tests can be given to check her progesterone levels. She should be examined for infections in the uterus and for retained fetuses or placentas.

Normally German Shepherd bitches deliver their puppies without any problems. However there are those that do have difficult deliveries. Some of these difficulties may be due to any number of reasons including large fetus size, small pelvic size in the dame, the fetus is not positioned correctly, and uterine inertia. I’ve experienced a bitch that had uterine inertia with every litter she had. Her contractions would stop and you would think that she was finished whelping. She wasn’t and because it was my first time dealing with this, I lost some puppies. Because she would do this with each of her litters, I knew what to expect and she never lost another puppy again. Many a night (and always in a major snow storm) we would find our way on a path to my vets office.

There’s a name for difficult deliveries. It’s called Dystocia. Usually Dystocia is based on what the owner observes with his bitch. For instance: if a bitch goes 30-60 minuets having strong contractions and doesn’t deliver a puppy. If she goes more than 4-6 hours between puppies and you can tell that there are more puppies in the uterus. Something else to look out for is a failure of the bitch to start delivery within 24 hours of her temperature dropping below 99 F. If the bitch is crying and licking the vulvar area excessively during whelping this could be a sign that she’s in trouble. If she carries her puppies longer than 70 days from the first breeding or greater than 60 days from the first day of diestrus (the stage of the estrus cycle which occurs after the animal goes out of heat (also called Diestrous).

If a call to your vet is necessary, he will probably tell you to bring the bitch into his office. A physical exam including abdominal palpation and a vaginal exam are necessary. X-rays are done to determine the number of fetuses, their position, and their size compared to the bitch's pelvic size. If the puppies appear to be able to fit through the birth canal and are not mal-positioned, she may be given time to deliver on her own. Oxytocin may be given if indicated. She may also need fluid therapy with calcium or glucose in it if eclampsia or hypoglycemia is present. If the puppies are large, or a great number are present, the decision to perform a c-section may be made.

Eclampsia is an acute, life-threatening disease caused by a decrease in the amount of calcium in the bloodstream. You will see this mostly in the early stages of pregnancy rather than later. The reason this occurs is the loss of calcium from milk production, poor uptake of calcium by the intestines, or poor nutrition. Symptoms usually include a change in behavior, restlessness, nervousness, panting, pacing, whining, decrease in maternal instincts and tetany (a condition of physiological calcium imbalance marked by tonic spasm of muscles and often associated with deficient parathyroid secretion). The symptoms of tetany may include irritability, drooling, stiffness in gait, loss of coordination and pain in walking). Within minuets to hours, eclampsia may progress to muscle spasms, inability to stand, fever, increase in heart rate and seizure like activity without loss of consciousness. Death may result from respiratory depression or hyperthermia (increase body temperature) resulting in cerebral edema. There is not time to waste if your bitch is showing these stressful conditions. Get her to your vet immediately. Your vet will supply calcium directly into the vein while monitoring for heart rate or rhythm abnormalities and temperature changes. Oral supplements are started after the initial episode is over and the puppies are supplemented with bottle feeding and started on solid food as soon as possible.
(To be continued)….

From the book: VET CONFIDENTIAL: AN INSIDER'S GUIDE TO PROTECTING YOUR PET'S HEALTH....“Veterinary medicine has made profound advances in the past decade, and Vet Confidential provides pet owners the tools to benefit from those advances. Dr. Murray’s essential guide to veterinary care is comprehensive yet easy to navigate. Short of going to vet school, I can’t think of a better way to safeguard your pet’s health than by reading this book.”
–Dr. Susan G. Hackner, chair, Department of Critical Care and Emergency Medicine, The Animal Medical Center

My rating: Knowing the signs of a bitch in distress: (4), Educating yourself about breeding: (4)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


People that do not breed dogs are under the misconception that if you just let nature take its course and let two dogs breed that nine weeks later, you’ll be throwing a baby shower! The puppies have arrived and little Johnny and Jane have just witnessed the miracle of birth! If only life were simple like that. Oh sure this is the way that nature has planned it which is very evident by all the unwanted dogs and cats in shelters today.

But what about dog breeders that plan their animals litters? Isn’t it just as easy for their dogs to produce a litter of pups as the one’s that roam the streets? Sometimes yes and other times no.

There are a few reasons why a bitch may have infertility problems. Not knowing when to breed your bitch is one of the top reasons why a litter of puppies are not born. Some people assume all bitches should be bred around the same time as another one of their bitches are bred. The length of a bitch’s cycle varies from one bitch to another. There is not “one size fits all” when it comes to breeding. A good stud dog that has had much experience normally can tell when a bitch is ready for breeding although this is not always the case. If the bitch is willing to stand for the male, then breeding her every other day is a wise decision if you own both animals. Some bitches have been known to stand on the third day of her cycle or as late as the 21st. day of her cycle. Many breeders wisely use vaginal cytology and progesterone assays to help determine when the bitch is ready to be bred. This is especially important if one uses artificial insemination to impregnate the bitch.

It’s true, but some bitches will not always breed with certain males. Sometimes they can be very discriminating against certain males. Then you may have a submissive male that will not breed to a more dominate bitch. It is ALWAYS advisable to muzzle a bitch when you’re breeding her. You never know when she may get snappy with the male and turn around to bite him. Then you have the bitch that will fight you every step of the way to avoid being bred. I’ve had bitches throw themselves on the ground flipping over or refusing to stand up and you have to force her to stand. Always a pleasant experience when breeding one of these darlings!

The male isn’t free from breeding problems either. Ever breed to an inexperienced male that wants to play once he’s tied with the bitch? I have and let me tell you it was a horrific experience for him. My bitch was absolutely fine having been an experienced broad bitch. This young stud dog was in a lot of pain caused by him trying to play instead of getting the job done. His owner was an experienced breeder but I know she wasn’t expecting his shenanigans either. Or you might have a male dog just lie down in a corner when your bitch is ready to be bred. I’ve seen this happen sometimes with males that are bred too much. It’s almost like they become bored with it. I got my bitches finally bred and they both had litters so the girls were ready to make whoopee but the guys didn’t want any part of it! Guys can be funny like that sometimes!! (Ooops I mean dogs).

For the novice or pet person reading this you may not know, but a bitch can get pregnant from more than one male during her breeding cycle. So the litter can be sired by more than one dog. Maybe that’s why all those bitches that gets pregnant while roaming the streets has puppies in all shapes, colors and sizes!

Sometimes if a bitch it overweight or underweight she may have a problem conceiving and delivering a litter of puppies. If the bitch has health problems especially hormonal disorders such as hypothyroidism they can affect her fertility.

Males too may have infertility problems. These may include a decreased sperm count, poor sperm structure (morphology) or poor sperm motility. These problems may be caused by genetics or may be due to injury or an illness. A male’s semen sample can be collected and analyzed in helping to determine the problem. Also an infection such as canine brucellosis can cause sterility. That’s why most stud dog owners require your bitch to have a canine brucellosis test before he will breed her to his male.

A breeder can fix a poor timing of a breeding but other breeding problems can be more of a challenge and difficult to fix. Sometimes a reproduction specialist can be a breeder’s answer to a prayer when dealing with breeding difficulties. Careful consideration should be made when attempting to breed animals with infertility problems. These problems may be passed genetically to their offspring and carried down through their bloodlines for future generations. I know of many bitches that sit in people’s kennels that have beautiful bloodlines but have never been able to have a litter of puppies. This is heartbreaking for the breeder.

(To be continued…..)

From the book: THE COMPLETE BOOK OF DOG BREEDING...A veterinarian with many years of canine practice experience offers guidance to novice and professional dog breeders, emphasizing the responsibilities of reputable breeders to their dogs and to the buyers of the puppies they produce. Topics covered include: the choosing, health, quality, and conditioning of brood stock; practical DNA use, and Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) surveys and data storage to scientifically improve the selection of healthy brood stock and puppies; potential breeding problems; artificial insemination; pregnancy and its duration; embryonic and fetal activity; pregnancy nutrition; physical changes during pregnancy; stages of labor; normal and Cesarean-section births, and how to assist in both; nutrition of dams and puppies and how to recognize and prevent potential problems in both; neonatal puppy care; lactation and weaning the puppies; socializing the puppies; pedigrees, registration, and titles; and much more. Filled with color photos and line art.

My rating: Breeding only from strong, healthy bloodlines: (4)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


The most basic needs besides food, shelter and water is the need for love and affection. The human baby needs it as well as a puppy needs it. In fact all the animal kingdom has the need for the mother’s touch from the moment he’s born. The domesticated dog is a pack animal. If he were still in the wild, you wouldn’t find him roaming by himself. He would be part of a social structure in a pact of dogs. Determination where he would be found in that social structure would be evident quite early in his development. There would only be room for one alpha dog and the rest would be subservient to him.

In a pact of dogs it is not uncommon to see them play with one another for their need to touch is strongly developed from birth. They can be found curling up together when they sleep. They communicate with their noses by smelling one another and touching one another. A puppy that loses his mother at an early age many times has developmental problems and can be sickly. It’s through the mothers touch whether it be loving or firm that she teaches her puppy the ways of the world.

When we touch our dogs we are sending them all sorts of signals just like if they were still in a pact. Our touch can be loving and accepting or firm and disapproving. We show our dogs love by the way that we touch them. All dogs enjoy being petted, some more than others. But still the dog looks for approval from his master and stroking him in a positive way affirms this approval. On the other hand our touch can send the dog signals that we are not approving of what he may be doing. In a litter of puppies, the mother dog may pick up her puppy by the ruff of the neck and move him away from something that she may not want him by. She may nudge him with her nose to let him know that he’s being naughty. And if she really gets upset with him, she may even give him a warning bite.

So communication through touch is very important and an essential part of the dogs development. But it’s even more than this. It is a way the dog feels connected to and loved by his owner. I wonder how connected and loved kennel dogs feel. If a dog is left in a kennel 24 hours a dog with little or no human contact besides being fed and watered, a very important part of that dogs’ development has been stunted. He never realizes his full potential as a German Shepherd Dog. Then he can become hand shy because he doesn’t trust being touched.

Touch is a way of communicating with the dog. Our touch can tell the dog whether we love them or not. It tells them whether or not we approve of something that he is doing. Our touch teaches, chastises, and can sometimes feel good and other times not so good depending upon what we are communicating to our dog.

Have you ever given your dog a massage? I have and they love it. Although I must confess I haven’t done it for awhile. Since my car accident my own arthritic body prevents me doing these loving gestures as much as I would like to do. Too bad they couldn’t be trained to give me a massage. Sigh! Some dogs however, like some people are more sensitive to too much manipulation of the muscles and tendons. A gentle touch is always advisable.

Just watch when you scratch and massage a dog’s back. Look how he does a little dance around the floor as you are doing this to his body. He can’t seem to hold still. That’s how good it feels to him. If you lay him on the floor, most of the time he’ll enjoy his legs and chest being rubbed. I even used to massage their toes. Some like this and some don’t but for the ones that do, it seems to totally relax them.

It would only make sense that if we get tired, achy muscles and joints so does the dog. You’ll see him rolling in the grass scratching his back with his legs kicking out in all directions. He’s feeling good. He’s feeling uninhibited joy!

The dog looks to us for approval and acceptance. His need to please us is endless. He knows that when he pleases us that he will get love and attention from us. Who ever said the dog was stupid?

Years ago I volunteered at a local hospital. I wanted to work with children. I was assigned to the ward with children that had just been operated on and I was to read to them, or play games with them. I signed up to work with the newborn babies. This was a special program whereas they had volunteers just holding and loving the newborns because they may have lost their mother or their mother may have been too sick to take care of the baby. They explained to us the need of the newborn for the mother’s touch for without it the child would have developmental and emotional problems.

In many cultures throughout the world, touch has been known to be vital to the development of young infants. In more recent times it has become evident that the power of touch in illness and health has helped to reduce stress, brain formation and the development of attachment. The same thing is true for our canine friends. Without early socialization of puppies, they don’t develop attachments to people. Many times this is the reason for people shy young dogs and fear biters.

So as important as food, water and shelter are to the well being of a dog, the importance of touch for his mental and emotional development is just as important for him to live a healthy life. The dog that is touched, petted, scratched, rubbed or massaged is a very happy and loved dog indeed!

From the book: TO TOUCH IS TO LIVE......For babies to develop normally, they must be touched. Adults, too, thrive when touch is a normal part of their each day: a reassuring handshake, a sympathetic hug, a healing massage. But how often do we permit ourselves or others these simple forms of contact: physical touch, our emotional presence, spiritual communion? We need to get more in touch--closer to who we really are as a species, and in ways that support our highest human potential. Touching can be communication, friendship, kindness, service, or love for God. Topics include: * The highest human need * The roots of violence and abuse. * Acquisitions: a substitute for touch * Healing through touch. * A healthy model of sexuality. * Touch as a context for our lives. Foreword by Ashley

My rating: socialization of puppies: (4), importance of touch: (4)

Monday, July 19, 2010


Imagine jogging on a sandy beach somewhere with your dog and seeing a bottle bobbing up and down in the water. You watch as the next wave washes the bottle up on shore. You pick the bottle up and notice that there is a folded piece of paper in it. Could this mean there’s a message on that piece of paper? Perhaps it’s a map showing you where a buried treasure lays waiting to be discovered. You don’t even recognize the bottle because it’s very old and it’s not even made any longer. Your dog is barking and jumping up on you looking for you to throw the bottle in a game of fetch. You push him away and instead pick up a stick and throw it in the opposite direction. You struggle to remove the rusty cap trying to avoid cutting your fingers. At last the cap turns and you wonder how you are going to grab hold of the paper without tearing it. You shake the bottle and turn it a few times until you position the paper at the neck opening. A corner of the paper lies in the narrow opening and you gently and slowly pull the fragile paper out of the bottle. You make sure the paper doesn’t get wet as your heart beats a little faster in excited anticipation as you unfold the aged worn note. You see it’s dated Saturday June 18, 1921. All the note says is that someday the German Shepherd Dog will be one of the most beloved and popular dogs on earth. You look at the date again and smile in bewilderment knowing this writer wasn’t wrong. You look at your own dog who you continue to throw the stick for and ask yourself if you were to write a message in a bottle about the German Shepherd Dog, what would it be?

So if you were to write that message about our breed, what would you want the reader to know? If like me, you would probably like your message to be floating around the ocean for many years before someone “rescued” it and scooped it up out of its watery home. What would the recipient of your note be reading, lets say one hundred years from now?

You might tell him about the heroics of this breed. You could share with him the comedic personalities this breed exhibits. You could tell him about the beauty, the nobility or just the pure joy of having ownership of this great breed of ours. You might tell him of how he rescued a child. Maybe he alerted you and woke you from a deep sleep when a fire broke out in your house. You could tell him how he visits your Aunt Gertrude in the nursing home and the spark of light it ignites in her eyes every time she sees him. You might even be as bold to tell him that by the time he reads your note, the German Shepherd will go from being the number two dog in the country to the number one dog in the country. And if you really get daring, you could put your message in one of those big soda bottles and include a few pictures to show the world what the breed looked like in 2010! Yeah, I think if you’re going to do it right, you might as well include a few pictures for everyone’s enjoyment.

Who knows by the time someone finds your message in the bottle, there may even be a new breed standard by then. Yeah, I’m sure there will be. I wonder if the person that receives your message owns a German Shepherd Dog and as he looks at your picture and looks at his dog, he marvels at how much they’ve changed. I wonder how the German Shepherd will look in another 100 years!

Will there be dog shows one hundred years from now you wonder. Will the German Shepherd Dog have his own reality show on Animal Planet? Will Animal Planet even be around then? Will shelters be a thing of the past? Will there still be lots of breeders or will there only be a select few? Will there even be an AKC to register them with? Will registration even be necessary? Will there be a National Specialty show to go to? Will the German Shepherd Dog Club of America still be in existence?

If there are shows yet, will there still be professional handlers or have the exhibitors decided to show their own dogs? Will another great book be written about the breed? Will there be a German Shepherd Dog Review to advertise in? Will there be something to replace the internet?

What would your message be about our breed that you would like someone to read many years from now? Mine would be: The German Shepherd Dog was born of greatness, it is right now as I write this and until the time that you read this message in a bottle it always will be. I may be gone, but the German Shepherd will live on as long as people continue to love and nurture them. Time will never change that. Pass it on......

My rating: The German Shepherd for all time: (4)!

Friday, July 16, 2010


I got the theme for this subject after being slobbered on for the umpteenth million time this morning by three German Shepherds running around the house like maniacs! One has a chewed up bone hanging out her mouth that can no longer be distinguished as having ever belonged to any creature walking on this earth. The other one is trying to figure out how she’s going to get that “treasure” from her sister’s mouth. And the third one drops a limp, lifeless saliva encrusted stuffed toy on my lap. In between, they stop, gulp some water, come back to decorate my bare arms with their drool, smell my clothes, scratch their pleasingly plump bodies next to me assuring that some more stray hairs land on my keyboard. And the “Dog Whisperer” tells us to remain calm and assertive. I throw calm out the window and in my most assertive voice, yell (scream) “I’ve had enough.” I still can’t figure out how they can stand there with those “cow brown eyes” wagging their tail loving me anyway when two of them are shown the back door!

In the morning one likes to drink their cup of coffee, relax, open up their e-mails or look at the morning newspaper. If you’re a writer and anything like I am, I need and demand “quiet!” I can’t concentrate otherwise. I think my Amber must think I’m nuts sometimes because she’s the whining (I need lots of attention) type of dog. She lives in the house all day with me and many a time she is told to go to her bed when she’s in one of her “demanding” moods. She knows what I mean too because after a little fuss, I point the finger towards the other room and tell her to get into her bed.

So these are just some of the fun reasons why I “love” owning a German Shepherd. I wonder what my life would be like without them. Now let me think about this…..

I’d be wealthier for one thing. No more buying Holistic or natural food. No more looking for the meat bargains at the supper market to add to their diet. Oh yeah, no more buying a special supplement to add to their food. No more vet bills. No grooming bills. No more buying grooming supplies. There would be no need for a dog run in my yard. There would be no dog houses. No kiddie’s pools. No expensive dog toys. No more worn out bones to decorate my living room rug. There would be no need to upgrade my car to a van. No need to invest any money for cushy dog beds to line the corners of my den. No need to buy an industrial strength vacuum cleaner to pick up your never ending dog hair!

I would no longer have the need to call one of those dog handlers to show my dog at the local specialty club. No spending money on entry fees. No traveling expenses. I wouldn’t have to stay at one of those “Super 8” motels anymore. No more eating those shriveled up hot dogs that they pass off as food at the shows. Oh yeah, no more having my dog grab the rest of that hot dog when my head is turned talking to Gertrude who stops to have a chat.

No more stud fees. No more shipping my bitch across the country. No more x-rays to see how many little darlings we can expect. No spending money on the OFA for my dog’s hips and elbows. No buying a whelping box. No puppy food and supplements. No worming medicines. No need to buy any dog crates. Oh yes, and no more dealing with annoying puppy people!!!!!!!!!!

No more planning my vacation around the National Specialty show. I mean who wants to go to “Anyplace, USA” in some cow pasture when I could be lying on the pink sands of Tahiti instead?

Gee after looking at these last few paragraphs, I feel richer already! So if money is no problem for you, let’s take a look at all the other things you’d miss without a German Shepherd Dog in your life.

There would be no need to wrestle a dog to the floor to clip their nails. There wouldn’t even be a reason for me to buy those “tasty” dog treats to bribe them with to do their nails in the first place. There wouldn’t be one single dog hair on my floors, my clothes, my computer, my car or any other place for that matter. They’d be no more muddy footprints decorating my floors. No more doggies breathe. Just think, no more doggie aroma assaulting my nostrils!

There would be no more jumping up on the counters, the stove, the table top or any other place that a food morsel may have been left behind. No more smudges on the sliding glass door or the living room window. My windows in my car would be free from this assault as well. No nudging me while I’m cooking dinner hoping I’ll share a piece of whatever it is smelling so “gosh darn good!” No more following me into the bathroom or hearing you scrape at the door if I close it in your nosy little face.

There would be no more cleaning up soiled dog runs. No more bleach splashing on my once dark pants. No more looking like a rag woman because I’m too tired to go to the beauty parlor after taking care of you all day. No more brushing your coat to make you look pretty. Now I’ll brush my hair to make me look pretty.

No more nose up my butt. No more tripping over you because when I turn around…..there you are! No more breaking my ankles on you scattered toys all over the house. No more listening to you snoring. No more sharing my favorite pillow with you. No more opening the back door telling you to be quiet with your unwelcome barking. No more interruptions from you while I’m talking on the telephone. Finally I could get an insurance company that wouldn’t hang up on me when he asks me what breed of dog I have.

Oh yes, life is beginning to feel simpler and better already. Yes sir, there’s more money in my pocket. I’ve got a cleaner house and a cleaner car. No more yellow stains on my lawn. You betcha’ life is good……..richer, but really poorer. Cleaner……but who cares anyway? Oh yeah and a whole lot lonelier! No more “laugh out loud” silly moments. No more unconditional love. No more loyal companion by my side. Oh no is that somebody trying to break in my cleaner bigger house? He’s after all my riches! Where is that darn dog when I need him anyway? I forgot I chose not have a dog in my life anymore!

My rating: owning a German Shepherd Dog: (4), not owning any pets: (1)

Thursday, July 15, 2010


I’ve always had a thirst for knowledge. Each and everyday that I live I like to learn something new. You know so I can add another wrinkle to my brain! But it’s true. I don’t care how small it is, or how trivial, I want to learn something new everyday. I believe just by living with our dogs that we can gain so much knowledge by watching their actions and how they try to figure things out. They live in their own special world with their own special coping techniques sometimes very different from yours and mine, but yet sometimes very similar even though less complicated than ours.

So what did I learn yesterday? Well I received some nice e-mails from people about my article entitled “SQUISH.” Kathy shared her thoughts with those on my e-mail list (The German Shepherd Dog Showcase) about what I wrote and how it applied to her angel child Kaitlyn. She’s a good writer and knows how to put into words the most heartfelt of expressions that only a mother could feel. Then there is my friend “Ms. Diane.” Seems I caused “Ms. Diane” to have laughed harder than she has in her entire life (her quote). Wow……I was responsible for that?!?! In your whole entire life???? In my rush to get my blog out yesterday, she caught a major blunder…..well to the meaning of the sentence anyway…..when I said, that “My life is no (bowel) of cherries.” It should have read “My life is no bowl of cherries.” Diane didn’t want me to change it and asked that I leave it that way. I guess she thought it added some kind of character to the sentence. Well I kept it that way most of the day, but my fragile ego got in the way, and sorry Diane, I had to change it. But be on the lookout…….just knowing that I can add laughter to someone’s life will make be strive to make some more of those “blunders” for entertainment purposes only! I do aim to please!

So I came across this list of thought provoking questions (and I’m adding a few of my own as well) and changed it to reflect our dogs and the people who love them. Here goes:

1. What type of penalty would you want someone to receive if someone killed a stranger’s dog, but saved your dogs life the month before?
2. What’s the most expensive dog that you ever bought? Was it worth it? Was he the best dog you ever owned?
3. Is it ever good to lie to someone about the quality of their dog or lack of if he’s just a child asking the question?
4. Stealing is immoral, right? But what if stealing was the only way to feed a starving dog?
5. If someone could tell you the exact day and time that your dog was going to die, would you want them to tell you?
6. If you found out you were going to die today, would you have any regrets? Would you be happy with the way you spent the last 24 hours of your life?
7. What’s your single greatest moment in the ownership of your dogs?
8. Have you ever discriminated against someone because they were a newbie or they really weren’t all that bright?
9. If you could be given another talent or ability besides being in the sport and breeding of the German Shepherd Dog what would you want it to be?
10. When you help someone in the breed do you ever think, “What’s in it for me?
11. Are you willing to sacrifice the life of your dog to support a war?
12. In this breed if you are a new person, do you ask enough questions, or do you settle for what you know?
13. Pertaining to the sport, breeding or ownership of dogs, if you could do it all over again, would you change anything?
14. If your life with your dogs was a novel, what would be the title and how would your story end?
15. When you pass away, do you think that people will take up donations in your memory and put an ad in the Review?
16. When the next great book about the German Shepherd Dog is written, will your name be among its pages?
17. Do people like you OR respect you?
18. Will you be remembered in the breed for having “talked the talk” or for “having walked the walk?”

So there you have it. Short and sweet although I think very thought provoking. I can’t wait to hear what some of you have to say. I’m looking forward to adding a few new wrinkles to my brain today. Gee, when you look at it that way, so many of you are deeply imbedded in my brain and I carry you everywhere I go. Yikes, some of that is a good thing and others I wish would take a hike on over to someone else’s brain!!!!

My rating: Knowledge is good: (4), Be careful what you ask for: (1 - 4)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


SQUISH - (Turning negatives into positives one squish at a time)

Ever have one of those days when everything seems to go wrong? You know the type of day I’m talking about. You get up in a bad mood and don’t even know why. You’re cranky, you’re miserable, you’re talking to yourself. The dog looks at you like you’re crazy and you give him the evil eye and tell him “Don’t even think about dropping that dirty bone of yours on my lap!” He whines a little, turns around in a circle and thinks about it some more and goes and lies down in the corner with a watchful eye on you just in case you all of a sudden swallow a “happy pill!”

I’m the kind of person that everyone brings me their problems all the time. They bellyache about this or that. The kids are driving them crazy, the husband barely acknowledges them, the dog missed and didn’t have any puppies, their stud dog is sterile, this one done me wrong, that one done me wrong, blah, blah, and some more blah! I listen and shake my head up and down sympathizing with them. They forget to ask what’s going on in my life. They’re too focused on what’s going on in their lives to even think that perhaps I don’t have all the answers and my life is no bowl of cherries either. Just when you’ve about to share with them the kind of day that you’re having, they interrupt you before you get two words out and say, “Love to talk to you some more, but got to go now!”

So I admit that I am a procrastinator because my mind never lets me rest filling me up with doubts and worries sometimes preventing me from taking the necessary steps to go forward. Maybe I should do something this way. No, it’s better to do it that way. What if they don’t like it? Maybe I should just start all over again. Oh those little annoying voices in my head. SQUISH!

You know the drill. You maybe heard it all your life or maybe it’s something that comes up occasionally. Sooner or later, we all deal with it. Some of us better than others. “You’ll never amount to anything. Why can’t you be more like your brother? What does he see in her? Just look at her. Who would want her? So you want to be a singer? Who would buy your music? Who’s going to hire you? What have you ever done with your life? After all, she’s not even college educated? Son, you might as well face it. This is as far as you ‘re ever going to go.” "SQUISH!"

Who would buy a show quality puppy from your lines? What have you done in the breed? You have the nerve to show that in the ring? I wouldn’t give you two cents for that dog. The only place that your dog can win is in the All-Breed show. He’s not good enough to win at the specialties. “SQUISH!”

Maybe I shouldn’t breed my bitch to that dog because I hear too many negative rumors about him. Maybe I should breed her to so and so’s dog instead. Nope, he’s got two missing teeth. I could always breed her to that famous Select dog. Yeah but there’s enough of his bloodlines already out there. "SQUISH!"

Squish, squash, and squelch what ever name you want to give it, it all means the same thing………..the act of suppressing, stepping on or crushing something or someone. Are you allowing someone to do this to you? Is someone feeding you negative, false information and programming you for failure? Have you heard this all your life? Can you rise above it? You can and you will if YOU decide to remove “can’t” and “won’t” from your vocabulary and decide not to listen to it from anyone else.

Probably the biggest concern and worry for many people now is the economy. It forces us to look at the way we live and to make changes to our accustomed lifestyle. It doesn’t mean that we will fail. It just means that we are retraining ourselves to a different way of living. When we fill our heads with worry, and negativity it takes so much space up in our brain that there’s no room left for the positive things that we need to do to succeed. “I’m going to lose my house. How am I going to feed my family? I’ve got to get rid of some of these dogs. I just can’t cope.” "SQUISH!"

The old saying that most of the things we worry about never come true anyway, is right on. Just stop and think about all the things that you ever worried about. How many of them came true? In order to change things in our lives for the positive, we must BELIEVE that we can. Take a look at that word BELIEVE. If you divide it in two, this is what you get. BE……the change you want to make and LEAVE (lieve) the rest behind!

I’m here to tell you that you can do whatever it is you set your little “itty bitty” heart on. Think about all the things (even if it’s just small things) that you have done when others said that you couldn’t. So think about what you still want to do. Find the good in life. Embrace the positive and SQUISH the negatives. Come on pick yourself up, turn the nagging voices off. Get rid of the “don’t have your best interests at heart” type of people from your life and do it anyway! Go on. What are you waiting for? Do you have a good idea, a great invention, or a wonderful story to tell? Do you know how to save money? Do you have a superstar puppy that you’ve been waiting to bring out but afraid of what some people might say? Do you know how to make the most delicious chocolate chip cookies on the planet? Do you produce one good quality litter of puppies after another? Everything you do is uniquely you. SUCCESS is something someone else is doing while you are still wondering if the same idea will succeed. He’s not any smarter than you or I. He had the same doubts……FOR JUST A MOMENT (and that’s the key), but he did it anyway!

Must you follow the leaders in the breed to get ahead? Can you do it on your own? Will anyone take you seriously? Do you believe everything that you are told by the breeder that has done all the winning? He must be right. After all his dogs are winning and yours are loosing. Are you getting second thoughts about what you are doing in the breed? Maybe you should just start all over again. “SQUISH.”

Do what you love in this breed. Do it for no other reason but because you love the German Shepherd Dog. Don’t do something because someone tells you that in order to win, you’ve got to do it his way. “SQUISH” the negative people and those that are only interested in you if you follow them. Just think about some of the more successful people in the breed. They haven’t all ways gotten it right. For every success that they have had, there have been many more unsuccessful attempts in their breeding and showing careers. Don’t all ways look at them and say, “Why them and not me?” They have paid their dues many times over as well, only you’re not aware of them. Those are the things that people are not advertising. They’ve had their share of heartaches as well as their successes. So before you throw in the towel, realize that your success may have been your very next attempt, but you’ll never realize it because you decided to give up. “SQUISH!”

From the book: THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING: Translated into fifteen languages with more than 7 million copies sold, The Power of Positive Thinking is unparalleled in its extraordinary capacity for restoring the faltering faith of millions. In this insightful program, Dr. Peale offers the essence of his profound method for mastering the problems of everyday living. You will learn: How to eliminate that most devastating handicap---self doubt How to free yourself from worry, stress and resentment How to climb above problems to visualize solutions and then attain them Simple prayerful exercises that you can do every day, through-out the day, to reinforce your new-found habit of happiness Eliminating all the negative thoughts that prevent you from achieving happiness and success, The Power of Positive Thinking is an inspiring program that will help you create a positive change in your life.

My rating: Positive thinking: (4)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I’ve decided that there has got to be a better way of doing things in this life. I’m tired of all the medicines that the doctors throw at us to make us dependent on using them so that the medical community continues to get rich off of my aches, pains and ailments. So just yesterday I started using the apple cider vinegar method to treat my acid reflux. So today is day two of swallowing this yucky tasting, gag inducing cocktail. I’ll let you know if it’s worth it. But if something so inexpensive sits in my kitchen cabinet and it works, you better believe I’m going to try it. The same thing holds true for my dogs. I try to use natural or holistic products to take care of them as well.

For the last two summers I have been using Lavender Essential Oil for flea and tick prevention. I no longer use Frontline or any of those other poisons. So far, I haven't found any ticks on my dogs. I put a few drops in a small spray bottle and mix it with water. I spray them every day when they go outside.

I try to feed my dogs the best food that I can afford using natural or holistic blends of ingredients. I already use a natural ingredient supplement (Vibrant Pets) and now I want to use natural or holistic skin and coat products as well. One line of products that I came across seems to fit this bill. Some breeder show people have mentioned to me that they use these products and they love what they do for their dog’s skin and coat and adore the smell. So I did some investigation into the line and will share some of their products here with you. The company's name is EARTHBATH.

EARTHBATH ALL NATURAL OATMEAL AND ALOE SHAMPOO. My friend swears by this product. Oatmeal and aloe are recommended by veterinarians to effectively combat skin irritation, promote healing, and re-moisturize dry skin. Combine these natural wonders with vanilla and almond oils and your dog will smell as good as she feels and looks. This product is recommended for dogs that have allergies or sensitive skin.

* Totally natural pet care, 100-percent bio-degradable and cruelty free
* Soap-free shampoo
* Heavenly-scented
* Safe, gentle and effective

EARTHBATH ALL NATURAL MANGO TANGO SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER IN ONE - great product for those of you that like a shampoo and conditioner in one. I am told that this smells yummy!

* Totally natural pet care, 100-percent bio-degradable and cruelty free
* Soap-free shampoo
* Heavenly-scented
* Safe, gentle and effective

EARTHBATH ALL NATURAL CREME RINSE AND CONDITIONER - shine enhancing conditioner that effectively enriches and revives a pet's coat. The addition of colloidal oatmeal helps remoisturize soothe skin too.

For those of you that like to add Salmon Oil to your dog's food for his coat, here are two that come highly recommended. I haven't used either one of these products but this is what I found out about them.

GRIZZLY SALMON OIL ALL-NATURAL...# 100-percent pure salmon oil derived from wild Alaskan Salmon
# Supports a healthy coat, heart, and immune system
# Contains 15+ Omega 3, Omega 6, and Arachidonic fatty acids
# 32-ounce pump bottle for convenient, mess-free dispensing


* Produced from 100-percent pure wild Alaskan salmon and rosemary extract for maintaining a dog's health
* No artificial preservatives, coloring, or fillers
* Premium source of Omega-3 fatty acids for a healthy heart, coat, joints, and more
* Metered pump dispenser makes it easy to apply the oil to food
* Packaged to ensure fresh aroma and great taste

Someone sent me a link to this line of natural dog treat products. I admit I never tried them for my dogs yet, but more and more I've been noticing that dog food companies are putting fruit and vegetables in their products. The reviews on these dog treats seem to be positive.


* A hint of Banana in the fresh pumpkin muffin aroma, rich in vitamin B6, manganese and potassium, a treat your dog will go Ape over!
* Made in the USA & Free of Wheat, Corn, Soy, By-Products, Artificial Ingredients/Preservatives
* The highest natural level of Beta-Carotenes in treats, providing immunity boosting antioxidants
* CalorieSmart® - only 7.4 calories per treat, high fiber and great taste
* Each 8.4 oz carton contains six (6) 1.41 oz fresh pack pouches

So there you have it. These are just a few of the many different natural or holistic products on the market. I hope to be able to review more in the future and look forward to your feedback on these products or others that you use and like.

My rating: natural and holistic products: (4)

Monday, July 12, 2010


Let me say this right up front. I hate politics. I always have and probably always will. So someone calls me last night talking about some of my recent articles on this blog and the conversations that it has started. She said to me this is a good thing because people are talking and talking is good for exchanging ideas and initiating changes. She was talking about my articles about clubs falling, the lack of entries at the specialty shows and the waning interest in the breed. She asked me if I could continue this topic and expand it to include the Parent Club (German Shepherd Dog Club of America). She asked me if I could talk about the politics of the club. I told her I hate politics. It probably is one of my least favorite subjects. I don’t like talking about it and I certainly don’t feel qualified to write about it. She answered me by saying more and more people are leaving the club. Perhaps if we can get people talking, maybe we can understand why this is.

The German Shepherd Dog Club of America is one of the largest specialty breed clubs in America. It’s a proud club of hard working dedicated German Shepherd enthusiasts. The regional clubs are the lifeline of the Parent Club. They are the branches of the “Great Lady” and they sustain her by providing major pointed shows where the German Shepherd can win the points necessary for his championship. The regional clubs are responsible for putting on the Futurity/Maturity shows. Without these major point winning shows and futurities, there would be very little need for the National Specialty Show which helps generate revenue for the Parent Club. Without dogs finishing their championships there would be no need for the Best of Breed competition at the National Specialty level. There would be no Grand Victor/Victrix and no Futurity/Maturity Victors and Victrixes. Would the general population of German Shepherd breeders go to a National that consisted solely of obedience and herding titled dogs?

Without the Specialty shows, the German Shepherd breeder would only be able to compete in the All-Breed shows. More and more people are doing this now already. Will those dogs that are known for their great movement look as good in a small cramped show ring?

Like anything else in life, you start a club and there will be “cliques” in that club. There will be those that form their own groups (almost like a club within a club). The Parent Club is not any different in that way. Because of its large membership it would only seem natural that different personalities will have different opinions about how things should be run. And it’s when those different personalities disagree that either it can prove beneficial because they can come up with a solution to the problem or it can divide a club. Then that’s when the two opposing forces look to gather people in their corner and it is no longer how we can make the club stronger, but rather how they can make themselves stronger. It no longer is about promoting the breed. It’s about promoting ones self and their agendas. And this is when the walls begin to chip away and start to crumble.

Why did you join the Parent Club anyway? Was it to get the German Shepherd Dog Review? Was it to learn everything that you can about this wonderful breed? Was it to be part of a club where the elite of the breed are members as well? Is it everything that you hoped it would be? Are you happy with YOUR club? Do you contact your board members when you disagree with something? Have they been helpful addressing your concerns?

When you vote in a new President and board members in this club, do you know who you’re voting for? When you vote for the judges for the National Specialty show, do you know who you’re voting for? Are you picking people because they are well known breeders or are you picking people because they are well known LOVERS OF THE BREED and have done something more than breed a few champions? Are these people that extend their hand to you with their pearly whites smiling back at you at election time showing you the same good will at other times? Are these people nice to you because they want to help you or are they nice to you because they want you to help them get where they want to go by giving them your vote?

The thing that has always “bugged” me about politics is that the people that we elect are working FOR US! If they’re not and they’re working for their own agendas, then WE have the power to “un-elect” them as well. All breed clubs are run by volunteers and there are some extremely hard working German Shepherd loving individuals. We owe our gratitude to these selfless people for they are truly dedicated to the betterment of the breed. The Parent Club was started for the betterment of the breed, not the betterment of those in cliques with there own agendas. It wasn’t about making anyone “important”. It was about making the German Shepherd important. It wasn’t formed to make any individuals stand out and for people to take notice of them. It was formed to make the German Shepherd Dog stand out and the general public take notice of them. It was built by our forefathers of the breed to stand strong and supportive of our breed. It wasn’t built to showcase individuals, but instead to showcase the German Shepherd Dog. When we lose our focus of the purpose of this club, this is when the walls begin to chip away until they collapse and the Great Lady ends up with her draws around her ankles. We don’t want this to happen.

The unfortunate thing is that some very good people are leaving the club. What’s the answer then? Get rid of the cliques that are there for their own benefits and political agendas. If they’re not there for the betterment of the German Shepherd Dog, let them go elsewhere and form their own club. Their followers will follow them. They won’t be missed. Remember that the membership voted these people into office. We remain strong when the membership takes back THEIR club and ACTS MORE LIKE THE BREED THAT THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE REPRESENTING……..loyal and fierce and “woo to those” who try to divide them! Truly like the song……”United we stand, divided we fall!” Grrrr……………

My rating: Specialty clubs: (4), cliques in clubs: (1)