Friday, December 31, 2010


Barbara J. Galasso

I am the king of all dogs; therefore you shall not have other dogs before me!

You shall not have any pictures, statues, magazines, videos of any other breed of dog besides that of the German Shepherd Dog. I am a jealous breed and no other breed shall share this house with me.

You shall not call me bad names or curse at me when you get mad. You shall respect me at all times for I am a German Shepherd Dog after all.

You shall not enter me in any dog shows or working trials on a Sunday as this is my day of rest. Train me, teach me, show me six days a week if you like, but the seventh day is mine to do what I want, lay around all I want, and eat and play all day as I want. Don’t expect me to work on Sundays!

Honor my mother and father if you own them by not over breeding them. Give them a
break once in awhile.

I shall not kill thy neighbors one and a half pounds of yippy pain in the hind end, sorry excuse for a dog……..(well that is when anyone is looking anyway)!

You should not breed me to more than one stud dog or brood bitch in my lifetime. So choose wisely because one mate for life is my new motto and there’s not room for discussion!

I shall not steal my kennel mates bones, toys, food or bed or my master’s affections!

I shall not let the cat take the scolding for stealing the food that was left out on the counter. Nor shall I let him be blamed for the mess of shredded toilet tissue on the floor no matter how much I want him to!

I shall not desire better food, a softer bed, a bigger house, a bigger car, a better dog handler like the dogs in the kennel down the street from me. I must learn to accept my humble upbringing and ignore my selfish desires.

And on my death bed, please call a German Shepherd judge of extreme integrity so I can make my last confession before I leave this earth......I confess it was me that ruined the carpet and not the cat. It was me that trampled all over the flower garden and not the stray dog. It was me that bit Billy Ray and not the Doberman Pinscher that lives next door. It was me that stole the new baby’s stuffed toy and not his sister Lilly Mae. It was me that threw up in the back seat of the car and not the puppy sitting next to me.

If I live by these rules as my way of life, then I am assured a place in doggy Heaven. If not I’ll be thrown in the fires of hell with all sorts of alley cats or yippy dogs to torment me through eternity....and no German Shepherd Dog should ever have to endure that!

My rating: Even a dog needs rules to live be: (4)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I heard this sentence on a program the other day, “We’re the only species that worries!” Animals, birds, insects and all other living creatures never worry. They just go about their business each and every day never carrying the burdens of the world on their shoulders. They leave that “good stuff” to us humans.

We worry and fret and worry some more and most of what we worry about never happens anyway. We prepare for a show, and many of us are a nervous wreck. Some of us can’t eat, some of us spend half of the day in the bathroom and then there are those of us that snaps at the first person that says good morning to us. The dog isn’t worrying. He doesn’t care if he wins or loses. He’s not up all night the evening before the show. He’s passed out on the rug while you’re walking around the house talking to yourself.

The dog is not worried about what kind of food you’re going to be feeding him today. He just wants his dinner, plain and simple. He doesn’t care if it’s a holistic brand or a store bought brand. The only time it matters to him is if you have given him a choice. That’s when he may become fussy, but he’s not worrying about it all day. Oh sure he knows when its time for him to be fed, but he’s not worried about if he’s going to be fed all day long. He just assumes that he is!

If you groomed your dog with a shampoo you bought at the dollar store, it wouldn’t matter to him. He’s accepting of everything that comes his way. Only the human owner frets that it’s not an all natural product, or it doesn’t have the specific fragrance that the human prefers. The dog doesn’t care if he smells like fresh coconut or French vanilla.

So one can see if they are really honest with themselves that we do things for our dog not because the dog will like it, but because we like it. It’s pleasing to us……not necessarily the dog.

The dog is not worried about whether or not it’s going to be too hot or cold outside for him to go in the backyard. We worry about the temperatures. Of course, he’ll complain if the weather does bother him by howling, barking or holding an icy paw up off the ground. But he’s never worried about it ahead of time. He’s just reacting to his circumstances.

If worrying hasn’t changed the fact that we can’t afford a more expensive handler, a holistic dog food, a fragrant shampoo, a bigger van to hold more dog crates, why do we do it? Wouldn’t we enjoy the dog shows better, accept what we can afford and sleep a heck of a lot better if we didn’t worry so much? I don’t know anyone that worries all the time that is a happy person. They may be a sicker person, but not a happier person!

We worry if our new litter will produce a new “star.” We worry about our dog’s health problems. We worry that we’re not doing enough for them. We worry about them getting older. Some of us do not feel “normal” unless we’re worrying about something.

If we have financial problems or health problems, then truly this would give most people something to worry about. But truth be told, all the worrying in the world doesn’t change anything. It is totally out of our hands whether or not a judge is going to put up our dog. It’s out of our hands whether or not a puppy will amount to anything great. It’s out of our hands whether someone is going to buy a dog from us or not. It’s out of our hands if our dog gets sick. We can only do our best to take care of something that comes our way, but we can’t do anything about it by worrying. We need to take action and give worry a back

Just think if we didn’t worry, we could laugh off our losses to an inferior dog. We could shrug our shoulders when we hire a third rate handler that trips and falls over our dog thereby leaving our animal limping and costing him the class win. We could feed our dog’s bag after bag of “road kill” and never give it a second thought. We could wish a potential puppy buyer that didn’t buy our puppy best wishes when he buys someone else’s puppy. Yes being worry free would mean we could take our losses with a smile on our faces, empty wallets and a fellow competitor patting us on the back saying “Better luck next time old fella!” Yes, worry free……that’s the way for me!

From the book: "THE MINDFULNESS AND ACCEPTANCE WORKBOOK FOR ANXIETY"....Anxiety happens. It's not a choice. And attempts to manage your thoughts or get rid of worry, fear, and panic can leave you feeling frustrated and powerless. But you can take back your life from anxiety without controlling anxious thoughts and feelings. You can stop avoiding anxiety and start showing up to your life. The Mindfulness & Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety will get you started, using a revolutionary new approach called acceptance and commitment therapy, or ACT.
The book has one purpose: to help you live better, more fully, more richly. Your life is calling on you to make that choice, and the skills in this workbook can help you make it happen. Find out how your mind can trap you, keeping you stuck and struggling in anxiety and fear. Learn to nurture your capacity for acceptance, mindfulness, kindness, and compassion. Use these qualities to shift your focus away from anxiety and onto what you really want your life to be about. As you do, your life will get bigger as your anxious suffering gets smaller. No matter what kind of anxiety problem you're struggling with, this workbook can guide you toward a more vibrant and purposeful life. Includes a CD with bonus worksheets, self-assessments, and guided mindfulness meditations.

My rating: Worrying: (1)

Thursday, December 23, 2010


I’ve read a few times that the German Shepherd Dog has the intelligence equal to a seven year old child. Taking that one step further, I’ve also read that we humans learn the most we ever learn in the first five years of our lives. If that last sentence is true, then just think of what the German Shepherd Dog could be capable of learning! Very few of us…….no I take that back…….none of us can ever learn all there is to ever know. We could never hope to teach the German Shepherd Dog everything that a seven year old child knows. I dare say that most of this breeds intelligence level is never, ever realized to even half of that equation.

Thinking how intelligent this breed is it would be a little scary if they really knew all there was to know that a seven year old child knows. Without ever teaching them anything, their quest to know what’s going on at all times is never satisfied. I only own three dogs (all bitches) and they’re all smart just because they’re a German Shepherd, but one of them is the nosiest of the nosy! I could have a box the size that holds a ring and I could put it somewhere that she’d never see it, but she’d know it was there. Her nose is always up in the air sniffing around to see what her nose can lead her to.

I also think that once you train this breed to learn something, they never forget it. They might be a little rusty, but they don’t forget. Now that says something for their intelligence. My house dog Amber (see the above picture – yes that’s her reading a literary masterpiece of her own choice) has been trained by me to do certain easy tasks. She also knows hand signals for those tasks. Now I don’t always ask her to do these tricks all the time. In fact besides the command of “sit”, she pretty much does as she pleases. Today I gave her a few commands and then did hand signals with her and her recall was excellent. She was an easy learner and eager to please when I trained her. Her daughters are another story waiting to be written!

Training dogs is hard work and takes a dedication on the owner’s part to train their dogs. But oh the rewards are worth any time that you put in them. There is nothing nicer than a well trained animal. They’re easier to live with and easier to go places with. Besides the general public will thank you for the time that you’ve put into your dog. No one enjoys being jumped on or mauled to death (in a friendly way)!

So Amber and I chose a “Seasons Greetings” and most sincere wishes for you, your family and loved ones. Oh yeah, and all those intelligent German Shepherds that you share your life with. This is really not a poem geared towards Christmas but the words can be enjoyed and lived with all through the year. I can’t take credit for the construction of the “words of wisdom” and I can’t give credit where credit is due as it says the author is unknown. That said………………HAPPY EVERYTHING……EVERYONE!

The most destructive habit..............................Worry

The greatest Joy.................................................Giving

The greatest loss........................Loss of self-respect

The most satisfying work....................Helping others

The ugliest personality trait....................Selfishness

The most endangered species........Dedicated leaders

Our greatest natural resource....................Our youth

The greatest "shot in the arm"...........Encouragement

The greatest problem to overcome........................Fear

The most effective sleeping pill.............Peace of mind

The most crippling failure disease....................Excuses

The most powerful force in life..............................Love

The most dangerous pariah.............................A gossiper

The world's most incredible computer..........The brain

The worst thing to be without................................ Hope

The deadliest weapon.......................................The tongue

The two most power-filled words......................."I Can"

The greatest asset......................................................Faith

The most worthless emotion................................Self-pity

The most beautiful attire.....................................SMILE!

The most prized possession.............................. Integrity

The most powerful channel of communication.....Prayer

The most contagious spirit..............................Enthusiasm

Written By: © Author Unknown

My rating: Training the German Shepherd Dog: (4), Living with a well trained dog: (4)

Monday, December 20, 2010


What does the average person in America think a German Shepherd Dog looks like? Now clearly I’m not talking about a breeder or a show person. I’m talking about “John Doe” that lives down the street from you. How would he describe the German Shepherd Dog? What would he say he looks like? What would he say about the disposition of this breed of dog? Are we the breeders representing the German Shepherd Dog the way most people think of them? Or have we designed a dog that most people wouldn’t identify as the “average” German Shepherd?

If “John Doe” came to a dog show or if he looked up kennels on the internet, I dare say he would be faced with many different types of German Shepherd Dogs being represented. Just take a look on Facebook at all the breeders and the pictures of their dogs on there. I have never seen such a variety of German Shepherds in one place.

What does the general public think a German Shepherd Dog looks like? I bet if you asked them, a majority of them would probably describe a black and silver or black and light tan dog to you. They would probably describe an ordinary looking dog with a protective type of personality.

I was disappointed the other night when I was watching “The Dog Whisperer” and a poll was taken asking the general public which dogs were the most aggressive breed. I knew that the Pit Bull would be the first dog people would name. However, the German Shepherd was rated as being the most aggressive right under them and then followed by the Rottweiler! It doesn’t look like our breed has such a great reputation! I’d rather them be listed as a protection breed for their family and loved ones rather than an aggressive breed. It really is two different things, in my opinion.

If a person “Googled” the words German Shepherd in the search window, thousands of breeder’s names and kennels would come up. Now if you went on those web sites, many times you would see a dog that looks different from other people’s dogs on their websites. Oh sure you’d see the same noble looking head with his ears standing up straight on his head that most people would associate with this breed. But many times this is where the similarity would end. You’d see many different colors of the German Shepherd Dog’s coat. You’d see short coats and you’d see long coats. You’d see average sized dogs and monster bone sized dogs. You’d see American style German Shepherds and you’d see German style German Shepherds. You’d see light pigment. You’d see deep, dark Mahoney red pigment. They’d be straight backs and there would be roach back dogs. You’d see short backs and long backs. Some would stand straight and look boxy and others would be slopping with their rears close to the ground. This could all be very confusing to "John Doe" for he wouldn't know what the standard for our breed is. All he would know is that they all looked so different.

When one talks about one of “those” designer breeds, are we too not designers of our breed the German Shepherd Dog? If you were to look at the first picture of a German Shepherd when this breed first became recognized and look at it now, you would think that it is a different breed. So indeed, we as breeders have designed the German Shepherd Dog and how it looks today! We changed the whole look to the dog. In many ways for the better, I believe. But we have designed him to look a certain way and not the original way at all. I wonder what the breed will look like in another twenty years or so. Should we be changing the looks of the breed so much? We have a standard, but I see very few dogs look like what the standard calls for. Because a breeder is a designer of sorts, he will have bred for a certain style of dogs. Many kennels have generations of their lines in their breeding program and one only has to look at their dogs to know that this is from their kennel.

Are we all heading in the same direction with the same goal to breed the best representative of the German Shepherd that we can? Or are we all doing our own thing and designing a dog that doesn’t really fit to the standard at all? Take a look at the dogs on some people’s websites or on Facebook. Have we created a designer dog or do they look like the standard set for our breed? You decide!

My rating: Breeding to the standard: (4)

Friday, December 17, 2010


I feel so sorry for my dogs this time of the year. They have to suffer listening to the strained vocal chords of their owner when Christmas time is here. I love listening to some of the Holiday music and especially ones that I can “sing” with. So, alright I’m not the singer in the family, but good golly I’m going to give it everything I’ve got anyway. I look at it this way, if I feel good, then that must mean that my dogs feel good too, right? Well when I hear them shift around in their crates when I’m reaching for that high note, I just know that there must be someplace that they would rather be right about then. But I just can’t help myself; I’ve got to sing along with some of the songs. Now I know better than try to reach the high notes of “Oh Holy Night” my most favorite song. My throat would be sore for days after that one. But how about this John Lennon classic, “So this is Christmas”……another one of my favorites? I can sing along to this one without ruining it too much……I think!

People are busy decorating their homes. The tree is decorated. The menu is planned. Invitations have been extended. Christmas cards have been sent. Are your dogs feeling the excitement in the air? Their noses don’t miss a trick. I’m sorry Aunt Gertrude if your package is smudged with my dog’s nose and mouth impressions. They want to be a part of everything that is going on. They just love the smell of the tree and are most inquisitive with packages with big fancy bows and ribbons adorning them. Baking holiday cookies affords them special treats. Oh I don’t mean that they are sharing my sugar loaded cookies with me, but I do keep “their” dog biscuits handy so they feel that they are getting special treatment as well. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season that we are not giving our dogs the same treatment that they are usually accustomed to all year round.

I know better than to wrap up a big bone and put it under the Christmas tree. That wrapping isn’t fooling my dogs. They’d be tearing that fancy wrapping paper into shreds hoping to get an early Christmas present. Why put temptation in front of them? So nope, their gifts don’t go under the tree right away.

So what holiday traditions do you share with your dogs? Do you make them a part of your celebration activities? Do you buy or make them special gifts? Do they get any leftovers from your holiday table? Are the holidays special for them too or is it like any other day for them?

I’m including the lyrics to one of my favorite Christmas songs because not only do I enjoy the lively beat of the song, but I really like the lyrics to it as well.


John Lennon

So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear
And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong
And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let's stop all the fight
A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear
And so this is Christmas
And what have we done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young
A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear
War is over
If you want it
War is over

From "LENNON LEGEND: THE VERY BEST OF JOHN LENNON"......Imagine a place where the personal, political, and emotional elements of John Lennon's music converge together seamlessly in one cohesive production. An assortment of his finest solo work, Lennon Legend: The Very Best of John Lennon is of great interest to anyone who's ever been a fan of the Beatles, the Plastic Ono Band, Yoko Ono, or simply the genius himself. Ranging from a rendition of Ben E. King's "Stand By Me" to the sounds of the Plastic Ono Band and the Harlem Community Choir on "Happy Xmas" and the classic anti-war anthem "Give Peace A Chance", the recordings assembled here stand as a testament to one of rock's most complex and influential musical talents. If you believe that Lennon's greatest period of creativity came to an end with the Beatles, you owe yourself a listen to this album.

My rating: Sharing the holidays with your dogs: (4)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I picked up the telephone to give you a call this morning. You know how we’ve been doing this for years. I started pressing the same familiar numbers that I’ve always pressed. I know them by heart. The telephone begins to ring……one time, two times and three. Then I caught my breath and realized that you wouldn’t be picking up the telephone to answer my call today, nor tomorrow or the day after either. Nobodies home!

I just read on one of the lists yesterday of a few German Shepherd Dog people that were seriously ill and have been in the hospital. Glad to hear that one of them came home already. It made me stop to think especially in this season of family and loved ones gathered together to celebrate the holidays. Sometimes we get so busy rushing around here and there, buying gifts, planning the holiday menu and getting the house decorated that we don’t have time to reach out to others like we normally do.

During this holiday season, during this time in history, very few families are celebrating a time of “plenty.” Some families are lucky if they have a “little” to put on the table or under the tree. But if they have good health and one another, then they are truly blessed.

The years slip by so quickly. We take for granted that we have another day to extend good will and cheer to someone else. We meant to call Gertrude the lonely spinster in the next town. We meant to check up on Woodrow to see if he had enough heat in his house. Old Mr. Peterson asked us if we could join him for a little holiday cheer next time we were in his neighborhood. We passed his house several times promising ourselves the next time we are in this neck of the woods; we would take him up on his offer. Before we know it, another day, another year has passed us by. Then suddenly you remember old Mr. Peterson. We dial the telephone and are greeted by a recording saying “The number you have reached is no longer in service. No forwarding number is available.” Nobodies home!

How many people in our German Shepherd Dog community will be spending the holidays alone this year? Perhaps they no longer have a family left or their family has moved away. Will they have enough to put on their table this holiday? Will they have enough to feed their dogs? What is their health like? How are they doing mentally and physically? When’s the last time we picked up the phone to call someone to wish them well? Showing someone you care by reaching out to them can be the best gift that you can give to them. Maybe they need to hear a kind word or two and knowing you thought of them may just put the smile on their face that will make their day! You may be poor yourself and can’t afford to help someone financially, but a phone call will cost you nothing and the gift of your friendly voice to the receiver of that call will be well worth the few minutes it takes you to do it!

The holiday season normally finds some of us giving to charities like the Salvation Army volunteers that one can usually see and hear ringing their bells as you exit from your favorite grocery store. Maybe we could look at those in need in our own German Shepherd Dog community. Maybe you can bring a dish from your holiday table to a poor soul in need. How are their dogs doing? Are they out of the cold? Do they have a bowl of food to eat and a clean bowl of water to drink? Because of some people’s depression around this time of year and especially when money is scarce, they forget some of the very basic needs of their animals when their own needs are being sacrificed!

Funny how time slips away and all of a sudden the people that you expect to see or talk to are no longer there. It happens. It happens when we are so wrapped up in our own daily lives that we forget to pick up the telephone and say, “Hi, I was just thinking of you and wanted you to know that.” It happens until one day you finally decide “Alright, today is the day I give so and so a call.” But today, you dial the telephone and nobodies home!

From the book: "RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS BY ANIMALS".....Peaceful Kingdom chronicles amazing true stories of devotion and bravery from the animal world. Included are both well-publicized cases, such as the gorilla who tenderly carried an injured child to safety, and the more obscure--the German shepherd who visited the grave of his deceased owner every day at the same hour. Even ants are caught in heroic acts: they're observed pulling a thorn from an injured comrade. The animals in this book are viewed as compassionate, thinking creatures that experience real emotions--hardly news to animal lovers. Peaceful Kingdom also reflects human acts of kindness to animals. Edward Lear, the famous author of "The Owl and the Pussycat," built his new house as an exact replica of his old one to keep from traumatizing his beloved cat. Peaceful Kingdom is an intriguing and heartwarming journey into the lives of some astonishing animals.

From the book: "SAYING GOODBYE"...........Saying Goodbye is a collection of true stories about saying goodbye to the people, places and things in our lives. This is a powerful book that includes a number of sad stories, as well as some very funny ones. Taken together, the stories serve as amazing examples of people saying heartfelt goodbyes with grace, dignity, and good humor. Saying Goodbye includes stories contributed by thirty-one authors from the United States, Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere. These stories show that there is sadness in goodbyes, but there is also irony and humor. It s perfect for book groups that want stimulating conversations about saying goodbye a topic that touches us all in one way or another.

My rating: Showing kindness to one another not just during the holidays: (4)

Monday, December 13, 2010


I confess that the title of this article wasn’t the brain child of myself, but came from a program I was listening to over the week-end. It got me to thinking of how it applies to us and our dogs.

One of the great things about the German Shepherd Dog is that he is so versatile. If you don’t want to show him in conformation shows any longer, you can train him for obedience trials. If you don’t want to do that, you can just enjoy him as your family pet. He wasn’t born for just one thing. Take him for hikes, take him camping, boating, fishing, jogging or even for rides in the car. He’s not picky. Whatever it is that you enjoy doing; the German Shepherd Dog enjoys doing it with you. There probably isn’t a better companion dog than this breed! Truly this dog’s happiness comes from his interaction with his owner!

How much of your dog’s brain is being utilized? Do you provide him with the stimulation that he needs to develop his fullest potential? How many of these dogs die never knowing what it is to come out of a kennel and go for a walk with their owners? How many fetch a ball? In fact how many of them even know what a ball is and what to do with it?

If your dog was hooked up to one of those brain monitors in the hospital, would a straight line appear all across the screen indicating that he’s brain dead? Or would there be a lively zig zag running across the screen indicating that this dog’s brain is well and very much alive because his owner recognized the need for stimulation in this dog’s life?

Do we owe our dogs anything more than food, water and shelter? Does our responsibility to them extend further than the heat in their kennels in the winter and the air-conditioner in the summer? Is that enough? Do we owe them more than this or are we of the mind set that their basic needs are being met and they’re only a dog and some of us put too much time into “humanizing” them?

So what does that mean…….humanizing them? It would seem to some beyond the three essentials (food, water and shelter) anything more would give the dog a more human nature than that of an animal. So does he need more than the essentials to live? No he could and many do exist just on the essentials. Day in and day out, the same old/same old! After all some would argue, he’s an animal and his basic needs are being met so what more could he want?

To agree with this mind set would be to ignore the very nature of the dog and that is foremost and above all else the reason for his existence in the first place. That is to be a companion to man. Very simple. Very basic. He wants and needs to be with his owner. Once his basic needs are met, his primary goal is to be with his master. Now if one owns a kennel full of dogs, that’s not going to happen too often for most or them or even a few of them.

I’ve read that the brain of a German Shepherd is equal to the brain of a seven year old child. Gee, considering that most of what we learn, we learn in the first five years of life, means that this breed of dog has the capacity to learn so very much. How many of them are being taught all that they can learn? How much stimulation do they receive lying on the floor of a kennel? Very little.

We now know that the dog is capable of more than having an intelligent, teachable brain. We now know that he is also very capable of emotions and feelings. He’s sad when he loses one of his own kind and sad if he should lose his owner. He mourns losses just like we do. He rejoices in companionship with his kind and our kind.

When’s the last time you looked into your dog’s eyes and seen that there is a whole lot more going on behind those “Hershey Browns” then just a dumb dog looking for a treat from his owner? Get close to a dog and he anticipates your every motion. He responses to your every mood. Sometimes it’s as if he knows you’re going to do something before you do! They have this uncanny ability to read us better than we read ourselves.

When you have a “love affair” with your dog…..that is letting him participate in your life, the enrichment that he brings to it would never have been fully realized without him having your permission to truly live his life. In this writer’s opinion a dog that lives his life ONLY in a kennel has never truly lived, rather he’s existed in a small fenced in area in a great big world because his owner didn’t invest the time it would take to realize his dog’s potential. Just imagine what that would be like only being able to walk back and forth, day in and day out and you had the intelligence of a seven year old kid? Now that’s called sad…..

From the book: "HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE"....Kaufman, director of the Option Institute and author of A Land Beyond Tears ( LJ 4/1/82), contends that if you change a belief or attitude you can change your life. A decision to pursue happiness, he claims, can improve relations with others: "We can engineer our own responses, choosing love over hate, peace over conflict and happiness over depression." The first five sections relate Kaufman's philosophy and offer stories of clients' successful changes while in therapy. Section six has short chapters detailing shortcuts to happiness. The book has a four-page bibliography and two pages of additional readings. A cut above most self-help books; recommended.

My rating: Teaching and training the GSD: (4)

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Several months back I wrote about the different ways that one has to advertise their dogs for sale or stud services. Long gone are the months that we wait to see our ad in “The German Shepherd Dog Review.” We live in an “instant gratification” generation. Patience might be a word that finds itself used less and less. “We want something and we want it now” seems to be the motto of many people today! Oh sure there are those that are happy to remain the way that they always have been, but the majority of people are looking for the “quick fix.”

In today’s economy this probably makes total sense. Waiting and holding back puppies is something that many can no longer afford to do. Ad after ad of puppies, adult dogs and stud dogs are being put up for consideration on Facebook almost every hour it seems. Some people (and by the looks of it on Facebook) see this as another way to advertise their dogs where people will see them immediately. Other people think it can attract the wrong kind of people that inquire about your dogs. The jury is out on this yet.

Whether you believe it’s a good thing or a bad thing to advertise your dogs and puppies on Facebook, it isn’t going away anytime soon. Heck, I even have friends that have said to me in the past that Facebook is not for them, and now are singing a different tune. I never realized just how many people are breeding and looking for good homes for their animals. I must admit I’ve seen some magnificent looking animals that I may have never had the opportunity of seeing if it weren’t for the fabulous pictures that people are posting on Facebook.

Is Facebook a good way of introducing new people to the breed, do you think? Well I don’t know about that, but I can say this much, not too many people that I know of are not on Facebook in one means or another. I for one joined because it’s a great way to network and I love looking at everyone’s beautiful dogs. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see what lines are producing. I get to “meet” people that I would never have met if I didn’t sign up on this social network. I didn’t think I would be on Facebook very much when I first joined. I sat back and watched and wondered what all the hullabaloo was about. Now I get it and I look forward each day to see the different breeder’s quality of dogs that they have produced.

Facebook is not just a place to advertise and look at pictures of peoples dogs. It’s fun to see the dialog that people engage in with one another. Some are on here more than others I admit, but where else would I be able to “travel” with Jeff Pyle through the snowy highways and byways as he makes his way to the New England Shows? He’s quite the social butterfly! How else would I know how much he loves playing volleyball with his friends……….and lots of friends he has! Some of his pictures are a riot.

I’ve seen people on here that I haven’t seen since my high school days and in some cases, glad that I haven’t! But in most cases it affords one an opportunity to re-connect with people that were only a distant memory to you until you get a message asking if you would like to be a friend with “so and so!” Is it all fun and games being on Facebook? It can be a very educational experience but in my opinion I would advise those thinking of coming on Facebook, not to join too many different groups and invitations. I’ve heard of talk about viruses being obtained from this network. But like in anything else that you may receive in an e-mail, don’t open up everything you get. The same precautions that you would use normally can be extended to your use with any social network.

I admit that I’m not the most “with it” when it comes to technology. I periodically get instant messages sent to me when I’m on Facebook and I write back to them and you would think I would know how to send it to the other person. NOT! So I’m not ignoring you. I’m just showing you that I’m still a little “wet behind the ears” when it comes to some of this modern way of doing things. Oh you’ll hear back from me alright, but maybe not for another month or two. I’m still trying to figure it all out!

Many of us (myself included sometimes) like to keep the “same old, same old” just that way. We hesitate to change things that have been the same way for so long. But sometimes we have to move out of our comfort zone and see what it’s all about. We might not like it and we might not stay, but it seems that the majority of people are willing and admitting, it just may be time to move on.

Who among us gingerly got involved at first with all the German Shepherd e-mail lists when they were first introduced? Many sat back and waited, but eventually they got involved and now it’s one of the first things they look at when they are sipping their first cup of coffee in the morning. Sometimes there are days that I see less and less chatter on the e-mail lists. Where did everyone go to? Yup, it looks like Facebook has cut into some of us list owners bragging rights as well. It doesn’t help to fight it. One can either join in or sit back and listen to other people talking about it. I don’t see it going away anytime soon and if you are looking for where the German Shepherd Dog community went, you might just take a peek and discover that Facebook has been keeping them company!

From the book: "DOGS THAT KNOW WHEN THEIR OWNERS ARE COMING HOME".....It's rare for a book's title to say so clearly what the book is about. In the case of Rupert Sheldrake's latest work, the controversial content is right on the front cover. Pet owners will see it and smile in recognition; skeptical scientists will shake their heads and mutter about "maverick scholars." We all know of cases of dogs (and cats) who know when their owners are coming home, who go to wait at the door or window 10 minutes or more before their human arrives. Conditioned by the tight rigor of contemporary scientific thinking, we either look for rational explanations or we file the phenomenon away in our minds as "unexplained" and are careful not to talk about it with our scientist friends. Sheldrake believes that the "telepathy" between pets and humans, or between flocks of birds or schools of fish that move as a single organism, can be explained this theory. Sheldrake is less persuaded by anecdotes that suggest animal clairvoyance--warning of something in the near future--but refuses to disallow the possibility.

My rating: Facebook: (3 - 4)

Thursday, December 2, 2010


There has been unrest in the German Shepherd Dog community for quite some time now. I suppose it’s not unlike the unrest in the rest of the country. But I feel it deep down in my bones. It’s like there is something in the air that we breathe. A general state of unhappiness perforates that air. You can’t touch it. You can’t smell it. But nevertheless it’s there.

Like most of you I have access to communicating with the rest of the German Shepherd Dog community through e-mail lists, Facebook, and the good old fashioned way of on the telephone or in person. People are not as enthusiastic or excited about a new litter or a show coming up like they once were. Negativity has replaced hopefulness and the anticipation of a “new star” that is born. Some breeders are closing shop or at least cutting way back. The days of the big show dog kennels are becoming a thing of the past. More and more breeders are devoting their time and effort into helping with the rescue efforts. Some people just enjoy their dogs by training them for obedience work and then others still are just enjoying them as their devoted and loving pets.

When Specialty clubs close their doors and it becomes harder and harder to find a major pointed show, many people have become discouraged and don’t want to put in the extra work looking for a major. It’s almost like the German Shepherd community has taken a nap. Will they wake up and prosper and shine again? Or will they find other things to take up their time? Oh their love for the breed will never waver, but perhaps they have discovered that there are other ways to enjoy their dogs that they never did before.

Well known kennels tell me that they don’t want to show anymore and I laugh looking at their success record questioning their decision. But the last laugh is on me. They’re serious. When they tell me that they can’t even sell their top show puppies because there isn’t any show homes, then I realize that they are very much serious. What’s the sense in putting thousands of dollars into a breeding and you don’t have the show homes to sell them to? For some of these people they are now using local stud dogs or the ones that they have in their own kennels. It’s become a thing of economics and it’s forced some breeders to rethink their breeding programs.

Baby Boomers are now hitting their senior years and in some cases it has forced some to look at their priorities a little bit more. Let’s face it, housing and feeding a kennel full of dogs is expensive. And let’s not forget the wear and tear on our aging bodies. Even if we do age well, we’re still not like when we were in our twenties. And if you are not breeding these dogs like you used to, then you are spending lots of money to keep them comfortable for the rest of their lives. Many wisely decide to find loving, forever homes for their dogs rather than have them waste away in a kennel all day long. It has brought some people to their knees making the decision to let some of these wonderful animals go, but economics helps make that decision a little easier for them.

I have a few personal friends that have changed their view on breeding and showing dogs. All have been successful in their own ways……some in very big ways and others in smaller ways, but successful nevertheless. When I hear the words like, “It’s no longer any fun” or “Nothing excites me anymore” I immediately think that this is just a phase that they are going through. They’ll lay low for awhile and come the spring, “show dog fever” will hit them once again. Hey maybe that’s it. It’s the winter time and some people do tend to become a little more melancholy during the long, cold winter days. But I’m assured by them that no it’s not a seasonal blue period in their lives. It’s almost as if they are looking for greener pastures to explore. Some of them are all “showed out!”

The other thing I hear an awful lot of is the lack of support from the established breeders and exhibitors towards the “younger version” of themselves. Without a welcoming community for new people to come into, I’m afraid a hostile environment will only leave them cold and leave them never walking back into a show ring again. The days of noses up in the air, “I’m better than you,” has died a slow death and right along with it the very community of the future of the show dog. It can’t exist without the people needed to support it.

Will my friends and those others that are leaving the breeding and showing of the German Shepherd Dog behind “come to their senses” again or will their common sense prevail? Will they buy that little red sports car and vacation on Paradise Island spending their senior years sipping on Pina Coladas and partaking of tropical delicacies? Probably not. Will we still have things to talk about now that dogs are no longer a major focus of their lives? I hope so.

Our love for the German Shepherd Dog brought us together and a friendship was formed because of our shared interest and love for the breed. Hopefully that friendship will endure because we truly care about one another. They’ll probably still be German Shepherds in our lives even if it’s one of the “oldsters’ lying by our rocking chair, or just the memories that reach out to us from the pages of our photo albums. The dust might collect on the show win pictures hanging on our wall, but it will still be a reminder. We will remember because it was a good time to be in dogs and although the applause has come to a halt, the memories of it still linger in our mind and we remember it was the best time!

From the book "MY SO-CALLED FREELANCE LIFE"...."Since we’re all sh**ing our pants over the current economic situation, this book couldn’t come at a better time. My So-Called Freelance Life saunters its way through the ins and outs of becoming a successful solo professional, whether you’re a newly graduated 20-something trapped in a monotonous cubicle job or a new mom looking for flexible hours. Having accumulated a great deal of experience on the topic, Michelle Goodman (author of The Anti 9-to-5 Guide) leaves no paperweight unturned, explaining how to get started, maintain a budget and schedule, gather/weed out clientele, and legally cover your a**. Goodman includes a bevy of relevant links, contacts, organizations, and advice on everything from negotiating your hourly rate to when to quit working for the Man. While her book thoroughly covers every fundamental career intricacy you can imagine, wit and hilarity are also seated firmly within. (She even quotes Peter Gallagher on The OC, thus actualizing the poetry of my heart.) Not only is this book an incredible guide on how to get started, but it’s also inspiring and oddly comforting. “You can’t hitch your entire creative career on one big break—or one fat failure,” Goodman writes, “you have to keep moving forward, reaching for bigger and better.” It’s a book you will feel compelled to keep in your personal library (probably between your college dictionary and your religious tome of choice), or you can be like me and sleep with it in your arms."

My rating: Retiring from dogs: (1 - 4), Developing other interests: (4)