Ch Deja Vu In Like Flynn CD PT HOF ROMPX

Ch Deja Vu In Like Flynn CD PT HOF ROMPX
Ch Deja Vu Up Close & Personal HOF ROMX

this is one of my favorite pictures of Udo

this is one of my favorite pictures of Udo
Udo group 1 judge E Sullivan

Specialty Best In Show shown by friend Pat Murray

Specialty Best In Show shown by friend Pat Murray
Udo- winning his first specialty @ 2 years old shortly after being returned to me

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Am Mex Ch Deja Vu Mia Cool As A Cucumber

Dill is in Mexico. He is having quite a bang up career there. He is co-owned with the Fischl family-father Christian, mother Lala and daughters Paula and Lourdes. He sleeps in Paula's bed at night, waits for her to come home from University every day and generally is flourishing in his new life there as show dog and family pet with kids (he loves them).

So far in 5 months of showing Dill has won about a bazillion Herding Groups and has climbed up from non-champion to the Number Two ranked dog in the Herding Group. Very cool for such a young dog not yet in his prime.

Dill is not perfect, but his outline, proportions, breed type and beauty is arresting. He has such a lovely head, solid topline and classic carriage. He is a proud guy. You can see it in his natural carriage and style of being.

Carriage is one thing I consider heavily important in the Briard. It is something intangible but of tremendous significance. It is part of what makes a Briard a Briard-not a Bouvier. The standard for the breed is so defined about how the dog should operate in the world, how he should present himself in life and carry himself in general.

I read and reread the AKC standard arbitrarily and intermittently over time. Every time I do, I take away something new which I missed or forgot about. Last time I looked at it, the passage about carriage struck me with a fresh appreciation. In the first sentence the words "vigorous and alert" implies a certain countenance and carriage. But go on to the specific " the head joins the neck in a right angle and is held proudly alert".

Recently there was a discussion on one of the inane Briard lists on the internet about head carriage. As long as I have been in the breed I have heard the clueless expound on proper head carriage. They like to say the dog should carry his head low-many proclaiming greatness in the presence of a dog who looks like a plow horse-head being carried in motion in a line below the shoulders. There is nothing proud or alert about a plow horse. The carriage is more reminiscent of a Border Collie or crippled old Cocker Spaniel than a Briard.

The clueless like to say the dogs who win too much look more like "prancing Poodles". My mentor and friend Mary Lou Tingley in response to a photo posted demonstrating the low head, long strung out body of a bad moving devoid of carriage Briard remarked that it was probably herding field mice. Indeed, that is what it looks like-one line from tip of nose to tip of tail. We call them "flatliners". Like the cardiac monitor of a dead person-one flat line.

Dill will never be a flat liner on his worst day.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Best In Show dogs-there are eleven

Three weeks ago we added to the list of Best In Show dogs. This time it was a 9 month old puppy. This Best In Show was from the classes. In other words, she was not a champion at the time. She was a 9 month old puppy entered at a dog show in order to complete her championship. She got a 5 point major that day.
This is a rare occurance at a dog show indeed. There are a handful of dogs it has ever happened to...and usually, it has been the very fancy breeds it happens in-Pomeranians, Standard Poodles, Afghan Hounds. It has never happened to a Briard. The puppy is the youngest Briard to win a Best In Show (breaking her dam's own record). The puppy is the only Briard to win a Best In Show from the classes-ever.

She was Best Of Breed the first day, beating her intermittently lame Lyme Disease affected granddsire Udo and others. Then won the Herding Group. The second day history repeated itself (this time Udo was too lame to compete at all) but she went all the way to be the last dog standing...Best In Show.

The puppy is from CH Deja Vu Mia Chain of Fools (Udo x Suzie) bred to Ch Deja Vu Ruffles Have Ridges PT (Flynn x Lena).

The puppy's name is Eastbay Deja Vu Enjoy The Ride.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


For me, it is more interesting to write about Briards than about training. I would rather write about my clients in training, than the training itself. But clients can get a tad irritable if I say what I think...which I am prone to do, so I am best to work at stifling myself-at least a little bit.

Like the woman in class with the Border Collie rescue. The dog had tons of potential but was a bit pushy and overenthusiastic. On the third lesson I urged the woman once again into correcting the dog for an out of control behavior which kept reoccurring but was perfectly easy to modify. The woman had been reminded throughout the first two classes to address the whining with our initial technique of choice- a taste correction.The woman at first ignored me, pretending to follow through. It was Dominique-the eyes in the back of my head- who ratted on her. Dominique told me the woman had not once followed the request, rules or my direction for dealing with vocalizing. On the fourth urging in that one class from me, the Border Collie woman got a pained look in her face and moaned like I was forcing her to torture her dog.

With a class full of new people and dogs it is impossible in the beginning to address and follow through on every request and directive and enforce rules. In the beginning order is established which includes getting vocalizing under control. This serves three purposes. Most importantly, to set the stage for the dogs learning about self control- a new concept for many of them, and secondarily, so I do not lose my mind over the din of a crazed group of dogs experiencing their first group experience, and three, so people can hear and learn something.
When the BC woman herself started whining about me "making her" I made the same joke I always make, " maybe you need to get counselling and take some drugs". hehehehe....everybody chuckled except her. Ok, maybe I should shut up and maybe I should avoid the joking editorial comments but I thought it was funny at the time.
A week later class got rescheduled so I had to call all students to tell them. I called the Border Collie woman who informed me that she would not be coming back to class. When I asked why-and I was genuinely surprised, she told me of how insulted she was about my comment on her mental state. I chided her that is was just a joke and suggested that it was foolish to give up on her dog's education, 185 bucks spent and the 9 weeks still to come because of a comment by me. She allowed that probably was a good point and maybe she would reconsider. She didn't. I never saw her again. It was a cool dog too. Oh well.
In training the big common denominator is self control. Teaching the concept of self control to owner and dog means infusing it into every subject and behavior. That includes vocalizing in class which encompasses all vocalizing like the whining thing. When a dog whines in class most of the time it is to demand the owner's attention and service. Many dogs attending class are being first introduced to the owner making demands on them. Part of setting the stage for who is really in the driver's seat is drawing clear limits to demanding behavior-translated, putting an end to the dog's demands by using negative consequences. It's not hard, we don't hit, we don't scream and we even provide positive consequences as a result of positive reactions.
To stop demanding vocalizing we use a taste correction. It is a squirt bottle with lemon juice or vinegar in it. When the dog vocalizes in class, the owner says the name and "quiet", manually opening the dog's mouth and giving a taste on the tongue.
For hard core cases who enjoy lemon or vinegar we use Listerine. The dog should react with a "yuck". A first introduction to consequence training.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Number One Sire

Ch Deja Vu Diamond In The Rough, Ch Deja Vu Blackwater Du Jour, Ch Deja Vu Blackwater Diets Don't Work sired by Udo out of Blackwater Silhouette.

Speaking of luck and breeding...Udo ( Ch Deja Vu Up Close & Personal) is a really good sire. A good sire is a dog who can give some of his best traits, sometimes overcoming the opposite weakness in the bitch he was bred to. Additionally and most importantly to me is that he can be counted on to stamp his traits in a recognizable way on his puppies. Sometimes the traits are not his phenotype (what the naked eye sees) but instead what he carries genotypically(in his genes).
This past year Udo was bred within the family to Bella (Ch Blackwater Silhouette) and the results have been quite impressive. So far, three of those get have finished their championships and one just lacks a few minor single points to finish. Two won multiple group placements from the classes and three had Best of Breed wins over specials(dogs who are already champions).
Udo has been the top sire in the breed for the past three years which means he has produced more champions than any other sire. This gratifyingly has been when bred to bitches from different families as well as bitches within and remotely in the family he comes from. Bred to Dominique's bitch Salem (a great producer in her own right), he produced Ch Popsakadoo Deja Vu Bad Seed and Ch Popsakadoo Deja Vu Bono. Bad Seed was Winners at the 2007 National and Bono finished undefeated with group placements and then Awards of Merit at both Nationals he was old enough to be exhibited at. Both Bad Seed and Bono finished in Canada with group wins and multiple Best Puppy in Shows. Udo produced a gorgeous bitch for Gina Klang in California, Mon Amie Abee In Her Bonnet and likewise for Gail Zamarchi and Fran Davis(both with bitches within the general family). Just recently I saw a beautiful young dog from a dam loosely within the family bred and owed by Christi Leigh sired by Udo-impressive outline, head and tail and breed type.
At first I chuckled that people seemed to be drawn to Udo's beautiful rear-which it is. I chuckled because his front is the amazing part to me. It is classic in its structure and quality and function in a breed which is desperately in need of such a thing. To create such a front is indeed a challenge and a coup. To find one to breed to is a revelation!
Congratulations to Bella's champions by Udo: Smokey (pictured below)
Josh (pictured above)
Maggie(pictured above)
Diamond(pictured above)

It's Not Nice To Fool Mother Nature

When you do a breeding, you never know. All the machinations and mental calisthenics don't make it successful. All the guessing, theorizing and substantiation as to why it will be a great breeding is a waste of time and effort. When it comes down to it, Mother Nature is in charge. Make your best guess, close your eyes, cross your fingers and hold your breath. Maybe you will look brilliant. Maybe you won't.
Great breedings happen in retrospect.
You think it is a safe breeding for health and three have bloated by the time they are two. Two have cancer by the time they are five. One winds up with an autoimmune disease. Two don't have clear hips. It would be far fetched to think this might happen all in one litter. The likelihood is slim. But one of these events happening is profound enough.
The worst part about breeding is dealing with the people. The best part about breeding is dealing with the people. Puppy people, especially ones who are inexperienced in the field of pure-bred dogs can be prone to see things very black and white. If it happens to their dog, it was your fault and on purpose. Some are extremely reasonable and "get" the reality of the situation. I guess it all depends on who they are in life and how they operate in the world.
Logic would support that no sane breeder WANTS a health problem to occur in one of their get. The gene pool the breeder swims in is the gene pool the breeder lives with. The breeder's own personal dogs come from the same source. The heartbreak a puppy person feels over a health problem is the heartbreak a breeder feels over a health problem in their own personal pets as well. There is no benefit for a breeder to be careless about health-it is a killer emotionally and literally-heartbreaking to one and all.
Breeding is risk taking. By its very activity the risks are present. There are unknowns, surprises good and bad. The art of breeding comes in the delicate balance struck between the knowns and unknowns. The art of breeding is the choices made in plain sight of those risks.
In my own breeding experiences I can recount ugly and unhappy stories about genetic surprises and dead ends. One story I like to retell is about two of my three foundation bitches, Tetley and Tinsel.
Both bitches came from pretty strong healthy hip backgrounds. Both had dams who were OFA Good( and both had sires who were OFA Good. Tetley was an OFA Good herself with one dysplastic littermate and several others who were OFA Good. Tinsel was an OFA Fair herself with two dysplastic littermates and one OFA Good littermate. Logic might tell you that Tetley would be the better hip producer than Tinsel because of the depth of her litter's hips.
Funny thing. Tetley produced multiple OFA get and multiple OFA failures in five litters. Tinsel, in three litters produced no dysplastics, six OFA Excellents (four out of one litter to Tetley's brother oddly enough) the rest OFA Goods with one Fair.
So things are not always what they appear. In subsequent generations Tinsel's hip contribution has created a foundation for a phenomenal hip record. The record of her descendents is the best the breed has ever seen. When line bred and in-bred on, it is not unusual to expect nothing less than all OFA Goods and OFA Excellents.
Mother Nature was kind in the hip department. Luck and being careful and more luck left the family of dogs I breed from very strong and dependable for clear hips. I am proud of the Deja Vu hip record. I am proud Flynn represents the Briard and the Briard Club of America as the Briard Champion for health on the OFA site. Click on Champions For Health and read Flynn's bio.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Udo's story

Udo was out of a litter from Flynn bred to Mona (Ch Mokie Deja Vu Mona Lisa). It was a litter of just two boy puppies. There were two female puppies born-one still born, one faded and died. The other brother is worshipped living with his owner in Miami and is a finished champion-a handsome boy. The other was Udo who was sold to a person in the breed looking for a top show prospect.

I seldom keep males and at the time Flynn was still the man of the house. I had no need or desire for another male so Udo was sold to a woman who co-owned him with friends of hers who were an older couple. From the beginning he was mismanaged, isolated, unappreciated and unsocialized. The older man believed he knew everything and closed his mind to what a developing Briard needs in the way of nutrition and social and mental nurturing. Udo was fed a diet of what we liked to call "nursing home food" which was over cooked rice and chicken and little else.

By 7 months old Udo was a mental and physical mess. He crawled on the ground in terror in new settings and with new people. He had raging chewing and scratching allergies and bad skin. He knew nothing and operated on the lowest function.

I persuaded all the owners to send him out with Regina for a while to try to repair the mess and prevent permanent damage. Because I do so much with my puppies in the way of handling and socialization and stimulation before they depart here, he had a decent foundation to draw on and quickly improved. Once on good food, the mess of his skin became healthy and the coat which had been very damaged began to grow and not be destroyed by his own discomfort.

Udo finished his championship at the Harrisburg Specialty( photo above going Best In Sweeps the same day) with 5 points proudly behaving like a confident show dog. He was 9 months old.

The owners took him home and proceeded to continue to do nothing with him. Udo began to self destruct again retreating in to the mess of his former mind of fears and neurosies and nursing home food.

At that point is where the begging and pressure began to get him back. This above all, was not a good situation for the dog. He was the one who would ultimately pay the price. Finally I was successful and got him back and back on the road to his recovery.

Udo is 6 years old now. He is a pleasant guy to live with, easy and undemanding. The girls push him around mercilessly which he either likes or barely notices. He is a Best In Show dog, a multiple group winner and the top sire in the breed for the last 4 years. He is a good show dog, a great sire and a fantastic house pet(except with cats). I am thrilled to have him and live with him and try not to think what might have been if I had not gotten him out of there.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

All In The Family

It is gratifying as a breeder when a judge finds consistency in my dogs. It is gratifying as a dog person when a judge demonstrates their likes, dislikes and interpretation of the standard with consistency.
Smokey finished his championship at the Briard specialty weekend in Canfield Ohio this past weekend. The first day he was Winners Dog for 5 points. It doesn't get better than that in dogs. The second day he was Winners Dog for 5 points which finished him to become a champion.
Where consistency came in was Smokey's sister Maggie (Deja Vu Diets Don't Work). Maggie did exactly what Smokey did. She was Winners both days for 5 points each which finished her to her championship.
Reserve Winners Dog was another Udo son named DiCaprio. Why they called him Teddy, when Leonardo was the perfectly logical call name, I'll never know.
To top it off, their sire, Udo was Best Of Breed over a field of quite a few specials (champions). So does this make the judge brilliant that she discovered three related dogs-a sire and his two get-two litter mates? In some cases yes-some no. In this case I like to believe yes. She knew what she was looking for.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My Best In Show Dogs. There are Ten

Ch C'est Bonheur Woodbine Tinsel HT ROM* HOF *
Ch Deja Vu Every Little Breeze HOF
Ch Deja Vu Grand Jury HOF
Ch Deja Vu House On Fire HOF
Ch Deja Vu In Like Flynn CD PT HOF ROMPX*
Ch Deja Vu Purple People Eater ROM HOF
Ch Deja Vu Runaround Sue HOF
Ch Deja Vu Sense And Sensibility CD RN AN HOF
Ch Deja Vu Ruffles Have Ridges PT HOF
Ch Deja Vu Up Close & Personal HOF ROM

* HOF is a breed title from the Briard Club of America which stands for Hall Of Fame. It is for show ring, reproduction and performance accomplishments by an individual dog which put him/her above and beyond in achievements.
* ROM is a breed title given by the Briard Club of America for achievements as a producer. In order for a male to be awarded this he must have produced at least 10 champions. For a female it is 7 champions.
* ROMPX is beyond the acheivements of the ROM by producing many get who excelled in performance areas (herding, agilty and obedience).

Saturday, July 25, 2009


There are lots of disappointments in life and since dogs is a microcosm of life, it is so in dogs as well. Heartbreaks come and go but by far my most profound was losing Ch Deja Vu Purple People Eater. Losing Violet was not the kind of sickening sadness when you lose a much loved one which is expected, like losing Flynn which I still can barely speak about or losing Clover which was like losing my own daughter or right arm. Losing Violet was pure tragedy because of the circumstances. She was 7 years old, in her prime, had 12 week old puppies and died.
I am proud to say that the vast majority of the dogs I have bred live to ripe old age. Many have lived to 12 and 13, Flynn was almost 14, Tosha was 13 1/2, Cryin Out Loud was 16, both Tinsel and Clover were over 11.
One day I realized there was something not right about how she climbed the stairs to bed. She had not been eating well, but with weaning puppies and all the complexities of having just had then weaned a litter it is sometimes hard to see the forest for the trees.
I took her to the vet on a Thursday somehow deep down knowing there was something gravely wrong. I drove home from the vet and called Regina. Out of my mouth came words I still can hear, "I don't think Violet is going to live through this".
Blood tests revealed kidney failure and complete system failure with no explanation. Massive infection. A weekend of desperate attempts to save her with fluids and meds didn't touch her decline. I put her down on Sunday purely out of mercy. That morning she laid in the dining room moaning in pain.
We did a necropsy. Tissue samples sent to all sorts of places-labs and vet schools. Nothing. The closest to a conclusion was a source of infection in the uterus. Conjecture was a body overcome by infection causing systemic shut down. I was numb in disbelief and sorrow.
Violet was a dog who could have been described as just plain good. She never had a bad day, viewed the glass of the world as half full and greeted all situations with optimism, co-operation and cheerfulness. Violet never met a stranger. All cats, birds and especially squirrels and chippies were on her life's list of goals to taste-literally.
They say only the good die young. It never was so true as it was about Violet.

Ch Deja Vu Purple People Eater ( Ch Deja Vu Instant Success x Ch Apropos Deja Vu Moon Unit PT) National Specialty winner, multiple Best In Shows, multiple specialty winner, dam of champions, group winners and winners at specialties.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My 10th Best In Show dog

Udo, CH Deja Vu Up Close & Personal HOF ROM was Best In Show under the esteemed Liz Muthard-to me one of the most respected opinions in dogs as a judge. His group win that day was under Charles Olvis-also a pretty smart guy!
Udo was returned to me at 2 years old after begging his former owners for almost a year to let him come back. Mentally he was a mess and needed alot of work to normalize him.
In April '09 he won his fourth specialty at the big Harrisburg weekend. This year will be the fourth year in a row he will be the top sire in the breed. Udo follows in the path of his great sire Flynn as a top sire, specialty winner and now Best In Show dog. His group win at Harrisburg the day of his most recent specialty win will be televised on Animal Planet in late July.


Clients...translated- people...slay me. Having trained dogs now for 33 years ever since graduating from college, my view of people has metamorphasized. Now I am fairly certain that most people are at minimum function in their lives. Teaching classes as I do is a most revealing process. It is a window into the bigger day to day functioning of each person's life.
Over the years I have mellowed substantially in my expectations and communications with clients. My repeat clients tell me so. I know so. But in fact what has taken place is that my expectations of people have lowered exponentially.
In classes right now I have a fistfull of the disfunctional. There is the very nice and passive girl with the 5 month old downright aggressive female Rodesian Ridgeback. That dog will eat her one day if she makes life inconvenient enough or even slightly less accomodating. In the past I would have been riding her at every class to force the issue as I saw it and change the dynamic. Not now. Because to do so I would have to totally change who the woman is. That will never happen. So I watch as she makes nice and adapts herself to the pushy aggressive demands of her adolescent dog. I offer help as I can, knowing it is the tip of the iceberg and only scratching the surface. We will have a serious discussion about my concerns for their future together. It will not change anything.
Then there is the chain smoking drunk who shows up for class 30 minutes late every single week with debris and papers falling out of her car and purse, a puppy who bites, having accomplished no homework. This week the puppy had diarrhea before class so the woman brought her neighbor's pet toy poodle to train assuming this was perfectly fine....not. She left class after continuously interupting with inane questions, forgetting her purse and a mess of papers abandoned in a heap on the ground.
Instead of listening to the teaching during class and the imparting of my infinite wisdom, she furiously paged through her workbook looking for some imagined passage that said she could bring another dog to class to train if hers could not attend...not.
Then there is Butter. Rescued a few weeks before class began. A creamy colored-oh yeah, butter colored beagle chihuahua mix whose new owner does his homework to perfection and has the sweetest, most attentive and appreciative little companion in this wonderful dog. She devotedly heels and automatically sits, she downs from a distance, she performs like some top notch obedience competition dog all in 6 weeks of ownership and 4 weeks of classes.
What a contrast.
The stories go on and on. Private lesson clients who pay me alot of money up front, take one lesson and never call again. Group class students who come twice and are never heard from again. It was too much work. It was not the magic they had hoped for. Easier to leave the dog alone and operate life around the issues and inconveniences.
Statistics say that shelters are full because of bad canine behavior. It is the number one reason given for surrendering dogs. I'm doing my part, I guess.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Smokey and Cirque de Soleil

Dominique and I are showing and training a beautiful dog of my breeding named Smokey. His first dog shows were not pretty when three days in a row Smokey decided to not be touched by the judge and had to be excused out of the ring. It happened at the biggest specialty weekend for the breed annually which is Harrisburg in April.
Funny thing too, since he is generally an extroverted guy with good people skills and attraction. The excusal was after watching airbound Smokey imitate Cirque du Soleil flying through the air like a giant fish flailing.
I convinced his owner Linda, who did a splendid job raising him as a wonderful house pet, to send him here so we could modify the behavior. The dog was too handsome to wash our hands of his show career.
In one easy week, Cirque de Soleil Smokey became solid show dog Smokey and at his first dog show was Best Of Breed and on to a Group 2. We put intensive work in to him every single day, clarifying our expectations at every moment.
The starting point was to narrow down the specific behavior which was the problem. He was friendly and cute as long as he approached. He charmingly sauntered up to greet pretty much everyone. But put him in the position of an approach where he had no choice or escape valve or avoidance option and you were left with a bucking flailing bronco. Additionally, Smokey had learned that the balking thing like some hairy donkey worked well to change the subject and direct the outcome his way. He expected, probably through life experiences, that when he put the brakes on or resisted, it pretty much always went his way.
So two behaviors were taught. One, with the assistance of a snug nylon training collar providing consequences for backwards motion, Smokey was never, not ever, permitted to balk, slow down, resist, or make any avoidance of the forward propulsion guided by a human.If he balked it was to be anticipated and quickly interrupted and forward momentum continued.
Two, he was taught with firm correction and intervention that he MUST stand up and be touched. NO choice was given other than shoving him back in to position if he even so much as shifted his body weight, let along tried to fling in to the air or colapse to the ground. At his first fun match he was literally lifted up by me by collar and tail to a standing position and held there until he was standing on his own steam being touched all over by the judge.
Dominique and I partnered in Smokey's recovery. Dominique handled him in the match. Dominique is a soft person with a light hand-in opposition to my own. We felt it useful to have him resilient to mutliple people making demands and handling him and his behavior. SMokey learned to be a show dog at that match.
The other helpful excercise we did was at Tuesday night obedience class. While the entire large advanced class did long down stays with their dogs, Dominique walked along the line with Smokey and asked each and every one of the students to touch and examine Smokey like a dog show.
Even though most of my students are pet people, almost all knew how to do a dog show exam because of dog shows on TV. The excercise was good for Smokey and a great distraction for the students' dogs.
It has been no looking back. The reaction to Smokey from exhibitors and judges is VERY positive. He has since been Best of Breed again, over a special (champion) and another group placement and points to his championship. Dominique is showing Smokey and doing a great job in all aspects-his behavior, his grooming and his showing. Now I will see if I can get some pictures up of him.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Rare Black Boxer

A new client called to make an appointment for his two dogs. His vet referred him to me ro resolve the complexities of a dog fighting problem. He has a 9 year old intact male Boston Terrier. Somehow he decided in his infinite wisdom that two males would live in harmony much better than the opposite gender. He bought a male Boxer...oh excuse my negligence- a RARE BLACK Boxer.
When I introduced the subject of long term management and the necessity of castration he informed me that he would be STUDDING his rare black Boxer out.
Oh and by the way, could I come and give him a lesson and making the dogs get along together?
My classes often have Boston Terriers. They are a smart dear little breed with a tendency to bossyness towards other dogs...often times aggression towards other dogs-especially if not effectively managed.
Boxers in 9 out of 10 cases-and we train ALOT of Boxers, although not alot of rare black ones-are downright dog aggressive and overstimulated when interacting with another dog. My Boxer breeder friends do not expect Boxers to be able to run together or live together in the wild environment of a kennel. Separate runs for one and all.
As it turns out with the Boxer/Boston client, he decided it was too much money and would figure out how to fix it himself. Can't wait to hear the outcome of that one.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Living with multiple dogs is a challenge at times, especially when the dogs get stimulated and feed off of one another's energy. The management of them is a balancing act and an art which can at times be strung as taught as a violin string ready to break.
In this house the easy temperaments who can adapt to any combination are the classic perfect pets who could reside with anyone anywhere. Briards are not typically that easy and require much more skill and talent of sensitive observation and timing.
Over the years I have watched some of my colleagues in the breed basically give up doing what we try to do here which is have pretty much all of the dogs live together as a family. Sure, there is some jockeying-especially in times of estrus, but for the most part the demands here are high to get along, tolerate and coexist. For years it has worked well, something I have been proud of.
My fellow Briarders with multiple dogs on the scale of my numbers seem to have groups who coexist and more of a kennel setting than my own. Then there are the environments who have more than I-some with 15 and 25 dogs. Those logistically can only be a kennel situation-basically a warehousing of the canine species to keep control and sanity in check.
In a multiple dog situation when there is one friction dynamic or one "bad apple" it does seep into the entire operation. I have a dog like that and it has become more than trying to live with him. His life at this point is basically solitary. It breaks my heart and makes me sick. I feel somehow to have failed him, yet I worry about the danger I put the other dogs in by merely coming in contact with him. In 33 years of living my life as a dog trainer and behaviorist-this one-my own personal dog who I have raised from a puppy, have raised his parents from puppies and who comes from generations of my very biddable family of dogs and I have hit the wall. I can not fix him.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I am finally getting two seconds to try this for the second time. It is almost midnite and I finally have time after a harried day fo trying to de mat two massively matted Briards. One on his way to his now home in Mexico and the other readying for dog shows this weekend.
My Tuesday night 7 pm class is so easy. Most of the people are actually doing their homework and getting somehere with their dogs. It helps that most of the dogs are fairly easy.
There is a teenage girl in that class who listens to everything and effectively makes it happen. She will go somewhere in her life.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

my first blog after cleaning and taking pictures of the dogs

Spent the day cleaning and cleaning and cleaning and then for a great respite, took dog photos with my good friends Dale and Kerrin Churchill ( www. the greatest dog photographers in the world.

Violet at 8 months specialty weekend