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

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