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, 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.

Violet at 8 months specialty weekend