Archive for October, 2014

Even if you pay for Dog Grooming School…you Can’t be A Groomer if….

October 31, 2014
The trim is a 'Town and Country'.  I wanted to do a classic 'Dutch', but the owner was a retired groomer , herself, and this was what she wanted.  Note the balance, that her pants are not 'falling off'.

The trim is a ‘Town and Country’. I wanted to do a classic ‘Dutch’, but the owner was a retired groomer , herself, and this was what she wanted. Note the balance, that her pants are not ‘falling off’.

This is making me a little ill.  I am finding more and more  people  are going to dog grooming schools, even though they have never even brushed their own dogs, or offered to help bathe dogs at a charity dog wash.  They are  choosing this because they want to ‘work with animals’, but never bothered to learn anything about dog training, animal behavior, or the breeds. They are doing this because they don’t know what to do with their lives, so this idea is as good as any.  They take business away from the rest of us. They injure dogs. They make all of us look like dimwits.  So, if you’ve come across this blog and are thinking of  paying to learn to groom let me tell you this:

1.There is more money in TEACHING DOG GROOMING than in actually grooming…which is why so many people start schools.  yes, there are some state regulation  or vocational schools, but  they are hardly enforced unless the regulators get a lot of complaints.  let the buyer (of vocational education) beware!

2.  If you are afraid of getting bitten, or don’t want to learn to humanely   be in control of the dog, this is not for you.  I rarely get bit, but it does happen…mostly  by scared dogs, rarely by  outright mean dogs.  In fact, there are very few mean dogs.  Most have been put in a position of being in control by a weak or stupid owner, and the dogs don’t know what to do.

3.  The dog’s neck is very sensitive.  Next to the nose, genitals, and  eyes, the most sensitive part of the body. This is why we use collars.  You will find a lot of owners using harnesses, which give you  almost no control over a dog so it’s important for you to be confident and know how to control the dog;

4.Dogs HATE being patted on the head.  They tolerate it, but it is demeaning and not rewarding.  They like their chests patted, and their ears rubbed;

5.  Making eye contact is not staring a dog down.  It’s not being aggressive, it’s communicating that you want interaction;

6.  Your confidence in handling will calm down a scared dog;

7.  If the dog has a name, use it.  That’s social communication, too.  Shocking the number of pet store  or grooming managers don’t know the name of the dog they want you to groom.    It’s disrespectful to the dog;

8.  The floor is the dog’s territory.  You are at a disadvantage if you  groom the dog on the floor.  Maybe you’ve trained your dogs at home, but this won’t work for the pets you groom every few weeks.  This is why we have grooming tables, It’s not just for you to save your back, but to change the dynamic and have the dog in your court;

9.  Try not to hurt the dog, but you have to win the battle if there is going to be a struggle.  Put your hands on the dog’s withers (shoulders), behind the neck. This lets the dog know you are superior.  It’s often calming. I ask people who  hold a dog for me to do toenails to  put a hand on the withers, but they often try to embrace the dog. That doesn’t work;

10.  If the dog is resistant to brushing, it might be a 2 person job for a while: one to brush,  one to help restrain the dog (and this is why we use grooming arms and nooses—it’s a third arm);

11.  For the long-haired, drape coated dog, it’s best to teach them to lie down, but for the double coated or clipped dogs,  there is no reason for the dog  to NOT stand on the table.  A  word about the Groomer’s Helper :  Yes, some dogs are spinners, but my experience, over 40 years, has been that less than 1% of the dogs  will be that active on the table that they have to be double tied.  If you have to use the groomer’s helper on every dog, there is something wrong.  It’s either your method of communication with the dog, or your clientele.  I can see  shelter dogs or even farm dogs resisting being handled, but if all your client dogs are pet dogs and spoiled—I hope you are charging for it.  These dogs will take longer to groom;

12. Biters:  I groom a few dogs who don’t like me. A couple are brain damaged.  Some have been hurt by a groomer.  I use plastic basket muzzles.  The dog can still open his mouth and he won’t panic if he can’t hyperventilate. But what about the brachycephalic (Bulldog type) with no muzzle to put a muzzle on?  That’s always a 2 person job:  1 to  hold a towel over the dog’s head, the other to cut toenails. or clean ears.  Why owners allow a dog to be so resistant and out of control for routine grooming is beyond me, but if they’d rather  be irresponsible, they have to pay for it, too.

13. You have chosen a profession that deals with people’s pets.  Think about how you feel about your own pets. Think about your children.  If you don’t have the  capacity, for any reason, to control most dogs, and shape their behavior so you can groom the average pet dog in about an hour, you will never make a living at this.  You are not going to learn everything you need to know about dogs in a class, or from a book. most of us learn from each other.  You need to associate with  hobbyists and fanciers who  show and train dogs.  These are the people who will mentor yu once yu ar graduated from class.

A tale of 3 Purebred Dog Breeds—and How They Are Now: Miniature Schnauzers, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Portuguese Water Dogs

October 24, 2014
Miniature Schnauzer before grooming

Miniature Schnauzer before grooming

Recently I read an article in a dog magazine about what happens when a dog wins Best in Show at Westminster, in New York.  First of all, for those who  don’t know, Westminster (“The Garden”)  has been considered an important show for decades because space is limited, so your dog has to qualify to enter.  The Tournament of Champions, sponsored by Eukanuba, has a similar  system.  In any case,  this is one of the few dogs shows  where the Best in Show winner makes national news, and people who are interested in getting a dog, but have no idea what they want,  say to themselves, “I never heard of a (Scottish Deerhound or Kerry Blue Terrier, or  Papillon),  why don’t I check into that.”

Very often, people looking for THAT BREED contact the owner of the Best in Show winning dog.  So, that owner/fancier has to feel prospects out, and, in many if not most cases, try to discourage them.  Why would a breeder discourage someone from wanting one of her puppies?  Good question!  It’s because hobby breeders are not breeding dogs as livestock, but for the betterment of their breed.  They know that not everyone who thinks they want one  actually understands what they are getting into.  A good breeder will tell them.  A Newfoundland breeder  addresses how most Newfies drool, how much they eat, poop, and shed, and that they must be obedience trained.

There is a culture among fanciers in every breed.  Some, like the Whippet  people, are generally very friendly towards each other.   In some breeds, however, there is a lot of gossip and slander, and you wonder how they get anything accomplished.  In some breeds,  when they recognize a problem, they band together to solve the problem.  In other breeds, denial is the rule of the day—like with deafness in Dalmatians (and Bernese Mountain Dogs, Gorden Setters—the  ‘piebald/harlequin’, merles, and black and tan pattern dogs).

Miniature Schnauzers have always been popular.   They are a small breed, but not a ‘toy’ breed. They  generally don’t shed. They are easily trained, and are known to be good with kids.  They started becoming popular in the late 1950s and early 1960s.  My mother said that if we got a dog, it would have to be a non-shed dog.  Her personal list was narrowed down to either a Poodle or a Schnauzer.

Back then, with so few dogs being bred, if Juvenile Cataracts (JC) were a problem, it was not recognized as genetic. According  to a well known  Miniature Schnauzer breeder, Dale Miller:
“Regarding  the JC, the big push was about 35 years ago (circa 1975), and most all AMSC members tested their dogs.  There were a couple important studs that turned out to be carriers, so that meant that the problem really spread before and during that time.  Although almost all of us still have each and every puppy checked, that particular problem has been for all intents and purposes, wiped out.  But we remain ever vigilant, as all dogs weren’t tested, and who knows when it could slip back into someone’s line.  There are other eye problems that have cropped up in the breed, PRA, Retinal dysplasia, but I have never dealt with it, and I’d say it is not very common because everyone is making every attempt to avoid it.  JC is easy, PRA is not, because it doesn’t appear until 3-5 years of age.  It’s very hard to get some people to admit to problems when they have them, which I’m sure you know.”

You might be wondering how initial testing was done.  Cooperating veterinarians (and even many breeders) found enough  blind  Min. Schnauzer bitches  to test stud dogs who were not known to be carriers.  If puppies  turned out  to be blind or going blind (they were  examined by veterinary ophthalmologists  at about 8 weeks of age), the stud was no longer used—often being sold as a pet, and the pups were  sold without AKC papers…the breeders explaining to the buyers why they were being sold without papers.  Unfortunately, not everyone cares about breeding good dogs…and many of those puppy buyers really didn’t care if their dog was blind  due to genetics, or a carrier of genetic blindness. Many of these owners  started finding each other, or contacting  American Min Schnauzer Club members to  BREED THESE DOGS!

Horrified, the breeders started  doing early neutering,  We now know that some of these dogs would  never be physically mature without the hormones, and many would turn out to be incontinent (due to  botched operations).  The hobby breeders felt they had to  address the problem.  How are things now (2014)?  We  occasionally see  dogs as young as  three or four with a cataract.  We know this is genetic.  We also see this in other breeds (Poodles) and designer dogs.  But  we also see that there are  two types of Miniature Schnauzers:  those  ‘salt & pepper, about 13″ dogs’  that  are not quite show dogs…maybe too tall or too small, or  with bad fronts…and we see the  ones bred by  either backyard breeders or puppy mills—often parti-colored, with odd coat textures.  It’s actually 2 breeds.

I had  a friend who, in the early 1970’s,  started showing Cavalier King Charles spaniels when they were in the Miscellaneous Class.  There was a big disagreement among fanciers.  A good many did NOT want them to become an AKC breed, as they knew their popularity would explode.  Back then,  popularity was the issue, not luxated patellas, Juvenile Cataracts, heart, or brain problems.  Virtually all the  dogs were imported from England.  Because the breeders  just assumed buyers had integrity—and because these early fanciers  chose to ignore what happened in other popular breeds, puppies were sold outright with no contracts.

This is how it happens:  you buy a puppy, and you lose your job, or your  mother dies, or you get divorced.  Your life goes into upheaval, you have to move, and you can not keep the dog.  You might have tried to contact the breeder, and she didn’t return your phone call, or she moved.  You put an ad in the paper (there was no Craigslist back then…no internet), and some very nice person who had done a little research, buy your dog.  Either that person then breeds  and sells  puppies directly to pet shops, or she breeds her dog (stud owner just sees stud fee, doesn’t ask any questions)  and sells the puppies to Hunte Corps—or any other puppy mill.  & this is how puppy mills get dogs of good bloodlines.

Andrew Hunte, CEO of Hunte Corp…”the leading distributor of high quality purebred puppies to retail outlets in the US, Canada, Mexico, South America, Europe, and Asia…” Recently wrote (Pet Business, July 2014) that the real ramifications of the ban on live animal sales (in pet shops) will have the unintended consequences of —“well, basically, in so many words, the backyard breeders &  less scrupulous puppy mills ripping people off.  Really.  That’s what he said.  What these commercial breeders who defend the practice of breeding dogs as livestock ignore is that anyone can walk into a retail pet store (or any of these no-kill’ shelter, I might add) & if they have cash or a credit card—they get a puppy.  The other people they live with  might  not have wanted a puppy. They might be renters ignoring a lease. They might not have time for a puppy.  None of this matters.  But it does matter to the hobby breeder.  I bought a dog last year that the breeder insisted on co-owning with me…in case something should happen to ME—she wanted to be sure she had a legal claim to the dog  I bought from HER.  Do you think any pet  retailer cares this much?

This is what happened to Shih Tzu, Bichons,  virtually all the toy breeds, Bernese Mountain Dogs, and  most recently, Neopolitan mastiffs, Dogue de Bordeaux, Cane Corso, French and English Bulldogs and Boston Terriers.

The Portuguese Water Dog Fanciers mostly came from other breeds, and they saw this.  Even with a very small gene pool (their original breeding stock came from fewer than 30 dogs, rounded up off the streets in Portugal), they didn’t want to take any chances of  people getting breedable dogs who didn’t have the welfare of the breed at heart.  You can read their code of ethics on their  website.  If you breed a Portie and sell it, and the owner no longer wants it, YOU are responsible for that dog.  If you don’t take responsibility, the club rescue committee will, and YOU will be fined. Y0u don’t comply, and nobody breeds to your dogs.  With such a small gene pool, this matters a lot.

With other rare breeds, it is more informal.  You do  sometimes hear  of sighthounds bred to dogs not of their breed (lurchers), but it is rare.  Also, you rarely find  Gordon Setter or Briard mixes.  I fear with a bad  economy in the USA, it will take just  one move or TV show featuring a rare breed, and it will be all over for that breed.
This is what happened to French Bulldogs.

So, this is how it happens that a breed you never heard of  is sudden;y available in pet stores.  If the dog does have any crippling defects, maybe the pet store will reimburse you. Maybe not.  A hobby breeder may offer another dog…it depends on your contract./ Let the buyer beware.

2014: the Year of Ebola

October 17, 2014
a colorized version of G.P. Murdock's ethnic map of Africa

a colorized version of G.P. Murdock’s ethnic map of Africa

Right off, I am posting a link to Richard Preston’s online conversation:

He wrote his book, The Hot Zone, in 1992.    Just coincidentally, I recently came across a New Yorker (Dec.20 & 27, 2010) with Michael Spector’s article, “Letter From Cameroon:  The Doomsday Strain, viral hunting in Central Africa”—about the work of virologist Nathan Wolfe.  He attributes diseases jumping from  other species to humans due to  humans living too close to animals, and the prevalence of bushmeat (wild game) eating.

It’s not that simple, but yet it is. Ebola is a hemorrhagic  disease.  It’s ‘titre’ is very high and can penetrate membranes and wounds easily.  It then makes blood cell walls ‘pop’.  It is believed that the current  epidemic in West Africa  can be attributed to  fruit bats.  They are carriers of Ebola.
We need bats to pollinate fruit and sugar cane. They are not sickened by Ebola, but humans are.  Partly due to population density, partly due to poverty and the desire for protein, and  the complications of  lack of education, modern sanitation, and  way too few health car workers…we are now in a global crisis. It’s not just there.  It’s all over. The earth is one big place.
As Preston pointed out in his book, when something this devastating occurred  in Africa, traditionally, the disease victims would be abandoned and their housing burned after they died.  We are too  modern and enlightened to do that, and it might be the end of life as we know it.

“Entertainer” (notice the quotes) Chris Brown  bluntly put it as a form of birth control. Well, although his terminology is crude, it is definitely population crash.  The  environment can only hold so many  sentient beings.  But now  we’re in trouble.  The intelligent thing to do would be to  stop  transport—including human travel, not just from West Africa to anywhere (except for those  actively addressing the crisis), but ALL TRAVEL.  That would be the fair thing.  That won’t happen, as there are too many vested interests:  follow the money.  Look at what is happening:  although the  decision makers tell us it is a difficult disease to get, in the USA, 2 nurses who treated Thomas Eric Duncan, who ultimately died,  who were following a protocol—got the disease.  We learned that in Spain, a health care worker’s dog was ‘euthanized’. We don’t know if the dog was tested…but it is very possible  pets can  be carriers of the disease. We don’t have enough information  as of October 2014.

This is worse than sad.  It’s devastating for so many reasons.  I know I am not the only Returned Peace Corps Volunteer  who is hearing about what a lost cause Africa is.  I asked a friend who had been teaching in Liberia over the summer what his take was on Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Nobel Prize winner and president of Liberia.  He told me there is no electricity and no  plumbing in Monrovia, the capital. If you don’t have a generator, you don’t have electricity.  As for plumbing—can you imagine a city with no  running water or toilets?  You have to wonder, after all this time, how can this be?  How is it the UN, or the European community  hasn’t jumped right in?    How can a Nobel prize winner have no ‘pull’ to fix this? Liberia is clearly a failed state for the second time, and the result is an epidemic of Ebola, which could easily become global.

It does us no good to stop  travelers from West Africa, because Africans have always traveled overland.  In fact,  travel WAS  blocked from West Africa  to East and Southern Africa, by airlines in August…but Africans get around, and they can  get to  North Africa and take a ferry from Morocco to  Spain, or fly to South Africa and then fly on where ever…& this is why we have to bring travel to a halt for about a month or so.

We Americans will not be fooled by science.  We didn’t like the term ‘global warming’, so we changed it to ‘climate change’ and we still yawn. We are losing species every minute, but  we are jumping on the ‘single serving’ packaging revolution.   Let’s waste  in the name of convenience.

Because we  won’t do what needs to be done, it will be a matter of luck  who will die, or where the disease will spread next.  & this will give more fodder to those who  don’t think we should  do anything to limit population growth.  Mo information for women—no access to  contraception.  We have to ‘replace’ the ones who have died…when the  problem became a problem because too many are living too close together, and have such a desperate time getting protein.  Will we, who have access to information and technology, ever learn?

Changes in Local pet Businesses, for Better or Worse

October 10, 2014
These are our pets!

These are our pets!

I originally published remarks about some businesses  in 2009–, because I was so outraged by how several local businesses treated dogs.  Some things have changed, and  since  people Google businesses, I  felt  everyone  was owed an update.

You just can’t assume that people in the pet industry really love pets and really care for them.  I get so many hits on this particular blog, which I posted in 2009, that I decided to re-edit and update it.   It has to do with people  who are active in the pet industry.  Believe me, they are not all pet lovers. They are not pet haters…but because they make their livings from either breeding or caring for pets, the public  thinks they do love pets more then the pet owners love their pets.  Some of the ‘integrity challenged’ seems to have a lot of time on their hands to just be evil.

There is now a  Facebook site called  Flagging Animal Sales on Craigslist.    We have a network of people around the country. Some may even be dog breeders…but they are not selling on CL, which prohibits animal sales.We repost the links (to the animal selling posts)on our feeds, and ask people to flag.  I am not sure how effective we are, but  we may be.  I get fewer emails from  animal sellers, but  people seem to be joining our ranks.  For those who do not know, California prohibits internet sales of pets. That’s where Craigslist is housed.  Craig and  the  founders felt that the site should be for older pets, so they wouldn’t have to compete with baby animals for homes.  Unfortunately, the ‘law of the commons’ relies on integrity—and  animal sellers generally have none, You will rarely find ethical hobby breeders posts. yes, sometimes, some hobby breeder  doesn’t read the rules,  but  most would be horrified to use a free website—as it attracts the wrong kind of potential owner.

I had reported people leaving fake reviews on a PETFINDER site, and the response from Jamie Cook at Discovery Channel/  I had asked them to  either remove the negative comments on my  site, “Robyn’s Groom Room”—as they are libelous—because  the people who posted them are not my clients & never have been—they are irresponsible breeders libeling me, & this is how  Cook responded:

“Unfortunately, we will not be able to remove the ratings posted for your grooming service.  One of the many features that our directory offers is the opportunity for users to post ratings, both good and bad, about the businesses with which they have had experiences. We don’t censor these ratings as that negates the purpose of offering them. If we remove negative ratings for businesses then we are not portraying an objective and well rounded service for visitors.

“We highly encourage you to have clients who are happy with your office and the services they received  post their own positive ratings. Simply have them click the following link, then click on the Rate it! link and enter their comments:

“The other option would be to remove your listing completely from the Local Services & Supplies Directory. This would remove all information about your business, including any ratings that have been submitted, so any users who are looking for a groomer in your area would not see your information. If you would like to go with this option please let me know and I will remove your listing immediately.”

That’s right.  He totally ignored what I told him.  I told him to ask the people who libeled me for veterinary receipts.  Yes—several claimed I injured their dogs!  I told him, since I  don’t take new clients who live over  5 miles from me, unless they mail me a deposit  (because they tend to not show up), to ask these people where they lived.  I asked him to  ask them what colors my grooming room  are (people have commented on my color choices—so they don’t forget it).  But nothing—no response.  Petfinder is going about happily believing  every  poster has a bit of integrity.  I shudder to think how many rescues that post are actually  puppy mill outlets—but I guess we’ll never know.  They clearly don’t do any ‘due diligence’—relying on the integrity of any poster.  The update on this is that we keep finding  ‘fake’ dog rescues…where people get  dogs to rehome, often doing no health check, and not screening adopters.  Neither PETFINDER nor do any due diligence. that’s the way it is,  let the buyer (or adoptor) beware….  As of 2014, no more businesses can post, They’ve closed this part of Petfinder.  I guess they realized what I said was true..

I had taken a grooming job for a  business, because I saw the potential….  and  the location was somewhat close to  some of my former grooming clients, and  the owners of the business lied to me.  Of course, I was able to determine that they lied to me right away.  The business is Yuppy Puppy, Inc., in Lake Bluff, Illinois.  They  originally set it up to do dog daycare, but realizing they could not make  enough money doing that, they also do overnight boarding. They are licensed to keep up to 85 dogs overnight.  Licensed?  By The Illinois Department of Agriculture, of course.  The laws pertaining to dog boarding, dog daycare—indeed, even puppy mills—-are so poorly written, that unless the building is dangerous for humans to occupy—you get a license.  That’s how it is in Illinois.

The business is  (was) owned by the Whitakers:  Peter, the father, & Lucy & Simon, the son & daughter. Thing is—Lucy got married & moved out of state, & Simon is about to do so.  This leaves Peter, who clearly  isn’t  really a dog enthusiast. He is a businessman.

Update—very important!  This business was sold several months ago  (early 2014)to Walter Puterbaugh, and he has made phenomenal changes!  I stopped by the business as I  check Yelp! reviews, and  a change of ownership was indicated.  Walter and his fiance, Janae,  obviously know way more about dogs that the Whitakers ever cared to learn.  They have done an amazing build out that will alleviate a lot of stress on the dogs.  If you are looking for dog daycare  in the northern suburbs of Chicago, I urge you to check them out. Granted, they are still totally indoors, but the set-up is so much  better!  Only the name is the same.

I’ve never been overly fond of  the concept of dog daycare, but  having worked in some  outstanding kennels (check out Pawsatively Heaven Pet Resort in Chicago Ridge, Ill., or Paradise for Paws, in Schiller Park, ILL), I’ve softened.  Some dogs  have a lot of energy, and love being part of a pack.  I see dogs playing together all the time.

I have been working for the same employer for  about three years.  We recently moved the  operations to a new building.  There are some very nice aspects to  this, and in some ways it is better (for the humans, at least), but I am not sure it is better for the dogs.  Our indoor floors are shiny and slippery, and our outdoor play area is mush smaller.  We no longer have a huge pool, which was a big selling point in the old building.  The fact is that most of the large dogs don’t really  run around that much—but they might if their footing was more solid and they had more space.

One guy I had worked for briefly and blogged about, Vaughan Neita, “A Doggie Business,” is OUT OF BUSINESS.  He was charged with ‘neglect of owners duties’  ( animal cruelty) and word spread.  You can Google him, the links are still up.

Plus, a bit of unhappiness….a business I worked for on contract for several years, recently suffered very bad local attention. They were “The Hungry Pup,” and changed their name several years ago to “Follow Your Nose.”  They offer natural dog foods, dog walking, and overnight pet sitting.  I had trouble working for them because they  would not address their web marketing, nor procedures so I would know  several days in advance what I was doing—or even if I had any work (grooming), but I had to give Dave Gulyas credit for being able to schedule so many dog walkers.  I mostly did over night pet sitting.  Problems started to arise when  more and more people  started asking for ‘vacation care’ rather than overnight pet sitting—because they didn’t want to pay extra to have someone stay in the house.  I didn’t think the Gulyas’ should allow this, because there was no way the last walk would  occur after 9 p.m.  and the first walk would be before 8 a.m.—and that is too long an interval for most dogs. But also, what kept the dog walkers honest changed:  When the Gulyas’ started the business, everyone had a landline at home. so, when you arrived to walk a dog, you’d call in to  Dave (a computer would take the call), and 20 minutes later, after the walk, you’d call in to say you were leaving, You had to wait 20 minutes  for the interval, you may as well walk the dog.  I don’t want to get into the complications of getting a dog suited up, the keys, possibly cleaning up, or the dog not eliminating on the walk. The point is, you called in from the client’s phone.   As people  got rid of their land lines, you’d supposedly call in from your cell, but I knew the Gulyas’ were not keeping track, and often, I’d be the next walker and see the previous walker hadn’t shown up!  Well, it came to a head, recently.    A dog walking client didn’t want to pay for overnight pet sitting.  He set up a ‘nanny-cam‘ that was  set to alert him (on his cell phone) to movement in his home—and he discovered  the interval was 18 hours.  A walker  had not shown up.    Worse, when he did, he  dismantled the nanny cam!  The Gulyas definitely know who did this, and I would sue the evil eunuch for  sabotaging my small business if this was my employee.     Frankly, several friends and I wondered why he didn’t keep the dogs in exercise pets, which  would have given the dogs a bit more room, but that’s another issue.   I am sure he  alerted the Gulyas’, but what can they do?  That’s the problem with running a dog walking business:  you rely on the integrity of the employees….and, unfortunately, the people who are doing this often are doing this because they can’t get other work.  What this client DID was contact local news media…and this was definitely not good for a business that was already marginal.  I often referred people looking for dog walkers to  this business, as I really trust Dave & Ramie…but the fact of the matter is, unless you can learn from the business owner how you can be assured your dog will be walked….look for as many options as you can, including friends and neighbors who live close by.  or, if it is  a occaisional thing,  get your dog used to dog daycare…or at least day-boarding.  For those who own dog walking businesses—if you change the walker’s routes every day, the statistical odds of all your walkers being  immature, self-centered assholes are  slimmer.   Labor intensive?  Overkill?  These are peoples’ pets.  They may be spoiled, out of control, hard to handle, but  I know hiring a dog walker may be a last resort before abandoning a pet. Actually spot checking the walkers you hire helps.  I understand people wanting the same walker, and  dogs being familiar with who is coming in (believe me—none of these dogs is a watch dog), but  face it—-most people have less integrity than you have, not more.


The $100 title

October 3, 2014
Dash,  doing what he does best:  being adorable!

Dash, doing what he does best: being adorable!

If you aren’t  a  performance dog fancier, this will seem just stupid.  However, if you are interested in purebred dogs and performance events,  and why we do what we do, read on.  I put a Junior Courser title on my whippet, Dash (Plumbreek’s I’m Goin’ Out tonight, CGC, now JC….& QC).

I took off 1 day of work, went  to Crown Point, Indiana, for the Windchasers Lure Coursing Club’s  two AKC trials….and  we got the title.

I hadn’t coursed a dog in over 10 years, as my Saluki, Dazzle (Ch. Scenario’s Razzle “Dazzle”, JC) got disqualified for playful interference just about a month after he got his JC, having proved he could run clean with another dog. This was in the ASFA days. The AKC had not yet thought of doing  sighthound field trials to make money—having put so many hobby breeders out of the  fancy by bending over backwards to make the puppy mills viable.

In any case, I guess enough  dogs were being entered that  either would not run clean, or the AKC thought  giving a title for a dog just being on the lure would entice more people to keep showing up…and we will.  I had been afraid that Dash would not measure in, but the wicket touched the ground both days.  The rules are that no dog with breed standard disqualifications are allowed to compete.  I had measured Dash myself, and he was barely under 22″.

Next we got  our Qualified Courser title, and the points after that.  As I recall, a dog has to  get at least  one first place or  two second place finishes to become a Field Champion. They are still being judged on  enthusiasm,  endurance, speed, agility, and follow.

It was really great being with other sighthound fanciers.  They helped  us practice our ‘stand for examination’ exercise for obedience (we are  going for an obedience title, too), and many  fanciers recognized Dash as being one of Linda Larsen’s breeding.  We saw a few Whippets  who looked like  Bebop’s breeding—from Donna Kelley.  It was definitely a major in Borzoi as well as Deerhounds, but I think there was only 1 Irish Wolfhound,  a couple of Greyhounds, a few Ridgebacks  3 Afghans…. No IGs,  no Pharoahs , Ibizen, Basenji, or Podengos (which, to me, look like terriers). No Silken Winhounds, no  Inca Orchids.

Gas  cost me about $60, the  room was $37m and 2 meals out were less than $20.

Who benefited?  Well, it is another feather in the cap of Linda Larsen .  I learned some new training methods.  Is anyone going to make any money  off of this?  The club, I hope, but frankly, if a  hobby breeder breaks even, she’s lucky.  Dash—indeed—all the dogs—had fun. That’s why we are out there.