Thursday, August 30, 2012

Book Reviews

AM/CAN GV SEL CH Tazzman's Aregon
I've read many dog-related books while waiting for the puppy to arrive. Some are better than others. I'd like to share a few. The first one is The German Shepherd Today by Winifred Gibson Strickland and James A. Moses. Ms. Strickland is a very successful German shepherd breeder, handler and judge, as well as a respected author. Mr. Moses is the Jimmy Moses we've seen at our annual specialty shows with his many beautiful dogs, including the gorgeous Aregon (pictured above). Jimmy is also a successful breeder, handler and judge. (Just announced: Jimmy is judging at next year's Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Pretty cool!) The German Shepherd Today is an older book, copyrighted in 1997. Some of the information is a bit outdated. However, there is A LOT of good information that I have not been able to find elsewhere including:
  • How to read German pedigrees
  • What to look for when buying a puppy if you want to participate in Conformation
  • An analysis of the ideal body, including gait, top line and angulation (I hear these terms all the time, but this book has pictures. I now know what is meant by "hare foot.")
I haven't finished this book yet. It can get very technical and sometimes takes a while to completely digest. I bought the book used for around $5. Money well spent! One thing I don't like is some of the suggested training methods. They are old fashioned and a bit more violent than I feel comfortable with (i.e. kneeing the dog in the chest when he jumps.)

I prefer the training outlined in The Power of Positive Dog Training by Pat Miller. Her method steers away from dominance and punishment, instead focusing on luring and positive reinforcement. It expands upon the operant conditioning studies of B. F. Skinner and his belief that "The consequences of behavior determine the probability that the behavior will occur again." (Side note: another interesting book on this subject is Don't Shoot the Dog!: The New Art of Teaching and Training by Karen Pryor.) I'm looking forward to trying the exercises from this book with the new puppy. If Ms. Miller is right, my guy will be well-behaved with an entire repertoire of fun tricks in no time. My biggest reservation is the clicker. I don't "click" well. The big question is: will we succeed, or will it be a big mess? Either way I will be blogging the whole thing!

The last book I want to share is Don't Give Up on That Dog!: Raising a German Shepherd Dog: The Many Lessons Learned by Denine Phillips. This book is an absolute joy to read! It's an easy read, not nearly as "heady" as the two previous books. It's essentially a diary of Cooper, a German shepherd puppy the author impulsively brought home. Ms. Phillips honestly shares the good and bad times with this new dog over the next fifteen months. At the end of each chapter is a "Lessons Learned" section full of great tips and resources. I just got the book and can't put it down! And you know I'm going to check out every web address in the book. I'll share the good ones, promise.

I've got the house to myself tonight, so I'm not going to waste any more time on the computer. I've got books to read! Until next time, -- K

P.S. All the books mentioned are linked to, just in case you're interested. Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

More Late Night Shopping

Somebody take my debit card -- PLEASE! The Internet is a bad place. I just bought another GSD shirt on CafePress. It's cute. See ==> I've also ordered two German shepherd related books from Amazon in the past 2 weeks -- and neither has showed up yet. Grrr.

I'm going batty waiting for the puppy to get here. I guess I could be cleaning/puppy proofing the house in preparation. Nah, shopping is more fun . . .

Happy news though. Work finally hired a second animal control officer (after eight months). I told my boss that the new officer needs to be up and running by late November because I'm taking three weeks off when the puppy comes. We need to bond and I want to start potty training off right. Also, I really need some time off -- why not spend it with a puppy?!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Love Me Some YouTube

I'm still anxiously awaiting the birth of "Puppy." I've been trying to pass the time by reading various dog-related books, blogs and magazines. I'll share anything I find interesting -- whether you want me to or not! I also spend entirely too much time watching dog videos on YouTube. The most interesting one I've seen lately is a video of a dog (looks like a German shepherd!) drinking water. The video has been slowed way down so you can actually see what happens. See for yourself at: Time Warp -- Dog Drinking.
Did you see it? The dog's tongue folds under to cup the water and pull it into the mouth. Totally opposite of what you would think, hunh? It also explains why Roxy gets water all over the kitchen floor. Speaking of Roxy, she's telling me it's dinner time. Catch you later, -- K

P.S. I found the dog bowl at Cute, but at $30 it's outside my price range.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Late Night Shopping

Truth be told, I love Stars Wars almost as much as I love dogs. We've even thrown around a few Star Wars names for the puppy. Yes, I'm a geek. And to prove it I just bought the yet-to-be-born pup a really cool collar and leash combo. Look! ==> The internet is a dangerous place for a tired woman with a credit card. -- K

Monday, August 13, 2012

Dogs On My Pillow

I saw this picture on Facebook and it made me think of Pepper. She was the biggest bed hog. She liked to lay perpendicular to me with her butt stuck squarely in the small of my back. If she was in bed with both Hubby and me she would get between us and form an H, pushing us to either edge of the bed. It was not comfortable and she was usually kicked off sometime in the middle of the night. (I've been told that I'm a "grumpy sleeper.")

Caught in the act!

And for some reason Pepper loved my pillow. There would be six pillows on the bed and she found mine every time. She was sneaky about it too. I would get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night and hear her climb onto the bed. I'd come back into the room and there she was. I was always fussing at her to "Get off my pillow." She would move, but not without sighing in protest first. She would also climb onto the bed during the day, pull the blankets down and plop onto my pillow. Even worse, she drooled in her sleep! I changed the sheets constantly. It's hard to fall asleep when your pillow smells like dog spit.

Same pillow, different dog.
By the way, Roxy's not any better. She's horrible to sleep with -- she jumps on and off the bed all night and barks at things that I don't even think exist. Not only is she eventually kicked off the bed, she's locked out of the room. (It's that "grumpy sleeper" thing again. We won't even talk about what happens when Hubby starts to snore!) Roxy also has a thing for my pillow, though most of the time she lays on it backwards resting her butt where I put my face!! I think it's some secret doggie conspiracy. Hubby thinks I'm paranoid. What do you think? -- K

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Test Your Dog's Personality

Here's another fun website. Take a 26 question quiz to find out your dog's Canine Behavior Type Index. It's a personality test for your dog. It says that Roxy "is a Spontaneous, Beta and High Activity type which we call the Adventurer." They got that one right! How about your dog? If you take the test, please share your results in the comments. -- K

Roxy playing by herself.

Friday, August 10, 2012

I'm a Lab?!


So I took a What Dog Breed Are You? quiz and I'm a Lab. A Lab?! Hmmm . . . I guess it could be worse. At least I'm not a Chihuahua! How about you? If you get something different, please post it in the comments. Thanks for playing! -- K

P.S. My apologies to all you Chihuahuas.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Unbaby me? Unpuppy you!

Just saw this article: The Promise of Fewer Babies, More Dogs on Facebook and started laughing out loud! Basically, this program will seek out pictures of babies in your friends' Facebook posts and replace them with dog pictures. I thought of my poor friends who will soon be inundated with puppy pictures. I wonder if they'll be looking for an plug-in.


Truth be told, not everyone in the house is as excited about the pending puppy as I am. Son #1 says he's going to get a baby gate to keep the puppy out of his room. I've seen his room. All intelligent beings avoid that place as much as possible. But hey, if he wants to keep the puppy out, more power to him. I'm sure Gucci (the cat) will voice her opinion of another dog in the house, probably loudly and often. Hubby keeps worrying about poop. Honestly, the carpet should have been replaced years ago, so I'm not too worried. We have so many stains from soda, coffee and Lord knows what, that I doubt he'll even notice another one. (Pepper story: We hadn't been in this house a week before Pepper gave us the first stain. She had gotten hold of a box of Pepto-Bismol tablets. She chewed them up -- and then threw them up -- in the computer room. The Red Dye #5 left a permanent stain not three feet from where I'm sitting.) There are enzyme products to remove the odor, so I'm not worried. Plus, I plan on taking off three weeks when the puppy comes to start potty training correctly. Surely we can figure something out.

I'm more worried about chewing. My guys (OK, and me too) are bad about not putting stuff away. I keep telling them that we need to start changing habits now. They'll say "Yeah, OK" and then leave their crap on the floor or the back of the couch. I'm afraid they're going to have to lose a thing or two before they get it.

Another thing I'm worried about: sleep! As I've gotten older, sleep has become much more important. Is that pathetic or what? I look forward to sleeping in on my days off, and cherish the occasional afternoon nap. Not going to happen with a baby in the house! I'm sure this isn't the last post on this subject.

Don't tell Hubby, but he is right on one thing. Although cute, puppies can be annoying. I just had a puppy incident at work. Last week someone dumped a litter of seven puppies on the beach. (Sometimes people really suck!) The puppies were 3-month old pit/lab mixes. Cute as can be, but little pooping machines. I was scrubbing cages all day, every day. They would poop -- a lot! -- and then roll in it or paint the walls with it. Even worse, they'd jump all over me with their poopy little feet. Despite my best efforts, I went to court on Monday with poop on my pants. I was standing before a criminal court judge discussing a dangerous dog, hoping she couldn't smell me. How embarrassing! Good news though, the Humane Society took the puppies yesterday. They will be vetted, fixed, microchipped and put up for adoption. Then someone else can deal with their shit. My question: why couldn't the owner just bring the puppies to me in the first place? Seriously, sometimes people really do suck.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

What's in a Name?

On the chance of appearing a teensy weensy premature, I'm thinking of puppy names. I can hear you now: "For crying out loud, Zasha was just inseminated yesterday!!" I can't help it, I'm excited. Wanna help me name the puppy?

Here are the official AKC naming rules:

The person who owns the dog at the time the application for registration is submitted to the AKC has the right to name it. Names are subject to AKC approval and the following guidelines:
  • Name choices are limited to (36) thirty-six characters. Spaces between words, apostrophes and hyphens are counted. Please Note: any extra spaces entered between words will automatically be removed.  
  • All letters in a dog's name are limited to the standard English alphabet. Diacritical markings (accent grave, accent acute, umlaut, etc.) are not printed on Registration Certificates in a dog's name. When Registration Certificates are printed, all letters are capitalized.
  • A Registered Kennel Name cannot be included in a dog's name unless its use is authorized by the owner of the name.
  • Roman numerals must not be included at the end of the dog's name. The AKC reserves the right to assign roman numerals for identification purposes.
  • The AKC permits thirty-seven (37) dogs of each breed to be assigned the same name.
  • Words and phrases that may not be included in a dog's name:
    • Champion, champ, sieger or any other AKC title or show term, either spelled out or abbreviated.
    • Obscenities and words derogatory to any race, creed or nationality or transliterations of such words.
    • Kennel(s), male, stud, sire, bitch, dam and female.
    • Breed names alone.
    • There are no restrictions on arabic (1, 2, 3), cardinal (one, two, three) and ordinal (first, second, third) numbers that are spelled out.
It goes on to say that "A dog name containing a Registered Kennel Name cannot be changed without the written consent of the owner(s) of that Registered Kennel Name."

Whew. That's a lot, hunh?

Now here are my rules:
  • The Kennel Name will be on the pedigree and must be included in the count. So the dog will be Zente's [insert < 29 character name here]
  • I want a male, and am looking for a strong, masculine name. He's a German shepherd, so German names (with the exception of Adolph) are fine.
  • Puns and alliterations are most welcome!
  • The "common" part of the name must be two syllables and easy to say. I don't want to get tongue-tied when calling my dog.
  • I don't want a name that can be easily confused with a common command (i.e. sit, down, heel) or another household pet (Roxy, Gucci, Frodo).
So if you'd like to feed my obsession play along, email any creative ideas you have. Hope to hear from you soon. -- K

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Date with a Turkey Baster

So while we were sleeping, FedEx was shipping some very important cargo to Florida -- half my future puppy's DNA. Yesterday, somewhere in California, CHAMPION MAR HAVEN'S LAST COWBOY SONG (below) provided a "sample." I don't know the details, so I imagine a dark room with National Geographic videos and Barry White playing in the background. I'm sure it was more clinical than that.*

Today that sample is going to be surgically implanted into the beautiful Zasha. No, there's not really a turkey baster involved. Made you look though, hunh? Cross your fingers. If all goes well there will be puppies in October! Stay tuned, there will be updates. -- K

Cowboy. Isn't he gorgeous?!
*WARNING: DO NOT Google "dog semen collection". There are pictures!!! It's disturbing.

Friday, August 3, 2012


Last night Hubby commented that Roxy is getting a little chunky. Her waist has thickened and you can no longer feel her ribs. I guess with Logan gone, there is no one to share the treats -- and Hubby is liberal with the treats. When I think about it, it seems like many of our road trips end up with cheeseburgers. I have probably had too many cheeseburgers as well, and I haven't been able to feel my ribs for a while. We all know the solution: less cheeseburgers, more exercise. ugh. First Coast No More Homeless Pets sent me this in an email:

Feeling ambitious, Roxy and I signed up. Now I'm rethinking my decision. Roxy is the worst leash walker I've ever had. We failed obedience class -- twice! Roxy pulls and drags no matter what type of collar she's wearing. Her tugging has injured my shoulder more than once. Using a Halti helps, but she's learned how to get the strap in her mouth and bite it in half. I'm sure Dogtoberfest is going to be a challenge. I guess we'd better practice.

By the way, it gets worse! In a rash move, I also emailed all Dog Club members and suggested we form a walking team. I thought we could wear our club T-shirts, show off our beautiful dogs and promote the German Shepherd Dog Club of North Florida. Now I'm afraid that Roxy will embarrass me in front of my colleagues. She is not known for grace and decorum. I'll blog all the ugly details -- and maybe even some pictures -- so keep signing in. And on the off chance you want to help support this good cause/bad idea, here's the link to my fund raising page:

Thanks, -- K

Thursday, August 2, 2012


My last picture of Logan
I was cleaning up and found this picture. It was taken last Spring. Friends of Jacksonville Animals (FOJA) held a charity dog wash to raise funds for local shelter animals. I thought it was a good cause -- and my dogs were a bit stinky -- so I said "Why not?" Son #2 and I loaded the dogs into the Kia and headed to the beach. When the dog washers found Logan's "spot" he started kicking with glee, splashing dirty dog water on everybody within a 4 foot radius. Someone thought it was funny and took this Polaroid. I had no idea it would be the last picture ever taken of him.

That was probably the old guy's last road trip too. I'm glad we drove through McDonald's that afternoon and got cheeseburgers for everybody. It was a good day for the dogs. Thankfully, dogs are easy to please. We used to take the dogs for R-I-D-E-S (we have to spell it out) all the time. But as Logan got older it became more and more difficult to get him in and out of the SUV. My little Kia is closer to the ground, but logistically it was difficult to transport everybody. The dogs would fill the entire backseat leaving only enough room for two humans to travel to our destination. And since all my guys are over 6 feet tall, it's an uncomfortable ride for them.

Now that we're a one dog family, we take more R-I-D-E-S. Roxy goes with us whenever possible. She's come to expect it. She'll start whining and spinning as soon as Hubby or I touch a set of car keys. We give in. (We're suckers for those big brown eyes.) We're trying to reinforce proper doggie manners when it comes to car rides. She must sit before the door is opened and wait for the OK before hopping in and out of the vehicle. Roxy's got this down pretty good. Hubby, on the other hand, needs further training.

On a recent trip to an undisclosed location where we allow our dogs to run off-leash, (shhh) Roxy found a big stick and was carrying it around. It was so funny that I snapped a picture. I took a few other pictures that day too. When looking at the pictures later I noticed that Roxy is gray around the muzzle. When did that happen?! I did the math and realized that my Puppy Girl is 6 and a half years old. She's middle aged!! 
I feel awful that I hadn't noticed. And I feel guilty that I've let the stress of work and school and life in general get in the way of fun times with my dog. I don't want to live like that! I'm going to make a conscious effort to take more R-I-D-E-S and play more often. And I'm going to take more pictures. How about you? Have you played with your dog today? -- K