Dogs need protection from the Public

The city council of Watertown, NY wants to banish dogs from all public events because of one gruesome incident at the farmers market.
While I understand where they are coming from I must take side with the dogs.
I, in no way defend what happened to that little boy but seriously people, when…when do you realize that hanging onto a strange dogs neck to give them a hug is bad idea? Especially if you have never met that dog before?
Since we moved here I had people sneaking up from behind to hug my dog without asking for permission.

The public doesn’t need protection from dogs. Dogs need to be protected from the public!!!

Dogs are put through impossible situations. They can’t just say: Stop, I don’t like that, leave me alone.
All they have are warning signs and if their owner fails to read his dog, bad things happen. Not because you have a bad dog but because your dog reacted like a (drum roll) D.O.G!

So why don’t you do us dog owners a favor:
1. Ask before you pet a dog
2. Don’t give the dog a hug if the owner doesn’t give permission. There is a huge difference between hugging and petting a dog.
3. If you have multiple kids, one kid at a time
4. No squeeking, yelling, jumping up and down
5. Never sneak or run up from behind a dog to pet without permission.

Dogs and their owners have a right to go on a walk without facing the stalking from unruly kids and their parents. How would you like it if I sneaked up from behind your child, hugged and kissed it without your permission? You would probably call it harrassement and I would be arrested as a child molester and end up on the sex offenders list.
How would you feel if you were stopped every five minutes because somebody wants to pet your baby?
Dogs are treated like stuffed animals. The expectations of dogs are out of this world and our dogs are set up for failure on a daily basis because of people who “just want to pet that cute puppy”, and when you tell them “No, please don’t touch my dog”, they look at you like you hurt their feelings.
A friend of mine has a gorgeous black sable gsd. She is asked on a daily basis and says no all the time. She says that he isn’t friendly and yet people proceed “oh that is okay, it doesn’t matter. Can I pet him?”
It is not okay. It does matter. She just said he is not friendly and yet people want to pet him?
Guess what happens if he bit someone? She would be sued and he would possibly be put to sleep.
Yet, its the public that needs protections from dogs? Can you see the notorious pattern here. No, the public doesn’t need protection. The public needs to use common sense. Stop treating dogs like stuffed animals and toys. Stop treating them like humans. Stop applying human rules to dogs. If the public would treat them like dogs and used a little more common sense, accidents like at the farmers market could have been prevented from happening.
And to all dog owners in Watertown: grow some dog sense. Say “No, I don’t want you to pet my dog.”
The child will get over it. And please confine your dogs. Its not cool to run into loose dogs every time I go on a walk.


You can read more about our adventure over at Dogs for Defense

The weather in upstate New York has been unseasonably warm and this past weekend was just wonderful for heading outdoors and having fun with the dogs, rather than getting stuck with all the Black Friday shoppers at the mall. (Although we did do some of that on Saturday … ended up going to TJ Maxx and getting some really good deals on winter gear.) (…)

Living with four German Shepherds

I read my friends review on a new book on living with German Shepherds and thought I’d have to chime in on a view things:

At times, the author’s writing made me wonder if he’s ever lived with three German Shepherds in the house at the same time. Particularly where he mentions that the fur is so bad, he’s had to hire a maid to clean the house once a week. I have to admit, that made me snicker. When I had both my German Shepherd and my Belgian Malinois, the two of them produced enough hair that it was hard to catch up on the cleaning if I didn’t vacuum every day … let alone if I only vacuumed once a week. Even now, with a Belgian Malinois who doesn’t shed nearly as much as a Shepherd – she doesn’t have the thick undercoat – I end up vacuuming at the very least every other day. My friend Sandra, over at Head over Heels, lives with four German Shepherds. I assure you she cleans much more than once a week.

 Cleaning once a week is impossible. Once a week with three dogs doesn’t cut it. I’ve lived with one, then two, then three, then four, then 7, back to four, again five and now four dogs at the same time. Cleaning once a week… sure you can do it if you like to live in filth and dog hair. Even with cleaning once every day you end up having dog hair on your furniture, in the car and your clothes. That is just the way it is. There is a reason why they are called “German Shedders”. They shed – a lot!
As for the rest of the review, I would never trust my dogs outside, unleashed, unsupervised, of a church. I put a great deal of training into my dogs but I would never trust them, throughout an entire mess, to just lay there. The best trained dogs in the world could see something exciting and decide to take off. Just yesterday we went to a parade. Indra is the dog in this household who has received the most training, who should be the most well behaved dog of all of them, however, when we walked to the Parade, she was so excited, so pumped up that she started talking, singing and pulling on the leash. She wasn’t jumping up on anyone but boy oh boy, only because she couldn’t be there, right next to Ronja, poor girl could have missed something and how dare I keep her back from walking right there next to her Girlfriend. 
During the Parade, all of them behaved perfectly well. Nala had a problem with sitting still because she’s just so darn driven and energetic it’s really hard for her to wrap her mind around the concept of sitting still. For the two weeks I’ve had her, she did perfectly though. 
Yukon did absolutely awesome. Two years ago I could have not taken him to an event like that. He was doing great. 
There is a lot of work that is going into my dogs. We work on the whole program and Indra is very close to beeing certified as a Wilderness Area Search and Rescue Dog, yet I would not want my dogs to be unsupervised, off leash, somewhere outside a building underneath a tree while I’m gone for about an hour if not even longer than that. 
No responsible dog owner would ever do that. Not in todays, sue happy, society.

GSD Breeders: Germany vs Stateside

LLMW has asked the following question:

Thanks again Sandra! Would you mind sharing the kennel you got your latest puppy from? We are still debating getting another German Shepherd and would want one from a German kennel. Or if you have any recommendations. Of course this would be a pet, but I did do a lot of training with our Argos…he was amazing and would love to have another chance…and to fill a hole in all our hearts of course!

Since you are located in Belgium right now, it makes it much easier for you to buy a dog and import it to the US. If located in the US I’d actually recommend to check out the American breeders first. However, Germany is so close to the Belgium Boarder that it’s easy to travel over there and to check out the breeders yourself.

Judge and Indra came from the  Sattelberg Kennel
The Sattelberg Kennel is located in Austria, right behind the German/Austrian border.

I am absolutely satisfied with both of my dogs, even though Judge deals with the Radius Curvus Syndrome it is not due to genetics but because of an accident he had when he was four months of age. So it is not the breeders fault. The breeder really cares about his dogs. Likes to get updates and stays in touch. His kennel was internationally recognized due to the breeders success with Orry vom Gehrenmoos.
Both dogs are highly driven, yet they have an off switch in the house. They have never been destructive and both are easy to train. Both dogs have no issues with other dogs, they have rock solid nerves and pretty much come with everything you’d expect out of a German Shepherd. Obedience training is a must though, especially since they are higher driven dogs. 

Yukon comes out of the Baerenfang Kennel
This is my parents kennel. They breed working dogs. True working dogs. In the past they had some of the toughest dogs that you could possibly find. Some of the most well known dogs out of the kennel are Olko vom Baerenfang, Orly vom Baerenfang, Wotan vom Baerenfang, Champ vom Baerenfang and of course my fathers champion dog Gildo vom Koerbelbach. There are many more highly succesfull dogs out of that kennel. However many of these dogs also lived happily as pets within families. The kennel is not as active as it used to be, however as far as I know there will be a litter in the near future.
Nala comes out of the Kassler Kreuz Kennel
As far as I know they do not have a website and it isn’t easy to find any kind of information on their dogs online which doesn’t mean anything in Germany. Their dogs are well known working dogs. I do know that a lot of these dogs go into the German Police Service. It’s an old kennel just like the Baerenfang kennel, run by a so called Oldtimer. 
Nala has yet an even higher drive than Indra and Judge. She was recommended by one of my parents best friends and both my parents themselves. 
These Kennels produce sport and working dogs, however every single dog of mine wouldn’t have an issue to live as a family pet and that, too, is a very important trait of a German Shepherd: Adaptability. A solid German Shepherd shouldn’t have an issue to go from an outdoor kennel environment into the house and vice versa. It also shouldn’t have an issue to live a life as an active family pet. 
Anyhow, one Kennel I can recommend that produces good working dogs and nice family pets is:
Breeder is Doris Grawe and from what I can tell she is absolutely devoted to her dogs. I know for a fact that one dog out of the I litter went into a home with a teenage daughter, mainly as a dog for the girl. She is absolutely happy with her dog. I had the privilege to follow both of them for quite a while and witnessed how the bitch grew from a puppy into a gorgeous young dog.
It is a small and local Kennel.

However, there are also some Kennels in the US that breed great west german working line Shepherds. One advantage you have with buying dogs Stateside, is that you can possibly travel to them to check out the dogs and the Kennel yourself. 
Kennels that I’d personally buy from are:
Christines dogs are true working dogs. She’s involved with Search&Rescue and has titled quite a few dogs in the sport of Schutzhund. She is absolutely devoted to her dogs. She resides in Virginia. One reason I’d buy from her is because she knows what is important for SAR dogs. They have got to have rock solid nerves, no dog aggression, lots of hunt and prey drive. Simply the best what German Shepherds can offer. 
Like Blackthorn Kennels, the Wolfstraum dogs are active in pretty much any venue you can find. Schutzhund, SAR, AKC Obedience, Therapy Dogs… these dogs are rock solid working dogs and their dogs go back to German working lines. 
If you are more into the German Show line dogs one Kennel that produces nice show dogs with working capability is the Huerta Hof Kennel located in Texas.
Here is a short list of working line breeders that are definitely worth to be checked out:
Importing a puppy is nice. You get the pink papers and the bragging rights, however, if you don’t really know anyone that can help you, it can end in a lot of dissappointment. There are good and bad breeders everywhere and knowing what to look for and having somebody you can trust that can vouch or check out the kennel is absolutely essential. Some breeders are ruthless and send you the runt of the litter, charging good money and by the time the pup is in the US you’ve spend some good 2000 Dollars. 
For the same money you can go to an American Breeder. Yes, the dogs are more expensive but at the same time you can check out the kennel yourself. There is no language barriers, you have a guarantee on the dog. In Germany it’s based on goodwill and handshakes. You don’t get a guarantee for the dog, whereas in the US it’s common standard to hand out a guarantee until the dog is at least two years of age and OFA’ed. 
You can drive there to pick up the pup whereas importing means to go via Petair or Gradlyn Kennels and they are not cheap. If the Breeder doesn’t deliever the pup to the airport you have to pay them to pick up the pup which makes it all the more expensive. And then you’ve got to deal with the Customs as well. 
I’m not saying “don’t ever import a dog”, just be aware of the difficulties that come with importing a dog. There are great breeders on both side of the pond and both have their advantages. I’m lucky to have a family that has contacts and knows where to go so I can always rely on both my parents to evaluate a dog. Not everybody has that and they literally have to depend on the honesty of the breeder.

Our first K9 Presentation

Our team was invited to the Oswego County SPCA Woofstock Event. We went there, build up the stand an were asked to perform a presentation. Since it was that short notice we had to improvise but due to good teamwork we pulled it off and it went awesome. People were so thrilled and some missed the show, that they asked us if we did a second one and so we did. 
Indra went out to search, went to the cameraman, came back but did not indicate, then she picked up the scent and went straight to the Helper. I am so proud of my little girl that she performed great in front of an audience that big, with lots of dogs and all that noise.
Personally, I was pretty darn nervous inside, since that was my first K9 presentation but it looks like it was the first of many more to come and Indra doesn’t mind the attention at all. She loves being in the center of attention.