I Saved Him…

I read this today, and though I’m not feeling this way TODAY, I feel this way on occasion. I just wanted to share a fellow blogger’s thoughts.

mymegaedog

I was feeling pretty down today. Too many homeless dogs, not enough people interested in them. But why? I kept asking myself. Why? Why? Why? This one loves balls, this one likes to snuggle, this one is the friendliest dog I have ever met, this one loves to play Frisbee, this one loves to learn new tricks, this one kisses children right on the face. Why? Panzer and Shelby wouldn’t stand a chance in a shelter, but I love them like crazy. Surely, someone, somewhere, must want to love these dogs, right?

As I was driving home, I started to tear up. I turned up the radio and tried not to think about it. I called my dad and he helped talk me through some of it, but only some. I went to the grocery store, numb, I picked up what I was going there for, having memorized the aisles…

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Productive Weekend

PupsWell, even though I didn’t get a lot of down time this weekend, I had a blast! I hired my friend’s son to come out and help with some yard work, had some adult drinks, and had plenty of puppy play time on Saturday and Sunday!

Raven

Friday, after I came home from training, I got all caught up on paperwork, brushed the kitties, and then headed to bed early. I had an early start the next day. Even though there was no social class on Saturday, I had a ton of yard work to do. Winter cleanup always hits me hard, and I just can’t seem to catch up. So, I hired a teenager to come do the dirty work. My friend brought her 2 furkids over to play with Napoleon, and we ended up helping and digging out a dead pine tree out of my yard. We were fabulous!

PlaydateWe worked for four and a ½ hours, and ended the day getting about 75% of the yard done, a nice sunburn, and some tired pooches. I was really happy to make a new friend, and get to know her and her son a little better. We’ll have to have a BBQ or go up to the creek to have the dogs play a bit sometime. It was really fun.

On Sunday, they came back to help me finish the yard, and have our furkids play again. I had another friend come over with her Newfie puppy and it was like a small dog park in my yard for about an hour. Well, as I have mentioned previously, I have a problem with my dog mounting. Saturday, we pretty much took care of the problem, but Sunday – he started mounting the puppy in full force.

NapoleonBeau

I try to catch this before it happens, but sometimes, he is pretty quick. I can catch it about 80-90% of the time before he actually does the mount. When he does successfully jump on the other dog, I have tried saying his name sternly/loudly to get his attention, spray bottle/vinegar to the face, pet convincer, pulling him off and then tethering him for ‘calm down’ time, tethering him to me, and completely separating him from the other dog (having him kenneled or put somewhere else – out of eyesight. I have started kneeing him hard in the chest when I catch up right before he mounts. All of these things sometimes work, but are not 100% reliable. If he is really adrenalized, he stares at me and does it anyway. I don’t feel this is a leadership issue, as we don’t have any of the other problems with challenging, pulling on the leash, not listening, jumping, etc. He is a high energy, over-adrenalized dog. I can put all of this problems into that one category, and I have enlisted the help of another trainer on this problem, as what I know isn’t working. We start an obedience course that will also cover this problem on Saturday.

Playdate2I think my last option to handle this behavior is an eCollar. We have tried everything else, and this is one behavior I have yet to be able to curb. So, we’ll be working on this in full force. I will be purchasing a Tri Tronic bark collar  soon.  I will need to speak to my local trainer about which one is right for my needs with Napoleon, but I’m excited to try a new approach with him. I will need to learn more about the eCollar in the meantime. As soon as I take my Certification program from K9 Lifeline, I will be Certified in eTouch (using eCollars and the like). I don’t feel comfortable teaching this to clients until then. I want to make sure I know what I’m talking about before I go and introduce a new tool.

Anyway, we finished up the lawn, had a great weekend with some puppies, and at the end of the day on Sunday, I finished it off by watching some Scrubs. My second favorite show. My first favorite is Grey’s Anatomy.

How did you spend your weekend?Chaco

Dog Parks

dogpark

What are dog parks for? Well, for exercise, of course! Some people believe dog parks are good for socialization as well. This is not a good reason to take your dog to a dog park. I understand that your pup may be good with other dogs. What about everyone else’s dogs? What about that one time when your dog wasn’t good with other dogs. Can you pick up on every single cue your dog is giving you when they are in distress, scared, or starting to be aggressive? Is every person who goes to a dog park educated in canine behavior and psychology?

Unfortunately, the ‘average’ dog owner cannot identify these signals, nor have they studied the basics of canine psychology. They also do not take the time to actually become the pack leader, and instead think their dog is just ‘out of control’. So, taking the dog to a dog park will ‘get rid of that excess energy’, right? Wrong. It will make it worse, and this puts the dog, along with any others at the park in a very bad situation.

Also, when dogs are let off leash, and no ‘leader’ is established between the dogs since the human is no longer there, the dogs naturally try to establish rank. This can eventually lead to a fight. This entire situation should never take place, and no dog should be put in a position where they need to fight between themselves to establish rank. You should be the leader, and putting them in this position is forcing them to try to be the leader.

Being a pack leader, the human needs to be assertive in making the decisions, controlling resources, and also protecting their dog(s). When a dog feels threatened by another dog or person, the dog will run behind their ‘leader’ (usually the human)

Germs, Parasites, and Illnesses/Diseases

These are all a risk if you take your dog to a dog park. Can you be certain that all worms, parasites, or nasty diseases like parvo have never been present at this location? Most worms contaminate soil through feces or fleas, so even if a previous owner picked up after their dog, can you guarantee this dog didn’t carry anything that can make your dog sick? Eggs in certain types of parasites can live for years in the soil. What about vaccinations? Can you guarantee every dog your dog has played with was vaccinated for parvo, distemperment, and/or rabies? Here is an article about potential risks of illnesses your dog can get at a dog park.

Unaltered dogs

Obviously, you shouldn’t bring a female in heat to a dog park. Unfortunately, people do. There is the obvious risk of unwanted pregnancy (this only takes a few moments after insertion) and sexually transmitted diseases. Yes, canines can get these as well. Unaltered females also can cause unnecessary attention for males, and end up causing a fight due all the ‘fighting over her’. An unaltered male dog can cause unwanted attention as well. High testosterone levels can make him a target for harassment or aggression from other male dogs. They tend to ‘zone in’ on unaltered males.

Fights

dogfight

The average dog owner has no idea how to break up a dog fight. Thus, resulting in injury. This could be the person breaking it up, or one of the dogs.  Why not check out a free social class in your area? This is free, supervised, and your dog gets to actually learn while in class. I go every Saturday to a social called Pack to Basics. There are 2 facilities in my area who offer this course, and many more around the United States.

Now, if you have already been going, or continue to go (which I don’t recommend), here are some tips.

1-Notice the signs of a tense, uneasy, possibly aggressive dog: Stiffness, tail will be straight up, or straight back (depending on breed), dogs will stand tall with their head up, ears perked or back, possibly lip licking or panting heavily, and hackles raised. These are some very basic things to look out for anytime you are around dogs. You can also look out for this on ‘play dates’ or just when you are observing more than one dog at at time. If you have multiple dogs at home, use these tools to help prevent a fight as well. ‘Out of the blue’ attacks are not out of the blue, and there is always a reason. If you can pick up on the signs before a fight happens, you can learn to prevent fights altogether.

On this same note, notice signs of a fearful dog: Head will be low, tail low or in between its legs, dog seems to be trying to get away or to hide. Fear also presents itself sometimes with lip raising while cowering, snarling/growling while shrinking into the ground, running (usually a dog is chasing) in a manner that says the dog is not comfortable.

2 – If you notice any of these signals, tell the owner to get control of their dog.  If this doesn’t work, or the owner refuses, it is time for you to leave. If there was severe aggression, you may want to file a police report or file a complaint. Make sure to mention you were concerned for your safety as well as your dog’s safety. Obviously, don’t call the police if ‘that dog looked scary’. Severe aggression can be anything from lunging at a person with an intent to bite, a dog biting a person, a dog fight where there were wounds on the underbelly, chest, or neck, and/or the wounds were deeper than 3″ deep. Scratches and bites on the face, legs, feet or ears are minor, and usually mean the dog was ‘warning’ the other dog to back off. Even if a dog bit a human, and the bite was on the hand, arms, legs, or face – this is less serious than if the dog went after the stomach, sides, or neck.

*Obviously: Always report if a dog bites a human, and go to the hospital (or Instacare).

3 – If the situation has escalated and the dog is now ‘bullying’ your dog, you need to take things into your own hands. This is usually where the dogs are ‘getting physical’ and it is not play. (signs include: Ears back, hackles raised, jumping or mounting on each other, etc. This is never acceptable.) Verbally, in a serious deep voice, tell the aggressor to back off or get out of there. If the aggressor stops and walks/runs away, determine if the situation will escalate again. If so, error on the side of safety and leave.

4-ALWAYS carry a SprayShield citronella spray or a walking stick to a dog park to defend yourself or your dog if there is a fight. The walking stick is not meant to beat a dog at all – just to get something in between you and the dog, or to distract the dog while attacking another dog or a person. 

5-Never get in the middle of a fight if you do not have the experience to break it up. Someone will get hurt, and often the dogs are fueled to fight harder if someone is not experienced/strong enough to break it up. Prevent the fight from happening before this happens. Bites that are inflicted on humans when breaking up a fight are usually because the human who got involved lacked experience and tried to break it up the wrong way.

NOTE: Handling an aggressive dog is never something to be taken lightly, and usually if the dog feels it is ok to be aggressive, there are other problems going on as well. Dominance, leadership, and complete lack of respect are some to list here. Hire a professional who specialize in aggressive dogs. Correcting a dog who has aggression is not fun to watch, and not everyone is cut out for it. However, it is necessary to correct the dog with enough meaning that they will think twice if they choose to do it again. There are at least 2 local training facilities in my area who specialize in aggression. I’m sure there are a few in your area. Check out the IACP website to locate a trainer in your area if you have a dog with dominance problems or aggression.

dogpark2

Now, obviously, I just touched on a few different aspects of dog parks, and there are many more. I hope this helps and educates. However, I am all for socialization and think this is one of the most important things you can do to help your dog. Check out the Pack To Basics program to see if there is a training facility near you who teaches this class, or any other supervised social class where you and your dog can go have fun safely! What’s nice about these classes, is that you know you and your dog are completely safe, and you don’t have to worry about a thing. If your dog is ‘questionable’ around people or other dogs, or considered ‘out of control’, talk to the trainer first to have your dog evaluated. Keep in mind if the trainer says your dog is fine to start off leash – trust them. They know what they are doing, and would not jeopardize the class for the other people or dogs in the class. If necessary, your dog will start out on leash or on a muzzle, if aggressive. If you want to know more about dangers of dog parks, check out the below articles. I go to K9 Lifeline and Wasatch Canine Camp’s socials, as a reference, and you can check out their websites for info on their facilities. I have been going for 8 months, and I have seen 3 fights total. All lasted below 10 seconds, and in all cases, no one was hurt. It was all controlled, and safety was the trainer’s first priority. Never once, was I worried that it was too much for the trainers. One fight involved 2 pitbulls and a cocker spaniel.  Another fight included a St. Bernard and a Bernese Mountain Dog. No fight is too much for these trainers, they are the best.

Some day, I will be one of those trainers… some day.

Light reading:

http://leerburg.com/dogparks.htm
https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Documents/disease_risks_dogs.pdf
http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/dog-park-behavior-know-risks-rewards
http://speakingforspot.com/blog/2012/06/24/dog-park-play-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/

Pet Food Stamps

foodstampsI read this (http://wildewmn.wordpress.com/2009/09/) blog post from Nicole Wilde(http://wildewmn.wordpress.com) , and as much as this is an awesome development for Florida, I’m concerned it will be abused. Just like the welfare system is already abused so much.

Then, I hear about these ‘pet food stamps’ they recently added into the Food Stamp program. I think the theory is great, and the ‘heart’ is there, but is this a good thing? Government funded programs seem to … fail. For more than one reason! Where is the money coming from? The general public, of course.

Again, the theory is awesome. Shelters and rescues are full, and there are still unwanted, homeless pets coming in every day. The theory is that people can’t afford their animals anymore, so food stamps will help. For some, yes. But that’s not the main reason. Training, behavioral concerns, lack of responsibility, lack of education, and people who just don’t want their animals anymore are just a few of the reasons why people give them up. Money is a very small portion of why so many pets are given up or dumped.puppy

In my honest opinion, if you can’t take of yourself (meaning you, yourself are on welfare, or are having trouble paying bills, etc), is it really a good idea to have animals? However, I understand if you weren’t always in that situation, and hard times hit. It’s happens, and this program will help you with that. However, if you are already struggling and you have already been on the welfare program, adopting an animal is not in the best interest for you, or your new furry friend.

The Pet Food Stamps program, due to the generosity of contributors and patrons, are able to eliminate that heart-wrenching decision by making sure these pet owners are given free monthly home delivery of all necessary food supplies to maintain the health and vitality of their pets.

With the continued growth of the Pet Food Stamps program, it is expected in the 4th quarter 2013 to expand into offering free or heavily discounted veterinary care for all qualified program beneficiaries as part of the Pet Food Stamps program.
Source: https://petfoodstamps.org/

Free…. Deliver of pet food monthly… and heavily discounted veterinary care. Again… I think pets are privilege, not a right. Some people don’t deserve to have animals. However, low income families already have a struggle. Maybe, instead of adopting a cat or dog, choose a fish, or a rat. Something that’s a little less expensive per month to take care of. I’m not saying that low income families can’t have pets, I’m just saying live within your means.

What do you think?

Canine Bloat (LIFE THREATENING)

It’s a nasty thing, bloat. And it’s pretty common. So, to help educate yourself on this deadly medical condition, I have created a post of information I have learned over the years with my experience with my own dog, and medical journals I have read.

What is Bloat?

Twisted Stomach

The steps of how a stomach becomes twisted

In technical terms: Bloat, torsion, gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV)

In English: It’s the build up of gas in the stomach, making it distend. This causes circulation problems, pressure on other organs, and it can cause death or necrosis. Bloat can eventually turn into the stomach actually twisting inside the dog’s body. Gas and food are trapped in this area (can’t burp, and can’t pass gas). The stomach eventually fills up with enough gas that it cuts off circulation, and cells start to die. This is FATAL, and you suspect your dog is experiencing bloat, RUSH TO THE DOGGIE EMERGENCY ROOM IMMEDIATELY!! Bloat acts quickly, and you only have a few hours to save the dog’s life.

What can I do to prevent this?

-Feed smaller meals throughout the day (ideally, two meals).
-Discuss feeding raw with your trainer and veterinarian. Feeding raw DRAMATICALLY lowers the chances of bloat.
-No Exercise an hour before or after eating a meal.
-Eliminate grain in your dog’s diet altogether: Meals and treats. (I also mentioned this in a previous post regarding dog food)
-Keep water available at all times, except for when the dog is eating. Give them about 15 minutes after/before eating to drink water.
-Avoid dog food high in citric acid.

Other reasons for bloat:

-Breed. Some breeds are more susceptible than others: Akita, Great Dane, German Shepherd, St. Bernard, Labrador Retrievers  Irish Wolfhound, Irish Setters., sighthounds, Doberman Pinschers, Weimaraners, Bloodhounds, and other large, deep-chested mixed breeds are also affected.
-Dogs in the pedigree history that have a history of bloat.
-Underweight or overweight dogs.
-Anxious or fearful temperament. Make mealtimes as peaceful as possible for them.
-Aggressive dogs.  “Nerves” and release of adrenaline can contribute to bloat.
-Male dogs are more susceptible than females.
-Older dogs

What should I look out for?

-Distended and hard abdomen
-Can’t get comfortable, pacing, whimpering
-Panting, excessive salivation
-Retching, or signs the dog is trying to vomit, but can’t. Sometimes, white foamy liquid will come up, but not always.
-Attempting to have a bowel movement, but nothing happens.

Stomach

Xray of a bloated stomach. It should never be this big.

Do not try to home treat, and do call ahead to let your veterinarian know you are coming. They can prepare for your arrival.

The first steps to treat the shock, as the dog is in a lot of pain. They will start an IV with fluids and steroids. Antibiotics and anti-arrhythmics may also be started. The veterinarian will try to insert a tube down the throat, making a passage for the gas to escape. But, if the stomach has twisted volvulus, surgery is the next step.

If the veterinarian can get the tube through, this will help wash out the stomach contents and give release to all the gas inside the stomach.

If surgery is required, the goal is to untwist the stomach, remove any unhealthy tissue (dead cells), and place an anchor so that the stomach stays in place. This is called a gastroplexy. This also prevents the stomach from twisting again. There are many variations of this surgery, and the veterinarian will do whichever procedure he/she feels comfortable with (highest success rate).

Sometimes, a hospital stay is required (a week or more). Costs may run from $500 – $1,000 or more depending on the case.

Sources:

http://www.canismajor.com/dog/bloat.html
http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/articles/caninebloat.htm
http://www.globalspan.net/bloat.htm
http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/gastric-volvulus-bloat-dogs-life-threatening-emergency
My experience with bloat from my own dog…

What is In Dog Food?

dogfoodIn the wild, do dogs dig up dog food from the ground? Do they eat little bits of kibble that fall off trees? What about ‘kibble plants’? No, they don’t. They eat meat. They eat organs. And they eat bones. Raw animal protein, sinew, and muscle. So, why does dog food include things like grain, vegetables, and chicken beaks?

Because the commercial dog food industry is cheap… and deceiving   They can get away with it, and put the minimal amounts of protein to satisfy the FDA. Most dog foods are NOT USDAA approved. They don’t need to be. What does this mean, you ask? Well, that means our animals are eating CRAP sold by the pet stores, by the top dog food companies. I.e. Science Diet, IAMS, Eukanuba, Purina, etc. They put these attractive pictures on the bag and say ‘nutritionally balanced’… which they are not. They put vegetables, wheat, and pictures of cut meat on the bag to make them look ‘balanced’ and ‘healthy’. It’s a lie.

Ingredients

Ingredients in a standard bag of dog food.

They have grain, and they all have something in their ingredients called ‘meal’ or ‘byproduct’. What is that? ‘Chicken byproduct’. I’ll tell you what this is. It’s beaks, chicken feet, eyes, diseased dead chickens. The chickens found in factory farms who have been dead for months. Cows who have had mad cow disease. It gets worse: Your pets, who you have euthanized trustingly at your vet clinic are put into dog food. Roadkill found on the side of the road – dogs, deer, birds, skunks, anything they can find.  That’s the main ingredient in most commercial dog foods.

What about the grain, the fillers? Sawdust and trash that has been swept up from the ground is put into dog food. Grain – dogs can’t process this, and it just stays on their teeth, causing tooth decay, gingivitis, tarter and plaque… gum cancer, and tooth extractions. Internally, it’s a filler, it just sits in the stomach and then passes through. Dogs get zero nutrition from that part of the food. It causes obesity, over-eating, allergies, death, skin and coat conditions, ear infections, eye problems, excess waste (poop), and causes behavioral concerns.

There are good kibbles out there… you just have to know what to look for. I recommend Nature’s Domain (from Costco – a Kirkland brand), Taste of the Wild, Stella and Chewy’s, Merrick’s, Blue Buffalo, Grandma Lucy’s dog food, Wellness Core (Grain free), Acana, or EVO. There are many others, but I highly recommend Nature’s Domain, Grandma Lucy’s, and Taste of the Wild. I have also used Stella and Chewy’s in the past, but it’s not the cheapest food out there.

Pedigree

Deceiving packaging

Why does your veterinarian recommend Science Diet, IAMS or other foods? One word: COMMISSION. They get commission off of selling certain foods. Many veterinarians do not study nutrition. They study medicine. If your dog gets hurt, yes you should see a veterinarian. However, if you want what is best for your dog nutritionally, you should speak to a more holistic vet, or do your own research on what ingredients are good/bad for your dog. Since I am interested in training, and food changes behavior, I have learned about nutrition and what is the best possible thing to do for your animals.  I have found a more holistic vet, whom I trust fully with the health of my animals, and he agrees with how I am raising them. Find a vet who you trust, who you can ask questions about nutrition, and who aren’t in it for the money.

Treats

freeze-driedWhat about treats? I don’t give my dog any treats (more because he’s really food motivated, and I am trying to teach him to calm down.). Most treats in the pet store have grain, meat meal/byproduct, or excess sugar. I like to use freeze-dried meat as training treats, or just as a special treat whenever (again, not with my dog, specifically). You can buy freeze-dried treats at the pet store, usually in a tub. I also use cooked hot dogs (never raw, dogs can get bacteria listeria from raw hot dogs), bits of chicken, bits of apple or cheese (careful with this one, can cause diarrhea). Some dogs even go for ice cubes (mine does).

Raw feeding

I have begun feeding raw with my 8 year old dog (around 7 months ago) and I see a tremendous change in his behavior, in his health, and in his mouth.
-No more bad breath. NONE, his breath is nice and ‘puppy like’.
-Coat is shinier, skin isn’t flaky anymore.
-Ear infections – he’s prone to them, he’s a lab. His ears are cleaner, but still gets them.
-Eyes are clearer
-Nails don’t break or split as easily.
-More energy (sometimes this is a bad thing).
-Weight – easier to maintain a healthy weight
-Cost is about the same as what I was paying before, but with less vet visits. This is a plus.
-Teeth are nice and white, clean and no tarter build up at all. I no longer get dental cleanings (his last one was over a year ago, and we won’t be getting them anymore).
-He eats less raw food than he ever ate kibble (and if your dog/cat is on a higher quality kibble or raw, they will eat less too)
-Less poop. You would think I have a little dog, not a 90lb big pooper! haha.

So, what do I feed him? Raw meat, organs, supplements, and bones. On any given day, this is his diet.

-1 raw egg. Shell and all.  (great for coat, skin, and digestive system)
-4 salmon oil liquid gels. (for skin, coat, ear/eye health)
-3 tables of Canine Plus vitamin and mineral supplements (enzyme supplement, and completes the nutrition when I don’t have organs)
-1 lb of raw meat I get from the butcher (usually it’s venison and beef. Sometimes I also supplement with raw chicken if I can find some on sale. I’ll prepare the chicken and give him parts of it. Wings, Ribs, etc)
-When I have some (hard to find) organs. He LOVES hearts, lungs, and kidneys. He won’t eat liver.
-When I have some (around Thanksgiving/Christmas), necks from turkeys/chickens.

He also gets a marrow bone weekly. He takes about a week to get it to the point where it needs to be thrown away.  NO TREATS or Rawhides(unless we get some as a gift, which is occasional, but it takes months to go through them).

Bones? Haven’t you heard somewhere you aren’t supposed to give dogs bones? Well, you can, and they should have them! Don’t cook the bones though – they will splinter and can cause choking or internal damage. I give marrow bones as a treat, chew toy. He has one outside all the time, and in his kennel. Marrow bones are disgusting, so he only gets them outside or in a confined space.

Napoleon eating a Raw Marrow bone

Napoleon eating a raw bone with meat on it

There are lots of great places to find out more about raw feeding if you are interested. Here are some sources I scoured before actually making the switch.

Raw Fed Dogs
B.A.R.F. Diet
Whole Dog Journal
The Whole Dog
(This book)
(This book)
(This book)
And many other sources, you can do your own research, but also talk to trainers in your area about feeding raw.

Next time… The Danger of Vaccinations!

Danes and Breeding

BlackGreatDaneWe have been looking and looking and looking for a Great Dane puppy for over a year. It’s more passively looking, as we don’t really support breeding, we want to rescue. With all the knowledge I have about dogs, training, and medical issues, I still feel like I am under-qualified to breed. I will always feel that way, unless I had a degree in Canine Genetics and Animal Behavior. I would need to know so much about the anatomy and medical problems of the breed I chose, that I wouldn’t have room in my head to do anything else. And besides that, how do I guarantee the safety and wellness of the puppies who go to homes?

I can’t. So, I don’t breed. I won’t.

White Dane

Lily, the blind Great Dane

There are some good breeders out there, and I know a few. But at the same time, our rescues are full. Our shelters are full, and there are SO MANY backyard breeders just making puppies without a thought to what this could do to the gene pool for that breed.

White puppies. Blind puppies. Deaf puppies. DEAD puppies.

This is what happens when breeders breed irresponsibly. Without doing the research. Without knowing the breed. Without doing knowing genetics, doing anatomy research, without checking the pedigree for a few generations up for each the dame and the sire.

These backyard breeders damage our dogs. They overbreed, they inbreed, they breed for the wrong reasons.

‘So my kids can see the miracle of life..’
‘So my kids can play with little puppies…’
‘Puppies are cute, everyone wants puppies..’
‘To make money’
‘My neighbor has a yorkie. I have a yorkie. Let’s breed them.’
‘I want a puppy, and this is how I can one…’

Great_Dane_PuppyThe list goes on of excuses. Never do I hear ‘To improve the breed’. Which is the correct reason to breed. Would you breed your children for any of the reasons above? If so… maybe you should think about your priorities.

Again, there are good breeders out there… just few and far between. Which brings me back to my original point. Great Danes. My husband and I (ok, mostly me) want one so badly. We are aware of all their genetic health problems. We know the risks, and know our dog won’t be around for as long as, say, a lab. But – unfortunately, they are still my favorite breed.

Over the course of 1 year: Many dogs we considered, we proceeded into the adoption paperwork about 4 of them. All fell through. Found out my neighbor is having puppies. Asked some questions. Found out the mom is a Merle. Dad is Black. No pedigree history, they won’t give me pictures. They aren’t registered breeders.

Worst of all: Breeding a Merle Dane can produce sensory defect pups or stillborn pups.

Merles should not be bred by anyone with only a handful of exceptions. The reason is not just the risk of sensory defects, since responsible breeding of appropriate colors can virtually eliminate that risk. Merles can’t be shown or evaluated by impartial third parties. Only someone who has been showing and breeding for decades and has a VERY compelling reason as well as the knowledge and experience to judge a dog’s faults and strengths accurately could even begin to responsibly breed a merle dog.

Doesn’t sound like that is the case… again… I’m puppy-less.

Danepuppy