Monday, July 21, 2014

Loss Of A Good Friend

I lost a good friend yesterday.  Her death was quick, and hopefully it was painless, but she's gone and I will miss her.  She was my constant companion for the last three years, with me in good times and bad.  She asked little from me and performed her duties flawlessly and with no complaint.  We didn't talk much, but she always provided guidance when I needed it.  She never forgot to remind me of important events, kept track of my walks, and read me many books.  She checked out the forecast, answered my questions, took excellent pictures, and kept me current on events.  What more could I ask of a good friend.
Yesterday my good friend suffered death by drowning when she and I fell into the St. Croix River when we hit a drop off.   Although I tried to resuscitate her my efforts were in vain.  A trip to the Apple Store Hospital confirmed my suspicions.
RIP iPhone 4S.  You were a true and trusted friend.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Wish I'd Said That . . .

Deborah Pippin Bishop wrote this for the Facebook list Dalmatian Owners Of America.  She is not a breeder, but is very involved in rescue and sees the results of breeding done on the scale mentioned here.  These puppy raisers do not care who gets their pups as long as they fork over the cash, and many of the dogs end up as "throwaways", needing to be rescued by someone else.

(This is a long post, sorry) Sometimes I get frustrated as I look at fb, puppyfind and other sites where people can advertise puppies and dogs for sale. In the past week I have seen ads for 7 different litters of dal puppies, all located within half an hour to forty five minutes of me. 7 different litters, but only 3 different breeders- you do the math. In one case for example, one person has almost 30 puppies right now, all born within days of each other. I can not for the l...ife of me understand how it is that you could socialize that many puppies adequately. Sometimes I will see people post concerns or issues they are having with their puppy/dog as it is growing and developing, and I think to myself 'the puppy can't help where it came from or what it's history is.' I know this is said many times each week on this page, but I feel it needs to be said as often as possible. Put a lot of thought into where you get your puppy, as the way it has been raised in its first weeks of life can have a lasting effect on it's temperament and behavior. Furthermore, if you are comfortable paying a thousand dollars for a puppy, make sure it's parents have been health tested and the litter has been baer tested and that the breeder is genuinely interested in where their puppies end up. I know many of you will read this and think nothing of it, but I have seen firsthand what can happen when an irresponsible person tries to raise a litter. Or when they get overwhelmed with too many puppies and they start setting up at flea markets or on the side of the road trying to sell their puppies to anybody who has the money. So please... if you are interested in getting a puppy, do some research first. Especially if you live in an area such as I, where many people are breeding dalmatians- and even more are looking to get started in what they view as a money making venture. And as my final point- I have heard/seen many people say they knew they were buying from a bad breeder but they felt sorry for the puppy and wanted to save it so they bought it anyway. I completely understand; I struggle with that same sentiment every day. But the puppy-raiser doesn't care why you are buying that puppy; they only care about getting paid. So while you may be saving that one puppy, you may also be sentencing it's parents to a life of being nothing but puppy machines. As long as these people can keep selling them, they will continue to breed them. I can't speak for anyone else, but I have seen the sad, tired eyes of a bitch who has spent her entire life having puppies- and then was tossed like yesterday's trash when she could no longer produce. No dog deserves to live like that. Please keep that in mind if you are thinking about adding a puppy to your family! (My apologies for the mini-book)
Well said!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Max in the lead, followed by Fern and Cousin Meribel
What a great time we had on Sunday when I met up with my daughter Jess and we took the dogs swimming at a wonderful beach on the beautiful St. Croix River.  She brought Ch. "Penny" and Penny's daughter Ch. "Meribel".  I brought Ch. "Max" and Ch. "Fern".  The dogs are all related and we call them "cousins" although Max and Penny are actually half-brother and sister.  What fun they had!
Max is a fanatic retriever of sticks, but discovered that abandoned soda bottles work even better and are a lot easier to spot in the river.  Not sure he would ever grow tired of retrieving things from the water.  Meribel isn't much into retrieving, she just loves to swim.  And swim. And swim.  Fern isn't a great swimmer, and she will retrieve in the water but not with the fanaticism displayed by Max. She prefers to wait in the shallows and mug Max when he gets close to shore.  Penny swims but also enjoys wandering along the shore looking for dead thing to roll on - something that Fern also unfortunately enjoys!
Although my weekends used to be devoted to dog shows, that's not really the case any more.  Now I tend to just do "fun things" with the dogs, like taking them swimming. After oh so many years of dog shows they've sort of lost their appeal.  Because Dal entries are so small, or non-existent in this area, the shows aren't nearly as much fun, and because we are not campaigning a Special, it's hard to justify traveling just to travel.  We've done a few specialty and supported entries this year and made those trips worthwhile, finishing up Fern's and Max's championship with nice big wins.  It's really a lot more fun when other Dal folks are present.  Not sure that we will enter anything this summer until the Labor Day specialty weekend in the Amanas, and then only if we can get away - hopefully both Jess and I will have pups at home by then. 
This weekend I'll palpate Fern and hopefully be able to tell that she is pregnant.  Gemma will also be done then, and perhaps there will be puppies at Jess's house too!  Fingers crossed.

Friday, July 11, 2014

No Rare Golden Dalmatians In Paisleyland.

Years ago an ad appeared in a newspaper in Nebraska offering “rare golden Dalmatians” for sale.  We chuckled over that one and wondered if the litter owner didn’t realize he had lemon-spotted pups, or if he was just using it as a marketing tactic. 
Lemon-spotted Dals were never very common until a lemon-producing English import Dal was used quite a lot, and suddenly lemon pups were showing up in well-bred litters. The puppy on the right goes back to that dog, and is linebred on him. There were always a few kennels in other parts of the country that got lemons too, but in the 1980s, during the Dalmatian popularity boom, suddenly there were LOTS of pet-bred lemon Dals showing up.  Some of the bloodlines commonly seen in puppy mills carried the recessive gene for lemon, and puppy mills often breed together closely related dogs.  Doubling up on a less common recessive gene makes it a lot more common.  If a dog inherits one copy of the recessive gene, he “carries” the recessive trait and can pass it on.  If he inherits two copies of the gene (one from each parent) he displays the recessive trait.
There are several gene loci that affect the color of the Dalmatian markings.  To make it as simple as possible, the ones we are concerned about here are B/b (considering B is black and b is brown or liver, with bb liver being recessive) and E/e called extention. EE or Ee means the dark pigment (black or brown) will be present, while ee means the dog will have no dark pigment and will instead be yellow or orange which is the recessive color.  The E/e gene does not affect the nose and rim pigment, so the lemon or orange dogs who inherited the ee combination will still have either black or brown noses and eye rims.  So a dog who is BBee will be a black-nosed lemon, while a bbee will be a liver-nosed lemon.  A dog that is BbEe will appear to be a normal black spotted Dalmatian, but will be able to produce both livers and lemons, depending on how it is bred – remember the dogs need two "b"s to be liver and two "e"s to be lemon.  In some breeds such as Pointers where this color is accepted in the breed standard, the dogs are divided into lemons and oranges, depending on the color of their rims and noses.  In Dals we generally refer to all ee dogs as lemon.
We’ve never had a lemon puppy born here, and have only occasionally used lines that are known to produce lemons.  Because lemons are not common in the lines we are involved with, we don’t even think about when planning a breeding.  However, when a litter brother to Fern’s sire produced lemon pups we knew where in his pedigree it would have come from.  Because Fern’s sire could also have inherited that e gene, it could have been passed on to her as well.  There is a simple DNA color test available for Dals that will show whether the dog carries lemon or liver, although in Fern’s case we know she carried liver because her dam IS liver.  We can also test Dals for brindle, tri-color and for long coats if we are concerned.   I decided to do the lemon test on Fern and she came back EE – she does not carry the e that can produce lemon. 
Although I choose not to breed lemons, tri-colors and long coated Dals, I've seen some lovely dogs that inherited those traits.  No, I don't think we should change the standard to make them acceptable for showing, but I do think it's fine that they occur in the breed, and I've seen some lovely ones.  I'm also glad that we have DNA tests available that allow us to check out our own dogs before we breed them and not be surprised when they show up!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Buns In The Oven?

Hopefully Fern is thinking about puppies
We'll know pretty soon if we have "buns in the oven" (slang for being pregnant).  Fern's pups are due about August 25th +/- 2 days.  That's how it's listed on the litter chart our clinic provides when you do progesterone testing and they tell you the right days to breed.  According to the tests Fern probably ovulated on a Saturday, and because eggs need to ripen for two or three days before they can be fertilized her best days for breeding were Monday and Wednesday.  That was a couple days earlier than I would have tried had I not done progesterone testing.  Because this was a first breeding for both Duncan and Fern, I wanted to maximize my chances of hitting the right days, without relying exclusively on just the dogs' behaviors.  Both dogs were most cooperative and breeding went smoothly.
Everything has fallen into place so far.  Fern waited to come in season until AFTER she turned 24 months, so we were able to get her hip x-rays done and sent off to OFA for evaluation (we did her elbows at that time too).  X-rays looked good or excellent, so we knew she'd be given a passing score which of course she did.  All other health testing had already been completed, and Fern now has her CHIC number - a requirement for us.  OFA Good hips, BAER bilateral hearing, and OFA normal elbows, eyes, and thyroid.  Fern is also entered into the complete dentition database.  Duncan also has his CHIC number and the same test results except for having OFA Excellent hips.
We could take Fern in for an ultrasound about day 25 to determine whether or not she is pregnant, but I can also palpate her and tell that.  Ultrasounds are invariably wrong as far as number of pups, so simply knowing she is pregnant by palpation is a more sensible choice for me.  Saves a trip to the vet clinic, and a few dollars that I don't need to spend.  Because I just spent almost $1,000.00 for health testing, a blood panel, and progesterone testing, we'll save the cost of an ultrasound - there will be lots of other ways to spend that money!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Internet Ugliness

Dad won't share the treat ball!
Like many other long-time owners and/or breeders, I belong to one of the Facebook Dal lists. I joined because I enjoy seeing the cute pictures, hearing the funny stories, and because I want to help.  We've offered experience-based advice on training and behavior issues, discussed many aspects of Dals and Dal ownership, and responded to questions on a variety of health-related topics. There are a number of other long-time Dal owners on the same list, and we try to help where we can, urging people to seek veterinary or professional help where it's warranted, but not for issues that are normal behavior or can be managed at home.
There have also been a lot of other experienced Dal owners who have joined, participated, and finally lost patience and left. It won't be long for me either. I'm about burned out. It's really hard to believe how many mean-spirited know-it-alls belong to Facebook lists! In addition to the Trolls who are there just to do their evil deeds and cause trouble, there are the Dal owners who insist on having an opinion on everything, whether or not its a topic they know anything about. They keep repeating their useless opinions, then start attacking people who do not share their views. I'm sure many of the original posters regret ever asking a question that only needed a simple answer but ended up causing an ugly battle.
We have been able to help some Dal owners, and I'm sure a lot of people who read but don't feel the need to post have picked up some useful information, but honest to gosh it's hard to understand what motivates some of these people. Do they act like this at home, or in their place of employment, or do they save this kind of behavior for Internet lists? Raw feeding lists have always been this way, but pet dog lists?
Why do people feel the need to act this way?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Count Down For Puppies

Ch. Snowood Paisley "Duncan" Disorderly
Fern and I will be taking another trip to Columbia Heights today to meet up with Ch. "Duncan" and his family.  Although I had not anticipated that Fern would be ready for breeding until later in the week, a progesterone test on Monday suggested that her "best days" would be Monday and Wednesday of this week.  No wonder Argus was hanging out at the basement door, pining over Fern.
Everyone's schedules were rearranged, and a date was arranged.  As is typical for this breed, if the time is right the dogs can get the job done.  Although this was the first time for both Duncan and Fern, they agreed that the time was right, and after a bit of playing and racing around the yard, they got down to work.  Success.  We'll be paying a return visit today, just to be sure we have our days covered.
Count down, pups due in a bit less than 9 weeks.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Poor Fern

Poor Fern!  This is how she would rather be living, spending her days draped over Ron, or wrestling with her best buddy Max.  Instead she has been moved to the basement because she's in season, and I have three boys in the house.  For the first week she just wore panties - you can see them in the picture.  As things progressed and her Grandpa Argus started to get more interested, Fern moved down stairs.  She's got a huge crate, surrounded by a big pen, rugs, and lots of bones and toys.  Because she has such nice house manners, she could be loose in the basement (or anywhere else), but if someone slipped up and left the door to the kitchen open, she'd slip upstairs or the boys would troop downstairs.  This arrangement gives me more control of the situation and it's nicer for Fern than being crated all the time.  AND she doesn't have to wear pants, which she appreciates!  Fern goes for four walks a day and doesn't go out to the dog yard to leave tempting smells for the boys to investigate and the boys are much more relaxed without the constant temptation.
Fern's health testing is complete and her CHIC number should be arriving soon.  She also had blood work done to be sure that her liver and kidney values are normal and she's not fighting an infection of any kind.  We did a progesterone test last week to find out where in her cycle she was, and gets one again this morning - we have a 7:00 AM appointment for that.  That should tell us when we want to try a breeding for the first time - nothing left to chance any more.   We may do one more blood draw if she's not close yet.
Because Fern will be bred to a dog that is living locally, we don't have to plan a long drive, shipping arrangements for her, or worry about a chilled semen shipment.  We're using a dog that I co-bred with a friend.  Ch. "Duncan" is living in his "retirement home" in Minneapolis, which works out nicely for all, so later this week Fern and I will be taking a couple of car rides to visit her intended! 
I went over to take a look at Duncan on Saturday, because I had not seen him for several years.  He matured nicely, is healthy, and has good company manners.  He has his CHIC number of course, just had a check up as well as a semen evaluation, and has a zillion (well not quite that many) generations of Paisley dogs in his pedigree.  Because Fern's mother is a stud fee pup by Argus, and her father is a dog that is not closely related to ours, using Duncan for Fern brings a lot of old Paisley back into the pedigree.  Hopefully there is a pup for me to keep, and the stud fee puppy will going to a really good show and agility home.  I normally prefer to pay a stud fee, but in this case am giving up a puppy which works better for all of us.
One of the reasons for doing a live breeding with Fern this time is because I really want to breed her to a dog who is neutered, but was "collected" before neutering.  Before I go through the expense of doing a frozen semen breeding, I need to be sure that Fern produces sound healthy puppies and is a good mother.  If this proves to be the case, we can do "pupcycles" next time around!

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Patient Is Doing Just Fine

I'm pleased to say that the patient has recovered!
All it took was spanking and burping. Keurig Rajala-MacMillan, is doing just fine.

When our much-loved and heavily used Keurig coffee maker sputtered to a stop earlier this week, we assumed that it was just plain worn out. We checked the website for answers, but the patient appeared to be deceased. Google Junky that I am, I checked the internet and discovered "spanking and burping" as possible cures for what ailed him. Have to admit that I felt a little stupid about flipping my coffee maker over and beating on it, but hey, it worked! It's just like new!

I found the information in a discussion forum, but later enjoyed this clever article.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Time For A New Liver!

Am/Can Ch. Avalon Taylormade By Paisley "Taylor"

As I look around the family room, I'm reminded that it's time for a new liver!  Nope, my health is fine and hopefully my own liver will last as long as the rest of me does, but it's  time for another Liver Dalmatian.  I do wish we called them chocolate Dalmatians or red Dalmatians, as the color is referred to in certain other breeds.  Think chocolate Labs or red Dobes - genetically the same color as liver Dalmatians or liver Springers.  Actually, liver Ch. "Argus" is listed as "red" at one of the Vet clinics we use and I've never asked them to change it.  We often refer to livers Dals as Brownies.

When I was looking for my first Dal in the 1960s, I wrote to all the kennels advertised in "Dog World" magazine, looking for a show quality female, either black or liver.  I'd never actually seen a liver-spotted Dal at the time, but had no preference as to color, thought liver sounded cool, and ended up with liver-spotted Cricket who went on to become Ch. Blackpool Red Nora CDX.  Two more livers followed, both from Melody Dalmatians, both Champions with obedience titles, plus a black half-sister to Cricket.  One of the liver-spotted Melody girls Ch. "Pooka" CD became my foundation bitch and is behind almost all of my Dalmatians.  And so began Paisley Dalmatians.

At the time I started showing Dals, livers were definitely a rarity and were often poorly marked.  It's been fun to watch them increase in popularity over the years.  Livers have come a long way in both quality and spotting,  and the winners at the Dal National are often Brownies.  When our liver Ch. "Morris" went BoS in 1995 the Best of Breed winner was the lovely liver-spotted Ch. "Penny". When our liver GCh. "Argus" won the breed in 2008, BoS was liver GCh. "Bindi", and Winner Dog and Winners Bitch were livers as well!  When Argus's son liver GCh. "Krash" won the National in 2012, BoS was our liver GCh. "Pauli". Both times I've judged the National I've used a liver - Ch. "Mocha" in 2002  and GCh. "Brinkley" in 2014.  (No, I don't give preference to livers, they just happened to be the dogs I liked best in those entries.)  Both colors are to be judged equally, and most judges appear to have no color preference, although there's a very few we avoid with livers.

Although in some areas it's traditionally been harder to sell livers as pets, we've never actually had the problem, perhaps because we've always had really personable liver Dals who could do good sell jobs on potential pet buyers! Nowadays we generally have more reservations for livers than blacks, both as pets and potential show dogs.

There was a time when I owned more livers than blacks, but right now I have two livers and three blacks because the last two youngsters I kept were both black-spotted and the last three dogs I lost to old age were livers.  I did the litter Ch. "Max" was from for a liver boy, but there were no liver boys in the litter and I fell in love with black-spotted Max.  The litter Ch. "Fern" came from had no livers at all, as her sire GCh. "Louie" does not appear to be liver-factored. 

Because Fern's dam GCh. "Pauli" is liver, Fern is liver-factored and will be able to produce liver puppies.  To maximize my chances of getting a liver puppy this time, she'll probably be bred to a liver boy Ch. "Duncan".  Averages say that we should have a litter that will have half black puppies and half liver puppies, but of course one rarely gets the average, and no we won't have pups that are both black and liver!

Fern finished her Championship this Spring with a nice record that included a Specialty major and a Group placing from the classes.  There was a question as to whether or not she would hold off coming in season long enough to complete her health testing so that we could breed her this summer.  Because dogs have to be 24 months old for OFA hip certification and she was due in season a week before her birthday, it didn't look likely.  Fern was already BAER bilateral for hearing, OFA normal for eyes, and OFA normal for thyroid, we just needed the hip x-rays for the final piece.  We made it!  Fern got her hips and elbows done the day after her birthday, they both looked great and the x-rays went off to OFA.  She should pass with a Good or Excellent hips, and have her CHIC number soon.  AND she's in season.

Time for a new Liver!

A Good Read

Monday, June 16, 2014

Animal Rights Or Animal Welfare - Do YOU Know The Difference?

Before you make a donation to help the animals, be sure you know the important differences between the various groups.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Who Says They're Not Lapdogs?

Fern was delighted when Laurie came to visit.
Such a Velcro breed we have! 
Most Dals are not happy unless they are as close to their owners as they can possibly get.  Many of them want to be touching someone - always! 
We try to explain to prospective puppy buyers that if you want a dog who stays out of the way and is never under foot, do NOT get a Dal!  If they are not touching you, they are watching you.  Watching everything!  Such busybodies they are, and they'd hate to miss anything, especially if it involves food, play or a walk.
We always caution new puppy buyers that it's important to teach a puppy to spend some time alone, confined to a crate or a pen.  A pup who is raised with someone always around, expects that to continue, and may not react well to a change in schedule.  Even if you have the luxury of being home during the day, the pup needs a little crate time so he understands that crating is going to be part of his daily routine.   It's easy to do, and may save you a lot of trouble later.
I belong to a Facebook list called "Dalmatian Owners Of America".  I joined because some of the first time pet owners need input from experienced Dal owners, and a number of us try to provide useful advice.  A lot of behavior problems occur because new owners allow their dogs to develop habits that will eventually become a problem and will be very hard to break on an adult dog. Many of the Dals come from commercial or backyard breeders who provide little or no information on raising a Dalmatian puppy, while others are rescue dogs that come with issues.  The list will definitely provide lots of ideas for blog posts!

Thursday, June 12, 2014


Max and Mellie were the two pups I kept from the Ch. "Argus"/
Ch. "Holly" litter, whelped in November of 2012.  I kept Mellie because she had so many of the things I admired about her mother, and kept Max because he stole my heart at an early age! 
Mellie later went to Texas to live with her co-breeder Jana, and has become a very special dog in Jana's life.  Jana started showing Mellie as a pup and finished her Championship with a lovely record that included Best of Winners at the North Texas Specialty for a 5-point major.  Jana also showed brother "Bert" who had originally gone to a pet/companion home in Texas - Bert was actually the first from the litter to finish.
Max was shown very sparingly, a Specialty Reserve in Chicago at 6 months, 10 points including a Specialty major in Kansas at 11 months, another Specialty Reserve in Indiana at 15 months.  We'd hoped to finish him in Kansas (again) in March, but the major broke and he came home with 14 points.  Guess that was meant to be, as his next outing was the Chicagoland Specialty where he'd started out as an untrained, incredibly happy puppy the previous year.  On Saturday Max was BoW at Chicagoland for his 3rd major and 2nd Specialty win.  Good dog Max!
Winning in Kansas last Spring
I kept Max as my performance dog, and now that he's finished he'll go "back to school" to get ready for Rally and Obedience.  Absolutely love this dog!  Although I'll get his CHIC #, I have no plans to breed him, but we'll see what the future holds.
Two other girls from this litter are pointed and in pursuit of their Championships.  Good luck, Piper and Britt!
Max and Mellie's mom Holly (who lives in Texas with Jana) will come back to Minnesota this fall or winter, and will have a litter sired by Ch. "Ellsworth".  Hope there is a puppy in that litter for me!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

We're Back!

The last piece of the puzzle has fallen in to place.  On Sunday Fern turned 2 years of age, and the next day she had her OFA hip and elbow x-rays. Both looked great and were sent off to OFA for evaluation.  They'll pass, as either Good or Excellent, and Fern will receive her CHIC number.  Hearing, eyes, and thyroid results are already list on her OFA page, as well as her complete dentition rating.   We'll also get her cardiac certification when a clinic is hosted locally.  We only breed from health tested dogs, and a CHIC number is a requirement here before we breed.  Fern has not yet come in season (but she's really close) so things are working out.  Was afraid she would be in season before she was old enough for hip x-rays (the dogs have to be at least 24 months of age. 
Fern finished her Championship this past Spring, going Winners at the Indianapolis Specialty for a 5 point major, and picking up 3 more points the next time out in Kansas City.  She's officially known as Am/UKC Champion Paisley Fabulous Fern.  We'll go for her Grand Championship when she's finished with motherhood.  Fern's parents Louie and Pauli are both AKC Grand Champions, UKC Champions (Louie is a UKC Grand Champion) and both have their CHIC numbers of course.  Fern's littermate Ramsay also finished his championship this spring, and had his hip x-rays yesterday as well.

The dog we have selected for Fern is also an AKC Champion with a CHIC number.
Follow us and enjoy the upcoming puppies!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

I Saw It On Craig's List

There was a recent discussion running on Facebook, bashing a "breeder" who was advertising a litter on Craig's List.  There's two main issues involved in this discussion - 1.) they are bashing the breeder who apparently does no health testing and breeds their own dogs together while making it sound as if they are responsible breeders, and 2.) - that this breeder is advertising on Craig's List, as if that was inherently bad.

Apparently the breeder is guilty of some false advertising, obviously a bad thing.  Many of the people in the discussion are pretty sure they know who this breeder is, and do not approve of the breeder's ethics.  That's fine, although we tend to be awfully judgmental about our fellow breeders, some of it justified and some of it perhaps not.  There's certainly nothing wrong with breeding your own dogs to one another, if the dogs are health-tested and the breeding is a suitable one.  If you're doing it just because it's the cheapest way to produce a litter, obviously it's not satisfactory.  Many responsible breeders buy a good male or a top quality bitch that compliments their existing stock, with the idea of enhancing their own breeding program.  We've done that ourselves and both Rob and Argus produced very well bred to Paisley bitches.  If you're doing it because other breeders are not willing to accept your bitches for their stud dogs, something's obviously wrong.

Responsible breeders lament the fact that potential buyers looking for Dal puppies often end up with commercially bred (puppymill) pups, or those from backyard breeders, rather than responsibly bred pups from sincere hobbyists.  Or that they end up with another breed or a designer dog (expensive mutt) because they couldn't find a Dal.   So what are we going to do about this other than discuss the fact that it's indeed a problem?  How are we to make our presence known, get a chance to educate people on what to look for, and explain the responsibility of owning a dog, any dog?

All Is Well

Thanks for your concern!  We're all fine, but I took a break from blogging.  Because we have puppies and adventures planned, I'll be starting up again soon, and hope to post daily - if time permits!
The dogs are all fine, although Watson will be celebrating his 14 birthday in a bit over a week, and is starting to show his age.  Fern finished her Championship and got a nice Specialty 5-point major in Indianapolis in February.  We've only been out a couple of weekends, and missed the St. Louis Specialty weekend because of the weather.
It's been a good year for us, as Fern's brother Ramsay also finished his championship, shown by his novice owner Brandee, and down in Texas co-owner Jana showed both Bert and Mellie to their titles.  Bert and Mellie are littermates to Max, so he needs to pick up that final point and catch up with his littermates.  Of course he needs to get shown to do that!  He's entered at the Chicago Special weekend in June, so hopefully things work out there.
Jess and I are off to the National in Portland.  This year I'm judging, so Jess will be a spectator.  Having gone Best Of Winners the past two years at the National, this will be quite a change for her.  I'll start blogging when we get back next week.
Max and his dad Argus

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

It's All In How They Were Raised - Wrong!

No, it's not in all how they were raised!  How they are raised can influence how they turn out, but the way pups are raised can only modify the genetics the pup was born with.  It's truly a combination of Nature and Nurture.  Only by breeding from dogs with appropriate dispositions, socializing the pups correctly, and being sure that the new owners continue the process, will we end up with puppies who display optimum dispositions.  I've mentioned this many times, but just read a blog post that says it perfectly.  Please take a minute to read this excellent post.

It's All In How They're Raised


Friday, January 17, 2014

Microchipping Your Dog - FAQs

I came across this article yesterday and thought it was worth sharing.  Although my dogs always wear buckle or snap collars with tags, they are also microchipped since collars can become lost.  Please use both methods to protect your dogs!

Microchip FAQs

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Things To Do With Your Dalmatian - DCA Distance Log

Looking for an activity to share with your Dalmatian?  Why not check out the DCA Distance Log Program?    DCA Distance Log

As you undoubted know, Dalmatians love to walk and are great companions for hiking.  They have incredible stamina, endless enthusiasm, and are cheerful companions.  They won't argue about the route, never get caught up in political arguments, don't talk all the time, and never sulk or whine "I'm tired, can't we go home?"  If you want to walk, they want to walk, for as long as your feet hold up.

I've always been a walker, using it as a way to keep both me and dogs in shape.  Because I live in the city and have a small yard, the dogs NEED to walk.  When Argus retired from the show ring, after being extensively campaigned for several years, he needed an activity that we both enjoyed.  Nature hikes were just the thing and we started walking the river parks, dog parks, county and city walking trails.  So many interesting places to walk!

Last year because we were not showing very often, and because I had two enthusiastic young dogs in Max and Fern, they were added to the mix.  Normally just one dog at a time, but sometimes both Argus and Fern.  We did a lot of exploring, found interesting trails, and covered a lot of ground.  And I never kept a record of it.  How many miles did we walk last year?  Many, is all I know for sure.

This year I'm doing it differently, keeping track of the miles covered.  That's actually fun, and has added a new dimension to walking. Fit Bit offers a variety of mileage trackers that are lightweight, fun and easy to use.  What I really enjoy though is Motion X GPS which is available as an App for my iPhone.  It tracks mileage, average speed, current speed, and maps your path, while announcing every 5 minutes how far you've walked and your current speed.  Fun!  You can view maps of your tracks and save them.  I find that I tend to compete with myself from track to track which keeps me moving briskly.

Last night I walked the three dogs on snowy streets, listening to a book on my iPhone while the MotionX was working in the background, tracking my progress using GPS technology.  The Fitbit was clipped to my pocket tracking my steps, converting steps to miles and calculating calories burned.  Such fun.

We're off to a rather slow start this year as the weather has been difficult.  On the coldest nights the dogs only get about half a mile apiece, but when the weather is better we cover a lot more ground.  It's been fun keeping track of the distances, especially with such fun gadgets to play with.  My goal for the year is at least 1,000 miles, hopefully a lot more.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Pup-Less, At Last

My first weekend without an extra dog. Nena has gone home, and the pups are all in their new homes.  Nope, that's not my current household - that would be too many dogs!  The picture was taken about 20 years ago and includes left to right Rob, his son Morris, Mo's mom Eloise, Rob's puppy grandson Sidney, Mo's son Edgrr, Rob's daughter Erin, and Rob's granddaughter Hilary. All but Hilary (who went to live in a pet home) were champions.  Rob, Mo, Eloise, and Sid lived their entire lives with me, and I miss them all.

The last pup departed on Friday, when the weather finally warmed up enough to ship her to Texas.  Summit/Abby was looking extremely good and it was tempting to keep her, but I'm really not ready for a puppy right now and my next pup has to be liver.  It was a very good litter, good structure with exceptionally nice dispositions.  Abby was such an easy puppy, quiet in a crate and riding in the car, super easy to housetrain, not a whiner and very self confident.  Hopefully the next pup I keep will have a personality like Abby's.

The basement is finally back to normal, whelping pen down, whelping box cleaned and put away, floor scrubbed, rugs back on the floor.  Max has his training area back and was thrilled when I put his tunnel down again - he ran back and forth through the tunnel chasing a tennis ball, and acting like a little kid at recess.

Laurie reports that Amery is currently in season.  Still don't know who I will breed her to next summer, but hopefully there will be a pup for me to keep.  She still needs to finish her health testing, hips, elbows, eyes and thyroid, but assuming she passes everything, she's next in line.  No pups in Paisleyland until then.

After weeks of incredibly cold weather that limited my dog walking, we finally had a warm up.  I've joined the DCA Distance Log Program, and am recording the miles the dogs and I walk each day.  Should have been doing that last year when we covered so much territory!  At the suggestion of a Dal owning friend, I downloaded MotionX GPS on my iPhone, and am getting the exact distances, average speed, and a map of the walk.  It would be fun to attach the phone to the dogs, who cover so much more territory than I do!  The program tells you every 5 minutes how far you have walked and what your speed is - which tends to make we walk faster.  It's like being in competition with yourself, and adds a dimension to walking.   

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Missing In Action

All  is well, I'll post later today.  Just not enough time in the AM when I have 9 week old Summit to keep an eye on.