Friday, February 5, 2010

Empty House

Things are pretty quiet around here this morning. Even Josie & Argus are just laying on the dog beds watching me. Without Jaime here to prod them into action, the dogs went outdoors for awhile and then went back to bed! Wish I could do that as I didn't get to bed until after midnight, but I've got an 8:00 AM meeting - NOT FAIR on a Friday. Roads are bad, so an early start will be required.

Delta did a perfect job and Jaime arrived in Tennessee right on time and was unloaded and available for pickup in half an hour. His new dad said he came out of his crate wagging, greeted a few people, and peed on the grass. Then he chewed a bone in the back of the SUV on his way home. Chewing is a stress reliever for dogs, and many of them chew during or after new experiences. I look forward to hearing of his adventures and seeing pictures of him in his new home.

The picture with this post is Jaime with his new buddy Cosmo. Jaime is doing precisely what young dogs in new homes are supposed to do, showing respect and submission to the senior dog. His posture says he accepts that Cosmo is in charge here. "Doggy social skills" are very important to canines and there are many inherited behaviors that allow dogs to interact peacefully. Because Jaime was raised with two older males and is a sensible sort of guy, he will know how to respond to Cosmo in an appropriate fashion. That's not to say that he won't pester Cosmo at lot, but if he pushes too hard and Cosmo has to come down on him, Jaime will submit and apologize and things will be fine.

Owning multiple dogs and watching the interaction among them is incredibly facinating. Unfortunately, most owners don't understand what they are seeing and often misinterpret the signals. It's important not to step in or correct behavior that is acceptable and appropriate for the situation.

Note to "Jennifer" - because this is my personal blog and not a discussion group, any postings have to be approved by me - which I do if I consider them appropriate. I'm not looking for either advice or validation here, and don't always present all the details when I am using a story to make a point. Please contact me privately if you have any questions. Because I don't have your email address, I can not respond to your comments.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Show Dog Faults

Someone asked if I would show a picture of a hooked tail. Shall try to get a good one to post. All registered breeds have their "standards" (of perfection), a written description of what that particular breed should look like. Each breed has its own standards. No dogs are perfect, all having some faults/imperfections, but it is often the degree of the fault that makes the difference. Some faults are disqualifying faults, such as patches and undershot bites, meaning those dogs can not be shown at all. Other faults are major faults such as cowhocks or flat feet, faults that are very serious in nature and in the case of Dalmatians those faults of soundness might prevent a Dalmatian from doing his historical job (coaching). Other faults are more general, and how they are viewed by a judge or breeder depends on the degree of faultiness. A dog with a slightly long back is less faulty than a dog with a very long back. A dog that is way too heavily spotted is faultier than a dog who is just a little too heavily spotted.

Because the standard is only a blue print, and because we all interpret things differently, a heavily marked dog may appear to be faultier to you than it does to me - we may see things differently. A dog may be larger than I prefer (but still within standard) but it may be just right to you. Some faults are more offensive to some people than to others. I object to short legs and/or long backs - the proportions of a dog, and it's resulting outline are very important to me. That may not bother others nearly as much as it bothers me.

Judges judge dogs based on THEIR interpretation of the standard. That's why results vary from show to show. The best dogs generally win, but not always. Dogs are judged on how close they come to meeting the standard, but not every judge or breeder will agree on everything.

If you've never read the Dalmatian Standard, you can find it on the Internet, on the AKC site, the Dalmatian Club of America site, or just be Googling Dalmatian Standard AKC. If you want a standard with an explanation of each section and pictures too, buy yourself a copy of DCA's book, "The Official Book Of The Dalmatian" you can find it on EBAY or various booksellers. I did the text on that chapter and my daughter Jess did some excellent drawings, plus we have great pictures illustating many of the things described in the standard. Even breeders who have read the standard in the past need to look it over from time to time for reminders. Now, what is the correct eye shape? What does the standard say about ear placement? Little things like that make a good Dalmatian a good Dalmatian, and we need to be conscious of the things we need to improve or retain when we do a litter.

The standard says that the Dalmatian tail is tapered, is long enough to reach the hock and is carried in a slight curve upward, meaning it is carried just a little above level. Bad tails include those carried straight up (correct for a Beagle), those with big curls (correct for an Afghan) and tails carried over the back (just right for Norwegian Elkhounds). Anything in between a perfect tail and the other extremes has to be judged on the degree of faultiness.

Oops, running out of time - to be continued!