Canine Handler, Canine Health, Dog Breeding, Dog Breeds, Dog training, Dogs, puppy, SAR, Search and Rescue, Uncategorized


I just realized I have not blogged in quite awhile.  In september I attended my first, of what will be many, HRD seminars. I went to AMPWDA and loved every minute of it. It was the perfect seminar for a novice. I got amazing advice and support even after the seminar was over.  They even had class room instruction in the evening to just train handlers in SAR. It was by far one of the most positive and encouraging groups of people. I left with great training plans, support and new friends. I can’t wait for next falls’s!


Canine Handler, Canine Health, Dog Breeding, Dog Breeds, Dog training, Dogs, puppy, Raw feeding, Uncategorized

How Awesome is This?

I do not usually share upcoming research in my blog, however as a Great Dane and German Shepherd owner this is awesome. Check it out:

News Release

For Immediate Release

AKC Canine Health Foundation Announces New Research to Tackle Bloat in Dogs

“RALEIGH, N.C. (June 1, 2017) Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV, or bloat) is a serious problem for many canine breeds, but little is truly known about the causes of this deadly disease. While any larger dog can be affected, targeted breed-specific research can help advance understanding of potential genetic factors that may predispose dogs to developing bloat.” For the full article Click Here




Canine Handler, Dog Breeds, Dog training, Dogs, puppy, SAR, Search and Rescue, Uncategorized

Dog Training is Never a Straight Path

When I got Ruger I had plans for him before I even picked him out, before he was even born. The thing about life is we can plan all we want, then life happens. I had dreams of Ruger being a Therapy Dog, like Gracie, and to show him in Conformation, perhaps even breed him one day to have my next show dog.  Expectations and reality do not always match up, I once saw a diagram about dog training and it was a squiggly line about getting from A to B, well sometimes we never make it to B and have to switch plan C or even D.  When one door closes another opens, well this week one door will be closing for me for good. Ruger is getting snipped, he will never be able to have puppies, so although I said goodbye to Therapy Dog work for him a long time ago, and knew Conformation was not for him, for some reason I am feeling sad. The realization that none of my plans for him will come to fruition is hitting me hard this week.  A quote by Tony Gaskins sticks out and that is “if you can’t do anything about it then let it go. Don’t be a prisoner to things you can’t change.” I wish it was that simple! I have to keep reminding myself why Ruger would not better the breed, for one he has allergies, two he was never shown and does not have CH in front of his name. I could go on. I have to remind myself of all the positives instead.  We did find plan D for Ruger and that oddly enough is something I never thought would be possible with a Great Dane and that is SAR work. We still have a long way to go and have so much to learn, however we are heading in the right direction. Life is funny, expectations are not always met, but the opportunities it opens you up for, if you are open to it, can surpass even my wildest dreams.  If those other doors had not closed I would not have met some amazing people and had the opportunity to become a better handler than I was a year ago. I would not have a dog, which has certified twice now in tracking and has added an article search certification in there as well.


Canine Handler, Dog Breeds, Dog training, Dogs, puppy, SAR, Search and Rescue, Uncategorized


I had the privilege of attending my second NAPWDA seminar at the end of April. I have a LOT of information to share, however two things I had never really thought about until it was brought up, at the seminar, was what the function of certain dog behaviors are. The two were Barking and whining. Whining…. Do you know what it is? I learned over that weekend that it is your dog’s plea for assistance. Once you hear it put like that, it makes total sense! In addition, that a Bark’s function is distance. It could be stay away or come closer, but nonetheless it is distance. I have had dog’s my whole life, taken numerous courses as well as help teach at our local kennel club and I can tell you I am constantly  learning something new. I suppose the moment you think you know it all you might as well quit, …… I know I will NEVER know it all.


Dog Breeding, Dog Breeds, Dog training, Dogs, puppy, Uncategorized

Natural Ways to Parasite Control

Natural ways to parasite control

I get asked all the time how I handle parasite control for my dogs and the answer is, I USE NOTHING from my veterinary’s office. If it is toxic to me, why would I want it on my dogs? I am not judging those that use it, I am simply stating it does not work for me. I prefer utilizing the old motto “you are, what you eat” and help my dogs naturally fight off unwanted pests, but beefing up their food.

I spray this on them before we go outside (I live in SD, so I only need to do this about 5 months out of the year, please note this DOES NOT go in their food)


I put this in their food everyday://“>Flea & Tick


Enter a caption


For probiotics and internal control I put this in their food everyday as it also has DE in it://“>Probiotics/ DE



I also spray my yard with all natural and toxic free buy control. Research what would work best for you and how to safely spray. As with all advice, check with your veterinarian first before making the switch.

Canine Handler, Dog Breeds, Dog training, SAR, Search and Rescue

Training…. Can you train too much?

So an idea was presented to me over this week that I could over train my dog…. I had never really thought about that, so I reached out to one of the Master Trainers at NAPWDA about tracking too many days in a row and he did not believe you could over train your dog.  Before I heard back from him, I of course googled it and since nothing popped up on the first page of google I am assuming there is not much research on the topic out there. I also reached out to a past tracking instructor and he, as well confirmed you cannot over train.  My position is you need to train to real conditions. What happens if we got a call on a day we already trained? If we do not practice to that, then what? I also try to put myself in the person that told me that’s shoes, I wrote back them that I bet they are right if you are training hours on end in the same day. I think sometimes I do not come off well to others, because unless you send me research or evidence for things you present to me as facts, I will always do my own research. Hopefully, this person did not take it the wrong way. In the end it is all doing what is best for our team, not about who is right or who is wrong. It is about best practices in dog training.  It is about our calling to be of service to others.



Dog Breeding, Dog Breeds, Dog training, Dogs, puppy, Raw feeding

Raw Taking the Plunge

Raw taking the plunge

Well I decided to go raw and took the plunge, I first started out with the premade raw, but like most individuals my pocket-book did not like that approach so I had to do more research. From what I discovered there are numerous groups of raw feeders. The big two on the block, are the whole Prey model, BARF, there are of course a few other subsets.  As like most things in life you need to pick what works well for you, because there is research which supports all. I have also found it may depend on your breed of dog. I decided to not do whole prey, as odd as it sounds, it makes me sad to feed my dogs something with a face. I do much better with getting meat from the butcher.

So what do I feed?

What I have found is there are a lot of great starting points in raw feeding, but it will depend on the individual dog and you become a poop reader…lol. From their poop you can tell if you are feeding too much bone, too much organ meet ect. The Facebook groups have become invaluable to me.

Below you will find a few  links of helpful starter guides I have received from the various Facebook groups.


I have found the percentage of organ meat was right on for my dogs, however I had to increase the amount of bone and total percentages of food each day, as they are all very high energy and we exercises a lot.

If you are thinking of making the switch, the best advice I can give you, is this: There is NO such thing as an ideal diet for dogs, look at dog food brands, they all differ. By making the switch you are already choosing to feed your dog high quality food. Do your research and do the best you can. I feed pork and beef. I also throw in duck feet and peasant pieces. I use lamb, goat and salmon for my training treats (freeze-dried raw). My dogs won’t eat most organ meat unless it is freeze dried as well, so I use that for training too. Most research suggests 5 different protein sources which I do try my best to do, however there are just somethings that are too expensive or simply they do not agree with my dogs.


Next week, the natural ways I handle parasite control.

Dog Breeding, Dog Breeds, Dog training, Dogs, puppy

Rescue Pup, but why did she need it?

Well this weekend something unexpected happened…. I rescued a GSD puppy.



She clearly did not come from a great breeder. In fact I am certain she came from a backyard breeder. Which means long-term, I have no idea what I am in for. She could have hip problems or temperament problems etc.  (As I do not want to get into that in detail here, more information on that topic can be found: ). This whole experience got me thinking about reputable breeders, as I am this poor gals 3rd home, and at this point I am not sure if I will just be fostering her, or if I will be a foster failure.So here is some information I hope you find helpful:

What you should know before you buy a puppy:

First have you research the breed enough? Are you sure this is the breed you want? For example, certain breeds were bred to bark, such as a shetland sheepdog, do you really want a noisy dog? Do you want a dog that has a high drive and needs a job? What type home are you and how will this puppy fit in? What is your exercise plan for this puppy? Are you able to crate them?

How will you know if you are buying from a backyard breeder or puppy mill?

The price difference will sometimes rule out puppy mills and backyard breeders ( a term, in reference to individuals, whom just breed the two dogs they have in the backyard, despite not competing in AKC or UKC events, do not health test etc.) But not always, Back yard breeders are catching on and charging upwards of $1,000.  Puppy mills generally produce large numbers of puppies and have to move them quickly so they sell them in pet stores. No reputable breeder, would EVER sell their puppies in a pet store. If they cannot provide you with references it is another huge red flag. I would specifically ask for one of the references to be their veterinarian.  Also, ask if they belong to any dog training clubs or breed specific clubs, if they are not that is concerning, and I would not buy from them. Likewise just because they belong to a club does not mean they are reputable, you must look at the whole picture. Sometimes they put a bunch of information on their websites to look reputable, such as belonging to a certain club.
Why should a breeder compete in conformation (Showing in AKC events)?  This information was taken from: ) although it does pertain to all dog breeds not just Great Danes.

“The best way to weed out bad breeders is if they don’t compete in conformation (AKC Shows). I would not recommend buying from someone that gives you the old song and dance on why they don’t show. Most backyard breeders will not spend the money to show their dogs not to mention their dogs would not win and they would be out money and that’s what they are solely after. I have heard a million excuses of why someone would not show. Example: the show people are too political or because I have kids and I don’t have the time. Well I’ll tell you what, the Dane show community is full of different people, some are down to earth people and some retired people do this as a hobby and yes some are even political. It’s a melting pot just like our country, people of all types and I’m one of the very few that don’t have kids. When visiting a dog show please feel free to look around at all the kids and families that use this time as a family outing. When you get right down to it, the backyard breeder’s Dane cannot compete with the others and they won’t waste their money trying.”

Other RED Flags:

  • Reputable breeders will encourage you to visit onsite as they want to get to know you as well. If they do not allow you to visit onsite, look elsewhere. Even if they say it is for biosecurity…. Reputable breeders have other methods in place to protect their puppies.
  • How many different breeds do they breed? If multiple they are most likely a puppy mill or backyard breeder, shop elsewhere.
  • Where are the puppies kept? Reputable breeders keep them inside their home.
  • They say “Champion Bloodlines” What it should say on the pedigree information (you should ask to see) is CH in front of the parent’s names, or  GCH. Anyone can advertise Champion Bloodlines if 6 generations back a dog on the pedigree was championed out, as it is technically a champion pedigree, however not a good one. Make sure the “Champion” title is in the same organization as the papers the Puppy Comes with. The Champion pedigree should come from the AKC. If the pedigree is not from the AKC and they come with AKC papers, that does not make sense and is a common thing BYB ( backyard breeders do) is a huge red flag. I have seen them advertise Champion parents in APRI ( not reputable at all) and sell them with AKC papers. These individuals in my opinion are taking advantage of others solely for a profit.
  • If they allow you to pick up the puppies before 8 weeks. Puppies learn so much from their mothers and littermates during this time. In addition, they could go through another fear period it is best they are with their mothers, until they are at least 8 weeks, 9-10 weeks for pickup is all the better! To learn more about critical socialization period visit: most states have laws about not picking puppies up before 8 weeks of age as well.
  • They do not health test- You should ask for a copy of the health tests on the parents. GET the number and look it up online. For the recommended health tests for your breed and to look up the results visits:
  • They are unable to tell you about any of the issues in their lines. Great Breeders are always trying to improve their breed, therefore they should be able to tell you what they are working to improve in their lines.
  • They can’t tell you why they chose to breed the two dogs. As described by Stuhr Great Danes: “A lot of your reputable breeders will use an outside stud dog to better the breed. Why use the dog you have in the backyard when a better suitable male can be used via AI frozen, fresh chilled, or natural. Don’t get me wrong, some reputable breeders might breed a male that they own to their bitch because that was the best choice. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the parents. Any reputable breeder can tell you why they bred that particular sire to their dam.”
  • They do not offer at least a 2 year contract FROM THE DATE OF PICK UP. You cannot complete many health tests until your dog is 2 years old. So if the contract is only good until their second birthday and you can’t get them in on that exact day, you are up a creek without a paddle. look for a contract that covers you over their second birthday. Also google the breeder, ask their references, contracts are only as good as the people that sign them. Make sure that in the contract that there is something to the fact of the breeder will cover all genetic faults in the dog. If you are not sure what a great contract should look like, reach out to a kennel club in your area. They  should be able to help you or reach out to the national breed club of the breed you are looking for.
  • They do not take the puppies back. Reputable breeders have it in their contract, that if for any reason you cannot keep your puppy it must come back to them. Reputable breeders care about what happens to their puppies and do not want them to end up in a rescue.
  • The breeder doesn’t have an application process- reputable breeders do their best to make sure the breed and the puppy will live well with your lifestyle. They care where their puppies go. They also typically have a waiting list, but not always.

Other things to consider:

  • Websites can fool anyone. Check those references, and visit onsite. This is a person who is going to be there for you if have any issues or need help with your puppy. If they are not interested in getting to know you as well, I would not get a puppy from them.
  • Ask to see a copy of the sire and dam’s OFA test results. If they do not provide you with that shop elsewhere.
  • Ask to see the pedigree
  • Contact local breed specific rescue sites or local pound to ask about the breeder
  • Google them!
  • Keep in mind this list is not all inclusive, but is meant to be an outline to help you get started  in finding a great breeder. It is a buyer beware market and I hope you found this information useful. I sure wish I had something like this a few years ago…