Published by Joanna Kimball at April 3, 2020 (copied over due to Facebook blocking previous blog)
“I don’t want a show dog – just a pet.”
This is one of the most pervasive sentiments that puppy buyers, especially families, express when they’re looking for a dog. What they really mean, of course, is that they don’t want a show BREEDER – don’t want to pay the high price they think show breeders charge, don’t want to go through the often-invasive interview process, and think that they’re getting a better deal or a real bargain because they can get a Lab for $300 or a Shepherd for $150.
I want you to change your mind.
I want you to not only realize the benefits of buying a show-bred dog, I want you to INSIST on a show-bred dog.
And I want you to realize that the cheap dog is really the one that’s the rip-off.
And then I want you to go be obnoxious and, when your workmate says she’s getting a puppy because her neighbor, who raises them, will give her one for free, or when your brother-in-law announces that they’re buying a cheap puppy for the kids, I want you to launch yourself into their solar plexus and steal their wallets and their car keys.
If I ask you why you want a Rottweiler, or a Lab, or a Leonberger, or a Cardigan, I would bet you’re not going to talk about how much you like their color.
You’re going to tell me things about personality, ability (to perform a specific task), relationships with other animals or humans, size, coat, temperament, and so on. You’ll describe playing ball, or how affectionate you’ve heard that they are, or how well they get along with kids.
The things you will be looking for aren’t the things that describe just “dog”; they’ll be the things that make this particular breed unique and unlike other breeds.
That’s where people have made the right initial decision – they’ve taken the time and made the effort to understand that there are differences between breeds and that they should get one that at least comes close to matching their picture of what they want a dog to be.
Their next step, tragically, is that they go out and find a dog of that breed for as little money and with as much ease as possible.
You need to realize that when you do this, you’re going to the used car dealership, WATCHING them pry the “Audi” plate off a new car, observing them as they use Bondo to stick it on a ’98 Corolla, and then writing them a check and feeling smug that you got an Audi for so little.
It is no bargain.
Those things that distinguish the breed you want from the generic world of “dog” are only there because somebody worked really hard to get them there. And as soon as that work ceases, the dog, no matter how purebred, begins to revert to the generic. That doesn’t mean you won’t get a good dog – the magic and the blessing of dogs is that they are so hard to mess up, in their good souls and minds, that even the most hideously bred one can still be a great dog – but it will not be a good Shepherd, or good Puli, or a good Cardigan. You will not get the specialized abilities, tendencies, or talents of the breed.
If you don’t NEED those special abilities or the predictability of a particular breed, you should not be buying a dog at all. You should go rescue one. That way you’re saving a life and not putting money in pockets where it does not belong.
If you want a purebred and you know that a rescue is not going to fit the bill, the absolute WORST thing you can do is assume that a name equals anything. They really are nothing more than name plates on cars. What matters is whether the engineering and design and service department back up the name plate, so you have some expectation that you’re walking away with more than a label.
Keeping a group of dogs looking and acting like their breed is hard, HARD work. If you do not get the impression that the breeder you’re considering is working that hard, is that dedicated to the breed, is struggling to produce dogs that are more than a breed name, you are getting no bargain; you are only getting ripped off.
In the late hours of 30th May 2017. Our Male dobermann, Tyler was pacing around the house. He just would not settle, we were watching a movie so I was kind of getting stroppy with him. Eventually I made him lay near my feet so I could stroke him and focus on the film. Thats when I looked down and saw his stomach was completely swollen. I glanced at my husband & said this isn’t right. We needed to get to emergency. That is when he also told me that he had thrown up earlier and didn’t re-eat it. Something that would be out of the ordinary for our Ty boy.
So we drove to the 24 hour emergency vets around 11pm. At first they told me he wasn’t bloating, instead it looked like he had pulled something. I insisted they did an xray anyway, though they did give me a moment of false hope. Sure enough the vet tech came back from the xray white as a sheet, to confirm Tyler had full torsion and the huge lump we saw on his side was his spleen had flipped round. It took a further 2 hours to call out the surgeon, due to Tys age (12) they were reluctant to do the surgery and also needed a recent EKG due to his heart complications. Not to mention they also needed their $8k deposit first. However after stomping my feet, paying the deposit, signing all the faff they wanted me to sign, the surgeon finally came out. The surgery was about 2 hours and very successful. The surgeon came out to tell us that everything was still healthy and pink but they did remove the spleen to be on the safe side.
Tylers recovery process took about a week until he was acting like nothing had happened and back to eating things he shouldn’t do.
Fast forward to March 2020, we had arrived in our RV to Fort Worth, Texas on a 6 month road trip around the USA. I had fed the dogs and then took Roxy and Jax out for a potty break around 7pm. Come 9pm we were playing video games and my husband says that Roxy hasn’t settled in a few hours and drinking a lot of water. He actually specifically said that he thought she was bloating. Initially I was in denial, she had a poop that evening, ate her dinner. Surely it was just a tummy bug. But as we stood there looking at her you could clearly see her stomach was swelling. So we drove to our nearest 24 hour emergency. Now thanks to COVID we were not actually allowed in the building with her. But they called shortly after and confirmed it was bloat. Roxy had just turned 14, so we knew it would be risky but we went ahead and did the surgery. They said we had caught it so early that there was no damage again, and they were confident she’d make a good recovery. Recovery took a little longer as Roxy was older, but after 2-3 weeks she was back to her normal self.
In both of these instances the symptoms were a little different. But here are the main thing to watch out for in bloat / GDV.
An enlargement of the dog’s abdomen
An affected dog will feel pain and might whine if you press on his belly
Without treatment, in only an hour or two, your dog will likely go into shock. The heart rate will rise and the pulse will get weaker, leading to death.
Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV) is a life threatening disorder most commonly seen in large, deep-chested dogs. In its early stage, the stomach fills with gas, causing a simple gastric dilatation or bloat. As the stomach fills with air, pressure builds, stopping blood from the hind legs and abdomen from returning to the heart. Blood pools at the back end of the body, reducing the working blood volume and sending the dog into shock.
If this isn’t enough, there is yet another scary thing that happens, and it is devastating to see. As the stomach flips, it drags the spleen and pancreas along with it, cutting off the blood flow. The oxygen-starved pancreas produces some very toxic hormones. One, in particular, targets the heart and stops it cold. In fact, a dog can go through successful treatment and seem to be out of danger, when suddenly the heart stops.
Even in the mildest case of bloat, which is extremely rare, dogs die without treatment. This is a life-threatening emergency that requires surgery to correct.
What causes the condition?
The exact cause is still unknown. The condition is seen most commonly in large breed dogs that eat or drink rapidly and then exercise vigorously.
Stress may be a contributing factor to GDV – in recent studies, dogs that were more relaxed and calm were at less risk of developing GDV than dogs described as “hyper” or “fearful”. From my own experience, old age can also lead to a higher bloat risk as the muscles that contract the stomach become weak. I have also been informed it is hereditary.
What other breeds are affected?
Large, deep-chested breeds are more prone to GDV. These include Great Danes, Saint Bernards, Weimaraners, Irish Setters, Gordon Setters, Standard Poodles, Basset Hounds, Doberman Pinschers, and Old English Sheepdogs. It must be noted that any dog can bloat, even dachshunds and Chihuahuas. Males are twice as likely to bloat as females. Neutering or spaying has no effect on risk. The condition usually occurs two to three hours after eating a large meal.
Here is the full episode covering Roxys Bloat.
Thankyou for taking the time to read this. I hope it helped and I hope it may save your pups life one day!
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The clicker is an excellent little device to mark the moment your dog does a behaviour you want. Yes, you can say “Good Boy” “Well done” “Yes” but often as humans we are a little late to the game, where as pushing a button – it’s quick and easy. Essentially thats all a clicker is doing. replacing your “Good Boy” vocal marker with a click.
I always pair the click with a verbal cue because going forward, if they do something good out and about, I don’t always have the clicker with me!
1. Pairing the clicker to food
Step 1. Throw some small and soft treats on the ground. Just before you dog eats one, click your clicker and say “YES!” (or whatever vocal you use) If your dog is scared of the noise, place the clicker behind your back or even place it in a sock to begin with. Do this with several treats 2 or 3 times throughout the day, for a couple of days. Rule of thumb, your treats should be no larger than your little fingernail.
2. Charge the Clicker
When you feel your dog is not scared of the noise you can start to “Charge” your clicker. I like to do this with a command my dog knows really well, and that is simply focus. Every time Jax looks up at me I say “YES!” CLICK and drop a treat. Then I mix it up a little and if he sits I will repeat the “YES!” CLICK and drop a treat. This gets him fired up into training mode!
3. Teach a new Behavior:
So now your dog is focused and ready to learn, you can start what we call “shaping” a new behaviour. We call it this because we are waiting for the dog to figure out what we want rather than luring or forcing the dog to do the trick we are wanting. A great example of this is “touch” You can see the results of a shaped behaviour here:
But just to break it down (and we will use touching a lid for this example) you would hide the lid behind your back and then show the dog, if they look at it you would click, throw a treat away from you and hide the lid again. Bring the lid back out, and see what the dog does, if they sniff it, BONUS. Click, throw treat, hide the lid, reintroduce it. If they paw it or bite it, we dont click, but we dont say “ah ah” “no” or anything like that, we have the patience of a saint and wait for them to think it through and sniff it again. Jackpot. Click, Treat, hide the lid again. So you see, eventually they start to associate “ohhh, if I sniff this thing I get food” Eventually you can phase out the treat and just click, “well done” and do it again. They will understand the Click means I did something great that mum or dad loves me doing! (this is also when you can start adding a cue to your trick) We say “touch” every times his nose touched the can lid. Now he starts understanding thats what this trick is called and eventually we can just say touch and he knows that means nose to can lid.
From here your possibilities are endless, once they associate that click with a positive reinforcement, you can transfer it to clicking when they see another dog and don’t bark. You can click them looking at the mailman calmly instead of barking and going nuts. These are just some examples, but it will come in super handy!
4. Take breaks
Learning a new behaviour for any dog is more tiring than you think. Please don’t do this for any longer than 10 minutes. You can do training several times a day, just don’t flog a dead horse. Once your dog is tired they wont be successful and you will get frustrated. If they haven’t understood the new trick in 10 minutes, who cares. I spent several weeks training Jax to bow, just short little sessions once every 2 or 3 days. He got there in the end, now he won’t stop doing it, but that’s besides the point! He got it and he understands it. Most dogs want to please and they want to be successful. If you are finding they are really not getting it, you have gone too far forward in the process. Go back a little and reinforce the small wins. I always practice short sit stays with Jax to reinforce the long ones, as sitting and staying for 4 minutes is extremely boring for a dog, so keep it fun, at all times!
The clicker can also be used with luring and capturing.
With luring, you use the target or a piece of food to get the dog to offer the behavior, a good example would be to teach your dog to spin. You would use the piece of food to lure them round in a circle, click and throw the treat. But I would stop using the lure as soon as possible and use shaping to finish up the behavior.
With capturing, you click and treat whenever the dog offers a complete behavior. A great example of this is when your dog wakes up and stretches you can click and treat, if you do this everytime they will offer this behaviour more. Eventually, you can also get that on a command and when you say “bow” your dog will perform that stretch.
In a desperate attempt to get over this weight plateau I have decided to try various 3 days fasts and diets every week to see how each one affects my body. This week it was the 3 day egg “fast”
Seeing as we get 20-30 eggs a day from the chickens this was by far the cheapest diet plan I could follow and super easy. Now I have the air fryer I was able to quickly cook off 12 eggs a day for me and my husband to snack on every 3-4 hours and in the evenings we enjoyed an omlette, or egg fritters or egg pancakes & three days went past super quick. I am not going to lie I still have my morning coffee and I did enjoy 3 soda’s every evening (because I get sick of water) As I have already completed this fast I cannot break it down day by day, nor can I give accurate measurements, but the end result was 4lbs down, which have stayed off!
Preheat a 3.5-quart air fryer to 270 degrees F. Add the eggs to the fryer basket and cook 15 minutes for hard-boiled eggs. Remove the eggs and plunge them into an ice bath. Peel when cool enough to handle.
For soft-boiled eggs, cook them 10 minutes. For medium-boiled eggs cook for 12 minutes.
Mix up your kong fillings! Here’s some good ideas (and remember to freeze afterwards) 🙂
1. Peanut butter. A favorite treat of many canines. Not only is it a good source of protein, but it also contains heart healthy fats, vitamin B, niacin, and vitamin E. Stuff peanut butter into a Kong to keep your dog busy for hours. Choose raw, unsalted peanut butter.
2. Cooked chicken. Can be added into the bowl along with your dog’s regular food to add a spice and extra protein to its diet. This also makes a good meal replacement if you’re in a pinch and out of dog food.
3. Cheese. A great treat for a dog as long as she isn’t lactose intolerant, which a small percentage are. Make sure to monitor your dog’s reaction. Opt for low or reduced fat varieties and don’t overfeed, as many cheeses can be high in fat. Cottage cheese is typically a good choice. We also use cheese in a can so it is easy to squirt into the kong.
4. Baby carrots. Good for a dog’s teeth, carrots are low calorie and high in fiber and beta carotene/vitamin A.
5. Yogurt. High in calcium and protein. But make sure to only choose yogurts that do not contain artificial sweeteners or added sugars. Yogurts with active bacteria can act as a probiotic and are good for your dog’s digestive system.
6. Salmon. A good source of omega 3 fatty acids, which are responsible for keeping your dog’s coat healthy and shiny, as well as supporting your dog’s immune system. Feed your dog cooked salmon, add salmon oil to her food bowl, or slip him some of your unwanted fish skins.
7. Pumpkin & Sweet potatoes Good source of fiber as well as beta-carotene/vitamin A. It can help keep the GI tract moving and can aid with digestive issues.
8. Eggs. Scrambling up an egg for your pup is a great way to give her diet a protein boost. Eggs are also a source of easily digestible riboflavin and selenium, making them a healthy snack.
9. Green Beans. Make a great treat for your dog since they are filling and low in calories. Select beans that have no added salt.
10. Apple Slices. Help to clean residue off a dog’s teeth, which helps to freshen her breath. Apples are a good source of fiber as well as vitamin A and C. Make sure to take out the seeds and the core before feeding to your dog, as these can be choking hazards.
11. Oatmeal. A great source of soluble fiber, which can be especially beneficial to senior dogs with bowel irregularity issues. It is also a great alternate grain for dogs allergic to wheat. Make sure to cook oatmeal before serving it to your dog. Do not add any sugar or flavor additives.
12. Wet kibble Use your dogs kibble and soak it then fill in the kong.
Here’s an additions list of healthy treats you can use for Kong stuffing:
Apples (no core, stems, or seeds) Applesauce Asparagus Baby Food (natural) Bananas Blackberries (will stain – use with caution) Blueberries (will stain – use with caution) Broccoli Brussels Sprouts Cantaloupe Cauliflower Celery Cheese (watch for fat content) Cottage Cheese Cucumber Flax Seeds Green Beans Honey (in moderation due to high sugar content) Kale Oatmeal Peas Pineapple Rice (cooked) Spinach Squash Strawberries Sugar Snap Peas Watermelon (seedless) Zucchini (courgettes)
I have been prompted to write this due to the lack of information out there about how to choose a great Dobermann breeder. As we can no longer promote good breeders on Facebook as it’s against their policy I can also provide links here to breeders who have done adequate health testing and some who have also gone above and beyond.
If you think your Breeder/Rescue should be on this list, please have them get in contact! I would love to be able to provide more names.
OK so here we go. Things your Dobermann breeder should be testing for:
Blood TestproBNP – Prospective evaluation of NT-proBNP assay to detect occult dilated cardiomyopathy and predict survival in Doberman Pinschers Blood testTroponin1 – Cardiac troponin I (cTnI) is useful for detection of cardiac myocyte damage, but its efficacy in detecting various stages of dilated cardiomyopathy
VWDVon Willebrand disease (vWD) is a common abnormality of the process by which blood clots.
PHPV(Persistent hyperplastic tunica vasculosa lentis/persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous (PHTVL/PHPV) is a congenital eye anomaly)
Hip Score – A hip score is a measure of evidence of hip dysplasia (abnormal development)
History of Liver Disease – Dobermanns are prone to a chronic liver disease, called hepatitis.
Kidney Function – Glomerulonephropathy is an inherited disease that slowly damages your Doberman Pinscher’s kidneys causing them to fail, often at an early age
Thyroid – Insufficient blood levels of thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism), due to disease of the thyroid glands, is a common condition of the Dobermann
Good healthy lines and evidence of longevity – There are Databases you can check out there and there used to be a longevity database but I don’t believe it has been updated in a while. But once a breeder give you his or kennel name, google is your friend, ask around, see if anyone else has a pup from that affix (A kennel affix is generally added to a dog’s name. This further calls for quick and easy identification. Kennel names are registered) is the pup healthy? any causes of deaths around that line? Join Facebook groups and Dobermann forums for more information on that kennel.
So use caution with this. Some very good breeders don’t have a license because they are not pumping out litters 3 times a year! In fact, some of the best breeders I know only have one litter every 2-3 years. This means they would not need a license. So do your research before ruling out anyone without a license.
KC/AKC Registered. Again, this is open to everyone. Even puppy farmers can note that their pups are “KC Registered”. So before just choosing a KC Registered dog, make sure the puppies & mum are viewable in a nice warm home, that the breeder is not breeding other breeds of dog. That they are not selling the pups for less than they are worth. That there is a contract in place. That they can show you all the above health testing & pedigree papers. That they are not breeding their dogs under the age of 2 (preferably older!) Steer clear if they seem ignorant or have no idea about Dobermann health conditions. Make sure they have references. Make sure they have socialized the puppies. Never meet a breeder halfway or arrange drop off (unless you have already viewed the litter)
I also often hear ‘I don’t need to buy Kennel Club registered as I only want a pet’.
I will explain why buying Kennel Club registered is just as relevant for pet buyers as for those who breed and show. You know you are getting a pure-bred Dobermann. A breeder can only KC/AKC register a puppy if the sire (father) and dam (mother) are also KC registered, where the mother is owned by the breeder KC reg is not a guarantee of quality. I myself have an AKC rescue, who is still DCM1 and 2 positive. Too tall and too skinny for the “breed standard” But the people who take the trouble to register will tend to do their research and try to breed close to the breed standard. The Kennel Club provide a range of online tools to assist with choosing healthy breeding combinations. There are far more KC registered puppies with reduced health and behavioural problems.
Imports Let’s also talk briefly about importing dogs. This seems to be a growing trend in the UK
So I did a vlog about this but I figured I would also do a handy list for you guys!
1. Fence First and foremost, a fence is a much nicer option than tie out stakes & long lines. Especially if you have two or more puppers! They get tangled, they tangle, you, they may lunge at people. For us, especially where Roxy is super old, I don’t want to risk her getting hurt. Also she needs a pee at like 8am (I know, midday for most of you!) but for me that early, so this way I can just open the door, whilst standing half naked to the side, and then once she is done I can go back to bed! You can purchase the fence we use here: https://amzn.to/2JiSm0J
2. Travel bowls I guess this is more for hiking with your dogs, but it is also handy to have in the car when you are moving from place to place!
3. Poo bags Some campsites have poop bags and trash stations! But not many! So take poop bags to be on the safe side, and preferably biodegradable ones so you are contributing to less plastic! You can buy biodegradable poop bags here – https://amzn.to/2wF7GSI
4. Deodorizer / Carpet cleaner I am sure, like our pups, your dogs might have an accident sooner or later! So always have this to hand as well as a cleaning agent. Makes the camper smell nice and fresh! You can buy the deodorizers here – https://amzn.to/3buRbaK
5. Bones / Chews / Kong’s Some days you are busy exploring, others it is raining. So always be prepared to keep your dogs entertained! We use Kongs (pictured) below, filled with whatever we have to hand. We also buy raw marrow bones and various chews for those days we cannot give the pups a decent walk. Kongs can be purchased here – https://amzn.to/2UIBKVq
6. Dog Towels Ok, these are a little bit fancy. But this is more of a reminder to bring some!! Or you will regret it the first time it rains or after a trip to the beach. Fancy dog towels – https://amzn.to/2WIKfm9
7. Beds So I made the mistake of bringing big bulky beds on this trip. Don’t do that! For the most part the little one sleeps on the couch, But for the big one a cooling mat or crate mat is better because you can wash them easier and fold them away when you are moving to a new site. Cooling mats here – https://amzn.to/2wxKeH8
8. Food I am not a fan of lugging heavy bags of kibble around, also they take up way too much space. So we feed a dehydrated raw. Which a 10lb box makes up to 40lbs of feed! easier to store, and lighter in the camper. Honest kitchen different recipes here – https://amzn.to/33QwXFu
9. Long line vs Flexi For the trips out and about the campsite, or the beach, if your pup cant be offleash these are a great alternative. I would take the long line over a flexi, but if your dog is well mannered and listens to you, there is no reason you cannot use a flexi responsibly. I’ve had rope burns off both, so if he is going to charge around like a fruitloop you are probably best off just teaching him a solid recall!
Bonus – harness & running belt Bonus items, if you enjoy exercise, why not bring the dog along! We use this running belt for Jax and below is the harness I will be buying in the future. It is built for dogs to pull and distributes the weight evenly. Doesn’t rub on their legs or restrict movement! https://amzn.to/3buZ3sQ
Bonus – toy box Don’t forget to bring lots of toys on your trip! Or at least your dogs favourite ones so it feels a little bit like “Home” for them. We bring a selection and I am glad we did because some evening Jax gets silly and this is a good way to burn off energy. Cute toy box here – https://amzn.to/2UHgKOK
Full length video here:
Thanks for taking the time to read this blog! I hope it jogged your memory some and was useful. You can see an extensive list of all the things we buy and own for our dogs here:
The local area is really nice for a change. This was a complete guess from me as to where to stay near San Antonio but fortunately, it is local to everything we want to do here!
We were allocated site 11. However oddly there was someone already there. So they put us in 12 which was probably better as it’s on the end so only one neighbour. However behind us is two 5th wheels with a ton of kids who were up till midnight on the first night. When I let the dogs out for a last pee break one of the teens was peeing on his truck wheel.
Don’t get me wrong I get that out in the country, I’ve peed outside on the farm… However on a busy campsite? Not sure thats the best place to do it.
The dog parks are AMAZING!! Two fields. one for small/old dogs and the other for the large youngsters. Both have agility playsets in them. However their sign says do not play on the equipment? so a bit confused about that?
The people were very friendly and the site was clean. You have to take your own trash out. and you CAN have a fence up!! yay!!
There are a lot of laundry facilities and two large restrooms with showers. Internet was not great we were getting around 5mb and 2mb down. But it was useable.
The ladies in the reception were lovely and very helpful, we had a few packages delivered whilst we were there and they recognised me and always knew when my package was. Even on the last day they didn’t turf us out (like Beaumont did!) She even told us to take our time and there would be space for us if the next park was closed (thanks Coronavirus)
I really liked this campsite & will miss it. But onwards and upwards !(literally!)