Field Trials for your Sporting Dog

March 26, 2009

For those of you who aren’t too familiar with the term “field
trials,” it is a sport in which the sporting dog competes under
hunting conditions. The dog can pick up the scent of a rabbit or
small animal and follow the trail until he’s found it. There are
also the bird trials where the animal retrieves a fallen bird.
During competition, the different breeds are divided into various
groups. The following groups are: Pointing Dog Trials, Retriever
Trials, Spaniel Trials, Beagle Trials & Hound Trials. The following
guidelines are an example of what is expected before entering your
sporting dog.

If a club is hosting a trial, they must advertise the trial with a
fitting advertisement which states the following information: date
of actual trial along with the place, location of drawing, time of
drawing, sponsoring stakes and lastly, the contact person’s name,
city and state.

The next condition for entering is the age of the dog. There are
two seasons. If you are interested in entering your puppy in the
current season’s Puppy Stakes competition (July 1-December 31,
2005, he must be whelped (born) on or subsequent to June 1, 2004.
The next half of the season is from (January1-June 30, 2006), the
dog must be whelped on January 1, 2005 or after this date.

Before entering your dog in a trial, make sure you have all
information on the dog being entered. It is very important that all
information is put on the entry form. It will consist of the dog’s
name, the breed of the dog, registration number, color, sex and
sire and dam’s names.

“Field trialer” is the name of the owner or handler of the sporting
dog. Field trials is an enjoyable sport for field trialers because
of the exercise as well as the excitement of seeing their dogs
follow a trail. Talking with other field trialers is another thrill
of competing.

If you are new to the sport or just getting started, it can be mind
boggling choosing just the right dog, especially if you don’t even
know how to get started. The first decision in choosing a sporting
dog is deciding which pedigree you want. When choosing a dog, if
possible, find out information about the sire and dam. What kind of
accomplishments have they achieved? What are their strengths and

It’s a good idea to watch a particular breed in action to see if
that’s what you’re looking for in a sporting dog. Also talk to
other field trialers who are more experienced in this area. They
may be able to recommend a breeder. You can also read magazines or
books on the subject. Find out as much information as you can
before you choose your sporting dog.

Once you’ve chosen a puppy, look the puppy over from front to back.
Look for flaws in the structure of the puppy. Does he have unsteady
balance? Are his hind legs weak or stiff? Are the front legs bowed?
Serious flaws can prevent the dog from performing well out in the
field. The fields are not easy obstacles. There may be bushes the
dog may have to maneuver through and other obstructions in the way.
The dog must be healthy and strong in order to maneuver quickly.

Many field trialers will refer to the nose of the dog as being the
animal’s ability to find the scent and pursue. Each dog has its own
personality as to how he pursues the game. Some can be very
aggressive, while others are more cautious. Each dog may have its
own style which is what makes them so unique. One style is not
better than another. It is really up to the field trialer as to
what he likes better. The way the dog follows the scent is not the
most important aspect of the sport. The most important aspect is
that he finds the trail and stays on it until he finds the game.
How well does their nose perform. When they do lose the rabbit, how
far do they wonder off course? Do they try picking up the scent
again, once they lost it? These are questions to ask yourself about
your sporting dog.

Field trailing is an exciting sport, not only for the sporting dog,
but also for the field trialer. If this sport sounds interesting to
you, get involved with various clubs that support this type of
sport. Go out and give it a try.


AKC vs RBDA: What’s the difference

March 17, 2009

What is all the hype about our dogs belonging to a club? Many pet
owners do not even belong to a club. Dog owners, who take pride in
their pets, will generally register their dogs in some kind of
kennel club, especially if they plan to breed their dog. Registered
dogs tend to cost a little more and are more appealing to dog

AKC stands for American Kennel Club. It is the most well known
kennel club in the United States. They are dedicated to supporting
the sport of pure breeds. They were found back in 1884 and they are
a promoter of responsible dog ownership. Although the AKC is dog
friendly, no matter the status of the breed, they believe that
purebred dogs are more predictable in several aspects. Hence, they
believe that purebreds make better pets. Half of American homes
have pets and 36% of them are dog owners; therefore, more emphasis
should be placed on the subject.

The AKC stays very active. They encourage the sport of purebred
dogs. They sponsor over 15,000 dog competitions a year

The AKC deals with approximately one million applications a year,
although, they do not specialize in the selling of purebreds.
Because of this, they can not vouch for the health of the animal.

If you were to purchase a dog that comes from an AKC registered
blood line, you will also receive an application for your dog’s
registration. Someone who is buying an AKC registered dog must
realize that the certification is in no way guarantying that the
dog is in perfect health or that the quality of the dog is without
flaw. It is only stating that the canine is a direct offspring of a
known sire (stud/father) and dam (mother/bitch) and that it is born
on a factual date. They must also be from the same breed. In order
to register a litter of puppies, the sire and dam must be AKC
registered and the litter born in the US. The owner of the litter
wanting to register the litter must fill out an application which
requires basic information such as: date of mating and birth, the
number of males and females born in the litter, the sire and dam’s
registered names and numbers and lastly the owner’s address and
signature. You must fill out the form and send it back to the AKC.
They, in turn, will send you paperwork for each individual puppy to
be filled out partly by you. Once the puppies have been purchased,
the new owner will have to fill out the remaining information and
send it back, with a fee, the AKC. After they have processed your
application, you should receive an official AKC Certificate in the

The Rare Breed Dog Association is another type of dog registration.
You may wonder what exactly a “rare dog breed.” In simple terms, it
is a dog that the American Kennel Club does not recognize. They
have a number of services they offer such as: Public awareness of
the rare breed dog; Education of the rare breed dog; Registration
of the rare breed dog; as well as rare breed dog shows. Their goal
is to watch over the “Rare Breed Dog” in the US and educate the
public of the over 130 rare dog breeds that are out there. The RBDA
have a number of groups that they represent. The following are dog
groups along with a few of the actual breeds they represent:

Companion Group (American Hairless Terrier, Bolognese, Cavalier
King Charles)

Herding group (King and English Shepherd, Akbash)

Hound group (Basset Artesien Normand, Black Forest Hound, Batard)

Spitz group (Canadian Estimo Dog, Carolina Dog, Chinook)

Sporting group ( Barbet, Boykin Spaniel, Bracco Italiano) These
sporting group dogs are located in the Gundog group located in
various in Europe.

Terrier group (American Pit Bull Terrier, Cesky Terrier,

Working group ( Aidi, Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog, American Bulldog)

Whether you have a rare breed dog or a purebred dog, there our
resources out there to get your dog registered. Once again, either
way you go, it does not prove the quality of the animal, just the
family line. Although, if purchasing a dog, buying an AKC or RBDA
registered dog is the best way to tract the history of the dog.
Either way, a dog is a dog. They serve a variety of purposes, and
as long as they are fulfilling that purpose, that is what’s

Choosing the right dog for you

October 29, 2008


Getting a new dog is one of the greatest joys in the world. Make
this great time even better by knowing exactly what kind of dog
will complement your family’s lifestyle.

Before you get a dog, you will want to make sure to discuss with
your family who will have the primary responsibility of taking care
of and training the dog. You will want to find a good veterinarian
close by, and you will want to consider the cost of keeping a dog.
You will also want to make sure to have supplies such as bowls, a
bed, a crate, leash , collar, and toys prior to your new dog coming

Also before you get your new dog, you will want to consider
different breeds and their compatibility to your lifestyle. Large
dogs are generally not for apartment dwellers or the elderly. Small
dogs are not for people who want to be active with their dogs.
Temperament is another thing to consider. You will also want to
decide if you want a puppy or an older dog. Certain breeds have
inherent health problems like eye problems or hip dysplasia, so you
will want to take all of that into consideration before choosing a

If you decide to get a purebred puppy, there are resources to help
you find a reputable breeder. Your local kennel club has access to
area breeders that specialize in certain breeds. If you are looking
for an older dog, this can also be a good resource as many breeders
may have adult dogs available as well. Your veterinarian can be a
great resource as well as oftentimes they have assisted area

If you are planning on hunting with your dog, you may want to
consider one of the sporting breeds. The most popular of the
sporting group are the Labrador Retriever and the Golden Retriever.
Both are relatively easy to train and are good with children. You
will want to have a more active lifestyle and ideally a fenced in
yard if you are looking for a dog of this nature.

Many people prefer dogs from the AKC’s working group. Breeds that
belong to this group include the Rottweiler, the Siberian Husky,
the Akita, the Bullmastiff, and the Giant Schnauzer. Generally,
these dogs require an experienced owner who can firmly establish
leadership. Many of the dogs of the working group have thick
undercoats and shed a lot, so you will want to consider if this is
something you want to deal with. You also want to make sure you
choose a dog in this category from a reputable breeder as hip
is common in these breeds.

Toy dogs are very popular today as you see many celebrities toting
around their adorable little dogs. But don’t let the size fool you.
Oftentimes, these cute little dogs have big personalities. Dogs in
this group include the Pug, the Shih Tzu, the Pomeranian, and the
Maltese. These small dogs still require training and a fair amount
of exercise, but may be a better choice for apartment dwellers and
people with older children.

If you have a farm and work livestock, you may want to consider one
of the dogs in the herding group. These dogs include the Border
, the Australian Shepherd, the German Shepherd, and the
Shetland Sheepdog. The Border Collie is a very intelligent dog that
requires a lot of exercise, both physical and mental. If you want
to spend a lot of active time with a dog, you might choose a dog
like this.

You may be interested in considering a mixed breed dog. These dogs
can be wonderful family companions, as much so as purebred dogs.

Due to the large population of dogs, many people are interested in
adopting a dog. Talk to your local humane society or breed rescue
organization for assistance with adoption.

The most important thing to do when choosing a dog is to take your
time and get to know many different breeds of dog. Talk to pet
store personnel, groomers, breeders, and your veterinary staff for
assistance. Make sure to consider all aspects of dog care and you
can ensure a happy time for your new dog and family.

Your Child vs. Your Pet: How to Keep the Peace

August 25, 2008


How will my dog and my new baby get along? Will I have to get rid
of my loyal, furry companion in order to ensure the safety of my
child? These are the questions that plague many dog owners as they
anticipate the birth and homecoming of their first child. The good
news is that even though the process of introducing your dog to
your newest family addition is a careful and cautious one, it’s not
impossible. With some pre-planning on your part, you can train your
dog to get along with your child and can raise your child to
respect and love your dog as much as you do.

Getting Your Pet Used to a Baby

So, you’re expecting a baby. Congratulations! This is a time of
change, discovery and joy like no other. If you are a dog owner,
however, your happiness may be tempered by thoughts of your dog and
how your “fur baby” will react to all of these monumental changes.
Fear not! If you start preparing your dog for the baby’s arrival
well in advance of the baby’s due date, you should be able to
minimize any associated conflicts or problems.

If your dog currently has access to all rooms in the house, get him
used to not entering which ever room will serve as the nursery.
Keep that door closed so your dog will not consider it part of his
regular territory. Then, get the dog used to your being in the room
without him. Keep the nursery door closed while you’re assembling
baby furniture or decorating the room. This way, the dog will learn
that even though there is activity there, he is not a part of it.
Make sure, though, to pay a little extra attention to your dog once
you leave the nursery and return to his territory.

Has your dog been to obedience school? If not, now is a great time
for you both to go. Not only will it allow you to spend some
quality time together before the baby comes, it will give you the
tools necessary to control your dog’s behavior. It will also help
your dog get used to being in a room full of activity, other dogs
and (maybe) children. This aspect of obedience school is an
especially important one if your pre-baby household has been a
relatively quiet one.

Another way to get your dog used to some of the noises a baby
brings is to buy some tapes of babies crying. Start playing the
tapes at a very low volume until the dog seems not to notice the
sound anymore. Then, gradually increase the volume until it reaches
a realistic level (the process should take place over days and
weeks, not all in one day). When your baby cries at home, your dog
will be less startled.

When your baby finally comes home, keep the dog away from the
infant for the first few days. He should already be used to baby
noises, but get him used to the baby’s smell by putting one of the
baby’s blankets in his resting or sleeping area. When it’s time to
introduce your baby and dog to each other, keep the dog on a short
leash and reward him during the introductions. This will reinforce
the idea that the baby is a positive thing. Also, pay attention to
your dog while he and the baby are in the same room. This will help
your dog avoid seeing the baby as a threat or something that is
taking you away from him. No matter how well trained your dog is,
though, never leave the baby alone with him.

Take extra care as your child enters the crawling and walking
stage. Depending on the breed, your dog may be absolutely terrified
of this little crawling creature or he may view your child as prey.
Neither of these scenarios is permanent, though. Your dog just has
to get used to your baby moving itself around as opposed to being
carried around. Keep your dog next to you while the baby is
crawling or walking and reward him for being still (this is where
the obedience training comes in really handy!). Your dog will most
likely get used to your child’s new movements in no time at all.

Teaching Your Child How to Properly Interact with the Family Dog

As your child grows, it’s important to teach him or her how to
properly deal with and treat the family dog (or any dog, for that
matter). Teach your child from early on to “play nice” with the
dog. Teach him or her not to pull the dog’s fur, strike the dog or
startle the dog on purpose. Dogs are animals and their first
instincts, when faced with a threat, may lead them to bite or

Your child should also be taught not to chase a dog when it’s
running away from them or to bother it when it’s sleeping or
eating. Teaching your child that a dog is a living creature, not a
toy, will go a long way toward preventing some avoidable acts of

Puppy 911: Recognizing symptoms of emergency

August 18, 2008


For many of us, when our dogs are ill, it is often quite difficult
to know whether or not their condition warrants a trip to the
emergency room.

In an emergency, the first thing you should know is where to take
your dog. Many veterinarians offer 24 hour emergency service.
Please make sure to ask your vet if this is a service offered by
their practice. If your vet does not offer this service, know where
your local veterinary emergency hospital is located.

So how do you know if you are experiencing an emergency? Most
veterinarians will tell you that if you feel the situation is
urgent to please call the closest emergency clinic and speak to a
veterinary staff member. They will assess the situation and in most
cases, have you bring your dog in to be examined. The following are
some common emergency situations and ideas for how to handle them.

Acute Abdominal Pain. If your dog is showing signs of abdominal
pain such as tenderness to the touch, standing with his back
arched, or refusing food, you should take him to the closest
emergency clinic immediately. Other signs of abdominal distress can
include vomiting, crying, shaking and difficulty breathing. These
may be signs of Gastric Torsion. This condition can come on
suddenly and in most cases affects large, deep chested dogs but any
dog can be affected. This condition must be treated as soon as
possible. There are other conditions associated with abdominal pain
such as constipation, kidney or liver disease, or even a common
stomach ache, but it is important to have tests done to rule out
anything serious.

Uncontrollable Bleeding or Bleeding from the Chest. If your dog
gets a cut, you should apply direct pressure with a clean dry
bandage to the wound. The bleeding should stop within ten minutes,
after which time, you should make an appointment to see your vet as
soon as possible. The vet can only give your dog stitches within a
small window of time. However, if the bleeding does not stop within
twenty minutes or the bleeding is from the chest, you should take
your dog to the emergency clinic immediately.

Broken Bones. If your dog has been in an accident where you suspect
broken bones, first call your regular vet to see if you can get an
appointment soon. If not, take your dog to the emergency clinic.
They will need to take x-rays to determine whether or not bones
have been broken.

Breathing Difficulties. If your dog is having breathing
difficulties, take them to the closest emergency hospital
immediately. There are many reasons why your dog could be having
breathing problems and many of them are serious.

Car Accidents. If your dog is hit by a car, it is important to take
him to the closest emergency clinic immediately. Even if he is
acting normal, he may have internal injuries that need to be taken
care of quickly. Wrap your dog in a blanket to help prevent shock,
and keep away from his mouth as many dogs that are in pain will
bite (even if they never have before).

Continuous Convulsions. If your dog has a minor seizure or two, it
is a serious problem and you should call your veterinarian at once.
However, if your dog has a series of convulsions that last for more
than a few minutes, you should place a blanket over your dog, keep
away from his mouth and get him to the nearest emergency clinic
immediately. There are several reasons why your dog could be having
convulsions including epilepsy, metabolic problems, brain tumors,
and poisoning and fits of seizures are considered to be life
threatening in many cases.

In any serious situation, if you feel that your dog should be seen
by a veterinarian, call his office to see how soon you can get in.
Many veterinarians have technicians available to assess situations
and answer questions to help you determine the seriousness of your
dog’s condition. If your regular veterinarian is not available or
if you feel that it is an emergency, the best thing to do, if at
all possible, is to call the emergency clinic and tell them what is
going on and that you are on the way. This helps the staff prepare
for your situation in advance so the veterinary team is ready to
work on your dog when you get there. If you have further questions
on what kinds of conditions are emergency situations, please ask
your veterinarian.

“This isn’t the Hilton, Ma’am!” Tips to prepare your dog for a boarding kennel

August 13, 2008


It’s time to head to Las Vegas for your long awaited week of
vacation. But, what do you do with THE DOG? Some people are unable
to face the prospects of boarding Fido and therefore, they stay
home. Others either impose on their friends or hire “pet sitters
to come into their homes. And finally, a vast number of people
choose to board their pets in kennels.

Before committing your dog to a particular kennel, you should visit
the facility for a personal inspection. Does it appear to be clean,
does it smell clean, is it well lit and ventilated? How is the
temperature? Are the cages and runs of adequate size? A phone call
to the American Boarding Kennels Association (719-667-1600) will
determine if the kennel under consideration meets accepted
standards and is accredited.

After you’ve made your final kennel selection, it’s time to prepare
your dog for its visit. First and foremost, make sure your dog’s
vaccinations are up to date. A kennel will reject your dog if his
rabies vaccination isn’t current. Furthermore, even though you’ve
selected a sparklingly clean boarding facility, your dog is subject
to any number of communicable illnesses always present in a
boarding population. A current shot record is good insurance
against some of these diseases.

If at all possible, you should consider stopping by the kennel with
your dog for a brief visit. He can meet the staff and become
somewhat familiar with the surroundings. An overnight stay will do
wonders to prepare the dog for his longer visit.

Always provide as much information as possible to the kennel staff.
Obviously they will need to know about any medications they’ll have
to administer, food allergies, whether or not the dog socializes
well with other animals and what, if any, particular fears or
phobias he might have. If you happen to be boarding more than one
dog, you might want to request that they be housed in the same pen
or allowed to exercise at the same time in the same run.

If Fido requires a special diet, the kennel may request that you
provide them with a supply of his food. This will usually depend on
the extent of the dog’s special requirements and will be settled in
advance of the dog’s visit. Make sure the kennel has the name and
phone number of your veterinarian and a phone number where they can
reach you in case of an emergency.

Most dogs will benefit from bringing familiar items with them. A
special toy, their blanket, or even one of your slippers will
comfort them and stave off feelings of being abandoned. By all
means, don’t wash the item; familiar smells are half the battle, so
don’t destroy them.

When packing and preparing for your trip, try to go about it as
calmly and casually as possible. Hectic packing and rushing about
will alert Rover that something is amiss and by the time you’re
ready to transport him to the kennel, he’ll already be under
stress. Gather his kennel items and have them in the car prior to
loading Rover.

When dropping him off at the kennel, try to remain as nonchalant
and as calm as possible. Don’t be overly affectionate or do
anything that might cause Rover to attach too much significance to
his plight. The objective is to minimize, rather than exaggerate.
Keep it low key – no long goodbyes, no tears and no emotion. After
handing Rover’s lead to a kennel staffer, allow the staffer to
distract the dog and quietly slip out.

If you’re a frequent traveler, Rover will get used to being boarded
and in most cases will look forward to the experience, especially
if he gets an opportunity to mix with other dogs at the kennel.
He’ll get to know the staff and look forward to seeing them.

Once both dog and owner get used to the idea of boarding and become
completely comfortable with the experience, being separated will
become much less stressful. While away, the owner will be at peace,
confident that his faithful friend is safe and being well cared
for. And, Rover will be able to lay back and enjoy his vacation as

The Pampered Pet: Tell “tail” signs that your dog is spoiled

August 8, 2008


Huddled under my umbrella the other day, I was dodging raindrops
and puddles as I walked the three blocks from the parking garage to
my office. As I was passing an apartment building, I saw an elderly
woman standing near the entrance holding an umbrella over her
little white poodle dog. Unfortunately, the umbrella wasn’t large
enough to cover both her and the dog, so she was getting soaked.
Unable to withhold comment, I said, “Do you think he’ll melt if he
gets wet?” She responded, “Well, he’s sweet enough to melt, but the
truth is that if I don’t hold the umbrella for him he gets angry
and pouts and won’t eat his lunch.” And, by dinner time he’s an
absolute bear! Welcome to the world of the pampered pet.

Although man’s best friend has always been his dog, the degree to
which man has rewarded that friendship has quite possibly gotten
out of hand. Evidence to support that statement can be found in the
food we give our pets, the “attire” we put on their backs, the
jewelry with which we adorn them, the amenities we provide in their
surroundings and the provisions we make for their temporary care
when we absolutely have to leave them behind. If necessary, we send
“Rover” to counseling sessions with dog psychologists, provide
outrageously expensive dental care, clip/wash/curl their hair and
make sure their nails are done so as not to embarrass them in front
of their friends.

How many of us have spent a restless night because “Missy”, our pug
faced Pekinese, can’t seem to get comfortable in our bed or “Bull”,
our six ounce Chihuahua, growls and snaps at us when we roll over
on him. Yes, for those of you that are disbelievers, many people do
share their beds with their doggies. In fact, I’ve heard of many
cases where couples sleep apart rather than crowd the dog. Have you
ever tried to argue with a sleepy Doberman Pincher? Forget about

A thriving and lucrative industry has grown up around the pampered
. Pet owners spend multi-millions each year on their little
four-legged friends. Occasionally the news media will offer a blurb
about the pet owner who spent hundreds, even thousands of dollars
on a diamond studded dog collar for “Fluffy.” However, this
phenomenon is actually rather commonplace. Pick up the “Yellow
Pages” in any city and you’ll find scads of pet salons that offer
expensive pet jewelry and accessories. And just because you’ve gone
to the expense of buying that ruby red sweater, with matching
rubies, for “Fifi”, don’t think your obligation have been
fulfilled. If “Fifi” can’t have a gold rimmed feeding bowl, like
her friends have, she’ll no doubt have to double up on her
counseling sessions. The expense of this could easily exceed the
cost of the bowl.

Now let’s get down to diet – what can we feed “Prince”, the proud
Rottweiler? To be honest, Prince isn’t all that fond of dry dog
. He’ll eat some of it, but only if mixed with some of that
delicious lamb gravy he likes. And, just like most of us, he
prefers light fare in the mornings; perhaps a few scrambled eggs
and just a slice or two of bacon. Careful not to overfeed though;
he likes his lunch of broiled liver at precisely 12 noon. No need
to make a big fuss about dinner though, he’ll usually eat some (or
most) of whatever it is that you’re having.

This scenario might involve a slight stretch, but it is certainly
not too far fetched. We worry more about what our pets will eat, or
if they’re “off their feed”, than we worry about what our kids eat.
I wonder how it is we know that our kids will eat when they get
hungry, but we can’t accept that this truism might apply to our
dogs too. We feel compelled to continue to offer our dogs a full
menu from which to select and if all else fails, it’s time to
schedule a trip to the Vet.

Speaking of Veterinarians – most of them now offer direct deposit
so your entire paycheck can be directed right into their accounts.
Veterinary expenses have gone through the roof and there’s no end
to the elaborate medical procedures now being provided routinely. A
friend who bellyached for months about the cost of dental
appliances (braces) for his kid willingly shelled out $2500 to fix
his dog’s overbite because “Tiger” appeared to be in discomfort
when chewing on his rawhide bone.

Now that we’ve clearly established that we spoil our dogs, let’s
offer a word or two in our own defense. Dogs love us without
reservation. Scold them, treat then meanly, tease them, leave them
for long periods of time or forget to feed them and they’ll still
love you and want nothing more than to be near you. Throughout
history, dogs have given their lives for their masters. “Police”
dogs will face an armed attacker to protect their handler and
“Seeing Eye” dogs will risk death or injury to steer their Charge
away from a speeding car. A dog’s love for its master is pure and
unquestioning. In my opinion, they deserve all the pampering they
can get.

Pets make us feel good. They comfort us, allow us to be ourselves
and give those of us that need it, a reason for living.