August 2011

Full Disclosure

Thank you, Jennifer, for your questions about why we do not describe what "affected" means in the Litter Summaries and why not all ortho results are detailed in Berner Garde and/or OFA. These are good questions and lead into the important topic of full disclosure -- and disclosure about the H Litter. (click Read more to -- well, read more!)

Adventures in Tubing and a Hint

Floating down a river on inner tubes just sounds so easy -- why is it that I always have some "adventure" when we do it?! Last year we had the two hour float that actually turned into about 18 (or so it seemed) because the river was moving at the speed of a slug and there was no place to get out and hop on one foot -- backwards -- the rest of the way, which would have been faster than floating the five miles. Then there was the time I dropped my Blackberry in the river -- it does dry out eventually but is never the same. And what about the time the eagle was eating a live fish directly in front of me -- majestic and all that but I have an extreme fish phobia and nobody is allowed to suggest that there are fish in the river so that was a little traumatizing. The Camp Berner float was very fun -- except that Zaida's mom, Barb, kept trying to drown. You get the idea -- somehow floating peacefully down the Bitterroot River is never as idyllic in real life.... (Remember -- click "Read more" for full blog)

Why Not Zoey? Cadi. Mrs. Maize. Supported Entry. WOW.

How is that for a mixed up Blog title?! Let's just get right to it...

Dear Anonymous:

Thank you for your comment and question -- I appreciate comments a lot :) Yes, indeed -- why not Zoey? That is an excellent question and trust me -- I considered it. (Remember -- click "Read more" for full blog)

H Litter Plan

My dogs teach me so many things; the latest involve a reminder that I am not really in charge, and also the opportunity to practice flexibility and acceptance.

So in the Spring Cadi got pregnant -- and resorbed her litter. This was very disappointing and sad, but gave us more time with Mac and seeing him at shows and in new places helped us to decide that he and Cadi could be a good match. And so Mac was waiting for his chance to be a dad, and then Cadi decided that a squeaker was a better option than puppies.

(To read/see the full Blog entry, click on the "Read More" that is directly under this sentence.)

East Litter Boys

We are catching up on our pictures -- the East Litter celebrated their fourth birthday in July, and these are photos of the three boys from that litter.

Full Litter Data, Weekend Report & Flower Girls

I am a big fan of keeping track of whole litters and gathering as much data as possible about each dog. For example, we are one of the very few breeders who x-ray entire litters -- most just do their show/breeding dogs. We also like to stay in contact with owners and hear the good, the bad and the ugly about the dogs we have produced. None of this is easy -- if we never asked or x-rayed we could pretend that every puppy was perfect!

Whole litter data contributes to informed decision-making -- this is the reason to do it. Littermates help paint a picture that can assist in deciding what direction to go with a breeding - let me give you an example... Sydney's litter has not all been x-rayed yet -- we are missing just a couple. One was done and will be redone because of a potential injury that was healing so we actually have more data than shows up, and what we know so far is that we have a litter that is strong in terms of orthopedics; nobody has failed hips and we have just one elbow issue (again, we still have a couple to do).

Cadi, Cadi, Cadi...

Let's start with something cheerful -- Spot and Dot came calling again and volunteered to prune the lilac bush in exchange for having their picture taken -- deal!

Winning and Change and So On...

It is very odd for me to write on this new Blog site. The old Blog site was familiar and comfortable and I was able to pretend I was just writing for a group of friends. This new site, however, feels very exposed and unfamiliar.

New stuff is always hard, which is why we are all so resistant to change. Many of us cannot get past the old theories about dog training, which involve dominance and jerking and so on. There is even a dog training tv show to help dog owners feel like it is okay not to change, and to train like people did when nobody thought too hard about it.

I have been asked several times recently to teach competition obedience classes, and I am having a very hard time mustering up the courage (or stomach) to face the reality of what people do to their dogs in training. You try to helpfully offer different ideas that do not involve jerking and punishing, but change is hard -- even when what we are doing isn't working for us.

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