Mentors, Mentees and All the Love
Welcome to Pure Dog Talk. I am your host Laura Reeves, and today is episode 600. Like holy podcast palooza Batman. There has been an awful lot of water under the bridge since November of 2016. If you haven’t, you should make a point to watch the Live@Five episode with Mary Albee from this month, where we talk about the creation of pure Dog talk. Everything from what to name it to her dragging me kicking and screaming into the role as host. It’s pretty epic conversation.
And for everybody who’s listening, just know that you can go to the website puredogtalk.com and the blog post will have links to a bunch of these things that I’m talking about today. I have lots of thoughts, but instead of droning on about how impactful this podcast actually is, which I know you know because I hear from you all on the daily, I want to dig into a topic that is front of mind for every single one of our listeners.
Not a day goes by in one of the, I don’t know, 9 million groups on dog book or in our own patrons group or somewhere. That there isn’t commentary about mentors and mentees and the relationships they’re in. I even touched on this in a conversation with Vicki Ronchette on her show Dog Prep School Facebook Live a few weeks back.
The fact is, for me, the most moving and powerful moments of the last seven years have been when random strangers tell me that pure dog talk and the work that we do here has served as their mentors. That pure dog talk, me as the host and all of our amazing guests – shout out to every single one of y’all – that we’re the reasons that they’re breeding dogs or showing dogs or participating in a club. And that veterinary voice episodes with Marty Greer of literally saved their dog’s life. That I, that I was their virtual mentor from afar, in a tiny, tinny voice over their smartphone.
So I wanted to dive into the concept of mentorship more in this epic moment of episode 600. This day represents a truly mind-bending amount of time and energy. Learning, growing, succeeding, failing. And I guess I’d like to use that as an avatar for really a larger conversation. Growing up this podcast, this community, this ever blossoming dialogue is in many ways analogous to the effort involved as both mentor and mentee in any relationship.
And as it turns out, the ability and willingness to share knowledge and accept the sharing of knowledge in a mentoring type relationship is not actually hardwired into the human brain. So I went searching for, you guessed it, some more insight and some more knowledge.
Norwegian Elkhounds: The OG GPS Tracking System
Kamilla Engen, Norwegian Elkhound breeder, judge and moose hunter in Norway, joins host Laura Reeves for a Love the Breeds discussion of this ancient hunting breed. Engen judged the breed’s US National Specialty in May.
Per the Norwegian Elkhound Club of America, The Norwegian Elkhound is bold and energetic, a hardy gray hunting dog known for his lush silver-gray coat and dignified but friendly demeanor.
In appearance, a typical northern dog of medium size and substance, square in profile, close coupled and balanced in proportions. The head is broad with prick ears, and the tail is tightly curled and carried over the back. The distinctive gray coat is dense and smooth lying.
As a hunter, the Norwegian Elkhound has the courage, agility and stamina to hold moose and other big game at bay by barking and dodging attack, and the endurance to track for long hours in all weather over rough and varied terrain.
The durable Elkhound is among Europe’s oldest dogs. They sailed with the Vikings and figure in Norse art and legend.
You Get the Dog You Deserve
“(These are) excellent family dogs,” Engen said. “We also enjoy our nature. And it’s the perfect companionship if you are hiking, going in the mountain. I always walk my dogs and so they are good off leash. I always said that you get the dog that you deserve. If you want the dog to get back to you, you have to start with that. It’s a training. Of course. But if you start early and make it positive to come back to you, yeah, of course (they come when called). Because the ability that makes it an enormously great hunter is the ability to cooperate with the hunter.
“We have two kinds of forums of hunting that use these dogs. The one is the most usual is loose. You let the dog loose and you have a GPS tracker on it so you can see where it is and you can also see when it stands still and you can hear the barking. Then you have contact with a moose.
“The other one is with a very long leash, 5-6 meters. And let me just explain a little bit why we do that in Norway. Norway is a tiny country compared to the United States and we have distinct areas that we are allowed to hunt. In these areas you can hunt a certain number of mooses. OK and these dogs? They run far. And the and a moose doesn’t always stop (in the confined area). So, if you have small areas, it’s very helpful to have a leash because then you can control it a lot more and you can search a whole area.
“They locate the moose from a quite a long distance. They are incredible, their ability to do this. Then they located, they run over to it and hopefully they are able to get the moose to turn around towards them. To defend themselves. This is an old, old instinct that moose have from wolves and bears. And then the dog barks. From old times before the GPS trackers, the hunter hears that noise. And that was their GPS.”
Basset Fauve de Bretagne: Old Breed is New to AKC Miscellaneous
Nick Frost, AKC judge and hound specialist, joins host Laura Reeves to talk about the charming Basset Fauve de Bretagne. Better known for his Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen breeding program, Frost was involved with the Fauve in England in the late 1970s.
The Fauve, as the breed is commonly called, entered AKC’s Miscellaneous competition for the first time in July of this year. They have previously competed in Open Shows and participated in the Foundation Stock Service.
According to the Basset Fauve de Bretagne Club of America, “The Basset Fauve de Bretagne is truly an old French Hound, tracing back to the 1500’s when Francois I had a pack of Breton hounds which he hunted regularly.”
Fauves, like many European breeds, were nearly lost due to the World Wars and had to be reconstructed from just a handful of breeding stock, Frost said.
In France, the breed is a rabbit hunting hound and the French are very proud of the breed’s hunting ability. They are kept as pack hounds in their native land and as a result are very good with other dogs.
“(The Fauves are) very sweet tempered,” Frost observed. “I found them more so even than the (PBGV). I never experienced a fight with my Fauves.”
These short-legged hounds carry a short, hard, dense wire coat, less profusely furnished than the distant cousin the PBGV. Minimal, low maintenance grooming is required for Fauves with correct coats.
“It’s a breed that needs activity,” Frost noted. “Like all pack hounds, they just need a companion. They are great with kids. The breed is a bit more people-focused than many scent hounds.”
“This is still a hound,” Frost said. “It still can be “deaf”, you can’t trust them to come when called every time. They are still being hunted and worked full time in Europe. So that prey drive is still close to the surface.”
Puppy Strangles, Pyoderma and Neonatal Ophthalmia
Dr. Marty Greer, DVM joins host Laura Reeves to discuss some of the weird and scary diseases that can affect our puppies, including puppy strangles, puppy pyoderma and neonatal opththalmia.
“Essentially what it is, is it’s an allergic reaction or an over immune reaction to bacteria that are normally found on the skin. So we normally see streps and staph on the skin of mammals. Puppies, humans, whatever. And in a small population of puppies, we see this allergic reaction. And the reason we call it strangles is because the lymph nodes in the neck become enlarged, hugely enlarged. And sometimes that’s the first symptoms that are seen. Sometimes they’re skin lesions that are noticed first.
“They typically start on the lips, at the very front of the face, at the very front of the lips. And then they’ll move back, and then they’ll move to the eyelids and then they’ll move to the ears. It’s sort of like when you have an anaphylactic reaction and a dog, a vaccination or beesting. It starts at the very tip of the nose and then moves its way back.
“They’ll see open draining wounds and they’ll be really sticky. There’s a lot of serum that comes out of them, so they’re really sticky. Gooey, messy things and fussy.
“A fair number of puppies have (this), especially the little girls, right in front of their vulva on their tummies where there’s not much hair. They get urine scalds, they develop something (more) serious. “(It’s) not a really serious condition. And anytime I can treat something topically just with cleaning it with wipes or with Chlorhexidine or a shampoo or applying a nice type of a cream or an ointment to it and get rid of it without using an oral antibiotic. I’m going to the same with vaginitis and balanoposthitis in the boys. Do not routinely put your little girls that have vaginitis or your little boys that have balanoposthitis, that green pussy stuff that comes out of the tip of the prepuce. They don’t need to be on an antibiotic for that. It’s not serious treat it locally. Be smart about it.
“Somehow bacteria got behind the sealed eyelids before they open their eyes. I’ve seen it happen with females that have had metritis. If you read the literature, it says that it’s in unclean conditions. Well, in my experience it has been households that are incredibly clean. Like you could eat off their floors, but there’s bacteria in the environment. Often from the bitch having metritis or mastitis something in the environment and the bacteria gets behind this sealed eyelids and turns into this little pocket of pus. It’s quite disgusting.
“This is a medical emergency. You need to come in immediately, get the eyelids open, get them on oral and topical antibiotics and you’ll save their vision. And I have seen multiple puppies because it wasn’t recognized, either the puppy didn’t have enough swelling for the owner to recognize it or the eyelids didn’t open on time. Or a variety of different things. And the puppies can be blind. I had one puppy that was blind in both eyes, so it’s very serious and needs to be handled.”
Black and Tan Coonhounds with Kathy Corbett
Pure Dog Talk’s Love the Breed series, focused on hound breeds, continues today with 50 years of knowledge about Black and Tan Coonhounds as breeder Kathy Corbett joins host Laura Reeves for this insightful conversation.
Kathy and Jim Corbett acquired their first Black and Tan Coonhound sight unseen in 1971. They wanted a short coated dog of a size that was easy to reach for a pat on the head and was good with the family. The WyEast Black and Tan Coonhounds are legend, including Boomer, Am/Can/UKC Ch. WyEast Why Not.
Am/Can Ch. WyEast Why Not was the all time top winning Black and Tan Coonhound in the history of the breed with a show record which includes 12 All-Breed Best in Shows, 64 Hound Group wins, and 201 Hound Group Placements. A grandson of National Specialty and Hound Group winning Ch. WyEast Wanderlust, Boomer was number one Black and Tan Coonhound in total dogs defeated for five successive years – 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, and 1991. He was also awarded Best of Breed at the National Specialty of the American Black and Tan Coonhound Club for the years 1990 and 1991.
“(Black and Tan Coonhounds) have a kind of a muddled history,” Corbett said. “We certainly go back to foxhounds. George Washington had fox hounds and he had dogs that happened to be black and tan in color. It was quite a while before the utilitarian dogs that would hunt for anything with fur that could run were divided essentially by coat color and a little bit by their style of hunting.
“Five of the coonhound breeds generally were used to track and trail coons and other animals that would either go to ground or tree. The Plot hound is much more aggressive and was used primarily for bear because it takes a tough dog to take on a bear.
“But in general, these were dogs that would chase anything with fur that would run and they were the dogs that put meat on the table. Some of the breeds, like Treeing Walkers, were a little faster. Black and Tans were the ones that weren’t necessarily as fast, but would stay on a trail forever and had great endurance. And they’re also wonderful dogs to have around. They were very reliable with other dogs and children.
“We loved their temperament. We wanted a dog that would run all night if we wanted it to, or go hiking or camping or anything that the family wanted to do and then would come in the house and lie down and go to sleep. And that’s exactly what we found.
“When we place a puppy, we do try to impress upon the people that this is an on-leash breed. They are bred to hunt independently. They are bred to take off on their own. And they will. And it’s your job to find them, to follow them. Their end of the bargain is that when they get something up a tree that they will yell their heads off so you can find them. But if that doesn’t happen, for instance if they’re after a deer, they usually just go and go and go.
“So in general for hiking or anything else, they are on lead dogs and at home they need a fence. They’ll range for 10 miles. If they remember where they came from, they’ll come back. But they go, and it’s not a matter of training. You’re working against hundreds of years of instinct.”
Love the Breeds: Salukis with Caroline Coile
Author and Saluki breeder Caroline Coile joins host Laura Reeves for the kick-off of our Love the Breeds feature.
Some of Coile’s tongue-in-cheek descriptions of the ancient breed include “breathing furniture,” “arm candy” and “they don’t like to show their feelings.”
“We have a lot of artwork that does indicate that there were saluki-like dogs … all over the Middle East,” Coile said. “But not just the Middle East, but everywhere the Silk Road went. We see them in China and obviously, it’s pretty easy to take this dog and bring it with you to trade or hunt or whatever.
“We know that some of the first Salukis that came to the western part of the world, to England, were there by the 1700s because there was a famous painting of Zilla … she was, if we can judge from this painting, a gorgeous black and tan, very refined, long feathering… she would have won in the show ring today.
“I think that there were two different families (of Salukis), those that went with the Bedouin and they probably hunted hare and rabbit and helped fill their pot with that whatever they could catch. And then I think there were some that the royalty took out on the giant Gazelle Hunts, which would have been a great King Tut and all that sort of thing. A great sport, but probably not a cost efficient one in terms of, you know, calories per what you can bring back.
“An advantage to the Saluki is how peaceful they are. When they’re not going, they’re peaceful and they’re not fighting with each other. They’re not fighters. They get along. This is the norm. They like to sleep in your bed. They won’t stay off your furniture. They are climbers. I have one that can get on the refrigerator. Oh well, she doesn’t just jump up from the floor, she gets on the counter beforehand and won’t stay off that though so I put stuff on the refrigerator to keep it away from her.
“I know one of the things that I think is really important to get across to folks that want to live with what I sort of jokingly, to my friends, refer to as dog arm candy. They’re really beautiful. (But) the important part to remember is they’re dogs and their long developed natural instincts are to chase and kill things and do that very independently.
“The whole motto is that saying ‘if looks could kill’ … you look at their breed standard and that basically defines the saluki breed standard in four words. I get a lot of inquiries from new pet owners saying, ‘We’re marathon runners and we heard that Salukis are long distance runners.’ And I have to say, ‘Yeah, they’re long distance sprinters, if that makes any sense? They can run at full double suspension gallop longer than any other breed, but I guarantee you that if you try to trot with it for any length of time, it’s like dragging an anchor behind you. They’re not into that. They like to go full speed.
“And then the other thing I would say is that I don’t know about other breeds, but Salukis are the biggest complainers of the dog world. Oh, it’s too hot. It’s too cold. Because they act like they’re royalty.”
Temperament Testing for Better Puppy Placements
Hannah Crane, National Puppy Program Manager for Dogs for Better Lives, joins host Laura Reeves to take a deep dive on temperament testing for better puppy placements for all breeders. While Crane uses the system to test puppies going in to service work for her organization and others, she discusses why all breeders can follow the protocol to help make the best possible matches for puppies and buyers.
“Temperament tests are exactly how they sound,” Crane said. “They help us to assess and identify any temperaments that the puppies are showing us in a litter. Are we looking at a puppy who is confident and calm in any environment? Are we looking at a puppy who is maybe shy or reserved, unsure of their surroundings? It really helps give us a snapshot in time, what that litter is showing as well as the individual puppies.
“We get to look at each puppy and the litter as a whole because that’s great data for our breeders. We can see what’s trending. The particular test that we use helps us to see how the puppy reacts to different environments and how it reacts to different people, different stimuli, novel objects and also different stressors.
“Typically, you wanna do them between seven and eight weeks old. That’s really the prime time to do it. If you’re being really picky, 7 1/2 weeks old is prime. You’re right at their sponge stage. They’re really coming into their own behaviors in the litter, finding their social status as well as right before they go into their first fear period, too. And that’s essential.
“(Temperament testing is) great for private breeders as well. For you guys to be able to identify which puppies will be successful in a private home or a show dog home or a sport home, I mean our ultimate goal both of us, you know, whether you’re a school or a private breeder, the ultimate goal is to set up these puppies for success, to set up our families and our clients for success. We want that puppy or dog to stay in that home for the rest of its life. This is how we do that.”
Taking on the Taboos: Learn the Inside Story of Veterinary Procedures
Dr. Marty Greer, DVM and host Laura Reeves take on the recently taboo subjects of veterinary procedures such as bark softening, tail docking, ear cropping and dewclaw removal. Greer covers the how, when and, importantly, WHY of these procedures.
Some people call it urban bark. Some people call it bark softening. It kind of gentrifies the term a little bit because you’re really not taking away the bark. You really are softening it. And there’s a lot of misconceptions about it. I’ve heard all kinds of stories about how cruel it is and how difficult the procedure is for the patient. And honestly, none of them are true.
I don’t see problems with the dewclaws coming off. I know there are people who feel that it weakens the carpal joint in the dog and I, to this day, have not seen a dog breakdown it’s Carpus and have difficulty with its carpal joint related to a declaw removal. We do see dewclaws that get torn off during hunting, during other kind of activities …. I actually haven’t seen any literature that suggests that they’ve got proof that (dewclaw removal) makes a difference.
Nothing, nothing is more horrible than a broken, bleeding tail. Nothing. They crack them on the wall in the crate, in the kennel. And then they start to bleed. And then, oh my God, it looks like an axe murder happened in your house. It is unbelievable how much blood they can spray around from the end of their tail, and they’re very hard to bandage. They don’t heal very well, so they can be a real challenge.
There’s a lot of reasons that people do tails. It’s not just about breed type, it is really about function as well.
Watch Dr. Greer perform this simple procedure.
Breed type is a big deal. If you don’t crop the ears on a Doberman, it doesn’t look like a Doberman.
I think we have to be really honest with ourselves that it’s about appearance, it’s about breed type. It’s primarily a cosmetic procedure and we have to be honest about it. But you have to decide what you’re breeding for because again, ear set and ear leather has changed because people don’t really pay attention to it.
I will tell you that a lot of the procedures that (some folks) are telling people not to do are far less invasive and far more beneficial for the pet than spaying and neutering. Because why do we spay and neuter our dogs? Because we’re too lazy to control their sexual behavior. It’s not for their health. The American public has become complacent and will not (train) their dogs.
Prevent or Correct Coat Stains in White Dogs
Allison Alexander returns to the podcast to discuss how to prevent or correct coat stains in white dogs. Allison and host Laura Reeves take a true deep dive into the details, tips, tricks and methods to manage unsightly staining for all coat types.
“One of the things I’ll say about white dogs,” Allison said, “is even if you haven’t prevented it and you need your dog to be whiter, you need to follow some of the prevention protocols in order to keep them white. In my experience, once you start whitening a coat, even with something you might think is gentle, our dogs do tend to restain a little bit quicker.
“Basically there are three of the more popular ways to keep our dogs white once they’re stained. So, they are using a bluing shampoo, something that has some bluing in it. But what that is doing, it’s really just changing the spectrum. They take something yellow, they put a purple filter over it and then our eye sees that as white and so the problem with that is you do that too often and then your eye starts to see the purple or Gray or something in between there.
“And then the other popular one is an enzymatic cleaner. So those are super popular, but what those actually do is the enzyme is actually eating the stain, therefore eating some of the keratin that’s in the hair and then that makes the hair actually quite weak after a while and it can not only go dingy, turn different color, (it) can actually snap off. So that’s kind of scary.
“Same with bleach. Bleach is doing the same thing. This is why prevention is so important, because as much as we like to whiten our dogs, you kind of want to do it as delicately or as less often as possible. And the more often you’re doing it kind of the more damage you’re doing, right? So, for me, it starts with prevention.
“A lot of these shampoos, how they work, is think of a hair cuticle like scales on a fish, and we want those scales to be super tight and waterproof. Most shampoos that we use work by blowing the hair shaft open to suck the dirt out of the hair. Very few products seal it, so we want products that seal it so it doesn’t restain as quickly and to me that’s just part of the game. Wash, condition, prevent and dry because the damp part is causing (a lot of) the problems.
“I (have) used a very old English recipe (to remove stains)… I use milk of magnesia, the 3% hydrogen peroxide, so the first aid kind, and basically enough cornstarch to bind the two together like a loose toothpaste. And I would literally smother (the dog) in it (after) last ex. And then I just put them to bed. If they’re living in your house, they should sleep in a crate that night because it’s messy. And I let it dry and it’s like the milk of Magnesia helps draw the staining out naturally. Now this isn’t something that’s going to take a urine-stained dog to white overnight like this. (It takes) like 3 weeks, but it also didn’t damage the coat. And I just kept reapplying and reapplying and reapplying and you know, some of those things do really work.”
Listen to the full episode for more “secret menu” tips! And visit Allison’s Leading Edge Dog Show Academy for complete grooming courses.
Breeding Basics LIVE with Laura from Pedigrees to Puppies
Host Laura Reeves takes the LIVE audience through breeding basics, reading pedigrees, health testing, phenotype vs genotype and more. This journey through the theory side of breeding, covers important topics for breeders from novice and intermediate to advanced.
- Use the resources of older breeders who knew the dogs and they will also be able to talk about traits that genetic testing and COA does not give you.
- This is an art and a science, and part of the art is finding your mentors and being able and willing to talk to a lot of different people. Not just the same people all the time. Not everybody has all the answers.
- One of the things that makes purebred dogs purebred is a level of inbreeding. That’s what makes it purebred. Having a higher or lower level and how you use that and the healthy genes that you’re doubling up on or the unhealthy genes that you’re doubling up on make an enormous difference in your breeding program going forward.
- We have to think about the process that we intend to follow and it’s ideal if you can create a plan. Is your plan to do consistent inbreeding? Maybe that’s not such a great idea. Consistent line breeding? That’s probably pretty safe. Consistent outcrossing is really safe from a certain perspective. In terms of health, you’re not as liable to double up on a particular recessive, but at the same time, I can tell you from personal experience every single time I go out to get one thing, I get three things I did not want. So, balancing those three breeding theories is absolutely critical to your mission in your breeding program and knowing what you will consider and what you want and how you plan to get where you’re going when you start.
- We’re trying to build on this concept of “I have a stated goal. I have written it down. I have cemented it in my brain.” And I have had a very careful evaluation of the bitch that I’m working with. My foundation bitch. I know what I want to improve upon in her. I know what I will not give on, what I will give on and what is not a concern. Those are the kinds of questions that need to be addressed as you’re getting started deciding if and when to breed your dog, male or female.
- Genotype is the pedigree that’s what talks about the actual genetic involvement in each individual dog. Phenotype is what does the dog look like? When you make breeding decisions, whether you breed on a pedigree or whether you breed on dogs that look alike, no matter what their genetics are, no matter what pedigree is behind them, is, in my opinion, sort of a personal decision. I personally am a genotype freak. I am a pedigree guru. I love it. I research it. I live and die by it. And yet I know there are lots and lots and lots and lots of people out there who breed on phenotype. I want a dog that looks like this. And this is what my dog looks like I think this is what the breed looks like I want another dog that looks just like this.
Hear more of this insightful, targeted conversation by listening to the entire episode above.