457 – Breaking the Sounds of Silence

Breaking the Sounds of Silence

Every single breeder I know has said at one point or another they want to “change the conversation.” To blunt the sledgehammer of the Animal Rights vs Animal Welfare message with John Q Public. To stand up for our legal rights. To champion the brutal hard work … the literal blood, sweat and tears shed… the labor of love we undertake in order to provide the gifts of companionship, beauty and living history to our communities.

And damn near every one of those people has turned around and bashed some other breeder of whom they disapprove for whatever reason. As a result, the “divided they fall” approach implemented by the AR playbook has been spectacularly successful.

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

I’ve made my resolution for 2021. We’re going to break that sound of silence. I hope you’ll all join me in this goal. I’ve grabbed a megaphone, stepped outside the holy church of “Dogdom”… I’m using the voice you’ve all given me in a determined effort to *successfully* preach *beyond* the choir.

And in the naked light, I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

If you haven’t subscribed to the Good Dog Pod, now is the time. I’ve joined forces with Good Dog in a determined effort to leverage reach, resources, technical skills and insight of a team who already speaks a language many of us have never known or have long forgotten. Regular Joe. Dog lover. Perhaps even “fur mommy”…. For some of us, it’s like learning Swahili. Talking AT people who don’t understand your language and culture is frustrating and has caused a great deal of misery throughout history.

The Good Dog Pod and other educational initiatives sponsored by Good Dog are aimed specifically at meeting regular people where they are. Googling Golden Retriever. While we’re over here, hiding in the “church,” chipping away at our stone tablets.

The Good Dog Pod, along with a full suite of accessible resources, is also providing education and mentorship scaled to an enormous audience of new and wannabe breeders who want to do the right thing, but don’t know what it is. Or that there even IS a “right” thing. By applying standards to ALL breeders, by celebrating and promoting breeders, by providing access and support for health testing, in just the last year they are already changing the conversation within the larger dog breeding community.

Because the reality check is, AKC and others estimate that dog owners in the US will seek roughly 9 million replacement dogs *each year*…. And that isn’t counting a pandemic. AKC breeders register something like 1 million of those dogs. So 8 million dogs are being produced with little to no access to meaningful resources. And owners are acquiring them because they CAN. Because someone answered their call and didn’t belittle them for not knowing the decoder ring secret password. Because someone spoke their language.

Education is the Answer. To Everything.

As you have heard me say time and again, education is the answer. To everything. And, if a little education is good, a LOT is definitely better.

The Good Dog Pod, with training insights, breeding, whelping and raising tips, legal advice and general dog knowledge, will continue to drop every Wednesday. You can subscribe anywhere you listen to Pure Dog Talk.

Speaking of which, YES, Pure Dog Talk IS going to continue. The Pure Dog Talk episodes will drop every Monday. Veterinary Voice, Love the Breeds, The Interviews and The Conversations will retain their focus on the world of competitive purebred dogs. The Voice of Purebred Dogs will mos def NOT be silenced.

In fact, we’re kicking off some super exciting news right here!!


FIRST, Pure Dog Talk Classic is a series of new collections, with RSS feeds of their very own, showcasing the first early episodes which currently are only available by keyword search on the website. They will also be available by specific category.

For example, currently available collections include:


The Interviews

The masters, the legends and the larger than life people world wide who have influenced purebred dogs over the last 50-plus years. Preserving 20th century knowledge and presenting it in a 21st century format. Want to know about a dog show judge and what matters in their ring? Learn directly from the source. Want to build an incredible family of dogs? Learn from the giants in our tribe.


Love the Breeds

Laura interviews the *experts* to learn about breeds from Azawakh to Xoloitzcuintli. Long-time breeders, respected authorities and devoted owners cover personality, activity levels, grooming requirements, health and longevity of their chosen breeds. Dive into the living history represented by dog breeds from around the world and across the ages.


Breeding and Whelping: Hands-On

Learn from veterinarians, master breeders, and experts about the critical nuances, best practices, and science of successfully breeding and whelping your next litter. From progesterone numbers to semen evaluation; from c-section, decisions to free whelp help; from troubleshooting to the celebration, you’ll find the answers here!

Coming in the near future: Masters in Breeding Theory, Show Ring Handling and Grooming, Performance Events, and anything else y’all want! If you have a collection request, just shoot me an email at laura@puredogtalk.com If fact, a HUGE shoutout to listener Jenna Vermette-Gerow for planting the seed of this idea in my brain!

Cyber Sweepstakes

SECOND, with the pandemic cancellations still decimating enormous swaths of our sport, particularly notable here on the west coast, where our HUGE January shows in California, Washington and Oregon are moved or removed from the calendar, we’re bringing back the Pure Dog Talk CyberSweepstakes presented by Trupanion!!

Debuted in March of this year after Louisville was shut down, with a variety of shows through the summer, I let it subside during the few months of actual dog shows that started back in Oklahoma. But I wanted to bring it back in solidarity with our local exhibitors. If you haven’t already, like the FB page of the same name for updates and details in the coming weeks.


THIRD, don’t forget the Pure Dog Talk Patrons! We’re hosting an event in March and another in August. These training days, seminars, and retreats are one of the major perks of joining the most supportive and welcoming circle within our tribe. For as little as $5/month, you can gain access to monthly After Dark conversations, events, insider tips and more.

Finally, join me in thanking and supporting Trupanion and Embark who elected to remain in partnership with Pure Dog Talk in providing GREAT content to the purebred dog community. And, join me in welcoming Good Dog to the family.

2020 tried to crush us. It took lives, friendships, and often sanity. It cost jobs and comfort zones. But if you’re listening to this, it means you won. You beat that bitch. You survived. You learned how strong you are. You discovered new ways, fell back on old ways, or invented whole new paths to keep moving forward. But you did it! And so did I.

So let’s all keep that momentum going into the new year. Break down the barriers. Break out of the ruts in your brain. Break the sound of silence.

Peace out …. Wishing you a blessed new year.

393 – Gayle Watkins on Educating Breeders AND Buyers

Gayle Watkins on Educating Breeders AND Buyers

Dr. Gayle Watkins of Avidog and host Laura Reeves talk about the importance of educating both breeders and puppy buyers.

“We have to take step back,” Watkins said, “and realize how complicated our world is and how UNobvious it is, to even smart people that aren’t engaged with us, and help people understand and honestly for us to distinguish what really is important and what isn’t important…

“Let’s say you would like a 50- to 60-pound active sporting breed. You don’t care about color and what pops up (in an online search)? Both the German Wirehaired Pointer and the Golden Retriever, which is so wrong,” Watkins said. “So, finding a way to guide people in a more sophisticated way, in a way that you understand and I understand, the buyer doesn’t understand. They don’t know because they think of (dogs) as cars. They just come in different colors … but those of us who breed know that those cars are very, very different. There’s a whole big difference between a Maserati and a Volkswagen Beetle. (Even though they are the) same color and about the same size and they can only carry two passengers.”

In order to facilitate outreach and education of both ends of the dog purchase, breeders and buyers, Watkins has joined forces with Good Dog, a young company focused on educating the public and supporting dog breeders.

“We need people breeding dogs,” Watkins added. “So, if we have people who are interested in breeding dogs and doing it perhaps not to the level we would like to see, what’s better? Run them out or raise them up?

“We have to find a way to engage people more in producing quality pet dogs. The hobby breeders are going to continue in their sport and they’re going to continue to get championships and things like that, but we need more people who are trying to produce lovely pets…”

With an estimated 8-9 million replacement dogs needed just in the U.S. annually, as previous guests on Pure Dog Talk have noted, hobby breeders simply cannot meet the demand.

“How do we find those breeders, develop those breeders, lift those breeders up so we can keep playing the games that we love to play,” Watkins asks? “Because we’re not going to be able to, in my opinion, if we don’t change something. The laws, the legislatures, the government… the animal rights activists, they’re pretty successful now with adopt, don’t shop. We have got to find a way to fight them.

“I strongly believe we cannot fight animal rights if we divide each other. And boy we’re good at dividing. There’s got to be a bigger voice and I think that voice needs to be young, technologically sophisticated, and able to make enough money to fight for us. In the world that we live in, in purebred dogs, making money is anathema… and that has not gotten us to a very good place in defending our right to breed.

“I think what we did when we were attacked by the animal rights people is we said ‘oh we don’t make money doing this.’ That became our defense. That became our value. In doing that, it sets us up for failure on so many levels. It costs a lot of money to raise good puppies. If we don’t have the money to do our job well, now we’re opening ourselves up to attack from that perspective. (I think) we didn’t have the confidence or we didn’t have the backing or we didn’t have the organization to say ‘hey, you know, Mercedes makes a really nice car.’ It’s not that you can’t make money and do a great job. You can do both of those things. But if you make a puppy into a commodity, where one is the same as the other, right now you’re going to run into a problem. So, I think that value is one we have to overcome and then we have got to figure out a way to open our eyes to what’s changed in the world.”

Amongst the very first episodes on Pure Dog Talk were interviews with Watkins on puppy whelping and raising. These remain some of our most popular episodes.

Early Pure Dog Talk interviews with Gayle Watkins: