570 — Breeding Theory Q&A From LIVE@5

Breeding Theory Q&A From LIVE@5

Host Laura Reeves leads a conversation on breeding theory, replayed from a LIVE@5 live podcast from 2022.

“As we all know, dog breeding is something of, to put it mildly, a passion project,” Reeves said. “Doing it well is something we all strive for. There are some tools that we can use to accomplish that goal. No matter what type of breeding program we have, we can all use these same tools to achieve success. Sort of the theory side of breeding, reading pedigrees, breeding concepts and health testing.

“Coefficient of inbreeding is frequently shortened to COI. One of the great things is if you test both the sire and the dam of your litter, you will be able to get a predicted genetic COI based on the actual DNA. Then if you DNA test each of the puppies in your litter, you will be able to get an exact genetic DNA coefficient of inbreeding that will tell you exactly (what each puppy is). I think one of the things that many of us find sort of mind blowning is that puppies in a litter do not all have the same COI. They don’t all have the same genetics.

“And so when I did a half brother, half sister, a straight up inbreeding that I’d been planning for quite some time, and I knew what the pedigree COI was, I knew what the estimated or expected genetics COI was going to be, and I Embarked each of the 13 puppies and the actual COI in each of those puppies varied by as much as ten basis points.

“So, it’s really, really important to look at some of the tools that are now available to us. Dog breeding has always been a little bit of art and a little bit of science. Science is coming to the forefront and I don’t want us to lose the art, but I want us to be able to make good use of the science.

“Pedigree, genetic and actual COI is a very, very useful tool in our breeding program as we’re going forward. 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 any enormous difference in your breeding program going forward.”

Listen in as Laura and her listeners interact on important topics from breeding theories, health testing and more.

Remember that LIVE@5 live podcasts drop on the Pure Dog Talk Facebook page the first Tuesday of every month! Join us there on March 7 for a conversation on GROOMING!

You can get more on this topic at the Dog Breeding 101 seminar.

508 – Breeding, Training and Socializing Decisions for High Drive Dogs

Breeding, Training and Socializing Decisions for High Drive Dogs

Denise Fenzi and host Laura Reeves take a deep dive into the breeding, training and socializing decisions we make with high drive dogs. Are we removing “hard” dogs from our gene pool in favor of “twitchy,” flashy high arousal dogs?

“So, drive always requires arousal,” Fenzi noted. “Arousal does not require drive. That is a good base. I like to recognize that and to recognize that arousal can hinder the dog’s ability to see the world clearly, so your socialization goes to hell, as the dog is so busy moving, they’re not actually taking it in.

“Then, when they’re three, they take it in and that’s a problem. ‘Cause for the first time they just saw a garbage can on wheels. It’s been there the whole time, they just never slowed down enough to see it. In training, we actually perpetuate that. What we do with these high arousal dogs is we work them. We get the toys and play, we focus on really early and they go for it, because they’re high arousal dogs, they need something to attach it to and so we actually undermine our socialization.”

This in-depth, experience-based discussion between industry leaders asks important questions and offers insight for breeders who want to learn more about breeding high drive dogs in any performance venue.

Laura Reeves: “I think it’s so important, when we talk about these things from the perspective of purebred dogs and doing events and doing sports and doing show, if that’s part of our consideration, all of those things it all is breed specific.”

Denise Fenzi: Absolutely

Laura Reeves: Starting at that instinct piece that you were talking about, the instinct has to be there and then you layer on all the rest of it.

Denise Fenzi: Yes. And then you’ve got your focus and all kinds of other things that are going to come into play. Even the definition. How do you define drive? My definition is “stays in the game under adversity.” So, it doesn’t matter what your game is and it doesn’t matter what the adversity is. It could be weather, could be bad training. There are dogs who are out there in crappy weather, under crappy training and I mean I don’t know how they do it, but they figure out what the trainer wants and they just flat on go forward. To me that’s drive … with a good dose of hardness

Defining and understanding drive, considering the inheritance patterns of drive and arousal, addressing anxiety as a corollary, Denise and Laura dig in to the hard topics, the difficult conversations and the implications of our breeding decisions.

Listen to part one here.

483 — Separation Anxiety: Myth Busting with Malena DeMartini

Separation Anxiety: Myth Busting with Malena DeMartini

Malena DeMartini, canine behavior specialist focused on separation anxiety, joins host Laura Reeves for some mythbusting around anxiety, separation anxiety, genetics and heritability of anxieties and fears, and more.

“When we’re talking with regard to separation anxiety, your dog is not being a jerk,” DeMartini said. “Nor are they being spiteful. Nor are they just angry at you because you’re not spending enough time with them. All of that discussion, that is not what’s happening. What is happening is so important that we understand from a compassion and empathy standpoint, as well as from a training standpoint. These dogs are panicked. This is a true phobia to being left alone. I want to remind people that, by definition, phobias tend to be rather irrational, or at least irrational to the person that’s not experiencing that.

It really isn’t your fault

“Spoiling, and this is how they represent spoiling: letting a dog sleep on the bed, letting a dog on the furniture, giving them lots of treats or feeding them extra goodies, or taking them on car rides with us, all these sorts of activities, which in my head are part of having a family member, none of those things are either causational or correlational for separation anxiety.

“When you have a dog with separation anxiety, you are going to get every naysayer in the universe coming after you saying it is your fault … I just want people to absolve themselves from that guilt and no they did not create an animal with separation anxiety by letting him snuggle on the couch.”

Don’t “feed the beast”

DeMartini also offered recommendations on how to not “feed the beast” of a dog’s anxiety.

“When I talk about nonchalant exits and entries, we have to remember that dogs are masters of discrimination. Yes, they know when we’re leaving and so taking an extra five minutes to give them kissy sounds can just put more emphasis on the exit. So, I tell people your dog has figured out that you put on your shoes, you’ve grabbed your backpack, got your keys in your hand, your dog is fully aware that you’re about to leave, you don’t have to tell him anything.

All in the family?

DeMartini provided insight on the genetics and epigenetics of anxiety and fear in dogs, as well.

“In the last few years (researchers) have actually identified a haplotype, so sort of a genetic marker, that is specifically in accordance with separation anxiety. Here is the important aspect: just because (a dog has) that particular haplotype, where those genetic markers exist, does not mean that the behavior problem is going to occur. That’s where the epigenetics play a role. These are like toggle switches. So that toggle switch may remain off for the lifetime of that animal but there are some environmental influences that could flip that toggle switch.

“You can have the most beautiful well-bred dog physically, but if they are suffering from a welfare perspective because of their mental health that’s a problem.

Behavior modification

“Separation anxiety is actually a behavior that is quite modifiable. It’s not easy and it takes time, but we can do a lot to optimize dogs for a long-term success in the beginning of their lives. Just because there’s that genetic potential predisposition, that doesn’t mean that we can’t change it. Heritability is not a diagnosis of a permanent state.

“Separation anxiety behaviors are evolutionarily appropriate for puppies at a young age. How many of us have seen a puppy cry and the bitch comes back. We’ve seen it over millions of years of evolution that there is a purpose for vocalization and some of these other behaviors when these pups are really, really young. But the majority of them do grow out of it. If they don’t it’s become sort of maladaptive. When it becomes maladaptive in a 14 or 16 or 18 week pup, no amount of letting them cry it out and try and get over it is going to help them grow out of it. That is a moment in time where we say, ‘we’ve got to give this pup some training and give them that metaphorical soft place to land in order to help them through this.”

481 – When the Best Laid Plans Go Awry

When the Best Laid Plans Go Awry

Amanda Kelly, Fwaggle Toy Manchester Terriers, joins host Laura Reeves for a conversation about dog breeding when you plan ahead, do your research and then the results don’t match the expectations.

Amanda and Laura swap stories about all of the times a breeding looked great on paper and was a disaster on the ground in one way or another. The takeaway? Breeding dogs will keep you perpetually humble and learning.

Unexpected markings. Dual sired litter rabbit holes. Repeat breeding pros and cons. And permission to fail.

A sense of humor helps keep it all in perspective. Keeping temperament and health as top priorities in a breeding program means that even if the pups in a litter don’t meet your expectations for the show ring, they will still live long, healthy lives as beloved companions.

“What I love about (dog breeding) is that there’s not clear answers,” Amanda noted. “We can ponder the theories and the different ideas and we can try new things if we give herself permission to do it. I hope when breeders have been around for a long time and are helping others that, I hope, is the gift that they’re giving them. Permission to try things, to try something new and different. What’s the worst thing that happens? They had some pets. The pet people are pretty happy about that.

“There’s not a right or wrong way to do this. If I’ve learned anything from doing this for many years and watching different breeders, there are 1000 different ways to do this. None of them are right or wrong, as long as we have the welfare of our dogs at heart. And we will learn something new every time.

“Every breeding that you do has value. You said it earlier, you learn something. You learn about what not to do, you learn about how your line is producing. So when that best in show dog winds up neutered because you made a bad choice in your puppy evaluation, you have to let it go.

“You need to be able to make a decision and live with it in the planning of a breeding and the evaluation of puppies. So allowing yourself to fail without feeling like a failure is the greatest freedom that you will give yourself as a breeder. I think sometimes we just get so wrapped up in the breeding that’s in front of us that we won’t allow ourselves to fail, we won’t allow ourselves to say ‘you know what, there’s nothing in here that I want to keep and so I’m going to let them go (to pet homes).”

400 – In the Midst of Chaos, a Whiff of Sanity

Episode 400 – In the Midst of Chaos, a Whiff of Sanity

Welcome to our annual summer tradition of noting this benchmark. Pure Dog Talk has been downloaded 700 THOUSAND times! Eek…

Plague, Protests, Locusts ….

It’s the end of the world as we know it… Or not. Or sort of.

The last couple years this “celebration” pod was all about getting ready for the summer shows. This year has been hard. A few shows are attempting to go forward, but statistically it’s a small number compared to the ones that are cancelled. I know far too many people who are struggling — mentally, emotionally, financially. I think it’s important to note that there were NO dog shows held for years during WWII… Our sport survived that and it will survive this. Perhaps it will look different.

Perhaps we’ll pick up new tools, new attitudes and new approaches, but our passion for purebred dogs, our friendships, our joy in the anticipation of a new litter, our love of the beauty, predictability and plain companionship of our dogs isn’t diminished by our current challenges.

And while the world seems completely unbound and our lives turned upside down at the blink of an eye, here’s my hope for us. That we can walk away from what divides us … that politics or socio-economic status or race, creed or religion will not be allowed to define us. That our common passion, our common decency and our common sense will prevail.

That the diverse, vibrant group that is OUR tribe can rise above, can transcend the rancor and division and roiling fear and bitterness that is sweeping the country and even the world. That we can overcome and improvise, gut it out and get up again, tap the deep well of passion and apply our staggering reserves of knowledge to moving forward.

In support of this mission, here’s what we’re doing here at Pure Dog Talk:

  • Cyber Sweepstakes –
  • PureDogTalk Fund,
  • Videos available for everyone to watch as a learning tool,
  • Critiques from judges, etc
  • Shopping Tab on the website
  • Archived episodes on the website
  • Patrons –
  • After Dark sessions,
  • PDTU YouTube link
  • Sponsors

Pollyanna thoughts, pondering observations and puppy reality checks

With that I leave you with these two “throwback Thursday” items… columns written in what feels like another world, another time and yet, timeless…

Because our TRIBE is family. And family IS what matters…

Blest Be The Ties That Bind

I’m sitting here in my office on a cold, grey Oregon morning while a GWP puppy slams her bone around on the concrete floor, jumping up and down off the blanket draped leather recliner.

This puppy represents the sixth generation of a direct line back to my foundation bitch, who I co-owned with my mom. But more than that, she is the living embodiment of 30 years of friendship and partnership with Mom in breeding dogs. A lifestyle and journey represented for hundreds of us by the AKC Breeder of the Year Award given Sunday to mother-daughter team Gwen Demilta and Carissa Demilta Shimpeno.

I don’t know these women personally, but I expect their story is a lot like ours and so many others.

It was 3 a.m. on a miserable December morning in 1996. I was in Washington watching a bitch try to crash after a C-section — the first litter I’d whelped on my own. It was 6 a.m. in New Hampshire, where Mom had just lost a puppy from her umpteenth litter, and in a couple hours would send the babies’ great grandmother to the Rainbow Bridge.

I still get weepy remembering that horrible phone call. We were consoling each other, brainstorming solutions, crying and trying to laugh. Our final conclusion was that we should take up selling pencils on a street corner in Hawaii. That breeding dogs was just too hard.

That was 18 years ago, to the day. The intervening time has brought us to even darker low points, and to some brilliant, sparkling, spectacular highs. More than a dozen litters for each of us. Producing champions, Best in Show winners, top dogs, history making dogs. All done hand in hand, even when we were physically far apart.

At its core, this is what the sport means to me. Family. Friendship. A lifetime of passion.

For every one of the deservedly famous families in the spotlight, there are several dozen more working quietly in the wings and creating their own legacies. No matter how large or small in terms of the big stages of the sport, these folks are making an impact on their chosen breeds. And, more importantly, forging unbreakable bonds with the strength to keep going when it would seem impossible.

As our parents and mentors age, we watch with conflicting emotions of pride and exasperation as they continue breeding, doing work they shouldn’t and shouldn’t be able to do. And yet, for many of them, this — the dogs, the hopes, the dreams — is quite simply what keeps them getting out of bed each day.

Those of us fortunate enough to be given the gift of mentorship from these breeders are honor-bound to return to them the respect and the credit they have earned over decades of literal blood, sweat and tears. Their hands may not grip as well, their knees and backs might not be as strong, but their knowledge, imagination and experience flow through the veins of each animal in the pedigree.

Next week, I will spend yet another Christmas Eve whelping puppies with my mom. The gifts we share don’t have any ribbons or bows, wrapping paper or glitter, but they are far more precious than silver and gold.

And, so, a toast. To the families that ensure this sport endures. And the love that keeps it strong.

As always, this is JMHO.

As the Wheels Turn from December 2014….

Less than year after I wrote this, my mom passed away…

Treasure what you have each day. If this current disaster has taught us NOTHING ELSE, it should certainly have permanently ingrained in us gratitude for what we have today… because literally tomorrow it may be gone.

Peace out. Namaste.

BONUS TRACK: In a World Gone Mad….

248 – LIVE: Laura on Breed Specific Presentation Featuring Sighthounds

Commonalities and Differences in Sighthounds

LIVE seminar hosted by the Saluki Club of Greater San Francisco

Live from the Harvest Moon Cluster, your host Laura Reeves talks sighthounds. The seminar was sponsored by the Saluki Club of Greater San Francisco. Watch and listen to the entire seminar here.

Temperament and showmanship are part of breed type. Our job as handlers is to showcase our breed’s character and personality accurately, not make our Wolfhound show like a Doberman. For breeds with less “flash” that might be overlooked in group competition, it is incumbent on us as handlers to provide an engaging, effortless back drop.

Pretty Hands

Our hands tell a story in the show ring. How and where we place our hands on the dog is part of the presentation. Sighthounds specifically call for soft, quiet, elegant hands. Holding the collar, placing the feet, should be done gracefully. Quietly drawing the judge’s eye to our dog’s finest features while using our hands as a “frame,” we actually can “talk with our hands” and subtly communicate with the judge.

Dog handling in general is best done when we are judicious and smooth with our hands. The unique nature of sighthounds means than keeping your hands on the dog at all times will help steady the dog and allow him to be balanced on his own feet.

While showcasing our dogs involves a bit of “sleight of hand” in terms of maintaining emphasis on the good and not the faults, Laura shares her 1-2-3-4-5 hand stacking method as a refresher course. Hear more in depth discussion on this topic in episode 2, “How to Stack Your Dog” or in our new audio book, debuting in January.

Give Your Dog What it Needs: Confidence and Focus

All dogs take their cues from us as the handlers. Sighthounds are particularly in tune with their people and draw their confidence from us. Be sure you are relaxed and enjoying spending time with your dog for your best result.

Moving Gracefully – Float with Your Dog

Drive from the hip and a gradual and collected acceleration are keys to showing the judge your dog’s best movement. Don’t let your dog look like “an octopus on speed” by following these suggestions. More discussion in episode 3 and in the audio book.

Ears and Tails

Each of the sighthounds, and really all dogs, have a correct ear and tail carriage to “make the picture” for the judge. Learn how to work with your dog’s attitude to get the best results.

168 – Breeder Education Advocate Claudia Orlandi Shares Knowledge


Claudia Orlandi, Topsfield Basset Hounds, was the 2009 Breeder of the Year, but her contributions to purebred dogs are far greater than an award. She has spent years dedicated to developing, publishing and presenting live education resources for breeders. Her ABC’s of Dog Breeding and Practical Canine Anatomy books are tremendous resources for all breeders, exhibitors and judges. So much so, that AKC has incorporated them into their AKC Canine College education program.


Orlandi grew up with miniature and standard Poodles, but her first show dog was a Saint Bernard from Betty Roberts. When her family visited the breeder to pick a puppy, somehow the divider between the “show” dogs and the “pet” dogs had fallen down. With an “eye for a dog” at even an early age, the puppy her family chose led Orlandi into a life of dog shows. Eventually, shown by Bob Forsyth, that Saint Bernard became a Best in Show Winner.

“…structure and performance or, form following function, are the key characteristics of breed type and are what distinguish one breed from another.”

Horses and dogs were a passion she shared with her first husband, Dom. They acquired their first Basset Hound from a pack in Vermont. There they learned the functional aspect of their hound by following the pack on rabbit hunts. Orlandi now lives part-time in Spain, where she had just returned from a month of hunting with her hounds when we spoke for this interview.

“… I have to say that having had the experience of hunting with Emma (her first Basset) was a great starting point for really understanding the basset hound breed,” Orlandi said. “…structure and performance or, form following function, are the key characteristics of breed type and are what distinguish one breed from another.”

Orlandi attributes much of her knowledge of anatomy and animal husbandry to the 4-H program. In her shout out to the horse 4-H program she noted, “We had to pass difficult written and hands on tests on equine anatomy and movement, in addition to giving presentations and learning animal husbandry. All of this knowledge relating to horses, I was easily able to apply to breeding and showing dogs.”

But as she progressed in her breeding program, she came to understand that other breeders didn’t have the same good fortune.

“If we to learn about photography we can go to photography school,” Orlandi said. “If you want to become better cooks, we can take cooking classes. But at that time, we really didn’t have anything comparable if we wanted to learn to become better breeders.”

Knowledge is power, Orlandi noted, in everything that we do. So, she began to develop her education programs and books, including the fabulous Basset Hound University program she created and has shared with other Parent Clubs. She insists that breeders can be successful with some basic information to help them move forward.

Some of her best recommendations?

  • …the concept of preservation breeding is an extremely important topic that deserves our ongoing support and attention.
  • …one of the biggest myths is the belief that because breeding revolves around chance and randomness applying genetic principles won’t make a difference. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In reality, it’s very unlikely that a breeder can consistently produce healthy, quality dogs in which every generation the dogs are better than they were in the previous generations, without understanding how traits are passed from one generation to the next.
  • …don’t purchase a bitch younger than 12 to 18 months. If you get a bitch much younger than this, they have not been able to do enough health tests and body structure might still be developing.
  • …I think it’s really difficult, in a way, to find a good person to work with in a breeding program or to find a mentor. Because in a way it’s kind of like a marriage. I think you have to be psychologically compatible and you have to have a lot of the same goals and the same beliefs in common.
  • … a few decades ago if people were honest about health problems they are absolutely shunned, many times, by their peers. Talking about health was considered taboo. Nowadays, we understand much more about controlling canine genetic disease and we know that if we’re honest about the health problems, about who the affected dogs are in our pedigrees we can control health problems in our breeding program very, very easily. But it all revolves around being honest.

Please enjoy my visit with this legendary advocate for breeder education in purebred dogs.

163 – Cannabis for Dogs?|Kari Taylor and Alternative Therapies

Cannabis for Dogs?


Cannabinoid compounds as an alternative therapy for dogs are a growing area of interest. Kari Taylor talks with us today about exactly what medical marijuana and cannabinoids are, how they can help our dogs, and answers the legal and safety questions many pet owners have.

The increasing use of medical marijuana and CBD compounds in human health has led naturally to potential uses in our pets. While anxiety and inflammation issues appear to be the primary uses to date, Taylor contends the therapy has many potential applications.

It is important to understand that CBD is derived from industrial hemp and therefore is legal in all states in the US. Medical marijuana, which may contain THC, the psychoactive component of the recreational drug, is legal in more than half the US.

Equally important to note, particularly in states where recreational marijuana use is legal, is that THC and the drug which makes a person “high” is dangerous, although generally not lethal if ingested by dogs.


From Dogs Naturally Magazine’s article on the topic, “This article’s not about marijuana, but this is important information. With the legalization of marijuana in many places, poison control centers are hearing more and more about pets getting into their owners’ marijuana stash.

It may be hard to tell if your dog has the munchies (isn’t it a permanent condition in dogs?), but other side effects from marijuana can be quite severe, including lethargy, dilated pupils, drooling, being off balance, muscle twitching, vomiting, involuntary urination, and even unconsciousness.

If this happens to your dog, take him to the vet immediately. He’ll need palliative support until the effects wear off.”


Taylor shares with our listeners excellent explanations and provides an understanding of how cannabinoids work with the body to produce the reported results. She also reminds listeners to seek products that are sourced from plants grown without pesticides and to educate themselves as to the actual amount of active ingredients in the product they are purchasing.

“I have visited some of the top pet CBD sites and, in many cases, you can’t determine how many grams of CBD are in a treat or in the oil itself,” Taylor says. “In many cases they list the number of milligrams of hemp oil versus the number of milligrams of cannabinoids. Now, those are two different things. CBD is the actual compound that will trigger the receptors. Hemp oil is the synergistic blend of all constituents derived from the concentration of a hemp plant. So, when you’re using, say, hemp oil, you are getting a lot more of the original constituents that were with that plant, which is oftentimes very supportive in the absorption of the cannabinoids or the CBD itself. … All of our products are labeled by the number of cannabinoids that are present is what people are looking for. If you’re wanting to buy CBD oil, don’t you want to know how much CBD is in it?”


This is a cutting-edge area of the pet health industry in which many of our listeners have expressed interest. Taylor’s useful information, case study examples, and real-world experience provide excellent applicable knowledge for all pet owners. We hope you enjoy today’s podcast!

List of links:


146 – Megan Leavey, K9 Rex and Bringing Home K9 Heroes

Megan Leavey and Laura Reeves

Megan Leavey and Marine K9 Rex

Megan Leavey was a Marine K9 handler whose life and battle to have her working dog, Rex, retire with her were the topic of a movie, Megan Leavey, released in 2017.

Megan Leavey and Rex

Megan and Rex

Leavey made a special and powerful connection with the military working dog who saved her own and thousands of other lives in Iraq. While respecting that the K9 is a warrior in his own right, Leavey knew her dog, Rex, wouldn’t understand why she left without him.

She grew up with dogs, a total animal lover. “I had no idea there even was a K9 program until I was in military police school,” Leavey said. “I had to finish at the top of my class and be selected to go to K9 school.”

“I was new marine when I got handed this dog. Rex had an attitude. When we are first assigned a dog, we spend two weeks just rapport training. You are the only one feeding the dog, brushing him. You go for walks and play. You work up to getting to know mannerisms. When they see you, they associate that with a positive. The basic training is already done, becoming a team is what’s important.”

Leavey and Rex Survive an IED

Leavey and Rex were shipped to Iraq twice. On the last deployment, they survived an IED explosion on the dusty roads of Ramadi and spent their recuperation and physical therapy recovery together.

Megan Leavey @ Eukanuba

Megan Leavey @ Eukanuba

“Rex was a one person dog,” Leavey said. “Nobody else could have done that (physical therapy) work.”

A dual purpose dog in military parlance, Rex was both a patrol and explosives detection dog. “Rex was super aggressive,” Leavey said. “Right in his vet record it said in giant letters not adoptable… There’s a process to adopt military working dogs and I understood that.”

Parting Ways with Rex

While Leavey’s military contract was up after her recovery, Rex’s wasn’t. He continued working stateside after she returned home to New York state.

“He went through 12 different handlers after me,” Leavey said. “I had such guilt leaving him behind. You can’t explain to a dog that these are the rules. It haunted me every day.”

Leavey kept in touch with her friends in the K9 unit for years. “They weren’t his biggest fans,” she noted wryly. “Nobody bonded with him like I did. I kept hoping every day they’d change his classification.”

The Battle to Save Rex

“I finally got a call from a marine at the K9 section. Rex, now 11 years old, was going to be retired. My friend told me, ‘If you’re going to try and adopt him, get on it.’ Any day Rex could be put down. He was old and sick.”

Leavey went straight to her Veteran’s representative, who took her story to New York Senator Chuck Schumer. The Senator released her plea to the press. The publicity greased the wheels of government and helped Leavey cut through the red tape to have Rex retired with her.

“When he arrived, I just wanted to spend time with him,” Leavey said. “Getting him back really helped me close wounds, work on myself, be at peace with a lot of things.”

For a tough, working K9, Rex settled right in to civilian life with Leavey.

“From the moment I brought him home, he jumped right on the couch. He left the cats alone after getting swatted on the nose. He got along with my other working dog. He got to swim in a pool. See snow. Sleep on a bed and have all the toys and treats he wanted. I had a great eight months with him. I was so grateful that the process was expedited. If I waited any longer, we wouldn’t have had that time.”

Listen Today on Pure Dog Talk

Listen to more of Laura and Megan, including Megan’s observations about her first dog show, on today’s podcast.

143 – Laura Reeves Sings 12 Puppies of Christmas

Laura Reeves Sings 12 Puppies of Christmas

Laura Reeves Sings!

The last two weeks of the year are normally a quiet, restorative, hibernating time of year for folks. Even with celebrations, friends, family and feasting, the tempo gradually slows down as we take time to review the year past and contemplate the one ahead.

So Merry Christmas crew! As we each celebrate the holiday season in the fashion we choose, I just wanted to take a few minutes to say THANK YOU.

I mean, wow! The first Pure Dog Talk episode debuted Nov. 21, 2016… thirteen months later, we have created more than 140 episodes released on iTunes and just about every other available podcast delivery system. We built a huge, resource-rich website. And we’ve enabled well over 160,000 FREE downloads of knowledge and insight directly from the best in the sport to anyone who wants to listen and learn.

What an amazing gift you have given Mary and I. All of you…. Our listeners, our fans, and so many legends who generously shared your time, your memories and your wisdom. We literally would not be here without you.

Orlando 2016 to 2017

Last year at the AKC National Championship in Orlando, I walked a couple marathons worth of concrete floors, spreading the word about our brand spanking new venture.

This year we were thrilled to announce we’ve joined forces with Aramedia Group, publishers of ShowSight Magazine, to enable the show to reach an even larger audience. Mary and I are no longer a two-girl band!

With AJ Arapovic and his outstanding team behind the show, we have some really exciting plans on the horizon. Each one of which is designed to continue serving our thriving community of avid knowledge seekers in bigger and better ways.

Sign Up and Join Us

We hope you’ve already signed up to join us. If not, just stop by the PureDogTalk.com or the Facebook page and click the “Don’t Miss an Episode” button. Your name and email address is all we need to keep you in the loop.

Puppies, Puppies, Puppies

Let’s continue Celebrating the History of our sport and Creating a bold vision of our future!

Meanwhile, as we all know, I can’t miss out on a teaching moment so here goes.

Puppies make everything better. Gramma always swore it was a hot bath that cured everything from the common cold to a broken heart

Newsflash gramma, it’s puppies. Sweet puppy breath, fat puppy paws, silly puppy antics, gumby puppies sleeping, noisy puppies eating. Puppies encapsulate all that is good and pure in the world.

Of course, there’s also puppy poopie and peepee; puppy gruel; six loads of laundry a day; sleep deprivation; random and limited opportunities to bathe, eat or socialize; no time for Christmas decorating; and, the attendant brain fog descending due to all of the above.

Puppies embody that spirit of renewal and cleansing that make the New Year such a joyous celebration.

As we bid farewell (and for many, good riddance) to a turbulent and divisive year past, let’s raise a glass to the hope, the joy, the pureness of purpose represented in our puppies.

These little ones, if we choose them as our guides, harbor hate for no one. Their affection is not restricted based on race, gender, sexual orientation, creed or national origin. They are equal opportunity employers of beseeching looks, demanding caterwauls at feeding time and sock destruction.

In an uncertain world, we can find comfort, courage, kindness and focus in the unquestioning trust of a puppy’s steady gaze.

Laura Reeves Sings 12 Puppies of Christmas – OMG!

And, because I believe we all need a laugh, especially at what can be a challenging time of year, please join me in a sing along of the “12 puppies of Christmas”…. (A Laura Reeves original production!)

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a puppy in a sherpa bag…

(Caveat, never give a puppy for a Christmas present!)

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, three air fresh’ners, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me four show collars, three air fresh’ners, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, five cooooover ads… four show collars, three air fresh’ners, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, six Sprinter tires, five cooooover ads… four show collars, three air fresh’ners, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, seven shiny suits, six Sprinter tires, five cooooover ads… four show collars, three air fresh’ners, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, eight sensible shoes, seven shiny suits, six Sprinter tires, five cooooover ads… four show collars, three air fresh’ners, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, nine doggies dancing, eight sensible shoes, seven shiny suits, six Sprinter tires, five cooooover ads… four show collars, three air fresh’ners, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, ten tongues a wagging, nine doggies dancing, eight sensible shoes, seven shiny suits, six Sprinter tires, five cooooover ads… four show collars, three air fresh’ners, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, eleven puppies squalling, ten tongues a wagging, nine doggies dancing, eight sensible shoes, seven shiny suits, six Sprinter tires, five cooooover ads… four show collars, three air fresh’ners, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…

And, on the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, twelve friendly judges, eleven puppies squalling, ten tongues a wagging, nine doggies dancing, eight sensible shoes, seven shiny suits, six Sprinter tires, five cooooover ads… four show collars, three air fresh’ners, two towel rolls for my puppy in a sherpa bag…


Peace on earth, good will to mankind from all of us here at Pure Dog Talk.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night…

12 Steps for 2018