Recently, it has been my unfortunate opportunity to see a series of photo’s of a magnificent German Shepherd that has been decimated of it’s luxurious coat after being treated for a series of symptoms:  Allergies, Inflammation, and digestive problems of some sort.  Stop…One moment of digression before I proceed.

I am NOT a Veterinarian.  I have never claimed to be one.  But I AM well-read, well-educated in Research of a wide variety of disciplines, and an enthusiastic student of the world around me.  What I am about to write about should not be viewed as a veterinary opinion, nor am I diagnosing the dog mentioned above with any specific problem.  This is my opinion based upon the writings of several veterinary professionals, researchers, and others that I have commiserated with on this specific subject.  Take it as a “springboard” to doing your own research, and doing your own detective work.

The dog in question has massive loss of hair, and inflammation.  It is heartbreaking.  Frustrating to the owner, frustrating to the dog.  And expensive.  When the dogs history is given, even to the most rudimentary degree, it is suspected that this dog has been, and is, being treated with catabolic steroids, for its symptoms.

This article is not specifically about that dog, (which I am not qualified to diagnose, nor am I attempting to do so), but rather, about the use of steroids in veterinary medicine.  This individual dogs’ case brought about this subject, and I have decided to give you my educated “opinion” of the use of these oft prescribed drugs.  Take from it what you will.

 

Weight-lifters, Baseball sluggers, football players, and other sports figures have long known about the effects of Anabolic steroid use.  They are used to produce massive muscle formation, bulk, and strength.  They work.  Period.  But the side effects often prove to be disasterous

I took my time jumping into the latest controversy regarding the adaptation of “A Dog’s Purpose” by W. Bruce Cameron, into a feature length movie. I, and many others enjoyed the book, and looked forward to seeing something positive and uplifting on the big screen. Especially something about dogs.

What happened, with the apparent release of some behind-the-scenes footage during filming, was nothing short of a firestorm. Who officially put the heart wrenching video out into the world, is still somewhat up in the air.
The author of the book, Mr. W. Bruce Cameron, it should be noted posted the following on the Facebook page the following:

A Dog’s Purpose
18 January at 22:56
..
Everyone:

I was as disturbed as you were by the video I saw earlier today. Though obviously edited and hysterically headlined, the images speak for themselves.
I have asked the studio for an explanation and have been assured they are reviewing every single frame of footage shot that day and interviewing the people who were there. (I wasn’t.)
I want all the facts at my disposal before I pronounce judgment or issue an opinion.
I will give you an update as soon as I have one. — Bruce

So…Just WHAT did we see? What is the backstory? It’s important that we take it slowly, and patiently. There are so many ways that this story could be nothing more than propaganda for certain viewpoints regarding the use of animals by our society. On the other hand, we might have have been watching nothing more than plain and simple, Abuse of a Living Being. Either way, this situation says something about us as a society.
Firstly, we need to understand that everything we see from media, is questionable at best, and pure garbage at it’s worst. That’s a sad statement, but that part of our society has done it to themselves. Question everything you hear, even if you agree with it, and gather evidence before you react.
Secondly, we need to understand that being motivated by profit, money, and fame, will always cost someone, or some dog, in ways that we may not see at first. This production was obviously in a hurry to finish this film, on time, and under-budget, as all businesses are wont to do. Rather than properly prepare this dog for what he was being told to do, we hear the voices of the trainers in the background yelling, “Throw him in, Thro him in!!” That IS the trainers fault. But they no doubt, were under pressure from the powers that be to get the shots that they needed, and get them done now.
We are not a patient society, or culture. Everything is driven by production, profit, and performance. Those things alone make us undeserving of the services of this dog, or any other living creature for our entertainment. This was ABUSE OF A LIVING CREATURE, no question about it. There was no good reason to put this dog into a life-threatening situation for the making of a movie for profit. The Trainers working with this dog, failed in every way that is important for the dog. The hierarchy of the director and his production team failed in being unaware (apparently) of what the second unit was doing to accomplish their tasks. By many reports, the accompanying conversation amongst the crew during the filming belies an attitude that everything was alright as long as the dog survived the ordeal. Foundational failure on every level.
The other side of the failure involves the motivations of the release of the clip. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the Humane Society of the United States, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, however they may or may not be involved, should be considered as hostile participants. Their stated purposes are certainly grand, and appear above contempt. Were they trying to help out with a bad situation for this individual dog in distress? Or are they more motivated by the desire to see ALL animals never again controlled by their human “Overlords”? These groups tend to operate in the dark recesses of purposeful, politically driven, peccadillo’s. They have a goal that they are pursuing aggressively. They have already destroyed such things as large Animal circuses with their meddling, and they would love to put and end to any activity that we choose to pursue with our dogs. Schutzhund, agility, obedience, dog shows, and else animal-centric. This clip was either custom made for, and by them, or was serendipity of the most fortunate kind.
Be careful of what or who you support. You might be cutting off your nose to spite your own face.

Yes, it is a simple case of Animal Abuse on film. There should be punishment rendered. Sadly, the film should be removed from theatres, not allowed ONE CENT of profit. The “trainers” involved, should be censured by Professional Organizations and the Movie Industry, whoever that should involve. I will not support the movie by seeing it, nor will I give any critique of it here on this blog, even though it was requested. Not going to happen.
The complicating factors in what happened are more convoluted. Who released the footage, and why? How much of this type of behavior takes place on movie and television projects that we don’t hear about? Is there a darker objective at work here?
We need to keep our eyes wide open gang. We are so divided as a society, with sides being drawn over everything. Opinion and ideology have usurped truth and propriety every day. Unfortunately, in this case, an innocent dog paid the price.
I have decided to not link to the film clip. It needs no more exposure. As a stand alone item, it is indefensible, and highly disturbing. As a clarion call to action, it deserves our attention within the confines of future prevention. That is all…

Thanks to Angie Ballman-Winters for spurring me to finally engage this subject. See her website here: http://www.angie4dogs.com/

In the meantime…Read the books and see the story behind what could have been a wonderful film…http://adogspurpose.com/

Heart Warming to Heart Breaking.

Posted: January 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

The production of the movie, ” A Dog’s Purpose” has cause a firestorm of controversy from both sides. It can be difficult, in the current atmosphere of distrust towards ALL media, to take any story at face value. A dog behaviorist/trainer from central Ohio, Angie Ballman-Winters put out this video commentary, and it provides some clarity. The levels of failure on the part of the Director and the production crew are to numerable to report. The representatives of the Humane society and their failures are worthy of intense investigation and censure.
Having read the original book, this film was one that I looked forward to seeing for myself. That will not happen now.

I would love to hear from my readers what your thoughts are on this unfortunate, nearly tragic, situation.

https://www.facebook.com/Angie4dogs/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED

http://www.angie4dogs.com/

Time Well Spent…

Posted: January 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

Those who know me accept that I am a professional “Small Boy”. Even as I became a “responsible adult”, I always allowed the small boy to keep a tree fort in my heart. There, I’m enamored of Red Ryder BB guns, fishing poles, model rockets, and silly songs about “greasy, grimy, gopher guts”. The small boy comes out when the responsibilities of being an adult become wearisome, and need to be exorcised.
This small boy has a special memory that he still dreams about frequently. I will share with every puppy that I ever train. I have the help of my faithful minion, Hans, my aforementioned German shepherd in this educational process. He was the first recipient of my dream, and it’s most enthusiastic supporter.
I was in 3rd or 4th grade when the Scholastic Book Truck came to my elementary school, delivering unto me a colorful book called “Where The Wild Things Are”, by Maurice Sendak. This book ignited the fire that I tend to this day, nearly fifty years later. The fire is my ability to return to the freedom of being a little boy. I put on my imaginary Wolf suit, and enjoy a “Wild Rumpus” with my closest friends, my German Shepherds.
Hans has been in on the secret for most of his life, and he revels at the opportunity to join in the games. We go to the nearest open field and chase each other, play with toys, scare off flocks of geese, and whatever other mischief we can find. We wrestle and play tug-of-war with reckless abandon, play keep away, forgetting about the rules of proper canine/handler behavior. Mommy, being Mommy, has no patience for such shenanigans. But we forgive her because she’s not in a place to understand little boys.
During her puppyhood, we introduced our Holly to these secretive forays into misbehavior, because she had so much energy to burn. We knew that someday soon, when the estrogen began to hold sway, she’d betray us to Mommy. Such is the way of the feminine persuasion. Until then, she’s was one of us.
I firmly believe that dogs and little boys were created for each other by a loving God that designed the symbiotic need we have for each other. Such relationships are not possibly born of chance. Little boys love to wade in muddy rivers, and their loyal dogs will join them without hesitating. Chasing the leaves blown by autumn wind is not a frivolous pursuit, but teaches us to persevere in our favorite pastimes. Watching the clouds float by for no clear reason, teaches and reminds us that looking to heaven for the really important answers to the really important questions, is vital.
I cherish the “little boy” times that the dogs and I share. As an adult, I often rely on “experience” to make decisions and learn. The little boy learns things by jumping in with both feet, arms flailing, mud splotches appearing on as many surfaces as possible. It’s a tactile way of learning, marked by the bumps and bruises of enthusiasm and youth. It builds our bond in a singular manner, and will carry on into whatever years we have together. Now, as an adult, I know that the wild rumpus is the best part of being a little boy, but that the adult world views it as silly.
But for a little while every day, the dogs and I explore the place where my little boy lives. And I’m a better man for it. When we are finished, time to return to reality, I think of this line from Sendek:
“And [he] sailed back over a year and in and out and of weeks
and through a day and into the night of his very own room
where he found his supper waiting for him
and it was still hot”

I have the best of both worlds today, and I am a happy man.

  Before I begin, it needs to be re-iterated that German Shepherd Adventures publishes these reviews without grift, without bribes from manufacturers, merely for the sole purpose of letting you know about small companies that are doing exceptional work.  If you ARE interested in bribing me for advertising space or reviews, I am always willing to entertain your petitions.  But be forewarned, I am an HONEST reviewer.  I tend to only write reviews that are POSITIVE.  If I don’t like a product, due to less than quality workmanship, I don’t bother reviewing it.  I received nothing for this review, but I LOVE THE PRODUCT.

dtown

 

When you spend a large part of your time traveling to dog-centric events of varying size, you tend to stumble over products that you fall in love with…Being a huge fan, and wearer of dog training clothing, I NOTICE top-quality merchandise when I see it.  Some times it’s about well placed (and numerous) pockets, other times it’s about weather suitability, and then there’s the always important quality of, “This is up to the rigors of working with dogs, and it’s going to last.”  Sometimes, I get a delightful mixture of all three of those things.  Not often, but this one does it!

http://dtowngear.com/   D-Town gear is a very small. at this point, manufacturer and purveyor of a line of clothing that is expanding as we speak.  While limited at the moment, they have great plans for the future.  My advice is to buy one of their products quickly, and help them finance their further growth!

At a recent Agility competition, I happened to meet a competitor wearing an attractive and functional  hooded sweat shirt that knocked me over!  Cleverly pocketed, and built tough, there are no downsides to this garment.  True, it’s not exactly summer/hot weather wear, but sitting here in Ohio while it snows outside, this garment will more than get you thru a training session, competition, or any other outdoor activity.  Seam work is extra heavy duty, and range of motion is great.  Throwing the dumbbell will only be impeded by YOUR ability, not the wide gusseted sleeves. Other features include:

  • Large front and trademarked back ‘rec-poc’ with FULL nylon lining inside to protect outer material and ease of cleaning
  • 5×7” left and right zipper pockets for secure storing of personal items
  • Nylon lined Hood with drawstrings for comfort and warmth
  • Thumb holes in cuffs for added comfort in colder weather
  • Easily washed and cleaned

 

dtown-7dtown-8dtown-9dtown-10dtown-11dtown-12dtown-13dtown-6dtown-1dtown-5dtown-4dtown-3

DTown Hoody: 4 pocket Recreational & Training Hooded Sweatshirt

I am a huge fan of the Thumb-hole sleeves as well, a seldom found but useful feature.  At under $90.00 each, this is a piece of clothing that looks great, fits great, and feels substantial.  Color choice is nice, and I’m told that laundering is straightforward and simple.  The owner had washed it a couple of times after the well-known “tracking-in-the-mud” that we are all familiar with, and the materials looked like new.  That’s good enough for me.

While I only saw the hooded garment, I have every reason to believe that the non-hooded, Dtown 5 Pocket Recreation & Training Sweatshirt is equally top-quality.  The Dtown Unisex Classic Pullover features a 5-pocket utility design for convenience of storing personal and dog items. This mid-weight, form-fitting pullover is designed for durability, style, comfort and function: with plenty of breathing room and ergonomic seems allowing full-range movement and access to its unique pocket features. Perfect for everyday activity and sport-specific training.  I love the innovative armpit pocket, suitable for hiding toys. Other features:

  • Large front and back pockets allow easy storage and access to a wide range of items including food and toy reward
  • Single panel nylon inner lining to protect outer fabric (designed with food and toy storage in mind)
  • 5×7” zipper pocket for safe storing of wallets, keys, phone (easily houses iPhone 6s+ and large Galaxy note)
  • Hidden armpit pocket for stealthy storage of wide range of objects
  • 5×7” right side Velcro pocket for easy storage and access
  • Thumb holes in wrist cuffs for extra comfort in colder weather
  • Easily washed and cleaned dtown4

 

The only “advisement” that I was offered was that sizes may be critical.  My friend suggested that the X-Large fit like a Large.  “order UP”, she advised me.  But you can ask questions regarding size when you order.  There is also a chart on the website that will be of some guidance.  You can also access information from their active Facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/dtowngear/?hc_ref=SEARCH

It’s the perfect season for the dogtrainer on your list to get a top quality garment that they’ll wear proudly to all the dog events in their plan! dtown1

The Facebook page has mentioned an upcoming line of warmer weather clothing in development and out to the manufacture, so German Shepherd Adventures will be keeping an eye on this up and coming line!!

dtownts

 

Another Police Officer has fallen at the hand of Evil.  Every one of these murders is a tragedy.  Every one of these murders deeply affect us all. The men and women that put on the uniform everyday are especially affected, as are their families and friends.  Today, German Shepherd Adventures honors fallen officer Collin Rose for his service, and his sacrifice.  (Artwork used by permission from Damon Jennings.)

officer-collin-rose

Ivan Balabanov Writes…

Posted: November 24, 2016 in Uncategorized

One of the greats of the Dog Training world recently wrote a post regarding certain changes that are being imposed on the Bite Sports.  I am re-posting his words in support of his stance hoping to spread it as far and wide as possible.  Go get’em Ivan!!

 

Wake up protection dog trainers, wake up!
Are you still concerned about the thrown retrieve in obedience?
There has been a war on protections dog sports, for the last 10 years, and if all of us do not step up and fight I bet you, there will be no REAL protection dog sports that we can play on world level together very soon.
I hate the “politics”, but if the dog sport enthusiasts and professionals don’t step up and voice their opinion NOW, they will be told what they can do, and what NOT to do by the WRONG people!!!
As of January 1st 2017 at the FCI IPO World Championships there will be NO MORE STICK HITS !
This looks like no big deal and nothing to worry about simply because it is only at the “FCI” and only at the “World Championship” right?
WRONG!!!
This is what happened in Europe with regulating which dog training equipment can be used and which can not be used. This is why European dog trainers hide like criminals but still use all equipment available. Sadly not many get the needed education anymore on how and when to use them because it is illegal.
The original stick (long time ago) was a thin bamboo stick that really stung the dogs, and made them angry.
What did this do? It exposed the dog’s courage and demonstrated the level of control the handler has, when the dog is angry!
Times changed and a “soft” padded leather stick was introduced. So for short time we used a padded stick and bamboo stick during the same trial ( first and second half of the routine). What happened next? The bamboo stick was completely removed from the program …
Now let me ask you all – this ‘innocent decision” of not hitting the dogs during FCI World Championship, is it going to stop there?
I think we all know the answer, there will be no stick hits in IPO, then no stick hits in all protection sports ( in Europe) and this will be the end of the meeting of the best protection dog trainers in world.
The good thing with social media is – we can all do something about it!
My voice and your voice can be heard! FCI, WUSV, FMBB they all can listen and decide if they protect our sport, and if they do not – do we need them as our representatives?
We know there are “activist organizations” who work tirelessly to completely shut down protection sports, accepting “little changes” is how it’s going to happen.
FCI Working Commission should at least have the courage to tell its membership why they want this change! If the member clubs do not agree , what then????
Speak out trainers, don’t be afraid to speak out!

ivan