Spokesdog's Canine Couch
A journey about dogs and their people by Diane Rich
The Man Behind the Voice
Canine enthusiasts recognize the familiar voice of David Frei
as that dog guy, that dog expert who is the co-host for
the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club dog show.
For 26 years that voice has pronounced breeds like
the Xcholoitzcuintli (Show-low-eats-queen-tlee) with
ease while most of us would trip over our own tongue.
David loves talking dogs, is passionate about the
dog show world and has a heartfelt addiction to volunteering
his time and the love of his seasoned, registered therapy
dogs at the Ronald McDonald house and the
VA Medical Center in New York. His canine partners
include Grace, a Brittany and Angel, a Cavalier King
photo: Betsy Dallas
Behind the voice is years of experience in the show ring
as David is a handler, breeder and in 1991 became a judge.
He is licensed now for Afghan Hounds, Cavalier King Charles
Spaniels and the Brittany. David has traveled the world
showing or judging dogs.
David recently announced that 2016, his 27th year would
be his last as the co-host for the WKC at Madison Square
Garden. That announcement did not fare very well with
his world-wide fan base. Why, because for 26 years he
warmly invited the TV viewer into the show ring offering
snippets of facts on the dogs, handlers, and judges who
earned the privilege to be a part of this experience.
In addition to commentary about the entries every year,
Frei shares a little history with viewers about previous
winners who once graced the Garden with primped
paws and poise. The family dog that may be sharing
the couch with their human during the telecast may be
our best friend but this co-host has a gift of making
dog people feel he too, is their best friend.
Looking back a couple decades to around 1990, David was
no-where near Madison Square Garden. He said
he was minding his own business living in Woodinville, WA.
and owned a couple of sports bars in the Seattle area.
David told me that one-day, Chet Collier, the show
chairman and long time President of Westminster
contacted him. Collier, who died in 2007, is remembered
as the man who made Westminster into the world’s
most famous dog show. As David puts it, Chet found David,
when David was living in the woods in Woodinville, called
him and flew him out to Boston in 1990 for an interview
and audition. I was intrigued to learn how Collier
set up the audition. Collier pulled a tape of a recent
dog show featuring a Hound group and the two men
role-played as co-hosts and commentators for that
dog show and, David was hired.
David said that Chet believed in him and became his first
mentor. He warmly states that he feels Chet on his
shoulder every year when he is doing the commentary.
David commuted from Woodinville to New York from
1990 to 2002 to co-host Westminster. That commute got
old and he moved to N.Y in 2002. He pokes fun at himself
stating he must be hard to work with as he has had 9 partners
in 27 years. He worked with Bud Collins for a year and from
1994 to 2002 worked with the great Joe Garagiola who is
going to be 90 this year. Another partner for 3 of those
years was Lester Holt, the news reporter and current anchor
of NBC’s nightly news. Another partner and current member
of the Westminster team is Mary Carrillo. David spoke
very highly of Mary and told me he enjoys working
Taking another step back in time to 2004,
David, while at Westminster founded the
non-profit dog therapy charity, Angel on a Leash.
This organization has since become an independent
501c3 charity creating and administering therapy
dog programs around the country. David proudly is
its President and is an active volunteer.
Best in Show Westminster winner, Uno is clearly one of
David’s favorites. Just mention this Beagle who
won the coveted title in 2008 and David’s eyes light up
with genuine affection. Uno, is also a therapy dog
and puts smiles on the faces of everyone he visits while
David is on the other end of his leash. Uno is also a frequent
guest at the Frei doghouse in New York.
From 1990 to 2016 the Westminster Kennel club
has hosted 71,098 entries from 142 breeds and
varieties to 199 breeds and varieties today. In doing
the math that is an increase of 57 breeds and
varieties during David’s 27 years as co-host.
This year will be NBC’s last year producing Westminster
and the show will be going to Fox Sports1 in 2017.
David wants his fans to know he will continue co-hosting
the National Dog Show sponsored by Purina with
John O’Hurley. The National Dog Show, always a
hit with dog enthusiasts captures the attention of
25 million viewers. David will also be a consultant for
Carson International’s Incredible Dog Challenge that
produces dog events from around the country.
Carson International is headquartered in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Frei will be with NBC as a consultant working on other projects.
I asked David what he would like his fans to
remember about his 27 years at Westminster.
He thought about the question for a few moments
and responded that he hopes the viewers
had a good time and encourages dog owners to
celebrate the dog in their lives. He also emphasized
during our interview, as he does during the Westminster
telecast the importance of responsible dog ownership.
David said, my daily quote is “I thank my dogs every
day for letting me be on the other end of their leashes.”
I wrapped up our interview asking David what breed
would best describe him. His answer was quick, the
Cavalier or Brittany as they are breeds that like people
and like to be around people. This answer makes sense
as David enjoys being around people especially dog people.
In closing, David added that dogs bring us together
and are icebreakers. Thank you, David Frei, America’s
dog guy for bringing dog lovers together and being
part of our lives during your 27 years at Westminster.
I would like to also thank David for sharing the photos
for this story. For more info on the 501c3 please
go to: angelonaleash.org
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC
INTRODUCTION OF THE NEW BREEDS WILL BE FOLLOWED BY
A DEMONSTRATION BY AGILITY COMPETITORS
THURSDAY, JANUARY 21, 2016 AT 11:00AM SHARP
WHERE: Madison Square Garden – Chase Square (Box Office Lobby – 32nd Street and 7th Avenue)
WHAT: In celebration of the 140th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, come meet the
seven new breeds that are eligible to compete for the very first time. Also appearing are four
Masters Agility Championship competitors demonstrating their talents and the American Kennel Club
will have an exhibitor from their popular AKC Meet the Breeds® event which is part of the
Westminster Kennel Club and American Kennel Club Meet and Compete presented by
Purina Pro Plan® event on Saturday, February 13 at Piers 92/94.
The seven new breeds that will be onsite competing this year are:
The Westminster Kennel Club is America’s oldest organization dedicated to the sport of purebred dogs.
Established in 1877, Westminster’s influence has been felt for more than a century through its famous all breed,
benched dog show held every year at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The show is America’s second longest
continuously held sporting event, behind only the Kentucky Derby. For additional information, log on to
Tickets available through Ticketmaster Charge By Phone (1-866-858-0008) and all Ticketmaster Outlets.
Tickets are will also be available in person at MSG Box Office and by visiting thegarden.com/WKCDogShow.
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC
When Family Members Disagree about Training
Dog training is just that, teaching a dog behaviors which may be categorized under manners, tricks or
obedience. No matter the category dog training should include people training. Training techniques may
vary from trainer to trainer and can also vary between members of the household.
Everyone living with the dog is certainly entitled to an opinion with regard to an approach to training
but those opinions can grow legs. In over 25 years in this wonderful business working with dogs
and their people I have witnessed first hand or heard from a family member when
those opposing opinions accelerate into heated battles at home.
A family member who has trained a dog or two in the past or been through a
training class or who has researched training online may dig their heels in with regard to training methods.
In these cases the need for a family member to be in control and the need to be “right” can supersede
the needs of the puppy or new adult dog. In these situations when I walk into a client’s home the tension is palpable.
It is NOT fun to be drafted as a referee but I do my best to try to help smooth the waters and unify
all family member’s efforts for the benefit of the new dog.
Recently I received an email from a frustrated client stating
she knows it is not my job to be a couple’s counselor but wanted help to get
her boyfriend on board with training. She went on to state that after our first session,
her boyfriend was not following any of my suggestions or demonstrations so she decided
to read aloud the information from my handouts to drive her point home.
You can imagine the response from that approach.
I did not want to get into their power struggle so I responded to her plea by
suggesting to her that each owner just do the best they can.
At the next session I noticed the boyfriend was trying very hard but
looked like he was walking on eggshells. I tried to reassure him with compliments
for a job well done and am hopeful the girlfriend gave him some encouragement as well
and they decided to be a team rather than duke it out. I understand that it is not
easy in some circumstances with one family member is trying to manage the pup’s
training in one way and another family member seemingly sabotaging those efforts.
Maybe that family member just doesn’t care that their current interactions will
impact the dog’s behavior as that dog matures or even the dog’s safety.
Trainers like myself who offer private or one-on-one training get an up
close and personal peek into the family dynamics while class trainers
can retain a bit of a distance. When I teach classes I observe clients who put
on that public face and are cordial to their spouse or partner during the class.
There are class clients attending with a spouse or partner who choose to observe
but do not want to participate for fear of upsetting the person who will
share that car ride home.
Bottom line: It is my job to train the dog and interested family members.
I do my very best to make it a fun and positive experience for the humans and of course
the dog, then the responsibility for follow-through is 100% on the family.
It is not my job to referee or be a family counselor but do find myself in that position frequently.
However awkward, if I can make a difference with that extra task on my plate by
unifying the interested parties then it is worth it.
I am always hopeful those family members who are at odds with each other
will put the dog’s best interest before their own egos and the need
to be right and just DO right by the family dog.
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC
The Top 10
1, I may beg for the food you are eating but I do not know what is best for me. I just want what you are eating or what smells good to me. I am counting on you to know what is best for me and how much to give me. I do not know what will make me sick. What I do know is how to manipulate you until you cave and give me food. I know you think I am finicky with my meals but really I am just holding out for all the treats you give me during the day which can fill me up. I want to be with you a long time so please make sure I have a balanced diet.
3. I hear my Vet telling you I am overweight and that 50% of pets in this country are overweight,
a nice way of calling us fat. I really, really want to be with you a long time so
let’s both watch our weight together this coming year
4. Let’s walk together everyday.
If I pull you when I am on that thing that seems to be pulling me or holding me from exploring or running, it is NOT that I am trying to dominate you, I want to explore and you tend to walk too slowly. Please teach me how to walk with you so we both have fun. Oh, I have heard about hiking and would like to give that a try with you.
I am a baby. Please do not take me to a dog park. I hear it is best for dogs
that are already socialized. It is a scary place with dogs in my face that won’t
give me space. I do not know how to defend myself yet but will have to learn
if I cannot count on you to protect me.
5. When I was a pup you taught me how to sit and a few other things that I don’t remember.
I am feeling a little lost and even nervous sometimes as I really don’t know what you want. I know you love me but I am happy when you teach me something so I can feel more confident and feel we can communicate with each other and not have you so angry with me for things I do not understand. I am NOT being dominant or stubborn because I am not listening to you. You have taught me not to listen to you
6. Your friends seem nice and I like some of them but I am hoping you teach your friends not to stick their face in my face or think I want them to pet my head. Do you like people touching your head? Please ask your friends to respect my personal space and let me get to smell them first when they come over. Letting your friends pick me up or hug me tells me you don’t care much about me
and I have to fend for myself.
7. I hear people saying how cute I am and they ask you if they can pet me. Great.
But, please ask them to wait for me to make the first move. I may be
uncomfortable with some strangers so if I do not make the first move
please please please do not just let them come up to me to touch me.
I really don’t like it and they do not seem to care. I want you to care and to protect me. I
am trying to let them know not to touch me but they do not seem to get it.
I will have to snap or growl at them let them know not to touch me
8. That brings me to the subject of other dogs we see during our walks. I hear those pet parents
tell you their dog wants to say hi. I am reading the other dog differently than you and even the other people and am asking you, no begging you to say no sometime to these people and let me and the other dog relax first and investigate each other if we choose to. Do you want strangers to just come
up to you on the street and shake your hand or give you a hug? I know you don’t.
I do not have to say hi to every dog on the street, that is not socializing me,
that is telling me I am on my own and I can’t count on you to protect me.
9. I want to spend more time with you. You are gone all day, come home and
seem to prefer to sit and play games with some device on your lap rather
than having me on your lap. I love you and you are all I have.
10. Sometimes I am not feeling well and need to see my doctor. Please don’t wait until I am really
sick to take me to my Vet. If I am not eating or drinking water or no longer want to play please take me to the Vet. I really want to be healthy enough to be with you for a long, long time
I want to thank my readers for your continued support all these years. Your emails are
appreciated. I have covered many topics over the years on my blog but if there is a topic of interest you want me to write about let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wishing my readers a very happy and healthy New Year!
I am looking forward to another year with you!
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC
This blog is a repost from 2014 with a few tweaks. Hope you enjoyed it.
By Tracey Stewart
Former Vet tech and lifetime animal advocate Tracey Stewart is on a mission.
Her mission is to change how we interact with animals and respect animals,
whether they share our home, live out horrific days at factory farms or suffer at
commercial breeding hellholes. Do Unto Animals is a friendly guide to
how animals live and how we can make their lives better.
Do Unto Animals took me by surprise as animal advocates lean towards preachy and shame.
Steward took another path. Although the message is clear, the charming approach taken by Stewart
was thoughtful, educational and entertaining. You can feel the genuine love Stewart has
for animals through her heartfelt narrative, and clever illustrations. This new author shares her heart
and passion throughout this book with stories, tips, and a taste of reality and is sure to attract a loyal following.
If you are looking for a book as a gift for an animal lover, look no further.
Do Unto Animals is it. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, cover to cover.
The author is married to the former host of the Daily Show, Jon Stewart
with whom she is creating a sanctuary for at-risk animals.
Illustrations by Lisel Ashlock and published by Artisan Books.
Paperback with flaps $19.95, digital list price $15.95
Amazon Kindle $8.61 paperback $13.86
Easily 5 out of 5 woofs
Disclaimer: Chase and I received this book free of charge for a review
The bounty of rich, tempting foods at Thanksgiving can pose health hazards to our four-legged friends, making Thanksgiving a busy time for emergency veterinary clinics. Seattle Humane urges pet guardians to follow five common sense tips to keep pets healthy and happy during the holiday fun and festivities:
1. Keep the feast out of reach! Agile and creative dogs or cats can capture a special treat from the kitchen counter, trash or even the dining room table.
2. Resist offering your leftovers. Rich and fatty foods like dressing, pie, and gravy can lead to serious and painful pancreatitis.
3. No turkey bones! Turkey bones can cause very serious and sometimes fatal consequences for your pet.
4. Plan ahead for pets. Stop by a pet food store and purchase some new dog biscuits or cat treats and then reduce the amount of his regular meal to accommodate the treats he will be getting throughout the day. Remember, biscuits and treats are usually much higher in calories than regular pet food, so having him skip dinner may be a prudent choice if he has been snacking all day.
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC
Seattle Humane, located in Bellevue at the junction of I-405 and I-90, is open the day after Thanksgiving from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fees are waived all day on black cats for “Black Cat Friday” (our version of Black Friday). View adoptable pets at www.seattlehumane.org.
ABOUT Seattle Humane
Founded in 1897, Seattle Humane proudly promotes the human-animal bond by saving and serving pets in need. We provide adoption services 7 days a week, plus pet workshops and training, a pet food bank, a low-fee spay/neuter surgery program, humane teen club, a visiting pets program and more. Seattle Humane located in Bellevue, at 13212 SE Eastgate Way. For directions and more information, visit www.seattlehumane.org or call (425) 641-0080.
Presented by Purina
Once again I was happy to be included with other reporters for another enjoyable phone interview
with expert analyst and Dean of Dogs, David Frei and his co-host the Dean of Wit, the multi-talented
John Hurley. Both gentleman along with award winning Mary Carillo will educate and entertain you
during The National Dog Show presented by Purina. This popular event will broadcast on Thanksgiving
Day, November 26th following the Macy’s parade.
Over 1700 dogs from 182 breeds and varieties were entered. The group of meticulously coiffed and
carefully pedicured k9s has expanded to recognize 7 new breeds this year. Both David and John
shared with us that they practiced pronouncing the names of these new breeds that could trip up
even the most experienced tongue. David said it did not hurt to have had some French lessons in high school.
The magnificent seven breeds listed below originated in various countries.
1. Logatto Ramagnolo
2. Miniature Australian Shepherd
3. Spanish Water Dog
4. Boerboel (http://blog.seattlepi.com/caninechat/wp-admin/post.php?post=7597&action=edit)
5. Berger Picard
6. Cirneco dell’Etna
I asked the hosts if over the years any new breed recognized by the American Kennel Club has
ever won this dog show and David’s reply was no. He explained that judges get to know each
new breed which means the judge learns each breed’s conformation from nose to toes. A judge
learns the finer points of form and function of that breed. David stated judges look for showmanship,
charisma and personality. Of the dog, that is. David said the best handlers should be invisible to the judge,
The Kennel Club of Philadelphia offers two benched shows. Benched shows require
the dogs, when not being judged in the ring be available for spectators to view. More importantly,
benched shows offer dog enthusiasts a wonderful opportunity to speak with breeders or handlers about the breed.
This show, sanctioned by the American Kennel Club (AKC) will help raise
money for canine-related causes. Prior beneficiaries of the Kennel Club of Philadelphia include the
U. of Penn’s school of Veterinary Medicine. This year the beneficiaries are the Philadelphia
Ronald McDonald House and Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS).
The National Dog Show will feature two vignettes that highlight Purina’s #dogthanking initiative
to thank the four-legged friends who make our lives so special. Now through Nov
29th, Purina invites dog owners to log on to FB, Twitter or Instagram to share with
the world why they are so thankful for their dog. For every original post
that includes@Purina and #DogThanking, Purina will donate one dollar to the AKC
Canine Health Foundation-up to $75,000 to help further pet health research.
Submitted videos, photos and posts may be shown during the National Dog
In 2002 after NBC Sports programming executive Jon Miller rented
Best in Show and asked his bosses for the time slot following the Macy’s
Thanksgiving Day Parade. And, as they say the rest is dog history.
For more information please visit http://nds.nationaldogshow.com
BarkHappy, A Free New Mobile App Can Make A Connection
BarkHappy, a location-based meet up and search app for dog owners, makes its debut today in Seattle, WA. The app, available for both Android and IOS devices, enables dog owners to discover other dogs in their area through geolocation and encourages them to meet new friends for both their dogs and themselves. BarkHappy goes further and helps users find dog friendly places such as restaurants, bars, hotels, parks and more through an interactive dog friendly map. This unique combination of features aims to help dog owners enjoy a more social and active lifestyle with their dog.
“We believe dogs are happiest when they’re out being social with their humans and meeting other dogs,” said Ninis Samuel, Founder and CEO of BarkHappy Inc. “Plus, dog owners are kindred spirits and meet randomly usually because we all have something in common, our dogs. This doesn’t have to be random anymore.”
Samuel has a special place in his heart for Seattle, having lived there for many years in the past when working at Microsoft. “Seattle is one of the most dog friendly cities in the US, full of dog lovers, dog friendly businesses and parks. We are excited to bring this community together through BarkHappy and in turn, encourage users to be more social with their dogs.”
BarkHappy launched in July 2015 in Austin, TX. In the months since, BarkHappy has united the Austin dog community by connecting them with users, various dog friendly businesses, events in the city, and local charities. In Seattle, Samuel looks to continue his mission and partner with local rescue shelters to inspire others to give back to the community.
Connect With Other Dogs Nearby
Users create their dog’s profile first and then their own. After completing basic information about their dog, like age and breed, users also include details like whether their pup plays best with big or small dogs. Once inside the app, users can see a list of other dogs nearby, view their profiles and decide to connect in various ways via dog-to-dog interactions. These range from sending quick “wags”, to messages, to invitations to meet instantly for play dates. The play invite feature even finds the ideal dog friendly mid-point between two dogs, taking the hassle out of trying to figure out where to meet. BarkHappy also gives dog owners Daily Matches for their dog of potentially compatible dogs in the area their dog may like.
Discover New Dog Friendly Places
The BarkHappy map shows various categories of dog friendly places , not just the usual dog parks or vets, but also dog friendly restaurants, hotels and even stores that allow dogs indoors. Every listing has its own profile showing its pet policy and amenities, such as if the establishment has water bowls, treats, covered outdoor seating and more. This is especially helpful on rainy or cold days as the app helps find places that allow dogs indoors or have covered patios that are dog friendly. Dog owners now have more options to enjoy with their dog no matter the weather. Dog friendly businesses are listed completely free of charge and the map is community driven, so users or business owners can manually add their favorite dog friendly places to the map to share with others. The company wants to help these dog friendly businesses get discovered by the community easily.
Helping Dog Owners Stay Active
The app also features a feed that allows users not only to their see current social activity, but also informs them about the latest updates or dog friendly events in the city. BarkHappy has regular dog park play groups, happy hour events, and partners with local dog charities for events to give users more things to do with their dog each week.
BarkHappy is now available in both Austin, TX and Seattle, WA with other cities expected in the very near future. Dog owners in other cities can sign up to be notified when it launches in their area, either through the app or the website. The app is available for free in both the iTunes App Store and Google Play store.
Local Seattle business owners listed in the app also get BarkHappy water bowls for their patios and window stickers to signify being dog friendly. These are provided free of charge from BarkHappy.
About the Company & Founder:
BarkHappy Inc. was founded in 2014 by Ninis Samuel and is headquartered in Austin, TX.
Ninis spent 12 years as a marketing executive at Fortune 500 tech companies such as Microsoft, Lenovo and Nokia HERE launching software and hardware products around the world and leading product management, consumer marketing, and strategy. He’s been a dog lover his entire life. However it was his experiences after adopting his dog Kerby from a rescue shelter that inspired him to create BarkHappy. Ninis saw how much Kerby loved to be social with other dogs and new people as well as traveling with him around the country. At the time, it was hard to find dog friendly places and to meet compatible friends for Kerby. He realized it was time to combine his passion for technology and his love for dogs and build an app that focused on an active social lifestyle with your dog. Today Kerby holds the title of “Chief Puppy Officer” for the company, and still hasn’t left Ninis’ side.
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC
By Elias Weiss Friedman
Friedman is always searching for the next pretty face and finds that face between the ears of a dog.
Friedman, AKA the dogist is a professional photographer and combined his talent behind
the lens and his love of dogs to create this book. Every page of Friedman’s book features a
theme such as dogs with bones, dogs with eyes closed, barkers and Doodles.
This book is an enjoyable collection of sweet canine faces.
5 out of 5 woofs.
About the Author
Elias Weiss Friedman grew up near Philadelphia. After graduating from Boston University in 2010,
he moved to New York and held a job at a major brand strategy agency for two years. But after a
round of layoffs, he wanted something more authentic and creative to take on.
He decided to combine the two things he has loved since childhood: photography and dogs.
$19.68 from Amazon.com
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC
By David Meyer, Abbie Moore and Dr. Pia Salk
David Meyer, Dr. Pia Salk and Abbie Moore are the editors of, The Total Dog Manual and collaborated with
volunteers from their non-profit pet adoption business; adopt-a-pet.com to include a plethora of topics about
the family dog. Answers to many pet related questions are covered in several categories; over 30 topics
under their basic catagory, over 60 topics under their behavior category, over 70 topics under
the training category, and over 80 topics under their general subject of care category.
All the information is laid out in colorful sound bites of short to medium length
paragraphs addressing each topic. The editors used photographs and
illustrations throughout the manual to help the reader identify with the objective of a topic.
I would say, yes this book is a total dog manual but certainly not a quick read.
Scanning through the table of contents may help locate a topic of interest but to mitigate
some confusion for the reader trying to navigate the organization of the table of contents, it may be easier
to target a topic of interest through the index. The Total Dog Manual may prove to
be a helpful addition to your library as a resource should questions come up about the family dog.
Chase and I give it 4 out of 5 woofs.
$17.08 through Amazon.com
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC