Spokesdog's Canine Couch

A journey about dogs and their people by Diane Rich

Book Review: Strays

May 2nd, 2015 at 6:22 am by Diane Rich
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By Jennifer Caloyeras


Each secret strike of the hammer had someone’s name on it and each cathartic strike
was meant to heal a wound in the heart of the main character, Iris Moody.   The hammer
was directed at the drywall in her closet where Iris tried to hide her angst and pain from the world.
Iris was angry with many people including her father so one of the strikes from
that hammer had her father’s name on it.

The author takes the reader through Iris’s back-story that included the loss of a mother, a workaholic
father, Iris getting dumped by her boyfriend, and her problems in school. Her anger continued to grow
throughout high school and when a teacher discovered Iris’s journal with a note that was mistaken
as a threat aimed at Iris’s English teacher Iris’s life changed forever.

Due to the nature of the threat Iris was not only in trouble with school authorities but
the law as well. Iris, at 16 years of age was sentenced to community service that summer at a dog
facility called Ruff Rehabilitation. Helping animals is intriguing to dog lovers but not to
Iris as she had a fear of dogs.

The tie in to the overall story goes back to Iris’s mother who at some point in her life
was attacked by a Pit Bull. After the incident the mother developed a fear of dogs that
was passed down to Iris. The scar on her mother’s body from the bite wound was a constant
reminder to Iris to be fearful of dogs. My initial reaction was that it was too bad the Pit Bull
was used as a breed of choice for the story line.

The story becomes a little predictable at this point, as the dog assigned to Iris at the Rehab facility
was a Pit. Not just any Pit Bull of course, but a 3-legged Pit, with the usual scars from fighting.
The dog’s name was Roman and Iris’s worst nightmare begins. The author compares the back-story of
abuse this one Pit Bull endured before being rescued from dog fighting and learning to trust again
and the roller coaster of emotional challenges Iris faced throughout her 16 years of life. Iris was
struggling with her past as well and needed to learn to trust humans and trust herself.

As this part of the story unfolds, the reader can see the human-animal bond grow and enjoy Iris’s growth
and turning points as well.

This is a well-written story and a very enjoyable read.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

About the author: Jennifer Caloyeras holds an M.A. in English literature from Cal State Los Angeles and an M.F.A. in
creative writing through the University of British Columbia. She is the author of the young adult novel Urban Falcon,
and her short stories have appeared in a variety of literary magazines, including Booth and Storm Cellar. She is the dog
columnist for the Los Feliz Ledger and lives in Los Angeles.

Ashland Creek Press is a boutique publisher, based in Ashland, Oregon, whose mission is to publish a range of
books that foster an appreciation for worlds outside our own, for nature and the animal kingdom, and for the ways
in which we all connect. For more information about Ashland Creek Press, visit www.AshlandCreekPress.com.




March 31st, 2015 at 11:34 am by Diane Rich
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Accidents happen – sometimes pets get injured, eat the wrong foods, get bitten, cut, or even have seizures.  But, there are ways you can help on the way to the vet. As Dr. Doug Aspros, Former President of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) says, “You can’t be over-prepared. Do your thinking and planning when you’re calm – you’ll make better decisions when the emergency happens.”

So here are a few life-saving tips from the AVMA to help stabilize your pet:

  • If you think your pet has a broken bone, gently lay him or her on a flat surface, or use a blanket as a sling to gently transport your pet on the way to the veterinarian.
  • With cuts, press a clean, thick gauze pad over the wound and press on it until the bleeding stops. If bleeding is severe and on the legs, apply a tourniquet (using a rubber band and gauze) between the wound and the body to slow down the blood flow and get your animal to the vet ASAP.
  • For burns, flush immediately with lots of water. If the burn is more severe quickly apply an ice compress.
  • If your pet has been exposed to a toxin, check the label for immediate instructions such as washing its skin with soap and water, or flushing eyes with water.
  • If your pet is having seizures, keep them away from any objects, blanket your pet to keep them warm and call your vet or an emergency vet clinic.
  • For choking, if your pet can still breathe, get them to the vet immediately. Look in their mouth with a flashlight and quickly try to get the object out with a tweezer. If that doesn’t work, place both hands on the side of his or her ribcage and strike the rib cage firmly with the palm of your hand 3 to 4 times while getting to the vet.

What your Pet First Aid Kit should include for home or travel:

  • VetWrap (or a similar bandaging product that clings to itself and molds nicely)
  • A nylon leash, muzzle, pet carrier (depending on animal size) and a pillow case for a cat that might need to be restrained; a small flashlight can also be quite useful

For more life-saving tips from the American Veterinarian Medical Association, log onto www.avma.org/

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC


Celebrate True Puppy Love with NATIONAL PUPPY DAY!

March 10th, 2015 at 1:13 pm by Diane Rich
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c Diane Rich 2015

The month of March brings spring, warm weather and most important, National Puppy Day! This holiday is celebrated on March 23rd and is fast approaching. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has provided some special care- giving tips for puppies. Like human newborns, puppies need special care. AVMA Veterinarian, Mitsie Vargas, always says, “Treat your pets like three year olds— they are energetic and will try to get into everything.”

There is no denying puppies are adorable, but parenting a new puppy is no walk in the park. The AVMA offers some advice for taking the best possible care of your furry best friend.

On March 23rd (and beyond) take some time and consider:

  • FIRST CHECKUP: Make sure your puppy is up-to-date on their vaccinations. Puppies should be vaccinated starting at six weeks of age.
  • TRACKING (JUST IN CASE): It’s the perfect time to treat your puppy to a new tag, or simply make sure their current tag is up-to-date. It’s always extremely important to make sure your dog tag has your current information, you know… just in case they manage to out run you.
  • HOUSEHOLD HARM: Make sure all poisonous food and chemicals are out of reach. Keep the chocolate, onions, avocados, and many more, away from your canine pal. These foods are toxic for your pet.
  • PUPPY BLUES: Learn what signs of illness are common in the first few months of a puppy’s life, as they are more susceptible to ailments.
  • POTTY TRAINING: Establish a bathroom routine. Puppies need housebreaking and a routine established in their early months of age. Setting a schedule will ensure fewer problems with accidents down the road. Be sure to reward them when they make it outside for the bathroom.
  • EXCESS ENERGY: Take your puppy outside and play for a few extra minutes. As long as the temperature keeps rising, there’s no harm in staying out and playing for longer. This keeps your puppy happy and healthy.

Most pet owners typically strive to make sure their pets are healthy, but National Puppy Day offers them the chance to do a little extra! For more information on how to keep your pet safe and healthy, visit The American Veterinary Medical Association AVMA.org.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC



Meet the Boerboel

March 5th, 2015 at 5:17 pm by Diane Rich
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A Breed Recently Accepted into the American Kennel Club

 boerboel pup 3-15  IMG_2731

The Boerboel, pronounced, Bore-bull had been entered in dogs shows in the Miscellaneous group.
As of January 2015 the breed was accepted by the American Kennel Club and since acceptance
competes in the Working group.  I am somewhat familiar with this breed as I have trained a few of them.

The origin of the Boerboel is unknown but in researching the history of the breed noted this dog can be
traced back to ancient times where it was used for hunting, protection and war.  A Mastiff type dog was
brought to South Africa in the 1600’s for protection and various breeds were used to enhance
the look, courage and capabilities of this dog.  Boerboel literally translates into “Farmer’s Dog”
or “Farmer’s Mastiff” and became known as the South African Boerboel.


There will be 5 Boerbels entered in the Seattle Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show
at CenturyLink Field Event Center March 6th and 7th.. Ring time will be 8:00 Saturday
and 9:00 a.m. Sunday. There will be an opportunity to meet a Boerboel in the
Meet the Breed ring and talk with a breeder.

Last week I had the opportunity to talk with Boerboel breeder, Teri Herrera of Bandera Boerboels
who has been breeding Boerboels since 2007.  I had planned on only doing a phone interview
with Teri but as I listened to her was so impressed with her dedication to the breed and how she
prepares all the pups in a litter for the new family I was compelled to interview her in person.   I am glad I did.

There are breeders and then there are great breeders.  I have been fortunate to meet and work with
many great breeders during my 30-year training career to whom I give my utmost respect.
Teri, like other breeders on my list is the epitome of what I define as a truly responsible breeder.
Responsible breeders care about breed standard and work to improve the breed, do health testing on
breeding dogs and equally important carefully screen potential buyers which,  sometimes means
saying no to buyer. Rejecting an interested buyer is not intended to be mean but part of the
process to make sure the breed and family are a proper fit.


Good breeders like Teri also take their dedication with new litters to another level by tirelessly
investing their time working with each and every pup from the time they are born to the time they
leave the nest. This attention to detail includes thoughtful handling from birth and includes
opportunities for sensory development with each puppy.  Teri also introduces her pups to livestock
on her farm that include chickens, cows, horses and cats. The pups also meet people as well,
who come to visit her farm. Teri told me she clips the pup’s toenails within 2 hours of birth and
gets each pup used to being held and touched. Teri also told me she has her litters temperament
tested by an independent third party.

I asked Teri what would make for an optimum owner for the Boerboal and she told me straight away and
I agreed that this is not the right dog for a first time dog owner unless they are willing to commit
to long-term training and lifetime socialization.

Danyelle Harp and Valerie Durak Photography

Teri’s definition of socialization matches mine and believes the term socialization is not just about
dog play with other dogs, but suggests taking the pup to a variety of appropriate locations so the
pup experiences life outside the home and classroom. Teri recommends early training and puppy classes.
Teri did caution that although the pups can be very sweet, there usually is a radical change when they
reach adolescence so she recommends that the training process continue past this stage.

Part of Teri’s screening process includes filling out an application.  If an interested buyer lives in a
rental home she requires verification from the landlord that they will accept the breed knowing the size
this dog will reach when fully mature.  Teri also requires the new owner’s property be fully fenced.

The Boerboel is not a dog that should be warehoused outdoors as the isolation will create a dog that
will usually become overly aggressive and challenging to manage.  This is a breed devoted to the family
and therefore needs to be a part of the family.  The breed needs exercise and benefits by a fun
game of fetch and daily long walks.

 Diane Rich 2015

This impressive and powerful Boerboel is a determined, willful dog with the mass and strength to
follow through with its intention.  The males can weigh up to 200 pounds.  Don’t let the size fool
you, this dog is agile and can move. As an aside, the Boerboel’s tail is docked however they
can be entered in dog shows with a natural tail.

Teri also mentioned that the Boerboal is easy to train, wants to learn, is super smart
and quite affectionate to the owners. As a trainer I find that many dogs bred to guard can actually be quite
sensitive so although an owner must learn how to be the dog’s fair leader, in my opinion
hard-core, old-school training techniques should be avoided. However, an owner must
step up to the plate and stay at that plate for the life of the dog.

Dogs bred to guard, like the Boerboel tend to be suspicious or wary of strangers so the responsible
owner must properly introduce friends or others coming to the home and property to this dog.
The BoerBoel’s innate hard-wiring to guard the home and family should not be taken lightly.

As with many dogs, not just protective breeds, proper introduction to other dogs is critical early in
the pup’s development and should not just end after one round of puppy classes.  This dog’s socialization
opportunities need to be reinforced for a lifetime and not just with other Boerboels, but also with a variety
of breeds outside of a classroom environment.  I would be cautious of large daycare businesses and
recommend an owner pick and choose good, adult role models for the pup and the maturing and
adult Boerboel. Teri mentioned and I agreed this breed is not a good candidate for dog parks.

Teri did tell me that the Boarboel is not a dog that can be rehomed easily should someone need to
give it up. The breed bonds so strongly to the owner or family some never adjust well to a new home.
As the breed’s longevity can be over 10 years, keep that in mind when considering the Boerboel.

I asked Teri how many BB’s are registered in the U.S. and she stated approximately 500-600 and
between15 or 20 are registered in Washington state.

Should you be interested in learning more about the breed go to Teri’s website; www.banderaboerboels.com,
www.americanboerboelclub.com or SABBA the South African Boerboel Breeders Association.
@  http://www.sabt.co.za. This club’s mission statement is:
“The improvement of the Boerboel’s visible qualities, SABBA’s breed standard will always
be the only norm whereby the visible qualities of the Boerboel will be established and measured.”

Teri told me that SABBA requires a strict 72-point checklist where the dog must meet 75% of the criteria
on that list to be bred.  SABBA will register a Boerboel only after it has been appraised on individual merit,
and not pedigree.  SABBA’s recommended age for appraisal is 18 months, but the Association accepts
dogs of 12 months for appraisal. If a Boerboel does not meet the minimal point requirements
then it does not have enough of the Boerboel traits necessary to make it a good candidate for breeding
and any offspring will be ineligible for registration.   Two to three appraisers (one must have senior status)
will assess a dog brought into the ‘ring’ for appraisal.  SABBA hosts appraisal days in South Africa, as
well as in the USA and Europe throughout the year.

The puppy owner must find an experienced trainer who is neither threatened by the breed
or due to breed uses harsh training techniques.   Teri and I discussed the fact that guard dogs,
and she claims especially Boerboels, tend to be quite intuitive to their owner’s mood and behavior.
The dog may act or react based on its perception of what an owner needs.  The breed will do best with a
confident family and not do as well in a household that tends to be on the chaotic side.

I asked Teri, why the Boerboal and her reply, “I can tell you that I have had dogs all my life
including Poodles and Sporting breeds but never had a breed like this.
They are a loyal, affectionate, protective dog”

I absolutely enjoyed my interview with Teri and meeting her gorgeous dogs. All the dogs featured
in this blog are Bandera Boerboels

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC


Move Over Miss Piggy and Babe There’s a New Pig in Town

March 2nd, 2015 at 7:37 am by Diane Rich
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Meet Amy at the SKC

This is not Amy of course but my attempt of drawing a pig day-dreaming about her debut at the
Seattle Kennel Club DOG show or soon to be Pig show.

You would think by attending the 138th and 139th Seattle
Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show March 7th and 8th at CenturyLink
Event Center all you would see is dogs.  This year there will be a new
attraction, another species with a face and talent that have gone viral.
This little piggy will demonstrate a variety of talents that many thought
were reserved for the family dog.

Here is a link to see Amy in action from KOMO news.

Meet Amy Trotter, a miniature pig that takes obedience and agility
classes with her dog friends at a Seattle based dog training center
and has become the focus of many national and international media
stories since first being featured on www.seattlekennelclub.org in January.

This will be Amy and owner Lori Stock’s first major public appearance since their story
went viral with several million web-site hits. Amy and Stock will join 10 canine classmates and owners
in a special skit-and-dance number at 10 a.m. both days. Afterward, they will be on hand briefly at a nearby booth
for a meet-and-greet and available for photo ops.

For more information on the Seattle Kennel Club dog show, please click on this link from my recent blog.

Speaking Woof
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC


Calling All Pet Lovers

February 27th, 2015 at 12:51 pm by Diane Rich
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Seattle Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show

For Dog lovers/c Diane Rich 2015

Mark your calendars for the 138th and 139th show at CenturyLink Field Event Center March 7-8.

Conformation/c Diane Rich 2015

The Seattle Kennel Club dog show gives dog enthusiasts a wonderful opportunity to see a favorite breed
compete for the goal of winning best in show. America’s most popular breed, the
Labrador retriever leads the way once again with close to 50 entries for both Saturday
and Sunday. There will be around 30 Papillons entered, about 30 Doberman Pinchers entered along
with 20 Cane Corsi competing. A total of 156 breeds, 1424 dogs will compete on Saturday for
conformation, obedience and rally and a total of 1410 dogs are entered on Sunday.


Cane Corso pup 17 weeks old/c Diane Rich 2015

The Seattle Kennel Club event will give enthusiasts the opportunity to see two new breeds recognized
Jan. 1 by the American Kennel Club as eligible for conformation, the Boerboel and the Cirneco dell’Etna.

Also of interest for dog lovers is the Miscellaneous Class which are breeds not yet admitted into AKC
conformation competition. Breeds competing in this class will be the American hairless terrier,
Berger Picards, the Norrbottenspets and Miniature American Shepherd.

This dog show offers one the best opportunities for members of the public to talk with
breed representatives or volunteers for specific rescue organization and meet a breed of interest.
These representatives will have booths on the second floor of the event center and are always
happy to answer your questions. In addition, there will be a Meet the Breeds presentation in a ring
on the main floor both days to speak with breeders, owners or handlers of selected breeds.

Breed Clubs/c Diane Rich 2015

escue/c Diane Rich 2015

eet the breed-Basenji/c Diane Rich 2015

But wait, there’s more.  The action-packed demonstration events will include Ewe-topia herding dogs,
Boeing k-9 explosive detection dogs, Seattle Police Dept. k-9 unit, nose work, agility and other demonstrations as well.
Add to these more than 50 vendors selling a wide assortment of canine products.

SKC agility weave poles 3-11
agility/c Diane Rich 2015

There’s something for everyone at the city’s biggest dog event of the year.

Show hours each day are 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission is adults $14, children under 4 free, children 4-14 $7
and seniors over 62 $12. Sorry, only dogs entered in the show events will be admitted on the premises.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

February is National Pet Dental Health Month

February 19th, 2015 at 2:32 pm by Diane Rich
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blog dental care
 Diane Rich 2015   (The super-sized toothbrush used in this photo is for affect only)

Every month should be pet dental month and February is the month the AVMA or the American Veterinary Medical Association has chosen for pet parents to take notice of your pet’s oral hygiene. If your dog’s breath is on the foul side, it certainly could be caused something she ate but also could be a sign that something is amiss with your dog’s teeth, gums or overall health. Tooth decay or periodontal disease is a common condition in dogs and if left untreated can contribute risk factors to your pet’s vital organs.

If brushing your dog’s teeth is not on the agenda it may be something to add to your “to do” list. It is easy once the dog learns to accept your fingers and foreign object in its mouth. If you are parenting a pup, this is the opportune time to get the pup used to you touching his or her gums, gently quickly followed up by a tasty treat. If you parent an adult dog that protests this type of intrusion, then you may need the help of your Vet or trainer to get you started.

There are various canine dental products on the market from toothpaste and a rubber finger toothbrush, to products that are applied to the dog’s teeth marketed to dissolve the tartar.
There are of course dental chews marketed as products made to offer some abrasive action to help rid the dog’s teeth of some tartar.

 Diane Rich 2015

Pet toothpaste may come in a variety of flavors such as beef, chicken or even peanut butter should your dog have a preference.  Human toothpaste has detergent in it and is not recommended
for dogs as the product is made for humans who rinse and spit.

Dr. Jan Bellows, president of the American Veterinary Dental College states, “Brushing is the gold standard, and many dogs and some cats will tolerate having their teeth brushed if the introduction to brushing is managed gently and gradually. In addition, several companion animal nutrition companies offer dental diets.  The texture of those foods generates a mechanical cleansing effect on the surface of the tooth as the pet is eating. Dental treats such as chews can also be effective, either mechanically by scraping the tooth surface or by chemically removing excess calcium in saliva that could otherwise be deposited on the teeth as calculus. There are also plaque-retardant products available in the form of a water additive, spray or gel, and products that are used to seal the surface of the teeth to prolong the beneficial effect of professional dental scaling. Talk to your veterinarian for more advice about preventing dental disease in your pets.”

According to the 2013 analysis conducted by VPI Pet Insurance the average cost to prevent dental disease in pets is $171.82 but it costs $531.71 to treat dental disease.

Some dogs tend to develop more tartar than other dogs.  Raw food advocates state their dog never needs dental care due to chewing on raw bones and being fed raw pet food.

The Take Away
Your dogs annual checkups  should include a thorough exam of the pet’s mouth.  If between Vet visits you notice a foul odor coming from your dog’s mouth,
if your dog is having problems chewing food or is refusing food, if you see red or swollen gums or if your pet is pawing at her face or mouth it is time to see your Vet.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC


Will Your Favorite Breed Win Best in Show at Westminster 2015?

February 11th, 2015 at 7:37 pm by Diane Rich
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David Frei, The TV Viewer’s Personal Guide

David Frei, the director of communications for the Westminster Kennel Club dog show hits the ground running this time of year fulfilling media obligations to promote this prestigious annual event.  Interviews are just another day in the life of this long time dog lover, competitor, dog show judge and respected co-host of this televised show.

I had the pleasure once again to interview David and his enthusiasm for this sport is contagious.  I enjoyed talking with him about the entries and activities.

Giddy up
David began our conversation with a factoid telling me that the 139th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show began in 1877 and is the longest continuous held sports event in this country and just by a nose follows the Kentucky Derby that started in 1875.  Westminster’s starting gate includes an impressive number of entries that will compete in their group for best of breed. There are 7 breed groups represented at Madison Square Garden   The breed groups for 2015 include 473 Sporting breeds, 409 Hound breeds, 427 Working breeds, 3127 Terriers, 368 Toy breeds, 308 Herding breeds and 311 Non-Sporting breeds.  The winners of their group go on to compete for the coveted Best in Show title.

59 hopefuls will represent Washington State.  Canine competitors from all over the U.S. are entered along with hopefuls from many other countries such as Thailand, Australia and Brazil.

David mentioned the two new breeds recently accepted by the American Kennel Club are the Coton de Tulear and the Wirehaired Vizsla.
national DS coton 11-14   national DS Wirehaired Vizsla 11-14
Coton de Tulear/Steve Surfman photo                       Wirehaired Vizsla/National Dog Show photo

Junior Handlers
Junior handlers are the future of dog shows and David speaks with pride when talking about these young enthusiasts.  There will be 88 junior handlers at this show.  Junior handlers range in age from 9-18 and David shared with me that there will be more junior handlers from Washington state than any other state.

2nd annual Masters Agility Championship
The sport of canine agility has grown in popularity over the past decade and now is a part of the Westminster activities.  When dog lovers picture agility many visualize the agile and lightening fast Border Collie but this competition will delight all viewers by featuring a variety of breeds.   There are 330 entries up from 215 last year.  Will one of these breeds  give the B.C.s a run for their money?  Entries include;  1 Pointer, 1 Shiba Inu, 1 Doberman Pincher, and 9 Pembroke Welsh Corgis among many other talented breeds.

Tune in
With all the whirlwind activities that go on in front of and behind the cameras I asked David what his favorite part of Westminster is and he said without hesitation, “seeing the great dogs, no matter the breed.”   Although we as viewers all have our favorite breed or breeds, it is easy to agree with David’s statement, all these competitors are great.

Thank you David, for your time.

The Westminster Kennel Club 139Th Annual All Breed Dog Show

Monday, February 16, 2015 - CNBC Live 8-11 PM ET / 5-8 PM PT
*The Monday show re-airs immediately on CNBC at 11 PM-2 AM ET / 8 PM-11 PM PT
*The Monday show re-airs on USA Network Tuesday morning 8 AM-11 AM ET/PT

Tuesday, February 17, 2015 - USA Network Live 8-11 PM ET / 5-8 PM PT
*The Tuesday show re-airs immediately following at 8 PM-11 PM PT only

*The Tuesday show re-airs on USA Network Wednesday morning 8 AM-11 AM ET/PT
Sunday, February 22, 2015 - CNBC 8-11 PM ET / 5-8 PM PT
Sunday, February 22, 2015 - CNBC 11 PM-2 AM ET / 8-11 PM PT

Speaking Woof,

Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC


Westminster Kennel Club and the Eye of the Judge

February 2nd, 2015 at 10:06 am by Diane Rich
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An Interview with Best of Breed Judge Sandy Frei

Sandy Frei judging Afghan Hounds for BOB at Westminter 1998

Winning the coveted Best in Show at the world famous Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show comes down to the eye of the judge.   One judge who will choose one special Afghan Hound out of 21 entries and one Whippet out of 38 entries to represent the best of the best of their breed category is Sandy Frei of Woodinville, WA.. Sandy will make her way back to Madison Square Garden in New York to be part of this A list dog show. The 139th Westminster Dog Show will be held on February 16-17, 2015.

Sandy has an extensive and exciting history with Afghan Hounds and has enjoyed judging assignments around the world so please enjoy learning more about Sandy from her bio.

About Sandy Frei
Sandy was born into the dog show world, and teamed with her mother Virginia Withington in the late 60s to make Stormhill one of the top Afghan kennels in the world! As a breeder-owner handler, Sandy showed CH. Stormhill’s Who’s Zoomin Who to #1 Afghan in 1989, retiring her as the top-winning Afghan bitch of all time.  She also handled two national specialty winners – CH. Panjhet of Stormhill (1973) and CH. Calais Sunrise at Stormhill (1999) and numerous other dogs of hers and her mother’s breeding to Specialty, Group and Best in Show wins.  Most recently, she had great success in the show ring with Multi-BIS and SBIS  Gold GCH. Stormhill’s Sweet Dreams of Raffica, “Ella”.

Sandy has been licensed by the AKC since 1981 to judge Afghan Hounds and in 1997 received regular status to judge Whippets and Junior Showmanship.  She has achieved the rare accomplishment of handling two homebred AHCA National Specialty winners and judging Best in Show at the National in 1986 and 2002.  Aside from judging many Afghan specialties and at prestigious all breed shows in the United States, she also had the privilege of judging in many different countries around the world – Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Germany, United Kingdom, France and New Zealand.

In 1998, she had the honor of judging Afghan Hounds and Whippets at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club show.  This year she will have the honor again to judge Afghan Hounds and Whippets at the Westminster Kennel Club show.  She has also judged whippets at several whippet specialties, large supported whippet entries and the American Whippet Club and Canadian Whippet National specialty shows.

Today she keeps busy breeding, exhibiting, judging and various projects for clubs of which she is a member.   She also enjoys volunteering her time in pet therapy service with CH. Stormhill’s Look N’ Good in Red, “Carson”.

Sandy is president of the Evergreen Afghan Hound Club, vice president of the Western Washington Hound Association, a member and AKC delegate of the Seattle Kennel Club, Afghan Hound Club of America, Morris and Essex Kennel Club and Dog Judges Association of America.

A Keen Eye
To the layman’s eye all the dogs at this prestigious dog show look beautiful and appear similar other than possible color differences so I asked Sandy how, within the 2 minute time frame allotted each handler to present their dog to her in the ring she narrows the field to choose the one. Sandy said, ” I have the breed standard in my mind and look for type, balance, examine the dog’s stance and gait.” The gait is loosely defined as the way the dog moves around the ring. Sandy goes on to say, “Afghans should float and move effortlessly around the ring. The dog’s feet have to meet under the center line of the dog.”   The American Kennel Club or AKC defines the breed standard for all recognized breeds.

I asked Sandy how she prepares for his assignments as she knows the breeds she is judging so well.  Sandy shared with me that she re-reads the breed standard information to refresh her memory.  As Sandy has judged dogs in many countries around the world I asked her if there are any differences in judging dogs outside of the U.S.  and Sandy said there are different judging rules in other countries.

Sandy told me it was an honor to be invited to be a part of Westminster and when I asked what her favorite part of the whole show experience, she said “it was the energy and excitement of what goes on in the ring and also the excitement from the crowds.”

Dog lovers will have their eyes glued to their TV to see what gorgeous dog will win the superbowl of dog shows airing in February.  It is always fun for the dog lover to see if their eye is keen enough to pick what dog will make it all the way to Best in Show.  For a pro like Sandy Frei, that skilled eye is second nature.

Thank you Sandy Frei, I thoroughly enjoyed the interview.  For my readers, I met Sandy Frei and a few of her beautiful dogs over the years and also attended her handling class with my dog, Chase when he was a pup.

Show Info
For more information and show times: http://www.westminsterkennelclub.org/2015/show/info.html
njoy the 2nd annual agility championship as well.

The Westminster Kennel Club 139th Annual All Breed Dog Show Monday, February 16, 2015 -
CNBC Live 8-11 PM ET / 5-8 PM PT
*The Monday show re-airs immediately on CNBC  at 11 PM-2 AM ET / 8 PM-11 PM PT
*The Monday show re-airs on USA Network Tuesday morning 8 AM-11 AM ET/PT

Tuesday, February 17, 2015 - USA Network Live 8-11 PM ET / 5-8 PM PT
*The Tuesday show re-airs immediately following at 8 PM-11 PM PT only
*The Tuesday show re-airs on USA Network Wednesday morning 8 AM-11 AM ET/PT

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC


Petco Stands by Promise to Stop Selling China-Made Treats

January 6th, 2015 at 1:17 pm by Diane Rich
  • Comments

First national pet specialty retailer to remove all China-made dog and cat treats from stores and e-commerce

 SAN DIEGO (January 5, 2015) – Petco today announced it has completely removed all China-made dog and cat treats from shelves at more than 1,300 retail stores nationwide, including Unleashed by Petco stores and online at Petco.com. The move makes Petco the first national pet specialty retailer to complete this transition and affirms the company’s commitment to listening to customers and putting the health and safety of pets first.

“As a trusted partner for pet parents, we believe this is the right thing to do, and we’re proud to take this step in the best interest of pets,” said Jim Myers, Petco CEO. “What we feed our pets matters, and this milestone supports the company’s steadfast commitment to putting our customers, partners, animals and the communities we serve first.”

For nearly 50 years, Petco has been a trusted source for high quality premium pet products and services in local neighborhoods across the U.S. Petco handpicks the best brands to help pets thrive with a broad range of food and treat options that support complete pet health. Petco has not carried any dog or cat food items from China for several years. The decision to discontinue the sale of China-made treats allows Petco to expand the assortment of safe and healthy alternatives that are made in the U.S. or in other regions around the globe that support complete pet health.

The safety and health benefits of food and treats continue to be top concerns for pet owners. According to a recent survey, “Natural, Organic and Eco-Friendly Pet Products in the U.S.” by Packaged Facts, 55 percent of dog owners and 48 percent of cat owners agree that fear of pet food contamination and product safety is a key consideration for the pet foods they buy. The survey also found that 61 percent of dog owners and 50 percent of cat owners seek out food made in the U.S. “Customer response to our expanded assortment of treats has been great,” continued Myers. “And we are equally pleased at just how responsive our vendor partners have been in helping us source an entirely new line-up of high-quality, predominantly U.S.-made treat and chew alternatives.”

Petco carries a wide variety of specially-formulated foods for cats, dogs and other pets and is devoted to helping pet parents choose the right nutrition for their pet, both in-store and online. Pet parents looking for alternatives to China-made dog or cat treats will find a broad and completely refreshed selection of U.S.-made products at Petco.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC


For more information about Petco or to find a location near you, visit petco.com.


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About Diane Rich

I have been training dogs and their people for over 25 years. I work with pups from 7 weeks old to senior plus dogs and offer basic obedience to advanced off leash training both privately and group classes. Other services include behavior consultations to help both ends of the leash with everything from aggression, puppy/dog manners and public manners to separation anxiety. As a "real world" dog trainer, I take training out of the classroom or home when both the pet and family are ready, and take training to the street. I also offer pet therapy training classes preparing both the handler and dog for their therapy test and future service as a therapy team. I also coordinate several pet therapy programs in the Seattle area. My complete bio, description of services, class dates and on line class registration is listed on my website at www.spokesdog.com.

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