Thyroid Problems and Suggestions on Dealing with Them


While I am a German Shepherd Dog breeder, I have much all-breed experience in handling, judging, and consulting; as a scientist I also have been drawn to certain medical aspects of cynology (dog science). This said, we proceed to the subject; viz., the fairly common occurrence of impaired health that is traceable to, or at least suspected of coming from, a defective hormone production and regulatory system — specifically involving the thyroid gland. Incidentally, some readers may already know that Greyhounds, GSDs, Chow-Chows, and other breeds have greater incidence of low thyroid activity than the general or average dog population. Some breeds of dogs do better (have less “need” of as much of the hormones) than others, but enough breeds do not, especially in the low normal range.



Breeders’ responses to early puppy deaths vary. Some expend a great deal of effort, while others “let nature take its course” and stoically hope the next breeding will be more successful. Many have discovered that neonatal puppy mortality is preventable or call be reduced through scrupulous attention to prenatal and postnatal care. These breeders, who in the past may have accepted 20 to 25 percent mortality before weaning, have learned that such losses can be reduced dramatically by simple changes in management, including veterinary checkups.

Color Inheritance in the Boerboel


It was my pleasure to deliver a series of illustrated lectures in the Republic of South Africa at the invitation of a coalition of the South African Boerboel clubs in January 2011. One seminar was on the subject of hip dysplasia and other orthopedic disorders, and the other was on gait and structure. The first set was in the Johannesburg-Pretoria area, and the following weekend it was near Durban on the Indian Ocean coast. Both were attended by enthusiastic groups of novices and experienced breeders representing the three or four Boerboel breed clubs in the country as well as fanciers from Belgium and the United Kingdom. After the slide presentations...

Earthdogs - Size and Proportions of the Cairn & Others


The game is the same (go to ground, in the quarry’s lair, and flush or drag him out), but the “game” (in the sense of what species is being hunted) will vary a little in size from the small rats to the large otters. Despite a miniscule percentage of terriers ever likely to be asked to enter a burrow after such prey or pest, the purists in the world of dog fanciers want the breed to remain true to its original purpose.

Conception Problems and Soloxine


At least in the German Shepherd world, many have been blaming the fact that so many of our bitches were “coming up empty” on the known use of anabolic steroids given to many of the top show dogs in an attempt to boost their chances of being placed in the very highest positions at the annual national specialty, or even the preliminary competitions where success is considered in making judging decisions at the final big show.



Hip dysplasia is not common in wild animals because of the continuous processes of natural selection and survival of the fittest. In an environment where society removes or inhibits these means of selection, the host of ills of which HD is but one example is denied full effect and allows the least fit to survive and breed as well, and in some instances makes it easier. The hunter bags the biggest game, we cut the best trees down, and so forth.

Eclampsia and Hypocalcemia in Cattle and Dogs


Hypocalcemia is defined as an insufficient level of calcium in the blood. Eclampsia, once also called puerperal tetany, is one of the results — in fact, the most important one. In cattle, eclampsia has been known in some areas as “grass staggers” but it occurs in non-grass-eating animals such as dogs and cats, also. Homeostasis (optimal balance) of calcium is mainly regulated by parathyroid hormone, calcitonin, and vitamin D.

Bitesuit-work for Schutzhund Dogs

A few weeks ago I got into a bit of a debate with another trainer over the fact that I did bitesuit work with a dog who is destined to be a competitive Schutzhund dog. The accusation was that suit work leads to sloppy gripping technique as well as "dirty" cheap shot behavior in Schutzhund dogs. This debate led me to think a bit about why this misconception exists, and that it might be a good idea to try to clear up some of the wrong impressions people may have...

Problem Solving in the Hold and Bark

There are different philosophies out there on how to teach the hold and bark exercise. I'm not going to get into which one is right and which one is wrong. The truth is there is more than one way to start and teach the exercise and they all have merit. The problems generally start creeping up when we think the dog has learned what we wanted him to learn...

Tell Me About Your Dog! Part One

Being one of those people that often talk late into the night until I lose my voice, I have discovered that very few things in training are quite as diverse as the interpretations of terminology. Why is that? Many terms used in dog training today had a certain meaning assigned to them through the way they were used. But often as the use of the word changed, so did its meaning. One of the most difficult things in discussions about training today is to establish a basis of understanding and interpretation of terminology. Usually once the people who are having the discussion are "on the same page" the discussion becomes...