Chocolate Labrador Retriever

Car Driving Dog

MGB Sports car

https://flic.kr/p/6ykGEa https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/                         (photo by Stephen Rees)

When I was in my twenties, I had a ninety-pound Labrador retriever, Bob, who, on quick trips, rode in the passenger seat of my MGB convertible. With the top down, we went to the post office. The lot was packed, and when a car backed out from a front space, I zipped in, happy that I could watch Bob from inside the building. While I waited in line, I shifted my weight and my heart raced when I saw a man standing next to the driver’s side of my car. Did he hit my car? Did Bob bark at him? Would he try to steal my dog?

I continuously glanced over my shoulder at the man while the clerk waited on me, and I felt relieved when we were done. I gathered my belongings and hurried outside noting the cars lined up out to the street waiting to park. When I approached my car, I saw that Bob was sitting behind the wheel. I suspected that he was attempting to imitate the alpha, but I knew that he couldn’t drive a stick shift. The gray-haired man, with his arms folded over his chest, watched me walk toward them.

I smiled hoping to disarm the man, literally. He said, ” I had to meet the driver of this car.”

” Oops, did I take too long?”

“I had been waiting for a parking spot for over ten minutes.” Was he judging me?

“I saw the back of this person’s head hoping that he would start the car and pull out. I thought that he was rude dawdling on a jammed lot. I blared my horn.” Here it comes, I thought.

“The horn’s blast must have startled your dog. A big brown head snapped around, and he stared at me. I never imagined that I was waiting for an animal to move the car. I had to laugh that I blew my horn at a retriever.”

He extended his weathered hand, and I shook it. We laughed and I thanked him for waiting to tell me the story. I smiled on the way home, but I drove, good try Bob.

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Leonberger dog

Leonberger Dog Show

Landseer Newfoundland

Landseer Newfoundland


Saint Bernard

Hummel_Vedor_vd_Robandahoeve, St. Bernard.


The Leonberger originated in the 1800s when the alderman of Leonberg, Germany, bred a Landseer Newfoundland with a St. Bernard and mated later generations with the Great Pyrenees. Sources say that the alderman wanted a dog that resembled the lion on the Leonberg crest.

The Leonberger was considered a “Rare Breed’ until recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2010. If you are interested in more information about AKC breeders of merit, please contact the Leonberger Club of America.

Leonberger enthusiasts, trainers, owners, and breeders had traveled hundreds of miles to attend the 2017 Leonberger Club of America National Specialty, Old Bay Leos. We spotted dozens of these dogs, some well over 140 pounds, at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Baltimore Hunt Valley.  Their black-masked expressions and flowing coats created a stunning spectacle.  Both adults and children showed these “gentle giants.”

Leonberger dog

A woman holds her Leonberger dog at Delta Hotels by Marriott.

Leonberger Dog

A woman gives her Leonberger dog treats at the 2017 LCA National Specialty dog show.

Woman spins Leonberger fur into yarn

A woman spins Leonberger fur into yarn.


2017 LCA National Specialty

An old Leonberger dog rests in a carriage.


Leonberger Dogs

Trainers and owners wait to show their dogs.


A Leonberger at the dog show

A Leonberger dog sits by the show ring at the 2017 LCA National Specialty in Hunt Valley, Maryland.


Leonberger dog

A woman holds her Leonberger dog at the 2017 LCA National Specialty.

https://youtu.be/ZgkMDlKtRy4

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Leonberger Dog

Dog Finds Possum

My husband called my cell phone and said, “Your dog, B, escaped the yard. I found him sitting on the hill in your garden outside the fence, and I can’t leave for work until he is in.”

 

This was a first, and I wondered why he had escaped, and I asked my husband to try to get him back in the fence. My husband had gone outside to drag B in and found him sitting next to a dead possum. The dog was panting and smiling like he found the golden urn.

 

My husband called back and said, “I think that he may have killed a possum, because I thought that I saw blood when I reached over it to grab B. However, the possum warden refused to leave his departed playmate, so he’s still in your garden.”

 

Bad thoughts swirled through my head. If he, the dog, not my husband, had tasted blood, was he bloodthirsty? Would he kill other animals? Suppose he kills a dog or cat? Would our kids and their friends be safe in our yard? I decided that when I got home, I would call the vet and ask these questions. I may have to get rid of my dog.

 

When I had returned home my husband said, “The dog is in the backyard. I held a piece of steak in front of him, and I was about six inches away from that big possum, when I grabbed his collar to him drag away.”

 

I went to see my dog hoping that my husband was wrong.  I lifted his lips and checked his teeth and gums looking for signs of blood. I also ran my hands over his body checking for wounds. I couldn’t find anything. Maybe the possum had already been dead or died quickly fighting a 140 pound dog.

 

The next morning, my husband grabbed a shovel and bag to dispose of the remains. I said, “Why don’t you just throw it in the woods so an animal will eat it?”

 

“No, I’m taking it off our property, because I don’t want B to exhume the body.” I understood his rationale, because the dog was enamored with his numb soul mate, and he might break the fence to visit it.

 

After my husband collected his mortuary supplies and donned heavy gloves, he headed out to transport the deceased. I had no intention of assisting him as a pallbearer or attending the viewing. Within five minutes, my husband returned.

 

“Where’s the possum?”

 

“It’s gone.”

 

“Gone, dead?”

 

” Gone away.”

 

The possum fooled us and I was relieved that my dog wasn’t a bloodthirsty killer. I couldn’t help but think about my husband’s possible reaction if the possum had moved when he was reaching across it to grab the dog. That would have been worth filming.

 

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A five-month-old Leonberger puppy

Puppy was Attacked Four Times

My dog trainer teaches dog obedience and owner etiquette.  I have learned the following three tips:

 

  • Dogs on a leash are on the defensive, therefore it is not a good idea for leashed dogs to mingle.

 

  • Retractable leashes can confuse a dog because jerking the dog back is a correction and without training, they don’t understand the correction, so it’s not fair.

 

  • You should try to protect your puppy from bad experiences because it could affect its life.

 

I failed my puppy on this last point because he was attacked four times, though he was leashed. From these attacks, I had learned that some dog owners don’t understand or practice dog etiquette. Since I have a large dog, this concerns me.

 

When our puppy was five months old, our daughter was walking him through a wooded park and an unleashed husky tore around the corner and ripped puppy’s face causing him to yelp and wine. The couple with the husky watched while my daughter pulled the dog off puppy. They didn’t apologize and seemed to find it humorous.

 

The second time, I was walking our eighteen-month-old puppy on a semi-crowded street. I stopped to talk to a friend while my dog sat at my side. I assumed that puppy was safe sitting close to me. However, a guy with a pit bull released his retractable leash and his dog charged. The dogs were face to face growling, biting and screaming. When we separated the animals, the guy said, “Sorry,” and walked away.

 

A few months later, I was walking puppy, who was about 110 pounds but still impressionable, when a dog bolted off a neighbor’s deck and attacked him. I believe that the dog had probably escaped because the owner had run over to grab his dog and apologized profusely. Sometimes, things are unavoidable.

 

A few weeks later, a tiny dog dashed off its property and grabbed my dog’s neck. The owners watched until I yelled at them to get their dog, and I was surprised that they didn’t react immediately especially because of the difference in the dogs’ sizes.

 

As a result of these attacks, I have had my dog neutered, and when I walk him I try to avoid other dogs. If I see someone with a dog near us, I walk him to the far side of the street and keep him close to me. Invariably, the person across the street releases their retractable leash and their dog approaches us. Ironically, the owner usually pretends that it is the dog releasing the leash. In addition, these are probably the people who allow their dogs to stretch their leash across the street making it a hazard to pedestrians, runners, and bikers.

 

Sometimes, I head down a side street to avoid other dogs, and the owner and dog will stand by that side street waiting for my return. I don’t understand why they insist on their dog meeting mine.

 

My favorite story is when I had been avoiding a couple and their dog for days. When they saw puppy and I walk, they would approach us while releasing their dog’s retractable leash, and I would pivot and walk in the opposite direction. I suspect that they were elated when they spotted our son walking our dog. They brought their dog over to him and the leashes entangled. Can you imagine what could have happened if one of the dogs become aggressive?

 

These encounters have made me tense and watchful when I walk my dog, and he probably senses it. I believe that if more dog owners learned dog etiquette, dogs and people would be safer. Therefore, if a dog walker avoids you and your dog, please don’t take it personally.

 

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Dog Bite Report

My husband had to file a mandatory dog bite report for our Leonberger puppy when he was 8-weeks-and-one-day old, and these photos clearly show his mean streak. The top one is his mug shot.  Puppy had only spent one night at our house, when he scampered down the front lawn with my husband to get the newspaper.
After my husband picked up the paper, he saw puppy in the middle of the yard joyfully chewing on an unknown object. He hurried over to him and tried to pry his mouth open to remove the object, but puppy was determined not to reveal the prize in his mouth, and he kept his jaws clamped shut like he thought that he was a snapping turtle. With a little maneuvering, my husband finally opened his mouth and nicked his finger on his needle teeth in the process. Can you imagine his glee when he discovered that the coveted treasure was a possum skull? No wonder puppy didn’t want to give up this gem because he probably never had his own skull before.
A few days later, my husband’s finger became infected and he had to go to the medical center to have it treated. Because of a new law, that is more applicable to vicious dogs, he had to file a report indicating that his dog bit him before they would see him.  He tried to explain that the puppy was 8 weeks old, but they wouldn’t hear it. He filed the report, and it took two rounds of antibiotics to treat him.
The result of this incident is that the dog must be on his best behavior for the rest of his life because he has a record.

 

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Harlequin Great Dane Puppy and Dalmatian

Pet Control

My father had often said, “Those dogs aren’t running my life,” but my sisters and I still laugh, because unbeknownst to him, he and the Great Dane and Dalmatian were part of a chess match. The dogs were the chess masters, and he was their pawn.

 

My parents usually took the dogs with them when they went to the beach. One day,  when my parents were packing their car to leave the beach for my father to go to work; our Dalmatian and Great Dane had slipped out the door and took off. My parents walked and drove the neighborhood for hours, and they finally called the police. It was a sad day when the policeman gave my father the bad news: The dogs had become criminals and they were locked up behind bars.

 

I would have loved to have heard the conversation between my parents when my father had to drive to the police station that was several miles away and bail them out. Luckily, he was an attorney and visiting clients in jail was nothing new to him. He said that when he saw the jailed dogs, “They looked guilty.”  After loading them in the car, my parents headed home. Unfortunately, they were stuck in rush-hour traffic, and my father missed work. The dogs were affecting his job.
Though my father often complained about our pets, I believe that he liked them though they intimidated him. At Christmastime, he saved empty cardboard rolls from the Christmas paper and stacked them in the corner in the family room. Though he would never hurt anyone or anything, when he thought that the dogs were misbehaving, he would grab a cardboard roll and say, “See this!” and the dogs ignored him as usual and continued what they were doing. I guess holding something in his hand taller than the Great Dane made him feel powerful.
We needed a new car, and my father thought that he was buying the family a station wagon. We, us kids, knew that he was buying the dogs a car, though we hadn’t pointed that out to him. The dogs needed room to spread out for long car rides, therefore their requirements dictated what my father drove.
Though my father pretended that he didn’t like our dogs, when the Dalmatian was diagnosed with a terminal illness, my parents drove her to a veterinarian school hours away as a last ditch effort to save her life. Unfortunately, it was unsuccessful, but I give my parents credit for making that trip.
Ironically, years later after my mother had passed, and the dogs were gone, my father called me and said, “Dorothyadele, a vagrant has entered my office and said that he is leaving town. He has a golden retriever, Ralph, with him, and he plans to have him euthanized. Should I take him?”

 

“Absolutely!” I said.

 

 

The cycle continued. We never knew the dog’s age, but he was a good companion for my father for about five years until Ralph became ill. I knew that my father liked dogs.

 

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Top Ten Dog Training Mistakes – Guest post by Blogger Kevin Davies…

https://www.creativedogtraining.com/blog/what-is-the-best-age-to-start-training-my-dog

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Chocolate Labrador Retriever

My Dog Saves Our Daughter

My blond-haired, blue-eyed, four-year-old daughter, J, climbed on the white plastic swing seat out back of our home. I pushed her while she clutched the metal chain loops and repeated  “again.”

It was about 6 p.m., and time to prepare dinner. The swing set was below my kitchen window, and I left planning to watch J from inside.  If she needed me, I could run to her quickly, but I didn’t know that I wouldn’t be quick enough.

For reasons unknown, I guided my chocolate Labrador retriever, Boh, by his chain collar to the swings telling him to sit and stay knowing that he wouldn’t leave.

I prepared dinner, and as I spoke to J, I watched a cream, pointed-eared chow, that I didn’t recognize trot towards her. I had seen a chow growl at J during dog training class and I also watched one attack another dog.

I flew out the great room’s white French doors, onto the wooden fortress-like deck, and scrambled down the sturdy steps jumping from the second to last one.  I turned the corner as the chow bared his white, upper and lower teeth and lunged for J’s face.

Boh charged the chow and blocked J, who jumped off the swing and leapt into my arms. We screamed while both dogs stood on hind legs, fangs to fangs and ripped jaws, heads and throats while dog screeches and loud, guttural growls pierced the neighborhood.

I put J down on the ground and grabbed sticks and rocks and hurled them at the chow hoping to end the fight. The chow finally backed off but stayed in my yard.

Hearing screams, the chow’s owner sprinted to my yard holding a leash. When I explained what happened, she apologized repeatedly and said that she recently adopted the dog from the pound and knew nothing about its history.

Then she fastened the leash to the chow’s collar and left. I  learned later that she returned the dog.

To this day, I question why I left Boh with J, because I had never done it before. It makes me wonder if someone was watching over her.

Leonberger Dog

Puppy Training 101 — Blame the Husband

I had pulled in my driveway on a rainy September day and spotted large and small strips of brown cardboard, pink, black and white clothing, and clear plastic bags that had been ripped open and scattered across my back lawn.
It looked like someone had tossed debris in random directions as they rode on a merry-go-round. Closer inspection revealed that about 50 golf shirts littered my yard. Clear plastic bags protected most of them, the rest were sopping and smeared with dirt.
I quickly bundled as many shirts as I could hold in my arms, and I hurried inside and dropped them on the Ping-Pong table. When I returned to collect more, I watched my giant Leonberger puppy hop among the clutter.
He grabbed a pink shirt, growled ferociously, and shook it like he was playing Tug of War. Then he threw his head up and down several times, tossed it in the air and pounced on it with muddy paws. I couldn’t help but laugh.
Oops, these were the company-monogrammed-Adidas-golf shirts that my husband had ordered for his customers. I had heard that the company had paid about $2,000 for them. Unfortunately he couldn’t give his customers shirts that took a spin in the washer. I knew that we were in trouble.
After I picked up the rest of the shirts, I called my husband from my cell phone so that he wouldn’t know that I was home.
 “You didn’t leave the dog out, did you?” I asked
 “Yes, I left him out,” he said.
 “Oh, did you forget that anything that the UPS truck drops off on the driveway belongs to him?”
 “I didn’t think about that,” he said 
 “If he gets into anything, my conscience is clear, how’s yours? Have a great day and see you at dinner.”
This was the second or eighth time that my puppy had opened a UPS box. Previously, he had torn into canine heartworm pills and had eaten a six-month supply. I knew that the pills contained arsenic, and I had made a frantic call to the vet who assured me that his 120 pounds protected him from the poison.
Though I had never eaten one, heartworm medication smells and tastes like dog treats, and my dogs love them. Unfortunately, food and fun had rewarded my puppy for puncturing packages. It was time to stop his behavior before he consumed his next carton.
After I picked up the rest of the shirts, I placed a cardboard box in my driveway and walked away watching him from nearby. When my puppy pounced on the box, I ran to him and grabbed his little black furry cheeks in my hands and put my face about two inches from his and screamed “NO!”
I yelled at him for about 15 seconds, and it worked. He never touched a box again.
It was a win-win. My puppy’s curiosity taught my husband pet-owner responsibility by making him consider the consequences of leaving him out without supervision, and our family and friends added to their wardrobe. Thank goodness we have that dog.

    Will Registry in the American Kennel Club Harm the Leonberger?

    Bacchus is a 7-year-old Leonberger. Generally, their life span is from 6 to 8-years old. However, some Leonbergers live until 13-years old.

    The American Kennel Club recently added the Leonberger dog to its registry of purebreds. This is still causing controversy among some members of the Leonberger Club of America who previously controlled the breed.  The LCA had imposed strict breeding requirements to test male and female dogs for health and conformation standards previous to breeding. While the AKC requires some health testing, their requirements are not as stringent as the LCA, and the long-term health and breed standard of the Leonberger may be jeopardized.

     The Leonberger was accepted into the American Kennel Club on June 30, 2010.  It is the 167th breed added to the AKC registry.

      The AKC, founded in 1884, sponsors dog events and registers purebred dogs. According to the AKC, a purebred dog has ancestry from the same breed.  When a puppy is registered with the AKC, the dog’s lineage is included on the pedigree.

      “The biggest argument we had with the AKC was they stopped short of having heavy disciplinary measures spelled out” if the breeders did not follow the breeding rules, said Bill Wilson, the treasurer of the LCA who initially opposed the club joining the AKC but eventually supported it.  He added that while the LCA remains the “parent club” that oversees the Leonberger breed, it does not have any “enforcement capabilities” under the AKC.

     The only regulation that the AKC has is that both parents have pedigree papers, Wilson said.  He also said that the AKC markets puppies to the community as if they are a “Good Housekeeping Seal registry.”

      On the positive side, Wilson added that the AKC spends money on research, education and non-show activities.

       The Leonberger, or “gentle giant,” was categorized as a “rare breed” before AKC

    recognition.

     Heinrich Essig, an elected official in Leonberg, Germany, created the breed during the 1800‘s.  Essig wanted a dog that resembled the lion on the Leonberg crest. He bred a St. Bernard with a Landseer Newfoundland. He eventually added a Great Pyrenees to the mix. The Leonberger breed was introduced at the Oktoberfest in Munich in 1870. The Leonberger stands 25 1/2 to 31 1/2 inches tall at the shoulders. They have a long-double coat that protects them from the weather. Their coat ranges from “lion” yellow to brown, and their fur often has black tips. Leonbergers also have a “dry mouth,” which prevents drooling.

    They have webbed feet, are considered strong swimmers, and have an instinct for water rescue.

      The Leonberger is considered a “working dog,” because they pull sleds and carts, protect homes and farms, and are used for therapy and agility training.

     Judy Johnston, a governing committee member for the LCA,  said  she wanted the AKC acceptance because it was inevitable, but she wanted the LCA to become the parent club. A parent club promotes their breed through education and community programs.

    “It had worked out pretty well” for people interested in participating in many dog shows, Johnston said. However, she said that AKC competition is “cut throat” since some people pay professional handlers.

     Johnston said that the biggest fear before joining the AKC was that the breed would become extremely popular and breeding would be compromised. She said she doesn’t think that has happened.

    Beverly Travis, the breeders’ assistant with the LCA, said that she was totally against joining the AKC. She added that the AKC is concerned with money and power not the breed’s welfare.  For example, she said that the cost to register one puppy with the AKC is $20.

     Travis said that the LCA tested potential Leonberger parents for hip, elbow, eye and thyroid problems.  She said that the dogs had to meet certain standards for breeding purposes.  The AKC runs similar tests,  she said, but dogs only have to pass the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals test, or hip test, for breeding eligibility.

     Travis added that the LCA website has a section called the Canine Health Information Center where a consumer can view the results of all of these tests. She suggests that consumers educate themselves about health issues before purchasing a Leonberger.

     Travis said that the popularity of the Leonberger breed has greatly increased under the AKC.  She also said that because AKC dog show judges prefer smaller dogs, she fears the Leonberger will be bred to fit that mold. She added that AKC membership and breeding will ultimately impact the Leonberger’s health.