Dog trains man

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How A Brave Trio Freed 5 Dogs From The Puppy Mill

There is one more story to tell about the unraveling of the Danish Hovawart puppy last February, when a group of three people took matters in their own hands and freed five dogs from the puppy mill. This is what happened.

After the Danish Animal Welfare Organization "Dyrenes Beskyttelse" in January 16 moved in to seize the first group of 25 dogs, the story reached a wider audience through local and social media, and left many in disbelief there were 30 dogs still left behind. Apart from sharing the news, writing letters and signing the petition that was underway at that moment, many felt frustrated why not more was done, why not more could be done.

It all came to an outburst on Saturday, January 19, the day that by coincidence also was the funeral of Gitte H., one of the puppy mill owners. Two locals Michelle and Ditte had set their minds to free the dogs that day. Through Facebook they discussed it with Linse Kessler, a Danish celebrity and dog lover, and she wanted to join them in the rescue attempt.

Although they very well knew it was illegal and vigilante what they were about to do, they were willing to take the risk for the sake of the dogs. And in the morning, they turned up at the property, which was to their surprise deserted due to the ongoing funeral the trio was not aware of, and they could undisturbed enter the stables. Nothing could have prepared them for the sight that met them inside.

The dogs in need of immediate veterinarian attention were removed some days earlier by "Dyrenes Beskyttelse", but the stench of urine and feces and the sight of emaciated dogs in cages they have spent their whole life in is overwhelming nonetheless. Linse Kessler videotaped what happened when they went in, a tape just recently disclosed in one of her TV shows.

In the middle of removing the dogs, they were discovered by a mailman, who sounded the alarm, and the trio fled the puppy mill with 5 puppies under their arms, Hovawarts and Goldens. They moved them to a secure place and started to contemplate what to do next, as contacting any vet would alarm the authorities, with the risk the dogs would be returned.

Then the most unlikely thing happened, when - as we already know - later that same day four celebrities also paid the puppy mill a visit for the very same reasons as Michelle, Ditte and Linse, and bought the remaining dogs their freedom. Now all dogs could be handed over to "Dyrenes Beskyttelse".

All but one. During the rescue Linse Kessler fell in love with one of the Golden puppies, that bit her hair and stole her hat while driving them away from the puppy mill in the car. Linse was allowed later by the shelter, to adopt this puppy, "Jytte".

The story remained untold until some weeks ago, so I am happy to be able to shed some light on this trio now as well, without that I will have to be afraid to get them into trouble. It might be illegal what they did, and it sure is dangerous, but I am glad they let their heart speak, and were so brave to put themselves in harms way for the wellbeing of the dogs.


For the latest and how you can help, visit the page Stop Danish Hovawart Puppy Mill.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

First Results Start To Show From Our Raw Diet

I wish I had made a "before" photo. These are Kenzo's teeth, now 4 months into our switch from kibble to a raw fed diet. Most of the tartar on his teeth is gone. An amazing result. Kenzo's vet was as delighted as I was during his yearly check-up. His teeth are doing a lot better.

Kenzo and Viva benefited differently from their raw diet. Viva, at age 8 now, always had healthy teeth, also in her kibble days, and there was not much to improve. For Viva the main benefit was a complete energy boost, that showed quite early in the diet switch.

She needs constant and balanced training for her spondylosis, so her renewed energy is a great help in battling her back-issues. Not too much training to strain her, not too little to keep the joints flexible and muscles strong. We always had to stimulate her to really use her muscles, as strong muscles are essential to compensate for the spondylosis, but that is history now.

On a raw diet she is much more willing to go the extra mile, chase the ball one more time, and use those muscles to keep them fit. A joy to witness. Kenzo benefits too, as they play a whole lot more together, and Viva doesn't give up anymore after a couple of runs.

One of the surprises was that Kenzo's after the switch never had any stomach trouble, where before he always responded sensitive to any change or addition to his diet. His digestive system seems also to have benefited.

During the weekdays we feed them minced chicken with tripe, some cooked veggies, mostly broccoli and carrots as they love those, a vitamin-A supplement, fish oil, and - only for Viva - glucosamine. In the weekend they also get some organic yoghurt with eggs, some offal, and a huge lamb bone for crunching and working those teeth.

I always hung on to kibble because I thought it to be convenient. Now I am surprised how easy it actually is to feed raw and find it just as convenient.

The only thing that still freaks me out is when they crunch the bones. I always keep an eye out and are ready to rush to the vet if we would get unlucky. So far they do their chewing quite fine and methodically.

If you think of switching to raw, you can start by lurking in the Raw feeding facebook group. They have some great start up guides, and the people in it are very helpfull and non-judgemental. It helped me a lot answering the practical questions that follow along the way, like how do I ensure a balanced diet, how about worms and other parasites, how about salmonella, etc. Questions I will focus on as well later on this blog.


Monday, May 20, 2013

The Mystery Of The Blond Hovawart

When you see this photo of a Russian yellow retriever, it is compelling to believe his supposed ancestor, the Russian tracker, could be a Hovawart ancestor as well. Especially when you know it was used for guarding life-stock and had the size of the current Hovawart. On top of it, it would explain how we ended up with a blond Hovawart.

As the myth goes, the creator of the Russian yellow retriever, Col. William Trench, roamed the Russian mountains for these dogs and brought them back with him to breed Golden retrievers.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Blond Retriever Or Golden Hovawart?

They do look a like, the blond Hovawart and the Golden retriever. I always wondered if both could have an ancestor in common that we don't know of. Not all Golden retriever "types" do look like blond Hovawarts, a german Golden is unmistakenly not a Hovawart also because of its smaller size. But when you look at the large North American Golden retriever, it gets a lot more difficult to see who is who.

These photo's from retrieverman's blog set an excellent example, who is the retriever and who is the Hovawart?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Viva Making New Friends

We took a little risk on our latest visit to the Danish West-coast by bringing a house guest. It was Joska the Viszla, Kenzo's great pal, stayed with us for the whole week. Viva knows Joska of course, but so far, Joska was only tolerated by Viva if he would show her his most polite behavior. And Joska walked the gauntlet the first two days, his every move sharply observed by Viva. Until Viva de-iced, and welcomed him into the group.

She even played with both Kenzo and Joska on the beaches, when both were engaged in their special edition of fetch, and had great fun when she could snatch a ball or a stick right from under their noses. Of course sometimes she had to assert her rule, but we knew she had found a new friend when Joska was allowed a place on the sofa.

We made long hikes and the Danish West-coast again delivered the three things Viva loves so much. Space, space, and space. This time we landed in Blåvand ("Blue Water"), and compared to the places we visited earlier, Hvide Sande, the beaches were even wider, and compared to Romø, even more empty.

View Larger Map

We thought we hit the jackpot this time with the house we stayed in, as it had no view to either neighbors or nearby paths, so we could let the dogs roam free around the house. We kept them under supervision at all times, but there was no need to leash them or keep them inside because of nearby traffic, we figured. That quickly changed though, when we spotted vipers in the area. The many vipers also made hiking through the dunes and heath fields not as relaxing as usual, so we turned more to the beaches this time.

The leash laws forbid dogs off leash on the beaches this time of year. But like I said before, with so much space and knowing how rarely it happens Viva can go off leash undisturbed for hours, I'd be happy to pay the 260 Euro fine if we would ever get caught.

And Kenzo needs his ocean. The ocean was quite calm this time, but it didn't seem to disappoint Kenzo there were no waves to surf. On the other hand it was great for Viva now, who ventured further and further into the surf, and even got her elbows wet.

Our west-coast trips mean so much for Viva, when she doesn't have to worry about other dogs and scary things that happen. She can finally be "just" another dog, enjoying the small things in life. We'll keep coming back for more of that. At least until I have figured out a way to convince the family we really have to pack our bags and move away from the city.


There are some more photo's of our trip in this Facebook album.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Hovawart TV: Water Slide

Something to look forward to, with summer on the way.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Keeping Viva Safe

We started off on the wrong foot on the beach. Within minutes we were surprised by no less than three off leash dogs.

One after the other they seem to come down from the sand dunes, although I never saw any owner they might have come from. Of course, Viva's stress levels skyrocketed as a result.

Viva and Kenzo were still leashed - from April 1 dogs should be leashed on the beaches - although we were looking for a quiet moment to enjoy some off leash play as well as the others, we are no saints either.

With the third dog, I had to drop the leash on Kenzo as he or she was very persistent in wanting to meet Viva, who thought that was not a good idea at all. Kenzo send him or her packing. Further down we finally found some more space, and we could enjoy some play and getting our feet wet.

Other dogs approached from the horizon, and in an attempt to keep Viva as calm as possible, I retreated with her to the sand dunes, while my wife played some more with Kenzo in the surf. We just sad there, and returned to the surf when the dogs had passed by.

Murphy must have traveled with us that day, as most dogs did make an attempt to run up to Viva, even from that long distance. Every time Kenzo followed them, made his point that Viva is off limits, and herded them back to the surf. Kenzo played with them without any problems, no hard feelings. One abducted his ball, and he didn't care. Yet as soon as they ran towards Viva, he drew a line in the sand.

One person looked surprised at Kenzo herding the next dog away. "Wow, he really protects her". I thought it was team work. But true, Kenzo's role in keeping Viva safe is so much more then what I could achieve by myself.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Hovawart Family Tree

During the mini-quest to track down Kenzo's ancestors on his father's and his mother's side, I discovered a lot that fascinated me. It all started for the fun of it in the Facebook group Hovawart's family, sharing "old photo's", and in my case, got a little out of hand. Here is what I observed and learned so far, in an attempt to write something down, before this exercise ends in me writing a multiple volume book about Hovawarts and genealogy.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Kenzo's Mothers: I Am A Farm Dog

After following Kenzo's father's roots, that ended with Markus the Newfoundland, lets have a look at Kenzo's mothers. And as the experts say, holds a lot more genealogical value.

Kenzo's mother was Freja, or by her official name, "Sveablik's Freja". She had in all three litters, and Kenzo was part of the first litter. I only have printed photo's of her, and she is not even in the database, just in the registry of the Danish Kennel Club. Following the direct line from mother to mother we found our "Eve": Dina Geisler, a mix of two farm dogs, also called a "Hofe wart" (old-German for farm guard). These were dogs the first breeders found on farms, resembling their ideal of a Hovawart.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Kenzo's Fathers: I Am A Newfoundland

Sparked by Min Inches, we embarked on a small genealogy project of our own to find Kenzo's roots. Together with the registry of the Danish Kennel Club and, this is what we found out of on Kenzo's father's side.

Kenzo's father was "Odin", or by his official name, "Chaccomo vom Bohrertal", and we were so happy to have meet him once. Odin was a Danish champion and he only had one litter. Following the direct line from father to father, we found our "Adam": Markus, a 100% Newfoundland!
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