A short sweet month
February brings with it
New awakenings
February

 February 2017 

For those that keep asking……………………..the salutations at the home page for each new month and then also found at the top of each month’s blog page are Haikus.

It is a form of Japanese poetry where a story is told in 3 lines that are written in 5 syllables in the first line, 7 syllables in the 2nd line and 5 syllables in the 3rd and last line.

Nature and emotions set the tone for the subject matter.

I have written well over 500 since my senior year in college.

am

what I appear to be

 

The love and passion that I have for Labrador Retrievers is what fuels my drive for my total involvement with the breed. The never-ending quest for the Betterment of the Breed is the legacy that I would

like to leave behind after it is all said and done.

 

This Blogging Off section reflects the "tell it like it is" persona that comprises one of the many hats that I wear in my daily activities with Labrador Retrievers and the people that own them. 

"Questions are the keys to understanding,
answers are the open doors that will follow,

choosing the right door to proceed through will
determine if the correct path was taken."
 
V. Sandy Herzon

 

February 28th

Of PHOS, DIYS and COPS

Every two to three years it becomes necessary to pen one of these ‘catch up’ essays to bring many of the newest Chambray owners up to speed with the predictable learning curve of ‘newbie owner’, some that stay around and then become the ‘intermediate ones’ and even to those that survive long enough to make it to the ‘old hand’ status.

The ‘enter in’ and ‘exist out’ rate are almost always equal………that is, just as many new owners begin the journey with a Chambray show puppy as those that eventual ‘time out’ with their dogs, either aging out from the show program and then those that also exit the breeding program as well.

For me, it has been ‘sitting on the dock of the bay, watching the tide roll away’……………….then watching it roll back in again………….however instead of water, it has been a steady ebb and flow of people coming and going through almost three decades of advancing and receding time.

The ‘dog show environment’ learning curve is truly a steep one, however it is totally masked in ‘what you see is really not as easy as it looks’!

Its visual simplicity beckons all those that now own a brand new, cute bundle of fur puppy to wade on in and join the obvious ‘fun’. It takes a while to begin to assimilate the true process of what’s behind the scenes with showing dogs.

The fact that there is much fun and enjoyment to be able to participate in an endeavor with your beloved pet, makes getting involved an easy decision. However that emotional tie is also one that makes the learning curve a bit tougher to comprehend………….at first!

The challenge for those new to the fancy or ‘sport’ is that there is a traditionally accepted and longtime established modus operandi and there is very little bucking the system in place. Although it is the dog owners that eventually foot the bill, the shots are called by those people that show the dogs…………the professional dog handlers, heretofore to be known as the Professional Handlers Operating System….PHOS for short……pronounced ‘FOES’!

Throughout the whole kingdom of canine exhibitions, the PHOS are the main attraction with the dogs in tow. That is, it is they that drive the vehicle making 90% of the decisions for each and every dog in their care, from the training and conditioning to the grooming………..to the ultimate destination for the dog, the handling at the dog shows.

Notice that I stated a 90% for the PHOS, the remaining 10% is the owner’s responsibility……………..that responsibility is the care at home and the financial aspects of handling, travel, grooming, entry fees…………..promoting and advertising of the dog.

 

For the Chambray owners, those that have been ‘chosen’ to participate in our Owner’s Programs for the Betterment of the Breed……………….there is a slight detour…………nah, let’s make that a major turn which takes a parallel route to the heights of show dogs and being successful equal to and surpassing the PHOS way of doing things.

To make this a cutesy, yet educational essay, I will name our methods, the COPS way………………………that is short for Chambray Owner’s Programs System.

Get it? COPS vs. PHOS!

So, let’s create a summary of the two systems that at the Florida Labrador Retriever ring dominate the proceedings and of course the wins. There is a 3rd way available for those that are into showing dogs and that is the least…………….like in dismally least way to have any success showing and winning and that is the DIY way……………like in an owner showing up with a dog and winging it on their own against the PHOS and the COPS’ way and getting nowhere as quick as mountain can swim across an ocean.

Now, before delving in for the nitty gritty, there are a few that claim to do it themselves at their websites. Claiming that they are owner/handlers and that their dog’s points, wins and titles were done the DIYS way………………..but the reality at the dog shows is that they bring a bunch of dogs to the show and then hire the PHOS to garner the majority of those wins, points and titles on those dogs.

At Chambray, it’s the COPS way, all the way. It’s the entire Herzon clan and all those that we have mentored in ‘our ways’ to train, condition and handle the Chambray dogs in the ring against the PHOS and the diehard DIYS that gather at the Labrador ring to go head to head to see which dogs the judges choose for the Betterment of the Breed.

The PHOS do it all their way, minimizing all the silly habits that owners instill upon their dogs. They insist that the dogs go and stay with them for determined lengths of time so that any training is 100% indicative for that dog. The dogs are honed to perfection in their gaiting and also their stacking, be it hands on or free style standing. The dog’s performance is as good as there is and the PHOS rely on that training and conditioning once they go into the ring to handle the dog. There is very little left to chance or error.

The PHOS also insist that the owners keep their distances so as to not distract or take away from the dog’s total performance in the ring. In other words, removing as much of the owners from the equation leads to great results.

Then there are the DIYS………..the least effective way to achieve any success in showing dogs! Way, way too many deviations and wrong choices made by those that just don’t know what they are doing. The Do It Yourselfer’s System is a true hit or miss…………..with ‘hit’ the tip of the iceberg and ‘miss’ being the titanic/gigantic submerged underwater part of the iceberg! We see these DIYs ‘working’ their dogs and actually doing more harm than good because what they may be doing, may be totally catawampus to what the dog actually needs done! Yep, most of these folk supposedly ‘train’ their dogs by doing what they see being done to other dogs by Chambray and the PHOS and yet they don’t know that what they are doing is ‘bad training’ or better said, ‘ruining’ their dogs with totally wrong techniques for that individual dog.

Then of course there is the COPS way………………..Chambray Owner’s Program System…………….the best bang for the bucks according to the results in Florida. No two ways about it, the winningest system by far, having produced 32 new Labrador champions since 2012………………compared to 12 by the PHOS and less than 4 by the DIYS.

Results have a way of dominating a conversation! Not much else to say by anyone else when sheer numbers and verifiable results stand out from the fake news bragging and boasting done by those that can’t back up the talk.

 

February 28th

Okay, catching up, some Bragging & Some Educating 

Now to bid February adieu

 

The thought of cold weather up in Hattiesburg MS had me all worked up and into a tizzy all the while I drove up the backbone of Florida and then skedaddled west into the Florida Panhandle and, across some wide-butt river, through a tunnel under another river that pours out into the Gulf Of Mexico (soon to be renamed Gulf Of America after the wall is built)…………………so frazzled was I, thinking how I would manage any impending coldness that  the hours that piled up during that long stretch across three states seemed to somehow not seem so long after all.

However, the ride back had no such distraction other than a super-sized construction mess all along both major Interstates, first on I-10 and then heading south on 1-75 that made the ride a total of 15 hours long, but felt more like 24!

Now, truth be told, thinking all those driving hours about our successes in the show ring kind of made some of the arduous ride a tad more tolerable.

Yep, there’s nothing like basking in the glow of accomplishments, especially competitive ones where coming out victorious validates a particular stance, mission or endeavor……………….at venues like this in Mississippi where competitors  take a stand at the opposing corners of the dueling arena.

So, there we rode into Dodge (actually Hattiesburg) not knowing whom the opposing gladiators would be that awaited our entrance into their bailiwick, or which other wayfarers that had strolled into town to test the mettle of this region.

Four days of competition, with differing pair of eyes standing in judgement of the exhibits tend to produce varying results, however by the last day’s adventure, our posse ended up with the lion’s share of the collectibles…………………the wins, awards and points that makes full grown folk like myself drive these great distances to vie for the favorite colored ribbons and of course the bragging rights that comes with being victorious.

‘Victorious to the max’ would better describe our booty take. In fact on that last day of challenges, taking every single ornament that was hung from the pear tree served ample notice of the overwhelming level of competency that our program professes and then offers up as a testament of all the ballyhoo that I make and then back up with verifiable results.

However, at first glance the first day at ringside revealed the formidability of the adversaries’ dogs. There were the usual 3 or 4 dogs, from the same folk that were obviously not at the same conformational level as the top tiered dogs, but the rest of the slate was the type that could conceivably rise and reach further on any given day and snatch the coveted wins for themselves.

Surveying the playing field in that first day’s competition and seeing the results, even though one of our dogs took the biggest prize of Best Of Breed, I determined that we needed to create a spark with our dogs in order for some of them to have increased chances for those points that we traveled so far for.

Since ring times were a couple of hours later in the morning, 10 AM…………………… than we are accustomed to, we put in a work session on each dog from 7 am to 8 am in hopes of getting them fired up for the time they were to enter the ring.

 

Normally, dogs are never worked the morning of any show with the thinking that their pent-up energy is better spent while in the ring. Here, the weather was very accommodating, being cool and brisk early in the AM so we worked them………………..then setting them back in their crates close to ringside gave them ample time to recharge while becoming acclimated to the all vital ‘4-S’s Day of Show Preparation’ which is sensation, sight, scent and sounds!

The above passage of the ‘4-S’s is part of our mental training frame of mind for the dogs that I preach to each and every Chambray owner, new ones and old ones as well…………………………..GET TO THE SHOW EARLY, WAY BEFORE LABRADORS ARE SET TO ENTER THE RING!

As much training and conditioning as we do with the Chambray dogs and I dare say that we do more training with our dogs that we have on our show roster because we have to overcome so much of the errant bad habits that owners allow while the dogs are in their possession versus the vast majority of those dogs that are in a Professional Handler’s Environment that do not get spoiled and cuddled constantly by their owners.

That is why it is vital for the Chambray owners to arrive early with those dogs so that they can get away from the ‘Mommy Effect’ and get into the ‘Let’s Get To Work’ mentality that is needed if we are to be successful in the show ring.

The above was very evident when one of our dogs that had won a Best Of Breed arrived late for the Sporting Group competition later in the afternoon. The rest of the group dogs had already entered the ring and we had to play physical and mental catch up, not to mention having the whole congregation cast their disapproving eyes our way.

 

Needless to say, that I as the handler and the dog also could feel the added heat being applied. Not a good position to put the dogs through because they really can’t figure out why there is this negative feeling emanating from the handler or from the crowd, because to them there is no being late, to them they are there and things don’t feeling too positive. Since dogs learn through repetition, this negative experience stays with them for a while until at least 3 more positive experiences occur doing the same thing.

I chalk it up to live and learn...............as long as learning and educating takes place.

Regardless of all the small skirmishes that we as the inner sanctum of the entire program navigate through, we still rise to the occasion beyond what the time-honored traditional ways of the Professional Handlers Operating System and knowing that and basking in the afterglow of our successes with the Chambray dogs made that extra, extra long drive back down to the furthest south locale that a Labrador breeder dwells at in the whole, great USA………………..all that makes all the work and energies put in super worth it!

So, now back at the ranch, actually acres (Chambray Acres), there is no time to smell the roses, as in this business it is all about, 'what have you done for me today' and yesterday's wins, awards and points are behind us and it's what comes next that counts, so we now await the new month, March to keep right on trucking!

 

 

February 21st

The Insatiable Quest For Figuring It Out Leads Me

To Dumas Knoeshitski

Dumas Knoeshitski

 

In my insatiable quest for knowing what I don’t know already, I do lots of conjuring of all of this and all of that…………be it the most irrelevant, idiotic to the most ‘reverent’ and holy moly meaning stuff!

‘Raw Nature’ has always been my number one draw, but now a days, ‘human nature’ trumps all.

It fascinates me and befuddles me all at once how the human minds works and doesn’t!

Left on its own resources, the human mind will help whoever possesses it to get by and survive, it’s when there’s a call for a higher level of mental functioning that the possessor of that mind totally embarrasses that splendid mind!

Invariably man will take that gifted mind that works a billion times better as the most advanced computer ever designed and that man will totally screw up whatever can’t be screwed up!

Yep, leave it to most to get everything bass ackwards and aft backwards most and all of the time.

Here are several examples to make what I just wrote up above clearer for those with foggy minds, with obstructed views and whatever other encumbrances and impediments have been accumulated along the long and winding road of life.

A man comes to me……………………………..me the knower of all that is Labradors! Without a doubt, without comparison, none paralleled, unequaled……………..okay, okay, that should suffice that there is no need to jump the fence in search for greener pastures when it comes to ‘Labrador Knowledge’ because the buck stops dead right at my feet……………me the Supreme Being Of Labrador Land.

Well, after having spent half an hour going over that particular man’s problems with his dog, a dog he obtained from a 'well-known breeder'………………….the man ups and goes and confers with a lamebrain that just got into the breed several years ago and asks the exact same questions and gets some conflicting and most erroneous information from that other ‘lost in the woods fellow’!

Then that first man goes to a third person and shares with them, how he is going to try what the lamebrain suggested!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Of course children being children, the third person comes and tells me all about it.

Next scenario, some well-intended folk have a dog with a problem, a serious one at that and they confer with me just as the lone man from above did at a dog show, just as hundreds do per month, be it in person here at Chambray Acres, at the dog shows that I frequent or the vast majority, and I mean the many, many that do via email…………………people with dogs with problems abound……………..like in lots and lots of people buy a puppy and it comes fraught with congenital and genetic problems right from the get go, never mind having to go through the gauntlet of DNA tests and X-ray clearances as it grows into an adult!

So, back to this 2nd case of a dog with a problem…………………….. I take them aside away from all the action of the dog show and away from where the breeder of the dog can see what is happening as there is already a problem with the owner and that breeder!

Yep and sure as heck, not even taking a second step, there is a major ‘hitch’ coming from one of the hips! No need to gait the dog any further as the dog is obviously in pain. The dog by the way is 3 months old and the breeder ‘diagnosed’ it as having ‘growing pains’.

Well, that diagnoses was half right………………………..the having ‘pains’ was dead on………………….the ‘growing’ part was totally out of the ball park, totally wrong.

My recommendations was to take the dog PDQ to a vet and have it x-rayed because the ball was popping in and out of the socket and it didn’t take much for me to make that happen with just slight manipulation.

So, what do the ‘well-intended folk’ do? Instead of seeing a vet, they go back to the breeder where they are more or less blamed for the condition because supposedly they have ‘slippery floors’.

So, now the dog is 6 months old and once again, they look me up to ‘apprise’ me of the situation and what they had done to help the dog…………..that by the way, was what the breeder had them put mats and rugs for the dog to walk on plus all the pain medication that  the breeder said would work……………………..NONE OF THAT HAD WORKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As I sat next to ringside watching the action in the ring, the couple approached me again that they had the dog right outside in their van for me to take a look at it again because the dog now wouldn’t put weight on that rear leg!

My exact words to them “You wasted my time 3 months ago, worse than that, the dog has been in pain for 3 months, there’s nothing else that I can say that will make any sense to you.” I then continued watching little foo foo dogs running around the ring with silly owners doing everything they could by not stepping on them, while I sat there and watched them head out the building and towards where they had their van parked……………it dawned on me like an epiphany and it even revealed itself with a name……………..Dumas Knoeshitski!  

Where Dunning Kruger explains how people that don’t know didley get into something that they don’t know squat about and think they know and don’t know…………………… Dumas Knoeshitski explains how people are told by experts, by professionals, by vets and others with certificates hanging on their walls and then those people who don’t know shitski will listen to some other no-account, no-nothing person and then they proceed to go by what that person tells them!

It’s like they look up a whole bunch of people and ask each of those their opinions and then they pick out the one that they want to hear!

Dumas Knoeshitsky (Dumas rhymes with ‘plumb as’ and well, Knoeshitski is self explanatory)

 

February 17th

Who's On First & What's On Second?

One of my very loyal Chambray owners asks “What are the chances that we will have another great year with new champions?”

Well, after crowning 32 new champions starting in 2011, we are now at the bottom of that proverbial well! The right answer would have some reference to Slim Pickins

Now, when I say we are at the bottom of the well............not in conformation competitive quality…………no sire, not by a country mile with a dimpled smile………nope, our dogs are just as prima as they have been for decades……………………what happens is that we have finished so many of our dogs, that what we are working with now are mostly wet behind the ear ‘youngins’!

The modus operandi for showing and finishing a Labrador in the heavy traffic and tough Florida dog shows……….usually a dog is 2 to 2½ years old before they accumulate enough points and the 2 majors needed to finish their AKC champion’s title………………….well, that modus doesn’t apply to our ways of doing things, because our puppies and youngsters win points at the same rate as the older adult dogs, in essence taking those vital points from dogs that need them to finish by the long established period of time.

Right now we have 4 dogs that could conceivably finish their titles in the next 3 months of shows.

The front runner for the males is Chambrays Triple Play, ‘Sonic’ with 14 points and 1 major, needing only 1 more major to punch-out! He has been right on the edge, missing out the much needed major due to a dog sitting outside the ring not showing.

Our top female is Chambray Galactic N Counter with 17 points and 1 major. She has been teetering on finishing 4 different times, missing a major each time by 1 absent dog! She probably is the odds on favorite to be Chambray’s first new champion for 2017.

 

Chambrays Black Diamond Out Of The Ruff, ‘Bandit’ is sitting on 14 points and needs both majors. Development and timing wise, he would be the favorite to be the first champion of the year.

Coming on strong in recent months is Chambrays A’Hankerin For Trouble with 10 points and 1 major.

Sonic, Gayla and Hank will be showcasing this weekend, with possibilities of majors via BOS and BOB and then making the trek across state lines to Mississippi next week for 4 shows that made majors.................between those 2 weekends and 7 days of shows, great opportunities for those 3 dogs to cross the finish line.

Bandit will make his return to the ring at the WPB dog shows looking for those 2 majors that he needs to complete the cycle and win his AKC champion’s title.

After those 4 top pointed dogs cash out, we will then really be behind the ‘wet ears’ predicament with a bunch of puppies and youngsters to be carrying the load for Chambray Labradors.

If I were a betting man, I would be placing my money on Chambray not equaling and certainly, not besting the last 3 years record setting 6 champions in 1 year by a breeder.

 

But, stranger things have happened through the years and since I said I was a ‘never say never’ guy………………..I am not saying never now!

 

February 14th

Representing the 305

I could not be a prouder father and a prouder Labrador breeder!

There before the world to watch were the elite of the cream of the crop Labrador Retrievers in the country…………….this was after all the Westminster Dog Show………….the Grand Daddy of all Canine Events in the Good Old USA……………………..the 141st year of its existence and going stronger than ever is proof positive of the beyond stratosphere significance of the yearly dogdom gathering!

Right there in the midst of all that glitters, all that jazz and pizazz…………………….were the great dogs, the great decked-out handlers, the specially ‘chosen’ AKC judges…………………..there too was a Herzon and a Chambray Labrador to behold!

A 2nd generation Herzon dog-aficionado and a 10th generation Chambray Labrador…………………right there among all those ‘highly recognizable handlers’, handling those dogs from ‘well-known kennels and breeders’ was Jessica Herzon with GrCh Chambrays Tank’d On The Boulevard.

The judge would split the male champions into 2 groups and judge one group at a time, making a cut of 5 males from the first group of 12 in front of him. Then came the 2nd group of 12 and the judge would once again make a cut of another 5 dogs from that group as well. Jessie and Tank would be among those 10 males champions that would be asked to come back into the ring once the judge had also whittled the female competitors to 5 champion females.

They all came back into the ring and were once again compared and scrutinized and again the judge would make some more cuts and Jessie and Tank would be among the ones left standing in the ring while those cut, headed off out of the competition.

Around and around they went and finally the judges makes his decision…………………there was the BOB, there was the BOS, then came the Select Male and the Select Female……………………..then there were 5 Awards of Merit to hand out and the judge would go over the lineup and make his 1st choice, his 2nd choice and then he points to Jessie and Tank as his 3rd choice………………….he continues and points to a total of 6 champions for those 5 Award Of Merits!

The problem then arises is that there are only 5 awards to hand out and there are 6 handlers holding their hands out……..unfortunate, Jessie and Tank were relegated to being the odd ones out and walked out of the ring sans an award.

But fret not…………………………..they represented and represented more than well…………..with the best of them and sure as shootin, the Duo from the 305 made us all proud as a Steam Boat Named Mary………………………..as proud as a Pride of Lions………..as proud as an Ostentation of Proud Peacocks………………..yep, no doubt about it and no second guessing, South Florida………………..Chambray…………………….the Herzons were all beaming with pride seeing our Jessie teaming with Tank’D, showing those in the Biggest Of Apples that our dogs and our ways can run with the best of them……………..actually, the best of them seemed to be keeping up with our best!

Way to go Jessie and Tank'D

Then, there will be next year!

 

February 16th

Miles To Go Before I Sleep

Now that the big cheese, the grand enchilada is past us………………I speak of the 2017 Westminster whose prizes just eluded us……………………….with me, I never say never and as Arnold once said “I will be back”………so too will Chambray and our legions that will make the concerted effort and descend at the vaulted venue and try our hand again at those colorful ribbons and rosettes that are handed out to those that ‘seemingly’ merit them.

So, we ready the ship, steady the hands, gather the paraphernalia and load up to set off for the Lakeland dog shows……….appropriately held in Lakeland this weekend and Monday too. Yep, locked and loaded and ready for bear, be them grizzlies, Kodiaks or cute Koalas, we have our sights set on those dogs that need those final points and or majors for us to mount yet another trophy on the Wall Of Champions at the Chambray Museum.

Each and every day, I walk into this room so filled with memories, memorabilia and great moments from our 30 years of dog show engagement…………………..with a grand total of 47 years of Labrador involvement and I glance around the walls of the 24 foot by 14 foot room……..that’s 76 feet of perimeter walls that makes up the Wall Of Champions and we are almost all the way around with our 56 home-bred title holders!

What started out as the first ever champion photo on that wall in 1993 with Ch Chambray Acres Russell and recently the hanging of the 56th photo of Ch Chambrays Midnight Delta Lady, the 6th dog crowned in 2016……………………..the whole wall could be completed this year with just 5 new dogs crossing that mythical finish line!

When I hung that first photo on the left corner of the west wall, I never envisioned going all the way around and meeting back up with that very first photo. However, here we are 24 years later and the possibility of filling the blank spaces on that south wall is all very real.

My, my, are there stories to be told as I do a panoramic view of all 4 walls and think about each of those dogs looking back at me! Each of those dogs had owners and each of them would have a chapter in my Tell All About Life With Labradors book!

Of course, the names will not be changed to protect the guilty-pleasured folk that have coursed through our more than four and a half decade existence! Laughing out loud and thinking of the mula I could demand to remain silent…………….hahahaheehee!

Can you imagine the characters that have left an indelible mark through all those years! You name it and they have reared their ogre-like heads just as there have been those that have stood heads and shoulders as class acts to offset the polar opposites!

Wow and wowser………….OMG and whaaaaaat plus every other exclamation ever uttered have been said and heard in all those years that are depicted by the 56 photo trophies mounted around this room that I call home since I built it……………built the entire house 39 years ago!!

So we embark on the rest of the year in the hopes of finishing up the great wall that greets me every single morning that I walk into it and that bids me adieu every single day’s end when I sign off the computer late at night.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening  ROBERT FROST

Whose woods these are I think I know.   

His house is in the village though;   

He will not see me stopping here   

To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

 

My little horse must think it queer   

To stop without a farmhouse near   

Between the woods and frozen lake   

The darkest evening of the year.   

 

He gives his harness bells a shake   

To ask if there is some mistake.   

The only other sound’s the sweep   

Of easy wind and downy flake.   

 

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   

But I have promises to keep,   

And miles to go before I sleep,   

And miles to go before I sleep.

Yes, I too have miles to go before I sleep.

 

February 13th

The One & Only Westminster

I have been very fortunate to have watched all 51 Superbowls……………….from the very first Packer Chief’s game to the recent, ***Greatest Superbowl of all times*** game between the Patriots and the Falcons……………………..***I am sure that the Atlanta fans don’t agree an iota with that attribute!

Now here is the interesting thing about that last game…………………by winning the game, the New England Patriots and their quarterback, Tom Brady are being touted as the best team ever and also the best quarterback ever!

Had they lost the game, that designation for both would certainly not be the modus operandi word being repeated by so many lackeys that follow football.

Winning one game can be the difference from being the ‘greatest’ to being a chump! Had the Patriots and Brady lost the game, that ‘greatest’ designation would perpetually be up in the air like a kicked field goal headed towards the goal post and all those watching not knowing if it splits the uprights or goes wide right or wide left!

So, too is the world of showing dogs! This week’s Westminster Dog Show proves the point!

For Labradors, the birth of the messiah dog (at least for a year that will follow) will be whichever dog is anointed Best Of Breed at this 141st Westminster Dog Show. Sure as there are stars in the sky, both day and night…………droves will flock to the newly crowned dog as if just at that moment of being awarded BOB, he/she transformed from a frog to a prince/princess!

Hey, he/she was the exact same dog the day before, actually the split second before the judge pointed to it………………….however it takes that pointed finger and of course the hoopla that comes with the award that makes people ‘believe’ the hype!

By winning the Superbowl, folks are singing the praises about the team and the quarterback as the greatest……………….if they had lost, the boo-birds would have been chirping a different tune…………at Westminster there are about 50 Labradors entered for the vaulted competition. Most have the titles, wins and designation to merit being in that stellar cast…………one will prance away with the ‘New Born King’ acclamation and a following that it didn’t have the day before, the second before.

This year, we have one of our top dogs among the elite in the lineup at this storied canine event in NY. Gr Ch Chambrays Tank’d On The Boulevard. ‘Tank’D’ becomes the 4th Chambray dog to make the long trip up the Eastern Seaboard, all the way to the Big Apple and represent our kennel.

The first Chambray dog to make an appearance at Madison Square Gardens back 22 years ago was Ch Chambrays Caleb in 1995 when it was a ‘by invitation only’ affair and he was the #5 Top Ranked Labrador in the USA that year.

Caleb would be followed by Ch Chambrays Mad About Madeline in the early 2000’s and then our superstar dog of all times, BIS BBE Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff ‘Hogan’, would make the trip in 2008 as the 17th Top Ranked Labrador that year with then 18-year old Jessica Herzon at the end of his leash on the red carpet of Westminster.

Hogan has several distinctions that put him on a very high pedestal………………….first Florida Labrador to ever win a Best In Show and still today in 2017 is the Top Champion Stud Dog, producing more champions in Florida than any other Labrador has ever done.

Just as Hogan was handled by Jessie, so too will Tank’D (USA Top Ranked #20) be helmed by our now 27-year old daughter at this 141-year old granddaddy of all American canine venues. Whether he receives the nod and finger pointing from the esteemed judge for the day, we all know how great he is as have been all the other Chambray dogs that have ventured to these Prima Donna canine events.

Go Jessie & Tank'D

February 11th
They're Back!!!!!!!!!!!......................Dunning Kruger

Where in the world have these two guys been all these years?

Maybe you know or maybe you don’t know (depending on what side of the fence you teeter on with DK)……….when I say DK I am talking about that Dunning Kruger team……………the ones that came up with the “Brilliant” Guinness beer commercials……………….no, no that’s not what they came up with, they came up with, aptly named the ‘Dunning Kruger Effect’!

I couldn’t for the life of me explain the sad sack state that we have been in all these years, then out of the blue……………….or the red or whatever color stokes your present mood………………there right in front of me was the crystal clear explanation for all the foibles, faux pas, calamitous configurations, things that go bump in the night………………..things that go bump in the day………………..all that doesn’t glitter………………..all that can go wrong and does………….déjà vu, time and time again………………….yep, yeah and yes siree, all of that wrapped up with a bow and arrow and just like that I finally had the answer!

The answer my friend that is written in the wind…………….the surf, the soil, wherever man* sets foot, even on the moon (barring some type of ‘no lunar landing conspiracy)…………..that answer is that man does not know their acetabulum from a sinkhole in Central Florida.

*Of course, me, being an equal appreciator of all genders (however many there are), not just man, we will include all versions of ‘woman’ to all those NOT KNOWING SQUAT!

Just when I develop faith in my fellow man/woman, then they on mass come out and prove themselves as the ‘NOT KNOW IT ALLS’…………at all, of anything and nothing too!

Where the Lone Ranger was ‘Kemosabe’ to Tonto (Spanish* ‘Quien Mas Sabe’ means, he who knows it all), Kemosabe knew about Dunning Kruger way back then because he called “Tonto” which in Spanish means "blabbering fool, that knows nothing”!

Evidently we have had this condition since the cavemen times where Fred was the semi-bright bulb and Barney was as dim as a black light in a moonless night.

So, you must be wondering after all this build up, what tsunami just hit a ptarmigan ………………..what earthquake just shook up what was still in the night…………………what has thrown me off my kilter to be spouting off Incomprehensible visual projectiles on a blog?

How about more of the same………………… over and over again………………….same old, same old with predictable outcomes, or better yet what comes out…………whatever comes out that invariably will be Astoria backwards, topsy-turvy, wrong side up, sunny side up runny and all other forms of ‘that’s not the way it should be’!

Well, today’s tirade goes all the way to the top…………………..no, not the ‘white house top’……………….this top that I am scribbling about here is where the elite Labrador breeders dwell…………….I am not really sure what chroma their houses are, but I am sure that I have painted the scenario vivid enough that even a colorblind bloke can see by the dawn’s early lights of the shades of grey that I am throwing here!

This is all about ‘top of the morning Labrador breeders’ suffering from Dunning Kruger!

Like in, what were they thinking placing dastardly examples of the breed and pretending all is well in the Land of Oz, the Land of Lincoln and the Land That Time Forgot.

No…………………………nothing is well, when the well runs dry……………..when ‘well’ is not done well enough……….when well ‘Excuse me’ won’t suffice after someone steps on your bare foot, even if it is a celebrity like Steve Martin!

As Maxwell Smart would say “Missed it by that much!” is like missing it by a Dade County mile………………….the breeding of Labradors is either done RIGHT or totally WRONG! There is no middle ground for those at the top……………..because as soon as one of those top-hatted types messes up, then there’s no more room for them at those accrued heights!

Back in the day of Spartacus, the lopping off of heads was reserved for those considered not ‘well’ enough…………………now a days, someone can be really ‘not be well at all’ and still be in charge of the whole kit and caboodle………………so it is no surprise that an elite breeder can try and pass off a less than acceptable product either because they don’t know the difference between a cumquat and a less dubious squat or they know Dunning Kruger so well, that they figure that no one else will know didley enough to tell the difference between dismal and the way it should be!

Three recent primavera examples of the preceding have reared its abysmal head in the last 3 weeks! All three with dastardly defects…………..not just a preference or even a fault……………………..nope, all three examples jettisoned into the outer reaches of really, really being seriously defective goods, to the point that all three dogs will be eventual candidates for surgical intervention.

Now, if these had come from pet shops, puppy brokers, mass pet producers, backyard breeders or even some of the slim shady breeders that we in the fancy have in our midst…………………then we could grimace and fault the source………………………however with the cases, we really, really fault the sources because they should know better!

So, I am left with a huge question………………..have I been giving too much credit where credit should have never been given……………..did I equate ‘long-time established’ with knowing something?

Maybe, just maybe, Dunning Kruger explains it all………………………..blokes doing things for decades upon decades and still they know NOTHING!

February 4th

How Long Ago Did "Recently" Start?

 

I had to bite my tongue and hold my mouth shut and not offer up a hardy guffaw with the comment that I heard today………………it was the exact some verbiage as was used on 3 occasions in the last 3 weekends of shows!

Hey, you hear something once and you chuck it off as senseless blabber by someone that was left holding the bag waiting for senses to be dispatched to them!

You hear it twice in a relatively short span of time and you ponder for a moment if the same sans-sense individual has somehow made their way around enough for two totally unconnected folk to have heard the same ‘lame as a crooked leg’, debris-laden fence-line backyard chatter.

Then, lo and behold, three times is definitely not a charm when the grapevine is humming with chock-full-of-‘nots’, cooking pot that can’t hold frozen water!

“Your breeding program has really improved lately!”………..well thank you ma’am……………….but where have you been lately…………………….like in the last 20 years?

So, being the winningest top show champion Labrador breeder in Florida for the last 20 years somehow didn’t come into focus until now? Because to me, "recently and lately" conjures images of just past history and not the long-winded, toll-taking kind that makes a middle-aged man…………………to be an old man………..me!

How about overturning the long standing 30+ years of ‘business as usual’ for northern breeders to ship their dogs down to Florida, for as they used to put it, “to take the easy pickins”…………….having that way of doing business slammed shut for over 10 years ..................doesn't that transcend beyond recently?

 

Hey, none of those known kennel names and breeders of yesteryear are hardly recognizable now-a-days with the exhibitors of the last 10 years here in Florida since they haven’t been sending their dogs down for the ‘hard to come by wins’ against our dogs!

How about having most of the breeders in the state, either hang it up as far as showing or those others that haul their load of dogs across state lines, trekking those great distances to show in other places, for decades now, that surely can’t be covered under that “lately” attribute.

What about producing 56 Chambray champions since we started showing our own bred-by dogs 25 years ago…………………………doesn’t that make “lately” an absurd regurgitation?

Then to wallop it out of the ball park……………what about the 32 new home-bred champions in the last 6 years, that certainly is no coincidence and that didn't just happened to have happened "recently"!

Here is a huge boner to think about when considering all of the above……………….NOW HEAR THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! All of the above accomplishments and almost all those champions have been OWNER/HANDLED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That means us against all the professional handlers doing business with the top dogs from the kennels that they can persuade to show in Florida, be it those that send the few dogs from the north of the border (Florida) or those from within Florida that have competitive enough dogs to hire the pros to do their bidding with their dogs.

Meanwhile the vast majority of folk/breeders/exhibitors whose dogs we compete against are professional handled dogs………………..ours are managed by me and the missus, ‘Ma and Pa Kettle’ and our kids, Jessie and Ryan and our troupe of high school vet program kids that we mentor and offer them hands on training in all aspects of dog care and training.

So, it amazes me to hear of this “lately and/or recently stuff”…………………………oh, don’t get me wrong, as I stated in a most recent blog……………better late than never……………….however 25 years is hardly “recently” or maybe it’s just that most are now emerging from some type of jet-lagged induced fog and there is a “new” found realization of this seemingly “then/now happening” reality.

Hey, I will take all this as a complement or acknowledgement or acceptance or whatever it is that rocks people………………………….but in the real world I live in, it is just business as usual as I have been conducting for the last 25 years of breeding and showing my own Labrador Retrievers and no amount of “recent” platitudes that folk say really makes much of a difference just as it hasn’t made any difference these last 2 ½ decades of hearing the poopoos that emanated from probably the same sources.

ADDENDUM:

Some of the Chambray owners have submitted addendums to the “Lately" blog.

“Herzon, what about being the Top 100 Lifetime Grand Champion Labrador Breeder in USA, tell them about that because that doesn’t happen in a recent time period and especially with the number of grand champions that Chambray has produced that made the Top 100, almost twice as many as those in 2nd place”. Terry

Thank you Terry for keeping up with the Kardashians…………..ooopppps, the Chambray Clan!

“You didn’t brag about being the Top Champion Breeder in the country 4 years from the last 5 years……………..that is recent but that took years and years to accomplish!” John

Yep, John, that’s right. I love it when my Chambray owners come to the rescue.  When Chambray is mentioned, it encompasses all those owners that have been part of the journey with me and Chambray……hundreds of them since 1992, when the first of our bred by dogs made a splash at the dog shows by winning actual points. All those record setting champions, almost all of them are owned by those Chambray owners that are part of our mission for the Betterment of the Breed……………not just recently………………..nope, not a Waltzing Matilda of a short mile, we are talking decades of contributions!

“How about all those awesome wins at all those Eukanuba shows and you winning the top Breeder’s prize with Walter a year or two ago. I would be singing the blues over and over again if I were you.” Liz

“What about the dogs that you bring in from other kennels and breeders and make them champions too, that just hasn’t happened recently, you have been doing that for over 20 years too!” Carol

Okay, okay I think that we have made a point or two and can sit back and listen to the banter at the grapevine and hear if credit is given were credit is due……………………however, regardless we will continue to pursue with our passion and love for the breed and keep on truckin even if some are stuck in some kind of time limbo!

February 4th
How to ‘see’ a Labrador Retriever at first glance!

 

How to ‘see’ a Labrador Retriever at first glance!

First and foremost………………… ‘look at the dog with your own eyes!’ Forget what others are saying about it. See the dog for yourself and see it a distance of about 20 feet.

There is a certain outline that makes a breed unique!

If looking at that Labrador, the impression is that it resembles a Golden Retriever……………….then look no further, because that dog has shifted away from ‘breed type’ and no longer represents the breed it is purported to be……………………..likewise if it resembles a Newfoundland or a PitBull or a Terrier or any other breed……………….then it has drifted away from true breed type!

If it is tall and lanky, it doesn’t follow the breed standard's guidelines………………… ‘the blueprint to build the building’………………..thus, that dog shouldn’t pass inspection!

If the dog has the typical outline of what a Labrador should look like:

  • if it is slightly longer than tall………….

  • if it is the right size according the breed standard

  • if the topline is level and the tail drops off the croup straight-away, creating a continuous flowing line with the topline…………….

  • if there is a gradual sloping rise to the neck placing the head well above the top of the withers…………………..

  • the same withers that are vertically right above the front legs……………………

  • the front legs that are well under  the dog and form a perpendicular with the ground, straight up through the elbows and straight up the same withers……………

  • the distance to the elbows from the ground is the same distance as the elbows are to the withers………….so the elbows are half way up or down for height……………….

  • The shoulder blade that forms the top of the withers is laid back at a 45° and the point of that shoulder blade forms the front of the dog’s fore chest…………………

  • The length of that shoulder blade is the same length as the distance from the point of shoulder to the back of the elbow……………………..

  • The angulation formed by the point of shoulder back to the elbow should complement the angles of the rear leg………………………………

What it shouldn’t look like:

  • It shouldn’t look like another breed, in looks, in coat or in bone.

  • if it is way too tall or way too long

  • if it is taller or shorter than the specifications of the breed standard.

  • if the topline sags……….if the dog is high in the rear……………….if the topline is severely inclined

  • if the tail is pouched on top of the topline……………if the tail is set way too low between the legs

  • if the neck is way upright (a ewe neck) or if the neck appears to be too short

  • if the withers are way up the neck

  • if the shoulder blades are upright and not laid back at the 45°

  • if the shoulder blades are laying back too far back on the topline

  • if the withers are not right above the legs, not forming a straight, vertical line with the feet, elbows and withers.

  • If the distance from the ground to the elbows is way less than the distance from elbows to withers

  • If the distance from the ground is much greater than the distance from elbows to withers

  • If the distance from the point of shoulder is greater from the withers than the distance from point of shoulder to the elbows………….and vice versa

  • If the front angles do not complement the rear angles

All the preceding to consider and we are still 20 feet away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

February 3rd
What Is Blogging Off?

 

For those asking about the Blogging Off format……………as can be seen, it is not the usual blog-then-comment type…………………..those fly by night blogs and bloggers that are overclouding and overcrowding the Internet where folk from all corners, crooks, crannies and creases can and do surface and make all kinds of weirdo, politico, asinine assumptions……………..where conspiracy theories abound and run amuck…………………..where anything goes from anyone that is a no one……………….where information is served up diced, deviled and delusional by the delirious……………………….where accountability is totally unaccountable, uncertain, unreliable and totally unreal all of the time……….so NOPE, none of that stuff happening when it comes to Labradors, my Labradors and those of my loyal owners that make up Chambray Labradors.

No sir, none of that is going to happen on my watch.

So, here’s how it works…………………………………….on a daily basis things come up that inspire me…………..that rile me………………….that invigorate me…………………..that irritate me……………….that reach my goals………………..that get my goat………………well, you get the drift here, anything and everything that has anything to do with Labradors and the advancement of the breed…………………the betterment of the breed………………the safeguard and protection of the breed……………..for me it’s do or die for Labradors…………….like I am doing this until the day I die and I am doing it right even if it kills me!

So, in me you have a crusader, a protector, an advocate…………..me the do it all……………………….breeding, raising, training, conditioning, managing, exhibiting and the biggie for last…………mentoring on all the preceding…………………all at their best!

Yep, by my choice, the Labrador Retriever buck stops here with me…………..with me at Chambray Acres…………….Chambray Labradors……………Chambray Dog Training……………….Professional Canine Services………………all of them inc’s, that’s incorporated in the state of Florida which means that they are all professional organizations…………………WE ARE PROFESSIONAL TOP OF THE HILL GRADE!

Nope, none of that haphazard stuff happening in backyards………………..none of that assembling-line mass production stuff happening in Timbuctoo, Wallamazoo, or those cash for pups clandestine hookups in Walmart parking lots………………………….none of the thousands of ‘amateur hobbyist’ grinding out puppies under the guise of ‘it’s just a hobby’………………….or those others ‘having a litter for the kids to learn about the birds and the bees’……………………………………..nope, no fly by nights here………….no Johnny Come Lately…………………………no ‘now you see them, now you don’t’……………………..no ‘back of the pickup, sign by the side of the road, kids waving at passing cars holding cute as pig’s ear puppies'…………………….NOPE, won’t find any of that with us!

What you get is the real deal as real as the deal can get………………..it’s the real thing and there’s none that can claim and prove better………………………………..that last statement is guaranteed in writing!

Soooooooooooooooooooooo, if you read it at the Blogging Off section written by yours truly, then as Robert Blake, aka Tony Barreta used to say ‘You can take that to the bank’!

You won’t find hocus pocus, smoke and mirrors………………..you won’t find retractions or corrections……………..you won’t find fake news (unless I tell you it is a fake news pun intended blog)………………you won’t find ‘today I mean this and tomorrow, nah, that’s not what I meant’ mouth vomit……………………………….I write what I mean and I mean what I say and it means the same yesterday as it does today and it will mean the same tomorrow and the same the day I am no longer around.

If I take the time out of my busy day with my dogs and my staff of trainers and handlers that work at Chambray Acres to sit inside the house in front of a computer and peck away at the keyboard to shed some light on something that pertains to Labradors……………….then you darn tootin that it is worth reading and learning about, because I ain’t going to be wasting my time wasting your time!

So, that my friends in a huge, elephant-sized nutshell is how my contributions through the Blogging Off pages work!

Any further questions?

February 2nd
I have been waiting a lifetime to say this,

"It's About Time!"

 

Better late than never sure as heck sounds mighty alright to me about now!

It just has taken so long that I was starting to think that maybe I wouldn’t see that most welcomed light of day!

 

But hark, now after almost 30 years, there’s this awareness that seems to have started to seep in and many are shaking the cobwebs out of their heads, the morning goobers out of their eyes, smelling the coffee and dancing a jig because  all of a sudden people from all over are exclaiming “Eureka”!

It was the talk of the town at the January shows in Florida with over a dozen folk coming to me and asking pertinent questions about how our Labrador oriented programs work.

 

Emails have shifted gears with many desiring more in-depth knowledge on our Owner’s Programs and Puppy Placement Program.

I am not quite sure what has tipped the scales, but I do think that success is a mighty tough agenda to overlook and still come up with that same poopoo that was the favored flavor of describing our endeavor with the breed!

I remember back in 2012 when we reached the top, some said it was luck……………….then 2014 reaching that status again, luck was no longer apropos…………….then followed by 2015 and then a 4th time in 2016……………….. all the way all over again is a stark realization even for the biggest Doubting Thomas’s’ to explain away with sleight of hand or mouth……………..so Top Breeder status 4 out of the last 5 years sure as heck can make believers out of the biggest nay sayers.

Having finished more champions (32) in the country in the last 6 years…………………….more than any other breeder from Florida has done in a lifetime of breeding, then add the other 24 champions before those 6 years, which added together makes twice as many as the next one in line……………………I did hear from one of those breeders since I had stated that I didn’t know who was the 2nd place Florida breeder…………….they emailed me to let me know they had bred 27 champions in 35 years of breeding Labradors.

The recent AKC Top 100 Lifetime Grand Champion posting with Chambray leading the pack at #1 with 7 from that glorious list sure gave our programs a super boost as well considering that there is a 4-way tie for 2nd place with 4 each.

However, I think that the biggest and brightest search light in the sky was our super successes these last 5 years at the AKC Eukanuba National Championships/LRC Specialty/3 days of Orlando Shows……………..well, 4 years of those and this last year’s newly named AKC Royal Canin National Championships & the accompanying LRC Specialty. Chambray come away as the winningest breeder at those prestigious events…………………considering we were in the midst of over 100 of the top Labradors in the country and also from outside our borders…………………….that is so visual that not much can be done to knock what can be seen by so many!

Whatever it is that has created the change, whether it be a singular occasion or a collective of all that glitters……………..the response now is well taken……………….but still I am left with “It’s about time”!

 

February 2nd
Imagine..................Chambray Labradors A Monopoly!

 

"I have been reading with much interest the way your organization works and no wonder the other Florida breeders complain so much and travel great distances to show their dogs! You all have created a monopoly with the way you do things.

You breed and place your best dogs with people that will create a block with your dogs. Then you all provide the training and handling for all those dogs, which means you will have more of your dogs showing than any of the other breeders can manage.

Then your dogs win more than the rest, which creates such an unfair advantage to your operation because the others are not able to do what you all do.

Some breeders have to spend a lot of money hiring professional handlers to be able to complete against this monopoly you have created". LG

 

Yes, yes and another resounding yes! You just pinned the tail on the donkey!

Wahoo, finally someone has all the facts down pat!

Yes, we breed and we breed for the best!

Yes, we select with whom and where those best puppies will be placed with.

Yes, we provide professional training and conditioning for all those show puppies placed with those selected individuals.

Yes, we provide the handling…………in fact, we provide the total show management program to ensure that those puppies have the absolute best attention paid to them.

Yes, we win at a much higher rate than any other breeder………………not just Florida breeders…………….the whole country breeders……………….proven by the number of champions finished in the last 6 years………………….32 new champions, making Chambray Top Champion breeder 4 out of the last 5 years…………in the whole country!

Yes, yes, yes, yes, and more yeses!

Now here’s the bottom line………………………..all of those yeses create great dogs that all add up for the betterment of the breed……………………..which then give each owner a great dog……………….which then gives Chambray another champion.

Now, isn’t that what it should be about:

PRODUCING GREAT SPECIMENS OF THE BREED

THAT CAN BE OWNED BY AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE

WHICH IN TURN WILL BE AVAILABLE TO BE BRED

SO THAT AS MANY PEOPLE THAT GET WHAT IT IS WE ARE ACCOMPLISHING, CAN DECIDE IF THEY WANT TO BE PART OF THIS PAY IT FORWARD MOVEMENT.

And if all that makes Chambray Labradors & The Owner’s Program For The Betterment Of The Breed a MONOPOLY……………………then we will wear the title with pride!

February 2nd
Yea, A New Day!

 

The great thing about a new day…………………………..is that the old day from yesterday is history!

 

Yep, such was the day that just passed……..RIP!

Well, at least we had a great training class last night after dealing with so much rubbish during the day.

So, starting out fresh by clicking on the refresh key of life at 12 midnight, here we are with this new day unfolding!

Welcome, new day!

As mentioned above, last night’s class brought out a bunch of the little starlets-to-be……………..the newest addition to the Class of 2016. No, not the ones that just took 3 Winners Dog/Winners Bitch at the Florida Winter Circuit/Ocala shows…………………nope at all, because these are the ones from the last part of the year, those born in September, October and November……………….these are the little babies chomping on the bit to get into the fracas of the AKC shows!

There are 5 from the litter between BBE Bronze Gr Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter JAE (2014 Eukanuba)  JAMSS (2014 LRC Specialty), SelGrCh (2015 Euknauba) & 2015 Eukanuba BBEBOB  bred to AKC Ch-Pted Chambrays Bella From Ipanema. The litter that was born in September so their AKC debut will be highly anticipated in late March. There are 2 Black males that rock the house, both with awesome type and movement just like their sire Walter, probably the best moving Chambray champion ever! There are 2 black females with type galore and movement not seen in many black dogs that make it down to the Florida shows. The lone yellow female from the litter combines all of the great traits for the breed and should stand out against the formidable competition seen lately at the shows, including those from Chambray’s Class of 2016 spring and summer puppies that have been dominating the wins from the puppy classes and 3 are already champion pointed, including one of them with a 3-point major win!

The 2nd litter born in October will debut in mid-April. This was the breeding between Ch Devonshires Huckleberry Finn to WinQuest Christmas Gift ‘Laika’ (a Brigham daughter & Rush GrDaughter).  From this litter we have 4 beyond outstanding yellows…………………….2 males and 2 females that will be front row and center and in the thick of things as soon as the bell clangs for them to enter the AKC show ring.

The 3rd litter born in November between BBE CH Chambray’s Stellar Thunder ‘Rico’, bred to Chambrays WinQuest Jersey By The Sea (a Brigham daughter & Bobwhite GrDaughter) gives us 2 fantastic females and 1 beyond awesome male to work with and to bring out for the May shows.

So, by mid-summer, 80% of our show roster will be the little super stars from the Class of 2016!!!!!!!!!

Marveling at their potential and reveling at what’s to come makes days as yesterday fade faster than politician’s promises the day they are elected!

I can’t wait to have most of these gems under one roof………………..that is certainly to be a moment that will not fade away regardless of how many off days present themselves!

Meanwhile the older puppies from the Chambray Class of 2016 have already made their mark and presence felt and should continue paying dividends for Chambray, for their owners and for the breed in the coming months as we await the debut of the little starlets-in-the-making to join in with the winning ways.

February 1st
 A Fast & Furious Start To February

 

Just to clarify our protocol and procedures for inclusion to any and all of our Labrador-related programs and services……………………….as there seemed to be some debate, questions and confusion from folk, exhibitors, breeders and even professional dog handlers at the most recent weekends of shows in Brooksville and Ocala.

Chambray Labradors and the Owner’s Programs for the Betterment of the Breed is not an open forum………………not a ‘for hire’ operation…………………….not a ‘for sale’ puppy business………………not a public club open for membership, in fact there is no membership, just chosen participation.

None of the preceding!

It actually is a ‘by invitation only’ proposition.

We determine which dogs will be on our handling roster or not, be it a Chambray dog or one from an outside kennel.

We decide who will be bred and to which stud dog....................we decide which Chambray stud dogs to promote.

In fact, having a Chambray puppy placed with someone does not guarantee further inclusion or participation in any of the programs and services provided those that have been ‘chosen’ to be part of the ‘pay it forward’ movement.

When a puppy is ‘placed’ with someone that has Interviewed and then has been chosen to own that puppy, that owner, depending on their cooperative abilities to function within the scope of our mission for the breed……………..they may be offered the ‘extended’ services and programs that are enjoyed by those working harmoniously within our group of owners.

The paramount agenda is the Betterment of the Breed & a working relationship. Period!

Those working seamlessly with our protocols for training, conditioning and our show management program……………………..as a collective will be included in all our offerings.

Those that don’t have the Betterment of the Breed in mind, that undermine our protocols and procedures will not be included in our most successful venture……………as simple as that.

I always tell people……..get it straight and direct from the horse’s mouth instead of listening to those don’t know when the lights have been turned off…………..worse yet, from those with nefarious and self-serving agendas………………..from those whose dogs can’t win unless they are the only ones in the class by themselves……………………from the delusional…………….by those full of envy and jealousy and the only way to get any type of satisfaction is to knock those that are successful.

What is still so surprising to me is how many people take part in the blah, blah, blah and then trip all over themselves to come and tattle on the others that are running amuck! It happens all the time, in fact there are times when both blah blah parties then come and tell me what the other was saying! It would be comical if it weren’t sad and sophomoric!

Reminds me of elementary school when the teacher’s pet would spill the beans on everyone to get brownie points from the teacher……………….I guess we haven’t progressed much since those early childhood days!

February 1st
Didn't Take Long For The Next Thought Of The Day To Emerge

For those just getting started into the dog fancy, especially wanting to breed……………my main recommendation is to:

READ THE BREED STANDARD!

UNDERSTAND THE BREED STANDARD!

VISUALIZE WHAT A LABRADOR SHOULD LOOK LIKE FROM THOSE BREEDERS THAT ARE PRODUCING CHAMPIONS!

Notice that I used capital letters for the above…………………..that means that all the above should be done before heading out anywhere to SEE PUPPIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just had a nightmare of an OMG moment from someone that visited here at Chambray back in September looking for a puppy and wanting to get into the ‘business’ as they put it!

I didn’t have a puppy to place with them at the time, since what I had was top show prospects and they didn’t want to ‘spend’ that kind of money at the time.

However, I still conducted the interview and still tried to steer them in the right direction.

Here is a gist of what I recommended to them back then:

"If you want to breed, read, understand and visualize the breed………………..then go out and get the best that is available from successful breeders that have a great track record. I went further and stated that if I were starting all over again as a breeder, that I would only obtain females at first and breed them to the top stud dogs in the country to produce the best possible puppies."

Fast forward to now, 5 months later and another visit from the same couple…………………..this time with 3 puppies that they had obtained from 3 different so-called breeders……………….ranging in age from 4 months to an 11 month old.

The purpose for the visit was for them to learn which stud dogs I would recommend to them from the Chambray dogs that I manage.

When they arrived and exited their truck holding the 3 puppies, I knew that they had done NONE of what I recommended.

DIDN’T READ THE BREED STANDARD!

DON’T UNDERSTAND THE BREED STANDARD!

CAN’T VISUALIZE WHAT A LABRADOR SHOULD LOOK LIKE FROM THOSE BREEDERS THAT ARE PRODUCING CHAMPIONS!

DIDN’T GO TO KNOWLEDGEABLE SUCCESSFUL LABRADOR BREEDERS!

Two of the puppies were purchased from online brokers at bargain prices………………..the now 11-month old for $800 because the breeder said she was getting too old to sell off as a puppy and the 7 month old for $700 because it was, according to the breeder, an ooopss breeding where the wrong dog bred with the female………………………………….the 4 month old yellow puppy with the red nose, according to them “was a real prize at $1200 because she had a bunch of champions way back in the pedigree!”

Before they could settle in and sit under my old orchid tree and take up some of my ever fleeting time, I stopped the train wreck from going any further, shook my head , frowned my face and told them that there was absolutely nothing that I cared to do with them and the three dogs they had with them!

Here was a perfect case of leading the horse to water to drink and then have it defecate in that water!

Some folk, no matter how much time is spent on them………………will never get it!

In my younger days, maybe I had the patience to do my best with all that came to me…………………now, I see the errors of my ways and I cut the line when the catch is way too burdensome and cantankerous  to reel in.

Going forward in the future, I would rather spend whatever gas is left in my tank to tend to those that heed rather than knock heads with those that continuously make the wrong call, time and time again.

February 1st
A Bit Of The Big Picture

 

The lament at times from ringside is that mediocre dogs are being handed the points by poor acumen judging.

That is a fact! Way too many plain folk licensed to judge a particular breed without having the in-depth knowledge of the breed type and function. Poor judging, that may confuse those that may not know the breed and use the judging to determine what a good dog of that breed should look like.

Oh, I know that that last statement can (and might) land me in boiling water………….won’t be the first time and certainly not the last time………………but I have been a real good boy lately and have held my tongue and thoughts in check so as to not stir the proverbial pot, however at times speaking up clarifies some situation for those that are bothered by the circumstances and giving them added insights keeps the ship headed in a good direction and not wallowing in the doldrums for too long.

Supposedly, the dog shows are where the best of each breed go to be adjudicated upon and seen by others in the fancy to be considered for perpetuating the breed to the next generation.……………much like livestock fairs and exhibits still do now a days.

Theoretically,  those dogs that achieve their championships are the ones that should be seen as the go to dogs to breed to…………….the males to be used as stud dogs and the best females to be chosen as brood bitches. That would be a Utopian world…………………………the way it should be.

Of course, we all know that what should be and what really is can be totally two worlds apart.

But something is better than nothing, so we work with the ‘something’ that comes from the flawed system and throw out the none-working stuff.

Yep, we pout our chin in the face of the poor judging and take the good judging and make something of that.

Those mediocre dogs being put up for the wins will dead-end as soon as they are not exhibited any longer…………….even if they are shown enough and do acquire the needed points and majors to be handed their champion’s titles, not many will use them for breeding, other than the owner of the dog and their contributions to the breed will be nil at best!

Seeing the whole picture from that perspective, accomplishes the mission for showing dogs. Because after all we exhibit the dogs to show which ones are the best for breeding and even if some are handed the wins……………..we see that they may not be what we want to breed to………………..thus mission accomplished.

Yes, it is a waste of time, energy and money for those with the better dogs that may not be getting the wins and points they deserve…………………but in the end, the goal of exhibiting dogs to prove their mettle as perpetuators of the breed is accomplished.

Yes again, the system is flawed, but until a better method is created and implemented, this is the best we have to ‘see’ which dogs we want to breed to even if there are dogs that win points that we won’t breed to!

Okay, that was the thought of the day…………………….until another thought comes my way!