July 2015

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."
 

The Blogging Off Experience

These blogs will cover every Labrador-related topic under the sun and then sum/some! There will be puns intended, off the cuff remarks will rule, attempts at acerbic, acidic and arsed-like humor will be on the menu. Since I have lived outside of the box for most of my life, parameters need not apply.

July 31st

The Heat Is On

 

"Herzon, here’s an idea, why don’t you make a list of all those owners that have made it to the partner’s level so that others will have something to aspire to!"

MC

 

That’s very tempting, but in the end it could also be divisive. I prefer that each owner decides for themselves where they would like to take the enterprise of owning a great dog and then participating with it in the many programs offered by Chambray. Since I don’t impose lopsided contracts………..in fact, I place all my top puppies on faith only………..no contracts of any kind, I would rather continue my Interstate Trust system (2-way trust), where I place my precious cargo with folk that I have interviewed and decided that a top notch puppy would be a great fit……………………….give that new owner all the amenities that our programs provide and let their curiosity lead them further with that puppy.

 

Along the way, through a mutual appreciation of all that is involved and the realization that this is all leading to a great place for the betterment of the breed……….the trust system grows and broadens.

 

Through our one of a kind mentoring programs, each owner becomes the carrier of the torch for yet another great generation of puppies for the breed and for Chambray.

 

Hopefully this appreciation will continue the association even further down the line leading to the dog show management program and all it entails……………the breeding program that furthers the breed to yet another amazing generation of superior puppies and thus the pay it forward has been completed to yet another new set of owners that come on board.

 

So we go from new owners, to associates to partners in a natural transition. I want that journey to be as smooth and natural as possible and I want it to be something that each new owner wants to do on their own……………….that’s when it truly means something to me, that’s when it works like a charm!

 

 

 

"I just started in the shows with my puppy and I am very happy with the attention she gets from the Chambray team of trainers and handlers. I don’t fully understand most of the time what is happening, so I rely on the Herzon family to tell us and lead us where the puppy can go.

We realize that we don’t have the experience for training, so we go to Chambray as often as we can with our puppy and let the Chambray trainers work with her as much time as they have. We also take the homework they gives us and we do that at home with her. The results have been amazing as she listens and behaves so much better even if we are home or at the pet store with her.

People always come up to us and ask “Is that a Chambray dog?” We are very proud of her."

JG

 

 

July 31st

I Love It When A Subject Becomes A Topic Of Conversation!

 

I asked for contributions and I got contributions! Great ones at that. Some of which touch on some very important issues. Here is one from one of those owners that I could not ask more of. This is the exception to the rule owner……………………the one that comes on board and fully trust the system that is there working for his dogs…………….the system that takes the dogs and owners on for training and gives the owner those tools to do what it takes at home with the dog…………..of course here is where this particular owner takes a detour from the main thoroughfare of owners that don’t have the time, energy or capability to actual put in play what is needed at each point in time for that particular dog. There are very, very few owners that can actually accomplish what this owner has………very few! However, I am there for all that come on board with one of our dogs……………some are as easy to work with as the following, others a bit more complicated……………………but I work with all of them for the betterment of the breed……………if an impasse comes along, then we ford that crossing as best as possible with the same credo, the betterment of the breed in mind.

 

 

Sandy -

 

Great read, again very informative as usual. You are 100% correct on the owner’s perspective especially when you are new, you look at your dog as the one that should win! I have seen my dog perform so badly that I was embarrassed he was even in the ring, on the flip side I have seen him flawless and I saw him as the best example out there and still did not get the win. "What the heck is that judge looking at!!!" goes through your head. One of the first realities that hits you is our dogs are also dealing with personal preferences. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Since there is no computerized judging yet (haha), human influence / error will always be a factor, some days favorable some days not... but always unpredictable.

 

One very important thing for a dog’s success that you didn't fully touch on for any owner - is what you do with your dogs at home. Going to shows is always great and the further along you see the change as they get used to the process. Yes, the show handling is top notch. Going to Chambray Acres for training weekly is a must but it's not enough. You really need to incorporate everything learned at the trainings and then some to be done every other night at home to really get your dogs in showing shape. I admit it was very overwhelming for me at first, coming home from a long day of working all day to realize that you now need to start your next job. I looked at it - since I am making this investment I was going to work hard and do it right which kept me from giving up. Dogs (as well as humans) are creatures of habit and the more repetition you can incorporate with training and exercise of your dog I believe the chance of winning increases. I even watched what the dogs have to go through in the ring with the judging and I had friends and family go through the feel down evaluation with my dogs... mouth, coat, tail and for my male... yes that too!!! Just to get the dog used to this is what humans do. Luckily everyone I employed for help was a good sport. But there is so much info you give from the collar control to the blocks to diet and exercise that if followed religiously gives our dogs an advantage. We all start with great dogs... it's what the owner does with the dog that help them excel. My bit of advice to add for owners... since we are making this great investment of money and time make the most of it you can, this ride only lasts for the first 2 to 3 years of the dog’s life. Then they will just be our crazy pet for the rest. I can honestly say that hard work has paid off for me.

John McGraw

 

John is the owner of Gr Ch Chambrays Razor’s Edge Thunderstruck CGC “Bob” who just turned 2 year's old in May and BBE Ch Chambrays Eventful N Counter CGC “Evie” who turned a year old and then became our youngest champion ever. Watch for both Bob and Evie in the coming fall shows in the BOB competition as they tune up for their place in the Best Of Breed ring among the top USA and world champions at the 2015 Eukanuba National Championships in Orlando in December.

 

Thank you John for taking the time to script this and email it to me. Yours is the perfect case scenario for me as a breeder that places my best produce on that Trust Interstate…………………..You came to class, sometimes 2 or even 3 times a week………………..you put into play each and every home training regimen that was recommended and then some that was important at each stage of development with both of your dogs! You did your homework which allowed us to go further with each dog.

 

You came for your private training classes as you felt were needed to learn more to develop your dogs’ according to the protocol that you saw had been working for those other dogs in our programs.

 

When I suggested that the dogs be left here at Chambray Acres for more intensive training, you obliged each and every time. In fact, you would always ask, “what else can we do for them?”

 

At the shows you trusted the system and protocols that we have had in play for 25 years that have also benefitted hundreds……………at times you questioned certain aspects, mostly to yourself, but you hung in there and waited until the opportune time to approach me for answers which you knew I would take care of whatever was not clear to you……………maybe not exactly what you wanted to hear at the time, but clear just the same.

 

Pooling our resources, as I envisioned could be done in Chambrays Owner’s Programs, we succeeded in titling your first Chambray dog at 18-month of age……………………a dog that will now figure astronomically in Chambray’s Betterment of the Breed Program………………so yes, he’s now a champion and your great pet………………however he will be a contributor to the breed for years to comes as his Chambray ancestors have done before him.

 

You were the perfect owner…………….so much so that I placed another world class Chambray dog with you!

 

Using all that you learned from your first dog that *WAS NOT RUINED* (remember that there is the axiom that new owners left on their own devises will ruin their first dog)…………using all that learned matter and moving ahead without a hitch, your 2nd Chambray dog finishes in record time, in less than 6 months of showing, at a year old!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Beating her dam’s record…………….her dam being the one and only **BIS BBE SILVER/BRONZE Gr Ch Chambrays Celestial N Counter “Kika”**

 

That’s how I envision the whole program working…………………….and it has for those that have followed along each and every step of the way…………………..unfortunately those like you are very few and far in between! You are what I call a ‘Chambray owner’ that eventually graduates and ascends to become a ‘Chambray Partner’ for the betterment of the breed mission.

 

I need more like you and I need your story and those of the few other ‘partners’ to be told

 

**Kika’s owner Juan Marrero, another Chambray Partner…………..owner of 3 Chambrays champions, an owner that ascended from owner to Chambray Partner 3 times and counting**

 

More to come as I go through the emails coming in.

July 31st

Tomorrow Is A New Day & New Month

 

There have been quite a few continued emails regarding what it takes to know about showing dogs, about the protocols followed by different professional handlers and also the differences we provide as well and what it eventually takes to be experienced/accomplished show exhibitors.

 

The bottom line for anyone getting into dog shows is that it takes lots of time to truly fathom the nuances and intricacies involved in the procedures and protocols involved. It may take 2 to 3 dogs of ownership to get to a comfortable place of knowledge……………..that’s 2 or 3 ownership of actually showing dogs going through the process!

 

An overall view from the outside, from those just getting a show puppy or dog is that somehow their dog will be the one that will win the points………………that ‘somehow’ comes about because they are the ones that own that dog! It is the targeted object and no other dog seems to matter. It’s 100% an emotional state that most owners are in for the duration and for most no amount of reality ever bridges the emotional state………………….it’s a perpetual ‘my dog is better than your dog’ mental plateau.

 

So, to those owners, no other dog, including those that have been on the front lines logging in the hours of show time, the days/weeks/months of training and conditioning and maybe, just maybe those dogs are more developed…………..in better show presentation mode…………more ring savvy and of course more experienced……………thus more likely to win those sought out ‘winners points’………………to the newly arrived owners of the novice dog, those other dogs in the ring somehow don’t appear on the radar for those emotionally charged owners.

 

First of all, I previously mentioned in several blogs that there are 2 distinct learning curves, the more important one is the dog’s learning curve and then there is the owner’s learning curve.

 

I state that the dog’s learning curve is the more important of the two because the dog can be successful without the owner ever achieving any expertise on the subject. A dog being successful in the show ring is not dependent on the owner if the dog is in a good professional management program.

 

So, the dog’s learning curve can be accelerated exponentially with the right training, proper conditioning and top-notch handling environment………………..so too can it be hindered and even detrimentally affected with the opposite environment………………..that is, the wrong training methods, no conditioning and the real killer……………………poor handling and poor management…………………boiling down to just downright someone that doesn’t know what they are doing and we see so much of that in the ring!

 

So, with the dog’s education, the right trainer/handler can make the difference as luminous as day is to obscurity at night! Now, with the right combination of show management and handling, it can be a speeder and most expeditious time for the dog vying for those elusive winner’s points.

 

The ‘new owner to dog shows’ learning curve usually take 2 to 3 dogs of ownership to fully grasp the whole, the entirety and complexity of the subject and nature of showing dogs. This is why in our profession and fancy we postulate that ‘owners will ruin their first dog’ in getting to know the ropes of showing dogs.

 

It takes that long and the road to a wishful end is wrought with mistakes made that sets the forward progress back considerably and with some dogs irreparably! Like in so much lost time that there is no recouping and catching up is futile for many of the owner/handled/managed dogs. Thus, the ‘ruining of the first dog’ axiom.

 

In fact, in Florida lost time in the Labrador ring is merciless because dogs either are champions or way on their way to their championship by the time they are 2 years old. That’s because every 6 months or so, another wave of great puppies will be debuting and those will be in contention right from the get go for those highly sought out points.

 

In our management program we make sure that each dog exhibits growth and progress in their show presentation with each weekend of shows that they participate in. Of course, winning points is a great barometer of their learned skills and their conformation value, however winning points is not the only gauge that we use to determine how well a dog is doing.

 

Since only one male and one female dog wins points at any given show and some dogs catch on fire quicker than others, there may be several dogs that seemingly have arrived at the desired level and yet they may not be winning the points………………….this is what frazzles most owners, that their dogs are worthy and yet other dogs are taking those singular per day wins.

 

This is what is the most difficult for new owners to grasp and comprehend, their dog could be one of the best, could be performing at the best levels, yet it may not be winning at that point in time.

 

It is the one subject that comes up with predictable regularity that I have no “cut and paste” explanation for………………..yes, Sandy is left speechless/wordless in trying to explain to an owner that their dog is a great example of the breed, maybe even world class, yet another dog or dogs are winning the points instead of that great dog that I am talking about.

 

Happens all the time! You would think that I would have come up with the right answer with the years that I have been managing show dogs………………….coming up with an understandable answer has eluded me time and time again and all these years later I am no closer to that ‘eureka’ moment than I was 25 years ago!

 

What may even be a tougher ‘sell’ is when new owners start out with a 6-month old puppy……….so both puppy and owner are brand spanking new to the ways and means of showing dogs!

 

At first they are all giddy and excited to see their little puppy prancing around the ring and hopefully both are having a grand old time…………..especially the puppy. Especially the puppy because part of the early on ring training is to get the puppy to actually like being handled in the ring.

 

Notice I state ‘early on ring training’…………………that’s because although we are ‘showing’ the puppy to the judge, 99% of our objective is still ‘training’! The puppy at 6 month’s old is nowhere nears in show presentation mode, sure it may look cute as a button to all those around ringside…………….but remember, the judge is not there to pick out cute buttons because in the ring will be dogs that have been around the block……the town……………the state and several adjoining ones as well with tons of ring experience and 100’s of hours logged in with precise show training and conditioning.

 

Cuteness will get a smile from most judges, but the plain truth is that they know how much work and effort those adult dogs have put in……………………….paying their dues if you will and those with the best conformation along with the best presentation will win those points 90% of the time.

 

Paying their dues then becomes the operative mantra…………………..puppies and young dogs most go through the process of learning to be able to get to the 90% level of being considered for the wins with great conformation……………………….first brought about by the breeder………….. then a great show presentation brought about by the best management/handling possible.

 

So as can be seen, time is of essence because it takes time to get the dogs to that level where their great conformation equals their show presentation……………….yet time is also working against most dogs in that most of the owners want a payoff way before the realistic time it takes to get there.

 

There is even a 3rd time element working against the dogs and owners alike: besides the time it gets the dogs to the proper level and the time that the owners don’t seem to have gauged properly…………….the 3rd time element is that dogs don’t have all the time in the world to finish their champion’s mission.

 

In the old days (like 5 years ago), the journey to a championship could be a long drawn out affair 4 or 5 years long and that was considered business as usual……………………..Now the ante has been raised and dogs need to be well on their way even at 1 year of age, because new puppies/dogs are being prepped and primed by 6 months of age to make a run at those same points that the rest of the pack is shooting for.

 

So, while I continue to work away at breeding the best, training and conditioning like no others and then handling/winning with no equal…………………….I am still light years away from coming up with the right verbiage to explain to owners how we get from Point A to Point Z………………….at least in a way that they will grasp and be at peace with.

 

Those of you that have traveled this path as owners……………….if anyone has any insight on an explanation that will soothe the soul…………please by all means, let me hear from you.

July 30th

Back To Business....Another Failed Evaluation!

 

So much has come in lately wanting to learn more about our training, conditioning and handling for show development. That is a direct result of the success Chambray has been achieving year after year with no apparent let down in sight.

 

USA Top Labrador champion breeders 2 of the 3 last years………………winning streak with no comparison anywhere……………….top Labradors rankings by more than 1 dog, 4 years in a row…………on and on it goes and those on the outside want to know how they too can accomplish some of the good times that are rolling in with us!

 

I am always more than glad to share anything and everything we do and put into play as long as it will be for the betterment of the breed.

 

Yes, we have a unique owner’s program that exists nowhere else, and I have mentored dozens, scores and maybe hundreds on how that entire program works. However, it is 100% up to the individual breeder to follow the script in its entirety………………..no deviation, especially the placing of the best puppies with new owners……………….without that, the program will not work.

 

Yes, we provide mentoring to any and all that step up to the plate with us, be it with a Chambray-bred dog or one from another top Labrador breeder…………………………..however, being a mentor takes a mentor that knows Labradors inside out and honestly there are not many that I know of that qualify.

 

Yes, we have innovated training techniques that are not known by others, thus not used by other trainers and handlers………………………I have not made these secrets, I have detailed their existence and even wrote articles and blogs about their use and how effective they are and how we have totally changed the time it takes to have dogs super competitive at the dog show…..thus the titling of new champions in half the time it used to take in the past using the same old, some old methods.

 

Yes, we do things totally different in the show management at the shows than the pros do and the results of all of the above is what is so apparent to the masses looking in, seeing the results from each of the shows, seeing the rankings at the end of each month, following our blogs and webpages listing new champions, grand champions and then seeing the lineup of dogs and those that win at year’s end at the Eukanuba week of shows.

 

However, I cannot stress enough that all of the above is not and cannot be possible without the number 1 ingredient……………………the one thing that starts the ball rolling and gives life to all the afore-mentioned ‘tools’ in place.

 

You can’t get to all those great places without starting at square one…………………….the breeding!

 

Without the breeding, there is little hope for success and with the heightened level of competition for Winners Dog and Winners Bitch and for Best Of Breeds………………just having an ok-bred dog will not cut it any longer…………………….having a great trained dog is not enough…………………….having the best handlers will get some results, however at a very costly price……………………without the breeding it becomes a major uphill struggle that in the end may not pay dividends because in the long run……………..average produces more average and meanwhile the great bred dogs will produce greatness again, which means that the average produced will be facing the greatness produced once again in the next generation of ring competition!

 

Although I appreciate all the ‘kudos’ that folk email in, I am lost for words when they then ask how they too can achieve the same overwhelming success with their dogs………only to see that their dogs may not have the breeding that is needed behind them to be successful at the top levels of competition.

 

Unfortunately out of the thousands of breeders of Labradors, less than 1% are breeding at those heightened levels, so the percentage of those that email me for advice………………..the odds that they have what it takes is 99 to 1 against!

 

Dismal odds to say the least. This week alone 5 outside dogs (bred by others) were brought to me for evaluations for show potential and or breeding and all 5 were of the 99% 'NOT' type!

 

And so it just went with that 5th dog brought in this week!

 

Without the breeding, we can't perform magic!

July 30th (10 minutes later)

 

Boy, it doesn’t take long for me to receive feedback and responses to the blog page.

 

The blog for the day wasn’t up 5 minutes, that someone was already asking about our special’s dogs that will be competing for BOB!

 

So, OOOPPPSSSS, I forgot to mention the champions in the Best Of Breed competition!

 

Ok, so for all those weekends covered by the recent blog, Atlanta, Biloxi, Deland and Ocala…………super star…………….top of the heap…….USA #4 all categories, Bronze Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting CGC will be showcased by the Wilkerson/Granda handing team.

 

Also making all those 12 shows will be newly crowned champion, BBE Ch Chambrays Eventful N Counter CGC, going for her Grand Champion’s title. She already is the youngest ever Chambray champion at 12 months of age and now there is an opportunity for her to finish her Grand Champion’s title in record time too!

 

Making the trek to the 4 Atlanta shows will be another of the 2015 new champions, Ch WinQuest Chambrays Famous Amos, who is just 2 points away from his Grand Champion’s title. So, for the Eslingers, bring the Champaign to Atlanta!

 

Also debuting as a brand new champion at the Deland and Ocala, competing as well for her Grand Champion’s title will be Ch Chambrays Sweet Honey Samantha. Sam and her owner Neil Merin have been traipsing all over upstate New York since she finished her AKC title..........wish I could have been with them!

 

One of our stellar grand champions, Grand Ch Chambrays Razor’s Edge Thunderstruck “Bob” will also come back out in the Best Of Breed competition for the fall shows as a tune up for the Eukanuba National Championships to be held in December in Orlando.

 

So, now all the bases should be covered and everyone’s little toes are happy as larks!

July 30th

Happy Days Are Here Again

 

Ok, today is a new day and yesterday is water under the bridge. So, here we are working on all those positive agendas that lay before us. Of course this is how I get past those negative and disappointing junctions in the road e.g. refer to the last blog.

 

So, we are all focused on the Atlanta shows (08/20-23), deadline for entry coming next Wednesday.

 

Having just finished 3 of our top class dogs/bitches in the last month, with the exception of our Open Yellow Male, Sonic who needs a major to finish, our current class show roster features a bunch of rising star young-uns!

 

Apart from Sonic, the other 3 males to make the trip to Atlanta, there are 2 puppies, one in the 6 to 9 class and another, less than a year old in the Bred By Exhibitor Class, with the 3rd of those wet-behind-the-ears youngsters just having turned a year old showing from the 12 to 18 Class.

 

The female’s side of the show roster equation is even greener……………………..the 4 class girls, they have a total of 3 points between them! One of them will be in the 6 to 9, one in the 12 to 18, and another in the Bred By Exhibitor and the eldest at 20 months of age showing from the Open Yellow.

 

Did I say green horn? That’s what happens when 5 dogs from the show roster are championed in 7 months of showing………………….it leaves the scene wide open for those up and coming stars to take their place in the starting lineup and be in the mix for the Winners Dog and Winners Bitch points that are available.

 

Of course we have been doing our due diligence in filling up the holes left by those newly titled dogs. Special training sessions and regimens have been put into play with the dogs that will now carry the torch in the classes for Team Chambray.

 

All the show management strategies and priorities that were in place the last 7 months at the dog shows, changes radically with the new faces in the ring vying for those very difficult to win points. Front runners will be established as we find out who’s who……………………which dog will becomes the ‘hot dog’, which ones will work better with the different handlers available, which dogs will attract the judge’s attention…………………..all this will be brand spanking new to us as we negotiate through all the newness.

 

For the next 3 or 4 weekends of shows in August and September, there will be different dogs that will make up the show roster, trying out some of those that have been on the sidelines waiting their chance to rise to the starting lineup.

 

Some of those dogs will be showcased one weekend from the Bred By Exhibitor and if they are puppies, will be alternated to their corresponding age group class to allow another dog in the BBE class.

 

The younger dogs will be alternated between the 12 to 18 Class and the Am Bred Class, allowing us to size up their competition in those classes to give each the best odds of winning their class and continuing on to the Winner’s competition.

 

Although we are still working to fill the Atlanta show roster, we are also building the Biloxi MS (09/03-06) lineup as well, which will see several different dogs than the Atlanta roster will have.

 

The 1st two Florida show weekends for the fall will be on 09/19-20 in Deland FL followed by the Ocala shows on 09/26-27. These 2 weekends of shows will also see some new debuts as well, as we work to finalize the fall starting lineup.  

 

All of the above serves well to forget some of bumps that show up along the road to the Betterment of the Breed……………..or at least I keep telling myself that!

July 29th

AARRGGGG

 

I recently wrote a blog about great show prospect puppies that once they leave my control, they never show back up again.

 

They are placed with great care and much screening of the new-to-be owners…………….those owners going through a gauntlet of inquiring emails and the all-important meeting of the minds, my Pre-Puppy Placement Interview.

 

Those ‘prospective new owners’ having had to jump through hoops and hurdles just to be able to get their name on our puppy waiting reservation list………………..then patiently awaiting news that the ‘right’ puppy was being made available to them…………..which in some cases may have taken months………….then finally the day comes when they are the new owners of a Chambray Labradors puppy!

 

Out of the thousands that contact via email, phone, person to person at shows or right here at Chambray Acres………………….only a select few, less than 70 per year will be able to claim that they are owners of a Chambray puppy.

 

Out of those few, a little over half will have show prospects placed with them! Those are the ones to have been specially chosen to be the potential perpetuators of Chambray’s betterment of the breed.

 

Those puppies are the golden children that will be offered all the free training that the owners will take advantage of……………………..private sessions and class sessions……………..everything and anything that we do on a professional basis as professional dog trainers, conditioners and dog show handlers, all of that will be at each new owners finger tips to use to develop those gifted puppies into the champions they were bred to be.

 

So, what can go wrong with the above scenario?

 

They just up and vanish, disappear into a black hole never to be seen again and what’s worse, never to contribute those great qualities that took generations to produce………………..never to pass that on to the next generation, never to completing the pass it forward that brought them to being such sought after puppies in the first place.

 

That becomes the broken link in the chain of betterment brought about by the dedication that has been driving Chambray Labradors for 45 years.

 

I guess the ink wasn’t dry yet on that blog when today I received an email directing me to one of those God-awful websites, comparable to a flea market atmosphere where people pawn off discounted dogs and puppies and advertise stud dog service as well for bargain basement prices because most of the dogs advertised there have no available clearances, no show nor working resumes................ backyard/pet shop-type pedigrees…………………the garbage can has been tipped over and there lo and behold is one of those top show potential puppies, now a 3-year old Chambray dog………………..one of those that disappeared right after being placed with what I thought were future to be Chambray Owners for the Betterment of the Breed…………………..only to never to be seen again…………………that is until today!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Today, Sandy is not a happy camper!

July 29th

Welcomed Winds Of Change Can't Come Any Faster

 

I am not an alarmist nor do I subscribe to conspiracy theories that abound on the Internet and have followings that would rival some of the larger cult and upstart religious movements.

 

I am more or less a realist that deals with whatever comes up that is either a negative and needs positating* or positive that needs duplicating! Hey, if it works, let’s keep on rolling and while I am at it, the innovator in me will take that positive and find ways to make it even better.

 

*positating…………..newfangled street slang for doing something right about something that is wrong.

 

I am also a collector of information…………….that is, I put things together that make sense to my well-being and that of my dogs and those that have congregated around me……….e.g. those dogs in Chambrays Owner’s Program.

 

Just as I follow my hypertensive condition via the use of a sphygmomanometer, I too follow the pulse of trends of health-related occurrences by the numbers of folk whose dogs I manage and the tremendous amount of email that comes in weekly/monthly from all over the country from dog owners.

 

Bad things seem to come in batches and when a bunch of those batches pile up, then something is for sure going on!

I my 45 years involvement with dogs, I have been through some of the worst bad things that have hit our dogs……………….in the 70’s, dogs were dropping off like flies due to heart worm infestations and even some of the ones being treated, succumbed to the harsh treatments of the times.

 

Distemper hit real hard some years later, followed by Corona Virus, Parvovirus, Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis and other maladies that felled large numbers of our dogs and then were more of less controlled with antibiotics and vaccines.

 

In all my years since 1970 raising dogs, including 16 years assisting a farm vet, I don’t recall a season as bad as we are now going through! Not just with the dogs and owners that I manage, it is coming in from all over Florida and the rest of the country too! Remember that I am not an alarmist nor am in into cover ups and the sort…………………..and those of you that have followed my website articles for 20 years or more and my Blogging Off section for the last 7 years know that I seldom dwell in diseases and illnesses.

 

The things that have hit our dogs here in South Florida, the rest of Florida and from reports from all over the country has been staggering to say the least! From news broadcast on TV and the Internet we know that there is a deadly dog flu that is spreading all over the 50 states.

 

Lyme Disease has no boundaries (not just in Lyme CT) and is affecting dogs and people everywhere, so has a lesser talked about, but just as much as an impact on dogs AND people, Ehrlichiosis (most common of all tick spread diseases)……………………both of these are blood-borne diseases spread by different species of ticks. There are several other tick spread blood diseases such as Anaplasmosis (tick fever), Babesia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Bartonellosis, Hepazoonosis and several others.

 

Several mutated viruses have staged a comeback from the old days as cases of distemper are causing localized epidemics and so have several strains of parvovirus.

 

‘Kennel Cough’, the catch-all name given to any of the cold and flu-like symptoms that dogs catch has been rampant this summer…………………….with several strains affecting puppies and mature dogs…………….puppies and dogs that have been vaccinated for all these upper respiratory ailments and yet, they have been stricken just as those dogs that were not vaccinated.

 

What’s even strange this summer has been the tremendous number of ‘hotspots’ being reported by the masses! Usually one dog may exhibit a skin infection that will be termed a ‘hotspot’, this summer 2,3 and 4 dogs that live together or that travel together to dog shows will come down with them at the same time………………..leading me to believe that we are dealing with a virus-type disease that affects the immune system that leads to severe allergic reactions to the common bacteria that normally would have nil effect on our dogs………………………what has made this occurrence more worrisome is that there have been an overwhelming number of dogs that were not responding to the regular topical and oral antibiotic treatments!

 

At the recent Breeder’s Symposium that I attended, the topic of conversation about all of the above dominated the discussion for hours! The vets and health care specialist detailed how the course of treatment from just a year or two ago has changed for most of the common diseases. Now a days, vets in the know will monitor a case and will change and combine antibiotics within 24 hours if improvement is not seen in that short period of time.

 

In the old days, like last year…………….typical protocol was 7 to 12 days of whatever was prescribed and then change after all that time if there was not improvement!

 

Whatever it is that has changed, that has brought about all these antagonists affecting our canine buddies…………………….I sure as heck can’t wait for the winds of change to make their seasonal appearance in the 6 weeks that remain in the summer…………..yes, the fall of 2015 will be a much welcomed respite from the ills that the southern winds seemed to have whipped up this year!

July 28th
 

Morons come in all colors and sizes and with degrees too!

 

Had one of our young show prospects taken to the vet by her owner because there was a small hotspot the size of a quarter on the side of her neck……………………5 hours later when she needed to be picked up the bill was $565 and the dog’s whole body had been shaved!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

2 different dips

Skin cultures

Full Blood Test Panel…………………..Thyroid, Liver enzyme,

Allergy Testing

Shots for 3 different things

Slew of antibiotics

Prednisone

Digestive Enzymes, Pancreatic supplements

Skin sprays

Plus, a special diet hypoallergenic, sensitive stomach prescription food

 

Gee, it’s a good thing that the dog wasn’t sick!

 

Now the dog needs a whole year for its coat to shed and grow a new one! That is if another hotspot doesn't show up again in that span of time!

July 27th

Interstate I-Trust

 

It seems that lately I have spent an inordinate amount of time on some of the negative aspects of operating this one-of-a-kind dog ownership program where the dogs and their owners are very much a part of the breeder/kennel’s involvement in raising, training, conditioning, show management and ultimately, back to the breeding to produce the next superb generation of Labradors produced.

 

I state, ‘inordinate’ because our programs are all based on creating a positive environment for the dogs and owners alike………………..to the tune of having one of the highest ‘client satisfaction’ rates in the dog fancy business! Most large corporations and branding operations are very satisfied with a satisfaction rate they claim to be in the 80 percentiles………………….we can document one that is at least 95%!

 

So, whatever few negative situations that will naturally arise when dealing with people is more than negated by the overwhelming numbers of those that will sing the praises for our Labrador-related offerings. It is those highly satisfied owners that makes the whole bandwagon keep on rolling like there will be no tomorrow.

 

There is nothing as pleasurable as there is to work with people that are totally committed and supportive because they have absolute trust in us to always do what’s best for their dogs that are part of our numerous breed-related ventures and offerings.

 

The two-way trust highway is essential for any and all of the associations, co-ownerships, co-breedings and show management that we provide………………without a two-way trust system…………nothing will work out.

 

The first and most important step in the creation of a working association with a Chambray dog is for me to trust those new owners with one of my most important prizes………………one of my top show quality puppies!

 

Since I only breed to produce the next great generation of superb puppies, it is essential that the best of those puppies produced stay in our programs for them to be considered as the next producers of the next generation of super stars and so on and so on!

 

We do not ever keep puppies ourselves, rather we always place our best with the best that we feel will be part of our future plans, so it is very important for me to make the right decisions as to whom to place our best puppies with. I must feel totally confident and trust the people that I am placing one of our best puppies with.

 

That first step is mandatory if we are to incorporate any dog into our programs, if that doesn’t occur, then we dead-end! If I fail, then there won’t be those great dogs producing even greater for the next generation. If I fail in the initial placement, then I fail in the future as well.

 

Once I bring someone into the fold by placing a top-notch for the Betterment of the Breed puppy, it then becomes that new owner’s mission to trust in us in everything we do and decide for their dog.

 

Like the old Father Knows Best show back in the 60’s…………………this father (me) of all our dogs, knows best and every decision that is made for each and every dog that is in our various programs will always receive the best from me to make it the best that it can be.

 

Without that back and forth bouncing off of positiveness from owner to us and back again, the whole kit and caboodle derails off the intended track!

 

So, I am ecstatic and proud to proclaim that I do have/have had the absolute best group of owners to have been part of the Chambray Labrador Owner’s Programs for the last 25 years and today our collective successes is 100% related to these great two-way trusting relationships.

 

Nothing stokes the fire for me than to have partners………………that’s what owners become when we reach that point of total trust………………..remember that I initiated the trust by placing one of my gems and then it was the owners, now partners that came on board 100% trusting me and the programs in place for them and their dogs…………………….dogs that used to be mine first!

 

I could name partner's names and that list would be rather long…………………….but I know without a doubt that those 95% satisfied owner/partners know fully well who they are and that’s all that matters to me!

 

Great dogs, great partners, great trusting relationships…………………………………sounds like the recipe for great success!

 

What do you think?

July 26th

Feedback From The Last Blog

 

There has been quite a bit of response to the Circling the Wagons blog. Sometimes a subject matter at this blog page evokes a lot of responses and questions:

 

After reading some of the feedback, dealing with owners that may or may not totally understand at first the rhyme and rhythm, the order of things, the standing protocols………………..it occurred to me that the toughest thing to really deal with out of all the things that it takes to operate our Labrador Retriever presence is actually the great dogs that get away!

 

The ones that are placed with folk that pass the interviews with glowing embers and seem like great candidates to place a world class conformation dog. Placing that puppy with the high probability that they will become part of all the other owner’s programs, including the show management program…………………..only to never see them again!

 

Nothing drops the ball worse for the pay it forward movement than to lose a dog that was specifically bred for the Betterment of the Breed……………………to succeed with producing the next great generation and then………………….nothing!

 

For whatever reasons, the owners never show back up……………… Gone Girl meets Gone Dog!

 

That to me is really the worst case scenario!

 

Lately, there have been more of those than I care to remember.

 

 

 

 

 

To answer some of the questions:

 

Not everyone that enters our various programs with their dogs actually work out. Sometimes it is the dog that dead ends the association because if the dog’s conformation and future contributions to the Betterment of the Breed are compromised, then there is no point in continuing any further with the showing aspect of it all.

 

Unlike most professional dog handlers that will take on any dog for handling, champion worthy or not…………………..we only consider those that will contribute to the breeding program. Only the dogs that we know have what it takes to be a champion and then be able to pass those qualities on to the next generation will be in the Show Management Program. So, professional handlers handle to make a living out of handling, we handle to make champions that will contribute to the next generation and then we make a living out of that. Two different ways, however the breed is much better served with our way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Someone asked how many people are part of the Show Management Program.

 

Answer……………………Over 200.

 

At a recent local dog show in our area, we were able to field a total of 29 Labradors that are part of the Show Management Program, that’s totally unheard of for owners from one breeder to amass in those numbers anywhere……………………..so over 25 of our owners participated at one show. At the opening bell for Labradors to enter the ring early in the morning, there were well over 100 people around the Labrador ring…………………….the vast majority of those in the standing room only crowd were Chambray owners! Many were there with their dogs competing, while a large majority were there to support and root the home team on.

 

At another local show, we secured enough grooming and crate space for 37 dogs! 28 of those spaces were occupied by Labradors, with 2 Cane Corsos, 2 German Sheperds, a German Short Hair Pointer, a Brittany and a couple other breeds………………………………..all dogs that come to our training classes, our rehab classes and dogs that we handle at the dog shows.

 

Needless to say that the club officers and club members came by and thanked us for being the handlers with the most entries to their shows.

 

There are at least 100 different owners that come to Chambray Acres during the week, be it private training sessions and/or the 3 nights a week of training classes………………..that is another unique offering that no other breeder offers their owners.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another question posed:

 

“Who benefits more from your programs that make champions, you or the owners?”

 

If a person buys a show dog from any other breeder, they are on their own! Whatever they do for the dog………………that is, the amount of money and time they spend on the dog is all on them. However, when the dog finishes it championship………………….the breeder receives the lion’s share of the credit for producing the dog in the first place even though they may not have contributed any blood, sweat, tears or money along the way.

 

At Chambray, we make it easier and less costly for the owner to realize a champion and then we get the credit for producing that champion just the same as if we hadn’t help along the way.

 

So, while we as the breeder gets credited by the AKC for producing a dog that goes on to be a champion, we also facilitate the process so that the owner has it a lot easier to accomplish being the owner of a champion.

 

There is a huge added plus with our way, as once the dog becomes a champion, Chambray also has a Stud Dog Management Program in place where we advertise and promote the stud service of the dog………………….we also provide the ways and means for the breedings through artificial insemination………………….whereas owners on their own do not generate much in the way of stud service for their own dogs. With the Chambray way, it is a major win, win situation for the owners and a winning hand for Chambray as well.

 

So, the answer to the question is that the owner in our programs benefits more than owners that are not in our programs and thus we as breeders benefit twice as much as well, so one hand washes the other and onward we continue.

 

 

 

 

 

Another question:

 

“I have heard that there have been owners that didn’t work out and were asked to move on? How does that happen?”

 

Human nature comes into play in everything we do. Some people fit into most of everything they do and then some don’t fit in at all. We run an operation…………..a very well-oiled and smooth one at that. It has been going strong for over 25 years now. Owners come on board with their new Chambray dog and go through the process until the dog ages out. If they have room, most of those will add a 2nd Chambray dog and there are some with 4 or 5 Chambray dogs!

 

That is the sign of satisfaction, a repeat owner! Some owners are limited to just one dog and their time in our programs is more or less also limited by the dog’s age.

 

So, the vast majority of Chambray owners stay within our frame work of Owner’s Programs. Those with the top show conformation dogs will go through the entire process of training, conditioning, show management and eventually benefit financially through the Stud Dog Program.

 

Back to human nature…………there is always a small percentage of people that for one reason or another just don’t work out working within the framework of our varied programs offered to the Chambray bred dogs and also other worthy conformation dogs from other breeders.

 

We give everyone the opportunity to participate in all of our programs, we give it a try and see how it works, and we even do the 2nd chance thing to cover all the bases in case differences crop up. Then when it becomes apparent that the mutual cooperation needed to make an association work, is not possible, then it is time for a different scenario for the parties involved.

 

Some folk become totally independent and move off on their own, while others still participate in the other owner-related programs we offer. That is a very individualized situation that differs from case to case.

 

 

 

 

 

Another question:

 

Why do some dogs succeed and others that were placed as show dogs, do not?”

 

There are a myriad of reasons why some dogs become champions and others either don’t show up or fade away without achieving their destiny.

 

The dogs with the highest percentages in their favor, those with the best odds of succeeding are those where the owners follow our programs, our protocols and our procedures to a T!

 

The owners who follow directions and instructions that they are given, that religiously come to the training classes………………………………that put into effect whatever tasks are given them to condition and keep their dogs in great shape……………..the ones that learn and then implement whatever show training task are given them for their dogs………………………….the ones that follow the show game plan and have their dogs on the front lines as asked by us for those shows that we prescribe for their dog……………….in other words, those that take care of business will be the owners with the most success.

 

 

 

 

 

“We have been told that some pro handlers take on dogs as ‘gas money’, is that true and do you all ever to that?”

 

Yes, yes and no!

 

First, let’s cover the ‘no’. We don’t have the need to take on 2nd class dogs to line our pockets with………….because there are so many 1st class dogs that are on a holding pattern for us to include them in our starting lineup! What we do is to have a developmental program in place for all those dogs that we feel will become competitive in the future and we encourage their owners to take advantage of all the free training that comes with their Chambray dogs. We want them to keep coming to the classes and also to schedule private one on one sessions and have them ready for when the time comes for them to be included at the show level.

 

The majority of handlers have one or two really good examples of the breed and then the rest are along for the ride…………………………..a paying ride and those are the dogs that are considered gas money because they help pay for the expenses and are actually used as subsidization to make the fees lower for the competitive dogs in their care.  

 

Our standing protocol is that if the dog is not worthy of winning points, then it will not make our 1st team……………..each and every dog that we handle at the dog shows has been deemed by us as being a contender on any given day of competition.

 

July 24th

The Circling Of The Wagons

 

PROLOGUE:

From time to time members of the tribe will go off on tangents and re-establishing rules and regulations is a must to create unity.

No time better than the halfway mark of the most successful year ever for our Owner’s Programs……………………and that is saying a tremendous amount because just last year we were the Top Champion Labrador Breeder in the whole USA with a winning streak going that has never ever had an equal or even a 2nd close by.

 

So here goes:

 

Chambray Labrador’s unique Show Management Program offers dog owners the opportunity to be an integral part of their dog’s odyssey as a show dog.

 

‘Unique’ because in the show dog world, owners are more or less relegated way to the background of the whole process. Their main input is the financial part as determined by the professional handler running the show for their dog.

 

In the ‘pro’ way, the dog is handed over the pro where they take ‘care’ of everything from that point forward.

With our Show Management Program, we include the owners with as much as each is capable of contributing………………besides the financial end of it.

 

So, from time to time, I am asked “What’s the most difficult thing or agenda that you face with the multifaceted Show Dog Management Program?”

 

Of course no one has ever asked it in those precise words, but the implied query has been repeated dozens if not scores and scores of times by inquiring minds.

 

Keep in mind that with Chambrays Show Dog Management Program, we encompass from one end of the spectrum of breeding, raising, training, conditioning and handling and not to mention the Puppy Placement Program that chooses where and with whom those stellar puppies will be placed with, making those chosen owners part of the management program in the future and also making those new chosen owners the holders of the next generation of potential champions................that's a lot of responsibilty to entrust upon new owners!

 

The breeding/raising part of the whole shish kabob is a no brainer for me……………………..with 45 years of involvement with the breed, this very important aspect of the whole ball of wax comes as 2nd nature to me, so absolutely no sweat here. Very few have the expertise in genetics, pedigree and dog line history that I have accumulated and mastered, so this part is simple as simple can get.

Now here is the very interesting side bar to the breeding/raising aspect………………..it’s probably the most difficult to achieve for all those involved in breeding dogs. Of all the different aspects of being successful in the show arena for the vast majority of those involved at the show level, it is the one that eludes the many. Breeding at the top levels escapes 90% of those breeding show dogs!

 

Training and conditioning go hand and hand and at Chambray Acres it is something that is done routinely on a daily basis, so no real biggie for us either………………..however once again, for most involved in showing dogs, it is quite lacking for the vast majority of the owner/handler exhibitors and even for many of those breeding at the higher levels.

 

The actual handling of the dogs at the dog shows is the crown jewel for our management program, making us the winningest Labrador handlers in the country. So, sweet honeydew and candy apple too with this all important feature!

 

So, what could be the bump in the road of all those great things that we do that make us the success story that we enjoy weekend in and weekend out? What can derail the exacting train that we are all riding on?

 

As can be seen from the above, it certainly is not anything to do with the actual dogs! Nope, we have the canine connection down pat and well covered. So bring on the dogs and let us do our job and watch us continue our successes as top breeder and top handlers!

 

Ok, enough suspense………….just what is it that causes consternation? What comes along and rains on the parade? What tips the cart over when everything is going peachy keen?

 

As stated, the dog part of the equation is on auto pilot, on cruise control for us and it is working at the highest levels ever experienced at the dog shows!

 

So, what could rear its ugly head along the way to create ripples on a seemingly very smooth and successful ride? Well, it happens to be the other part of the equation…………………………on one hand we have the dogs and on the other hand we have the dog’s owners!

 

Yep, that’s it, it’s the owners because we have the dog part totally down to an exact science. We are by far breeding and raising the very best there is……………………….we are training and conditioning like no one else…………………..we are totally out handling any and all where ever we go……………………………so we have all 4 bases covered as far as the dogs are concerned!

 

Now truth be told, we asked for it! Yes we have! We are the ones that have made the dog’s owner part of the equation………………totally the 180 degree opposite that the professional handlers do.

 

They, the pros, since the inception of time at dog shows, have insisted that they, the pros, take over the dog and do whatever is necessary to make that dog a champion! It’s has been 95% for the pro handler and 5% for the owner, the 5% responsibility of the owner being the supplying of the revenue to keep the float afloat.

 

Of course they demand input from the dog’s owner…………………………….yep, input money into the dog’s account………………………and they will take care of the rest! In fact, some pros don’t even want the owners around at the dog shows because they will interfere with the dog’s performance……………………even with a whiff or scent from 4 rings away!

 

So, just how do the owners create bumps in the road………………………..well, so glad you asked! 

 

Not understanding how the dog show process works!

 

That’s it!

 

The answer is that simple! Especially from the novice owners, those newly recruited into the world of showing dogs.

For the professional handlers, they mostly deal with owners that are old hands at having dogs handled by the pros…………………those owners have been schooled by the pros on how to act accordingly as show dog owners!

 

The procedure runs something like this:

 

The owner hires the pro.

 

The pro takes the dog.

 

The dog lives and travels with the pro.

 

The dog learns real fast that it is in a show environment.

 

The dog then performs in the ring.

 

The owner pays the pro.

 

Sooner or later the dog will win its championship.

 

 

 

With the Chambray method.

 

Chambray places a top show prospect with an owner.

 

The owner has no idea what a dog show is or what a show dog should look like.

 

Chambray teaches the owner how to have a well-behaved dog.

 

Chambray also begins adding show training to the well-behaved dog.

 

Chambray begins to create an interest in the new owner to consider having the dog go to a dog show.

 

Chambray then includes the dog into the management program.

 

New owner is a deer in the headlights at the dog shows.

 

New owner still has no idea what a dog show is or what a show dog should look like.

 

This last sentence can be repeated countless times and for what may be a year or more.

 

The dog learns 10 time faster to be a show dog than the owner learns what is really going on.

 

The dog finishes its championship and the dog owner still doesn’t know the difference between a ‘specialty’ and a ‘special’s dog’.

 

Some along the way to that championship, some owners will realize that it takes a lot more than the time, energy and money to accomplish the goal set forth to ‘finish’ a dog……………….of course those that have been around a while like it when their dog ‘finishes’ others that still don’t know what's what may be worried that a ‘finished’ dog may have met its end!

 

Some of the uninitiated owners insist on doing things their way along the yellow brick road and that causes disturbances in the projected path………………….that path at times will be altered and other ways and means have to be taken. Which is pretty much par for the course as history tends to repeat itself with predictable frequency. It has happened in the past, yesterday, today and tomorrow and we keep right on moving, taking care of those that stay on board and we continue to be as successful with our great services and product.

 

Most of those dogs and owners that take detours end up more or less lost for a time or forever causing potentially great dogs of the breed to be lost and never seen again.

 

So, what would be the antithesis to those bumps in the road by those new owners that naturally take much, much longer to learn the way it is than it takes the dog to become trained and ready to win?

 

It would take each owner to sit back and let the natural process of our Show Management Program to take place.

 

To totally trust us to do our job……………………our part for those dogs that we have chosen to be part of our show roster.

 

If the dog is out there on the frontlines with us managing it, with us showcasing it as one of our best bred dogs…………………then we have 100% trust in that dog’s conformational ability to be a great champion and we have 100% proven that we are the real deal, maybe the only deal out there with the success rate that no one comes close to.

 

So, the owners responsibility is to have the dog ready for us to show…………………doing all the tasks that we have assigned them to do according to their capabilities and then stepping out of the way and watching and learning and letting us work our charm, our mojo in the ring with their dog.

 

If they don’t understand something in the process……………WAIT………………………wait until the show is over, maybe 2 or 3 days after the weekend of shows and direct those queries to me……………………ONLY TO ME! Remember that we don't have the time nor energy to stop the show to explain anything to anyone while we are working our collective duffs off for all the dogs in our management program.

 

Never, ever ask another deer in the headlights owner or bystander or even worse a competitor for advise………………….NEVER! No one else knows ANYTHING about your dog, let alone their own dog! I guarantee that if you ask anyone else...............you will be steered wrong and sometimes on purpose!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Understand that everyone out there is into for themselves and that misery loves company…………..NO ONE has any answers for any other owner’s dog, that’s because no one has figured this out, not even some of the pros that compete against us! If they had, if anyone has, then they would be as successful as we are and that just is not the case.

 

Sit back, kick your shoes off (if your feet don't smell)...............smell the coffee, while you are at it, go get me some decafinated with 3 sugars added and cream! Be patient and good thngs will come your way, your dog's way if we have it under our management program because the alternative to our way is just not as good as proven at each dog show we go to!

 

That's guaranteed!

 

Learning will come your way, but way after your dog (a Chambray dog) has become a champion. In 30 years of showing and running the Management Program, no one has proven this last sentence wrong.

 

July 22nd

The Word Of The Day

Jack!

 

“Where were you when I first started?”…………………… “Why couldn’t I have found you a couple of years ago?”…………………………ah, the longing laments from the many that have gone through the wringer………….the gamut, the jumping through fire rimmed hoops to be able to find the ‘right’ Labrador Retriever breeder, which unfortunately most never find.

 

The operative word from the above paragraph is ‘right’…………………..finding ‘any’ breeder is as simple as closing our eyes and pinning the tail on the side of a barn wall………………………..there are literally thousands and thousands of breeders actually looking for puppy buyers…………………….. ‘gunning’ for puppy buyers is more descriptive and more accurate.

 

They are literally tripping all over themselves to find those ‘deer in the headlight’ folk that are wanting to add a new member to their family.

 

The listings abound by the thousands…………..LabBreeders.com, LabBreeders.net, .pet, .anything you can type………………..up from the ground comes the bubbling crude……….oil that is…………..nah, up from every porthole and pothole comes breeders galore selling their pots and pans (Labrador puppies), in every color of the rainbow, even hybridized with every other breed imaginable and sold as the bona fide real deal and in every state of the powerful union.

 

Mass advertising for mass production to satisfy the market’s incessant ‘demand’…………………the ‘supply’ just keeps hitting the ground litter after litter, from Tallapoosa to Timbuktu and back to Titicaca too!

 

So, for those that have been around the block, over and over again, with one disastrous dog ownership adventure after another……………arriving at Chambray must seem like an oasis to find such as respite among such a dreary, dessert-like scene of ‘now you see them and ooopss they are nowhere to be found when you need them’.

 

This is what I ‘hear’……………..actually ‘see’ from the hundreds of emails I field on a weekly basis.

 

Bad experiences from bad sources of puppies seems to go hand in hand…………….like that old song we used to sing when we were young ‘love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage’…………………in this case of ‘puppy buying gone wild’……………………….makes that old song more like ‘love and marriage ain’t got a chance in heck’!

 

So, when some of these forlorn folk find their lost ways unto the Chambray Labradors website and soak in all that is the real deal for the many that found their way to us…………………it must be either the “Eureka" moment for the eternal optimist or "It’s too good to be true" for the ever-doubting pessimist!

 

Just today, I have emailed back and forth 5 times with an incredulous, non-believer of what can be good. To the point that I didn’t know what else to impart upon her that indeed what she had read at the website and what I have emailed her was the gospel truth………………..so help me God!

 

The time tested fast food testament of “try it, you will like it” may be the simplest and shortest way to put it.

 

My final answer to her was, “Hey, sounds like you have been stepped on, kicked around and spat at so many times before……………………come on try it, you will like it……………….if you are wrong again, what’s one more time……………………however if you are right, then by golly you have finally hit the jackpot!”

 

Make the leap of faith, from jackedup to jackpot!

July  20th

The Glow Still Shows

 

It’s been a week now since the West Palm Beach shows results went into the AKC records books. 

 

For us as breeders, trainers and handlers the satisfaction of achieving the mission and goals set weeks, months and years in advance lingers on way beyond the 7 days that have elapsed since posting wins and awards and the earning of titles that most other breeders/exhibitors just dream of and can only imagine.

 

Every once in a while I will still get ‘You all are so lucky’ and other similar opined comments from those standing on the outside looking in. Those that only see the shining moments when a dog wins that last point to earn its AKC champion’s title………………..they don’t see or even know of all the footwork and mental managing that goes into making all that happen.

 

Years before that moment, where just seconds before the dog was considered a ‘class dog’ and then with the pointing of the judge’s anointing finger, that class dog ascends to a place reserved for ‘champions’………………apparently all it took was for the judge to point and there it is, a champion is made!

 

Appearances are very deceiving because years in advance there was the breeding that produced that class dog that one second later in front of the judge with the pointing finger transforms into a champion.

 

There was the birthing of that dog and the raising and then weaning from the mother………………..there was the interviews to get to know Adam from Cain……………………………decisions that needed to be made that could totally change the course of history not only for that puppy, but for our kennel and us as well.

 

There was the providing of the right environment to keep that new owner of that champion-to-be dog interested and on board with all the offerings by Chambray.

 

The whole village had to come together to make the magic moment possible. We rejoice and celebrate the instant that the judges favors our dogs enough to cast their long deciding finger in its direction, but in all reality, it took a mighty concentrated effort to get there.

 

The finishing of 2 champions in 1 days’ worth of competition is a new feather in the cap for us as dedicated show champion Labrador breeders………………….there were 2 other instances where 2 dogs of our dogs finished their champion’s quest on back-to-back days of showing, however this was one was for the record books. Keep in mind that not many other breeders even finish 2 dogs in 1 years’ worth of showing................and there are some out there that have been breeding and showing for more than 15 years without a single champion to their resume!

 

Sweetening the pot here was that besides taking Winners Dog and Winners Bitch, each of those wins giving each of those dogs the needed points to champion out, one of our ‘specials’ dog……..one of our champions was awarded Best Of Breed, so we completed the TRIFECTA of wins………………Winners Dog, Winners Bitch and Best Of Breed, aka the Big Three……………in other words all the wins worth points for championships and for national ranking. Once again, there are not many of our competitors that can boast about winning 1 TRIFECTA……………….that day, it was our 58th!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

2 new champions and a TRIFECTA to boot…………………….wahoo, wahoo, wahoo!

 

However the winning spree didn't stop there because a 4th  Chambray dog was awarded Select Grand Champion and both backup class dogs for the Winners Dog (RWD) and the Winners Bitch (RWB) were also Chambray dogs. Even the best Veteran Dog was a Chambray dog and the Best Of Opposite Sex winner was produced by a Chambray dog! 

That’s as clean sweep as all get out.

 

It didn't stop there either………………….later in the day, the Best Of Breed winner competes in the Sporting Groups and nails a Group 3 Placement…………………making that placement sweeter than honey is that it was that dogs 13th Group Placement out of 19 Best Of Breed wins………………totally unheard of ratio of BOBs to Group Placements……………….ever by any Florida Labrador.

 

The Best Veteran Labrador winner also took a Group 2 from Sporting Group Veteran as well and he is a Chambray dog.

 

Coincidentally or maybe not so coincidentally, the veteran was a son of BIS BBE Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff “Hogan” and the BOB winner was Hogan’s grandson!

 

Come to think of it, the Winners Dog was another Hogan grandson and the Winners Bitch is a Hogan great granddaughter…………………………the RWD is a Hogan son and the RWB is a Hogan great granddaughter………………………………………………..the Select Grand Champion, a Hogan grandson and the Best Of Opposite Sex winner, a Hogan granddaughter!

 

Talk about one dog having a tremendous amount of influence on the breed……………………that’s why Hogan is a legend of the breed and there has never ever been any other dog that made a mark on Labradors in Florida as Hogan has.

 

So, the obvious results from that show……………………..the outrageous wins, records and awards of 112 straight winning weekends…………………..the finishing of 2 champions in 1 day…………………….the posting of 305 Best Of Breeds………………….the 58th career Trifecta……………………..finishing a dog at 12 months of age………………………….more Groups from BOB wins……………….on and on we go and the bottom line is the foundations laid years in the past……………………….the maintaining of the mission of the Betterment of the Breed from way back then to the now.

 

Luck? Yeah, you need some of that sprinkled in for good measure………………..the rest? Let’s just say that the best never rest……………….here it is just a week after all that came to fruition and we are working away to keep the goals right on coming!

 

Once in a while I will ask my Chambray owners how it feels to be on this one of a kind ride................but then few have ever been anywhere else to know the difference....................and those that have been elsewhere know what I am talking about here!

 

Keep in mind that this is a collective ride we are all on…………………..call it the Chambray Village, the Chambray Owner’s Program or whatever else is befitting because there is nothing else like it in the country………nothing!

 

We are it, you are it!

 

 

Enjoy!

 

July 19th

Old Dog Can Learn New Tricks

 

‘Continuing Education’, you would think that after 45 years of involvement with dogs……………………..Labradors in specific that I would have accumulated enough knowhow to sit on my thinning and bony laurels and not make much effort to see if there is anything else I can add to my repertoire of things that need to be known.

 

No, not me! Friday night I drove one way 265 miles north from my very, very comfortable digs here at Chambray Acres……………….spent the night at a Hampton Inn, with my daughter and 2 of our assistants to attend a Breeder’s Symposium on Saturday………………….sitting through hours and hours of lectures and power point presentations that the 4 speakers had to say and show……………………….ranging on subjects from kennel management & appearances…………………………animal husbandry, reproduction and breeding practices………………..illnesses, viruses and disease prevention and control……..USDA inspections………………….AKC relations…………………………food, nutrition, supplementation and general health……………….on and on we all went and yet there I sat, mums the word from me because I wanted to hear what others had to say…………………..even if I knew that I knew better at times with the subject matter being dispensed by the very likeable and savvy Veterinarian, the AKC Head Field Representative, the very astute Vet Tech, the canine nutritionist and the Royal Canin representatives that sponsored the event.

 

That all sounds so important and worthy…………………however for a person that will be 66 years old in a week…………………that has been there, done that over and over again, hit the ground and got back up more times than my hairless head can remember…………………………that really, really takes some doing!

 

Yep, didn’t nod off once, didn’t even yawn……………had to skedaddle 2 or 3 times for a restroom break due to the diuretics I take for my heart condition & blood pressure……………………but by and large, Sandy was a good boy.

 

Even when they went around asking folk to introduce themselves to let all the rest in attendance to know who else was there………………………..I let Jessie speak for me! When oh when do I ever pass up on the opportunity to let others know what I know? Well, truth be told, when I’m around people that have something to offer…………………………I will listen up…………………….I will take notice…………………….I will even take notes!

 

With all the stuff that has been going around lately hitting our dogs left and right and knocking a few for a loop these last 10 or 12 months……………………….that ‘our’ includes ‘yours’ because no dog has been spared………………………..show dogs, field trial dogs, dogs that are isolated in their homes, dogs of all ages, all sizes, all breeds…………………………………………..no discrimination whatsoever from these equal opportunity diseases, viruses, bacteria and pathogens, plus problems with fertility and reproduction. I have been searching for answers from any and all that purport to have that information.

 

I learned a lot, some new stuff and some old stuff that I had forgotten………………………some old products and meds that had been replaced by newfangled ones that now are working and some of the old ones are making a comeback since some of the new ones may or may not be working!

 

So, up the pike I went, endured the long sit and listened up for a whole day’s worth and then loaded up the truck and headed south back to my quiet and secluded little dog heaven at the eastern edges of the Everglades, west of Miami with the 3 girls in tow………………….of course that trip back of 265 more miles was filled with yappity yap yap from the 3 other gendered persons along for the ride, those 3 from another generation making the ride that much more memorable!

 

Learning something new that can be applied to make things better for all involved is a mission that I have taken on since the day that realized we do have a choice in such matters.

 

You can choose to be a moron and continuously make bad choices or you can seek out those that have already made those bad choices, then learn from their mistakes and misfortunes and not make the same mistakes they made all over again.

 

So, you see this old dog is willing to learn new tricks. How about all those out there?

July 17th

The #1 Breed In The World

 

“What makes the Labrador Retriever the most popular breed of dog in the land?” is a question that I field quite a bit from those that have never had a Labrador and from those that own another breed and can’t fathom why people are so enthralled with this ‘ordinary looking’ breed of dog.

 

When I obtained my first ever ‘Labrador’ way back in 1970, the breed was not the #1 breed of dog as owned by the most folk. There was a time that more German Shepard’s, Beagles, Cocker Spaniels and Poodles were the rage in America and each topped the charts for the lofty top dog status. So through the 50’s 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and into the 90’s those breeds would flip back and forth and reigned supreme with the AKC.

 

Something changed with the way people looked at the breeds available to them and for more than 24 years now, Labradors have held the ‘king of the mountain’ label with the most dogs registered with the supreme registry. What’s even more interesting is that as of the last year (2006) that the AKC disclosed the actual numbers of individual dogs registered in each breed, there were 3 times as many Labradors as the breed in 2nd place!

 

Worldwide, Labradors also enjoy the zenith spot for the most dogs registered in all the foreign kennel clubs as well. That says a lot for the same breed to be sought out no matter the language or traditions worldwide.

 

We can surmise the why’s and there fore’s with intellectual and also emotional arguments in favor of our favorite canine pet……………………….however as a professional dog trainer, having worked with at least 100 different breeds……………………….my personal/professional evaluations tips the scales way in favor of the Labrador in terms of adaptability.

 

As a breed in general, they have the ability to accept the most varied of tasks of all breeds. They can be molded and trained for more different applications, by far and wide than any other breed.

 

They also adapt to more people……………………young, old, thin, rotund, short, tall, friendly, aloof, soft, demanding, white, black, brown, yellow, red and every shade in between.

 

They are exceptionally hardy and very simple to maintain and probably the least finicky eaters of all breeds………………..in fact, sticks and stones will not break their bones nor their willingness to eat those things as well.

 

So, we have our breed as the most desired breed of all.

 

We even see those bigger numbers play a huge role at the dog shows where 95% of the time, there are more Labradors entered at a given weekend of shows than any other breed at that venue.

 

Where our breed falls short at, is winning against other breeds of dogs. In fact, it is a rarity for a Labrador to even be given a 1st through 4th place in the Sporting Group competition!

 

Yep, the Golden Retriever, the 3 different Cocker Spaniels (different in color, but allowed for all 3 different colors to compete against only 1 color of Labrador), the Setters, the Pointers all get awarded the much desired Group Placement ribbons………………especially the Group 1 award that allows that breed of dog to compete for Best In Show against the 6 other Group 1 Winners from their respective Groups.

 

So, seldom if ever will you hear……………………….forget about seeing, because in my 25+ years of showing dogs, I have only ever seen 2 Labradors* win a Best In Show!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!........................so, maybe, just maybe 1 Labrador may win a BIS in one whole year in the ENTIRE COUNTRY!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Bear in mind that there are well over 3000 dog shows a year in the USA and we Labrador people hold our collective breath and hope that at least one of our breed wins 1 Best In Show out of all those shows where our breed brings in the most entries!

By the way, those 2 Labradors that I had the great pleasure of witnessing, plus the personal emotional gratification of experiencing, were BIS BBE Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff ‘Hogan’ and his granddaughter BIS BBE Chambrays Celestial N Counter.

 

Since the above is a fact, there are many that own and are involved with Labradors that will ask me, “What can we do about it?” of course referring to the inequity displayed by judges towards our breed when it comes to anointing a “Best In Show”……………………..after all Labradors are by far the most popular breed of dog found on the sphere………………….that includes the Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western ‘Hemispheres’……………all 4 quadrants and if there were a fifth, then I am certain that it too would be clamoring all over the Labrador Retriever!

 

Well, truth be told……………….after 45 years with the breed, 25 years of showing, I have accepted the inevitable………………..the way it is!

 

We love our dogs and we know that no other breeds even remotely comes close and yet, we will cheer, hoot and holler when one of our dogs is bestowed a placement from the Sporting Group and heaven forbid that it receives that all elusive ‘greenlight pass’, a Group 1 to saunter on over into the Best In Show………………………..that then becomes forbidden territory where only 1 per year, if that, will walk away with the biggest Rosette and most awesome designation of a Best In Show!

 

It happened to Chambray in 2008 and then again in 2012………………………that’s a 4 year pattern to me, so do we hold our collective breaths and hold out for another one in 2016? Hey, only time will tell and there’s no hurrying time, so we wait!

July 16th

Blogging Off Information

 

This blog is not like all the other blogs available in the blogosphere……………………..no sir that would be blasphemy by me if I were to do something, anything as is being done by someone else!

 

Nope, the ‘me’ that sees that something being done can be done better, I will do it better come ‘hades or high H2O’!

 

So, no democratic back and forth wasting of time by allowing nincompoops to fill up my pages with sense-less, ‘I have no idea what I am writing’ dribble………………………nope…………………….I run the Blogging Off blog with autocratic rule…………..yes, as someone suggested of me as being a tyrannical despot!

 

So, for those asking………………here’s how it works:

 

Someone emails, phones (leaves message) or speaks to me personally and has an interesting subject or query to evoke a response from me……..one that would qualify enough for me to spend the time to craft out a reply, upload to my website editor, and then publish to the www.chambraylabradors.net website’s Blogging Off section…………………if it is that worthy to make a point that others out there in Lala Land, Lego Land, Land O Lakes, or wherever urchins, denizens and creatures created alike dwell……….then I will make the time from my extremely busy schedule of spending time with my dogs, will allow!

 

The subject matter in these blogs vary as there are infinite numbers………………that’s to say that anything and everything that has merit in my mind is game for playing with fodder. However, as a bleeding heart liberal……………………..yes, that’s me……………….one of those that gets blamed for anything and everything that goes wrong in the world even if it was something totally perpetrated by someone from the other end of the ‘leaning’ spectrum………………………yes, I choose what, where and when according to how the wind blows.

 

From one blog to the next, there may be drama and then the very next offering might just be a comedy! I may come off as a doting parent, gushing until there’s no tomorrow about my little chickadees and then the subsequent blog is intended to light a fire under someone’s posterior-most aft muscled area!

 

For the scientifically-minded, that’s ‘combustion to the gluteus-maximus’ and for the street-educated and baseball fan “chooch someone’s butt sliding into home with a laser beam throw from deep centerfield’!

 

Now, I don’t bother with names, so don’t expect your name to become fame……………..no credit unless it is a glowing testimonial about Chambray or me in particular, then your name gets highlighted!

 

Plus, anything and everything I print, I own and own up to! No anonymous BS here folks, this is the real world and in the real world people take credit for what they say and do……………………those that don’t, I don’t want to know!

 

Yes, there will be subjects that get repeated…………….maybe over and over……………………….that’s because I provide this all for free and if people are getting it for free, then they shouldn’t complain…………………PLUS, the biggest reason for repetition is that people only get 20% of what they read………………so I figure that if each person reads something 5 times, that maybe they will have gotten at least half of it right…………………….that’s so much better than not getting anything right………………which by the way is what people into Labradors prove to me they know……………………………………that’s less than 20% by what they say and what they bring to the dog shows as stuff they bred!

 

Yes, some of what I post is meant to incite……………………it is meant to be thought of, to be researched and studied………………..to bring about enlightenment and educate.

 

Yes, I boast and brag……………………..braggadocio as one person described me a while back…………………….I love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

I have earned all the boasting and bragging I do………………………..that’s because not only do I talk the talk, then I back it up with the walk………………………PROOF is the absolute best weapon to have and PROOF is what I provide any and all………………………..no way, no how anyone can argue against SOLID, HARDCORE EVIDENCE…………………….unless you are one of those nincompoops I mentioned at the beginning of this piece.

 

However, since the world is full of those prior mentioned morons, I continue being the ‘braggadocio’ I was accused of being, so I am guilty as charged!

 

There will be days or even weeks when nothing seems worthy of posting, so I won’t! Then there are days when the feces hits the turning blades and I may very well publish three very tyrannical-like essays!

 

Hey, remember that autocratic rule is the rule of dueling thumbs around here!

July 15th

An Answer To An Assumption

 

It was with great interest and amusement that I read the much extended email more or less detailing how Chambray keeps on winning.

 

Of course I have to preface this ‘blog answer’ by stating right off the bat how ‘erroneous’ the writer was in their assessment of the ‘how’!

 

First of all, there is no ‘assembly line process’ with our breeding program! Nope, that description may fit much better with those breeders that produce dozens of litters a year…………………not that there is anything wrong with that ‘process’ as long as the production is of high quality. No sir, nothing wrong with producing the best of the best……………..in fact, I myself would line up for a top quality puppy from several of those kennel and breeders that produce the quality with the quantity!

 

Here’s looking at you babe………………we have no idea which of our females will be targeted for a litter at the beginning of the year.

 

‘Our’ females entails all those best of the best ever produced by Chambray and even a few that came from other equitable top producing breeders. We decide as each comes of age and passes all of the appropriate clearances and then each passes my evaluation for show producing quality…………………..then and only then will they be considered to produce the limited number of litters for that year.

 

Now here’s where it gets very difficult to understand for those looking over the fence into our ‘grass is greener scenario’……………………………….all those females that might come under consideration to produce the next superb generation of Chambray puppies are out there living the life in their owner’s home with all the love and devotion that being someone’s prized pet affords…………………of course also being the top show dogs in the country (remember our Top Breeder status), makes them the ideal female to produce the best puppies for all occasions!

 

Now here’s even more to consider and to really get confused about…………………60% of those females that produce a great litter for Chambray and the Betterment of the Breed, only are asked to do so once!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Yes, you read right or left or catawampus………or however else you like to hold the script in front of you………………more than half of our girls only produce 1 litter and those that produce 2 litters make up 30% and then less than 10% will contribute a 3rd litter!

 

That is totally not the politically correct way that it is done, the old traditional way, the time-honored way, the business as usual way…………………….the way it is done in the fancy is that females in a kennel environment breeding program will each produce an average of 3 litters each………………….some as many as 5 litters and one of the greatest show champion producing females of all times was called on and produced 7 litters. Nothing wrong with that at all as long as the dogs were well taken care of and healthy as horses………………………this was from one of the more famous quality producers in our Labrador’s fancy.

 

Let’s keep clearing the air for the error-filled person that surmised incorrectly how we can keep up the ‘overwhelming and un-natural’ winning going…………………setting those 'breeder of the year’ records.

 

Where as those national breeders with those high quality produce…………………which in turn become our main competitors on the national stage for top honors very well could be involved in 20, 30 or 40 litters of bred, co-bred, co-leased and whatever else anyone is doing to be part of the dog’s produce that would entitle them to claim be the breeder of a new champion………………….’we’ at Chambray do it with less than 8 litters a year of co-bred and co-leased females.

 

Notice that I didn’t write ‘bred’ among the co-bred and co-leased count of that last sentence! That’s because in the last 3 years and 5 of the last 7 years, we have not had a litter that was wholly owned by us, bred by us and born at Chambray!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Now here’s even more outrageous information, those 2 litters that came from a female that actually lives at Chambray and is owned by one of the Herzons………………….she only had 1 puppy in each litter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Of course she produced as great as the great producers………………..50% of her puppies (that’s 1 of them for those not into %s), is a full time SERVICE DOG and the other 50% (the other puppy) is an AKC AM JAMSS Ch/INT BISS CH/FCI COL Ch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Now, those of us that have assumed in the past, as I know that we all have been there and done that, knows what happens when you ass-u-me!

 

So, the answer my friend is written in the wind, no matter how you look at it, from the right, the left or catawampus as you want to get.

 

We are successful because we know what we are doing………………that’s called expertise………………..that’s time accumulated knowledge that only 45 years of raising Labradors brings…………………haviing worked and trained well over 30,000 dogs and thousands and thousands of dogs handled at the highest levels at the dog shows.

 

You combine all of the above from this blog and then you can ASSUME all you care to, but at least have the facts in mind when making an assumption.

July 14th

 

Of Colorful Personalities

 

Strolling the day before the weekend of shows through the cavernous South Florida East Expo Building, the sights and sounds of those setting up the rings, those busy marking the floors for crates and grooming tables to be set up and from the many vendors that will hawk their wares at Saturday and Sunday’s show…………………….I hear someone call my name…………… “Mr. Herzon”.

 

I turn around and see someone that I think I should know, but their name and where I would know them from eludes me.

 

She closes in to where I am standing and introduces herself to me. “We haven’t met before, but I have been into Labradors since 1969………………….not that I am into them right now as I don’t even own one now, but the love for them still burns deep!” She would more or less lament to me.

 

She told me who she was and her Labrador kennel name as well and it was then that I knew who she was and where I had seen her before…………………or better yet, seen her photos in the old Labrador Quarterly’s  of the 1980’s and 1990’s!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

She was also a breeder/judge for many years as well, although I had never traveled way up north to where she had judged at Labrador specialties, so she never really got to see my dogs back then.

 

“Do you still show your wonderful bitch Kika?” she would ask, and that would really take me by surprised for her to know of one of my more recent dogs!

 

With much surprise in my response I say to her, “She is now retired from this part of show business, but she has given us 2 wonderful litters and we hope she still has another one somewhere in there for the future.”

 

In a way my reply was laden with lament as well, for if Kika had been a male, she would have been showing way beyond her now 4-year’s of age. She shared with me that she had been at the 2013 Eukanuba show where Kika in her words "Should have won Best Of Breed!"

 

Although we spoke at length about the breed and also about some of her dogs that contributed well for the Betterment of the Breed and also about some of those other great Labrador breeders that have since passed on, it was her frank assessment of me and what she feels has been my contributions to the breed as well that prompted me to think a bit about what she said.

 

“You have brought so much color to the breed, so much passion, so much ingenuity that many in the breed today are finally realizing. You have done things your way and along that way, you have brought a newness to how things are done and by golly I am a staunch supporter of where you have taken your kennel and those that chose to be part of your ways!” she more or less would say, however in a much longer, prolonged dialogue.

 

Well, I wasn’t complaining because I was being toasted in the best way possible, from an admitted old-timer and very knowledgeable and accomplished Labrador breeder and she called me ‘colorful’…………………………something that I don’t think I had heard before as applied to me.

 

Hey, I will take ‘colorful’ any day as long as the colors implied are bright and shiny and bring about good, positive thoughts………………………..which led me to think of other folk that I would label ‘colorful’, however their colors for me would be drab, listless and maybe forgettable………………yes, some of those people that came to my mind as being ‘colorful’ were not of the same cloth that this old-timer was referring to…………….gee at least I hope not!

 

So, here’s my not so good ‘colorful’ blokes recollections. Some reading this offering will be able to decipher who the infamous celebrat was/is or not, but I did my best to paint an accurate depiction of each of those whose off-color ways were always on display.

 

The Immaculate Conception Dipsy Doodle Lady aka La Loca de Miami: Oh boy, lots of history here and the colors are off the charts with this infinite shades of every which color imaginable persona, probably a shade to match the personality of the moment. I would honestly say that in the last 15 years, there hasn’t been a more colorful person in our breed…………….of course we could have all done without all that chroma blasting away towards anyone that didn’t happen to see her hues and ways……..including yours truly who probably was on her canvas crosshairs the most.

 

The Ms. Know It All: That is the moniker affixed to this drab-colored character by all that had the displeasure of being at the end of one of her “I know more than you do” diatribes. Her same color as always take on life came because there wasn’t much real personality emitting from her monotone shadings. Her one-dimensional persona left much to be desired and her contribution to the breed as nil as a shade of grey can emote. Fortunately for all those around here, she took her off-colors to another less fortunate region of the country…………..thank goodness for our region of the country

 

The New Dog Per Show Lady: This was a running gag for most of those at the Labrador ring for many years. All those showing Labradors at the time couldn’t wait to open up the catalog for the shows to find out who were her newly acquired dogs for the weekend. There was even a show where her newest dog was being delivered to her at that very morning of the show……………………she had seen photos of it and had obtained it, entered it into the show and was then about to see what she had purchased and then handle it in the ring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There she was waiting to get her new dog and also waiting to go into the ring all at the same time! Poor dog, barely walked around the ring with its tail between its legs after 2 seconds of getting to know her.

I guess this one didn’t work out too good, as the next day she didn’t show up for the show and he was never seen at succeeding dog shows after that.

However as for color, I would have to say that she was of no color, because that’s all that came out of her revolving door ways with so many acquired dogs.

 

 

The Duelistic/Dualistic Lady……………yep another space traveler between the poles……………not the dancing kind of poles……………….no, more like the South and North kind! With this one there was always an altercation with someone at every weekend of dog shows! This was back in the 90’s and the AKC rep once told me in all confidence, that he had logged well over 100 complaints from her and another 100 complaints against her in a 5 year period!

As for color, she was very colorful with her language to any that she perceived as being in her way, real or imagined! Mostly imagined because the time she aimed her mean spirit palette at me, she thought I was someone else!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can you imagine, getting into an altercation with someone thinking that someone was someone else…………………..only in the mind of the mindless or maybe the muddled-minded!

Yep, there she was the ‘flaky lady’ insulting my heritage when at the time I didn’t even know that I had Jewish in my background…………………………I found out years later when my Mother was in her last day’s and she shared a ‘family secret’……… “Your Grandfather was Jewish!” she would whisper from the bed she was lying on…………………so maybe the pole traveler had Nostradamus-like talents……………….nah, she was a total fruit-loop!

 

Then there is the “Wannabee Me” person…………………..I would say Mini-Me, but the person is bigger than I am, so Wannabee Me has stuck with all that know the particulars! Scary to say the least, but realistic just the same. So, if people think of me as being colorful, then this color copy has to be labeled like-wise. It is said that imitation is the best form of flattery…………so I guess I should be flattered, however the rainbow offers so many colors to choose from, I would think that others would want to be unique and like in the art world where even the best looking copies of an original are labeled a ‘fake’………………..here too those that ‘know’, know the difference between the masterpiece and the wannabee.

 

In the dog world, people come and go much like at a train station, some are memorable, some forgettable and then there are the colorful ones and those without color too.

 

For those reading this blog today, have a colorful one at that!

More July 13th

This & That From This Weekend's Shows

 

Catch All From This and That

 

As new owners join our various programs set up for the Betterment of the Breed……………we actually have to explain what that mantra is all about to those entry level Chambray Labrador owners!

 

That’s how un-initiated they are about the ways and means of the dog show world that includes the most important aspect, the breeding of those dogs.

 

99% of those searching for a puppy have no clue what the differences are between breeders of the exact same breed. They come in like those deer in the headlights with little or no knowledge of the caliber of what those offering dogs for sale are.

 

It’s comparable to having an indigenous tribe dweller from the Amazon choose between brand names of cars…………………………it would be a foreign world to them……………however ask any person in the USA a question about which car make is better between a Mercedes and a Hyundai……………yep I would estimate that 99% of those USA folk would choose the Mercedes.

 

Well, ask any of those USA folk the difference between a top show breeder and those produced in Pennsylvania’s rural countryside by one of the religious groups there or from one of the big puppy mass producers in the Midwest and less than 10% would know diddley.

 

Even the ones that come to Chambray……………….that have done their due diligence, need guidance and mentoring……………….even Chambray owners that have been with us for several years are still in the getting to know the ropes of the finer levels of quality.

To most on the outside a Labrador is a Labradors like a car is a car to an Amazon aborigine.

 

That’s where I come in to save the day…………………the week and when dealing with a Labradors 12 to 14 years’ worth of time for those that take the time to know what’s what…………………..I give the time of day to. It’s very time consuming and exasperating to say the least, but I feel that it is a must of the Betterment of the Breed is to be understood and what’s even more important, passed on to all those that come later.

 

 

 

 

 

On the subject of mentoring………………………….another of my mantras, my credos is ‘breeding the best produces the best’.

 

Prime example of this statement that I abide with as strict as can be……………………..You have the extraordinaire and incomparable BIS BBE Silver/Bronze Grand Champion Chambrays Celestial N Counter “Kika” to all who know of her! She is the winner of everything there is to win, including setting the Chambray record for the youngest ever AKC champion………………..at 13 months of age!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Plus the BEST IN SHOW win, which is unheard of with a Labrador, no less a female and one as young as she did it in, at 14 months of age!

 

Well, guess what, my working practice of only breeding the best to best has been taken to another level………….her daughter from her first litter Chambrays Eventful N Counter, now just 12-months old becomes Chambray’s newest champion, #49 home-bred and Bred By Exhibitor as well just finished………………..a month ahead of her mother and now becomes Chambray’s youngest champion ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Now that’s what is called proof positive that breeding ordinary will produce ordinary and producing from the best will beget just that……………..the best some more!

 

‘It doesn’t get any better than this’ has been re-written and the new catch phrase is “better just got better!

 

 

 

 

 

Several evaluations took place at the WPB shows this past weekend and once again or maybe better stated, thrice again I was the harbinger of bad news and I am sure that 2 of the ‘bad news getters’ would have lopped my head off as in ‘kill the messenger’ fashion!

 

At least one of them was appreciative of my ‘sharing of wisdom’ with her as she stated it as she thanked me for taking time to go over what conformation was and how it was applied at the show level. Unfortunately for her ‘showing desires’, her dog’s pedigree was totally unknown dog names, unknown kennel names from the dam’s side and a bit better with field trial titles coming from the sire’s side including an MH from him.

 

The photos she supplied of her 20 month old females more or less confirmed what I conjured the dog to look like. Hoping to make some sense of the words I was saying to her about what a dog should look like, I had one of my handlers bring out newly crowned champion “Evie’, the youngest Chambray champion ever finishing at 12 months of age……..surpassing her mother, the one and only “Kika”.

 

Of course not knowing the difference between what she had and what I was showing her was like looking down at a shark infested waters and trying to pick out the males from the females!

 

At least the session ended well and she now has more information on other things that she can be involved in besides dog shows.

 

"Not so good" was one of the other evaluations that came to me during the 2 days of shows. Not so good in how the dog looked and worse in how the owner took the news!

 

Her black 18-month old female, an unreasonable facsimile of a Labrador was tall…….much taller than the tallest male Labrador showing in the ring and weighing a heavy 50lbs. Very thin and roached back with a huge tuck up from brisket to groin area……………having the look of a thin Greyhound more than any other breed. Long, narrow, pointy muzzle, with just as thin, spindly legs. Thin, whip-like, long curled entirely over the back tail.

 

“She has papers and an AKC certified 3 generation pedigree that proves she is pure-breed” she would defensively state to me. As if somehow any of that had anything to do with what I had just covered with her.

 

“I first checked with the AKC and they said that as long as she was registered with them with the Full AKC registration, that I could enter her at any and all AKC events!” she continued on even more agitated.

 

Seeing that there was absolutely no point in continuing down this path of no return, I politely interrupted her and told her that at the superintendent’s desk there where premium lists for all the up and coming shows that she could enter her dog at.

 

She dismissed my suggestion with the following “I don’t need no premiums to tell me where I can show my dog or not!” with one fell swoop, gathered her backpack, water bottle and dog leash and proceeded to snake her way around the huge throng gathered for the Group competition………………but before she sauntered too far away, she stopped and addressed me one more time, maybe as a parting salvo and said “I am going to wait and watch when the sporting dogs show up and look at the Labrador that won today and see what a real Labrador looks like, because that’s what they told me to do over there at the club’s table!” and once again with great indignation she bounded away from me to the other side of the Group ring.

 

I can just imagine the look of angst and surprise when the sporting dogs each entered the ring in fast flowing fashion and there lo and behold, there running around the ring with that Labrador that won today was the object of her ire…………….little old me as the handler of that picture perfect Labrador!

 

Oh and by the way, not only was he the winning Labrador of the day, he also won his 13th Group Placement out of 19 BOBs, each of those that allow him to compete in the Groups…………making him the winningest Group to Best Of Breed Labradors ever in Florida! Yep, little old me and the Labrador that the club told her to watch in the groups won a Group 3. I hope she stayed to watch the whole thing and maybe learned a thing or two.......................on second thought, in this case I don't think you an teach an old 'dog' new tricks!

 

I lost track of her with my entire concentration on this Labrador that looks and acts as a true-blue Labrador should look like and then some!

July 13th

Greatest Winning Weekend Ever For Chambray

 

The expectations were extremely high going into the West Palm Beach dog shows this past weekend and much like the 4th of July celebrations, the Chambray dogs provided the fireworks both days and saved the biggest blast for Sunday’s show!

 

Starting the winning fest and keeping the Weekend Winning Streak alive was Chambrays Eventful N Counter ‘Evie’, owned by John McGraw taking Winners Bitch at Saturday’s showing, extending the consecutive string of wins for every dog show weekend since January of 2012 to 112 straight weekends.

 

She would crossover for Best Of Winners over the Winners Dog and pick up one of the major-pointed wins towards her AKC champion’s title, leaving her only needing 1 more major to finish her championship.

 

For good measure Bronze Grand Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting owned by the Etzig’s would add another Best Of Breed to his impressive resume, giving him sole possession of 3rd place on Chambray’s All Time Best Of Breeds with 19.

 

Adding to the winning ways was Ch WinQuest Chambrays Famous Amos owned by the Eslinger’s would be awarded a Select Grand Ch for a 3-point major, a Win Over Competition, now leaving him 2 points shy of his Grand Champion’s title.

 

So, the weekend winning streak is safe and will live to see another weekend of shows come August.

 

The saying, ‘leaving the best for last’ certainly fits the bill here as Sunday’s show results provided Chambray with the greatest one day of wins ever! That feat covers a lot of ground to say the least.

 

Three of our dogs combined, winning every pointed award available from the breed ring, which comprise the rarified-air Trifecta or the Big Three………………..Best Of Breed……….Winners Dog………..and Winners Bitch.

 

In baseball that would be pitching a no hitter as no other breeder or exhibitor would be able to step in the Winners Circle that day reserved for pointed wins.

 

As phenomenal as winning a Trifecta is for a breeder, some of which can be showing for 20 years or more and never ever post a single one to their resume, this one was Chambrays 58th but what made this the greatest winning day of all was the finishing of 2 new champions in 1 day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

To put that ‘out of this world feat’, finishing 2 new champions in 1 year will automatically give the breeder an ‘Honorable Mention’ for Breeder of the Year………………………finishing 2 in 1 day is a new record for Chambray and it becomes the 3rd time that we finish 2 champions in 1 weekend. A Trifecta and finishing 2 dogs the same day would be taking the 'no hitter' and making it a 'perfect game".

 

Starting this one of a kind ‘new champion’ winning spree was Chambrays Maxed N Counter owned by Mark Von Reitzenstein, first slugging it out with one of the largest Open Yellow Classes lately for a regular show in Florida as 9 yellow males stepped into the ring for that class!!! 9 dogs comprise a major-pointed show in many regions of the country and here was a ring full of worthy combatants. Most of those dogs on the verge of finishing their titles just as was Max when he entered the ring, who needed just a single point for his AKC championship.

 

Winning the Open Yellow class was the first step…………………….then going up against a great lineup of other dogs that had won their classes as well, including the Open Black Dog, Chambrays Bandit owned by JC Rodriguez……………………….The American Bred Class with Chambray’s Coco, owned by the Pulido family………………………..the Bred By Exhibitor Class with Chambrays Tank owned by Marie Knapp……………..the 9 to 12 Class with Chambrays Ossa Roig owned by the Roig family and also the the 6 to 9 Class with Chambrays Hank owned by the Trainer family.

 

Coming out victorious from all that heavy competition, Max would now have the highly coveted AKC champion’s title to add to his already impressive display of show titles……………………he is now AM AKC JAMSS Ch/FCI Col Ch/Int BIS Ch Chambrays Maxed N Counter CGC!

 

By the way, that JAMSS is a Judges Award of Merit at Specialty Show where Max won a 5-Point Major Winners Dog and what makes that spectacular to possess is that he was awarded that honor by a breeder/judge at the 2014 Eukanuba LRC Specialty, held the day before the Eukanuba National Championships…………………….now here is where this JAMSS is really, really special for Max……………………there were 39 champions competing that day and the judge awarded 4 JAMSS, 3 of those to great champions and then the 4th to Max over 35 champions and Max was not a champion yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Now, with Sunday’s win, Max is a champion, Chambray’s 48th and the ball is rolling towards the greatest win in one day ever for our kennel.

 

Chambrays Eventful N Counter has just won Winners Bitch and Best Of Winners the day before at Saturday’s show and now stood with 13 points and 1 major, needing only another 3-point major win for her AKC champion’s title. She would need to repeat the feat from yesterday……………..she needed to win Winners Bitch and Best Of Winners and she would become Chambray’s 49th home-bred champion…………………and she did just that by beating all the females from the classes and then going Best Of Winners over the Winners Dog, Max! So, now Evie is BBE Ch Chambrays Eventful N Counter CGC.

 

Done deal, of course easier written down then done, as very few breeders have ever finished 2 dogs in one day, let alone in 1 year……………………and even though we had accomplished finishing a male and a female in consecutive days, twice before, it had never occurred on the same day.

 

Now to send the fireworks even higher in the sky, maybe zenith high and make this July 12th, 2015 the greatest winning day ever for Chambray………………………………our yellow super star champion, #10 USA for 2014, Bronze Grand Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter dukes it out with our black super star champion, #4 USA right now Bronze Grand Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting…………………….go head to head for Best Of Breed………………………..which was won the day before by Tucker, his 19th………………..and now here at the end of the Labrador competition the judge pulls both Chambray boys out of the impressive lineup of 6 champions and the WD and the WB.

 

Finally he pulls Walter up front for BOB, Evie behind him for BOW and Tucker for Select Grand Champion………………even the BOS award went to a female that came from a Chambray female…………………..so we post a Trifecta (our 58th ) with the finishing of 2 brand new champions! That BOB win for Walter gives him 19 and ties him again with Tucker for all-time 3rd place Chambray BOBs.

 

Now, in reality, we should just pack up for the day and leave to celebrate good times………………….nah, we weren’t done yet………………………..we still had the Sporting Group competition in the afternoon to negotiate and we did that with flare as Walter continues his amazing Group wins to Best Of Breeds ratio ever by one of our champions………………..scoring his 19th Best Of Breed with his 13th Group Placement. Keep in mind that Labradors winning a Best Of Breed only score one time in 10 Group Placements for a 10% rate…………………..here Walter is on a 67% tear……………almost 7 times the normal pace for any other Labrador.

 

Did I say we had the greatest winning day ever? How’s that for setting the bar where maybe, not even Chambray can expect to equal, let alone best…………………but never say never!

 

Congratulations to all involved making this a reality. It is a massive collective effort by our owners, our trainers, our handling team………………..everyone that is part of this cohesive and awesome, unique endeavor that we call Chambrays Owner’s Program. 

 

2 New Champions.................Trifecta #58.......................112 Straight Winning Weekends....................2 Best Of Breeds.............a Sporting Group 3.......................3 Major Pointed wins.............both Select Grand Champions.................both Best Of Winners...................... 3 Reserve Winners Dog/Bitch........................I hope I didn't forget anything!

Oh and congratulations to Ch Chambrays Hogan's Hero Rocky for his 2 Best Veteran and his Group 2 and Group 3 Sporting Veteran.

 

Yep, nice Chambray day!

July 11th

Winning Has Its Merits

 

At each successive dog show weekend we attend, the burning question of the day, first thing in the morning before the action starts in the ring is “Will you extend your weekend winning streak?”

 

Maybe not those exact words, but the implied message comes across loud and clear. Of course, the meaning behind those words may be totally different depending on the source.

 

If it is a Chambray owner rooting 100% for our collective efforts, then you know that they have the best interest at heart with that opening statement/question……………………the flipside of that is when it comes from an outsider, someone not connected to Chambray, someone in another breed, perhaps a competitive handler……………….more than likely someone that would like that streak to end!

 

This morning at the West Palm Beach as soon as I walked into the building at 6:47 AM. The 2nd person I run into posed the hot potato question………………….this being a non-Chambray person, in fact a club officer…………………….but no sooner had I exchanged pleasantries with him, that I meet up with one of our owners with their dog in tow headed for our compound where we had a crate setup for them. Same exact query, but I detected a bit more sincerity with them.

 

 

Before we stepped into the ring with the first Chambray dog, a 6th month old puppy, no less than 5 people had broached the same subject with me.

 

Of course it didn’t take long for Chambray to add to the already super nova number and make it 112 consecutive winning weekends as our Bred-By Exhibitor bitch, Chambrays Eventful N Counter ‘Evie” was to be awarded Winners Bitch out of the female’s classes and ultimately also won Best Of Winners for a 3-point major……………..giving her a total of 12 points and both majors at 12 months of age!!!!

 

For good measure and to keep his Top 4 status in the country, Bronze Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker Everlasting would also win…………………his 19th Best Of Breed which propels him into sole possession of 3rd PLace Chambray Best Of Breed winner, just 1 shy of 2nd place held by the one and only BIS BBE Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff “Hogan”, which happens to be Tucker’s maternal grandsire.

 

Tucker’s BOB win also adds to the Florida BOB record now topping at 304!

 

Right after Best Of Breed was over, there was much talk around ringside right after Evie crossed over the Winners Dog and received the 3-point major! The excitement centered around the fact that if she were to repeat again with Winners Bitch/Best Of Winners and picks up 3 more points, she will be Chambray’s youngest champion ever at 12 months of age………………………..surpassing her own mother’s phenomenal record of finishing at 13 months of age.

 

That would add to the state record of homebred champions and raise that bar to 48. Of course a Winners Dog from either Chambrays Maxed N Counter or Chambrays Triple Play out of the male’s classes would make that 48th titled dog and a combination win by Evie and one of the boys would be the 3rd time that 2 Chambray dogs finish in 1 weekend of shows.

 

So, the excitement and drama mounts for tomorrow’s shows. Right before we left the building after watching the action in the sporting groups in the afternoon another person, one of possibly 4 dozen or so that I encountered and spoke to while at the show, asked "So, what do you think about tomorrow’s show, will the streak continue?”

 

My nonchalant replay…………“Nah, I can take a break from all the pressure as we extended the streak today and won’t have to think about it for another month or two until someone reminds me at the next weekend of dog shows!”

July 10th

The Day Before

 

It is now Friday morning, the day before the WPB dog shows and here Ma and Pa Herzon are getting ready in a few minutes to make the one-way 100 mile trek up the pike to the venue where the action will take place tomorrow, the South Florida Fairgrounds two counties to the north of us.

 

Yep, that’s an investment of 200+ miles and at least 5 hours of our time the day before to ensure that we will have the best setup for our dogs come show time at 8 AM tomorrow morning.

 

That’s more of the behind the scenes.................from the blog yesterday more of the non-tip of the iceberg stuff that it takes to make dogs great!

 

Meanwhile back at the ranch (actually the farm at Chambray Acres), the rest of Team Chambray will be grooming, trimming, doing nails and working last minute routines to have the actual competitors ready come the 5 AM travel time for us to depart here and head north the WPB. Of course the wakeup call will be at 4 AM to get all the sleepy heads up and at them and then load up whatever is needed for the day’s activities.

 

That’s a 4 AM wakeup call for them as I will have been up since 3 AM getting the dogs walked, watered and loaded up into the van that will be showing, plus making sure that the rest of the dogs that are housed here at Chambray have been taken care of.

 

Those dogs that stay behind will have designated care givers that either live here on the property permanently plus others that we hire to come by during the day to make sure that all is well at the fort while we are away.

 

More of the behind the scenes stuff that makes the whole Chambray Management Program work so well and post up the successes that we all come to enjoy. Things that those around ringside do not see and do not take in account when our dogs win those ribbons and awards.

 

For all those that I mentor, I reiterate constantly that preparations leads to the best presentations and all these activities that we go through, months, week, days before we actually step into the ring with any dog, plays a huge part in the successes that come with all the hard work................hard work that for most looks like business as usual because it all looks so routine while we are in the ring.......................the ring is the tip of the iceberg.

July 9th

The Tip Of The Iceberg

 

 

The dog shows are the venues where our best dogs go to compete for those wins that add up to titles,

  • be it the AKC’s Champion’s title after winning 15 points and 2 majors……………………..

  • the Grand Champion’s title afterwards by accumulating 25 more ‘grand champion’ points, of which 3 of those wins must be majors and 3 of those wins must be wins over other champion competition……………………….

  • plus for those that continue on with 100 grand champion points leading to the Bronze title, 200 make it the Silver title, Gold at 400 and Platinum at 600.

 

 

Just writing the above was a task in itself……………..imagine what we all go through for those titles. ‘We’ being a consortium of highly skilled folk and dog…………………….of course the dog is the prime, showcase jewel of the arrangement………………………..without the dog having what it takes to achieve any of the prior-mentioned titles and awards, none of the desired, targeted objectives would be possible or worth attempting.

 

Producing the quality of dog that has what it takes to be competitive falls totally on the breeder………………..the whole ball of wax, the onus if you will starts with the breeder and the breeders before that breeder………………………….the legacy of top conformation passed down from generations of knowledgeable breeders doing their part to ensure that the dogs produced were done so with the breed standard in mind.

 

Once the breeder has accomplished producing that greatness in a dog, it then becomes a project to elevate it to those befitting titles and there is where the cooperation of several entities becomes essential to ascend to where that greatness of the dog belongs.

 

I have covered the ‘traditional, time honored’ way of doing things in the dog world environment in previous essays, articles and blogs that I have published.

 

Using that route, most of the great dogs that amass those significant titles are bred and owned by the same person………………..that is, breeders breed and keep the best and then do what it takes to achieve the ‘visual’ greatness seen by others. I state that because each breeder at the top levels can see for themselves how great an individual dog is and in order for others to also see that heightened, superior level, the dog must be trained, conditioned and displayed at the dog shows in order to win those titles.

 

The Chambray ways differs greatly in that our top potential winning dogs were entrusted to people………….not kept by us the breeders……………………we breed the best and then place those dogs with people that will work with us to take those dogs to the level that their potential will take them.

 

What you read, see and hear about any of our show dogs is the tip of the proverbial iceberg, because it takes the collective village to get to that destination where those on the outside can see the greatness for themselves.

 

Chambray’s programs for the Betterment of the Breed is available to all puppies placed as having the potential to go further. All of those amenities are in place for each and every Chambray owner to take advantage of.

 

That’s where the ‘consortium’ comes together………………………the owners have to take the initiative………….. make the time………………………put in the effort……………………….have the energy to follow through with the plans in place for each dog and be able to provide the funds for the endeavor.

 

That is a huge undertaking for those that have never been into showing dogs! It involves dedicating time and energy that comes from other endeavors that people are into. For some, it entails plenty of physical activities that they may not be in shape for.

 

There are night class training classes to come to and private one-on-one sessions to set up and attend. There will be training and conditioning tasks at home that have to be executed by the owner/owners.

 

Special workouts are devised for each dog according to their needs. Swimming tops the list especially as puppies……………..as much as possible, a relatively easy routine to establish if the owner has a pool or accessible backyard lake……………………..much more difficult if the owner has to travel some length to accomplish the desired effect that swimming brings about.

 

Show prep work is also taught the owners, especially our innovative ‘block’ method of creating focus and attention and the physical workout that comes from working on the incline……………………this is more time that must be provided from owners that previously had been spent doing other things.

 

Jogging and roadwork with the young dog comes into play at the appropriate age and time. Most owners have to teach the dog to ride along with a bike and then there are those end up using a treadmill for their dogs, which works really well in the hot, raining summer months. More time that has to be allotted that may have been spent doing other things before the dog came along.

 

Without all of the above owner participation, the alternative to having the dog in the best shape, condition, creating stamina and endurance is dropping the dog off at Chambray Acres for training and conditioning………………..however either way the owner is a major player in the project to elevate the dog to the level that it was destined through breeding the best brings about.

 

All of the above seems exhaustive to say the least for the average dog owner and we are only at the half way mark! What follows all of that is the actual participation at the dog shows. That is another huge allotment of time, energy and finances for dog owners.

 

For those that wish to travel with their dogs, whole weekends must be planned out to attend those dog shows……………….hotel reservations (that allow dogs)………………traveling to those out of town cities usually the day before a show…………carrying all the people stuff and dog paraphernalia has it logistics in packing………………………..these are all the new things that now must be considered by new owners………………unless the owners choose to have the dogs travel with us which is doable, but even then we can only accommodate 12 dogs in our limo-sized Mercedes Sprinter.

 

With all the new responsibilities accomplished that an owner takes on…………………..it then once again becomes our part of the equation………………………..the honing and polishing of that diamond in the rough to make it the finished product that will shine in the show ring against all the other top level dogs managed by the top professionals of the business……………………..we then bring on our handling to match and one up the services provided by the pros, which makes us the most successful handling team in Labradors.

 

That’s the consortium at work…………………………….of course what the sideline observer, the readers that follow my blogs and the statistics that are posted after every winning weekend are but the tip of the iceberg of what it takes to achieve all those championships and titles that are dogs are amassing year after year.  

July 8th

Business At Hand

 

The gears are in full forward mode towards the coming weekend’s task…………………….that being the 2 days of dog shows in West Palm Beach Fl come Saturday July 11th and Sunday July 12th.

 

Dogs are being bathed as I peck away at the keyboards for this blog……………………I look out my office window and see other dogs having their nails ground down with the Dremel tool, while someone else is drying the insides of the van prior to setting up the travel crates that have been disinfected and deodorized from our last foray of dog shows a couple of weeks ago at Orlando.

 

Dogs are scheduled to be dropped off later today for touchup grooming and also to get a few sessions of show training while they are here. Some of those dogs will travel with us to the show, while the majority will arrive at the South Florida Fairgrounds with their owners that meet up with us there for us to handle their dogs in the ring.

 

For this weekend of shows, there are enough males entered to make it a major-pointed show. Now in Florida it takes 18 males that actually compete, for it to be a major and there are 20 entered, of which 11 are Chambray boys.

 

Three of our boy puppies will be in the mix of things. From the 6 to 9 class we have one of Jericho X Gavi males, Chambrays Hank owned the Trainer family driving down all the way from Crystal River FL.

 

In the 9 to 12 class we have 2 chocolate littermates competing against each other, coming from a top national stud dog, Mason bred to Chanel. Chambrays Crusher who is temporarily living at Chambray and Chambrays Osso owned by the Roig family from Miami.

 

Representing Chambray in the 12 to 18 class is Chambrays Harley from Kika X Nicholas. He is owned by the Faria family of Weston FL.

 

Our Bred By Exhibitor dog is Chambrays Tank owned by Marie Knapp for Homestead FL. Tank is from Jericho X Viper (also owned by Marie). Tank has 10 points and both majors and could conceivably finish his AKC champion's title with wininng Winners Dog both days.

 

In the American Bred Class we have Chambrays Coco owned by the Pulido family of Coral Gable FL. Coco is another Jericho son from a breeding to Fer.

 

Chambray’s Open Black male is Chambrays Bandit owned by the JC Rodriguez family of Miami. He too is a Jericho son from a breeding to Little Bella.

 

The Open Yellow class has our biggest entry at these shows with four of our yellow boys representing.

 

Chambrays Sonic owned by Javier Lopez of Miami, sired by Bailey and Jewel. With a Winners Dog win one of the days, Sonic could become Chambray's 48th home-grown champion as he now has 12 points and 1 major.

 

Chambrays Dreamer owned by Jenna Gardner of Boynton Beach FL sired by Hail X Fer. Dreamer has 5 points and 1 major to his credit.

 

Chambrays Max owned by Mark Von Reitzenstein of Miami, sire by Jericho X Charm. Max only needs 1 more point for his title as he now has 14 points and 3 majors.

 

Chambrays Chaos owned by the Padgett family of Miami sired by Jericho X Kelly

 

Chambray is also well represented by our top girls.

 

Featured from the 6 to 9 class is Chambrays Pepper owned by the Gonzalez family of Miami, sired by Jericho X Gavi.

 

From the 12 to 18 class we have Chambrays Gayla owned by the Jacksons from Hollywood FL. She was sired by Nicholas and her mother is the one and only Kika. Gayla has 2 points.

 

The Bred By Exhibitor class has 2 of our top girls vying for the wins from that class. Chambrays Gracie owned by the Bakers of West Palm Beach. She was sired by Jericho, bred to Kelly from Kentucky. Gracie has 5 points and 1 major to her resume.

 

The other girl in that class is Chambrays Evie owned by the McGraw’s of Miami. Evie is also from Kika bred to Nicholas. Evie now has 9 points with one major................... very long shot, but she too can win both days, cross over the Winners Dog and also pick up the 6 points and finish her title.........................which would tie her with her mother for the youngest Chambray champion.

 

2 of our black girls compete against each other from the Open Black class. Living temporarily at Chambray is Chambrays Luna sired by Jericho bred to Kelly. Her littermate sister is Chambrays Bella owned by the Faria family of Weston FL. Bella has 2 points to her credit.

 

The Open Yellow class has three of our yellow girls vying for the ribbons there.

 

Chambrays Jolie owned by Charles Scearce of Dunnellon FL. She is from Bono bred to Gavi. Jolie has 5 points.

 

Chambrays Isis owned by the Padgett family. She is also from Bono X Gavi

 

Chambrays Annie owned by the Buzzetti’s of Ft Lauderdale FL. Annie is from Bailey X Hoshi

 

Our champions include Bronze Gr Ch Chambrays Tucker, now in the Top 5 USA all systems. Tucker owned by the Etzig family of Weston FL is from Jericho X Viper.

 

Bronze Gr Ch Chambrays Walter #10 USA for 2014 and still in the Top 20 USA for 2015. Owned by the Bakers. Sired by Bailey X Jewel.

 

Ch WinQuest Chambray Amos owned by the Eslingers of Palm City. Sired by Brigham X Vicky. Amos needs 5 grand champion points for his Grand Champion's title. A Best Of Breed win would give him those 5 points or taking Select Grand Champion both days would also finish that title for him.

 

Good luck to all of our dogs and also to all those other Labradors that will be competing for the all-elusive winners points and best of breed wins.

July 7th

Thought Of The Day

No Complacency

 

Chambray’s Show Dog Management Program is all inclusive……………….meaning that it encompasses every stage of any one dog’s show career, from puppyhood to being specialed as a top champion.

 

I mention that distinction because the vast majority of professional handlers only take on ‘ready to win dogs’! Most do not bother with the development of puppies and even turning away young dogs until they have matured enough to be competitive for winner’s points.

 

That is the time-honored protocol followed by the top professionals in the business………………………..that’s the way it’s been done for decades, scores and more years!

 

Have I mentioned before that at Chambray Labradors we do things different? Well, if I haven’t said that before, let me say it here and now………………we do things different at Chambray.

 

The majority of the time, different is not necessarily better, however our track record makes what we do the exception to the rule……..because for every rule, there is an exception and we are that exception.

 

Of course, don’t take my word for it………………do the research, see which breeder/handler dominates with Labradors, not just in our sunny state……………………….well beyond those borders…………….those borders that bound the 50 states!

Let me save you the time in researching that last statement………………………Labrador breeder of the year for 2012 and 2014, that’s 2 out of the last 3 years and at the pace we are going in 2015, we are well on our way to a repeat of last year. Plus, a consecutive weekend winning streak that has no rival, no equal, nothing that even comes close…………………100+ straight winning dog show weekends, unheard of and impossible sounding……………………….I know, as I pinch myself every so often to make sure I am not dreaming!

 

So in our case different is worth continuing with, so onward we go.

 

Of course not being mainstream brings on criticism from those that stay in the boundaries of the box…………….. Those whose operations follow the same protocols that have been in place since the 1930’s with professional handlers.

 

Mind you that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that traditional, time-honored modus operandi, nope, that business as usual way has served millions of dogs, handlers and owners well………………….so no knocking any of it at all from me.

 

However, me having that ‘tiger in a cage’ way of being…………..seeing, feeling, doing……………………….anything that is done, can be done better…………………..more efficient, more proficient, bigger, better………………….that is the OCD drive that has steered me all my life. It’s not just doing it different to be different……………………..nah, that would be a waste of time, because the payoff for me is doing it better!

 

So, different we do it........ and better is the results……………it’s as easy as the King Of Pop would sing it………….. “A B C, it’s as easy as 1 2 3”!

 

So, why are we still the exception to the rule after so many years of showing the rest the best…………………I came to the realization that something new…………..something that is different causes the mainstreamers to become defensive instead of embracive…………………….repel against instead of being attracted to………………………..the old ‘fear of the unknown’ has been something that I have had to deal with for well over 2 decades, since the inception of Chambray’s Owner’s Programs……….granted that in the last 4 or 5 years the tide has turned and instead of the constant outgoing flow……………the ebb tide has come our way.

 

The favorable winds of change………………those that come with the acknowledgement of accomplishment, those that success brings when the establishment finally accepts the reality of an undertaking that may have not been the norm. A ‘newness’ that is worthy of being considered because of the effect that the once perceived ‘novel’ movement has on the way things are being transacted in the now.

 

Once that effect is felt and accepted………………………accepted that it is not a freak show, that it is not an anomaly, that it is not a one in a million occurrence……………………..accepted in that it has been here and will continue to be here………………………then that novel approach becomes part of the way it is and those that didn’t understand it (maybe still don’t understand it), now have to deal with it as part of the business at hand.

 

For those that think that success and acceptance will bring complacency……………………………….remember the ‘tiger in the cage’ me!

July 6th

Casting The Bread Upon The Waters

 

Had a very interesting conversation with someone. Their premise was that unless people breed to get experience, how are they to get better? In other words, practice should make perfect.

 

Sounds doable, right?

 

Not if you are the unsuspecting guppy that comes along and purchases one of the ‘guinea pig’ puppies used by the ‘experimenter’ trying to learn the ropes and get that experience which hopefully would lead to getting better. By that definition, getting better implies that what they are breeding now is not really good enough and yet they are pawning that less than better stuff off on others that don’t know diddley!

 

This is comparable to someone wanting to become a brain surgeon and then practicing on live subjects before going to brain surgery school!

 

No, that is not the way to go about it! I don’t want someone with a chainsaw looking into my brain, nor do I want someone that doesn’t know the breed to be breeding to get practice!

 

Yeah, I know, with one I am dead for sure, however with the other I am dying a slow death witnessing the atrocities committed by those not in the know. One would be a physical pain and the other is a mental pain.

 

Now here is the end all for this subject, there’s nothing being done about it that can be done about it nor will it in any foreseeable future, at least none in the future days that I will be around!

 

There are no agencies or governing bodies that oversee the quality being bred in any breed. People are free to fly about the country, breeding at will whatever pleases them…………be it good or bad and unfortunately bad wins out by a city and a country mile! There just isn’t enough manpower to enforce any type of rules or laws that are enacted by any organization to keep up with the thousands upon thousands of people breeding dogs. Even the AKC with their breeder and kennel inspections is a mere pinhead-sized drop in the proverbial bucket compared to the Lake Superior-sized numbers of people propagating dogs at will.

 

None of my constant broadcasting for the Betterment of the Breed seems to matter to those that it should. Proving it over and over again in the show ring just makes those that don’t want to hear it, go away and not show any more or go to shows away from here, maybe not to have to see me eye to eye, maybe to make it easier to win points, easier to finish dogs that otherwise find it difficult to win those elusive points against a higher level of conformation as dictated by the breed standard. However the one thing that they do keep on doing is to keep on breeding.

 

Then there are those that don’t show their dogs because they claim that showing is too competitive……………..yes it is competitive, but that’s not the problem, their problem is that their dogs are not competitive enough to stand in the same arena with those that do have the Betterment of the Breed first and foremost. It’s not the competition itself that holds them back, it's the lack of merit of what they are producing the sinks their boat even if they wanted to launch it in the water.

 

Then, there are the mass producers and the backyard pet market suppliers that don’t know, don’t care and the horror to that plot is that those are the dogs that the general population think are the Real McCoy………….even some vets that only see puppies and dogs from the wrong sources come to think that the breed is supposed to look like that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YIKES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

I just had one of those learned-types with a degree on the wall and a practice try to school me on what a Labrador should look like…………………..after listening to his dribble for a polite minute or two, I ended up reading him the riot act with the breed standard standing tall and strong on my side………………….his response was that regardless of how well they were bred according to the breed standard that ‘purebreds’ were inferior in soundness and in health……………….told him to put my Chambray owner on the line where I promptly instructed my owner to vacate the premises as PDQ as fast as their 2 legs and the four of the Chambray dog could facilitate an evacuation away from an educated, licensed and degreed moron!

 

So, ‘wrongness’ has no boundaries with people……………….supposedly intelligent ones or proven dumb ones, it doesn’t matter………………………. ‘Not knowing has become a way of life’…………………..way too many not knowing and making decisions that impact way too many! Moronicness is an equal opportunity employer incorporating all types of blokes from every walk of life.

 

I guess that I will have enough food for fodder for these blogs for a long, long time to come. I will harp and harangue until those entrusted by me to oversee what I write and publish makes sense and is useful for the Betterment of the Breed. Oh, they are out there and they know who they are and I will listen to them when they tell me that my time has come, meanwhile expect the unexpected, the meaningful, the outrageous, the barb in the side of whomever it prickles, if it can make an iota of a difference to just one guppy, then I will cast the breads upon the waters as long as the bread holds out.

More July 2nd

"You Are In Good Hands In Florida"

 

“I saw you talking to a judge right after showing Labradors” came in from a Doubting Thomas.

 

Well, yeah if the judge searches me out to speak to me, I will more than accommodate them and I will even make the time for any of my fellow competitors too!

 

I think that the reference from above to ‘speaking to a judge’ came about from a recent show where a judge asked the ring steward if they could have a word with me.

 

The judge in question wanted to thank me for bringing her such a ‘stellar lineup of dogs’ as she had just judged. She shared with me that after the judging was done, the ring steward mentioned to her that she had just awarded an ‘all in the family’ combination.

Winners Dog, Winners Bitch and Best Of Breed to dogs from the same breeder……………..mostly handled by members of the same family…………..the breeders of said dogs.

 

Of course the judge was fascinated when I shared with her that none of the dogs we handled are actually owned by us!

“What?” she exclaimed. “You mean to tell me that you placed the Winners Bitch away from your breeding program?” again with the disbelieving tone.

 

“Yes, ma’am” I assured her. “I place my best with owners that want the best and then will work with us for the Betterment of the Breed” I added for good measure.

 

“What about that specials black male, surely he belongs to you?” she again offered, as much as a question posed as a statement made!

 

“Yes, same thing with him. He was placed with owners that became part of our programs, although the young woman that handles him now is an independent handler not part of my handling team, he non-the-less is a part of our other owner’s programs through his contributions as a standing stud dog” I gave further information on our various owner’s programs.

 

She culminated our conversation with “Well, I am truly impressed with your dogs and your profound efforts for the breed, I can truly say that the breed here in Florida is in good hands.”

 

With that, we both went our ways to other pertinent matters of the day.

 

Exchanges such as those are very important for all involved as it provides a gauge as to how our programs for the breed stack up with other areas of the country. Getting it straight from the source, the many judges that travel about the country sizing up dogs from each of those areas they judge at and then sharing what they have seen in comparison with what we are doing done here in Florida…………………….priceless!

 

Now, what you won’t see from me is socializing with the judges before judging in the ring begins. Oh, I know that it is standard fare for many professional handlers and even some of the top breeders to ‘make the connection’ before stepping into the ring with their dogs.

 

I avoid that scene as it gives an impropriety to the whole ball of wax and a win after that display would just tarnish anything that came after it. It just doesn’t feel and look right to me even though it could be a perfectly well intended gesture by the handler.

June 2nd 

As the Song Lyrics Go...................R-E-S-P-E-C-T

 

To answer the quetion posed...............Yes, I have to admit that ‘notoriety’ or better yet ‘respect’ is also an edge in the arsenal of success.

 

Yes, well-known professional handlers and breeders that judges know bring the best dogs to be judged will at times seem to be getting a better look than some unknown………………..than an owner/handler/breeder and certainly much more than a newbie in the ring will get.

 

That is a fact of life and no amount of whining nor belly-aching will change that.

 

Yes, our success over so many years does count with many of the judges. They have come to expect a higher level of quality coming from our breeding and management program and the fact that we deliver to or go beyond their expectations bodes well for us in the competitive show ring.

 

That also can become a two-edged sword! If we show up to a dog show where the expectations for our produce somehow that day doesn’t measure up, then the disappointment the judges sees and feels will be evident in their placements of other dogs there.

 

However, it should be mentioned that we have earned that ‘respect’ or ‘well-known status’ through our decades of excellence, but that doesn’t mean we expect anything ‘given’ to our collective efforts. Instead I keep reiterating to all those that work with me that we ‘earn our success the good old fashion way…………with perseverance and hard work’!

 

Sitting on laurels creates saggy results………………….depending on what we did yesterday only brings about mediocrity tomorrow. A breeder/handler is only as ‘good’ as they are winning, because the day they don’t win, nobody remembers yesterday’s results.

 

I hear it all the time, “He wins because the judges know him”……………………well, yeah, they should know me and the Chambray dogs, we have been doing this longer than anyone else breeding & showing Labradors in Florida…………………….breeding & showing AND winning that is. There are those that breed and breed and breed……………….very few of those show and then there are almost none of those that win.

 

So, when judges travel down to Florida, even if they don’t know me personally, my dogs, or anything Chambray, they have undoubtedly have heard from other judges, from other breeders, from the rankings in all the magazines and online sites dedicated to these things, from our national presence, from being the Top Champion Labrador breeder 2 of the last 3 years, from my own promotions and advertising at my websites………………………….yes, that creates notoriety, of course I like to up that notoriety to another level and think of it as respect!

July 2nd
Independence Day Cometh

 

The fireworks for the 4th of July have not gone off yet and here at Chambray Acres we are fast at work for the last hurrah for Florida dog shows for the summer……that event coming up next weekend, July 11/12!

 

Dogs are trailing in for last minute nail trimmings, light touch up on grooming, those on the thinner side will have added supplements added to their diet and of course those a bit plump will receive added conditioning and curbing a bit of their daily intake.

 

Show training never lets up, so visits during the day or better yet, some of the dogs being left here with us for several days at times is the best way to go.

 

Unlike those that show up at a dog show without the proper preparations for competition, we firmly follow the mantra that ‘preparation and success go hand and hand’.

 

I have to admit that not all those dogs/owners in our charge follow the game plan as I would like them to. Some owners take it for granted that because they have great looking specimens and that we provide the winningest handling in the Labrador ring……………….that those 2 elements will suffice to win those elusive points towards their dog’s championship.

 

There is some truth to that concept, however the misgiving here is that the other Chambray dogs that do follow the game plan of proper preparations end up having an edge on our own dogs that do not.

 

Creating edges, when the competition is as even as all our dogs are, becomes the make it or break it for winning points. You can have 2 dogs that are equal in conformation, have the exact same high level of handling and more often than not the one dog that has been following our protocol for training and conditioning will take those hard to win points.

 

That then becomes the dogs that surge forward while the others of the same caliber, yet not the same training will invariably start to fall behind.

 

The saving grace to the above is that at any given point in time, dogs lagging behind in winning can be brought up to par with a consistent training and conditioning regimen, which will quickly bring them to the forefront known as the ‘winner’s circle’.

 

So, in between torrents of rain…………………….heat waves soaked in humidity and the occasional fly and mosquitoes of summer, we plow along even right before this long weekend where most people are basking in idyllic vacation spots………………we at Chambray keep right on truckin, stopping only briefly to celebrate our great nation’s Independence Day!

July 1st

The Constitution & The Breed Standard

 

Yep, sooner or later I knew that there will be those that would chime in with the ‘preference card’!

 

“We live in Amuriker”, I can hear them saying. “We are free to choose whatever we want to do and say, freedoms granted to us by the constitution!”…………………they will invariably ramble on with.

 

I truly wonder how many of those harpers have any inkling what they are talking about, but I don’t want to get into anything else than our breed, so my train of thought stops there and I direct my attention to the matters at hand……………………………..those that believe that breeding whatever it is they don’t know anything about is a good thing.

 

Well, let me educate those wayward thinkers a bit (if they think at all)………………………………..there is also a constitution for Labrador breeders, in fact for every breed that the AKC oversees, there is a very specific manuscript that has been penned for each breed of dog…………………….. just as the US Constitution was penned by those founders long ago and to which time sensitive amendments have been added as needed by those changing times……………so too are those blueprints that each breed has in place, to which changes have been made through the years as needed to adequately provide guidance to those that want to do the right thing…………………………………breed correct specimens of the breed, for the Betterment of the Breed.

 

In order to follow those guidelines, that blueprint, the Breed Standard…………………one most study it and understand it and know it! Without that process, then there is no semblance of what should be, which leads to these folk that insist that they have a preference to do whatever……………………….so, even though they drape themselves around the word ‘constitution’ they themselves are actually breaking strides with the commandment that they say they revere!

 

When they approach me for a ‘meaningful dialog’ about this subject and the first thing I do is ask them about a certain part of the breed standard and I get a blank stare back………how then can we have a ‘meaningful dialog’ when we can’t speak the same language. If they don’t know the standard, what is there to talk about?

 

If they have a dog with a serious structural defect and they are showing it………………………what language are they speaking? What else don’t they know?

 

There is no dialog with anyone that is outside of the law. Either you abide by the law or you don’t……………….however if you don’t, what does that make you?

 

If you drape yourself with the flag, you better have cloths underneath lest someone comes along and rips the flag off of you!