"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."
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.
V. Sandy Herzon
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.
June 18th 2014
Hot Tamale Time
Every time there is a ‘hot’ topic at one of those busy-body, mind someone else’s business, rip them if you don’t agree with them forums, I also will receive my share of communications wanting to know what side of the fence I am on.
For the record, I am always on the Betterment of the Breed side of the fence!
Now, for the ‘hot potato’ of the week, the subject is EIC (exercise induced collapse syndrome). More specifically, a well-known special’s bitch that is known to be an AFFECTED…………………..sporting 2 genes for the malady which means that it has the condition and could very well have the seizures that are characteristic of EIC.
It seems that the owner of such dog decided to air her laundry at the most cantankerous of all the dribble-ridden chitchat rooms. This is the site where unlike the Cheer’s bar “where everyone knows your name’, here no one knows who is on the other side of the keyboard. This leads to much waywardness and unaccountability by the posting of anonymous offerings.
My stance, solid as a rock and unwavering until the very end is that an AFFECTED dog should only be bred if they will contribute greatness to the breed AND IF THEY ARE BRED TO A CLEAR.
Like Nixon and Clinton said “Let me make this perfectly clear!”………………………………ONLY BRED TO A CLEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This AFFECTED to CLEAR breeding will always produce CARRIERS.
Now, it would be the responsibility of the breeder to disclose to prospective new owners that each of the puppies coming from the breeding will be CARRIERS and they should only be bred to CLEARS in the future.
June 11th 2014
Prevailing Winds Of Good In The Air
There was an electrifying, positive energy emitting from the dozens and dozens
of bystanders watching the action at this last weekend’s dog shows in West Palm Beach Fl. I estimate that there were about 60 people gathered around the Labrador ring each day to watch the action from the 38 Labradors competing.
Since the Chambray owners fielded the largest entry for these shows, it would be accurate to state that about 40% of those in attendance were owners of the Chambray dogs competing, so figure that at least 24 of our dog owners made up a good chunk of the crowd. There were also past Chambray owners in attendance adding support for our collective efforts, plus I invited several dozen more prospective new puppy buyers to come and meet our show dogs and also meet their owners there. All in all, we accounted for at least 45+ of the standing room crowd of 60 or so at the Labrador ring. In fact the largest crowd assembled all day at the large building housing this canine event.
Without exception, each and every one of those in the crowd that were part of the Chambray entourage were upbeat, encouraging and super supportive of all the dogs that were being paraded inside the ring. There was a tremendous amount of camaraderie amongst the Chambray owners even before the winners were pronounced and lots of celebrating once each of the judges disclosed their “top dogs’ designations.
By and large, outside the Chambray group, the environment around the Labrador ring has matured and those with brighter bulbs seem to be the prevailing wind of consensus.
Oh, mind you there are still a few with chocolate chips upon their shoulders when it comes time to face the Chambray music. Competition has a way of creating fences, especially when an established entity as Chambray wins at the vast majority of those competitive venues. This fact of life leaves many stranded on that other side of the proverbial ‘loser’s fence created by the same blokes. Most of the competitors have read the writing on the wall and accept their fate with a grain of salt, figuring that there is always tomorrow.
Long gone from ringside are the hag-like, harbinger faces of the moribund…………………..nicknamed ‘the black clouds’ with their omnipresence and witch’s brew of venomous spew constantly snickering, whispering and casting of evil eyes in our direction. What a dark time that decade was, however what a lifting of spirits now that these denizens no longer lurk among the cheerful crowds that gather to root on the noblest of all breeds, the Labrador Retriever.
Such is the state of affairs at the dog shows now-a-days, especially around the Labrador ring. It is quite normal to hear a few disgruntled competitors as that is the nature of the beast when there are winners and therefore losers……………………with the Chambray dogs being the prohibited favorites at each show they compete at………………………………..but by and large the atmosphere is uplifting and cleansed from the noxious elements that once permeated the air.
Hurray for those that persevered for the sake of the breed………………the Betterment of the Breed!
One of the most requested subjects or themes from this blog is my experiences with prospective new puppy
owners. I record some of the more interesting ones and from time to time I will craft a blog using those that
really standout. So, here’s the most recent episodes of note.
After several email back and forth sessions, the customary visit to the farm was arranged. The couple arrived in their perfectly white convertible Mercedes Benz fashionably late by 45 minutes ………………not a good way to get on my good graces for me to place a puppy with. The couple in the middle 50’s were dressed in matching white tennis attire. Upon meeting them at the gate and requesting them to move their vehicle from the entrance to the property (as the sign in front of them stated), I also apprised them that my next appointment was due in 15 minutes, so we would be doing a shortened interview process so as to not impede on the next person’s time. Of course those reading this can by now get the picture that this meeting was going nowhere as pronto as Tonto will get you. I had requested for them to make out a list of their expectations for owning a new puppy.
A. They wanted to take 2 or 3 puppies to their vet before they would decide which puppy they would purchase.
B. They wanted the puppy right at 8 weeks, not a day before or a day after because that is what ‘all’ the authorities on puppy behavior were advising.
C. The puppy needed to be crate trained, able to sleep throughout the night without any accidents.
D. The puppy needed to be collar and leash trained, walking politely without pulling or jumping up on people.
E. The puppy needed to know its place to potty when taken out.
F. The puppy needed to be ‘social and well-behaved’ during social events at their home.
Reading the list almost made me choke trying to control my laughter response……………………but the clincher was when the ‘gentleman’ took out a small writing pad from a very expense gold flip-top case and began writing with one of those ultra-sheik, initial monogramed Cross pens…………..folds the note, hands it to me and tells me that this is what he expects to pay for the puppy of his choice!
Just as I unfold the small piece of paper, my next appointment pulled up right on time. “Saved By The Bell’ comes to mind here………………………….looking at the figure that man had just jotted down on the paper…………………………… $850!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I then take their initial ‘expectation list’ and quickly jot some figures of my own as follows”
A. Not going to happen
B. Not a problem if there is enough time to fit them in that day
C. 2-week boarding and training at an additional $500
D. Part of the above 2 weeks,
E. Part of the above 2 weeks plus continual education by the owners
F. Could be somewhat expected after the dog was a year old or more with lots of training and socialization on the owners part.
Handing them their list back with my addendums, I then announce that our interview time has now expired and I needed to tend to my next appointment…………………."oh and one more thing, there isn’t a puppy in the current litter that will fit their needs, so no deposit is needed."
Sitting out front under the big orchid tree awaiting a scheduled interview, a parade of vans and SUVs pull up to the front of my property, 4 total. Looking out past the shade cloth material now adorning the front fence, I see that each vehicle is loaded with kids!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Within seconds the street and swale area between my property's fence and the street had a total of 19 boys and girls aged 10 to 12, with 5 adults to boot. “Whoa Nelly” would have been the most apropos exclamation at that precise moment.
Approaching the gate I announce to several of the adults “The soccer park is about 7 miles east of here!” From the looks on their faces, none of them appreciated my humor.
The ringleader lady then announces to me that they are all here to see and play with the puppies………………………………..I then attempt another one of my ‘funny’ lines, with a poor impersonation of Borat “Not!”, which of course was once again not perceived as being funny by the large throng of women and A.D.D. pubescent banshees running rampant in the street, with a few attempting to climb over the spiked railing gate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
“I don’t interview flash mobs.” With a hand gesture I bid them adieu and I headed back to the safety of my humble abode.
Arriving about half hour early, the SUV outside the gate begins to honk on the horn and soon thereafter I receive a telephone call from them. “We are out front to see the puppies” was their pronouncement upon me saying “Hello”.
I then proceed to inform them “I have a deadline to meet for dog show entries, so I will be out there shortly, right on time.”
“We don’t have all day so we appreciate it if you would be more prompt” was their retort.
Of course you all know where this interview is headed!
Upon completing my scheduled task and arriving at the gate with 10 minutes to spare before the stated appointment time, I am greeted by 2 surly-looking adults with 3 matching appendages and one really angry Rottweiler-looking Labrador…………………snarling and growling as I am more than 50 feet from the gate.
The rather large, rotund man does nothing to correct nor control the 100+ lbs of ferocious, poor excuse of a Labrador.
The entire Chambray collection of dogs was up in an uproar because of the perceived threat that the beast out front was displaying. Wreaking havoc was more of a descriptive of the behavior of the dog and the people seemed to perfectly tolerate the entire state of mind of their dog.
Shortest interview on record!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! “I don’t have a puppy or dog that will fit your personality style”, turned around, corrected my dogs to settle down and went back inside to work on emails (where none of those can bite me).
June 6th 2014
"I didn’t understand your most recent blog. Were you complaining about the judge’s selections as not being worthy?"
The blog was a commentary on the state of affairs on the varying acceptable ‘types’ of Labradors. When 4 different judges cannot agree on the ‘best’ dog from a lineup of only 20 dogs, it more than highlights why there are so many different looks to the breed!
There was absolute no consensus between those 4 judges in selecting the ‘best’ female either. So, which male dog was really the ‘best’ dog, which of the 4 females was really the ‘best’ female?
For novices and even intermediates, which dog do they model their ideal around? Which of the 4 judges came closer to selecting dogs that adhered to the breed standard the best? Even if any of the judges had selected any of the Chambray dogs, I would have still wrote the blog because the judging was all over the board from class to class as well.
The irony of all this is………………………is that there is no solution! It is what it is and any worthy dog can win at any given show, depending on how the judge interprets what the breed should look like, plus a myriad of other intangibles.
June 5th 2014
“Where’s the beef?”
The above question, pretty much sums up the dozens and dozens of emails received since my last blog, right before I departed sick as a dog to the Biloxi MS shows on May 25th.
Truth be told, the old engine is slowing down and it takes a load or two to get up and going and just as soon thereafter the steam seems to be running out much quicker than it used to in recent yesterdays.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, the passion still runs deep and the ire still rises when there is a perceived threat to the Betterment of the Breed, however there seems to be a general acceptance of mediocrity that was not as apparent just a few short years or even some months ago.
Fighting a continual uphill battle will weaken the resolve of even the toughest combatant, so consider someone that has been on the front lines as long as I have and quite frankly as old as I am……….well you get the picture.
Change comes in such small increments and when time is of essence (my time left), then exasperation gives in to patience. Watching the judging at the recent 4 shows in Biloxi is a prime example of the futility involved in breeding for the dictums of the breed standard.
There were 4 different judges, one for each show/each day. From a lineup of 20 males, each choose a different male as their Winners Dog. There were 24 females and each judge choose a different female for their Winners Bitch.
The ‘type’ of the 4 males selected were very contrasting to say the least! Alone on coat, the entire spectrum was represented from those ‘winners’, from thin short, sparse coat to overly long, full and bushy. Keep in mind that the breed standard dictates ‘short, dense and course to the feel’ as the officially accepted type.
Movement was all over the board as well with the majority of dogs being put up from the classes……………….it seems that the overriding criteria was that the dogs be able to go from ‘point A’ to ‘point B’ without tripping over themselves. Standing cow-hocked and then moving cow-hocked didn’t seem to matter as well………………………moving like a locomotive actually was prized by one of the judges!
This is not a sour grapes mustering, it is more of a realization that no matter how much anyone excels in any endeavor, we still must face the music when being ‘judged’ by another pair of eyes that may or may not see the light.
Because of the temporary flu-like effects, I was not physically nor mentally up for the challenge of those 4 shows, there were still those that wanted my mentorship and with the placements being all over the board, very little made sense to those yearning to learn more as there was no beacon to point to as the example to follow.
Winning at dogs shows and breeding for the Betterment of the Breed at times seems to take a very divergent path depending on whose eyes are acting as judge and jury. From the results at shows such as those this past weekend………………any worthy dog can and will win points………….if there were 20 days of judging with 20 different judges, the pattern established by the first 4 judges would indicate that all 20 different dogs would have walked away with points for as many shows.
How does that information aid in the Betterment of the Breed? In the short run, it creates happy campers that will stick it out for a bit longer with those wins……………….in the long run, hopefully those happy campers will begin to see beyond the winning of points and establish their own identity based on what the breed type should be regardless of how scattered the judging is from day to day.
A Caboose With Nowhere To Go
"We will be receiving our newest show puppy next week. Would you be able to look at photos
and videos to determine how good she will be? This will be our 5th puppy we buy for showing
and we hope our luck is much better than the other 4 as none of those even made it to the
After seeing who the breeder was, the pedigree of the litter and the photos sent to me, #5 will go the way of the previous 4!
No, I am not Nostradamus, nor do I use a crystal ball, no tarot cards, no illusions, and no relying on luck, just plain old common sense. Common sense seems to be a commodity that is quite rare now a days everywhere, but even more pronounced in the dog show world.
Just that facts ma’am! Unfortunately in this case and hundreds of others that are submitted to me, the facts all add up to Borat’s favorite exclamation “Not”!
For this particular case let’s take the facts one at a time.
- The breeder is a novice, maybe having bred 2 or 3 litters of her own.
- Has no experience showing, as the paint commercial states, “No Runs, no errors”….let’s add “No Nothing”!
- The sire and dam themselves have no show track record
- The pedigree behind both sire and dam is fraught with mediocre and unknown dogs.
Those 4 facts stare at me as a recipe for disaster. I won’t wager $1 to win $1000 that this puppy, which is now in the hands of another beginner will end up ever winning a single point.
Now let’s take those facts into consideration about the new owners:
- A complete neophyte with no breed standard conformation knowledge
- No show experience
- Competing in Florida where, besides Chambray winning 60 to 70% of the time and 3 other handlers dividing up the rest of the wins, that doesn’t leave much for even the other well-bred dogs.
No way Jose! This is a caboose without a locomotive. It is not going anywhere as fast as stopped will get you.
So, where do people that intend to show and breed go wrong? You could more or less forgive someone buying their first puppy and learning from that experience. But here we have a situation where 4 prior purchases did not turn out well and yet, the expectations for success are exactly the same! Where was the learning process here?
The scenario from above occurs with predictable frequency as the communications to me indicate. You have fine folk with very specific desires and yet their preparations to achieve that quest are non-existent! How does someone get into something without knowing anything about it……………..over and over again?
The old axiom, “You get what you pay for” is the operative here. You want to play basketball and you go out and buy a beach ball………………………well you get the point!
La meme chose here folks…………………………..in order to be successful at showing and breeding, you need to invest with the best, those that are successful at what they are doing will create much, much better odds than to hope and pray for ‘luck’ from a source that is at the bottom of the pot.
In researching, the most important criteria is who the breeder is.
- How long have they been into the sport of breeding & showing?
- How successful are they compared to those others in the same area.
- Besides a potential show puppy with a world class pedigree, what else do they offer?
Let’s take those items individually.
Longevity in breeding and showing. There are loads of breeders that breed and breed and breed. Loads of them! That fact does not hold water when it comes time to show up in the ring. So, a breeder that has been breeding 5, 10, 20 years or more and does not have a show record probably produces ‘nice’ dogs for pets, but not the right stuff for the highly competitive show world, especially in Florida.
Success is measured in results, so even if the breeder dabbles in showing, what are their results when it comes time to owning up in the show ring? Merely traipsing a dog around a ring once in a rare blue harvest moon, doesn’t qualify as a ‘true-blue’ show breeder. There must be documentable and verifiable statistics that can be used to determine their value and worth as a show breeder.
The product and services being offered goes a long way into how successful a person will be with a dog. So, just what is it that they are ‘selling’? Remember that 99% of all breeders end up keeping the best puppies for themselves, so that what they end up ‘selling’ may be the curd and not the cream. So, are you getting the tail end that is heads and shoulders below what the breeder will show up when the bell rings to go in the ring?
Do they offer ‘valuable’ mentorship (keep in mind that dribble is offered by just about everyone with dogs), do they offer their expertise (if they have any) in training, conditioning and handling? Will they have their own dogs going head-to-head with your dog (what do you think the outcome of that will be?), what are their guarantees………………..are those in writing, ironclad, no willy-nilly when it comes time to own up?
All of the above is the groundwork that could very well lead to success. Without it, there we sit in the caboose that is headed nowhere.
May 23rd 2014
It has to add up!
“I have just started breeding Labradors and there is no way I will be able to compete with what you all have going with the breed. It almost feels like there is no chance for a beginner or even someone that has been doing this longer than I have.”
I fully comprehend where you are coming from. However, you need to create goals to achieve a mission. Your mission should be to breed the very best and either keep those outstanding puppies produced or develop some type of owner network where you would be able to keep up with those puppies you place.
Breeding for the Betterment of the Breed should be first and foremost, developing each of those puppies that you produce comes next and eventually competing at dog shows will materialize as you gain the knowledge and expertise that time in the breed will give you.
Breeding and showing are 2 complete different worlds……………………but they come in order with breeding being the precursor and showing coming as a result of your success with breeding, raising, training and learning the ropes of the ins and outs of showing dogs.
There have been numerous new folk in the last couple of decades that entered the show world without much of a breeding foundation and they soon found the ‘competition’ aspect too arduous to continue with.
Although from a distance, showing dogs looks innocuous and a simple process to get into and to succeed at……………………once involved with it, it doesn’t take long to see the stark reality of the undertaking. Competing against time-harden professionals…………..people that ply their trade on an everyday basis going head-to-head with rank amateurs…………….soon the novelty of it all wears off for the novice, no more deer-in-the-headlights and the realness of it all sets in. A few diehards will remain, but the majority just fade away from the competitive, show end of Labradors.
I highly recommend for those new to the fancy, to somehow attach themselves to an established and successful mentor that will accept them in. Look and listen, watch all those around that are successful, avoid those others that are spinning their wheels……………………..and mind you there are more of those than those that are successful.
Keep in mind that everyone with a dog professes to be an authority and advice is as abundant as is the bait that litters the floor at a dog show! People will be tripping all over themselves to ‘educate’ the newbie on the block with all the hearsay and fodder that they have accumulated from all the others that tripped all over themselves when they too were newly arrived on the scene.
Breeding better dogs should be the mission, learning and gaining experience at the dogs shows should be a goal……………………being successful is the product of perseverance, time and patience………………winning is the icing on the cake.
May 23rd 2014
There's A HMMMMMM In The Air
I don’t consider myself so much a writer as I do a story teller and a sharer of information. Nothing pleases
me more than to receive feedback on any topic that I cover through the blogs or the articles and stories that
I have written and published.
There have been subjects that I have broached that didn’t seem to stir a fly and that left me with a feeling of “no one’s looking, no one cares”, however the opposite of that is those topics that seem to resonate and strike a sharp chord and then there are a few provoking a tidal wave of emotions and actions!
Just this year alone we have had two category 5 cyclones that captured the imagination of the populace, well at least the ones that dwell at this blogging off section.
The first real blow-up occurred right after the Westminster dog shows in February. Not to re-hash, but just in case someone was in hibernation, deep sleep or severe hangover during that time, I am referring to the brouhaha over the awarding of Best Of Breed and Best Of Opposite Sex to two Labs that seemingly tipped the scales of over-doneness.
Yep, that occurrence was definitely a tsunami of epic proportions that circumnavigated the sphere several times over. Although I had been sounding the alarm for years that the pendulum was swinging way, way too far to the right of ‘bigger is better’ (which it isn’t), it took a world-media event to ignite the fuse for a massive uprising that has reached the highest levels of who’s who, including the supreme beings at the AKC.
Although the din has somewhat subsided on that subject, the aftereffects remain and there is a renewed awareness of the benefits of following the nationally/universally accepted breed standard to be used to ensure that the breed’s conformation integrity is maintained.
So, a positive emerges from a negative occurrence and that’s a good thing!
The second drum-sounder so far this year is more localized (pertaining specifically to Chambray) than the breed standard flap, although the epicenter of this commotion seems to emanate now a days from areas away from Florida. I'm referring to the recent Chambray negative image that still lingers on those that don’t seem to comprehend our mission and goals for the Betterment of the Breed.
Bear in mind that this ‘negative image’ is ill-informed conceived, but none-the-less persistent in nature, like in ‘human nature’ has a way of casting the unknown into crevices filled with falsehoods, innuendos, imputation and even slander when taken to the legal standards.
On a local basis, the vast majority now seem to grasp and more or less accept our omnipresence. Those few detractors that still exist do so more from the ‘sour grapes’ taste of not winning in the dog show competitive arena than from any confusion of our intent and purpose.
So, when I posted the UFO Invasion blog, the stinging bees came out with a vengeance………………stinging bees being the Chambray owners that felt impugned by the references made by the ill-informed……by the uneducated of the ways of our accumulative efforts with the breed, the Betterment of the Breed mission.
“Them there are fightin words!” was the war cry from more than a few. “Let’s go put a whuppin on some on them” another was heard saying, with one advocating the leaving of a fake horse head on some of their beds (obvious reference to the movie God Father). Of course being referred to as the ‘Miami Mafia’ and then following that up with fisticuffs and physical dominance would more or less seal the deal that maybe what we are up to is not the ideal.
Being a ‘big picture’ aficionado, I can see and understand the first reaction to when someone’s feet get stepped on. Knowing how much each of our owners puts into their dogs with time, energy, money and emotions…………………………it was completely understandable to see their hackles raised and many of them voice their displeasure at being labeled something that they certainly are not.
Minimizing their tremendous efforts by insinuation……………………………. ‘owning of judges’ just smirked of insult, thus the rush to the front-line mentality. Of course I know that all of our owners are the ‘best of the best’ when it comes to class and decorum and I wouldn’t have it any other way than that. But being human and having 100% stock and faith in our efforts with the breed in general and knowing our total commitment to their dogs, the adrenalin would emerge and act like a storm surge.
All those that are part of Chambray’s programs, know that we lead by example and leave the negativity to those that can’t cope with reality. We all know there have been a few of those naysayers and along the way and with time, they like a bad storm, would diminish and fade away. After the worst storms, clear skies always emerge and so has Chambray Labradors………………..44 years and going strong.
As mentioned above, human nature has its frailties but it also has fathomless resolve and eternal understanding……given some more time, I am faithful that those few still in limbo about our involvement with the breed, will eventually see the light too!
May 21st 2014
And There Is Light!
Well, the feedback concerning the UFO Invasion blog has been overwhelming to say the least. Now and in recent times I have heard from every corner imaginable. You name it, they have had their say. Big name breeders and some that I have never heard of, plain Janes and Joes, to some heavy weight folk, a couple of judges and several professional handlers have added their valuable 2 cents/sense in on the subject.
All present at the training class last night and all that have visited for their private sessions have also added their insights as well.
The following are 4 very representative communications.
"I am guilty of being one of those that knows better about you and your owners, however I find it difficult to relate to those with set views when I encounter that mentality. For years I frequented the Florida dog shows and would watch from afar the goings on at the Labrador ring. I enjoy just sitting and watching the dogs. From time to time I would hear and see the behind the scenes drama play itself out. Several times I attempted to explain what I knew to be the real facts, but as you state there are those that would rather believe in the conspiracy theories and not deal with reality."
"I really take it personally when I hear that garbage. As a judge, I call it as I see it, the dogs and only the dogs. As a professional handler, I have competed against you and your dogs for well over 2 decades and have known you to be 100% about the dogs and never about connecting up with the judges or asking for favors. Now as a judge I appreciate even more your dedication to the breed and to your owners. It is always a pleasure to see you and your family handling dogs at their best. Buddy, keep up the good work!"
"Being from up north, I had preconceived notions about your efforts with the breed. When I came down for the winters to Florida, it really didn't take long for me to realize how dedicated you and your family are to all of those wonderful owners you place your dogs with. No wonder they all sing the praises about Chambray and all that you offer all of them. In fact I have personally met with several dozen of those owners, including a couple that were welcomed into your programs with dogs from other breeders. Even though I have a dog from somewhere else and I use a professional handler, you always have make the time to speak with me and even encourage me about my dog. I am one of those that dares to speak up and I let everyone know back north how you all really are! Thank you for all you do for all Labradors."
"Sometimes I can say for a fact that I take things a bit too seriously. At times, I will get bent out of shape because of what I consider an injustice when someone bends the truth to one, benefit themselves; or two, to hide their INADEQUACIES. I want to stress that word, because although both go hand in hand, that last one is where all of those lies and stories come from, not being adequate enough. For the shorter people it is called Napoleonic Complex. For the ego maniacs, we call it the Ego Complex. One that resembles the Ego Complex, where people think that they are the most important person in the world, and that they are here to redeem the word and rid it of evil (ergo, the Miami Mafia), we have the Messianic/Redeemer Complex. All those and more are simply excuses that people will have because they feel that they are "short" somewhere.
What upsets me about that "Miami Mafia" blog more than anything is the fact that the people that are talking about it, slandering Chambray Labradors and ALL OF THE OWNERS THAT ARE PART OF THIS GROUP, by assuming that WE buy judges. Do these people know that I, as an owner, can sue them for slandering? Doing what they claim that we do is not unethical, it is outright illegal, and the fact that they are blatantly accusing our group of doing just that, boils my blood quite a bit.
Sandy, as long as you have known me, you have seen my demeanor and the kind of person that I am. This side comes out only when I see what I consider an injustice, and these comments by those INADEQUATE breeders and handlers, are unjust and aimed as excuses to hide the fact that their dogs are not good enough, and also the fact that their way, which is fundamentally flawed, has not worked. I don't want to include their owners in my comments, because those folks don't know better and pretty much will say exactly what their breeders and handlers say. They don't seem to educate their owners so that they can speak for themselves, as you guys do.
For the last 2 and 1/2 years, since we picked up Miracle from Chambray Acres, we have seen FIRST HAND, what Chambray Labradors is about. It is incredible to me that you folks are there, basically for everyone, at anytime, if there is an issue with their dogs. When we have questions, the answers are plain, simple and to the point. When we have ideas, whether they are good or not, you guys will sit there and listen to our dribble, and rebuff if the ideas don't pan out, or give it some thought if they do. instead of shutting us out completely, like I hear some do, y'all offer us respect. I am not saying anything here that could be considered by anyone "a revelation".
Aside from the many hours a day that you guys dedicate to your owners, you guys have to also dedicate more hours a day to our dogs, and I have seen, first hand, how they are treated. The dogs are literally the kings of the house, all of them have priority over any humans in the property.
Why am I upset? Because those folks who talk what they want to talk, have NEVER spoken with you, visited you at the farm, or asked any of us how we feel about our group. Instead, they use slander and call us a "Mafia". It is extremely unfair to be called that, when all you do is benefit us as owners, and all we do is win...wait, I see now....I know why they gripe.....In the mortal words of Charlie Sheen: winning!!!
You know what? You let those folks know when you hear spew their poison again, that if they are not careful, they are going to wake up with a horse head in their bed (a fake one, as I don't advocate killing horses or animals...)"
Like a 'good dog', I work well with positive re-enforcement! So all this great feedback is like getting a jerky treat or a pat on the top of the head....................makes me want to do more! Of course you all know that I have been slowing down a bit in the last couple of years and I am thankful to the All Mighty that has allowed me some extra time to spend with my family, my dogs and my owners, plus all those other fine folk that love Labradors as much as I do.
Stupid Is As Stupid Does
The Fast and the Furious……………………no sooner has the ink dried on the latest blog that a torrent of feedback precipitates in with no haste!
Here is a sampling from our own Chambray owners.
“Now that the cat is out of the bag about us owning all the judges, we can dispense with all the time and energy we all put into working, training and conditioning our dogs and just let you and your family waltz into the ring and come home with the bacon”
“Wow, what an enlightenment it is to hear how powerful you and Chambray are. Not only do we have the best bred, trained and handled dogs in the country, we are also guaranteed the wins!”
“You got to be making this stuff up. I really cannot believe that there are that many gullible people out there!”
“No wonder Chambray dominates considering the mentality of the other breeders and exhibitors thinking like that.”
“Don’t these people read your website and the catalogs? Don’t they see that all of your dogs are owned by the people you place them with? Don’t they know how much time and effort your family puts into this labor of love you all have going on? Who are these people?”
“Hilarious, I am still laughing the day after reading your expose! There really cannot be such dunces out there! Really, come on, tell me it isn’t so. Please let us all know that you are putting us all on about the ‘Miami Mafia’ stuff. There really isn’t a bunch of weirdoes out there that actually go around saying absurd stuff like that? Is there?”
“No wonder the world is in such a sad state! To think that normal, reasonable people actually believe these things.”
“Since they can’t read nor listen too good, you need to draw pictures for them to see it!”
Yep, I agree, real scary stuff knowing that there are so many folk with diminished capacity. I have been hearing about it for years and I have thought of ways to enlighten the masses as to our ways. I have published articles, short stories and the Blogging Off section to very little avail. I know that there are multitudes that get it, but there are as many steadfast types that still believe in fairy tales.
In the last year and a half there has been great headway made with some. In recent blogs, I have covered some of those instances which shows me that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, a lifting of the fog, a coming out of the forest for many.
At the December 2013 Eukanuba National Championships in Orlando, several longtime and established Labrador fanciers that may have been sitting on the other side of the fence conferred with me and related how they now understood and appreciated my efforts with the breed.
In fact one of the handling legends of the breed even confessed how wrong she had been about Chambray/me because she had been swayed for decades by the innuendos tossed about by those not knowing any better. “ Shame on me for not finding out what I was missing” was her lament to me.
To which I answered “Imagine my loss at not having known you all these years.”
Like a breath of fresh air, best describes this newness………………Hope springs eternal!
Maybe there is hope that before it is all said and done, I will be able to see that spring!
It befuddles my mind the things that people make up trying to explain the unknown!
Just this weekend at a Labrador Retriever Specialty in Raleigh NC, one of the fine folk that
participates in many of the Chambray Owner’s Programs overheard some of the commentaries
perpetuated by the giddy, gossipy grapevine.
“We don’t travel with our dogs down to Florida because the ‘Miami mafia’ owns all
the judges down there!” was the buzz from a busy-body bee.
Of course, everyone that is into the Labrador show world knows that ‘Miami mafia’ is crypt for Chambray Labradors and more specifically………….me………………the one and only Sandy Herzon!
Yep, that’s the word out on the street at the thousands of dog shows held in our good old USA.
Somehow little ‘old me’ has corralled thousands of judges into our own private stockade where we extract favors from each and every one of them to favor us with the record-setting wins that the Chambray dogs have amassed over the last 25 years.
It must be extortion, contortion, blackmail, blackball, blacklist, blackout, bribery, browbeating (remember I got the eyebrows to do it with), payola and/or all other kinds of shenanigans are conjured up by those either unaware of how we are so successful or they not wanting to admit that someone has found a possible better way of doing things.
Either of those suppositions leads the sheep astray away from the real reason why Chambray leads the pack in unequaled success. Can’t beat them, then let’s make up some dirt on why they accomplish what they do…………………yeah that’s the ticket!
Even the ones that ‘know’ are looked at like infidels when they try and explain what they have seen, heard and felt first hand…………………what they know to be a reality, they dare not speak up for fear of being casted as a sinner. So much so that I have been told that it is best not to even try and share what’s real. We all know what happens to the messenger when the receivers of the news don’t like what they hear. So those that have seen the light pretend they are still in the dark lest the doubters form a posse and perform an exorcism on them.
Besides, just as little kids don’t want to hear there ain’t no Santa Claus, so too are grownups more likely to believe in hearsay then in wazzup!
The old idiom says it best ‘can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear’ describes those that would rather believe in fairy tales than to actually look into it themselves and prove that there is no pot at the end of the rainbow.
In the 1970’s the Smith & Barney commercials, John Housman said it best……………. "How do they make money? The old-fashioned way………….they earn it.”
At Chambray…………….how do we succeed? The old-fashion way……….we earn it with innovation and hard work!
If the gentry and the masses don’t get it, then that’s the way it will be, as I have come to the conclusion that ill winds are going to blow no matter how prim and proper the preparations have been made in its anticipation. It is what it is and never has a drop of spilt milk been recovered by all the ballyhooing that usually accompanies such spillage.
It is so much easier to say ‘It can’t be done’ than to actually attempt to do it. It is so much easier to believe in hocus pocus than it is to gather the facts and figures and come up with a tangible answer.
Our society loves conspiracy theories…………….we revel in imagining captured extra-terrestrials, Walt Disney being kept alive in a frozen state and some breeder down at the end of the Florida peninsula somehow orchestrating cadres of judges that come from all walks of life.
Some of the best attended Las Vegas acts deal with magic where smoke and mirrors reign supreme, so therefore black magic, voodoo and sorcery must be at play at Chambray. Stirring the witches brew and serving the Kool-Aid must by a ritual imagined by those without a clue.
I will repeat it again as Jon Lovitz had it right……. "Yeah, that’s the ticket!"
Seek And Ye Shall Find
“Who are the other top quality Labradors breeders in the state…………in the country?”
That’s like calling Mercedes Benz and asking them ‘besides yourself, which other auto maker is as good?’
How does anyone know the worth and value of any product?
What criteria establishes an entity as ‘top drawer’, ‘best in its field’, ‘numero uno’?
My long-lived policy has been to promote the good, the positives, the advantages of the product and services I provide through Chambray Labradors. I have dedicated several jam-packed websites with more educational information than can be phantomed in one sitting by the normal fact seeker.
I have steadfast kept my promise along the way to keep it ‘clean’ and upbeat by not naming names even in the face of onslaughts by naysayers and other hell-bent souls with personal vendettas……….so too have I refrained from making lists of the good as well, because to so would spotlight the bad and the ugly through omission.
I have chirped until I could not pucker my lips any longer about the virtues of gathering independent information about those advertising and trying their best to pawn off their wares.
There are very worthy Labrador providers out there, plenty of them to go round. It then becomes the consumers job and duty to find those ‘better ones’ so that their investment is a good one, so that they can get their monies worth in product and services provided (if any).
I have written and published enough ‘buyer beware’ articles and blogs that seemingly have become repetitive and boring to say the least. I feel that I have sounded the alarm so much that I may have become the boy that cried wolf one too many times. Unlike that alarmist tyke, I know what’s out there and it ‘ain’t’ pretty…………..it ain’t one wolf…………………………there are packs and packs of the hairy creatures setting out traps and sitting in front of telephone banks waiting for the ringing of the bell to pounce on the unsuspecting.
I hear it countless times a day from those that have been pounced upon and made mincemeat out of. Real life sad sack stories with ‘not so good’ endings! I feel like I should do something about it, maybe open up one of those anonymous forums where I can trash those that I know are the culprits.
The big problem with that is that it would then lower me to the same pit that those other notorious Labrador Forums that became infamous for their personal vendettas and witch hunts.
No, this homey will continue on the chosen right path and keep it upbeat and positive and leave the negativity to those that are already doing just a great job of making arses out of themselves.
I also hear about that every day as well. Folk that communicate with me informing me of those that do the trash talking and making themselves appear frivolous and unprofessional. Through their lack of vision (remember the politically incorrect reference to the blind), these garbage-announcers self-identify themselves, making the consumer’s job easier in eliminating them from their ‘seller’s menu’.
So, let your fingers do the walking……………………let your mouth do the talking………………..let your ears do the hearing and your brain do the figuring, deciphering, the math, the filtering out and the deciding on who’s who and what’s what in the Labrador world.
May 15 2014
"I have been into showing dogs for 3 years now and it seems that everyone that breeds and shows
has a different way of doing things. How do I know which one will lead me right?"
Yes, I know what you are saying and experiencing, because I hear it all the time from those I am mentoring
and from the thousands that yearly communicate with me.
No sooner than someone gets into a fancy or activity, that they become the ‘fountain of expertise’…………spouting about the theory of relativity to any and all that will stand still long enough for them to get two words in edgewise. Never mind that they may not even know where they themselves are standing!
Woeful wives’ tales, frivolous falsehoods, errant and erroneous utterances, cockamamie idiocies, malicious and detrimental hearsay, pass-ons not worth the gas that passed them on…………………..you name it and the gaping grapevine has it going on……………………and what’s worse is that blokes actually subscribe to all that malarkey as if thou it were the gospel truth, with most reciting chapter and verse to other blokes gladly accepting it as heaven sent epiphanies.
The gibberish I hear at times makes me break out in uncontrolled, unadulterated guffaw, while at other times I grimace with the possible consequences that may follow if whatever is being spread about is acted upon!
Talk about OMG moments…………………………almost daily and repeating themselves with predictable frequency.
When it comes to breeding and showing dogs, false gods are everywhere, proclaiming their deity and it is up to each person to scope out the landscape and see, hear, feel, taste and smell…….in other words…….use your God given senses to figure out who the real deals are.
Common sense should prevail, iron-clad facts such as:
Longevity ~ is a dead giveaway……………..maybe we should change that terminology to ‘long-lived giveaway’. I will put my money on a well-established organization long before I even think about entertaining a neophyte upstart.
Expertise ~ Duh! A cardiologist with a thousand heart procedures under his/her belt sounds a lot more reassuring than some recently graduated whippersnapper attempting his/her first ever heart valve replacement…………………..no brainer!
Success ~ “Who you gonna call?” to rid your house of demonic possessions? Mickey Mouse or the guys from Ghostbusters………………………………..you go to a boxing match and in the red trunks you have Rocky with 1000 wins and no losses and in diapers you have Winnie The Pooh……..who you gonna put your money on? Come on folks this should be looking like a freeze in the breeze by now.
Value ~ Where does your money (or time or energy or whatever it is you are investing) earn you the most bang for your buck, dough, mula, clams or anything else of valuable consideration? You buy a product and what if any service do you receive for it. Wouldn't you want the whole kit and caboodle for the bread you are spending?
Ok, here is where it really gets tricky for most.
The longest lived……………..the hand’s down no doubt about it expert………………………….the most successful bar none and the one and only, really, like in the onlyest (don’t look it up, it’s a made up word) that actually serves up more than just a dog and there are still those walking among us that are so easily swayed by the humming of nothingness.
I see it and read about it every day……………….the things I see and hear make me laugh out loud at times, shake my head in disbelief, cringe with angst and make me want to shake, rattle and roll at other times.
Oh my, the blind leading the blind…………..oooopppsss, is that saying one of those that we used to repeat at the drop of a dime in yesteryears and now has gone the way of the politically incorrect taboos? Well, just in case……………….let’s make it those ‘without vision vs those with vivid vision”.
Ok, let’s cut the curd and get to the cream here…………………………if you have to follow, then find one that is on a clear path………………..one that has been there, done that and is still going strong………………..someone that will be there when the cows come home and will tend to those cows so that they will keep coming back for more.
May 14th 2014
“We have contacted you several times in our search for a Labrador puppy. However, each
time the puppies you had were already spoken for. You publish all the services and amenities that come with the puppies you place. What would be the things that I would need to know when dealing with different breeders as I search for a puppy?”
Since we only have a limited amount of puppies per year, there is a waiting list for them even before most are born. So there is seldom if ever a situation where someone can take a ride out to Chambray Acres and be able to select a puppy on the spot and take it home that moment.
I always say “the best things in life are well worth waiting for” and a puppy that will become a dog in a short period of time and then be part of someone’s life for 12 to 14 years is one of those ‘best things worth waiting for’!
After the Interview Process and a Reservation Deposit is accepted, the average waiting period is about 6 weeks. At times there may be an opening due to a ‘change of plans’ by an expectant puppy buyer and a puppy may become available much sooner.
You could come and visit with me, here at Chambray Acres in Miami where we have been raising, training and show Labrador Retrievers since 1973 (41 years in the exact same place) or we can meet up at the various cities that we travel to for dog shows.
This then becomes the Interview process where we get to know each other.
Now, as for ‘dealing’ with the rest…………………. ‘Caveat Emptor’ is the rule of thumb………for it truly is a buyer beware jungle out there!
The Internet has spawned a swarm of ‘brokers’………………taking phone orders and then filling them from the hundreds upon hundreds of mass puppy producers dotting the landscape.
Even dealing with the ‘so-called reputable breeders’ can become an ordeal to say the least! What you see and hear may not be what you get, so I recommend that everything be done in writing.
All amenities offered, warranties & guarantees promised, clearances certified and even claims of conformation and/or breeding quality should be documented and signed by the breeder. The minute any doubt creeps into the equation, then it’s time to contact another breeder with other offers.
The bottom line is that there are those that do their due diligence and they know that the best is worth waiting for and Chambray Labradors is the place where the best is worth the wait.
May 13th 2014
“Every chance I get, I surf through all the different Labrador breeder’s websites
both here in Florida and in other areas close by. It is amazing how many show
breeders in the Florida/Georgia area have Chambray dogs in their background.
You must be very proud that there are so many people breeding and showing
that got their start with you and your dogs.
I am currently on a waiting list for a puppy from an independent breeder that has
Chambray in their lines. What can you tell me about them and the quality they are breeding?”
Yes, there is a tremendous sense of pride to see so many dogs with Chambray in their pedigrees.
From time to time, I will receive an email as the one above from a puppy buyer that has contacted a breeder with Chambray dogs in their background. These inquirers are looking for verification and recommendation about the breeder they are dealing with.
Although I refrain from acting as a ‘clearing house’ for those looking for that type of specific information, I do my best to give them a ‘head’s up’ if there is something to worry about.
It must be understood that once a puppy is placed with someone and that person does not operate within the parameters of Chambray’s Management Program, there may not be a way to determine if they indeed are on the up and up.
The same for those that use our Stud Dog Service, where our responsibility ends with the shipping of the semen from the dogs that we manage.
I do my very best to get to know who is interested in one of our puppies and dogs. I have in place a pretty extensive interview process that is part of our Puppy Placement Program. However, in all honesty, people will present whatever it is they want to be perceived as and no matter how much scrutiny is used, not all owners end up being the ideal!
Fortunately for me and Chambray, the vast majority of our owners have lived up to their promise as great caregivers of one of our dogs. Granted, there have been a few that I have had my regrets in placing a puppy with, but that happens in all walks of life where the facts become a reality after all is bared and known.
No one comes up at a first meeting and proclaims themselves as being a schmuck………………time has a way of peeling away the thin veneers that some folk have and the true stripes lay bare for all to see.
Again, our 97% success rate means that 97 out of 100 owners has been the real deal and those 3 others, well we just don’t dwell too long on their plight. Can’t please a bloke that can’t be pleased!
So, yes, I do take great delight in seeing the foundation that has been paved by my efforts through Chambray even if a few of those are not within the framework of our Owner’s Programs.
For the Betterment of the Breed has no limitations on who’s who and who ain’t who………….as long as the breed is well served then it doesn't matter if I see eye to eye with those that don’t look me in the eye! If they were served by my efforts, then my mission of the Betterment of the Breed is alive and well regardless of what tune they hum, mumble and roll.
My theory is that there are way more good ones to work with then to lose time thinking about the ones that come and go. Spilt milk never taste as good as the one still in the glass!
May 12th 2014
Ideas Are Only Good If They Work
"Let me get this right. You guys are the top breeders and exhibitors in your area.
There are a bunch of other guys that compete against you as breeders and as handlers
or pay others to handle their dogs. Yet you disclose how you breed better dogs and also
how you train and condition those dogs to win. You even point out by publishing articles
and posting photos what those other guys are doing wrong in the hopes that they can get better.
What is up with all that?"
I get the above all the time from the many that follow the blogs and even from my own owners that are part of Chambray Labradors.
“Why do you want to help the competition?” they question and they harp.
For me it’s called ‘paying it forward to the breed’, even if it means that the show ring competition will be tougher for us as handlers.
If they indeed elevate their game, then it forces my hand to raise the bar even higher with all the assets we have. That creates a win-win situations where the breed comes out ahead………………..for the Betterment of the Breed then becomes a real beacon for all.
The preceding is the altruistic self in me…………….of course the realistic self is the one that comes out to play and then it becomes every man/woman for themselves in the competitive arena.
From many unknowns that communicate with me and even several of the other ‘players’ that have personally confided at times to me, it seems that there are several versions of me:
The ‘tell it like it is’, ‘no holds barred’ guy…………..boasting and bragging even after the cows have come home.
This other persona that champions the breed, providing mentorship and education to all.
Then there is the highly competitive……………….win is the name of the game type.
In addition, there is the shirtless guy who just gave his last shirt to someone in need.
So, who is it?
Well, the truth be told……………………all of the above and even several more!
Mono-types make for dull boys, so there are many facets to myself and that is a good thing because at the end of the day I weigh the good, the bad and the ugly and ‘the good’ seems to have the upper hand each and every day……………..so a good day for all!
Yes, I share how to better the breed.
Yes, I share what is being done wrong with the breed.
Yes, I share how to train and condition those dogs even if they are the competitor’s dogs.
Yes, I share what can be done to make a better, more competitive presentation of a show dog.
What’s wrong with any of that?
Happy Mother's Day
May 11th 2014
Responses from the Pyramid Breeding Method Blog
“The pyramid idea seems so simple to follow, how come there are breeders that just don’t seem to improve with time?’
In theory, yes, the pyramid idea is as simple as a day in May……………………however, in practice it becomes a logistic nightmare for the vast majority of breeders.
Those breeders that just don’t seem to improve are the ones that time has left behind because of the following:
Most involved in the breeding of dogs have a set number of dogs……………….say 1 male and several producing females.
More than likely, they will use that male over and over again ‘since he is there and he needs to pay for his upkeep’.
Each female will produced upward of 5 to 6 litters before they reach that age of minimal return and are then ‘put out to pasture’ or found a ‘forever home’.
That’s the traditional way of doing business with the multitudes of those breeding dogs
If those dogs used over and over again happen to produce great quality, so be it! If on the other hand those same dogs produce inferior quality, so be it the same!
So, you have a female that may breed for 7 years or more, have a bunch of litters whether those puppies produced were an improvement or not………………problem is after those 7 years there was only one generation that was produced.
There is very little moving ahead with this ‘same ole, same ole’ way of doing things…………..more like hit or miss, with ‘miss’ being the operative word here.
So in essence, with this old mode of breeding, for these breeders time stands still for upwards of 7 years or more…………………meanwhile, with the pyramid method, improvement with each generation produced creates at least 3 new generations produced for the betterment of the breed in the same 7 year span.
It is plain as day that the pyramid building of one generation producing the next generation of improvement is quite different than the ‘old way of doing things’. Breeding the same dog over and over again will produce the same quality (or lack of it) over and over again.
The old way produces a linear quality at best and ‘not so good’ at worse. There is no building upwards as is the case with the pyramid method where one generation produces the next generation of improvement which in turns produces the next generation and so on.
This pyramid building block system is used at Chambray, building on each generation’s contributions to the betterment of the breed to produce the next generation of improvement.
Like I said………………simple…………………………..if you get it.
Seeing the Betterment of the Breed in a New Way
There is a huge difference between ‘structural faults’ and ‘deviations’ from the accepted norm of breed type. However, I would not breed a dog that had many deviations just as I would not breed a dog with a structural fault.
Working on the premise that there is no perfect dog and that each breeding should have the betterment of the breed in mind………………..therefore each dog considered for breeding will have some deviations from the desired goal that needs tending to in order to reach that mythical ‘perfect dog’.
A rule of thumb would be not to pair dogs for breeding that have the same ‘deviation’, as this would ensure the perpetuation of that less than perfect trait. Choosing a dog with a strong, desirable trait for a dog with a less undesirable trait would bring about that sought out ‘improvement’ in a high percentage of the puppies produced.
Even the puppies produced with the more desirable trait need tending to in future breedings because they may be carrying in the recessive the lesser, unwanted characteristic passed on by parent that exhibited that trait.
A New Way To Look At A Program For The Betterment of the Breed.
Envision a pyramid with a large base of building blocks on the bottom first row.
This is the foundation of the structure.
In breeding Labradors, a breeder has all of the dogs in the gene pool to choose from, thus the first row in this new way to look at breeding, is to see and use that first row foundation available to all. Of course selecting the very best will go a long way in establishing a great breeding program. This is where research comes in and relying on mentorship from those already established will avoid major pitfalls.
In an individual breeding program the second row of the pyramid is brought about by the judicious selection of the dogs that will produce that 2nd generation. The pairing of dogs with as few imperfections as possible (remember the premise that there is no perfect dog) and making sure that whatever the imperfection on one dog is not the same deviation on the other dog, will go a long way in bringing about the Betterment of the Breed mission.
The third row of improvement is produced by the second generation of the pyramid. There should be an ascension of betterment that is taking place with a higher percentage of 'improved upon' dogs produced with each successive generation.
The ultimate quest is to succeed at improvement with each successive row of the pyramid leading to the mythical perfect dog way at the top of the pyramid.
All those building blocks, row upon row, each row better than the preceding generation because each dog used was better than the ones that produced it, leading to the pie in the sky…….the pinnacle…………..the perfect dog!
Gee, the preceding just described Chambray Labradors for the Betterment of the Breed mission!
More May 8th
Feedback to Shoulder Layback Blog
(1) “Another great blog using photos. Does upright shoulders cause ‘Terrier fronts’?
(2) “I think my dog has a correct layback of shoulder, but his neck is just shorter looking!”
(3) “With one blog and one photo, I finally get what it means for have a good layback of shoulder”
(4) “I always thought the point of shoulders was up on the shoulder blade, now I see where it is in front of the dog”
(5) “Thank you for clearing up some confusion I have had about the dog’s front assembly.”
(6) “Ok, now I get it!”
(7) “Which dog is that in the photo?”
(8) “Can a dog still move good if the front end is not structurally correct?”
(9) “Would you breed a dog that does not have correct structure?”
(10) “Why do you always use your own dogs for your blogs? Don’t other breeders have dogs that you can use for your examples?"
Ok, these are the first 10 communications following the publishing of the Front End Assembly blog.
I will answer each individually:
(1) Yes, upright shoulders contribute to the incorrect formation of a front on a Labradors that looks more like the correct front on most Terriers. So, it would be correct on a Terrier, it would be totally incorrect on a Labrador. The other part to the puzzle is the incorrect angle formed by the point of shoulder (A on the photo) and back to the elbow (C). In Terriers it is desirable for the upper arm which goes from the elbow to the point of shoulder to be almost up and down rather than at a 45 degree.
(2) All Labradors have the same number of vertebrae in the neck, therefore the necks should all be about the same length, give or take a smidgeon here or there. If the shoulder blade is more upright and not laying back at the desirable 45 degree, then the shoulder blade would be covering up one or more of the neck vertebrae making it appear as being a short neck.
(3) A picture is worth a thousand words…………………………a few sentences then becomes the light that illuminates the picture.
(4) Yes, there have been many folk that thought the same about the point of shoulder. Just as many were in the dark about where the withers are and many, many more didn’t know how to draw up the Front End Assembly Triangle.
(5) You are welcome as are the many that communicate with me wanting mentorship.
(6) Getting it is the first step in doing something about it……………….like in breeding dogs that have the least amount of inconsistencies………………….that’s the Betterment of the Breed movement!
(7) That is Grand Ch Chambrays Summer Breeze “Hanna”. Sired by BIS BBE Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff “Hogan”. She is owned by Rosie and Bill Feeley, who also own the sire Hogan. Hanna is Chambray’s 29th homebred champion.
(8) Yes it can function. However, it will not be seen as a “good mover” since there is something that is off and whatever that is will not be working as efficient as it should.
(9) Very complicated answer. I would not breed a dog with a structural fault. Even if it was the most awesome looking show dog ever………………………numero uno in the world, winner of Westminster, Eukanuba and Crofts……………………….this would be like taking 2 steps forward and 1 back. Whatever you allow into your breeding program will linger for generations to come. Years and generations later it will come back to bite you in the arse.
(10) I will let all my ‘Bloganistas & Blogsters’ come up with their own answers for #10!
How Shoulder Layback Affects Movement
“Some judges have said that my dog has ‘straight’ shoulders and that it affects the front movement! How can I correct that?”
A correct front assembly calls for the shoulder blade to lay back about 45 degrees.
So from the point of the shoulder blade (front most part of the chest at the keel of the dog), back up to the withers (highest point on dog’s back, right before the rise of neck) there should be an angle of 45 degrees.
Then a line dropped down from that point of withers to the ground should pass right through the elbows and that line should form a perpendicular with the ground.
In other words the line from the withers down through the elbows to the ground should be perfectly plumb (straight up and down).
The angle formed by the elbow X point of shoulder and the elbow X withers are equal and also the distance from elbow to point of shoulder is equal to the distance from point of shoulder up to the withers.
These proportions form a triangle:
with the long side being the withers to elbows line
withers to point of shoulder equals point of shoulder to elbow
Now let’s look at the photo to see the ‘Front End Assembly’ and therefore visualize the ‘Triangle’ formed when all the parts are correct.
A is the Point Of Shoulder
B is the Withers
C is the Elbow
So, a line from A to B is the ‘Layback of Shoulder’, preferably at a 45 degree from the perpendicular to the ground.
A line formed by B to C is straight up and down and forms a perpendicular to the ground. This line is also the long side of the ‘Front End Assembly Triangle’.
The line formed by A to C forms the “Front End Angle’ and should be the same degree as A to B and also should be the same length as is A to B.
Now, in the big picture the Front End Angles should complement the Rear End Angulation as this will determine how balanced the Front End Assembly will be with the Rear End Assembly, creating a synchronized movement which increases efficiency and determines proper movement.
Back to answer the questions about upright shoulders and poor movement:
A dog with the structurally correct Front End Assembly will be able to reach forward, covering the correct ground at maximum efficiency. A dog that has upright shoulders, straight shoulders, or steep shoulders does not have the correct angulation for proper front end movement and will not be able to reach out sufficiently, covering much less ground with each forward step.
In most cases, it will appear as being very short and choppy or stilted.
Besides movement being affected, so too is the ‘look’ of the dog as the higher shoulder blade is the shorter the neck will appear, reducing the desired ‘slope of neck’.
There is nothing that can be done to correct a structural placement, however through exercise and conditioning, the dog can develop better reach thus improving its movement.
I Like Kudos
“Just love the Blogs”
"You all have great dogs, great organization…………….you guys rock!"
"In a league of your own and no one comes close."
"Educational, witty, to the point, beyond anything else on the web."
"A cup of joe and a blast from your blog starts my day off right."
"Your passion for the breed speaks volumes through your blog. Congratulations on your life’s work with Labradors".
"I am still waiting for the book in you."
"Different hats for different thats. You never cease to amaze me with the different topics you cover and the way you make each so interesting to follow. The only drawback is that you leave me wanting more!"
"The breed standard blogs are amazing. What a great way to educate using photos of dogs that are relevant today. I read and re-read the ‘movement’ blog a dozen times and each time learned something else that I didn’t see the previous times. I can now look at my dogs and others at the dog shows and see why a dog may not be moving as well as it should. Before the article, I knew something may have been off, but I couldn’t pick it out."
"Kudos for the time you put into all of this. You and your blogs are the topics of conversations with other Labrador exhibitors and breeders. That’s a good thing because you bring up areas of the breed that need talking about and hopefully improving upon."
"The captions and graphics for the blogs are awesome!"
There are hundreds more as these about the Blogging Off page.
If no one cared, then it would be a waste of my precious time away from the time I spend with my dogs and those of the multitude of owners that are part of Chambrays Owners Programs. As long as there are those that value what I have to offer, I will therefore continue to share what I have learned over the last 44 years with Labradors.
I, like one of my dogs, love praise and will work all day for a pat on the hairless head, so keep these treats coming!
More Bo Diddley Feedback
"We read the Bo Diddley blog with much interest as the same thing had been occurring with us.
We read on your website where you recommended contacting many breeders and we did just that.
Well, that was an experience! Once we mentioned to any of them that we had been in touch with other
breeders, it was the cold shoulder and never mind bringing up Chambray and what you all had to offer! A couple of those women were outright rude! What a welcomed difference it is communicating with you, where you provide as much information as we have requested even though you had no puppies available for our time tables. So much so, that we have changed our plans and will now wait for one of your puppies in the fall".
Your email is a recurrent theme. It seems to be the modus operandi for the majority of breeders to do business that way. To be honest, I don’t get it!
The way I see it is that I have a great product and I want everyone to know about it. I advertise and promote all the value that we provide with the product and with the service that comes with the product. I spell it out to any and all that ask, which is my way of educating people so that they can make an educated choice with whom they want to do business with.
To me that is the American way of doing business. Build a great product and then provide the best service possible.
Show me the facts and figures and I will then make a decision on where, when and with whom to do business with.
For those that I interview for a puppy placement, at times I invite them to the dog shows in their cities that I will be at with our Chambray dogs. There they can also approach other breeders that will be there with their dogs. They can compare apples and oranges on an up close and personal, firsthand basis.
Guess what? The vast majority of those show visitors come away as true blue clients once the visitor speaks to several of the other breeders because of the negative spin these breeders use.
Since we have a limited amount of puppies on a yearly basis, only a small percentage of those contacting us will actually have a Chambray puppy placed with them, however we provide as much education to all the do contact us so that they can be as educated as possible in making a 14-year investment in time, emotions and also economically.
“I have been a fan of Chambray for many years and have followed the success stories both at the
shows and through your website. Which dog do you consider to be the greatest dog that you
The answer, if there is a definitive one, will really take me to task here.
I have a ‘big picture’ mentality. Rather than seeing the individual brushstroke, I see the entire painting, even including the canvas, the frame, the wall, the room and beyond. To me everything makes up a singularity………………….so that a great dog was brought about by all that made it possible to exist.
As great as a dog is, the sire and dam must be as great to have produced it. So, if there is a great dog, then those behind it must be given the same due credit.
Of course, I understand that my answer will not suffice as the majority of folk have a ‘normal’ outlook on things………………seeing what is in front of them with the setting and background just becoming props.
Most observers tend to see the show accomplishments as the bellwether of a dog’s worth, however as a breeder, I value what a dog produces as much as what a dog accomplishes, so the answer will need to be qualified in order to make sense.
Below are the Top 5 Chambray-Bred Show Dogs
BIS BBE Silver/Bronze Grand Ch Chambrays Celestial N Counter
The only female Labrador in Florida to ever win a Best In Show
USA only female and 1 of 2 Labradors Best In Show winners for 2012
The 2012 Chronicle #1 Ranked USA Female Labrador
AKC Top 10 USA All-Times Grand Champion
The highest ranked All-Times Grand Champion Female in Florida
Chambray’s highest ranked Silver Grand Champion
The 2013 Eukanuba National Championships Select Grand Champion
Eukanuba 2012 #1 Qualifier with 4 Individual Invitations & the dog with the most qualifying invitations in 1 year ever for the Eukanuba National Champions.
Purina Breeder Showcase Best Of Breed Adult 2013
Chambray record 33 Best Of Breeds
Chambray record 15 Group Placements
Chambray record 2 Group 1 wins
Plus the holder of 7 other Chambray records
BIS BBE Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff THD TDI CGC NFP NJP –
One of only 3 Florida Labradors Best In Show winners
Sire of 8 AKC Champions & 5 Grand Champions
Sire of 2 Master Hunters
USA Chronicle Top 20 Ranked 2 years in a row, 2007 and 2008
7-Years in a row Eukanuba Qualifier
4 years USA Top Stud Dog Status, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012
2005 Purina Breeders Showcase Best Of Breed Labrador Puppy
2007 Purina Breeders Showcase Best Of Breed Labrador Adult
Westminster (2009) & Eukanuba Qualifier & Participant
Winner of 20 Best Of Breeds – 10 Group Placements and 3 Group 1’s
Ch Chambrays Mad About Madeline RE AXP OJP NFP
17 Best Of Breeds & 7 Group Placements w/2 Group 1’s
Westminster & Eukanuba Participant
Producer of 3 AKC champions
Ch Chambrays Twist Of Fate
15 Best Of Breeds 2 Group Placements
2004 USA Chronicle Top 20
Eukanuba Qualifier and Participant
Bronze Gr Ch WinQuest Chambray Reaching For The Stars
13 Best Of Breeds
Eukanuba Qualifier and Participant
As stated before, show achievements are not the only criteria for greatness. There have been a couple of other dogs that carry major importance for their contributions to the breed.
JAMS BISV Ch Chambrays Chisholm Chancey
Dam of 4 AKC champions
Winner of 5 BOBs and 2 Group Placements
BISP Ch Chambrays Chance N Counter CGC THD TDI
Dam of 4 AKC champions
Winner of 2 AKC Best Puppy In Show and 1 BOB
All of the dogs above reached a very observable level, however each and every Chambray dog that came before it made it possible for it to rise above the ordinary.
Happy Cinco De Mayo
May 5th 2014
“We have been researching Labrador breeders for over a year and we seem to always come back to
your site. We have contacted dozens of other breeders and none are familiar with your programs.
Most have heard of you or have seen you at dog shows, but none seem to know exactly what it is you all do that is so different than what they offer.”
I hear the above all the time from puppy searchers that inquire and mention Chambray’s offerings to other breeders. The old, ‘If you can’t beat them or even equal them, pretend they don't exist or try and trash em’.
The absolute best place for information is to go straight to the source. There is no one that can explain or detail what anyone else is doing or is offering. Besides, if those other breeders could, they would be doing exactly what we do!
But the bottom line is that there is no other breeder that is qualified to offer the Labrador-related programs that we do.
For example, here in Florida there are about a dozen Labrador breeders that actually produce dogs that can be competitive at the dog show level. That means that there are hundreds more that produce dogs that are not at all at the same conformation level as the prior mentioned 12 or so. Included in those ‘hundreds more’ are:
Mass Pet Puppy Producers
Backyard Pet Producers
Off-Color Pet Producers
Plus, every Tom, Dick and Harry producing whatever comes out that can and will be registered and sold!
So, for this blog we will eliminate the 95% we just mentioned and only discuss the very few that have a breeding program based on conformation and of course the health clearances needed for producing the best.
So, from those 12 or so, all are Labrador breeders:
None are professional dog trainers as the Herzons are,
None offer anything but a ‘puppy to go’
None are professional dog handlers as the Herzons are
None offer a training and conditioning environment as is offered by Chambray
None offer a Lifetime Support System, also offered by Chambray
None offer free training for those dogs that they place…. Chambray does.
None offer a full mentorship program for beginners, for intermediates or for those advanced into Labradors as offered by Chambray.
None offer a stud dog program as offered by Chambray.
That’s because none are qualified to do so, so what they offer is what they have………………..a good product without the 44 years of experience with the breed and all the amenities that come with that tremendous amount of experience and expertise.
If they could they would…………and they do know what the differences are and they experience those differences each and every time at the dog shows that we all compete at…………………they all visit the various Chambray websites checking out what’s new trying to keep up with the trendsetter………………………………….they read the daily blogs, the articles, the testimonials, the show results, the new litters and on and on.
So, when any of them pretend they don’t know what’s what with Chambray, either envy or denial comes to mind.
In every competitive sport, endeavor or business, there is always someone at the top and the rest all want to be there. All those wanting to catch up know everything about the leader. To say different is to begin the deception process.
It is simple….if they don’t know, then they don’t know anything, if they do know and pretend they don’t know, then they are not honest.
I hope that answers your question about those ‘that don’t know Bo’, because chances are they ‘don’t know Diddley either’!
May 4th 2014
"How do you determine which dogs you will be showing from all those that are
participating in all of your programs?"
"When does a dog receive priority handling over another dog in your handling lineup?"
These are representative questions that are dealt with on a daily basis both from our visitors
at our website and from our own Chambray owners.
Each Chambray Labrador owner that has one of our ‘show prospect puppies’ has the opportunity to take advantage of the free private training and also the free night training classes that comes will all the show puppies.
During their visits at Chambray Acres, we go over everything that is needed for a healthy and well-socialized dog. Included in their sessions with us is a constant conformation evaluation to determine how the dog is developing. Those owners whose dogs display all the makings of a competitive show dog are then encourage to follow through with dedicated and advanced training and conditioning in order to have the dog ready for up and coming shows.
The dogs that we feel are the most competitive will be the ones that will be on the A-Team for a specific weekend of shows. There is always a regular roster with a limited amount of dogs that we can adequately travel with and handle at the far away dog shows, however at times we may augment the lineup and take extra dogs as the circumstance calls for.
Since we are based in South Florida and the largest segment of our owners lives relatively close by, we can bring on a larger roster of dogs to the venues in this areas. When that occurs, we hire extra handlers to help out with the added entry.
At the present time we are working with about 30 puppies, young dogs and adults that all have the potential to show. We then consider which of those is in prime conformation and also which ones are the best performers and in the best condition…………………….these then will make the first team and will be the ones that will be seen at the dog shows that we compete at.
From time to time, we change the lineup and switch dogs around leaving some out of some shows and bringing out new ones, giving more dogs the opportunity to compete.
There are many considerations that go into deciding which dog goes to a show and which dogs do not make the trip. These considerations are discussed with each owner as part of the individual game plan for each dog.
Dogs that are near finishing and need majors will be entered at those shows that traditionally have had large entries. In order to save money on entries, those dogs will not be on the roster for those venues that do not draw large entries.
There are a myriad of conditions that dictate priorities of one dog over another for a given class or an individual handler.
The dogs with the most points usually command class and handler priority
Dogs handled from the Open Classes and the Bred-By Exhibitor Class normally have priority over the Am Bred Class and also the 12 to 18. Puppies command the least priority.
There is always an attempt at not having more than 2 dogs competing from the same class.
Finally, there is nothing cast in stone as decision are made as seen fit and needed.
The goal is to have the best and most competitive dogs showing. I know that at times some of the owners feel slighted when their dogs are not included in a particular show roster or when we advise them to put them up for a while in order for the dogs go through awkward growing stages and need further development.
There are those dogs that may need conditioning, weight loss or weight gain, toning up and building up of stamina and endurance. There are dogs that need major behavioral adjustments for them to perform and show better.
All of these mentioned contingencies are considered and with the owner’s participation, put into play in order to have the best dogs with the best performance out on the front lines of competition.
May 4th 2014
Programs for the Betterment of the Breed
For those asking how to join our different programs this Bud’s for you. I have covered the majority of inquiries
that come in with regularity asking how they too can benefit from our Betterment of the Breed movement.
Show Handling & Management Program – Although we have a set roster of dogs in play with 6 months of planning, there are always possibilities for those dogs that have what it takes to be competitive. Our handling team varies from 3 to 7 handlers at any given show, so we are capable of adding new dogs as the needs arises. A thorough evaluation of the dog is the first step in the consideration process, just as is an understanding of how show handling works with priorities and all the ins and outs that are involved with showing dogs. If a dog is approved and accepted into our show management program, then the strategies and logistics are put into play for that dog revolving around those dogs that are already in the lineup of dogs. Besides the dogs that are part of our show roster, we also have a large contingency of dogs waiting in the wings to be included in the active lineup. Since our mission is the Betterment of the Breed, only the best, most competitive dogs make it to the shows. We will evaluate and accept worthy dogs from any and all breeders as long as the owner has free and clear control of the dog and is not hindered by contracts and the whims of the breeder.
Ways to enter the Show Handling & Management Program – Some come on board with outside dogs that they have acquired on their own from other show breeders………………the majority start out with a Chambray puppy or show started dog………………………..and then there are those breeders that join our various programs for the Betterment of the Breed.
The Stud Dog Program – Once again, there are various entry ports for inclusion into this elite program. Only the best of the best of the best are candidates for this all important program. The dog must possess all those outstanding qualities that make it a desirable perpetuator of the breed. It must pass a bevy of clearances before even being considered as a stud dog. It must have a rock star pedigree from the top producing dogs in the country.
The Breeding Program – Here again, top-notch show quality females are considered to be the producers of the next generation for the Betterment of the Breed. The majority of those that are presently under consideration for this program are Chambray-bred females, however the program is open to any and all that wish to participate in the Puppy Placement Program where we would be managing the breeding, the raising and the placing of the puppies from the litter.
The Training and Conditioning Program – This exclusive program is only available to those dogs that will be part of our Show Dog Management Program. We have had to limit this program to those dogs that we will be handling in the ring because the demand for these services had risen beyond those dogs and clients that we will be winning with at the shows.
More May Day
Cockadoodledoo How Are You?
“Winning, Is That All There Is?”
Time and time again when I mention our weekend of shows winningstreak or the number of Winners Dog & Winners Bitch wins, invariably I will receive a bevy of emails questioning the value of winning!
If that is all that the Chambray-bred and managed dogs did, then I would be a happy camper until the fire in me no longer burns, however truth be told, each and every Labrador that I am associated with brings about much joy and happiness to their owners……………………..priceless pleasure that no amount of money or winning could light a match to!
On a weekly basis, I work with as many Agility, Obedience, Rally, Therapy and Service dogs and owners as I do with the show dogs and owners. You don’t hear about those, because those dogs and owners are personal to me especially the Therapy and Service dogs. I don’t want to boast and brag about something that is so near and dear to me. I will keep those euphoric moments and memories to myself and only share those treasures with those owners that are part of those programs.
So, that brings us to the dog shows…………………………………….where as in the Cheers’ song, everyone knows your name! Where everyone goes with the sole and intent purpose of competing to WIN!
You win, you be beaming, you don’t win, you be grumpy! There are no two ways about it, the name of the game is winning!
Those that win are seen as being successful, those that don’t win hunt up every excuse in the book to justify their fate.
So, winning is the only consideration at the dog shows. No matter how some say they do it for fun or that winning isn’t everything there is. Next time at a dog show, watch those that say they do it for fun, watch their faces once again when they walk out of the ring with nothing to show for their efforts. At that precise moment approach them and ask them if they are having fun yet! Be prepared for some venom being spewed about because they are so ecstatic and having so much fun!
Since winning is the driving force at these competitive engagements, those that win have the right to take the credit, those that win big can lay claim to the top rung, top rating, top dog or whatever else is the most wanted acclaim.
Each and everyone else that competes at these venues is gunning for the same pie in the sky, so being able to reach up there and grab that Golden Fleece year in and year out, I will toot my horn, thump my chest, belch out blurbs and out crow all
the cock-a-doodle-doos out there.
May Day May 1st 2014
Pudding Time Again
"The ‘Let’s Get Ready To Rumble’ blog was humorous and informative. Where do you get your facts from?"
Easy peasy lemon squeezy, can’t get no easier!
Check out the show results from the www.infodog.com and from www.onofrio.com for all the Florida shows in the last 5 years, year after year to the present tense year, month and day and then tell me what you say.
Can’t hedge on a hedgehog, can’t cheat on a cheetah, it is what it is and it ain’t what it ain’t!
Proof positive is our current, unheard of, maybe never to be equaled and never mind to be bested 83 straight dog show weekends of winning in the Labrador ring in Florida that also extends to every dog show weekend that the Herzons have traveled to in MS, AL, LA and GA………………..since January of 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s all of 2012, all of 2013 and now all of 2014 to the last weekend of shows in April!
One or two of the professionals that work the Labrador ring have had good runs at winning several weekend in a row as has one or two of the owner/breeder managed dogs that may win here and there, but none………not even adding up their wins together can stand next to numbers posted by our management program.
For the last 5 years, each successive year we have bested the previous year’s record-setting wins to the point that at the end of each completed year, we concede that the following year will not top what had just been posted and yet somehow it does happen.
The mindboggling 51 Winners Dog & Winners Bitch wins posted in 2011 seemed to be the outer limit that would withstand the test of time in being bested.
At the end of 2012………………59 Winners Dog & Winners Bitch undoubtedly busted the bank forever and then we raised the bar to 61 WD/WB for 2013!
No way, no how can that be bested or even equaled…………………..there just isn’t enough shows in one year to go beyond that……………………especially having championed 12 dogs/bitches in that same span of time and now having to start all over again with a bunch of new dogs and young puppies……………..going up against the same competition that all those mature dogs that are now finished were beating.
But guess what? The beat goes on and our youngsters and puppies are holding their own and winning WD and WBs at an encouraging rate for 2014, meanwhile our champions lately have been dominating the breed wins as well!
Will I hold my breath thinking that the magic Roger Maris number of 61 HRs (WD/WB for 2013) can bested without steroid induced muscle power? Nah, I will exhale and savor the sweetness as it happens because even if a year's record setting wins cannot be beat, all the success just keeps on truckin year after year setting the bar the highest for the career wins.
You know what they say about the pudding? You got to taste it to know that it is good and nothing taste as good as success.
April 30th 2014
The Two Basic Types Of Labradors Seen At Dog Shows (Maybe even 3)
No, with this blog we are not going to be covering English vs American………………nor skinny vs fat
…………………nor short legged Whoppers vs tall, mammoth 135lb Big Macs…………………no, we will let
those subjects lay like sleeping dogs ought to………………………I will be delving into a more delicate subject area that may cause some quiet waters to ripple and peach fuzz on a baby-faced teenager to become bristled!
Yep, that’s me ‘going where no man had gone before’ like the galactic wanders on Star Trek did with each week’s new journey into the unknown!
So what in tarnation’s am I about to belly flop unto? Will it be one of those ‘off with the messenger’s bald head’ moments? Will there be tar and feather on yours truly that will need to be removed with lighter fluid upon the disclosing of the subject matter?
Well my little chickadees read on and see if you too can spy with your own little eye what’s conjuring inside my beaming beacon!
So, here in an itsy bitsy teenie weenie little polka dotted………….brief………………..is wazzup!
Labradors in a professional environment vs Labradors in their owner’s environment!
That’s the hot tamale subject of the day from the Mind of Minolta!
For the newbies, the tweeners, the been-around-awhile, the been-around-too-long, the should-have-been-gone-a-long-time-ago and the ones that take a licking and keep on ticking (me)……………this is subject is taboo stuff!
The pros don’t want divulgence of its existence and the owners don’t want to admit that it’s true! Like in don’t talk about it and it don’t exist!
Well, you guys know Bo and Bo knows Diddley and both of those know me and knowing me, you got to know that I tell it like it is, even if it means divulging secrets of Area 51! Well, let’s stop there before Homeland Agents coming knock the roof off my house thinking I know anything about that most secretive area in the world…………………but I do know that there are UFO and aliens that are being processed there which is no top secret because everyone else knows that!
Ok, back to the scoop at hand!
Pro-Dogs vs Owner-Dogs’
‘Let’s get ready to rummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmble!
’In the black corner weighing in at a hefty price, loaded with bells and whistles and other fees, primed and ready to go are the heavy weights of the fancy…………..the professional dog handler Labradors.
In the white corner adorned with bling, bling, toes nails painted and spoiled rotten to the core are the owner Labradors!
So, about now, most of the faithful bloganistas (the ‘likers’) and the Doubting Thomas blogsters (the ‘don’t likers’) are wondering “what is the difference between the two?”
Did I say two?
Hold on to your horses because we are going to throw a huge Gorilla wrench into the fracas…………………………this isn’t a conventional bout with just two sides a sparring, no sir, this is more like a 3-ring circus because in the 3rd corner we have the Chambray Managed Labradors!
So, let’s check the scorecard for the tale of the tape for the three combatants.
The Professional Managed Labradors
The Owner Managed Labradors
The Chambray Managed Labradors
Now aren’t we in a pickle with not one, not two……………..no, we now have 3 considerations when dealing with the Labrador ring in Florida.
Let’s gloss over each one a wee bit to get a better handle on the leash.
Group A: The Professional Managed/Handled dogs at first glance will seem to have the heavy upper hand at having their way in the combative dog show ring. After all they have the top handlers putting in all of their expertise, know-how and well-known connections to achieve the desired affect which is to win.The vast majority of dogs that the pros handle also travel with them, thus removing all of the owner’s peculiarities and instead create the most consistent behavioral patterns that translate into great performances in the ring. These dogs are trained and conditioned to do one thing and that is to perform. Since the pros have the ability to pick and choose which clients to take on, most of these dogs come from some of the top breeders in the area and country, thus their potential is top drawer. Because the owners have been removed from the equation, the dogs are much more in tune with the demands of the pro handlers.
Group B: The Owner Managed and/or Handled dogs make up another substantial group in the Florida Labrador ring. Most of these dogs are extremely competitive and can and do hold their own in the ring. What some of them lack is training and conditioning and they also give some ground in the level of handling that the owners can muster. Because most owners lack the advanced skills in show training, plus most are not into conditioning of their dogs and most importantly because most owners do not have a true working relationship with their own dogs, the end product suffers quite a bit as compared to the pro managed dogs.
Group C: The Chambray Managed dogs are a major departure from the usual way of how things have traditionally been done. Since we work with a significant number of dogs, we encourage each owner to be as involved in the training and conditioning of their dogs. Those owners that have unlimited amounts of time to dote on their dogs, are given much more responsibility with the preparations of the dog. Those owners that do not have the time nor inclination will rely on our extended programs for those areas that they cannot do with their dogs.
So, what are the results of the 3 different camps?
Camp A experiences a 40% success rate at the Florida dog shows
Camp B realizes somewhere around 10%
Camp C comes out ahead with a 50% winning rate
The Tale of the Tape for the last 5 years of showing in the Labrador ring in Florida.
Quick Reponses To Today's Blog
“I read your blogs every day and have learned so much. It is like a never ending book. I also show my dogs and wonder at times what some judges are looking for. I really don’t get some of the dogs that end up as the winners of the points. Your blog about Luck Of The Draw makes me really wonder. If that is true, that means that any dog can win and shouldn’t it be the best dogs that should win?”
The vast majority of dogs that are being exhibited have the potential to win points and they do! Different dogs win on different days because the people judging them have different views on what constitutes correct breed type, true movement for that breed, the actual presentation of the dog and other criteria not going to be covered here. When worthy dogs are awarded points………….that’s a good thing! When the opposite of that happens, that’s a bad thing! However as covered in a previous blog, the percentage of good judging is way on our side which makes it somewhat easier to swallow when the bad happens.
Each exhibitor must take stock of their dog and decide how worthy the dog is and what that dog needs to be competitive so that it too can be in the mix of those dogs that can win on any given day.
At Chambray, we evaluate each of our charges on a per show basis. Once a weekend of shows is over, the handling/training team gets together and we go over every dog and their performance in the ring. We brain storm on ways to increase the dog’s ring presence so that the next time that dog is at a dog show, it will have a new set of strategies for a better presentation.
The conclusions we arrive at are then shared with each of the owners and decisions are then made by the owner as to how best to implement the suggestions.
Some owners are willing and able to put into play training and conditioning regimens, while other owners rely on our exclusive services to bring about the needed improvements. It then becomes a cooperative venture between the breeder/trainer/handler and the owner, all working together to continue the unprecedented successes that we are enjoying.
So, there is some ‘luck of the draw’ for winning at dog shows, however there is also improving your chances by having the best conformation, having the best training, having the best conditioned and of course putting it all together with the best presentation at the dog shows.
The preceding is why there are some folk consistently in the winner’s circle and others walking out of the ring as ‘non-winners’!
April 28th 2014
And The Winner Is!
More Like The Luck Of The Draw
“Why didn’t my dog win today?” Asked out load by dozens and thought about by hundreds!
It is the burning question of the minute as soon as the judge points to the dog that does win
today, leaving the inquisitioner’s dog a ‘non-winner’!
That singular action by the judge of bestowing a win on one dog means that the rest of the dogs competing, did not win……………………thus the bewildered look on the owner’s face when they ask “Why didn’t my dog win today?
Of course the most obvious reply to that oft thought about and once in while actually verbalized question would be “Because another dog won!”
Now you and I both know that answer is not going to suffice as ‘truth-laden’ as it may be. That’s because there really isn’t any answer that will quench the thirst of a newbie at a dog show wondering why their wonder dog came out empty handed (or is it empty-pawed?)I too wonder sometimes “what was that judging thinking” with some of the wins they dole out, however me having that lack of knowledge doesn’t help the person asking why their beloved Fido did not win on that given day.
So, I am left with how to convey to someone new or old, but new at dog shows or old and also old at dog shows why their dog was left holding the bag and someone else’s dog gets to add points to their resume. Well, listen closely and I will bring about an enlightenment on the subject………………..the reason your dog did not win is because another dog won!
Whooooop there it is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That’s as simple and as complicated as it gets! If one dog wins the points, it leaves all the other contenders in a status quo position………………….in other words they are as they came into the competition……………..no worse and no better………………in fact just the same!
So no harm done, in fact much the better because hopefully they received lots of hands on training while in the ring doing their thing. The more practice they receive the better their chances of being the anointed point winner for the day the next time they enter the ring for more competition. In defense of the appointed judge, he/she may have very well like each and every dog that enters the ring………………..but he/she must whittle it down to just one dog of each sex………………..just one....................the 'lucky dog'!
If a dog is in the Chambray Show Dog Management Program, it was specially chosen from dozens and dozens that are willing and able to also be on the show roster, but for the sake of bringing out the most competitive, those other dogs may be sitting on the back burner awaiting their time in the show ring.
For instance, each and every Chambray-managed dog at the recent Vero Beach dog show was a top contender for winning points and Best Of Breeds…………………from our superstar champions to our newest litter of 6-month olds that debuted this weekend. Each and every one of those dogs deserved to be on our show roster and each was capable of attracting the attention of the judge enough to award it Winners points.
So, maybe for our owners I will have to come up with an alternative answer to the burning bush question “Why didn’t my dog win”…………………so from now on here’s Johnny’s answer “Your dog will probably win tomorrow!”
Addendum to the recent blog about the ‘why’s and why-not’s’ for show potential dogs not making it.
In the years since we started in conformation (1986) to the present there have been dozens upon dozens of dogs that were actually show started and then fizzled out along the way for a multitude of reasons.
I would say one of the biggest reasons was owners losing interest too soon. Since owners think that their dogs are the most beautiful in the world, it is beside them why the judges just don’t see what they see. So they come into showing with totally unreasonable expectations and become disillusioned right away when Poochie doesn’t win a Best In Show every time it steps into the ring. They didn’t understand the process involved with training, conditioning and ring presentation and going against other dogs that may be older and wiser in the ring. So, we see many dogs that could conceivably win their championship fall by the way side from loss of interest way to soon.
There would be another segment of the total number of dogs that actually get started showing and the owners either:
Relocate to faraway places
or owners that fall on hard economic times
or owners that go through marital discord............................Most of these dogs are never to be seen again.
Then there are those dogs that are forced out of the show world because of injuries. Each year that are at least 3 dogs that are felled by accidents and ‘retired’ before their time.
There is also a small number that for one reason or another fail to pass some of their clearances for breeding, thus the owners opt out of showing since those dogs would not be bred.
The Blogging Off Experience
April 24 Some More
How many Chambray puppies that evaluate as being show prospects actually go on to be successful at the dog shows and eventually become champions?
The answer to the above would take a book or two to fully cover all possibilities. Since I don’t have the time nor energy to write a tome at this moment, I will cut to the chase and answer with “very few”!
In defense of the evaluation system, more than 90% of those deemed ‘show potential’ actually grow up and become show worthy and can compete at the top levels. So, from all those deemed ‘show prospects’, 90% will stay the course and fulfill the prediction and only a few will actually make it to the promised land.
There are a myriad of reasons why those highly placed dogs will not succeed all the way to finishing their AKC champion’s title.
The No-Shows - The biggest sector of those that have what it takes but do not succeed is that the owners have no interest in showing. So these we will labeled as the ‘no shows’…………………show potential but they don’t ever make it to the venues to show off their value to the breed.
The Poorly Prepared – Which includes, poorly trained, poorly conditioned, and poorly handled. All the preceding plus poor ring strategies have doomed way too many worthy dogs.
Poor Finances – Showing dogs is a highly competitive sport and it takes a well-thought out campaign to ensure that the monies put into training, conditioning, entries and handling are well worth the investment. There are way too many owners that have no game plan and end up spinning their wheels with very little return for their money, most of these dogs end up dropping out along the way with very little success.
There are many owners and exhibitors that adopt a ‘hit or miss’, now you see them and now you don’t scheme. They have no consistent game plan with very little continuity so that the dog is never in ‘prime’ position and condition to make any headway.
Dogs are creatures of habit, taught the right habits, they learn to perform what is expected of them. Taught the wrong way, they too will exhibit those ‘wrong habits’.
So it is essential that from the get go as puppies that they learn the correct way of showing. Way too many owners and even some paid handlers actually do more harm than good with their ring presentations. Of course their excuse for lack of success is usually cast upon the dog and not on their own inability to execute proper handling of the dog.
As stated in the second paragraph of this blog, very few will ever make it to become champions, but it has more to do with external contingencies than the actual conformation of the dog.
Those dogs that are part of Chambray’s Management Program have the highest chances of going all the way with proper training, conditioning, ring strategies and superb custom-fitted handling. This is by far the best buck for the money in the business..............the RIGHT WAY!
April 24th 2014
"How Does Poor Judging Affect The Breed?"
Great question, in fact it has been the topic of conversation at recent dog shows.
Breeders that strive for perfection are dealt a serious punch to the stomach when a judge puts up a dog with a dastardly fault. Not only does it affect those breeders that know what is what, it also has an adverse effect on those newcomers that don’t know any better and take what they see winning as being the right stuff.
No matter how many years I have been breeding and showing my Labradors, nothing sticks to my craw worse than to see dogs with major structural faults being handed Winners Points over dogs with much better conformation.
Recently witnessing a bitch with an atrociously weak, close-quartered and cow-hocked rear end being awarded points just sends shivers up my spine when from the same class is a dog with perfect conformation as called for by the breed standard. The standard specifically states that COW-HOCKS are serious structural faults so it is not just a case of eenie meenie miney moe or let’s flip a quarter and you call it while it is still in the air…………………..no siree Bob, the dog has a serious structural fault (according to the written breed standard) and it goes to the end of the line or better yet, is dismissed for lack of merit!
The old pat saying ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ applies so apropos for dog judging and as proof, witness how far off the placements and wins are from one day’s worth of judging to the next day. Not only does it create a distasteful sensation about the proceedings for me, it also sends the wrong message to owners of dogs that are much more worthy, creating a disillusionment for their involvement in the fancy.
Since I have been into showing for several decades plus, it affects me momentarily and then a few minutes later I am over it as I then start thinking of the next day or next week’s itinerary. I know that dwelling on negatives brings about more negatives, so as soon as the Latin blood in me cools, I am back to creating positives for the next jaunt.
However not so with my dog owners, I find that my owners take this occurrence of poor specimens receiving the placements much more at heart since they are singularly minded with just their own dog. Having to explain to them that a much lesser dog was awarded points just doesn’t make sense when they have bought into the ‘betterment of the breed’ philosophy.
Fortunately there are way more judges with the right vision for the breed than those that are out beyond the left field fences. In my loosely held conjecture the percentages for the ‘good’ judging sits at about 75%, with 25% going to the ‘bad & the ugly’ type.
I tell my owners, “we have to live with it and move on”. Wishful thinking would be that something could be done about it. Oh, don’t get me wrong, the innovator in me has a huge laundry list of things that could be implemented to bring about some uniformity…………………….but knowing human nature, the frailties, the ineptitude, the mental weaknesses, the short vision……. not to mention all the other shortcomings that we as a species possess…………………none of what I have come up with will work for all the different characters that we see in the ring as judges for the day.
Those of us that have the betterment of the breed in mind need to stay the course with our correct and positive mission…………………the Betterment of the Breed.
Feedback On The Movement Blog
April 24 2014
“Wow, learned more about movement with your blog than all the books I have researched through!”
“One of your best offerings. The photos were great and it makes all the sense in the world. It’s like if it is built right then it would function right.”
“Once again a brilliant article that show mastery with the subject matter.”
“When you publish your book, please sign me up for a dozen of them.”
“What a great looking Labrador, your passion shows in everything you do with your dogs.”
“Kudos and a great presentation, crystal clear, concise and to the point and the photos were beyond excellent.”
“I want to commend you on an excellent educational piece. It was so easy to follow the explanations with the photos. I now understand what to look for when looking at certain areas of my dogs.”
"No wonder Chambray is heads and shoulders beyond the others."
Since publishing the 'Movement' blog, I have received and inordinate amount of response with many of those asking for more, especially with the use of photos and videos. I guess a picture is truly worth a thousand words!
Oh, by the way, for those asking about the dog, he is our newest AKC champion, BBE Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter.
Walter was sired by BBE Ch Chambrays Bailey On The Rocks who in turn was sired by BIS BBE Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff “Hogan”.
In addition, we also championed Hogan’s sire Ch Carmays Ruff Around The Edges, so 4 successive generations of dogs handled to their AKC titles by Chambray’s Show Management Program.
Walter is our 39th home-bred champion and our 7th champion totally breeder/owner handled from the Bred By Exhibitor class as was his sire Bailey and his grandsire Hogan. Both of those numbers are state records for Labradors.
Walter is owned by Judith Church Baker and Mickey Baker of Ft Lauderdale Fl.
Watch for Walter's run for the AKC Grand Champion's title. He is off to a great start, first weekend as a champion he scores a Best Of Breed for a 4-Point Major grand champion points plus a Select for 2 more points, plus both were wins over competition. So he now has 6 points, 2 wins over competiton and 1 major. He needs a total of 25 with 3 majors and 3 wins over competition for his Grand Championship.
Besides the Grand Champion credits, he also now has 3 Best Of Breeds and 2 Group III's to his resume with over 245 All Breed national points for 2014.
The Elusive Correct Movement On Labradors
April 23 2014
Describing the correct movement of a dog is like trying to describe a certain color to someone that is blind. Think about that for a moment………..how would you describe the color ‘red’ to a person that has never ever seen any colors?
From time to time I have published articles using graphs and photos to describe proper angulation, turn of stifle, top-lines, rear assembly, front assembly, correct layback of shoulders and the response and feedback has been worth the time I put into the presentation.
Mentoring on correct movement has evading me for years. I have tried writing about it and that seemed to create more confusion by those that cannot image a concept. I have tried talking about it while at ringside with those that yearn for more knowledge and that also has not worked as well because everything is moving so fast and there is only a fleeting nanosecond to see it and then try and describe it.
Now, I have been very successful in pointing out atrocious movement because in most dogs it is so obvious and those dogs will continue to display the anomaly over and over again so that those in the learning process can actually see it after a few repetitions.
Not so with proper movement……………………….what ends up happening is that the observer sees the overall effect of correct movement but not the individual parts that contribute to the end product and how each works in order to achieve maximum efficiency.
One of those eureka moments just occurred with one of our dogs at 2 weekends of dog shows. First of all the particular dog has that ‘perfect movement’ that most can see without much prompting. With the aid of some awesome photography, I am going to take a stab at yet another mentoring presentation in the hopes of creating some enlightenment on correct movement using a series of photos.
So we start with a photo with the dog standing still. Correct movement is dependent on correct structure. Without correct structure movement becomes inefficient at best and a train wreck at worst.
Looking at the photo on the left we see a dog standing naturally (not posed).
This is as good as a front gets. Front legs straight and parallel to each other with the correct width between them at the elbows (not close quartered or barrel).
Correct spring of rib (not slab-sided) from the neck down to just behind the elbows that have the correct tuck (elbows not pinched in) with the leg proceeding straight under (not bowed or angled in or spread outwards).
Rounded and well arched toes (not splayed nor long).
Distance from ground to mid elbow is distance from mid elbow to whithers (not short upper arm).
Looking back at the rear set of the legs, we see the correct width of rear where each rear leg is standing wider than each front leg and all four feet facing forward or ‘north-south’ (not east-west) and certainly not COW-HOCKED.
With those integral parts in order where they should be as called for the breed standard for Labrador we now move to photo #2 to the right.
The breed standard calls for the movement of the legs to be parallel to each other and in-line as well.
Looking at the photo we see the front left leg in exactly the same plane as the rear left leg and the same thing for the front right leg in the exact plane as the rear right leg.
We see all four legs coming underneath the body creating the desired in-line action called for by the breed standard dictums (not crisscrossing).
All four feet traveling forward (not east-west) and the dog moving straight forward (not side-winding nor crabbing in or out).
There is perfect cadence between the opposing legs.
The front left leg is exactly in sequence with the rear right leg (same distance from the ground) and the front right leg is firmly planted as is the rear left leg.
Elbows are well tucked (not out at the elbows) as there is a continuous plane created by the side of the shoulder blade, elbows and legs.
Looking at the photo to the left we see the dog at a slow gait for the up and back.
Once again we see the perfect cadence between all four legs.
The front left leg is reaching forward at exactly the same time as the rear right leg makes its way forward underneath the body.
The right front leg makes contact with the ground at the forward most reach and now begins to move back as the rear left leg begins its rear drive.
Perfect synchronicity between front reach and rear drive.
The photo at right shows the same dog moving out at a much faster clip again with the perfect cadence between all 4 legs.
The front left is at the forward most reach while the rear left is at the rear most drive.
Both legs on the right side are at perfect convergence right underneath the end of the rib cage at the mid most point of the dog’s body.
Head carriage, topline and tail are all at exactly the correct position and all of the above is due to perfect structure.
As the saying goes 'It doesn't get any better than this'!
April 22nd Earth Day
“There are other ways a Labrador can win a major. I heard it happen at a dog show once where a class dog took the breed and then a Group 1 and crossed over for the major that way and even finished its championship with that!"
”Another point of view:
“I heard it was one of your dogs that would have had the points if a pointed-out dog had been pulled? So is this sour grapes time?”
Contrary to whispered here and there say…………things that happen at dog shows………..I don’t take any of it personal! Being human, well, maybe for a second or two. I am allowed a few moments of angst and venomous intentions……………………but in the name of moving forward it don’t last too long!
What really ruffles my feathers is those same bumpkins that cry “foul” and then they proceed to step in their own droppings. Yep, them there critters hoot and howler and shout out “unsportsmanlike”……….stomp off and flay their arms about and complain “he don’t play fair”, yet given the opportunity, they chew the same cud they be spouting out!
You go figure!
As stated in the previous blog, there is no law or rule about pulling a pointed dog out from the competition. You paid your money and you are entitled to your 15 seconds of flame in the ring. However in the name of that much shouted out phrase “unsportsmanlike”, it is best overall to pull a pointed dog if there is no chance of a major from the breed ring.
Of course there are those that figure that their class dog can win a Best Of Breed and then hike up the pike into the Sporting Group and win a first place…GROUP 1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yep. Seen it done with my very own eyes! To tell the truth only once in a quarter century of dog shows, but none the less it did happen………………..why and how, I am not privy to the deep rooted facts, but hey odder things happen every single day. So for those that not only hold out for a Best Of Breed and then think that they can run the tables to a Group 1, here are the odds of that occurring ‘naturally’………………….25 years of showing with a minimum of 50 shows a year equals 1250 shows give or take half a dozen or so! I really don’t know what 1 in 1250 comes out to percentagewise, but if I had to guestimate, it must be something like a gazillion or a gagaggle percent or one of those other grotesquely sounding names that Wordalogist come with when something new happens and it doesn’t have a name yet.
So for Homey (guys) or Homely (gals) to think that their class dog will end up in the Best In Show lineup with an ordinary looking Labrador, good luck!
No sour grapes because there have been many instances where one of our management dogs stayed in the competition in the hopes of going breed for the major-pointed win and that didn’t happen. In essence taking points that another dog may have needed and I know for sure that really did cause puckered grimaces amongst those that can’t decipher out the permutations involved in achieving a major.
To all of this I say “Show your dogs if there is the possibility of taking BOB and then crossing over for the major points that way”………………………… “Pull your dog if there is no way to major from the breed ring because 1 in a gazillion is not going to happen!”
Do what you might,
Do what you may,
Hold no one accountable
As it make come back and bite you one sunny day.
Ok, ok here it is for those that couldn't wait to read all about it!
April 20th 2014
The various Chambray websites and in particular the Chambray Blogging Off section provide different outlets for the dissemination of Labrador-related information. Subjects and topics cover any and all matter that comes up on a daily basis from the multitudes that email, phone or those that cometh in person.
Negotiating with hundreds per week…………….scores of thousands on yearly basis I have come to an understanding that ‘knowledge’ is a commodity that comes and goes, even with those that have been dabbling in the fancy for any length of time.
There are particular subject matter that seems to surface with very regular frequency and one of those is the continuation of showing a class dog/bitch that is pointed out.
An explanation is needed for those just starting Pre-K in the world of show dogs.
At the AKC venues, a dog needs:
A total of 15 points to earn its champion’s title.
These points are accumulated by winning a Winners Dog (WD) for the boys and a Winners Bitch (WB) for the girls.
There is a point value for the number of dogs defeated of the same sex.
The more dogs defeated by winning the WD/WB the more points is awarded.
There is a maximum of 5 points no matter how many dogs are competing.
Any show that is worth 3, 4 or 5 points is considered a ‘Major-Pointed win’.
So one of the other requirements for a dog to champion besides the total of 15 points is that it must win 2 of those major-pointed wins.
A dog or a bitch that accumulates 9 of the ‘lesser-pointed’ wins is said to have ‘pointed out’ and therefore only needs 2 of those major-pointed shows to ‘finish’ its championship.
In essence, that pointed out dog/bitch needs to show only if there is a *remote* possibility of winning a major by doing something that most class dogs usually do not do and that would be beating the champions in the Best Of Breed competition and thus adding the needed numbers to the class dog/bitch tallies to rise to become a major-pointed show.
There is no written rule to the pulling of a pointed out dog, however since winning those ‘lesser points’ is useless and won’t count towards the ascribed numbers needed to champion out, it may set better with the gentry to sit the dog out until there is a possibility of adding up to a major.
So, in the name of good sportsmanship, throughout the ages most sensible folk with normal forethought will forego showing a dog when the points won’t add up to the major points needed even if it does win the Best Of Breed award.
The Chambray Dog Management Program will always show a dog if there is a chance of achieving a major-pointed win by going Best Of Breed or Best Of Opposite Sex. That is a standing rule now and in the future.
We will not show a dog if there is no chance of a major-pointed even if a BOB or BOS were to be had.
In years past without the benefit of the Internet with instantaneous facts and information available at the sleight of hand, touching of I-Pads, thumbing of cell phone screens, or scrolling over with a mouse…………in those prehistoric days of yesteryear it was difficult to know exactly how many points a dog really had amassed because the AKC was also dwelling in the Dark Ages and it took months for them to update a dog’s winning and the points it had accumulated towards it championship.
Fast forward 10 years to the now future and the AKC is only a week behind in its visual publication of all show dog’s points progression……………….however there could be some recent shows that have not been tallied and posted in yet, however the dog show superintendents publish to their website the show results from those shows and it is quite simple for anyone with any sense to figure out exactly how many points a dog has using the AKC site and augmenting that information with results from online catalog results…………….simple as a dimple on a dapple.
Now a days, seated around ringside we can access any dog’s ‘points progression’ at the AKC website using that dog’s AKC number found in the dog show catalog and presto maestro right before your very own eyes the information is crystal clear, plus checking the shows not yet covered by the AKC and whoop there it is…………………..of course there are those with very slow moving gray matter that are and will perpetually be blond when presented with equations just beyond simple addition found in primer school.
Educate and mentor as well and as much as can be, there will always be those lost sheep that stray too far from the norm and that is the spice of life that makes the world go around.
To enlightened those not clear on the point's process, at any show that I am present at, I will offer my expertise in figuring out what appears to be a logjam for some on deciphering whether or not a dog has achieved its needed lesser points and whether that particular show could add up to be a major-pointed win by winning beyond the classes of Winners Dog/Winners Bitch points.
April 18th 2014
“Is there a ‘clearing house’ or other agency or organization that rates breeders?”
That is as simple as it gets!
The AKC has a referral list, but anyone that registers their puppies through the AKC can by listed there.
There are hundreds of supposedly ‘Breeder Referral Services’……………again anyone can ‘buy’ to be on those lists as well by paying the stipulated fees to be listed.
Even the parent clubs for the different breeds allow their members to be listed, however they too have no ‘rating’ or ways of knowing the breeding practices of those members.
It is ‘Caveat Emptor’…………………..buyer beware!
The vast majority of websites offering ‘cute puppies for sale’ are NOT THE PLACE TO GET A PUPPY FROM!
That’s as simple as I can state it!
On a daily basis I receive dozens of emails from people searching for puppies and almost all have also been in touch with these nefarious sources. There have been some that have already been through the experience of having bought a puppy from the wrong place and the stories these folk tell raises the hackles on the back of my neck.
I do my very best to educate those looking to add a canine member to their family through the various websites that I host. Unfortunately for those ‘thousands that touch base with us, the entire Chambray owner’s membership only produces a small number of puppies and cannot supply the 1500+ requests for puppies I receive a year. There are over 150 owners that participate in our various programs and from those 10 to 12 litters of puppies are produced which adds up to 60-80 puppies a year.
My advice to people is to get to know the breeder, because the quality of the puppies produced is 100% related to the quality of the people you are dealing with.
The hiatus is about over and here we go again to a weekend of dog shows with the Zolfo Springs 2 days of AKC shows upon us this Saturday and Sunday.
For those that just blinked twice wondering where in tar blazes ‘Zolfo’ anything is……………..well, it is somewhere and that somewhere is right down the country road from Wauchula. Just in case you don’t know Wauchula……………………. both places are right dab in the middle of nowhere south central Florida!
Here’s how to get there…….from my neck of the woods, I head due north on US 27 which runs right up the middle of the peninsula. Yep, no coasts to see………….in fact not much else other than the same thing miles on end of nothingness. You keep trucking on that road until you pass an ungodly amount of orange grove miles and then you come upon a desolate intersection with a homeless guy selling oranges on the side of the road…………….that he just picked (swiped) from the orange grower’s endless lineup of citrus trees. I know that for a fact because unknowingly I stopped one day to buy a bag of the fruit thinking the guy was legit and come to find out he purloins them and then runs to the side of the highway and sells them to unsuspecting yokels like yours truly here.
That particular junction of the road on US 27 is FL SR 66 and there you make a left and head west a whole bunch of miles and miles of more trees dotted with more oranges and then you come upon another desolate intersection that looks just like the one 29 miles before with the exception of having no homeless guy selling oranges and right there you will find Zolfo Springs.
So, if anyone is in the mood for driving out to nowhere and want to see lots and lots of orange groves and maybe even the homeless guy on the side of the road selling 3-finger discount fruit, then set your GSP to Zolfo Springs Fl and be there at 8 AM on Saturday and la meme chose on Sunday to catch us city slickers running around the ring in the middle of smack dab Nowhere FL with our Labradors in tow.
April 15th TAX DAY
“Read the recent blog and could not agree more wholeheartedly with the poster of that blog. I have searched high and low for a breeder that would work with me with the type of dog I was looking for. What a rude awakening that experience has been. Talk about finding a needle in a haystack! Most of the more reputable ones will sell a dog, but 100% on their terms! Forget about me telling them what I wanted, very few had the time of day for that! More like "this is what’s available, this is the price, let me know and I will let you know if it is still available". That is until I met up with you at the Eukanuba shows in December and my recent trip down to South Florida to meet with you at your farm at by the Everglades. What a wonderful experience this has been, I can’t imagine why anyone looking for a puppy would put up with anything less when they can have the whole package and more with your programs”
My response to the above:
No further words needed from me.
April 14th 2014
“I was truly amazed going through your website and reading about your owner’s programs. I have never heard of any of this before. My wife and I have been going through dozens of breeders and kennel’s websites and no one else comes close to what you all do with your Labradors. Since you all are so successful, how come no one else has set up an operation as you all have?”
First of all, thank you for your acknowledgement and kind words. I would like to lay claim to being the originator/innovator for the programs that we have in place for our owners…………………however in all honesty I am sure that there are and have been others with some type of mentorship/support program for their owners, I just like to believe that I have somehow done it better for all involved…………of course that is the ‘braggadocio’ in me speaking!
There are many reasons why our programs work for those that have chosen and have been accepted to be part of our programs………………………….the biggest reason is the passion that I have for what I do with Labradors…………………………without a doubt……….without the passion it won’t work!
Next comes the expertise in all the areas needed:
44 years of experience raising just one breed of dog, the Labrador Retriever………………………..
20,000+ dogs/owners trained………………………..
thousands of dog show competitions multiplied by at least 5 dogs per every one of those competitions handled…………………
hundreds of not a thousand dogs pointed………………………
over 100 championed dogs, mostly Labradors………………..
39 of the Chambray dogs and 18 more Labradors from other breeders and kennels.
Followed closely with my desires to share with those that come with open minds and display the all-important trust in me and my mission for the betterment of the breed………………..and are willing to establish a working association with me towards those same goals.
Last and certainly not least will be my ability to work and build a trust system with those that have been accepted into our various programs.
With all these prerequisites in place, we then can move forward as so many have and together we accomplish so much.
April 11th 2014
“At times, I see different handlers on dogs, how is it determined which handlers goes on which dogs?”
Each dog has a totally different game plan devised according to various criteria. There are priorities established for the different handlers in our program as to which dog they handle out of the classes.
We have a roster drawn up for each day of showing with a particular handler on a given dog, this handler would be the ‘primary handler’ for that dog. However, because of conflicts between different rings, there is also a backup plan in case a handler cannot make it in time to show their given assignment, so these stand-ins would be termed as ‘backup handlers’.
Since a handler may win with several dogs, there is a ‘pecking order’ for that handler to go back in with into the Winners Dog/Bitch competition since they cannot handle more than one dog at time. This then sets up a priority between the class dogs and also the class bitches for a handler.
Although our management system sets up a written roster, changes are made according to many variables. Sometimes these handler changes occur seconds before rushing into the ring. This is termed ‘going with the flow’.
For instance at a recent show, I handled several males from the classes and won with 2 of those. My main priority for going back into the Winners Dog competition was the Bred By dog that needed to win that day to win his AKC championship. So, we followed the script and I went back in with Walter and I used a backup for the other male that I had won the class with.
As it worked out, Walter won Winners Dog for a 3-Pt Major, finishing his championship. Now, for Best Of Breed competition my main Labrador priority for the day was my ‘specials dog’ Jake, who already is a champion and we are campaigning him for national rankings.
Each of the Chambray handlers had a priority going into the Best Of Breed competition, so a backup handler would be needed for Walter who had won Winners Dog from the male’s competition. Right before going into Best Of Breed, I made a last second decision to ‘stay’ on the Winners Dog Walter and switch some of the other Chambray handler’s original priorities.
Johanna was supposed to handle our specials female Gavi, so she switched off to Jake, Ryan was brought in to handle Gavi, Jessie stayed on her specials priority Jericho and Angel was put on the other Chambray specials Miracle.
As it worked out, Walter won Best Of Breed over all the champions that day, thus raising the points to a 4 point major win. He also won big in the Sporting Group competition by taking a Group 3 picking up a total of 166 All-Breed Points to his credit. So my intuition paid off by staying on Walter and handing off my regular champion.
The champion dogs receive the overall priority over the class dogs unless an exception is called in as I did with Walter that day.
Those dogs with the most points accrued are given handler priority over the younger dogs with less points and puppies usually bring up the rear as far as priorities in handling are concerned.
Each show day brings us different scenarios, so at times whomever was handling a dog on Saturday may very well be handing a different dog on Sunday. Besides handling dogs, one of my other jobs at a dog show is to watch each of our dogs and handlers in the ring to see what needs to be done to make each dog’s presentation better. At times I may call for a handler change to see how a dog may react with a different handler, other times a handler change is made according to who the judge is and what their ‘tendencies’ may be.
April 11th 2014
“How do you select which dogs will be showing from your extensive lineup of dogs?
”One of the luxuries of Chambray’s Owners Program is the ability to work with so many dogs with show potential and developing each to that projected potential……………..then deciding which of those dogs will be the most competitive at the dog shows.
It all starts with the puppies designated as ‘show prospects”, where each is afforded unlimited training, both on an individual basis and also in class sessions. Each of their owners is encouraged to participate in as many of our areas of expertise as they have time for.
We have programs for every need and situation. Some owners are very active and get involved very personally with the development program for their puppy. Other owners take advantage of the services we provide and let us do all the work.
As we work with these up and coming puppies and youngsters a natural selection process occurs, as there are some dogs that take well to training and exhibit the attitude for showing, while others may have the conformation, but not the attitude.
So, at this stage there may be some owners with their dogs that are spared further investment in time, energy and money and are given extra time to grow and develop.
The owners with puppies that have that extra ‘flair and ambience for showing’ are encouraged to continue on. With these ‘select’ ones, the goal is to get them primed and ready for their show debut at the International Shows (both IABCA and the new ICE venues).
This then becomes our 2nd level of ‘proving grounds’ where the more successful dogs graduate on up for consideration for competing at the AKC level. Here again, there may be those puppies and young dogs that may not exhibit the competitiveness under the pressure to go further in showing.
Those dogs that pass these initial hurdles will then begin the process if conditioning & training for the heightened demands of AKC competition. These then will be the dogs that can be seen on the frontlines for Chambray’s Show Dog Management Program at the AKC shows.
At any given point in time there will be puppies making their first appearance at a show alongside those veterans just needing one more win to earn their AKC champion’s title. Each dog and owner is treated totally individually according to a myriad of considerations.
A game plan is developed for each dog and the owners are very much part of the equation………………..which of course is the polar opposite of what the standard fare for showing dogs is………. ‘Removing the owner from the equation’. We encourage our owners to participate as much or as little, but it is their choice which.
April 11th 2014
“There are so many stud dogs to choose from, how do I know if the one I select for my female will produce good puppies?”
The Internet has become the greatest tool for our breeding programs by allowing us access to hundreds if not thousands of breeders from all over the world.
No longer are we restricted to breeding Molly McGee to Point Dexter down the street, now we can order ‘Romeo’s goods’ from across the sea because we saw a video with him dazzling the crowds at biggest dog show on the planet at Crofts (England) after having arrived from his native Italy for the grandiose affair.
The 'Best In Show' results at the Potomac in Maryland get beamed as they happen via cell phone, better yet the same cell phone sends action videos to Kalamazoo, Hullabaloo and other parts unknown jiffy quick, giving more choices for the part of the leading man in anyone's action movie of breeding.
What used to be the hottest dog of the year, now becomes the hottest dog of the moment according to which venue and in what time zone the event is being staged at.
This actually has caused the ‘kid in a candy shop’ syndrome! 'Plain Jane' who owns her very first female can now access the greatest dog of the day and order up his ‘liquid gold’ and 60 days later have a bundle of puppies with potential galore.
It actually is a bit more difficult producing greatness than the preceding…………..but you get the gist here.
So, to answer to the burning question of ‘knowing’ if a particular dog will produce ‘good’………………practice makes perfect……………..the thing about this saying is that with the vast majority it will take years and years of practice, with some running out of time before that actually get to see the 'Perfect 10'.
With so many stud dog choices available we will see 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly' at a theater near you............actually now you can just click on your cell phone, IPad, Lap Top or whatever else is new and view that flick as you drive down the Interstate.
More April 10th
Vive La Difference
No, we don’t name names! There is really no need for that as everyone that is involved knows who they are. We are totally fine with each and every person showing dogs in Florida and every other state we show our dogs.
We have a job to do and that’s exactly what we do! First we breed for the best, then we take those dogs and train them to perform, then we take the best of those dogs and condition them to compete at the highest levels, then we provide our exclusive handling/management program to make the best presentation possible.
We have absolutely no time for any drama or personal agendas. Our owners expect the best from us and that’s what we deliver. It is all positive, forward business with us………………..of course at a recent dog show I let out my inner emotions and probably created a celebration of mass proportions, but I think that coming back from the ‘brink’ entitles anyone to “do a little dance, sing a little song and get down tonight”.
I honestly believe that there is a new attitude of ‘’laissez faire’ about the Labrador ring landscape in Florida……………….it is long overdue, but better late than never. The pervasive black cloud hanging over the environment is no longer there and most fanciers now come and go without all the negativity that persisted for so long.
So, yes there are many that are working within the framework of Chambray’s Management Program, some that are totally independent, some with Chambray dogs that have dealings with the various programs and amenities offered by Chambray and few past Chambray owners that have no ties to our programs. To me that’s all a good thing and ‘vive la difference’!
April 10th 2014
An Addendum To The Ant's Blog
In a recent blog, I stated the following:
The following blog is in response to an observation of the inner workings of Chambray’s Owners Group and how there are so many Chambray owners working within our numerous programs and why there are a few previous owners that are not part of the program. Simply put, the program works for those that work at it and it does not work for those that don’t work out.
Over the years, Chambray Labradors has enjoyed well over a 97% satisfaction rate from our dog owners and service clients, so I should have been more specific to the inquirer’s question which was directed towards the 2% or 3% that can never be satisfied no matter what………………the ones that didn’t work out.
All businesses and enterprises work hard for a high satisfaction rating and we take extreme pride in ours, we also know that there will always be those few self-serving individuals that for whatever reason don’t seem to fit in and try as we may, it just doesn’t work out, thus the part of the statement “the program works for those that work at it and it does not work for the that’s don’t work out”.
With those folks that don’t seem to work within the parameters set up by the program, we wish them well and we part ways without a second thought.
The preceding covers more or less what the initial inquirer was asking about, however it has been brought to my attention that my reply was too broad in scope and covered more ground than the intended. So I offer an addendum here to cover some of the other scenarios.
There are many Chambray owners that have become independent breeders, exhibitors and even handlers and we support these fine folk 100% in their endeavors. Some enjoy our Mentorship Program and Support Network even though we may not be handling or manage their dogs. There are those that use some of our services, including the Training and Conditioning Programs and others that are part of our Stud Dog Program with their male dogs and others that own females and use the Stud Dogs that we manage.
A better answer/descriptive would have been the following:
So at the dog shows in Florida the largest group from the Labrador ring will be the Chambray Owners that are working within Chambray’s Management Program.
Next in size will be those breeders/exhibitors that are not associated in any way with our programs.
Followed closely by those that have Chambray dogs and have become independents and maintain a good relationship with Chambray. Some of these partake in our training and conditioning, others use our Support Network for Mentorship, and some use our Stud Dog Program.
Then there are the few that just didn’t work out.
More April 9th
By Popular Request........
A Testimonial Page
I had been posting some testimonials to this blog page and the response to those blogs have been great. Many have inquired to the posting of those testimonials to a stand alone page. That had been in the works for some time, but because of the limits on my time, I had put that project off for a while. The original testimonial's page is still online at http://www.chambraylabradors.com/Testimonials.htm which is housed at the old Chambray Labradors website.
However, I will be tranferring some of those old testimonials to this new page at this website, plus any new offerings will also be published to the new page at the following:
April 9th 2014
Alone We Can Do So Little
Together We Can Do So Much
The following blog is in response to an observation of the inner workings of Chambray’s Owners Group and how there are so many Chambray owners working within our numerous programs and why there are a few previous owners that are not part of the program. Simply put, the program works for those that work at it and it does not work for those that don’t work out.
Producing top show quality Labradors is a ‘pure labor of love’ because it is so much easier to churn out mediocrity without the labor and certainly without the love and of course the purity of the product would be very questionable!
Taking those puppies that exemplify the breed standard and then going beyond with them at conformation dog shows is a task not for the faint of heart. The competitive nature of dog shows at times brings out the little kid in some, with the old attitude of ‘my dog’s better than your dog, nah, nah nee nah nah’……………………….and trust me it can get stickier as many have witnessed in recent and plenty years before that.
Of course the flip side of melodrama is letting the good times roll and that happens when one is aligned with a successful breeding/training/conditioning and handling program………………in essence all ride the waves of euphoria with those successes at the dog shows.
It is very pleasurable for those that have done their research………………..have made the right decisions on where and from whom to obtain their puppies………………….those then will have success and will be happy as larks in a meadow of poppy’s.
The aforementioned successes comes from the pooling in of resources to make it all work out for those involved in the cooperative venture. This then becomes the humming mantra that is vital for the engine to continue purring without missing a stroke……………….and if a bump in the road does present itself, it is only a momentary glitch that is negotiated…………..righted…………………..and onward with the show we go!
The preceding is a descriptive of how Chambray’s Management Program for the Betterment of the Breeds works……………………..all cylinders working smoothly by all the different parts and the fruit of the labor is the unprecedented successes enjoyed by those that partake in the programs.
If along the way, there are a few that for whatever reason do not enjoy the ride, then adjustments are made...................fine tuning if needed, to ensure that the products and services offered continue to be the best for all involved and the successes maintain the unparalleled path now going into its 25th year at the dog shows.
The Double Edge Evaluation Process
April 6th 2014
The Double Edge Evaluation Process
One of the most crucial steps in the perpetuation of producing great quality dogs is the ability to identify as puppies those outstanding specimens from a given litter. Those chosen as such will be the ones that will in turn produce the next generation of superior quality.Chambray’s mission statement, for the Betterment of the Breed is crafted around the premise of breeding the best from the best, so being able to select out the best as 8-week old puppies is imperative if the stated mission is to mean anything in the long run.
Ah but alas………….it is easier stated than done!
Anyone with a pair of eyes can look upon a litter of puppies and pick out the one that for whatever reason impresses them the most and proclaims that choice as the ‘pick of the litter’. At times, the process resembling the old children’s way of picking things, ‘eeny, meeny, miny, moe”, which is as reliable as pinning the ‘tail on the donkey’ way.
For those that use those ‘hit or miss’ methods to determine which puppy to keep or place as show/breeding quality will invariably face the consequences of their inability to really ‘see’ which puppies if any indeed have surpassed the parents conformational quality.
For those others that have developed that valued asset of determining which puppies are truly the ones that have at least equaled the parents and at best gone beyond…………………..those then will be the ‘far sighted’ individuals who will reap the rewards of their talents.
The process first involves choosing parents that truly qualify as top show quality. This crucial step is the ‘do or die’ lunar landing for success. Breeding mediocre dogs will produce another generation of mediocrity, so without the very best to breed to, the project is doomed from the get go.
Once a litter is born from outstanding sires and dams, the litter must be evaluated for top quality with a very clinical, non-emotional process. Culling out those puppies that have inconsistencies that deviate from the breed standard is a vital step, thus leaving only those that will conform to the blueprint for the breed.
Next is to judiciously select out those that conform to the standard and that go beyond…………..the ones that stand out and seem to say “beam me up Scotty”! Those are the ones that have the right stuff………..the ones that have what it takes to perpetuate the breed to another generation.
Like I said, easier said in the preceding short paragraphs, where in reality most breeders go years, decades and still never develop the ability of ‘vision’ at the 8-week evaluation mark. Few ever follow up in the future when those dogs have grown up.........……………..being able to compare what they more or less predicted at 8 weeks and seeing how they actually turned out as adults. The old ‘before and after’ comparison that becomes the verdict for the evaluator.
As if that entire ‘lifetime of learning’ process was not difficult enough, at Chambray the toughest part actually comes in the placement of those superior puppies. The ‘double edge’ if you will with another ‘evaluation’ process that needs to take place before any puppy leaves our midst. This then becomes the ‘truth or dare’ process………………..being able to select the right owners for those puppies that have risen to the Betterment of the Breed credo.
Now being able to ‘select’ the owners of those puppies that exemplify the breed and go beyond with stellar assets then becomes the real ordeal……………………the break a deal if it doesn’t go well.
Both of these ‘evaluation’ processes occur right after and within days of each other…………….for no sooner have the puppies gone through the rigorous conformational evaluation that we then have to decide with whom they will be placed.
Making a mistake with either process spells failure for our breeding, training and showing programs.
A great puppy with an uninterested owner ends the ‘pay it forward’ for that puppy, as those will never be seen again……………………….a poor puppy with a great owner dead-ends that owner to the sidelines at best and long gone at worst.
There is very little margin for error either way and matching a great puppy to a great owner is like winning the Big Fat Lotto for Chambray……………………fortunately for us we seemed to have won the lotto over and over again as both the puppy evaluation and people evaluation processes invariably tips the scales in our favor as proof positive with our collective successes.
A Bud For All The Dedicated
The Eureka Chocolate Moment
Twenty years ago I embarked on a most noble project…………………actually more like a Don Quixote jousting with windmills thing………………….what if any affect could I have in establishing a chocolate breeding program to produce show competitive chocolate Labradors!
For those that have the knowledge to understand the preceding paragraph, you know that reaching the summit of Mt. Everest may equal the challenge involved in succeeding with either.
For those not privy to the inner workings of the Labrador gene pool, in specific the chocolate genome, it is a major uphill ordeal producing any consistency, although a few have had the patience to achieve degrees of success, the vast majority of chocolate breeders were a good 25 years behind what the top yellow/black breeders have accomplished.
My vision at the time was that it would take a minimum of 7 generations of breeding the best to the best to actually seeing through the fog of lesser quality produced. The goal was to arrive at a better percentage of show quality puppies in a litter versus pet quality pups produced. In Chambray’s yellow breeding program, 7 generations would take about 20 years, with the chocolates breeding the same 7 generations would take at least 30 years since we breed so few litters and they are spaced apart much longer.
In addition, during that span of 20 years, there have been several stop……..wait and start again periods that have lasted 3 to 4 years of non-productive downtime. Major damaging storms, personal health issues and other un-fortuitous times would derail the noble project.
Which brings us to the present day………………3 generations short of the 7 that I thought it would take to see the light at the end of the tunnel………………tons and tons of new developments have transpired since my initial guestimates of time and productivity………………..good things at that!
Although there have been time wise setbacks for us at Chambray, there has been humongous headway achieved throughout the country from dedicated chocolate breeders, add to that the ease of exchanging information with the Internet and what used to take 15 years to accomplish in the old days now is done in 3!!!!
By utilizing the new advances in information exchange and benefitting from the successes brought about by top chocolate show breeders, our newest generation, our 4th for the chocolates has crossed into the ‘eureka’ threshold. Each generation before this one brought about observable improvement and now being able to see what top stud dogs are producing as it happens, gave us the tools to move ahead by leaps and bounds.
Our newest litter, a 4th generation venture produced what no other chocolate litter had ever done at an evaluation……………………all 5* pups in the litter had the type and physical conformation to rate as being ‘top prospect show quality”.
So, for all those chocolate breeders that have laid the groundwork down and have opened up the gene pool with the quality needed for improvement…….this Bud, Miller and Michelob is for you!
With all the great things that are taking place with the chocolates................I can't wait to see what generation #5 brings for Chambray.
*one puppy had a slight overbite that rendered it as a pet, however all her other attributes would have propelled her into the show spectrum.
March 28th 2014
I have received numerous correspondence since the blog with the year-by-year champions. That’s 39 champions in 21 years……………by the numbers that is approximately 2 champions titled per year, give or take 1 or 2.
The first 10 years (1993 to 2003) saw 15 champions titled and the same amount of titled dogs in just the last 5 years (2009 to 2014)! We can justly assume that there will be more Chambray dogs finished in the remaining 8 months of this year which would significantly bring the per year totals for the last 5 years to a much higher value.
In the same time period since 2009, it has become more and more difficult to finish dogs because the numbers of dogs entered at dog shows has dropped, making it much harder to earn the major-pointed wins needed for an AKC championship. So a catch-22 situation has created a major bottle neck for dogs to champion out. With less dogs entered at dog shows, it would seem easier to win points, which in essence is the case, at the same time with the lowered entries all those dogs that point out earning their minor points will have a much tougher road to win the few major-pointed shows available.
Now here is the ultimate carrot dangled in front of the horse with the blinders on……………………..starting on May 14th the AKC has lowered the point schedule for Florida by a significant amount making it much easier to garner a major win…….for the males that is! However quick thinking judges can also make it easy for the females to major by crossing the Winners Bitch to Best Of Winners and then both male and female will have their majors.
Sounds simple enough?
Well, yes and no! Because there is no guarantee that the dogs needing the majors will actually win the Winners Dog points. Here’s the catch, it’s every dog for themselves as puppies and younger dogs are also in the mix for those same wins even if they are not close to finishing but they too can gobble up those ‘up-to-now’ rare majors!
So, the next couple of months of shows in Florida promises lots of intrigue and surprises. At Chambray we have an outstanding new class of puppies and youngsters from the Class of 2013 ready to make their presence known alongside of our veteran dogs that so badly need those majors.
So far for 2014 there have been 3 new Chambray champions with Ch Chambrays Miracle in January, Ch Chambrays Jo Jo in February and our newest titled dog in March, Ch Chambrays Walter. Waiting in the wings are 7 more Chambray dogs that need majors to finish out their championship and also 5 other pointed dogs that are now coming on strong. Of course there will be a host of other Labradors from the many Florida Labrador breeders and all those that are shipped in from other states with handlers that will also be in the hunt for the elusive pie in the sky major-pointed wins.
Although a bountiful year already with 3 new champions, the record number champions of 6 in one year set by Chambray in 2012 is well within reach in the remaining months of 2014.
Yes, lots of intrigue and surprises, hopefully real good ones at that for Chambray!
The Blogging Off Experience
March 25th 2014
I’ve been enjoying the blogs recently with owners comments, q&a on the Chambray program, etc.
Here is my offering coming from an owner that does not live in Florida:
I am a proud owner of a Chambray show Labrador and while I do not live in Florida and cannot take advantage regularly of all the benefits that the Chambray owners program offers, I just can’t be happier with my Chambray girl and with the quality that Chambray instills in its program.
Why you ask?
First and foremost, Chambray emphasizes excellent temperament, physical soundness and conformation to the breed standard. I think that this allows the Chambray dogs to be more athletic and capable of showing in the conformation ring AND in performance events like obedience, agility, hunt test, and as hunting dogs.
This is what the Labrador Retriever breed is supposed to be able to do as stated in the breed standard:
“Physical features and mental characteristics should denote a dog bred to perform as an efficient Retriever of game with a stable temperament suitable for a variety of pursuits beyond the hunting environment.”
To me the Labrador Retriever is the ultimate versatility breed and it is critical to the betterment of the breed for labs to be competitive in the conformation ring and be able to perform as a hunter or as a performance dog.
Maybe one day there will again be a dual champion Labrador, and if there is it wouldn’t surprise me at all if it’s a Chambray Labrador.
Take care and keep going on the blog!
Virginia B. Wilson
March 25th 2014
“Do you offer training and conditioning videos?”
There is so much demand by those that live too far away to attend our training classes or to be able to drop their dogs off for the different programs we offer.
Although this project is on the drawing board of ‘great things to do’, there is a slight hang-up with the idea……………….each dog is unique so each dog would need a very individualized regimen drawn up for its strengths and weaknesses.
Here at Chambray Acres we have 2 fulltime dedicated trainers and conditioners working with dogs 6 days a week, plus 2 other afternoon/evening trainers available for the night training sessions. More than 20 dogs are worked with daily with all types of customized prescriptions that are designed for each dog in the program.
A large percentage of the dogs that come for our services are in the Physical Conditioning Program for show:
Large exercise area workouts,
Weight reduction/weight gain,
Building stamina and endurance,
Correct gaiting techniques
Many participate in our Innovative Show Training Programs using
flat and inclined treadmill workouts,
our one-of-a-kind Series Block Stacking Method,
Circular Pattern Gaiting Techniques
and other methods to bring out the very best in each dog accepted into our curriculum.
So, I will put my mind to work and see how I can come up with some videos that will actually do some good for the Betterment of the Breed.
March 25 2014
Proof Is In The Pudding
“You claim to ‘breed the best and place the best’……………….how many of the dogs that became champion did you initially keep and how many did you actually place with others”
Ah, inquiring minds at work taking me to task on my very public proclamations…………………I wouldn’t wanted it any different!
The best validity is an actual name by name presentation……………….there is absolutely no ‘claims” here that can’t be authenticated.
#1 1993 – Ch Chambray Acres Russell* owned by Gloria and Frank Rodriguez
#2 1993 – Ch Chambrays Indian Summer* owned by Casey and Phil McGowen
#3 1994 – FCI Ch Chambrays Princess Kenya owned by Lauret Beri
#4 1995 – Ch Chambrays Caleb at Triple S owned by Trish Sheekey
#5 1996 – FCI Ch Chambrays Duchess owned by Ren Avery
#6 1997 – Ch Chambrays Colombo* owned by Herbert Cordero
#7 1997 – Ch Chambrays Catch Me If U Can* owned by Nancy Lord
#8 1997 – Ch Chambrays Klever Kloi* owned by Mike Gibbs
#9 1999 – Ch Chambrays Chisholm Chancey* owned by Martha Chisholm
#10 2000 – Ch Chambrays Buckshot Shooter* owned by Coleen Cunningham
#11 2001 – Ch Chambrays Franco* owned by Tony Farias
#12 2002 – Ch Chambrays Penalty Shot* owned by the Gonzalez family
#13 2002 – Ch Chambrays Silver Storm* owned by Sharon Hall
#14 2003 – Ch Chambrays Twist Of Fate* owned by Roberta Wallach
#15 2003 – Ch Chambrays Chance N Counter* owned Jessica Herzon
So we have 1 out of the first 15 champions that was kept from a litter by then 12-year old Jessica Herzon, who trained and showed her to her championship. There were 3 super star puppies in that litter and we placed the other 2 with specially chosen people from a waiting list of over 15 people that wanted a puppy from that litter.
#16 2004 – Ch Chambrays Mad About Madeline* owned by Rosy Harkow
#17 2004 – Ch Chambrays Chisholm Sir Lancelot* owned by Martha Chisholm
#18 2005 – Ch Chambrays Moon Over Maya* owned by Grace Escalona
#19 2005 – Ch Chambrays Right On Target* owned by Cindy Ceballos
#20 2006 – BIS Ch Chambrays Out Of The Ruff* owned by Rosie Feeley
#21 2008 – BBE Gr Ch Chambrays Charmed N Counter owned by Jessica Herzon from the litter she bred, delivered and raised as her senior high school project. Jessie then went on to finish Charm herself.
#22 2008 – Ch Chambrays Hogan’s Hero Rocky* owned by Karen Gjertsen
#23 2008 – Ch Chambrays Dakota On Board* owned by Pete Schultz
#24 2010 – BBE Bronze Gr Ch Chambrays And The Beat Goes On* owned by Mary & Bob Jakeway
#25 2010 – Gr Ch WinQuest Chambrays Cadbury* owned by the Ottos
#26 2011 – BBE Chambrays Bailey On The Rocks* owned by Neil Wasserman and Faith Bandklayder
#27 2011 – Ch Chambrays Scarlet* owned by the Ottos
#28 2011 – Can Ch Chambrays Karley owned by Jeff Moore
#29 2012 – Gr Ch Chambrays Summer Breeze* owned by Rosie Feeley
#30 2012 – BIS BBE Silver/Bronze Gr Ch Chambrays Celestial N Counter* owned by Juan Marrero
#31 2012 – Bronze Gr Ch WinQuest Chambray Reaching For The Stars* owned by Alan Criado
#32 2012 – BBE Gr Ch Chambrays First N Counter* owned by Juan Marrero
#33 2012 – Ch Chambrays Handsome Island Boy Louie* owned by Eva Szabo & Richard Arnold
#34 2012 – Ch Chambrays Rum Tum Tugger* owned by Lewis and Brady
#35 2013 – Ch Chambrays Diamond Destiny* owned by Pat and Russ Blousse
#36 2013 – Gr Ch Chambrays The Count De Monet* owned by David Baxter
#37 2014 – Ch Chambrays Miracle On The Meadow* owned by Tony Alonso
#38 2014 – Ch Chambrays Mean Green Josephine* owned by David Baxter
#39 2014 – BBE Ch Chambrays Ruff Jewel Walter* owned by Judith & Mickey Baker
So that brings us to 39 home-bred Chambray champions and only 2 of those were kept and owned by the Herzon family. Since I relate really good to numbers………………37 out of 39 would be 94% of the champions produced were placed as the best…………………like in place the best!
*These dogs all benefited from our Total Show Dog Management Program, taking advantage of some or all of our programs for the Betterment of the Breed………………mentoring, private training, night classes, show handling……………..all for the Betterment of the Breed.
Now for all those breeders out there that count the dogs that they bought and then “made up” their championship,
here are those outside dogs that were titled by our combined efforts, however we don't count them in as our "home-bred" champions.
Ch Chelons Emma Ducka O’Chardon (owned)
Am/Can Ch Grandquest Chambray Slapshot (co-owned)
Ch Kaiden Chambray Conquest (owned)
Ch Surry’s Obscured By Clouds (co-owned)
Ch Carmays Ruff Around The Edges (co-owned)
Ch Danjacs Steppin Out At Carmay (co-owned)
Ch Summithills Joshua’s Battle At Jericho (managed)
The above where owned, co-owned or managed to their championship by Chambray's management program
In Addition we don't include the 100+ IABCA and UKC Chambray champions, just the AKC, Can and FCI champions.
For for all those that make claims about all the champions they have bred and yet offer no proof this pudding is for you
More March 23rd
Our society creates mediocrity by making it a level playing field for every Tom, Dick and Harry. Those at the bottom want the benefits of those on top without the work that those on top went through to be on top!
I hear it all the time:
“It isn’t fair at the shows because:
you all have the best dogs,
you all are dog trainers,
you all condition your dogs,
you have the best handlers,
you have the most owners,
you have the most dogs."
Well, yeah! We work our collective booties off to achieve the success we have.
The Best Dogs: It has taken years…………….44 years exactly for me to acquire the knowledge that I have about Labrador Retrievers and I put that knowledge to work when I consider which dogs will be perpetuating the next generation of superior dogs. This is ‘get your hands dirty’, hand’s on, priceless information that cannot be achieved by reading books, looking at pretty dog photos, memorizing pedigrees, reciting those memorized pedigrees to anyone that can be impressed with such trivial information…………………..no siree Bob, without putting in the time, it ain’t worth a dime!
Dog Trainers: We take great pride in the thousands and thousands of dogs that we have trained and worked with. Just alone at the FPL Training Center with 22 years of Tuesday and Thursday night training classes (with some years also Wednesday nights)…………….figure a minimum of 20 dogs per night, 2 nights a week for 22 years……………….do the math and the numbers come out staggering to say the least……………easily 20,000 visitors/dogs came through those gates. We also hosted 15 Fun Matches with a minimum of 50 dogs competing………………….Responsible Dog Owners Day (annual AKC September event)……………….25 Saturday Workshop Seminars and some other stuff that I have long forgotten. Now add the Weekend Long Handlers Seminars that we hosted throughout the year………….alone the one for the South Florida Labrador Retriever Clubs had 50 attendees which raised well over $1,000.00 for the club to have money in the treasury to be able to host the first ever specialty in 2001. Then there have been thousands and thousands of dogs and owners that have participated in private training sessions at the farm, not to mention thousands that have boarded/trained with us at Chambray Acres……………………..so yes we hold the upper hand as trainers and that is done the old fashion way……………..earning it with work!
Conditioning: Yes, we offer our services for complete training and conditioning…………….the best conformation with the best training deserves the best conditioning so that the dogs can be ready for the final touch…………………..handling!
Handling: Ah, the finishing touch to any project or masterpiece. The unwrapping if you will of that perfectly honed, constructed, designed work of art…………….you have the conformation, you have the training and the conditioning…………….what is needed is the presentation and validated with our successes, we have the handling that leaves nothing to be desired. In fact at a recent dog show, after winning the final 3-point major to champion our state record #39 champion, the judge exclaimed “You all have it all as breeder/handlers, including the passion that is not seen anywhere else!” That is the exclamation point!
You have the most owners/you have the most dogs: You bet your sweet bippy! Yes we do and that takes loads and loads of work to achieve and to keep going. No one does it better because there is no other owner’s program in the country like Chambray Labradors…………….it just doesn’t exist at the level that we are operating on.
All of the above is what makes it all rise above those that know little and do nothing, so if working hard and accomplishing success is considered not being fair, then so be it!