I just realized I have not blogged in quite awhile.  In september I attended my first, of what will be many, HRD seminars. I went to AMPWDA and loved every minute of it. It was the perfect seminar for a novice. I got amazing advice and support even after the seminar was over.  They even had class room instruction in the evening to just train handlers in SAR. It was by far one of the most positive and encouraging groups of people. I left with great training plans, support and new friends. I can’t wait for next falls’s!


SAR A Great Community

I have connected with a lot of SAR folks on Facebook and I am glad I have. Recently one of those people recommended this book to me How to Train A Police Bloodhound and Scent Discriminating Patrol Dog and it is beyond helpful with training and is intended for any breed of dog.  I am only a few chapters in and wish I had known about this book sooner. Some of the tips I will definitely use with Ruger and some others I will keep in my tool belt, as I do not think they will improve on what Ruger and I already have going. It is very inspiring when veterans of SAR are so willing to help us newbies be successful. Hopefully one day I can do the same for someone else. 17425032_1375083899180475_8592714991163761537_n

How Awesome is This?

I do not usually share upcoming research in my blog, however as a Great Dane and German Shepherd owner this is awesome. Check it out:

News Release

For Immediate Release

AKC Canine Health Foundation Announces New Research to Tackle Bloat in Dogs

“RALEIGH, N.C. (June 1, 2017) Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV, or bloat) is a serious problem for many canine breeds, but little is truly known about the causes of this deadly disease. While any larger dog can be affected, targeted breed-specific research can help advance understanding of potential genetic factors that may predispose dogs to developing bloat.” For the full article Click Here





I am not an expert.But there are a few things I supplement my dogs Raw diet with and I have friends asking all the time what I use, so I thought I would just blog about it. ( as with any advice speak with your holistic veterinarian before adding anything).

For hips and joints I use this Hips & Joint

For external parasite control I use (you do sprinkle it in the food) : Natural Flea & Tick Defense I also like DE: ( can put in food and use on them as well, follow directions as to not have them or you inhale it) Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade

For great looking skin and coat: Skin & Coat

Healthy oils: Krill Oil

I also like to supplement from time to time with: The Honest Kitchen or Sojos

Freeze dried raw treats ( great for training!):






I also like to use these for adding or training to make sure my dogs get some organ meat:

Beef Lung

Beef Liver

Lamb lung

Duck Liver


Dog Training is Never a Straight Path

When I got Ruger I had plans for him before I even picked him out, before he was even born. The thing about life is we can plan all we want, then life happens. I had dreams of Ruger being a Therapy Dog, like Gracie, and to show him in Conformation, perhaps even breed him one day to have my next show dog.  Expectations and reality do not always match up, I once saw a diagram about dog training and it was a squiggly line about getting from A to B, well sometimes we never make it to B and have to switch plan C or even D.  When one door closes another opens, well this week one door will be closing for me for good. Ruger is getting snipped, he will never be able to have puppies, so although I said goodbye to Therapy Dog work for him a long time ago, and knew Conformation was not for him, for some reason I am feeling sad. The realization that none of my plans for him will come to fruition is hitting me hard this week.  A quote by Tony Gaskins sticks out and that is “if you can’t do anything about it then let it go. Don’t be a prisoner to things you can’t change.” I wish it was that simple! I have to keep reminding myself why Ruger would not better the breed, for one he has allergies, two he was never shown and does not have CH in front of his name. I could go on. I have to remind myself of all the positives instead.  We did find plan D for Ruger and that oddly enough is something I never thought would be possible with a Great Dane and that is SAR work. We still have a long way to go and have so much to learn, however we are heading in the right direction. Life is funny, expectations are not always met, but the opportunities it opens you up for, if you are open to it, can surpass even my wildest dreams.  If those other doors had not closed I would not have met some amazing people and had the opportunity to become a better handler than I was a year ago. I would not have a dog, which has certified twice now in tracking and has added an article search certification in there as well.



I had the privilege of attending my second NAPWDA seminar at the end of April. I have a LOT of information to share, however two things I had never really thought about until it was brought up, at the seminar, was what the function of certain dog behaviors are. The two were Barking and whining. Whining…. Do you know what it is? I learned over that weekend that it is your dog’s plea for assistance. Once you hear it put like that, it makes total sense! In addition, that a Bark’s function is distance. It could be stay away or come closer, but nonetheless it is distance. I have had dog’s my whole life, taken numerous courses as well as help teach at our local kennel club and I can tell you I am constantly  learning something new. I suppose the moment you think you know it all you might as well quit, …… I know I will NEVER know it all.



A good friend recently gifted me a book about SAR, which I wish I would have had months ago. As I am reading through this evening one quote has been sticking out “……..The first time search dog handler may believe they are ‘mission ready’ after a few months….” This quote sticks out to me, because the more I learn the more I am NOT ready, if that makes sense. Someone’s life is on the line. I have so much to learn and there is a lot of things I do not know, I do know. How could anyone after just a few months be prepared? Be qualified? I still have a few courses and certifications to complete and even then, I know there is so much to more to it than just that.  Tonight I am feeling a bit overwhelmed with how far I still need to go. That being said, it will all be worth it, if I am able to help just one person, even if that is a year or two out.

Here is the book if you are interested( Don’t let the title fool you, it is full of great information for the first time SAR person) : Building a Search and Rescue Team From The Ground Up


Natural Ways to Parasite Control

Natural ways to parasite control

I get asked all the time how I handle parasite control for my dogs and the answer is, I USE NOTHING from my veterinary’s office. If it is toxic to me, why would I want it on my dogs? I am not judging those that use it, I am simply stating it does not work for me. I prefer utilizing the old motto “you are, what you eat” and help my dogs naturally fight off unwanted pests, but beefing up their food.

I spray this on them before we go outside (I live in SD, so I only need to do this about 5 months out of the year, please note this DOES NOT go in their food)


I put this in their food everyday://“>Flea & Tick


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For probiotics and internal control I put this in their food everyday as it also has DE in it://“>Probiotics/ DE



I also spray my yard with all natural and toxic free buy control. Research what would work best for you and how to safely spray. As with all advice, check with your veterinarian first before making the switch.

Going Raw

Raw Feeding…..

There are many options on what is best to feed our dogs. I decided to switch to Raw almost a year ago after doing some research. What I found was dogs that were raw feed had the following:

  • Smaller poops ( big deal here with 2 Great Danes and now a GSD too)
  • Shiny coats
  • Flake-free and itch-free skin
  • Clean teeth, bones naturally take off the tarter
  • Better breath
  • Less likely to bloat ( maybe due to stomach muscle having to work or simply knowing exactly when your dog ate last so you are more likely to make sure they rest?)
  • I never have to worry about food recalls
  • No allergies – one of my dogs is allergic to chicken…. It was extremely difficult to find a dog food without chicken in it, if you read down all the ingredients even if it said chicken free… there was chicken fat somewhere in it
  • No more ear infections for Ruger and no more bladder infections for Gracie since we switched. Could have been the chicken or perhaps the vegetables in traditional kibble causing this
  • They are excited to eat! I used to have add things to the kibble to get Gracie to eat

Helpful links:

There are also a lot of Facebook groups on raw feeding, which are also a great place to start.

Next Blog will be on how I got started


Setting Your Dog up for Success

We always hear why it is important to set our dogs up for success when training, however we hardly realize the importance until it is too late. My husband recently took our two dogs for a walk to a place we let them run off leash. After running around they popped into a local hardware store, to grab a few things real quick….. Usually when we leave this store, he lets them back off lead in the field behind it and we walk towards home, but I am with. On this particular occasion, one of our dogs, Ruger, saw someone he knows from my Search and rescue team inside the store, and only got a quick pet from her, as my husband was in line checking out. Can you guess what  he decided to do when they left and were back in the field walking home? Ruger ran back to hardware store, walked inside in an attempt to find her. After all, she does hide for him for SAR practice. Sounds cute? Well it was not. It was extremely dangerous. He could have been hit by a car or really scared someone… he is after all 150 lbs, if you are not a fan of dogs, could you imagine an overly excited huge puppy greeting you?  When I got home that evening and the story was retold, it dawned on me I don’t think I have ever talked to my husband about setting the dogs up for success, as I am the trainer between the two of us. So what does it mean to set your dog up for success?

To me it means you have proofed every behavior, and made it as such that your dog always chooses to pick the right one, at the right time. For example an excellence recall, which Ruger failed at the other night, is a lifesaving cue. To me setting them up for success means you manipulate the environment to help your dog choose to follow the cue, and when they do recall to you, it is the best place on earth. For example when teaching recall you would never start out by practice off leash in a dog park… there are way too many distractions and uncontrollable variables. You would work your way up, to off leash recall. First you need to teach what you want, then add some distance, then distractions, then start all over being off leash and work your way up again, as you have now changed the picture. The moral of the story? Always set your dog up for success. Ruger was not set up for success and we have some work to do on proofing his recall, especially when the picture has changed.