Great Dane Words of Wisdom

Spring is in the Air!

This is the time of year when many puppies hit the breed ring for the first time - and our abilities devoted to socializing and training for this traumatic event are put to the test. We have available many facilities for training/socializing our "show" puppies - Matches, Handling/Obedience Classes, even shopping malls, etc. Many breeders make excuses for puppies misbehaving when in training - "They are just puppies - training should be fun and pleasant".

In my book, if you are serious, and want to show and handle your puppy, they should be up to par at 6 months, no excuses allowed. Playtime ends when they enter their 4th month, time to get serious. By then they are steady with collar and leash, have learned a few simple commands, like stand, heel, stay, sit and down. Yes, am aware professional handlers say the 'sit' and 'down' are an "No-No" for show puppies. However, these commands are an important part of their "learning to learn, discern and listen". If they are listening, they learn to discern between stand and sit commands, or you haven't done your job. Think of listening as bonding, and think of "bonding" as in team work. Most communication between canines is by body language, with tails, eyes and ears accentuating their proclamations. Likewise, your body language/expression has an integral part in training. It is assimilated by your puppy every moment you spend with him, and he/she knows when your are serious and when it is playtime, and responds accordingly.

When you enter the ring with your puppy, you are a "team", rehearsals are over - you are "on stage", in correct costume, your puppy clean and glowing, ready to perform for your audience of one - the Judge. You exude confidence to your puppy, who will perform to perfection. When this happens, win or lose, you will be exhilarated with your "team "debut". You can plan ahead with assurance that your young Show prospect has exhibited the ring presence, and "joie de vi" of a Champion to be. Until you have such confidence, show respect for your puppy and yourself, intensify training, and save on entry fees until your young one is ready.

Sadly, we have lost two very popular breeder/judges, Freda Lewis and Roxanne Mahan Berton, who left us Dec. 30th and 31st,2005. Freda, and her husband, Ron, made their home in Middlesex, England. There they developed the "Walkmyll" bloodline of fawn and brindle Great Danes. Recognizing the improvement in "breed type" the American bloodlines had to offer European bloodlines, in the 70's they imported a fawn puppy from Ms. Nancy-Carroll Draper - Danelagh Kennels. Named - "Danelagh's Eurus of Walkmyll", a dog of excellent type, substance and soundness, he made his imprint on the European bloodlines, and will be found in the pedigree of many titled fawn and brindle Danes around the Globe. Imports from America/Sweden/Norway, combined with the Walkmyll bloodlines, kept them on top of the British Great Dane circuit for 40 years, including Best In Show winning Danes. Freda and Ron were strong participants in the important role of creating International cooperation between breeders, which improved and harmonized Great Dane breed type globally.

As Judge of our breed, Freda was invited to judge Specialty Shows all over the world, many times in the US, including BOB at our National Specialty in l980. She also served as Secretary of "The Great Dane Club UK" for over 25 years. The Walkmyll name, breeding, imports, the many "firsts" they accomplished, helped make the Dog World an International place of fellowship for those who are striving for excellence in breeding Great Danes. Our deepest sympathies to her husband Ron. Freda will be missed by her many friends, with her infectious sense of humour, she made being a "Daneite" feel good, and like most of us, she loved a good party!

Roxanne will be remembered for the many fawn and brindle Champions she bred and handled to their Titles under her Kennel prefix "Tivoli" - 52 in all I believe. The Tivoli name is in the pedigrees of many present day Champions, as she developed a stable, recognizable "type" that was passed on through their bloodlines. Roxanne was also a very popular judge, - judging BOB at our National Specialty in 1994, and was approved to judge five Groups. Roxanne was a lovely lady, who left us much too early in life, after a long and brave struggle with ill health. Our sincere sympathies to her husband John, and to her son Colin Mahan. Roxanne will be greatly missed by her family, and her many friends.

Mrs. Paddy Magnuson,
POB 292 Delhi NY 13753

(Reproduced with permission)