Friday, December 26, 2008

Snow Days!

Have you ever seen so much snow? Here in Black Creek, Wisconsin we are now a foot over the record snowfall. Looking outside, I am not surprised at all. If it weren't for the tractor, we would have to turn to dog-sledding, I think. The dogs, of course, seem to really enjoy getting out and stretching their legs in the snow, digging under clumps of grass and chasing one another in the joyous abandon of youth.

I'm Baaaack!

Well, it seems like forever since I've posted here! I hope to make more regular contributions again, now that the most recent police dog class has ended and I have a little time. Unfortunately, my laptop computer gasped its last breath and I am reduced to sitting in the office in front of an ancient desktop monitor until I can replace it.
There is so much to write about, and so I will try to catch up, installment by installment, so that you can once again feel a part of our FoxTal community. Of course, if you want to try immersion therapy, you are hereby invited to come and feed dogs, shovel poop and try to plow yourself out from under all the snow we have acquired!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Single Use Bomb Dogs

I happened to turn on Animal Planet this morning to see "K9 to 5". Today explosives detection dogs of the Royal Air Force in Great Britain were featured. Imagine my surprise to see that the BOMB dogs are trained to use an AGGRESSIVE indication!! This means that when they find explosives, they scratch and dig at the location to signal detection. Can you say "Ka-BOOM?" I watched in amazement as the trainer placed the explosive material in a plastic tube "to prevent the dog from ingesting it". That was my first clue that this was not going to be good. Eat the explosives?? yikes. He then placed the tube under some rocks and the yellow labrador was sent to locate it. The dog scratched at the rocks and the handler quickly called him back. The trainer then inquired if the handler would like to send the dog for a "self retrieve", and the dog was released to return, scratch and dig up the tube and play with it, with the handler. The trainer advised that, sadly, they had had several of their dogs killed by bombs in Iraq. I can see how that might happen! How difficult it must be to train and love a dog and know that your training methods might likely cause its death?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sportsmen and Animal Owners Voting Alliance Endorses McCain-Palin

Each person decides what issues are important to them, and which political party best meets those concerns, but for the Sportsman,the following announcement may be of interest:

A SAOVA message to sportsmen, pet owners and farmers concerned  about protecting their traditions, avocations and livelihoods from anti-hunting, anti-breeding, animal guardianship advocates. Forwarding and cross posting, with attribution, encouraged.

For Immediate Release

September 29, 2008

Sportsmen and Animal Owners Endorse McCain-Palin

The Sportsmen’s and Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance (SAOVA) today endorsed Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for President and Sarah Palin for Vice President.  The McCain-Palin ticket best aligns with the views of Americans who hunt, fish, own and breed animals and are aware of animal rightist organizations’ intentions to remove these rights.

Senator McCain, an avid fisherman, understands that the sportsmen community is the strongest advocate for programs that encourage habitat protection and wildlife Conservation. As a westerner, he is also particularly sensitive to our private property rights.

In contrast, Sen. Barack Obama has been endorsed by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) the wealthiest animal rights organization in the country with a well-known anti-hunting, anti-breeding agenda. 

After years of issuing anti-hunting statements, HSUS has transformed their campaign to end hunting calling it “the Wildlife Abuse Campaign”, claiming they are merely fighting cruelty.  HSUS leaders are highly skilled at presenting their animal rightist views and restrictive legislation under the label “humane” in order to advance their agenda, and Senator Obama appears to have fallen in line with their scheme

Senator Obama and HSUS have courted each other since he was endorsed and funded for the Illinois senatorial race in 2004. Viewing the Humane Society Legislative Fund 2007 Presidential Questionnaire, Senator Obama answered yes” nearly across the board, pledging support for HSUS initiatives.

HSUS has outlined a plan for a federal Animal Protection Agency, with an administrator appointed by the President of the United States.  This new agency would provide animal rightists a single area to lobby for support of their issues.   Obama fits the criteria of the President that will assist HSUS with these plans either by creating such an agency or appointing animal rights sympathizers to key cabinet and committee positions within the Departments of Agriculture and Interior.

The world not only belongs to those who show up, it's controlled by the best informed and most motivated. HSUS wants to be in the position in January 2009 to not only strongly influence both Houses of Congress and the White House, but to be consulted on the appointments of the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior Departments. These agencies make all the day-to-day decisions that impact on you and your sport. Appointees there implement all new animal and hunting statutes and allocate funding, while also enforcing and interpreting existing federal laws. That's how important this election will be.

Make a difference in Washington.

Support and vote for McCain-Palin!!


The Sportsmen's and Animal Owners' Voting Alliance (SAOVA) is a nationwide, nonpartisan group of volunteers lobbying legislation and seeking to elect politicians who will oppose the animal rightist threat to our rights as Americans. Our members hunt, fish and own livestock, dogs, cats and other pets. For more information about SAOVA visit

The message above was posted to West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri residents by the Sportsmen's and Animal Owners' Voting Alliance (SAOVA) on one of ten regional read only elists.

SAOVA is a nonpartisan volunteer group working to protect Americans from the legislative and political threats of radical animal rightists. It is the only national organization fighting this struggle for both sportsmen and animal owners, natural allies, in these arenas. Visit our website at for this program's goals, methodology and list signup details.



Saturday, September 27, 2008

Echo vom Foxtal

Echo vom Foxtal (pink) is a roan girl, just slightly bigger than Este.  She and Este like to beat up the boys when they have the chance and Echo is cheerful, confident girl.


Este vom Foxtal

Este's nickname as a baby was Star because she has a 5 point star of white on her back.  Or, if you had wine with lunch, it may look like Mickey Mouse ears in the brown.  Either way, she is a sweet roan girl; quite a cuddler.

Enno vom Foxtal

You'll notice these photos are slightly younger than the rest.  Enno asked me to post them but apparently he doesn't realize many women prefer older men.  He thought the youthful appearance might work for him.  The truth is that it got dark before I had to take a chance to take a new one with the rest of the gang. 

Enno is a brown and white plated male, quite flashy looking like his momma, with that white front.  He has traveled with me to USAR training in Milwaukee and likes to hang out with the big dogs who have jobs.  He is considering a career as a narcotics detection dog when he isn't working on his tan (see middle photo).


Edoc vom Foxtal

Edoc (blue) has a stouter build and is not as tall as Epic and Excel.  He is also a brown and white plated male.


Epic vom Foxtal

Epic is also a brown and white plated male.

You can see how he got his original identifying nickname of "Half Pant" by the half pant-leg he carries on the left side.

Epic is also one of the two tallest males, with a greater length of leg.

Excel vom Foxtal

Excel vom Foxtal (5 spot) is a brown and white plated male.  He and Epic are the tallest of the males.



Friday, September 26, 2008

Nail Trimming

How many people do you know who consider trimming nails to be a traumatic endeavor? They worry and fret, and put it off until the nails are horribly long and then face the battle. (or pay someone else for the pleasure)

Nail trimming is something that should be practiced from tiny puppy-hood on, so that it is familiar.  Handling the feet is a right of the human, but the dog is rewarded for a calm demeanor.

You can see how relaxed and easy this is. 

This is "Jeiko", or Eyk vom Foxtal.  Eyk in the dutch language means "oak".  Jeiko is a strong willed young male with an inquisitive nature.  He is the darkest roan of the family.  He was nicknamed Jeiko after his famous great-grandsire, Jeiko vom Jakobsbrunnen.

He likes to track and loves water.  He is always using his nose to follow scent on the ground, and on our walks he is in and out of the creek and the pond. 

This is Tom, working with Jeiko.  We prefer to use motivational training methods, and utilize food in teaching foundation. 

When training a puppy, it is also important to keep the session short and very active and never let them "fall out" of attention. 





Saturday, August 23, 2008

Momma Confetti does obedience

I believe Confetti vom Foxtal, the dam of our most recent Small Munsterlander litter, is the only munsterlander to hold a scorebook with the United Schutzhund Clubs of America!  I am preparing to trial her for her BH, which means "begleitenhund", or "traffic-sure companion dog".  For this she will have to demonstrate on and off-lead heeling, a sit and a down in motion, recall and show a safe and steady temperament when exposed to bikes, joggers and cars.

"C" Litter Dutch Shepherds turn 1 year old!

The "C" litter dutch shepherd pups turned 1 year old on July 30th!  To celebrate, we took Cooper for ice cream!  Cooper is doing well in his training.  His obedience is very dynamic, and he shows a nice aptitude for tracking.  Even in his beginning tracks, he shows good focus and attention to the track.   He has been introduced to leg sleeves, but our first goal will be schutzhund.  Cooper is a very happy boy, pushy and confident. 

Happy First to all the C Litter babies!

Eddie Munster

Eddie not only has a new home, but also a BLOG!  what a talented little dog he is!

Check out the blog:

We think he looks alot like another male sired by the same daddy, Donar von der Wolfscheibm, named Isthar Luke von Loenerhof, who is in Holland.

Monday, June 2, 2008

June 2

How quickly Confetti has stopped cleaning up after this brood!  One meal with meat, and she is finished! I was hoping to eke out a little reprieve on being the primary caretaker for eleven growing, exploring and HUNGRY puppies, but alas! my time has come!

I took them outside this morning for their breakfast.  They dove into it without hesitation, but oh! what a mess they make now.  And Confetti is more interested in cleaning the dish when they are done than in washing their little faces.  There is a goat farm a couple blocks away, and I'll have to make a trip today as we are out of fresh goat milk. Goat milk is more nutritious for puppies than cow milk.

I picked up two puppies who were laying near the Xpen fence, and took them inside with me. I put down a fleece bed and a rug for them on the hardwood floor. One male (with the spot by his butt) went quickly to sleep with his full tummy, but his partner, the mostly white male, wasn't ready for a nap.  Instead he ran around and explored, bit and thrashed the edge of the dog bed and then wanted to snuggle abit. Now he is having vocal puppy dreams! He is the most adventuresome of the pups at the moment.

We have the play-fighting occurring and prey-kill, but no sexual behavior observed yet.  I recall that in the last litter, it was as if a switch was thrown and they ALL started doing it one day!

I think I will have to address them by some form of name so that the readers can understand who I am referring to. I have never mastered the rick-rack or ribbon collars well, and since they are quite individually marked I'll probably just pick a call name and use that for the time being.  For those buyers who have selected names, don't worry!  It doesn't mean your pup will be stuck with that name or respond to it, as I use "puppy, puppy, puppy" as a recall with the babies.



Sunday, June 1, 2008

The beginning of Week 3 album

Enjoy this collection of photos from the afternoon foray outdoors.  Add a new surface-- grass, and a new location--outdoors.

Entering Week 3


The pups turned 3 weeks old on Saturday. Happy Birthday to them!  They now enter the "Awareness or Identification Period (21-28 days).  According to Kathryn Lanam in "the Behavioral Development of Puppies", sight and hearing are functioning well.  A variety of noises and sights should be part of their daily life.  The exposure to sudden loud noises must happen during the 3rd week when fear has not yet developed.  The startle response should be encouraged so that the pup will startle and then return to normal on its own-- something it must be able to do throughout its life.  Puppies must now learn that they are dogs; recognizing their mother, recognizing other species-- specifically humans that are part of their social relations-- and have experiences that mean survival of the species.

The pups spent the afternoon outside, exploring grass under their paws and sleeping under overturned crate-halves that served as tiny shelters.


Check out the puppy who discovered the door wasn't yet closed and thought he would strike out on his own!


The pups celebrated their new week of life by enjoying their first non-momma meal!  It was a mixture of goat milk, esbilac, honey and raw meat. 


Check out the puppy who wants to control ALL the food!

Yup.  Same one.














Saturday, May 24, 2008


The puppies had visitors today!  Our schutzhund club meets here on Saturdays and when we have puppies, the members become willing participants in our puppy socialization, visiting and playing with them after club training.  Today Lisa, Sam and Chuck were introduced to the new pups. Their little eyes are barely open and they worked hard to figure out whether their visitors were able to nurse them (they weren't!) but had a positive interaction with new human smells.

Friday, May 23, 2008

more May 22 pics

Frankly, this is how Tom ALWAYS ends up with his nose bitten when the pups have teeth! He just loves holding and cuddling with the puppies.  Their ears are open and the I can see little peepers emerging, as their eyes open.  From all the talking we do with them, they will soon discover who the voices belong to! 

The boy on the right is #6.  He is a big 'un, and you can see that he is a different shade than the pup next to him.  He is noticeably more chestnut than liver.



roan and plated pups

The puppies did get their nails trimmed after this photo, so forgive the long nails.  At this age, I can just prop them in my lap and trim using a human toenail clipper. I'm sure that soon enough I will long for these days! The wigglier ones Tom holds while I trim.  The puppy who complained the most was the almost all-white male puppy.

In these photos, you can see the differences in the changing colors of the plated and roan puppies.  Here is a plated puppy and his pink, pink pads:

and here is a roan puppy: 

A closer view of the pink feet:


and closer view of the roan feet:

Before these guys were born, we had only had plated puppies and I wondered how and how soon the differences would develop.  Now I know and have photographic evidence should anyone ask what to look for in the future!



New location and new surface on May 22

It's getting hard to have the pups hold still for photos; they are moving around quite abit now and either crawl out of the container or remove themselves from the frame entirely!  Several days after birth, we place rugs in the puppy box so that they can get traction and this really seems to speed up the process of motor development.  These guys are already practicing a wobbly walk, not just pulling themselves around.  It is rather like watching a baby rock itself into forward motion, with a little stagger and there it goes!

The pups all had a trip to a new location last night-- our living room!  I thought they might appreciate sharing the season finale of "Grey's Anatomy" with me,  and they also needed a nail trim, so in 3's and 4's they experienced their first new location, and a new surface, as well.  I placed a sheet on the hardwood floor, so they could move more easily and I could clean up any little accidents.  They were also recently fed and ready for a nap, so I could snap a few pictures.

This is Kia, one of our Siamese cats.  She kept laying down next to the pups, and one crawled over and started searching for a nipple. I wasn't convinced that would end well, so I tried to shoo Kia away.  Apparently she thought the puppies needed to be introduced to a kitty, though.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Over Easy?

On our near-40 acre property we are blessed to have an assortment of wildlife.  Since moving here, I have added books on wild plants, birds and mammals to the library.  There are some who are annual guests, such as the killdeer. 

 The killdeer lays its eggs in gravel, and every year we spend a number of weeks avoiding the road to the kennel or flagging off the area of nests so visitors don't drive over them.  This year, I discovered a nest when a client was loading up his dog and we watched the momma bird put on a tremendous display to distract us before we stepped on the eggs!

But I was lucky enough to see another nest, one I've never seen before!  During turkey season, my brother in law told about a sandhill crane approaching his decoys in a territorial manner, extending it's wings and tossing pieces of grass at the decoy.  Sure enough, there is a nest near the pond, with a single egg.   So cool!