The debt-free, DIY kitchen remodel. Part one. 

Last month I began what I’m hoping will be a debt-free kitchen remodel. Since moving into this house, I have fantasized at every meal what kind of a difference a nice new kitchen would make. My house was built in the early 1970s and it shows in many ways, not the least being the kitchen. The kitchen had two very small sections of countertop on either side of the sink, barely enough to line up plates, let alone chop, mix, store, decorate, knead, or anything else that happens in a kitchen. I am convinced that everyone who has lived in this house either are out a lot, ate out of boxes, or just didn’t eat. Somewhere along the way, previous owners raised the wall cabinets to the ceiling, which served only to highlight how crooked the ceiling is and eliminate half of the storage for being out of reach. A small dining area sat adjacent to the kitchen. 

At 5’7″ I’m not a short woman, but I can’t use the top shelf of any of the wall cabinets. Take note of the increasing gap along the ceiling.

The bench/table combo didn’t come with the house.


Since I can’t really afford to change the footprint, and a tiny dining area is not a must for me, I opted to take over the entire space for the kitchen. Some things that I absolutely wanted: 

  • An efficient work triangle. 
  • More counter space. So much more counter space.
  • A small pantry unit for non-perishables. 
  • Open, light space. 
  • Durable flooring. 
  • Would like: an eat-in counter

The first thing to buy was a new floor. After looking at nearly every option I decided on Core-tec HD laminate flooring and it is AMAZING. This house will likely be a rental at some point so I’m trying to think in terms of durability for at least a decade to come, possibly in the absence of my care. A problem that I encountered with less expensive laminates was that they appeared shiny in direct sunlight, of which I get plenty with two southern facing windows. The Core-tec looks great under direct light, has a realistic texture, and-best of all-a lifetime residential warranty and it is 100% waterPROOF (not water resistant). It was also borderline insulting how easy the boards were to install–the BF and a friend did the entire floor in less than a day having never worked with the stuff before. The Core-tec comes with a cork underlayment, which helped keep the cost to less than $800 for the product, tax, and delivery to a local store.

Seriously, did they have that much trouble finding a stud?


For the cabinets I decided to go with IKEA. Most complaints seemed to be from people whose livelihood depends on seeing IKEA fail, and for a fraction (literally, about 1/3) of the cost I could get better cabinetry, Blum soft close hardware, and access to all of the interior organizers designed to work with the new Sektion cabinetry system. I waited for a kitchen sale and got 20% directly off of the purchase price, bringing the cabinets in under $5000, including tax and home delivery. 

I originally didn’t want to leave the one wall empty, but the odd length made it nearly impossible to fit corner cabinets in any meaningful way.


I chose the Bodbyn grey cabinet faces, with the intention of getting some kind of white countertop. I love the look of grey and white kitchens. The sink was a bit tricky since I had originally designed it next to the eat-in, and made a last minute change in-store when I was told that that that would not work. In the end, I got a single bowl farmhouse sink and one of the IKEA dishwashers, which are rated second to Bosch for the price range.  I also purchased one of their exhaust hoods that can hold spice jars around the edge. I purchased my drawer pulls, faucet, and countertops elsewhere to match what I had in mind. 

Some problems encountered so far: 

  • The room is neither level nor square. 
  • The wall lengths are odd, and do not lend themselves to easy design for standard sized cabinets, appliances, etc. 
  • The windows are horribly, horribly placed and do not allow for wall cabinets in the corners. 
  • All of the appliances changed location, meaning new electrical and plumbing. Permits are not overly expensive, and it has been more of an inconvenience. 
  • Extensive drywall damage meant that it was easier to just replace the drywall, adding an unexpected cost. 
  • The floor vent was originally located next to the refrigerator and is now covered with cabinets. We removed it prior to installing the floor, knowing that it would need to be relocated. We ultimately decided to move it under the eat-in. 
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Doberman Genetics/WZ Registration/Albinism

Facepalm Friday has come early folks. 

If you’re at all familiar with Doberman, you know that “Z-factor” or WZ registration is kind of a big deal. If you’re not, Google it real quick. Undoubtedly the entire first page is filled with forum and blog and breeder posts berating the existence of these dogs. You will probably see posts like the one below: 

Or this:

According to these, WZ (or “Z-factored”) Doberman are albinos, right? Or at least definitively carry the gene for albinism. 

WRONG. 

This is probably the biggest myth and misconception about WZ Doberman. “Z” is NOT a gene, it is a registration tracking device based solely on the phenotype of one ancestor. “Z” is not, nor has it ever been, an actual testable gene. WZ was used prior to DNA sequencing technology to track any dog that descended from the original albino Doberman, without knowing if they carried the gene or not. 

So pop quiz. Given the definitions provided by our friend in the Facebook post and the folks over at Idlewild Doberman, is this a WZ Doberman?


If you said “No,” you are absolutely… Wrong. This Doberman has a WZ number. 

Some of you are probably thinking, “but tUH, that dog is CLEARLY not albino/white coated/whatever, how is that possible?” And some are probably hunched in a corner guarding their dog’s 10 generation pedigree and COI thinking, “nasty tricksy little dobe has the nasty Z gene.” 

Okay, fair assessment. So then we add this: 


(This is the UC Davis VGL report stating that the Doberman shown above is genetically incapable of producing an albino. He DOES NOT possess the gene that produces albinos, the demonized “Z gene.”) Soooo… If it doesn’t look like a rat and it doesn’t act like a rat…It must be a rat? That’s illogical. 

Saying that WZ Doberman carry the albino gene and will “eventually throw a white pup” would be akin to me saying, “hey, since your great-great-great-great-grandfather got cancer, you must carry the cancer gene” or, “since you have one red head person in your ten generational pedigree then you must carry the red head gene.” Is it possible that you inherited a gene for either of those? Of course. Is it a given? Far from it. If DNA shows that you are incapable of producing a red head, is it fair of me to run around calling you a ginger? No! (Not that it would be nice regardless.) Or say that you MUST be hot-headed because there was once-upon-a-time a red head in your family? That’s just ignorant and narrow-minded. 

Have people exploited albino Doberman as “rare” to make an extra buck? Yeah, but no more so than unscrupulous breeders of poorly bred WS Doberman have taken advantage of their dogs. Plenty of sickly, poorly built, temperamentally unstable Doberman who are NOT WZ registered make their way into the hands of people spouting nonsense about WZ, when their own dog is just as inbred and likely to die early. 

When there was no better way to test for the presence of the albinism gene the WZ registration was a good option. But now we have all kinds of testing available to potentially increase the gene pool in a breed so miserably lacking in diversity that to turn down an otherwise healthy and temperamentally sound dog solely because of a registration number is cutting off our nose to spite our face. Doberman breeders need to take diversity where they can find it, and look at the individual dog, regardless of registration or lineage, to determine soundness for breeding. 

As a side note, the Doberman pictured above is also less inbred than breed average, less homozygous (homozygosity increases likelihood for disease) than breed average, and has a relatively rare haplotype group that could benefit breed diversity if bred back into the general gene pool. 

I in no way support the blanket reassignment of registration numbers; however, in a dog that does not carry the gene for which WZ registration was created, and who is otherwise healthy, it is time that the DPCA and the AKC assign a non-stigmatized registration number and stop ostracizing diverse blood from the gene pool. 

Resources: 

A Study in Brown

The previous owners of my house liked brown—brown-red zeroscaping, brown-beige exterior, brown laminate, beige carpet, golden cabinetry, brown paint. The house was a study in how many ways to incorporate brown.

So much…brown.

Maybe because I’m from California, or the coast, or because of my age or my friends or whatnot, but I really enjoy color. Between this state being a high dessert and real winters that strip the foliage from trees, I already see an awful lot of brown. So I added some color.

Not quite done, but I am thankful for a growing absence of brown in my home life.

 

 

 

 

Doggie Genetics

The What

Canine DNA tests have been around for quite sometime—Wisdom Panel, DNA My Dog, Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel 3.0, and newcomer Embark to name a few. Knowing the ancestry of both of my dogs has made me disinclined to spend the $50-$200 that these panels run; however, a recent effort to document Doberman genetics with the ultimate goal of improving diversity convinced me to participate.

I know that Juneau is Doberman. Despite uninformed accusations that he must be part Great Dane, I have his five generation pedigree, and he is very much the standard Doberman. I also know that Juneau is a vWD carrier, and that he is from a backyard breeder, so his genetics probably aren’t phenomenal. Hopefully though, our contribution can help with future research and breed preservation.

This week I ordered the Embark DNA test through Doberman Diversity Project, which is currently offering $50 off the cost of the test. I also ordered the Canine Genetic Diversity test through UC Davis’s VGL. The VGL test currently costs $50 for Doberman (among other breeds) while in the research phase, but will increase to $80 once enough samples have been collected and analyzed.

The Why

First, I suggest reading the the following.

The Institute of Canine Biology blogs:

An update on the genetic status of the Doberman Pinscher

Are we watching the extinction of a breed? (or, Why are we focused on consequence instead of cause?)

Are we watching the extinction of a breed? (part 2)

Population analysis of the Dobermann breed published by The Kennel Club

The Doberman breed is in a bad place right now, brought on by a great many factors, including: geographic separation, bottlenecks from social and political turmoil, selection based on type, European vs American preference, and plain ‘ol prejudice. Plenty of people herald this new information as free reign to claim that their untitled, untested dog should be considered for breeding and should not be the subjects of discrimination; those same people insist that Z registrants or highly inbred specimens should still not be bred.

I will be completely honest—Juneau is a Z registrant. This means that way, way back in his lines, he is related to the original albino Doberman. Information on the original albino can be found here. The albino Doberman presents a very real problem, because ever since then a few unscrupulous breeders have bred them to create “rare white” Doberman, and created lines of rampant inbreeding. We must wonder though, what genes have been tossed and muddled around in dogs related, but not bred for albinism after all these decades? I know that I wonder that. There are currently Z registrant Doberman who do not carry the albinism gene, live long and happy lives, and quite possibly have less inbreeding than show champions. Although I am in no way claiming that this is the norm for Z registrants today, I do think that this is a major class of dogs that we must consider to increase diversity. For the past several years, Z factor Doberman have accounted for over 25% of Doberman registrations (yearly statistics can be found here). That’s over a quarter of registered Doberman that aren’t even looked at as show, performance, or breeding prospects. To even consider a handful of these Doberman for genetic diversification, we need to stop the stigma.

Many people believe that cross-breeding is the solution—breeding in other breeds of dogs to increase genetic diversity and breeding back for type at a later date. While this may become necessary at some point, we should also seriously consider first breeding for diversity of the Doberman Pinscher—not the European (“Euro”) Doberman, not the American Doberman, not the Australian or the Canadian Doberman, and neither show nor pet nor working Doberman. All Doberman. The Doberman.

This is an exciting and scary time to be involved in the Doberman breed, and I can’t wait to see what breeders do in their attempts to save the breed.

 

The Almost Perfect Bed

I posted the other week about my luck at finding the perfect bed frame for me. Turns out it isn’t quite perfect—when combined with my 12″ mattress it is a little too high for comfort for one of my dogs. My doberman had a slipped disk after jumping out of the car when he was younger, so I prefer not to let him jump onto or off of high things, and the bed sits well above his shoulders.

A little melamine board and a 2×4 from Home Depot, combined with some white grip tape from the local skate shop, and I have a somewhat stylish bench/dog step.

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My matching step. It also serves as a bench to put on shoes.

IMG_4496

To protect the bedframe.

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IKEA, Then and Now

I assembled a new bed frame last night. Bed frames are a difficult purchase for me, and I hem and haw for ages before (usually) just deciding to go without. I watched the Child’s Play movies when I was [far too] young, and although they didn’t bother me then, Freshman year of college found me doing timed trials for how quickly I could turn out the light and jump into bed. The thought of Chuckie ambushing me from under the bed has, more than once, left me sleeping on the couch. Finally, I found a bed that I fell in love with—clean white, captain’s style extending all the way to the floor, affordable, no gaudy headboard (my room is quite small and I detest useless furniture).

That’s great! Says everyone. Where did you find it?

Ikea.

Oh. They say. Well I’m really happy that you found something that will work.

So, what’s the deal? Why the aversion to IKEA products? I have been a diehard IKEA fan since college, and I don’t foresee anything changing, pending some monumental upset in quality or corporate ethic.

Rewind to 2006—I was entering my Junior year of college and would be living off of campus for the first time. I had no furniture. Fortunately my parents took pity on me and took me to my first IKEA. The excitement! The wonder!

The indecision!

At the time, a solid wood set caught my eye. In a stroke of good luck, IKEA had a matching bed frame, nightstand, dresser and desk—an important element since I would be moving into a room and would have all of my earthly belongings gathered in that single room. Although the bed frame only survived a few seasons in the harsh conditions of a young, on-the-move lifestyle, I still have the nightstand, the dresser, and the desk. They have moved nine times with me, and while they have some battle scars to show, they are no worse functionally than the day that I first assembled them eleven years ago.

While assembling my new bed frame, I realized that nothing about the process has changed. It is like talking to an old friend, or riding a bicycle. I took the drawers out of the dresser and the hardware is almost identical, the fittings match perfectly. The only noticeably change was that some of the connectors in the dresser are metal, and those in the bed frame are plastic. I will likely purchase the matching bedroom set in the future, but for now, my new bed frame is next to my nightstand, and across from my dresser, and I love it.

During the trip, I also ordered cabinetry for my new kitchen. Stay tuned to see the disaster that was my previous kitchen!

 

So, That Happened.

CORRUPTION. HATE. SCANDAL.

Election coverage this year sounds like a Harlequin novel. Waking to a Trump (and Republican) victory, my Facebook feed is littered with sentiments of fear, anger, and disbelief. I can only think, why?
First let me say that I did not vote for either candidate of the two party system—I do not believe that either has the best interests of this country at heart, and I do not trust either. I am not, however, the least bit surprised that Trump won. Hillary supporters, in their cloud of #imwithher and #lovetrumpshate seem to have forgotten a very important point—Hillary is not a flower child and is first-and-foremost a politician, from a political family. She is the very kind of established politician that got Obama elected in 2008, and against which the country has been rallying ever since.
HATE
Are there bad police officers? Absolutely. Are there bigoted white people? Definitely. Are there illegal immigrant rapists? Yes. Are there Black violent criminals? Yep there also. Do those qualities definitively describe the majority of any of those groups? No.
So why has it become acceptable to hate law enforcement or white people for the actions of a few, but entirely unacceptable to make similar comments about illegal immigrants or people of color?
“I don’t hate law enforcement, I just think that there needs to be reform.” While many of the Black Lives Matter camp use that—and many more hold up to the non-violent message—there still exist a large number of people who actively insult, attempt to injure, or otherwise actively attempt to make law enforcement lives more difficult. Additionally, the same could be said about illegal immigrants and Mr. Trump’s comment: “I don’t hate illegal immigrants, but I think that immigration reform is necessary.” Why is that statement any more aversive than its law enforcement counterpart?
THE SILENT MAJORITY
I hear a lot of talk about this “silent majority” that won the election for Trump: that they are ignorant heterosexual white males, that they are closet anarchists, that they are bigots. On one post, I even saw them called the “rot” in this country. Many of the Hillary supporters with whom I spoke shared a common sentiment: she is the lesser of two evils. Had Hillary won, a disenfranchised youth would have sat at their desks and thought, “well, at least it wasn’t Trump.” Conversely, Trump supporters are rabidly loyal to their candidate, taking to social media, flying flags in the wake of his victory. Why? Because Trump spoke to people who were, at best, ignored by Democrats. At worst, ostracized from the outset.
People like to be acknowledged and spoken to. Just look at workplace productivity theory: talk to your employees, praise their good work, discuss their concerns, and productivity rises. Leave employees to their own devices, and you end up with inefficiency. Mr. Trump (and Sanders before the DNC fiasco) spoke to the people about issues that were important to them. He spoke to forgotten groups of people. Maybe not in the most eloquent of ways, but he reached out and let people know that their concerns would at least be heard.

CORRUPTION

Evidently—and this was news to me—morality works on a double-negative scale: if you are involved in corruption and scandal, it is morally excusable as long as you are dishonest about it. If, like Mr. Trump, you make excuses or bulldoze your way past, you are labelled as “corrupt.”

A big part of Hillary’s issue with this election is that nearly three-quarters of people polled do not believe that she is trustworthy, and why would people elect someone they do not trust? People may not agree with Trump’s ideologies, but if they trust that his brash, offensive comments are honestly spoken then they at least have a sense that they know the candidate for whom they are voting.

On this same note as the argument that voting for Trump implied agreeing with misogyny and racism, the same could be said that voting for Hillary implies agreeing with cheating and deceit in world politics. Neither of these is inherently better, and there should be no shock that some people are less inclined to accept someone they cannot trust and who cheated her way through the primaries.

UNEDUCATED WHITE MAN
We hear a lot about the “uneducated white man” when the Republican constituency is mentioned. According to the 2015 census, only 29.3% of the American population has an undergraduate degree or higher. Unless most of that remaining two thirds of the United States is uneducated white males (not likely considering that whites of both genders and all education levels do not even constitute two thirds of the population) this obsessive focus on the “uneducated white man” has got to stop. Democrats consistently try to reach out to the uneducated Black or uneducated Hispanic voters, arguing that their opinions count and that they need a voice. Why is the same courtesy not extended to uneducated whites of either gender? Democrat withdrawal from the rust belt should mean no surprise that the area does not vote for their candidate. See bullet on “The Silent Majority.”

Hillary supporters have blamed the entire election on this mythical, all-powerful “uneducated white man,” when the truth is simply that there are not enough uneducated white men to make such a substantial difference. And if the “uneducated white man’s” vote is honestly what swayed the election, then perhaps Hillary’s camp would have done well to give them more attention.


The bottom line is that Hillary lost because of a monumentally fractured party after the DNC scandal was revealed, providing proof that established politicians DO lie, they DO cheat, they DO cover-up corruption, and they DO NOT care about the will of the people—little doubt exists among either party that Sanders would have won. While some silent sufferers might have been bullied into voting Hillary based on party lines, many dug in their heels, fortified their defenses, and quietly supported Trump for his willingness to address tough issues (even if he did tackle them with the grace of a wrecking ball) and speak to voiceless middle Americans.

Hillary lost because she didn’t speak to enough different kinds of people.
Hillary lost because she made white people of the non-self-effacing variety feel evil.
Hillary lost because she ostracized law enforcement, the military, and veterans.
Hillary lost because she abandoned a swathe of this country, leaving a hole to be filled, into which Trump confidently stepped.
Anyone claiming that third-party voters threw their vote away or voted for the wrong candidate have it backward: the DNC lost the independent vote all on its own, and many Democrat votes from those fed up with the blatant corruption in established politics and the two party system. Many watched in horror as DNC emails were released showing a collaboration of efforts to secure Hillary the nomination, and again when—in the wake of those emails—the DNC shrugged it off with a “that’s cool” and proceeded with Hillary’s nomination. The Democrats touted Trump as an easy-to-beat candidate, and helped him secure the Republican nomination. Democrats walked themselves across the finish line this time, hobbled by complacency and false security in an establishment which has been historically predictable.

Considerations before getting a Doberman

Lessons learned during the past two years.

Fans of Doberman—myself included—are apt to sing the breed’s praises: Doberman are smart, biddable, loyal, affectionate with family, a good visual deterrent, and highly athletic. Doberman have the intelligence and physical ability to participate in nearly any canine sport or activity, from Search and Rescue (SAR) to canine dance to dock-diving. They are, after all, consistently ranked as the fifth most intelligent breed.

But Doberman are also a handful, particularly when raising one from puppyhood. Any amount of research will warn of the “doberteens:” a highly destructive, unmindful period during a young Doberman’s maturation which can occur and last anytime between six months and two years of age. Doberteens are unaffected by training (although this helps in the long run, so keep doing it!), attention, gender, or desex procedures.

Now that Juneau is over two years old, has remembered his brain and his training, and has started calming down a bit, I notice how many friends and strangers compliment his training and his behavior. I am so proud of him when people who were previously frightened of dogs (or Doberman) feel comfortable around him and remark that he has changed their view. I am proud when he behaves on our outings, or when passerby stop to ask what kind of dog he is and tell me how well-behaved he is. But sometimes I am concerned that someone will reflect on our [seemingly] effortless relationship and think that a Doberman is the right dog for them. A Doberman is a great dog, but not for everyone.

Since Juneau was a puppy I have been a huge fan of Cutie and the Beast; Sienna and Buddha have a beautiful, healthy relationship, but there are no pretenses about the ongoing effort involved. Doberman puppies take a lot of effort to raise into well-adjusted dogs. In this post, I have included some of the things that I have learned during my two years of dober-parenthood.

  • Doberman cost money. There is no getting around it: they are big, energetic, and prone to injury and genetic illness. Doberman have sensitive digestive systems which require a high quality diet (I feed Orijen), and many have other issues such as copper storage or DCM, requiring special diets as well. They play rough and have the scars to prove it. Somehow, while I watched him playing by himself at the park, Juneau wound up with a 3″ gash in his ear. He never seemed to mind it at all, but it still cost me fair amount in an emergency vet visit, debridement, and antibiotics. Several months later he had a possible slipped disk after flinging himself out of the car in a bout of excitement (the vehicle was parked at the beach). X-rays, neurological consultations, anti-inflammatory pills, and painkillers easily ran $2000 in the span of a month. Doberman are genetically predisposed to a multitude of illnesses, which can be read about here. While purchasing from a reputable breeder can mean a decreased occurrence of some health issues, there is no guarantee. If you are not willing and able to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a Doberman puppy, don’t get one. If you are willing and able to make this commitment, congratulations! I recommend pet insurance. We have Healthy Paws.
  • Doberman need exercise and training. Until the growth plates close (around 18-24 months old) Doberman puppies should not have forced exercise—running, biking, skateboarding, pulling, etc. This means lots of structured play, and lots of training. Of course this is a blessing in disguise, because all of that time spent working and playing together will strengthen your bond in the long term. Certainly do not plan on any “you” time in the first year. Instead, plan your life around weekly training classes, daily walks and socialization*, and hourly training sessions and play. Trick and training books will be indispensable resources, breed-specific forums will be your support groups, and x-pens and treat-dispensing toys will provide sanity-saving moments of solitude. Many of my favorite books and toys can be found at the bottom of the page in the Resources section.
    *When I use the term “socialization” it is meant as controlled, safe, and structured exposure to people, animals, places, experiences, etc. which fall within the puppy’s stress threshold. I do not advocate pushing any puppy or dog beyond its comfort threshold in the name of socialization.
  • Doberman are velcro dogs. They thrive on interaction, attention, and training. If they do not receive ample attention and training, they are apt to become destructive (moreso than usual), and potentially reactive, aggressive, or develop obsessive behaviors. If you cannot commit to making a Doberman a member of the family and investing the time needed to properly train and socialize, do not get a Doberman.
  • Doberman puppies are destructive. Dobershark. Doberteen. My favorite—Doberdisaster. All of these names come from the inescapable fact that young Doberman are destructive. Crating helps, as does training and following their every movement like they are an escaped convict. As a large puppy, with large, powerful teeth and jaws, it doesn’t take them long to de-stuff a pillow or add some pizazz to wooden banisters or chair legs. They will watch where you put something of interest and B-line for it the moment you aren’t watching, as I learned with an unfortunate pair of Oakley sunglasses. Toys wont last long either, but be sure to replace them lest your puppy finds something else to claim as a toy. If you can’t handle a messy house or some chewed personal effects, don’t get a Doberman.
  • Doberman are not dog park dogs. A lot of people would argue this, and most of them would have Doberman who are still young and not fully sexually mature. Doberman were bred to work closely with humans, not with other dogs, and they are—in relation to other breeds—highly prone to Same Sex Aggression (SSA). I suggest researching SSA before even considering a Doberman. A Doberman is not, by nature, an aggressive dog; however, the AKC Standard states that, “an aggressive or belligerent attitude towards other dogs shall not be deemed
    viciousness,” meaning that such a temperament toward other dogs is acceptable in the breed. Doberman are also very rough players; they like to wrestle, growl, “doberstomp,” and box with one another, which is frequently misunderstood as dominance or aggression. This is not a dog that can play merrily and unattended with the other dogs at the park while you catch up on gossip. That is also not to say that your Doberman can’t have canine friends, they just have to be carefully selected and play in a secure area. If you are unwilling or unable to getting a Doberman puppy the physical exercise that it needs without relying on dog parks, do not get a Doberman.
  • Doberman have a stigma. Along with Pitbulls, Mastiffs, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, and Akitas, Doberman are often the victims of Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). Cities with BSL can require a specific breed to be desexed, muzzled whenever in public, or can even outright ban them. Frequently people on the street, in training classes, or even family and friends will be reluctant to interact with a Doberman based on their perception of the breed, which can make socializing difficult. Many day-cares or boarding facilities do not allow Doberman. Some homeowner’s or renter’s insurance companies will not insure with a Doberman. If you rent, seriously reconsider getting a Doberman, and be sure to discuss any breed restrictions with your landlord. If you are not willing to put in the extra time and effort to properly train and socialize a Doberman puppy despite the difficulties, do not get a Doberman.
  • Doberman can be a handful and a liability, especially when untrained and unsocialized. Determined. Alert. Athletic. All are descriptions in the Doberman standard. These alone can make the Doberman a handful as a puppy when they want to go play with another dog or chase a neighbor’s cat, but combine these traits with an unsocialized, untrained mature Doberman and life becomes a battle of physical strength and stubbornness. Ask yourself: can you realistically restrain an 80 pound dog determined to chase a fleeing animal? Are you willing to work with your dog when you realize that he turns into Cujo anytime he sees a skateboarder, bicyclist, or scooter? Can you manage or are you willing to manage a situation where an off-leash dog runs up on your leashed dog? Are you willing to monitor all interactions that your Doberman has with other people and animals, particularly children? Due to their size, strength, and agility, Doberman are capable of inflicting a significant amount of damage on a person or another animal during a very brief encounter. If you cannot commit 100% to training and socializing to the best of your ability, and doing everything in your power to keep your Doberman and the people and animals around you safe, then please—for yourself, the dog, and the Doberman community—DO NOT get a Doberman.
  • Every dollar and minute spent is worth it. With appropriate dedication, socialization, and training, a Doberman will be your friend for life.

Resources/Library

Books:
The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell PhD
On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas
Feisty Fido: Help for the Leash-Reactive Dog by Patricia McConnell PhD and Karen London PhD
How to be Your Dog’s Best Friend by The Monks of New Skete
Click ‘n Connect by Teah Anders
The Power of Positive Dog Training by Pat Miller
Before you Get Your Puppy by Dr. Ian Dunbar
Canine Good Citizen by Jack & Wendy Volhard

Other Resources:
DPCA website
Paws Abilities blog

Toys:
Booya by Busy Buddy
Squirrel Buddy by Petsafe
Zogoflex by West Pay Designs
Kong by Kong
Anything by Planet Dog (four bones or higher ratings)

Hiking, Dog Edition

I love hiking with my boys. I’m not even sure anymore if I actually enjoyed hiking before I had dogs, or if I developed a love of hiking because it was an activity that I could share with my dogs. Anyone who has done any considerable hiking with their dogs knows that you don’t just grab a water bottle and hit the road. One of my greatest fears is winding up several miles in either injured, or with an injured dog, and being unable to care for us overnight or get us back to civilization.

After a hike recently to see the beautiful Colorado fall colors, I emptied my pack to do inventory. The contents are pictured below.

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The List:

Obviously there is no right inventory list for a hiking pack; I would think that some things would be standard (*cough* compass), whereas others could be highly personalized for the person, the dog(s), the climate, and the season. Depending on the season I will add a thermal blanket, extra wool socks, jackets for the boys, and a blanket/tent rolled at the bottom of my sack. What do you carry in your pack when you hike?

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