March 07, 2005

Derrett & Garrett & Puzzle

I'm just back from a five day seminar with Greg Derrett and Susan Garrett - Nicola had Puzzle with her. He was nearly nine weeks old, and had been at his new home for just a few days so it was a big occasion for him with lots of new dogs and people.

Puzzle is a Labradoodle. He is a great little dog, alert and confident but in a quiet, self contained way. In his crate he sleeps and/or entertains himself. Outside he confidently explores, happily interacts with people and dogs, and quickly learns his lessons.

Labradoodles have achieved recent popularity, but they have been bred in Australia for thirty years, a result of The Guide Dog Association implementing research and breeding programs in search of an allergy friendly guide dog.

Tegan Park and Rutland Manor are probably the oldest established Labradoodle breeders in Aus, though in the last few years we have seen a proliferation of breeders who offer Spoodles and Groodles and Schnoodles and Cavoodles in response to a demand triggered in part by lifestyle tv shows. One such show placed 'Designer Mongrels' in second place on their top ten dogs list with the ludicrous statement: "They are all fabulous little family dogs, which have fewer veterinary problems than their purebred parents. "

A poorly bred dog is a poorly bred dog, regardless of what breed the parents are. A labradoodle from an uninformed back yard breeder or puppy mill will be no more or less fabulous than a pure bred dog from the same breeder.

Derrett and Garrett? I think Greg is fantastic. He remembered our dogs from a year ago, and had an encouraging word for everyone. Susan's presentations were primarily chalk and talk lectures, and I think she got cross with us for not taking it all in. But her methods are great, and I'll be buying her book as soon as it's released. And I'll be actually practicing the drills in Greg's videos.

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