Tuesday, January 12, 2016

What We’ve Been Up To, A Griffin Family Update

Well, as you can see I haven’t updated the site in around a year. I have a ton of info posted and the site get hits on it and comments weekly, so I feel it’s still a great resource to have for people, so I thought I’d give a quick update.

Family: We purchased a 150 acre farm in Randolph County, MO in August and moved in.  We love it! It's like a hiking trip for the dogs every day, they get to help me take care of all the barn critters, there are several ponds to play in and open fields and woods to explore.

Dogs: Boone and Brinkley still rule the roost so to speak, they are spoiled rotten and love the new farm and the adventures they have there. Boone will be 6 next month, I just can't believe this adventure started that long ago. Brinkley also just turned 5 in October. They spend just as much time sleeping and eating and playing as when they were puppies though.

Other Critters: Molly the evil cat is still evil and likes to attack us, but she’s 10 years old now and fat, so it’s harder for her to get to us before we notice her coming and we can flee.  The newest farm additions are quail, chickens and rabbits. The quail we are raising for eggs and meat, the chickens for eggs and the rabbits for meat as well, but I do love playing with their fuzzy little butts.

Breeding and Puppies: Other than a rescue puppy I took in and fostered a few months ago, we haven’t had puppies in 2 years. I was going to breed Miss Brinkley again since we only got 4 puppies from the first litter and they were all so nice, but it turns out she had some ovarian cysts and it was in her best interest to spay her. She has no regrets about the decision. We are planning on getting our next puppy, still undecided who from, in the next year or two. 

Our Co-Owned Dogs: Patsy and Clover have both accomplished a lot in their not even 2 short years on this planet! 

Patsy is an American Champion, and a Canadian Champion. At the Mastiff Club of America National Specialty she took 3rd in her class in Futurity, 2nd in her class in Sweepstakes, and 3rd in her class in the Regular classes. At the Mastiff Club of Northern Ohio Independent Specialty she took 4th in her class in the Regular classes (12-15 Month Bitches). She also did stellar at the Bucks and Trenton Shows in May, winning 1st in her class, and BOS in the Sweepstakes show and 1st in her class and Reserve winners bitch at Bucks on Saturday. She was 4th in her class on Sunday at the Trenton show and 1st in her class at Monday’s show. Finally, at the Canadian National Specialty in October of 2015 she took Reserve Winners Bitch.

Clover has also earned her American Championship.  At the Mastiff Club of Northern Ohio Independent Specialty she took 3rd in her class in Sweepstakes (12-18 Month bitches) and took 3rd in her class in the Regular classes (12-15 Month Bitches). At the Trenton show in May she was She was 3rd in her class on Sunday at the Trenton show and 2nd in her class on Monday. Then in October of 2015 Clover took Best Bred by Exhibitor at the Canadian National Specialty.

I can’t tell you how excited I am the Brinkley and Wally made such nice kids.  Roman and Jasmine are both doing very well also, Jasmine spends her time playing with the grand kids and visiting grandma in the nursing home and Roman spends his time getting whatever he wants from his mom who spoils him rotten.  He was a recent poster boy for Banfield Vet Clinic and has done various photo shoots and videos for several ad agencies.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas from Gryphon Mastiffs

Merry Christmas from Boone & Brinkley.  We’re keeping our paws crossed that Santa thinks we were good this year and blesses us with the gift of a belly full of Brinkley babies.  Have a wonderful holiday everyone!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Where They Are Now... An Update on the Brinkley & Wally Babies


Well the babies have all been gone for a month now.  It' seems like forever ago.  I thought for anyone keeping up to date on our saga would like to know where everyone ended up and how they are doing.
Lana, the brindle girl that everyone fell in love with, also my pick puppy, went back to live with grandma Kelly, Brinkley’s breeder in NY.  She is now known as Patsy, in honor of her St. Patrick’s Day birth and is officially known as Gryphon’s Try Your Luck at Harvest Haze. 


Pam, the big boned, outgoing fawn girl went to live with Roanne Rist of Rockee Top Mastiffs and lives just 10 minutes from grandma Kelly in NY.  Also named in honor of her St. Patrick’s Day birth, Pam is now known as Clover, and is officially known as Gryphon’s Rockee Top Fields of Clover at Harvest Haze. 


Here are Patsy and Clover at grandma Kelly's grooming shop learning to be social butterflies!

Cheryl, the spunky little fawn girl lives in Imperial, MO with Sam and Mary Ann Bevell.  Her new name is Jasmine, which means “Gift from God”.  She begins her AKC Star Puppy classes this month and will eventually be trained and certified as a Therapy Dog, assisting her owners in their home healthcare business. 
And last but now least, little (actually big) Archer.  The chunky, sweet little boy that so many people were fighting over… that everyone wanted.  Archer, now known as Roman went to live south of Kansas City with Tina Chapman.  Once he’s old enough I get to do all his showing!  He’s my ‘keeper puppy in a pet home’.  Roman will also be famous soon. He was sought out to be in the photo shoot for the upcoming 2014 Santa Paws lottery tickets from the Missouri Lottery.  That being said, everyone is getting lottery tickets for Christmas this year!
And Boone and Brinkley are here, things have settled down since the puppies all went home.  I tease that Boone is ‘an old man’ at 4 ½.  He still loves to go, but treasures his sleep is grumpy when you make him get out of bed too early in the morning!  Brinkley has hit a second childhood since she had the puppies.  She plays constantly, is always getting into mischief and loves to sit on people that visit the house. We recently watched Jasmine for a weekend and Brinkley was so pleased to have one of her babies and playmates back.  We originally got Brinkley so Boone would have a playmate, she was his puppy… maybe it’s time for Brinkley to get a puppy ;)

Friday, May 9, 2014

Preventing Dog Bites Takes Understanding

Originally printed in the Columbia Missourian, the following article was written by Steven Bishop, a trainer I worked with locally when Brinkley was in puppy kindergarten. Steve is a certified dog trainer and teaches group classes and private lessons. He is also a member of the Pet Professional Guild and a C.G.C./S.T.A.R. Puppy Evaluator. He lives in Columbia with his wife, two daughters and his dog, Duncan.

Just outside of San Francisco, on June 18 of last year, a dog fatally bit a child as he played in his grandparents’ backyard. According to the interviews that followed, family and friends stated the dog was never aggressive, never a problem, and they just couldn’t figure out what happened. As you read further, the family admitted that the children were trying to ride the dog.

This incident exemplifies the fact that it is not enough to have an adult present when children and dogs are together. Adults need to recognize the signs and behaviors in a dog before a bite occurs.
Robin Bennett, Certified Professional Dog Trainer, in her recent blog, Why Supervising Dogs and Kids Doesn’t Work, points out that you should not “marvel that your dog has the patience of Job, …” but you should be “thankful your dog has good bite inhibition and intervene before it’s too late.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year. The American Humane Association states that 82% of dog bites treated in the emergency room were to children under 15. And 70% of dog bite fatalities are children under the age of 10. Most bites could be anticipated and avoided if more people were familiar with the more subtle signs dogs use to communicate.

Some of the signals the average person is unfamiliar with can include panting when the dog is not thirsty, yawning when the dog is not tired, look-aways, and whale eye, referring to being able to see the whites of the dog's eye.
These things must be taken in context though. A long, low growl from a dog may be an invitation to play if it is accompanied by a play bow. It may also be a signal that he wants to be left alone if it coincides with the hair being raised and the ears held back and close to the head.
This article will only discuss some of the less familiar signals a dog may give in ascension from the somewhat uncomfortable to an imminent bite. This is by no means all inclusive and it would behoove people to watch their dog so they are aware of when the dog is content and when he is becoming uncomfortable.
When a dog is beginning to feel uncomfortable, he might lip lick or yawn. It is unclear as yet if these are behaviors the dog will do to calm himself, the person, or both. Lip licking is just that: the dog, usually repeatedly, licks his lips. Yawning is a signal that should be taken in context. When the dog is not tired it can be an easily seen and early sign of stress.

Although as a general rule, dogs do not like to stare another dog or a person in the eye, they do continually glance at the face of the other dog or person. With a look-away, the dog will avoid all eye contact and will probably even turn his head away from the person.

Although some believe it is another behavior all together, some believe the walk-away is just an exaggeration of the look-away. The difference, as the name suggests, is when the dog gets up and physically attempts to remove himself from the situation or area that is making him uncomfortable.

Look-aways are often seen when a dog is being hugged by a person. Hugs can make a dog feel trapped and can therefore lead to a bite very quickly. Although people find hugs acceptable and enjoy them, most dogs do not and would prefer to avoid them, particularly with people they are unfamiliar with.

If the dog cannot remove himself from the situation, he may try to make himself look small or unobtrusive. The dog will lower his posture, his ears will be held close to the head, and his tail may be held between his legs. This is the point when the dog is beginning to be dangerous. If he feels there is no escape, he attempts to make himself smaller. If he continues to feel antagonized, this behavior may turn to a bite.

When a bite is becoming more imminent, the dog may freeze or show whale-eye. In earlier stages, the freeze may be an attempt to become less of an apparent threat. In these later stages, the freeze seems to be preparation for a spring and bite. Again, these have to be taken in context with the other signals.

When playing, dogs will often freeze in what is believed to be a way of taking a break or to say “that was just in fun and I’m not going to follow up with anything more aggressive.” If the dog is being aggressive, the freeze may also be accompanied with a snarl, a low growl, ears pinned to the head and back, piloerection (bristling of the hair), and whale-eye. Whale-eye, or half-moon eye is when the dog will stare while the head is turned away exposing a large amount of the white of the eye. This should not be confused with a sideways glance. It usually occurs with a freeze and is a hard stare.

The last signal before a bite may be a growl or muzzle punch. In his book, "How Dogs Think: Understanding the Canine Mind," Dr. Stanley Coren discusses vocalizations in dogs.

Although most people are aware that short, high pitch vocalizations may mean fear or pain. Lower pitches of longer duration may be what are referred to as “distance increasing” signals, or that the dog is getting uncomfortable and would like the person to go away. It may coincide with a tooth display or snarling and can quickly turn to a snap or bite.

Likewise, a muzzle punch is usually the last step before a bite. It is a quick, hard, sharp jab with the muzzle and is intended to make the person leave, or at the least, leave them alone.

Finally, the dog may bite.

A child should be taught to never approach an unfamiliar dog. Always ask before petting an unfamiliar dog. Most dogs enjoy being scratched under the chin and this is usually a much safer option. Never tease a dog, pull their hair, tail, or ears. And never put your face in an unfamiliar dog’s face or try to ride a dog.

It is important to remember not to punish a dog for these behaviors. Dogs do not have the luxury of speaking, so they use the signals available to them. By punishing these behaviors, the dog may learn to skip the more subtle signs and go straight for the bite.

It is important for the person to learn to read these signals so the incident does not escalate to that point. At the earliest signs a dog is becoming uncomfortable (lip licking, yawning, look-aways), it may be best to separate the dog and the child for a time.

And above all, make sure your dog is properly socialized with people and other dogs in an appropriate manner. Don’t wait until there is a problem.

For more in depth information see Sarah Kalnajs’ DVD, "The Language of Dogs: Understanding the Canine Body Language and Other Communication Signals" or visit the website for Dr. Sophia Yin, veterinarian and animal behaviorist.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Wally and Brinkley Babies are Here!

It’s been 3 weeks since Brinkley’s babies arrived and I’m just now getting time to update the website and blog.  Welcome Brinkley x Wally babies, Lana (Brindle girl), Archer (fawn boy), Cheryl (fawn girl) and Pam (fawn girl).  All babies were born healthy and BIG, 1lb 14oz down to 1lb 8 oz. and have since been growing like weeds. They are all starting to show their own little personalities and are running around like heathens!  

Their first raw meal of ground turkey was a huge success yesterday, but they are still eating from mom every other meal.  Everyone is using the potty papers… except Lana once in a while…. Ahem… little stinker and everyone’s ears and eyes are open. 

Here are some pictures from a few days ago; I think everyone was 20 or 21 days old here.  

Lana, Archer, Pam and Cheryl.