Sunset Goldens

Quality Golden Retrievers Bred For Health, Temperament, And Ability


PICKING A DIRECTION post 43 from old blog

Posted on May 29, 2015 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (10)

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Picking a direction

Trisha: Posted on Friday, March 06, 2015 7:59 AM




I've been having a hard time lately. I know what I want from my dogs. I want them to be the perfect golden! I want health, beauty, brains, and I want it packaged into something that absolutely fits the breed standard. I think my dogs embody the breed standard, but I also know that EVERY breeder reads the same standard and interprets it differently. I actually think that is great because it gives a bit of diversity.


Up to this point, my dogs have been successful in obedience, rally, hunting, nosework, lure coursing, therapy, and service. They also make really awesome pets! If I could have imagined my dogs being like this 5-8 years ago I'd have not believed it. My knowledge has changed. What I am producing has changed. In return, my bank account is empty, but my heart is full of gratitude for these amazing animals and for the people that open their homes and hearts to them.


However, I sit at a crossroad now and really am not sure how to proceed. I still hold this dream of the perfect dog in the front of my mind. Each litter I wait to see that this litter was better than the last. The puppies are beautiful, healthy, socialized and fearless, and most importantly they have the "I will put up with anything because I love you" kind of attitude that I expect my dogs to have because I have kids, a busy life, and flaws. If they can show me those qualities at home then I know its another check off my list that I can know they will be successful in their new home.


I am excited about the list of things that I can say my dogs are capable of doing. It doesn't take a genius to know that for now those are lower level titles. They are a combination of my own training ability, what I can afford to shell out for trainers, and reflect what my puppy buyers are interested in pursuing. More than anything, I hope that I am proving that in the right hands my dogs are capable. Hopefully they can rise to the occasion within what each handler/family hopes to accomplish.


I'm going to use Dog #1 as my example now. Dog #1 is one of my favorite dogs ever! She has given me more service dogs than I can count (I'd guess a third of her pups are fully trained/in training now) and she has also produced therapy dogs and hunting companions. Therapy and hunting are not usually 2 activities that belong to the same dog. I am so proud of that!!! That production is based off 2 litters from my dogs. Pebbles is competing for her Senior Hunt title now so of course the correct breeder thing of me to do is to find a really nice field dog to breed her to. Boy will I have the best pedigree I've ever had! And, the pedigree will prove they can hunt! Its not just me saying they should or providing instances in which many families hunt with her offspring. Its official! I'm even getting pumped up just typing about it!


Pup are born. They are healthy. They are beautiful. They have instincts and drive up the wazoo! Pups are evaluated and I'm told they are the best she has seen of mine. Very nice conformation and very consistent. Unfortunately, some are not anything I would wish on my worst enemy. The few are loud, stubborn, energetic beyond belief, and NOTHING like anything I'd ever experienced with any other litter. I couldn't help but wonder how in the world I could expect anyone to want those particular pups if I didn't want them myself. It was a frustrating 8 weeks.


I've had a litter since then with Dog #2. My gosh those pups remind me of why I love what I do. Again, healthy, beautiful, and calm at the appropriate times and puppyish at the appropriate times. They are pups that I am confident will be everything I say they will be. They will be predictable. They still should have pretty great instincts and drive, but in a more controllable package... if that makes any sense.


So what to do? I love the idea that I will someday have a hand in a truly exceptional dog or dogs. I am certainly trying my hardest to do that. But what is an exceptional Golden? I guess that is my problem. I believe that a truly exceptional dog CAN do it all. They should fit the breed standard and then tack on a ton of colorful titles to go with it. That is the dream. These days though, that isn't reality. Most often conformation and field dogs look drastically different. Even more different than the look is the temperament of a dog that based on the breed standard should be the same.


Competition is such a blessing in many ways, but it also is the cause of varying styles of Goldens. It is human nature to want to be the best and I think sometimes dogs are bred based off of human wants/desires I think sometimes rather than what is best for them. (again, not always and not trying to offend anyone)


I bred that hunting litter to have more competitive hunters and earn higher titles. I think that certainly some of them will be very great at it. But i'm not sure I did a service for the breed with the pups that went to pet homes. Will they really be happy there? Or, would they really just prefer to bust out of the house and chase some feathers?


The obvious answer I thought was to keep certain dogs for certain disciplines. This breeding is for show. This breeding is performance, etc. The fact is that I don't have a million dogs and I don't want a bunch. I do have co owns out to some so that it helps give me a wider base, but I was almost always bummed that the owner was doing the bare minimum to co own with me rather than seeing the dog through to its full potential and going beyond what I asked.


Another thing is that I really do like the 50/50 cross. When I can mix show and field dogs I am in absolute Golden heaven. They have drive but are very trainable and relatively calm. It makes size a little harder to predict, but the health and temperament of them have been super.


I guess I'm confused because I want dogs that can get to top levels of all those events, but I do not want it at the expense of making dogs that only work for competition. My pet and service dog families are every bit as important to me as a dog that competes. How do I honor both?


The other question that stumps me often is does the pedigree matter? Man I hate this. With my horses I'd say without question that the pedigree matters. I won't even touch a horse that doesn't involve lines that I like. I've built my breeding program on 3-4 generations now of no name dogs (mostly, but not all:) and I love what I'm getting. I guess in a way I'm maybe building my own lines?


I'm afraid to add well known pedigrees for fear of adding in things I don't like. As in so far my rates for hereditary problems are way low compared to the breed stats. Of course that can change, but I feel really good so far about where I sit with that. I have a high fear that shoving nice pedigrees on there will bring in some bad stuff. Extra scary to me when I consider that the fancy pedigree would be added to show off more than anything. I love my dogs without the fancy pedigree. But the nice pedigree will bring me people that would want my dogs that would otherwise not have looked at them...










IF you are a trainer, what do you think should absolutely be kicked out of breeding decisions? What do you wish breeders would consider? What am I not considering in all of this?


If you are a breeder, do you ever want to pull your hair out? How do you decide how you personally interpret the breed standard? Lots of dogs can fit it and be very different. What is the final decisions that you consider when choosing if you want that certain line to represent your breeding program?


I had more, but its late and I erased a bunch. Plus this is plenty of rambling for a night. Sorry if I offended anyone. NOT my intent. Just bouncing around ideas

HOW DID I END UP HERE post 42 from old blog

Posted on May 29, 2015 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (0)

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How did I end up here?

trisha: Posted on Friday, October 18, 2013 11:34 PM

I can't seem to stop thinking about this lately, so another blog entry seemed like the only reasonable fix. It comes at a time when I feel so busy at home with family (2 young babies in particular) with dogs, with puppies, and with life in general. Still things are really fantastic and I feel so fortunate for everything that I am blessed with and am able to do.

As a new litter begins to head home, words cannot express how thankful I am that I have families taking in my puppies that love and treat them as family members and plan ahead for training so that everyone can have a happy life long relationship. It sounds silly, but I am so grateful. A certain amount of "homework" is necessary to be prepared for a new puppy and I appreciate those that do it!

This Litter in particular, has brought on a couple awesome opportunities coming up soon. I'm unsure how it happened, but somehow I ended up with 5 puppies heading to California. I certainly don't usually have half a litter head out of state, but it got me to remembering my trip with Pebbles for a hunt test and I started to wonder if a hunt test was coming up around the time these guys were due to go home. A quick check tells me their is!!! Crazy as it is, a plan is born and we will soon be heading to California to deliver puppies (2 for service, 1 for hunting, 1 to a very experienced obedience competitor, and 1 as a pet) and for a 2 day hunt test.

Now, when I say we, I mean WE! I can only imagine it will be much like a traveling circus. The car will be loaded with my husband, myself, our 5 kids (ages 2months-13yrs) 5 puppies, and Bobbie for the hunt tests. I'm worn out after typing it so I can only imagine the array of things we will experience along the way :)

Today I went to train with Bobbie. She had been training very well, but today was a mixed bag. Her marking has been good, but today she was 50/50 because she got so excited she wouldn't sit still and didn't quite see where the bird landed. She also has been doing much better on her recalls. Her recall for Adrienne (who by the way is freaking fantastic at training my dogs for hunt tests :) is amazing. Problem for me is that at this point in her life, she has spent much more time with Adrienne than she has with me. So she is having a little confusion over who mom is when we are both out with her. Last time, she did great and came right to me. Today, again, 50/50. What has been wonderfully consistent is her having a great hold and now sitting pretty near heel position to deliver the bird. I can pet, love, and talk to her while she holds the bumper. When I gave her to Adrienne, I had her in a pretty bad habit of retrieving the bird and then getting 3-4ft away from me and playing keep away, or just dropping it. So her holds are a huge success! So, IF she marks, and IF she finds the bird, and IF she brings it back to me, and IF she delivers to hand, we will have 2 successful hunt tests :) THATS A LOT OF IF'S TO DRIVE 2200 MILES!!! It is a good thing I'm not banking this whole trip on this test. Remember that car full of people???

In all of this crazy planning, I also got to thinking that if I needed to take puppies, and a hunt test was at the same time, why not take the whole family and enjoy California? Last year I had an absolute blast taking Zach and Leah with me for Pebbles hunt test for the world's shortest vacation/hunt test. Great bonding with some of the family and a new title for the dog. Woo HOO! So, it turns out that this particular hunt test is smack dab in the middle of everything fun! Disneyland, Universal Studios, Sea World, the beach... the list goes on. The kids that didn't go with us last year are super excited just to go the The Jelly Belly Factory because last year, Zach got some of those nasty tasting jelly beans and when we got home we played a trick on every one and they all ate the gross ones. :))))) So certainly some fun is to be had.

Now, how does this relate to dogs and being thankful? LOL. That was supposed to be the point of this when I started writing :)

Well, can we drive to CA anytime? YES.

Can we visit theme parks anytime? YES.

Can we do a hunt test in OR? YES.

Could puppies be shipped rather than delivering in person? YES.

Is an estimated 35+ hours of driving with 5 kids and 6 dogs crazy? YES

The problem is that while I can answer yes to those, I'm not sure we would have actually done it without this falling into place. We have talked about going to Disneyland ASAP because Zach is 13 and he "needs" to go before he grows up and is too old for it. Still, we kept putting it off. So, when the stars align we have to take advantage and I am just simply going to have faith that this will not only work out, but be a TON OF FUN!!!

I am so thankful for the opportunities and kicks in the rear that the dogs have given to me. This will be my little plug for training your dog, but I never would have imagined how wonderful this journey has been. It started before this, but an amazing boy named Riley and his family totally changed what I valued in my dogs and ultimately the direction I have now headed with what they are accomplishing. I have met amazing people. I have seen dogs do things that you cannot imagine and that people are just not capable of alone. For so many things, the dog is the missing link. HAVE YOU EVER WANTED TO TRAIN YOUR DOG FOR SOMETHING AND JUST NOT MADE THE TIME TO FOLLOW THROUGH???

I got sidetracked again! However this trip ends up, THANK YOU ADRIENNE for your wonderful wonderful care of my dogs and the huge effort you take to train my silly Goldens. It means the world to me that you can get them to do things that I cannot and that they like to work for you. I will never go hunt a real bird, but I am hooked on seeing Goldens doing things they should naturally do. Thank you for that!

I'm really just rambling, so stop reading this and go train your dog!!! Where will it take you?!?

On a side note... I've got camo boots now! Nobody in California will ever know I train my dogs in flip flops :)

Post 15 from old blog

Posted on May 29, 2015 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Sunset HHF You Can't Touch This "Glitter"

trisha: Posted on Friday, February 03, 2012 12:49 PM

I finally named her... Thank you all for the ideas! Her registered name is Sunset HHF You Can't Touch This... Call Name "GLITTER".

She is still just an unbelievably breathtaking puppy to look at. She is going to lite puppy classes. Meaning, I'm taking her so she is used to the car rides, traveling with the other dogs, she does play sessions with the other pups in Maple's class and then she is learning to quietly sit in her crate until she gets a chance to get out again.

During the rest of her week, she is working on taking treats NICELY from my fingers, sit and down with a lure, and walking on a leash. At this point I am not picky about the side she walks on. I want her happy, confident, and tail wagging! She earns treats by looking at me. She hasn't even attempted tugs on the leash yet. She seems to think I am her toy and she understands that if she is further away from me, I don't play. If she is close she get treats and attention.

So far confident doesn't even come close to describing this girl! During playtime, she is in amongst other dogs large/small ranging in age from3-5 1/2 months and weighing 15-40lbs. She is by far the youngest at 9 weeks. However, she is afraid of nothing! She walks up to all the people and plays happily with dogs closer to her size and for the bigger ones, she sometimes takes a beating, or will run and stage her little attack before the bigger pup can catch her. It reminds me of when you tap someone on the opposite shoulder and then they turn and don't find anyone... She is a bit of a trixter like that.

Before our next class, she will make trips to the store and meet lots of people. I am actually trying to think up a place to take her that I've never gone to before. Maybe that will keep it interesting for the both of us.

I also want to put her sit on a hand signal and begin fazing out the treat every time.

I'm also going to push tug games with her... I want to see what difference that makes.

post 8 from old blog

Posted on May 29, 2015 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (0)

ite Goldens Exist?

various: Posted on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 11:50 PM

I am going to post an article that I found pertaining to "British White" retrievers.

Why “white” golden retriever aren’t whiteJanuary 24, 2009 by retrieverman I often get comment that there is such a thing as a “white golden retriever.”I hate to explain this again, but sometimes, it’s worth repeating.All golden retrievers are recessive e/e (yellow to red) for their coat color. All of them. No one has found a dog that carries the white masking gene, which is found in bull terriers and boxers. No one.Even these dogs that appear to be white are not white in terms of genetics.And there is an easy way to test this: get the dog wet. Usually, one of these dogs gets wet, it will have a yellow tinge to its coat.These people who are selling “rare white goldens” are con artists or ignorant of the actual genes involved. There is no such breed as a “British white retriever.” It is actually the European show-line golden that is very pale in color.Again, my next question is why do you want a dog like this?Is it because of the novelty of color?Is it because the breeders tell you the dogs are calm and mellow?Is it because Oprah has a couple?It might surprise you to know how recently this color variety developed. I’ve looked at paintings and photographs of hundreds of early goldens. None of them are of this color. None. The much peddled myth that the first Guisachan dogs were of this color doesn’t hold much weight when there are actually paintings of the first litter. They were light gold, not cream. And the 1st Baron Tweedmouth bred in setters to darken the color.I can explain this 100 or 200 or 50,000 times, and I still have explain the genetics of the color. Also, because there is recessive nature to the light color gene, if you breed for light color, you cannot breed dark colored dogs from light colored parents. That’s why in Europe, dark colors very quickly got bred out of the lines.Again, I’ll it ONE more time (although I’m kidding myself, I’ll say it again) there is no such thing as a white golden retriever. All we are doing in breeding for the light color in some golden retriever and the mahogany in Irish setters is messing around with the intensity of the yellow to red color. It’s the same color genetically, e/e.Interesting, “white” German shepherds don’t exist either for the same reason. And West Highland white terriers are of the same color. It’s a very diluted e/e coloration. (Although in these breeds, it’s impossible to see the yellow color.) Check out this study on the cream color. And check out this page on “white” color.Interestingly, all the supposed white e/e’s have close relatives that come in the more traditonal yellow or red colors for the gene. Westies are close relatives of the Cairn terrier, which does come in a goldish yellow color. American “Eskimo” dogs (American version of the white German spitz) and Samoyeds also come from dogs that can come in the reddish or yellow color. (See the coloration of some reindeer herding spitzes or the typical coloration of a Pomeranian. Some Samoyeds are creamy colored–”biscuits.”) I knew a gold-colored purebred German shepherd. These white dogs are actually very diluted yellows.But they are not white in the same way that bull terriers or white boxers are white.

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