Greyt Inspirations Life

A little about our life, our business and our pets.

Why you shouldn’t get a PWD

I literally can’t help myself. Just one more Obama puppy video and then I promise I’ll stop for a while.


In related news, maybe we should talk about the reasons why a Portuguese Water Dog isn’t for everyone? As you can see for yourself, these are medium to large dogs and they are very active. They’re also very smart and bold. Sure, they like to cuddle as much as the next dog, but they’re also up for sports and adventure. If you can’t provide those things for them they may get bored — and bored dogs can get into trouble no matter the breed or mix.

The AKC and the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America have been very up front with the media about the temperament and activity levels of “Porties.”

“This breed possesses a lot of energy, so without training or a job to do, the dog may entertain itself by running full-speed down the West Wing or barking at Republicans,” said Mary Burch, Ph.D, AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy and CGC Director. “That type of behavior may not make the best impression on visiting dignitaries, so we recommend that the Obama’s enroll Bo in an obedience class such as the new AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Program.”

AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy stands for what every puppy needs – Socialization, Training, Activity and a Responsible Owner. Dogs up to one year of age are eligible to enroll in a six-week puppy or basic training class that is instructed by an AKC approved CGC Evaluator. Classes include valuable training tips for puppy owners such as housetraining and lessons on practical skills for puppies such as coming when called. The program is a pre-cursor to the AKC Canine Good Citizen Program, which teaches and rewards dogs with good manners at home and in the community.

As a purebred, the Portuguese Water Dog has a predictable temperament, activity level and coat type, which is ideal for allergy sufferers like Malia. They are loyal and loving companions, cherished by many Americans throughout the country. However, the breed was developed to be a working animal and requires daily vigorous exercise. Historically, the breed spent most of its day swimming, assisting its fisherman owner by retrieving broken nets, diving for fish and delivering messages between ships.
Although currently only the 64th most popular breed in the United States according to 2008 AKC registration statistics, the Portuguese Water Dog’s popularity is likely to rise due to its appointment as First Pup. Therefore, the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America, the AKC Parent club which monitors the health and well-being of the breed in U.S., has issued a press release of their own to urge the public to be cautious before jumping on any trend that involves a living animal.
“PWDs are classified as working dogs. That means they enjoy being given jobs to do where they can display their intelligence, strength and stamina,” said Stu Freeman, President of the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America. “Like all dogs, they need positive training and socialization.”

According to the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America, this is the most publicity the breed has ever received since they were introduced into the United States in the 1960s.

“While the PWD is a wonderful family pet, we want to use the increased interest in the breed as an opportunity to educate people about it,” said Freeman.

“We encourage those who may consider adding a Portuguese Water Dog to their lives to do the proper research to ensure that this breed fits their lifestyle.”

Jean Hassebroek, Corresponding Secretary of the PWDCA said, “The best thing about the breed is its versatility – PWDs have been full-time sheep herders, R.E.A.D. therapy dogs and we even had a FEMA 1 hero. But, they can also be champion couch potatoes, content to just hang out.”

Because PWDs will form a strong bond with their families — even a “First Family”– they don’t do well when left alone for long periods of time or when boarded in kennels. PWDs enjoy participating in activities with their family such as youth soccer, baseball and basketball games, picnics, hiking or any other outing, especially those near water. They do well in homes with children, but it’s possible a PWD could mistake a small child for a littermate and play too hard. In general, small children should never be left unsupervised with a dog of any breed.

The PWDCA is comprised of 1,500 members devoted to the well-being of the breed. Its members are available to discuss:
. The history and traits of PWDs
. How to responsibly acquire a PWD
. Health issues in the breed
. Grooming requirements of PWDs

For more information on Portuguese Water Dogs and to obtain a copy of the PWDCA Puppy Information Pack visit or visit

(Each of the 161 breeds registered by the AKC is represented by a Parent Club, which oversees the breed standard and seeks to protect the welfare of the breed. )

If you think you may be interested in a Portuguese Water Dog then, by all means, investigate the breed. But don’t get a dog because someone else has it. Make sure any dog is a good fit for your lifestyle. The AKC recognizes over 160 distinct breeds. There are over 400 breeds worldwide. And there are many great mixes available at animal shelters. All of this means that you should take your time to find just the right dog for you and your own situation. Consider things like the size of the dog when grown, his energy level, his historical background — if he’s a terrier he may not leave your garden alone, for example; if he’s a sighthound he may see other small pets, even cats, like prey animals. Consider potential health problems in the breed or the health of the parents. Is it important that the breed is good with children? Do you need a dog that gets along well with other dogs or with other pets, like cats or other dogs?

By considering temperament, size and tendencies before you get a dog you have a much better chance of choosing the best dog for you — a best friend who will live out many long, happy years together with you. Don’t just follow a popular trend. You wouldn’t do that with other important decisions so don’t do it when choosing a pet.

April 15, 2009 Posted by | dogs, General, Pets | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The New White House Puppy arrives!

Everything you want to know about the new First Puppy:

Charlie/Bo, the new White House dog.

Charlie/Bo, the new White House dog.

The Washington Post also has a story about Charlie/Bo and how the story leaked out.

The First Puppy Makes a Big Splash
The biggest mystery of the Obama White House’s first 100 days has been revealed: The first puppy — the one that the Washington press corps has been yelping about for months — is a 6-month-old Portuguese water dog given to Malia and Sasha as a gift by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. The little guy’s name? Bo.

April 12, 2009 Posted by | dogs, Pets | , , , | Leave a comment

Dogs in the news…and Happy Easter!

There are several rather interesting, but a little depressing dog stories in the news today.  We have yet another story that says the Obamas are close to announcing that they have chosen a dog for their girls.



Will a Portuguese Water Dog be the future First Dog?  Does anyone still care?

Will a Portuguese Water Dog be the future First Dog? Does anyone still care?

Public awaits First Dog news with bated breath

A White House dog announcement is imminent.

The Obama girls are getting a male Portuguese water dog puppy, according to hints dropped by Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin during a radio interview in Chicago.


Ho hum.  I think we’ll all believe it when (and if) it happens at this point.  They’ve been promising something since the campaign.


An Associated Press story reports that tighter standards for commercial dog breeders are being proposed in Wisconsin.


Standards for dog breeders proposed

Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. – A group of bipartisan legislators say tighter regulations for Wisconsin‘s commercial dog breeders are long overdue. 


Their bill would require dog breeders selling more than 25 dogs in a year to be licensed and meet standards of care.


Sorry, but this is also ho hum.  The Humane Society of the United States is promoting similar legislation in over 30 states this year and, frankly, these are bad laws.  Not because anyone likes sub-standard kennels or wants to see dogs (and cats) treated badly.  Of course not.  But these bills are generally poorly written and would harm responsible, ethical breeders without improving care and conditions for mistreated animals.  There’s really not a state in the country that doesn’t already have laws regarding animal cruelty and neglect.  How about enforcing the laws that states already have instead of imposing new laws that would hurt all breeders?


I did think this story from the L.A. Times blog was rather unique, if somewhat bizarre:


Would you fight over his semen?

Would you fight over his semen?

Divorced couple go to court over disputed dog semen

A divorced couple brought an intriguing case before Michigan family court Judge Cheryl Matthews this week.  Anthony Scully, who remained in Michigan after the couple’s 2002 divorce, and his former wife Karen Scully, now of Florida, appeared in Matthews’ court yesterday over the disputed ownership of dog semen.


Mr. and Ms. Scully, both of whom breed bull mastiffs, divided ownership of the dogs they’d once shared when they divorced: Four stayed with him, and she took the remaining two with her to Florida.


Both say they legitimately own the banked, frozen semen of Cyrus, Regg and Romeo.


The Detroit Free Press reports:


“I asked, ‘Am I being punk’d?’ ” Matthews said Wednesday afternoon. “I said, ‘Is this a ‘Candid Camera’ thing?’ ” …


–Lindsay Barnett


However, with all of that nonsense out ot the way, here is, in my opinion, hands down, the best news story of the day.  It’s an article on Easter egg hunting with your dog from the


egghunt1-778500Easter egg hunting with your dog


The author recommends buying small plastic eggs and filling them with your dog’s favorite treat.  You can hide the eggs in your backyard or living room.  Place them in places where your dog can find them.


The author recommends keeping a map of where you hide the eggs and how many you hide.  Your dog may need some help at first.


You may want to skip your dog’s breakfast before the big hunt so he is a little more interested in hunting the eggs.  Then feed small meal after the hunt.


The author recommends doing multiple hunts to increase the fun for your dog.  You can start off with hiding the eggs in easy places and make it a little harder the next time.


If your dog knows some training commands this is a good time to practice some of them.


Don’t forget to take video and photos of the Easter egg hunt with your dog.


As the author says, be careful because some dogs may want to eat the plastic eggs.


I’ve hidden eggs for my dogs and they have a blast with it.  I have to admit that I never thought about using plastic eggs.  One year my mom showed up at my house with a couple of dozen real eggs and some egg dye so we dyed real eggs for them and hid them outside.  The dogs were quite happy to hunt for boiled eggs and eat them.  But, I have very large dogs so they were all right with eating some boiled eggs without it harming them.  I wasn’t afraid that the eggs would hurt them.  If your dogs have any food sensitivities or if they’re small dogs, I wouldn’t do this.


One thing you should not do, of course, is to allow your dog to eat chocolate eggs or bunnies.  Remember that chocolate is poisonous to dogs.  And don’t let your dog eat the plastic grass in Easter baskets.  That can become entangled in their stomachs and cause problems.

April 10, 2009 Posted by | dogs, Pets | , , , | Leave a comment

Obamas narrow their dog choice

From MSNBC and The Today Show:

Michelle Obama: Dog coming soon!
The family will be getting a new addition next month, first lady says

The whole world, it seems, wants to know: What kind of dog are the Obamas getting and, for goodness sake, when?

Speaking to PEOPLE at the White House recently, Michelle Obama leaned in and confided: “You’re getting some scoops here.”

So, when? In April, Mrs. Obama says – after she and the President take daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, on a vacation for spring break.

Here’s a sample of a typical family conversation on the matter: “So Sasha says, ‘April 1st.’ I said, ‘April.’ She says, ‘April 1st.’ It’s, like, April!,” Mrs. Obama recalls. “Got to do it after spring break. You can’t get a new dog and then go away for a week.”

The Portie is an active, intelligent dog.

The Portie is an active, intelligent dog.

And what kind of dog will soon be frolicking on the South Lawn? Mrs. Obama says the family is looking for a rescue Portuguese water dog who is “old enough” and a “match” for the family dynamic.

“Temperamentally they’re supposed to be pretty good,” she says of the breed that Sen. Ted Kennedy has also lobbied for (he has two Water dogs of his own). “From the size perspective, they’re sort of middle of the road – it’s not small, but it’s not a huge dog. And the folks that we know who own them have raved about them. So that’s where we’re leaning.”

The name game
The only thing still up in the air is the name. And Mom’s not feeling it with some of the names her girls have come up with.

“Oh, the names are really bad. I don’t even want to mention it, because there are names floating around and they’re bad,” Mrs. Obama says with a laugh. “You listen and you go – like, I think, Frank was one of them. Frank! Moose was another one of them. Moose. I said, well, what if the dog isn’t a moose? Moose. I’m like, no, come on, let’s work with the names a little bit.”

Asked if she can believe the public interest in her family dog search, Mrs. Obama shakes her head. “Okay, that’s surprising,” she says. “One of the things I didn’t anticipate is the level of the excitement about the dog. I knew my kids were excited. They’ve been excited for years. They’ve even calmed down, because they feel like, ‘They said we’re going to get one, so let’s just shut up about it.’ ”

Diplomatically, and careful not to insult enthusiastic dog-lovers, she adds: “It’s all great and gracious attention. People are just being as helpful as you can imagine. So I know that we will find the perfect breed. And we’ll find people who are caring folks who will help us find the dog of our dreams.”

So, there you have it. The family is looking for a rescued Portuguese Water Dog. That’s a good choice for a family where allergies are a concern.

I know a lot of people were hoping that the Obamas would choose a mixed breed dog but when you are trying to fill a special need — like finding a dog that is considered hypoallergenic — then it’s usually a good idea to look at dogs from breeds that are known to be good for those traits. It’s not impossible to find a mixed breed dog that an allergy-sufferer could live with, but you would have to search the dog out on a one-on-one basis. I imagine that the Obama girls might not even be able to visit shelters since allergies are an issue.

The same is true when it comes to choosing a purebred dog for many other purposes. Sometimes there’s a reason why they were bred in the first place and a reason why they continue to exist as a breed. I know sometimes I like to watch the Incredible Dog Challenge events on TV and I can’t help noticing that most of the dogs that do so well in the water events are Labs and other breeds bred for water retrieving. You think that’s a coincidence?

There are many great purebred dogs in rescues. I’m sure the Obamas will be able to find a wonderful dog for their family. But, come on, Michelle! Let the kids have fun naming the dog! What’s wrong with Moose or Frank???

February 25, 2009 Posted by | dogs, Pets | , , , | Leave a comment

Obamas close to choosing family dog

They’re getting close!  Both kinds of dogs are known for being good for people with allergies.



Portuguese Water Dog.  Wikipedia

Portuguese Water Dog. Wikipedia

From The New York Times News Service:

The Obama family is nearing a decision on the breed for the First Dog. Before President-elect Barack Obama began his interview on the ABC program This Week, which was broadcast Sunday, his daughters — Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7 — asked host George Stephanopoulos to slip in this question: “What kind of a dog are we getting, and when are we getting it?”


Labradoodle.  Wikipedia

Labradoodle. Wikipedia

When asked, Obama laughed and said, “They seem to have narrowed it down to a Labradoodle or a Portuguese water hound,” he said, adding that the next step is to canvass shelters. “We’re closing in on it,” he said. “This has been tougher than finding a commerce secretary,” a reference to the recent withdrawal by Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico as his original selection for that post. 

Both breeds, chosen to reduce Malia’s allergy to dogs, have powerful Democratic backers. Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts owns two Portuguese water dogs, Sunny and Splash, which frequently flank him as he walks through the halls of the Capitol. Vice President-elect Joe Biden meanwhile, has a Labradoodle (part Labrador retriever, part poodle) named Brother.


January 12, 2009 Posted by | dogs, Pets | , , , | Leave a comment