Nettie's pack of shepherds - of course, up for a game of ball and tug (they are shepherds, after all)

Some people seem to think a game of tug is merely cute involvement with a dog, and don't try to take the toy
from the dog - but it is a competitive game! Once a dog is encouraged (they may need to be) they will probably 
enjoy the game more if you make a serious effort to take the tug-toy off them... reward is an important aspect 
of building relationships


Appreciation is an important form of reward - dogs like to be liked, as their value 
is linked to the level of care they receive. This may be why properly incentivised dog's 
like (or love) being good, and one of the reasons it is so important to enjoy your dog

If you want to play ball games, a labrador is a good breed to consider... that's some serious interest being demonstrated there. The combination of Sandals and labradors, however, is likely to result in wet feet :)

Black labs have chestnut eyes - they light-up for a ball. A spiritualist might have to practice for years to gain the singularity of focus that a well-driven dog seems to achieve when encountering their main pleasure.

Social opportunities are good for dogs, though body language must be read to ensure everyone is happy. Aggression is usually defensive, and provided a dog sees they are being protected effectively they do not wish to resort to defence to protect themselves from dogs they find threatening. Reading dogs is important... the golden lab appears very positive (look at him... he radiates happiness), the cockerspaniel curious and positive, and the big black lab looks less excited but still relaxed. 


At first Arthur was stand-offish with his affection, but now enjoys a cuddle. He's the biggest softy I handle... low energy, but very affectionate. Comfort creatures are respected and cared for in my line of duties.


Haha, here we go... the Rhodesian Ridgeback! Quite a dog. Scooby Doo, isn't it? He's not aggressive, though boundary issues were initially a problem - perhaps when you are this big and strong you do not feel intimidated by other dogs so are not incentivised to watch your manners? With time we got past the boundary issues (more than not), which is good as this one loves to socialise.


Dogs do what they like to do, basically. If you're breeding a chasing dog (like a greyhound) you pick out the good chasers and breed them. That means picking out the ones that like chasing, then. The ridgeback was developed in Zimbabwe, so it is not surprising that this one seems most at home in scrubby environments. We're playing lions, it seems :)


...that said, he didn't seem to mind the cold too much. He had a way of catching the light.



The guy on the right actually plays football (not professionally :) ) - he dribbled and kept possession. The lab in nets kind of picked it up as we went along... the other two just ran with us.


The greyhound was seriously shy and socially averse - I'd like to say my walks were a significant factor in her developing her confidence. Now she is developing social skills - it's a learning curve, but very satisfying and interesting to watch.


...And, of course, she is very fast!


One needs to get up close and personal to know a dog... I thought I wouldn't be too keen on greyhounds, but she is actually very beautiful, with great shape and the silkiest fur. They are interesting characters - very cat-like and slow paced/delicate, until they see a furry thing or the ball comes out and then.... *PHWWWOOOOOOSHHHH!*


Dogs can be misleading - or do we just get the wrong idea? The delicate and slow-paced greyhound is quite spirited and vibrant, in her ways


From one extreme to the other... Beagles are very willful and rugose. Very impressive to behold, and typically impish. They escape, disappear, eat everything and roll in poo. A lot. hehehe... but he is quite a character, if not a handful. All dogs love to be loved if you do it well, and soften up and be nice if given good enough reason to. The Beagle softened up a lot with age - he doesn't steal my stuff and run off with it so much anymore XD . Isn't he pretty?



This is a real specimen of a German Shepherd - his energy levels were through the roof, as was his play-drive and athleticism. We had some serious fun with pieces of rope and sticks. And what great markings - look at that mask...


The Springer Spaniel / Collie cross... this should be a done thing, but isn't a common occurrence. The silky hair of a spaniel, the colourations of a collie, and somewhere inbetween size and shape wise. She has the smarts and focus/drive of a collie, and the energy/brightness of a springer. Remarkable. 


The Shelty - most are perky, but they can be very timid. Here's a timid one - very easy to walk, but very hard to win over. He is food motivated though (he's definitely not going after a ball), and salami seems to have had a significant influence on his opinion of our walk :D . 3 years later and I'm still working on him - he's clever (6#132 for smarts, I'm told) , and definitely responds to me and my attitude/behaviour.


I've walked and boarded a few retrievers, and found all of them to be big on affection. And shedding :P . If you want a big cuddly thing and don't mind a bit (or a lot) of hair around the house, they are worth considering. Very soft, but playful, too


Cockerspaniels are often loving and energetic. They have the silkiest, fine hair. This one is very social, though I have known them to be markedly disinterested in socialising, too.






Is there a dog in this photograph? I'll let you decide!