Alice Paints

I always like trying new things with my dogs and painting just seemed to be the next logical step. Many dogs have painted before her but she is the first Hamiltonstovare to do that. Alice's technique is a little bit different, she steps on paint and then steps on the surface to be painted. It may seem easy but some dogs will not do it. Alice also knows exactly what she is doing and if she is done then she will actively avoid the surface to be painted. Her paintings are abstract but oddly beautiful. I only use non-toxic and washable paint so that Alice is in absolutely no danger. 

Rest of this post is going to be devoted to admiring her works of art.

Alice's first painting

Alice's first painting

Alice's second painting

Alice's second painting

Alice's third painting

Alice's third painting

We have decided to put some of these for sale and offer custom painting for sale. All of the proceeds benefit the Hamiltonstovare Club of America.

Hamilton Dog Painting

Grooming Hamiltonstovare

It is widely assumed that all short-coated breeds of dog are low in grooming needs. In many cases, that is very true for the average pet but very different for the show dog. In my previous breed, Beagles, I was shocked to learn that the pet needs low grooming but the show dog needs on average about 45 minutes to an hour of grooming after bathing for entering the show ring. Thankfully, with Hamiltonstovare that is not the case. 

The main grooming needs with Hamiltonstovare is keeping the white feet very white. Alice broke me in easy because she is very dainty and actively avoids getting dirty at all costs. Rolo was the exact opposite, he is all boy and loves playing in mud puddles and rolls in the dirty as often as he can. Rolo has a regime with his feet and that regime has spread across all of the hounds. After going outside in the mud or rain, his feet are toweled off, they are then sprayed with a rinseless shampoo by Chris Christensen. Hamiltonstovare naturally have a LOT of hair between their toes and the pads of their feet. During the winter, I keep those furry feet to protect them from the cold ground. During the peak of the summer, I trim it down so that the pads of the feet can be cooled off by the cold floor after being outside. The other bits of trimming that I do are show dog specific and not needed for the average pet. I trim the tip of the tail so that it looks neat instead of forming a little curl. I also trim a bit of the areas of the chest that form points or swirls. 

Brushing is minimal and needed only every month or so during shedding season of fall and spring. I use a zoom groom tool to pull the dead hair out and give them a nice massage in the process. Generally a good brushing session can bring out enough coat to cover my terrier in a nice sweater, per dog. However, that's pretty much all they shed every six months or so. 

I do brush teeth about every other week, between brushing they are given raw bones and dental chews. Ear care is done monthly and I clean the ears with a nice cleanser with cotton pads. I hand pluck ear hair from time to time but it very minimal. 

The most invasive part of the grooming processes is the bath. Generally bathing each dog takes about 40 minutes for show dogs. First I apply Chris Christensen White on White on all of the white parts, let it sit for at least 10 minutes, then I apply Isle of Dogs No 50 on each color separately. The colors are rinsed separately as well. This method of bathing is time consuming but it makes the colors pop. Then at the end, I apply Isle of Dogs No 51 conditioner on the white feet, and the entire black saddle. Hamiltonstovare that spend a lot of time in the sun can see sun damage but the conditioner helps protect the black saddle from sun damage and even sun burn. After bathing, they are toweled dry and any stray hairs that mix in the colors are removed by a sculpting stone. 

All of this is what I do for each dog prior to a show or every two weeks, whichever comes first. The pets need a bath every month or so, but don't have to be so invasive. I start bathing puppies around 4 weeks old so that they enjoy the water and understand that a bath is a good thing. 

The most important part of grooming is proper nail care. I dremmel my dogs' nails because it gets them shorter much faster and safer than clippers. Nails should be done every two weeks at an absolute minimum, but every week is ideal. Keeping nails short not only decreases damage to flooring but it is safer for dogs and people. Nails kept at an appropriate length keep dogs fit and healthy because it causes less stress on the dogs' feet. Less stress on the feet, transitions upward for the rest of the dog.

Grooming is an important part of keeping Hamiltonstovare happy and healthy. Hamiltonstovare should ALWAYS have a vibrant coat that shines. Dull coats are a sign of poor care and even poor nutrition.  

The incredible perception of Hamiltonstovare

Over the past few months, I have been suffering through a mysterious illness. I started showing symptoms just after I arrived homes from Westminster. I tried to chalk it up to just a stomach bug. The symptoms that I had just wouldn't quit. I started losing weight rapidly, over 30lbs in 2 months. I sought the care of multiple doctors, visited the ER multiple times had every scan and treatment known to man kind, nothing worked. 

The one constant was that Alice would want to be at my side, at all times. As my symptoms got worse, I became unable to sit and unable to go to work. Alice stayed by my side no mater what, even after each test came up normal. Finally there was a clue, my ct scan showed that something was abnormal with my appendix. About 10 days ago, I started getting extreme lower right abdominal pain and Alice knew it. She would come up to me and put her nose on my lower right abdomen. She knew something was wrong. What was even more incredible was that the other 3 Hamiltons in the house knew it too. Rolo acted more subdued around me. Raven and Selene wouldn't jump up on more or if they did, they would aim for other areas than my lower abdomen. 

Well, I was admitted to the hospital on May 30th and was operated on to remove my appendix the next day. Within hours of me waking up from the surgery, I felt better. I was discharged on June 1st and returned home that evening. Alice saw me and her behavior changed, it was like she instantly relaxed. She's been sleeping primarily since I got home. Just a few days after my discharge, I got the full report and it turns out there was a small pocket of infection that was trapped in my appendix that caused all of my symptoms. Alice, Rolo, Raven and Selene all knew it. 

I have long suspected that Hamiltonstovare are much more perceptive than the average dog. I've had anecdotal evidence of stories where Hamiltons instantly change their behavior around people who aren't as able bodied, small children, elderly and disabled. Alice started exhibiting something from the time I got her that surprised me and made me consider her for a service dog. Alice can sense my limits when on my feet, I don't know how she does it but it is like she picks up on my pain and can sense it coming minutes before I can. Her alerts were subtle at first and that's why I didn't pick up on it. Alice and I used to take walks when I lived with my mother and she would gently tap her nose on my leg while on these walks, within minutes of that tap, my pain would start. I didn't catch on at first because it was so gentle and it seemed like she was just doing it at random, until I picked up on the pattern. 

When I got Rolo, the incredible thing is that he started doing it too, with no training or prompting. I was shocked. I couldn't believe it. When Alice and Rolo's puppies were born, I had this thought in the back of my head wondering if they would be able to do it too. That opportunity came  a few weeks ago. I was feeling fairly decent and we decided to take Alice out at a veteran service dog and Raven as a service dog in training. I had Raven the entire time and within an hour or so, Raven alerted. I was stunned. I have taught Raven some basic skills needed but never the alert. She did it just like her parents, a subtle tap on my leg. She got so much praise for it and I turned into the crying lady in Lowe's. 

This just proves to me that Hamiltonstovare are really the best dogs on the planet and need to be cherished at all times. 

Breed Community

When an experienced dog show exhibitor even thinks about getting a new breed, one of the first questions asked of the breed that they are interested in is "what is the breed community like?" Thankfully, the Hamiltonstovare breed community in America is wonderful, we all support each other and offer advice when needed. The global community is less than great. I am glad to be over 3,000 miles away from the majority of it. 

The UK breed community is factioned, badly. There are very few people that are willing to put their personal biases aside and benefit the breed as a whole. Recently, I received word of 2 dogs dumped in a boarding kennel/shelter in the UK that were bred by Alice and Rolo's breeder. Immediately, I contacted the RSPCA and another UK Hamilton breeder. The contact that I received was from an independent rescue group that knew I have dealt with rescue Hamiltonstovare before. My chief concern is for those 2 dogs that are away from everything that they are familiar with and kept in a kennel environment for six months and counting. The UK breeder that I contacted has offered to pay the outstanding fees for the dogs and take them in as long as the KC registration is transferred over. If I was in that situation, I would GLADLY accept that for the well-being of the dogs. However, that could be further from the truth, the "owner" of the dogs is doing everything to stonewall the dogs from receiving the love and care that they need. Now that the majority of the breed community knows about it, the ones who are genuinely concerned have expressed it. Those associated with the "owner" are doing everything in their power to suppress any of this knowledge coming forward. This is doing more harm than good, please put differences aside and help these dogs. This is NOT a private matter, this is a matter that needs to be resolved as soon as possible. The dogs' lives should be the paramount concern instead of reputation, bad feelings, etc. At this point, I do not care who put them in there as long as they get out to somebody who knows how to rehabilitate them in a manner appropriate for the breed. Unfortunately, that is just one example of factions within the breed. 

Every person is absolutely entitled to their own opinion and that opinion should be respected. However, the breed is incredibly splintered in the UK, that I am sure it does alienate owners and future owners. Most UK owners that I have talked to have expressed this to me at some point. Some differences are mild and opinion based, others are rotten. Poor sportsmanship is something that should never be tolerated in a breed community, but it happens. Jealously is a nasty green monster and some people give into that monster. When a dog wins the breed at Crufts, congratulate them instead of criticizing the dog, owner, handler, breeder on a very public forum. When people hear of dogs needing rescuing move mountains to help them instead of making excusing for the owner's horrific actions. When a dog gets injured, express your sympathies instead of blaming the owner who is already going through enough as it is. When a new breeder is proud of a litter of puppies who had a tumultuous birth, wish the breeder luck, offer educated advice and do not publicly ridicule them when you don't know half of the the story, do not wish their beloved dog's death, dog not wish terrible diseases on the puppies. When a new owner asks for paperwork that has not been delivered as promised, do not run away and hide, deliver on your promise. When an owner has gone well above and beyond expectations, it is the breeder's job to be incredibly proud of the dog and the owner, NEVER take credit for their successes that they put countless hours of work on, always encourage and motivate the owner to constantly succeed. When at a show, if you lose, graciously congratulate the winner, hug your dog and chalk it up to maybe it will be your turn the next show. Never make a winner feel so bad about winning that they are in tears and nearly shaking so bad that they can hardly compete in groups later on in the day. If your dog didn't win the breed, still stay and cheer for that breed in group competition. If a new exhibitor shows up, embrace them and treat them like old friends, instead of enemies that deserve to be destroyed. I can promise you, the Hamiltonstovare breed community is not the only breed community dealing with similar issues. If every exhibitor treated each other in a manner of respect, good sportsmanship, and in a way that they wish to be treated in return then I bet this sport would start growing again, the public perception of purebred dogs would change and our beloved breeds would be better than ever.