Snowy Days and Puppy Fun

We have not had much snow, but even a small amount is TOO much for me! The dogs seem to enjoy it though, and it is pretty. Jaf is just under 6 months old in these photos. My Quo Vadis Boerboel baby is growing up so fast, it is hard to believe that I was able to hold him in my arms just a few months ago. Azaan really enjoys chasing him and playing with him.

Jaf Kills the Frozen Teddy Bear

The stuffed Teddy Bear got buried under the snow. When Jaf found it, he had a blast running around with it trying to shake it to death. Silly, playful boy!

Azaan and Jaf - First Snowfall

Where did my puppy go? In early September Jaf arrived from Quo Vadis Boerboels in South Africa as a 9-week-old puppy. Just a little over 3 months later, and he doesn't look like a puppy anymore. This guy is just getting so big. He is very mature for a puppy, and he is bold and confident. These pictures were taken the afternoon of our first snowfall in Western Pennsylvania.

Azaan is a very active 24-month-old puppy too! This girl will play 24-hours a day if you let her. She has been enrolled in Agility classes for the last 9 months, and she is doing very well. I originally enrolled her in Agility classes just so that we could work on her obedience, send aways and focus. We had so much fun during our first course, that we continued to enroll in subsequent classes. Azaan is running full courses off leash now. The four trainers that I have worked with are amazed at her athleticism considering her size. They have stated she is the only truly athletic mastiff they have ever seen. That is a good testimonial!

First Day of Deer Season in Pennsylvania

Monday was the first day of deer hunting season in Pennsylvania. I took this video of the deer playing in a field on Monday. They did not look too threatened by the first day of hunting season!

Azaan and Jaf Play in the Woods

This video shows Azaan and Jaf playing in the woods. Jaf likes to jump on Azaan, and sometimes she gets him back! She is so agile and quick that sometimes I have trouble following her with the video camera. This video was taken on the side of a very steep hill with a creek at the bottom.

Boerboels Go Car Shopping

I took the dogs to Sewickley for a little bit of training in the hubbub of town. I had to go to the Post Office, so taking the dogs for a little walk when I was down there seemed like a good idea. There is a Rolls Royce dealership in town, Ascot Imported Cars. In addition to Rollers, they sell Bentleys, Lotus and Lamborghini.

Since I was the only person handling the dogs, I had to put them both in a stay position while I stepped back to take a picture. Jaf is only starting to learn stay, and he has never had to do this off the training field (my kitchen, LOL!). I put Azaan into a down stay, and then asked Jaf to sit stay. Notice that his leash is laying on the ground next to his front feet while I stepped back. This photo was taken on the sidewalk in the small Village of Sewickley. There were people on the sidewalk and cars on the street. Jaf did an excellent job with his sit stay with real life distractions! I am very proud of him.

This photo below is a Rolls Royce Drophead Coupe. Nice car! I think I am going to put it on my Christmas wish list.

I also decided to try tieing Jaf to a park bench in town to see how he would react being left alone. The park benches are just off the sidewalk, and give people a little area to sit if they get tired when shopping. I tied Jaf to the bench, and then Azaan and I walked away. We did not walk very far -- I don't want anyone stealing my little boy! I wanted to "test" him to see if he would go ballistic, or stay composed. After I walked away, I asked him to sit from a distance. He sat immediately. As you can see, he does not appear to be stressed that we left him. Cool as a cuke! He only had to sit there for a minute or two, and then Azaan and I went back to him. I had liver in my pocket, so he got his reward. Yes! Good boy!

While we were in town, Jaf charmed a woman who was walking. He LOVES to meet people! Today, November 30th, was a really cold day. We have been having some nice weather for November, but it got blustery and cold today. Notice the lady's hair blowing in the wind. Brrrr. I can't wait until Spring!

Boerboel Puppy Alert

Jaf alerted to some sounds that he could hear off in the distance when we were out in the pasture one night. We live in Pennsylvania where there are rolling hills, so when it starts to get dark and still the sound can carry across the hillsides. Jaf heard something off in the distance, and alerted. He gives a few soft short "woofs" and then one "big boy bark". Jaf is 4-1/2 months old in this video. He and Azaan were searching in the gopher holes, and when he turns around you will see the mud on his nose!

Boerboel Workout

Azaan decided she would try her hand at trying to pull out an old drainage pipe that was partially buried in the ground. The drainage pipe was used for water run-off around the barn.

Jaf, 4-1/2 months old

I continue to work with Jaf on his training. On Wednesday (the day before Thanksgiving), I had to go to the village of Sewickley to pick a package up from the Post Office. I decided to take the dogs with me, and give them a quick 30-minute training session in town. Walking two Boerboels is not easy, especially when one is only 4-1/2 months old and doesn't really know how to heel very well. We are working on that though! Jaf did really well in town. We walked across an empty garbage bag that was blowing on the sidewalk, passed kids riding bicycles on the sidewalk, strollers, people, traffic and cars, and lots of dogs! Jaf did really well and was not distracted by the commotion. He is bold and confident, and takes everything in stride.

When we got home, we went into the pasture to see if we could find any critters to chase. I took this photo of Jaf in the pasture. For additional information on Jaf's breeder, visit the Quo Vadis Boerboels website.

I posted this picture in an online forum dedicated to Boerboels, and John Blackwell had some nice compliments on my puppy. John Blackwell is well renowned in the mollosser dog world. He made a name for himself as a breeder of American Bulldogs and a book that he wrote in 1997 called "American Bulldogs". Since that time, he switched from breeding American Bulldogs to breeding Boerboels. He is now the President of the US Boerboel Association, USBA, a registry of Boerboels in the United States, and recently retired from breeding. I was flattered with John's compliment, especially coming from someone as well respected as John Blackwell. But of course we all know that Jaf is one magnificent Boerboel puppy!

Azaan's Play Date with the Great Dane

These photos were taken in March 2009 when Azaan had a play date with a Great Dane named Achilles. She is a little over one year old in these pictures. Achilles was a pretty chill 3-year-old male Dane. Azaan really enjoyed playing with him since he could put up with her antics. Jaf can too, but these photos were taken before Jaf was born!

Boerboels often play rowdy and rough, so be prepared for lots of action if you have a play date with a Boerboel and another large dog. Azaan was well socialized since she was a puppy, and she gets along with most dogs.

A Video of Jaf and Azaan in the Woods

Another Beautiful Sunday with the Dogs!

Jaf is growing so fast it is hard to believe. I took Azaan and Jaf to the pet store on Friday, and we were there a week ago. Jaf behaved much better this week. It wasn't that he was bad last week, he was just full of himself and needs to learn some manners when on a leash. He loves to meet people. When he seems a new person, or especially a kid, he goes bonkers and wants to meet them so bad. I forget sometimes that he is only 4 months old, but he is big enough to knock people down. He is not fat, just a solid guy.

It's A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Ever hear of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood?

"It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, the neighborhood. Won't you be mine, won't you be mine, won't you be my neighbor?"

I digress. Back to reality, it was another beautiful Fall day in Pennsylvania. After next week, I won't be able to take the dogs into the woods because of hunting season. The Monday after Thanksgiving is the first day of buck (white tail) hunting season in Pennsylvania. I decided to take the opportunity to enjoy the leaves.

Jaf started the day by trying to taunt Azaan into play. What a little tease! Here he is barking and growling at her to see if he can get her to chase him.

It worked. I am so happy that the two of them get along well. When I took the two of them to the vet for Jaf's check-up, the vet was surprised that Azaan puts up with his antics. She can dish it out too. The caption for the following photo is: "Who me? I am a perfect little baby Boerboel and I am innocent of any wrong-doings."

I know that it is important not to let young puppies stress their bones by jumping, climbing up stairs, etc. Jaf's breeder is probably going to have a coronary, but I try my best to keep this guy grounded on all four feet. Baby Jaf has different ideas though, and sometimes he does things so quick that I can't stop him. He saw the challenging tree on the hill, and thought it might be fun to climb. Jaf's real Mom, Mizpah Minnie, likes to climb trees. Jaf wants to let his Mom know that he is trying to follow in her footsteps. He doesn't back down from a challenge!

"Okay. I'm listening. Now what did I do wrong?"

My Life is Going to the Birds!

I was trying to get some work done in the house when I heard a melodic "toot toot" sound outside. I could hear the dogs were onto something. Knowing that the squirrels make a chattering noise, this was quite different. I went outside, and found a large bird on the roof of my van! I am assuming this is a turkey, but I don't really know. They belong to my neighbor. This is just what I needed on a busy day!

If you look closely at this picture, you will see no less than 8 piles of turkey poo on the roof of my van. Grrrr. He seemed so happy and friendly though, and I love my neighbors. I figured that a little bit of turkey doo-doo wasn't the end of the world.

Okay, so I how do I get him off the top of my van? Two of his buddies were hanging out under the pine trees, so there was a total of three. I was pretty sure that I could get Azaan to scare him down and herd him on home without hurting him. I was right.

I don't think the van suffered too many toenail scratches as she jumped up at the roof of the van to scare him down. As soon as he flew off the van he took off after his buddies under the trees. Then the chase was on. When Mr. Van Rider took off in the wrong direction, Azaan swung wide and brought him back to going the right direction. She chased them a few hundred feet towards the direction of their home. At this point, I think they were scared shitless (no pun intended) so they were running for dear life. After I was certain they were committed to go the whole way home, I recalled Azaan and she came right back. What a good girl!

No dead ducks at this house!!

Inexpensive, Healthy Training Treats for Dogs

A few years ago I used to buy expensive soft training rewards for my dogs. I was always concerned about them because of the preservatives and chemicals that are listed in the label, but I did not feel I had much of a choice. If any of you follow the top trainers in the nation, you may have heard of Michael Ellis. Michael runs a training school in California for dog trainers called The Michael Ellis School for Dog Trainers. He is considered one of the top motivational trainers in the country. Here is a link to his website:

The foundation of Michael's dog training system lies in marker training (also known as clicker training). I recently purchased his first video called "The Power of Training Dogs with Food." I love the DVD, and I have learned a lot by watching it. The video can be purchased at,

According to Michael, training treats should be large enough that the dog sees them as a reward, and they should be soft and not too chewy. You do not want a treat that your dog cannot eat within a second or two, otherwise the training is disrupted.

I like to use liver from the grocery store. You can either buy beef liver or chicken livers. Both work well. I cook it in the microwave oven for about 5 minutes on a plate. I feed my dogs raw, but I do not want to work with raw bloody liver in my pocket when I am training! Yuk! Put the liver on a plate, and then nuke it for about 5 minutes. Once it is cooked through, cut it up into small treats. The longer you cook the liver, the easier it will be to handle. I have also tried cooking the liver in the oven on a cookie sheet. This will dry it out, but it takes more time. I don't have a lot of time to waste in my daily life, so the microwave method is working out well. I cook only as much as I think I will need for that particular training session. All of my training sessions are very short, so a handful of liver is plenty. One word of caution -- chicken livers seem to contain more water than beef liver. If you plan to cook your chicken livers in the microwave, make sure you cover them with saran wrap, otherwise they will explode all over your microwave and make a mess. I learned the hard way!

This training reward is inexpensive, easy to make, and very healthy for your dog! There are no chemicals or preservatives added. If you look at the label on most commercial pet treats, they are full of chemicals -- and very expensive. Let's look at Bil Jac Liver Treats that are commonly sold in most commercial pet stores. A 4 ounce box is $2.49 at some of the discount pet shops, but $2.99 at Petco. At $2.49/ounce, that that equates to nearly $10 per pound for liver treats. In comparison, I buy liver in the grocery store for about $1.29 per pound. Bil Jac treats are nearly 8 times more expensive than homemade liver treats.

Let's check out the ingredients in Bil Jac Liver Treats:

Ingredients in Bil Jac: Chicken liver, chicken, chicken by-product meal, corn, glycerin, high fructose corn syrup, wheat flour, propylene glycol, phosphoric acid, salt, calcium propionate, and potassium sorbate and BHA and citric acid (preservatives), iron oxide.

I really don't like to feed my dogs corn, high fructose corn syrup or any of the other chemicals listed here. My homemade liver treats are just beef liver or chicken liver. Easy, quick, inexpensive and healthy! Save yourself some money while doing the best thing for the health of your dog. Try it!

Sewickley Hunt, the End of the Day

The Sewickley Hunt Club was established in 1922 and recognized by the Master of Foxhounds of America (MFHA) in 1924. It is one of the oldest active hunts in the United States. Foxhunting is a seasonal sport. The Sewickley Hunt Club hunts from August through January on Wednesdays, Saturdays and holidays. These pictures are at the conclusion of a hunting day. I was out running errands on Saturday afternoon and came home to the Hunt in one of the pastures that I formerly kept my foals when I was breeding horses. Now that I have my new camera, I hope to get some better shots of the Hunt and hounds when they are working.

Walking towards home on Fairhill Road, Sewickley, Pennsylvania. The day has ended and the riders each ride toward home. In the evening, they will get together for the Hunt Tea! I took this picture through the windshield of my car.

By the Light of the Silvery Moon

Halloween Eve, 2009

Squirrel with a Sense of Humor?

This squirrel seemed to have a sense of humor, plus he was one brave squirrel. The dogs saw him run up the tree, and then he stopped what he was doing and sassed back at them. The more I took pictures, the more I was convinced that he wanted to talk to the dogs. They couldn't reach him since he was about 10 feet up in the tree and safely out of harms way. But he never took his eyes off us!

Quo Vadis Barracuda, 17 weeks

Quo Vadis Barracuda, 17 weeks old, bred by Jenny Wells of Quo Vadis Boerboels, (Mizpah Minnie x Grasland Ozzy)

Autumn Colors

I am Jaf Man, Hear Me Roar!

Quo Vadis Barracuda aka Jaf (Mizpah Minnie x Grasland Ozzy) bred by Quo Vadis Boerboels,, 16 weeks old