Sh'aire the Good Stuff

These are articles written by Susan Fox at the direction of her Airedales <g> and their friends about topics of interest to anyone who owns an Airedale.  If you have any comments or suggestions for future topics, please click here.  Thank you!

The content of this article is for information purposes only and does not constitute advice. All information is intended to be accurate, complete and timely as of the date of writing; however, the Board of National Airedale Rescue does not guarantee the accuracy, timeliness or applicability of any of the contents and therefore, shall not be liable for any losses caused by such reliance on the accuracy or timeliness of such information.

The information in this article might include opinions or views which, unless expressly stated otherwise, are not necessarily those of the Board of National Airedale Rescue or any person in relation to whom they would have any liability or responsibility.

No information in this article is intended to serve as professional (i.e. legal, veterinary, etc.) advice. Such information should be sought from a professional licensed to practice such profession in the state of your residence.

Reference in this article to any specific commercial products, process, service, manufacturer, or company does not constitute its endorsement or recommendation by the Board of National Airedale Rescue.  The Board is not responsible for the contents of any "off-site" web page referenced in this article.

Ms. Scarlett O’Aire from Mid Atlantic Airedale Rescue, Virginia Slowik and the breeder Linda Buonauro.  We got her after our rescue Airedale Rhett Butler died in September.  She is 11 months old.  She was born after her mom got a virus while the puppies were in the womb.  She was developmentally delayed in walking and opening her eyes and when we got her she had problems with stairs and depth perception.  But she has learned so fast!!  She can now go up stairs by herself and just needs a little help going down.  She has a sweet disposition and is eager to learn!!  We love her!!

Marcia and Ken

The Story of Stevie

"Stevie is an absolute JOY!!!  It's like he has always been with me.  He has a smile on his face all the time and I don't think I've ever seen him not wagging his tail.  He is just this wiggly, smiley guy all the time.  I work in a diabetes education center and every year we have a diabetes walk.  During the planning process, since we are all dog lovers here, we decided we wanted to bring our dogs.  The hospital even sprung for dog scarves with the hospital name and colors. Everybody brought dogs and it was a blast. All the dogs got along really well and Stevie was just a delight.  He would sit down and wave his paws.  People were amazed that he couldn't see.  He walks very well on a lead and he just did a really nice job.  He was a real star.  He gets along well with his brothers, still some issues with the cat, but that is improving.  We walk everyday and sometimes twice on the week end. I definitely did the right thing by getting him."      ---Kathy Brockway

Kathy didn't hesitate one minute when she heard of a blind dog by the name of Stevie who needed a home. She could have had her pick of other Airedales up for adoption, but she chose Stevie.  When asked why, Kathy said,

"Puppies and healthy young dogs will find a new problem, but very few people will want to adopt a special needs dog like Stevie.  I want to give him the home that he deserves."

Think of how much easier our job as rescue volunteers would be if there were more people like Kathy!  Maybe our challenge is to spread the word about stories like Stevie's.  To let people know about those adopters that have touched the lives of special needs rescues in amazing ways.  To help others to see the same joy that Kathy sees having Stevie by her side.

If you would like to share your story about how adopting a special needs or a senior Airedale has touched your life, contact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Thunderstorm Jitters

tip submitted by Joan Ragan

Thunderstorm season is upon us. Is your dog afraid of storms? Does he or she shake uncontrollably or hide under the bed? You might want to try this suggestion mentioned on a television program about just this subject. For several Airedale owners, it seemed too simple. But after several tests, they found it to work very nicely. Here is what Joan had to say:

“When the dogs start to stress from a coming storm, take a clothes dryer sheet - any kind - it does not matter. Do not wet it, just take a sheet and wipe the dog gently all over, head to toe, chest, feet, all of him. Within 10 minutes your dog will relax and stop the nonsense of a storm. Breezie took a nap. Cindi Mysyk’s Willie slept through a storm. It lasts about 4 hours. If it is still storming, use another dryer sheet and they will relax again.”   

Supposedly just before a storm, the barometer rises, dogs sense the static in the air and they start becoming stressed. The dryer sheet breaks the static, they no longer feel it and will act like nothing is going on. The static in the air is why so many of them exhibit signs of stress.

Joan has found that using the dryer sheet works best if you use it at the first signs of stress.  This could be up to several hours before the storm actually arrives.

Give it a try and let us know how it works for you.

Grain Free and Low Carb Pet Foods

As grain free foods gain in popularity, the question arises. . . why? Are these foods better than formulas containing grains, or just different? And does grain free also mean low carbohydrate?

As with any food, the quality of the ingredients will be integral in the answer. A low quality grain free food will obviously be inferior to a high quality formulation which includes grain. Just because a formula is grain free, does not mean it is low in carbs.

If you are trying to cut down on the carbohydrates for your dog's diet, check the guaranteed analysis panel. Some foods are now including that information. If it is not there, it's simple to figure it out for yourself. Simply add up the total percentages of protein, fat, moisture, crude fiber and ash. Then subtract that number from 100. This will give you an approximate percentage of carbohydrates in your food.

Remember- just because of food is grain free does not mean it is low carb. According to Sean Delaney, Chief Scientific, Medical and Nutrition Officer at Natural Pet Products, "dry foods with less than 18% carbohydrate for dogs and 12% for cats would be considered low in carbohydrate. Canned dog and cat foods with less than 2% carbs would be considered lower in carbohydrates."

Grain free foods, just like lamb based foods many years ago, were originally developed to address allergies. They are not necessarily better than other formulations, just different. Non-grain carbohydrate sources in a food (like vegetables and fruits) can contribute to a high carb level in a food.

Be sure you know what, and why, you are looking for in a formulation before being swayed by marketing claims.


Craig Weindling

Reprinted with permission

Positive Reinforcement Training

written by Lynn O'Shaughnessy

When I first started to take my dogs to obedience classes back in the late 1970’s, I was taught to show the dog how to do what you wanted them to do and then use the choke collar to give them a correction once they learned it but didn’t do it right. By the late 1980’s I was assisting the instructor with classes and by then my Airedale had become a demonstration dog. I continued working with obedience classes through the mid 1990s and had helped with over 20 classes. My dog could do everything I asked of her, but something was missing.

Then two years ago my husband decided he wanted to take our German Shepherd through Shitzhund training. I was interested in the obedience and tracking portions of Shitzhund, so I took my Airedale, Alice, along to learn. We found a retired K-9 police officer as our instructor and he was really big on positive reinforcement training. At that time, Alice was six years old and had already attended basic obedience classes. It didn’t take me long to notice that there was a big difference using positive reinforcement training methods.

What I had noticed through all the years I worked with obedience training was that although my Airedales were quite smart and could learn all the routines, they had no terrier spirit when they did them. My Dusty, and then Alice later on, would come to me on a recall with their tail down, head down looking at the ground and feet just shuffling ever-so-slowly along. The first time I did the recall with Alice after about 4 or 5 weeks of working with positive reinforcement training, I was not prepared for what came next. Alice came bounding to me with her tail up, ears and whiskers blowing in the wind. She almost knocked me over when she got to me! What a BIG difference!

Alice was very interested in the hot dog as I demonstrated the bait bag.

What is positive reinforcement training? It is training where you reward the dog for doing the right thing - not punish the dog for doing it wrong. Our trainer had us get bait bags to clip on our belts (a fanny pack will work also). We cut hotdogs into little circular slivers and filled our bag in preparation for a session. The bag is positioned over your stomach, slightly off to the left. Your right hand held the leash while your left hand held a piece of hot dog. The first few sessions were spent getting the dog to learn to “pay attention.” We just walked around the yard, alternating the speed of our gait and mixing in some sits. Every time the dog was “paying attention,” or did an automatic sit when we stopped, they got a reward - a piece of hot dog. By holding the reward at waist level just off to the left, the dog’s head is positioned right by your side so they are hopefully looking at you and paying attention for your next command. Eventually as the dog gets good at doing a particular task, you can cut back on the rewards. We also had a favorite toy that we brought out of our pocket or belt when the session was over.

As you check out places to take your dog for an obedience class, ask them if they use positive reinforcement methods and watch that terrier spirit blossom!

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Airedale Information

Each year several hundred Airedales find their way into rescue and begin new lives.  Because of the generous support of donors like you, National Airedale Rescue, Inc. is able to assist with the financial needs of Airedale rescue organizations throughout the United States and Canada each year so these great dogs continue to find loving homes.  We appreciate your donations!