When Breeders Are Unethical

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It's a real shame that an article like this has to be written about a Dogs NZ Breeder. This sort of behaviour not only negatively reflects on Dogs NZ but also on other Dogs NZ Breeders. I'm writing this because I want it known that I do not condone this kind of behaviour. And if you're familiar with my blog you should already know that I speak out even when others would have kept quiet. I'm just not that kind of person. When something isn't right, I will not let it slide.

Now before you think that this post is about ruining a rival’s reputation. I can guarantee you that it’s not. While we both breed the same breed of dog, we are going off in different directions with different goals and different measures for success. I’m focused on working ability and stability, I’m also working on getting a broad genetic base to work from for long term health, but I’m not focused on sport as my attitude is a good trainer can make an average dog great and training can significantly enhance genetics. I’m not quite sure what her focus is, but from where I can see it’s more heavily based on pedigrees and sport. But I digress. My point is, there are enough variety in our programs to appeal to different people with different goals, and I’m not actually in competition with her, as people who want my puppies are dog trainers and I’m not targeting people who want a sport dog.

I also want to make it clear that I wish this breeder would learn to work together with others, and not treat people the way she does. She has so much to offer the dog world. However I feel she engages in behaviour that block her becoming an asset to dog sports in NZ. Because she really could be great. But, she’s not. Unfortunately. And I think many of the people who fall victim to what I can only describe as bullying tendencies are often left so affected from the experience that I’m not sure they know that they are not alone. I’ve personally experienced extreme bullying in my life for many years, though not by this person. So I understand the severe long term effects it can have.

I’m not only writing this blog post to be a warning, I’m also pleading with her to change because I can see that she’s got potential to be great. I’m not sure she realises that competition is actually healthy, and that it lifts everyone’s standards. But hey, you can lead a human to knowledge but you can’t make them think…  So, I’ve written this blog as a bit of a warning to anyone who are about to have dealings with Jenny, and also to tell anyone who feel that they are victims of her behaviour that they are not alone.

Also, don’t misunderstand me. I train my dogs. I’m a dog trainer. I do this for a living. But, instead of having a focus of competition, I spend the first two years of my dogs’ lives focusing on teaching them to be amazing dogs I love to live with and dogs who are amazing in my business. Only thereafter do I work on training my dogs for sports. But at the end of the day, having dogs who can go to cafe’s, on holiday and help me in my business and basically creating obedient, stable and social dogs are my main priority. Most people can’t achieve that with Labradors. Nevermind Malinois. Most people in NZ getting dogs aren’t getting them to be full time MWDs, they are family dogs first. That doesn’t mean my dogs can’t work. Some of the feedback I got from the Military who had my A litter was that my pups were nice and social and easy to have around as well as really good workings dogs. My dogs come from Guus Knopers, who imports and exclusively breeds and trains for the Military. I just prove that they can also be great lifestyle dogs too because that’s what I like. The genetics are still there. I just channel it differently. 

My Dealings with Jenny

I first met Jenny on Facebook, she was quite helpful at the time (she can be so helpful if she wants to be). I had a GSD who was not in great health and I was researching diets to help her. But our real goal was to become competition partners. I announced on my FB that I was going to try feeding Kaz a raw diet but I can’t remember the details. And then Jenny commented that if I was feeding that (she was telling me to feed some Jimbos sausages or patties or something) then I wouldn’t be allowed one of her puppies. We’d loosely discussed me getting a puppy from her. I didn’t take kindly to being threatened like that, and immediately unfriended her. 

It was probably one of the best decisions I made in hindsight. And I was already contemplating getting a Malinois as my next breed and not another GSD (which she was breeding at the time). So, I moved on and got Delta my first Malinois. Anyway, so I met Jenny again at a seminar. Delta and I were attending our very first seminar. I was a nervous wreck. And well, Delta was getting corrected which she considered to be very unfair and also to bring her out of prey drive the guy whipped her feet to make her angry (so things were not really going very well for us). Anyway, so Jenny and I were sitting together by ourselves and Jenny piped up with “Tracking will be really good for Delta seeing as she’s too shy to do bitework…”

I stopped her there. I said “Jenny, I’m not really interested in what you have to say”. I knew about Jenny’s tricks. I’d been well warned by many who were in clubs with her. And she’d already been kicked out of her closest club because of her behaviour and was travelling quite a distance to attend this club. Which she ultimately got kicked out from as well, but I digress. We never had any further dealings with each other and have giving each other “space” ever since. I had well and truly disarmed all Jenny’s power over me (people who use bullying tactics only target people who give them power).

Puppy Enquiries

Anyway, so that was probably about 6 or 7 years ago now. And since then, Jenny has started her own bitesports club. Which I thought was excellent. I had hoped that her behaviour had changed because I can see even more how amazing she could be for dogs and dog sports in NZ. She’s also now breeding Malinois as am I. And it just so happened that in 2019 we both had litters on the ground around the same time. I had a lady contact me asking me how she would know if she was ready for a Malinois. Her name is Jo. I asked her to tell me a bit about herself.

She said that she hadn’t had a dog in a few years, but she’d had a number of challenging breeds in the past. She also told me that she’d just done the 30 Days of Canine Science. Which she did even though she didn’t have a dog. I said, well, if you’re that much of a geek then you are absolutely ready for a Malinois. I mean, when you’re getting your first Malinois of course it will be a learning curve and you will make mistakes. The breed is a challenge. But I look for homes where the owners will be open and willing to adjust and learn. Know-it-alls, generally get the equally arrogant version of me.

Anyway, Jo told me that she was in Canterbury and that she wanted to do IPO. She told me that there was a group in the area lead by Jean-Pierre Derveaux who she’d like to train with and that his group was aligned with Jenny’s club. Well, I’d talked with Jean-Pierre in the past and armed with the knowledge that the club was aligned with Jenny I recommended that Jo contact Jenny for a puppy. I had puppies available at the time, however, I strongly suspected based on Jenny’s behaviour in the past that she would not approve of any dog of my breeding being anywhere near her club. Which wouldn’t help Jo. So Jo went off getting a puppy from Jenny.

Puppy Wren

Jo and I kept in contact as I really liked Jo. When Wren arrived Jo told me she was a bit nervous but she was happy to work through it. Wren also wasn’t able to settle in the crate and would really get super over excited and grab onto Jo and her children’s skin and bite very hard and shake. No food or toys would get her off once she decided to latch on. Anyway, Jo was handling it. I didn’t interfere, I just listened to Jo’s experience, and supported her decisions or gave her advice when she asked. 

Anyway, Jo needed to go to an appointment and hired a dog sitter, Sarah, who I believe is also a vet nurse in Canterbury (Jo told me everything before it happened, and I have the proof of all the messages in case anyone would like to verify facts) to come and spend a short time with Wren while Jo went out. Jo disclosed Wren’s biting behaviour to Sarah and Sarah said she would work on it. Jo wasn’t so sure, but however. She came back to Wren being even MORE over the top. And Sarah recommended her trainer, Kerry, to Jo. Now please note, that Sarah had Jo’s key.

Anyway, here’s where the timeline gets a bit muddy, but Jo went to see Kerry and Kerry did a good job helping Jo to teach Wren how to let go of things so that Jo and the kids could be a little more relaxed and get on with training. Anyway, Jo was so happy after her lesson, she felt like she could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now, to be clear up to this point Jo had had no help from Jean-Pierre, however when she turned up to club at the next training all he did was chastise her. No help was offered. He then proceeded to contact Jenny and tell her that he wasn’t prepared to help Jo with Wren because she’d gone to see Kerry. Apparently Jean-Pierre and Kerry were or are friends. I’m not quite sure how that works. The male ego is a fragile thing.

Dodgy Behaviour

Jenny then proceeds to contact Jo and told her off for “trainer hopping” as Jean-Pierre didn’t like that Jo had gone to see Kerry Hurst (I’m a trainer, and my ego isn’t bruised if people see other trainers, If they want to waste their money it’s their choice, not mine). Jenny then told Jo that she was taking Wren back and that she was acting on police advice and that she will have Wren uplifted weather she liked it or not. This was later found out to be a lie (I’ll get to this later). Jo rang me, but at this stage she was already in a bit of a state.

From what I can gather is that Jean-Pierre told Jenny that Jo wasn’t good enough to have a Malinois (as a dog trainer, it’s actually Jean-Pierre’s job to help Jo get up to standard, but that’s just my belief. I’m only a dog trainer who does this for a day job) and Jenny made the decision based on that to take the puppy back. This really annoys me, because it’s a dog trainer’s job to help people become better where they’re lacking. I used to recommend Jean-Pierre a lot. After this I will no longer recommend Jean-Pierre EVER!

Jo had paid an $800 deposit for Wren and was paying 3 x $500 installments over the next 3 months. I advised Jo that legally Jenny didn’t have a leg to stand on, I told her that Jenny was lying about the police as dogs fall under property law and unless Jo failed to make payments Wren was her puppy. But, I told her whatever she did, she was not to let Wren go without a full refund because otherwise she would not see that money again. I also got my friends Nicola and Guus to have a talk to Jo, both of them had had previous ‘dealings’ with Jenny and were trying to support her. I think though, we were too late and Jo hadn’t expected this sort of behaviour (neither had I actually, for all Jenny’s faults I thought at least she had some standards – obviously not).

I suggested to Jo that she tell Jenny that she’s under duress (which she absolutely was at this point, reason was not with Jo at all) and that she would make a decision in 7 days about Wren. I sent Guus a text with Jo’s number and asked him to call which he did straight away (yes that’s how amazing Guus is). Anyway, while Guus was talking to Jo, Kerry Hurst turned up – yes the trainer that Jo wasn’t allowed to see (like, pardon my french but WTF?!) turned up with $800 to uplift Wren and said he was acting on Police advice. 

Now I have to add in here that according the Kerry, if he didn’t uplift Wren, Jenny might send others to get the puppy. Also, he was acting on instruction from Jean-Pierre to uplift the puppy. Kerry is a nice guy and was trying to do the right thing, though I don’t think he understood the full situation. Jo is a single mum and she was extremely worried because Sarah still had her key and at this stage, she didn’t know who to trust. Jo felt extremely threatened at this point, and not in the right mindset to make any type of decision.

Just because this is the part that confused me the most. I feel it’s important to emphasise this. The trainer who Jo wasn’t allowed to train with because Jean-Pierre had an issue with Jo “trainer-hopping” by going to see this trainer for help with her puppy is the trainer that Jenny got to uplift the puppy. So… do you see why I have a problem with this whole incident. To be clear, this incident has made me lose every little bit of respect for Jean-Pierre Derveaux.  

The Aftermath

Despite all of us telling her otherwise, Jo gave Wren up and Kerry promised her that if she wanted Wren back within 7 days he would make that happen. However when the 7 days had passed Wren had already been rehomed elsewhere (to a lovely home, I believe, and we’re all very happy about it). At least he kept his promise that Wren wouldn’t be returned to Jenny. The day after Wren was uplifted, Jo went to the local police station to look up if a complaint had been lodged. And no such complaint had been lodged anywhere in the country.

I do hope that somehow Jenny learns to treat people with more dignity and respect. Because she really has a shot at being an asset. But if this behaviour continues, she is actually doing more harm than good. And is probably one of the main reasons why dog sports in NZ will never get traction. All the clubs are struggling, and a recent National Championship that her club held, only had members from her club competing. And the only dog to gain High In Trial and an IGP 3 was imported into NZ with his level 3 titles.

So, if you want to do business with Jenny, I’m not going to stand in your way. She has dogs with really nice pedigrees. However, I will not do business with her. I cannot even bring myself to buy from her shop that sells dog equipment. I would rather import it myself. Unfortunately, which is quite sad as I prefer to support NZ businesses. But consider this your warning. Though I promise I won’t tell you “I told you so” if you choose to ignore my warnings and still do business with her. You have free will after all.

A Happy Ending

Anyway, after what happened with Jenny, both Guus and I offered Jo a Malinois puppy from our breeding. Yes, I offered Jo my pick, Alita, though I think she made a good choice opting for a super male puppy from Guus’ litter specifically bred to become Military Working Dogs. I believe Jo and Stark are doing very well together! And I cannot wait to see how they do in the future! 

They say that good friends are hard to find. But, if they are for you, you’re probably looking in the wrong place. This experience has brought together a group of amazing people, including the awesome lady who had the above conversation with Jenny. I think in the end more good than bad came from the experience. And I hope that you will not have to go through the same experience. 

Please message me if you’d like to know what we can do about this. Because I have a plan. But we need support! 

Update: since posting this blog, I’ve been threatened with legal action. Do you think this is defamation or sharing the truth? Please tell us in the comments below or share your stories of this breeder if you have them!

As there are “rumours” going around in the South Island Agility community about a “bad owner whose malinois puppy had to be rehomed” – so… who is suffering from defamation… I wonder?

Did You Enjoy This Blog Post?

You might also enjoy the blog post Operation Save Jake. In this Blog Post we talk about how we helped Jake, or Jean-Pierre’s Maestro’s sire, find a super forever home after he had spend a lot of his life in solitary confinement and abused at the hands of his previous guardians.

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Hi, I'm Luzelle! I help dog owners, just like you, learn how to enjoy your dogs. Because not only will you benefit as your dog's guardian, but your dog will feel happier and more fulfilled as well! The reality is that naughty dogs aren't fun to take anywhere. And I know your dog really wants to be a good dog, they just don't know how! So, stop getting frustrated and embarrassed by your dog's bad behaviour, and give us a call! Because Life is just better with an obedient dog and good dogs have more fun!

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