Ch. Triann's Wolfgang

Cocoa, Trish & Ryan
Triann Shepherds has a rather varied resumé. I have been active in dogs sports for many years and have competed with many different breeds in sports as varied as Flyball and Aglility to Schutzhund and Sheep herding. I have had the opportunity to work with some truly outstanding dogs. To list a few of the accomplishments we have earned together.
  • Triann Shepherds has competed in C.K.C events and has titled dozens of dogs (of several different breeds) in both conformation and obedience, including many high in class and high in trial awards.
  • Triann Shepherds has bred many champions and has bred many litters that produced multiple champions including the Marilyn Monroe litter which produced Ch. Trianns Marilyn Monroe "Marly", Ch. Trianns Prince and a Showgirl "Star",Ch. Triann's Some Like It Hot CDX "Teddy", SG-1 Ch. Triann's Marry a Millionare "Mary", Ch. Triann's Candle in the Wind "Wika".
  • Triann Shepherds has bred many Group placing, Multi-Group placing, Best of Breed and SG-rated German Shepherds.
  • Triann Shepherds has produced multiple Best Puppy in Show and many Best Puppy in Group placing dogs.
  • Triann Shepherds has bred two German Shepherds to have placed within the "Top Ten" in Canada. In 1989 we achieved top ten status with SG-1 Ch. Triann's Wolfgang CD, HIC, CGC with only limited showing and only a few years later repeated this achievement with Wolfie's son Ch. Triann's Black Gold Blue Rodeo.
  • I have trained dogs for Police Service and Civilian Security. In addition we have developed a written standard that for dog security teams that is currently before the Attorney General of British Columbia and when finalized will become mandatory for all dog security teams in B.C.
  • Triann Shepherds has competed with various dogs in Flyball tournaments and earned the covetted Flyball Master title with Minnie Aussie Kayla TT CGC HIC.
  • Owned and showed the number One Basenji, BIS Am./Cdn. Ch. Terrarusts Seek a Rainbow OFA, in Canada during 1994.
  • Triann Shepherds has trained dogs for the movie and television industry including appearances on the X-files, Millennium, Air Bud, I'll Be Home for Christmas, Da Vinci's Inquest, the Adams Family and many others.

The Beginning

I have been fascinated by dogs and animal training for as long as I can remember. My family had raised Toy Poodles and American Cocker Spaniels so I was exposed to dogs right from the start. Most of my early memories revolve around dogs. The first picture I ever saw of myself showed me seemingly permanently attached to a Springer Spaniel named "Trixie". My mother told me that I learned to walk by holding on to Trixie's collar with one hand and hanging on to my diaper with the other. Another early memory recalls playing soccer with a friend, Christine and our dogs, Spike, a sheltie mix and Flash, a Corgi. The dogs mostly played goal, but now and again Flash would get bored of waiting for the play to come to them and would rush out and take over the ball - her ball control was far superior to ours. (Kind of ironic that a large part of my employment in the last few years has revolved around teaching dogs to play ball, first in Air Bud as an assistant, then Air Bud II and finally as head trainer in Air Bud III World Pup.) Spike features in another strong memory. Among Spikes many tricks was the ability to sit up balanced on his haunches for long periods of time, an ability he often put to good use while we were at the dinner table. One time in particular he had been sitting that way so long he actually dosed off and fell over. The whole family ended up in hysterics, even my father who tried (and failed) to make us believe that he didn't care much for Spike. Spike was of course excited by all the attention and soon learned this trick was a show-stopper, sure to earn a treat from the table, something forbidden under normal circumstances.

Not all of my animal memories revolve around dogs. I had a budgie, Sunny Boy, he was a beautiful shade of blue with a yellow crown. After learning that my uncle Larry had taught his budgie how to say "have a beer" I wanted to teach Sunny Boy how to speak. Larry's advice consisted of "just keep saying what you want him to say over and over and he'll get it eventually". And I tried that, but it didn't seem to be working fast enough, what with work and school I didn't have as much time as wanted to spend training Sunny Boy. Then I had an idea, I would repeat the phrase "pretty bird" into a tape recorder and would feed Sunny his favorite food on top of the recorder twice a day. This way he got to hear the phrase hundreds more times a day all while associating it with something pleasurable. Within a short while he was chattering away like a pro and soon started saying "pretty bird" every time he wanted something, in fact, you couldn't shut him up. I was less enthusiastic about his new talent when he made it a habit to comment on bird noises outside at four in the morning, usually with a string of "pretty birds" and his other standby, a glass shattering cat whistle.

In addition to my dogs and Sunny boy I also acquired a tortishell kitten, or perhaps I should say "Cocoa" acquired me. She was an energetic and intelligent cat and learned many tricks. She loved to play ball and would exhibit the most incredible gymnastics to catch balls I strategically aimed halfway up the walls and once she caught them she would bounce back with it ready for another go. One evening I saw a t.v. show where the guest had taught his dog to say "Mama". I was determined to teach "Cocoa" to speak. I knew that the best time to try to teach her her was when I was getting her dinner ready because she was so focused on me and as with Sunny Boy and the tape recorder she would associate the lesson with something pleasurable. While she was weaving around my ankles and crying for her supper I said "are you hungry". It wasn't long before she was saying "Hunngrrrey". She used her limited vocabulary to great effect any time she wanted something, food, treats, attention. Years later when I moved to the farm she came with me and she would hang off the screen door saying "Hunngrrrey" whenever she felt she was on the wrong side of it. I had to explain to a curious neighbor once that I wasn't starving my cat, she just wanted in.

I think I was always meant to work with animals as a career, while other teenagers were making spending- money babysitting I earned money by looking after friends and neighbors pets. I actually earned the money to buy my first dog myself. I had been working for a neighbor who bred poodles, helping her feed and clean when she had a litter of puppies and looking after things while she was away at dog shows. I fell in love with a toy poodle puppy named Sugar and begged my parents to buy her for me. It was finally decided that if I could earn the enough money for the puppy I could have it. This was, I think, an easy out for my parents as they didn't really think it was possible for a teenager to earn the price of a purebred poodle puppy. I went to my neighbor and she agreed to let me trade my work for Sugar. I remember my Mother wasn't impressed at the time but... a deal is a deal.

Where do the Shepherds come in you ask? After the failure of my marriage I was left on a remote property with two young children. My daughter Trish was only two and Ryan was less than a month old. My first priority was having a dog that could provide protection for my family. While I considered several breeds, I chose the German Shepherd breed first for their ability as guardians but also because of their versatility and steadyness.

Along the way I became interested in showing and competing with my Shepherds. Eventually, after several bad experiences buying dogs from other breeders I decided to breed my own. I wanted dogs that were sound in mind and body, and by breeding and developing my own lines I could make sure that all the necessary testing was done and passed. I believe that there are too many good dogs out there to consider breeding dogs with health faults. My first commitment will always be health first.

After I had been breeding and competing with my German Shepherds for several years I got a call from an animal trainer who wanted to borrow a 10 week old puppy for a commercial they were filming. The trainer was extremely impressed with how social and well behaved the puppy was and how much training the puppy already had. She started using Triann Shepherds for any jobs she got using German Shepherds and soon I was going out to the movies sets and working the dogs myself. Over the years this has become my primary job. What started out as a love for and curiosity about animals has lead to a wonderful if demanding career. I love the challenge of working for the movies but regret that it takes time away from conformation and obedience competition. I look forward to returning to the show ring with a new generation of Triann German Shepherds.

Bonnie Judd

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