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Ask The Expert

Melissa McMath Hatfield has been featured in several articles as an expert regarding behavior and training. 


Gerberian Shepsky

What do you get when you mix a German Shepherd with a Siberian Husky?


A dog that’s easy on the eyes but tough to pronounce: the Gerberian Shepsky. No one knows exactly when or why the first Shepsky was bred, but some have guessed the goal was to create a smaller German Shepherd with the piercing blue eyes of a Siberian Husky. 

The Gerberian Shepsky is still a relatively rare crossbreed, and because there isn’t a breed standard, it’s difficult to make definitive statements regarding appearance and temperament.

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How Do Dogs Communicate with Each Other?


If you want to understand how dogs talk with one another, you'll need to "listen" with your eyes. 

When humans think about how dogs communicate with each other, vocalizations like barking and growling tend to be top of mind—even though they represent only a teeny portion of dogs' rich repertoire. We can blame this erroneous emphasis on the natural tendencies of our own species, says Melissa McMath Hatfield, MS, CBCC-KA, CDBC, owner of Loving Dogs in Fayetteville, Ark. While verbal communication reigns supreme among humans, body language and scent cues often "speak louder" with our furry friends.

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The "BITEY" End of the Dog

A bite from a dog can have many ramifications. 

These can include the emotional impacts on the dog’s guardians, or the dog practicing an undesirable behavior, or even the potential fate of the dog. And of course in our litigious society, we often will see civil and even criminal ramifications when a dog inures a person or other animal. For this episode of Fresh Bites on The Bitey End of the Dog, I chat with Melissa McMath Hatfiled who is an expert on expert witness work in dog bite cases.  Melissa does an excellent job of breaking down what can happen when a bite incident ends up in court, and what to expect from both the plaintiff and defendant sides.


Portuguese Pondengo

Portuguese podengos may come in three sizes (grande, medio, pequeno) and sport two coats, but their purpose throughout history has been singular: hunting.

TDiscussing the Portuguese podengo can sound a bit like placing an order at Starbucks. That's because this National Dog of Portugal comes in three different, aptly named sizes—pequeno (peh-KEN-oo), medio (MEH-dee-you), and grande (grond, with a rolled "r")—with a difference of 60 pounds between the smallest and the largest of the breed. And if that isn't enough variety for you, the podengo's coat can be either smooth or wiry.



"Pumik are naturally sociable dogs," Hatfield continues. "But since their innate temperment is herding livestock they will need socialization to make them suitable companions for living in a home."

The pumi may look like a teddy bear that’s come to life, but these

brainy dogs are more than mere fluff. Find out more about these

Hungarian herders with a comically endearing appearance.



Dorgis are social, sprightly dogs with a loyal (and royal!) fan club. Learn what it takes to care for this bold, brainy, and beautiful mixed breed.

Arguably some of the finest things in life are portmanteaus—words that combine the sounds and meanings of two other words: brunch (breakfast and lunch), romcom (romantic and comedy), and cronut (croissant and donut). Let's add another: the dorgi—a loyal family dog who's smart, social, and whose popularity is on the rise.

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Off-leash dogs turned a morning walk into a trauma-filled experience for my dogs and myself

Chances are you and your clients have come upon unleashed dogs, perhaps quite often. Maybe the humans have been responsible and leashed their
dogs or successfully called them off. But more likely than not you’ve heard the “Oh, don’t worry, he’s friendly!” line or seen frantic owners scrambling, chasing, grabbing and yelling attempting to corral their dogs with varying degrees of success.

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