Why are Evangelical Christians flocking to Jordan Peterson?

For those that follow the media, the name Jordan Peterson is becoming quite familiar.  Scolded and ridiculed for not kowtowing to gender neutral pro nouns, Jordan’s rise to popularity has been stratospheric much to the chagrin of his detractors.

Yet what is with the surging interest in this seemingly secular Professor and his lectures in the Evangelical Christian community?

Jordan Peterson spends an awful lot of his time talking about God, both in his standard lectures and also in a series of Biblical lectures focusing on stories from the Old Testament. Many Christians openly long for Peterson to begin a series on the New Testament.

If you attempt to pin Jordan Peterson down on whether he believes in God, his answer will come in a long format discussion. He is well known for his debates against popular Atheist figures in favour of God. His background in childhood is being taken to a mainline church in Canada by his Mother, to my knowledge he does not attend church as an adult, but would no doubt be warmly welcomed by many Christians into their own churches if he chose to visit.

Jordan Peterson often responds when asked about his rise to popularity that he is an early adopter of new technology, on this case the technology to make and distribute long format lectures and discussions. This same technology is technology that many Evangelical Christians are no stranger to. When discussion first began on antiquated modems and servers it was Christian Evangelists and Organisations leading the charge into many of these areas and rapidly embracing this technology, having Jordan Peterson on evolving technology is no real leap for many Christians to follow.

The furore around gender neutral pronouns is also no new news to Evangelical Christians who have routinely been attacked by the political left in this area for many years now. The recent case of Australian Rugby Union player Israel Folau being sacked (fired) for posting a scripture quote on his Instagram account is one example, there are thousands more should you choose to go looking.

Getting your life together by following Jordan Petersons ’12 Rules For Life’ is also not a foreign concept to Evangelical Christians. Once a person is ‘Born Again, the old life is finished and a new life begins. The concept of Holiness and casting away behaviours that hold you back is a core concept of Christianity and something that has changed and continues to positively change the lives of billions of people today.

Personally as an Evangelical I love Jordan Petersons work and enjoy his books and lectures. Its my view that God can speak to you through the work of Jordan Peterson as he can through the work of anyone else. A popular quote of Jordan’s is to identify your problems and “start fixing ’em eh?”, I could not more agree, getting started on that path will be one of the best decisions you make. Should you realise that those problems do in fact relate to your spiritual nature and lead you on a search that culminates in you understanding and having that revelation of who Jesus Christ really is and joining our Evangelical Christian ranks, then more power to you and welcome to this new chapter in your life!

How To Get Bigger Biceps….

So recently I’ve picked up a few different gym / muscle magazines, – what I’ve noticed is that all of them contain articles on building up biceps, and then often even the same magazine churn out an article on “how to get bigger biceps” on a monthly basis.

Clearly it’s what the public want and no doubt it’s heavilly searched on Google or DuckDuckGo etc. The issue is that most of these articles seem to run around the same format of here’s a new routine you can try and here is some of the latest thinking from xyz research.

Its all good to read these articles, yet how many people that are reading these articles and searching these terms are out there actually getting these bigger biceps that they so desperately want? – Very few I suspect.

Yet if the desire is really there, you can actually achieve your goal. So let’s start by looking at some of the actual issues around why so many well intentioned people fail and what you might actually really do to change things.

A, Do You Really Want Your Goal? 

People go through various crazes and enthusiasm often leaks. If you are making goals and goals around body building, ask yourself if it’s what you really want. You have a far stronger chance of achieving a goal if it’s a genuine one and not simply just a good idea or something you might like to get around to.

B, If it’s what you really want, how prepared are you to go after it? 

Meditate on that for a moment..


With this in mind let’s move on to some steps on how you might achieve your goal of those bigger biceps..! 

1, Go Join a Gym or get hold of some weights and equipment Commit to training at least every second day without fail.

2, Actually Show Up for Training and really stick at it. The blunt fact is January sees a number of new gym members that often are no longer there after a few weeks or months. If you can’t motivate yourself to train you won’t achieve your goal, again this comes back to how much you really want it.

3, Find a Personal Trainer or a Weighlifting Coach, It’s great to learn from magazines and YouTube videos, but taking sessions from someone who is qualified in real training and can physically show you what to do, can correct your form and spot you is the best way to get started. You don’t need a personal trainer every session, but you do need to learn properly and check in on a regular basis.

4, Realise that Training Triceps and arms and shoulders in general is important. Neglect your Triceps and you are largely wasting your time, it’s difficult to grow muscles out of symmetry. Ensure you train your whole body and that includes leg day..

5, Don’t be the Moron at the gym that trains minimal sets with light weights and sits on the equipment  taking pictures on their phone of their lack of muscle. If you do that and genuinely need encouragement from similar people on Facebook, chances are you’re not going to make it. Most likely your “friends” simply think you are a dickhead and are laughing at you anyway. Maybe try checking in with a psychologist before you go any further.

6, Have a Realistic Ideal of what you want the size of your biceps to be.  At his peak Lou ran around 23 inches of circumference around his arms, your chances of achieving anything like that are difficult unless you are really genuinely going into professional bodybuilding. I would suggest researching this a little more before you make your mind up about what size you want to strive for. As a guide, Body Type has to be considered and you work that out with your own experience and research. In general most will be initially working from 13-14 inches. 15 is a good first goal, 16 is better and it’s suggested that if you hit 17 you have arrived in real bodybuilding territory.  My advice is to research Eugen Sandow and the Grecian Ideal. Essentially it’s measurements taken from old artefacts of statues of the Grecian era. Eugen is considered to have achieved this 100+ years ago without modern supplements, his arms were 18 1/2 inches.

7, Find a Sports Nutritionist and pay for good advice on Clean Eating, Protein and Supplaments. Doing it yourself is largely futile, magazine articles often simply confuse and contradict. Respect the training your Nutritionist has and let them help you out with the right plan to help you with real success.

8, Learn about Muscles and how they work, invest your time into learning their names, how they are grouped and how they work together. Biceps are connected with the Brachialis and if you neglect to train this part your growth will quickly stagnate.


Normally most articles would end with some type of plan, If you follow the steps above you will create your own plan that has a far better chance of success in the longer term. Truly invest into your goals and your chances are incredibly good at really getting ripped arms. Good luck and all the best with it!


For further reading,

Eugen Sandow, The Grecian Ideal,

Book – “The Power of Habit” Charles Duhigg,

Some basic Bicep excersizes, – Bicep Curl, Hammer Curl, Reverse Curl, Incline Curl, Rowing Machine, Pull Up, Weighted Pull Up.



Breeding for Profit and the resultant damage to the breed.

Greetings all,

This weeks article focuses on some of the current issues around out crossing and inbreeding in purebred dogs and is a follow on to some of the recent discussions being held around DNA purity on the Murray River Retriever site/s on facebook.

I wanted to perhaps give you an insight into what people who love the Dalmatian breed have been put through due to people breeding for profit in the wake of Disneys 101 Dalmatian films. There have been some pretty hard times and some good times as a group of committed people have to the largest part worked together to correct some of these issues and to bring the breed back from where it was placed in the late 1990’s.

Disney first released the film 101 Dalmatians in 1961, the film was taken from a book of the same name. This saw a massive amount of increase in interest in the breed. The interest in the breed again peaked in 1996 when Disney re released an updated version starring Glen Close and Jeff Daniels. The result in both cases was that unscrupulous people saw an opportunity to make money and began breeding Dalmatians outside of the guidelines set by the relevant kennel clubs and set forth a number of pups loaded up with temperament and inbreeding issues into the wider community.

Let me say that I love the Dalmatian breed, but if you have not owned a dog before and cant handle a high energy dog, I really don’t recommend you go out and get one. A Dal can be a lot to handle and its best to have some experience in dogs before you own one.

Anyway the results were that problems started to occur with biting, being unpredictable and being destructive. All of which led to a totally unwarranted reputation for a breed that had in the past served people in so many good ways and as a treasured family pet for so many families. As a result record numbers of Dalmatians were taken to shelters and euthanized and the breed left with a poor reputation in the eyes of many. All because people had no interest in breeding guidelines and the breeding practices of the relevant clubs. The fact is that once you wave $100 notes under peoples faces, the propensity for greed and stupid decisions becomes paramount. As the Dalmatian craze faded away quality breeders began the process to undo the damage with correct pedigrees being used and the lines being pure. A Dalmatian bred today from a quality breeder is far removed from the one that the puppy farmer wanted to sell you years ago.

Currently the Murray River Retriever Association are working on a DNA project and are working with owners to bring assistance to breeders to breed from the best stock and to breed with the right temperament. If you are an enthusiast of the Murray River Retriever, I would like to ask you to really take on board what they are doing and the advice and assistance that is being offered. Its my view that the craze for liver coloured curly dogs is really heating up in Australia and pet shops are already trying to cash in on selling Murray River Retrievers under other names and as the latest designer breed. The result from ignoring the advice of the MRRA and doing what you please will be the same as what happened to the Dalmatian, – Biting, Poor Temperament and Health Problems in your animals that could so easily be avoided.

What does it mean to be really be a success as a breeder? In my mind its the dog you bred that dies in its owners arms some 14 years after it was bought as a puppy. Not the dog that gets euthanized for biting or dies in pain of organ failure in the beginning of its adult life. Ultimately how your pups end up in the homes that adopt them is largely up to you. Breed them well and give them every chance of success and you will rightly earn your reputation as a quality breeder.


For more information,

The Murray River Retriever Association http://www.mrr.org.au/

The MRRA on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/groups/255490854848890/

Murray’s in general on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/groups/Murrayriverretriever/


Springador / Spanador. Did you really get the dog that you paid for?

This last week saw an incident come up that I would like to share with you and that is how a litter of “Springador” or “Spanador” puppies was treated in a local pet store.

The treatment being the label “Spanador”, when its openly obvious that this was not the breed of these puppies.

The fact is that most people in the community are genuinely honest and nice people. Sadly these people are then preyed upon by others, for most people, going into a pet store and seeing a particular breed advertised would suggest that is genuinely the breed advertised and that you are getting what you are paying good money for, in this case in excess of $1200 per puppy.

Several weeks ago, I would not have believed that it was legal for a pet store to take a breed of puppy and advertise it as another breed and for that to be legal. I am still not convinced that it is, yet it would appear that the practice is entrenched and has been going on for a long time.

Suppose you were in the market for a Labrador Retriever, so you went into a pet shop where a group of Labrador Retrievers were advertised, paid the $1200 for a puppy and then as the puppy began to age, you begin to have questions about why the puppy does not look like a Labrador Retriever, nor does it seem to have the temperament of the Labrador Retriever. Questions raised, you take your pup to the vet and a DNA test is done, six weeks later the test results come back to let you know that what they found was a cross breed of Weimaraner, Australian Kelpie and Flat Coated Retriever. Would your expectation not be that you should have in fact been given the breed that was advertised and that you have a right to have been given the correct information at the time of sale of the breed that you were in fact receiving that you might make your choice accordingly?

Sadly it appears that once the name Springador, Spanador, Labradoodle, Spoodle or any other cross breed dog appears in a pet shop window, there are no real guarantees that you are going to be getting what you have paid for.

If you live in Australia and have purchased any of the above breeds in a liver colour with a wavy coat, long hair or curls, you will likely soon find out that you have in fact purchased a Murray River Retriever. Murrays are a lovely breed of dog, loved by many down under, they are a duck retrieving dog that is becoming a companion dog as their traditional role changes. Yet they are not “Springadors”, nor are they “Labradoodles” and they should not be labelled and sold as such.

So what then should you do if you believe you have not got the breed that you paid for?

Well the good news is that these days there is plenty that can be done about it, firstly DNA testing is highly advanced and your test goes back to your dogs great grand parents and beyond and will tell you exactly what your dog is and the nature of the breeding profile. The Murray River Retriever Association and other dog breed associations are using a company called “Orivet” to test for DNA, simply contact them and have a kit sent out or take your dog to the vet and have it blood or swab tested. Once you have your results, you have the option to then take the results to the consumer affairs authority in your state for further investigation, If you are in Australia, Consumer Group CHOICE magazine should also be contacted and have all your information on the date of purchase, whelping date and so on.

Perhaps it may be that in the past, misrepresentation of puppies has occurred, but you can also help us put a stop to it. Naturally you could also go to a breeder next time around as opposed to a pet shop, yet in this instance I am not looking to criticize anyone for where they bought their beloved puppy, but I do want to let you know that you have every right to receive what was promised to you.

Here are some links that may prove to be of some help to you,

The Murray River Retriever Association http://www.mrr.org.au/

Murray’s on facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/Murrayriverretriever/

Murray’s on Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murray_River_Curly_Coated_Retriever

Orivet DNA Testing https://www.orivet.com/

Consumer Group CHOICE https://www.choice.com.au/

Murray River Retriever Coat Colour.

From time to time on the facebook page/s for the Murray River Retriever and on other discussion forums, the question is sometimes asked as to what is the correct colour for a Murray River Retriever, and sometimes people do make specific requests to locate a Black MRR puppy. With that in mind I would like to try and answer the question accordingly. Note though that my thoughts are my own and don’t try to represent any any breeder nor any registered association.

From the breed standard, the standard colour for a Murray River Retriever is Liver. Some Murrays are pure liver in colour all over, others can have a few white hairs on the chest and others have the full white diamond on the chest. Like most modern Retrievers, Murrays share DNA lineage with the St Johns Water Dog which although now extinct lives on today in the white chest that many retrievers have. Having any amount of white hair on the chest is of no consequence either way in the colour standard of a Murray River Retriever.

So what then is the go with Black Murray River Retrievers?

First off, let me confirm that yes it is quite true that there have been litters of Murray River Retriever Puppies where there have been examples of black pups. As enthusiasts of the breed are aware, the Murray River Retriever Association are working on a DNA profiling exercise that is tracing the history of the Murray River Retriever and various DNA samples have been taken and analysis made in the technical lab to determine the origins of the breed. Some difficulty has been encountered relating to the fact that some of the breeds that are believed to be likely ancestors of this breed are now extinct and we are seeing results that suggest DNA that is consistent with, but not from a specific breed of dog. As an example DNA was located that is consistent with the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, so what this tells us is that whilst both breeds are unique, the same ancestry factors in at an earlier point. As a result there is also DNA in common with the Curly Coated Retriever and as stated before the St Johns Water Dog, both of which have and had black as a primary colour for the breed. So then its hardly a great surprise if a black pup from time to time could be observed. as more DNA data becomes available, that picture may well become clearer to us.


(The last known St John’s Water Dog photographed with its owner from Canada. – Wikipedia). Black with the White Diamond.

So how about that picture I have seen of the Cream Coloured Murray River Retriever? – (this photo is a Clumber Spaniel, I don’t have copyright to the other picture)


Whilst black puppies have been observed in Murray River Retriever litters, Cream is quite rare. The current thinking is that these cream coloured dogs are from a strain that contains Clumber Spaniel DNA via an ancient outcross. It is important to note that the Murray River Retriever has traditionally been a working dog used for well over a century to retrieve game from the Murray River. Breeding Standards 100 years ago were far different to today’s ANKC regulations and the simple fact is that working dogs were bred with the best available and suitable working dogs that were close to hand at the time and that these dogs may have been of a different breed altogether. This occurred not just with the Murray, but with pretty much every type of working dog breed in Australia. It is the reason that Dingo DNA has been located in the Kelpie breed, believed to be around 7% for example. Still as time has moved on and resources become more plentiful, breeding standards were set and we moved to the current situation where we now find ourselves.

So what is the future then for the Black and the Cream coloured Murray River Retriever? Are they likely to be bred in or bred out?

This question has been raised a few times and there is no real definitive answer to it one way or the other at this stage. Let me state that this is a personal blog and the content contained within is my own thoughts, yet as much as I cant answer that question, I can add a few thoughts of my own to it. Its my view that it probably cant be answered until the full DNA profile of the breed is in. Whilst I mentioned the Clumber Spaniel earlier, that is a likely scenario and one that is being factored into DNA scoring. It may well be that other information still yet comes to light here. Yet if it was proven that Black and Cream DNA was located from the beginning of this breed, then questions would need to be asked about how those colours are then represented if at all in the modern breed.

What I would also put up for comment is that DNA testing also has detected DNA from the Irish Water Spaniel and the Long Haired Dachshund in some examples. Again likely from historical outcrosses that have influenced the evolution of the breed. As it so happens there is also considered to be two distinct types of Murray River Retriever, one of which being sometimes referred to as the Gippsland style. The difference being in the size and perhaps being in relation to the possibility of Long Haired Dachshund and Clumber Spaniel DNA being present in these smaller examples. Its my view that if people are happy to accept two types of sizing in the same breed (also quite common in other breeds), and to go as far as to work towards preserving these two styles in the same breed, that historical colour would not be out of the question to be put up for discussion also.

In the breed standard, a clause has been added to allow for “the occasional outcross”, if required, this is to ensure that the DNA remains fresh and to prevent against inbreeding if DNA results showed a problem that needed to be dealt with. In which case I suspect most would turn to an Irish Water Spaniel or a Curly Coated Retriever in the belief that this best represents the closest relative to the Murray River Retriever. Its my view that whilst a Curly Coated Retriever is a cousin of the Murray, the Irish Water Spaniel is not, and is not a strong candidate for the role. It could well be that the Curly Coated Retriever has a case and perhaps so too does the Clumber Spaniel,  It may be that people wish to keep the liver standard pure, and it may also be that people have a distinct desire to have a Black or a Cream coloured Murray and would entertain the idea of an outcross to specifically get that result.

Ultimately in my own mind I love this breed any way it comes, its clearly up to people and members of the MRRA to breed their animals within the specified guidelines as you see fit to do so. Hopefully this article has gone some way to set out a little of the historical background as to why different pictures of Murrays have been observed in different colours. As to where that information then goes, I guess that is left entirely up to the people that make up the community of Murray lovers now extending all over Australia and into New Zealand and beyond. I suspect a watch and see response may well prove to be the current answer in the intermediate future.

For more information on the Murray River Retriever as usual feel welcome to hit the facebook and website pages at – https://www.facebook.com/groups/Murrayriverretriever/ and http://www.mrr.org.au/







Dog Owners vs an increasingly Shut in Society.

Have you noticed a growing trend in your local community of more and more houses being completely fenced in? Houses that were once open with flowing gardens and front lawns now cut off by fences replete with security cameras and other equipment? If so you are hardly likely to be alone, as this seems to be well and truly the growing trend in many modern neighborhoods.

The sad fact is that propelled by fear perpetuated by the media, many people have resorted to almost barricading themselves in their homes to protect against much of what is publicized in the media. Many of the same people don’t know their next door neighbors nor any of the people living in their street. I suspect a very different scenario from the time that we may have grown up in. It is truly truly sad to see that so many people do in fact lack friends and human contact in our increasingly technologically dominated community.

Its not simply in our homes, when people do venture out, say at the bus stop for example the common thread is heads down into the phone and certainly don’t speak nor even look at anyone appears to be the given rule.

Yet in the midst of this we then we have a rather interesting group of people simply known as Dog Owners…

Dog Owners seem to have some things in common, they seem to be happy enough to leave their homes at a wide ranging group of hours in the day and head out with their dogs through the streets and local parks, perhaps even to the beaches for a walk with their beloved dogs all seemingly unaware of the potential dangers of interacting with the general public…

What I have found and perhaps been so pleasantly surprised by in becoming a dog owner is the sheer number of people that say hello to one another on dog walks and those that are only to willing to stop for a conversation and to allow their dogs to also say hello and to interact. On walks near my home in the local parks I have met a number of very friendly and interesting people, some of these people I will see on a regular basis as we go walking and there is always a friendly greeting and recognition exchanged.

Another thing I have also noticed is that many dog owners love other dogs and in my case I am often stopped and asked what is the breed of my dog – as per the title photo, she is a Murray River Retriever and still very much a playful older puppy. Many love to tell me about their dogs and I do enjoy looking at a dog and guessing the breed as it approaches,

The point is that its unwise to be heavily influenced by the media in what you choose to do. The majority of people are in fact good people irrespective of what race or background they are. There is not a great deal to gain by building walls around you and closing yourself off to society. There is plenty to gain by putting yourself out there, and even potentially saying yes to more things more often.

Perhaps you should even consider getting a dog of your own? Many dogs like the Murray River Retriever and others are transitioning from traditional roles into being very good companion dogs. Owning a companion dog is proven to have a number of health benefits including reduced anxiety levels among a number of other benefits.

If you own a companion dog, the dog will be a lot of good to you, if you re-home a rescue dog from your local shelter or group, you could well prove to be some good to the dog also.

There is a time to have your own space, and there is also a time to be the kind of person that invests back your talents into your local community. Maybe its time to have another think about what you could really be doing in yours?




The Dalmatian, Facts vs Fiction.


Recently I had the privilege of watching the recent film “A Dogs Purpose”, I loved the movie, yet I have to say that I was very relieved when I realised that Hollywood had decided not to go with a Dalmatian in this particular film. Most are familiar with the various versions of the popular film “101 Dalmatians”, what you may not be familiar with is how this then caused the Dalmatian breed to experience a rapid rise in popularity and how animals were quickly bred for profit and sent to homes that were totally unprepared for and unsuitable for a Dalmatian. The result was a massive increase in poor quality animals from unscrupulous so called ‘breeders’ and many Dals flooding into rescue shelters. As the popularity of the film receded, so to has the bubble in Dalmatian numbers. As a result many Dalmatian enthusiasts around the world have breathed a quiet sigh of relief as people moved on to the next breed sold to them through the media as the latest one to get.

Clearly I am totally and utterly biased.., but Dalmatians have always been my favourite breed of dog and it has been my sheer privilege to have grown up with them and owned one myself over the years. For me it just seems that they are the breed that I connect with and as much as I love dogs in general, Dalmatians just seem to be that one breed of dog that I can just never get away from.

Over the years I have enjoyed studying and researching this breed, I have put together a small list exploring some of the facts and the fiction about the Dalmatian dog breed. Some you may be familiar with and others perhaps not, but read on and enjoy anyway!

#1 Dalmatians don’t “Originate from Croatia”. There is absolutely no proof of that whatsoever. Sites that detail history on dogs that fact check before they print there details will simply tell you that the actual history of the origin of the Dalmatian is unknown. Lazy research simply suggests that this breed must have originated in Dalmatia Croatia because of the name.

#2 Dalmatians are an older continuing breed than most. Some modern breeds can trace their breeding back a few hundred years at best, many less than that. Most of today’s breeds were created for a specific purpose and the breeding standard adjusted and conferred as required. Many breeds have come and gone into extinction in this time and a number more are considered endangered due to low numbers of breeding stock. In terms of Primary Documents we have artists painted works of the Dalmatian dating back from the 16th Century. Spotted dogs appear prior to this but are not guaranteed to be Dalmatian pictures. This picture by Francesco Di Cosimo II dates from the early 16th century and places the Dalmatian in Italy at this time.


#3 Mistakes and false information have been published on the genetic origin of the Dalmatian. The blunt fact is that research is ongoing and the origins of the Dalmatian remain a mystery. An early Genome study suggested a link with the Istrian Hound which has since been dis-proven. Research currently resides around isolating the Genome responsible for the Spots both Black, Liver and the rare Lemon pattern (below) which can occur in some cases. Another study is looking into a possible relationship between the ancient Deer Hounds and the Dalmatian but has yet to prove any such link.


#4 Dalmatians haven’t always been called Dalmatians, some early dog books and papers list the breed as “The Bengal Harrier”.

#5 Like the Basenji, Dalmatians have cat type feet. Like a cat, Dalmatians are also self cleaning.

#6 The Spotted / Patched Great Dane is not a relative of the Dalmatian. His spots are called ‘Harlequin’ and are genetically different to the Dalmatian. (Still is a magnificent looking dog though!!)


#7 English Bull Terriers and the Australian Cattle Dog both were bred with the Dalmatian as a part of their family pedigree.

#8 Along with the Rhodesian Ridgeback, Dalmatians are often placed into the ‘Hound’ category or as an appendix to the Hound category in dog encyclopedias. As discussed there is no evidence that links the Dalmatian to the Hound group. Dals are simply put into this category because its the best possible guess they can come up with.

Owning a Dalmatian for me has been a real privilege to have been associated with such a wonderful breed of dog. I can not really speak highly enough of them. If you are lucky enough that a Dalmatian has found its way into your family, enjoy! You have come across a breed that has a fine heritage and will serve you loyally for many years to come.

Murray River Retriever? – Isn’t that a Labradoodle?

Murray River Curly Coated Retriever.jpg (11).jpgside-1.jpg

Have you ever heard of the dog breed called a “Murray River Retriever”?

This breed is an older breed developed in Australia in the 1800’s. Primarily used for duck hunting and retrieving ducks from the waters of the Murray River, Australia’s largest river that runs through three states from New South Wales through to South Australia.

Its unknown how the breed came about and much of its history still remains in speculation. DNA testing has been undertaken and although results are in the early stages, DNA that has also been located in the American Water Spaniel and the Chesapeake Bay Retriever has been detected. Note though that this does not mean that the Murray River Retriever has been bred from these breeds, but suggests that these breeds have similar DNA lineages from parental generations. What we do however know is that the Murray River Retriever is in fact a gun dog in its own right.

It has been my experience that the Murray River Retriever is a breed that is often misrepresented in Pet Stores and pups are routinely sold as Labradoodles. One issue is that despite the age of the breed, Murray’s have always been working dogs and historically there has never been a breed association for the Murray until recently when the Murray River Retriever Association was formed up to preserve and to promote the breed. Despite their rich history, Murray’s remain unrecognized by the Australian Kennel Body and the MRRA are working to correct this.

The question that I would like to put to Labradoodle owners, is if your Labradoodle came from the local pet store, have you really gotten what you paid for? A Labradoodle in my opinion is a magnificent looking dog and there were some good reasons for breeding it. The breed came into existence by after the Australian Guide Dog Association recognized the need to provide guide dogs for blind people that were allergic to dogs, the cross breed of the Labrador and the Standard Poodle proved a success and as the need for hypo allergenic dogs became more and more recognized, the Labradoodle became a success and has brought dog ownership into many families that perhaps may never have had that privilege before.

If your primary reason for owning a Labradoodle is that you need a dog that is Hypoallergenic, then its important to ensure that you have got what you paid for or the results can be catastrophic and currently it appears that there is no real penalty for a pet shop selling a dog as whatever breed they choose to label it as opposed to what it actually is. If you have any doubt you should undertake a DNA test to be sure. The DNA company “Orivet” is one firm that can recognize DNA consistent with a Murray River Retriever.

One of the reasons that it can be hard to tell the differences apart in puppies is that Labradoodles are not yet bred in any numbers from existing Labradoodles and are cross bred from Standard Poodles and Labradors, the result is that the offspring can vary in stature from the body of the Poodle to the Body of the Labrador. Whilst those that take on the stature of the Poodle can be easily recognized as not being Murrays, those that take after the Labrador are not as easy initially to recognize to anyone outside of people that are familiar with both breeds. The reason for this is suspected to be that both the Labrador and the Murray River Retriever also share some DNA from a now extinct breed formerly known as the St Johns Water Dog. in both cases this often results in the white patch that both breeds can come up with on the front of the chest which can range from a few white hairs to quite a large patch in different animals. Interestingly the Curly Coated Retriever and some of the other dogs in the Retriever family can also have examples of the same white patch and likely for the very same reason.

For whatever excuse you may be given by a puppy seller, it is not acceptable to take any breed of curly coated dog and misrepresent it as a Labradoodle and especially not to add another $500 onto the price for doing so. With the current advances in DNA Technology, don’t be surprised to see both consumer affairs groups taking action in this regard accordingly. If you believe that you have not got what you paid for, then you probably should be making contact with the consumer affairs authority along these lines.

On the other hand however, if you love the look of the Curly Coated dogs and are keen on getting a truly amazing Gun Dog, then could it be that a Murray River Retriever is a breed that you should be taking a closer look at? Many dogs are frightened of Thunder storms and Fireworks, Murray’s on the other hand don’t bat an eyelid and simply fall straight asleep in the middle of the fiercest storm. The Murray River Retriever is highly intelligent, energetic and directed. The capacity to retrieve makes this a great family dog for an active family with an animal that can not only be trained, but one that can and will excel in training at the highest level.

For more information on the Murray River Retriever, you can always look over the Murray River Retriever Association page at – http://www.mrr.org.au or alternatively check out the facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/Murrayriverretriever/




8 Reasons why you should train Aikido this year.

1. Self Defence Training – When most people seek out training in a Martial Art it is often with the idea of learning some practical self-defence training. Aikido is an excellent system to study both for self-defence and for the defence of third parties. Where Aikido can have an advantage is that it teaches you skills and techniques that utilise an turn an attackers own strength against them, enabling you to overcome a physically stronger opponent. Thus Aikido can be useful for self-defence not only by young fit people, but by people of all ages and fitness levels.
2. Physical training – Modern Aikido is set up in such a way that you train at the physical capacity you feel comfortable with. As the lessons progress and techniques are learnt you will notice that your body will move into physical condition relevant to the training. Many people experience weight loss and increased physical capacity when training Aikido relevant to the effort put into it. You will notice the experienced Aikidoka break falling on the mat often at speeds similar to what you expect from watching gymnastics, you have to crawl before you can walk, yet if you are prepared to give it a go, you too can use Aikido to condition your body to break fall in the same way with the same cardio component.
3. Safer Training than most Martial Arts –  In Aikido training we don’t have a strong emphasis on striking, although we do have striking patterns that are taught as a part of the training techniques. Our techniques are trained to flow, we do not practice roundhouse kicking or palm or fist striking as is the case in Muay Thai or Karate. As a result we don’t have injuries on the mat from having made connection on the mat with our partner with a foot or hand strike. Yes accidents can happen in any martial art, but it is worth noting that Aikido has a specific training pattern that removes some of these potential causes of injury on the mat and that we consider your safety paramount to the way your techniques are trained.
4, Aikido helps you Deal with Stress – As you begin your journey into Aikido you will be exposed to some of the philosophical teachings of O’Sensei Morihei Ueshiba and other figures in Aikido and you will be taught why Aikido is called “The Art of Peace”. Aikido is much more than just a set of techniques, grading’s and physical training. If you have an open mind and are willing, Aikido will make you question your own life and your responses to many of the problems that you may be facing. O’Sensei believed that he was called to create Aikido to bring about universal world peace and resolution of conflict. Whilst this may seem a lofty goal, it can begin with you and change your life forever if you are willing to try.
5, Meet New People. – One thing commented on by visitors to Aikido dojo’s can be the diversity of the group and the welcoming friendly atmosphere that exists there. People of all ages and backgrounds train Aikido and it is done so in an environment without competition, stress and pressure. It is not uncommon for an Aikido Sensei to call the group to a training break and for the kettle to be put on and the biscuits passed around! Local weekend seminars and interstate seminars are often quite popular and there can be a strong sense of community within the group as new members are invited to take part in the various social parts of belonging to the dojo.
6, Be Challenged to Learn Something New. – As stated above, you can start Aikido at any age and at any fitness level. There is never a time that training in Aikido has passed you by. If you have had a desire to learn a martial art there is no need to feel that it is all too late for you! Learning a new skill is a great way to challenge yourself and to learn and experience new things in your life.
7, Learn and Experience Humility. – Along with other Japanese Martial Arts, Aikido has a strong focus on humility. As you train in Aikido, you will develop both empathy for others and humility. One of the teachings of Aikido that you learn is to “put yourself in your partners place” which can be a different yet effective way of training.                                   8, Grow in Confidence – Everyone is a novice until they are prepared to give something new a go. It is quite normal to attend a training session in Aikido or another martial art and come away with concern that this is all going over your head and you just can not get it together. Yet as the weeks go by, you find that you can do things, you can remember what you are being taught and then you have a night where it all just clicks together. Overcome in one area and you can overcome in another, achievement can be quite addictive when you discover what you are actually capable of!


Reality and Training in Combat.

There is one single concern that I have with a number of modern and traditional combat and martial arts systems and that is just how much ‘reality’ is involved in the respective training.

For example, it is more and more common to see terms like ‘reality based self-defence’ coming up in advertising. That is a good thing, if what you are being taught does actually deal with reality, and training for realistic situations. Yet sometimes it quickly becomes apparent that this may not be the case at all.

For example, a good illustration of a technique might be one that is given [post] being punched in the face or struck in another area by your attacker.. If your training is continuously that that your attacker faces you head on and telegraphs their attack and your training is to counter that attack by the use of technique A, B and C, then that is great for learning techniques to use in self-defence, but is not realistic of being attacked, and is perhaps more the reason why it can be that people that have some training in a chosen martial art or combat system can simply freeze or go into a windmill attack pattern of wildly punching in all directions.

Let me state that training with compliance and telegraphing attacks are very much a valid way of training, if you don’t have compliance during the use of Aikido/ Jutitsu locks and throws then collarbones and shoulders can easily be broken or injured. Your partner is offering you the use of their body to train with and it should be done so in a manner that emphasises respect and thanks. Yet it is also just as valid to acknowledge that there are other training methods that give you the full training picture in self-defence training.

Going back to my point about being punched in the face. It is unrealistic to expect when you are attacked that your training will kick in and you will simple evade the first set of blows that come in. It is incredibly difficult to read an attack at the best of times, and it may well come from the side or even behind as is the case with the current phenomena of ‘coward punching’ in the media at present. It is a valid part of training to experience being hit albeit with safety pads and other PPE. You need to be able to pass through the feeling of shock and be able to respond with your training in such a situation and experiencing training along these lines is vital to the full training package.

At the local Krav Maga club, new students are often surprised that once warm ups are completed that the roller door is rolled up and students are moved out to the bitumen  car park for training..  At the advanced levels your training starts from getting up from your back on the bitumen surface, sometimes whilst in a chokehold.  Scratches and ripped clothing happen from time to time as a result. On other occasions when the roller door is taken up, students are put into the cars parked there and have to learn techniques to break chokes from the driver seat from a passenger sitting in the rear of the vehicle. On other occasions training can be held inside a charted public transport bus both stationary and moving. All are valid attempts to make people understand that your training has to be more than just the security of the mat and a compliant partner to do predetermined techniques.

It is fair to say that my thoughts on Krav Maga is that it is a wakeup call to both traditional and modern combat and martial art systems. It is a system that cuts away the fluff and teaches you basic techniques that are both brutal and effective. Yet seeks to do so in a manner of realism. Yet there is no reason why traditional martial arts and combat systems cannot be taught in the same way and cannot be as effective if your organization is prepared to go deeper into the syllabus to find the correct training techniques for these type of attacks. The Korean Martial Art of Hapkido has no shortage of techniques that involve striking, locks and close combat. It is a pre-requisite to join the police force in Korea that you have a black belt in Hapkido. In Japan a black belt in Aikido or Jujitsu is required for the same reason. Yet I guarantee you that when the local police officers use these techniques that they are used in a way similar to how they are taught in Krav Maga.

Perhaps your training is along the lines of Wing Chun, Karate or Muay Thai. You may be surprised to see just what your syllabus can extend to – [if] your Sensei – Sifu is willing to teach it in a different environment away from the Dojo / Kwoon. Yet at the same time if you are turning up for your training nights and you find yourself asking questions about how choke holds are broken, or what should you do if you find yourself on the ground. Then take it to your Instructor and have an open discussion about it and let them answer you from the content of the system. If the response is “we train standing up because the fight is not meant to go to the ground”. Then you do have a problem that you should follow up on and perhaps look for answers outside of your organisation. There is little point in proudly wearing a coloured belt that you have trained for with the expectation of realistic self-defence and not feeling that you have gained the answers that you are looking for.

No one wants to find themselves in a situation where you have to use your training to both defend yourself and to hurt people. Yet it is also a true saying  that [“you should walk a mile to avoid a fight, but when one starts, do not back down an inch”]. You training has to be both realistic and effective in the best possible way. If you are not training for realism in attack, then you are not being honest with yourself and you should be prepared to challenge yourself to go further and deeper into your training accordingly.