My husband and I live in the San Gabriel Valley. We acquired our first Klee Kai, Maya, in June of 2011 and she quite quickly became one of the best things that had ever happened to me. Together we explored the world of dog training, and teaching basic obedience and tricks soon became a passion. At that point in time, I worked days and he worked nights, so Maya had someone around the house more often than not. When my husband started discussing transitioning to day shift, we decided to get Maya a friend to keep her company, and shortly thereafter, Kodah came into our lives. This sweet, cuddly, incredibly loving fluffball decided to give us a run for our money when it came to training, and in hindsight, I could never thank him enough for that. Seeking out some assistance with training led me to some of the most amazing mentors anyone could ask for: Karen Street of AliAK Kennels, and Lisa Boland of Allerian Kennels. After taking almost two years to learn about conformation, performance, and breeding, we acquired Adara, Tolkien and Lyra, and we haven’t looked back since.
Being in the conformation ring and training and competing in performance has been such an amazing opportunity to show off what these little guys are capable of. While the breed has been known to be timid towards strangers and new environments, I have strived to train my dogs and show those that we encounter, that if we work diligently enough, this can be overcome. Maya, who started off hiding behind me when someone new approached, will now go and greet them with a friendly woo, Adara will hop into someone's lap if she spots them on the sofa, Lyra thinks everyone she meets is a new best friend, and so forth. Given the right encouragement from day 1, the Klee Kai can be wonderfully well-rounded dog and companion.
Puppy Culture & Avidog
Raising well rounded puppies is our most important goal. As such, we have researched many programs with regards to raising our puppies in a way that will give them the best start that we can possibly give them. It’s not just about puppy breath, cuddles, and cuteness; it’s also about sending home a puppy that will adapt well to new surroundings, engage, learn, and be a wonderful addition to their new family.
After researching this extensively, we decided to raise our puppies using both Puppy Culture and Avidog protocols. Research shows that breeders have a huge opportunity to improve outcomes for dogs and their people by doing just the right thing at just the right time during their first critical weeks.
Puppy Culture is a program designed by Jane Killion that details how to raise a well-balanced puppy through his or her first twelve weeks of life. She details everything from early neurological stimulation, to emotional resilience exercises, to leash walking, potty training, crate training, and the prevention of common problems.
Avidog starts even earlier than the birth of a puppy. Avidog is a program developed by Gayle Watkins, and details the best nutrition that can be given to the Dam while she’s in season, as well as throughout her pregnancy. She provides thorough guidance on the right supplements and ratios that are required for the healthy growth of puppies. In addition, Avidog uses science to bolster their program of developmental opportunities for puppies so that they can be everything that their genetics will allow them to be. Gayle's program also provides important information regarding early scent introduction, ENS, as well as enrichment methods to help puppies reach the peak of their mental and physical capabilities as adults.
Both of these programs promote the concept that if you provide the right enrichment environment for the puppy, he or she will be more emotionally stable, be resilient to changing and stressful environments, and have a better ability to train and learn throughout his or her daily life. We are incredibly proud to be the first Alaskan Klee Kai breeders to be listed by each of these wonderful programs.
About the Name
Thurisia is a modified variation of the ancient runic symbol Thurisaz, meaning strength and self-empowerment through challenges; and is a representative of Thor and his hammer. It’s symbolic of my journey through finding and getting to know my mentors, getting to know myself, and getting to know the AKK breed better and how I feel I want to improve it within my breeding program.
Within the word Thurisia, there are a few letters that purposefully stand out. The first of these is the “H”. This stands for the rune Hagalaz, which symbolizes a crisis or radical change, as well as something uncontrollable and unavoidable unpleasantness. As I have shared previously, a lot of my journey in the breed started out with learning how to work with Kodah and his issues, no matter how many steps backward that we took. I learned how to read his body language, and I learned that it is okay to get frustrated, but I need to stop and breathe and remember all of the positives.
The “R” is the rune Raidho, which stands for a journey. A journey of life, of taking an initiative, all while keeping my integrity and respect for others. My journey in this breed has been long one, and a lot of fun. I have made some amazing friends, and learned a lot about myself and my confidence at the same time. I really look forward to doing what I can to improve upon the breed.
The “S” symbolizes the rune Sowilo, which is the rune of guidance, goal setting, and success. I have some of the best mentors, who have helped me see the importance of having an all-around dog. My goals are around the idea that a Klee Kai can not only be great conformation wise, but can also excel at performance, and know how to be friendly and outgoing.
I feel that it is a good representation of my journey so far with the Klee Kai breed and the direction that I want to go with my program. For those that know me well, it all started with a question about reactivity (hence the pull to the “reactive force” meaning of the rune) and has led to amazing opportunities and a much stronger sense of confidence in myself.
While the underlying meaning is deep, the overall goal is to have fun with the dogs, learn and grow together, and enjoy this journey