In short, we want to create love and joy by helping dog breeders and owners raise dogs that enhance their lives.
We’re in the business of inspiring, educating and empowering people around the world to raise every puppy to be as healthy and stable as possible, and matched to the right home.
We know that we can empty shelters if every puppy is raised well and matched to an appropriate home.
We spend every working day studying dogs and then breaking things down…
An important part of our job is looking at research, taking a technique or a concept and applying it to dog breeding. Then we turn around, break it down, and teach it step-by-step, so that anyone can learn, no matter where they are on their journey. Beginners are here. Experienced breeders are here, too. Everybody needs to keep learning new things.
We are masters at making the “hard stuff” simple.
We know the difference a great teacher makes
We remember every single great teacher we had in school. They made such a difference that we’ll remember them forever. We strive to do the same thing here. That’s why we only work with the most passionate, most gifted, and most talented teachers on the planet. Period.
We get excited when we learn new stuff, too! And we are always learning new stuff!!
We’re always trying to find better, simpler, more fun ways to raised extraordinary dogs. If we learn something really awesome, we can’t wait to share it with you (that’s what makes us tick).
We’re led by Gayle Watkins, a woman who has dedicated her life to breeding and teaching
If you read her story, you’ll know more about us than any page on this site could ever tell, but for 36 years straight she’s been applying science to dog breeding. However, that’s only part of her story so read on.
Gayle Watkins, Ph.D., MBA, COL (US Army Retired)
My passion for dogs began when I was only 23 and a hard-hearted horse dealer refused to sell me a beautiful Thoroughbred mare.
As we sadly drove home empty handed, my soon-to-be husband suggested we consider getting a golden retriever instead of a horse. Thus began Gaylan’s Golden Retrievers and my 36-year journey as a breeder, competitor, search and rescue handler, and more.
During these decades, I have produced, owned and/or shown over 70 American and Canadian conformation, obedience, agility, tracking and rally champions, as well as Master Hunter and Qualified All-Age field trial goldens. The American Kennel Club honored my success in 2016 by selecting me as one of the sport AKC Breeders of the Year. In addition to breeding, I have given back to dogs as a board member of the Baker Institute for Animal Health at Cornell University, a founding member of Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue, working with local shelters, teaching companion dog obedience throughout the US, and by starting Canine Health Events Inc, a 501(c)(3) charity that funds canine health research.
Dog breeding was my passion but the Army was my career. During my 22 years as a soldier, I was stationed around the world, introducing me to many different dog breeders, activities and philosophies. I served as a maintenance officer and then joined the faculty at West Point, teaching and eventually running the Leadership and Management programs. Along the way, I earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology, an MBA from Harvard University, a Masters in National Security, and a PhD in Sociology from Stanford University. My education and experience, prepared me to think about dog breeding and puppy rearing in new ways.
My focus has always been to apply science to puppy rearing and training to produce healthy, stable, talented dogs. I bring my varied backgrounds as an Army officer, scientist, researcher, business owner and consultant to this goal.
As a result, I have developed many unique techniques to rear litters, evaluate puppies, and match them to homes based on measurable traits. Avidog’s dog breeding and puppy raising has been carefully designed, from conception to placement, to bring out the best in every puppy. It mixes science, nature and experience in a balanced blend of mental, physical, and social developmental opportunities with nutritional support.
Furthermore, before pups are placed, they are thoroughly assessed using a comprehensive evaluation process that seeks to give every owner the ideal puppy for them and provide them a training plan and guidance for their individual puppy.
Over the past 15 years, I’ve assisted many other breeders around the world to use these puppy rearing and evaluation methods in their breeding programs.
Gayle’s Honors and Awards
- 2016 AKC Breeder of the Year
- Breeder 2015 AKC National Agility Champion, 24″
- AKC Breeder of Merit
Animals have been my passion for as long as I can remember.
I have trained and/or competed with animals ranging from parrots to Quarter Horses for over 40 years. In the last 15 years my focus has turned to dogs. My personal dogs right now are all Golden Retrievers, but I have owned and worked with many breeds over the years. I currently am living with three wonderful dogs: Goose, Dart and Drake.
Dogs bring me joy; whether I am training my own dogs, working with people teaching them how to raise and train their new puppy, teaching students to successfully compete in agility, or breeding and raising puppies.
I feel blessed to be able to live my true passion — dogs!
Being a learning junkie, I continue to attend seminars and workshops to learn all I can about training, behavior and breeding. I have worked with many, many talented teachers over the years, but I would be remiss if I did not thank Bob Bailey for all he has taught me. A few years ago I decided to make a mid-life career change and close my freelance court reporting agency and follow my passion full time.
For the past 15 years I have co-owned Suffolk Nassau Agile Paws with my sister, Marcy Burke. SNAP is a well-respected training center located in Woodbury, New York specializing in early puppy socialization and agility classes. I spend most of my time teaching agility classes and working privately with clients to design a personalized training program for their new puppies.
My heart dog, “Goose” MACH, Can. Ch Gaylan’s Born to Fly CD SH WCX VCX CCA OS ADHF was purchased from Gaylan’s Golden Retrievers in 2001. Ever since then I have worked closely with Gayle in raising and evaluating dozens of litters of performance puppies. In doing so I found my true passion — puppies! I love breeding, raising and teaching people how to bring out the best in their puppies.
Since 1996 I have been a co-owner of Suffolk Nassau Agile Paws, a successful dog training school on Long Island. I started teaching agility in the mid 1990s and in 2006 gave up a 25-year career as a court reporter to become a full-time dog trainer.
My dog training life started back in 1991 when I got a Golden Retriever named “Bunky” (U-CD Ivyhill Camelot’s Ocean Sunset CD JH WCX).
After attending some local training classes with Bunky I was hooked on training dogs.
I eventually started showing him in obedience trials and hunt tests. A few years later I got another Golden Retriever, “Taylor” (Regina’s Tailor Made TD SH MX AXJ WCX) who introduced me to the world of agility and tracking. On a quest to learn more about dog training I travelled extensively in order to take private lessons and attend camps, workshops and seminars with some of the best trainers in North America.
In the late ’90s, while at an agility trial in upstate New York, I met Gayle Watkins of Gaylan’s Golden Retrievers. A short time later I attended the temperament test of the Gaylan’s Sailing litter. I was fascinated watching and listening as Gayle matched prospective owners to puppies with specific traits. Curious to learn more about Gayle’s methods I offered to help her rear upcoming Gaylan litters.
Twelve years later I now co-breed with Gayle and have been involved in either breeding, rearing and/or testing 23 Gaylan litters as well as having tested other litters for breeders of many other breeds.
My true passion is teaching new puppy owners how to bring out the best in their puppies.
I have taught countless people how to set up their homes to ensure housebreaking success, as well as how to train their dogs to become wonderful family companions.
I have been happily married to my wonderful husband Jim Burke for 22 years. We currently share our lives with three Golden Retrievers:
- Regina’s Right On The Money JH MX MXJ WC – Cash
- MACH Gaylan’s Party Of One CD SH MXB MJS WCX OD VCX CCA CGC – Chex
- Gaylan’s Triple Talent – JH AX AXJ NF WCX VC CCA – Scoop
Chris Zink DVM PhD DACVP DACVSMR CCRT CVSMT CVA*
We joined forces with Dr Chris Zink to investigate breeding-stock conditioning, puppy structure and exercise. If you don’t already know her, Chris is one of the leading consultants on canine sports medicine who presents Coaching the Canine Athlete seminars worldwide and designs individualized rehabilitation and conditioning programs for canine athletes. She is the award-winning author of the books Peak Performance: Coaching the Canine Athlete, Dog Health and Nutrition for Dummies, and The Agility Advantage. She co-authored the book, Jumping From A to Z: Teach Your Dog to Soar and the DVD, Building the Canine Athlete. She co-edited the first ever book on canine rehab and sports medicine, Canine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, which was published by the veterinary textbook publisher Wiley-Blackwell. Dr. Zink was instrumental in establishing the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation as the newest specialty in veterinary medicine. She presents seminars worldwide.
Chris has put over 85 titles in Agility, Obedience, Conformation, Tracking, Hunt Tests, and Rally on dogs from the Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier and Herding groups. She is currently competing with her Golden Retriever, Hobby (bred by the Avidog team), in all of the above dog sports. Her Norwich Terrier, Vespa, obtained her MACH as well as obedience and rally titles and now travels to events as Chris’s demo dog.
Chris’s Honors and Awards
- Dog Writers Association of America – Best Book on Health 2013 for Canine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation
- Woman Veterinarian of the Year – 2009
- Dog Writers Association of America – Best Publication of the Year 2008 for The Agility Advantage
Want to know more about Chris?
- Read Best in Show Daily’s article on Chris Zink, “Peak Performance – She Wrote the Book On It!”
- You can find Chris on her website, Canine Sports Productions, and on Facebook.
*What do all those letters behind Chris’s name mean anyway?
Chris is a board-certified specialist in Veterinary Pathology (DACVP) and Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation (DACVSMR) and she has additional training in Canine Rehabilitation (CCRT), Veterinary Spinal Manipulation Therapy or Chiropractic (CVSMT) and Canine Acupuncture (CVA). She sort of can’t help herself – she’s passionate about educating herself in all things dog.
AVIDOG’S VISION STATEMENT
Avidog is the world’s preeminent dog breeder education institution providing cutting-edge science tempered with real-life breeding experience through in-person and on-line programs, courses and products.
- Everything we do, teach and sell is science based, experience tested
- We teach what we do, we sell what we use
- We love all dogs, we teach all dog breeders
- You don’t have to be a geek to learn with us
- We can only succeed if we are a team that works together well
- Be kind, stay focused
- We are committed to continuing education, for dog breeders, owners and us
- We work hard but make time to play with our dogs