PhD, Colonel (US Army, Retired)
Once upon a time, long, long ago, a soon-to-be-married couple went in search of their very own horse to buy…a Thoroughbred, no less. The young woman had spent many years training other peoples’ horses but had never had one of her own. Now that she was making her own way in the world, she wanted to have her very own horse–-a beautiful chestnut mare. She scraped together her pennies and went to buy this wonderful animal. However, the cold people who owned the mare looked at how much money she had and laughed. They laughed and laughed and wouldn’t sell her the beautiful horse. The young woman went to her Banker but he, too, would not help her buy the mare. After one last unsuccessful trip to convince the horse’s owners, the couple was going home empty-handed and heartbroken. As her soon-to-be husband drove the sobbing young woman home, he looked at her and said, “Why don’t we buy a golden retriever, instead?” And thus began Gayle’s passion for dogs.
The culmination of this passion was Gayle’s establishment of Avidog University, where the Avidog Team has taught thousands of dog breeders and owners, from around the world across hundreds of breeds, to bring out the best in every dog and puppy. Avidog has a unique approach to dog breeding, raising, and care, using the most current science balanced with deep experience in dogs. Gayle’s saying is Avidog is “science based, experience tested.”
The origins of Avidog were in Gaylan’s Golden Retrievers, Gayle’s well known 40-year breeding program, Gaylan’s Golden Retrievers, that has produced, over 160 American and Canadian conformation, tracking, obedience, and agility champions, plus qualified-all age and master hunter golden retrievers. These dogs include the only two-time golden retriever AKC National Agility Champion, the AKC Rally National Champion, and the youngest Champion Tracker golden. Today, Gayle is the only golden retriever AKC Gold Breeder of Merit, and is a four-time AKC “Breeder of the Year.”
Gayle has also been an avid dog trainer since her start in dogs and has loved having a mission-ready search and rescue dog on a German team, providing therapy dogs to the Veterans Administration, training shelter dogs to help them get adopted, and doing advertising work with her own dogs, (Yes, that’s her dog Una on the Frontline box!) She has personally earned over 100 titles in AKC and CKC events, from hunt tests to obedience to tracking, and she has also taught these and other skills to thousands of dog owners through group and private training classes in the US and Germany since 1985.
Gayle’s dog experience is tempered by her lifelong passion for science and research. Her education includes biology, business, sociology, and national security degrees from Harvard, Stanford, Gettysburg College, and the Naval War College. During her22 years of service as a US Army officer from which she retired as a Colonel, she taught and eventually ran the leadership and management programs at the United States Military Academy. She also taught Army’s Advanced Military Studies, published The Future of the Army Profession, and conducted and published research for the Department of the Army, as well as many corporate and non-profit organizations.
Today, Gayle lives in the mountains of North Carolina with her ever-supportive husband, Andy Chmar, and their two golden retrievers, both of which are descendants of the first golden they added to their family when they couldn’t buy that beautiful, chestnut mare.
More about Gayle, AKC Breeder of Merit: Gayle Watkins, Golden Retriever Breeder