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Fall 2012

We are back!  This delay in getting the newsletter out is my fault entirely. I have been wanting to do it each month, but summer happened, and then crutches happened and then vacation happened and then school happened and then Joann got married and then…I can’t think of any other excuses.  It was very easy to get to this newsletter though because we have so much fun information to share.  We have had a fantastic summer of pools and playing and fall is gorgeous this year.

Our News:  First we would like to congratulate Joann on getting married. She had a beautiful wedding on her family’s farm the end of September. Second I would like to announce that we have a new afternoon manager.  Andrea (aka AJ) is the lovely new afternoon face you have been seeing at the Hound Huddle.  Andrea has years of experience with dog fostering and past dog daycare experience.  We are happy to welcome her to our team.  Our third big piece of news is that we are hosting The Lab Connection’s Fall Frolic on October 13th .  Finally, to close out October we are having a Howl-o-ween Party on October 27th.  See below for more information on the festivities.  Pictures with Santa is in the works, so check our next newsletter for that date in December.



Product of the Month: Old Mother Hubbard Dog Treats

Since 1926, Old Mother Hubbard has used the same simple methods to bake snake for our dogs.  Each home-style recipe is carefully crafted from wholesome ingredients that allow you to feel good about giving them a reward that is healthy and heartfelt.  Full of all-natural ingredients, natural flavors and natural crunch, these delicious snacks are a true cupboard classic.  Be sure to check out these tasty treats the next time you stop by daycare! Your pooch will love them!


Dog of the Month:  Moose Moose is the perfect dog of the month for this October because he was adopted from TLC (The Lab Connection) and we are hosting TLC’s annual fundraiser October 13th (see below).  Moose is an awesome four year old lab who knows his way around a pool and can’t get enough of a ball, any ball, just give him a ball!!  Moose is one of those dogs who can and will play with anyone.  We do have to note that he does have a best friend in a rat terrier mix named Charlie.


Did you know? The Boxer is currently the 7th most popular breed in the United States according to American Kennel Club registries. This brachycephalic (or short-nosed) breed was developed in Germany in the late 1800s and is related to both the mastiff and bulldog breeds. The name “Boxer” comes from the breed’s tendency to stand on their hind legs and “box” while they play.  The Boxer is a very popular family companion that is extremely loyal, energetic, highly inquisitive, and great with children. They have what some consider to be one of the most expressive faces of any dog breed. Common breed colors include fawn, brindle, and reverse brindle; all these colors can have “flashes” of white on their faces, feet, and chests. White pure or mostly-white boxers account for almost 25% of all boxer dogs in the United States.



Training Classes Our next available classes are starting in early November. They are filling up quickly, so sign up today!  We want to give you a little update on our trainer Dan!  Big congratulations are in order for two reasons.  First, Dan has incorporated!  Dan has officially started a training business called Happy Buddha Dog Training.  He still trains through the Hound Huddle (classes are listed below), but he also offers one on one training both here at the Huddle or in home when needed.  Second, Dan is now an AKC certified Canine Good Citizen evaluator. Dan can be reached at 1wyldhaven@gmail.com.

Puppy  Pre-School 6:30-7:30 p.m.  Tuesdays, November 6 thru December 11, 2012 7:45-8:45 p.m.  Wednesdays, November 7 thru December 12, 2012  

We offer a six-hour course teaching you how to socialize and train your puppy in basic obedience and good manners, safe handling exercises, relationship building, teaching impulse control and developing acceptable everyday behaviors all while using positive reinforcement training methods. Puppies enjoy short periods of training games interspersed with periods of play, during which dog owners will be coached on interpreting canine body language signals. Children are encouraged to attend with parental supervision. The small class size means far more personal attention and problem-solving. We provide written training material and a complete instructional DVD explaining learning theory, demonstrations all obedience training exercises and canine communication signals. Plus, the instructor provides support in-between class dates by e-mail or telephone. Our goal is to help you form a safe and fulfilling relationship with your pet, overcome the challenges of puppy behavioral issues and lay the foundation for future training in a friendly supportive environment. Course Fee: $100.

Basic Obedience:    7:45-8:45.m. Tuesdays, November 6 thru December 11, 2012

For dogs 24 weeks of age and older that have not attended Puppy Pre-School, or those in need of a refresher course. Class size is limited to four dogs. We offer a six-hour course teaching you how to train your dog basic obedience and good manners, safe handling exercises, relationship building, teaching impulse control and developing acceptable everyday behaviors using positive reinforcement training methods. Our goal is to help you form a safe and fulfilling relationship with your pet and instill good manners in your dog. The small class size means far more personal attention and problem-solving. We provide written training material and a complete instructional DVD explaining learning theory, demonstrating all obedience training exercises and canine communication signals. Plus, the instructor provides support in-between class dates by e-mail or telephone. Our goal is to help you form a safe and fulfilling relationship with your pet, overcome the challenges of puppy behavioral issues and lay the foundation for future training in a friendly supportive environment. Course Fee: $100.


TLC’s Fall Frolic Please join us as we host The Lab Connection’s (TLC’s) annual Fall Frolic! There will be all sorts of activities for both you and your pooch, including games, fall photos, crafts, face painting, raffles, and more. There will also be services available for your dog like microchipping, baths, and nail trims! The Fall Frolic will be on Saturday, October 13th from 11am to 3pm.  Additionally the Hound Huddle will be donating 10% of all retail sales will go to the Lab Connection. More information is available on their website, http://www.labradorconnection.org/


 Howl-o-ween Party

Looking for some Halloween fun?  Come to the Hound Huddle on Saturday October 27th from 11:00-1:00 for a doggie costume party (the Badger game isn’t until 2:30 so you should have time to get to where you are watching the game)!  We will be having a best trick contest (puppy and adult divisions) and best dog costume contests.  Every contest will have prizes and plenty of treats to go around!  The dogs will also have plenty of time to play—but we take no responsibility for the condition of their costumes!   Check out Fern and Esther’s prize winning family (HOMEMADE!) from last year.You may want to check out the following websites if you are looking for ideas or to purchase a dog costume:http://doghalloweencostumesshop.com/ http://www.doggievogue.com/category/dog-costumes http://www.partycity.com/category/halloween+costumes/dog+costumes.do


Dan’s Dog Den

Get Off Me!

One of the most common questions I hear in dog training classes is “How can I get my dog to stop jumping on me?”  This behavior is especially common among puppies that are naturally small in size and jump up on us in order to seek attention.  They are essentially pleading “Look at me, talk to me, touch me!”  I confess that when a cute little puppy comes running up to me with eager eyes and jumps up on my leg seeking attention, it is my first instinctive response to reach down and pet the little guy while gushing “Oh, what a cutie pie!”  Then my frontal cortex kicks in and shouts, “Doh!”  I often catch myself reinforcing the behavior even while I am thinking, “Uh, I should not be doing this.” It is very natural for puppies to jump up on their people and seek attention.  Dogs have been bred for many thousands of years to bond with humans, and so they seek out and enjoy human contact.  Puppies, however, grow into adult dogs.  Puppies that jump up also often nip at their people, so when they grow into adolescence and adulthood they have many months of practicing the behavior, for which they were rewarded.  The problem is that little puppies can grow into 75 pound (or more) dogs with full bite strength and they may scare the devil out of some folks, grab and tear clothing, and become genuine pests that your friends and relatives will try to avoid at all costs.

Dogs tend to do the things that they are rewarded for.  It only makes sense.  Why would dogs make a habit of doing things they are not rewarded for?  When a dog of any age jumps up on a person, they are seeking reinforcement.  Reinforcement may be in the form of looking at the dog, speaking to the dog, or touching the dog.  So long as the dog can get what it wants by jumping up, it will continue to do so.  So what should a person do to stop the behavior?

In the old days, a trainer might have suggested “Punish your dog when they jump and they will learn to stop jumping!”  Does that work?  Animal scientists who tested dominance theory methods have proven that they seldom work, and are often counter-productive.  Some trainers suggest driving your knee into your dog’s abdomen or chest while yelling “Get down!”  What will that accomplish?  Well, it may produce a traumatic injury that you will pay a veterinarian to treat at considerable expense, and teach your dog to stop trusting you.  It may also turn your dog into a nervous wreck when it seeks your attention and affection and is harshly punished in response. 

At worst, it will make your dog aggressive toward you.  Looking at your (jumping) dog and yelling at it and engaging in pushing or kneeing will reinforce the behavior.  After all, your dog wants you to look at it, speak to it and touch it.  It might not be nice, but at least it is attention. 

Is there an alternative?  Yes.  How about teaching your dog to give you a different behavior that prevents jumping, so you can look for opportunities to reward your dog for behavior that you approve of, instead of looking for behavior that you can punish…without ever teaching your dog what you want them to do instead?  This is called positive reinforcement training.  It is easy, it works, it is friendly, and it is successful with any creature that has a brain stem.

So what exactly does this look like, if you were to picture a scenario in your mind?  Let us imagine that your return home after work and your dog is anxious to see you again.  In fact, your dog is overjoyed and comes running up to you with an open mouth, a loose floppy tongue and jumps up to start licking or nibbling you.  What can you do? If you think ahead and teach your dog to do something other than jumping up in the first place, that will prevent the problem.  How about teaching your dog to “Sit” before it rushes up and jumps on you?  To do so you need to teach the “Sit” command, use it daily, and reward it generously and enthusiastically.  This will make the act of “Sitting” more rewarding than the act of jumping up on you.  If you ask your dog to “Sit” before you offer a meal, “Sit” before you take your dog out for a walk, “Sit” before offering affection and so on, the behavior of “Sitting” will become a default behavior for your dog.  Dogs do whatever works for them, so they tend to offer behaviors to their humans, based on reinforcement of those behaviors.So long as excitedly jumping up and nibbling on a person is rewarded with attention, the dog will continue that behavior.  If a contradictory behavior like sitting nicely and waiting to be petted, is richly rewarded, the dog will offer that behavior instead.

OK, so what if you miss the opportunity to tell your dog to “Sit” and he starts jumping?  The easy response is to turn your back to your dog, do not look directly at him, do not speak to him, and keep your hands away from your dog.  That is a “negative punishment” and gives your dog a very strong signal that says “I don’t like that.  Stop.”When your turn away from your dog, try peeking over your shoulder and see what he does in response.  Some dogs will try once or twice more to jump up on you for attention.  In response, just step away and ignore your dog.  When you see that your dog has given up and turns away, spin around and address your dog.  Call him to you and ask for a “Sit” or some other obedience prompt.  When your dog responds, richly reward him for that behavior.  This process will, with many repetitions, teach your dog that jumping up on you is not rewarding, but sitting nicely and waiting to be petted is very rewarding.  Dogs tend to do things that are rewarded, and tend to stop doing things that go unrewarded.

Another simple training exercise I have used in puppy class is to stand in front of the puppy and wait.  Most likely the puppy will excitedly jump up because that is what has worked for them in the past, but I will ignore that behavior.  The puppy might jump repeatedly, bark, or offer other behaviors that are demands for attention.  I just calmly ignore them all.  Eventually the puppy will step back away from me, look away from me or do something other than obsess on me.  At that moment I excitedly declare “Yes!” to mark the behavior, which means I am telling the puppy “Yes, that is what I like!” and then I quickly give the pup a reward.  This simple exercise illustrates operant conditioning or behavior shaping.  I wait for the behavior I approve of and then reward it. I repeat the process several times and reward the pup for doing something other than jumping on me, such as turning away from me or stepping back.  This establishes the beginning of a pattern of behavior that is contrary to jumping on me and builds muscle memory.  Having rewarded the simple act of moving away from me on several occasions, I then become stingy in my rewards and wait for the pup to sit down.  Most puppies will offer a variety of behaviors and they already know how to sit, so I just patiently wait for that behavior.  When the pup sits, I cheerfully announce “Yes!” and offer a quick reward.  By that point the puppy is learning that jumping up on me is ignored, while stepping back and sitting down is rewarded.  Naturally, the puppy will do whatever works for him and so he learns to be calmer and sit nicely upon meeting people.

Once more, I repeat the process several times until the new pattern of behavior is established: stepping away from me and sitting.  I reinforce the calm sitting behavior by rewarding it every couple of seconds, so long as the puppy remains seated.  When the puppy gets up, we start over again.  This has worked many times in classroom settings with chronic jumpers.  The power of operant conditioning is that the dog chooses the behavior and does not always have to be told what to do, or coerced into a behavior.  In effect, the dog chooses a default behavior that you have approved of and rewarded.  The dog gains confidence and knows how to obtain what it desires, in a way that is acceptable to people.

To make this work, every person who interacts with your dog must be consistent and follow the same rules.  If one person keeps playing with and petting your dog while he is on two paws, then your dog will continue jumping up on people.  If everybody who interacts with your dog only does so when he is on four paws, your dog will stay on his feet.  It really is that simple.Yelling at and pushing away or kicking at a dog that jumps up does nothing to teach a dog what to do, and dogs are amazingly adept at adjusting to abusive behavior.  They get used to being yelled at, pushed and kicked and they just accept that discomfort as the price to pay for the reinforcement they ultimately receive by repeating a behavior they have learned.  It is far easier to teach a dog a more favorable behavior to offer you, and reward that behavior.  Your dog will then be eager to give you that behavior and you can enjoy the time you have together.

Dan Antolec


In Memoriam

We are sad to say that one of our doggy friends passed on to the Rainbow Bridge earlier this month. Bo Seeya was a lovable Greyhound (shown here with his sister Bella Bean) who has been coming to visit us since 2009. He was a fantastic cuddler and an even better singer; he and his sister loved to serenade our staff at the end of the day while they waited for their parents to pick them up! He had the sweetest disposition and was a wonderful dog. Our condolences go out to his family during this difficult time. We love you and will miss you dearly, Bo.


Past Newsletters

March 2012 * February 2012 * January 2012 * December 2011 * November 2011 *

October 2011 * September 2011 * August 2011 * July 2011 * June 2011 * May 2011

April 2011 * March 2011 * February 2011 * January 2011 * December 2010

Hound Huddle · 1145 Park St · Oregon, WI · 608.835.6622 · 608.835.2662 f

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