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March 2012


Happy Spring!!   

I have to admit I am loving this warm weather.  It is so fun watching the dogs  rediscover the water.  I think I have to vote Ms. Josie the most addicted.  I am not sure what she is chasing in the pools, but there is definitely something there of great interest.  She honestly chases something (that we can’t see) for hours on end!  We also have the dogs that like a quick cool down between play spells (like Oliver above) and the ones that think a stream of water is the coolest toy ever!

 The down side of these temperatures is of course the ticks and mosquitos.   Please remember to be using your tick and heartworm preventative treatments.  I have heard lots of tick stories and already have my first mosquito bite of the year!

We close this newsletter with a memoriam to two very special dogs.  We really do love your dogs and these losses hit us pretty hard.  We especially think of these dogs’ families and wish them the very best during this tough time.  So…remember to give your pups an extra hug tonight in honor of Chester and Ranger! 


Becky Mittelsteadt


Product of the Month:  Molly Mutt Dog Beds

 The Product of the Month for March is the Molly Mutt Dog Bed! This is no ordinary dog bed. You can purchase just the duvet or you can also buy either the “Stuff Sack”, which can hold all your stuff able items inside the duvet, or a waterproof “Armor” sack that makes for very easy cleaning after life’s little accidents. Simply stuff the Armor or Stuff Sack full of old clothing and blankets, and then place that inside the duvet, and you have a personalized dog bed! Simply remove the duvet for easy cleaning. The duvet cover, the Stuff Sack, and the Armor come in three sizes. When stuffed, small size duvet is 22” by 27” by 5”; the medium/large is 27” by 36” by 5”; and the extra large is 36” by 45” by 4.5”. We have Stuff Sacks and Armors that fit each size duvet. Check them out the next time you drop your pooch off for daycare!

We have several patterns in stock, or we are happy to special order the size and fabric of your choice at no extra cost.  You can see all of the patterns online at www.Mollymutt.com or in a catalog here in the store.  Our prices are the same as online (except you don’t have to pay shipping).  We also offer the DIY kit with a free stuff sack with purchase of any two duvets. Let us know if you have any questions!


Dog of the Month: Baxter  

Our dog of the month for March is our very good friend Baxter! Baxter is a very energetic eight-year-old English Springer Spaniel that has been coming to the Hound Huddle since October 2007. He met his parents at the Outagamie County Humane Society when he was a year and a half old, and has been the perfect  companion for his parents ever since. He loves to go to the dog park with his Dad, and loves to steal socks and play chase! He is also a champion digger at home. In his dog of the month interview, Baxter shared the following:

I let my parents sleep in bed with me.  I like to stretch out and get comfy.  Dad doesn't seem to mind that he's squeezed in the middle of the bed and Mom seems to think it's great that she's got a couple of inches on her side of the bed.  I’ll do whatever it takes to make them happy. 

When he’s not at the park, being a “sock thief” or renovating his family’s backyard, he loves nothing more than to cuddle on his couch with his people. He is also one of our star singers here at the Hound Huddle!


Did you know?

The modern canine, Canis lupis familiaris, is a descendent of the grey wolf, Canis lupis. There is a lot of debate as to when the dog was first domesticated, but some people believe this could have happened as early as 33,000 years ago! It is even speculated that with the help of the dog, humans were able to transition from the “hunter-gatherer” type of lifestyle to agricultural societies that helped form the first major settlements and civilizations. Over time, humans bred dogs to fulfill numerous jobs, which led to the extreme diversity in the species that we know today, from the tiny Chihuahua to the gigantic Mastiff. No wonder we humans love our pups so much!


Training Classes

Classes begin this month! We are offering fun new courses this training session, so be sure to check out their descriptions below!

Puppy  Pre-School

6:15-7:15 p.m.  Thursdays, March 15 thru April 19 —with Dan Antolec

A six-week course with instruction on socializing a puppy including supervised off-leash play in class. There is also instruction on several obedience commands using positive reinforcement, nutrition and toys, understanding canine body communication and other topics. A written training guide and DVD are included. Please bring a hungry dog, a 4 to 6 foot leash, and great training treats to class. The first class with be owners only.  Puppies will attend the next five classes.  Cost is $90.

Pet Manners 2

 6:15-7:15 p.m.  Wednesdays, March 28 thru May 2 – with Renee Grittner

For graduates of Pet Manners 1 or Puppy Pre-School. Continue honing your dog’s manners and obedience skills using familiar positive methods. As with Pet Manners 1 and puppy class, lots of fun games will be used to keep the atmosphere light-hearted and fun. We will begin to build duration and introduce distractions into previously learned exercises. Please bring a hungry dog, lots of small tasty treats, a 4 to 6 foot leather or nylon leash (no flexi or chain leashes please!) an open mind and a positive attitude!  A clicker and tug toy is optional. Cost is $90.



7:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesdays, March 28 thru May 2 – with Renee Grittner

For graduates of Pet Manners 2 or Intermediate Obedience, or upon approval of instructor.  Teach your dog the fun and exciting sport of Rally-Obedience! Rally is a fun, competitive sport in which dog and handler navigate a preset course using common obedience skills. Many maneuvers will hone your dogs heeling in a fun, ever changing way. Dogs should have a good understanding of sit, down and heel. Please bring a hungry dog, lots of small tasty treats, a 4 to 6 foot leather or nylon leash (no flexi or chain leashes please!) an open mind and a positive attitude!  Cost is $90.

Beginner Obedience

6:15-7:15p.m. Tuesdays, March 27 thru May 1, 2012 with Scott Lindner

For dogs age 6 months and older. Classes will re-enforce basic manners and commands. Dogs will learn the command “stay” as well as to focus with lots of distractions using traditional training methods. In this class we learn to "heel" with our dogs and have plenty of question and answer time. Cost is $90.

Canine Good Citizen

 7:30-8:30 p.m.  Tuesdays, March 27 thru May 1, 2012 —with Scott Lindner

This is an opportunity to build on basic obedience skills focused on good manners in the home and in the community.  Here you and your dog will develop the skills required for the AKC Canine Good Citizen certification.  The first five classes involve instruction and practice, with testing in class six.  Passing the test qualifies for AKC certification.  Cost is $90. 

Pet Manners 1

 2:30-3:30 p.m. Saturdays, April 7 thru May 12 – with Renee Grittner

This class is for dogs 4 months or older who have not previously had an obedience class, or dogs that need a refresher. Pet Manners 1 uses dog friendly positive reinforcement methods to help you build a positive relationship with your pooch. Topics of interest are loose leash walking, sit, down, heel, recalls, and the beginning of stay. This class uses lots of fun interactive games to teach dogs and humans how to work together. Basic learning theory will be taught throughout this class. Please bring a hungry dog, lots of small tasty treats, a 4 to 6 foot leather or nylon leash (no flexi or chain leashes please) an open mind and a positive attitude! Optional is a clicker and a tug toy.  Cost is $90.

Puppy  Party Class

10:45-11:45 a.m. Saturdays, April 14 thru May 5 —with Dan Antolec

Do you want to socialize your new pup with other playful pups and other dog-friendly people?  Do you want to learn how to develop a close and lasting relationship with your pup?  Do you want to learn how to interpret dog-dog interactions so you will know whether your puppy is safe, or if and how you should intervene?  Well then, come join the party!  This four-week hourly course focuses on the socialization process that is crucial to having a well-adjusted, confident and friendly family pet dog for a lifetime.  Class instruction and activities address topics such as how to thoroughly socialize your puppy, nutrition and exercise, and preventing common problems.  Learn how a puppy brain develops, how it learns, and how to teach a puppy to pay attention to you.  Weather permitting, we will venture into the neighborhood and seek out additional socialization opportunities.  An instructional DVD is included. This course does not focus on obedience and manners training.  Cost is $60.


Dan’s Dog Den

The Responsible Dog Owner

We all like to think of ourselves as responsible dog owners, right?  Who among us wants to stand up and shout to the world with a bellowing voice “I am an irresponsible dog owner and I am proud of it!”  Recently I visited the web site of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and checked out their C.L.A.S.S. dog training and testing program.  It is designed to promote responsible dog ownership and training based on real-life skills and situations.  The training classes include quizzing dog owners, and education of dog owners is at least 50% of the process of dog training, so I wrote my own little quiz.  It is not comprehensive but it does offer probe some topics that all dog owners should probably know.  Are you up for a challenge?  Only you will know how you answer the questions, and it is meant to educate the public, so I will examine the possible responses following the quiz.  Are you ready to start?

  • If my dog makes a mess in public, I should:
  •  Loudly draw attention to it and blame it on another dog.
  • Pretend it is not there and sneak quietly away.
  • Clean it up.
  • I should exercise my dog:
  •  Each day.
  • Only when I feel like it, and I hardly ever feel like it.
  • My dog does not need exercise…and neither do I!
  • What is a non-threatening way to approach a dog:
  •  Make direct eye contact, rush up to it, reach over the head and pet it.
  • Turn sideways, lower your body, look slightly away and wait.
  • Hover over the dog and give it a great big bear hug!
  • A wagging tail always means that a dog is friendly:
  •  True.
  • False.
  • Positive reinforcement is:
  •  Giving food treats, and then asking for a behavior in return.
  • Asking for a behavior, and then offering a reward for compliance.
  • An 80’s era rock band, and a crappy one at that!
  • Rewards should be given to a dog:
  •  Never, because it only spoils the dog.
  • Within 1-3 seconds of a desired behavior.
  • At the end of the entire long training session.
  • The canine short-term memory is about:
  • 4-5 Seconds, because dogs live “in the moment”.
  • As long as the memory of a politician, following an election.
  • Uh, were you talking to me?  Huh?  Who, me?

OK, how well do you think you answered the questions?  Since I wrote the quiz, let me explain the answers. 

Question 1.

 Blaming the mess on another dog might be an option if there just happens to be another dog nearby, and sneaking away in silence might be worth a try, but why not simply take responsibility for dog ownership and clean up after your pet?  This is probably one of the most irritating things for non-dog owners who watch people walking past their yard and deposit something that the property owner then has to clean up.  How about considering yourself and your dog as ambassadors of the dog world and demonstrate that you respect the rights of others, and show them how considerate dog owners are.  Besides, dog feces may contain parasites and other dog owners will also appreciate not having to take their pet to the veterinarian to treat something that their dog naturally sniffed during their walk.

Question 2.

Dogs require daily exercise.  Some dogs were bred to perform jobs, such as herding breeds, and their exercise needs are quite high.  Regular exercise keeps a dog mentally and physically healthy, and walking is great for humans too.  Dogs that receive frequent exercise and stimulation are less likely to exhibit behaviors that humans resent, such as barking, digging, chewing and so on.

Question 3.

Dogs rely upon posture and body language for communication, and when one dogs approaches another in a straight line, face-to-face, making direct eye contact…that is considered rude and possibly threatening.  Many dogs do not appreciate when a person reaches over the top of their head, and most dogs do not enjoy hugging.  Dogs never hug one another and are respectful of another dog’s space.  The safest way to approach a dog is to turn slightly sideway, lower oneself, look slightly away, offer the back of one’s hand without reaching for the dog, and wait.  If the dog feels safe and secure, it will approach you.  If the dog is shy, respect that and leave it alone.  You may well avoid a dog bite in the process.

Question 4.

Dogs wag their tails for a variety of reasons, and it is certainly not a universal sign that the dog is friendly.  A highly aroused dog may be exhibiting several body language warning signs, and the high flagging tail wagging rapidly back and forth might be mistaken as an invitation to approach, when it is actually one of the signals the dog it using to tell you to keep your distance.  If you are not knowledgeable interpreting canine calming signals, don’t read too much into a wagging tail. 

Question 5.

 If you reward your dog and then ask for a behavior, that is a bribe.  The dog may be happy to take the reward but don’t expect anything in return.  Positive reinforcement is based on asking for a behavior (or simply observing a desirable behavior) and rewarding it with praise, play, food, or affection.  Dogs tend to repeat behaviors that are rewarded in some way, and tend to stop repeating behaviors that are ignored.  Oh, if there actually is an 80’s rock band called “Positive Reinforcement”, I offer my sincere apology.

Question 6.

Rewarding desirable behavior does not spoil a dog.  Just be mindful of what you are rewarding.  If you ask your dog to sit, for instance, the reward should be given immediately so your dog understands what behavior you approve of.  If you ask for a sit and your dog does so, but while you are fumbling to pull a treat out of your pocket and your dog stands up, you will be rewarding the behavior of standing up.  Timing is critical to reinforcement.  Training sessions should also be kept short.  Dogs use a lot of mental and physical energy during training, so make it a fun and rewarding process, but quit on a good note and resume another short session later.

Question 7.

Yes, canines have the short-term memory of a politician who makes endless promises before the election, and then forgets them all the moment you cast your vote.  Actually, perhaps all three answers are correct.  Research on canine learning and memory has shown that they really do live “in the moment” and their short-term memory may only be a few seconds.  That is why training a dog requires many, many, many repetitions  with quick reinforcement…until the dog makes the mental connection between the training prompt, the behavior, and the reward.  At that point the dog establishes a long-term memory of the new skill, trick, or obedience command.  If your dog is slow to respond to your prompt, it is probably confused.  There is very little reason to think your dog it being stubborn, defiant or is trying to dominate you.  Dogs are not humans.  They are very social, very dependent upon humans, and try to please us.  They simply do not understand us because we do not speak canine.  The more you understand how to communicate with your dog, the happier you both will be.

Dan Antolec


In Memoriam

We are sad to say that two of our great doggy friends passed on to the Rainbow Bridge within the past month. Ranger was a big, happy German Shorthaired Pointer that had been hanging with us since we first opened. He was a very sweet boy that loved to cuddle on the couch with both his human and canine pals, and he also loved to go on regular hunting trips with his family. Chester was a spunky little Shih Tzu mix and was our friend Rachel’s beloved childhood pet. Though he didn’t come visit us at the Hound Huddle as often as his best friend and brother Rocky, he often made guest appearances at our special events.  He made an awesome hippy at the Halloween Howl last October. Both Chester and Ranger were wonderful dogs, and our condolences go out to their families during this difficult time. We will miss you both dearly, boys.


Past Newsletters

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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