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November 2011

October was a really fun month around the Hound Huddle.  In addition to some very nice fall weather we attended the Holiday Pet Trade Show in Chicago and hosted the Halloween Howl costume party for our wonderful dogs.   The weather speaks for itself but the trade show and Halloween party need special mention. 

Rachel, Lindsey and I spent a Saturday perusing hundreds of vendors’ booths at the national winter pet trade show in October.  We ate a lot of candy and even tried a dog treat.  I am not going to tell you which one, but I will say we liked it better than our dogs did (think Teddy Grahams).  Our dogs spent the next several days sampling all of the treats we brought home.  The dogs were unanimous in their fondness for HALO treats so we are bringing in some of those in mid-November.  HALO prides itself on high quality ingredients and its most famous owner, Ellen Degeneres.  Unfortunately Ellen wasn’t at the show.  Other new things you will see from the show are this month’s Product of the Month—NiteIze PetLit, Planet Dog Toys (coming the second week of November), and Taste of the Wild Puppy Formula food (coming November 17th).  We are still considering other items, but this is a great start.

Now for the Halloween party.  We had about 30 dogs in costume and had a fantastic time.  I can’t tell you how fun it was to see the dogs and how amazed I was at the costumes people put on themselves and their dogs.

I would like to close with a thank you to all of our wonderful customers and friends.  We are grateful for each and every one of you!

Take care and have a very happy Thanksgiving!

Becky Mittelsteadt





Dog of the Month: Gizmo

Gizmo is a two and a half year old Australian Shepard/Bernese Mountain Dog mix.  After being surrendered to Wright Way Rescue in Illinois, he was adopted by a wonderful family with three little girls.  He is clearly a well loved dog!!  Gizmo is also a very smart dog.  Whenever we order puzzle toys we think of him.  I understand that at home he can not only figure out how to work the puzzles, he has his little human sister trained to get the treats out for him.  He has a full vocabulary in both English and animal—rumor has it he can sound like a cow, chicken, and pig.  We have heard him sound like a dog on occasion as well.  Gizmo is very playful in daycare—playing with every dog that wants to play.  He is always up for a great game of chase with people or dogs.  We do make him work—he is so good at his tricks that we are always asking him for a performance, which he happily gives.  In the words of his owner “we are a very lucky family to have such a smart, wonderful, protective, loyal and loving dog in our lives.”  We at the Hound Huddle are so glad you share him with us and we think he is a lucky dog to have such a wonderful family!


Product of the Month: NiteIze PetLit

The Nite Ize PetLit LED Collar Light is a specially designed, battery-powered LED that you can clip securely to your pet's collar, keeping him or her stylish and visible at all hours of the day and night. Made of durable, plastic, with a playful paw or jewel crystal, its bright light is easy to activate with a simple twist. It's a fun, yet reliable way to keep your furry friend safe and visible when you're out for early morning or late evening romps.


Santa is Coming to Town

Bring your dogs to the Hound Huddle on Saturday Dec. 3rd from 2-5 and get their picture taken with Santa. Bring your own camera and food or supplies for area rescues and the picture is FREE. If we use our camera, the cost will be $5.00 or $3.00 if you bring food or supplies for area rescues. Also, all retail items (except Sugar Plum Collars and Taste of the Wild Food) will be 20% off and all daycare packages will be 10% off on that day.


Training Update:  We are in the process of finishing up several classes.  Beginning the week of January 9th Dan, Renee and Scott will all be starting new classes including Puppy PreSchool, Beginner Obedience, Pet Manners 1, Pet Manners 2, Canine Good Citizen, Ready to Rally, and Agility.

Also, a big congratulations to Renee who achieved a perfect score on the AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator test this month!

Part of Renee’s crew


Did you know…  

Did you know dogs are right or left-handed?  Psychologists, from Queen's University Belfast, found that females are 'right-handed' while males favor the left, until they are spayed or neutered, when the difference disappears, suggesting hormones play a role in left or right-handedness.  This is Joann’s dog Lee, a female who likes to shake with her right hand.


November Holiday Hours: We will be closed Thursday November 24th through Saturday the 27th for Thanksgiving. As we are closed for “Black Friday” we would like to offer you 25% off your entire purchase one day in November.  You pick your shopping day and mention this newsletter coupon!  Unfortunately we have to exclude Taste of the Wild food and Sugar Plum Collars from this offer.


Trick of the Month

November trick of the month - Spin & twist

Impress your holiday guests with this fun trick! This month we will teach our dogs to spin in a tight circle to the right and to the left. Teaching your dog to spin or twist is more than just good fun, it also helps your dog stretch and develop coordination. You can also use it to teach directions to help navigate an agility course or use it in a freestyle routine!

There are many different commands you can give this trick but for simplicity sake a Spin turns the dog clockwise, or to its right, and in a Twist the dog turns counter clockwise, to its left.  You should also keep in mind there are 3 locations you can perform a spin or twist from; in front of you and on each side of you (heel or side position).

What you need:

  • A hungry dog
  • Small soft treats
  • A quiet place your dog can work off leash such as a bedroom or large bathroom.

I usually start this trick with my dog facing me. Bring a cookie right to your dog’s nose, but don’t let him eat it! He can nibble at it as you turn him in the direction of your choice. When he gets all the way around tell him how awesome he is and let him have the rest of the cookie. Practice both directions.

If your dog won’t go all the way around, reward for a partial turn, and every few reps increase the distance you are asking your dog to turn. Also try making your circle larger. Many dogs will be using muscles they don’t normally use and it could be difficult to move their body this way.

As your dog progresses, remove the treat from the luring hand. Your dog will follow your hand around in a circle and then reward from the other hand. Gradually use your arm to lure less and less until you can make very small circles while standing straight. You can also add a verbal by saying “spin” or “twist” just before you give your physical cue for the trick.

Remember to keep your training sessions short and sweet! Instead of fast forwarding those commercials, use the time to teach your dog this fun trick!

Have a suggestion for a trick? Send your trick idea to info@houndhuddle.com

Happy Training!

Renee Grittner


Happy Anniversary Dan!

We at the Hound Huddle would like to wish Dan a Happy 4th Anniversary.  There simply is not space within a newsletter to thank Dan for all that he has done and continues to do here.  I would describe Dan as one of the most calming people I know.  This is applicable with both people and dogs.  I knew he was a retired police officer, but I was shocked when I learned his martial arts background.  For someone so kind and gentle I would not recommend challenging him in ANY kind of a physical manner!  I hope you can see from Dan’s articles or from watching him on our webcam how much he loves your dogs.  If you talk to him or take his puppy class you can also see what an intense student he is of dog behavior.  Dan holds himself to the highest of standards and those around him see it every day.  One of Dan’s students said it best in a course evaluation: “Beyond Expectations…. Dan has trained us into better dog owners and built a closer bond between our dogs and us.”  Thank you Dan!


Dan’s Dog Den

Empty Spaces

Thanksgiving is a holiday most American families hold dear.  It is a special day when they take stock of what they have and express gratitude and appreciation.  Perhaps it is the pessimist within me, but when I take stock of what I have, I cannot help but be aware of what I have not.  I think about the wonderful animals in my life and take time to appreciate them every day, but I also remember those I have lost and as I look around for traces of their life, I see empty spaces.  Recently the family of a long-time Hound Huddle daycare dog lost their beloved pet due to a tragic accident.  I offer this as my humble tribute to Oliver, whom I loved as dearly as my own pets.

My every memory of Oliver at the daycare is that of a contented, sturdily built Puggle with a calm and friendly disposition, who loved to climb onto my lap and soak up affection at every opportunity.  The high-energy enthusiastic dogs in the daycare actively sought me out for attention and I enjoyed playing with them, but I always made a point of seeking out the quiet and unassuming dogs, like Oliver, who patiently waited to be approached and always showed appreciation for their share of love and affection.  I have many memories of sitting with Oliver as I stroked his coat, or searching the daycare room for him in vain, only to find him lying outside on the pea gravel, comfortably soaking up the warm rays of the sun as if he were basking on a peaceful beach in some distant exotic land.

Since I work part-time I do not see the dogs as often as I like, but I have a crystal clear memory of my last afternoon with Oliver, and it was a wonderful experience. 

Toward the end of September I went to work one day and found the daycare room full of 30 toothy grins and an equal number of wagging tails, greeting me as I passed through the gate and waded into the throng of excited dogs.  Oliver was his usual self, standing nearby but not underfoot, looking for acknowledgement but not being pushy or demanding.  I sought him out and called him cheerfully, “Oliver!” and saw his face light up in recognition.  He melted into my hands as I stroked and petted his beautiful brown coat in those first few minutes.

As was my habit, I worked my way around the room and greeted all the dogs, tossing balls for some, petting others, and calling each one by name.  Although it was a cloudy day I felt quite warm inside, surrounded once more by many of my favorite doggie friends.  Wandering outside I sat upon a lawn chair and watched with joy as several dogs quickly came around, each within petting distance.  Oliver was the first to seek me out, hopping onto my lap and settling down for a long session of petting and sweet talk, as the sun pushed the clouds apart and bathed us in a warming blanket of sunshine. 

The dogs were all content that afternoon and Oliver closed his eyes as I softly called his name and told him what a handsome boy he was.  There we sat, enjoying the warm autumn breeze, happy with each other’s company…and there we remained for the longest time, until I felt guilty for having not paid much attention to the others for so long.  When I arose Oliver did not seem to mind sharing me with his friends, for he had been well loved by the man who seemed to come to Hound Huddle only to visit him, if only on a part-time basis.

It will be hard, returning to Hound Huddle for my next work shift.  It will be hard to pass through the gate and see all those toothy grins and wagging tails as I wade through the crowd and cast my eyes around the room looking for my little buddy, out of habit, knowing he will not be there.  It will be hard, when I see the empty spaces around the room that used to be filled by Oliver, and other dogs that I have loved and lost over the years.  It will be harder still when I consider the grief his family is feeling, knowing that every person who ever loved a dog, or ever will, shall have to look around at some point in their own lives and see those dreadful empty spaces. 

I will cherish my last memory of him as we sat in the sunlight on a September afternoon, feeling safe and secure, free from pain or worry.  Oliver is beyond all pain and suffering now, and I imagine him lying in the sunlight somewhere, as if he were basking on a distant beach, feeling at peace with the world.  In the distance a warm breeze will carry my voice to him as I softly say, “Good boy, Oliver.  What a handsome boy you are.”

As Thanksgiving approaches I hope we can all find a little extra time each day to let our dogs know how much we appreciate them, and create the warm memories that we will one day appreciate all the more, when we yearn for what we have not and search for ways to fill the empty spaces.  We may then take stock of what we have, including our photographs, mementos, tokens and memories, and truly give thanks.  May you all enjoy a safe and peaceful Thanksgiving.

Dan Antolec





Past Newsletters

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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