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Welcome to October!  While we are prepared for fall and all the fun that comes with it, we can’t help but enjoy this last week of summer type weather.  The dogs are playing in the pools as I type this and boy do they make it look fun!!

We are working hard on our upcoming Halloween party for the dogs and their people.  We hope you can all join us.   The more dogs the merrier!!   We will have treats for dogs and humans and prizes for several different costume categories.  If you need help getting a  particular costume, please let me know and I can check with our suppliers.   I know at least one supplier has several reasonably priced costumes.  If you are looking for something fun to “dog up” your house for Halloween check out the dog breed pumpkin stencils at:


I am hoping we can get a few of these carved to help decorate the Hound Huddle over the next couple weeks!

Please remember in all the Halloween fun to keep your candy out of reach of your pet.  Chocolate and xylitol can both be fatal for your pet.  We have included a bit more on xylitol – which is a sugar substitute--later in the newsletter.

Take care and have a very happy Halloween!

Becky Mittelsteadt






Looking for some Halloween fun?  Come to the Hound Huddle Sunday, October 30 from 2-5pm for a dog party.  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!  If you have a child age 7 or older who would like to help judge please let us know (call, email or in person).

Costume contest categories are:

      • Puppy in costume
      • Homemade costume
      • Group costumes (including multiple dogs/people!)
      • Overall Favorite Costume
      • Scariest Costume
      • Funniest Costume
      • Prettiest Costume

You may want to check out the following websites if you are looking for ideas or to purchase a dog costume:

Halloween Costumes Shop.com




Dog of the Month: Ziggy

Our dog of the month for October is Ziggy, a peppy little American Eskimo Dog! This little ball of fluff has been visiting us since early 2008. While he blends in well when it’s nice and snowy in our outdoor play area, he is full of energy regardless of the temperature outside. One of his favorite pastimes while at the Hound Huddle is to play soccer with our large plastic balls, and when he and his doggy pals get a going, it’s hilarious to watch! Once he’s nice and pooped out from his soccer game, he loves to climb on the back edges of the couches and curl around our shoulders and take a nice nap until his owners come to take him home.


Product of the Month: Zanies Dog Toys

The perfect toy for your pup this Halloween! Zanies Halloween-themed dog toys are plush and soft, and the squeakers inside will keep your dog entertained for hours. These are a great trick-or-treat gifts for your pups best doggy friends, whether they are big or small. Check them out the next time you and your pooch stop by the daycare to play!


Did you know…

The Boston Terrier—also known as the “American Gentleman” or the “Boston Bull”—was the first American-bred breed to be recognized by the American Kennel Club. The Boston was developed from the now extinct White English Terrier and the English Bulldog. They were extremely popular in the early 20th century; in fact, Toto, Dorothy’s pal in the book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” was originally a Boston Terrier! Other famous Bostons include Boston University’s mascot Rhett, and Wofford College’s mascots, Blitz and Boss.


Sign up for Dog Training Classes!

Classes start mid October, so sign up soon!

Beginner Obedience

6:15 to 7:15 p.m. Tuesdays October 11 through November 15

Taught by Scott Linder

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 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays October 11 through November 15

Taught by Scott Linder

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. 

Puppy Pre-School

6:15 to 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, November 2 through December 14 (no class the week of Thanksgiving).  Taught by 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 leash, and great training treats to class.  Cost is $90.


Intermediate Obedience

7:30 PM to 8:30 PM.  Wednesday, November 2 through December 14 (no class the week of Thanksgiving).  Taught by Dan Antolec

For graduates of Puppy Pre-School.  Using familiar classical conditioning and positive reinforcement methods dogs and their owners will develop and fine-tune their basic obedience skills by adding distraction, distance and duration.  New more advanced obedience skills will be taught including off-leash performance and hand signals.  Common problem behaviors will be addressed and dogs will be prepared for AKC Canine Good Citizen training.  Weather permitting, some training will be done outdoors.  Dog owners will need a 5-6 foot leash, a 20 foot long lead and a treat pouch.  Class size is limited to six (6) dogs. Cost is $90.00


Last chance for Agility in 2011!!

Would you like to attend agility this fall?  Renee is offering drop in classes Wednesday evenings and Sunday afternoons for all levels. The cost is $90 for six lessons.  .  Taught by Renee Grittner.


7:30-8:30 p.m.  Wednesdays  thru October


2:30-3:30 p.m. Sundays thru October


*Renee will be back in January with new classes


Xylitol Warning

Xylitol, an artificial sweetener that replaces sugars  commonly found in sugar free gums, candies, bakery and even some pediatric drugs has been found to be very toxic to dogs. When ingested by dogs, xylitol can caused seizures, liver failure, and even death if enough is eaten. Be sure to double check any sugar free items in your home and keep any products containing xylitol out of reach of your beloved pup!


Say Hello to Maple! As you can see by this picture, the Hound Huddle is truly an equal opportunity employer.  We welcome cat people too!

Being outdoors and spending time with animals are some of my favorite pastimes.  I am truly a cat person, and I am lucky enough to live with my childhood feline companion. I got her when I was in third grade when, after much pleading and persuasion, my parents agreed to getting two kittens.  My love of animals started with my family's standard poodles.  Since I was born, my family has always had at least one poodle, and I am super impressed by their glowing personalities.  Our poodle, 'Love'  lives out on our family farm along with her golden retriever sister 'Lily' along with a few cats and some horses.  I started riding horses when I was young, and have a background in natural horsemanship, in which communicating with horses the way that they communicate with one another is key. Working directly with so many different dogs has allowed me to see how they communicate with each other, and has given me a better idea of how to communicate back.  At Hound Huddle, I have seen a whole new world of canine conversations that I hardly knew existed, and I look forward to learning more from them all the time.


Trick of the Month

Welcome to the newest section of our newsletter! Each month I will detail how to teach your dog a new trick, along with some practical uses for that trick.

Before we get to the actual trick I want to talk a little about using a marker in training. A marker is a distinct sound or word that tells the dog at what moment in time he was correct. Using a clicker is a very specific marker as it is a very quick sound, while using a verbal marker can mark a series of events because it takes longer to say. Use a clicker if you are isolating a very specific action, such as blinking or the movement of a specific foot. Use a verbal when you want to mark a series of events, like backward motion or completing a jump. It is much easier to teach accidental behaviors with a clicker than with a verbal marker word. Only the dog knows exactly what he is being rewarded for. For simplicity sake whenever I mention “click” that means to use your marker, a clicker or verbal is up to you, but you should condition both. The most common verbal marker is yes or yup said in a short upbeat very distinct way.

To start using a marker it is helpful to condition the dog to understand that that sound means good things are headed his way. Simply make the sound and give him a tasty treat. Repeat 5 times and take a break. Repeat this several times a day. To test your dogs’ understandings of their marker sound(s) try clicking when your dog is just hanging around the house. If they acknowledge the sound by turning their head and looking for their reward you know the dog has a positive history with that sound and is expecting a reward.

This month’s trick is targeting. Most commonly we teach hand targeting as a fun trick to refocus a distracted or stressed dog, targeting an object such as a butter lid can be used in agility for contact training, and targeting the end of a stick can help with obedience and trick training. You can teach a dog to target different objects with different parts of their bodies, such as their nose or a foot.

This trick is taught with food rewards and a marker word such as “yes!.”
You should have several small tasty treats out of reach of your dog, but within easy reach of one of your hands. A pocket, table, or counter will work well. Put 1 (one) treat in your right hand in your lap and extend your left hand, palm out, it is helpful to rest our elbow on your knee.

When your dog shows any interest in your hand say “yes!” and bring the treat from your right hand and place it in your left hand. By bringing the treat to the hand the dog touched, the value will be on that hand. If you were to reward your dog out of your right hand for touching your left hand, you would end up with a dog who does a “touch and go” with his head. You can start by rewarding a glance towards your hand, then a sniff, then contact with your hand and eventually you want to reward for pressure on your hand.  Remember to use both hands, and change the location of your hand to test knowledge. Further proofing involves adding criteria for the number of touches before rewards. Bob Bailey says to move on to the next step in training when your dog is successful 80% of the time.  If your dog is not successful at one stage, you probably moved too fast, so back up and try the last place he was successful.

Happy Training!
Renee Grittner


Dan's Dog Den

How to Help Your Shy Dog

 Is your dog comfortable with friends and family, but shy and timid upon meeting new dogs or new people?  Do you want to help your dog feel more comfortable but are not sure what to do?  Fortunately there are helpful options, but we should first take a step back and understand the problem.

When a puppy is born it will quickly learn to trust and enjoy the company of its mother and litter mates, and human caretakers in the immediate family.  Most puppies leave their litter at eight weeks of age.  As the puppy grows older and its brain develops there is a critical period of time in which the puppy is willing to meet new animals and people and thus learns to generalize that all new dogs and all new people are sources of comfort, safety and fun.  However, the period of socialization toward humans is about 12 weeks long and the period of socialization with other dogs is 18 weeks long.  During that time a puppy should meet at least 100 new people and 100 new dogs in a safe and rewarding manner, under a wide variety of circumstances.  After the critical period of socialization passes the door closes, so to speak.  Whoever and whatever the puppy did not learn to trust and enjoy, it will fear by default.

If your dog is comfortable with family members and close friends, but does not willingly accept strangers, then the socialization process was inadequate.  The same holds true for socialization between dogs.  The behavior that dog owners identify as shy or timid is based in fear, and fearful dogs will try to avoid the fearful thing, surrender to the fearful thing, or defend themselves from the fearful thing.  Fear-biting is an example of a poorly socialized dog that is trying to warn away…and ultimately bite…a “scary” person or dog.  Worse yet, a dog that was not socialized by play-fighting with other dogs will not have developed good bite inhibition, so  when it does bite, it will bite hard.

Perhaps you live alone with your dog, or your dog never goes to a park or takes a walk in the neighborhood.  You may be willing to endure the status quo and think there is little risk, since you dog is always isolated.  May I suggest looking at it from another perspective?  If your dog is fearful, do you really want your dog to have to live an entire lifetime in that emotional state?  If you keep your dog isolated, will it ever have the opportunity to develop better social skills?  What will happen when you need to open your door to let a service technician or emergency service person into your home?  Dog bites accounted for 20% of homeowner insurance claims last year and can lead to other legal problems.  So if isolation is not the most desirable option, what is a dog owner to do?

One of the first things to remember is that a shy or timid dog is fearful, so punishing such a dog for displaying fear will only make it worse.  If a shy dog displays aggressive warning signs and is punished, that does nothing to address the fear. There is a high correlation between arousal, reactivity and aggression. It is better to calmly redirect the dog away to avoid conflict.  Such a dog needs to be trained and corrected by positive reinforcement of the desired calm and polite behavior, rather than punished for the unwanted behavior.  Basic obedience training gives you some tools to use to redirect your dog to pay attention to you, and helps the dog switch from the reactive portion of its brain to the thinking part of its brain.   

Remember, the core problem is lack of socialization.  You can actively socialize an older dog and a competent dog trainer will be able to help you do so.  Training exercises can be designed to help with common situations such as when a visitor knocks at the door and your dog goes on full alert, barking and lunging in alarm.  If this looks like aggression to you, remember that the dog is more likely afraid and wants the person to go away.  Other exercises can be used to teach a shy dog that every visitor stays at a safe distance and tosses treats to reward calm behavior.  Visitors must also be instructed on how to approach a dog in a non-threatening manner.  Dogs can also be taken into the community for walks that are designed to avoid inducing fear by redirecting the dog to more favorable behaviors, and by exposing them to a wide variety of people, places and things in a safe and rewarding manner.  Dogs tend to repeat behavior for which they are rewarded, and tend to stop behavior that goes unrewarded.  In time your dog will gain confidence and generalize its concept of whom and what is safe.

Expert trainers like Patricia McConnell have written books that address socialization and shyness, including clear explanations of how to modify dog behavior through exercises and training.  Local trainers can be helpful too, but be sure to interview them to understand what their methods are and how they know the methods will address the problem.  If you are not satisfied with the answers you hear, shop around and do more research.  Your dog would rather enjoy a happy life among humans than feel trapped in a fearful state of mind, and you would feel better too knowing your dog is more predictable and safe.

Dan Antolec


In Memoriam

We are sad to say that one of our doggy friends passed on to the Rainbow Bridge earlier this week. Oliver was a happy-go-lucky little Puggle that has been visiting us every Thursday almost without fail since late 2009. During his days here at the Hound Huddle, he loved nothing more than to sit and cuddle with his human pals, and we will always remember him proudly donning a bright pink collar picked out by his human sister. Our condolences go out to Oliver’s family in this sad time. We love you and will miss you dearly, Ollie.


Past Newsletters

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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