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September 2011

Fall is here!  Back to school and the start of football season sneaks up on me every year.  The weather apparently knew when it was September as we almost instantly dropped to fall temperatures.  At the daycare this means that we may not have the pools out every day and the dogs are much more willing to run around outside for longer spells. They clearly enjoyed the air conditioning on the hot days.  The construction behind us is slowing down so there isn’t as much excitement on that front either.  Unfortunately ramp closures will continue for about one more month, but if we can figure out how to drive the roundabouts we will be in great shape come mid-October.

With the return to school we have several changes around the Hound Huddle.   Sara is now off to UW-Milwaukee for school and Abby (vet tech program at MATC), Lindsey (lab tech program at MATC), Rachel (vet tech program at Globe) and Courtney (English teacher in Evansville) have all shortened their hours for school.  As a result we are happy to welcome Heather, Kaitlin and Leslie to our daycare family.  They have been training for the past several weeks and are now up to speed.  I personally feel very fortunate to welcome three people who clearly love dogs, exercise good common sense and are excited to come to work every day and learn a thing or two from our furry friends.  We have included introductions to Heather and Leslie in this newsletter so you can recognize two of our new faces.

In addition to our new employees, I am excited to announce the Hound Huddle Halloween Howl.  Say that five times fast….  On October 30th we are hosting a Halloween dog extravaganza (maybe not extravagant…but fun!). Start planning your dog(s) costume now!!  We will be having contests, treats and prizes.  I hope to see you all there!

Go Badgers/Go Packers!!

Becky Mittelsteadt

info@houndhuddle.com or beckymittel@yahoo.com


Say Hello To Our New Employees, Heather and Leslie!


I am a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville with a Bachelor’s degree in Health Promotion with a business minor. Ever since I was a youngster, I have lived on a dairy farm just outside of Monroe, WI and cannot remember a time when my family didn’t have at least two dogs running around. Growing up on the farm has taught me many things about animals, values, and taking care of family pets; whether it was a cat, cow, or dog. I am fond of dogs in particular; each one is so unique with their personalities that I am constantly learning new things. Plus, there is never a boring day! In June of 2010, I rescued a boxer mix from a humane society in Iowa and since then he has brought many laughs to my household. His name is Tyson, and no he is not named after Mike Tyson like most people think, I just liked the name. That is why I am so excited to be working at the Hound Huddle and look forward to meeting your furry family member!


It started when I was six. A mangy looking thing stared up at me with an underbite so severe her upper lip got caught up in her smirk. The trace amount of fur on her body was white-ish with a tan spot in the middle of her back, and her curly tail was home to a few crumpled leaves. She weighed in at about 12 pounds. I named her Sparkles. My mom renamed her Sparky. She ruled the house from her perch on the top of the couch. Much to Sparky's dismay, Pepper, a gorgeous golden retriever lab mix, moved in with us about a year later. She swam, chased chipmunks, and played fetch! I was hooked – I could never live without a dog.

I moved to Madison around the 4th of July from Chicago. I lived in Chicago for five years going to school and then working as an attorney in Criminal Defense and Immigration. While in Chicago, I volunteered at Chicago Animal Care and Control and for a fostering group my friends started called One Tail at a Time. One Tail pulls dogs from high kill shelters and places them in foster until they find a home. I agreed to foster their very first dog, Troy, who was set to be euthanized for toy aggression. He puked all over himself on the way over, chewed every pair of shoes my roommates and I had, stole food off of our plates, bit at our arms, routinely peed on himself, and ran away every chance he got. I fell in love instantly and never gave him back. Now, you might see him lounging around in the day care area. I'm happy to be here at the Hound Huddle because I love love love dogs!


Did you know…..

The Wisconsin State dog is the American Water Spaniel. The breed originated in Wisconsin in the 19th century and is used as a hunting and retrieving dog, and it can also be a loving companion for families. The AWS was named the Wisconsin state dog in 1985.


Dog of the Month:  Maggie

Maggie Mae, a curly haired Golden Retriever, is our dog of the month for September! She was born in December of 2007 in Marshfield and was adopted by her family in February 2008.  Her family includes her parents, a human sister, and Taffy the cat.  Maggie loves to play in the snow, both at home and at the Hound Huddle! During the winter she often comes inside covered in snow and we don’t think she could be happier than that! When it’s too warm for snow, she likes to take a quick dip in our pools, dunking her face in to keep cool and sometimes tries to dig in the water as well, splashing anyone that’s near her! Her favorite activity at home is playing keep away with a toy or ball; she knows how to keep her family on their toes so they will keep chasing her!  She is a great car traveler and has taken many trips to Ohio to visit family and to play with her cousin Boone, the Malamute.  One of Maggie’s greatest qualities is her curiosity.  She will sit and stare at or poke with her nose anything new that she sees or comes upon.  She is exceedingly bright and is a joy to be around.  Maggie is loved dearly by her family and her human and canine friends here at the Hound Huddle!


Product of the Month: Wisconsin Badger Collars...LET’S GO RED!

Savor the adrenaline of game day with official Badgers Pet Wear.  Sport your UW Badger devotion with quality University of Wisconsin Dog items featuring Badgers Collars, Leash and Toys for Pets. Wisconsin fans, students and alumni, score your new Wisconsin Badgers Pet Merchandise from the Hound Huddle!  You'll have your new Badger Gear in time for the next big game. GO BADGERS!


Sign up for Dog Training Classes!

Puppy Pre-School

6:15 to 7:15 p.m.  Wednesday, September 21 through October 26

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, September 21 through October 26

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 in order to provide more one-on-one attention. Cost is $90.00.


Beginner Obedience

6:15 to 7:15 p.m. Tuesdays October 4 through November 8th

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 4 through November 8th

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. 


Rolling Agility Classes

Would you like to attend agility classes this summer but cannot commit to a 6 week class? No problem! For the busy summer months we are offering rolling agility classes. When you sign up for your 6 lessons you have up to 12 weeks to come for classes. Continuing students may come to either class until their 6 lessons are up.  Join any time! The cost is $90 for six lessons. Taught by Renee Grittner.

New Students:

1:30-2:30 p.m. Sundays, June thru August – w/Renee Grittner

 Continuing Students:

7:30-8:30 p.m.  Wednesdays, June thru October – w/Renee Grittner


2:30-3:30 p.m. Sundays, June thru October – w/Renee Grittner


Saturday Playtime

 If you would like your puppy or small breed dog to have some time to play with other dogs his or her own age or size in a safe environment, our Saturday Playtime option might be right for you.  Puppies under 6 months of age and dogs under 35 pounds can come and play from 9:30am – 10:30am every Saturday.  Owners must be present, and all dogs must be up-to-date on all of their vaccinations, including Bordetella.  The cost is $3 per dog for the hour.



Looking for some Halloween fun?  Come to the Hound Huddle Sunday, October 30 from 2-5pm for a dog costume contest and prizes.  More information to follow in the October newsletter and remember to check our website for updates! 


Clearance Items! 

We have plenty of fun items for sale for 40% off in our clearance section of our retail area.  Items include doggie seatbelts, sticky hair removal rolls, glow in the dark leashes and collars, and much more.  Check it out the next time you stop by for daycare or training!


Hound Huddle Gear! 

We are going to place an order for new t-shirts and sweatshirts for ourselves the beginning of October.  We are happy to order one for you too if you are interested.    We can order children’s sizes or zip front sweatshirts as well.  XXL and larger sizes tend to run about $2.00 more and keep in mind that the sweatshirts tend to run a size small.  Choose from Red, Navy, Pale Pink, Wow Pink, Black, or Tan.  If there is another color you are interested in just let us know.  Call, stop in, or email us with your order or any questions by September 30th.

Short Sleeved Unisex fit T-shirt:  $10.00         

Short Sleeved Ladies fit T-shirt: $11.00

Long Sleeved Unisex fit T-Shirt:  $13.00          

Hooded Sweatshirt:  $22.00


Dan’s Dog Den

How Well Do You Know Your Dog?

We all know our own dogs very well, don’t we?  After all, we live with them, we play with them…and most of us even sleep with them.  How many dog owners are certain their dogs can understand human thoughts and language, or are sure they know how their dog is feeling or what they are thinking?  For those of you who are nodding with approval, can you say “anthropomorphism”?  Personally I find that a very hard word to pronounce, but thanks to animal scientists like Patricia McConnell and John Bradshaw I have a growing understanding of the meaning of the word.

Scientists say that we are being anthropomorphic when we project human abilities, consciousness, emotions or attributes onto our little furry companions.  For instance, if we leave our pooch alone in the house while we spend the day at the shopping mall and return to find a mess on the floor, we may evaluate the look on our dog’s face and declare with certainty “My dog is feeling guilty about what he did because he knows better, or he is getting even for leaving him alone all day.”  Making such incorrect assumptions puts the dog in an unfair situation and too often grants license for the human to administer punishment, though in truth the dog will have no idea why it is being punished. 

For a real education about what dogs are and what they are not, I suggest reading Dog Sense, by John Bradshaw, recently published by Basic Books.  Bradshaw is a biologist who has studied dogs for 30 years, and has written a very informative book based on his research and the work of other scientists around the world in recent years.  New scientific proof debunks some traditional beliefs about where dogs came from, how they learn, what they can feel and think, and what they are capable of.  If one understands what a dog is and does not project unrealistic expectations upon the animal, one has the ability to teach the dog in a meaningful way and develop a better relationship.  After all, we get dogs and share our lives with them so we may enjoy a relationship, right? 

Here are some interesting comparisons between humans and dogs, according to Patricia McConnell and John Bradshaw, among other scientists.  My personal conclusions from the data are typed in bold print, to avoid confusion.

  • Humans have 1.2 million optic nerve fibers; dogs have 160,000. 
  • Human eyes process 9 million bits of data per second.
  • Dogs see twice as well as humans in low light, but only 75% as well as humans in bright light.
  • Human “perfect vision” is 20/20, but dog perfect vision is 20/80 at best.
  • Humans see 180 degrees, but dogs see 240 degrees.
  • Humans see 3 primary colors, but dogs see only 2.
  • Dogs cannot distinguish red from orange, or orange from yellow, and turquoise looks gray to dogs.

These are good facts to bear in mind when we assume our dog can see whatever we can see, and see it just as clearly.

  • Dogs’ hearing is 4X more sensitive than humans.
  • Dogs hear in the ultrasound range; humans cannot.

When your dog seems to be ignoring you, perhaps it is listening to something you cannot even be conscious of.

  • Dogs smell 10,000 to 100,000 times better than humans.
  • Dogs have 100X more nerve links from their nose to their brain.
  • The dog olfactory complex in the brain is 40X larger than in humans.
  • Dogs can be trained to use their incredible olfactory ability to detect two types of cancer tumors in humans, including ovarian tumors.  They can also be trained to smell subtle chemical changes in humans that precede the onset of a seizure.

While humans primarily use our eyes to interpret the world around us, dogs primarily use their noses.  What is more, they can smell things that we cannot even detect with our weak sense of smell.

  • Dogs learn by random trial and error with an attention span of 2-4 seconds, and remember by associating smells with a given location, more so than by visual cues.  In training applications, they learn to associate a behavior and a reward and so they tend to repeat any behavior that is rewarded, but the reward must follow the desired behavior by no more than 2-3 seconds.  Eventually the pattern of short-term behavior transfers to long-term memory.

Dogs do not generalize information easily, so they require a large number of repetitions in a wide variety of environments in order to learn.  This is why during training dogs require many repetitions and prompt rewards, and it is best to practice in a variety of settings.  During puppy socialization they need to meet at least 100 new people and 100 new dogs (in safe encounters) so they learn to generalize that all new people and all new dogs are friendly and safe.

Selective dog breeding by humans has reduced the canine communication capability of numerous dog breeds.  Inbreeding has also inflicted many hereditary health problems that are specific to certain breeds.

Based on only two research projects, those scientists concluded dog “intelligence” is comparable to a 2-3 year old pre-language child.  John Bradshaw questions whether it even makes sense to compare canine and human intelligence, asserting that the research conclusion is not widely held among animal scientists.  How does one measure such a thing?  His conclusion is that dogs are as intelligent as they need to be, in order to be dogs.  Humans, accordingly, are as intelligent as humans need to be.  The same may be said of birds, fish or any other animal.  What is the point of comparing them to human intelligence?  Psychologists and philosophers have been debating for centuries what human consciousness and intelligence are, much less how to measure them.  Why don’t we just let our dogs be dogs and enjoy them as such?

Getting back to the scenario where a human returns home after an absence of several hours, finding an unexpected mess and a “guilty” looking dog…scientific evidence draws a different conclusion.  First, a dog does not even have the capacity to remember what it did more than a few seconds ago, so it cannot feel “guilty” about making a mess while you were gone.  The mess was more likely the result of a need to eliminate waste and an inability to open a door and let itself outside, or a result of separation anxiety.  Second, dogs lack a moral code, which is a uniquely human concept, and there is no evidence that “guilt” is an emotion the canine brain is even capable of.  Third, dogs are very observant of human expression and body language.  When they see their owner return home and display displeasure or anger, for instance, a dog is quite likely to become anxious.  It does not understand why the human is angry toward them and they naturally express a variety of appeasement signals in an attempt to calm the situation.  Dogs are very social and pay close attention to humans. 

From a scientific point of view, it is illogical to punish a dog for behavior that occurred more than a few seconds prior, since it no longer has any memory of the behavior.  I suggest it is also unethical.  If the dog cannot remember what it did, what is the point of punishing it?  To be effective, a correction must be given immediately after the undesired behavior.  It is also often easier to teach a dog a desired behavior, rather than try to “un-teach” an undesired behavior.

One assumption I make is that the vast majority of dog owners intend to treat their dogs fairly and want things to go smoothly, so I also assume that most dog owners also want to discard incorrect interpretations in favor of sound animal training and management practices that are therefore more likely to resolve or prevent problems.  There are plenty of great educational and entertaining dog books available, written by Ian Dunbar, Jean Donaldson, Brenda Aloff, Patricia McConnell and John Bradshaw.  Have I sparked your interest, or do I not know as much about the majority of dog owners as I like to think?

Dan Antolec



Past Newsletters

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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