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Why is your dog not always your best friend?

Having a good relationship with your dog is a crucial component to many happy years spent together and having lots of fun adventures.  It is always a pleasure to see well connected, seemingly effortless  dog/human interactions.  What appears to be an easy task for one person can seem unachievable for others, but it was often brought about through hours of dedicated training and managing behaviours through appropriate responses.

Here are a few superbly common, but subtle training mistakes, preventing  people and hounds from understanding each other and fully enjoying each other's company in harmony.

 

Giving commands without focus

If your pet's focus is elsewhere, there is no point in asking him to do anything. The chances are he will not even notice you are asking something of him. So teach your pet to pay attention when you say his/her name first.

Timing

My golden rule is: if I  know that my dog is not likely going to obey a command (maybe because he is distracted) I will not ask it!  However, if I do make a command, I will ensure it is performed correctly and I will voice the command (ideally) only once. It is important, therefore, for me to create the right conditions for my hound to succeed first time.

Correcting not praising

I have seen often that dogs receive lots of verbal attention when they are not doing things correctly, but are ignored when are doing things well. I always recommend to praise and acknowledge desirable behaviour throughout your training or walk so that your hound clearly understands when he is behaving well.

Inconsistency

Dogs are very black and white in how they think and operate and need to understand clearly, what are your rules and what our words mean. WAIT  needs to mean WAIT – always and not just sometimes, in order for dogs to make the connection between the word and the action.  If you are inconsistent, the dog will be confused (and inconsistent also). If you want your dog to sit down patiently in front of the door before you go out for walk, then ask him to sit before your door every time and not just sometimes. With consistency your hound will soon understand what the rules are and will abide by them automatically, without you even needing to ask.

Not being the boss

By this, I don't mean behaving in a way that has been referred to in past as the Dominant Alpha pack leader but more in the sense of a leader who will make sure your dog is safe. Dogs needs to feel secure, it is important for their survival, so if you fail in that role, your dog will feel the need to take over as a way of staying safe. Your pet needs to be taught boundaries and good manners, not because it makes your life easier but because it will keep him feeling safe and happy. 

 

PLANNING TO LEAVE THE CITY OVER THE EASTER BREAK? 

THE HAIRY HOUNDS IN HACKNEY TEAM CAN LOOK AFTER YOUR HAIRY HOUND WHILE YOU ARE AWAY. TAKE A LOOK AT OUR SERVICES AND GET IN TOUCH IF WE'RE THE RIGHT FIT FOR YOUR DOG

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A puppy is for Christmas – a dog for the rest of your life

Around this time of year, lots of people like to expand to their family with the addition of a pet – puppies are popular.

If you are thinking of adding a furry member to the family, and you are considering getting a puppy from a breeder rather than a rescue hound, here are a few questions worth asking and few things to check to make sure you choose the right dog for you, your family, lifestyle and where you live.

You really want to avoid getting a young pup from a puppy farm or from an irresponsible breeder. Puppies taken away too young or those that come from parents with bad temperament will often develop behaviour issues if the new owner is not aware of what they are dealing with.

TIPS: 

  • Make sure you meet the mum and get info on the dad (the parents of the dog). You are looking for a well-cared for, socialised and healthy family pet, not a breeding machine. Look out for healthy interaction with the owners, mother and other pups. Well socialised pups are naturally curious and should not be afraid to come forward to check you out.
  • If you are choosing  a pure-bred dog, research for any health problems specific to the breed and ask the breeder for health report on those or ask for tests. 
  • Check if puppies have been wormed and vaccinated and ask for a list of any treatments still required.
  • Do not be persuaded to take a puppy that is under 7 weeks-old back home with you. The ideal age is 8 to 10 weeks and when they are fully weaned. Puppies need time amongst their litter and mum to get proper nourishment and to learn necessary social skills.
  • A good breeder will also ask lots of questions about you, your experience and will offer you tips and a starter pack .
  • The starter pack gives the new owner important stuff to settle your puppy into their new home. It will reduce the stress of the transfer and make sure your home is equipped for the first few days and with all the advice and information you need.

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Happy New Year from Hairy Hounds in Hackney

2015 has now come to an end and after a very merry Woofmas I would like to say a BIG (and brief) thank you to all of our clients for entrusting us with their hounds.

It was a year full of adventure with lots of new puppy additions, creating an ever-changing and evolving group on our morning and afternoon walks.

It has been both a privilege and a pleasure to play such an important part in the little ones' development and it was a pleasure to see them grow and mature day by day.

As our doggy daycare expanded, so did our team. Big thank to Graeme and Andrea who are my walk and daycare support and to Laura and Nadine for helping-out with our home-pooches who stayed with us for short and long-term board. We will also continue producing weekly blogs on our site - please share these with friends and other pooch enthusiasts - and if there is a topic you would like to see - let us know!

2015 has been dynamic, full of cuddles and dog-training rewards … I would not have it in any other way. I wish you and your hairy hounds more of the same in the New Year 2016 - and beyond!

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How To Think Like Your Dog

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How To Think Like Your Dog

The great detective, Sherlock Holmes, famously said: “Observation is key, not just seeing.”

This same principle applies should you want to be more in tune with your hound’s way of thinking and be able to confidently exercise control over them and their actions. So many dog owners struggle to understand their pet’s behavior and are unable to communicate with them because while they see what they are doing, they forget to look deeper and observe the Hows and Whys.

This is important as it means some owners don’t have the confidence to prevent and manage potential tricky situations. The worst-case scenario is becoming the nervous owner of a nervous dog.

TIPS:

The most important tip is to learn the signs of dog body language:

  • You can tell your dog is alert when his/hers tails is gently swinging and body is moved towards an interest, eyes are focused and mouth could be gently opened.

  •  If your dog is getting nervous with tail tucked under the body or waging very low and back slightly arched with whole body unfocused, you can prevent an escalation of the situation by removing the cause of nervousness. Large objects, bicycles in the way or opened umbrella.

  • Or you could offer reassurance, put him or her on the lead and/or leave the area before your dog feels insecure and starts acting out.

  • If your dog is becoming overexcited or bullish in a group of other dogs this could be a sign of lack of exercise,  poor socialization or even emerging resource guarding behavior.

As you learn more about dog body language you will understand the communication between other dogs too… for example, you will be able to tell from a distance if an approaching dog is friendly and if your pet does or does not want to be introduced to them.

Observing and doing all of the above (stepping in the right time, offer an protection or being relaxed)  will mean your dog will learn to trust your judgment in turn you will become more confident in your ability to assess their needs and face challenges together.

 

PLANNING TO LEAVE THE CITY OVER THE FESTIVE SEASON? THE HAIRY HOUNDS IN HACKNEY TEAM CAN LOOK AFTER YOUR 'HAIRY HOUND' WHILE YOU ARE AWAY. TAKE A LOOK AT OUR SERVICES AND GET IN TOUCH IF WE'RE THE RIGHT FIT FOR YOUR DOG.

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How to teach your dog to be happy alone.

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How to teach your dog to be happy alone.

It is important for to teach your new dog to be OK without you. Often when a young dog is allowed to spend most of time with you when you eventually do have to leave them alone, they will not feel safe and this can result in developing separation anxiety.

TIPS:

  • Teach your dog to go to his bed/blanket on command. I do that by associating bed with something good (big chewy treat) 

  • Practice sending your dog to his/her bed on command, restricting the area or the ability for your dog to follow you, leave a chew (or breakfast) to distract and start moving for a short period out of sight. 

  • Come back apprise calmly & reward your dog is still in the bed. 

  • Increase times over a short period of time. It is a good idea to have a radio on during the day and while you practice so that your dog doesn’t focus on your movement around the house. 

  • Do not come back when your dog cries as this would only associate crying and your return. 

  • Don’t reward (by play or attention) when your pup is following you everywhere or being very demanding of your attention, instead reward calmly when he/she settles alone.

PLANNING TO LEAVE THE CITY OVER THE FESTIVE SEASON? THE HAIRY HOUNDS IN HACKNEY TEAM CAN LOOK AFTER YOUR 'HAIRY HOUND' WHILE YOU ARE AWAY. TAKE A LOOK AT OUR SERVICES AND GET IN TOUCH IF WE'RE THE RIGHT FIT FOR YOUR DOG.

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How to stop your dog chasing

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How to stop your dog chasing

Chasing fast-moving objects triggers a dog's natural hunter-prey instinct and is an extremely rewarding behaviour for some dogs. 

However, chasing can also result in serious problems if the target becomes bikers, runners and skateboarders in the park rather then a tennis ball or other dogs. Here, prevention is better than cure. Once dogs develop a strong chase habit it can be very difficult to stop it. 

TIPS:

  • Make sure your dogs is well-exercised  before you practice.
  • Master your RECALL and manage your dog's response to its name as a way of getting attention when you need it.

  • Reward your dog with high-value treats every time he or she comes back to you when you call them - practice without distraction first.

  • If your dog shows interest in chasing runners or cyclists, keep him or her on a long training leash in those busy areas where they are most likely to meet the object of their chasing desire and practice getting your dog to focus on you.

  • When your dog's chase object approaches, catch and maintain your dog's attention and keep rewarding them handsomely. 

  • Practice the SIT and STAY commands while the jogger/cyclist passes.

  • Repeat this exercise and over time your dog will associate cyclists and runners with being rewarded for staying close to you, instead of rewarding themselves with a game of chase.

  • Teach your dog that being around you is more fun and more rewarding than chasing; play with them instead (fetch is a perfect outlet) .

  • Get a friend to run or ride a bike, while you practice your focus and your recall.

 

 

PLANNING TO LEAVE THE CITY OVER THE FESTIVE SEASON? THE HAIRY HOUNDS IN HACKNEY TEAM CAN LOOK AFTER YOUR 'HAIRY HOUND' WHILE YOU ARE AWAY. TAKE A LOOK AT OUR SERVICES AND GET IN TOUCH IF WE'RE THE RIGHT FIT FOR YOUR DOG.

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HOW TO TEACH YOUR DOG TO CONTROL ITS BARKING

Dogs bark - that is normal. It is usually a sign, when they want to alert you of something they don’t think is safe or when they are worried.

Most dogs will, however, bark excessively if you don’t intervene and this can result in sleepless nights, unhappy neighbors or for you not being able to hold a conversation without interruption. 

Tips:

  • When your dog barks at something teach them word SPEAK and reward them. One good reason to teach your dog to bark on command, is that by teaching him to bark, you may actually cure a future barking problem as our pup will learn to bark on command only.
  • At the same time, when your dog stops barking say QUIET and reward handsomely…this will teach them to stop!
  • Teach your dog that it is OK to bark at the door but only once or twice, then reward when, and only when, they stop. Saying QUIET to them.
  • Always check why your pup is barking and reassure them that all is well and the area is safe. I use the phrase -ALL GOOD, and again reward as soon as the dog stops barking with the QUIET command.

PLANNING TO LEAVE THE CITY OVER THE FESTIVE SEASON? THE HAIRY HOUNDS IN HACKNEY TEAM CAN LOOK AFTER YOUR 'HAIRY HOUND' WHILE YOU ARE AWAY. TAKE A LOOK AT OUR SERVICESAND GET IN TOUCH IF WE'RE THE RIGHT FIT FOR YOUR DOG.

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HEELing Powers

Teach your dog the difference between walking by the HEEL. The object is to remain nice and close without pulling as a way of getting from A to B.

The alternate to this command is WALK FREE where a dog is free to stop and sniff as part of their walk & exercise.

 

The use of HEEL really makes a difference when you need to be somewhere on time and your hound doesn’t stop every few seconds to mark a post, have a sniff or wander off to go and say hi to people or other dogs.

TIPS:

  • HEEL is a command telling your dogs that you want them to walk, and a gentle reminder that you are in charge, so let your dog pee and the other thing (most owners know when this is going to happen) but afterwards don’t allow any additional marking stops.
  • Reward/praise/acknowledge a good close walk without stopping or pulling. 
  • If your dog pulls and there is tension on a lead, go backwards calling him or her or change direction. This way your will keep your pooch focused and on their paws.

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HOW TO HELP YOUR DOG THROUGH THE FIREWORK SEASON

The bonfire season is here and Christmas is not far around the corner. Many spring and summer puppies will encounter fireworks for the first time. Experiencing loud noise, bright lights and lots of people can be very stressful and frightening for your pet.  

Introduce him or her to noises at home by playing relevant sound recordings and creating a normal and comforting environment, as well as providing treats and reassurance so that your hound realises that there is nothing to fear 

TIPS:  

  • Be relaxed and keep high value treats handy.
  • Reward calmly a calm behaviour.
  • Be near; act as normal but offer reassurance if needed.
  • Start to play sounds for a few minutes at a time at the usual feeding hour, or supply a Kong toy filled with your pup's favorite treats.
  • You could also distract your pup from focusing on the noise by playing with him or her your favourite game,while the firework sounds are playing.
  • If your pet is showing very distressed behavior stop playing the sounds & get in a professional to help.

Have a happy autumn!

PLANNING TO LEAVE THE CITY OVER THE FESTIVE SEASON? THE HAIRY HOUNDS IN HACKNEY TEAM CAN LOOK AFTER YOUR 'HAIRY HOUND' WHILE YOU ARE AWAY. TAKE A LOOK AT OUR SERVICESAND GET IN TOUCH IF WE'RE THE RIGHT FIT FOR YOUR DOG.

 

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HOW TO TEACH YOUR DOG TO PLAY ON COMMAND

TEACHING YOUR DOG OR NEW PUPPY THE MOST BASIC SKILLS ISN'T VERY DIFFERENT TO RAISING A CHILD.

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You would not let your child run up to a stranger or another child in the park, before first finding out whether the other person wants to be approached, or played with.
It is equally important to monitor to whom your dog or puppy runs to. Some dogs don’t want to be played with. Some are old and some are not so friendly,  even if they look it.

TEACH YOUR HAIRY HOUND EARLY ON TO RELY ON YOU TO TELL HIM OR HER WHEN IT IS OK AND SAFE TO PLAY. 

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Here are a few tips:

  • Approach other owners before you release your dog.
  • Ensure your dog is calm.
  • Release him or her from the lead using 'GO PLAY' command. -This way your dog will still get to play, but you've decided with whom, and when.
  • Ensure you remain close-by, to intervene when you want the 'play' to stop.
  • Releasing your pup from a distance and letting it run to any dog it wants to, especially when you haven't mastered recall yet, is only going to undermine your ability to retrieve your dog and keep him or her out of trouble.

Planning to leave the city over the Festive season? The Hairy Hounds in Hackney team can look after your 'Hairy Hound' while you are away. Take a look at our services and get in touch if we're the right fit for your dog.

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How To Teach Your Dog How To Wait

Teaching your dog/new puppy the most basic (but fundamental) skills are not dissimilar to raising a child in many ways.

You would not let your toddler run out of door as soon as you open it. The same applies for your dog.

Make sure you cover the following points early on, to avoid bigger problems from developing in future.

  • Teach your dog the 'wait' command as soon as you can. 
  • Reward your pet’s patience with a treat. 
  • Make sure that your pet sits, whilst you get ready to take him/her for a walk. ( Also, make sure you step outside first. )
  • Teach your dog to wait for his/her food (alternate the duration - 10 seconds to 1 minute )
  • Always wait before crossing the road. Get your dog to sit on the curb at every crossing, that way you have time to spot any oncoming cars.
  • When receiving visitors at your home, get your dog to sit and wait before greeting your guests, rather than having your dog pounce on them.

Planning to leave the city over the Festive season?

The Hairy Hounds in Hackney team can look after your 'Hairy Hound' while you are away. Take a look at our services and get in touch if we're the right fit for your dog.

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How To Teach Your Dog To Be Calm

A calm dog is a content and more controllable one.  

Always ignore over-excited behavior and always appraise or reward your pet when he/she is calm. By reward I mean your attention, cuddles, treats or play. 

Some breeds are more excitable than others, but with your consistency and repetition all dogs will very quickly understand that by being calm they get what they want much quicker.

Your dog can’t learn anything when he or she is excited, let alone focus on what it is that you are asking them to do, or not do. 

Tips for keeping your dog calm:

  • Don’t give your dog any attention when he/ she is jumping on you. If you do, you'll be reinforcing negative behaviour.
  • Don’t overexcite them when you come home. Be calm at first, make your self a cup of tea, then give your dog a good cuddle. This saves you from being jumped on and your dog getting histerical, every time you come home.

Planning to leave the city over the Festive season?

The Hairy Hounds in Hackney team can look after your Hairy Hound while you are away. Take a look at our services and get in touch if we're the right fit for your dog.


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