The Icelandic Sheepdog

The Icelandic Sheepdog is the only native dog of Iceland – brought to the country by Vikings and used for herding. These spitz dogs had to be tough enough to survive and work in such a difficult terrain and as such, are a very hardy breed. The breed is friendly and playful with their owners, while also possessing an inquisitive nature and a lot of courage. They make great watchdogs as they will bark to alert to any change in their environment. These dogs also bark while working (which includes play) – a trait that helped the herdsmen always know where they were. This may make them more difficult for people who live with neighbors in close proximity!

ISDs are known for being intelligent as well as lively – traits that may keep some people on their toes! This said, they love all people and prefer to stay close to their owners at all times – so this is not a kennel dog or outside-only dog. They get along well with children of all ages and are not known for being aggressive normally, although supervision is often recommended (usually for the dog’s sake). They also tend to do great with other animals as long as they have been well-socialized. Even smaller animals are often safe, as this breed doesn’t have a strong prey drive.

When it comes to training, the Icelandic does not do well with harsh treatment and tends to shut down. With fair methods, however, he learns very fast and loves to please. It is recommended to start training an ISD early and frequently, or else their natural intelligence will lead to all sorts of mischievous behavior! The breed can usually be trained to off-leash levels quickly, especially since they don’t tend to wander, although they will need to be proofed (given distractions) in order to be reliable. Those with a stronger herding instinct may be very tempted to chase after moving objects (including cars) despite their training.

The amount of exercise needed varies from one Icelandic Sheepdog to the next, although it is important to remember that this breed is a working/herding breed. Rarely will an individual thrive who stays in the house all day without any outlet. Along with regular walks, it is recommended to get the dog into a fun activity such as herding, tracking or even swimming. Some members of the breed make great therapy dogs and other have been known to become assistant dogs! Because they are generally on the smaller side, a moderate amount of exercise is usually enough for most members of the breed. 

The ISD comes in two different coat types – longhaired and shorthaired. When taken care of regularly, neither coat should not have a strong doggy odor, as the breed tends to keep themselves clean (with the one exception of dirty paws, as they do like to dig). In snowy areas, the coat doesn’t tend to hang on to snow, as it usually falls right off. They can also be kept in warmer areas of the country, although living inside in the air conditioning will be required when it gets extra hot. An Icelandic should never be shaved! Although their double coat does shed, keeping them combed out is a relatively easy chore.

It might not be surprising to learn that Icelandics are prone to separation anxiety, which may also include houdini-esque attempts to escape their crate and/or fenced yard. They love to be around their people so much that it can be difficult when it comes time to say goodbye for even short time periods. Some people “solve” this problem by bringing them with them wherever they go (they travel well), although not every owner is in a position to be able to do this. It is recommended to get the Icelandic puppy used to spending time alone as a puppy, in order to minimize problem barking and stress.

Icelandic Sheepdogs are generally healthy and long-lived, with many individuals living until 15 or 16 years old. All breeds and mixed breeds have the potential to come down with health problems, although with purebreds it is more likely you will know what that disease may be, and might even be able to avoid. Health issues seen in the ISD include cataracts, eyelash abnormalities and hip dysplasia. Looking for a dog trainer for your Icelandic Sheepdog? If you live in the Austin, TX area give us a call today!

The Silky Terrier

The Silky Terrier is a true toy terrier, meaning that it has traits found in both groups of dogs. Silkies are very inquisitive little dogs with a lot of courage and spunk – just like a terrier. They are also playful, loving and clown-like. However, although their personalities may be more terrier-like that other toys, they have the small compact size of other toys. The average weight of is 10 pounds. Despite their size, many Silkies think that they are much bigger dogs! An owner may need to make sure they don’t get themselves into dangerous situations because of this fact. A prospective owner looking for a tiny, easy to handle lap dog should look into a different toy breed.

Although Silkies are intelligent little dogs, they are also stubborn when they want to be. They have a ton of willpower – sometimes even more than their owners! This means that they are not the easiest breed to train in obedience. They do, however, have success at working events such as earthdog or barn hunt (trials where the dog needs to sniff out rodents). Regardless of the difficulty, Silkies should be given at least a basic course in obedience.

The Silky Terrier needs to be with his owners on a regular basis and doesn’t do well when left alone for long periods of time (or left outside all day). Not only this, but he will try his best to spend as much time possible with his favorite person! He will become a constant shadow – following that person from room to room, including the bathroom. This person may be an adult or a child, the Silky just doesn’t like being alone. Speaking of children, Silkies can get along well with older kids but a young toddler may be too rough for this breed. Older kids only, please – and supervision is still required.

Silkies are very friendly and affectionate to people but may have a problem with other dogs. They also probably won’t get along with your pet hamster as they are prone to chase small animals. Even when outside, they will chase squirrels, groundhogs and mice – including digging them out from the ground if necessary! Cats can be iffy – a large house cat who doesn’t dash away from a dog may be an ok companion, while an outdoor cat or flighty, nervous cat may also trigger the chase instinct. Because of their high chase drive, this breed does best on-leash when out in public.

Silky Terriers are very active and need more exercise than many other breeds from the toy group. Despite their size, many are able to keep up with their owners on hikes and other longer excursions. As long as exercise is provided to them, they are able to live in apartments easily. One thing that apartment dwellers do need to consider, however – the breed does tend to be noisy, particularly if they are left alone for hours and hours. A prospective owner should consider whether or not their neighbors will be ok with the noise.

The Silky got his name from his long, silky coat. The coat – which is a hallmark of the breed – does require regular care to keep it free from tangles. Owners are encouraged to bathe the dog every 1-2 weeks because a clean coat is easier to brush through and less likely to collect debris from outside. When kept on a strict brushing/bathing schedule, the dog will not only stay beautiful but also healthy and happy. Since he is so tiny, the work isn’t very hard. Well groomed Silkies shed only moderately.

Silky Terriers are generally long-lived and healthy dogs. Hypothyroidism and Luxating Patellas are occasionally seen, but neither of these conditions are particularly devastating. It is not uncommon for them to live into their mid to late teens! This means that older Silkies will be just as likely to remain great watchdogs as their younger selves. They will also be just as willing to take a car ride or a short vacation with you at their side. Here at The Academic Hound, we have experience with Silky Terriers. If you live in Austin or the surrounding areas and are looking for a dog trainer, give us a call!

By Jill Saperstein – Flickr: Silky Terrier, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15990329

The Entlebucher Mountain Dog

The Entlebucher Mountain Dog is one of four Swiss mountain dog breeds – three of which are currently recognized by the AKC. Although the Entle is the smallest of the four, they have a ton of personality packed into their compact, medium-sized frames! Originally used for herding, guarding and possibly some carting, this is a multi-talented animal. The breed is loyal, very physical and tough, and quite capable of all manner of outdoor sports and activities. These tricolor dogs need to spend plenty of time with their families, however. Although not overly clingy or demanding, they do not do well when thrown outside without much human contact.

Entlebuchers make good watchdogs as they are suspicious of strangers and quick to sound a loud alarm when someone comes to the door (although usually quiet otherwise). Some can be fairly territorial – a trait which should never be left unchecked. As with all dogs, they need to be given plenty of ongoing socialization. This is not because they are prone to becoming fearful, but because they need to experience new people and situations to grow into their naturally confident demeanors. When it comes to their owners, they are unwaveringly loyal and devoted.

For the most part, Entles get along well with children although they may need to be taught to play gentle. They are naturally active and enthusiastic in all that they do, which can knock over or otherwise hurt a small child. In fact, they are known for flinging themselves at livestock in order to move the larger animals, so body slams are often par for the course. Additionally, they are surprisingly strong. It can be done, but the parents of a young child would be advised that extra training may be required in some cases. Be aware that Entlebuchers may try to herd the children!

The Entlebucher Mountain Dog needs rules and boundaries set down from the beginning of his life. He can tend to take over the household if he feels that there is no firm leadership in place – a trait coming from his strong sense of pack hierarchy. Although this is a very smart breed, it is also a very strong-willed one prone to “testing the waters” on a regular basis, and as such requires an owner who can be equally strong-willed! Consistent obedience training is therefore key. The breed is not recommended for those who have never owned a dog.

As tireless cattle dogs, Entlebuchers require a lot of exercise. An hour a day of is considered bare minimum – this is not a breed that will be ok just running around in the yard. These guys need a job to do in order to stay sane, so in addition to regular exercise they should be given mental/physical tasks such as agility, tracking or herding. Unlike other short-haired breeds, in colder climates they won’t need to wear a coat or other “warming gear”. This breed developed in Switzerland and does much better in cold climates vs. hot. This said, they can live in our areas of Texas but need to be monitored when the weather turns very hot. Black coats heat up much faster than other colors, exposing them to heat stroke more easily.

Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are generally a healthy and hardy breed. When something health-related does occur, it is often an eye issue such as cataracts or glaucoma, or more rarely, Ureteral Ectopia – a urinary syndrome. Overall, however, most dogs are very healthy and don’t come down with these conditions. Care in general is usually pretty easy, not only with vet care but also grooming. Their short double coat requires only minimal grooming, and shedding isn’t normally too bad as long as they are brushed once a week during shedding season. They are also easy keepers as far as eating – sometimes a little too much. They can be prone to overeating and gaining too much weight, but keeping them on a scheduled diet should take care of this problem.

The Entle tends to get along well with other dogs, and often enjoys playing and socializing. They also do well with cats. Like with children, they may need some human guidance to teach them not to be too rough with some pets. They may tend to discriminate against strange animals they haven’t met yet – another reason to socialize early. When well socialized they are confident and friendly with other pets, often even taking on a protective role. Do you own a Entlebucher Mountain Dog? Are you looking for a dog trainer in Travis or Hays county, TX? Call us today and tell us about your dog!

By Elf at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1903621

The Neapolitan Mastiff

The Neapolitan Mastiff is unlike every other breed in terms of appearance and temperament. These ancient dogs were first used in Roman fighting games, and then were later employed to hunt wild boar and guard castles. The dogs needed a powerful stature in order to accomplish these tasks, which explains the breed’s massive frame. Today they make awe-inspiring home guardians who will protect their properties with courage and loyalty. Neos are not prone to wander – instead they tend to stay in their home turf and keep watch over their territory. Nevertheless, this isn’t a breed to keep outside all day and use as a “threat deterrent”. This owner-loving breed needs to spend time inside while being given training, structure and affection.

Like most guarding breeds, Neos are incredibly devoted and loyal to their families. Although they will bring down an enemy if needed, they should never behave aggressively toward their owners or anyone else who poses no threat. They should have steady temperaments, however they normally don’t like strangers coming into their personal space. This is not a dog who will appreciate being “surprise-hugged” by someone he doesn’t know. Keep in mind that the numerous loose wrinkles around the head gives him limited vision – any stranger coming up to say hello should do so from the front so the dog isn’t surprised. A normal reaction to a stranger is aloofness and slight wariness without being shy.

Neapolitan Mastiffs tend toward being dominant, which is fine as long as they don’t try to dominate any human members of the family. For a dog of this size, this could be a major problem! Some Neos are prone to jealousy issues (because they bond so strongly to their owners) and some are prone to being over-territorial. Obedience training is an absolute must with this breed, as well as socialization from an early age. Even if the dog never shows any dominant traits, a 150 pound dog can be stubborn and difficult to control if he has never been taught any manners or rules! Hence… obedience training. A common behavioral disorder often suffered by members of the breed is separation anxiety, although early training can help with this frustrating condition.

The Neo does not always get along well with other dogs, particularly dogs of the same sex. While they do best in single-dog households, some do ok with an opposite-sex friend but there are many factors to keep in mind. The age, temperament, and amount of previous socialization of each dog are particularly important. One may not know whether or not there will be a problem until the Neo reaches 2 or 3 years old. On the other hand, this giant breed can live easily with children, provided the child is slightly older and won’t get hurt if they are knocked over. Neos may be more wary of strange children coming over, just as they are wary of strange adults coming onto their territory. When children are involved, obedience training is even more important. Without rules or boundaries, the breed may become jealous having to share attention with a kid. Do not let this get out of control.

Neapolitan Mastiffs are prone to several health problems including heart disease, bloat, bone cancer, and chronic skin infections among others. While not every dog will inherit these disorders, a buyer is urged to do their research when looking for a puppy. Some Neos suffer from no health issues, while other only inherit a minor condition such as cherry eye. Either way, a prospective owner should have a health fund ready to go if any problems arise. This is in addition to the extra regular costs it will take to feed and take care of this giant breed. All Neos are prone to heat stroke. Care must be taken when they are outside on a hot day. Keep in mind, also, that the average lifespan for this molosser breed is only 7 years.

Some Neos are prone to chasing cats, bikes or even cars. This behavior can be dangerous and should be stopped right away. Consider if the dog needs more exercise and if this may be one of the contributing factors. Neapolitan Mastiffs should be walked once a day and/or given free running time in the yard. These dogs are not build for jogging, however, and should never be forced to run.

In general, Neapolitan Mastiffs are low-energy animals content to lay around and observe their world. When they fall asleep they often snore. Despite their often-lazy demeanor, they are very quick when they need to be! If they hear the sound of a person approaching they will be up and ready at a moment’s notice. As might be expected from such a massive dog, this can be a potential problem for furniture and breakable items in the dog’s way, particularly if the person lives in a small place. One other probable problem for owners who like a well-kept house… Neos drool quite a lot, and the slobber will end up everywhere! The breed also scatters food as they eat and drags mud across the floor on rainy days. Not the dog for a neat freak by any means! If you have a Neapolitan Mastiff and are looking for a dog trainer in the Austin, TX area, call us today!

By user:przykuta – user:przykuta, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1253004

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a delightful little dog bred strictly for companionship. Playful and affectionate, they are devoted to their owners and always willing to sit on a lap! They love people of all ages (gentle with everyone from children to senior citizens), and are even outgoing towards strangers. Cavaliers are also friendly to pets, including other dogs and cats. As one might expect from such a social dog, this is not the breed to buy and then keep outside or in a kennel all day. They need companionship in order to be happy and thrive.

The Cavalier is able to adapt well to apartment living, which is one of the many reasons he is a great breed for a first-time dog owner! The biggest down-side is usually the amount of time that he requires someone to be home with him. A student who only takes a couple of classes a day would be a great match! A full-time student also working a part-time job would be a terrible match unless there was someone else there to spend time with him.

Cavaliers are intelligent little beings but do require a fair set of rules to be laid out for them. Like most breeds, they need structure and training in order to fulfill their potential. Luckily the Cavalier takes very well to obedience training. Many even compete in dog events around the world, earning high scores as they go! Just remember that obedience training and behavior modification are two different things (although they share some big similarities). A few habits that you may need to be extra vigilant about modifying… this toy spaniel likes to bark, can be prone to chewing as a puppy, and may take a little longer with housebreaking. It is important to note that this breed can be sensitive and doesn’t do well with harsh treatment.

Don’t let their love of sitting on the couch fool you, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels do require regular exercise! These are active dogs that need to stretch their legs with a daily walk, or with a good romp in a medium-sized yard. Preferably, the yard should be fenced and/or they should be kept on a leash – their spaniel heritage gives them a love for chasing things that move. This exercise is not only important to channel their energy, but also to keep their hearts in good working order (just like people). This breed works out well for couples where one person wants a lap-dog but the other wants a dog that can go out and do activities – the best of both worlds!

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels make great traveling companions. Not only does their small size enable them to fit in the car more easily, but their friendly and amiable personality makes them welcome at any dog-friendly establishment! Plus, they are happiest when with their owner anyway, so even a small trip is a welcome adventure for a Cavalier (for a dog that thinks nothing of following you into the bathroom, he is all-the-more elated to follow you to the campgrounds). Wherever he goes, strangers will be enticed to give him treats so make sure to limit the amount of extra calories he gets – Cavaliers do have a tendency to put on weight.

The Cavalier’s coat requires a moderate amount of care, and they do shed. The coat is easiest to groom when a routine is established and the dog is brushed once or twice a week. This will keep any big knots from forming, as small tangles can be worked out easily with a comb. The ears have some of the longest hair and therefore need the most brushing, especially during shedding season. The dog should be bathed anywhere from every 2 weeks to every 2 months, depending on how clean the owner prefers the coat. Like any dog, the nails need to be clipped back regularly but otherwise there is no special trimming or clipping that he requires.

As with any breed, the Cavalier does have some health problems that show up somewhat regularly. These include a couple of eye issues (cataracts and retina problems), heart disease (mitral valve disease) and slipping patellas to name a few. There are health tests that reputable breeders will do to minimize the risk, so always buy from a breeder who puts forth this effort.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels were bred down from sporting spaniels in order to make lap-sized pets, but many do still retain a hunting drive, albeit much reduced. Chasing birds can be a favorite activity, which can either be amusing or frustrating for their owner depending on the living situation. Some owners who also possess birds find it difficult for both their pets to cohabitate. Keeping the bird in a cage while the Cavalier is roaming the house may be required for high-drive dogs. Also related to their hunting ancestry, many Cavaliers have natural retrieval instincts! While it is unlikely that this toy breed will make an actual hunting dog, it is nice to understand why he does the things he does. Looking for a dog trainer for your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel? If you live in Austin or the surrounding areas, give us a call today!

The Italian Greyhound

The Italian Greyhound is a sighthound in miniature, possessing the same high prey drive as his larger cousins but in a much smaller frame. Iggies, as they are affectionately known, are sweet and gentle pets that require a few special considerations. For example, their tiny legs are prone to break more easily than other dogs so they must be handled with care. It is for this reason that they are not a good match for someone with young (or rowdy) children, or with large (or rowdy) dogs in the household. They also tend to get cold easily and will require coats or sweaters on cold days. When it’s wet outside, they may insist on staying in the house where it’s dry! Finally, the breed is notoriously difficult to housebreak.

Shedding very little and having practically no doggy odor, Iggies make good companions for those who like clean houses. Their smooth coat requires very little grooming, with only the occasional short bath and minimal brushing. Like many small breeds, their anal glands may need to be expressed on a regular basis which can be done at home or at the groomers. Teeth are another area of concern – smaller breeds tend to have more dental issues which means extra care should be devoted to brushing daily. Finally, keeping the nails trimmed and ears clean are necessary routine items to be done. None of these things should take very long, especially when done on a scheduled basis – which makes the Iggy one of the easiest breeds to groom!

If looking for an Italian Greyhound, great care should be taken on selecting a breeder. There are unfortunately a number of health problems in the breed such as autoimmune disease, seizures disorders, and PRA (an eye disorder). Responsible breeders do health testing to try to minimize the risk of their puppies inheriting these conditions, in contrast to a puppy miller or uneducated ” backyard breeder”. You will be upping your chances of getting a healthy puppy as long as you buy from someone who health-tests.  This said, be aware that it is impossible to completely eradicate health issues from any breeding line. A breeder can only minimize the risks. When all is said and done, however – many Iggies live to be 15 or even longer!

IGs are very submissive and sensitive in nature. Although they will bark when they hear something strange near the house, they have no guarding abilities. Many of them are downright timid with strangers or in new situations. Most are happiest at home with their owners, snuggled up on the couch or under the covers of the bed. Adoring of their owners, they prefer to be with their favorite person as much as possible, and often as close as possible (some people find this amount of attention overwhelming)! Even though they are athletic and playful, they are not into big crowds or loud outings. They work best with owners who are also home-bodies, and who do not work long hours every day.

The Italian Greyhound is known for being intelligent and even manipulative at times. He craves attention and when he doesn’t get it, can get into all sorts of trouble. For this reason, obedience training is a necessity! Not only will it give him attention in a constructive way, but it will also teach him rules and boundaries. Keep in mind that these tiny sighthounds tend to have short attention spans and don’t like a lot of repetition in their lessons. They also do not respond well when the trainer is heavy-handed, and do much better with lots of encouragement and only light corrections when needed.

Iggies have a powerful chase instinct. They love to sprint after (and kill, if possible) small animals whether it be lizards, rabbits or even birds! This prey drive combined with their powerful athleticism makes them able to scale 6 foot fences in pursuit of their prey. They must always be kept inside a securely fenced yard (escape-proofed as much as possible) or kept on a leash when out in public. In the house, their agile bodies are also able to easily leap on top of countertops and other out-of-reach areas, and their thin frames allow them to squeeze through narrow openings (like partially open doors). An owner should be able to keep up with their shenanigans, and stay on top of any bad behavior with training.

Italian Greyhounds do have a fair amount of energy, especially when young. This is very different from other sighthound breeds who are much more low-key. They need time to race around the backyard on a daily basis – as sprinting is often their “exercise of choice”. As they mature they won’t be as energetic and will usually adapt to their owner’s energy level, but younger puppies and adolescent dogs can test an owner’s patience with their constant liveliness. Friendly and happy with other dogs of their own size, multiple Italian Greyhounds can play and exercise each other, although they must have a long walk every day as well. Do you own an Italian Greyhound? Are you looking for a dog trainer in Travis or Hays county, TX? Call us today and tell us about your dog!

Italian Greyhound Hays county

By christina – Flickr, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2149216

The Old English Sheepdog

The Old English Sheepdog is so much more than a big fluffy marshmallow of a dog. These clownish animals have a definite sense of humor and delight in making humans laugh! They are also surprisingly gentle and easy-going, especially for their size. Even-tempered and loving to their owners while outgoing and happy with strangers, they are loyal to their family and friends, almost to a fault.

While the OES does not make a good guard dog, he will bark at strangers that come near the home. This watchdog ability combined with the dog’s large sizes is usually enough of a deterrent for intruders. Some can be protective in the most dire of situations but they shouldn’t otherwise be expected to take out a robber while the owners are away. The breed is a lover and not a fighter. Many are quite intuitive and sensitive to the energy of humans, however, and are often able to tell friend from foe.

While Old English Sheepdogs are intelligent, sometimes they can have a mind of their own when it comes to training. One day they might earn a high score in obedience while the next they may decide to play a prank on you while in the ring! Take advantage of the fact that they enjoy being the center of attention and try to use that in obedience lessons, encouraging them to have fun. Even though it may mean that some lessons will take a “silly detour”, it will be worth it as long as you gradually steer them back into what they need to be doing. Remember that many OES have a stubborn side as well – so be prepared to work them through it. Obedience is a necessity for this breed, who often become bratty without training and rules.

An Old English can be at home in any type of home – be it apartment, condo or large house. They love the city and the country equally, as long as they are able to spend lots of time with their owners! Like other “velcro” breeds, when you are home you will find yourself with a constant canine shadow! This is definitely not a breed which can be kept in a kennel or outside for the majority of their life, nor do they adapt well to owners who work all day and leave them by themselves. Although this can be said for many breeds, it is especially true for this one. Do not get an OES if you cannot give them tons of attention!

Lots of time must also be devoted to grooming for this breed requires at least 2-3 hours a WEEK for coat care. The glorious coat which is the hallmark of the Old English Sheepdog, also makes him high maintenance. The coat does not just brush or wash itself! Furthermore, although it should go without saying, an owner must be prepared for dog hair to be everywhere in the house, as well as be ok with the dog dragging brambles and mud into the house when he comes in from outside. This is not a breed for fastidious people. Even after drinking water, the beard will get sopping wet and the dog may drip it everywhere across the floor. Be forewarned.

The OES is fantastic around children although younger individuals may be a bit rowdy around small toddler-age kids. Many stay rambunctious until the age of 3, and can easily knock down a small child without meaning to. The breed is very affectionate and playful, always ready to engage in a game with the smaller members of the family (which may include trying to herd them). Since they love being around people, they don’t tend to wander away which makes them great babysitters, although supervision is obviously recommended (no one should seriously use their dog as a babysitter).

Despite their rugged appearance, the Old English is actually active and athletic. Originally bred as a herding and droving dog (they moved flocks of sheep across long stretches of land), they have a fair bit of energy that needs to be channeled through daily exercise. Unlike many other herding breeds, they do not have endless energy and are fairly adaptable to many different exercise routines, but this is still an important need. Younger OES have more energy and will need more exercise than mature adults. It is not uncommon for puppies and adolescents to make your house a giant playground without enough training and/or exercise outings! Here at The Academic Hound, we have experience with Old English Sheepdogs. If you live in the Austin, TX area and are looking for a dog trainer, give us a call!

By Photo taken by Harald Urnes, Norway – Harald Urnes, Norway, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1610088

The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno

The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno is a tiny primitive breed originally bred to hunt rabbits and go after vermin on ships. In Europe, they are considered one of the three sizes of Portuguese Podengos – which is classified as a single breed. They are fairly new to the AKC, despite being around for hundreds of years, and have been split into their own breed in this country. They are classified as a sighthound by some organizations although they hunt by sight, sound and smell. These little dogs are alert and active, although make great pets for those who can provide them what they need to thrive. They are playful and have very big personalities stuffed inside such small frames!

The PPP can live with kids of all ages, but do best with supervision around toddlers because their small size makes them more susceptible to injury. They are hardy, agile and athletic and are hunters rather than lapdogs. Don’t let their size fool you – this is not a dog that will lay around and watch TV with you. They need homes with fenced yards and owners that can exercise them regularly as they are fairly active and need ways to burn off this energy. They usually do fine in multiple-dog homes as well as they are truly pack dogs, but do best particularly with dogs that are similar in size. Because they bond strongly with their owners, some may develop problems with separation anxiety.

Podengo Pequenos make very good watchdogs as they will alert the whole household whenever anyone approaches. Some will bark only when necessary although others may become quite loud if they think that every little sound requires an alert bark from them! Although tiny, they are courageous and won’t back down if they think the family is in danger. They are wary of strangers and therefore require socialization while they are puppies so that their natural suspicion won’t turn into fear. Socialization combined with training will help them become the loyal friends they are supposed to be, without sacrificing their natural watchdog abilities.

Portuguese Podengos are intelligent and generally considered easy to train. Their speed and stamina makes them great in dog sports such as agility and lure coursing, although shouldn’t be trusted off-leash because of their high prey drive. They are capable of being off-leash trained but the owner must always be aware that a running rabbit or squirrel may “bypass” their training. Although they love to please, they tend to think independently and won’t usually respond in the same way as a Border Collie or Golden Retriever. This said, they need training and activities to keep their brains active.

PPPs come in two separate coat varieties – rough and smooth. The rough coat is wiry in texture while the smooth lies flat to the body, and neither sheds very large amounts. Both varieties require only minimal grooming and both varieties are healthy and long-lived, with records of some members living to twenty! Despite their overall great health and general hardiness, the breed’s coat is not enough to protect them from extreme weather and they therefore should never be outside-only dogs. They need to live inside with several trips to the outdoors for exercise and play.

The PPP has a silly side that he shares with his family often. Always happy, optimistic and playful, he enjoys racing around the house and launching himself off of furniture. For this reason, they can easily be too cramped in an apartment. These little guys pack a lot of energy and a big heaping of comedic antics! This is why exercise is so important – these guys are very high energy. Without enough outlets for the energy they can become destructive. If you have a Portuguese Podengo Pequeno and are looking for a dog trainer in Austin or the surrounding areas, call us today!

By Pleple2000 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1392020

The American Hairless Terrier

The American Hairless Terrier came into existence in the 1970’s as a mutation of the Rat Terrier. These intelligent and active little dogs are now considered a separate breed of their own and are often recommended for those suffering from allergies. As with every hairless breed, they do also have a coated variety as well – “coated carriers” have a short, smooth jacket of fur. The minimal coat (in coated carriers) or outright lack of coat (in the hairless variety) makes them especially easy to care for. Even hairless individuals need regular baths but drying time is practically nothing compared to most dogs.

The breed is a delight to train and compete with in many dog events. While not hyperactive in the house, they definitely have enough energy to do almost anything physical that is asked of them. This makes them great in the agility ring, the obedience ring, or most other dog sports! They have an enthusiastic, willing-to-please attitude which makes them generally easy to train, although some of them can get a little pushy. These feisty terriers definitely require rules, and may walk all over an owner who refuses to train the dog.

The AHT tends to get along very well with children although their small size makes them delicate and better suited to older kids. Affectionate and friendly, they enjoy being playmates just as much as they like being lap-dogs! They also get along great with other dogs, cats and other pets as long as they are socialized to them early on. They consider most small outdoor animals fair game, however – and will chase anything that moves.

American Hairless Terriers are prone to digging in the yard, particularly if they smell the scent of a rodent. Although the hairless variety is at a disadvantage of getting scratched without a protective coat of hair, this doesn’t stop them from trying to eradicate rodents. Their high prey drive also means that they should be kept in a fenced yard, or on a leash when out in public. In addition, they should be supervised around pools or bodies of water because they are not known for their swimming ability…

American Hairless Terriers are easy to keep in an apartment, as they do well in small spaces. They do not make suitable outside-only dogs, however. The lack of hair means that they are susceptible to hot and cold temperatures which means they need to be indoor dogs. This doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be given walks – they definitely should (!) but the owner should be prepared to dress the dog in a coat when it’s cold, or apply sunblock when it’s hot. Luckily, AHTs don’t need a ton of exercise. A short walk every day combined with playtime in the house (even if it’s in the kitchen) is usually sufficient.

The AHT will bark to announce someone at the door but is far too small to be a guard dog. As with most terriers, these little guys are no exception when it comes to courage and feistiness! They think that they are a much bigger dog than they actually are, which can sometimes be problematic as they tend to be territorial. That said, when a new friend is introduced to the dog, the AHT usually accepts them easily.

The AHT is fairly healthy and doesn’t seem to suffer from skin irritations or absence of teeth as much as the other hairless breeds, but they are prone to some issues such as luxating patellas, cardiac issues and allergies. Make sure the breeder does health testing and you’ll be more likely to end up with a healthy dog! When well-taken care of, it is not unusual for them to live to 15 years of age. Do not be alarmed if your AHT starts sweating when hot – this is a normal trait for the breed. Looking for a dog trainer for your American Hairless Terrier? If you live in Travis or Hays county, TX give us a call today!

By Nyaah – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8468592

The Beagle

The Beagle is a compact little hound that can make an excellent companion in the right home. Their small size makes them more affordable to care for than their larger scenthound counterparts, and their affectionate nature wins over hearts wherever they go. Constantly happy – it is hard to be sad when there’s a Beagle in the room! Despite being very friendly, however, they have an independent nature which can make them difficult to train. An owner must understand that this breed thinks with their nose before thinking about following orders. This quality makes them great hunting partners but not always the most reliable obedience dog.

Their independent nature and easy distractibility means that obedience training doesn’t come easy for most Beagles, but they are nonetheless very intelligent. It’s best to start training in low-distraction environments, and capitalize on any enthusiasm they may have for working with you. They do like to please the people they care about, so if you can make the training interesting and fun, they will learn! This is a breed that enjoys being “part of the action”, so take advantage of that and work with the dog rather than just shouting commands at him. As mentioned before, the Beagle’s nose is his specialty – doing tracking or nosework with this breed is highly recommended so he can have a chance to put his sniffing abilities to good use!

Beagles get along great with kids and can provide hours of entertainment every day. Many love to run and play out in the yard with children, although they may or may not be open to playing fetch. Like other scenthounds, they can also become very distracted outside when they smell something interesting. Being bred to follow their nose, they will always place the highest priority on following scents. For this reason, a fully fenced yard is a necessity for Beagles (a real fence – not an invisible fence)! Because they are master escape artists, the fence should be dig-proof. Likewise, the dog must always be kept on leash whenever off the property.

When young, Beagles can be fairly active dogs. They require daily walks to expel this energy, the length of the walk depending on whether or not they have also have a yard to burn off energy. While a yard is encouraged, it is not necessary as long as the owner is prepared to walk the dog more frequently. Remember that these are hunting dogs that were bred to have a lot of energy and stamina! That won’t just disappear just because the dog was bought as a pet. Furthermore, some Beagles have the tendency to get fat so this exercise is necessary to keep them fit and healthy.

The Beagle’s short, smooth coat is very easy to care for. If he gets dirty, a rub down with a towel might be enough to rid the coat of dirt and grime, but even if it is not a bath takes only a few minutes! There is no special clipping or scissoring to keep him looking his best. He is also an easy keeper when it comes to vet care – while any dog can develop a medical issue, Beagles generally are a very healthy breed.

Beagles are social dogs, originally bred to work in packs. In fact, they love other dogs almost as much as they love “their people”! As such, they do not do well when left at home all day by themselves. This is the most common reason that Beagles become destructive and problem-barkers. Getting another dog as a companion for the first will work to alleviate boredom and loneliness in some circumstances, but not in all. Even if it does fix the problem, the owner now has two dogs to train and take care of! It may be best to look into another breed altogether if the owner works long hours. Do you own a Beagle? Are you looking for a dog trainer in the Austin, TX area? Call us today and tell us about your dog!