The Komondor

The Komondor is known for his distinctive long, corded coat and his unsurpassed livestock guardian abilities. This is not a herding dog, but instead a dog that specialized in watching over flocks in his native Hungary. To do this job meant that he had to be fearless and brave – often facing off against wolves and other predators. Protecting is in his blood, and even today’s Komondor needs something (or someone) to protect. Not every owner needs to have a flock of sheep, but a child or even a cat can fill this need. This trait is so ingrained that prospective owners are urged to visit an adult Komondor at the owner’s house before they buy. This way they can see for themselves just how protective the breed is, and decide whether it is the right breed for them!

This is a relatively calm and quiet breed as long as there are no intruders onto the property (although some bark more than others – there is a range from very quiet to quite loud). Either way, he should have a steady, even temperament. If someone comes near though… he will erupt into a series of warnings. If his warnings are not taken seriously he will act! Komondorok (the plural of Komondor) have been known to break through windows if they think that their charge needs protecting. Strangers must be introduced to the dog by the owners before entering the house. This way the dog knows that the person is “ok”, and will allow them into “his pack”. Most will continue to remember that person throughout their life, and may even consider that person worthy of protecting as well! This breed is excellent at being able to tell if someone has bad intentions, however – if the dog doesn’t seem to accept someone, there might be a reason why…

There are countless stories detailing Komondorok that warned of danger (such as fires), fought off attackers, and protected their masters. All of these tales speak of the great devotion that the breed has toward their owners. This loyalty is not matched by many other breeds, which is also what makes them ironically difficult and even dangerous if not raised correctly. These dogs live and breathe protection. They follow their charges from room to room, even leaning against the person if they feel the need to be closer. They will make decisions about how best to protect that person – often intelligently but not always socially acceptable.

This is a serious guard dog meant only for serious owners who understand how protective they are! The fact that the Komondor is also large and powerful means that they can do a lot of damage. Obedience training from a young age, as well as continuous rules and structure, are paramount. Komondorok were bred to be independent and to think for themselves. They are cunningly intelligent, but may take advantage of owners who don’t stay consistent with the rules. Although they can take very well to training, it’s best if that training is started early on, before they get to their “testing phase”. They should never be allowed to get away with pushy behavior, as it can potentially escalate into aggressive actions (the breed is not shy about biting). This breed also needs extensive socialization when they are puppies. A Kom that has skipped the socialization stage is more prone to behave aggressively.

Despite being a giant dog, the Komondor is surprisingly athletic and light on his feet. This is not an oaf-ish creature, despite how he may look. He is loving and friendly to everyone in the family, including children (with whom he is exceptionally gentle). Puppies are silly and carefree, but gradually grow into serious and “responsible” adults as they age – although this breed does take a while to mature. Most take about three years to reach adulthood. The middle “teenage” stage is the most difficult to live with, dogs will be more destructive and will test their dominance limits. Lovers of these dogs insist that the wait is worth it, however. A well-bred, well socialized Kom at maturity has a loyalty and sense of responsibility that is unmatched in the dog world.

The Komondor who is bought to be used as a livestock guarding dog should be introduced to “his charges” while he is still young, although always under supervision. It can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years before the dog will start to guard the flock – before he figures it out, he will probably try to chase or play with the animals instead! Some people buy a Komondor and keep it outside 24/7. Unlike most breeds, the Kom can be fulfilled living in this way, although might also become even more suspicious of strangers. Older, retired working dogs have been able to be successfully integrated into the household with little trouble, however. On the other hand, dogs that live primarily indoors and guard family rather than flock, do not like to be outside if they cannot see their charges. They can get very anxious if they can’t do their job.

Despite their size, many Komondorok do not need a lot of food to keep them happy and at an ideal weight. In fact, the serving guidelines on dog food bags are often too high for what this breed needs. Keep in mind, also, that adult Koms are very inactive and do not require a lot of exercise. The combination of these two factors can mean that weight gain is a concern. Owners need to monitor the dog’s weight to make sure he stays healthy. On the plus side, this means that the breed can live in an apartment with only a little bit of added exercise, or in a property with a yard with barely any exercise.

The distinctive coat of the Komondor is functional to the working dog. Always white in color, the dog was bred to “blend in” with the sheep, while also making him easier to be seen by the farmer at night. The long cords served at regulating temperature and protected the dog from wolf or coyote attacks. However impressive, the coat does take quite a bit of work to form its shape and stay clean. The cords need to be helped along while the dog is young, separating them from other cords and fixing them into the final shape. As far as staying clean – it is said that it is easier to keep the dog clean in the first place then to wash the dog after he has already gotten dirty! A wet Komondor can be smelly and even get mildew, so ensuring the dog stays dry is important. Owners should have large dog dryers on hand for when the dog gets soaked. It is safe to say that working Koms who live outside all of the time look (and smell) very different from most Koms kept as pets and show dogs!

The Komondor doesn’t always play nice with other dogs, especially if he feels like they are entering his territory. His sense of property is very strong and he usually knows where the boundaries are – where he belongs and other dogs do not! And while he gets along very well with children in his own family, a child that climbs over the fence and onto his property is considered an intruder and he will act accordingly… Do you own a Komondor? Are you looking for a dog trainer in the Austin, TX area? Call us today and tell us about your dog!

By Nikki68, CC BY 2.5,

The Dachshund

Dachshunds may have a comical appearance, but the breed’s unique look is what made them excellent at their job – hunting badgers and other small game from inside the animal’s burrow! The breed’s short legs allowed them to squish into these tight tunnels in order to do battle with their (sometimes fierce) foe. This is a hunting dog through and through, and even today Dachshunds have a load of courage, independence and tenacity – the traits that enabled them to stay alive to do their job. These same traits can make them difficult to live with in modern society, particularly if the owner isn’t prepared to meet their distinctive needs.

Perhaps because of their incredibly stubborn nature, many people are led to believe that Dachshunds are not smart. This is completely false- they are incredibly clever (even conniving at times)! This was not a breed that was built to work with people (they worked independently with the hunters nearby). As such, many don’t see the point of learning obedience and instead prefer trying to train their owner instead. This said, with the right motivation they can learn! Some even compete successfully in obedience competitions, although it takes a lot of consistency, motivation and patience on the part of the owner to get to competition-level.

Dachshunds love to be close to their owners, often bonding very strongly with one person in particular and then following them everywhere (although some do bond with the whole family). The breed particularly prefer to be in the middle of the action! This can be pleasant… but can also prove to be frustrating to have a tiny dog underfoot at any given time. Care must be taken not to step on the dog, or accidentally drop something on him. As this is a playful breed, he may try to engage in a game of fetch (or some other type of game that he finds amusing) although he will usually insist that you follow his rules!

Dachshunds are not always easy to housebreak, perhaps to due their incredibly stubborn nature. While some people have been able to 100% housebreak this their Dachie, it is more common to hear about individual dogs who are 90-95% housebroken. If the dog fails to go outside despite being (mostly) housebroken, it is usually because of the weather. Many Dachshunds would rather face the consequences of their actions (via their owner) than face the cold/rain/wet realities of going outside on a particularly nasty day! Keep in mind that in addition to their penchant for not always being reliable, they also may take longer than other breeds to “catch on” to housebreaking in the first place. It just doesn’t seem to be of particular interest to them.

Because of his structure, the Dachshund is more susceptible to back injury than other breeds. Slipped disks are unfortunately common, and while there is often a genetic component, there are precautions an owner can take to minimize the risk. The biggest way to protect the back is to keep the dog in good shape. Fat Dachshunds have more strain on their backs, which leads to more frequent injury. Furthermore, the breed should never be allowed to jump off of tall furniture as this can also cause problems – providing a ramp would be a better choice. Keeping the nails short and taking care to support the back when holding the dog are two other precautions an owner can take to diminish the chances of back problems.

The Dachshund can get along well with children although it is recommended that they are introduced while they are still puppies. Supervision is also advised, particularly with younger children. Some people make the mistake of keeping the dog outside all the time because they are scared of one hurting the other – this is ill-advised with a Dachshund as they are far too social to be outdoor-only dogs. Take the time to make the introductions right the first time so both child and dog can get along harmoniously!

Dachshunds make great watch dogs as they will bark when people come to the door. Many have voices that make them sound bigger than they actually are, which is an added deterrent – although this breed is not suited to be a guard dog. Once they are satisfied that they’ve “chased away” the threat, they’ll usually go back to their “spot” to chill out again – often a spot of sunlight or a warm blanket to tunnel into.

Dachshunds come in a number of different appearances! The breed exists in two different sizes (standard and miniature), as well as three different coat types (smooth, longhaired and wirehaired). While the breed’s short legs means that they are never taller than nine inches off the ground, miniatures are only about 10 pounds while standards can be three times as heavy! They also boast a wide number of colors and patterns, which means that the combinations of appearance are almost endless. While some color and coats are more typically seen than others, a gathering of Dachshunds usually consists of a broad variety of looks.

Perhaps as a throwback to their hunting roots – Dachshunds tend to roll around in the smelly things that they encounter outside. Manure, pungent mud or dead worms are all fair game! Another dirty habit is their love of digging, which they tend to do when left to their own devices. Despite their outside antics, however, Dachshunds are relatively clean and don’t usually have a strong doggy odor (as long as they haven’t been rolling in something). They don’t need to be bathed particularly often and only shed only a small-medium amount. As would be expected, smooths are the easiest to take groom while longhairs and wirehairs require more maintenance.

The Dachshund is moderately active and does need regular exercise. Two walks a day, each about half a mile, is usually considered sufficient. Because of their short legs, they don’t make the best jogging companions but do appreciate a nice walk. This exercise will keep them happy and healthy, and contributes to their long life (they live an average of 14-16 years). It also strengthens muscles, which factors into a strong back. Dachies that don’t receive enough things to do can easily get bored. Here at The Academic Hound, we have experience with Dachshunds. If you live in Austin or the surrounding areas and are looking for a dog trainer, give us a call!


The Norwegian Elkhound

The Norwegian Elkhound is the best known of the various Scandinavian spitz breeds and has been called “the dog of the vikings”. He was bred to hunt moose (not elk – despite his name), as well as to serve as family guardians and occasional herders. Devotees of these black-tipped silver dogs say that they make some of the very best companions. Indeed, Elkhounds are the happiest when they are around the people whom they love. Because of their long history working with humans, these dogs have developed into exceptionally loyal and friendly creatures, although their personality quickly becomes independent while they are in “work mode” – such as when hunting.

While Elkhounds have been described as stubborn by some, many are just exceptionally independent and their trainers lack proper motivation tactics. While historically these were working dogs, they were not bred to work with people in the traditional obedience sense. Therefore it follows that a trainer must be able to “get inside the dog’s head” and find a way to communicate with the animal, while providing motivation and “reasons” to do what they are asking the dog to do. Remember also that Elkhounds are highly sensitive and want to listen (usually).  These spitz dogs don’t like repetition and will respond by leaving their own spin on things if they begin to get bored.

The Elkhound is extremely gentle when around the very old or the very young. Not only does this make them good candidates for living with children or the elderly, but many have even been successfully trained in service dog work. Their intuitive nature combined with their gentle demeanor and vast intelligence makes them excellent at such jobs. Many have also been utilized as search and rescue dogs (finding injured people in emergencies) thanks to their finely tuned noses. This is a very versatile breed who loves to work and especially enjoys jobs which involve people, whether it be people they know or the constant opportunity to meet new ones!

Elkhounds have high energy, which means that they need to be given both physical as well as mental outlets to keep them calm. Remember that these dogs need a job – it is in their blood! Every Elkhound should be given daily exercise such as a walk or hike, in addition to some other sort of “purpose”. For example, owners of this breed enroll their dogs in agility or nose work classes in order to keep their dogs happy and fulfilled.

The Norwegian Elkhound is not the breed to own if you spend most of your day at work, nor if you plan on keeping the dog outside all the time (unless you are going to be outside with him frequently). These social butterflies will not develop correctly if kept isolated, and can quickly become depressed. There is nothing that can substitute for this companionship, whether it be providing a second dog, spoiling the dog on the weekends, or guiltily giving the dog extra food “to make up for it” (and Elkhounds are prone to getting fat, anyway). Making sure you have enough time for the dog is one of the most important things you can do – even when they get old (keep in mind the breed is long-lived).

Norwegian Elkhounds are known as barkers and can become nuisance barkers if given no rules. While this trait isn’t for everyone, most people do appreciate the fact that they will bark and put on a big show if an intruder comes near the home, and their stocky build and no-nonsense appearance is enough of a deterrent to keep most prowlers away. While they make great watch dogs, however – it is more rare for an Elkhound to actually attack. While confident and protective, Elkhounds will save harming a person as an absolute last-resort.

Despite having a somewhat-short coat, it is quite thick and does require regular brushing – particularly during heavy shedding season which comes twice a year. This coat protected them while doing their various duties outside in the harsh climates of Norway! While brushing will be a frequent occurrence, however, Elkhounds don’t need baths very often as they tend to have little doggy odor. They also don’t require any trimming whatsoever. While relatively clean, they aren’t suggested for fastidious people simply because of their shedding. Here at The Academic Hound, we have experience with Norwegian Elkhounds. If you live in Travis or Hays county, TX and are looking for a dog trainer, give us a call!

The Lakeland Terrier

The Lakeland Terrier is a hardy little breed with a disposition as wiry as his coat. Athletic and agile, the Lakie (as he is affectionately called) was bred to withstand hard work on the farm, including hunting and killing foxes in their den. Despite his rugged ways, this small terrier is fun-loving and social! As long as he has been socialized well, he loves meeting new people and will not back down from any threat. Like most terriers, he can be cocky and independent but he also possesses a sense of humor and a strong sense of curiosity. Some have so much vigor and general excitement that they will visibly tremble – this is not nervousness, but what is known as “terrier dither”.

Many Lakies take to obedience training very well but do not appreciate being handled roughly. This is a breed that will not hesitate to “fight back” if they are being treated unfairly! On the opposite side of the spectrum, owners or trainers who give them no rules whatsoever will end up with a dog who tries to take over the household (by their nature, these dogs are rarely subordinate). Therefore, a firm yet fair treatment is the only way to go. Many are not particularly food motivated and may need another source of motivation. As many Lakies are good with their noses, they can find great enjoyment in nosework or tracking – this can be one way of getting them interested in working! Remember, also, to keep training sessions short and as non-repetitive as possible with this breed.

Lakeland Terriers are skillful at problem solving and appreciate training games that enrich their minds. If life is too boring for them… they will find their own problems to solve, which might not be something that their owners appreciate… They do best when living with an active person or family who is able to provide plenty of mental and physical stimulation. Despite their small size, many are able to go on very long daily walks – although they are also adaptable. If it is raining and the walk needs to be put off for that day, they will be content to sit inside and watch tv with their owners instead.

Lakelands make great lap dogs and enjoy spending time close to their owners. This makes them an ideal choice for Emotional Support Dogs, provided their needs are met. Many are very gentle when their owners are feeling down (physically or emotionally) and can make great “nurses”. This is also true for children, which they are also generally good around (provided the kids are respectful). They will not tolerate rough treatment from kids and will defend themselves if they need to. Another job that they excel at – is that of watch dog. They will definitely let you know when someone is prowling around the house, although they may also alert to every other little sound they hear while they’re at it.

The coat of the Lakeland Terrier is harsh and double-coated. It needs regular stripping in order for the dog to really resemble the classic “Lakeland look”. Dogs that are not stripped will instead develop a soft, sometimes curly coat which will give them a completely different appearance. Whether stripped or not, this breed is often touted as being hypoallergenic as the hair doesn’t naturally fall out without help, therefore reducing the dander to a minimum. This said, it is highly recommended that an allergic individual should spend some time around the breed to make sure their allergies don’t act up.

Some owners find that housebreaking a Lakeland can take longer than with other breeds. Furthermore, they have small bladders and cannot be expected to “hold it” all day long while their owners are at work. Either installing a dog door or simply making sure that someone comes home to let the dog out in the middle of the day is important. Some people are lucky enough to be able to let their dog come to work with them, and this also works out well since the Lakeland is a great traveler! His small size makes it easy for him to ride in the car as well as to keep out-of-the-way while in public places.

The Lakeland Terrier can be quite territorial, and many consider their territory to be further reaching than the owner’s actual property. Keeping him in a securely fenced yard is very important so that he doesn’t go wandering and defending “his land” from everyone he sees. The breed is also known for being escape artists – so the fence must be dig-proof, jump-proof, squeeze-proof and chew-proof! A wandering Lakie can quickly become the neighborhood bully, so it is the job of the responsible owner to keep this from happening! The breed is not always known for getting along well with other dogs of the same sex, especially if the other dog is a terrier as well. This makes him a nuisance when wandering the neighborhood, and also may make it difficult for owners who enjoy keeping multiple dogs.

These little terriers love water and enjoy playing, swimming, and even just dunking themselves in bodies of water. Supervised trips to the beach can be a fun way to spend time with a Lakeland – preferably with the dog in a life vest (not all of them are the greatest of swimmers). Even buying a kiddie pool and letting the dog play in it can be a rewarding experience for both owner and dog! Playing ball is another favorite activity, although most Lakelands have a blast with just about anything as long as their owner is willing to play it with them. Owners must be able to commit to entertaining the dog for many years to come – Lakelands are a healthy breed that aren’t plagued with a vast number of health problems, and can live long lives. Looking for a dog trainer for your Lakeland Terrier? If you live in the Austin, TX area give us a call today!

Lakeland Terrier Austin

By David_Burton_2011 – Flickr: Lakeland Terrier, CC BY-SA 2.0,

The Sloughi

The Sloughi is (so far) the newest sighthound breed to join the AKC, but this is actually a very old breed with a rich history. These speedy African hounds have an aloof attitude and a generally cat-like temperament. The standard states that they are “a dog with class and grace”, and indeed they exude a dignified aura about them wherever they go. Reserved and careful in their actions, they don’t like being around people who are loud or generally overwhelming. They will put up with strangers who are polite but won’t be overly affectionate. Neither are they super demonstrative with their owners, although they grow very strong attachments to them and form close bonds.

The Sloughi must be socialized early so that his aloof temperament doesn’t turn to shyness or even aggression. Just because he is reserved doesn’t mean he should ever be fearful – these two traits are very different. This is especially important when it comes to socializing him to children – he can get along with them very well but only if he has been raised with them. Just as he doesn’t tolerate rude behavior from adults, so is the case with children. Teaching kids to be polite to the dog is just as important! Many people find that kids in the toddler age are too rough, and must wait until their child has grown up a bit before owning one of these dogs.

Sloughis need plenty of exercise every day, including time to run around in a fenced area. This makes most of them ill-suited as apartment dogs. Although their frame may cause them to look delicate, this is actually a very athletic and robust dog who benefits from good, hard exercise! Free running is their very favorite activity, and therefore should be given to them on as regular a basis as possible. Just make sure that the fence in the area is at least 6 feet high as this breed can jump! Not fenced in, Sloughis can run so fast that they will be out of your site in mere seconds – so a fence cannot be stressed enough.

Like all sighthounds, the Sloughi has an inborn high prey drive so he must be taught to get along with other pets while young. If raised with cats and small animals from puppyhood, many people have great success living in harmony with all the pets. If the owner waits till the dog is older to introduce him to a cat… the chances go down. Most members of the breed are polite with other dogs, although they may show some territorial behavior if a strange dog just shows up in their yard.

An independent creature, Sloughis are intelligent but not always naturally obedient. This can make the breed difficult to own for novices. When it comes to training, the Sloughi has a very sensitive nature and doesn’t do well with harsh corrections. This said, some tend to become assertive and therefore still need rules and boundaries. While harsh corrections are never necessary, an owner needs to make the rules clear while still maintaining a positive attitude. Many members of the breed only need a firm tone from their owner when they do something wrong, and then they can be redirected into something more positive.

Sloughis have a short, smooth coat that was developed for hot climates and tend to get cold in cooler weather. Investing in a warm dog coat for them to wear on chilly days is essential. On the upside, grooming the Sloughi is a breeze! Although they are large, it takes no time at all to do a quick brush down on these dogs, and they also tend to keep themselves fairly clean. These are traits that they share with their close relatives the Saluki and the Azawakh, although while the three breeds look similar, are entirely separate from eachother.

The Sloughi is generally a quiet dog, although he will bark when he feels it is necessary. Most of the time, he would rather take a nap on the couch or a fluffy dog bed – this breed loves warmth and coziness! He’s not, however, a big fan of hugs. Tending to be touch-sensitive, excessive cuddling with people is not his favorite pastime. He is also sensitive to stress and negative emotions of humans, and does best in homes where things are calm and quiet – like him. If he gets stressed, he may become a problem chewer. Do you own a Sloughi? Are you looking for a dog trainer in Austin or the surrounding areas? Call us today and tell us about your dog!

By Benutzer:Claggi at the German language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The American Water Spaniel

The American Water Spaniel is the state dog of Wisconsin, yet is rarely seen in most of the United States (or indeed, the world). Despite his lack of popularity, this small-medium sized hunting spaniel makes a great companion and gun dog alike. The breed is very energetic and happy, enjoying spending time with their owners! In fact, they do best when given activities and exercise to burn off their energy – this is not a lay-about couch potato. In fact, expect to spend a good hour or two a day exercising this breed. If not provided with enough mental and physical stimulation, they can become bored and destructive. For this reason, the AWS is not always recommended for the first-time dog owner.

While happy and exuberant with his owners, the American Water Spaniel tends to be more stand-offish with strangers, but usually is still quite friendly! An AWS with a correct temperament should be confident and bold. When they need to be, they can be downright fearless! With their owners, they are fiercely loyal and even clownish. They love to be the center of attention! Like many breeds, they do much better living with the family indoors rather than being outdoor dogs. The breed is also very playful and tends to get along well with children, although they must be taught not to jump up and knock over very small kids.

Because he was bred to retrieve game from the water (along with other hunting tasks), the AWS is a natural swimmer! He enjoys playing in the pool or the lake, and can even be trained for the various water sports made for dogs. His double coat is waterproof, which keeps him warm and toasty in the water but also means that bathing him will take a bit of extra work. Also, the curlier the coat, the longer it may take him to dry off afterward. For clarification, the AWS comes in two types of coat: curly and “marcel” (wavy). Both coat types require regular grooming although nothing extreme, and neither coat sheds very heavily.

When it comes to training, the AWS is generally willing to please but can, at times, be stubborn. If trained too harshly, they can shut down. It is best to remember that this is an intelligent, yet sensitive breed which needs a good balance of firmness and fairness while being trained. Keep in mind that varying the commands and changing up the training regime is better than using the same routine every single time – the AWS may tend to get bored if he can guess what’s going to happen next. Despite how this may sound, the breed is moderately easy to train overall, and is particularly skilled in retrieval-based commands.

The American Water Spaniel does tend to bark when he feels it is necessary, and he may feel that necessity more often than you do! He particularly likes to bark when he is having a good time, such as while chasing after a rabbit or meeting a new person. This, combined with his activity level and his propensity to chew stuff up if not given enough attention, does not make him the best match for a person living in an apartment. It can be done, but the apartment-dwelling owner must really go out of their way to provide a lot of exercise and training.

These active little spaniels also like to roam and do require being kept inside a fenced yard for their own safety when not being supervised. Watch for evidence of them digging under the fence, as some enjoy unearthing their way out! Although they make great watchdogs, this job is best done with them inside the house rather than outside. Because of their tendency toward separation anxiety, they can get extra frustrated if they are left outside all day long.

The AWS can get along well with other dogs that live in the same household but may tend toward wanting to be the top dog. They may also have a problem with a strange dogs encroaching onto their property. They tend to be very territorial. It is suggested that puppies are thoroughly socialized to other dogs in order to give them the best head-start toward getting along with their own species. This socialization will also help them adapt to other people, places and things – and prevent undue shyness.

Some American Water Spaniels are prone to becoming food possessive, although this is easily avoided by teaching the dog (as a young puppy) that you can take away and then give back their food bowl without it being a big deal. As this breed can tend toward being assertive in general, it is a really good idea to do exercises such as this anyway. This is another reason why obedience and enforcing house rules are a must! If you have an American Water Spaniel and are looking for a dog trainer in Travis or Hays county, TX, call us today!

By Awsguy1 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The Welsh Springer Spaniel

The Welsh Springer Spaniel is a breed apart from his more-often recognized English cousin. Welsh Springers can be distinguished from English Springers by their red and white coloration and their shorter height. The breed is also less outgoing (though still friendly) and have more of an independent nature. They are usually happy and outgoing, possessing a sense of humor. This active hunting dog was bred for stamina and strength, and will not do well living in cramped quarters with no exercise. Besides being very active, the breed has a strong nose and will use it to follow every interesting scent that they can find!

The Welsh Springers’ strong desire to hunt means that he needs to have a securely fenced yard, lest he try to follow his nose right out of the backyard. If he sees a bird or a squirrel, he will try to chase it (although if he catches anything, his soft mouth means he might not crush it). Because he’s such an agile fellow, a short fence or a rickety fence might not keep him contained. A secure kennel run is ok for short time periods, but the Welshie isn’t a kennel dog. The breed thrives on human contact and should live inside the house. The fenced yard is great for exercise, but shouldn’t be the dog’s only living space. When living mostly indoors, the Welshie makes a great watch dog, hunting dog and companion.

This loyal breed loves his people more than anything. Although he is reserved with strangers, he is loyal and completely devoted to his family. He is usually a constant shadow, following his owner from room to room and sitting on a lap whenever possible. While this trait can be enduring, it can also be frustrating, especially if his co-dependency develops into separation anxiety. It is highly recommended that this issue be dealt with very early on, such as crate training him and leaving him for short periods of time while he is still a puppy. The sensitive nature of the breed is partly to blame for his propensity toward separation anxiety and it also contributes to occasional submissive urination issues.

Welsh Springers are quite intelligent and take very well to training! Exceptionally willing to please, most Welshies enjoy the attention that comes from training. Some members of the breed learn quickly but aren’t always reliable with doing the command every time it is asked of them. This “optional command” mindset results from poorly enforced training. Because the breed is also opportunistic, many end up training their owners instead! Obedience should be taught in a firm, yet fair manner. It doesn’t need to be harsh but it does need to enforce the rules.

Welsh Springers must be given work to do so that they do not become bored. Unfulfilled Springers are known to become very noisy and destructive if they have nothing else to do. Other less desirable traits of the breed include digging, difficulty with housebreaking and a propensity to shed quite heavily – resulting in tumbleweeds of hair rolling throughout your house! Speaking of messiness, the breed also loves to get dirty which means that all the mud that sticks to his coat (sometimes while digging) will end up all over your carpet and furniture. This usually isn’t the best breed for clean freaks, garden-lovers or those who aren’t able to give the dog plenty to do.

Welshies often make great pets for families with children although the kids must be taught to play nicely with the dog. Because of their high activity level, however, kids and Welshies can feed off each others’ energy resulting in an almost chaotic household. Remember, Springers do tend to “spring” in more ways than one… this breed can be bouncy and may knock down very small children on accident.

When it comes to exercise, besides having access to a fenced yard, Welsh Springers benefit from having 45-60 minutes of focused exercise every day. They thrive on this active time, and will want to go out irregardless of rain or other increment weather. Walks, jogs and ball-playing are some examples of activities that can be done. It should be noted that these are flushing spaniels, which means they have a propensity of weaving back and forth during walks just as they would do in the field. This is an innate ability that many Welshies naturally do, and although they can be taught to heel normally – they enjoy having this time to “quarter the game”.

Despite his quirks, the Welsh Springer overall is a good dog for many novice dog owners, provided they are able to give him the exercise and attention that he needs. His weatherproof (and waterproof) coat makes him able to thrive in any temperature, and he is adaptable to live in many types of households. Some people are even able to keep this breed in an apartment although they do need to provide a lot of extra exercise in the process. Welshies get along well with other dogs as well as other pets, although birds might trigger the hunting instinct in them. Looking for a dog trainer for your Welsh Springer Spaniel? If you live in the Austin, TX area give us a call today!

The Canaan Dog

The Canaan Dog from Israel developed on its own with very little influence from humans. As a whole, this breed was feral for quite a long time before being re-domesticated, so they understandably have more of a primitive temperament than other breeds. This means that they are sensitive to their environments, vigilant in new surroundings and remain ever-alert. Although sensitive, they are hardy and very adaptive to various climates and living situations. This is a breed that is paradoxically both independent yet still capable of performing a large number of jobs with people. Medium-sized, they are extremely agile, athletic and intelligent – yet at the same time can be difficult to live with.

This breed has excellent senses of sight, smell and hearing. They are very resourceful at hunting and manipulating their surroundings. Most Canaani love to dig! (Canaani is the plural form of Canaan). They can dig impressively sized craters big enough to fit their entire bodies, so gardeners must beware! They also have the tendency to roam, so a fence is a must. Despite having many primitive traits, the breed is clean and easy to housebreak.

The Canaan requires little grooming and will even groom himself like a cat! He will need to be brushed a few times a week but the short coat doesn’t tangle or mat like long hair. As a double-coated dog, this breed does shed heavily twice a year. Regular nail trimming and ear cleaning, along with the occasional bath, should be enough to keep the dog neat and tidy. The breed is also very healthy and is easy to keep in general.

Canaan Dogs are only moderately active and do not require a ton of exercise to keep them fit. In fact, many love their nap-times! A quick walk once or twice a day, or a good high-intensity romp in a fenced yard is usually sufficient for most dogs. This said, the breed has a lot of stamina and will enthusiastically accompany their owner on a good hike. Although they don’t need frequent walks, an owner should expect to provide exercise throughout the dog’s life. Canaani are a slow-maturing breed and live for a long time (14-15 years is the norm), so they will appreciate this easy-going exercise throughout their life.

The Canaan is affectionate and loyal to those whom he already knows (although not overly dependent), but doesn’t usually trust strangers. They may or may not trust the “stranger” in the future, even when introduced for the 20th time! This harkens back to the breeds’ primitive roots, where the most cautious tended to survive. When the breed was being re-domesticated, humans took advantage of their high territoriality and use them to guard their properties – a trait that is still ingrained in the breed today. They make excellent watch dogs, although aren’t known for being guard dogs. The breed has a very deep and commanding bark, which they will use whenever there is a change in their environment (read: they can be very vocal).

Canaan Dogs are responsive to training and usually learn quite quickly, although their independent nature makes them trickier than other breeds. They don’t like repetition and they may question “why” on a frequent basis. Once they’ve learned the commands, they may not always perform the given command – it all depends on how much training they’ve had, how much distraction is present, and the dog’s own personality. They require a trainer who understands independent, pariah breeds – and how to motivate them. Many flat-out won’t work for a trainer or owner whom they don’t respect. They are also more likely to succeed in types of training where the activity itself is the reward, such as herding trials or agility. This explains why many Canaani do so well in fast-paced dog sports, while still giving their owners a harder time in the obedience ring.

Canaani must be socialized from an early age so that they don’t become excessively fearful, and that socialization needs to continue several years into the dog’s life. Even with socialization, it is important to note that most Canaan Dogs will become very territorial around the age of two. They may consider not only your home their territory… but also your car and other places that you visit frequently. Some will consider you their property as well, and will become possessive when other people come near. This is why training is so important! The dog should never be allowed to become the dominant member of the family, and training will help to establish you as the leader rather than the dog. The Canaan’s particular temperament “quirks” makes him ill-suited for a novice owner.

Unfortunately, same-sex aggression is not uncommon in the Canaan Dog. The breed may not always get along well other dogs in general, but particularly in same-sex situations. It is not unusual for him to bully other dogs at the dog park, nor is it strange for him to outright attack a strange dog that comes into his yard. It is possible to live with multiple Canaani, but an owner will have better luck introducing opposite-sex dogs, altering one or both dogs, and/or having a large age gap between the animals. The breed also has a very high prey drive and is not safe around small animals (either pets or wildlife). These are traits of the breed’s feral nature, still very much in their genes. Cats may or may not be safe, but are often ok as long as they don’t run from the dog, triggering the prey instinct.

When raised with children, the Canaan gets along well with them, and tends to be very gentle. It is highly recommended that they be socialized to kids, however – just as they need to be extensively socialized with other people, places and things. As Canaani are a “soft dog”, they can be easily become hand-shy or nervous around kids that are too rough so the children must be taught to be fair with the dog. Do you own a Canaan Dog? Are you looking for a dog trainer in Austin or the surrounding areas? Call us today and tell us about your dog!

By Canaan Dog, Hodowla Samorodok Hanaana – Alexandra Baranova, CC BY-SA 3.0,


The Miniature Schnauzer

The Miniature Schnauzer’s huge personality has endeared him to owners all around the world, making him the most popular of the three Schnauzer breeds. These clever dogs know just which buttons to push to make people fall in love with them! Curious, brave and ever-alert, these little terriers are protective of their owners and often show no fear. This is not a timid breed, they are extroverts through and through! In fact, they are so devoted that they will often go to the ends of the earth to show their affection for their owners.

The breed can live happily in both an apartment or a house and they tend to adapt their energy level to their surroundings. If they live on a farm, for example, they will probably find much to do and will spend a lot of time racing around. If living in the city, however, they can become easygoing companions indoors (as long as they are given moderate exercise). They only ask to be near “their people” often! Mini Schnauzers do not do well in kennel environments – either a backyard kennel, a boarding kennel or animal shelter. They rely on being close to familiar people who they know and love – wanting to be as close as possible and for as much of the day as possible!

Mini Schnauzers can be obedient as they are very willing to please. Quite intelligent, the breed also tends to learn new commands quickly. Being a terrier, however… they do have a stubborn streak. Nonetheless, training is a must for this breed – without it, they can become super mischievous and frustrating to live with. Many will find the “chinks in your armor” and try to take advantage of whatever they can! This is why solid rules and obedience training is so important for this breed. When trained, they do great at obedience, agility, earthdog and trick training… among many other things. The difference between living with a trained Mini vs. an un-trained one is huge.

Some Mini Schnauzers do have high prey drives and will try to catch small scampering animals. For this reason, a fence is highly recommended for the yard, lest they chase their prey right out into the street! For the same reason, they should be walked on-leash when out in public if they have not had a formal education in off-leash training. When it comes to other animals – namely, other dogs – this breed tends to get themselves into trouble. Despite their small size, they sometimes pick fights and therefore need to be supervised until it is certain the two dogs are ok around each other. Well-socialized Minis can get along with (and live with) other dogs as long as everyone is easygoing.

The Miniature Schnauzer is very hardy and not easily hurt. This, combined with their playful nature and clown-like sense of humor makes them great companions for children. As long as there is amusement going on, they want to be in the center of it all! It is highly recommended, however, that the dog is raised with kids from the time they are a young puppy, and supervision is absolutely necessary whenever with a young child.

Miniature Schnauzers can be vocal and therefore make great watchdogs. For those who prefer their dogs to be always silent… this is probably not the breed for you, especially considering that most Minis have very piercing barks! Suspicious of strangers, these terriers will need the ok from their owners before they trust someone entering their house. While they can’t do too much damage to a potential threat… they are nonetheless very protective and will make an intruder think twice before breaking in.

Mini Schnauzers don’t shed, and therefore can work out great as pets for allergic people (provided the people are allergic to dog dander and not dog saliva). Their wiry double coat protects them in all climates and environments, but must be given regular grooming. This is a breed that requires a fair amount of care in order for the dog to look and feel his best. Because he doesn’t shed… he is counting on you to get the dead hair out of his coat! The coat needs to be brushed a couple of times a week, especially the beard and hair on the legs. The dog also will need regular trimming or stripping in order to have the signature “Miniature Schnauzer look”. Most owners choose to have their dog professionally groomed every 6 weeks. Show dogs will need even more work.

As with most terrier breeds, the Mini Schnauzer loves to dig almost as much as he loves catching and killing rodents! Killing vermin on the farm was this breed’s primary occupation. As such, finding dead mice on the porch is one possible downfall to owning a Schnauzer, as well as finding craters (large and small) in the garden. Owners of pocket pets such as hamsters or birds may also find it difficult to own this breed, as the dog will have no problem devouring it! Here at The Academic Hound, we have experience with Miniature Schnauzers. If you live in Travis or Hays county, TX and are looking for a dog trainer, give us a call!

The Gordon Setter

The Gordon Setter has been touted as having “beauty, brains and birdsense”. Indeed, this confident hunting dog has it all! He is a great athletic companion – comfortable at home or out in the field. He is exceedingly loyal to his family, although more reserved with strangers. He is also very intelligent – almost human-like at times. Finally, he has a lot of energy crammed into a beautiful package and simply needs an outlet to expend it! Of the four setter breeds, the Gordon is the largest and most muscular.

Gordons are a very adaptable breed and can do well in many different situations… provided their basic needs are met, including being given affection. One of those needs is access to a large fenced yard in which to run and play. A backyard is ideal, so apartment-dwellers may have a harder time providing this. Because of their hunting instincts, Gordon Setters tend to roam – hence the important of a fence. The breed also needs to be walked daily, in addition to their yard time. They are very active and require a lot of exercise, although generally easygoing in the house. One situation that Gordons don’t tend to adapt well to… being a kennel dog. These dogs thrive on being with their owners and will deteriorate if kept separated from people all of the time (they may also become destructive).

The Gordon Setter is sweet and affectionate to his family and tends to “talk” quite a bit at home. The breed has a wide range of vocal noises that they will use to communicate everything from “I want something” to “I’m happy”. In addition to the mumbling and talking – they do also bark like “regular dogs”. Some do this on a regular basis, particularly if they are bored. The breed is known to suffer from separation anxiety and may bark and howl if left alone for long periods of time (so make sure they are getting enough attention and exercise). On the up-side, because they are so vocal they make excellent watch dogs!

Gordon Setters are usually very gentle with children, particularly when they are introduced to them from the time they are puppies. Aggression toward children is very rare, and in fact they tolerate harsh treatment better than many breeds. This does NOT mean they should be matched up with rowdy kids! It means that an owner must supervise dog-kid time to make sure the dog is treated fairly. Gordons also tend to be protective of young children and will do their best to keep them safe. While some Gordon Setters get along ok with other dogs, others can exhibit aggressiveness. Most Gordons do better with dogs that they were raised with and already know, versus a strange dog. Cats can also go either way – some Gordon Setters are fine with cats while others are unsafe around them (usually those members with extra high prey drives).

As with most of the longer-haired breeds, Gordons do require regular grooming upkeep. Their thick, yet silky coat needs to be brushed once or twice a week to prevent mats from forming. They may also require a bit of scissoring and clipping to get them to look like the dogs in the show rings! Nails and ears must be regularly checked and kept up with as well. Keep in mind that this breed does shed quite a lot!

Gordons respond very well to training and their intelligence is rarely questioned. They can, however, be sensitive and need to be trained without harsh methods. Don’t mistake firmness for harshness – the two are very different! Wishy-washy training with no rules or consequences will often lead to a dog that exhibits dominant behaviors and stubbornness. Of all of the setters, Gordons are known for being more independent and more prone to dominance. Therefore, being firm, yet fair is a good rule of thumb. Since Gordon Setters love to play, making training into a game can be a great way to introduce new commands and keep old commands exciting and fun!

Gordon Setters take a little longer to mature than some other breeds and often retain puppy characteristics for quite a while. This also means that they are extra active when young and it may take several years before they are fully calm in the house. The good news is that when the dog matures, he will become serene and composed in the house (as long as he is given enough exercise – remember that this is a gun dog bred for hunting all day!). If you have a Gordon Setter and are looking for a dog trainer in the Austin, TX area, call us today!

By Hans-Jörg Hellwig – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,