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,

The Irish Terrier

The Irish Terrier is one of the lesser-known breeds of the terrier group, and his fanciers know him as their best-kept-secret. He has been referred to as “perhaps the finest dog on Earth.” Once a person owns an Irish, they rarely want to live without one again! This merry breed is versatile, loyal and hardworking – also possessing a certain grace and politeness when out in public. Their size makes them easy to transport, as well as take up little space in the house – although their personality is huge and their bodies are very hardy.  Athletic, these are great swimming dogs! They also have been used by some as gun dogs (they aren’t gun-shy and many have “soft mouths” for retrieval), as rodent exterminators and in a vast array of other dog sports and activities.

Loyal and affectionate to his family (including children), the Irish Terrier will even exercise his duty as guard dog if it become necessary. Don’t let his size fool you, this dog has a ton of attitude and won’t back down if he feels his owner is in danger! In fact, members of this breed were used during World War 1 as war dogs, both as sentries and guards. They were also used to transfer messages back and forth across the trenches – so bravery runs in their veins! Aside from actual danger, the Irish may also take it upon himself to defend the house from postal workers, delivery men and your friends – this is a territorial breed.

Scrappy is one term used to describe the Irish Terrier’s temperament when it comes to other dogs. While the Irish may or may not start a fight, this breed will never back down once confronted. When it comes to fighting (whether canine or other), these dogs will never take their own safety into account and may rush into situations that might even be dangerous. When hurt, they aren’t apt to show they are in pain. It is important for owners of this breed to never allow them to get in this type of dangerous circumstance.

This is a very healthy breed in general and most Irish Terriers do not suffer from hereditary problems. This said, no breed (or mix) is 100% free of health issues, nor is any dog guaranteed not to have an emergency accident. There is a very rare condition in the breed called Cystinuria which can occur, but very few dogs inherit this disease. Prospective owners should know that their chances of spending a lot of money at the vet are lower with an Irish, but flukes do occur. But for those wanting a breed with a statistically low chance of congenital disease, the Irish Terrier is a good choice.

The Irish Terrier is intelligent, although when it comes to training he can be stubborn! This goes back to his roots as a farm dog, bred to work his jobs independently of humans. A good trainer will find what motivates the dog and use it to their advantage. As most Irish are food motivated, treats often help! Once the dog begins to understand the rules of the game, he may (or may not) decide he really enjoys pleasing his owner. Even Irish Terriers that enjoy obedience suffer from occasional “selective memory”. It’s important to note that despite their terrier demeanor, this breed has a sensitive side and needs to be treated fairly.

Irish Terriers are always solid red in color, although the shade may be anywhere from light wheaten to radiantly deep red. Their wiry coats (hypoallergenic to some people, not to others) shed very little and require only occasional brushing, and even less frequent bathing. Like most wire-haired terriers, however, they will need to be hand-stripped a couple of times a year in order to keep the correct texture of coat. This is a method that can be learned (if the owner is so inclined), or the dog can be taken to a groomer to have it done. Note, however, that not every groomer knows how to do this technique and may naively just want to shave the dog. This is a sign to go elsewhere! The texture of the coat protects the dog from brambles and other types of terrain, in addition to it being a key feature of the breed. Shaving will ruin this texture.

The activity level of the Irish is moderate. They need regular exercise but – as long as it is provided to them, they will not be hyperactive in the house. Many Irish Terriers love to romp and play in a safely fenced backyard, although taking them out for consistent walks is best. It should be noted that terriers like to dig and the Irish is no exception! These “red daredevils” will dig holes all over the yard, and may also try to dig under the fence to crawl out. Some dogs need to be supervised to be certain they can’t escape (either by digging under or crawling over). Invisible fencing is not recommended for this breed.

Most Irish Terriers don’t mind loud noises or active households and some even seem to revel in “a bit of chaos”. This might be because of their mischievous side – they can be excellent food thieves and have an easier time stealing when everyone is already distracted! The breed also excels at grabbing objects with their paws… and then running off with the prize. Looking for a dog trainer for your Irish Terrier? If you live in Austin or the surrounding areas, give us a call today!

The Spanish Water Dog

The Spanish Water Dog was bred to be a jack-of-all trades and he remains that way today. His previous jobs in Spain included herding stock, assisting fishermen and possibly doing a little work as a hunting dog. As might be assumed from their name, they love the water and make excellent competitors in canine water sports. This active dog needs to be owned by people who can give them plenty of activities and exercise. Hard working and hardy, they are up for rugged hikes, intensive swimming sessions, and other outdoor activities. They will need a job in order to channel both their mental as well as their physical energy. This activity level makes them less suitable for first-time owners. When properly exercised, however, they do have an off-switch and will spend a quiet evening watching tv with the family. They are capable of living in an apartment, but only with the right owner and a whole lot of exercise!

Spanish Water Dogs have a protective side and feel a responsibility to watch over their families. They’ll never be aggressive for no reason but will stand up if danger arises or if someone breaks onto the property. In everyday circumstances, however, they are aloof to strangers while very affectionate to their owners. While many have a “whatever” attitude about meeting new people, they want to be wherever their owners are in true “velcro dog” fashion. This is a very loyal and faithful breed. Some Spanish Water Dogs enjoy the company of women over men but this is a generalization. As a sensitive breed, they do better in homes without lots of sudden sounds and movement.

The Spanish Water Dog was originally bred to work outside on the farm and didn’t start commonly living as a house dog until the 1980’s. Because of this, Spanish Water Dogs are very primitive and therefore act a little different from some other breeds. Besides being extra-sensitive in general, members of the breed can have a more intense second fear period. This period of time (usually between 9-15 months of age) is something that all dogs go through, where they are more susceptible to becoming psychologically scarred by new situations. Exposure to a scary thing while in this period can lead to a dog that has a permanent psychological damage which may then lead to them becoming excessively fearful or even a fear-biter. Socialization is the key to avoiding this – starting from the time they are very young. They need to be exposed to new things, and if they begin to show fear – to be worked through that fear.

While generally good with children, Spanish Water Dogs aren’t recommended for families with very young kids. They have a strong herding instinct and may try to herd children, which can cause unintended injury to those that are very small. Some may even take it upon themselves to discipline a running child by using a quick nip – a situation that is obviously less-than-ideal! Older kids who can handle themselves in this situation make a much better match. Their quirky temperament will definitely provide enjoyment to both children and adults alike! The Spanish Water Dog will get along with other dogs but has a definite preference for his own housemates. He may be quarrelsome with strange dogs, especially if they are pushy.

This breed’s natural tendency to herd also makes them prone to car chasing. Not only does this mean that obedience training is necessary, but also means that all members of the family must remember to keep the front door closed. If so inclined, the Spanish Water Dog can be a master door-dasher! In the yard, a high fence is required by many breeders. This breed is quite adept at jumping, as well as climbing over fencing so containment should be regularly checked for security.

The Spanish Water Dog is very intelligent and takes well to training although he can be prone to stubbornness. Very strong-willed and occasionally manipulative, he needs consistent rules or else he will will make up his own. Some of them are naturally dominant and will try to take on the leadership position. It goes without saying that this is unhealthy for both human and dog! Keep the training fun and fair, but also firm! When done right, obedience training will awaken the dog’s natural desire to please. When done wrong, he will hold a grudge and possibly just flat-out refuse to work. A dog that is trained with excessive force might become reactive. Seek out a trainer who knows how to bring out the best in the dog. When trained, this is a very obedient and hard-working breed with a great memory.

The coat of the Spanish Water Dog is one of his key features. Naturally curly, the breed is capable of growing cords if it is allowed to grow out. Only a handful of breeds have this naturally cording coat, which will require more work upfront but less grooming when the dog gets older. In fact, brushing is not required at all for this breed! Once a year, the coat is actually sheared like a sheep. Bathing needs only be done when the coat gets dirty and the dog should be left to air dry afterward so that the cords will retain their shape. The coat is also non-shedding, which makes him a good option for those who don’t like hair tumbleweeds blowing throughout the house! This also means that he is low-dander and less likely to cause allergic reactions. Do you own a Spanish Water Dog? Are you looking for a dog trainer in Travis or Hays county, TX? Call us today and tell us about your dog!

The Cane Corso

The Cane Corso is a powerful Italian molosser, originally bred to be a multi-purpose farm dog with an emphasis on guard duties. Large and muscular, this breed is just as strong as he looks. Furthermore, the Corso has a serious “no-nonsense” personality which requires an owner who knows what they are doing. It must be stressed that this dog is not for everyone, and certainly not for someone who wants to buy a dog to make themselves look tough! When raised right, he is loyal and dedicated to his owners but will retain suspicion with strangers. In the right hands, he makes an excellent protection dog. In the wrong hands, he can quickly become a liability.

Because the Corso is naturally protective, he must be socialized very extensively while young – exposing him to as many people, places and animals as possible. This will ensure that the dog will not be fearful or aggressive toward new things, as well as help the development of a stable personality. As one of the more primitive breeds of guard dog, they are very aware and sensitive to their surroundings. As the dog grows older, he will become more and more aloof with strangers (as compared to fearful). By their teenage stage, many will show protective traits at home (their territory) and when out and about with their family. Corsi (the plural of Corso is Corsi) tend to be indifferent to strange dogs unless that other dog comes onto their territory.

Cane Corsi, in general, get along very well with kids. As a sensitive breed, however, they should never be subjected to children that tease them. If the teasing goes on for a long enough time period, there is a possibility that they will eventually get fed up and respond defensively. All interactions should be supervised to ensure that everyone is playing nicely (both child and dog). The Corso does have a prey drive and might try to chase and grab a smaller child in play, and this should never be allowed. When it comes to living with other dogs, there is a variability in the breed. Many do not do well living with another member of the same sex so an opposite-sex pair has a much better chance of working out.

As a working breed, the Corso must have a job in order to stay mentally sound. There are a number of different jobs that can be chosen for the dog, such as pulling a cart, tracking and/or protection sports – something for the dog to occupy both his body and mind. Just dropping the dog off at doggie daycare will not cut it, the key word is “work”! Dogs that are not given this important necessity will get bored and become destructive. Massive hole digging, eating up furniture, and the dangerous past-time of fence fighting with neighboring dogs are common ways in which Corsi will vent their frustration. Some will become unruly barkers which can be problematic for people with neighbors.

Many jobs involve some amount of training – either to teach the dog how to do the job, or to direct the dog while on the job. Whether or not their chosen job requires special training, basic obedience should always be taught as well. While all dogs need training, powerful breeds with assertive temperaments need it the most (like the Cane Corso). Along with formal obedience training and job-specific training, a set of household rules must be enforced at all times, lest the dog become the dominant member of the household. Luckily, most Corsi love to please their owners and take very well to obedience. The breed has a level head and calm demeanor when learning new things. Because they are very intelligent, it is recommended to start the training while they are still young and easier to physically manage. Corsi are also known for having great attention span, as well as an amazing ability to retain information for long periods of time.

Corsi were bred to work in the company of people and therefore make terrible outside-only dogs. They can be left alone for reasonable amounts of time but should never be left by themselves for 10 hours stretches of time on a regular basis. The breed has been known to develop the frustrating condition of separation anxiety. They are happiest when spending time with their owners, and will calmly stay by their human’s side for hours at a time. This is not a breed that is overly demonstrative of their affection, instead preferring to show their loyalty quietly and calmly. The Cane Corso has, in fact, a very sensitive soul. Most are empathetic to their owners’ emotions and will share in the moods of “their person”.

Despite their short coat, the Corso does shed moderately. This is because the coat is double, rather than single – meaning that the undercoat will come out in chunks when it gets loose. This is only a minor inconvenience for most, and usually off-set by the fact that grooming in general is very easy. Dogs that are brushed regularly (1-3 times a week) will not shed as much because the brush will pull the hair out rather than it falling out on its own.

Corsi need daily exercise to stay fit, with many breeders recommending an average of two miles a day. Walking or jogging (even bicycling) is often adequate, but other forms of exercise are great as well! Some members of the Mastiff family require much less of a workout than this breed, making the Corso a bigger time commitment than many of his cousins. This athletic canine, while fairly active outdoors, is much calmer inside the house however.

Being a large dog, the Corso does tend to eat a lot. A potential owner must consider the cost of owning a large breed, including bigger food bills and bigger vet bills. Hip dysplasia in particular is known to affect the breed, which will involve a costly procedure to fix. A smart owner will buy a puppy from parents who have been cleared of hip dysplasia themselves, in order to cut down the chances of the puppy inheriting it. Here at The Academic Hound, we have experience with the Cane Corso. If you live in the Austin, TX area and are looking for a dog trainer, give us a call!

By Kumarrrr – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The Bull Terrier

The Bull Terrier is, above all, a clown! Many have described his playful personality as that of a tireless entertainer, or even like a “toddler in a dog suit”. Potential owners – take note! A good match for the Bull Terrier is an owner who is patient and has enough energy to manage this active bull-and-terrier breed. Although he is loyal, he is also mischievous and will keep you on your toes! Despite his stocky and somewhat intimidating appearance, he is exceptionally friendly to all.

The Bull Terrier usually gets along with children although supervision is often required. Since this medium-sized breed is stout and muscular, while also possessing high energy, it is easy for them to topple small children over while playing. This is true even if they receive a lot of exercise (which they need daily). It can be difficult to wear out a Bull Terrier, which means they simply bounce around too much to be safe unsupervised with smaller kids. Many people are surprised at just how athletic and lively these dogs are! It is not abnormal for them to spring over the back of the couch in a single bound from the floor! Older Bull Terriers will eventually settle down somewhat, but it may take many years.

If raised with enough mental and physical stimulation, Bull Terriers aren’t generally a noisy breed. They will bark if necessary, such as if someone comes to the door, but won’t otherwise raise a ruckus. Most dogs that do bark constantly are usually doing so because they are bored and are not being given enough exercise. Under-exercised Bull Terriers can develop all sorts of neurotic behaviors – not only barking, but destructive chewing and even OCD traits. It should be noted that although Bull Terriers can make good watch dogs (alarm barkers), they usually aren’t guard dog material and would prefer to greet any would-be intruders!

As with many related breeds, unfortunately the Bull Terrier doesn’t always get along with other dogs. Full of fire and tenacity, a Bull Terrier won’t always start a fight but if provoked, they won’t back away either. Many owners find it very hard to house two males together, especially if both are un-altered. Early socialization from puppyhood could lessen the chances of dog-to-dog aggression, but it is never a sure thing with this breed. Cats and other small animals are equally at risk. Bull Terriers usually do best as only pets. Bull Terrier Austin

Bull Terriers are very easy to groom and require little care, although they do shed seasonally. Their smooth coat only needs to be brushed once or twice a week, and baths given only when they get dirty. Once a month is usually the most frequent a Bull Terrier will need to be bathed, and only then if they tend to roll in dirt! They do better in warm climates, but will gladly take a walk in cold weather if provided with a coat!

The Bull Terrier can tend to be stubborn when it comes to training. Becoming “suddenly deaf” when given a command is a tactic used by many members of the breed. This is not to say that Bull Terriers aren’t intelligent – they are actually incredibly innovative and creative! They would just rather make the rules themselves than their owners. This is the reason why obedience is an absolute must for this powerful breed! Firm handling, combined with fairness and a good degree of positive reinforcement is key. It also makes sense to start the training while they are still young – right along with housebreaking (which can also be difficult with these guys).

When outside, it is a good idea to supervise the Bull Terrier if the fence isn’t very secure. The breed is known for digging out and roaming the neighborhood, which can be very dangerous. Securing the bottom of the fence is another alternative. A medium-high prey drive combined with a strong will means that they are also best kept on leash unless in a securely fenced area. Because the breed has been unfairly banned in some parts of the world, it is of utmost importance that each individual Bull Terrier be an ambassador. Owners face extra responsibility to make sure their dog is well-behaved and never allowed to wander. This will set a good example and begin to break the prejudices that exist.

As long as they are exercised frequently, the Bull Terrier can live happily in an apartment. A best-case apartment scenario ideally involves an owner that works from home (Bull Terriers hate to be alone), who walks the dog on a leash several times a day and gives the dog plenty of attention and regular training. This isn’t a breed to be treated like a piece of furniture – they take a lot of work! This is also why they aren’t normally the best match for a first-time dog owner. Crate training is very important with the Bull Terrier. Clever and curious, they can and will get into everything while you are gone (at least while they are young). Many a Bull Terrier has eaten something they shouldn’t have and had to be rushed to the ER in order to remove it! Owning a Bull Terrier can be akin to having a toddler – they must be supervised or crated! If you have a Bull Terrier and are looking for a dog trainer in Austin or the surrounding areas, call us today!

The Collie

The Collie is a well-known herding breed whose his intelligence has long been portrayed in television and other media. Loyal beyond compare to his owners, he is sensitive to the emotions of those around him. This beautiful breed comes in two different coat varieties – longhaired (which is called rough) and short-haired (called smooth). However, all Collies should be friendly and people-oriented. One would be hard-pressed to find a more devoted, loyal breed.

Collies thrive in family settings because there are multiple people for them to enjoy! The breed makes a great companion for children and will spend countless hours watching over them. Plus they are always up for a great game! With older and more sedentary people, they adapt well to the couch potato life (as long as their exercise needs are met). They just want to be where the people are, whether it be with their own family or meeting new human friends! As with other social breeds, they should never be outdoor-only dogs. A Collie without enough human contact will get bored, lonely and ultimately destructive.

Potential owners should be aware that this breed does tend to bark… a lot. This means that they can make excellent watch dogs, but will also bark for every other reason as well, even just to hear themselves speak! Giving the Collie a job to do will help reduce the dog from barking out of boredom, but boredom is only one of the causes. A potential owner should get a Collie knowing that it will not be a quiet dog.

The Collie is known for being easy to train – from housebreaking on up to advanced obedience. This, combined with their easygoing personalities, make them ideal dogs for novice owners. They also enjoy participating in many varied tasks and dog sports. Because of their sensitive nature, they do not learn well when trained with excessive harshness or force. A little bit of stubbornness is seen in some dogs, but is usually easy to work through as long as the training is firm yet fair.

Collies need regular coat care, but the work isn’t too difficult if owners keep on a schedule. Roughs need to be brushed out once or twice a week while smooths may require less brushing as long as they aren’t actively blowing coat. Both varieties do shed continuously, and the shedding is extra bad once or twice a year. Bathing can be done once or twice a month if needed, although many Collies keep themselves clean (as much as they are able), and don’t have much of a “doggy odor”.

While generally healthy and hardy, Collies are known to be sensitive to various drugs including ivermectin, so it is vital that the owner and vet be informed about which drugs (including heartworm medication) the dog is allowed to take. It should also be noted that they are prone to several eye diseases (CEA and PRA) and a smart puppy buyer should only obtain a Collie from a reputable breeder who does health checks, including eye checks. Buying from a pet shop or unreputable breeder not only puts the dog at risk for health issues, but also temperament issues.

Most Collies get along great with other dogs and household pets, but may try to herd them. Nipping at the heels of another dog may cause frustration, just as it might if he nips the heels of a toddler. Some supervision may be required at first to make sure the Collie plays nicely. Aside from that, however, the breed is extremely gentle even with the smallest of pets. Many will watch over and protect tiny kittens or even chicks! The “Lassie” portrayal of the Collie is not too far from the truth, in that they are a protective and nurturing breed by nature. Just remember that, like any dog, they must be given socialization and basic training to allow them to reach this potential!

Bred to work all day, the Collie needs regular daily exercise. Unlike many of his herding cousins, however, a moderate amount is usually sufficient to ensure that he will be a calm house companion. The breed is not normally recommended for apartment living although it can be done if the owner increases the exercise that the dog receives. Looking for a dog trainer for your Collie? If you live in Travis or Hays county, TX give us a call today!

By Flickr user cjewell – Flickr here, CC BY-SA 2.0,

The Boston Terrier

The Boston Terrier is an American breed well-known for being a devoted companion to people of all ages. They fit in with large families just as well as with single senior citizens. They are prized for their versatility and adaptability – up for just about any challenge but equally able to fill the role of playful companion. One big exception however… they don’t do well with infrequent human contact. Bostons need time and attention and should never just be left at home by themselves all day, every day. Nor are they outside-only dogs as they can’t handle temperature extremes of either hot or cold.

It is a mixture of their amiable temperament and their distinctive coat pattern reminiscent of a tuxedo that has earned them their nickname of “American gentleman”. It should be noted that black & white, brindle & white, and seal & white are the only actual recognized colors of the Boston Terrier, despite less-than-reputable breeders selling puppies in a rainbow of colorations. While a few breeders of off-colors care about temperament and health, many others only care about selling a rare version of the Boston and making money. Because this breed is popular (and therefore in the hands of many disreputable breeders), it is essential that a puppy buyer thoroughly research the breeder and make sure that all breeding dogs are health tested. Rare colors can be a possible red flag.

Bostons are smart and learn very quickly. This is good because obedience training is necessary to keep them from developing behavior problems. It normally takes only a little bit of training and a consistent enforcing of the rules for these little tuxedo-clad dogs to become well-behaved. This is one of the reasons why the breed makes a great choice for novice owners! This isn’t to say that they can’t be occasionally stubborn… they can, but a good trainer will work the dog through the stubbornness.

The Boston Terrier is an active little guy and will keep you laughing as he races around the house! Under-excercised or under-trained dogs might develop bad behaviors such as jumping up or possibly even nipping out of excitement. These behaviors usually come out because they aren’t being stimulated enough physically or mentally. It is beneficial to remember that, although they are small, they still need training and excercise just like bigger dogs! With a moderate amount of exercise, they shouldn’t be obnoxiously active. The Boston is a good choice for apartment-dwellers as long as he is given daily exercise. He doesn’t tend to annoy close neighbors either as he is generally a quiet dog. 

Bostons are affectionate and loyal, and make great lap dogs. Some people have even labeled this breed as one of the best companion dogs of all time! Their love of play and often clown-like nature have made people all over the world fall in love with their unique temperament. Rarely skittish or aggressive, they are brave yet still friendly. Most tend to be reliable overall. Combine this with the fact that they are easy to care for, shed very little, and are simple to transport yet very athletic, and it is easy to see why owners of Bostons are so infatuated with them!

Despite their ancestors being used as fighting dogs, Bostons today tend to get along very well with other dogs. Over a hundred years of breeding has transformed their formerly ornery distaste for other dogs into something else entirely! Occasionally, some males will have issues with other dogs coming onto their properties so proper introductions in a neutral environment will be required. The breed also gets along great with cats and other pets.

Like many of the bully-type breeds, Bostons can be prone to flatulence, snoring and drooling. They can also be prone to overeating – and although they should naturally be stocky and well-muscled, they should never be fat. Food should be given at mealtimes throughout the day rather than keeping a constantly filled bowl down all the time. Most owners consider these shortcomings a small price to pay for a great companion dog that will delight for years to come! Here at The Academic Hound, we have experience with Boston Terriers. If you live in the Austin, TX area and are looking for a dog trainer, give us a call!

The Bergamasco

One of the most distinguishing features of the Bergamasco is their unique coat, but the breed is so much more than just looks! These sheepdogs are highly intelligent and have gentle temperaments. They were bred to work with the shepherd when necessary, but were often counted on to work independently as well. They were required to analyze the ever-changing situations of their environment and make decisions about how to best keep track of the flock. As such, they make excellent companions who value work and pleasing their owners, but who are also able to think on their own. Living with a Bergamasco can be akin to living with another human!

When it comes to training, Bergamascos are attentive and want to learn. A trainer can utilize their playful nature to construct training games, but the breed’s strong work ethic means that they aren’t difficult to motivate. One must always keep in mind that this problem-solving breed might try to “think outside the box” when it comes to working – this is a sign of his intelligence. That said, while he may think he is making an excellent decision, it might not always be the one you want him to make! For a person considering purchasing a Bergamasco puppy, this is an important consideration to make. They prefer to work with you in a partnership, rather than in a subordinate position.

Bergamascos are ever-alert and make trusted guardians. They tend to bond very closely to their families so their strong protective instincts mean that they want to watch over those whom they love. This said, they can be cautious but should never be needlessly aggressive. Most Bergamascos have sound judgement when it comes to distinguishing friend from foe. They spend much of their time observing their surroundings rather than reacting in a knee-jerk manner. A balanced temperament is an expected feature of this breed even though they are still highly territorial.

Despite his long, complicated-looking coat, the Bergamasco does not shed and is not difficult to groom. In fact, this is one of the few breeds that does not need to be brushed at all! Most of the work is actually accomplished when the dog is still young. Young puppies sport a soft, puffy coat that later begins to change as the dog ages. Some of the new coat that grows in is coarse, and other pieces of the coat have a texture not unlike wool! When the dog is about a year old, the owner must help form these 3 different coat textures into mats (called flocks) – a process that will take a few hours or so. These flocks will remain for the life of the dog (although they will need occasional inspection to ensure the individual pieces stay separated). They form a protective “barrier” which will keep the dog safe from the elements as well as ticks, insect bites, and even dog bites! This coat protected the dog while working in the Italian Alps!

Because it takes such a long time to dry, these dogs aren’t normally bathed any more than 1-3 times a year. Unlike most dogs with mats, Bergamascos do not mat to the skin and therefore aren’t experiencing the painful pinching sensation that usually comes with tangled hair. Yes – in most breeds, mats are uncomfortable and unfair to the dog but the Bergamasco’s characteristic flocks are an entirely different story. A Bergamasco should, in fact, never be shaved! They use their unique flocks to regulate their body temperature, which keeps them cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Because the mats don’t go all the way to the skin, air can circulate easily to their bodies.

This Italian breed is very healthy overall and not particularly prone to health issues – although health problems can crop up in any dog, purebred or mixed breed. Regular exercise is one of the components needed to keep a Bergamasco healthy – they do require moderate exercise each day. Walking or hiking are good outlets for his energy, as well as training him in dog sports such as obedience, agility or rally. Giving him access to herding is one of the greatest ways to keep both his mind and body in top shape! These active dogs need a fair bit of space to run around in and don’t usually fit well into apartment situations.

The Bergamasco is a patient breed that gets along exceedingly well with children. Most exhibit good self-control even when being taunted, which is why it is important to never put them in a position to be teased in the first place – it simply isn’t fair to the dog. The breed is affectionate, empathetic and sensitive to humans of all ages, making them loyal and trustworthy companions. This also makes them ideal therapy dogs. Bergamascos tend to get along well with other animals as long as they are raised with them from puppyhood. Do you own a Bergamasco? Are you looking for a dog trainer in Austin or the surrounding areas? Call us today and tell us about your dog!

By Luigi Guidobono Cavalchini (Josephine06) – Own work, CC BY 3.0,

The Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu is a very old hunting breed from Japan. In order to hunt, they needed to be smart yet independent and able to make their own decisions. These traits can make them stubborn, and as such they are not recommended for first-time dog owners. Novice owners often find that they have gotten in over their heads when they realize that their Shiba is a master escape-artist and excellent manipulator. Owners of this breed should have lots of patience, as well as previous experience with putting rules and boundaries into place. They also realize that these are not lap dogs, nor are they push-button obedience dogs – they are independent, mischievous spitz dogs with hunting in their blood.

With owners that know what they are doing, Shibas can make fine companion dogs and even do well in families (with children over toddler age). They are sturdy indoor/outdoor dogs and don’t tend to get hurt easily. As such they love to race around the yard and go on excursions with the rest of the family. These lively, fun-loving dogs also boast long life spans. Regular exercise is important to make sure they stay fit and healthy – despite thier small size, Shibas make great jogging companions. Just keep in mind that this little spitz breed must always be on leash or in a safely fenced area when exercising.

The Shiba Inu is a proud dog, and many act as though they are superior to other dogs – or even their owners! Males in particular have a certain macho characteristic to them. The breed is very bold and courageous but should never be outright aggressive. This said, under-trained Shibas can develop possessiveness issues so it is important to work with them while they are young and get them used to having “their stuff” taken away and given back. When raised well, adult Shibas are gentle and careful in their movements as though they have already planned out each move. They tend to do just fine left at home when their owners go to work. Puppies, on the other hand, are little fireballs of destructive energy! Crate training is absolutely recommended.

Many Shibas have a hard time “playing nice” with other dogs, and dog-to-dog aggression is unfortunately a common issue. This is particularly true with multiple intact males. In some litters of young puppies, one can even pick out which pups are less about play and more about starting fights! Knowing the breeding behind the lines can help an owner choose a puppy who will be more likely to get along with other dogs, and early socialization can help as well – although it will always be a bit of a gamble. Some Shibas also find it a challenge to live with cats, as the desire to chase them can be too enticing!

No question – obedience training is a must for the Shiba. Without any structure, the dog will assume role as house leader. Training can be difficult for some owners, who find that the Shiba doesn’t take to training like other dogs. Sometimes there are power struggles and outright defiance from the dog! Training this breed has been compared to that of training a teenager, complete with the dog feigning “selective hearing”. For most Shibas, it is important to make the training fun and enjoyable while still maintaining the rules of the game. On the bright side – although obedience training can be difficult, most take very naturally to being housebroken!

This double coated breed does shed – often more than most people expect for a small dog. Brushing him out a couple times a week will help the shedding situation somewhat, as you will be pulling the dead coat out rather than waiting for it to come out on its own… although that won’t stop all shedding. The good news about the coat is that it doesn’t smell and tends to stay pretty clean. Most Shibas don’t like to be dirty and will wash themselves like cats! It should be noted that this isn’t the only catlike quality that Shibas possess – the breed has been compared to cats on more than one occasion. They love to take naps, bat at flying insects with their paws, and some even make a sound not unlike a purr!

While the Shiba Inu doesn’t often bark, they are able to vocalize in what has been termed the “Shiba scream”. They will usually do this when they are displeased, and although it may sound as though they are being tortured, it is usually just a tactic to get their way. It often works, as the sound is quite loud and startling – but owners that give in to it are setting themselves up for further manipulation from these cunning little dogs! Looking for a dog trainer for your Shiba Inu? If you live in Travis or Hays county, TX, give us a call today!

The Bluetick Coonhound

The Bluetick Coonhound is a fairly recent addition to the AKC, although this American breed has been around since the 1940’s. Like other coonhounds, the Bluetick is an active dog and is more commonly owned for hunting purposes than as a pet. With the right owners, however, they can be loyal and devoted companions as long as the owners realize that these are stubborn and determined animals. If not given outlets for thier strong hunting drive they can be frustrating to live with. For owners that aren’t interested in hunting, activities such as nose work and tracking can be excellent alternatives!

Blueticks require extensive regular exercise, and enjoy racing and frolicking outside with their families! They require room to do this, and don’t tend to thrive in apartment settings. When tired out, most appreciate going inside to receive attention and affection. Many Blueticks thrive off of attention in general – whether being given by adults or children. In fact, they are capable of making very good family dogs! When given enough exercise, the breed is boisterous outside but mellow inside.

Although devilishly smart (when they feel like it), the breed is headstrong and can be pushy if they do not feel like their owner is a good pack leader. Obedience training is absolutely necessary to nip this behavior in the bud! Because obedience training can be a learning curve for most people, they do not make good pets for first-time dog owners. Blueticks are often noted for being difficult to train, and almost impossible to off-leash train. It is, in fact, possible to train this breed off-leash although the owners must put a lot of work into doing so! Even the most highly trained Blueticks still require fenced yards to keep them from wandering off the property.

The Bluetick Coonhound has a very distinctive voice which he will use freely – especially if he catches wind of a racoon! This baying (like a musical howl) is quite loud and can be irritating to neighbors, although he tends to be quiet inside the house if trained while young. His hunting instincts also make him apt to chase after small (and occasionally even large) animals. Once he has caught the scent, he will be on the hunt whether you want him to or not. He does not normally do well in households with cats or small pets. Bluetick Coonhound Austin

As a pack dog, the Bluetick Coonhound doesn’t like to be alone. He prefers to have his owner in his sights at all times, whether that be sleeping at the foot of the bed or traveling in the car when his owner takes a trip. Many do not like to be left at home by themselves while the owner goes to work. There is a solution to this problem however – Blueticks have an easier time with a canine companion if they are going to be left home alone for long periods of time. If keeping a pack of several coonhounds together… just remember to keep food and trash put away. These dogs have excellent noses and are very food-driven!

For the most part, grooming a Bluetick is a breeze. Their short smooth coat requires very little upkeep – just the occasional brush out and bath. The coat sheds only very minimally. Nails and teeth need to be kept up with, of course. However it is actually the ears that need the most attention – long droopy ears can be prone to infection if not examined and cleaned on a regular basis. All-in-all, however, the breed is very hardy and resilient. A weekly ear cleaning will usually ensure that the dog will not have ear issues. These dogs are generally healthy overall and don’t tend to require expensive visits to the vet, although hip dysplasia is known to occur in some lines.

Blueticks are sensitive dogs and can be frightened of loud sounds such as thunderstorms. Their timid nature does not make them well-suited as guard dogs, and in fact they do not tend to be territorial at all anyway. Many are unsure when meeting strangers and are sometimes downright shy. Early socialization from puppyhood is the best way to keep a Bluetick Coonhound from becoming a scaredy-cat. Do you own a Bluetick Coonhound? Are you looking for a dog trainer in the Austin, TX area? Call us today and tell us about your dog!