Beings of Service

 1-2015 Monaco Paws KaidiPhotography-029This week Monaco Paws was especially delighted to meet the very special K9s and their companions who are part of Monaco’s own ‘Chien de Coeur’.  Pictured above is Ruth Archer and her Carin Terrier Bramble, Patricia Turkmen and Honey her French Bulldog and Sabine and Patrick Thienpont and their White Shepard called Tonka.
What does ‘Chien de Coeur’ do?
We are a group of people with friendly, well-educated and sociable dogs which we take for therapy visits to Princesse Grace Hospital and the different retirement homes around Monaco.
Are the dogs specially trained?
We make sure that the dogs are in good health, calm, well-mannered and will never bite, but there is no other special training.  They just need to be good and happy dogs.
When did it start?
We began in 2013 and have been going strong since then.  In 2014 we became an official partner of the Princesse Grace Hospital.
How do the visits help the sick and elderly?
For some people we are the only visitors they get each week.  Sometimes being with the dogs is helpful for the patients in their recovery too.  The dogs bring back fond memories and happiness which make them feel better.
What do the dogs do during the visits?
Mostly they just sit with the people and they hold and pet the dogs.  Little ones can sit on their laps.
Do the elderly people and hospital patients appreciate the visits?
We give them an hour of sunshine.  The dogs act as a bridge and help engage the patients.  Many people are separated from their own dogs when they are in the hospital or retirement home. This way they can connect with the love they give and receive from their own pets. 
Do the dogs enjoy the visits?
They love it, they know they are doing a special service.
What is the inspiration behind ‘Chien de Coeur’?
On the streets you just see happy people, but behind the walls their are many people who are very alone.  This work does not just help the patients, but it brings us and our dogs a lot of happiness and good feelings.
Where can people find out more about your work?
People can see our website www.chiendecoeurmonaco to find out more and contact us if they would like to get involved.

A Class Act

1-2015 Monaco Paws KaidiPhotography-006Iryna Pugachova is a classically trained ballerina who now teaches Monaco’s favourite Barre workout at Ms Fit,  Her pure white Pomeranian, Hugh Hefner, is a suitably elegant companion.  This week Monaco Paws spent some time learning more about this charming couple.
How long have you had Hugh Hefner?
I got him from a little farm when he was 2 months old.  He was just a little fluff ball. He is almost 4 years old now.
Did you have dogs before you got him?
I used to be a cat lady, but dogs are better.  I wanted a dog for a long time, but waited until I was more settled down.
What do you like about Pomeranians?
I did my research.  They are good, smart dogs.  They are very classy, just look at the way he walks.  And they are the cutest dogs ever.  I think he looks a little like a tiny polar bear.
Heffy seems to be a very well mannered dog, is he always so good?
He has amazing manners.  I take him everywhere.  He is perfect with children. He is really obedient and easy to train.
As a dance teacher, have you taught Heffy any tricks?
He can do lots of tricks.  He loves to perform.  He’s got lots of energy and a little treat can make him perform miracles.  He knows how to pirouette. (A treat is found and Heffy duly performs a perfect turn.)
What does he like to eat?
He likes everything, especially chicken and tuna.

What is the best thing about Heffy?
He just takes away any tension.  He is always happy, and has so much personality.  Sometimes my friends even ask to borrow him.
Does Heffy have some special outfits?
Of course he has a tuxedo.  He will always wear a bow tie to formal events.
Does he share any traits with his namesake?
He likes ladies.  He will always find his way to beautiful young ladies.  I don’t know how, but he always finds the prettiest girls.
So he is a bit of a playboy?
Of course, just look at his Hollywood smile.

Walk The Dog

KaidiPhotographyKaren September of Happy Dog MC is a certified dog behaviourist who has worked in the Monaco area for more than seven years.  On Sunday, 22 November Karen will be lead a free seminar called “Mastering the Walk”.  It will be held from 10am-12Noon at 1642-1932 Route de la Turbie, in Cap-d’Ail.  To sign up or get more information about the seminar, visit Happy Dog MC on Facebook.

Monaco Paws spent some time with Karen to find out what it takes to be the leader of the pack.

What got you interested in dog training?
I grew up on a farm in Australia and we always had dogs and horses. We bred Bull Terriers and Blue Heelers.  I’ve been around dogs all my life.

Have you found that dogs in Monaco have any special issues?
Monaco is so small with a huge concentration of dogs so it’s important that dogs learn correct social behaviour. But the problem is that living in small apartments dogs don’t always get enough exercise.  This can result in barking, aggression, anxiety and bad lead manners.

What is the most important lesson that owners need to learn?
It is really important for owners to set rules, boundaries and limitations in the home and outside. I find that owners often humanize their dogs to the point that the dog becomes confused. Dogs are pack animals and need a strong pack leader.

What should owners do if they are having problems with their dog’s behaviour?
Bad behaviour is a cry for help. The first thing is to look at the daily routine. Exercise is essential, dogs are travelers, they love to move and explore and if they don’t get enough exercise (a garden is no substitute for walking out) they become frustrated and bored.

How much exercise does an average dog need?
I recommend at least a 30-45 minute walk, 2 times per day.

Why is walking, especially on the lead, so important?
Correct lead manners where the dog walks respectfully next to, or behind their owner, is the foundation for teaching the dog you are his pack leader and he is a follower. If the dog is in front he will instinctually assume a protective, leader role and this is when the problems start.

How does the human become the pack leader?
It’s all about energy.  Dogs rely on their instincts, not conversation. If you project a calm, assertive energy your dog will relax and respond with calm, submissive energy and look to you for direction in all situations.

So, the training is both for the dog and the owner?

Yes, definitely.  Dogs and humans have a deep connection that goes back 20,000 years. However, you can’t be a friend to your dog without first establishing a leadership role. I am not saying that giving love and affection is wrong, but it must be given at the right times.

Besides lead training, how else do you help dog owners?

I can help in lots of ways.  I love to help people adopt a dog or choose a new puppy.  I can help socialize a dog to a new baby or a change of circumstances.  I also specialise in working with dogs that are overly aggressive or have anxiety problems.

Do you think its possible to teach an old dog new tricks?

Age has no bearing whatsoever.  It’s never too late for a dog to learn to be calm, balanced and happy.

Man’s Best Man

KaidiPhotographyMonaco Paws recently spent a sunny afternoon getting to know Diana Gabriel, Steve Myro and their very handsome Boxer-Lab mix, Barney.

Where did you get Barney?

We got him from a pet shop in north Montreal. He was a mutt and a good deal, just $399. Sometimes we tell people he was a rescue (because of the bad reputation of pet shops). We like to think we rescued him from the pet shop.

How did Barney get his name?

We didn’t name him at first. Steve wasn’t sure he wanted to keep him because he was so messy at the beginning   But one day Steve just started calling him Barney, so then I knew he was here to stay.

How did Barney manage the transition from Montreal to Monaco?

He likes it here and we take him everywhere we go in Monaco. Still, he does miss his big dog friends from Canada.

What does Barney like to do?

He loves to sniff.   He needs to run a lot, but it’s hard to find places here where there is enough space for him to really run freely.

What do you feed him?

We started with kibble, but have now switched to a totally raw food diet. It’s much better for him and his health has improved a lot. But we can’t source it here, so we get it shipped in from Montreal. He also gets organic cinnamon treats. There’re really good, I’ve tried them (Steve).

Is Barney well trained?

When we got him he knew the word “sit”. To this day that’s still all he knows.   He hates cats and will chase them ruthlessly.

Is he a good guard dog?

He barks when anyone rings the doorbell, but otherwise he is not protective or aggressive at all.

Do you think he is a smart dog?

Not really, but he is very intuitive. He knows when we have a fight and comes over to comforts us.

What’s the best thing about Barney?

He is always happy. No mood swings…like us.

Was Barney really the Best Man at your wedding?

Yes, he wore a bow tie and Steve held on to him during the vows. He is in all the wedding photos too.

Tess of the Ville

1-013 2015 Monaco Paws, KaidiPhotography Art of an EyeHow old is Tess?

She’s a year and 5 months.  We got her when she was 3 months old. I think the fact that she spent a little more time with her mother and other dogs was a good thing as she is well socialised (most puppies leave their mothers at 2 months).

What kind of training have you done with her?

I had never trained a dog before, so there was a lot to learn.  It is important to be persistent.  Rewards work well.  It is an ongoing process. I still occasionally take away her toys or food (and then give it back) so she doesn’t get too possessive.

What are her favourite treats?

She loves carrots! And of course leftover filet mignon and roast chicken.

Does she have any bad habits?

Honestly, she is like a dream.  She only barks when the doorbell rings.

You’ve recently brought Tess to London, how did that go?

We traveled to London via PET S 2GO2 (

I highly recommend them.  They have a special vehicle and transport dogs all over Europe.  The owner can come along too if they wish, as I did.

How does Tess like being in London?

It is not as dog-friendly as Monaco or France, but Tess is happy everywhere.

I always have to call first to see if I can bring her along when I order an Uber taxi. I was so happy to find a dog-friendly bank (Metro Bank), where dogs get treats and a doggie scarf. They also offer free microchipping!  She is great on the Tube and the bus, and the parks are fantastic.

How do Londoners respond to Tess?

People are in a rush here, so other people with dogs don’t often have time to say hello, which is very different to France and Monaco.  But I can often see that she makes people smile, like babies do.

If you can’t take her along with you, what do you do with her during the day?

I found a great doggy daycare.  Its 20 pounds a day, but I would never leave her by herself all day long.  It wouldn’t be fair.

What is the best thing about Tess?

She is a wonderful companion.  She makes me smile every time I look at her.  She gives so much joy. I can’t imagine life without her.

As Tess is your first pet, do you have any advice for people considering getting a dog?

I think everyone should have a dog, but make sure you are ready for all the responsibilities that come along with being a responsible dog-owner.

Me Puppy Book & Coco

Me Puppy Book by KaidiPhotographyEarlier this year Monaco Paw’s own Kaidi-Katariin Knox published the very special, Me Puppy Book.  This book, available as an e-book and in print, is written from the puppy’s perspective and gives helpful instruction to her new owners.  We asked Kaidi to tell us more about her book, and her best friend, Coco. 

What inspired you to write Me Puppy Book?

I got Coco about three years ago and did a lot of research on the best training techniques.  Most of what I found was really long and complicated.  Coco is a mini Yorkshire Terrier and is so tiny that you might think that rules and cues don’t matter.  But the truth is all puppies grow up and need to learn good manners.  I wanted to figure out how to simplify the training process.

Is Me Puppy Book for adults or children?
I think both adults and children will enjoy it.  However, it is written in a way that children can easily understand and use.
What are the main lessons of the book?
It covers all the basics.  It gives the first tips and tricks to use when a new puppy joins the family.
What’s your proudest moment using the tips from the book?
The Positive Reinforcement technique is the most rewarding way to raise a mentally healthy and happy dog. Dogs are very sensitive beings and respond to our tone of voice and mood.  You will always have better results training your dog with positive reinforcement for good behaviour, than punishment for bad behaviour.
The book features your dog Coco, did she cooperate with the process?
Dogs love to please their owners.   Different dogs are driven by different rewards, it can be food, a toy or praise.  For Coco, she will do anything for a treat and a cuddle.
Are there any other dogs photographed in the book?
Yes, my friend’s dog Pudding appears as well.  She is a reason we got our dog. She is a total love! Opposed to Coco, she is driven to learn cues with her toy as a reward.
Do you have any special advice for Monaco dog owners?
I think the goal is to have our dogs well integrated into our daily lives.  Whether we live in the city or the country, we want to have our best friends along side us.  And we need to be responsible owners which means that our dogs should be well behaved, microchipped, vaccinated, washed and brushed, and get plenty of exercise. Responsible pet owners have happy dogs.
What has been the best thing about this project for you?
Well, it has really helped me to discover my passion, which is photographing dogs. That is why I loved making the book and why we have such fun with Monaco Paws. I am really lucky to have the chance to do what I love.
I think Me Puppy Book would be a great gift for children to use when they get their first puppy.  Where is the book available? 
The e-book is available online at Blurb book store
Printed copies are available at For Pets Only in Monte-Carlo and the Clinique Vétérinaire du Soleil in Cap D’ail.   We also have Twitter, a Facebook page and Instagram account where you can see lots more pictures of Coco. #cocointhebag