What is the best thing about Heffy?
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?
Besides lead training, how else do you help dog owners?
Do you think its possible to teach an old dog new tricks?
Monaco 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.
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 (http://www.pets2go2.co.uk/).
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.
Earlier 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.