A Kooikerhondje Update – Or – Tales of Two Traveling Kooikers

It has been awhile since I had last updated my blog.  Well about ten months to be exact.  You have to remember I am a dog (a Kooikerhondje to be exact) and I am busy doing dog things.

What? You are right.  The above is not really a good excuse.  Like when your dog eats your slippers, digs in your garden, and once a year poops on your extremely expensive carpet… it really is not a good excuse.

Toni & Lucy two American Kooikerhondjes

Toni & Lucy at the American Kooikerhondje Club

So what have I, Nelleke, and Toni been up to?

Quite a lot!

First, in April/May we drove cross the entire US.

Toni The Kooikerhondje Ring Bearer

Toni the Ring Bearer

We saw Mount Rushmore, roamed the high plains of the West, participated in a wedding, and enjoyed lying on our huge bed in the car.  For me it was my second round-trip cross-country, for Toni it was his first.

Kooikerhondje Dog at Mount Rushmore

Add A Kooiker To The Mountain!

Being his first road trip meant that Toni was bound to get into trouble.  Lots of trouble.  Just to give you an idea… Toni discovered the joys of rolling in deer dung.  The owners had eight hours left in the car trip with a stinky dog.  You think they had it rough.  I had to sleep next to it. GROSS!

This summer we went to our first meeting of the Kooikerhondje Club of the United States.  Come to find out, they think I am the oldest Kooiker in the US.  If I am, that makes me a very cool dog indeed.  If I am not, well I am still cool!

Toni met his potential girlfriend while at the club meeting.

We have made other trips and hikes all across New England as we introduce Toni to the rest of the United States.  Toni went on his first camping trip to Mt. Mansfield in Vermont.  He had such a ball!

We both had a great time visiting Erin and her wonderful family outside of Boston.  They wanted to meet us to see if a Kooikerhondje would be a great fit for them and their family.   No surprise as they were definitely happy with the both of us!  We cannot wait until they get their puppy!

Explosive Kooikerhondje On The Run

Running To The Next Adventure

So what’s next?

Hopefully more fun, adventure, and food!


An Update From Toni von Chicostein

Hello dear Kooikerhondje friends near and far.

Welcome back in case you are following us already and welcome everyone else who is new and interested in our special breed. You will love us.

Today it is me – Toni – telling you some stories about what happened recently in our exciting dog life here in snowy cold Connecticut.

Kooikerhondje Puppy

Hey! I'm a dog!

End of last year our dear owners Susanne and Erroin left us for 6 six days with a dog nanny staying in our house. That was the first time in our lives and I think Susanne was more nervous than us when they left to the airport. But I have to tell you, this young girl who stayed with us was fantastic. She took me to her horse barn and I got the chance to spend every day outside with the horses. Nelle, my older partner here, had a pretty good time as well. I can highly recommend to have someone staying in your own place when your owners have to leave and can’t take you with them. I think our owners would never put us in a kennel or some petsitting home.

Since January I started training agility with Susanne. I know, I am only 8.5 months old, but the class is pretty easy and the goal is obviously to combine obedience with new obstacles. What a great idea. I get the chance to 1. Meet new dogs 2. Learn exciting obstacles like tire/bridge/chute/tunnel 3. Practice obedience with distraction and 4. Get exercise!!!

When we first started, I thought this is all about the other dogs. Can you imagine, there are those 2 cute Chihuahua girls in my class, 3 Golden Retriever, a beautiful German Shepard, a mini poddle, an Australian Cattle dog and other rare types of dogs. Then it doomed me that it is not about the dogs but also about listening to Susanne and learning new commands with the obstacles.

In the meantime Susanne got the permission from her hospital to bring me along as a therapy dog after I pass the tests in may. Delta society dogs need to be at least one year old to get certified. I can’t wait to visit children in the pediatric unit and to spend time with them. Susanne’s Spanish teacher brings her two daughters from time to time to our house and that is so much fun! I adore them and don’t understand why they have to leave after one hour. Sleeping in their lap and getting constant petting for one hour is heaven!

Here the new command I learned last month: Stand. You know what, this is a really important command. Just think about it, everyone

Kooiker puppies love the snow

I Love The Snow

is usually asking you to sit. Sit here, sit there, sit sit sit…booooring. Susanne thought, well, it might be useful that Toni knows a verbal and visual command for standing and to keep standing even when she walks away or around me. Boy, that was hard at the beginning. I just wanted to follow here everywhere. But then, with the clicker as additional training tool, I started to understand what this new game is all about.

So, everyone out there: This is it for now. More about us in a few weeks. Please get in contact with us when you have questions, ideas,or if you want to share great experiences with us. We are here for you, our new Kooikerhondje friends.

New Kooikerhondje Video

Even in the coldest of winter days our owner feels it is necessary to make us walk.  Well, in this video we show him how we can have a good time!

If you do not hear any sound — check the volume of the player.

Our owner is planning more videos.  We would love to have your comments about them!

Relaunch of the KooikerExpress Website

Okay, so we have been away for a bit.  Raising a puppy is not easy.  Especially as one as demanding as him.  He is a complete pain at times, and otherwise a wonderful joy that I would not give up at all.

So, what does that mean to all of you my wonderful friends?  Well it means that we are going to kick of a new website for 2010 that is dedicated to Kooikerhondjes!

That is right! Videos, photos, news, events, and other wild stuff that we can do and share with you.  So thank you all very much so far for reading our blog so far.  We are back! Badder, Better, and Kooiker as ever!

Three Things To Consider When Getting A Puppy

My owner was talking with a hairdresser and her clients yesterday about Texas Talan Toni von Chicostein (aka T3).  Many of the people listening were self proclaimed “dog people”.  Yet it is one thing to be a dog person and another to truly understand what it means to own a dog.  Here are three tips my owner used when she first decided to get a dog:

1) Study the breeds very carefully.  Understand what personality comes with the breed you are going to get. This is the most crucial item you need to know and completely comprehend.  For instance, if you like a clean car, clean home, and not particularly fond of water then a Labrador is not the dog for you.  They love water.  See a puddle and BOOM they are rolling in it.  No matter how hard you try to break them of that “habit”, you are really going against the dog’s breeding and instincts.   My owner discovered that with my breed, the Kooikerhondje, that we are mellow and love being outside.  Two very important traits she desired.

Kooikerhondje in the water

Kooikerhondje in the water

2) Know if your dog is a working dog and what their job is.  Most mid to large breeds were bred to be working dogs.  Shepherds were bred to herd things like sheep.  Retrievers were bred to retrieve things like quail or pheasants during hunts.  If you do not give your dog a job that plays to their talents then they become very dissatisfied and act out against you.  It is their way of telling you that they need something to do.  Walking alone is not enough to satisfy their desire to serve you and the pack.  You can find plenty of activities in your local area that will help mimic the job your dog was bred to perform.  In my case, my owner trained me to be part of a search and rescue team which matched closely to my breeds desire to lure.

Kooikerhondje Puppy Carries Sticks

Kooikerhondje Puppy Carries Sticks

3) Finally look in the mirror and ask yourself if you are ready to live with a two year old for 10 to 15 years.  A dog, no matter how old they get, are constantly two years old in their mind.  No matter how well a dog is trained they will always find a way to remind you that they are a dog.  It is that last part that you the human need to be ready to appreciate.  Like my owner’s friend has said,”Children are easier. At some point they actually grow up!” As a dog, I can tell you, that I am never going to grow up.  If you are not ready for this, then perhaps a cat would be a better choice for you.

Two Important Tips When Training A Puppy

There are many different authorities, books, articles, videos, and other various media that can give you full tips on training a dog.  I believe that there are even television channels dedicated to such endeavors.  That being said there are some common themes across all of them:  patience and focus.

A Focused Puppy

A Focused Puppy

When training a new puppy on some of the simple commands, you the human have to have patience.  Remember, everything in your puppy’s eyes are new, exciting, in need of exploration, and quite frankly very foreign to him/her.  It is hard for them to maintain focus.  So yelling their name over and over and over and over again is not going to necessarily help.

Here are two very important tips you can use for your puppy:

1)   Establish what new command/trick you want them to learn very well.  This is really for you so that you maintain patience in training your dog and for them to begin to have focus.  If you jump from command to command to command the only thing that will be trained will be frustration.  The puppy, in an eager attempt to please you will be frustrated because it does not understand, and you, in an attempt to have the perfect dog will get frustrated at the puppy’s lack of focus.   So plan and choose one thing at a time.

You will know when is time to move on when the puppy eagerly demonstrates the trick and/or responds to your command without hesitation.  Remember, perfection is not what you should be seeking here.  A simple command from you that is responded to by the puppy rather quickly will suffice.

2)   Be consistent with the type of reward you want to give for good behavior from your puppy.  You can use either a favorite toy and let play be the reward, or you can use treats.  My owner is fond of using treats.  Whichever you choose, it must be something that can keep the focus of the puppy.  By focus, this is very important, I am talking about a few seconds – 4 to five tops.  When the puppy is a few weeks old it is unrealistic to think the puppy can maintain focus for over a minute or more.

In using the reward make sure the puppy’s eyes are focused on it and the reward is held close to your face.  This is done so that the puppy can begin to associate your facial expressions with the command and the reward with the successful execution of the command.

Two Focused Dogs

Two Focused Dogs

Remember… patience from you and focus from the puppy are part of the successful equation in training.  You have brought a loyal friend into your home.  They want to be a contributing member to the pack.  For that they ask for your patience and in return they will give you their attention.

Amazing Puppy

So almost a full week since Texas Talan Toni Von Chicostein’s arrival. Already he has had explosive growth and development. T3 is able to hang with me and the owners for quite some time as they walk. He enjoys running with me and keeping the owners in line.

One of the most amazing things that T3 did was cross two small wooden planks as we walked along the shore. He crossed them as if he had done it a thousand times. I am very proud of him. T3 shows no fear in all that he does. He is truly a gifted dog.