October 2015 – Our First Competition

Octcomp12We had our first fun agility competition at the weekend. Lots of doggies and handlers came to have a go at their first round of agility. The weather was kind, perfect for sitting and watching while enjoying tea and cake.
Handlers had an opportunity to put into practice what they have learnt in our first season of agility training.


The weather will now dictate how much more we can do in the run up to Christmas. We will then start properly again in March. We will try to put on the odd weekend practise session depending upon weather.

These are just a few of the wonderful photos John took. There are many more on www.photoboxgallery.com/jpi , take a look and if there are any you would like do contact him.

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Professional Accreditation


Full Member of the Canine and Feline Behaviour Association

The Canine and Feline Behaviour Association is the professional voice of the pet behaviour practitioner, representing an unequalled body of knowledge concerning the care, training and behaviour of dogs and cats in the UK. Our members and associates are drawn from the top ranks of the profession with a common commitment to achieving, maintaining and directing the highest possible standards.

Guild Of Dog Trainers

The Guild of Dog Trainers is an independent professional body whose values include being committed to maintaining and improving the quality of dog training, behaviour and companion dog ownership in Britain. Simply stated; the Guild believes in Balanced, Intelligent Dog Training.

Cambridge Institute of Dog Behaviour and Training

The Cambridge Institute of Dog Behaviour and Training is the education arm of the CFBA – Canine and Feline Behaviour Association. These Middlesex University accredited dog behaviour and training modules represent the highest levels of specific canine behaviour qualifications available in Britain today.

The British Institute of Professional Dog Trainers

The Institute is one of the leading bodies together with the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, the Royal Air Force and Royal Army Veterinary Corps whose brief is to set standards for trainers and handlers of dogs. The object is to award qualification that will be recognised throughout the European Community.

Agility Class Registration

Please complete the following details to register for an Agility Training Class (does not commit you to attending and we will get back to you to confirm details, start dates and times and if you would like attendance on the course).

[si-contact-form form=’2′]IMPORTANT: Basic dog control and obedience is a minimum requirement for Agility Training Classes. Simple control exercises “sit”,”down”,”stay” and “come” are fundamental. Initial training is on lead but this will soon be dispensed with. Mannerly Mutts also offers beginner courses of obedience training.

Purchasing the Right Dog

With my breeders hat on it is a common misconception that having a litter of puppies is a licence to print money. Very few people realise how important a job it is to raise a litter in the correct environment and how different influences go into making the dog who it is before it changes owner.
The mother instils the initial rules and boundaries in her litter, but the domestic dog has to be capable of living with a human family in an alien environment. To become good pets, dogs need positive interaction with humans on a daily basis. They also need to be exposed to as many different stimuli as possible.
A responsibly reared puppy has a head start on a litter born in a puppy farm or large commercial breeder.

The physical appearance of an adult pedigree dog is what attracts an owner initially. It is not as easy to predict size or appearance with a crossbreed dog, particularly if the parents are crossbreeds themselves.

Selecting the appropriate breed of dog is an important factor; pedigree dogs will have an intense desire to fulfil its genetic purpose. This may require more effort on the owners part to make sure these special inborn characteristics are satisfied. For example, Terriers are determined characters driven to dig and hunt rodents, do you mind if it digs up your beautiful lawn. Border Collies are high energy intelligent dogs, are you willing to walk whatever the weather or go to an agility class regularly.

The “Designer “dog has become incredibly popular in recent years. The original being a Labradoodle. This was developed to combine characteristics of two pedigree dogs, the Labrador and the Poodle. The Labrador is a very successful assistance dog i.e. guide dog, but unfortunately due to the normal moulting of its coat it was not suitable for people with allergies. The Poodle does not shed its curly coat so the two breeds were crossed. The hope was to breed a dog with the wonderful temperament of a Labrador and the coat of the Poodle.
Genetics are not that simple though and not all Labradoodles inherit the correct gene from the correct parent, some of them will moult.

The idea of controlled breeding between two pure bred dogs has snowballed. It is vital to look at the breed characteristics of both parents and expect a mixture of both in your “designer” puppy. Do consider your expectations of your new dog and remember when two different breeds are crossed breed traits from either parent may be inherited. For example a “Springador“. This is a direct cross between a Springer Spaniel and a Labrador. Your requirements may be for a Spaniel size Labrador with a calm, relaxed attitude to life. What you may end up with is a Labrador sized Spaniel with high energy levels and obsessive behaviour, which you do not have the skills or time to deal with.

Rescue dogs are a special case, it may be a little older and past the puppy stage. This may bring its own set of problems, remember early socialisation may have been missed by its previous owner. It is important to remember the dog is there for a reason and may come with a complex set of issues. There are advantages to homing a rescue dog particularly if it is older than 12 months, what you see is what you get, a lot of its behavioural patterns are already formed, it is unlikely to grow significantly. There are basically two types, dogs that have been abandoned on the street and picked up by the dog warden. These will have no history of previous ownership. The second type is a dog that has been handed in by their previous owners. There may be more information and basic details of the dogs’ background. Remember these dogs will have formed their own habits learned from the previous home and they will need time to adjust and settle.

Early Conditioning Training and Education of Both Owner and Dog

Puppies have an ability to soften the toughest amongst us but that does not mean we all have a natural ability or knowledge to raise a healthy balanced dog. It is easy to treat the cute, cuddly new arrival as a human baby but remember they are dogs. By the time you obtain your puppy at approximately 8 weeks it is more advanced developmentally than a human baby.
It is easy to fall into the trap of indulging their every whim, allowing it to take advantages we would never allow a child.
Early conditioning would have hopefully started at the breeder’s home; you are now responsible for all the learned behaviour that is essential to enable you to have a well-socialised and easily controlled adult dog. One thing is for sure, if no training is instigated your new puppy will grow up being out of control and an embarrassment to you and your family. It is surprising how many people address the issue of training when a problem has arisen. Not realising that by starting training early these issues can be avoided all together, consider the saying “shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted!”

An important thing to remember is a dog is a puppy for the shortest period of its life span, on average 6-9 months. These early stages are hard work they take a lot of commitment, but put the hard work in at this stage before things go wrong and you will reap the rewards for many years to come.

It is very tempting to allow your new puppy non-stop attention; this is our way of showing affection. It is barely alone for more than a few minutes until bedtime, and then suddenly the pup has gone from non-stop attention to isolation. This is too extreme. You have set yourself up for a problem with a stressed and anxious puppy. Think about it sensibly, by restricting the area available to the pup to roam and having set rules and boundaries early in the puppies education you are pre-empting separation anxiety issues arising at a later date. Dogs are pack animals naturally and would not choose to live alone; the only time this happens is when they live with us. This is modern life; we shouldn’t feel too bad about it as long as it is not excessive. The reason dogs are so popular is they are extremely adaptable they can adapt to being left alone with help and we train them early to do so.

I feel it is a useful exercise to ask yourself what behaviours you wish to instigate in your puppy. Set yourself a goal then be consistent from day one in communicating these desired behaviours. This rule must apply to all family members; the puppy needs to know where it stands in the family pack from the beginning. Everything you do, if your puppy is with you, is “training.”

There are many different approaches to dog training so be prepared. Read books, access the Internet and probably best of all, find a good trainer. Whatever the approach the aim should be the same to enable you to own a well-mannered dog that you can be proud of.

Optimum Age for Obtaining A Puppy

Optimum Age for Obtaining A Puppy

Having bred several litters of puppies of two breeds, German Shepherds and Large Munsterlanders, I will firstly relate my personal experiences and opinions on the optimum time to home a puppy. My belief is that it makes no difference what breed the puppy is whether it is a small or large type, their brains develop at a similar rate.

I allow my litters to go to their new homes at 7½ – 8 weeks old, certainly no younger. It is important to be aware of how quickly puppies develop, particularly if you compare their development to the human baby. A dog is a puppy from birth to 8 months then a “teenager” from 8 months to 3 years. Considering a modern dogs lifespan is 12 to 16 years this period of time is crucial in the development of your families’ ideal dog.

There are several critical stages of development;

Birth – 21 days. When born they are helpless blind and deaf. Their mother keeps them clean, feeds them, stimulates them by licking to enable them to poo or wee and keeps them warm. They sleep 90% of the time. During this time huge changes are happening to their nervous system.

At 2 weeks their eyes begin to open, they begin to become mobile, crawling around using their already developed senses of smell and warmth.
By 3 weeks they are beginning to see more clearly and their hearing is developing. They are up on their feet, if a little wobbly. Their first teeth are coming through and they begin to wee and poo without stimulation.

4 – 6 Weeks. Puppies become aware of their surroundings, interaction with their littermates increases. They discover through play what behaviour is acceptable. Mum will discipline her babies; sort out squabbles between her pups. This is the beginning of learning how to socialise correctly. They also begin to respond to the human voice, to recognise their breeder. During this period they wonder away from their sleeping area to wee and poo.
Social skills are forming quickly but they do lack self-confidence.

7 – 12 weeks. A puppy’s brain is fully developed but similar to children they have no life experiences to rely on. They must be introduced to external stimuli. To become a good pet, puppies need positive interaction with humans on a daily basis. Exposure to humans is vital. My own puppies also socialise with the rest of my canine family, they come outside meet my poultry, experience different terrain and surroundings. A good breeder exposes the litter to as many different aspects of family life as possible.

I feel it is important to handle the puppies from an early age. They are weighed daily for the first week during a time when their mother is shouldering the lion’s share of raising the puppies. The mother trusts me to do this and is relaxed during this exercise, and then when the puppies senses are developed a little more, this controlled handling is accepted as normal. Nail trimming and worming are also carried out. All of these actions have an effect on the puppy and its attitude toward human beings. They may struggle or cry when older but they soon accept the restraint thus instigating important rules and boundaries providing the correct basis for a happy relationship within the family pack.

Factors to consider before obtaining a puppy greater than 8 weeks old.

If considering homing an older puppy it is vital to take into consideration how the puppy was reared. Puppies’ brains develop quickly so a blue print must be laid down.

A breeder may “run on” one or two puppies which they consider to be a suitable standard for the show ring. When a decision is made which one to keep, one or more of the litter may become available at a later stage. This may not necessarily be a bad thing so long as the puppy has had sufficient input from the breeder.

To prevent a puppy from developing fear or behavioural issues breeders and owners shouldn’t interfere with the puppy’s inbuilt curiosity, they have to make some mistakes and be allowed to develop their own skills for dealing with new challenges, even scary ones. If these important informative weeks have only been in the sheltered facility of a kennel they will not have developed this ability.

If the puppy has been kennelled it will not be house trained. This is an issue that has to be addressed whatever age the puppy. Patience and time are important factors here.

Bad habits may have already formed such as jumping up at fences and barking.

The puppy may have formed a strong bond with its kennel mate. For the first few weeks of life your puppy is programmed to follow its leader. If that leader is another dog rather than a human the puppy will automatically look to other dogs as its leader.

It is worth remembering that if the older puppy has not had enough socialisation with varying groups of people i.e. children, they may be frightened by the excited and noisy behaviour of boisterous young children or an elderly relative walking with a stick or frame.

If the puppy has been kept on its own it may be too independent in nature and therefore difficult to build a bond. The opposite may also be true, extreme attention seeking such as barking, repetitive jumping and whining may indicate a dog capable of building an almost obsessive relationship.

The puppy may struggle when left alone. In their natural environment they have constant companionship in the form of other pack members, this can create issues at night or during the day. They have to be taught to be left for short periods initially. Following a leadership plan and a good exercise and feeding routine appropriate to the puppy’s age is vital.

If fed alongside other dogs the lack of a competitive aspect of eating could affect the puppy’s appetite. It is then tempting to introduce increasingly tasty morsels to tempt the puppy to eat. As long as a quality diet is offered, preferably a natural diet, the puppy will soon eat assuming there are no health issues.

Initial socialisation may be lacking, it is so important to encourage your puppy’s desired behaviours as soon as you bring it home. This is easier at a younger age. There are so many different influences that go into making your dog the perfect family member. The mother will have already given her litter a great start. The litter will have instilled in them the concept of rules and boundaries and will come to you with an understanding of canine social do’s and don’ts. Instinctively, once it enters adolescence its confidence and curiosity grows, it will want to explore and be much more independent. A good breeder will have introduced the puppy into the peculiarities of our human world, furthering its education.

Every action you take, every emotion or signal will be used to formulate the puppy’s opinion of you and what your role will be in its life. So if this period of learning is absent from your puppy due to the way it is kept, for example kennelled with little or the wrong human interaction or with their litter mates only for company, they may have formed a less than ideal view of humans. Socialisation does not mean being so friendly toward people, your puppy also has to learn how to ignore people dogs and other exciting distractions. Remember, not everyone loves dogs!

Modern lives are busy making it tricky to be with our pets 24/7. Dogs as a species are incredibly adaptable, a puppy or young dog can adapt to a new lifestyle if we communicate the correct information. Whatever rules and boundaries we decide on setting have to be enforced from day one consistently by all members of the family. By being clear and consistent about these rules from day one it is perfectly possible to succeed in introducing your puppy into its new pack. It may be that a few undesired behaviours may have to be ironed out. This takes time, effort and skill in communication.

Choosing Your Dog

I have been aware of the many different breeds of dog for many years. I do breed German Shepherd Dogs and Large Munsterlanders. I have also owned Border Collies and a Golden Retriever. This has given me experience of the different predisposed behaviours between these breeds. All of which have been reared in similar circumstances, but are very different characters.

breedsWhat amazes me is the lack of knowledge people have about their chosen breed. They may have seen one specimen of the breed in question that happens to be well trained. An opinion is then formed on these limited circumstances that the breed is the dog for them. Take Munsterlanders for example, they are hunt, point, and retrieve gundogs with limitless energy. Wonderful characters very sociable, love cuddles especially when wet after a good swim. They have a tendency to separation anxiety if not taught at an early age to be left. Perfect family dogs for outdoor types that enjoy long walks in all weathers. So many people contact me for a Munsterlander puppy with no idea what they would be taking on.

I do think in this modern society everything is too easy and available. If someone feels a dog is the status symbol they are lacking then they buy one, as easy as that. The family may have moved to a rural area to improve their ”life work balance”. Dad may want to learn to shoot, so decides a gundog is the thing to have. They really do fail to research the breed and have a poor understanding of what training and owning a dog is all about. At the opposite end of the scale are the Staffordshire Bull Terrier types that youths have as status symbols. It is too easy to breed and sell these puppies without any thought or planning. So many of them are abandoned and end up in rescue centres, with real behavioural issues and very little hope of having a good life.

There are so many wonderful breeds of dog in the world, with a little research and help from responsible breeders there is a dog with the correct breed traits for most types of home. They do not all enjoy romping through muddy fields, swimming and hunting. Many have been bred to fulfil the role of companion without a need for excessive exercise. They love nothing more than the opportunity curl up on a lap. Personal preference is fundamental in the decision of type of dog we choose, we are all different and have different requirements from our pets. There will always be a space in modern society for a companion dog; there is no other animal that is capable of fitting in with our very different lifestyles and giving so much whilst asking for so little in return.

Common Behaviour Problems

The following are some of the more common behaviour problems I come across and how they may impact on you the owner or your family.


i. Embarrassing when visitors arrive.
ii. Frightening if the person is a child or the dog large.
iii. Socially unacceptable, not all people are dog friendly.
iv. Clothing may be damaged or made dirty.
v. Allows the dog to be dominant, which demeans the owner.


i. Effects the planning of day-to-day activities.
ii. Causes concerns about what happens when you are absent.
iii. Excessive demands on owners’ company within the house
iv. Frustration for friends and family, when the dog seems to come first.
v. Destruction of furniture and household items has a financial implication


i. Concern that puppy play biting develops into a display of dominance.
ii. Dangerous where children are concerned.
iii. Embracement for the owner, dog has the upper hand.
iv. Owner may be frightened.
v. Inclination is to isolate the dog to prevent he/she biting a visitor.


i. Owner wary of handling the dog. Snarling and growling puts them off.
ii. Reliant upon the vet to check problems causing stress to dog and owner.
iii. Financial implications, expensive vet bills (sedation).
iv. Dominance issues, dog does not accept invasion of his/her body space.
v. Places doubts in the owners mind about the trustworthiness of the dogs temperament.


i. Frustration with living with a noisy dog.
ii. Effects relationship with neighbours.
iii. Causes family arguments.
iv. Disappointment with the relationship you have with your dog.
v. Allows dog to control your actions, i.e. letting it out or feeding it on demand.


i. Owner thinks the dog is stupid.
ii. Lack of control of the dog limits activities.
iii. Frustration at their inability to train their dog.
iv. Dog adapts to life without much input from the owners and becomes more independent.
v. The dog may develop more undesirable behaviours that would cause stress within the family due to it having to find stimulation elsewhere i.e. chasing other dogs/people.


i. Confusion that the behaviour is normal, particularly if the dog is young.
ii. Frustration, failing to understand that punishing the dog on your return home when you find chewed items has not worked.
iii. Arguments amongst family members when prized possessions are destroyed.
iv. Start to resent the dogs position in the house.
v. Other rows may develop when considering how to deal with the problem.


i. Embarrassment when the dog refuses to come back when called in a public place.
ii. Find excuses not to take the dog on their required exercise.
iii. Other behavioural problems may have to be dealt with caused by excess energy the dog has due to the restricted exercise regime.
iv. Concerns about the losing the dog.
v. Worried the dog may cause an accident.


i. Embarrassment when visitors are at the house.
ii. Interferes with lifestyle, causing frustration.
iii. Begin to resent the dog pestering for attention.
iv. Can cause arguments within the family if members disagree with what constitutes excessive attention.
v. Nudging or pawing the arm can cause an accident with small children or hot drinks.


i. Embarrassment when walking the dog in a public place.
ii. Disappointment that the dog chooses not to interact with the owner
iii. Thinking the dog is unintelligent.
iv. Frustration when allowing the dog to dictate where or how fast the walk actually goes. Having to wait for it to sniff at a lamppost or patch of grass.
v. Limiting the time you take your dog or the location restricts the dogs stimulation, which may lead to other behavioural issues for you to deal with.