Linda Liebrand is the owner of an Entlebucher mountain Dog, a high-energy, intelligent breed originally bred for herding cattle, guarding farms and pulling carts.
Her new book “Entlebucher mountain Dogs – What I wish I Knew” is about what you can expect if you decide to own this very high-energy, working breed. I thought lots of of That Mutt’s readers would relate because so much applies to any high-energy breed! Um, weimaraners?
You can follow Linda and her pet dog Alfie on their blog Alfie’s blog and on Facebook and Instagram. Her book is available on Amazon. (Paperback, hardback and Kindle formats.)
Linda is giving away a paperback copy of “Entlebucher mountain Dogs – What I wish I knew” to two readers of That Mutt. She will ship anywhere in the us or UK. To enter, leave a comment at the end of this post. Update: The giveaway has ended. Congrats to Christina M. and Lisa M.
I hope you take pleasure in this Q&A:
Q&A with Linda Liebrand, author of “Entlebucher mountain Dogs – What I wish I Knew”
That Mutt: What is your favorite dog-related book and why?
Linda Liebrand: I recently stumbled across the Survivor Dogs series by Erin hunter and got sucked into the world of lucky and his wild pet dog pack for weeks.
Seriously, if you’re a pet dog person who enjoys YA fantasy books then get ready to get addicted to this series. The pet dog characters are amazing, and the story is fast-paced and exceptionally engaging. The dogs are spiritual, kind and ferocious in equal procedures and it feels like you get to live life like a wild pet dog for a while. It’s actually books for kids – but hey, it’ll be our little secret!
TM: What pet dog training tool or pet dog product has benefited your pet dog the most recently?
Linda: one of my greatest training fails with Alfie is that I never really managed to show him how to walk nicely on the lead without pulling.
It wasn’t for lack of trying, but after nearly two years of daily training, he still pulled like a tractor despite all the best training recommendations we received from various trainers. I threw in the towel and gotten a gentle leader, and we haven’t looked back since.
At seven years of age, our Alfie is still an exceptionally energetic dog, and I never leave the house without the gentle leader if Alfie’s coming along, especially considering that the arrival of our baby boy. After some people asked me why my pet dog wears a muzzle, I gotten a red one that looks a little friendlier than the black one we started off with.
Alfe doesn’t like it much to be fair, and he looks very indignant whenever I put it on. but often the nose collar is the only difference between my bringing Alfie along to places or not – so he puts up with it.
TM: In the last few years, what belief or routine has a lot of improved your life with dogs?
Linda: When we first brought our Alfie home seven years ago, we had no idea how much energy he’d have as a puppy and adolescent dog. I thought a basic long walk a day would be enough, along with some fun pet dog classes every week like I’d made with my previous dog, a German Shepherd. It turns out Alfie had other plans, and his batteries never ran out.
At first, I tried to give him a lot more and a lot more exercise to burn off his limitless energy, but the only one who got worn out was me! Alfie happily carried on playing and inventing mischief when we got home from our walks, and he didn’t clear up until I locked him in his crate at night. It wasn’t until I met with our third (!) pet dog trainer that I knew that I needed to exercise Alfie’s brain as well as his paws and I started taking him on what I like to call ‘working walks’.
Instead of simply walking him for an hour, I built in fun brain games and exercises for him to do during the walk. I hid toys and treats for him to sniff out, we practised obedience and impulse control – basically, anything that I could think of that would engage his smart brain and help tire him out. That way I added some much needed mental stimulation to his day, and he turned into a happier and somewhat calmer dog. We still do working walks to this day.
TM: What recommendations would you give to a friend about to get her first dog?
Linda: Take your research seriously, and don’t just look at pet dog pictures on the internet. meet pet dog breeders and people who already own the type of dogs that you’re considering. Ask them what’s good about the breed, and what’s bad about them and try and imagine living your life with that type of dog. never choose a pet dog because of their looks.
The worst example of this I’ve ever heard of was when I volunteered at a pet dog rescue home a few years ago. someone asked for a pet dog that would match their furniture, absolutely crazy and they would have probably been better off with a goldfish bowl than a dog.
Once you get your puppy, be sure to future-proof him or her as well as you can. When we got Alfie seven years ago, kids were not on our radar at all, and we didn’t think about socialising him with children. When we made a decision to have a baby, Alfie was five years old, and I had to scramble to get him socialised with kids. I wish I’d thought of it sooner as things would have been much easier for us both that way.
Now he loves our toddler to bits. So my recommendations would be to try and think ahead into the future and socialise your pet dog with people of all ages and abilities.
TM: What’s the worst recommendations you hear when it pertains to dogs?
Linda: When our baby kid was born one of our neighbours asked how Alfie was handling the big change – before I had a chance to reply she continued ‘Isn’t it funny how they just ‘know’ how to be around kids’.
I smiled politely and said yes, but in my mind, I was thinking about how much work had gone into preparing our pet dog for baby’s arrival, and how we had to keep an eye on them both every second of every day to show them how to behave around each other.
Alfie’s life changed just as much as ours did when the baby joined our pack, and we prepped him as much as we could beforehand. Some dogs are not that lucky – when I volunteered at the pet dog rescue home, I often wondered why perfectly terrific family dogs were turned in. When I asked my supervisor, she simply shrugged and said it’s another ‘first baby can’t cope’ case where mums feel overwhelmed with a baby and a hyperactive, unprepared dog.
(See That Mutt’s post: how to prepare your pet dog for a baby.)
TM: Does Alfie sleep in your bed?
Linda: Alfie’s allowed on all of our furniture, and he often sleeps in our bed when my husband’s out of town. He curls up at the top of the bed, kicks his paws in under the duvet and rests his head on the pillow with a content sigh.
Thank you, Linda!
To enter the giveaway to win a paperback copy of Linda’s book, just leave a comment below so I know you want in on the drawing. Do you have a high-energy or unruly dog?
I’ll choose two winners at random on Friday may 25. need to have a us or UK mailing address to win. Winners will be notified by email. Update: The giveaway has ended. Congrats to Christina M. and Lisa M.
ORDER THE BOOK:
The book is available in paperback, hardback and Kindle formats on Amazon here.
You might remember Alfie from my post a few years ago: how to tire out a hyper dog!