So, you’ve just got yourself a new Border Collie puppy, but when do you start training it? There is so much conflicting information on when to start training a Border Collie and in this article, we hope to answer the question definitively.
We are going to be talking about why some trainers recommend starting the training process immediately and why some believe it is better to wait a bit longer. We are also going to give you some tips and tricks that will hopefully make the training process simpler and easier.
Why is Training a Border Collie Important?
Lots of new dog owners often make the mistake of spending way too much time looking at what collars they think will suite their dog best and what toys they should purchase for their pup. While there is no doubt that these things are important, getting your dog correctly trained is arguably more vital.
The reason for this is that a poorly trained Border Collie can be a nightmare to deal with, leading to a bad pet/owner relationship. Additionally, a well-trained Collie can be called back in a dangerous situation, which may save their life.
Why Do Some People Recommend Waiting?
Some trainers and owners recommend that you wait until about 6 months before you start training a Border Collie. This idea comes from a more “old school” training method where heavy handed corrections were used. The dog needed to be old enough to withstand wearing a collar and dealing with harsh physical corrections or punishment during training.
These old school trainers also believed that a Border Collie would reach the same skill level in adulthood, whether they started at six months or eight weeks, so they saw no reason to start them early.
What About Training a Border Collie at Eight Weeks?
Generally, eight to twelve weeks is around the time that Border Collies are taken from their mother and sent to a new home.
Before this, Collie puppies should be spending time with their mother, brothers and sisters to learn about being a dog. During this time they learn what it means to be part of the pack, how to communicate, and how to play. This first eight weeks is an incredibly important time for a Border Collie puppy and starting training too early can be detrimental to their development.
The idea that training should start at around eight weeks is based on this fact that most Border Collie puppies go to their new owners at this time. They have learnt most of what they need to know about being a dog and now it is time to learn from their new family.
Additionally, a puppy’s brain is not properly formed to learn much before eight weeks, so they do not have the ability to learn new commands and tricks properly.
When Should You Start Training a Border Collie?
With all the above in mind, when is actually the best time to start training a Border Collie puppy? We believe that the best time to start training a Collie puppy is as soon as you get them home, whether it is at eight or twelve weeks.
While a young Border Collie’s attention span is fairly limited, you can start the training process with short sessions. You should start the training process by teaching your puppy not to bite, how to take food gently and basic commands such as “sit”. Additionally, socialising your Border Collie as early as possible is incredibly important.
You should only use reward-based methods of training such as luring with food or clicker training. Forceable methods can be used at later points, but we are not fans of this training method and believe that reward-based training is always the best.
What to Expect from a Border Collie Puppy?
When you get your new Border Collie home don’t expect too much of them during training. Young puppies tend to be impulsive and have little self-control. Their attention spans are extremely limited, so keep training sessions as short as possible.
Try to think of your Border Collie puppy as a child. They will play with anything that interests them and do anything they want. They don’t understand what is theirs and what is not, so do not punish them for chewing your shoes. Remember, that a Collie puppy at around eight weeks will not listen to every command (in fact, they will probably ignore most of them).
Below we have created a rough training guide for a Border Collie puppy.
Border Collie Training Schedule
The following training schedule will be slightly different for each individual Border Collie, however, it should give you a basic idea of what you should expect from your puppy.
What to teach a Border Collie at 8 – 10 weeks.
The first things you should focus on when you bring your Border Collie puppy home for the first time is getting them socialised, training them to take food properly and getting them toilet trained. Remember, don’t expect too much at this stage. In fact, we would recommend that you don’t create formal training sessions and instead let it happen naturally.
It is also a good idea to reward your new Collie puppy when they follow you or come to you on their own accord. This will get them mentally prepared for future training sessions when more difficult and advanced commands are introduced.
As soon as you get your Collie puppy home you should also be getting them used to you touching their paws, tummy, inside their mouth and around their ears. This will make trips to the vets much easier and your vet will appreciate it.
Socialisation – Border Collies need to be socialised as soon as possible and you need to introduce them to a range of different people, dogs and other animals. While you may not be able to take them out for walks straight away (due to vaccinations), you can still introduce them to a friend’s dog who has been vaccinated.
Follow – Rewarding your new Collie puppy if they follow you is incredibly important. If your Collie understands that following you is a good thing it makes teaching them commands such as “come” or “heel” much easier.
Recall or come – While you are not teaching your Border Collie to come properly, you are teaching them that coming to you is a good thing. Reward your Collie puppy when they come to you naturally
Not to bite – Do not allow hard biting, however, mouthing is acceptable at this stage for a Collie puppy.
How to take food – Nobody likes a dog that snatches food and if you continue to let your Border Collie do this they may eventually bite somebody by accident. Never let your Border Collie snatch food from your hand and if they do say no and then ignore them.
House Training – One of the most important things you can do at this early stage. Get your Collie house trained, but remember it usually takes a few months before accidents stop.
What to teach a Border Collie at 10 – 12 Weeks
This stage of a Border Collie’s training process is pretty much the same as above. Just continue what you have been doing, however, you can introduce some more basic commands/skills.
Socialisation – Increase the amount you socialise your Border Collie and make sure they are meeting a wide variety of people and dogs.
More recall training – You can start to introduce the ‘come’ command, but only associate it with the action. Only use the word ‘come’ when they are already moving towards you. Continue to reward your Collie when they come to you naturally.
Discourage biting – hard biting should not be allowed, but mouthing is still okay at this stage.
Fetch or retrieve – Encourage your Collie to chase after toys and pick them up. Don’t try and get them to fully retrieve yet, but reward heavily of they do.
Walk by your side – Start to introduce heel training by getting your Collie to walk by your side. You can do this by either using clicker training or food rewards.
What to teach a Border Collie at 3 – 4 Months
At three to four months a Border Collie puppy is much more developed. They should be capable of sleeping through the night and there should be less toilet accidents occurring.
Don’t worry if your Border Collie puppy is even more keen on biting and nipping your hand. Three months is the peak age for biting, so don’t expect the problem to be gone by this time.
Introducing commands such as ‘sit’ or ‘lie down’ is a good idea, but don’t expect them to stay in the position. Remember to keep rewarding your Collie when they come to you naturally and start getting them associated with lead walking.
Even more socialisation –Your Border Collie should be finished their vaccinations at around 14 to 16 weeks, so you can introduce them to more dogs and take them more places.
Come – Once your Collie has associated “come” with the action of moving towards you, you can begin to use it as a command. Try and get your Collie puppy to come to you in a distraction free environment. Remember to reward and praise them heavily if they do so.
Biting – No biting should be allowed, but gentle mouthing is ok.
Fetch and retrieve – Continue to encourage your Collie to retrieve different items and toys.
Introduce some new positions – Start rewarding your Collie when they sit or lie down. We are not training them fully yet, but instead indicating that we like it when they do get into those positions. Read more about teaching your dog to sit here.
Basket – Introduce the idea that sitting in their basket when you are doing the washing or when you are eating dinner is good. Reward them for doing so.
What to teach a Border Collie at 4 – 6 Months
At four to six months old you should be getting your Border Collie’s biting problem under control and mouthing should be discouraged. Your puppy should also be toilet trained, but the odd accident here and there is to be expected, especially if they are left alone for an extended period of time.
From around four months a Border Collie puppy will be quite capable, so you can get much more advanced with their training. You can start to introduce more commands and formal commands for the actions you have been rewarding them so far.
Despite their ability for more advanced training, don’t expect your Collie to walk at heel or stay for long periods of time.
Come – Introduce distractions into your Collie puppy’s ‘come’ training routine.
Sit and lie down – Introduce distractions and get your Collie sitting and lying down at your command
Stay – You are not going to ask your Border Collie to stay, but use commands like sit and lie down to get them to so.
Heel – Continue getting your Collie to walk by your side and introduce more advanced heel training.
Socialisation – Continue to socialise your dog.
No more biting – There should be no biting or mouthing allowed.
What to teach a Border Collie at 5 – 6 months
Command and obedience training – Continue training for commands such as ‘sit’, ‘lie down’, ‘come’ and ‘heel’. Introduce distractions in their training routine.
After 6 Months
From six months onwards, the basics should be fully ingrained into your Border Collie’s mind. They should be able to carry out simple commands such as ‘sit’, ‘come’ and ‘down’. Your Collie puppy should be socialised, toilet trained and there should not be any biting or mouthing.
With that in mind, you can begin to raise your expectations for their training. Train your Collie to sit and stay for longer periods of time and introduce some distractions into their training.
Your puppy should be capable of walking at heel for extended periods of time or close to being able to do so, and they should also come at your command. You can also start to teach your Border Collie some other tricks and commands at this age as well.
Remember that a six-month old Border Collie will be quite strong and powerful. They will be full of energy at this age and you may even find that training them is more difficult. Despite this, if you have set a good basis for their training you should be able to work through the problems.
Are Training Classes Necessary for a Border Collie?
You may be wondering if puppy training school is worth it or even necessary for your Border Collie puppy? Most pet owners can teach their dog everything they need to know. With a bit of patience and consistency, you should be able to train your Collie to respond to commands predictably and reliably.
For those who are struggling with the training process, a puppy school can be really helpful. In puppy training classes the instructor will take you through different training techniques and can answer any of your questions immediately. They will guide you through the training process and can advise you on any problems.
One of the biggest benefits of taking your Border Collie to a puppy training school is that it forces you to train them. So many owners buy a dog and then never train it, so taking them to a puppy school is a good way to motivate yourself.
Another big benefit of a puppy school is that there are usually lots of other dogs there. This means they are great places to socialise your Border Collie, which is incredibly important for their development.
If you have access to other dogs, you may find that a puppy school is less beneficial for socialising. First time dog owners will get the most out of training classes.
Summing Up When to Train a Border Collie
With so many differing opinions out there on when to start training a Border Collie puppy, it can be difficult for new owners. Most modern dog trainers (us as well) believe that training should start as soon as you get your Border Collie home.
If you decide to leave the training process for a bit later it probably won’t make much of a difference, however, we feel that six months is far too late. The only vital things you should do straight away is socialisation, toilet training, and stopping your Collie from biting/mouthing.
Remember to never ask too much of your Collie and that progress can be quite slow. Do not get frustrated and try not to compare your dog’s progress with another.
If you do start training at an early age, you will be surprised by how much your Border Collie can learn. They are an incredibly intelligent breed of dog, so they will soak up anything you teach them.
Labradors are known for their fondness of water and for the most part they love to swim. This is unsurprising when you consider the origins of the breed and the fact that they are considered to be the king of waterfowl retrievers.
But a common question that gets asked about the breed is “when can Labrador puppies start swimming?”. In this article we will be answering that question, along with a few other questions about Labradors and swimming.
When Can Labrador Puppies Start Swimming?
There is a lot of conflicting opinions on this question with some people and experts stating that Labradors can start swimming as early as 8 weeks, while some believe it is much later at something like 3 months.
The truth is that all these answers are somewhat correct and the age at which a Labrador puppy can start swimming depends on number of factors. We have outlined some of these factors below:
Your Labrador puppy needs a certain level of physical strength before they can start to swim properly. Their muscles need time to grow and they are usually not strong enough to swim properly until around 3 months of age. However, Lab puppies can start swimming at around 8 weeks in very calm and shallow water.
It is not recommended that you take a Labrador puppy swimming in public pools and areas until they are fully vaccinated. Vaccinations usually start at around 6 to 8 weeks and then continue to around 4 months of age, when the final round is given. If you do not wait until your Lab puppy is fully vaccinated, they are at risk of catching deadly diseases and viruses.
Surroundings & Influences
If your puppy lives near a safe body of water that they can access quite easily (supervised of course) they will be more likely to start swimming earlier. Additionally, if their mum, brothers, and sisters are keen swimmers then they will probably just follow their lead and head into the water at some point.
Their Past Experiences
If your Labrador puppy becomes scared of water at some point then it will take them longer to swim. This usually happens when they accidentally fall or are forced into water that is too deep and dangerous for them.
It is recommended that you wait until about 6 months of age before taking your Labrador puppy to a larger body of water such as the sea or a big lake. If you want to start earlier, you should find a shallow and calm place to so that your puppy can get used to the water.
With all of these factors out of the way we would recommend that you start introducing your Labrador puppy to the water at around 3 – 4 months. This way they will be stronger and their vaccinations will be/or nearly be finished.
Can Labradors Swim Naturally?
While Labradors have an innate ability to swim, they do not swim naturally like fish. A Labrador’s body may be more suited to swimming than other dog breeds, but it does not mean they can swim for any duration of time or in any condition. It is important to remember that your Labrador (especial so for puppies) has limitations to their swimming ability.
Why Are Labradors Such Good Swimmers?
There are a number of reasons why Labradors are known for their swimming ability with the first being their love of water. The other reasons are to do with their physical traits such as their water-resistant coat and their wide tail that acts somewhat like a rudder. Labs also tend to have a very sleek profile that lets them cut through the water.
How to Encourage a Labrador to Swim
For the most part, Labradors don’t need any special motivation or training to make them swim. Most Labs, including Labrador puppies, will simply jump straight into water and love it from the get-go.
However, this is not always the case for every Labrador puppy. Some puppies will show signs of fear the first time they approach the water. One of the best ways to get them in the water is to use the assistance of an older dog who likes to swim. The older dog can teach the young Lab puppy how to swim and encourage them into the water.
It is important that this process is not forced. Do not simply drop your puppy in the water and make them swim. By doing this you will traumatise your puppy and they may become scared of the water. This will make it much harder to teach them how to swim and it could set you back months (possibly even longer).
If your Lab puppy doesn’t want to swim and you don’t have access to an older dog (or they won’t follow the older dog into the water), you are going to have to get creative. Instead of taking your puppy to a lake or small stream, you could purchase a children’s paddling pool or fill up the bath and encourage them to get into it.
To do this, bring your Lab puppy to the edge of the water and start playing with them. Remember to bring their favourite toy and make them fetch repeatedly. After a while of playing with them, toss the toy into the water.
Hopefully your puppy will overcome their fear of the water and chase after the toy. If they do not, keep trying until they enter the water (you may have to do this over a couple of play sessions). When your puppy does enter the water make sure you praise and reward them with a treat. Reward your puppy even if they only put one paw in the water.
After a while, your Labrador puppy will begin to love the water and they will dive straight in after the toy. Once your puppy becomes used to the water in a paddling pool or bath, move onto a larger body of water. Find a small lake, pond or stream and do the same as you did before.
Some puppies will dive straight into the water without any encouragement, while others may need more encouragement. If this is the case, use the toy trick again (something like a cheap tennis ball is good because you don’t want to lose their favourite toy) and when they approach or go into the water remember to reward and praise them.
If you are still struggling, get into the water yourself. Puppies have a natural tendency to follow their mother and family, so they will probably follow you straight in.
By doing this your Labrador puppy will eventually become used to a wide range of water bodies and they will love swimming.
Swim Safety for Labradors
While Labradors are excellent swimmer, there are some precautions you need to take when your dog is around water (especially so for puppies). We have listed some things to watch out for below:
Avoid areas with strong currents or waves – A fast-moving river is not an ideal place to take your puppy for a swim, even if they are experienced. You could easily be separated from your dog or they may be pulled under by the currents. The same can be said for places where there are large waves as they may pull your dog under or out to sea.
Look for clean water – You wouldn’t go swimming in dirty water, so don’t make or let your dog go in polluted water either. If you are near a polluted body of water it may be best to keep your puppy on a lead to stop them going in or drinking the water.
Avoid bodies of water that have steps or sloped ground – If your Lab gets into trouble you will want it to be easy for them to get out. If the water body you are letting them in has steep slopes or stairs it may be difficult for your dog to get out.
Never leave your dog alone – Always make sure you supervise your dog or puppy when they are in the water. If you do not you may lose them or may not notice if they get into trouble.
Buy them a life vest – If you are going into some rough water or you are on a boat we recommend that you buy your Labrador a life vest such as this one. While a life vest probably isn’t suitable for a young Lab puppy that is growing quickly, it will be great once you dog gets older.
Don’t overexert your dog – Be mindful of overexerting your Labrador, especially if they are a puppy. If your dog becomes too tired while they may not be able to get back to shore without your help.
Be mindful of other animals and predators – Do not let your Labrador swim in areas with dangerous animals. Jellyfish, large fish, crocodiles and sharks are a threat that you should keep in mind.
Do you love big dogs? Many people prefer larger dogs to smaller ones and if you are one of those people we have created a list of the ’25 biggest dog breeds’. We have included information on their history, temperament, characteristics and common health conditions.
Characteristics of the Biggest Dog Breeds in the World
The largest dog breeds in the world are surprisingly different when it comes to their characteristics and even their physical abilities and stature. Some big dogs are bred to hunt and guard while others are gentle giants that roll over when anyone comes in the room.
Many of the largest dog breeds in the world have been bred to perform jobs such as protecting farmers from wild animals or to hunt large animals. For this reason it is important to learn your dog breed’s history. If your dog’s breed was created to work all day, they are going to need more exercise than some other breeds.
Unfortunately, many large dog breeds have a short lifespan compared to smaller breeds. They also tend to have more health complications than their smaller counterparts and can be more costly to own.
Bigger dogs also tend to need more space than smaller canines, which means they may not be suitable for apartment living. They can also need more training as a misbehaving Great Dane is probably going to be a bigger problem than a badly behaved Boston Terrier.
The 25 Largest Dog Breeds in the World
Below we have listed the 25 biggest dog breeds in the world. We have included information on their history, characteristics and more. Note: we have ranked the breeds below based on their weight.
English Mastiff (54 – 113 kg)
This massive breed holds the record for the greatest weight ever recorded for a dog at 155.6 kg (343 lb). The record setting English Mastiff was known as Aicama Zorba, and he stood 94 cm (37 inches) at the shoulder and was 251 cm (8 ft 3 inches) from tip to tail.
English Mastiffs can trace their roots back to Roman times with part of their ancestry being the Pugnaces Britanniae (Dogs of Roman Britain). It is unsure when exactly the Pugnaces Britanniae breed came into existence, but some believe they were descended from dogs brought to Britain by the Phoenicians in the 6th century BC.
The Alaunt is likely to have been another contributor to the English Mastiff. Alaunts were introduced into Britain by the Normans. Over the course of centuries, the English Mastiff breed developed and they were primarily used as guard dogs.
English Mastiffs feature a massive body with an extremely broad head. They are the largest dogs in the world in terms of mass, although Irish Wolfhounds and Great Danes can be taller. Most male English Mastiffs tend to weigh between 68 to 113 kg (150 – 250 lb), while females tend to be 54 – 91 kg (120 – 200 lb). Heights are usually around 76 cm (30 inches) for males and 70 cm (27.5 inches) for females.
Despite their enormous size and appearance, English Mastiffs tend to be quite gentle and docile dogs. They are powerful and loyal, but due to their physical size they are not suited to city life.
It is extremely important that these dogs be fed well and exercised correctly. Excessive running for the first two years of an English Mastiff’s life is not recommend as it may damage the growth plates in the joints. The breed tends to suffer from hip dysplasia, gastric torsion, obesity and more.
English Mastiff Stats
Male weight – 68 to 113 kg (150 to 250 lb)
Male height – 76 cm (30 inches)
Female weight – 54 to 91 kg (120 to 200 lb)
Female height – 70 cm (27.5 inches)
Caucasian Shepherd Dog (45 – 100 kg)
The Caucasus Mountains are home to some of the oldest living dog breeds, such as the Azerbaijani Volkodav, Azerbaijani Shepherd Dog and Georgian Shepherd Dog. During the 20th century Soviet breeders selected some of these varieties and created the Caucasian Shepherd Dog.
The different varieties of Caucasian mountain dog have been used as hunters, guardians and shepherds for thousands of years. The traits of these dogs were passed onto the Caucasian Shepherd Dog and the breed is still used to protect livestock from predators.
Caucasian Shepherd Dogs are extremely muscular and strong boned. Plain Caucasian Shepherds have a shorter coat and appear taller as they are less strongly built, while Alpine types are more muscular with a heavier coat.
With an average weight of 50 – 100 kg (110 – 220 lb) for males and 45 – 80 kg (100 – 180 lb) for females, the Caucasian Shepherd Dog is one of the heaviest and largest dog breeds in the world. Males tend to stand 72 – 90 cm (28 – 35 inches) tall and females are usually 67 – 78 cm (26 – 31 inches).
Caucasian Shepherd Dogs are extremely independent, intelligent and fearless. They are highly protective of their territory, which makes them an excellent guard dog. Additionally, the breed can be aggressive towards other dogs, which means socialisation and obedience training is extremely important.
With a lifespan of 10 – 12 years, the Caucasian Shepherd Dog is a long-lived large breed of dog. They tend to be healthy dogs, however, hip dysplasia, obesity and heart disorders can be a problem.
Caucasian Shepherd Dog Stats
Male weight – 50 to 100 kg (110 to 220 lb)
Male height – 72 to 90 cm (28 to 35 inches)
Female weight – 45 to 80 kg (100 to 180 lb)
Female height – 67 to 78 cm (26 to 31 inches)
Tosa Inu (36 to 90 kg)
This breed of dog originates from Japan and was originally bred in Tosa, Shikoku (present day Kochi) as a fighting dog. They are considered to be rare and ownership in many countries is restricted as they are considered to be a dangerous breed.
Tosa Inus were first created in the second half of the 19th century. The breed started from the native Shikoku-Inu (an indigenous dog that weighs about 25 kg (45 lb). Breeders then cross the Shikoku-Inu with European dog breeds such as the Old English Bulldog and the English Mastiff. The aim of this was to create a larger, more powerful breed of dog.
Coats on Tosa Inus tend to be short and smooth, and are often red, brindle or fawn, but occasionally they can be dull black. The coats require very little maintenance.
Interestingly, Japanese breeders tend to focus on producing smaller dogs, while non-Japanese breeders focus on larger Tosa Inus. Japanese dogs tend to weigh between 36 to 61 kg (80 to 135 lb), while those from other countries are usually anywhere from 60 to 90 kg (130 to 200 lb). The larger foreign Tosa Inus tend to stand anywhere from 62 to 82 cm (24 to 32 inches) tall.
Tosa Inu Stats
Japanese weight – 36 to 61 kg (80 to 135 lb)
Non-Japanese weight – 60 to 90 kg (130 to 200 lb)
Height – 62 to 82 cm (24 to 32 inches)
Tibetan Mastiff (55 – 90 kg)
The Tibetan Mastiff is not only one of the world’s largest dog breeds, it is also the world’s most expensive breed with one selling to a Chinese businessman for an eye-watering $1.5 million.
Tibetan Mastiffs are known as ‘Dogs-Khyi’ in Tibetan and they have been used to protect herds, flocks, tents, villages and more for thousands of years. They are traditionally allowed to run loose at night and they are known for their fierce loyalty.
Interestingly, the Tibetan Mastiff is not a true Mastiff and it gets its name from the Europeans who first came to the country. In Europe, almost all large breeds of dog were referred to as “mastiff”, so they carried on the tradition. In truth, the Tibetan Mastiff should really be called the Tibetan Mountain Dog or the Himalayan Mountain Dog.
There are essentially two types of Tibetan Mastiff: the first being the Do-khyi and the second being the Tsang-khyi. The Tsang-khyi is referred to as the “monastery” type and is generally taller, heavier and bigger boned. The Do-khyu is regarded as the “nomad” type and is typically used for more active jobs. Both types can be produced in the same litter.
Male Tibetan Mastiffs can reach heights of up to 83 cm (33 inches) and usually weigh between 55 – 90 kg (121 – 198 lb). In some cases, Tibetan Mastiffs can weigh in excess of 115 kg (254 lb), however, these are generally not used as working dogs as they would cost too much to feed.
The breed features a long double coat that can be found in a wide variety of colours, including solid black, black and tan, various shades of red and more. Tibetan Mastiffs also lack the unpleasant smell that affects many larger breeds of dog.
Like many large dog breeds, it is important to train and socialise Tibetan Mastiffs. They are incredibly intelligent and known for being somewhat aloof with strangers. Tibetan Mastiffs often sleep during the day and can be more active at night. They have a very loud, strong bark that means they should not be left outside at night.
Compared to many other larger dog breeds, Tibetan Mastiffs tend to have a longer life expectancy (breeders often claim 10 – 16 years). They tend to have fewer genetic health problems although Hypothyroidism is fairly common in the breed.
Tibetan Mastiff Stats
Weight – 55 to 90kg (121 to 198 lb). In some cases they can exceed 115 kg (254 lb)
Height – Up to 83 cm (33 inches)
Boerboel (55 to 90 kg)
This large, mastiff-type breed of dog originates from South Africa and is bred for the purpose of guarding homes and farms. They are one of the strongest and most powerful dog breeds in the world with a bite force of 800 psi.
It is generally believed that Boerboels were created from the interbreeding of native African landrace dogs, such as the Africanis, with breeds brought into South Africa by British, Dutch, and French settlers.
Boerboels are large with a very strong bone structure and well-developed muscles. They tend to have a blocky head, with a short length between the stop and nose. The coat is short and sleek with a dense coverage of hair. The recognised colours are brindle, fawn, brown and black.
Male Boerboels usually weigh between 65 to 90 kg (143 to 198 lb), while females are smaller at 55 to 70 kg (121 to 154 lb). Heights typically range from 60 to 77 cm (24 to 30 inches).
This is a highly intelligent and energetic breed. They are often called “Velcro” dogs, as they always want to be with their owners. While they tend to be good with children, Boerboels need firm training and good socialisation from a young age. The breed can be somewhat aggressive to other dogs.
Overall, Boerboels are healthy dogs but they can suffer from hip and/or elbow dysplasia. The average life expectancy is ten years for this breed.
Male weight – 65 to 90 kg (143 to 198 lb)
Female weight – 55 to 70 kg (121 to 154 lb)
Height – 60 to 77 cm (24 to 30 inches)
Bully Kutta (60 to 89 kg)
This extremely large breed of dog is also known as the Indian Mastiff or the Indo-Pakistan Mastiff. The breed dates back to the 16th century and it is believed that it either came from the Thanjavur and Tiruchi districts of Madras or the Sind region of Medieval India.
Bully Kuttas are working dogs that are primarily used for hunting and guarding purposes. They have also been kept as pets by ruling families in India and the surrounding region.
Male Bullys can weigh anywhere from 70 to 89 kg (154 to 196 lb), while females can be 60 to 70 kg (132 to 154 lb). Heights typically range from 76 to 86 cm (30 to 34 inches) for males and 75 to 80 cm (29.5 to 31.5 inches) for females.
This breed is often described as intelligent, alert, responsive and aggressive. They should only be owned by experienced dog owners and they need to be trained and socialised from a young age.
Bully Kutta Stats
Male weight – 70 to 89 kg (154 to 196 lb)
Male height – 76 to 86 cm (30 to 34 inches)
Female weight – 60 to 70 kg (132 to 154 lb)
Female height – 75 to 80 cm (29.5 to 31.5 inches)
St. Bernard (54 – 82 kg)
The St. Bernard breed is an extremely large breed of a working dog that originates from the Western Alps in Italy and Switzerland. They were originally bred for rescue by the hospice of the Great St Bernard Pass on the Italian-Swiss border.
The hospice was built by and named after the Italian monk Bernard of Menthon. The earliest written recordings of the breed date back to 1707, while the first evidence that the dogs were used in the monastery date back to 1690 in paintings done by Italian artist Salvator Rosa.
The most famous St. Bernard at the hospice was a dog called Barry. According to reports, Barry saved somewhere between 40 and 100 lives during his service. There is a monument to Barry in the Cimetière des Chiens, and his body was preserved in the Natural History Museum in Berne.
St. Bernards can have either a smooth or rough coat. The smooth coat is usually close and flat, while the rough is dense, flat and more profuse around the neck and legs. Most dogs are typically a shade of red with white, or mahogany brindle with white. Black is also usually found on the face and ears.
Most St. Bernards weigh between 54 to 82 kg (120 to 180 lb) and they usually stand anywhere from 66 to 76 cm (26 to 30 inches) tall. However, the breed is known to get much larger. A St. Bernard by the name of Benedictine V Schwarzwald Hof reached a weight of 143 kg (315 lb), which made earned him a place in the 1981 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records.
Due to the incredibly fast growth rate of St. Bernards, it is incredible important to feed and exercise them properly, otherwise they can suffer from serious joint and bone problems. Hip and elbow dysplasia are common and Osteosarcoma (bone cancer) is hereditary. Most St. Bernards have a lifespan between 8 – 10 years.
These dogs are known as gentle giants and they tend to be very calm and patient with adults and children alike. They also tend to be very friendly with other dogs, but correct obedience and socialisation training is important.
St. Bernard Stats
Male weight – 64 to 82 kg (140 to 180 lb)
Male height – 71 to 76 cm (28 to 30 inches)
Female weight – 54 to 64 kg (120 to 140 lb)
Female height – 66 to 71 cm (26 to 28 inches)
Great Dane (50 – 82 kg)
In the 16th century, the nobility in many European countries imported strong, long-legged dogs from England. These dogs were descended from crossbreeds between English Mastiffs and Irish Wolfhounds. They were given the name “Englische Dogge (English dog)”, however, there was no formal breed for them.
The dogs were primarily used for hunting bear, boar, and deer, with the favourite ones staying at night in the bedchambers of their lords. When firearms become more prominent Englische Dogges become rare and were only kept as pets or as a hobby.
During the 19th century the name of these dogs was changed a number of times. It was known as the “Deutsche Dogge” in Germany and the “German boarhound” in English-speaking countries. The breed would later become known as the “Great Dane”, after the grand danois in Buffon’s Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière
Great Dane’s have a powerful and muscular body with a coat that can come in Fawn, Black, Brindle, Mantle, Blue, Grey, and Harlequin. Other colours are possible, but not acceptable for show dogs.
The breed also has natural floppy, triangular ears that, in the past, were commonly cropped to make injuries less likely during hunts. In the United States it is common to find Great Danes with cropped ears that stand up, however, in many other countries the practice is banned.
Great Danes are one of the largest breeds of dog with most weighing between 50 to 82 kg (110 to 180 lb). They can also be very tall with males usually standing 76 to 79 cm (30 to 31 inches), while females are typically 71 to 76 cm (28 to 30 inches). The tallest dog ever was a Great Dane called Zeus who measured 111.8 cm (44 inches) from paw to shoulder.
Dilated cardiomyopathy and many congenital heart diseases are also commonly found in the Great Dane. Additionally, they tend to suffer from bloat and can develop Wobbler disease, a problem that affects the vertebral column. Average lifespans tend to be 6 to 8 years.
Great Danes are usually a very friendly and gentle breed of dog, but they can become very fearful or aggressive if they are not socialised or trained properly.
Great Dane Stats
Weight – 50 to 82kg (110 to 180 lb)
Male height – 76 to 79 cm (30 to 31 inches)
Female height – 71 to 76 cm (28 to 30 inches)
Landseer (60 – 80 kg)
During the colonial times, large white and black “Newfoundland dogs” were brought to England because of their excellent swimming abilities. Fishermen used these dogs to tow nets to the shore and to save them or other fishermen from drowning.
Because of the breeds impressive appearance, many painters made them the subject of their work. The most famous of these paintings was created by renowned English animal painter Sir Edwin Landseer in 1838. Later the breed would be named after Sir Edwin Landseer.
Male Landseers are very big dogs with a bodyweight of 65 to 80 kg (143 to 176 lb), while females are slightly smaller at 60 to 75 kg (132 to 165 lb). Heights can range from 72 to 80 cm (28 to 31 inches) for males and 67 to 72 cm (26 to 28 inches) for females.
Landseers are known for their sweet disposition, gentleness and serenity. They love swimming and make great family pets. However, socialisation and training is still important as they can be unruly if not trained properly.
Male weight – 65 to 80 kg (143 to 176 lb)
Male height – 72 to 80 cm (28 to 31 inches)
Female weight – 60 to 75 kg (132 to 165 lb)
Female height – 67 to 72 cm (26 to 28 inches)
Newfoundland (55 – 80 kg)
This massive breed originated on Newfoundland and it is descended from a breed indigenous to the island known as the lesser Newfoundland, or the St. John’s dog. Newfoundlands around closely related to other Canadian retrievers such as the Labrador and Golden Retriever.
The Molosser-like appearance of the breed is a result of an introduction of Mastiff blood. It is believed that the Mastiffs introduced into the breed were either from Portugal or England.
Newfoundlands tend to be black, brown, grey, or white and black in colour. They have extremely large bones and a muscular body. Additionally, Newfoundlands have enormous lung capacity and webbed feet for swimming extremely long distances, and a thick, oily, waterproof double coat that protects them from the cold.
Male Newfoundlands tend to weigh anywhere from 65 to 80 kg (143 to 176 lb), while females are usually 55 to 65 kg (121 to 143 lb). the largest ever recorded Newfoundland was 120 kg (260 lb) and measured 1.8 m (6 ft) from tip to tail. Most male Newfoundlands tend to be 71 cm (28 inches) in height, while females are typically 66 cm (26 inches).
Newfoundlands are calm and docile dogs, but extremely strong. They are extremely loyal and are known as “gentle giants”. It is fairly easy to train these dogs as long as the training process is started early.
The breed is prone to hip dysplasia, cystinuria and SAS. Newfoundlands tend to live around 8 to 10 years, however, it is not uncommon for them to live up to 15 years.
Male weight – 65 to 80 kg (143 to 176 lb)
Male height – 71 cm (28 inches)
Female weight – 55 – 65 kg (121 to 143 lb)
Female height – 66 cm (26 inches)
Leonberger (45 – 77 kg)
In the 1830s, Heinrich Essig, a dog breeder and mayor of the town of Leonberg in Germany, claimed to have created the Leonberger by crossing a Newfoundland with a Great St. Bernard Hospice and Monastery. Later, a Pyrenean Mountain Dog was added, which resulted in very large dogs with long, white coats.
The first dogs registered as Leonbergers were born in 1846 and they featured many of the prized qualities of the breeds from which they were derived. It was believed that only five Leonbergers survived the First World War and almost all were lost in the World Ware II as well. During both wars, Leonbergers were used to pull ammunition carts. Leonbergers today can be traced to eight dogs that survived the Second World War.
The breed features a water-resistant double coat and a large and muscular body. A striking black mask adorns the head and projects the breed’s distinct expression of intelligence, kindness and pride. A variety of colours are acceptable, including red-brown, yellow, sand, black and more. The nose, paw pads and lips should always be black
Male Leonbergers tend to weigh anywhere from 54 – 77 kg (120 – 170 lb), while females tend to usually weigh around 45 – 61 kg (100 – 135 lb). In terms of height Males are usually 71 – 80 cm (28 – 31 inches) and females can be 65 – 75 cm (26 – 30 inches).
Leonbergers are excellent family dogs and once socialised and trained they are self-assured, submissive to family members, friendly with children and insensitive to noise. They tend to be very intelligent, loyal dogs that are also playful. Proper training and socialisation is essential.
Overall, Leonbergers are strong, healthy dogs and don’t usually suffer from hip dysplasia (Many breeders screen their Leonbergers for the problem). However, while they tend to be quite healthy dogs, they have a short lifespan of around 7 – 8 years, around 4 years shorter than the average purebred dog.
Male weight – 54 to 77 kg (120 to 170 lb)
Male height – 71 to 80 cm (28 to 31 inches)
Female weight – 45 to 61 kg (100 to 135 lb)
Female height – 65 to 75 cm (26 to 30 inches)
Bernese Mountain Dog (40 to 75 kg)
Bernese Mountain Dogs are one of the four breeds of Sennenhund-type dogs from the Swiss Alps. They were bred from crosses of Mastiffs and guard-type breeds, and were brought to Switzerland by the Romans 2,000 years ago. However, despite the breeds ancient beginnings, it was only officially established in 1907.
The breed was originally used as an all-purpose farm dog for guarding property and to drive dairy cattle long distances from farms to alpine pastures They were also used to transport carts of milk and cheese, and as such, they were given the nickname “Cheese Dogs”.
Bernese Mountain Dogs have a highly muscular body with a very strong, wide back. The head of these dogs is flat on the top and they feature a distinctive tri-coloured coat that is black, white and rust in colour.
Males typically weigh between 45 to 75 kg (100 to 160 lb), while females are usually 40 to 65 kg (90 to 140 lb). Most males stand 64 to 70 cm (25 to 27.5 inches) in height, with females being 58 to 66 cm (23 to 26 inches).
Bernese Mountain Dogs can have quite a varied temperament, however, they should not be aggressive, anxious or shy. As they are outdoor dogs at heart, it is important to exercise them regularly. If they are not exercised correctly, Bernese Mountain Dogs can harass their owners or bark continuously.
Unfortunately, Bernese Mountain Dogs have a much higher rate of fatal cancer than most other breeds of dog. As such, they have quite a low life expectancy of around 7 to 8 years.
Bernese Mountain Dog Stats
Male weight – 56 to 75 kg (100 to 160 lb)
Male height – 64 to 70 cm (25 to 27.5 inches)
Female weight – 40 to 65 kg (90 to 140 lb)
Female height – 58 to 66 cm (23 to 26 inches)
Pyrenean Mountain Dog (39 to 73 kg)
The Pyrenean Mountain Dog or Great Pyrenees in North America is a very large breed of dog that is used to guard livestock. Pyrenean Mountain Dogs were bred centuries ago to work with shepherds and herding dogs in the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Span.
One of the first descriptions of the breed comes from Fray Miguel Agustín’s book the Libro de los secretos de la agricultura, casa de campo y pastoral, which was published in 1617. The spread of the breed occurred in the 19th century with the first of them being introduced into the United States in 1824.
Pyrenean Mountain Dogs feature a weather-resistant double coat that consists of a long, flat, thick, outer coat and a fine, woolly undercoat. The main coat colour is white, but varying shades of grey, red, or tan are acceptable.
Males of the breed usually weigh between 45 to 73 kg (100 to 160 lb), while females tend to be 39 to 52 kg (85 to 115 lb). Heights range from 69 to 81 cm (27 to 32 inches) for males and 64 to 74 cm (25 to 29 inches for females).
Overall, Pyrenean Mountain Dogs are confident, gentle and affectionate. They are territorial, independent dogs that like to patrol. The breed can be slow to learn new commands and they can also be stubborn when it comes to training time.
Pyrenean Mountain Dog Stats
Male weight – 45 to 73 kg (100 to 160 lb)
Male height – 69 to 81 cm (27 to 32 inches)
Female weight – 39 to 52 kg (85 to 115 lb)
Female height – 64 to 74 cm (25 to 29 inches)
Neapolitan Mastiff (50 – 70 kg)
This massive breed of dog derives from the traditional guard dogs of Central Italy. Selective breeding began in 1947 by Piero Scanziani. He created the standard for the breed and it was officially recognised in Italy in 1949, while it would have to wait until 1956 for its international recognition.
The most prominent feature of Neapolitan Mastiffs is the abundant and loose skin around the neck and head (although they do have loose skin in other areas as well). Around the neck and head, the skin hangs in heavy wrinkles much like a Chinese Shar-Pei.
Neapolitan Mastiffs tend to have black, grey or leaden coats, however, other colours such as fawn, mahogany, hazelnut and more are accepted. White markings on the toes and chest are tolerated for this breed.
Males tend to weigh anywhere between 60 to 70 kg (130 to 155 lb), while females are usually smaller at 50 to 60 kg (110 to 130 lb). Heights can range from 65 to 75 cm (26 to 30 inches) for males and 60 to 68 cm (24 to 27 inches) for females.
Unfortunately, Neapolitan Mastiffs have quite a short life expectancy with most living on average around 7 years. About 1 in 6 will live to 9 years or more.
Neapolitan Mastiff Stats
Male weight – 60 to 70 kg (130 to 155 lb)
Male height – 65 to 75 cm (26 to 30 inches)
Female weight – 50 to 60 kg (110 to 130 lb)
Female height – 60 to 68 cm (24 to 27 inches)
Irish Wolfhound (48 – 70 kg)
The Irish Wolfhound is a historic breed of sighthound that originates from Ireland. The original Irish Wolfhound breed was presumed extinct by most knowledgeable experts but was recreated by Captain George A. Graham in the late 19th century.
It is believed that the original Wolfhound breed dates back to the Roman times and they were used for hunting. During the 1836 meeting of the Geological Society of Dublin, Dr. Scouler presented the “Notices of Animals which have disappeared from Ireland“, with the wolfdog mentioned.
Modern Irish Wolfhounds were created from the best examples of the Scottish Deerhound and the Great Dane, two breeds which are believed to have been derived from the original Wolfhound. It is also believed that some other breeds such as the Tibetan Mastiff were used to develop the modern Irish Wolfhound.
Irish Wolfhounds have a rough coat with a very muscular, strong build that somewhat resembles a Greyhound. They can come in a variety of colours including grey, red, black, fawn, and wheaten.
Male Irish Wolfhounds usually weigh between 54 to 70 kg (120 to 155 lb), while females are typically 48 to 61 kg (105 to 135 lb). They are considered to be the tallest dog breed in the world with males coming in at 81 to 86 cm (32 to 34 inches), while females are usually around 76 cm (30 inches).
This breed tends to be introverted and intelligent. They are considered to be poor guard dogs and will protect individuals instead of the owner’s house or possessions. Irish Wolfhounds are favoured for their loyalty, affection and patience, and they tend to be good with children.
Like many large breeds of dog, Wolfhounds have a relatively short lifespan of about 7 years. Dilated cardiomyopathy and bone cancer are the leading causes of death in this breed.
Irish Wolfhound Stats
Male weight – 54 to 70 kg (120 to 155 lb)
Male height – 81 to 86 cm (32 to 34 inches)
Female weight – 48 to 61 kg (105 to 135 lb)
Female height – 76 cm (30 inches)
Dogue De Bordeaux (45 to 68 kg)
The Dogue De Bordeaux (also known as the Bordeaux Mastiff, French Mastiff or Bordeauxdog) is one of the oldest and largest French dog breeds. The earliest known recordings of the breed date back as far as the fourteenth century, however, a formal breed type was not established until about 1920.
Due to their power and size, the breed has been put to work in many different capacities from pulling carts to guarding flocks and European castles.
The Dogue De Bordeaux features a well-balanced, muscular build. A massive head with proper proportions and features is an important trait of this breed. Compared to a breed like the English Mastiff, Dogue De Bordeaux are set somewhat low to the ground. The coat should be short and fine, with a soft to the touch feel. Colours tend to be fawn to mahogany with a black, brown, or red mask.
Males of the breed usually weigh between 50 to 68 kg (110 to 150 lb), while females are typically 45 to 57 kg (99 to 125 lb). Heights range from 61 to 69 cm (24 to 27 inches) for males and 58 to 66 cm (23 to 26 inches) for females.
Unfortunately, even compared to large breeds the Dogue De Bordeaux has a short lifespan of about 5 to 6 years. Some are known to live longer, but in an American survey the oldest of the breed was 12 years old.
Dogue De Bordeaux Stats
Male weight – 50 to 68 kg (110 to 150 lb)
Male height – 61 to 69 cm (24 to 27 inches)
Female weight – 45 to 57 kg (99 to 125 lb)
Female height – 58 to 66 cm (23 to 26 inches)
Kangal Shepherd Dog (41 – 66 kg)
The Kangal Shepherd Dog is a large breed that was originally created to serve the people of Anatolia. The breed has been in use for thousands of years, and despite its name, it is not a herding dog but rather a guardian. Kangal Shepherd’s often live with flocks of sheep and actively fend off predators of all sizes.
Compared to many other Mastiff breeds, the Kangal Shepherd Dog is not as heavy. This allows the breed to be much more agile and faster than other large dogs. Kangal Shepherds have a short and dense coat that is pale fawn or tan in colour, and all of them have a black facial mask with black or shaded ears.
In America, the standard for the breed is a weight of 50 to 66 kg (110 to 145 lb) for males and 41 to 54 kg (90 to 120 lb) for females. Heights range from 76 to 81 cm (30 to 32 inches) for males and 71 to 76 cm (28 to 30 inches) for females.
This breed tends to have a temperament that is calm, controlled, independent and protective. They can be aloof to strangers, but a well-socialised dog will be friendly with visitors and children. Kangal Shepherd Dogs are not recommended for inexperienced dog owners.
Kangal Shepherd Dog Stats
Male weight – 50 to 66 kg (110 to 145 lb)
Male height – 76 to 81 cm (30 to 32 inches)
Female weight – 41 to 54 kg (90 to 120 lb)
Female height – 71 to 76 cm (28 to 30 inches)
Anatolian Shepherd (40 – 65 kg)
This breed originates from Turkey and is named after the peninsula of Anatolia. Anatolian Shepherds are members of a very old breed of dog and are probably descended from the powerful hunting dogs of Mesopotamia.
They were developed over time to meet a specific set of circumstances. The most important of these was the ability to live in both very hot and very cold environments. Additionally, they had to be able to guard flocks moving great distances across the Central Anatolian Plateau. Today, they are still used to guard livestock and can be found in many parts in rural USA.
Male Anatolian Shepherds can be between 50 to 65 kg (110 to 143 lb), while females are typically smaller at 40 to 55 kg (88 to 121 lb). Heights are usually 74 to 81 cm (29 to 32 inches) for males and 71 to 79 cm (28 to 31 inches) for females.
As this breed was developed to be independent and forceful, they can be challenging to own as pets. It is vitally important that socialisation and firm training are undertaken at a young age. They tend to roam, so microchipping and tagging is highly recommended.
Like most breeds of dog, the primary cause of death in Anatolian Shepherds is cancer. They tend to live around 11 years on average, higher than most other breeds of similar size.
Anatolian Shepherd Stats
Male weight – 50 to 65 kg (110 to 143 lb)
Male height – 74 to 81 cm (29 to 32 inches)
Female weight – 40 to 55 kg (88 to 121 lb)
Female height – 71 to 79 cm (28 to 31 inches)
Akbash (34 to 63 kg)
This rare breed of dog originates from Turkey and goes by several other names such as the Coban Kopegi, Akbaş Çoban Köpeği, and Askbash Dog. The breed is primarily used as a livestock guardian or a shepherd dog.
Not much is known about the history of the breed, but it is thought that they were created about 3,000 years ago. Modern day versions of the breed were first introduced into the United States in the 1970s and they were officially recognised by the United Kennel Club in 1998.
The coats of this breed only come in white and as such, they blend in with flocks of sheep. Additionally, the coat is of the double variety and it is medium length.
Akbash dogs tend to weigh between 34 to 63 kg (75 to 140 lb) and stand 69 to 81 cm (27 to 32 inches) tall.
The Akbash breed is predisposed to some of the same health conditions that Mastiff-type breeds may also face. The most common health issues include hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism and gastric torsion (bloat).
Akbash dogs tend to be very protective of their family and they are fiercely loyal. They are intelligent dogs and if they sense anything amiss, they can growl or bark. A well trained and socialised Akbash should not be aggressive or shy.
Weight – 34 to 63 kg (75 to 140 lb)
Height – 69 to 81 cm (27 to 32 inches)
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog (36 to 61 kg)
This large breed of dog was developed in the Swiss Alps and at one point it was believed to have been one of the most popular breeds in Switzerland. The exact origin of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is not known, however, the most popular theory on the creation of the breed is that it is descended from the Molosser.
The Molosser was a large, Mastiff-type dog, which accompanied the Roman Legions during their invasion of the alps more than 2,000 years ago. A second theory is that in 1100 BC, the Phoenicians brought a large breed of dog with them to settlements in Spain. These dogs later migrated eastward to the Swiss Alps.
It is believed that Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs almost died out in the 19th century but the breed was rediscovered in the early 1900s. Today, numbers of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog have grown, but it remains a rare breed.
Males of the breed are usually 41 to 61 kg (90 to 135 lb) in weight, while females are typically 36 to 50 kg (80 to 110 lb). Heights range from 65 to 72 cm (25.5 to 28.5 inches) for males and 60 to 69 cm (23.5 to 27 inches) for females.
Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs tend to be very happy and enthusiastic, especially when they are around people or other dogs. While the breed does need exercise, they do not need a vast space to play in, unlike some other larger dogs.
For the most part, Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are relatively healthy for their size and have far fewer health related problems than other breeds of similar size. Despite being healthy dogs, they still have a relatively short lifespan of about 8 to 11 years.
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Stats
Male weight – 41 to 61 kg (90 to 135 lb)
Male height – 65 to 72 cm (25.5 to 28.5 inches)
Female weight – 36 to 50 kg (80 to 110 lb)
Female height – 60 to 69 cm (23.5 to 27 inches)
Black Russian Terrier (45 – 60 kg)
The Black Russian Terrier (BRT), also known as the Chornyi Terrier is a breed of dog that was created by the USSR in the late 1940s for use as military/working dogs. Breeds used in the development of the BRT largely came from countries where the Red Army was active during the Second World War. The main breeds that make up the BRT include the Giant Schnauzer, Airedale Terrier, Rottweiler, Newfoundland, and Caucasian Shepherd Dog.
BRTs were bred solely by the state-owned Red Star Kennel in Moscow until 1957, when some puppies were sold to civilian breeders. In time, the breed spread to other parts of the USSR and then to the rest of the world.
The breed has a double coat with a coarse outer guard hair over a softer undercoat. The coat is hard and dense, and it should b trimmed to between 5 and 15 cm (2 to 6 inches). A beard and eyebrows should form on the face, and there is usually a slight mane around the neck that is more pronounced on males.
Male BRTs should weigh between 50 and 60 kg (110 to 132 lb), while females should be 45 to 50 kg (99 to 110 lb). The height of the breed should be 72 to 76 cm (28 to 30 inches) for males and 68 to 72 cm (27 to 28 inches) for females.
This breed is typically calm, confident and courageous, however, some can be stubborn and lazy. They tend to be highly intelligent dogs that respond well to training. BRTs can be somewhat aloof with strangers, but are extremely friendly once they get to know a person.
Compared to many other large breeds of dog, BRTs have quite a long lifespan of 9 to 14 years. They are mostly healthy dogs, but suffer from hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia and Hyperuricosuria
Black Russian Terrier Stats
Male weight – 50 to 60 kg (110 to 132 lb)
Male height – 72 to 76 cm (28 to 30 inches)
Female weight – 45 to 50 kg (99 to 110 lb)
Female height – 68 to 72 cm (27 to 28 inches)
Komondor (40 – 60 kg)
The first written reference to the Komondor breed dates back to 1544, however, it is believed that the breed started much earlier. Komondors are descended from Tibetan dogs and came from Asia with the Cumans. The Cumans had to flee westwards when the Mongols began to expand their territories. Komondors are related to the South Russian Ovcharka, the Puli, the Old English Sheepdog and more.
With a long, thick, strikingly white coat, Komondors are a unique looking breed. Their coat features a soft undercoat and a coarser outer coat that combines to form tassels or cords. The coat is usually around 20 to 27 cm long and it is the heaviest in the canine world.
Male Komondors tend to weigh between 50 and 60 kg (110 to 132 lb), while females are usually 40 to 50 kg (88 to 110 lb). The average height of males is 80 cm (31.5 inches), with females being 65 cm (25.5 inches).
Like most livestock guarding dogs, Komondors are calm and steady when things are normal, but fearless and defensive when things go bad. They are independent thinkers and very protective of their family. They tend to be very good with other family pets but are intolerant to trespassing animals.
Male weight – 50 to 60 kg (110 to 132 lb)
Male height – 80 cm (31.5 inches)
Female weight – 40 to 50 kg (88 to 110 lb)
Female height – 65 cm (25.5 inches)
Cane Corso (40 to 50 kg)
This breed of dog comes from the South of Italy and is closely related to the Neapolitan Mastiff. They are descended from the old Roman Empire Molosser dogs and the name is derived from cane da corso, an old term for catch dogs used in rural activities for cattle and swine.
Cane Corsos were used to protect property, livestock and families, and some continue to be used for these purposes today. The breed become rarer in the 20th century when life changed for Southern Italian rural farms. In the late 1970s a group of enthusiasts began a program to bring the breed back from near extinction.
The most distinguishing feature of Cane Corsos is arguable the large and imposing head. They appear in two basic colours: black and fawn. Brindling of varying intensity is common on both coat colours and white markings are common on the chest, tips of toes, the chin, and the bride of the nose.
Male Cane Corsos tend to weigh between 45 and 50 kg (99 to 110 lb), while females are slightly smaller at 40 to 45 kg (88 to 99 lb). Heights range from 62 to 70 cm (24 to 28 inches) for males and 58 to 66 cm (23 to 26 inches) for females.
Cane Corso dogs are usually docile and affectionate to their owners. They can be easily trained, but very aggressive to strangers and difficult to handle for vets. The average lifespan of this breed is around 9 years with some colours living longer than others.
Cane Corso Stats
Male weight – 45 to 50 kg (99 to 110 lb)
Male height – 62 to 70 cm (24 to 28 inches)
Female weight – 40 to 45 kg (88 to 99 lb)
Female height – 58 to 66 cm (23 to 26 inches)
Scottish Deerhound (34 – 50 kg)
The Scottish Deerhound is not only one of the largest dogs in the world, it is also one of the fastest. It is a large breed of sighthound that was originally bred to hunt Red Deer by coursing.
Scottish Deerhounds are somewhat similar in appearance to a Greyhound but with a heavier build and longer, rough coat. The breed is closely related to the Irish Wolfhound and was a contributor to the breed when it was re-created at the end of the 19th century.
With the demise of the clan systems in Scotland, Deerhounds became sporting animals for landowners and the nobility. Due to their speed and silent hunting ability they are capable of making quick work of any game the size of a hare or larger.
Male Deerhounds are usually 76 – 81 cm (30 – 32 inches) in height while females are typically around 71 cm (28 inches). Weights for males can be anywhere from 39 – 50 kg (85 – 110 pounds), while females can be 34 – 43 kg (75 – 95 pounds).
This breed is known to be gentle and extremely friendly. They need considerable amounts of exercise when they are young to properly develop their health and condition. While they do not need considerable amounts of space to live in, apartment living is not recommended for these dogs.
Scottish Deerhounds tend to live around 8 to 9 years and they can suffer from cardiomyopathy, osteosarcoma, bloat, stomach or splenic torsion, and a variety of other health problems.
Scottish Deerhound Stats
Male weight – 39 – 50 kg (85 – 110 pounds)
Male height – 76 – 81 cm (30 – 32 inches)
Female weight – 34 – 43 kg (75 – 95 pounds)
Female height – 71 cm (28 inches)
Dogo Argentino (35 – 45 kg)
The Dogo Argentino is a large, muscular breed of dog that was originally developed in Argentina for the purpose of big-game hunting. It was first bred in 1928 from the Cordoba dog, along with a number of other breeds, including the Great Dane.
Antonio Nores Martínez was the man behind the creation of the breed, and he wanted a dog that would exhibit steadfast bravery and an unwavering willingness to protect its owner. The breed is so determined and strong that they are known to take down mountain lions.
Dogo Argentinos have a short, white coat with black spots in its skin. The body is strong and muscular, and there are rarely any markings on the coat. The breed is often described as looking similar to the American Bulldog.
Males are usually 40 to 45 kg (88 to 99 lb), while females are typically 35 to 40 kg (77 to 88 lb). Heights range from 60 to 68 cm (24 to 27 inches) for males and 60 to 65 cm (24 to 26 inches).
Dogos are highly intelligent and courageous with a strong, natural instinct to protect their home and family. They are very social dogs, but they make a strong distinction between familiar people and strangers. This means it is very important that they are trained and socialised correctly.
As with Dalmatians, white Boxers, and white Bull Terriers, Dogos may experience pigment-related deafness. There is a possibility of around 10% deafness in Dogos, but this problem can be dramatically reduced with proper breeding.
Are you struggling to stop your dog or puppy from biting and nipping? Do you wonder when your new puppy will stop biting? Or do you have an older dog that has a tendency to bite or nip people? If this sounds like you, read on to learn how to stop it.
Biting is a common problem that dog owners face and you will find that young puppies just love to sink their tiny teeth into you. Today we are going to look at how to stop a dog from biting people, clothes and other items.
Why Do Dogs and Puppies Bite?
Biting is one of the most natural things for a young puppy to do and there are a number of reasons why they do it. Older dogs usually bite for other reasons and the implications can be much greater.
Why Does My Puppy Bite?
Below we have listed some of the reasons a puppy may bite or nip.
It’s Fun and They Want to Play
Puppies love to bite because it gets them a reaction. Your puppy may be bored and wants to play, and all they have to do is sink their teeth into you or their siblings to get the action going. When a puppy bites one of their siblings, a game of chase or play fight will probably ensue. This gets attention focused on the biter, which is what they want.
When puppies bite humans the same thing happens. Your attention will focus back on your dog and they will get a reaction from you. Even if you tell them off your puppy has still go what they want. Remember that negative attention is still attention to a puppy.
They Love to Explore and Investigate
Puppies love to explore and investigate the world around them. The problem is, that unlike humans they do not have hands to grasp and touch the world around them. That means the only real way they can hold things is to use their mouth.
A puppy has the same incredible levels of curiosity as a child. Babies love to grab onto everything they can get their little hands on, and you will often see them use their mouth as well. Puppies have the exact same mindset as a human baby, but with paws instead of feet and hands.
Additionally, puppies can’t talk. They may be able to bark and whimper, but that is about it. A puppy’s mouth strength and biting ability can help them communicate and will determine their rank among the pack.
They Are Teething
While many dog owners associate biting or nipping with teething, it is not usually the main cause of the problem. Most biting is because they want to play, but teething can make the issue worse.
Puppies will usually have their adult teeth by the time they are about seven months old, but biting normally stop before this time. However, if a puppy is not trained to keep their teeth away from humans and redirected to appropriate chew toys, then mouthing and chewing can last well into adulthood.
Why Do Old Dogs Bite?
Elderly dogs will often bite with reasons that are totally different to the above.
They May Be in Pain
Pain is usually the main reason why elderly dogs bite or act aggressively. If your old dog suddenly becomes aggressive or starts to bite, you should take them to a veterinarian immediately. You vet will be able to rule out or treat any medical conditions or issues.
Dogs are pretty stoic about pain and aggressive behaviour is often the first sign of a problem. It is quite hard to know when a dog is hurting and by the time we know there is something wrong with them, the problem may be much worse.
An Older Dog Can Become Intolerant
Older dogs need a nice comfortable place where they know they can be safe. Even if your dog loves to be the centre of attention, they will need a safe place to retreat to. Disturbing and older dog can lead to aggressive behaviour or biting, and as they say “Let sleeping dogs lie”.
Elderly dogs may become impatient, and they can become annoyed if they are poked and prodded all day.
They May Be Confused
Just like some humans, dogs can become confused in their later years. You may see this sporadically, or there may be a steady decline. Dog dementia is a serious problem and you may notice the following symptoms if your dog is suffering from it.
Sleep-wake cycle disturbances
Lower threshold for aggression
Decreased activity levels
Inappropriate vocalization (howling, barking or whining)
Carrying on from above, a dog that can’t see or hear can become confused. Approaching them from behind or surprising them can lead to aggressive behaviour and biting. If your dog’s eyesight or hearing is impaired, be careful about how you approach them.
Do All Dogs Bite?
Almost every single dog will bite or nip when they are a puppy. It is a natural thing for them to do and fortunately it is a temporary phase that they go through. Puppies will eventually grow out of it, but expect some bites along the way.
When it comes to older dogs it is slightly different. The majority of older dogs will not bite, but they can develop the habit as they age or when they become sick or injured.
Do Some Breeds of Dog Bite More Than Others?
If you are wondering if some dog breeds are more likely to bite than others, the answer is yes. Sporting breeds and those that have the drive to chase prey or protect their territory or more likely to bite than others.
The Canine Journal has a fantastic article on the statistics of dog bites in the United States. While this doesn’t really factor in puppy biting and mouthing, it is good information to look at if you are thinking about buying a new puppy or have one of the top biters. The top biters are as follows:
Jack Russell Terrier
Remember that not all dogs are the same and they all have their own individual traits and characteristics. If your dog is on this list, you should not panic. Likewise, if your dog is not featured on the top biters list, you should not become complacent with them.
Play or Aggressive Biting in Puppies?
Sometimes it can be difficult to determine whether a puppy’s biting is due to aggression or play. Dog body language can be difficult to understand so we recommend that you check out this article.
Play Time Can Look Aggressive
It can be quite alarming when puppies play with each other. You’ll probably hear all sorts of yapping and barking, and it can really look like they are trying to hurt each other. Even when your puppy is playing by themselves they can make all sorts of aggressive sounding noises, but it is perfectly normal.
Biting will often accompany this sort of play and you will probably hear your puppy growl and snarl at other puppies or objects in their environment.
It is natural for inexperienced dog owners to worry that their puppy’s behaviour could be a sign that they have a dangerous animal in their house. Snarling, growling, biting and barking can be a shock to new dog owners, but most of the time it is just play.
Growling in Dogs
What If My Puppy Growls at Me?
When your puppy is playing they practice being scary and fierce. They turn themselves into a different animal and want to make as much noise as possible. All puppies tend to carry out this sort of behaviour when they are playing and you may be on the receiving end. Your puppy may try to entice you into a game by growling and yapping at you.
Your puppy’s mum and siblings understand this behaviour and are not bothered by it. Because of this, your puppy will have no idea that he is frightening you or other people in your house. Your puppy doesn’t understand that you think they are turning into a monster.
What About Elderly Dogs?
Now we know that puppy growling and aggressive behaviour is often harmless play, but what about older dogs?
Growling in older dogs happens for many of the same reasons as biting. We listed some of those earlier in this article, but in short it could be because they are in pain, afraid, annoyed or they are trying to protect their possessions or territory.
What About Resource Guarding
Alright, so most of the time aggressive behaviour in puppies is actually play, but what about when they are guarding something?
Some dogs can act aggressively if they are protecting something important to them, like a toy or food. We call this resource guarding.
When your dog wants to guard something they will stand over it to protect it from any possible threat. They may act aggressively and even start biting if a potential threat gets too close.
This sort of behaviour needs to be discouraged when they are puppies and it definitely shouldn’t happen when they are adults. If you have an older dog that does this, you need to fix the situation as soon as possible. Adult dogs and even puppies can have a serious bite on them and they may use it if you try to take away something important to them.
More Puppy Biting Information
In this next section of the article, we are going to be focusing on puppy biting. If you would like to learn more about stopping an older dog from biting, scroll down a bit further.
What Makes Puppy Biting Worse?
If you are trying to stop a puppy from biting, it is a good idea to know what encourages them. There are four main things that can make biting worse:
Excitement – An excited puppy is more likely to bite. The more excited a puppy is, the harder they will bite and with more frequency. Rough, physical play, chasing, tummy tickles and more will get your puppy bubbling with excitement that they cannot control. Additionally, noisy behaviour such as screams, shouting or crying will wind your puppy up and make them over excited.
Inappropriate play – This sort of goes with the above. If you let your dog chew on your fingers or if you wave your hands in front of your puppy’s face, expect to get a nasty nip. This sort of behaviour trains your puppy to associate your hands as a toy.
Attention – We all love to give our puppies attention, but giving them attention when they bite us only makes matters worse. You may not think you are rewarding your puppy for biting, but you are if you give them any attention when they do so. Puppies love attention and getting any is a massive reward for them.
Poor bite inhibition – A puppy with poor bite inhibition will bite harder than those with good bite inhibition. We are going to explain a bit more about bite inhibition below and how you can help your puppy improve theirs.
So How Do You Stop a Puppy from Biting?
Prevention Is Key
Avoiding situations where you put yourself in the position to be bitten is a big part of this training. You do not want to let your puppy associate you or somebody else’s body as a toy. The key with this is to redirect and prevent.
Control Your Puppy’s Excitement
An excited puppy is more likely to bite, so you need to control their level of excitement. If your puppy starts getting too excited, let them cool off for a bit. You can stop the game you are playing for a couple of minutes or leave the room. When you return your puppy should have calmed down and you can resume play time.
Redirect Attention with Hands and Toys
When you are training your puppy, make sure you always have toys to offer them. Puppies love to chew and bite anything they can get their paws on. They want to explore the world and do that via their teeth.
You need to use your hands to redirect them to some fun toys. Your job is to make the toys look as attractive as possible and much more interesting than your hands, feet and clothes. When redirecting your puppy’s attention, don’t make fast, jerky movements with your hands. This only makes your hands more interesting.
Stay in Control When Playing
You need to make sure you stay in control when you play games with your puppy. If your puppy attempts to bite you or starts causing trouble, simply walk away and return once they have cooled down.
Supervise Your Kids
Children are often on the receiving end of a bite. They love to play with dogs and they will wind them up until they are almost in a frenzy. You need to supervise any children who are playing with your puppy and show them how to play correctly.
This means that you shouldn’t let children run around a puppy without a toy. If a child is running around, the puppy will begin to focus on them as their main source of entertainment. Teach children to be calm around puppies and use toys to play with them.
Can You Punish a Puppy for Biting?
There are a number of trainers who advocate punishing a puppy if they bite. This may be by intimidating them with an angry, shouty voice or even physical punishment such as a light slap.
These sort of methods can work, but there are a number of problems with them. Negative training techniques can reduce the trust between you and your dog, leading to unwanted behaviour down the line.
In addition to this, puppies need to learn how to control their mouths and bite before they are taught not to bite at all.
What Is Bite Inhibition?
Bite inhibition simply means that the puppy learns not to apply too much force when they are biting. It is similar to how humans learn to not apply too much pressure when they perform a handshake with someone. Applying too much pressure in a handshake can crush the other person’s hand and cut off their blood supply.
Puppies learn to limit the pressure with their mouths by feedback from their siblings and mother. If they are playing with their siblings and one bites a little bit too hard, the other one will yelp loudly. The yelp indicates to the biting puppy that they are applying too much pressure and they need to let go.
Once this has happened, play will stop for a few minutes until they are ready to go again. The next time they play, the offending puppy will bite a little bit less hard than before.
This also happens with their mother. If they bite down on their mom too hard, she will growl at them and get up. This means that they will get no more dinner or attention from her.
So how does this apply to humans? A puppy may have learnt the acceptable force when biting their siblings, but unfortunately, humans do not have a nice fur coat to protect them. The level of force your puppy has learnt to use on their mother and siblings will be too painful for delicate human skin. Your puppy will not know this yet, but you are going to teach them.
Bite Inhibition Training
From the above, it can be seen that fun things stop when a puppy bites their mother or siblings. You need to apply this same theme to your puppy’s bite inhibition training to get the point across to them.
We have listed some steps and training tips below to teach your dog good bite inhibition.
If your puppy bites too hard, make a load yelp or “Ouch!” sound.
Once your puppy releases your hand, don’t pull it away quickly. Jerking your hand away from them quickly will make it look like something fun to chase and bite.
Instead, let your puppy release your hand and then get up and move away. Completely ignore them while you are doing this. The idea is to teach your puppy that the fun stops when they bite you.
Continue to ignore them for a couple of minutes and then return to them. Play with them and make sure you have some toys on hand. Praise your puppy when they interact with the toy.
If your puppy bites you again, repeat the same process of walking away and ignoring them.
You may find that your puppy tries to chase or follow you. If they do this, leave the room so they cannot follow you. Make sure your puppy is in a puppy-proof area, as they may take out their frustration or boredom on household items. Leave them lots of toys, so that they can interact with those.
For those who don’t have a puppy-proof area, we recommend that you put a lead on your puppy. When they bite you, tie them up to something and walk away.
The main goal of this exercise is take away the fun when they bite you. Do not get angry at your dog and do not give them attention when they bite you.
Leaving your puppy for a couple of minutes after they bite you will give them time to cool down and reduce their excitement levels. Make sure you have plenty of toys and encourage them to play with the toys.
Why Don’t We Teach Them to Not Bite at All?
You are probably wondering why we don’t just teach a puppy to not bite at all. The reason for this is that a number of experts believe that a staged bite inhibition training process is important to get complete control over your dog’s biting in the present and future.
The idea of reducing biting gradually was popularised by Ian Dunbar. He believed that a dog that has learnt to control their bite will be less likely to harm a person if they bite in the future. Remember that a dog can always bite and there is no way to train them 100% not to.
As your puppy begins to understand that they need to be gentle, you can start asking more of them. If your puppy bites or mouths you, remember to walk away every time. They will slowly reduce the force of their bite and eventually you can get them to stop biting altogether.
Your whole goal is to help your puppy understand that playtime continues as long as they keep their teeth away from you and on their toys.
How to Train a Puppy Not to Bite in Steps
Now that we know why puppies bite, some of the things that make biting worse and methods to stop biting, let’s put all of that information together in easy to follow stages.
Stage One – Control Your Puppies Environment and Interactions
You need to control your puppy’s environment and have a place where they can calm down. This means that you shouldn’t give them the run of the house and you need to have a room or area where they can feel safe.
In addition to this, you need to control your puppy’s interactions with yourself and other people (especially kids). Make sure that children understand how to play with your puppy and have lots of toys on hand.
Make sure your puppy doesn’t get too excited when they are playing a game or meeting someone for the first time. Control their excitement levels and know when to give them a minute to cool down.
Stage Two – Don’t Make Things Worse
As we have stressed in this article, don’t get your puppy too excited and don’t reward them for biting. A puppy’s favourite reward is your attention, so don’t give it to them when they do something bad.
Make sure your puppy gets no rewards when they bite you or someone else. This is a vital step to stopping a puppy from biting.
In addition to this, don’t encourage biting by waving your hands or fingers in front of your puppy. Many puppies see fingers, hands, toes and feet as something to chase and play with.
Stage Three – Teach Your Puppy Some Mouth Control
This is all the bite inhibition training we talked about earlier in this article. You need to train your puppy to bite with less force and that biting hurts you.
Bite inhibition training takes a while so don’t think you are going to see success in a day. Your puppy needs to learn to reduce the power of their bite gradually and eventually stop biting all together.
As we wrote earlier, if your puppy bites make a load yelp or squeal and then walk away. Leave the room for a period of time and then come back once your puppy has calmed down. Your puppy will soon understand that fun things stop when they bite you.
Step Four – Redirect Their Attention
If your puppy looks like they are about to bite or they are starting to focus on you, introduce some distractions. Redirect your puppy’s attention away from your body and clothes to interesting toys. This way they will bite and chew the toy instead of you. Reward your puppy when they play with the toy.
Step Five – Teach Your Puppy Not to Bite
This is the part where we teach the puppy to let us touch them in any way we like, without them biting or mouthing.
The best way of doing this is to use a clicker and some delicious dog treats. However, for those that don’t have a clicker you can use a cue word such as ‘yes’, but make sure you still have treats to give your puppy.
We have laid out how to conduct the training exercise below:
Move your hand towards your puppy in a slow, controlled manner.
If they do not move their mouth towards your hand say “yes!” or give them a click if you have clicker trained them. Immediately following this, give your puppy a treat.
Repeat the same process but get your hand closer to your puppy’s mouth. Eventually you want to be able to touch your puppy’s mouth without them biting you.
Every time you do it say “yes” or give them a click and then follow with a treat.
Watch This Video for a Full Description of the Technique
What if My Puppy Bites Me?
If your puppy bites you while you are conducting this training session, walk away and ignore them. Remember that we want to show our puppy that biting is not okay and hurts us.
Let your puppy cool down for a couple of minutes and then return to the training exercise. This time, make smaller hand movements further away from your puppy until they ignore them. Gradually close the distance between your hand and your puppy’s mouth after each successful go.
More Options to Control Puppy Biting
While the above method is what we would recommend you do to stop your puppy’s biting, there are a few other things and techniques that can be used to reduce biting. Let’s look at them below:
If walking out of the room and leaving your puppy isn’t enough to stop them biting you, you can try taste deterrents to make your hands and feet less appealing.
The idea with these taste deterrent products is that they make anywhere you apply the product taste terrible. Something like Grannicks Bitter Apple is a product you can use to deter your puppy’s biting.
When your puppy releases their bite, praise them and redirect their attention to a toy.
Keep Your Puppy Exercised
Keeping your puppy exercised and mentally stimulated can go a long way to help the biting problem. If you take your puppy for regular walks and let them work up a sweet, they will be less likely to get too excited.
A well exercised and mentally stimulated puppy will be calmer than one that is kept inside all day. You can read more about dog exercise in our “How Much Exercise Do Dogs Need” article.
What About Dominant Puppies?
Just like humans, dogs and puppies have different personalities and characteristics. Most puppies are not trying to be dominant and just want to be part of the pack. However, as puppies grow older, some may try to use biting as a way to show their dominance.
If you believe that your puppy is trying to be dominant by biting you, do not yelp or shout at all. This can reinforce the bad behaviour and could be a sign that you are backing down. They will then believe they are the leader in the relationship.
For puppies or dogs that are trying to be dominant through biting, simply walk away if they do bite or attempt to. You can also put your puppy in a time-out room or use their lead to tether them in place.
How to Stop an Old Dog from Biting?
Now that we have looked at stopping a puppy from biting, let’s look at stopping elderly dogs from doing the same. Unfortunately, older dogs can be quite stubborn and the reasons for their biting are usually completely different to a puppy.
Help Their Illness or Pain
As we wrote at the start of this article, an older dog may bite because they are sick or in pain. It can be hard to recognise the signs of a sick dog as they are quite stoic about pain. Your dog may have hip or back issues, but you may be none the wiser.
Always keep a look out for any changes in behaviour and take your dog to the vets if you believe there is something wrong with them. Your vet may be able to treat the problem, or it may be a case of managing the condition.
If your dog is suffering from illness or pain, avoid doing things that could make it worse. Make sure they have plenty of rest and a safe place where they can be away from people. Don’t let young children jump all over your dog, as this could result in a nasty bite. Monitor any play with your dog and don’t overstress them.
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
We all know this quote and it really is true. Older dogs can become intolerant to people, kids and other dogs. Make sure they have a place to rest without being disturbed. Teach any children to leave the dog alone when they are resting and don’t let them have access to the dog when there is no one to supervise.
In addition to this, we recommend that you take your dog to the park and out for walks at none peak times. This means that there will be less dogs to potentially annoy your older dog.
Approach and Touch Them Appropriately
Older dogs may be confused or their hearing and eyesight could be impaired. Always approach your dog appropriately and don’t sneak up on them. If you can, always try to approach your dog from the front and say their name as you get near. This way they will know you are coming and won’t be surprised.
Don’t Put Your Dog in Situations They Don’t Like
This is sort of a combination of the above, but it is important. If your dog doesn’t enjoy doing something (even if they did before) don’t put them in a situation where they have to do it. This may mean that you don’t take them to the dog park or roll them on their back for a tummy tickle.
Walk Away if They Bite You
Just like when a puppy bites, don’t give your older dog attention and walk away from them. Leave them to cool down and do not physically harm them. Any negative training techniques could lead to harder biting in the future.
Train Bite Inhibition
Some dogs never learn to control their bite, but it never too late to start training them to do so. Simply do the same as you would with a puppy. Walk away when they bite and stop any fun things.
Summing Up How to Stop a Dogs and Puppies Biting
As you can see, there are loads of different reasons why a dog might bite. Usually, they are not to do with aggressive behaviour or trying to be dominant. For puppies it is simply a natural occurrence and you need to discourage biting through bite inhibition training and teaching them to stop.
When it comes to older dogs you may not be able to solve the problem completely, but you can control the factors that make it worse.
Remember that stopping your dog’s biting will not happen overnight and you need to be consistent. The alternative to not training your puppy or dog is a large animal putting their mouth on you or other people.
Always be patient with your dog and remember that biting is only natural for dogs, especially puppies. Show your puppy that biting hurts and they need to control their bite when interacting with people.
Most people usually want to find out how to stop their Labrador barking, but for some, they want to do the opposite. Teaching your Lab to speak or bark is a fun trick that can also be useful in some circumstances.
In this article we are going to be explaining how to teach a Labrador to speak on command and why it can be useful. We are also going to be talking about issues you may come across during the training process.
The Benefits of Teaching Your Lab to Speak
Teaching your Lab to speak or bark is a great trick and it lets you get control over their voice. While this trick is not essential, there are some reasons why you should teach it to your Labrador. Let’s look at them below:
Can help to control their barking – If you have a Lab that loves to bark at anything, you may want to teach them how to speak on command. When you train a dog to bark on command, you will find it easier to train them to be quiet.
You can make your Lab bark when people come to the door – For some owners they want their Lab to bark when people come to the tour. Teaching your dog to speak on command is a one of the first steps to do this.
Teach your Labrador to speak when they want something – Another benefit of training your dog to bark on command is that you can then teach them to do it when they want something. For example, you can train your Lab to bark when they want to go to the toilet.
It’s fun – Training your Lab to bark on command is a fun trick. You can use it when you are playing games such as fetch or when you want to show off your dog’s impressive bark.
Helpful Tips for Training Your Lab to Speak
Below have listed some helpful tips that will make the training process easier for you.
Pick a Good Place to Train – It is incredibly important to establish a good training environment. Avoid any areas with lots of distractions as they will make it more difficult to train your canine companion. We recommend that you find a nice quiet room in your house that is reasonably small so you can keep your Lab’s attention fixed on you.
Use High Value Treats – Labradors love food, so get your hands on some high value treats to make the training process easier. Tasty treats such as chicken or pre-made dog treats will get your Lab more excited for training time and they will be more eager to do as you command.
Keep Training sessions Short – Always try to keep your training sessions under five minutes. If you make your sessions too long your Lab will get bored and distracted, which is frustrating for the both of you.
Make it Positive – Always make your training sessions a fun, positive experience and don’t make them into a chore. Try to think of the session as more of a game as this will make it more interesting for the both of you and your dog will look forward to future lessons.
What You Will Need
The only tool that you really need for this command is some high value dog treats. Small bits of chicken or dog treats such as these ones from Old Mother Hubbardare a great way to keep your Labrador’s attention fixed on you.
Alternatively, you can use a toy as a reward. Some dogs respond better to this, while others aren’t interested at all.
You will also need some kind of barking stimulus such as a doorbell, clicker (if your dog is trained to use one) or even a toy.
Training a Labrador to Speak
Now that you are all set to go, let’s look at how you can make your Labrador bark on command. Teaching a dog to speak is a fairly straightforward process and it shouldn’t take too much time.
In this guide we are going to be looking at a method called “capturing”. Capturing works by waiting for your Lab to do the desired action (in this case speaking), and then rewarding them for that action. You then match a signal word or sound to the action.
Your Labrador will eventually learn that they should do the action when you say the signal word. This is a common training method that is widely used for other tricks and commands.
Choosing a Signal
It is important to pick a simple signal that is short and snappy. This signal word or command should only be used for this specific action, so that your Lab doesn’t start barking when you want them to do something else. We personally use the world ‘speak’ with our dogs and will be using that in this guide. Other good words include ‘bark’ or ‘talk’.
Steps to Train a Lab to Bark on Command
The first thing you are going to want to do is to let your Labrador bark/speak naturally. This can be quite a difficult task for some dogs as they naturally aren’t barkers.
If you are struggling to make your Labrador bark, you may have to get creative. Try to find something that makes your dog bark such as a toy or game. For our boy Winston we used his favourite ball. We held the ball up high and because he wanted it, he barked.
Once you have got your Lab barking, start saying the signal word in a clear, upbeat manner when they do it.
Following this, praise your dog and give them a treat or throw them a toy/play a game with them. Show your Lab that you are really excited by what they did and remember to keep it fun.
Repeat these steps several times until your Labrador begins to match the signal word (“Speak”) to the action of barking/speaking. Most Labs will get this pretty quickly, but some dogs take a few training sessions to get the hang of it.
The next step is to use the word on its own. In a clear voice say “speak” and wait for your Lab to bark. If they do not bark repeat the signal word a few times, maintaining a clear voice.
If your Labrador still doesn’t speak on your command, go back to the earlier steps to reinforce the command.
Once your Lab does speak you have taught them the command! Remember to use it frequently to reinforce the command.
Common Questions When Training a Labrador to Speak
Below we have answered some common questions when teaching a Labrador to speak on command:
My Dog Keeps Barking When I Say the Signal Word
When you train your Labrador to speak on command it is important to only reward them when they do a single bark. If you reward your dog for barking lots, they will think that is what you want. If your Lab is doing this, you may have to retrain them by only giving them rewards when they do a single bark and ignoring them when they do multiple.
My Dog Won’t Bark at All, How Do I Fix This?
This is a tricky one as some dogs simply don’t bark at all. Our girl Daisy has only barked twice in her entire life and no matter what we do we can’t make her bark. If your Labrador is like this there isn’t much you can do.
For those that don’t have dogs like the above, but are still struggling, we recommend teasing them with a toy. Do this while you are playing a game of fetch or tug as your Lab will be focused on getting the toy off you. In one instance, we even put Winston’s ball in a tree to make him bark. While it may seem mean to do this, it is a quick and easy way to get your dog to bark and won’t hurt them.
Summary of How to Train a Labrador to Speak
Training your Labrador to speak/bark on command is a great fun trick and can be useful in some circumstances. If you are new to dog training there are plenty of other commands you should teach your Lab first, but this is a nice, easy one. Remember to keep training sessions fun and if your dog doesn’t want to bark, find a creative solution.
We all think our dogs are lightning fast as they speed around the house or garden, but have you ever wondered what the fastest dog breeds in the world are? Today we are going to answering that very question with the top 20 fastest dog breeds in the world.
Characteristics of the Oldest Dog Breeds in the World
Many of the fastest dog breeds in the world share similar physical traits with slender bodies and long legs. They have developed over centuries and have often been used for hunting, sport and other activities.
The fastest dog breeds in the world tend to be extremely energetic and need lots of exercise to be both physically and mentally stimulated.
Compared to humans, dogs are extremely fast. The fastest human speed ever recorded was achieved by Olympian Usain Bolt, who ran at a speed of nearly 45 hm/h (28 mph). The fastest dog breed in the world, the greyhound, can run at an incredible 72 km/h (45 mph).
20 Fastest Dog Breeds in the World
Below we have put together a list of the 20 fastest dog breeds in the world. Check below to see if your dog has made the list. At the end of this article we have a handy table comparing the speeds of the 20 fastest dog breeds.
1 – Greyhound
While similar in appearance to the Saluki or Sloughi breeds, the Greyhound is actually more closely related to herding dogs. It is believed that the Greyhound’s origins lie with the Celts from Eastern Europe or Eurasia.
Greyhounds are a gentle and intelligent breed whose combination of long, powerful legs, deep chest, flexible spine and slim build allow them to reach an incredible top speed of 72 km/h (45 mph). They can reach this speed within 30 metres (98 ft) or six strides.
Male Greyhounds are usually 71 to 76 centimetres (28 to 30 inches) tall at the withers, and on average weigh between 27 to 40 kg (60 to 88 lbs). Females tend to be smaller with heights ranging from 66 to 71 cm (26 to 28 inches) and weights from 25 to 34 kg (55 to 75 lbs). However, they can be bigger or smaller than these weights and sizes.
Greyhounds have very short fur and there are around 30 different recognised combinations including white, black, red and more. They are dolichocephalic with a skull that is relatively long compared to its width.
Top speed – 72km/h (45 mph)
Weight male – 27 to 40 kg (60 to 88 lbs)
Height male – 71 to 76 centimetres (28 to 30 inches)
Weight female – 25 to 34 kg (55 to 75 lbs)
Height female – 66 to 71 cm (26 to 28 inches
2 – Saluki
Not only is the Saluki one of the oldest dog breeds in the world, it is also one of the fastest. The Saluki can trace its roots back to Egyptian times, with dogs that resemble them being depicted on tombs at around 2,100BC (Some believe they even date back as far as 7,000BC).
Salukis are known as the royal dog of Egypt and they were bred to hunt wild animals due to their speed and endurance. Unlike some other breeds, Salukis hunt primarily by their sight rather than their scent (they are classed as sighthounds).
The normal size for modern Salukis is 58 – 71 cm (23 – 28 inches) high at the withers and 16 – 29 kg (35 – 65 pounds) in weight, with females being slightly smaller. They feature a long and narrow head with large eyes and drop ears. Salukis are typically deep-chested with long legs and a slim body.
Compared to Greyhounds, Salukis are slightly slower with a top speed of 68.8 km/h (42.8 mph). However, Salukis are regarded as faster than Greyhounds over distances in excess of 800 metres (0.5 miles). This is due to their heavily padded feet and remarkable stamina when running.
Top speed – 68 km/h (42.8 mph)
Weight – 16 – 29 kg (35 – 65 pounds)
Height – 58 -71 cm (23 – 28 inches)
3 – Afghan Hound
Afghan Hounds are the third fastest dog breed in the world and are closely related to the Saluki. The breed dates back to pre-Christian times and was primarily used for hunting wild animals. Today, Afghan Hounds are popular show dogs due to their tall stature and distinctive long coat.
Today’s purebred Afghan Hounds descend from dogs brought to Great Britain in the 1920s, which King Amanullah of the Afghan Royal Family gave as gifts. There are around 13 different types of Afghan Hound and the breed is classed as a sighthound.
The Afghan Hound is tall with a height of 61 – 74 cm (24 – 29 inches) and a weight of 20 – 27 kg (44 – 60 lbs). Coats can come in a wide variety of colours, but white/cream tends to be the most common colour. Many Afghan Hounds also feature a black facial mask and some even have facial hair that looks like a Fu Manchu moustache.
Despite its appearance, the Afghan Hound is an extremely athletic dog. They can turn very well and have extremely good endurance. With a top speed of 64.4 km/h (40 mph), the Afghan Hound is one of the fastest breeds of dog on the planet.
Afghan Hound Stats
Top speed – 64.4 km/h (40 mph)
Weight – 20 – 27 kg (44 – 60 lbs)
Height – 61 – 74 cm (24 – 29 inches)
4 – Vizsla
The Vizsla breed of dog originates from Hungry and is classed as a Pointer. The first written reference to the Vizsla was recorded in Illustrated Vienna Chronicle prepared on order of King Louis I of Hungary by the Carmelite Friars in 1357.
As companions of early Hungarian warlords and barons, the breed was held in high esteem for its hunting and athletic ability. During the Turkish occupation (1526 – 1696), the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, World War I and World War 2, the breed almost became extinct. It was believed that only about a dozen purebred Vizslas survived the Second World War.
Vizslas feature a very-short coat and no undercoat so they are unsuited to living outdoors. They have a very robust, yet light build with very defined muscles that lets them hit a top speed of 64.4 km/h (40 mph). The nose of a Vizsla will always have a reddish colour that blends with the coat colour. While the standard coat comes in a solid golden rust colour, they can also come in a number of other colours.
The Vizsla is classed as a medium-sized dog with an average height of 58 – 69 cm (23 – 27 inches) for males and 53 – 61 cm (21 – 24 inches) for females. The average weights are 20 – 30 kg (45 – 66 lb) for males and 18 – 25 kg (40 – 55 lbs) for females.
Top speed – 64.4 km/h (40 mph)
Weight male – 20 – 30 kg (45 – 66 lb)
Height male – 58 – 69 cm (23 – 27 inches)
Weight female – 18 – 25 kg (40 – 55 lbs)
Height female – 53 – 61 cm (21 – 24 inches)
5 – Ibizan Hound
The fifth breed of dog on this list is the Ibizan Hound and it features a top speed of 64.4 km/h (40 mph), which is the same as the Vizsla and the Afghan Hound above.
Originating from the island of Eivissa, the Ibizan Hound has been traditionally used in the Catalan-speaking areas of Spain and France to hunt rabbits and other small game. Due to its extreme speed and agility, the breed can hunt on all types of terrain, working by scent, sound and sight. Females tend to make up the majority in a hunting pack as they are considered to be better at the task.
The Ibizan Hound is an elegant and agile breed, with an athletic physique and a springy trot. Its large upright ears are a hallmark of the breed and they feature a long and lean neck. Ibizan Hounds come in both smooth and wire-coated varieties, and their coat is a combination of red and white.
On average, the breed stans 56 – 74 cm (22 – 29 inches) tall and weighs from 20 – 29 kg (45 – 65 pounds).
Ibizan Hound Stats
Top speed – 64.4 km/h (40 mph)
Weight – 20 – 29 kg (45 – 65 lbs)
Height – 56 – 74 cm (22 – 29 inches)
6 – Jack Russell Terrier
Don’t be fooled by the Jack Russell’s small stature, it is actually one of the fastest dogs on the planet. The Jack Russel Terrier is a small terrier that has its origins in fox hunting in England. It is commonly confused with the Parson Russel terrier and the Russell terrier, a stockier, shorter-legged variant.
The Jack Russell Terrier we know today was first bred by the Reverend John Russell, a parson and hunting enthusiast born in 1795, and they can trace their origin to the now extinct English white terrier.
Due to their working nature, Jack Russells remain much the same as they were 200 years ago. They are sturdy, and tenacious with an athletic build measuring 25 – 38 cm (10 – 15 inches) at the withers, and a weight of 6 – 8 kg (14 – 18 lbs).
The Jack Russell Terrier is the fastest small dog breed with a top speed of 61.2 km/h (38 mph).
Jack Russell Terrier Stats
Top speed – 61.2 km/h (38 mph)
Weight – 6 – 8 kg (14 – 18 lbs)
Height – 25 – 38 cm (10 – 15 inches)
7 – Dalmatian
The Dalmatian is a medium sized breed of dog and is known for its unique black, liver spotted coat. Interestingly, a Dalmatian’s coat is not spotted at birth. Puppies of this breed are born with plain white coats and their first spots usually appear within 10 days (however, the spots are visible on the skin).
It is unknown the exact history of the Dalmatian, but it is known that Croatia is the breed’s country of origin. The breed was seen in paintings dating back as far as the early 1600s and again when it was described as Canis Dalmaticus in the church chronicles from 1719 by Bishop Petar Bakić.
During the Regency period, Dalmatians became a status symbol and were often seen trotting alongside horse-drawn carriages. For this reason, the breed was given the nickname “the spotted coach dog”.
With a well-defined, muscular body, Dalmatians usually stand 48 – 61 cm (19 – 24 inches) tall and can weigh anywhere from 20 – 34 kg (45 – 75 lbs). They have excellent stamina and endurance, and are one of the fastest dog breeds in the world with a top speed of 60 km/h (37 mph).
Top speed – 60 km/h (37 mph)
Weight – 20 – 34 kg (45 – 75 lbs)
Height – 48 – 61 cm (19 – 24 inches)
8 – Borzoi
Also known as the Russian Wolfhound, the Borzoi is one of the fastest dog breeds in the world. The breed is originally descended from dogs brought to Russia from central Asian countries. They are similar in shape to a Greyhound and are also a member of the sighthound family.
Borzoi’s feature a silky, flat coat that can often be wavy or slightly curly. The long top-coat is quite flat, with varying degrees of waviness or curling. Underneath the top-coat is a soft-undercoat that thickens during the winter months and sheds during hot weather.
Male Borzois typically weigh between 34 – 48 kg (75 – 105 lbs) and stand 75 – 85 cm (30 – 33 inches). Females are smaller with a weights ranging from 25 – 41 kg (55 – 90 lbs) and heights from 68 – 78 cm (27 – 31 inches).
With an athletic body, Borzois were bred to pursue game and have a powerful instinct to chase things that run from them. Built for speed and endurance this breed has a top speed of 58 km/h (36 mph).
Top speed – 58 km/h (36 mph)
Weight male – 34 – 48 kg (75 – 105 lbs)
Height male – 75 – 85 cm (30 – 33 inches)
Weight female – 25 – 41 kg (55 – 90 lbs)
Height female – 68 – 78 cm (27 – 31 inches)
9 – Whippet
Whippets are a medium sized breed of dog and they originate from England, where they descend from Greyhounds. As you can imagine, any breed that is directly descended from Greyhounds is going to be fast and Whippets are no exception. With a top speed of 56 km/h (35 mph), the Whippet is the ninth fastest breed of dog in the world.
Whippets were bred to hunt by sight, chasing game in open areas at high speed. The first recorded use of the word Whippet in regard to a type of dog was in 1610. They are commonly known as “snap dogs” for their tendency to “snap up” nearby prey.
Due to their incredible speed Whippets have also been used for racing. The earliest form of racing they competed in was known as ‘ragging’. Dogs were kept on a leash by a person known as a slip and they would release them all at the same time. The dogs would then race towards their owners waving towels or rags.
Whippets usually weigh anywhere from 6.8 – 19.1 kg (15 – 42 pounds). Males tend to be 47 – 57 cm (18.5 – 22.5 inches) in height while females tend to be 44 – 55 cm (17.5 – 21.5 inches) in height. They come in a wide variety of colours from solid black to white, blue and more.
Top speed – 56 km/h (35 mph)
Weight – 8 – 19.1 kg (15 – 42 pounds).
Height male – 47 – 57 cm (18.5 – 22.5 inches)
Height female – 44 – 55 cm (17.5 – 21.5 inches)
10 – Pharaoh Hound
This interesting looking breed of dog is believed to be descended from the Tesem, one of Ancient Egypt’s hunting dogs. Images and descriptive writings found on the walls of ancient Egyptian tombs share striking similarities with the Pharaoh Hound.
At first glance, the Pharaoh Hound looks both graceful and elegant, yet powerful and athletic. They have well defined muscles that are not too bulky. The long and chiselled skull resembles a blunt wedge and the eyes are commonly amber-coloured.
Pharaoh Hounds tend to weigh up to 20 – 25 kg (45 – 55 pounds) with males being slightly heavier than females. In terms of weight, males are usually 58 – 64 cm (23 – 25 inches) while females tend to be 53 – 61 cm (21 – 24 inches).
This breed is extremely proficient at hunting with female Pharaoh Hounds leading the chase while males keep the game from veering to far to the sides. They also let out a distinctive high pitched bark that attracts other dogs and hunters to their location. Pharaoh Hound’s top speed of 56 km/h (35 mph) helps them chase down prey.
Pharaoh Hound Stats
Top speed – 56 km/h (35 mph)
Weight – 20 – 25 kg (45 – 55 pounds)
Height male – 58 – 64 cm (23 – 25 inches)
Height female – 53 – 61 cm (21 – 24 inches)
11 – Weimaraner
Originally bred to hunt large game such as boar, bear and deer for royalty, this large breed of dog gets its name from the Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Karl August.
The Weimaraner is a very athletic breed of dog and the tail is often docked in countries where the practice is still allowed. The breed’s short coat and unusual eyes give it a distinctive appearance. Coats usually range from a charcoal-blue colour to mouse/silver-grey, while the eyes can be light amber, grey or blue-grey.
Male Weimaraners usually weigh anywhere from 30 – 40 kg (66 – 88 pounds) and stand 59 – 70 cm (23 – 28 inches) tall. Females are typically smaller at 25 – 35 kg (55 – 77 pounds) and 57 – 65 cm (22 – 26 inches) in height.
Weimaraners are highly energetic hunting dogs and they are prized for their endurance and stamina. They are the eleventh fastest dog breed in the world with a top speed of 56 km/h (35 mph).
Top speed – 56 km/h (35 mph)
Weight male – 30 – 40 kg (66 – 88 pounds)
Height male – 59 – 70 cm (23 – 28 inches)
Weight female – 25 – 35 kg (55 – 77 pounds)
Height female – 57 – 65 cm (22 – 26 inches)
12 – Dobermann
The Dobermann, or Doberman Pinscher in the United States and Canada, is a medium to large breed of dog that was originally developed around 1890 by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann. While, there are a number of contradicting theories on why the Dobermann was originally created, it is believed that Karl Dobermann wanted to create a breed that could protect him.
The Dobermann breed is thought to be a mixture of several different breeds of dog that had characteristics Karl Dobermann was looking for. While the exact breeds used remain uncertain, experts believe that Dobermann used a combination of the following:
As the Dobermann was originally intended as a guard dog, males have a very muscular and intimidating appearance. They usually weigh anywhere from 40 – 45 kg (88 – 99 pounds) and stand 68 – 72 cm (27 – 28 inches) tall. Females on the other hand tend to be a bit smaller at 32 – 35 kg (71 – 77 pounds) and 63 – 68 cm (25 – 27 inches) tall.
Despite their impressive size, Dobermanns can run quite fast with a top speed of 51.5 km/h (32 mph).
Top speed – 51.5 km/h (32 mph)
Weight male – 40 – 45 kg (88 – 99 pounds)
Height male – 68 – 72 cm (27 – 28 inches)
Weight female 32 – 35 kg (71 – 77 pounds)
Height female – 63 – 68 cm (25 – 27 inches)
13 – Great Dane
Looking at a Great Dane you wouldn’t assume they are one of the fastest dog breeds in the world. The Great Dane is undoubtedly the heaviest dog breed on this list, which makes their top speed of 48 km/h (30 mph) all the more impressive.
Great Danes originated in continental Europe from dogs that originally came from England. They were bred to hunt bear, boar and deer at princely courts, with the favourites staying in the Lord’s chambers at night.
The Great Dane is a very large dog breed and in fact, the tallest dog ever was a Dane known as Zeus, who stood 111.8 cm (44 inches) tall. Typically, males stand 76 – 79 cm (30 – 31 inches) in height, while females are 71 – 76 cm (28 – 30 inches) tall. Both males and females can weigh anywhere from 50 – 82 kg (110 – 180 pounds).
Great Danes have a very square build and feature naturally floppy, triangular ears. In the past, when Great Danes were commonly used for hunting, cropping of the ears was performed to reduce the likelihood of injuries during hunts. Cropping of the ears is still carried out in some countries, but many countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark the practice is banned.
Great Dane Stats
Top speed – 48 km/h (30 mph)
Weight – 50 – 82 kg (110 – 180 pounds)
Height male – 76 – 79 cm (30 – 31 inches)
Height female – 71 – 76 cm (28 – 30 inches)
14 – German Shepherd
The German Shepherd is a medium to large-sized working dog that originated from Germany. It is known as the Deutscher Schäferhund in Germany and was known as the Alsatian in the UK from after the First World War until 1977 when its name was changed back to German Shepherd.
While German Shepherds are best known for their service in police forces around the world, they actually originate from the European Continental Shepherd Dog, which was used to herd sheep.
Max von Stephanitz, an ex-cavalry captain, was impressed by the intelligence, strength and ability of Germany’s sheepdogs and bought one for himself. After buying the dog he changed the name to Horand von Grafrath and set up the Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde (Society for German Shepherd Dogs). Horand was declared to be the first German Shepherd and was the first dog added to the society’s breed register.
German Shepherds are incredibly intelligent and are ranked third for intelligence behind Border Collies and Poodles. They feature a double coat which is close and dense with a thick undercoat. The coat most commonly comes in either tan/black or red/black, however, other colours are available.
Male German Shepherds usually weigh anywhere from 30 – 40 kg (66 – 88 pounds) and stand 60 – 65 cm (24 – 26 inches) tall. Female Shepherds are typically smaller with a weight of 22 – 33 kg (49 – 73 pounds) and a height of 55 – 60 cm (22 – 24 inches). They are one of the fastest dog breeds with a top speed of 48 km/h (30 mph).
German Shepherd Stats
Top speed – 48 km/h (30 mph)
Male weight – 30 – 40 kg (66 – 88 pounds)
Male height – 60 – 65 cm (24 – 26 inches)
Female weight – 22 – 33 kg (49 – 73 pounds)
Female height – 55 – 60 cm (22 – 24 inches)
15 – Border Collie
Border Collies are descended from Landrace Collies, a breed type found widely in the British Isles. The name of the breed came from its probable place of origin along the Anglo-Scottish border. They are widely used for herding due to their intelligence and obedience, and they are sometimes referred to as sheep dogs.
In general, Border Collies are medium-sized dogs with a moderate amount of coat. They feature a double coat that varies from rough to smooth and it can sometimes be curled. While black and white is the most common colour for the breed, they also appear in just about any colour and pattern known to occur in dogs.
Border Collies require immense amounts of physical exercise and mental stimulation to remain happy. They are one of the smartest dog breeds in the world and as such they can develop problematic behaviours in households that are not able to provide for their needs.
Male Border Collies usually weigh anywhere from 14 – 20 kg (31 – 44 lbs) and can be anywhere from 48 – 56 cm (19 – 22 inches) in height. Females are usually smaller at 12 – 19 kg (26 – 42 lbs) and 46 – 53 cm (18 – 21 inches) in height. With a top speed of 48 km/h (30 mph), they are one of the fast dog breeds in the world.
Border Collie Stats
Top speed – 48 km/h (30 mph)
Male Weight – 14 – 20 kg (31 – 44 lbs)
Male Height – 48 – 56 cm (19 – 22 inches)
Female Weight – 12 – 19 kg (26 – 42 lbs)
Female Height – and 46 – 53 cm (18 – 21 inches)
16 – Standard Poodle
While the exact origin of this breed is unknown, it has appeared in various different forms of imagery and literature going back as far as the 15th and 16th centuries. The Poodle was the principle pet dog of the late 18th century in Spain and they are commonly used as show dogs today.
Poodles are ranked as the second most intelligent dog breed just behind the Border Collie. They are incredibly skilful in many dog sports such as agility, tracking, herding, obedience and more. Poodles not only share similar levels of intelligence with Border Collies, they also share the same top speed of 48 km/h (30 mph).
Standard Poodles can be anywhere from 38 – 61 cm (15 – 24 inches) in height (measured at the shoulder) and usually weigh around 27 kg (60 pounds). Anything below 38 cm is considered to be a miniature Poodle.
Poodles have a unique coat that sheds minimally. They do not have a double coat like most dog breeds and the coat texture ranges from course and woolly to soft and wavy. The body is usually quite slim which helps the breed excel in agility sports.
Standard Poodle Stats
Top speed – 48 km/h (30 mph)
Weight – 27 kg (60 pounds)
Height – 38 – 61 cm (15 – 24 inches)
17 – Scottish Deerhound
This large breed of sighthound was originally bred to hunt Red Deer by coursing. It appears somewhat similar to a Greyhound but with a heavier build and longer, rough coat. The breed is closely related to the Irish Wolfhound and was a contributor to the breed when it was re-created at the end of the 19th century.
With the demise of the clan systems in Scotland, Deerhounds became sporting animals for landowners and the nobility. Due to their speed and silent hunting ability they are capable of making quick work of any game the size of a hare or larger.
While Scottish Deerhounds are slower than Greyhounds on smooth, firm surfaces, they actually beat the world’s fastest dog when the going gets rough. With a top speed of 45 km/h (28 mph) and incredible endurance, the Scottish Deerhound is a formidable breed when they get going.
Male Deerhounds are usually 76 – 81 cm (30 – 32 inches) in height while females are typically around 71 cm (28 inches). Weights for males can be anywhere from 39 – 50 kg (85 – 110 pounds), while females can be 34 – 43 kg (75 – 95 pounds).
Scottish Deerhound Stats
Top speed – 45 km/h (28 mph)
Male weight – 39 – 50 kg (85 – 110 pounds)
Male height – 76 – 81 cm (30 – 32 inches)
Female weight – 34 – 43 kg (75 – 95 pounds)
Female height – 71 cm (28 inches)
18 – Giant Schnauzer
The Giant Schnauzer is another working breed of dog from Germany and is the largest of the three breeds of Schnauzer. Numerous breeds were used to create the Giant Schnauzer, including the Great Dane, the Bouvier des Flandres, and the German Pinscher.
Giant Schnauzers emerged from Swabia in the German state of Bavaria, and Württemberg in the 17th century. They were originally bred as a multipurpose farm dog for guarding property and driving animals to markets. Following this they began to be used as watchdogs at factories, stockyards, breweries and more across the state of Bavaria.
While the Giant Schnauzer is called ‘Giant’, the breed is not that big compared to other large dogs. Males usually stand anywhere from 65 – 70 cm (25.5 – 27.5 inches) and females are typically 60 – 65 cm (23.5 – 25.5 inches). Weights usually run anywhere from 35 – 47 kg (77 – 104 pounds).
Giant Schnauzer Stats
Top speed – 45 km/h (28 mph)
Male height – 65 – 70 cm (25.5 – 27.5 inches)
Female height – 60 – 65 cm (23.5 – 25.5 inches)
Weight – 35 – 47 kg (77 – 104 pounds)
19 – Rhodesian Ridgeback
This South African breed can trace its roots back to the semi-domesticated, ridged hunting dogs of the Khoikhoi, which were crossed with European dogs by the early colonists of the Cape Colony of southern Africa.
The breed has been previously known as Van Rooyen’s lion dog, the African Lion Hound, and the African Lion Dog. It earned these names due to its ability to keep lions at bay while waiting for its master.
The Ridgeback’s distinguishing feature is the ridge of hair running down its back in the opposite direction from the rest of its coat. It consists of a fan-like area formed by two whorls of hair (called “crowns”) and tapers from immediately behind the shoulders down to the level of the hips.
Male Ridgebacks are usually 64 – 69 cm (25 – 27 inches) in height and weigh about 36.5 kg (80 pounds). Females are typically 61 – 66 cm (24 – 26 inches) in height and about 32 kg (71 pounds) in weight.
Rhodesian Ridgeback Stats
Top speed – 40 km/h (25 mph)
Male weight – 5 kg (80 pounds)
Male height – 64 – 69 cm (25 – 27 inches)
Female weight – 32 kg (71 pounds)
Female height – 61 – 66 cm (24 – 26 inches)
20 – Italian Greyhound
The Italian Greyhound has been a popular breed with nobility and royalty. Among those believed to have kept it are Frederick II, The Duke of Swabia, and even Queen Victoria.
Italian Greyhounds are the smallest of the sighthounds and usually weigh no more than 5 kg (11 pounds) and stand about 38 cm (13 – 15 inches) tall.
The breed is deep chested with a tucked-up abdomen, long slender legs and a long neck that tapers down to a small head. They have a long and pointed head, and they come in a variety of colours from black to blue and more.
Despite having the same name as the fastest dog in the world, they are quite a bit slower with a top speed of 40 km/h (25 mph).
Protecting your Labrador’s paws is incredibly important. While the pads of a dog’s paws are much tougher than our feet, there are times when they need a bit more padding and protection.
One of the best ways to protect your Labrador’s paws is to buy them a nice set of boots. In the winter, dog boots or shoes will keep your canine companion’s paws dry and safe from corrosive substances such as rock salt or ice melt. While in the summer dog shoes can be used to protect their paws from hot tarmac or other hot surfaces.
In this article we have rounded up the best dog booties and shoes you can buy for your Labrador. Additionally, at the end of this article we have more information on how to select the best boots for your dog, how to get the right size and much, much more.
The Best Boots & Shoes for Labradors
My Busy Dog Water Resistant Shoe
If you are looking for some of the best Dog boots for both indoor and outdoor use, My Busy Dog’s Water-Resistant Anti Slip shoes are some of the best. These shoes are perfect for medium to large sized dogs, so they will be perfect for fully grown Labs (My Busy Dog recommends size 6).
My Busy Dog’s shoes feature a tough anti-slip sole that provides traction and stability, protecting your Labrador’s paws from sharp thorns, hot pavement, salt, snow and much more.
The Quality boots are made from rugged materials and tough fabric that is sewn together rather than glued like on cheaper dog shoes. My Busy Dog have also designed the shoes with a wide split seam opening and two adjustable reflective straps that make putting them on and off and breeze.
Check the size guide to see what size is right for your dog. If you are still unsure you can contact My Busy Dog directly and they will help you with the sizing and any other problems you have. My Busy Dog is a small, family run business based out of the United States of America. They have a great reputation for reliability and service, and they dog boots are some of the best around for Labs.
As these boots are made from a tough material, it is important to get the right size otherwise they may rub. Additionally, make sure you Lab’s claws are not long otherwise they can rub and lead to bleeding.
Perfect for medium to large sized dogs (good for Labradors)
Protect against sharp objects, hot surfaces, cold surfaces and more.
Easy on/off with adjustable straps and wide split seam opening
Reflective straps, so you can see your dog into dark
Made from rugged and tough materials
Brand: My Busy Dog
Weight: 82g (2.9 ounces) shipping weight
Bark Brite All Weather Neoprene Dog Boots
If you are looking for something a bit more breathable for your Lab, Bark Brite’s All Weather Neoprene Paw Protector Dog Boots are an excellent option. They are made from a tough and breathable neoprene material and the treaded soles are manufactured from durable rubber that is puncture resistant.
The Bark Brite Boots are perfect for all weather conditions and can be used for activities such as walking, running, hiking, hunting, swimming, and other activities. They are great for wet or snowy conditions as the treaded soles add traction.
As they are made from neoprene material, Bark Brite’s Boots will conform to the natural shape of your Labrador’s paws. This is incredibly important as many harder boots can rub and cause discomfort or even injury to your dog.
The boots can in three different sizes, and they feature two reflective straps for further adjustment. There is also 90mm (3.5 inch) slit on the back of the booties that make the on/off process much easier and more comfortable for your dog.
Made from neoprene material that conforms to the shape of your Lab’s paws
Durable, puncture resistant rubber sole with tread
Five different sizes available
Perfect for all weather conditions and lots of different activities
Brand: Bark Brite
Weight: 272g (9.6 ounces) shipping weight
Petacc Rugged Waterproof Dog Shoes
Petacc’s dog shoes are a bit different than many of the ones available from other brands. They feature a unique paw shape that resembles toe shoes for humans (and if you have ever tried those on you know how comfortable they are).
The dog shoes feature a sturdy non-slip sole that has a contour which provides stability and traction on a wide-range of surfaces. Petacc’s unique and tough design will protect your Lab’s paws from sharp objects, snow, ice, hot pavement, corrosive substances and much more. The company also claims that their booties can help prevent accidental injuries and make your dog feel more comfortable.
For those who like to take their dog for a swim, they will be pleased to hear that these boots are made from a high-quality waterproof fabric that is soft and breathable, yet tough and durable. With that in mind, Petacc’s dog boots will be perfect for all weather conditions and a range of different activities. If the shoes do get dirty, they can be hand washed.
The on/off process is made easy by wide openings and two adjustable straps. These straps should be tightened as much as possible to prevent slippage and rubbing. If your you or your Labrador are unhappy with these shoes, Petacc offers a 60-day worry-free refund and a lifetime warranty.
The only major problems buyers seem to have with these shoes is getting the right size and that they can be a little bit stiff, especially for older canines.
Unique paw shape that is similar to toe shoes for humans
Made from tough and durable waterproof material
Protect your dog from a range of harmful substances or objects
60-day worry-free refund and lifetime warranty
Weight: 204g (7.2 ounces)
QUMY Waterproof Reflective Dog Boots
Another great option for those looking for some shoes for their Labrador is QUMY’s Waterproof Reflective Dog Boots. The wide split seam opening makes it easy to quickly and comfortably put the shoes on and take them off.
Two reflective Velcro straps provide finer adjustment and they stop the boots from sliding off during intense exercise or play. They also help you see your dog in dark situations where there is not much light.
QUMY’s dog boots are made from a tough and water-resistant material that will be perfect for all conditions. The anti-slip waterproof sole is made from sturdy rubber that will protect your dog from harmful objects and substances.
Stitching has been used to join the high-quality materials together rather than glue. This was done to ensure that they are durable and tough enough for all kinds of different activities. If the boots do get muddy or dirty during an activity, they can be easily hand washed to bring them back to new.
Like with the other shoes we have listed in this guide, some owners seem to have a problem with sizing. Additionally, a few owners have complained that these shoes get heavy when wet. Still, QUMY’s product has over a 4-star rating with nearly 2,500 reviews.
Reflective Velcro straps that provide finer adjustment
Made from durable and tough material that is sewn together
Waterproof soles with tread
Perfect for Lab’s who need extra protection on walks, hikes, etc.
Weight: 181g (6.4 ounces) shipping weight
DogLemi Morezi Dog Boots for Winter
If you are looking for something to protect your Lab’s paws during walks in winter, DogLemi’s Winter Boots could be the product for you. These dog shoes feature a knitted cuff design that goes further up your Lab’s leg, keeping them warmer in cold conditions.
A range of different sizes are available, and the shoes feature reflective straps that offer further adjustment. This also means that the shoes are easy to put and take off.
With a tough rubber sole these winter boots will protect your Lab from sharp thorns, stones, snow, ice and other harmful substances or objects. Additionally, while these shoes are marketed for more winter use, they can still be used in the summer as well.
DogLemi offers these dog shoes in black, blue and red, and they come in a variety of sizes. If you are unsure about the size you need, DogLemi are more than happy to answer any questions. The only issue reported by a few owners is that they struggle to put them on.
Knitted cuff design that keeps your dog’s paws warm
Tough and durable rubber sole
Reflective straps for finer adjustment
Weight: 136g (4.8 ounces)
LONSUNEER Soft Dog Boots
Most of the dog shoes we have listed in this guide are made from tougher and harder materials. For those looking for something a bit softer, LONSUNEER’s Soft Dog Boots may be just the product you are looking for.
The upper boot is made from a water-resistant fabric with a soft lining inside. This makes them extremely comfortable for your Lab to wear. While the material is soft, the shoes are still tough enough for daily walking, hiking and other activities.
On the bottom, the shoes feature a flexible skid proof sole that provides plenty of traction. The tough sole also protects your Lab from the elements and dangerous objects such as thorns or sharp stones.
LONSUNEER have designed the shoes to be easy to put on and take off, but tight enough that they won’t slip. A wide reflective strap can be used for further adjustment and prevents the boots from falling off.
As these boots are relatively flexible and room, a snug fit is better. LONSUNEER recommends using a pair of dog socks if your Lab is between two sizes. Buyers have reported that these shoes run a little big and that they aren’t great for really intense exercise or play.
Made from soft and flexible material
Water-resistant top (not waterproof)
Non-skid sole that protects against sharp objects and harmful substances
Perfect for walks and hikes
Weight: 178g (7 ounces)
Canine Equipment Ultimate Trail Dog Boots
Do you take your dog hiking a lot? Do have them follow along while you ride your bike? If you do you may want to invest in Canine Equipment’s Ultimate Trail Dog Boots. These dog shoes are designed to be the best all terrain boots for Labradors and other breeds of dog.
Made from durable and tough recycled rubber, the soles will protect your Lab’s paws from all sorts of nasty objects and substances. The soles are also water-resistant and treaded, while the top of the shoe is made from a breathable material.
Rather than making all four shoes the same size, Canine Equipment have made the front and the back shoes a different size. This was done to ensure optimal fit and comfort, and to prevent the boots from slipping off. If you do purchase these boots remember to get the front and the back shoes on the right paws.
There are a range of different sizes available so they will be perfect for all Labradors, both big and small. Buyers have stated that the Canine Equipment’s boots are made very well but run a little big for some breeds of dog. They are also a little bit more expensive than the other dog boots we have listed in this guide.
Perfect for trail and hiking use
Different sized front and back shoes for optimal fit
Made from durable recycled rubber and breathable material
Treaded and water-resistant soles
Brand: Canine Equipment
Weight: 408g (14.4 ounces) including packaging/bag
Ultra Paws Durable Dog Boots
These dog boots from Ultra Paws are made from strong, tough materials with quality stitching that ensures they will last and function as they should. The flexible nylon material will conform to your dog’s paws and makes them a versatile all-around dog boot.
Ultra Paws claims that their dog boots are perfect for senior dogs who have bad knees or hips. This is because the non-slip sole will make it easier for senior Labs to move around the house and will prevent them from slipping.
Despite being comfortable and flexible, these boots from Ultra Paws are also tough. They will be perfect for both indoor and outdoor use in all weather conditions, and the durable thermoplastic sole will protect against sharp objects and harmful substances.
The boots are designed with adjustable Velcro straps that lock into place, so they won’t slide off your Lab’s paws. A generous amount of foam padding lines the shoes, ensuring that they are snug yet comfortable.
Made from tough and durable nylon
Thermoplastic non-slip sole
Perfect for older dogs
Protect against harmful elements, substances and objects
Brand: Ultra Paws
Weight: 280g (9.9 ounces)
Best Dog Boots for Labradors Buyers Guide & FAQs
Picking the right shoes for your Lab is difficult. There are simply so many options to choose from and it is easy to become overwhelmed with the selection both online and at brick and mortar stores. That’s why we have created this guide to help you pick the best boots for your Labrador.
Important Things to Consider When Buying Shoes for a Lab
While shoes are not a requirement for a dog, they do have a number of benefits. However, if you are thinking about purchasing some boots for your Lab, you need to consider the following things:
Size – Getting the right size is one of the most important things. If the shoes you buy are too small, they may cause discomfort or may not even fit on at all. If they are too big, the shoes can rub or fall off during exercise. Buying incorrectly sized shoes is a waste of time and can be harmful to your Labrador.
Durability – There is no point in purchasing boots for your dog that will only last a week. No shoes will last forever, but higher quality ones made from better materials will last a lot longer. This is especially so for shoes that see a lot of action.
Shoe Type – Are you looking for boots that can be used to go hiking or trail running, or are you looking for a shoe for an older dog that just needs something to prevent them slipping. There are loads of different shoe types for dogs and some are better for certain activities than others.
What Conditions They Will Be Used in – If you are looking to protect your dog’s paws from hot pavement and tarmac during summer, you won’t want to purchase winter shoes (vice versa). Some shoes can be used in all weather conditions while others will be better for a certain season.
Price – Price is always important, and it depends on how much you are willing to spend. There are loads of cheaper options out there that do a good job, so don’t think you have to buy the most expensive boots.
Why Does My Labrador Need Shoes?
Dogs don’t necessarily need to wear boots/shoes, but they can help protect their paws. We have listed some reasons why Labs should wear shoes below:
If your Labrador is active – For those who like to take their canine companion/companions hiking, running and more, they should look at purchasing some dog shoes. The pads of a dog’s paws are soft and as such they are prone to injury from sharp objects or other harmful objects. Additionally, the pads can wear out or become cracked if they are constantly running on surfaces such as tarmac or pavement.
If your Lab is old – Dog boots are great for senior Labradors. Many Labs develop hip, knee or paw issues and many veterinarians suggest dog shoes to provide an extra bit of cushioning and support. Some older dogs drag their paws and without shoes they can quickly rub their pads raw. Additionally, boots with tread on the bottom can help with traction on slippery surfaces.
To protect them in the summer – Hot tarmac or pavements can quickly burn a dog’s paws. As we wrote in this article, you should avoid taking your Lab for walks in hot weather. If you do take your dog out when it is hot you need to purchase some shoes to protect their paws from burns.
To protect them in the winter – On the other end of the spectrum, cold weather can also be harmful for dogs. Snow and ice can cause slipping hazards and many of the de-icing products used on roads are harmful to our canine companions. Dog boots can protect your Labrador from these problems and help provide traction when it is slippery.
They help to keep your home tidy – We’ve all had this problem before. You finish a walk and go back into your house only to find that your Lab’s paws are covered in mud. Cleaning muddy pawprints is annoying and can take ages if they have run around the house. If you dog is wearing shoes you can take them off before you enter the house, leaving your floor spic and span.
How to Find the Right Size of Shoe for a Lab?
Finding the right size is going to be the most important part of the purchase process. A dog shoe that is the wrong size is as good as useless. Most dog shoe manufacturers provide a size guide with their shoes.
It is important to follow this careful and use the measuring process they recommend. Also check any reviews of the product to see if the shoes fit big or small for your breed of dog (Labradors in this case).
If you are still unsure about what size is correct for your Labrador, we recommend that you contact the company selling the shoe. Most companies will be more than happy to assist you with sizing requirements.
When to put Dog Shoes On?
Once you decide to buy shoes for your dog you must decide when they should wear them. Obviously, you won’t need to put them on all the time, so you need to consider what you may encounter during a walk. If your dog may come into with the following you should put the shoes on:
Hot surfaces such as tarmac
Snow that is cold enough it squeaks when you walk on it
De-iced or salted areas (salt can get stuck between their paws)
If your dog is trying to keep their paws off the ground
Slippery areas (especially so for older canines)
Anywhere that has sharp objects that could puncture your Lab’s paws
How we Chose the Boots in this Guide
We chose the dog shoes in this guide based on the features provided, price, build quality and reviews. All the boots in this guide are well reviewed and perfect for Labradors.
There is nothing better than walking your dog on a warm sunny day, but sometimes it can get too hot for our canine companions. You may be wondering if it is safe to walk a dog in hot weather, and today we are going to be answering that question for you.
Ignoring hot weather or hot surfaces such as tarmac can be incredibly harmful to both dogs and humans alike. If your dog is inhaling hot air, then their panting can have little cooling effect and they will rapidly overheat.
While you can’t change the weather, there are things you can change that make both you and your dog’s walks more comfortable. Read on to find out more!
So, Can I Take My Dog for Walks in Hot Weather?
Now, let’s get to the main question “Can you take a dog for walks in hot weather?”. The answer is yes, but you there are some things that you need to watch out for. Let’s check them out below.
The Physical Traits of Your Dog
Some canines are more than happy in hot weather, while others struggle through the summer season. We have listed some of the things below that may affect the way your canine companion handles hot weather during a walk.
Breed and Coat Type
Your dog’s breed and type of coat will have an enormous effect on how they handle heat during a walk. Dogs with longer, thicker coats tend to feel the effects of hot weather more than those with short, thin coats.
Another trait that can affect the way your dog handles heat during a walk is the colour of their coat. Darker colours tend to absorb more heat than lighter colours, so if your dog has a black or dark coat they will absorb more of the sun’s rays.
Age and Health Condition
The age and health condition of your dog has a massive impact on how they handle hot temperatures during summer walks. Puppies and older dogs are not as efficient at regulating their body temperature when compared to healthy dogs that are in their prime years. If your dog is still a puppy, is old or sick, be more cautious about when you take them for a walk.
Heat stroke is much more likely to occur in dogs that are old or those that have health problems. If your dog starts to show the signs of heat stroke it is important that you try and treat the problem as soon as possible, as the condition can cause permanent damage and possibly even death.
Your Dog’s Tolerance to Heat
Dogs that have grown up and built a tolerance to warm temperatures will feel more comfortable during hot weather walks. If your canine companion has only ever experienced mild temperatures, they will struggle more on hot walks.
The Weather Itself
How hot is hot weather? That depends on where you are and who you are. Some people think that it is hot when it is 25 degrees Celsius (77 Fahrenheit), while others wouldn’t bat an eyelid until it gets to 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit).
Your dog will also have their own idea of what hot is too them, so you need to be mindful of that. While you may find the temperature perfectly acceptable, your canine companion may be struggling in the heat. You need to find a time that works for both you and your dog.
What is the Best Time to Take a Dog out for a Walk in Hot Weather?
Going out for a walk in the middle of the day when the sun is at its highest and the temperature is at its warmest is a recipe for disaster. While it depends on where you live in the world, you should avoid taking your dog out for a walk between the times of 11am to around 3pm. If you live in a country with longer days, you may want to extend this period of no walking.
In some extremely hot places (or if the weather is much hotter than usual), we recommend taking your dog out early in the morning or late a night when the sun has gone down.
Watch Out for Hot Asphalt
One of the biggest areas of concern when walking a dog in hot weather is the asphalt or tarmac. Footpaths, roads and driveways can get extremely hot when the sun is at its brightest. This can lead to burnt paws, a major problem for our canine companions.
To check the temperature of the asphalt, touch the back of your hand directly onto it. Hold your hand in that position for about 10 seconds. If you can do that without getting too uncomfortable you should be okay to take your dog for walk. On the other hand, if you find that the tarmac is too hot for your hand it will definitely be too hot for your dog’s paws.
What are the Signs of Burnt Paws?
If you have been walking your dog on hot pavement, look for the following signs to see if your dog has burnt paws:
Limping or attempting to walk slowly
Licking or chewing of the paws
Darkening of the skin around the paws
Any blisters, peeling or redness
Any other damage to their paws
Excessive amounts of heat coming of their paws (when you touch them)
What You Should Do if Your Dog’s Paws Get Burnt
If you notice that your dog’s paws are burnt or that they are in the process of getting burnt, it is important to get your dog to a cool place as soon as possible. In some circumstances you may need to even carry your dog to stop any further damage being done.
Once you have removed them from the hot environment you should run their paws under cool water or use a cold press. However, don’t use ice water as this can make the problem worse. Just use regular tap water. Additionally, do not let your dog lick or chew the pads of their paws.
If you suspect that your dog has burns on their paws, we recommend that you get them to the vets as soon as possible. Burns can become infected if left untreated and they can lead to even more serious issues down the track.
Other Things You Can Do During Hot Weather
Look for Other Places to Go for Walks
While it is important to avoid hot pavement, it is also important to take your dog out for regular walks. If you can only take your dog out during the middle of the day you should try and find a cool place to walk them. Grassy parks with running water are a great place to take your dog for a walk when it is cold, just watch out for the hot tarmac in the carpark or on footpaths.
Try Some Dog Booties
Dog shoes can protect your canine’s paws during walks on hot surfaces. They are also great if you ever have to take your dog anywhere where there are sharp surfaces that could damage their paws. If you have to walk your dog during the hotter parts of the day, we definitely recommend trying them out.
However, while dog booties are great at protecting your pup’s paws, many dogs will find them uncomfortable. Trying to get the booties on can be a real pain, so your mileage may vary with this solution.
Regular grooming can help to keep your dog cool and comfortable when temperatures rise. While you may think grooming is only for long haired dogs, it can also work wonders for short haired canines as well.
However, don’t cut your dog’s coat too short as it can actually have the opposite effect. The reason for this is because a dog’s coat offers protection against the sun and acts as cooling insulation. Removing too much of the coat will leave them exposed to the sun and unprotected.
Unless you are very experienced grooming dogs, we recommend that you take your pup to a professional groomer. This way they can trim your dog’s coat to the correct length.
Use Paw Protection Wax
While we have never personally used paw protection wax, lots of people recommend it. Paw protection wax like the one from Musher’s Secretis an excellent way to protect your pup’s paws from sand, hot pavements, ice and salt.
The wax not only protects your dog’s paws but also moisturises them and helps heal wounds, along with keeping the paws healthy. Apply the wax before you go out for a walk and it should help keep your dog’s paws protected.
What Should I Bring on Hot Weather Walks?
If you are just going for a short walk around the block, we wouldn’t bring anything extra. For those going a bit further, you should bring some extra supplies just in case you or your dog gets too hot.
As dogs can easily become dehydrated in hot weather you should bring some extra water and a foldable water bowl with you during long walks. Dogs are resilient animals and will keep on walking even when they are severely dehydrated and overdoing it. Giving them a drink regularly and walking in the shade should help to prevent dehydration.
What About Dog Sunscreen?
Us humans are always told to apply sunscreen before heading out in the sun, but what about dogs. While you may think dog sunscreen is a bit of a waste of time, it can help protect your dog from the suns damaging rays.
Dogs that have pale skin or fur are more likely to get sunburnt than those with darker skin and fur. Additionally, areas where the is skin showing are much more susceptible to sunburn.
Along with the above, we recommend that you bring a towel. A wet towel is an excellent way to cool your dog down if they are getting too hot. If you also have some dog sunblock and a pair of protective dog shoes we recommend that you bring these as well.
Heat Stroke During Walks
Signs of Heat Stroke in Dogs?
Dog fur is excellent at keeping your dog warm when it is cold but can cause problems when the temperature gets too high. This is because, unlike humans, dogs shed excess heat by panting (they also have some sweat glands in their paws that remove a bit of heat as well). While panting is usually very effective, it sometimes isn’t enough.
This can lead to overheating, which can be a serious issue if it is not attended to quickly enough. If you notice that your dog is getting too hot you need to cool them down as soon as possible.
Heat stroke is a form of non-fever hyperthermia that occurs when a dog’s heat-dissipating mechanisms cannot accommodate excessive external heat. It is typically associated with a temperature of 41 degrees Celsius or higher and can lead to multiple organ dysfunction.
If your dog is suffering from heat stroke, you need to watch for the following signs:
Signs of discomfort or distress
Hyper-salivation and vomiting
Laboured breathing, Weakness or collapse
Tongue colour that is dark red to almost purple
Irregular heart beat
Increased body temperature – above 103° F (39° C)
Reddened gums and moist tissues of the body
Production of only small amounts of urine or no urine
Seizures and muscle tremors
Wobbly, uncoordinated or drunken gait or movement (ataxia)
Unconsciousness in which the dog cannot be stimulated to be awakened
What Are the Causes of Heat Stroke?
There are a number of causes of heat stroke in dogs, including overheating. We have listed some of them below:
Excessive heat and humidity from either weather conditions or being enclosed in an unventilated environment (car, room, etc.)
Poisoning from various compounds such as slug and snail bait, and strychnine. These poisonous compounds can lead to seizures which can cause your dog’s body temperature to rise abnormally.
Diseases that increase the change of developing hypothermia; such as heart disease, larynx, paralysis of the voice box and muscular related disease
Upper airway diseases that inhibit breathing.
What to Do if Your Dog is Suffering from Heat Stroke
It is incredibly important that you act as quickly as possible if your dog is suffering from this condition. You need to recognise the signs and the causes of the issue, whether that is too much heat or some other issue. The first step you need to take is to reduce your dog’s body temperature as soon as possible.
If you are out on a walk and you suspect that your dog is suffering from heat stroke, look for places to cool them down. Try to find some water like a stream, river or lake where you can immerse their body. Additionally, if there is a drinking fountain or tap nearby you can splash some water over you do to cool them down.
Another great way to cool a dog down suffering from heatstroke is to cover them in a wet towel. This will quickly and safely reduce their body temperature.
It is important to only use cool water, not iced or very cold water. While you may think that using very cold water is better, it can actually make the cooling process more challenging for your dog. This is because cold water can cause blood vessels near the surface of the body to constrict. Gradually reducing your dog’s temperature is much better than trying to do it suddenly. This also goes for drinking water as well.
Once your dog’s temperature has been reduced sufficiently, you should take them to the vets as soon as possible. Your vet can examine your dog and ensure that their normal body temperature has been reached, and that no permanent damage has been done.
How to Prevent Heat Stroke from Occurring on Walks
As we wrote earlier in this article, the best way to prevent heat related problems from occurring on walks is to take your dog out during a cooler time of the day. However, there are times when things are completely out of your control. If this is the case, there are some things you can do to make the likelihood of heatstroke occurring much less likely. Check them out below:
Keep your dog hydrated throughout the day – Giving your dog access to fresh cool water at all times during the day will help prevent heat related problems from occurring during walks.
Keep them out of the sun – If your dog has been sitting in the sun all day and then goes for a walk, they will be much more likely to overheat. Try to keep them in a cool environment out of the sun both at home and when they go out for walks.
Cool them down with water – If it is really hot you can try and get your dog in some water. Put a wet towel over them before a walk or purchase a paddling pool that they can play in. If you live near a lake, stream or river you can also start the walk off with a swim.
Make some cold treats – Another great way to cool your dog down before a walk is to give them some cool treats. Flavoured or plain ice cubes are an excellent way to cool your dog down. We love to give our dog’s ice cubes with peas or carrot in them. However, if your dog is suffering from heat stroke do not give them ice cubes. You can read more about giving your dog ice cubes at PetMD.
Wrapping Up Can I Take My Dog for Walks in Hot Weather
The simple answer is yes, you can take your dog for walks when it is hot, but you need to avoid the hottest parts of the day. You need to be able to recognise the signs of an overheating dog and watch out for burnt paws. Always check the temperature of any surfaces you and your dog walk on before going out.
One of the first things you need to do to create a strong relationship with your dog is to become the pack leader. You need to do this from the moment you bring them home, all the way throughout their life.
Dogs need a strong pack leader. They operate on a social structure of rank and if they lead, you follow. If your dog is the pack leader and a time comes when you need to command them, they will not take you seriously. However, if you become the pack leader and set out clear leadership roles, your dog will respond more positively to your commands.
While being the pack leader is beneficial, being overly dominate can actually be detrimental to their behaviour. You need to have them trained correctly and they must trust you.
How Do You Become the Alpha Dog?
Being the pack leader in your household does not give you free reign to become a bully. If your dog fears you, they may become badly behaved or even aggressive.
Let’s look at a number of things you need to do to become the pack leader in your household.
Be Calm Yet Assertive
When it comes to dogs, leadership is more about showing your dominance silently. Pack leaders do not project nervous or emotional energy, so neither should you. You must be calm and confident when dealing with your dog.
A dog’s mother is a great example of a pack leader. They do not take any silly behaviour and if a puppy steps out of line, they are dealt with quickly and calmly.
Set Your Boundaries
Like pack leaders, territory is incredibly important to dogs. Wild dogs claim their territory by asserting themselves calmly and confidently, and then communicate their ownership through eye contact and body language. As a pack leader, you need to show your dog that you are in charge of the area you two live in and train in.
Your dog will probably already realise this however. For example, they know they cannot go through a door without your help.
Make Sure Your Dog Earns Their Rewards
A common problem with many dog owners is they become big softies when they get home and see their puppy. While they are strong at work, the sight of their pooch makes them break down. Your dog needs to learn that rewards are not something they just get, but something that is earnt.
If you give your dog everything they want, when they want it, they will become bossy and uncontrollable. This means that you should not give your dog any rewards such as food, petting or even eye contact when they are demanding attention.
Rewards should be given when your dog does something that you feel is good, not when you just want to treat them. If you want to give your dog a treat, get them to do something like ‘sit’, ‘come’ or ‘lie down’ before you give it to them. This way your dog understands that they need to do something before a reward is given.
However, it is still ok to occasionally treat your dog to show that you love them.
Be in Control of Their Food
You should be in total control of your dog’s feeding arrangements. However, contrary to popular belief, eating your food before your dog eats theirs is not necessary. You can feed your dog before yourself, but remember to not give them the food until you have released them to eat.
Finally, take your dog for a walk before you give them their breakfast or dinner. You will not only show that you are in charge of their food, but your dog will also find that your dog will be more willing to follow your commands. A hungry dog will be more keen for food rewards, so use this to your advantage.
Control Your Dog When it is Time for a Walk
Your dog should not be jumping up or snatching at the lead when you are about to take them for a walk. Ask your dog to sit and wait patiently for you while you get ready. They should stay sitting until the lead is on and you are ready to go. Make sure you walk out the door before your dog.
When walking, make sure you are in front of your dog or have them just to your side. Do not let your dog lead you or pull on the leash and have them stop and sit when you get to traffic lights or crossings.
Use precise words when dealing with your dog and use verbal commands to get them into positionsyou want. Teaching your dog to heel and not pull on their lead will make walking a much more enjoyable experience for the both of you.
Train Them Correctly
One of the biggest problems people face with their dogs is trying to get them to carry out commands. While you need to be the pack leader, it is no use of you have not taught them correctly. Make sure you have trained your dog to instinctively follow commands.
Try to avoid giving specific obedience commands that have not been properly taught or conditioned. Doing so can actually set progress back and make dealing with your dog frustrating.
We believe that training is actually more important than trying to be a pack leader. Poorly trained dogs will not respond to directions well even if they see you as more dominant.
Manage Their Playtime and Toys
We all love to play with our dogs, but you need to set out some rules first. You should always be the first to initiate a game with your dog and you should be the one to make the rules. Start and stop games when you like it, and immediately walk away if they are not listening to you.
You can also rotate their toys or have specific toys that only come out during playtime. Making your dog work for their toys is not only a great way to reward them, but also a great way to show you are the pack leader.
Don’t Let Them Have the Higher Ground
Avoid letting your dog take positions above you. If your dog is on the couch looking down at you on the floor he will feel more dominant. Alpha dogs would never let that happen in the pack, and neither should you. However, you can let your dog have the higher ground if you are playing a game.
You should not let your dog jump up when you or guests enter the house. Simply ignore your dog until you are ready. Giving them attention and rewards when they are jumping up or barking when you get home will only make the problem worse.
Additionally, never let or approve of biting. While you will certainly get some biting or mouthing when your dog is younger, show them that you will not tolerate it. This will help you in the long run and guests to your house will be much happier.
More Information About Dog Behaviour
Why Do Dogs Sit On Your Feet?
You have probably heard that dogs that sit on your feet are trying to be more dominant than you. In reality, this is completely false.
Dogs sit on your feet for a couple of reasons and it has nothing to do with being more dominant than you:
The floor is cold and your feet are warm.
Because they like to be close to you or they sit on you so they know when you move.
If your dog sits on your vet, they may be concerned you are going to leave the room.
Why Does My Dog Try and Lie Down on Me?
Contrary to popular belief, a dog that tries to lie on top of you is not necessarily being dominant. Dogs love body contact and they like to sleep together in a heap rather than individually. Dogs see no reason to exclude you from their sleeping circle.
Additionally, some young dogs and puppies will try to hump people who sit on the floor. This is not typically related to dominance, but more play or hormonal reasons. If this happens, simply stand up and walk away.
Is Aggression Related to Dominance in Dogs
Yes, and no. Aggression in dogs is more likely to be caused by fear and resource or food guarding, rather than dominance issues. Trying to out dominate your dog can actually make things worse. If your dog is aggressive, take a good hard look at how you treat them and make sure they are trained correctly.
How Come Dogs Submit When They Are On Their Back?
Dogs will usually submit when they are placed or forced onto their back. Being on their back is alien to dogs and can be very threatening to them. It is usually nothing to do with dominance and is more to do with the fact that they may feel threatened. Your dog may also simply want to play or want a tummy tickle.
It All Comes Back to Resources
At the end of the day, being the pack leader is less about dominating your dog and is more about being in control of their resources. If you bully and intimidate your dog, they will become even more uncontrollable and may even become aggressive.
Your dog knows that you control their food, bedding and where they go, so use this to your advantage. They cannot go out and buy themselves more food or new toys, only you can do that for them.
This gives you all the power in the relationship, so don’t try and push it too much. Be confident and clear with your dog, and realise that you are already the pack leader. Do not try and out rank or dominate your dog.
Check outthis article from the American Veterinarian Society of Animal Behaviour for their views on dominance training and why it can be bad.
If you really want to change your dog’s behaviour, training will make the biggest difference. There are so many different resources available when it comes to training, so we suggest you check them out (remember to check Dogopedia’s training section).
The question of “how to stop my dog pulling” is always a common one, and there are loads of different methods to achieving this; however, there is one method that is better than the rest.
We have all seen and admired highly-trained dogs that snap to the command heel. It resembles a couple of dancers in perfect harmony, and we only wish we could have our dogs trained like theirs. But how do you train your dog to heel?
In this article we are going to teach you how to get your dog to heel and be the envy of all the other dog owners on the street!
The process is not easy however. It will require patience on both you and your dog’s part, and will require you to devote at least several weeks of your time to mastering it.
Your dog will need to learn where the heel position is and the command that will get them in that position. They will need to do it with all kinds of distractions in different places and situations.
While it is a hard process, teaching your dog to heel is a very rewarding experience and will only make you and your dog form a closer bond together.
What Does Heel Mean
A dog walking ‘at heel’ is walking alongside their owner in a comfortable, controlled manner. They are usually on the left side of their owner; however, it does not matter which side you teach your dog to heel at.
Dogs walking in the heel position usually have their shoulder aligned with their owner’s knee, with their head slightly in front. You will notice that dogs that are trained to heel are often looking at their owner, and in competitions they even do it to music.
Heel positions can vary depending on the role of the dog. For instance, a working gun dog or service dog will look ahead and not at their handler. This is to ensure they can see what is in front of them and is different to the obedience style position that most household dogs are taught.
A working dog may also have a bit more space between them and their handler’s leg. Some dog owners have taught their dogs to heel in a position where they brush alongside them as they work.
While the heel position does vary, the basic principle is the same. Heel means “walking alongside their owner in a position that is not too far in front or behind them.”
Why Teaching Your Dog to Heel is Important?
Walking to heel is considered to be an essential part of dog training for many. There are four main reasons why you should teach your dog to heel:
Control and Safety – When you teach your dog to heel, it allows you to move your dog into the walking position with just one word. This can help when you are crossing the road or moving through a crowded place with plenty of distractions.
Better Bonding – Teaching your dog to heel is not just about getting them walking correctly, it is also about the bond and communication you two form. Your dog will learn to focus on you, rather than other distractions around you.
It cooks cool and is more relaxing – Let’s be honest, we are all jealous of people who can walk their dog in a nice heel position. Walking your dog at heel just looks amazing and it is a more relaxing way to walk your pup.
Helpful in certain situations – Learning to walk without a lead can be incredibly useful in various situations. If you need both your hands or you have multiple dogs to walk, the heel technique can be a lifesaver.
Walking at Heel Vs Loose-Lead Walking
Before we dive into heel training, let’s have a look at some of the other training methods to control your dog while walking.
Heel is essentially a formalised command for telling your dog to walk in a certain position. The dog must do what you do and stop when you stop.
Teaching your dog to walk with a loose-lead is completely different. When you successfully teach your dog to walk with a loose-lead, they will stop pulling you down the road, and will instead walk with some slack in the lead.
When it comes to your dog’s position relative to you, it doesn’t really matter as long as they are not pulling. This will be fine for casual walks with your dog, but if you are looking to take your dog walking to the next level, teaching them to heel is what you need to do.
How to Teach Dog to Heel?
Now that we have told you why you should train your dog to heel, it is now time to teach you how to do it.
Setting Up Training Sessions
Teaching your dog to heel is something that will not happen in an afternoon (unless you have godly dog control or your canine is an absolute genius). What you need to do is set up some regular training sessions.
The training sessions with your dog should be five to ten minutes, two to three times a day to begin with. Making training sessions too long will slow down the learning process, as your dog will become distracted with longer trains.
Try to link your training sessions with some other activity or set aside some time each day, so you do not forget them.
Regular training sessions will lead to rapid progress. Sporadic or infrequent training will be much slower, even if you do longer sessions when you do train.
Get the Basics Down First
Heel training is certainly a bit more involved than other basic commands like “sit” or “come”. This is because it is a multi-step task in your canine’s mind and builds upon previous commands and training.
Your dog will need to learn how to get and stay in the correct position, so you will need some control over your dog already. They need to learn that you are the leader and that they need to follow your movements. A properly trained dog will adjust their own direction and movements to match yours.
Your canine will need to learn to sit when you stop moving forward, and how to stay until you set off again.
All this requires mastery of basic commands, before you can begin heel training. Good communication is essential and will make the training process that much easier.
Sit and Stay Commands
When your dog is in the heel position, they must learn to sit when you stop moving. They will then need to remain in this position until you start moving again. The basics of the sit and stay command are pretty easy, and should be one of the first things you teach your dog.
Along with the sit and stay command, heel training requires your dog to be able to watch and pay attention to you, so they can follow you.
Getting your dog to watch can be easily accomplished by simply associating a cue such as “look” or “watch” with a treat. Your dog will quickly learn to look at you when you use the cue, as they expect a reward. The next stage is for you to give treats randomly when training the look command.
Teaching your dog to watch you or a certain object will help with any training activity, not just heel training. Getting your dog’s attention will speed up the training process and will let them know that you are in charge.
Select a Release Word
Once your dog is in the heel position, they are engaged and active in the training session. To get out of this position your dog will need a release word to let them know they can relax, and move where they want.
The word you use should be connected to the release word you use for the sit and stay commands. For this article we are going to use a release word, such as “okay” or “free”; however, the word can be anything as long as you are consistent and clear.
You need to remember that when your dog is heeling, they are intently focused on you. This means they need a clear and concise release word to understand that they can get out of heel mode, and revert to being a dog.
Getting your dog to heel is a big ask of them, and they should not be heeling for long periods of time, especially at the start. Your dog may get fed up with being in heel all the time, which can lead to bad behaviour.
Try to use a combination of heeling, loose-lead walking and general running about to keep your dog happy. This will keep them focused and mentally sharp.
Should I Use Clicker Training?
While clicker training is not essential, it can help with the training process. If your dog has learned to associate a click sound with the right activity, they will almost certainly pick up heeling very quickly.
If you have not trained your dog to respond to a clicker, then don’t despair. If you want to teach your dog clicker training, you can try and do this before teaching them to heel.
How Do I Train My Dog to Heel?
The heel training process will go through a number of stages. When you get the first stage down, move onto the next one, and so on. By the end of all of the different stages of training, your dog should be capable of walking in the heel position. We have listed the three main stages below:
Establish the heel position and how to enter it
Lean to walk at the heel position and change direction
Introduce distractions and reinforce the heel position
The Heel Command
Historically, dog owners and trainers used a command at the beginning of a training process. This would get them in position and then they would set off on a walk. The dog would then be corrected or punished every time they moved out of the heel position.
At the start of the training process, the dog did not understand the command, but would eventually understand it after a few corrections.
Current day dog training is a bit different however. Dogs are now trained to carry out the desired action before the command is given. The command will then take on the correct meaning right from the start, which will speed up the training process.
Establish The Heel Position
Choose The Position
In reality, there is no correct heel position; however, we recommend that you use your dog’s shoulder as a guideline. Aim to have their shoulder about level with your knee. Your dog’s head will be slightly in front of you. Make sure you are consistent with this position.
If you are wondering what side you should have your dog on, just choose what you are most comfortable with. However, one thing to remember is that obedience competitions will usually require the dog to be on the left side.
Note: For the purpose of this guide we are going to be using the left side.
You will want to start in a quiet room or garden that has no distractions. This means no other dogs, humans, toys, just you the trainer and the dog. At this point we will not be telling the dog to “heel” (as they do not know the command yet). You will not need a lead for this section.
A good tip to getting your dog in the correct position is place yourself in a position near a wall. Have your dog on the side that is closest to the wall, and leave enough space between you and the wall for your dog. This will help to keep your dog close.
How to Get Your Dog in the Heel Position
Now that you have decided upon the heel position and you have a good training location, it is time to train your dog to move into this position.
When you are training your dog, have a handful of treats in your pocket or treat pouch. You should also have a few treats in both hands as well.
With your dog in front of you, put your right hand out in front of their nose and let them sniff it (not eat it). Lure your dog around the back of you until he can see the treat in your left hand. Give your dog praise as he does this and reward them with a treat. The position your dog ends up in should be the heel position.
Carry out this movement around three times, or until your dog gets the hang of it (don’t spend too much time on it though). The next stage is to try carry out this same movement without any treats. Show your dog that your hand is empty, and repeat the exact same movement you did when there was a reward in your hand. Use the same hand to move them around your back and then get them into the heel position.
If your dog is being difficult and won’t move into the heel position without treats, revert back to giving them a reward. Repeat this movement until your dog can move into the heel position without the aid of a tasty reward in your lure hand.
The trick with this technique is to lose the treat you use to lure your dog into the heel position as quickly as possible. Remember to keep giving your dog treats out of your left hand though, as this will reinforce the heel position.
Your dog should eventually recognise that your hand movement is the cue to get into the heel position. Now that they understand this, you can add a verbal cue such as “heel.”
After a while your dog will recognise your hand movement as the command to get into the heel position, you can begin to add a verbal cue like “heel.” After a couple of attempts, try and just say “heel” and don’t use your hand. Your dog should soon learn to move into the heel position when you use the heel command.
If you can successfully move your dog into the heel position with just the command, it is time to move onto the next step.
Walking While Heeling
Once you have taught your dog the heel command and position, it is time to add in a bit of walking. Start with smaller distances and then work your way up. You should also be in an environment where there are not any distractions.
For this exercise, we are going to start with one step and then progress from there.
Give the heel command and take one step forward. Treat your dog as they move to keep up with you. Once they move to your position, immediately progress to two steps and then give them another reward.
Repeat this process, increasing the number of steps you take when your dog successfully moves with you in the correct position. Carry on rewarding your dog.
It may take several training sessions to get to ten or more steps and don’t add any direction changes at this stage of the training.
When teaching your dog to walk in the heel position it is best to use short, frequent sessions as they may become bored or tired.
Now that you and your dog can walk comfortably in the heel position for ten steps or more, it is time to add some direction changes. As before, we are going to limit the distance we travel at this early stage.
When you are ready, take a couple of steps forward and rotate 90 degrees to either the left or the right.
Reward your dog if they successfully turn with you or even attempt to (your dog will improve with practice). The next step is to set off in the new direction. Once your dog turns with you, reward them and then take another couple of steps and repeat. You can try and make shapes or small course to walk around.
Once you and your dog get this down, it is time for the next step, stopping.
Making Them Stop
Stopping is just as important as moving off or changing direction. At some point you are going to have to stop, whether that for a set of traffic lights or to just finish the walk.
When you stop, your dog should not leave the heel position, unless you give them the release word. Your dog should stay in this position and follow you when you take off again.
Staying in the heel position when you are stationary will need some practice and patience; however, it is a very important skill to develop. The majority of people who train their dogs to heel will teach them to sit when they stop. We feel this is a good practice and is what we would recommend you do.
To practice stopping in the heel position, walk forward around 10 steps and then stop. Ask your dog to sit and then reward them for doing so. Eventually, your dog will learn that they need to sit when you command or when you stop when heeling.
While all the information above will help you get your dog heeling, the real test is when you add some distractions. Keeping your dog in the heel position when there are other dogs and new smells about is a whole different ball game. Carry on below to find out how!
Heeling in your garden or in a quiet area is relatively simple. It is a controlled environment and the most interesting thing to your dog is probably you or more likely the treats in your hand. The real world however, has plenty of other interesting things in it to distract your dog.
This part of the training process will require even more patience on your part, as it is only in your dog’s nature to investigate all the things around them. Remember that your dog is not naughty if they get distracted, they are just a normal canine.
So far, your dog has only learned to walk at heel in the garden or place where you have been practicing. You have to teach them what it means to walk at heel in a place with plenty of distractions.
While you could just jump straight in and take your dog out into the big wide world, we recommend a more reserved approach. You need to add distractions and change the training environment you are in slowly.
For instance, you could move from the inside of your house to the outside, or change rooms in which you train in. This is changing the environment, but still keeping it controlled. You should also try move your dog through doorways, as this can be an exciting change of environment for your dog.
When you are training your dog with distractions, have plenty of exciting treats on tap (think chicken or other treats they don’t usually get). This will help keep your dog even more involved in the training process, and they will be less likely to run off to sniff something.
Once you have tried changing the environment a few times, it is time to add in some more exciting distractions. Enlist the help of another person and get your dog to walk with you in the help position past them. If you have another dog, try the same again.
What you want to be doing is increasing the intensity of the training sessions as you and your dog progress. Try to add in distractions they might find when on a typical walk. This will help when you go out for your first proper walk while heeling.
If you don’t have a friend or other dog who can help, you could try and visit a training class where you can work with other dogs. Another idea is to take your dog to a dog park (or just a regular park) and practice in a far corner where there are fewer distractions, moving closer to the other dogs as you progress. For this technique you may want your dog on a lead, so they don’t go running off.
Once you have progressed to adding another dog in your heel training process, it is time to try your training on the street. Keep the walk short, even if it means walking a mere ten metres down the road and back. Every training walk you go on, increase the distance until you can comfortably walk in the heel position.
Making Distractions Easy
As they say, “practice makes perfect” and teaching your dog to walk at heel is no different. You need to keep introducing new distractions to your dog and don’t let bad habits creep in.
Try to avoid walking your dog on a lead too much during the training process and certainly don’t let them pull if you are using a lead. It can be confusing to your dog if you let them pull when they are on a lead and then expect them to heel on other occasions.
If you are walking your dog on a lead, try to keep them in the heel position to reinforce the training you have done. When you get to a park, let them run free and enjoy themselves.
Troubleshooting Heel Problems
We’ve listed a few problems that owners seem to face when training their dog to heel.
Dog Is Unwilling to Follow or Has No Energy
If your dog is lacking a bit of drive to follow your lead when you are heel training, you probably don’t have a reward that excites them enough. You may have to experiment with different treats or toys until you find one that they get excited for.
Dog Has Too Much Energy and Gets Excited Easily
For some, their dog may be the opposite of above. If your dog is so excited that they are almost bouncy off the walls, you might need to opt for a less-enticing reward. You might even want to use the normal biscuits you use for their dinner.
Another problem may be that your dog has too much energy and may need some pre-tiring to slow them down. Try take your dog out for a walk or to the park before you start the training session, this should burn off any excess energy.
Dog Jumps and Lurches for The Treat
A common problem people seem to encounter when training their dog to heel is that the dog will try lurches or jumps to get the reward. In this scenario, you need to remember to only give your dog the treat when they are in the correct position with all four paws firmly planted to the floor.
Never reward unwanted behaviour or actions, as this will only reinforce bad habits.
If you only reward the behaviour you want, your dog will eventually learn that jumping and lurching will not get them the reward any faster.
My Dog Is Easily Distracted
We’ve already talked about adding distractions in this article, but what if your dog gets distracted from the get go?
If you find your dog is getting easily distracted, even when you are simply training them to get into the heel position, there are a few things to remember.
Once again, your dog may simply not be interested in the reward you are offering to them. Try a few different rewards to see what one makes your dog’s eyes light up and their nose twitch.
Another thing to remember is that you may be asking too much of your dog. If your training sessions are too long, or you are making your dog stay in the heel position too long, they may become bored and distracted. Shorten your training sessions and keep them interesting with plenty of progression.
Some dogs need a tough mental challenge or like to walk at a fast pace as well, which can contribute to them becoming distracted. Make sure you are not walking too slow or fast, and try to implement new challenges to keep them interested.
As we have already discussed, environmental changes can distract your dog from training. Try to keep the same training location initially, and change it when you have mastered a step in the training progression.
If you find your dog is becoming distracted from a change in location, try to move back to your original training environment.
Other Tips and Points
Start Them Young
Training a puppy to heel is almost always easier than training an older dog to do it. When your puppy is around four to six months old, they will tend to follow you everywhere and you can use this to your advantage.
At this point you are not teaching your dog to heel, you are teaching them that following you will result in good things happening.
Call your puppy’s name and say something like “come”. As you give them command, walk away and don’t wait for the puppy. Your puppy should naturally follow you and after a short distance, stop or slow down. Wait for your puppy to catch up and reward them with a treat.
Once your puppy masters this, try and add in some more challenges such as walking in different patterns or directions. Try changing your speed as they get more experienced with the exercise.
Keep on rewarding your puppy for walking next to you and catching up. Don’t make the sessions too intense, see it more as a game rather than training.
Tips for Older Dogs
They say “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” but we all know that’s a load of rubbish. Older dogs may take a bit longer to learn new things and they may have developed some bad habits, but they are perfectly trainable.
For older dogs we recommend stocking up on their favourite treats and use them to increase their enthusiasm to learn. You can use the same method we described for puppies above, or you can add toys in as well.
Wrapping Up Dog Heel Training
Teaching your dog to heel is one of the most rewarding experiences and will only make you bond even more with your dog. It is challenging and can be frustrating, but with a bit of patience the benefits will pay off.
You will have more control over your dog and it also looks impressive to watch a dog focus so intently on their owner.
Remember to keep the training fun, short and full of progression. With the tips we have given above, you should get your dog walking to heel in no time.