Walk Your Dog To Wellness

Every dog owner will know of a dog left in the garden for days, even weeks at a time. A poor creature alone and imprisoned with nothing to break the boredom, barking or crying in their frustration and misery.  

Owners of these dogs will often profess to love them. They will cite giving their dog fuss, treats and cuddles. But those actions are about giving pleasure to the owner - not of value to the dog.

Sadly there are too many owners failing in their responsibilities to their dog because they neglect to meet the most basic requirement – a dog’s need for quality exercise.

My dog of a lifetime, Harry (a German Shorthaired Pointer) never put a foot wrong and was just perfect in everyway. The only time he ever became destructive was following an injury when he had to be confined to the house for ‘bed rest’ for 2 weeks – at which point I caught him chewing and ripping up the carpet! But he never, ever, did that before and he never did it again once he was recovered and we got him back to his normal long daily outings.

TV programme presenters visiting unhappy or troubled ‘problem dogs’ invariably end up advising owners to exercise their dogs more often and for longer. One TV programme reported how obesity in dogs is dramatically on the increase. Apparently with busy lives more owners are taking their dogs out on leash for less time than ever, often only 20 minutes a day. Unless you are talking about a small, old dog anyone must know this is woefully inadequate.

Blaming Pooches resembling Porkers on lack of exercise researchers did a test to see if they could prove the point. They attached a GPS recorder to a dog allowed to run free as the owner walked. The stats showed the dog covered a distance 5 times further than the owner!  What a difference!

If as many as 90% of all dog related problems could be resolved by regular quality exercise sessions - what constitutes sufficient exercise?

As a guide, 45 mins (ideally 60 mins for medium/large breeds) of leash free exercise should take place every day. But at minimum three/four times a week. An exercised Fur Pal is a happier, more balanced dog. More exercise outside =  more settled, less whining and no longer destructive at home inside.

A dog that sleeps for hours when you get back from exercise is good indicator that they’re getting time appropriate exercise.


At the Hound Dog Hotel active and stimulating exercise sessions are an integral part of the totality of my service - crucial for individual dog happiness and pack harmony.

But our outings are no walk in the park!  Hound Dog Hotel sessions are daily Epic Adventures, full of interaction with other dogs (and me) where there is fun and play. My focus in on challenging all my Dogs’ senses and enrich their experience with smells, water & swimming, ball chasing - and by keeping them on the move.

GPS recording of the total time and the distance. I send owners these after every outing.

GPS recording of the total time and the distance. I send owners these after every outing.


These Epic Adventures are long in time and in distance. My Garmin GPS records I walk between 2 to 2.5 miles. Based on the TV programme saying off leash dogs do 5 times more than a walking human, my doggies guests could be doing 10 miles a day! No wonder they are such happy hounds!

An unexercised dog is stressed and tense. But dogs out running and playing burn off excess energy. Then, when they return to the Hotel, they’re calm and content, ready settle down to snooze as a member of a well adjusted and relaxed pack.  

Exercise sessions at the Hound Dog Hotel are key to the success of my service. The following accolade is taken from a reference from the owner of Ruben, a large and super energetic Boxer. What Lisa said is something of which I am particularly proud as it accurately sums up the exercise component of my service:

The “Walk” that Maralyn takes the dogs on each day is amazing, they get to run, play, swim and meet other dogs. It is NOT a 30-minute walk on a lead around the block. It’s a full on extensive exercise, play and stimulation session rolled into one.

Lisa & Barry owner of big bouncy Boxer RUBEN

Remember my Hound Dog Hotel motto and all will be well :

 A Happy Dog is a Tired Dog  -  A Tired Dog is a Happy Dog    

If you want your dog to be happy, tire them out, they’ll thank you with all their heart.


N.B. I place a high priority on dogs staying at the Hound Dog Hotel having recall - so on our outings they can run leash free.

Golden Retrievers Charlie on the left, Herbie on the right, Kuro Cavoodle in the water plus a random!

Golden Retrievers Charlie on the left, Herbie on the right, Kuro Cavoodle in the water plus a random!

Charlie the Golden Retriever, asleep the second he got into the car to go home!

Charlie the Golden Retriever, asleep the second he got into the car to go home!

Is Anything Cuter Than a Cavoodle?

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Is anything cuter than a Cavoodle? Read on to find the answer….

In my years as a Pet Sitter, and now offering elite dog accommodation at my Hound Dog Hotel on the Central Coast, I have cared for most breeds including many Cavoodles. And as beautiful little dogs, Cavoodles are wonderfully appealing. They’re not just exceptionally pretty, but cute and intelligent. Enchanting, it’s easy to  fall under the spell of such adorable bundles of fur, especially when you get your new puppy.

Little Miss Coconut when she was a tiny puppy - who could resist?!

Little Miss Coconut when she was a tiny puppy - who could resist?!

But when a dog is tiny, cute and appealing - one problem is that it can be the hardest thing in the world not to spoil them.

With the best of intention owners heap love and fuss on these little fur baby dogs, yet just like chocolate, there can be too much of a good thing. What starts out as harmless can end up spoiling what can be terrific dogs.

Example, too much ‘protection’ (picking them up the second a bigger dogs comes into view) can create nervous dogs who have no confidence in social situations (see my previous blog on this here) and/or can end up developing separation anxiety. 

But more common with Cavoodles (and other small dogs) is when there are no boundaries or rules and suddenly you have a monster doggie Diva on your hands!

You must have seen them, the dogs allowed to ‘express themselves’ in every situation. Their antics start out amusing and are labeled cheeky. But it's like an ill-disciplined toddler in a restaurant - running amok and not taking any notice of what they’re told. The centre of attention but not in a good way, they end up mini tyrants - ruling the roost whose every whim has to be obeyed by their staff who serve them.

Tiny Millie & Chloe who are super well adjusted and not nervous or afraid on walks

Tiny Millie & Chloe who are super well adjusted and not nervous or afraid on walks

Here are examples that are often considered normal or even cute in small dogs – but are simply signs of lack of appropriate training:

Jumping up/and or pawing at you for treats or their food
Not allowed – must sit quietly with all four feet on floor

Rushing around your feet and flying at their bowl as you set dinner down
Not allowed – must sit quietly with all four feet on floor and look you in the eye (not look at the bowl) and wait for your signal before they approach their bowl

Extremely common and very bad. I use various approaches to deal with this to find the one which works with each different dog

Allowed on the sofa or the bed (possibly refuse to get off without nipping)
Dogs inviting themselves onto furniture and Sofas = huge privilege. Dogs on beds think they run the world. I  would not allow dogs on sofas until they know their place. Go down on the floor with them until they are trained and well behaved enough so you invite them up when it suits you

Rushing to the door and/or barking and/or jumping up when visitors knock
Introduce pre-emptive techniques to break the habit

When walking your dog zig zags all over the place when on the lead
Dogs should walk consistently on one side - takes time but can be achieved

Dogs following you to every room in the house
Sorry, but this does not mean your dog adores you so much it cannot be without you for a second! Allowing a dog to be with you constantly and never teaching them to be left occasionally is a contributory factor to Anxiety Separation. Dogs have to learn to be alone sometimes. Time Out technique helpful

Barking/whining in the house or in the garden. Barking at noises outside, or barking at the tv, or for food or treats.
An Airline pilot in the UK killed a small terrier.  He needed sleep and had spoken to the owner and asked for their help to curb their dog’s continual high pitched yapping, but they ignored him.

This tragedy could have been avoided – a beloved pet was killed and the pilot lost his job. But this serves to demonstrate how much of a nuisance barking dogs can be. 

I have very personal experience of the intrusion and stress caused by a barking dog. In the UK I had two German Shorthaired Pointers who were trained to be quiet. My neighbour seeing how good my dogs were fell in love with them and it lead her to buy a puppy. However, as it matured her Spaniel barked so much eventually I could take no more and spoke to her. Her reaction? To say it didn’t bother her!

To her credit after I spoke to her she probably realised that his barking was bad and she did start controlling him and the situation improved..

Basics of good manners in puppies

When a puppy of just 5 months old (Sparky, a very pretty Cavoodle) arrived for a stay his owners showed me him taking a treat – but the second he saw it coming he jumped up and pawed and then snatched the food.

This was not good, so I said to the owners I would work with Sparky over the weekend to get him to sit still with all four paws on the floor before he got a treat. (This is vital basic step as sitting and waiting is the basis from which many other behaviours are trained.)

This is Sparky now all grown up on one of his recent stays

This is Sparky now all grown up on one of his recent stays

When they collected Sparky they were delighted to see the change. Being a typical clever Cavoodle with the right cues he’d learned what I wanted in just two days.

That's the big plus about Cavoodles - they are smart. With me he learned fast that all the pawing and jumping got him nothing, only by sitting quietly did he get any reward.

There is so much I could write on this subject – but this is a blog and not a manual on 'How to Train your Dog'  So now it’s time to answer the question:

Is anything cuter than a Cavoodle?
YES! A well trained and obedient Cavoodle!

Please take the time to ensure you have a companion who enhances your life not a despot whose every whim you have to obey! Here is a little help:-


By age 6 months your dog should have good training in all the basics.

Training is not quite that simple, but it’s a good place to start.

Key actions with every dog are an approach which is firm and consistent.
Firm does not mean physical punishment, it is about voice and handling and consistent means not just one person – but the whole family and doing the same things all the time, not just sometimes.

However, if they have then what has to happen is the cycle has to be broken.

The words of the immortal Barbara Woodhouse – words to live by as a dog owner.


Cavoodles are fearless and don't know they're small:-

Rosie putting Hugo in his place 

Rosie putting Hugo in his place 

Coconut telling Soli this is her sofa and to back off!!

Coconut telling Soli this is her sofa and to back off!!

I love it when Cavoodles come and stay at the Hound Dog Hotel. They can be relied on to be cheeky and fun - but I do reinforce the rules and ensure they are spoilt but also know there are limits!

Until next time, Maralyn








French Bulldogs: Fiesty, Fun - Fantastic!!

Recently Douglas, a French Bulldog, came for a short stay at the Hound Dog Hotel. He might have been small, but he was mighty – a compact ball of energy and fun - I just couldn’t wait to write about him!

French Bulldog Douglas - cute right?!

French Bulldog Douglas - cute right?!

The Kennel Club in the UK have announced that French Bulldogs have become so popular they have now taken No 1 place as the most popular dog breed. Fancy that – knocking the ever happy and smiling Labradors from the top spot.

However, having met Douglas I can see why these unique looking little canines have become so incredibly desirable. Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want a dog that is such super fun and looks so adorable that you laugh every time you look at them?!

Frenchies just want to have fun - and Douglas knew how to play - always in the thick of it.

Frenchies just want to have fun - and Douglas knew how to play - always in the thick of it.

Being small with a snub nose I might have expected Douglas would not have much energy – WRONG!  Only 16  months old this little guy was like a whirlwind and a real character. He was not afraid of anything and spent his time at the Hound Dog Hotel and on our walks encouraging dogs four times his size to play with him -  bopping them on the nose or leaping all over them.

Douglas! Pick on someone your own size!

Douglas! Pick on someone your own size!

He was super speedy and would jump, spring and generally had such an active way of moving he would often looked like he was flying.

It was a real pleasure meeting Douglas and I’m sure these Frenchies are set to become as popular here in Australia as they have become in the UK.

But I’ve cared for so many amazing breeds I thought it was time to do a role call. So here below is a list of dogs, pure bred and cross bred, I’ve cared for both in my role as the Perfect Pet Sitter and in the last two years at my very own Dog Pet Resort, Hound Dog Hotel:


French Bulldog
English Bulldog
Dogue de Bordeaux
German Shepherd Dog
German Shorthaired Pointers
Wirehaired German Pointers
Labradors (Cream, Chocolate and Black Labradors)
Golden Retrievers
Moodles (aka Maltipoo Maltese x Poodle)
Border Collies
Old English Sheepdog
Rhodesian Ridgeback
Jack Russell
Lagotto Ramango
West Highland White
Toy Poodle
Boxer Wheaten
Miniature Schnauzer
Cavalier King Charles
Beagalier  (Beagle x Cavalier)
Shitzue x Maltese
Lab x Boxer
Lab x unknown!


Whatever breed you have they all return the love we give them many times over - a pretty good deal I'd say:-)

Until next time, Maralyn