Dog trains man

Monday, January 21, 2013

Wizard Jan and her Hovawarts, Tussock and River

I am very excited to introduce you to our latest Hovawart Wizard, Jan!

Jan is a repeat offender on the blog, as she wrote Hovawarts On A Raw Diet last week. Today, you can get to know Jan and her Hovawarts a little better.

Thank you for participating in the Hovawart School of Witchcraft & Wizardry!

Hovawart Wizard: My name is Jan and I am the proud guardian of two hovawarts as well as a flat coated retriever. We live on the west coast of Scotland near Oban and I manage a group of holiday cottages on Ardmaddy Estate. I am also a Bowen practitioner. I’m very lucky in that my dogs come to work with me and very rarely are they left at home.

Hovawarts: All my dogs are girls – the eldest is Tussock who is nearly 7, Talulah (the flattie) is four and a half, and River is eighteen months.

My affair with hovawarts began seven years ago – visiting with my husband’s family, we were out walking in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire. This wonderful looking dog came into view with its people – large, hairy, handsome, friendly, proud. After a conversation which included the immortal words “a hova...what???” we went away intending looking up this breed on the Internet.

I did so that night – and I loved what I learned.  This was my kind of dog.  On returning home, we set about finding a breeder and came across Min Inches in Scone.  Min was the person who imported the first hovies into the country and she still breeds a litter from time to time.  I struck lucky as she had a litter on the way.  We were asked many questions – why we wanted a hovawart, how strict/consistent we would be, what we would be doing with them, if it would be a companion and not just left alone in the yard and how we would socialise them – very important!

We made the grade in terms of our past dog ownership, where we lived, the kind of life we could give a dog (we already had a collie and a Labrador) and, I think, the fact that Larney, the mother-to-be, decided she liked me by curling up on the sofa beside me – something I don’t think she generally did with strangers.

It was a different matter when we picked up Tussock – Larney looked like she might just eat us given the chance such was her protective instinct for her pups.

Tussock is a kind, gentle, caring, sensitive and intelligent dog – she is very tuned in to my moods and hates if I am upset, or angry. Her favourite games involve tennis balls, sticks, a large basket ball that she plays football with and hunting for hidden treasures. She loves to be brushed, to swim, chase rabbits and to eat. Whilst generally friendly with anyone, she is very protective of her own property. With people she knows and loves – well, her greeting is enthusiastic to put it mildly.

River is a different character all together. She was bred by Val and Steve Shone in Surrey. I originally went down there to pick up and bring home an all black puppy. However, River made the decision for me by swallowing one of my earrings! I did get it back a day or so later!

River being loving to Talulah instead of tormenting her
At only eighteen months, she is still very puppy like – and incredibly cheeky! Her favourite activities are running, jumping, swimming and tormenting poor Talulah. Despite my best efforts to cure her of the last one, I am not succeeding! Yet. When we set off on a walk, she is like a champagne cork out of a shaken bottle. She makes Tussock look like a lazy old woman!

Talulah was my husband’s choice of dog, but on our separation she stayed with me – she is very sweet, and long-suffering of the sometimes brutal play that hovies engage in. She’s a kindly soul, and I have to make sure she gets her share of attention.

All my girls are un-neutered. The cost of having them done is rather more than I can afford at the moment, but whilst it is generally well documented what the benefits of neutering are, the drawbacks and contraindications of having them done are not so well known. My decision now is to leave them as they are – there are risks and benefits with every choice in life. Their seasons are easy enough to manage for me in where I live and my lifestyle.

I chose to buy puppies rather than adopt an older dog as I really love having a pup about the place, and it does bring about a fantastic bond. That said, if an older dog needed a home, and I was able to provide a home, then I would certainly consider it – although the girls may have the last say in such matters!

Our daily routine does vary depending on what job I have to do that day. If I am cleaning cottages, the girls can play in the garden. If I am gardening, then they “help”. If it’s paperwork day, they just sprawl around all day. Whatever the day is though, they have a good walk everyday – they can run free, swim, play, chase balls, generally letting off steam and releasing energy. They are generally obedient, but a bit more training wouldn’t go amiss! That is my intention for this year. Tussock loves to work with a clicker, and you can see her brain working.

What I love most about my dogs is their loyalty and their wish to be with me – and that feeling is quite mutual! It doesn’t matter where I go, they want to go too. So, if I have to go upstairs, or to the loo, I am usually accompanied by at least two of them. I also love that they are friendly with people whilst still looking after me. They are great with other dogs, too, although occasionally Tussock has flattened one that has obviously said something rude. She never hurts them, but she can make a lot of noise! I am fairly tuned in to her body language and can judge whether she is likely to have a go. She does NOT like dogs that run around yapping.

Hovies are special dogs. They are intelligent but it is a thinking intelligence. They are obedient, but not push-button. They are tremendous all rounders and continually amaze me in how they learn a new job very quickly. I feel safe with them and trust them. They are my friends and companions and I cannot see a time when I won’t have at least one hovie in the house.


Hovawart Wizards, like Jan, try to provide real life information for Muggles - those not yet touched by the Hovawart's magic - to learn more about Hovawarts in the Hovawart School of Witchcraft & Wizardry. A place where Muggles can read how we play, what kind of training and activities we undertake. What makes Hovawarts special to us, and how they made us into Wizards. The role they came to play in our lives. And the hard times we shared. Helping Muggles to make the best choice possible if a Hovawart could be the Magical Creature for them, or at least what to expect.


  1. Wow those are some lovely looking hounds. Have a marvelous Monday.
    Best wishes Molly

  2. Thank you! I am intending resurrecting my own blog sometime soon, but doing these guest blogs is fun!

  3. Nice to meet you and your four footed friends, Jan. Lovely hovies! -Cheryl


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