Dog trains man

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Wizard Update From Susanne: Rico's Growing Pains

And we received more Hovawart Wizards updates, which make me very happy. This time, it's Hovawart Wizard Susanne. She wanted to share this especially for all those other two-Hovie households out there.

Look how that Rico has grown, he is even gotten bigger than Mammoet...


About a year ago I introduced myself, my husband Frederik and our Hovies Mammoet and Rico to all of you. Now Rico is 17 months old and I want to give you an update about how we were doing the last year.

When we thought about adding another Hovawart to our family, we wanted to get one with a lower energy level than Mammoet, so they would level each other out and not get hyper together. Well, we managed to pick out a nice and calm puppy, Rico, and were very happy with him. Unfortunately we underestimated the effect Mammoet's behavior would have on our calm puppy.

Mammoet tends to react tense to situations. When we’re about to get out he sometimes jumps in circles, but always whines in anticipation. Outside he reacts tense/unsure with other dogs. When he gets food he, of course, reacts tense, and waits with a lot of body tension until he can eat.

We have worked on this, and it has gotten better, but never fully disappeared. So we had a very nice and calm puppy for about 4 or 5 months. And then he started copying Mammoet more and more. So now we have a real handful of a Hovawart in full puberty, minimum 70cm high and 37kg heavy, storming on other dogs, chasing them when they get afraid. But when they stand their ground, he respects them, still very jumpy and flying around, but wants to be their very best friend. When he’s on a leash and we pass other dogs, he will get quite excited and sometimes growls while jumping because he can’t get to them.

It also didn’t help that he hurt his back when he was about 10 months old because of too wild play (what a surprise!) and maybe falling unluckily in the forest. So because of that he had to be kept quiet for 6 weeks, which threw us back in training big time.

Whilst this all sound quite negative, it in fact has gotten a lot better. I really didn’t expect  such an intense puberty with Rico, but I also have learned a lot from it. There were some things that I didn’t expect with my second Hovi or that I would learn that much from him.

Some months ago we started dog school again and that has done him a world of good. He learned to be around other dogs without being allowed to engage them in anything and he’s doing very well with that. I’m so proud of him, and so are his classmates. Our trainer says every time that she’s getting goose bums watching us, because he’s doing so great. He’s climbed from being the troublemaker of the group, disturbing everyone and doing everything he could think of, except for what I told him to do, storming off in all directions, to the top of the class and a role model for others. I’m so very proud of my big boy!

We’ve also taken him to the zoo recently, and even though he found the bears to be very very scary (growling and walking backwards and as we left continuously looking over his shoulder to make sure they’re not following us) he did very well. A lot of people, kids and sometimes other dogs around him, but he stayed calm and did so good.

I have a small doggy day care at home and inside he’s very nice with the other dogs. He wants to make friends with everyone. Outside he still struggles with the right approach with other dogs, but we’re slowly getting there. I enjoy my two boys so much. Weather we’re going on bike tours together, walking in the forest, training together,  they always make me smile and they’re making me so proud. And I very often get compliments about my gorgeous dogs.

I don’t regret getting a second Hovi boy, but it definitely brought new challenges with it and often it’s a lot of work. But the rewards you get from it are priceless!


Hovawart Wizards, like Susanne, 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.

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