Interview: Author of ‘Entlebucher Mountain Dogs – What I Wish I Knew’

Linda Liebrand is the owner of an Entlebucher Mountain Dog, a high-energy, intelligent breed originally bred for herding cattle, guarding farms and pulling carts.

Her new book “Entlebucher Mountain Dogs – What I Wish I Knew” is about what you can expect if you decide to own this extremely high-energy, working breed. I thought many of That Mutt’s readers would relate because so much applies to ANY high-energy breed! Um, weimaraners?

You can follow Linda and her dog Alfie on their blog Alfie’s Blog and on Facebook and Instagram. Her book is available on Amazon. (Paperback, hardback and Kindle formats.)

Linda is giving away a paperback copy of “Entlebucher Mountain Dogs – What I Wish I knew” to two readers of That Mutt. She will ship anywhere in the US or UK. To enter, leave a comment at the end of this post. Update: The giveaway has ended. Congrats to Christina M. and Lisa M.

I hope you enjoy this Q&A:

Q&A with Linda Liebrand, author of “Entlebucher Mountain Dogs – What I Wish I Knew”

Entlebucher mountain dogs - What I Wish I Knew

That Mutt: What is your favorite dog-related book and why?

Linda Liebrand: I recently stumbled across the Survivor Dogs series by Erin Hunter and got sucked into the world of Lucky and his wild dog pack for weeks.

Seriously, if you’re a dog person who enjoys YA fantasy books then get ready to get addicted to this series. The dog characters are amazing, and the story is fast-paced and incredibly engaging. The dogs are spiritual, kind and ferocious in equal measures and it feels like you get to live life like a wild dog for a while. It’s actually books for kids – but hey, it’ll be our little secret!

TM: What dog training tool or dog product has benefited your dog the most recently?

Linda: One of my biggest training fails with Alfie is that I never really managed to teach him how to walk nicely on the lead without pulling.

It wasn’t for lack of trying, but after nearly two years of daily training, he still pulled like a tractor despite all the best training advice we received from various trainers. I threw in the towel and bought a gentle leader, and we haven’t looked back since.

At seven years of age, our Alfie is still an incredibly energetic dog, and I never leave the house without the gentle leader if Alfie’s coming along, especially since the arrival of our baby boy. After some people asked me why my dog wears a muzzle, I bought a red one that looks a little friendlier than the black one we started off with.

Alfe doesn’t like it much to be fair, and he looks very indignant every time I put it on. But sometimes the nose collar is the only difference between my bringing Alfie along to places or not – so he puts up with it.

Entlebucher Mountain Dogs - What I wish I Knew

TM: In the last few years, what belief or habit has most improved your life with dogs?

Linda: When we first brought our Alfie home seven years ago, we had no idea how much energy he’d have as a puppy and adolescent dog. I thought a simple long walk a day would be enough, along with some fun dog classes every week like I’d done with my previous dog, a German Shepherd. It turns out Alfie had other plans, and his batteries never ran out.

At first, I tried to give him more and more exercise to burn off his endless energy, but the only one who got tired was me! Alfie happily carried on playing and inventing mischief when we got home from our walks, and he didn’t settle until I locked him in his crate at night. It wasn’t until I met with our third (!) dog trainer that I realised that I needed to exercise Alfie’s brain as well as his paws and I started taking him on what I like to call ‘working walks’.

Alfie the Entlebucher mountain dog doing nosework

Instead of simply walking him for an hour, I built in fun brain games and exercises for him to do during the walk. I hid toys and treats for him to sniff out, we practised obedience and impulse control – basically, anything that I could think of that would engage his smart brain and help tire him out. That way I added some much needed mental stimulation to his day, and he turned into a happier and somewhat calmer dog. We still do working walks to this day.

TM: What advice would you give to a friend about to get her first dog?

Linda: Take your research seriously, and don’t just look at dog pictures on the internet. Meet dog breeders and people who already own the type of dogs that you’re considering. Ask them what’s good about the breed, and what’s bad about them and try and envision living your life with that type of dog. Never choose a dog because of their looks.

The worst example of this I’ve ever heard of was when I volunteered at a dog rescue home a few years ago. Someone asked for a dog that would match their furniture, absolutely crazy and they would have probably been better off with a goldfish bowl than a dog.

Once you get your puppy, be sure to future-proof him or her as well as you can. When we got Alfie seven years ago, kids were not on our radar at all, and we didn’t think about socialising him with children. When we decided to have a baby, Alfie was five years old, and I had to scramble to get him socialised with kids. I wish I’d thought of it sooner as things would have been easier for us both that way.

Now he loves our toddler to bits. So my advice would be to try and think ahead into the future and socialise your dog with people of all ages and abilities.

Alfie and Linda

TM: What’s the worst advice you hear when it comes to dogs?

Linda: When our baby boy was born one of our neighbours asked how Alfie was coping with the big change – before I had a chance to reply she continued ‘Isn’t it funny how they just ‘know’ how to be around kids’.

I smiled politely and said yes, but in my mind, I was thinking about how much work had gone into preparing our dog for baby’s arrival, and how we had to keep an eye on them both every second of every day to teach them how to behave around each other.

Alfie’s life changed just as much as ours did when the baby joined our pack, and we prepped him as much as we could beforehand. Some dogs are not that lucky – when I volunteered at the dog rescue home, I often wondered why perfectly wonderful family dogs were turned in. When I asked my supervisor, she simply shrugged and said it’s another ‘first baby can’t cope’ case where mums feel overwhelmed with a baby and a hyperactive, unprepared dog.

(See That Mutt’s post: How to prepare your dog for a baby.)

TM: Does Alfie sleep in your bed?

Linda: Alfie’s allowed on all of our furniture, and he sometimes sleeps in our bed when my husband’s out of town. He curls up at the top of the bed, kicks his paws in under the duvet and rests his head on the pillow with a content sigh.

Thank you, Linda!

To enter the giveaway to win a paperback copy of Linda’s book, just leave a comment below so I know you want IN on the drawing. Do you have a high-energy or unruly dog?

I’ll choose two winners at random on Friday May 25. Must have a US or UK mailing address to win. Winners will be notified by email. Update: The giveaway has ended. Congrats to Christina M. and Lisa M.


Book about Entlebucher mountain dogs

The book is available in paperback, hardback and Kindle formats on Amazon here.

Related post:

You might remember Alfie from my post a few years ago: How to tire out a hyper dog!

31 thoughts on “Interview: Author of ‘Entlebucher Mountain Dogs – What I Wish I Knew’”

  1. I would love a copy of the book. I have a super active dog. I do a lot of mental stimulation for her. She is 16 months. I would love to read about your journey, since mine has just begun. 🙂

  2. I would be very interested in this book. I have a intense Weimaraner. I would love to better understand her needs. Thank you for this opportunity.

  3. Diane Reinhold

    I wasn’t familiar with the Entlebucher Mountain Dog until this post. Such a beautiful dog. We also have a high energy terrier mix that I found and couldn’t locate the owner. After getting him neutered and immunizations, I found two loving homes for him (didn’t need another dog), but both times he came back due to his “craziness”. We have decided to keep him after all but your book would give us an understanding of his behavior and how to work with him, since our other dog is a very mellow Corgi who looks at this guy like he is a Loony Tune.

  4. Charlie Miller

    As a weimaraner dad i should definitely read this! He’s such a good boy, and sweet natured, but jeez what energy!

    His days at the doggie daycare where he’s free to wrestle all day with his dog friends are the best. A long hike is not enough for this guy to poop out. I agree the mental stimulation helps and i should give him more of that at home.

  5. We have a rescue that our vet thinks might be an Entlebucher. I am more inclined to think she is a mix (she has longer legs / is less stocky than most of the pics I see of typical Entlebuchers.) But I would still love to read this book!!

  6. I already have Linda’s book, and her advice on Entlebuchers has been great. We have a two year old Entle named Bea and even the breeder didn’t properly prepare us for what it means to share your life with such an intense, powerhouse of a dog. The joy of experiencing their pure dog exuberance is also the challenge of this breed. We are so happy to be torn from our devices and other sedentary practices by our active dog. A great way to keep in shape for us all!

  7. Christina Moran

    I want IN! When we brought home our high energy terrier we had no idea how much they can go and go. He has taught us so much.

  8. I also already have Linda’s book but will wholeheartedly recommend it here to anyone who has even the smallest of issues with their dog, for besides offering help in any way one might think of, it is also very well written and great fun to read!

  9. Laura sychowski

    I need this book! I especially need to find out how she hid treats n such for the mental games during the walks. That sounds like two walks to me. One solo and one with alfie! I can take mine on 2 mile walks and other than looking at me after a drink of water she is ready to go again *sigh* lol

  10. It would be nice to have a copy of that book. As a family of dog lovers we are always with one or another of various ages and energy levels.

  11. We have our second Entlebucher and they are the worlds best dogs. Best companion and friend you could have. Truly wonderful breed!

  12. Sandy Weinstein

    i would love a copy of this book. i am not that familiar with this breed. however, i love reading about dogs and have a collection of dog as well as horse books. i re read the books and keep them forever. i would like to know about the mental games she uses in teaching her dogs so perhaps i could use them on my little gals who dont always listen.

  13. I would LOVE this book! We were blessed with a pure-bred 2-year old Entlebucher 6 months ago. She did not have a lot of socialization her first 2 years, so that has been a challenge. However, she has captured our hearts and we are learning to love even her quirks! Love the idea of a “working walk”- I need to try that!

  14. I want in! My terrier-mix is energetic alright… When he gets excited about something there’s no stopping him! I’d love to read about this authors coping methods.

  15. We adopted both of our dogs Sadie-Mae and Max. They are both 6 yrs old, both act much younger! You’d think they’re puppies!. Neither one had the chance to be socialized either. They are lg breed dogs and DO intimidate ppl. I get that!. It’s due to their boundless energy and then not knowing how to act in situations (the vet office for starters). Neither get into fights or have ever bitten anyone (nor tried ). We have and use many technics w/them but they don’t help much b/c their energy overrides. I know this book would be a valuable addition to other strategies we have in use. So, I do hope we can receive a copy of this book!.

  16. Brain exercise is just as important for these high-energy breeds! We try to incorporate brain games for our German Shorthaired Pointer/Beagle/Setter mix, as you can imagine, he’s quite a handful! We love hearing others’ stories and learning from them!

  17. Julia Mihalka

    I have two active labs I take them on walks where they get to do activities on boulders benches they sit and pose on they love it it gives them a job would love the book to give me insight

  18. My yellow lab is a high-high energy Ball Bit*h. She wakes in the morning and it is on till she goes to bed at night. I wish I knew what I learned when she was about a year and a half old. Do not let your dog run like a bat out of hell until their over a year old. She has a bad elbow on her right rear leg. She has had x-rays and other tests. Her hips are great (Thank God) but I have to keep an eye on how much she does. She can run 50 yards fast and catch a ball over her shoulder. Now 10 yards is good enough. She swims like a fish. I got her a lifejacket. You really have to plan and think about the puppy you bring home. She will be 5 years old on May 26th. I still see my little girl when I look at her but she is an adult dog with a bum elbow now and it is my fault. I have taken classes and have read tons of books about all things dog. I wish I had read them before I got my Emma Lou. ThatMutt blog was a start of my dog walking business and got me learning all I can. Shoot I did not know what a blog was before ThatMutt. Do you’re homework before you bring your dog home.

  19. It would also be nice to attach a GPS tracker in case your pet wanders off unsupervised, don’t you think?

  20. I really love dogs and everything about dogs so any book that talks about dogs, I will always go and grab it.

  21. Hoping to have a copy of the book. Putting a tracking device will help also just in case your dog might ran away into the woods in time of your training.

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