Our New Dog Training Academy in Providence August 13, 2014 Comments Off

Spring Forth Dog Academy - Dog Training in ProvidenceIt has been a whirlwind month for us here at Spring Forth Dog Services! Starting on September 2nd, Dan and I will be training dogs full time at our new location, Spring Forth Dog Academy, in Providence, RI.

How did this all get started? A few months ago we began teaching group classes at Roam Dog Club, a dog daycare and boarding facility on Westminster Street in Providence. Roam has a second floor that isn’t seeing much action. We decided to team up with them to offer some new programs that we’re really excited about.

New Dog Training Programs in Providence

The newest addition is Puppy Day School! This combines the best of daycare and puppy kindergarten for puppies ages eight weeks to eight months old. It’s a full-day program that provides pups with socialization, playtime, housebreaking, and basic obedience. It’s designed for owners who might feel guilty about leaving their new puppy home alone, or who just don’t have time to attend a puppy training class.

By teaming up with Roam, we’re able to offer board & train and daycare & train packages, too. (We call ‘em Stay and Train.) Whether you just want an obedience refresher lesson as a “tune up” for a dog that has already worked with us, or an intensive multi-week training package to address a behavior problem, we’ll be able to help! These are all services that we haven’t been able to offer before. We’re so excited about the possibilities.

We’ll also be teaching private dog training lessons at our spot in Providence a couple nights per week, as well as group classes on Wednesday nights.

Spring Forth Dog Academy - Group Dog Training Classes in Providence

A satisfied student of our group training classes at Roam!

 

But What About Massachusetts?

Never fear! Spring Forth isn’t leaving its home. Charles will continue to see in-home training clients and visit his dog walking route. And we just hired one of our training students, Anne, to take over Dan’s dog walking routes. (Seriously, check out her bio – we’re confident we’re putting our friends in capable hands.)

Dog Walking in Milton, MA – Meet Charles! May 29, 2014 Comments Off

Dog Walking in Milton MA - Charles Wohr

Charles Wohr, professional dog walker & dog trainer at Spring Forth Dog Services.

Dog Walking in Milton, Randolph, & Dorchester

If you are looking for a reliable dog walker, look no further than Charles here at Spring Forth Dog Services. He has a couple of openings on his dog walking route in Milton, Randolph, and Dorchester.

Charles is also a valued member of our training staff, so if you have a “difficult” dog that other walkers won’t work with, or a new puppy that you want to make sure is getting the best care, he’s your guy.

 

What His Clients Say

Here’s a testimonial by one of Charles’ dog walking clients in Milton:

We called Spring Forth Dog Services as we just adopted a 3.5-month old puppy and were merely looking for a dog walker in Milton MA that could come mid-day to ensure her housebreaking stays on track.  I was VERY pleasantly surprised to learn that we not only got a dog walker, but a professional dog walker/trainer (Charles) that immediately gave us excellent advice concerning crate training, housebreaking, harnessing, and socialization.  Spring Forth are TRUE PROFESSIONALS that care greatly about your dog and your family and are extremely communicative and helpful.  With their guidance and help our now 4-month-old puppy is nearly completely housebroken, crate trained, and advancing leaps and bounds in socialization and training, in a mere 2 weeks!  I can’t recommend Spring Forth enough for anyone seeking caring and professional services for their dog!  Thank you Spring Forth!!

(You can read the original review on Yelp.)

Ready to Get Started?

Walks are available Monday through Friday. If you’re ready to get started, contact us to set up an initial consultation so you and your dog can meet Charles today!

Now Hiring! Come Join Our Dog Walking Team March 13, 2014 Comments Off

Do you love dogs? Are you looking for a part-time dog walking job with a regular schedule and great pay? Do you live within 15 minutes of one of the following towns: Norwood, Canton, Walpole, Westwood, or Dedham? If so, you might be our next team member!

Now Hiring for Dog Walking Services

Dog Walking with a Shetland SheepdogSpring Forth Dog Services is seeking a qualified individual for dog walking services on the “Route 1 belt” – possible towns include Norwood, Walpole, Westwood, Canton, and Dedham.

This individual will start out with 3-5 walks per day from Dan’s existing route, which will grow to 7-12 walks per day. There is also an opportunity for the right person to offer pet sitting services on evenings and weekends.

The ideal person for this job adores dogs, is serious about working for us for a year or longer, and has a consistent work history. Animal-related employment experience is preferred, but not required. Applicants will need a clean driving record and pass a background check. Compensation is based on the number of walks performed per day, but starts at a minimum of $12.50/hour plus bonuses for finding new clients.

Click here to see the full job description and apply online. We look forward to hearing from you! Be sure to pass this along to anyone you know who might be interested in dog walking with us.

Puppy Nipping: A Plan to Stop It March 6, 2014 Comments Off

Dachshund Puppy Nipping

If this is a familiar sight, it’s time for a new training plan! (Photo Credit: Renata Lima, Flickr)

Puppy nipping is one of the most frustrating behaviors that new owners report. It hurts! But you’ll see a big reduction in puppy nipping in a short period just by getting some human cooperation.

Let’s start by examining why your puppy is putting his mouth on things. I don’t like to spend a ton of time pondering why a dog is doing what he’s doing, but this is such a frustrating behavior for owners that I find it helps to consider the puppy’s point of view.

Beginning at a young age, puppies bite each other during play. This behavior starts before you bring your puppy home from the breeder or rescue organization. The puppies are play-fighting and learning their own strength. If they bite a littermate too hard, the other puppy will respond with a high-pitched yelp. This tells the biter to tone it down next time.

This is why a common nugget of advice is “If your puppy bites you, shriek in a high-pitched voice.” This sometimes causes the puppy to stop. But sometimes the puppy thinks your noises are fascinating and bites harder next time; it gets him excited and worked up!

It just depends on your puppy… and your ability to make a high-pitched puppy yelp, something most men can’t do. I prefer to use methods that work more reliably. Here is my plan.

Step One

Institute a new house rule: everyone interacting with the puppy is “armed” with a soft, biteable toy. It should be long enough to keep your fingers away from the puppy’s mouth when playing. This is always within the puppy’s reach when you’re petting her, playing with her, or snuggling together. Praise the puppy for interacting with the toy.

Set yourself up for success by keeping a soft toy in your back pocket, another in a basket on top of the puppy’s crate, and another in the room where you tend to hang out with your pup the most. I recommend braided fleece toys and “unstuffed” plush toys (the kind that resemble roadkill).

Puppy Chewing Shoelaces

Tuck in shoelaces, sweatshirt drawstrings, and other dangly bits of clothing and jewelry to set your puppy up for success. (Photo by Nicki Varkevisser, Flickr)

Step Two

Don’t tempt your puppy! For at least the first few weeks, avoid wearing nice clothing or anything loose-fitting or dangling around her. Change out of your nice work clothes before interacting with your puppy. Tuck in shoelaces and sweatshirt drawstrings, and remove large earrings and necklaces, too.

This eliminates the puppy’s opportunity to grab on to these things and elicit an exciting reaction from you. We don’t want the puppy to learn things we wish she wouldn’t, such as “grabbing my mother’s earrings makes her squeak and push me around. That’s fun!” Not a good lesson.

You can also use bitter-tasting spray on things that you’re not likely to touch often, such as your shoelaces. The bitter taste can transfer to your fingers, so if you use this method, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before handling food or touching your face.

Step Three

When your puppy mouths your hands, pull them away from her and keep them out of her reach for several seconds. I recommend sticking your hands in your armpits – your puppy can’t nip them there! Ignore your puppy for about 5 seconds. If she continues to try to nip during this time, it may be necessary to stand up or even leave the room.

After this little time-out, calmly present your toy to your pup and resume interacting with her. Praise and play with the puppy for engaging the toy, licking your hands, or just being polite. Repeat this step when the pup bites. Be consistent!

Remember that screaming or shouting at the puppy, pushing her away, or physically punishing the puppy by pinching her lips or clamping her mouth closed will either intensify the biting or scare the puppy, potentially leading to fearful and aggressive behaviors in the future.

If your pup bites on your clothing, gently remove the clothing from her mouth and prevent her access to that article of clothing. If she’s chewing on your shirt sleeve, stand up and roll up your sleeves. If she’s chewing on your pant leg, leave the room or step to the other side of a baby gate or puppy pen so she cannot reach you. Ignore her for a few seconds, then offer her the toy to play with.

Closing Thoughts

The purpose of these training steps is to teach the puppy that when she has the urge to put something in her mouth, she should pick an appropriate toy rather than your hands or clothing. Puppies need to bite, mouth, and chew as they grow, so rather than fight that instinct, channel it into appropriate items.

If you need to give your puppy a “time out” more than two or three times in a 10-minute period, she is either very wound up and needs a bit of exercise, or is overtired and needs to be put in her crate for a nap. Remember that the time out does not teach the puppy anything. It just provides an opportunity for your puppy to calm down enough to try other ways of interacting with you, which you must then reward.

Dog Treat Review: Canidae Lamb-Licious TidNips February 21, 2014 Comments Off

Canidae TidNips Lamb-Licious Lamb & Rice Dog Treats

Canidae TidNips Lamb-Licious Lamb & Rice Dog Treats

This month, my friends at Chewy.com sent us a bag of Canidae TidNips treats to test out. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Canidae had expanded into the “soft treat” market. Last I heard, they were only making kibble and biscuits. When the treats arrived, we quickly started testing them!

First, the hard data. TidNips are a soft jerky treat that come in approximately 1″ flat squares, reminiscent of Wellness’ WellBites treats. They come in a 6oz resealable bag. These treats are made in the USA and have a 100% satisfaction guarantee, too!

After last month’s stinky review, I was pleased to find that these treats have minimal odor. It was also very easy for me to use my fingers to rip the treats into tiny pieces for training.

The boys gave these treats two paws up! All three of them eagerly took the TidNips bits from me and they maintained their interest through a short training session. I doubt they are high-enough value to keep Spark or Finch’s focus in a distracting environment, like on a walk or on an outing to the pet store, but they are a great treat for learning new tricks inside. (Strata says he’ll happily eat them anywhere, any time!)

Tessie was asleep while I was handing out these treats, and you know what they say about sleeping dogs. She’ll be 15 years old (!) at the end of next month so that’s how she spends the majority of her time these days. At this point, I don’t think she’ll be participating in too many product reviews – she’s earned her retirement!

My Opinion

These are good treats, and I’ll definitely finish the bag. I don’t think there’s anything overwhelmingly special about them and while my dogs enjoyed eating them, they weren’t following me around praying I’d drop a few crumbs, either. They’re a pretty run-of-the-mill training treat.

I appreciate that they have only one protein source (lamb) which was one of my complaints with WellBars when they first came out. If you’ve got a dog on a limited diet, these may be a good choice for you, but do note that they aren’t grain-free.

Chewy.com Logo

The product reviewed in this blog post was provided by Chewy.com.

Canine Good Citizen Dog Training Class – Advanced Training in Holbrook, MA February 19, 2014 Comments Off

American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen

The AKC CGC logo.

We just added a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Preparation dog training class to our schedule in Holbrook, MA! If you want to improve your dog’s manners and obedience beyond what they learned in puppy class or Basic Dog Manners, this is the right class for you!

The Canine Good Citizen test is a 10-part examination created by the American Kennel Club to evaluate a dog’s ability to behave appropriately in a variety of real-life situations.

Skills tested include calmly greeting a friendly stranger, walking on a loose leash through a crowd of people, and waiting patiently for their owner to return during a three-minute supervised separation.

In our CGC Preparation class, we take the skills your dog has already developed – loose leash walking, stay, coming when called, focusing on you around distractions – and kick ‘em up a notch.

We introduce a variety of distractions and begin to reduce the dog’s reinforcement schedule, which means your dog will learn to work for longer periods of time before receiving a reward. This is necessary to succeed during the examination, where no treats, toys, or clickers are allowed!

If you’re ready to get started, enroll today! This 6-week class is on Saturdays and begins in March.

Puppy Kindergarten Training Class in Holbrook, MA: Now at a New Time! January 15, 2014 Comments Off

Puppy Kindergarten Class in Holbrook, MA

Puppy playtime is one of the fun activities in our Puppy Kindergarten group training class!

By popular request, we have changed the time of our Puppy Kindergarten group training class in Holbrook to 11AM on Saturdays! If you have a puppy between the ages of eight weeks and five months of age that needs training, come join us.

Our Puppy Kindergarten class combines basic manners and obedience training (sit, down, come when called, loose leash walking) with socialization opportunities (puppy playtime, novel objects, and body handling) to help your pup develop into a companion you’ll enjoy for years to come.

Join our Puppy Kindergarten Class!

Like all of our group training classes, Puppy Kindergarten is open enrollment which means you can start immediately as long as there is a spot open in class. We limit our classes to just four students each, to make sure everyone gets plenty of one-on-one instruction. This is not one of those big-box-store free-for-alls – you will get the attention you deserve!

Ready to join us? Enroll online today! All of our classes take place at A Dog’s Day Away, 440 Weymouth Street, Holbrook MA.

Dog Treat Review: Evanger’s 100% Whole Meat Treats – Wild Salmon January 9, 2014 Comments Off

Evanger's Wild Salmon Freeze-Dried Dog & Cat Treats

Evanger’s Wild Salmon Freeze-Dried Dog & Cat Treats – as advertised

This month’s dog treat review, courtesy of Chewy.com, is very fishy! They sent me the “Wild Salmon” variety of Evanger’s 100% Whole Meat Treats. These treats are nothing but dehydrated salmon with no flavoring or other “stuff” added, are kosher, and are made in the USA.

My dogs tend to be fish enthusiasts and these treats were not an exception to the rule. In fact, even Tessie, who is usually snoozing away while I’m giving snacks to the younger dogs, got off the couch and came over for one. She will often give up on crunchy treats, but she stayed right in front of me, hoping for more. (And of course she another one. She’s fourteen and a half, she can have whatever she wants!)

These treats are very odoriferous, but weren’t too oily, so the smell did not linger on my fingers (nor on my dog’s breath) which was a pleasant surprise. They were somewhat easy to break up with my fingers, though occasionally I stumbled upon a slightly thicker-than-usual piece that I needed to use a knife on.

They are crunchy treats, but the back of the package suggested letting them soak in warm water for 3-5 minutes for a “savory snack.” I decided to give that a try, too, and my dogs seemed to prefer the treats after they had been soaked. Unfortunately soaking them made the odor linger on my skin after feeding them to the dogs, but that’s sort of an occupational hazard when you’re a dog trainer.

Evanger's 100% Whole Meat Treats - Wild Salmon

These treats, while tasty, look nothing like the promotional picture.

I have a couple of problems with this product, though. Everywhere on both Chewy.com and Evanger’s website, these are described as “freeze dried” treats and appear as large, orangey-red strips that almost resemble jerky. The product I received, as you can see in the picture to the right, doesn’t resemble that at all. Additionally, my package reads “Gently Dried” not “Freeze Dried.” Freeze drying is a process that results in a pretty distinct spongey texture and these treats don’t seem to be freeze dried. So which is it? And which will you receive when you order this product? I have no idea.

So although my dogs enjoyed this product, it’s not something that I would purchase for them. I’m a little bothered by the fact that these treats aren’t “as advertised” – I don’t think they’re freeze-dried, and I can honestly say that if I had ordered them based on the promotional picture, I would have contacted customer service for a refund. For the price of this product (currently over $6 on Chewy.com) I don’t think I’m getting much “bang for my buck,” either.

Chewy.com Logo

The product reviewed in this blog post was provided by Chewy.com.

Dog and Puppy Training Classes in Holbrook, MA January 6, 2014 Comments Off

Spring Forth Dog Services in Randolph, MAWant your dog to learn something new this year? Our free dog training orientation class in Holbrook, MA is just for dog owners who want to know more about training dogs.

About Our Dog Training Classes in Holbrook

Meet our instructors, learn about our methods, and find out how our training program will improve your dog’s behavior at home, on walks, and around the neighborhood.

Talk with our trainers one-on-one after the program to find out which class is right for you, or if private training lessons in the comfort of your own home are a better option.

We use clicker training and positive reinforcement to create real behavior change. Our techniques work for dogs of all ages and all breeds. Whether you’ve got a playful puppy nipping your hands and clothing or peeing on the carpet, or an adult dog dragging you down the street or lunging at strangers, our training program can help. In addition to teaching group dog training classes in Holbrook, we also offer dog training in Milton, Dorchester, Randolph, and surrounding towns.

Free Dog Training Orientation

Start Smart is a no-strings-attached opportunity to learn more about us. We know you have a lot of options when it comes to dog training. Meet us in person, get to know us a little bit, and ask us questions. We love questions! We understand our methods inside and out and want to help you achieve success with your dog.

A Dog's Day Away in Holbrook, MAReady to get started? RSVP online to reserve your spot at our Start Smart orientation. All classes and orientation take place at A Dog’s Day Away, 440 Weymouth St, Holbrook MA 02343.

Contact us today. We look forward to helping you with your dog!

Dog Treat Review: Halo Liv-a-Littles 100% Beef Freeze-Dried Treats November 29, 2013 Comments Off

Halo Liv-a-Littles Grain-Free 100% Beef Dog Treats

Halo Liv-a-Littles Grain-Free 100% Beef Dog Treats

The kind folks at Chewy.com sent us more treats to review! This time around, they gave us a package of Halo Liv-a-Littles Grain-Free 100% Beef Freeze-Dried treats. Since the Springers are allergic to beef, it was up to Strata and Spark to do the testing this time around. They were happy to oblige.

These treats were exactly what I was expecting: “standard operating procedure” freeze-dried dog treats. The size of the pieces vary from 1/4″ to 1″ and the larger pieces are easily broken by twisting them gently or slicing them with a knife. Most of these pieces were too large to be used as training treats and needed to be broken up into smaller pieces. They are slightly crumbly and ever-so-slightly greasy. Most store-bought dog treats are kind of oily; freeze-dried treats usually aren’t, but these did leave a bit of residue on my hands.

Both Strata and Spark enjoyed the treats. Strata will eat anything, but Spark is a little finicky when it comes to freeze-dried treats and will often spit out other brands, so I was pleasantly surprised that he would eat these.

My only “beef” with these treats (come on, I’m entitled to one bad pun per blog post, right?!) is the packaging. They come in a nice hard plastic container with a screw-on lid. The problem is the safety seal on the lid. It was very difficult to get the safety seal option and it took me, Dan, and a small pointy knife to get the hard plastic safety seal to come undone. Compared to most dog treat packaging, that was a hassle. The good news is that the lid is very secure and the container is reusable. I’ll definitely use it for holding other treats in the future.

These treats come in one container size, a 2.75oz jar, which is what we received from Chewy.com. The dogs and I thought these treats were good, but nothing special, and I probably will not purchase them in the future. There are a lot of freeze-dried treat options on the market, and I’m not inclined to fight with the safety seal on the jar again.

Chewy.com Logo

The product reviewed in this blog post was provided by Chewy.com.