Monthly Archives: December 2020

Nail Trims at Daycare

Let’s talk nails for a minute. Properly maintaining your dog’s nails is an important but sometimes overlooked part of their physical health. Keeping your dog’s nails short actually improves their ability to rebalance themselves. When our dogs’ nails are too long, it causes our dogs to distribute weight differently which can contribute to joint issues. Long nails also pose a higher risk for cracking or being torn if they are to get caught on anything. Like our own fingernails, our dogs’ nails are always growing, excessively long nails can start to curl back and grow into your dog’s paw pads causing pain and discomfort. It’s so, so important to keep up with nail trims as a part of your dog’s overall health!

Did you know you can that we offer nail trims at daycare? You can add a nail trim to any daycare visit!

There are many reasons to get your dog’s nails trimmed at daycare:

  • Nails are done by experienced staff they know
  • It’s an environment they are comfortable in
  • You don’t have to make an extra trip to the groomer or vet
  • It can take the fear out of doing it yourself
  • You can even set up a recurring nail trim schedule so you don’t even have to think about it!

So how often does your dog need their nails trimmed? Some dogs need nail trims as often as every week or two, while others need nail trims on a monthly basis. Just like our fingernails grow at different rates, so do our dogs’ nails. Some dogs are good at filing their nails down on their own based on their daily activities. You may notice your dog needs more frequent nail trims during the winter because they are not able to file their nails down as well in the snow. A good rule of thumb is if your dog is standing on a firm, flat surface and their nails touch the floor, it is time for a nail trim. If your dog has long quicks and you’d like their nails to be shorter, we’ll recommend cutting the nails on a weekly basis until the quick has receded to a preferred length and then we can move to a bi-weekly or monthly schedule.

Some dogs are not a fan of their nails being trimmed. This could be due to a bad experience, their nails being cut too short and exposing their quick (where the nerves are), or maybe they have just never been a fan of paw handling. Nail trims are an inevitable part of their life, wouldn’t it be great if they didn’t have to be a stressful experience for them?!

Relaxed and willingly allowing the nail trim

If your dog is uncomfortable with nail trims, we offer one-on-one training ($50/hr) to help them feel comfortable with them. During these one-on-ones, we will work on creating a positive association with paw handling as well as with the nail clippers. For these dogs, we recommend keeping a pretty consistent schedule even after the one on ones are no longer needed so that they continue to feel comfortable with their nails being trimmed.

We may recommend one-on-one training for dogs that:

  • Require multiple people for a nail trim
  • Are uncomfortable with paw handling
  • Display stress during nail trims
When you get your dog used to paw handling, you can do all sorts of fun things – like painting their nails!

If you are interested in setting up a nail trim at daycare, just send us an email at info@thedogden.com or ask us about it next time you drop off your dog.  We are happy to help!

9 Reasons to Take a Virtual Training Class this Holiday Season

Let’s address the ELEPHANT in the room off the bat: COVID stinks. There, we said it. It has affected everyone within reach of this post and beyond in so many ways. Our hearts go out to those who are struggling with this illness and the families of those impacted. This pandemic has taught us all a new way of living—including how we train our dogs. 

With out of the way, let’s turn the conversation to 9 reasons why you should try virtual dog training for you and your pup this holiday season and beyond. Let’s get started, shall we?

Reason #1: Access to the class from anywhere with an internet connection.

Yep, that’s right. Anywhere you can get connection to zoom, you can access our virtual training sessions. Socially distanced visit with family? ZOOM IT. Out on a walk with your dog? ZOOM IT. In your living room? ZOOM IT. Know someone in Pennsylvania that could benefit from a family dog training class? THEY CAN ZOOM IT. 2:00pm and still in your jammies with a WiFi signal…ZOOM IT! No dress code required and all you have to do is log in on time! 

Reason #2: Access to the materials and instructor beyond the class hour

Our live virtual classes are taught at their scheduled time and recorded. Post class, that recording takes a journey through cyberspace to our virtual classroom, Teachable, where it remains for you to access at your (or your family’s) convenience! You can skip through the lesson and repeat, slow down, or review anything you need. 

Reason #3: A flexible learning environment combining structure and freedom

Are you someone who likes accountability and commitment? Great! Our virtual classes are for you. Are you someone who likes freedom and flexibility and doesn’t like to commit? GREAT our virtual classes are also for you! Our flexible virtual classrooms work the exact same way as our in-person classrooms. Your class is scheduled to meet at the same time each week via zoom for 6 weeks, for example Tuesdays at 6:30pm. BUT if you have a commitment or are unable to make it one night, because of REASON 2 above, your class is recorded for you to watch back when it is more convenient that week.

Reason #4: Feedback from the instructor in our LIVE class structure

Our Zoom classroom set up is LIVE, not prerecorded. This means you get immediate and instant feedback from our certified instructors to answer any questions or help with any modifications in the moment. No need to follow up via email with questions (unless you want to, which is encouraged). In our virtual classes, the instructor will demonstrate the exercise with their own dog, then coach each class participant through the exercise as they watch!

Reason #5: Sharpened digital skills (and in this day-and-age who doesn’t need that?)

Our friendly and compassionate instructors and assistants are here to help you through the virtual platform as we all learn this new media at lightning speed together. If you are having trouble accessing the virtual classroom for any reason, someone will always be available via email or phone to help get you in and set up, ready for the lesson that week. THEN, you will be ready to ROCK any virtual call you get—work meeting or happy hour!

Reason #6: Flexibility to maximize learning and fun

In this pandemic, we find ourselves busier with nothing to do than we ever have before. Confusing? Everything is changing and moving so quickly it feels like we are at capacity, yet when we slow down and look at the schedule we find we are free for the next…well…lets not talk about that.  Our virtual classes are very flexible because you can attend them from anywhere. If you are not available or need a screen break at your class time, you can access the recorded class later at a time that is more convenient for your schedule that week. 

Reason #7: Less distractions, more focus for your canine companion

Most people have heard that dog training classes are the best place to help “socialize” your dog and teach them new things. However, can you imagine a world where you enter a room full of dogs as PRACTICE for the skills they have already mastered in your home? We can!! That means you as the S-T-A-R a-top that classroom tree! With virtual learning, you get the chance to teach your canine companion new skills with minimal to low distractions and then take it out into the real world to practice once they have a solid skill foundation. 

Reason #8: Less distractions, more focus—for you the human!

When you participate in a virtual class from your living room, there is no need to keep your dog entertained and focused primarily on your training space. This allows you to fully pay attention to the instructor and their tips to put into practice during your turn to work. When it becomes time for you to practice—all you need to do is call Fluffy over and get to work! Don’t worry, if you have questions the instructor is right there watching for guidance, coaching, and support! 

Reason #9: People that have tried it LOVE it!

We have had the opportunity to take a few classes through our virtual platform and our client family has been pleasantly surprised. See what some of them had to say below: 

“It has been such a joy participating in the Dog Den’s virtual tricks class. All tricks and commands are modeled and explained thoroughly, and the instructor provides ample time to practice the tricks with your dog while watching you and providing individualized feedback. If a pupper isn’t quite getting the hang of it, the trainer offers excellent, individualized troubleshooting tips to ensure all dogs are able to do each trick by the end of each session. The virtual platform and technology works seamlessly, and my pup is always delightfully tuckered out after each session”

“I was a little unsure how a virtual class would go, but it’s great! The instructor shows us how to do things with her dog on Zoom and then we practice with our own dogs without ever leaving the living room! It’s kind of nice not to have the other dogs distracting your puppy as they first learn things and then later on you can add in distractors!  It also gives us some great bonding time with our pups and the instructor is awesome to work with!”

“I really didn’t think I would like a virtual platform for a dog class but I have to say I have been pleasantly surprised! The Dog Den’s virtual Tricks class has not disappointed! The virtual platform has been easy to navigate and you can’t beat the commute to the basement.  The whole family is involved ( we have 2 dogs, 2 kids ages 10 and 14 and 2 adults participating) and we are in our own home which means the dogs are relaxed and ready to learn. They are not distracted by the other dogs and you get the same great dog den instructors. This really has been a fun experience and I highly recommend it!”

“I was a little nervous about taking a zoom training class, but I have been so pleasantly surprised! The instructor has been very engaging and is still able to give great feedback. I would definitely sign up for a virtual training class again. “  

If those reasons aren’t enough to convince you to join us for a virtual training class this season, give it a try by signing up for one of our ONE NIGHT ONLY workshops. Our workshops will be a great way to get a feel for the virtual platform and brush up on some old skills or learn something new! See what is coming up HERE.

The Dog Den and The Puppy Den have loads of virtual class options to suit your training needs. Our range includes puppy training, basics training, focus training, nosework, tricks and more! See what classes are available and save your spot here.

We hope you have a wonderful holiday season and look forward to seeing you and your canine companion in our virtual classes! 

2020 Staff Spotlight: Lauryn

Name: Lauryn
Primary Location: Fitchburg and Puppy

Q: When did you start?

A: September 2012

Q: What made you apply for this this job?

A: I was looking to gain more experience in the animal care industry during my undergrad.

Q: What is your favorite part of daycare?

A: I love seeing the shyer friends come out of their shells.

Q: What is your favorite part of training?

A:  Teaching is my most favorite part of my job and I love helping owners and dogs reach their full potential and learn how to form a better relationship and bond.

Q: Favorite thing about your team?

A: I love getting to talk “dog nerd” with others that share my passion (and obsessions) with dogs.

Q: Favorite thing about the clients?

A: That they trust and bring their family members to us! Also hearing about their dog’s personalities at home is always fun.

Q: Favorite thing about the dogs?

A: That they live in the moment and every day is their best day ever!

Q: Something unique about you – not related to the dogs

A: When I was a kid I was on an Animal Planet show about Ferrets.

Q: Something you’d never guess I’d do/peg me for

A: I don’t think I have any weird hobbies (literally all I do is dog stuff) but I was a competitive dancer practically my whole life through college and have been looking to get back into it.

Q: Which dog breed are you based on this quiz:

https://play.howstuffworks.com/quiz/what-dog-breed-are-you?utm_source=share-copy&utm_medium=referral

  • A: Great Dane You are a great big lovable, hairy, slobbery mess. You are clumsy as heck, and you often bang your head or break things by mistake. You always say sorry and mean it, and no one can stay mad at you for long. You’re very kind, and while you’re actually super gentle, no one realizes that at first glance, which is great as it means no one would dare start anything with or your friends.

Q: Which breed did you grow up with? 

A:  Labradors. We had a yellow and black lab.

Q: Tell us about the pets that you live with now?

A: I have a 6.5 year old Australian Shepherd named Comet and a 6 month old Border Collie named Reina. Comet came to me at 1.5 years old with some behavior issues and pretty intense stranger danger. But once you know him, you will forever be his most favorite person. Reina joined me in August and she is my sports prospect to learn agility, disc, flyball, dock diving, and whatever other sports we want to dabble in.

Q: Favorite color

A: Blue!

Q: If you got stranded on an island & it’s just you and your best buddy dog, what other animal would you want with you and why?

 A: A crow because they are really smart and can also be trained just like a dog.

Q; What ice cream are you?

A: Anything minty

Q: If you could pull one thing out of your belly button for the rest of your life, what would it be?

A: Definitely dog treats.

2020 Staff Spotlight: Deb

Name: Deb

Location: Mostly East – but you can find her everywhere!

Q: When did you start?

A: 12 years ago

Q: What made you apply for this this job?

A: I have always loved dogs and I had a reactive dog that I needed help with. I went to the Dog Den and have been there since.

Q: What is your favorite part of daycare?

A: Watching the dogs communicate with each other and loving all the different personality traits they all exhibit.

Q: What is your favorite part of training?

A: Watching the bond unveil between dog/human and that light bulb moment when people realize what their dogs can do.

Q: Favorite thing about your team?

A: That we are a close-knit family.

Q: Favorite thing about the clients?

A: The love they all have for their dogs, which gives us all something in common.

Q: Favorite thing about the dogs?

A: Every single nuance about them.

Q: Something unique about you – not related to the dogs

A: I like to build things like furniture.

Q: Something you’d never guess I’d do/peg me for

A: I was a diesel mechanic in the Navy and I like to play video games.

Q: Which dog breed are you based on this quiz: https://play.howstuffworks.com/quiz/what-dog-breed-are-you?utm_source=share-copy&utm_medium=referral

A: Greyhound

Q: Which breed did you grow up with?

A: German Shephard, GSD/collie mix, Irish Setter

Q: Tell us about the pets that you live with now?

A: Gus: My best boy. A German shepherd/malamute mix that has such a calm demeanor that he has helped 100’s of dogs with their reactivity. He will be 13 on Dec. 1

Aubrey: My beautiful Doberman. This dog thinks she is a lab in every way possible, which makes her a clown that makes me laugh a lot.

Lola: My Siberian Husky. A beautiful sassy girl that makes all dogs that visit feel right at home, that is after she has pestered them to no end to play with her. The smallest in my pack at 70lbs

Q: Favorite color

A: red

Q: If you got stranded on an island & its just you & your best buddy doggo, what other animal would you want with you both & why?

A: A lizard that will eat the bugs. UGH!

Q: If you were a candle, what scent would you be?

A: Lilac

Q: If you could have 1 superpower, what would it be?

A: I would love to be able to clone myself so I can be in more than one place at a time

Q: What weird collections do you have?

A: Boyds Bears

Q: What ice cream are you?

A: Chocolate

Q: If you could pull one thing out of your belly button for the rest of your life, what would it be?

A: NOT!

2020 Staff Spotlight: Lori

Name:  Lori
Primary Location: Fitchburg & Puppy

Q: When did you start?

A: July 2020

Q: What made you apply for this this job?

A: the pandemic. I put my career on hold in the medical administration world and was looking for a fun job that I would enjoy going to. Since I love dogs so much I knew this would be a perfect fit for me. 

Q: What is your favorite part of daycare?

A:  Cuddling and playing with all the pups! 

Q: What is your favorite part of training?

A:  seeing the lightbulb moments in the dogs and their owner, the bond the pup and owner create and seeing daycare dogs in a training class environment

Q: Favorite thing about your team?

A: I love that everyone is so knowledgeable and always willing to help, we all care for the dogs in our care and sharing a lot of laughs, 

Q: Favorite thing about the clients?

A: How they put their trust into taking care of their beloved dog and the excitement they have when picking up their dog from daycare. 

Q: Favorite thing about the dogs?

A: the infinite love they have to give and the silly unique personalities 

Q: Something unique about you – not related to the dogs

A:  I was adopted from China at 14 months old and am an only child. 

Q: Something you’d never guess I’d do/peg me for

A: I really enjoy true crime shows such as prison documentaries 

Q: Which dog breed are you based on this quiz:

https://play.howstuffworks.com/quiz/what-dog-breed-are-you?utm_source=share-copy&utm_medium=referral

A: French Bulldog 

Q: Which breed did you grow up with? 

A: Jack Russel Terrier named Casper who lived to the age of 18! He was a crazy man and had no off switch. He was my first best friend since I was an only child

Q: Tell us about the pets that you live with now?

A.  have 2 cats, a mother and son duo, Sweetie-pie (12 yrs old) and Tiger(11 yrs old) Sweetie pie is the social butterfly and loves getting pats. Tiger is very shy, moody, grumpy old man and only likes a select few people. I have a Dutch rabbit, Apollo who is very feisty and loves getting treats. Lastly I have a black lab mix pup, Gracie who is 9 months old. She is my best friend and we do everything together. I call her my magnet pup because she always wants to be near me. 

Q: Favorite color

A: all shades of gray and blue

Q: If you were a candle, what scent would you be?

A: Bath and body works champagne toast 

Q; If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

 A: my superpower would be the ability to teleport myself and anything I am touching such as luggage so I can travel the world! 

 Q: What weird collections do you have?  

A: I don’t think it’s weird but I have a large collection of Blankets! You can never have too many blankets.