2020 Staff Spotlight: Gen

Name: Gen
Primary Location:  Fitchburg & Puppy

Q: When did you start?

A: I started in June 2020

Q: What made you apply for this this job?

A: I wanted to continue to work with dogs in a company that puts the dogs needs and care above all else and I immediately knew The Dog Den was that company after my first interview!

Q: What is your favorite part of daycare?

A: Getting to know each dogs personality and quirks!

Q: What is your favorite part of training?

A:  Seeing the dogs succeed! I’m always blown away by how smart they are.

Q: Favorite thing about your team?

A: There’s so much love and support from all of my team members not only for the dogs at work but for me and my little pup too!

Q: Favorite thing about the clients?

A: The many stories of all the silly things their dogs do at home!

Q: Favorite thing about the dogs?

A: How unique each of their personalities are, and how they always give the best cuddles and kisses

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

A: I study dance and musical theatre

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

A: I’m a huge musical theatre nerd, 43 Broadway shows and counting!

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 (which I am very happy about)

Q: Which breed did you grow up with? 

A: I grew up with a cocker spaniel/ sheltie mix

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

A: I have a 2 year old dachshund named Darla! She is very sassy, cuddly, and spunky, and likes to think that she’s independent, but never lets me go to the bathroom on my own.

Q: Favorite color

 A: My favorite colors are pink and yellow

Q: Share a boring fact about yourself

A: I always get a frozen chai from Dunkin’ before work

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: I’d want a big hunting dog! Darla can get the small critters and the other dog can get fish and bigger animals

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

A: Champagne Toast from bath and body works

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

 A: 100% talk to animals!

 Q: What weird collections do you have?  

A: Tons of random supplies for hobbies I never fully pursue 

Q:  What ice cream are you?

A: Cotton Candy from The Chocolate Shoppe

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

A: $100 bills would be pretty awesome

2020 Staff Spotlight: Alex

Name: Alex
Primary Location:  East

Q: When did you start?

A: September 10th 2019

Q: What made you apply for this this job?

A: The vision and major focus on being a team!

Q: What is your favorite part of daycare?

A: My favorite part is ‘owning’ many dogs. When you see them and spend as much time with the dogs as I do, they become your family! 

Q: What is your favorite part of training?

A:  When you see the ‘click’ once the dogs have realized what you’re asking of them.

Q: Favorite thing about your team?

A:  The laughs that are had.

Q: Favorite thing about the clients?

A:  Seeing how much they care about their dogs! 

Q: Favorite thing about the dogs?

A:  Everything, is everything an answer? 

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

A: I love designing houses, everything from inside to the outside! 

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

A:  Spend around 1-3 hours a day talking about the dogs at daycare to my family and friends 🙂 

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

Q: Which breed did you grow up with? 

A:  Labrador, Boxer/Mastiff, Rottweiler, Pitbull and quite a few more. My family has a big love and passion for animals! 

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

A: Two crazy boy huskies that like to snuggle and run! Fun facts: Rori will let you pet him with anything from your hand to a lamp – but his favorite thing to be pet by is feet. Zephyr is a big baby and likes to be carried around and sit in laps even though he’s 55 lbs! 

Q: Favorite color

 A: Slate Green! 

Q: Share a boring fact about yourself

A:  I am not a tea or a coffee person

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

A: Cinnamon!

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

 A: If I had one superpower it would be to grant happiness to everyone.

 Q: What weird collections do you have?  

A: Blankets, mainly fuzzy ones! 

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

A: 100 dollar bills, no more money worries and all while sitting on my couch!

2020 Staff Spotlight: Chelsea

Name: Chelsea           
Primary Location:  Fitchburg

Meet Chelsea & Romeo – Fitchburg Co-Coordinator

Q: When did you start?

A: April 2007

Q: What made you apply for this this job?

A: Just moved to the area and saw it advertised at the dog park

Q: What is your favorite part of daycare?

A: Getting to know each and every dogs personality (and learning their weird quirks)

Q: What is your favorite part of training?

A:  Learning different ways to handle one situation

Q: Favorite thing about your team?

A: That we’re family

Q: Favorite thing about the clients?

A: Learning about the dogs home lives

Q: Favorite thing about the dogs?

A: Pestering them 

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

A: I’m an avid reader and knitter!

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: Springer Spaniel

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

A: Just Romeo

Q: Favorite color

A: Orange, Blue or Forest Green

Q: Share a boring fact about yourself

A:  I cannot stand the smell/taste of Root Beer

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 Pig, they’re good rooters and well, if needed be edible. 

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

A:  Mahogany Teakwood

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

A: Teleportation

 Q: What weird collections do you have?  

A:  Anything Loon

Q; What ice cream are you?

A:  Rocky Road

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

A:  (side note: wtf kind of question is this?) I’m not sure I want to answer….money?

Family is so important to Chelsea so enjoy a little sneak peek into “Aunt Chelsea’s” life!

2020 Staff Spotlight: Bailey

Name: Bailey
Primary Location: East and sometimes Puppy too!

Meet Bailey! Our Social Media Coordinator

Q: When did you start?

A: August 2018

Q: What made you apply for this this job?

A:  I joked one day that I would work with dogs in my retirement, but while job searching after college I thought “why not now?!”

Q: What is your favorite part of daycare?

A: Building so many incredible relationships with so many dogs. It’s truly an honor to get to love and care for these dogs and puppies!

Q: What is your favorite part of training?

A:  The celebration from the humans when a dog finally has a breakthrough! Such unbridled joy.

Q: Favorite thing about your team?

A: Sharing one another’s slang, it becomes a whole ‘nother language! 

Q: Favorite thing about the clients?

A: Bonding over our dogs’ weird habits and sharing their goofy nicknames.

Q: Favorite thing about the dogs?

A: When they lean into the scratches

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

A: I am knowledgable in and often practice astrology and tarot!

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

A: I am about to teach myself wood working!

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: Golden Retrievers.

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

A: Juniper, 4ish. An ex-street mutt from Puerto Rico. Although she’s a mutt, our best guess is mostly border collie. 

Q: Favorite color

A: Greens.

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

A: Fabric softener and fire.

 Q: What weird collections do you have?  

A: A necklace of pressed pennies from several novel places.

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

A: Cookie dough bites!

2020 Staff Spotlight: Nick

Name: Nick
Primary Location: Puppy (but you can find him helping out everywhere!)

Meet Nick, The Puppy Den Coordinator!

Q: When did you start?

A: 10/26/2015

Q: What made you apply for this this job?

A: I was looking for dog experience in order to prepare my resume for vet school, but fell in love with the dogs and never wanted to leave!

Q: What is your favorite part of daycare?

A: Being able to teach and create bonds with the puppies and then see them when they are older at our adult locations!

Q: What is your favorite part of training?

A:  Forming relationships with our clients and helping work through troubleshooting for the kind of training that our clients want.

Q: Favorite thing about your team?

A: How much laughter we share!

Q: Favorite thing about the clients?

A: How kind and thoughtful our clients are, especially with the creativity of their dog’s name on their lunch bags!

Q: Favorite thing about the dogs?

A: All of the funny moments that we find every day.

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

A: I wear shorts year round, it’s a lifestyle choice

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

A: I play a lot of video games when I’m at home, usually with Netflix or a movie on in the background.

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

“You are a greyhound for sure. You are high maintenance and demanding, but when you are looked after properly, you run like a well-oiled machine. You live by the philosophy that what you put in is what you get out. You eat right, work out, and work hard. Just make sure you’re chasing a real goal and not a dream!”

Q: Which breed did you grow up with? 

A: Yorkies, lab/dane mix and a keeshond.

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

A:   don’t have any, unless I am dog sitting.

Q: Favorite color

A: Green

Q: Share a boring fact about yourself

A: Samsung all the way, I have only ever owned 1 iPod, but everything in my house is either Microsoft/Samsung.

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

A: Moonlight Starry Night

Q: What ice cream are you?

A: Cookies and Cream!

2020 Staff Spotlight: Catt

Name: Catt

Primary Location: Fitchburg

Q: When did you start?

A: June 2012

Q: What made you apply for this this job?

A:  Deb; I was already in Vet. Tech School and she told me I would love doing this job; Here I am 8 years later and still loving it!

Q: What is your favorite part of daycare?

A: Being with the dogs and seeing how they interact with us and each other

Q: What is your favorite part of training?

A:  The lightbulb moment between client and pup

Q: Favorite thing about your team?

A: We really are a family

Q: Favorite thing about the clients?

A: That they trust us enough to watch their furry family members

Q: Favorite thing about the dogs?

A: Getting to know them, their quirks and personalities

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

A: I love watching baking shows yet I am not a good baker

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

A:  I love zip lining

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: Lab

Q: Which breed did you grow up with? 

A: a bassett, aussies, border collies, labs and the world’s best puglet!  (a little bit of everything)

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

A: a bernese moutain dog named Dierks and a toad named Lemon

Q: Favorite color

A: any shade of blue

Q: Share a boring fact about yourself

A: Miracle Whip over May

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

A: Yankee Candle brand: MidSummer’s Night

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

 A: Fly

 Q: What weird collections do you have?  

A:  I keep pretty much every card every given to me; birthday, get well, thank yous

Q; What ice cream are you?

A:  Cookie Dough

Catt has 2 careers – and her other one is a certified veterinary technician at the UW Critical Care Unit

2020 Staff Spotlight: Sam

Q: When did you start?

A: I started June of 2019

Q: What made you apply for this this job?

A: I applied because I love dogs and said at a young age that I wanted to work at dog daycare

Q: What is your favorite part of daycare?

A: My favorite part of daycare is building relationships with all of the dogs, big and small.

Q: What is your favorite part of training?

A:  My favorite part of training is helping the dog and their owners learn and grow together!

Q: Favorite thing about your team?

A: I love our team’s dynamic where we all work together to learn and grow every day.

Q: Favorite thing about the clients?

A: I really appreciate our clients’ love for their dogs and their willingness to share them with us.

Q: Favorite thing about the dogs?

A: I love all of the different personalities and quirks that each dog has. Each one is unique and wonderful.

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

A: I really enjoy writing stories in my free time!

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

A: I don’t think people would peg me for liking to clean (especially after they see my room), but I love 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: I’m a Labrador!

Q: Which breed did you grow up with? 

A: I grew up with a Boston Terrier! She’s still my baby after 12 years.

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

A: I still have my Boston names Jojo! She’s a total old lady, but still full of energy and sass! I also have a big Staffie/Husky/Greyhound/Lab mix named Gino! The shelter told me he’s 2 years old and from Texas. He’s an eternal puppy and sleepy boy.

Q: Favorite color

   A: Dark blue is my favorite.

Q: Share a boring fact about yourself

A: I vehemently believe that you cannot put ketchup on the bottom of your burger, it has to be on top

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

A: Probably lavender scented candle

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

A: My superpower would totally be flight, but I would HAVE to have wings. It’s no fun if you don’t have wings to go along with it.

2020 Staff Spotlight: Mick

This year has brought many challenges to The Dog Den/The Puppy Den and one of them is that we aren’t able to spend as much time with you – our amazing client family, and you aren’t able to get to know our team – the friendly, fun people taking care of your pups on a daily basis. As a way to help you get to know us, over the next few weeks, we are going to spotlight, on our blog, each of our team members.  We asked each person to answer some questions and we are going to share their responses with you. We hope you enjoy this series and have fun getting to know each of us!

Meet Mick!

Name: Mick
Primary Location: East, but can be found at Puppy and on occasion, Fitchburg too

Q: When did you start?

A: I started May 13th 2019

Q: What made you apply for this this job?

A: I applied to this job because I have a passion for animals, and I thought it would be a great step towards opening my own vet clinic for the low-income communities in our area. Although, I don’t think I could leave now!

Q: What is your favorite part of daycare?

A: My favorite part of daycare is being able to see both our human and dog clients every day and get to know them!

Q: What is your favorite part of training?

A:  My favorite part of training is being able to watch a bond grow between dog and owner

Q: Favorite thing about your team?

A: I love how well we all work together and truly care for the dogs we work with!

Q: Favorite thing about the clients?

A: I like how friendly our clients are

Q: Favorite thing about the dogs?

A: I love how each and every dog brings something to the floor and makes the pack better and more interesting than before

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

A: Fun fact: I have 3 kidneys. I had some health issues as a kid and through trying to diagnose what was wrong with me, we found out I have a little baby kidney attached to one of my other kidneys.

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

A: I doubt people would think that I like to knit

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: According to the quiz I’m a Labrador retriever!

Q: Which breed did you grow up with? 

A: I grew up with an old lab named Sampson who was my best friend and my uncle’s dog Rebel who was a pit mix, he was also my buddy growing up! We also got a dachshund when I was in second grade (He’s still alive and as sassy as ever!) Then a long while after Sampson passed, we got another Lab named Jake, he has a very different energy from Sampson but we love him nonetheless.

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

A: As of now I have my beautiful American Pitbull Terrier Aretha, and my two (handsome) cats!

Q: Favorite color

A: My favorite color is light blue

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

A: If I were a candle, I would probably be a lavender one

 Q: What weird collections do you have?  

A: I think the weirdest collection I have are statues doing yoga, so far, I have a frog and two skeletons (for Halloween of course)

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

A: If I could pull anything out of my belly button it would be quarters! I always find myself needing quarters but never having any, so it would be quite helpful.

Make sure to stop by again this week to learn more about other members of our team!

The Importance of Alone Time

Did you know that helping your dog or puppy learn to be alone is a skill just as important as learning to sit, lay down, or come?  Dogs are wired to be social creatures by nature—which is why they make the best companion! It feels great to have a dog who is enthusiastic about wanting to spend time with us and keeps us company. Who wouldn’t want that after all? In this time where so much is uncertain, it’s easy to find ourselves depending on the companionship of our dogs as much as they depend on us.

But constantly being around us can make it so our dogs rely on social interaction and proximity that isn’t sustainable when we go to work and school. If your dog has had an opportunity to get into the habit of spending all day and night with you, their favorite people, returning to a previous routine of being left home for longer stretches of time can create worry and in some cases extreme stress, seemingly overnight.

 For young puppies, practicing alone time, even when you are home, helps your new puppy learn the skills needed to successfully be left home alone without any stress – and stress can lead to unwanted behaviors.  For your adult dog, practicing alone time will keep the skill sharp for them allowing you to return to your routine outside of the home when the time comes without any stress or confusion for your best friend. 

How do we do practice this as we are spending more time at home?  Here we outline some ideas for you to help your dog or puppy learn to be alone, while you are home: 

First, spend a few minutes thinking about what your schedule looked like before you were home for an extended period of time and write it down. Here are some questions to think about: 

  • What time did your day start? 
  • What did your morning routine look like (breakfast, kids ready, shoes on, keys picked up, leave in car, etc.)? 
  • Where did your dog stay (or where would you like your dog to stay)?
  • When did you return home? 
  • What did your day end look like? 

Then, come up with a plan to practice—after all practice makes perfect! Here are some tips for your practice:  

  • Find some reasons throughout the day to leave your house and practice leaving as you would before you were home the majority of the time. 
    • Leave the house in your car. Take a short drive around the neighborhood, get a car wash or gas, or run a short errand. 
    • Go take a walk and leave the dogs at home. We all love to take our dogs for walks (and they should still get their exercise) but that is a great opportunity to practice alone time for your dog as well. Maybe take a short jaunt around the block, return and reward the alone time with a short jaunt for your dog too! 
    • Do yardwork and leave your dog inside 
    • Go outside with a book or your computer and leave your dog inside. 

  • Crate or isolate your dog for some portion of each day—AWAY from you WHILE you are home. Even if you are not leaving the house. This is a very important part of learning to be alone. If can be even more fun to make this a game and vary the crate time activities. Sometimes they get their meal in a crate, sometimes they sleep in the crate, sometimes there is a yummy bone in their crate, etc. Additionally, practice crating or isolating your dog from you for varied amounts of time. Sometimes it’s a quick 15 min, sometimes it’s 2 hours. This makes it an unpredictable and fun activity for them! 
  • Pick things you do throughout your day to use as alone time practice for your dog.  There are bound to be things in your current daily life that will allow the perfect opportunity for alone time practice in small segments. Here are some examples: 
    • Going to the bathroom
    • Taking a shower 
    • Doing the dishes
    • Cleaning a room of the house
    • Doing laundry
    • Take trash to the curb
    • Walking to mailbox
    • Taking a conference call 

Let us know what examples you come up with in the comments below!

  • Practice using barriers to help your dog settle away from you. Set up a baby gate or x-pen somewhere in your home where you are on one side and your dog is on the other side. Start by rewarding any calm behavior like 4 on the floor, sitting, patience, quiet, etc. Toss a treat into their space when you notice this behavior but don’t get up and give it to them. As they get better at this, wait for even MORE calm behavior. Laying down, relaxing, or even walking away from the part of the room you are in. Reward this behavior as well.  
  • Play music or TV to help manage environmental noise. Sometimes things happen that we are unaware of such as road construction, the neighbor getting a new roof, someone driving by with a loud radio, etc. Plus, music has been scientifically proven to help reduce stress in dogs! 

By spending a part of each day away from your dog, you are setting both of you up for a lifetime of success. Balancing alone time with time each day to play and love on your dog is a recipe for a healthy and thriving relationship. After all, we have pets to be companions. Let’s help them have the skills to be alone as well. 

Some quality alone-time snoozing 🙂

Classes Resume at The Dog Den and The Puppy Den

We hope this post finds you well and itching to jump back into the game of life with your dog! These last few weeks have been eye opening to a lot of different things—one of them may have been the discovery of some behaviors your dog offers that might not be something you love. The Dog Den and The Puppy Den are thrilled to be back and able to offer both LIVE in person classes as well as VIRTUAL audits of a live class which you can participate in from the safety and comfort of your own home. And don’t forget about our online classes!  

In our live classes, we are taking extra precautions to ensure everyone can stay safe and healthy. You will notice: 

  • Our training stations will be at least 10 ft apart to practice proper social distancing  
  • All of our moving exercises, where we may be using another class member as a distraction, will be 10-15 ft apart OR participants will need to wear a mask. There is never any pressure to participate in any exercise that makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe.  
  • Our Instructors will wear masks for your safety when moving around the room and interacting 1 on 1 with you 
  • Hand Sanitizer will be provided and it’s use encouraged in all of our classrooms 
  • There will be only two humans allowed per dog in each class  
  • We will be running smaller classes to ensure we are able to maintain proper social distancing  
  • We will be sanitizing each training station between classes  

With these things in place, we are excited to be able to be in-person with you, conquering some of those less-than-ideal behaviors you may have discovered, such as pulling on leash during your lovely quarantine walks, barking in jealousy at the neighbors drawing beautiful things on the sidewalk, being SO excited to be off “safer at home” we can’t keep 4-on-the-floor, or even forgetting how to be by ourselves because we’ve had so much fun with the family over the last few weeks. See the live, in-person classes we have scheduled and sign up here!  

We understand and respect that not everyone is ready to “jump back in” to in-person with the very real threat of the virus still present. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have the ability to work with your dog or puppy on some of the same things listed above and we’ve got the PERFECT option for you—VIRTUAL training. Though you might expect this to be a pre-recorded class, you may be surprised to find out this is a live, in-person class streamed real-time to your living room or training space. With the audit option, you will not receive instructor feedback live, but will have a front row seat to tips and tricks delivered in the classroom. If you find challenges during the class, you can always add instructor feedback as needed. As an added bonus, you will get access to previous class recordings for up to one week after the 6-week session ends!  

We’ve have several options for you to explore, which you will find here! (If you were hoping for a pre-recorded option, you can find that here!) 

We are thrilled to be back helping you with your puppy and dog training needs!