Sunday, February 11, 2018

Why Teach Tricks?

By Laura Sharkey & Erica Pytlovany

Bentley hugs his toy
Teaching tricks is great for dogs. It provides them with both mental and physical stimulation and helps create a stronger working relationship between the dog and the handler.

To start: want better basic obedience skills? Teach some tricks. The more things you teach your dog, the better he gets at learning. The more often you ask for behaviors, the better she gets at offering them.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Earn Stunt Dog Titles from Do More With Your Dog!

By Erica Pytlovany

Do you like to teaching your dog some tricks?  Want ideas for what to do next?  Starting in March 2018, you and your dog can earn Stunt Dog titles!

What is the Stunt Dog title program?
Stunt Dog is a new titling program brought to us by Do More With Your Dog. Titles are awarded through performances in live ring trials that showcase tricks as well as the skills needed for your dog to stay and to focus under pressure. The first four levels are highly structured -- makes it easy to started!  Creativity and artful performance are expected at the Champion level.

What I like about the Stunt Dog program:

Monday, January 15, 2018

Fenzi TEAM Titles for Advanced Obedience Training

By Erica Pytlovany

Ready for advanced obedience training and want ideas for what to do next?  Let's look at one option:  Fenzi TEAM Titles (

Fenzi TEAM TitlesTEAM stands for Training Excellence Assessment Modules, and is made up of 6 levels of video "tests" for foundation through advanced obedience training skills.  Levels 1 - 3 are Sport Foundation, and build valuable sport skills from formal obedience to rally, freestyle, or even agility.  Levels 4 - 6 are Obedience Master and practice complex behavior chains, reduced reinforcement, and a high degree of fluency and discrimination.

What I like about the TEAM program:

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Monday, June 26, 2017

Fetch my slippers, not eat them!

By Erica Pytlovany Laura Sharkey

Ligio, 10 weeks old
"Now what do you have"!?!  Despite the fact that we puppy proofed the house, this comment kept coming out of our mouths. The puppy had yet another item of contraband. A shoe, a sock, a bag of chips. The items just kept coming. It was time to play "Whatcha Got"?

Young puppies explore the world with their mouth.  It is totally normal for them to pick up and chew on pretty much everything within reach. In our house, we turn this into the "Whatcha Got?" game.  This game is much more fun and effective than the Steal It & Run Game.  You know the Steal It & Run Game, right?  It's where your puppy steals an item and you get upset and chase after him while he tries to escape with his prize.

WARNING: the "Whatcha Got?" game is going to seem totally WRONG. It goes against what we instinctively want to do, which is to scold and punish. But the science tells us that scolding and punishing is not teaching -- and what we really want to to do is teach.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Choosing a Great Dog Walker

You’re a busy professional. You’re juggling more balls than you care to count. Getting a little help can make a big difference, and these days many dog owners turn to dog walkers to take that daily task off their plates. But in light of a recent tragedy involving the death of six dogs left in a too-warm car by their dog walker, you may be questioning this decision. How do you choose who to trust with your four-legged family member?

Professional dog walking has grown rapidly over the last ten years, and more and more dog lovers enter the field every day. What most dog owners don’t realize is that, because walking is a young business, there is currently no regulating body to dictate the standards of care or qualifications for the work. In short, anyone can call themselves a dog walker, with nothing but a love of dogs to qualify their resume. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Ballston Daycare Closing June 30th

By Laura Sharkey

This was a tough decision to make. For 15 years WOOFS! has been offering daycare at our Ballston location. There is where WOOFS! started. It was here, in 2002 that I was able to follow my dreams and jump from science to a career in dog training.

Since then I have learned a lot. I was able to fulfill a lot of what I dreamed about. A well run daycare where the behavior of the dogs was the most important thing. I have met so many great dogs and great owners, many of whom have given me the greatest honor by returning to WOOFS! with their next generation of dogs.