'Doggy Boot Camp' offers training for dogs

- Anyone who has had a puppy knows at times, that four-legged friend can be a lot to handle. From potty training to chewing on just about everything, the puppy can drive its owner crazy.

"You know you have to do something about it," said Ian Rosenthaler. "You cant give up on them, but what do you do?"

A doggy boot camp is offering a solution to break a puppy's bad habits. Rosenthaler brought his dog to Top Dog Boarding and Training. He and his wife were at their wits' end, as they were trying to merge their homes after getting married. Their dogs, a blind 7-year-old Pit Bull named Sookie and a seven-year-old German Shepherd named Indie, weren't feeling the love.

"It was probably one of my biggest anxieties," said Rosenthaler. "It was how are we going to get this un-socialized dog to be OK with my dog who's blind. She's going to bump into her."

Rosenthaler and his wife enrolled the Indie and Sookie in a two-week training program.

"They'll have three to four lessons a day," said Shawn Thompson, who owns Top Dog Boarding and Training. "One or two in the morning, and one or two in the evening."

During that time, trainers worked with the dogs on their biggest issue: learning to simply get along. Besides that, the trainers also taught the two dogs everyday commands like "sit", "down", and "kneel".

"Especially for Indie, she had rule and reign of my wife's old place," said Rosenthaler. "You couldn't get her off of the couch, she wanted to be up there. You would tell her to get down and she would literally just sink down like I'm not getting down."

Thompson outlined their goal for the doggie boot camp.

"We teach behaviors. Sit, down, come and kneel, but that's not what makes the dog obedient. It's just what makes those behaviors occur," said Thompson. "We try to focus on the process of what made those behaviors so accurate and clear, that we use that same process to teach those other expectations. Don't chew the couch, don't jump on the person, don't bark at the person coming into the home, don't fight with the dog. Those are also expectations. If the same process that made sit and down understood, if done correctly, can be applied to any of those other behaviors."

Thompson said while it may be hard to leave your puppy for weeks on end, the crash course does pay off.

"Boarding and training is unique in that it's like boarding school or boot camp as you were referring to it as where we're condensing the time frame and there's not a learning curve for the trainers. As the professionals are working with the dog they're not making mistakes, they're able to build traction much faster thus allowing you to get to the end result much quicker."

Dog commands are also taught in different languages at the school. Besides the pet training described above, the business also train dogs to become service dogs or therapy dogs.

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