Monday, March 24, 2014

FREE Ask the Trainer Session - March 26th

What have you ALWAYS wanted to know about training your dog? No pet question is off limits at our LIVE Ask the Trainer session! Certified Pet Trainer Robin Lash of Morris K9 Campus will answer your questions tweeted to the Morris K9 Campus Twitter account on March 26 between 6 – 7 pm. 

Robin has been teaching group classes and private lessons at Morris K9 Campus since 2008. Before finding a home at Morris K9 Campus, Robin studied at a nationally recognized school where she learned everything from puppy imprinting to the dog sport of schutzhund. She is a positive trainer who uses force-free science based dog training methods to solve simple and complex behavior problems. 
Robin is a CPDT-KA Certified Pet Dog Trainer and is Knowledge Assessed through the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. She is also an evaluator for Creature Comfort, AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) and AKC Puppy STAR. In 2004, Robin earned her PSCA Level 1 and Level 2 Advanced Pet Care certification. Robin has also been featured in Fido Friendly Magazine, Dog Fancy Magazine, and Good Morning America for her Doga classes.
At Morris K9 Campus, Robin teaches classes in puppy training, obedience, pet therapy, doga and clever dog tricks. In her free time, she volunteers with her Border Collie Gabriel with Creature Comfort Pet Therapy.
Tweet @MorrisK9Campus on March 26 between 6 – 7 pm with the questions you’ve always wondered about your pet. Wondering how to stop your dog from jumping on visitors? How to stop barking or train your pet to come when called? Robin will tweet back her responses. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Friday, March 21, 2014

What is Rally?

Rally is a fun dog sport that is made up of obedience exercises and follows a numbered course. Different from formal competitive obedience, the exercises change from course to course. On the Rally course, there is a numbered sequence consisting of signs. The signs say which exercise you and your dog are supposed to perform. Sometimes it can be as easy as having your dog sit, while other signs can be moving exercises, such as left and right turns. Signs can also be placed by what we call an obstacle, which could be a series of cones that you need to heel around, or even a jump!

Although the exercises in Rally are based on those from formal obedience, Rally is much less formal. Although dogs are still required to heel (heel position is on the left side of the handler, parallel to them) and must still follow all commands the handler gives them, in Rally you can talk to your dog while working with them. In World Cynosport Rally (WCR), you can even feed or pet your dog after certain signs. Rally is definitely a dog-friendly sport!

Any dog is able to compete in rally. There are two main types of rally competitions: World Cynosport Rally and American Kennel Club (AKC). World Cynosport Rally (WCR) allows dogs with disabilities as well as mixed breeds. WCR also offers exercise modifications for dogs with disabilities. For example, a blind dog would be allowed to walk over a jump bar on the ground, instead of jumping a raised bar. These and other modifications would also be offered to older dogs or dogs with physical limitations. WCR Rally offers three levels of competition, as well as a puppy class and a veteran dog class. There are multiple titling opportunities in WCR, so you are able to stay in any level you would like and still compete for titles. The number of titles you can earn in WCR Rally are really limitless. Titles can be earned multiple times and are just noted as X2, or even up to X10!

 American Kennel Club (AKC) Rally offers three levels of competition. There are four possible titles to earn in AKC. You are not able to stay in a level past earning your title, you must move up to the next one. AKC Rally does not offer modifications or allow disabled (three-legged, deaf or blind) dogs to compete. Dogs must jump the height that is appropriate for their size, age and physical limitations are not considered when deciding the necessary jump height.

Both venues of competition offer opportunities to bond with your dog while earning titles along the way. Ribbons are always given out to teams with qualifying scores, placements and new titles. Teams also receive a title certificate so you have lots to show for the fun you are having with your dog!

Rally trials are typically laid back and promote a friendly, yet competitive environment. Although it is a competition, teams still cheer on other teams and wish them success, too. AKC Rally trials are often held combined with AKC Obedience trials or even Conformation events, so they can sometimes be a busier, more chaotic environment. WCR events are typically held by themselves in smaller training schools. Smaller trials make it very easy and worry-free for new competitors.

No matter what your goals are with your dog, Rally is for you. If you are looking for precision and perfect scores, you can get that in Rally. If you are looking to have fun with your dog and work your dog to the best of their ability, you can do that too! Some people participate in Rally just to help their dog build confidence, and don’t care so much about the score or ribbons. Rally is a great sport for anyone, and dogs really do enjoy it! 

Want to get started in rally with your dog? Register for our Intro to Rally class starting Monday, March 31. If you are interested in learning more by watching a competition or coming out to talk to the competitors, Morris K9 Campus will be hosting a WCR Rally Trial Event on Sunday May 11, 2014. Feel free to come by and check out this exciting sport, as well as get a feel for the dog-friendly environment!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Choosing the Right Crate for Your Dog

A crate can be one of the most beneficial tools for any dog owner. It provides a great way to help housetrain your dog and a way to keep your dog safe when they are not being monitored, among many other benefits. The crate can be an asset to any pet owner, but choosing the right one for your dog can be a daunting task. There are many different types of crates on the market, so which crate is right for your pet?

Wire Crate

  • The wire crate allows for great ventilation, which is especially important in warm climates. It is also good for dogs that tend to get hot easily.
  • Most wire crates now come with the option of a wire divider. This allows you to expand the crate as your puppy grows into it.
  • Wire crates come with a tray in the bottom, which means easy cleaning since the surface can be removed and wiped down.
  • Some dogs may find it easy to escape from a wire crate.
  • Large crates can be big, heavy and difficult to move.

Hard Plastic

  • This crate is perfect for dogs that like to cozy up in a corner.  It is made out of hard plastic and allows for the perfect spot to cuddle.
  • If you plan on any airline travel for your dog, this is the crate that all airlines require.
  • Since the sides are made of solid plastic, it is typically the most difficult of all standard crates for your dog to escape from.
  • The crate is made of plastic, therefore is bulky and takes up a lot of room. It also doesn’t collapse as nicely as other crates.
  • The crate isn’t ventilated as well as other options, so it isn’t designed to be used in warm climates or with dogs that tend to overheat easily.

Soft Sided Crate

  • Perfect for on-the-go travel, these crates collapse down and are lightweight.

  • Since they are made of fabric, they are easily destructible, making them better for smaller dogs and dogs who are already crate trained.
  • These crates feature a zipper instead of a standard closure. It can be possible for some dogs to figure out how to escape by unzipping the crate.

Heavy Duty Crates

  • If you have a dog that is a destructive chewer, it might be necessary to buy them a heavy duty crate. These crates are reinforced in order to prevent your dog from escaping.
  • Since the crates are reinforced, they are typically bulky and very expensive.

Choosing the right crate for your dog can be easy, as long as you know what your dog’s needs are and how you intend on using the crate. Take the time to find the right crate and to crate train your dog properly. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Dog Gurus' Daycare Games

 All February long, Morris K9 Campus participated in The Dog Gurus’ Daycare Games. The games have come to an end and our staff earned an outstanding 13 medals, including 10 gold medals! The games worked on improving the skill sets of daycare attendees at Morris K9 Campus, while competing with other dog daycares across the country. 

Robin Bennett and Susan Briggs, the co-founders of The Dog Gurus, designed the Daycare Games as a skills-based challenge that keeps dogs safe and happy while recognizing top dog daycare providers for their unique skills.

The Daycare Games had three disciplines, all of which are equally important and helpful when you bring your dog home. Handlers competed in recalls, group sits and gate boundaries. The three different disciplines are aimed to improve the skills of the daycare staff through a variety of different obedience exercises. The purpose of using obedience skills and drills in daycare is to maintain control of the group, while reinforcing desired behavior.

One of the tested disciplines was recall. As per the rules of the games, staff had to verbally recall an individual dog that was at least six feet away from them. We practice recall in daycare every day. It is an important activity because it works using the “come” command, which can be transitioned to your home life with your dog as well.

The Daycare Games were so much fun to host, a great team bonding activity and our daycare dogs seemed to enjoy the competitive festivities. We feel that the commands and obedience skills used in the Daycare Games are critical to safe and fun group play, which is why we use them every day during daycare.

The Dog Gurus, who have put together industry standards for operating safe daycare in their e-book “The Four E’s of Excellence in Off-Leash Play”, detail the exact exercises that help daycare facilities take better care of your pet. This book is available online for members. Learn more about becoming a Dog Gurus member at