A well-behaved pet is the best kind to have, for humans and animals alike. Canines in particular aim to please and respond well to structure, discipline and boundaries. “Dogs are born with an instinct to behave a certain way. Training calms their brains and makes them happier, better companions, ” private trainer Barbara Robinson explains.
There are lessons for every need. Want your dog to learn some basic manners, such as polite leash walking? Try Animal Barn’s obedience school. Or for younger animals, check out Ruff House’s American Kennel Club courses, including Good Citizen and S.T.A.R. Puppy classes.
The Bay area teems with private trainers as well. Robinson, a teacher for 20 years, offers dog obedience classes through the University of South Alabama Continuing Education Department. She handles everything from easy commands, such as “sit” or “stay, ” to advanced show dog prep and behavioral modification. Robinson also regularly contributes to two national dog magazines. Her eight-week summer session begins on July 6, and classes are open to all.
Get involved with your pooch’s training! Ruff House’s tutor program shows owners how to maintain the training at home so that new skills never fade.
Barbara Robinson’s Obedience Class • 405-9930 usacontinuinged.com
Suds with Buds
As much as pet parents adore their pooches, there’s no denying that dirt and dander put a damper on snuggle time. If you find yourself pushing your furry friend away, it’s time to groom.
For owners who enjoy hands-on bathing, B&B Pet Stop has a DIY wash station. After you’ve rinsed, shampooed and dried your canine companion in the waist-high washtubs (no pain on your knees or back), the B&B staff takes care of the mess.
Across the Bay, try out Dirty Hairy Dog Wash for some quality bubble time, and be sure to ask about their weekly deals, such as police and service dog discounts. Hairy Dog also includes a vanilla cookie face shampoo with every wash, so your dog feels nice and perky at the end of his bath.
Of course, you can always leave the styling up to the pros. Animal Barn gives every animal individual attention to ensure each one feels at ease. They also accept requests for medicated baths, hot oil treatments or moisturizing and conditioning that will really “doll your furry friends up.”
Animal Barn • 9211 Cottage Hill Road. 633-6336. animalbarn.com
B&B Pet Stop • 5035 Cottage Hill Road. 661-3474. bbpetstop.com
Dirty Hairy Dog Wash • 602 U.S. Highway 98, Suite A, Daphne. 626-0151. hairydogwash.com
Doggie Day Care and Staycations
Every pet owner knows the dilemma: When you go on vacation or have to spend long hours at the office, where can your dog stay, safely and happily, and maybe get in some exercise to boot? Pet resorts popping up around the area offer new alternatives for doting owners and their dogs.
The Ruff House, a Daphne-based one-stop shop, boasts everything a pooch could desire, including deluxe daycare. “I saw a demand in the area for people who treat their pets as fur-children, and I wanted to help create a more fulfilling relationship between humans and their animals, ” founder Gloria Liu explains.
Every new visitor, whether a boarder or day camper, joins a playgroup based on its activity levels; anxious dogs may be walked alone while energetic and social animals get to commune with likeminded friends. In Mobile, Walks and Wags, similar to Ruff House, also throws in a relaxing oatmeal shampoo bath before dismissal. Talk about the pampered life!
Let your pet relax in the comfort of home. The Puppy Den in Daphne provides traditional boarding services as well as pet sitters, who visit the home throughout the day and even stay overnight. Also on the Eastern Shore, Go Play Pet Service hosts kennel-free sleepovers. No matter where your “fur baby” stays, he’s sure to make a few new friends.
Go Play Pet Service • 2518 U.S. Highway 98, Daphne. 621-7389. goplaypets.com
Puppy Den • 28825C U.S. Highway 98, Daphne. 626-5248. ameripetpuppystore.com
The Ruff House • 6937 U.S. Highway 90, Daphne. 626-6702. dogslovetheruffhouse.com
Walks and Wags • 631 Azalea Road. 643-1615. walksandwags.com
Rolling Out the Welcome Mat
Plenty of your favorite restaurants and bars with outdoor patios or decks also open their doors to well-behaved pups. It’s the perfect time of year for you and your pet to enjoy a cool breeze while the humans have a bite to eat. No matter how obedient the dog, don’t leave the leash at home! And, be sure to call ahead to ensure that policies have not changed.
JUNE 1, JULY 6: Pack up Lassie for Doggy Happy Hour at OK Bicycle Shop. Every first Monday of the month, Bike Shop hosts a get-together for Mobilians and their dogs with drink specials, reps from local animal shelters who hang out with the group and, of course, treats for the canines. Treat the whole family – furry and non – to a night on the town this summer.
JUNE 6, JULY 4, AUGUST 1: Every first Saturday of the month, catch the Haven’s adoption events at the Daphne Pet Supermarket. Venture out to the meet-and-greet to adopt, get pet health and training information and more.
OCTOBER 3: Walk the Cause Dog Walk (Fairhope) Presented by Eye Heart World, this event raises funds to train therapy dogs. Later, the animals will help victims of human trafficking.
TBA: Woofstock ARF – Bipeds and quadrupeds alike can revel in music, taste local fare and participate in a number of great activities! woofstockmobile.com
TBA: Mystic Mutts of Revelry, the annual Mardi Gras parade which just celebrated its 12th year, showcases every breed and mix in the elaborate garb of the season. Proceeds benefit The Haven, Fairhope’s no-kill shelter. havenforanimals.org
Adopt! Help Find “Fur-Ever” Homes
Looking for your perfect companion? Think about adoption. In addition to saving a life (and some money), shelters usually keep animals up-to-date on vaccinations and will spay or neuter them. Get even more involved in local rescue efforts and help spread the puppy love by becoming a foster pet parent. Fosters provide temporary homes for cats or dogs in need, preparing pets for the structure of a permanent “fur-ever home” environment.
Below are just a few of the many local organizations that facilitate adoptions and foster care.
Animal Rescue Foundation • animalrescuemobile.org
Dale’s Den • facebook.com/dalesdenanimalrescue
Friends of the Mobile Animal Shelter • adoptapetmobile.org
The Haven • havenforanimals.org
Save a Stray • saveastray.rescuegroups.org
> SHARE YOUR PUP'S PHOTO! Love snapping pics of your furry friend? Click here to submit the funniest or cutest photo of your pup in our dog photo contest now through June 12, 2015. We'll showcase the entries online, and one lucky winner will have their photo published in an upcoming issue of the magazine.
Text by Chelsea Wallace