Adding to your family in any way is scary. Adding a new puppy without the proper training or support can be especially challenging. Melissa Carmichael of Vale Park Animal Hospital has been helping new pet owners adjust and support their dogs for the last 18 years.
Carmichael is Vale Park’s trainer and lodge manager. She provides both private and group training for puppies and their owners.
Puppy training takes place over four weeks and is offered on both weekday evenings and on Saturdays for $125. Puppies are eligible to join at nine weeks of age.
At the end of puppy training, dogs and their owners will have learned a lot and gotten to know some new friends.
“The biggest benefit to the class is the socialization,” Carmichael said, “The dogs are around and with other puppies and other people.”
According to Carmichael, socialization is the key to a happy, well-adjusted dog.
“Dogs need to have those experiences, or they tend to be more fearful and more scared when they get older,” Carmichael said. “The more people, dogs, and situations you can get them around, the better it is for the dog.”
In addition to exploring new environments and interactions, participants in the puppy school focus on several major skills.
“In training they learn the basics,” Carmichael said. “We learn to sit and down. We also start walking on a leash without pulling. Finally, we also cover all the common bad puppy behaviors like jumping, barking, biting, and house training in the class.”
Training has long-term benefits for humans as well as puppies.
“It's a great bonding experience with your pets to work with them and train them, and dog training is ongoing,” Carmichael said. “It's a lifetime, you're never done. You're going to train them forever.”
Owners and puppies who are ready for more training can sign up for Vale Park’s intermediate training program.
“The intermediate session involves working with more distance and distractions,” Carmichael said. “We start putting more distance in their sit and stays, and we'll start working on a heel versus just a loose leash walk. It just gets a little more difficult.”
In addition to the training, Vale Park offers several opportunities for dog/puppy socialization through its services.
Carmichael is also in charge of Vale Park’s Lodge. The Lodge offers both daycare and boarding services for dogs and cats. Complete with two indoor play areas and three outdoor play areas, The Lodge allows owners to know their pet is taken care of while they are at work or away on a trip.
Boarding ranges from $42 to $55 per night based on suite size for dogs and $30 per night for cats. Daycare pricing is $25 per day for dogs and $20 per day for cats.
Any animal participant at Vale Park Animal Hospital, of course, needs to provide proof of vaccination prior to participating.
Interested in bringing your new puppy to training? Call Vale Park Animal Hospital at (219) 462-5785.