Obedience training for your fur baby and you, in Williamstown

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WILLIAMSTOWN — Education is key for any youngster, even those fur-bearing young ones that we keep as pets.

Education for people navigating puppyhood, and those seeking adult doggie classes, is underway at a new canine training facility in Colonial Plaza.

Northern Berkshire K9 owner and head trainer Heather Jones opened April 22 in the former Aubuchon Hardware store on Main Street, and already the roster of 35 slots is more than half-full.

Jones built a South County following of dog owners when she operated a training program in Becket for five years. But she had a hankering to run her own operation and wound up with the former Aubuchon space.

"It's really the perfect size for this," she said.

There are a variety of packages to choose from, including basic training classes, doggie day care, doggie day care combined with some basic training, and some advanced training classes for dog and owner. Then there is the board-and-train option, in which the dog student lives with the trainer for a period of time for a more intensive process. Afterward, the owner also is trained so dog and owner are speaking the same language.

"Dog obedience is a lifelong process, something the owner and dog should work on for about 20 minutes daily," Jones noted. "It should really become a way of life."

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The goal is to impart skills that allow the pups to forgo aggressive behaviors, reactivity to other dogs, and properly socializes the canine to people and other dogs, Jones said.

"We tend to want to communicate like a human, but not like a dog," she said. "I clear up that gap between owner and dog so they can communicate with each other more effectively. It's a step-by-step process."

A program like this helps to keep a dog's mind stimulated, to give them something to focus on, rather than the isolation that comes with being alone at home while the owner is at work, Jones said. There also are classes to teach therapy skills to the dogs and agility classes as well.

The day care costs $30 per day, and training is $35 per day. Board-and-train sessions range from $1,200 to $2,300, depending on the time frame.

Northern Berkshire K9 is open from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

"We tailor the training program to the dog, and I always work with the client on training plans and practices," Jones said.

Scott Stafford can be reached at sstafford@berkshireeagle.com or 413-629-4517.


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