Category Archives: Blog

Steff of Doggie Fun & Fitness

Meet the Staff- Steff of Doggie Fun & Fitness

How long have you worked here? I’ve been in the DFF family for about a year and four months now.

Why did you choose to work here? I happened to drop off an old classmate for their interview and decided on the spot to apply. I really lucked out on such an amazing opportunity!

What did you expect it to be like? Barking, no structure, stressed dogs being ignored and played off as “dogs being dogs”.. things I have seen at other facilities I’ve both worked at and applied to.

What has surprised you the most? How realistic and prepared we are in our approach to daycare/training/communicating. So many other facilities I have been to are filled with anyone off the street and consist of structure-less “playing with puppies” (i.e: complete chaos).

Steff working like a dog

Steff working like a dog

What do you like best about your job? The impact that we have, not only in the lives of our clients and their pups, but on their relationships and bonds with each other. It wakes me every day. And all the kisses 1f642.png🙂

What do you like least? Believe it or not, going home is the worst. I find myself going about my day and thinking “I could be with the kids ruffing it up right now…” “I wonder what they’re up to” “I miss my job” *insert tears here*

Dog v. Cat

Dog vs. Cat…working on attention & impulse control

Annyong has been with me just over a month now. I’ve been following my own protocols to the letter: Crate & leash only for at least 2 weeks- inside & out of the house. He’s been out of the crate on drop leash, proving he will listen to me if I say his  name. I give commands on leash & practice his obedience. I have taken him in fenced in yard & practiced on drop leash name & recall, coming back to me with high value food reward, coupled with a low level e-collar (5 works good for him usually). He has been doing AMAZING. Except…. he still wants to eat the dreaded evil cat! (video below)

On the first day here, the cat walked near his crate, probably not even noticing him. The dog blew up & he hasn’t been in the area since. Now whenever the dog catches a glimpse of the cat, he lights up, but milder & stops almost instantly. Over the last week or so, the cat has been joining us in the living room again, on the opposite side of the crated dog. (When I have him out of the crate, I make sure the cat is behind a closed door. #1 keeps him safe, #2 keeps dog from losing focus). Remember: avoid what you can’t control, train what you can. One of the first times I had dog out of crate, showing him how to relax & chill with me, the cat wandered out & he went to an intense focus I couldn’t break him out of. I had to end the session as he was past the point of coming back to a calm enough state he could be out.

So now that the dog has settled in & is under better control & making better decisions, I see if I can get his attention when the cat is in sight. I wish I’d recorded this from the start, as the cat was only a few feet eating to begin with. Annoying showed interest, but didn’t freak out. Because he didn’t freak out, the cat didn’t run. Because the cat didn’t run, the dog didn’t freak out…you get the picture. So I pulled out the video & recorded keeping his attention while the cat was in the background. This is a first. Them being in the same area together. At one point you may notice his ears go forward & he gets a little intense, I tap his e-collar (level 15 for this, probably could have gone lower). He chills & goes back to eating.

I will continue with this now daily until I can control the dog’s attention & intensity around the cat. As I progress, I will bring him toward cat, call him away (on leash

& ecollar), add some movement on the cat so it doesn’t trigger dog past the point I can control his attention…

I haven’t seen the dog mean harm to any person or dog yet, even though he came to me after breaking out of a fenced in yard & attacking 2 dogs & going ballistic when company came (previous owner). And wanting to eat their cat. I’ve seen him slip out of my car & charge at a dog on day 3 with me & run right past the dog & lay down. Most people would have been upset it happened. I was relieved he didn’t do anything. It proved he didn’t want to harm anyone as if he wanted to, he would have. He’s a good dog. And he’s mine. And I love him. Stay tuned.






Kerri of Doggie Fun & Fitness

Meet the Staff- Kerri of Doggie Fun & Fitness

1.How long have you worked here? For about a year and a half

2. Why did you choose to work here?  I chose to work here because Laurie trained my old dog about 10 years ago and my new dog had just come through the DFF training program. He was enrolled in the daycare and I thought that I would enjoy working with dogs. I started out cleaning at night and letting the boarding dogs hang out with me while I worked. Now I work in the office on the weekends, still let the boarding dogs out a couple of nights each week and cover other shifts when needed.

3. What did you expect it to be like? I expected that the dogs would just be running around playing while I cleaned. I was definitely wrong on that assumption. I found out very quickly that even while I was cleaning I still had to pay attention to what they were doing and how they were getting along with each other. I always had to be aware of the “energy” in the room.

Kerri Galbreath of DFF

Kerri Galbreath of DFF

4. What has surprised you the most? What surprised me the most was how hard it can be dealing with multiple dogs at the same time. They each have their own personality and they all don’t respond the same way to the same things. For example, some dogs will follow you anywhere if you have treats while others prefer affection and still others do better if you ignore them and let them come to you. You always have to be aware of their body language and what they are trying to tell, not only you, but the other dogs in the room.

5. What do you like best about your job? The best thing I like about my job is being able to watch dogs grow and become the best they can be. Our trainers are so great at sharing their knowledge with us so we understand exactly what is happening and why. I get to sit in on some training sessions and get to handle dogs with all different temperaments. To see a dog go from being reactive or scared to a confident and happy member of the pack is an amazing experience.

6. What do you like least? The thing I like least is when I see a dog make a total transformation and then their family doesn’t follow through with the training homework and the dog regresses back to what they were. It’s a sad thing to watch.

Silly Lisa Sharland

Meet the Staff- Lisa Sharland – of Doggie Fun & Fitness

How long have you worked here? Going on 4 yrs here. Monday – Friday I’m on the floor supervising the dogs. On Saturdays I assist w/ training classes. I also help on the road with the Quiet Dog Daycare workshop.

Why did you choose to work here? Typical answer- simply love animals.

What did you expect it to be like? Can’t say i had any clear expectations of what the work would be like, came from a CNA job, thought i was just transferring caring for humans to caring for canines.

What has surprised you the most? Puppies are hard!! And do not stop moving!! And do not stop piddling!! It is a lot more physical job than most people would guess.

What do you like best about your job? Best thing is seeing the shy/nervous dogs come out of their shells and live without stressing.

Lisa as Employee of the Month

Lisa as Employee of the Month

What do you like least? Worst thing is once in a great while seeing those dogs that can’t just be comfortable around their own kind. It is definitely a rare occurrence, but heart breaks for them.

Noelle- groomer for Doggie Fun & Fitness

Meet the Staff- Noelle- groomer for Doggie Fun & Fitness

1.  How long have you worked here? 9 months

2. Why did I choose to work here? I chose to work here because one of my dogs had gone through training and daycare, and I was impressed with the operation. Plus Laurie offered me a job.

3.  What did you expect it to be like? I knew it would be different than any other place I had worked. There was going to more to it than just grooming.

4. What has surprised you most? I don’t think I was truly prepared for HOW different it would be. Everything I thought I knew about dogs, only scratched the surface of what could still be learned. I also was surprised at just how AWESOME the daycare floor staff is. The patience, love and guidance shown to each dog is amazing. Keeping so many dogs happy at once is not always easy, but they are pros. As a groomer, not much surprises me. But again, as much as I thought I knew about grooming, I am constantly learning different methods to make the grooming experience more enjoyable for our 4 legged friends.

Noelle doing Big Boy's nails

Noelle doing Big Boy’s nails

5. What do you like best? Being around animals has alway made me happy. Coming in to work and knowing that I get to spend the day with some amazing pups puts a smile on my face. I love seeing the transformations of dogs in training! Especially ones that come in with no self confidence. Our staff works so hard to build these dogs up and help to make them happy and self assured.

6. What do you like least?When dogs come to DFF and go through training, it’s a commitment. A commitment by our staff and the dog parents. It breaks my heart to see a dog come so far, only to regress because the family isn’t following through. Same with grooming. I try to educate people about caring for their dog in between grooming. It’s completely frustrating when a dog comes in matted because they aren’t being brushed/maintained at home.

Quiet Dog Daycare Workshop Announces Jacksonville Florida Workshop January 2017

Date:  December 28, 2016


International Association of Canine Professionals Advanced Certified Dog Trainer & Professional Dog Trainer Instructor, Laurie Wagner Leads Workshop for Dog Care Professionals at Happy Hounds Dog Resort

KINGSTON, MA-Professional dog trainer and founder of the Quiet Dog Daycare Workshop, Laurie Wagner, will lead a two-day workshop on Saturday January 14th and Sunday January 15th, from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM each day at Happy Hounds Dog Resorts, 4603 Shirley Ave, in Jacksonville, Florida. The Quiet Dog Daycare workshop teaches dog professionals calming techniques that help hyperactive dogs to soften, and nervous dogs to relax among other dogs.

Laurie Wagner, owner of Doggie Fun & Fitness in Kingston Massachusetts and member of the International Association of Canine Professionals has been training dogs for over 16 years using calm techniques. “Dog daycares don’t need to be loud. Loud noises make dogs more tense,” declares Wagner. “They make dogs bark, jump, hump other dogs, and mark territory. They’re not happy.” In just two days the Quiet Dog Daycare Workshop teaches the art of socialization, to help dog daycares help more dogs. Doggie Daycares have a reputation for being loud, and the Quiet Dog Daycare Workshop’s goal is to help daycares transform into quiet and happy places by helping dogs relax and soften. A promotional video describing this techniques is on YouTube at:

For more information on the workshop in Jacksonville call Jack at Happy Hounds Dog Resort at (904) 800-8800. **A Liability Waiver Must Be Signed and Sent to Quiet Dog Daycare Workshop office, and can be downloaded online at To find out more about Laurie Wagner and additional upcoming workshops in Boston and Australia (Perth & Melbourne), go online, follow the Quiet Dog Daycare Workshop page on Facebook.

Media Contact

Calway Communications
Tonia Calway Fleming


Meet The Staff- Carolyn of Doggie Fun & Fitness

1.  How long have you worked here?

Since DFF opened. I started working for Laurie as a dog walker/per sitter in 2008. I’ve spent the last few years doing mostly the day care & partly training, but now we have been so busy all I do is train & customer relations.

2. Why did I choose to work here?

My son started 1st grade and I had to get back into the work force. I had previously worked in the corporate 9-5 world. I needed flexible hours. I had always loved being around dogs, I had 2 big ones. I found Laurie online and pretty much begged for a job.

3.  What did you expect it to be like?

I had no idea. While we were dog walkers we all had groups of dogs that we would bring together. That morphed into the daycare. We kind of made it up as we went along. We learned by trial and error. Some lessons were hard. We continue to learn every day.

Carolyn with her dog Ollie

Carolyn with her dog Ollie

4. What has surprised you most?

Funny question…doing what we do I can honestly say that NOTHING surprises me. We have heard and seen it all. When you work with dogs and their people I think you have to have an open mind and be prepared for any scenario. You have to adjust and adapt at a moments notice. Assuming you know what comes next can let you get complacent…and that will lead to mistakes.

5. What do you like best? 

What we do is often fun but sometimes can be difficult and stressful. You have to depend upon and trust your co-workers here. I love the camaraderie. I absolute LOVE watching dogs transform here. I have witnessed happy tears from grateful owners who are overwhelmed by the changes in their dog. Being just a part of the process that brings those changes is an honor.

6. What do you like least?

I get upset when owners are either too lazy or too narrow minded to take the tools we give to them and apply them. When a dog that we turned around from bad behaviors starts to regress and the blame gets put upon US…that bothers me. When a dog’s full potential can’t be reached because the owner just won’t do the work…that brings me frustration. We take pride in what we do. We care so much that problems get fixed. Sadly we are often blamed for those problems when the owner won’t commit to the work. Everyone should be able to enjoy a happy contented dog.

Shelly & little Gizmo

Meet the Staff: Shelly of Doggie Fun & Fitness

How long have you worked here?

I’ve been working at DFF since February. I started off running and cleaning .After a few months I was put out on the small side floor to watch and teach the dogs good socialization skills.  As of now I kinda go everywhere.  I’ll run ,clean, work small side floor, and recently I have been introduced to the big side!  And Man it’s a whole new world over there.

Why did you choose to work here?

My dogs have been coming to Doggie fun and Fitness since they were pups! When we ask them if they wanna go to “school” they book it down the stairs and sit by their leashes wagging their little butts, then when we pick them up they are alseep on the car ride home from a long fun day of playing and socializing. I wanted to check out this amazing “school” that my dogs go crazy about! Little did I know I’d fall inlove with all these goofy dogs and my amazing co-workers!

What did you expect it to be like?13179096_10156101477548647_7578734269864448788_n

I expected it to be these cute dogs that I got to roll around and play with but there is MUCH more to it. Socializing dogs is like people socializing except they use their bodies and motions instead of words, it’s really cool figuring out their personalities and that tells us where they get placed from there.

What has surprised you the most?

What surprised me the most is Dogs in general, the little clues and signals dogs give you that you don’t necessarily pick up on. After observing even the most simple clue I can usually tell what their next move will be. I never considered learning all this stuff and putting this into action as being a skill but not everyone has the personality to do so. That’s the cool thing about DFF we are all calm ,Goofy ,and weird in our own way and in my opinion that’s the best kinda people to be around.

What do you like best about your job?

What I like best about my job is you could be having the worst day ever then you step on the floor and you have about 30 dogs that couldn’t be happier to see you! I treat every dog like my own I love them ,I protect them, and even pick up there poop!!! -Ask my parents I would NEVER do that at home 🙂

What do you like least?

…My boss is a total jerk …JUST KIDDING💙.  Before I worked at DFF I would’ve never considered rescuing a dog. Seemed like too much work, as if your taking in someone else’s problem, but boy was I wrong. We have had a few Fosters since I’ve been here and being here every day I got to know them a little better and they stole my hearts and I think every animal deserves to know love and a FurEver home. Hoping in the future I could help give some dogs a home and use the skills I’ve learnt to help give them have a better life.


Dax with his friend's dog Zuko

Dax, newest member of Doggie Fun & Fitness

How long have you worked here?

I have worked here for about three weeks now.

Why did you choose to work here?

I had worked in IT for over a decade and decided that I wanted a change. I have loved animals my whole life and the idea of being able to be hands on with dogs really resonated with me. It seemed like a job that could make me feel as though I was really doing something worthwhile. That idea sparked inside me and, although I was nervous at first about my decision, moved me away from a desk in an office building and onto the dog handling floor.

What did you expect it to be like?

I knew nothing about dog daycare before working here, so I had few expectations. This was, in fact, part of what enticed me to join the team here at Doggie Fun & Fitness… being able to dive into something I knew nothing about, but had a true passion for. One of the few expectations I had, however, was that there would be alot of dogs barking and running around, but I’ve come to realize that this is not at all the case.

What has surprised you the most?

I was surprised at just how big the gap was between how much I thought I knew about dogs and how much I actually know! I’m thankful to the team I get to work with and their patience they have for me as I start from scratch with my dog handling knowledge. I have to use a completely different mental skillset from anything I’ve ever done in my life with this job.

I often find myself in a situation that I’m not sure how to handle, but I’m grateful for everyone around me who is willing to offer answers, suggestions, and constructive critcisim which seems to come so naturally to them.  I know the knowledge I’m gaining here everyday will last me a lifetime and I hope to pass this understanding on to those around me someday.

What do you like best about your job? 

I feel the best part of my job is being able to work one-on-one with a dog. I love being able to focus my attention on a single animal and try to understand how I can communicate with him or her. I’ve been largely unsuccessful in these efforts so far, but part of what makes this job great is the support of the staff around me that I’ve learned so much from already.

When I look back at the end of each day, I truly feel as though I was able to improve the lives of the dogs I interact with; it makes me want to wake up the next morning so I can do it again!

What do you like least?

My least favorite part is when the weather is bad and we can’t have outside fun with the pups!

Jade with Gabe

Jade of Doggie Fun & Fitness

How long have you worked here?

I’ll have worked here a year in January. I work as the office manager and I also take in dogs at drop off in the morning. I also am part of the Quiet Dog Daycare team & Last Hope volunteer.

Why did you choose to work here?

Getting a job here was actually a happy accident. I had been working as a kennel attendant at another facility and noticed that there was very little structure when it came to behaviors, training, leash handling, etc. My dogs went to daycare here already and one of them did training a few years back so I reached out to Laurie in hopes to learn some more training skills and she offered me a job!

Jade with Sasha

Jade with Sasha

What did you expect it to be like?

I expected to gain a ton of knowledge about dog behavior and interaction and I have done just that! I’m much more confident handling dogs of all temperaments, even my own!

What has surprised you the most?

I was surprised with how much I thought I knew and how much I really didn’t. I didn’t think socialization was as vital as it really is. But I’m pretty sure I learn something new that surprises me every day.

What do you like best about your job? I love it all but I look forward to seeing dogs’ progress here. Dogs that come for training and leave with confident owners. Even dogs that come for daycare who start off nervous, not knowing how to play and now get dropped off so happy to be here 🙂

What do you like least? It’s really hard to see a dog that does so well here, go home and regress. Knowing what I know now, owning a  dog takes consistent work and effort!