Tag Archives: doggie fun and fitness

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.

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: https://youtu.be/5eBV07CX6XE

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 https://youtu.be/5eBV07CX6XE. To find out more about Laurie Wagner and additional upcoming workshops in Boston and Australia (Perth & Melbourne), go online www.QuietDogDaycareWorkshop.com, 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.


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!

Meet the Staff – Brianne of Doggie Fun & Fitness

How long have you worked here?
I’ve been working here for about 2 years now. I work mornings in the office.
Why did you choose to work here?
I graduated college with a degree in psychology and wasn’t 100% sure on what area of the field I wanted to go into, but I knew that I was interested in animal therapy with kids. Before I started working here, I was volunteering at a horse rescue and fell in love with the fact that animals are so selfless and seem to never judge- no matter how bad your day is going. At the same time, I was going through a really rough patch in my life and being around animals was my outlet. Finding this job in a sense, saved me.

Brianne loving up Louie

Brianne loving up Louie

What did you expect it to be like?
I honestly had no idea what to expect. I had never even heard of a dog daycare before and had little to no knowledge of dog training. In fact, I’ve never even owned a dog! Once I figured out how many dogs actually came here on a daily basis, I thought I was going to walk into a chaotic room with dogs running everywhere, barking and just absolute insanity.
What has surprised you the most?
I learned right away that the chaos I expected was the farthest thing from the truth. The staff does an amazing job at keeping the dogs safe, and happy while maintaining overall peace. I was also really surprised at how much the things I studied in school pertained to this job, i.e- how important it is to understand and read body language. I am still learning that even the smallest cue from a dog can mean something huge. They don’t speak our language, so a slight change in behavior etc. is their way of communicating.
What do you like best about your job?
I absolutely love seeing the progress of the dogs that come in to see us. No matter how big or small the issue is, our trainers do an amazing job at seeing through the problem and finding ways to help the dogs and owners cope and maintain balance. I have witnessed countless people tear up when they see what our trainers are able to teach them and their dogs, and its such an incredible thing to encounter.
What do you like least?
The only thing that is sometimes difficult to see, is people that come to us and expect an instant miracle and walk away feeling discouraged when they don’t put in the work. Training is not a magic pill, it takes commitment and dedication. In fact, owning a dog in general is a huge commitment. Like raising a child, learning what works and doesn’t work may take time, but once you find that connection you have to stick to it. You cant expect to train a dog once and assume that all of that hard work will just remain in tact without putting in consistent effort and reinforcement.

Sit on the dog

Sit On The Dog

Sit on the Dog

by Jill Priest & Laurie Wagner (originated by Margot Woods)

If you only do ONE exercise with your dog, it’s this one.
Not sit. Not stay. Not even come.
This exercise will do more to create a bond and build a relationship of trust & tranquility with your dog than any other.

In order to help your dog learn that you will not be available to entertain him at all times, and to teach him that he is expected to calm down and be well-behaved during those moments, we will introduce the long down, or “sit on the dog” exercise.

“Sit on the dog” is deceptively easy: place your dog on his leash, then sit on it, allowing him just enough length to lie quietly at your feet with a little bit of tension on the leash. (If you have a large or particularly active dog, you may want to wrap the leash around one leg after you’ve sat on it.) And then ignore your dog for 30 minutes. That’s it.

Be sure to “sit on the dog” when you are working on something else: watching television, reading the newspaper, working on the computer. You must do the exercise for a minimum 30 minutes, at least once, and preferably twice a day, after the structured walk. It is helpful to have each family member practice the “sit on the dog” exercise. It may take a little while, but you will find that your dog will settle quietly at your feet, and learn that when he wants your attention, sometimes he will just have to wait.

If your dog does anything for attention, you are to ignore him. If he climbs up on you, chews the leash, mouths your hand, or anything else that is inappropriate, grab the leash next to the collar and put steady, gentle downward pressure on the leash – no talking or touching the dog allowed! Continue to provide this pressure until he settles again, and continue with the “sit on the dog” exercise. The 30 minutes begins AFTER your dog settles down. This means the first few times you do the exercise, it may last as long as 45 minutes or an hour – some dogs have lasted even longer than that. Take heart – your dog will soon learn to settle very quickly.

The “sit on the dog” exercise often feels like you are “not doing anything” with your dog, and people are sometimes tempted to not do it. To skip this exercise is to deny your dog the gift of self-confidence, self-control, and “doggy zen.” It teaches your dog how to calm himself down by choice, it teaches him to defer to you when you are not able to pay attention to him, and it teaches him that yes, he is fully capable of relaxing quietly, something puppies can have a hard time learning. “Sit on the dog” is an excellent exercise for achieving the overall leadership role you should have with your dog.

I did this today with my new dog, Annyong:

At the start of the exercise

At the start of the exercise

I was working on the computer ignoring him

I was working on the computer, ignoring him










Eventually he did this…

Sit on the dog

And then this. Each day we do this he will settle faster & faster

















Watch this time lapse video to see before your eyes how by not talking or touching him he settles. At one point the cat comes out (his current nemesis) but we start over & he settles back down. This is a POWERFUL tool.



Here is Margot’s cute pictoral.


Let me know if you have any questions. lauriewagner918@gmail.com



Ed from Doggie Fun & Fitness

Meet the Staff- Ed of Doggie Fun & Fitness

1.)How long have you worked here?

I have worked here going on 8 months

2.) Why did you choose to work here?

I chose to work here to get an early start for my career when I’m older and gain field experience and learn more about dogs and handling. I’m currently a junior in the Veterinary Science program at Norfolk Aggie.

3.) What did you expect it to be like?

I expected it to be very different and out of my comfort zone, something that i have never encountered before

4.) What has surprised you the most?

What surprised me the most was being myself how far I have come and how much I learned since i first started here.

5.) What do you like best about your job? 

What i like best are the breeds of dogs that i get to work with and socialize with and my team of co-workers are absolutely amazing! I couldn’t think of anyone else that I would rather work with! I appreciate them all so much

6.) What do you like least?

What i like least is honestly nothing. Other than when a dog has diarrhea😜


Fina (l) & Gunther (r), Ed’s German Shepherds








Thinking of A Dog’s Needs Before My Own

Annyong, my new dog

Annyong, my new dog

I recently had an owner I had been working with surrender her 2 year old German Shepherd. He was very challenging & she was not cut out to handle such a difficult dog. It happens & I won’t fault her for it. I applaud her for making the tough decision to follow through with the old adage “if you love something set it free…”. The dog was a bite waiting to happen & she needed to give him away to save his life. So, I have a new dog. I expected him to be more challenging than he has been so far. To be honest, I think he’s a bit shell shocked right now. When he gets more comfortable he’ll come out of his shell & start to test me a bit.

So this dog had been OBSESSED with his previous owner. Now he does not need me to love him up so he replaces one addiction with another. To feed him a normal amount of attention would be disastrous for him. So I give him an occasional kiss or two here & there. I haven’t said more than a few words to him. I changed his name so I say his name a few times a day. And I’m teaching him “go potty” in a certain spot in the yard. That’s about it. So he’s more apt to listen to me when I do speak. We all know plenty of people that never shut up and we tune them out, right? So because I’m not filling his head with constant chatter I have his full attention when I do speak.

This dog does not need love right now. He needs peace, stability & lots of structure. Tough love so he learns independence & that he can stand on his own 4 paws. When he is in a better place, I will gradually give him love, making sure it doesn’t excite him too much. Preventing him from transferring his obsession from one owner to the next. I have to be a bit distant. I can do this though. Every time he starts to panic & obsess over me I shut down all emotions & eye contact. He’s doing well, better than expected by a long shot. Our few kisses so far have been delightful! I can’t wait for more! But this isn’t about me & my needs right now. This is about him & his.

poodleI had a 9 month old poodle pup recently in. Had been with owners only a few months. Left the breeder at like 5 months. Why so late? Was he returned? Planned on breeding, but they had problems & decided to sell him? I don’t remember the answer, but those questions went through my mind. But the crux of the matter is he was acting out at home- in his new home without any dogs. He was impossible to walk & would react when he saw a dog, pulling & clamoring, making a scene when he didn’t get his way. What did this dog need? Did he need to learn commands & walk nicely on a loose leash? Yes. But I believe if you give the dog what he NEEDS, he gives you back tenfold what you WANT- attention, respect, obedience, manners. So instead of working him on leash a lot day 1, I worked him a bit so he wasn’t so resistant & was a bit connected to me. Then I brought him into the day care to give him what he needed- to be back with dogs! He’d lived with a pack of dogs for his first 5 months & then isolated from dogs the next 4. That’s a huge component why he was behaving so poorly. By giving him some play time, he was then able to shake off some pent up energy & frustration & then I was able to get him to pay attention to me on the next walk a hundred times better.

winnieOver the summer an owner came to me with her dog that was impossible to walk. He pulled like crazy, especially when he saw another dog. And because the dog was so impossible to walk, she didn’t walk him. She just found it easier to leave him in the fenced in yard. So that bandaid didn’t last long. As the dog became more & more frustrated in the yard, he one day climbed the fence & attacked another dog. And another, and another. The fact that he was being confined to a huge fenced in yard was the root of all of this. Dogs aren’t meant to live behind 4 walls any more than we are as humans. It’s called house arrest & is a prison sentence. But too many dogs live like this day in & day out. And they bark & bark & bark… out of boredom & frustration. So this dog came to me & did I demand he focus on me 100% & learn a perfect heel & not to pull on the leash? Heck no. This poor dog hadn’t been out of his 4 walls in almost a year! So I took him for a long walk along the grassy area across the street from us. I let him sniff & sniff & sniff until his heart’s content. Eventually as he started to pull to sniff I squeezed the leash a bit & he stopped pulling. Repeated the process until he finally showed some interest in me & then built on that. The next walk I introduced food to him. So he would pull on the leash, I’d squeeze the leash tight & he’d come back. I’d immediately release the tension on the leash & give him some kibble. It took a day to get him to where I wanted him to be, but I felt I got more by starting off by giving. I gave him some freedom to explore & satisfy his need to sniff & take in nature. And he thanked me for it with some amazing attention & I now have a great new friend out of it. 🙂

Day 5: First Walk With Both Dogs

So these dogs haven’t officially met yet. They drove home in the car together but tied back so they couldn’t reach each other. Gotta keep things safe!

First walk with a new dog. Dog on right (red slip leash) is Ziva. I’ve had her 7 years & she was also an owner surrender. She was one of the toughest dogs I’ve ever met. I learned so much from her though! It’s making my new dog Annyong (left, blue leash) seem like a cake walk. He was also an owner surrender. Both dogs were very challenging, beyond the owners’ skill sets. It’s very important to chose a dog that matches your skill set.

Introducing a dog to a new dog safelySo I first had them walk on either side of me. They weren’t allowed to sniff each other.






Annyong looking pretty chill. Ears to the side, mouth open, softer eyes, no tension on leash. This is huge progress!

Now a half hour later they are a little more settled. I’m allowing them to walk more closely but still no sniffing. I want them to both be calm & settled before they formally meet. Probably another day or 2.