Category Archives: Training

The Benefits of Dog Boarding at Misty Pines

This is the most popular time of the year to plan summer vacations. Recent information, provided by AAA and Ambassador travel agency, suggest that people plan their summer vacations 6 months in advance, which means many of you are thinking about your vacations right now. Remember to plan ahead for your dog’s vacation as well! Your pets are part of your family and you want to make sure they are well cared for while you are away. Make plans now to ensure that your dog has a reservation for exceptional care from the staff at Misty Pines.

Dog boarding is a very popular service, and we tend to book up quickly. We recommend to reserve your dog’s vacation and amenities soon to ensure your dog has every opportunity to enjoy the many and unique amenities of your choice for your dog’s environmental enrichment. Boarding and amenities quite often are booked to capacity.

You may want to consider booking your vacation around our popular Kids Dog Training Camp held July 9th – 11th or July 23rd – 25th. Give us a call or stop in and we can discuss what is best for your dog to have an optimal stay. When you book your dog’s vacation and amenities you can register your kids for camp too.

Boarding your dog at Misty Pines gives them an unrivaled opportunity for environmental enrichment. Where else can you find 25 acres of shaded wooded trails to be walked on to investigate and explore, turfed play-yards, a 5,000 sq. ft. training arena with a full set of agility obstacles, a half-acre pond for swimming and dock diving, and kennels with 24 hour outdoor access to potty for your dog?

Dog Boarding at Misty Pines can be an exciting social experience by taking advantage of our optional activities. We have options for every dog’s demeanor and desire! Group playtime allows your pet to exercise and play with other social dogs in our outdoor play-yards. Playtimes are available in one or four hour increments. We also have yards available for Private Playtimes for those that prefer a quieter experience. There are also individual activities such as walks on our two miles of wooded nature trails or play ball time. A favorite for the smaller breeds is cuddle time, 15 minutes of one-on-one attention from our staff. Our senior boarders like this option as well. Dogs looking for excitement may enjoy a run on the agility course or a treadmill training workout for those that need structured exercise. During the summer we can hike to the pond with your dog to cool off swimming and dock diving. This is also a great option for retrievers that need to work on their water retrieves or for those that are interested in dock diving training.

While your dog is boarding with us you may schedule training sessions during their stay. This program is designed to expedite your dog’s training for basic obedience, good manners, agility, socialization, or for any specific goals you may have for your dog. Our team of trainers will work with your dog on any behaviors you would like such as walking nicely on leash, sit, down, stay, come, heel, or any command or behavior you need extra help with. Dog Training sessions during Board and Train are 30 minutes. When you pick up your dog from boarding you will receive a report card regarding your dog’s training.

Boot Camp is an accelerated training program where your dog lives and trains with us for two weeks. It is designed to foster new and accelerated learning development for your dog. At the end of the two weeks a private session is included for you to work with us and your dog to learn the cues and behaviors your dog has learned during their stay with us.

We also have a Daycare Boot Camp, which is similar to Boot Camp but without the over-night boarding. This is a good solution for dogs that need professional handling but are not good candidates for long-term boarding. Dogs come to Misty Pines Monday through Friday from 8:00 am till 4:00 pm for two weeks. This is 10 training sessions over two consecutive weeks. A pick up lesson is included in the price and should be scheduled for the last Friday that the dog will be worked. The pick-up lesson should be scheduled before 3:00 pm.

See below for our menu of services and activities that your canine companion can participate in while on vacation at Misty Pines.

1 Hour Playtime
4 Hours Playtime
1/2 Hour Private Playtime
Nature Trail Walk
Cuddle Time
Nail Trim/Grind
Ear Cleaning
Play Ball
Ability Obstacle Course
Obedience Training Session
Swimming and Dock Diving
2 Week Boot Camp
Afternoon Snacks – Kong or Ice Cream

As you can see, boarding your dog at Misty Pines means they will have professional care, a wide range of activities for fun and training, and opportunities for environmental enrichment, all of which can only be found together at Misty Pines.

Don’t chance it on our boarding wait list; book your summer vacations now!

Misty Pines’ Dog Resolutions Are Here to Serve You in the New Year and Beyond

DOG RESOLUTIONS: the act of you and your dog determining to make a firm decision to do something to improve life and to have fun with each other.

Each Holiday comes with its own set of traditions and for New Year’s it is customary to set resolutions that you’ll carry out in the new year. This year, why not make a few resolutions for you and your dog? We’ve listed a few that we feel will help 2018 be a better year for you and your pet.

Keep Up With Training and Exercising Your Dog

Much like humans, who decide to get back into shape, polish up on or learn a new skill, dogs enjoy being with and benefit from working with their leaders. To help you and your dog to have fun and enjoy each other, we would encourage you and your family pack to come to dog training classes! Misty Pines classes are designed to be very accessible and easy-to-use. Classes are on-going and run continuously throughout the year. You participate and advance at your convenience. We have found that this is an excellent system for busy families. Our class structure allows you and your dog to start training or drop in for remedial work anytime. We all get rusty if we do not practice, so stop in and join us to maintain all the good things that you have learned and taught your wonderful dog and learn more! You are always welcome to start or return to class no matter how long you have been away. You and your dog always have the opportunity to continue to learn, socialize and exercise throughout the years.

Stimulating Your Dog’s Mind

Studies show that mental stimulation can help reduce cognitive deterioration in aging animals. In other words, keeping your senior pet’s brain active can actually make it healthier! Teaching your pet new tricks and practicing those they already know are a great way to keep those neurons firing. Our Tricks and Clicks class coming up in February is a great way to add new tricks to your repertoire and challenge your dog to work through fun, challenging behaviors.

Prolonged release interactive food dispensing devices, which makes a pet think in order to be rewarded with their meal, are an excellent way to keep a pet’s mind engaged. We also recommend Bob-A-Lots, Kongs and raw femur bones, which we have at our facility.

For Those That Need A Boost

Boot Camp/Training: Sometimes owners do not have the time or expertise to teach dogs and they need a “jump start” in training to help them accelerate to a higher level. This program develops a dog’s ability to learn various behaviors; specific training exercises will vary with the needs of each owner and their dog. At the end of the two week Boot Camp you will take home a full report of your dog’s daily working journal that reviews the training they have done. A scheduled lesson when you pick up your dog is included and the best way to review and learn from the trainers the transition of what your dog has learned from Misty Pines to your home.

Put an End to Your Dog’s Behavior Issues

Nothing prevents an owner from enjoying their dog like annoying canine behavior problems. Consult with one of the Professional Dog Trainers at Misty Pines to solve their problem. Misty Pines offers Private Canine Behavior Consultations as well as Nuisance Behaviors classes throughout the year. Private Canine Behavior Consultations are by appointment and our group Nuisance Behavior class is held on the fifth Saturday of each eligible month at 8:00 am. These classes deal specifically with problem behaviors such as barking, play-biting, and jumping up, just to name a few. Check our online calendar for a list of class dates and to register online.

Give Opportunities for Exercise

Try a New Activity with Your Pet

Treadmilling, hiking, agility, dock diving, scent work; it’s easier than ever for people to incorporate their pet into a new exercise routine. It’s a great way to bond and it will get you both out of the house to reap the rewards of a healthy physical activity. Group classes are a great way to find like-minded pet owners to join you in your exercise, too!

An 8 – 5:00 Full Dog-Day

Daycare\Training is also an excellent way for your dog to learn, socialize, and exercise. Our supervised exercise yards are superb for helping your dog exercise and socialize with other friendly dogs and while they are here you can schedule treadmill work or training for them. Your dog will return home relaxed, well exercised, and well trained! If you would like to have your dog return home clean and smelling fresh, add on a bath or haircut. Our professional groomers will shampoo your dog, cut their nails, clean their ears and having them looking their best when you come to pick them up. And don’t forget, you can come in any time for a nail trim for just $11.

Feed Healthier

Measure Your Pet’s Food – Every Time!

Many owners “eyeball” their pet’s daily intake of food and pour that into a bowl, usually resulting in overfeeding and weight gain. It’s important to use a consistent measuring cup to ensure your pet is not taking in more calories than they need. Older pets and those who have been neutered usually have lower energy needs than young, intact animals.

Counting Calories: Not As Difficult As You Might Think

Resting energy requirement (RER) is the number of calories per day your dog requires for just basic needs. To determine your dog’s RER, convert his ideal target weight in pounds to kilograms by dividing by 2.2, then multiply that number by 30 and add 70.

Measurement Conversion and Calculation

– To convert pounds to kilograms, divide by 2.2. A dog who weighs 11 pounds also weighs 5 kilograms (11 ÷ 2.2 = 5).

– To determine your dog’s resting energy requirement (RER), or kilocalories each day, multiply your dog’s ideal body weight in kilograms by 30 and add 70.

Example: If your dog’s targeted ideal body weight is 50lbs and its diet is Nature’s Variety Raw Boost, which has 527 kcal/cup*, then:

50lbs ÷ 2.2 = 22.72kg

22.72kg x 30 = 681.60

681 + 70 = 751.60 calories per day.

A 50lb dog would require 1.43 cups per day.

Note: Increase the volume of food when exercise increases and more calories are required.

*kcal/cup is found on the label of the dog food bag.

Groom Your Pet Daily

Brushing your pet serves many purposes. It removes excess fur from the coat, reducing the amount you find on your clothes and furniture, helps distribute oils from the skin to the fur, keeping the coat shiny and healthy and daily grooming can be a bonding activity that demonstrates to your pet how much you love them as you care for them in a very soothing manner. Visit or call Misty Pines to ask our professional groomers which comb or brush is best for your pet.

Microchip Your Dog

During the summer of 2017 one of our clients found a dog and brought it to Misty Pines to have us check for a microchip. Our universal scanner identified the chip and we were able to reunite the dog with its owners within a few hours. This is the importance of microchipping your dog. We use the “Buddy ID microchips” which are the smallest microchips and injector needle currently available on the market. These microchips are half the size of most other chips, which ensures the most painless delivery of all microchips on the market into your pet due to their smaller gauge injector needle. The cost of $35 includes the microchip and the five minute implanting process, it also covers your enrollment in the worldwide pet database, a dog tag with your pets ID number, and access to your profile online to keep a changing address and information up-to-date. Lastly, Buddy ID does not have a monthly or yearly fee like some other microchip companies. Show your pet how much you care and call today to set up an appointment to have your pet microchipped at Misty Pines and you’ll be able to rest a little easier in 2018.

If Your Dog Already Has A Microchip, Update Your Pets ID Info

Over the course of a year, a lot can change — people move, get new phone numbers, and forget to update their pet’s tags. All too often they only remember once the pet is lost. If any of your contact information has changed in 2017, don’t wait. Update your pet’s tags and microchip information today! It’s the best way to ensure a lost pet makes their way home, safely. If your pet is not protected with a microchip ID and you would like to add that layer of security and peace of mind, call Misty Pines today to set up an appointment. Microchipping only takes five minutes.

Don’t let your resolutions go by the wayside this year. A recent comic in a local newspaper portrayed two dogs staring up into the sky. The smaller of the two asked the larger, “What are New Year Resolutions?” to which the larger dog replied, “‘To Do’ lists for the first two weeks of January.” It doesn’t matter that the year changed, what matters is that we see a need to make changes, plan how to make those changes come about and then have the fortitude to do what needs done to see our plans through to completion.

In 2018, remember; Misty Pines is the complete pet company that loves the company of people and pets. We are here for the lifetime of your dog.

Happy New Year!

Dog Etiquette: Turning Your Dog Into A Gracious Guest

By Karen B. London, PhD

Is your dog ready for the holidays?

Turning your dog into a gracious house guest.Shortly after we were married, my husband and I spent the holidays with my in-laws, and we brought our young dog, Bugsy. He was social; had an excellent stay; came when called; had no history of food thievery; and would not lift his leg indoors, even on a tree, so my confidence in his visiting skills was high.

On arrival, as he occupied himself with a stuffed Kong so we could unpack the car, a possible problem occurred to me. Bugsy often tossed his Kong into the air and ate any treats that flew out of it. In our poor students’ apartment, it was endearing, entertaining behavior. But my in-laws’ decor included crystal, collectible figurines and an array of china teacups. Racing into the house in a panic, I caught the Kong in midair as it flew toward a set of porcelain miniatures. As I breathed a sigh of relief, it occurred to me that perhaps I had been a bit smug in thinking the trip would be stress-free.

This time of year generates tales of woe associated with bringing dogs to visit friends and relatives, and I get a lot of questions about this issue. Whether or not people fully anticipate the trouble that awaits them, taking a dog into someone else’s home for the holidays can cause stress. The best approach for assuaging this seasonal angst is two-pronged: Prepare your dog as much as you can ahead of time with the skills he’ll need to succeed during the visit, and make every effort to avoid other situations for which he hasn’t been prepared.

The preliminary step, of course, is to request permission to bring him along. Not everyone wants a visiting dog. Even dog lovers appreciate the advance warning that allows them to, for example, put away the Ming vase on display at the precise height of the perpetually swinging tail of your cheerful Great Dane. If your dog is not welcome, don’t bring him, or find somewhere else to stay. The strain of a visit with an unwelcome dog can permanently damage relationships. Plus, it’s hard on the dog to be Undesirable Number One in an otherwise festive home.

Training is a critical aspect of preparation. The better trained your dog is, the more welcome you will both be as guests. The key skills are to be able to sit, stay, come, leave it, greet politely, and stop barking on cue. It sounds like a long list, but these are also the basics of polite canine citizenship. I also recommend that you teach your dog at least one “show-off” behavior. This can be waiting at the door until told to proceed (easy to teach but impressive to most people) or a trick such as “roll over” or “high five.” Anything that makes your dog more charming will help ease tensions in case of a social gaffe. For example, I had a client whose dog jumped up on her father-in-law, but was forgiven immediately when she gave the cue “You goofed,” and the dog responded by lying down and covering his face with his paws, as though in embarrassment.

Dog gives High Five

Common host complaints include barking, jumping up on visitors and stealing food. Of course, if he is prone to more serious transgressions such as biting, unmanageable destructive chewing or house-soiling, it is unfair to expect your dog and your hosts to co-exist peacefully, and it may be best not to go a-visiting with him in tow.

Teach your dog the skills he’ll need to be a gracious guest. If he’s a barker, teach him to stop on cue. Say “enough” the instant he starts to bark, and then put treats right by his nose. Do not let him have the treats until he stops barking. Many dogs quickly learn that quieting down when you say “enough” is a way to get treats. If he jumps up on people, teach him that if he does this, the people will leave, but if he sits, he will get treats and attention. Since the majority of jumpers do so out of an urge to be social, they quickly learn that jumping up makes people go away. They choose to sit instead, which results in the opportunity to socialize and get treats as well.

Even if you prepare ahead of time, there’s plenty to do during your visit to make sure that the holiday is remembered as a fun one rather than as the last family holiday to which you were allowed to bring your dog. Exercise, chews, toys and puzzles can minimize behavioral issues such as destructive chewing and counter-surfing, which tend to worsen when dogs are bored or full of pent-up energy. Bring a crate if your dog likes it and your hosts have enough space. Help clean up, especially if the mess involves dog hair or sloppy drinking at the water bowl. Seize the opportunity to put leftovers out of your dog’s reach, and volunteer to take out the trash.

As soon as possible after you arrive, practice the skills your dog already knows so that he can learn to do them in new places, too. One of the things that separates professional trainers from novices is that professionals know that training doesn’t automatically transfer to new locations. For example, just because your dog has a rock-solid stay in your living room doesn’t mean he knows how to respond in the same way in your yard, at the park or at Grandma’s house. Even a couple of five-minute training sessions can significantly improve your dog’s performance and manners.

Obedience skills aren’t the only ones that may drop off away from home. Many dogs who are completely trustworthy when left at home alone are stressed, scared or mischievous when left alone in a new place, all of which can result in house-soiling or the aforementioned destructive chewing or counter-surfing. The change in routine, a new place and additional people may also make dogs more likely to exhibit these unwanted behaviors. Adjust your plans—and expectations—accordingly.

Faux pas may occur, but focusing on prevention will help your dog succeed. Don’t set up your highly food-motivated dog to fail by leaving him alone, even for a minute, while the turkey is on the table. If you know your dog has a tendency to find food or shoes, don’t put temptation in his way. Make some areas of the house off limits, or use a crate so that your dog never gets the opportunity to display anything but his best behavior.

No matter how things go, send a thank-you note to your hosts, perhaps accompanied by flowers, to express your gratitude that you and your dog were welcomed into their home (and, if necessary, to apologize).

Ideally, holidays are fun, not stressful. With thoughtful preparation and prevention, you can insulate yourself, your dog and your hosts from the dark side of this festive season. You will then be free to focus on the joy of togetherness for everyone, whether they sing “Fa la la la la” or “Bow wow wow wow wow.”

Who’s That Knocking On My Door?

Halloween is coming soon and Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner. All of these holidays mean that you’ll have droves of guests coming to your house getting Fido all worked up. Teaching a dog to properly greet visitors at the door is one of the most common issues that people have with their dogs. We’ve provided an article, originally written by Sue McCabe but edited and modified by Misty Pines, listing different reasons that your dog may want to be over exuberant with their greeting and a few ideas on how to anticipate problems and head them off at the pass. Enjoy the article and have a happy, safe, and stress free holiday season!

In terms of dog/owner frustration and concern, coming a close third place behind recall and dog/dog reactivity issues is greeting guests. Unlike recall or reactivity, training appropriate greetings should not cause as much stress as it seems to. The fact that the challenge is occurring in an owner’s home, means people have complete control of the environment in which they are training. As such, it should be easy to manage their dog’s behavior and retrain a greeting acceptable to all concerned. So why is it such a common challenge then?

Dogs that greet visitors at the door inappropriately typically fall into one of three categories: excited, protective, or fearful. You can utilize techniques learned at Misty Pines to help your dog overcome these challenging situations! Here are some examples for you to determine what type of greeter your dog may be:


The level of excitement and enthusiasm to greet the guest rises to levels beyond the dog or the owner’s control. This quickly results in a lunatic fur ball, abound (literally) with glee, paws akimbo, ready to greet the unfortunate guest, who has no idea they possess such cause for excitement. In turn, the owner, at pains to control their hyperactive dog, joins in the fun, saying the dog’s name over again in an excited voice which winds Fido up more. They often attempt to grab or restrain the dog which only makes things worse.

Your dog will be desperate to say “hi” so watch for signs that he’s given up trying, wait a few minutes more and only then proceed to train him. If he is a jumper, the dog gate becomes a buffer. Guests should walk away and approach the gate again once the dog is calm. Teach him that guests throw food over his shoulder, so wasting time/energy approaching the guest is pointless, as food comes to him, not the other way around. Guests should begin to train calm sit greetings after several ‘free’ treat sessions.

Other helpful hints for friendly dogs:

Utilize a dog gate, tether or “place” command to give your dog a designated place to be when visitors arrive. 
Put a leash and appropriate training collar on (like a scruffy guider!) for extra control.
If you decide to put your dog in a crate, give them something to chew on to keep busy.
Allow physical touch and affection only when your dog is in a calm state- usually after the guests have arrived and settled in.
Prepare a prolonged release interactive food dispensing device, such as a bob-a-lot to keep your dog busy during this exciting time.


These types of dogs believe that their home is their sanctuary. The front door is the portal which divides safety and the big bad work. Such dogs are worried for the safety of their property or themselves. The former feels the need to guard their home or owner. The suspecting visitor has no idea they have been classed as evil as they are met with a dog ready to protect (lunging, jumping barking, growling, and/or biting). Owners of such dogs, in a vain attempt to take control, often shout commands and use physical restraint, finally resorting to locking the dog away from visitors to keep everyone safe.

You really don’t want dogs that guard their property or their owners to approach strangers at your home. Close proximity to guests means such dogs may try to control visitors through their actions (Stalking/lunging/growling/biting). Make decisions for them to demonstrate clearly that guests are non- threatening and are also in control. When such a dog has relaxed, request that visitors calmly approach the dog gate and toss mouth wateringly tasty food over the dogs shoulder. They should retreat, then repeat the approach until the dog is showing relaxed body language rather than reactive signs, when visitors move towards the gate. Guests can begin to request a sit and repeat the treat/retreat training thus controlling the greeting and reward.


Wary dogs are terrified for their own safety. Such dogs run to hide, attempt to go deeper into the sanctuary, shy away, or beg to be left alone. Owners often attempt placation, reassurance and cajoling. They drag their dogs to greet guests, asking visitors to feed, stroke or cuddle them. All the time such dogs believe they are being asked to make friends with someone they perceive to be threatening.

These dogs don’t want to approach guests. They just want to be left alone. Respect this by providing a space to hide in (like a covered crate) while guests visit. Should you chose to change their mind about visitors, do so using treat training, but allow the dog to decide if he wants to take further steps to greet. Ask guests to allow such dogs to approach the dog gate, not the other way around. Have them toss food to the dog, but never force him to be pet. If allowing this cautious greeter to join your gathering, remind guests that most of these dogs want to sniff visitors to reassure themselves that the visitor is not a threat. It is not necessarily an request to be stroked and petted.

Other helpful hints for protective or fearful dogs:

NEVER force a greeting; allow your dog to acclimate on their own time.
Stay calm, and try not to shout. Yelling will often escalate a dog’s stress level!
Ask guests to completely ignore your dog. Lead by example- ignore your dog at this point also.
Make tea, allow your dog to see and hear the guests through the gate. Wait for this new arrival to lose its novelty.
Utilize distance with a secure “place” command or crate to allow your dog to become more comfortable. Separate them from the visitors where they can see, smell, and hear the guests without acclimate slowly.

Occasionally toss food to your dog to help them build a positive association with your new guests.

While I know there will be rare folk whose dogs don’t fall into the three categories listed above, for the average pet dog owner, it’s far more common for one of these behaviors to prevail. For this reason, allowing your dog to greet at the front door is a bad idea for all concerned. Dogs become proficient at behaviors they practice, so if you want your dog to learn calm, controlled greetings, practice this. Manage your dogs behavior and that of your guests carefully.

A simple step which can encourage more appropriate behavior in our dogs, is often one which owners seem most reluctant to take. People are so desperate for guests to like their dog and vice versa, that they continue to put their pets into fail/fail situations- everyone gets frustrated or upset! Take control of greetings so your dog doesn’t have to. Developing a game plan will help you and your dog successfully get through the night.

The Importance of a Solid Stay

Misty Pines is known by many to produce some of the most reliable stays on the east coast. We have a Stay Club. To become a member of this club dogs must perform a Stay for their owners during a busy class for one hour while their owner is one mile away. The dogs cannot move until their owner comes back to Misty Pines to tell the dog they have finished the Stay. Amazing!

The stay command is a win-win, as it teaches dogs self-control and makes them more attentive while teaching other behaviors such as Heel or Come. Sit or down stay is a perfect alternative to those frustrating nuisance behaviors such as jumping on visitors or charging through open doors. Dogs who understand stay are clear about what their job is: don’t move until you tell them they may get up and move.

Once your dog is taught what stay means, it is important to challenge their understanding of it by systematically increasing the variables of training; distraction, distance and duration at various locations. If you only practice in your kitchen, your dog will only be good in your kitchen. We encourage all of our students to challenge their dogs at new locations, keep in mind that and a sit stay in your kitchen may be much less challenging than a sit stay outside of Starbucks while you get a cup of coffee!

If you need help teaching your dog to stay, or would like to build on what they already know, we would love to help you teach your dog a Stay that you can be proud of.

As a way to challenge your dog and yourself, we invite you to join in our Stay demonstration and competition during Customer Appreciation Day. This demonstration and competition begins at 12:15pm and is $10 per participant. There will be 2 events; one for dogs under a year old and one for dogs over a year old. This event is a 50/50 type of event with the winner taking half of the pot and the other half going to the Ambridge Police Dog fund. Second place winner receives a Misty Pines gift basket.




Upcoming Specialty Classes

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Sat 17

CGC/TDI Prep Class

March 17 @ 8:00 am - 9:00 am
Sat 17

Scent Work 102

March 17 @ 11:15 am - 12:00 pm
Sat 24

Agility Class

March 24 @ 8:00 am - 9:00 am
Sat 24

Scent Work 103

March 24 @ 11:15 am - 12:00 pm
Sat 31

Nuisance Behaviors

March 31 @ 8:00 am - 9:00 am