An Interview With Dog Trainer: Rachel Brock

  • By Staff Writer
  • 28 Feb, 2015
February has been an emotional month at Choo Choo Dog Camp. We have had the joy of welcoming a steady stream of new campers, and we also got ready to say goodbye to one of our best buds. Sadie the Weimaraner was the very first camper at Choo Choo Dog Camp, way back in November 2010. She is leaving us after four wonderful years of fun to move with her family to Florida. We will miss her! Luckily, we have lots of new campers to keep us busy. We are having so much fun getting to know these new pups and watching them make instant friends with established camp dogs. Dog day camp is a wonderful social atmosphere for dogs of all ages, and can have a lot of positive benefits for puppies in particular.
dogs at camp
Sadie (right) and her buddy Bentley
At camp, young dogs are socialized and have valuable experiences like learning to be handled by strangers and encountering a variety of novelties in a safe, monitored setting. Another valuable piece of the puppy puzzle is basic obedience training. While all campers at Choo Choo Dog Camp play training games with staff and receive reinforcement in the form of treats and praise for good behavior, individualized training sessions can be quite the asset when it comes to understanding and thereby directing the behavior your new pack member. Most dogs could use a refresher course on the behavior basics, and once again, puppies stand to benefit the most. Best of all, the positive training style used at Choo Choo Dog Camp is rewarding and fun, and often strengthens the bond between dogs and their owners.
dog training

Rachel Brock is Choo Choo Dog Camp’s awesome in-house trainer. Rachel provides one-on-one training sessions on the Choo Choo Dog Camp campus, in the homes of her clients, and even out and about in the downtown Chattanooga landscape. We touched base with Rachel this month to ask her more about positive training.

CHOO CHOO DOG BLOG:   What made you want to become a dog trainer?

RACHEL BROCK:   Dogs are a very important part of our lives. They enrich, teach, and unconditionally love us. Teaching owners how to communicate with their furry friends has been the most rewarding part of my life.

CCDB: Is there one thing you wish all dog owners knew?

RB:   Dog body language. Dogs do not speak a verbal language (well, some try). Instead, dogs show their emotions through everything from eye contact to the direction of a sniff. There is a lot going on behind-the-scenes when you make eye contact with your pup.

dog training

CCDB:   Why should dog owners consider investing in obedience training?

RB:   Positive training motivates a dog to offer good behaviors instead of bad habits. By providing one-on-one sessions with a trainer, you are teaching your dog how to approach everyday situations with a calm and happy attitude.

CCDB:   Do you have a “Trainer Tip” to leave us with?

RB:   Certainly! You can never give your dog enough attention, but it is important that you focus that attention on good behavior such as sits and polite greetings. Visualize the behavior you want to see in your dog. Above all else, be consistent!

If you’re interested in booking Rachel for a six-week training program, call 706-260-9943. Rachel runs the pack at Choo Choo Dog Camp every weekday in addition to training sessions, so snag a spot on her schedule while you can! And check out Choo Choo Dog Blog every month where from time to time we will feature a “Trainer Tip” from Rachel that is guaranteed to make life a little easier for you and your four-legged friends!

dog camp

Choo Choo Dog Camp

By Staff Writer 25 Jul, 2016

 Dealing with a dog that suffers from separation anxiety can be extremely difficult for both dog and owner. Bad pet behavior can do damage to your home or put you, your family, and guests in uncomfortable situations. Symptoms of separation anxiety can include excessive barking, dangerous behavior, and property damage. Any of those misbehaviors can set any pet parents on edge. It can be annoying to deal with, but it is important to keep from getting angry with your pet, they’re worried about being alone, yelling at them won’t make anything better. Properly identifying their problems and coming up with ways to deal with these issues instead of just ignoring them is the first step towards changing the dog’s behavior.

 Sometimes anxiety can even be a learned behavior. Simulated separation anxiety is when the dog learns to act badly when left alone opposed to actually experiencing anxiety. Without even realizing, some pet parents teach their dogs to feel nervous when alone. By rewarding bad behaviors, such as letting a dog out of its crate when it cries, you’re actually teaching the dog that undesirable behaviors can get them what they want.

 However, punishment or aversive training techniques will not address the actual problem and could cause the dog to lose trust in their owner. The dog is already anxious, adding pain or stress to the situation will only make it worse. Aggression and other undesirable side effects from punishment based training can ruin the relationship. Getting your dog to enjoy, or at least feel comfortable with, being alone won’t happen if they’re worried about being disciplined when you get home.

 It is important to realize that separation anxiety isn’t all the same, dogs can develop it for a number of different reasons. Talk to your vet about your options when it comes to treatment and training. If your dog is truly suffering from separation anxiety you might be able to give them medication to help them calm down. This isn’t a magic cure all, but it can help when it comes to beginning training. If you’d like to learn more about behavioral problems with dogs give us a call. Choo Choo Dog Camp wants to make sure your relationship with your dog is comfortable, stable, and happy for both of you. Through training, neither of you should have to worry.
By Staff Writer 08 Jul, 2016

 Most pets have little to no formal training and many pet owners don’t fully understand the importance of it. Choo Choo Dog Camp takes training seriously and makes sure to work with both owner and dog on understanding the process. Getting a new dog is exciting, but sometimes it can be a lot of work.  An unruly dog who won't listen to the simplest of commands can make the process difficult and unenjoyable. If a dog behaves, then the time spent with them becomes comfortable compared to a dog that misbehaves and creates tension. Whether a puppy is joining your family or an older dog has chosen to adopt you, it is extremely important to foster proper communication and obedience early on.

 The sooner an owner starts working on training, the better the relationship between human and canine will be in the future.  Obedience training will make your dog responsive, and gives you immediate control over their behavior. In an emergency situation, obedience training may even save your dog's life. Being able to use voice commands to curb how your dog acts makes the relationship and avoids potential problems. The more you can trust your dog to do the right thing, the more freedom both of you can have.

 It takes effort, but spending time working with your dog will help build a positive and balanced relationship. Dogs can sense how you’re feeling, but they aren’t mind readers. They need clear guidance to understand what you want. Teaching them creates language of communication that promotes security and comfort between you. Giving them new skills to understand what you want can take the pressure out of domestic life.

 Working with them without the use of force or fear is vital to creating a happy and healthy future with your pet. The dog professionals here at Camp want to make sure that the training process is smooth and clear for everyone involved.  We offer a wide class schedule and have a space on site to work with your dogs. It is never too late to start working with your dog, despite the saying old dogs can learn new tricks, but don’t put it off. Training can make all the difference.

By Staff Writer 09 Jun, 2016

 On June 24, 1999, the United States had its first official Take Your Dog to Work Day and us dogs couldn’t be happier about it! Spending all day locked up at home isn’t much fun at all, but sadly we’re only invited to your office one day a year. So here are some quick tips for those lucky pet owners whose boss is letting them bring us into the office.

  1. Make sure to clear away anything I might think is a chew toy. Those computer cables and desk supplies look pretty tempting…

By Staff Writer 08 Feb, 2016
We returned to Lula Lake this year, and we are so grateful for their hospitality and the ability to use their gorgeous scenery as a backdrop for our celebration.  You can learn more  about Lula Lake at their website, .
By Staff Writer 26 May, 2015

With dogs, as with kids, vaccine safety is a big concern. Leading researchers in this field have insisted for years that well-meaning dog owners have been over-vaccinating their dogs.  After a puppy gets his regular course of “puppy shots,” a titer test can be administered and will often indicate that the vaccines have been successful in immunizing the dog. A titer test will show that a dog has been properly immunized by measuring the amount of antibodies a dog produces in response to a given disease. During a titer test, your vet draws and tests blood from your dog to determine the level of antibodies he’s producing.  At Choo Choo Dog Camp, titers are accepted in lieu of vaccination records for all campers. Rabies shot is still required by law.  Make sure to ask your vet for the three year rabies.

So what about the flu vaccine?   Your dog is not likely to catch the flu , says Dr. Karen Becker, and if he does, he will almost always recover naturally in a few days. A dog’s healthy immune system is his strongest defense against such infections, and the flu vaccine weakens, rather than strengthening, that immune system. The vaccine is also questionable because it doesn’t actually prevent your dog from being infected. Dr. Becker suggests keeping your dog’s immune system healthy with a well-balanced diet, and visiting your nearby holistic vet for tips on natural immune boosters like turmeric, oregano and fresh garlic.  If your dog does develop symptoms of the canine influenza virus, which include watery eyes, a cough and a runny nose, keep him at home to limit his exposure to other infections and other dogs. Don’t take your to any dog day camp or the dog park during this time, to both protect his weakened immune system and to avoid spreading his infection. The flu usually runs its course and your dog should be fully recovered in seven days.

At your dog’s next vet appointment, just request that titers are run in place of routine vaccinations. If your veterinarian refuses to forgo vaccinations for whatever reason, you can take your pet to CHAI (Chattanooga’s holistic vet on Main street), where the doctors promote healthy, holistic pet care and will be more than happy to run a titer test and then recommend a customized vaccination schedule, or no vaccinations, based on your dog’s needs. By taking a more active role in your dog’s health, you can insure that he’s getting all the vaccines he needs to be healthy without having his immune system compromised by over-vaccination.

By Staff Writer 08 Apr, 2015

Spring is upon us and the weather is perfect for long walks over the pedestrian bridge, trips to the park, and scenic hikes. If you’re anything like us, no outdoor excursion is quite as fun without a four-legged friend. Understanding your dog’s body language is the best way to control his reaction to any given situation. If you can tell by looking at him that your dog is overstimulated or worse, preparing to bite, you may be able to prevent the situation by moving him to a quieter location. Likewise, if your dog is interacting with a dog which is exhibiting stress signals, you may be able to remove your dog from the “danger zone” if you can interpret those signals.

The staff at Choo Choo Dog Day Camp apply an understanding of dog body language to maintain a peaceful, positive pack. You can learn and use this same knowledge in your relationship with your own pet by reading up on the ways in which dogs communicate with us and each other.

Turid Rugaas discusses these signals in her bestselling book, On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals . According to Rugaas, “[Calming] signals are used at an early stage to prevent things from happening, avoiding threats from people and dogs, calming down nervousness, fear, noise and unpleasant things…They are also used to enable dogs to make friends with other dogs and people.”

By Staff Writer 28 Feb, 2015
February has been an emotional month at Choo Choo Dog Camp. We have had the joy of welcoming a steady stream of new campers, and we also got ready to say goodbye to one of our best buds. Sadie the Weimaraner was the very first camper at Choo Choo Dog Camp, way back in November 2010. She is leaving us after four wonderful years of fun to move with her family to Florida. We will miss her! Luckily, we have lots of new campers to keep us busy. We are having so much fun getting to know these new pups and watching them make instant friends with established camp dogs. Dog day camp is a wonderful social atmosphere for dogs of all ages, and can have a lot of positive benefits for puppies in particular.
By Staff Writer 30 Jan, 2015

January was a great month to be at Choo Choo Dog Camp!  We got to spend time with a lot of dogs over the holidays who stayed with us while their parents traveled. Other dogs were curled up on the couch at home for the holidays, and we were excited to see those dogs again in the new year. Things at camp are getting back to normal now but the beginning of January was pretty busy because we were helping Liz prepare the annual Parents Party! We look forward to the Parents Party every year because it gives us a chance to get to know the people who share a home with our canine campers.

This year’s party at Lula Lake was a triumph, if we do say so ourselves! The lake is clear and blue, and served as a breathtaking backdrop for the festivities. A short trail leads to an overlook from which the falls are visible. One or two dogs even dipped their paws in the freezing water (none of the humans were quite that brave!)

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