515-986-PETS (7387)

Blog - Dogwoods Lodge

A Dog’s Anxiety

Just like humans, our canine companions experience anxiety for numerous reasons. With us being the owners of these animals it is our job to ensure that they live happy, stress-free lives. Causes such as trauma from past experiences, separation from their owners, improper socialization, or even having anxious owners are all factors that can contribute to a dog’s anxiety. Traumas such as abusive behavior from previous owners or abandonment can lead to future stress that the dog’s new owners will have to look out for.

The following are signs of a dog being anxious:

  • Panting
  • Whining
  • Pacing
  • Self destructive actions
  • Destructive to property
  • Urination in abnormal places like inside the home

The following are signs of a dog exhibiting fear:

  • Trembling
  • Tucked in tail
  • Flat ears
  • Hyper salvation
  • Cowering
  • Licking their lips
  • Frequent yawning
  • Attempts to hide

There are several solutions to aid in a dog’s anxiety, but not every solution will work for each individual dog. Some veterinarians may suggest a anxiety medication, Thundershirts, behavior modification techniques or even some calming treats. Separation anxiety has alternative solutions such as hiring a dog sitter, sending the dog to Daycamp for the day, or crate training while you are away.

If you need help overcoming these anxieties please contact our canine behavior specialist or our doggie guru at training@dogwoodslodge.com!

Schooling for a School Dog

Dog owner turns to Dogwoods Lodge Board ’n’ Train program to reform dog

Amy Ondler drove three hours one way to Dogwoods Lodge with Toby, her 8 month old, 70 pound goldendoodle in the car, being his normal obnoxious self.


At 2960 Southeast Grimes Boulevard, she opened the car door, and Toby yanked her into a reception area of pine paneling, an antler chandelier and a double-decker dog bed that rivaled the comfort of the sofa next to it. She pulled him to the counter, as he impishly bit at his leash and barked for attention.


Alice, a red and white speckled cattledog, and Libby, a calf-high tan mutt, trotted out with wagging tails to greet the pair. Behind her followed Jessica Lohry, owner and trainer, with a smile on her face and her hand extended — to take Toby’s leash. With it, she took his fate…


Toby had been gifted to Seasons Center Behavioral Health for students with special needs as a young pup. However, he was not allowed to step paw into the facility, because of his constant frazzled naughtiness. Caretaker Ondler brought Toby to Dogwoods Lodge hoping he would be fit to come back with her after he finished the four-week-long Board ’n’ Train program.


“The story of Toby and the Board ’n’ Train is kind of a unique one. He was a goldendoodle gifted to a mental health agency that needed to transform into a well-mannered, not so hyper therapeutic dog. Before going to Board ’n’ Train Toby was nipping, jumping, barking and dominant over all things,” Ondler says.


Toby was nowhere near ready to spread his joy to the children at Seasons Center.
“Continuous unruliness is the best way to sum it up,” Lohry says. “He would bark, jump on everyone and the counters, bite at everyone’s hands and clothes, bite at his leash, talk back — the list goes on and on. If he were a human, I would call him an ADHD bully.”


Though Toby’s “rap sheet” included a long list of common problem areas (and a few not-so-common), Lohry was confident her program could rid him of the bad behaviors. Lohry has had plenty of experience with all types of problem behaviors and training challenges. Eight years ago, Lohry earned professional training certification, behavioral specialist certification and e-collar training certification, and she has practiced all disciplines since.


The Board ’n’ Train program was developed by Lohry from those years of experience and her training philosophy.


“Of all of the programs we offer, Board ’n’ Train is by far the best one for so many types of dogs. Fearful. Stubborn. Challenging. Bull-headed. The dog learns at an incredibly fast rate in the program compared to in the home. And the four-week time span away from their current way of life gives them enough time to get out of the bad habits and into the new good habits, which is key,” Lohry says.


After the first week, Jessica had trained Toby how to come, sit, stay, walk on the leash and other basic obedience. The second week, she continued his obedience training with distractions, like other dogs, squirrels, outdoor noises and other people. In the last two weeks, she solidified his training by walking around public venues and past a yard full of dogs. So Toby could play fetch with the children back at the school, which doesn’t have a fence, Lohry also remote-collar trained him with the “come” command.


Ondler returned four weeks after her first visit to pick up the dog. Toby tested his owner momentarily by jumping on her and refusing to listen to her commands. Lohry spent time with Ondler, training her on how to get Toby to mind. And within minutes, Toby was responding to Ondler as he would Lohry.


“After coming home from Board ’n’ Train, he is remote collar trained, is able to go to the office setting, relaxes with kids while they pet him and is an all-around great dog. Not only did he behaviorally benefit from the Board ’n’ Train program, he also learned how to interact, play with and enjoy other dogs, which has been a great benefit for him as now he loves doggy play time,” Ondler says.


Since the program, Toby visits the facility nearly every weekday. He lies in his bed calmly without needing constant attention. He greets the children without mauling them. He plays fetch off his leash without trying to run away. He puts smiles on the students’ faces.


“Four weeks sounds long to be away from your dog,” Lohry says. “But I like to remind owners that it’s a very short amount of time in the whole scheme of things, and it is so worth it in the end. People almost always ask, ‘Why didn’t I do it sooner?’.”





About Dogwoods Lodge

Jessica Lohry opened Dogwoods Lodge in 2013 with the belief that dogs and dog owners of Des Moines deserve better. The full-service dog facility offers lodging, daycamp, grooming and training, as well as additional amenities to make dogs’ stays safer, engaging and more enjoyable — so their owners can have peace-of-mind while they’re away. For more information, visit DogwoodsLodge.com.

‘Remote Collar Debate’

Remote Collar

The Remote Collar Debate, or e-collar debate, has made national news recently. The trainers at Dogwoods Lodge would like to put in our two cents on the subject to help educate the public on their legitimate uses.

Remote collars or e-collars have been used for decades, primarily by hunting dog trainers. As of late, many other types of trainers have learned how to properly train dogs with these devices and have experienced their many advantages. The difference between how they were used in the past and how they are used now is significant. Hunting dog trainers used to use the collars at high punishment levels when the dog did something incorrectly. Now, modern trainers use them at very low levels — that humans can often barely feel — primarily as a communication tool. When taught properly, the dog is prompted by the low-level stimulation to do something or to stop doing something.

The advantages of remote collars when taught by educated, experienced trainers or owners are many:

  1. An e-collar gives many owners the peace of mind to let their dogs go off leash, which allows the dog and human a much happier existence.
  2. Owners who use e-collars for teaching the “come” command know that any level of stimulation is better than their dog putting themselves in danger of being hit by a car or running away.
  3. Dogs who may have had to be rehomed because their owners couldn’t handle them due to their craziness, strength or size can now be taught to be controlled in a very calm manner — and without popping their owner’s shoulder out of his/her socket.
  4. Ever had a deaf dog? It can be frustrating. But thankfully, they do really well with remote collars. The stimulation acts as a light tap on the shoulder, so they know you want their attention, and then you can give them a hand signal for what you want them to do.
  5. Many dogs who don’t respond well to other types of training do very well on the remote collar because they have to make decisions for themselves. The owner isn’t constantly tugging on them, screaming at them, shoving treats down their face… There is simply an annoying light stimulation that the dog has to figure out how to turn off. And by doing what their owner requests, it magically stops! Thus, making the command the dog’s decision to complete. It works wonders for stubborn dogs who seemed previously untrainable. (Huskies anyone??)

Those are just a few of the pros. See how they can be put into practice with this video!

The only cons to the remote collars are:

  1. The dog (in most cases) has to be wearing the collar for commands to be successful.
  2. There are many not-so-awesome brands on the market.
  3. They are available to the general public. Our feeling is if you haven’t taken a course on how to teach your dog on the e-collar, don’t do it. It’s very easy to confuse your dog and do it incorrectly.

So, the next time someone starts into a debate about remote collars, please try to enlighten them to the many pros of modern-day e-collars.

Why your dog hates being left home alone.

Ever notice that when you start packing your lunch for the day, your dog starts panting as if he just ran a marathon? Or maybe it’s when you exchange the sweatpants for jeans. Or maybe the moment you sling your purse or bag over your shoulder. Your dog knows you’re leaving — and unless you grab his leash and invite him along, chances are he’s not happy about it, because he knows that means he’ll be home alone.


You’re going somewhere exciting — and he’s going to miss out.

So maybe you’re not going anywhere exciting, but anywhere with you is exciting for your dog. He’s a member of your family. And he likes to stay with you, because when you leave he doesn’t know when or if you’ll be back, and he thinks he’s missing out on a super fun day with you.


It’s boring to be home alone.

So maybe he’s going to go chew on the corner of the couch to pass his time. Dogs need stimulation and exercise. But when left home alone all day, they often end up entertaining themselves in ways we owners aren’t too happy about. Or, they simply sleep all day and expect play, play, play! when you get home from a tiring day.


He’s got to go.

The bathroom. Bad. But there’s a pane of glass between him and his designated toilet and no one around with opposable thumbs. It’s bad for his bladder to hold it; it’s bad for your carpet for him not to.


But guess what? You don’t have to leave your dog home alone when you’re gone for the day! Bring them to Dogwoods Lodge, and we’ll provide frequent bathroom breaks, socialization, and optional amenities like Daycamp, buddy time, private walks or runs, and more. When you pick your dog up, you’ll have a well-exercised, happy pup ready to snuggle up next to you for the night.


Treat your dog to a fun-filled day while you’re away — ask about our Play Day Package!

Methods to keep your dog stress-free

Did you know…

…we do all sorts of things to keep your dog as stress-free as possible?

  • Play calming classical music during rest times
  • Have in-floor heating
  • Provide services like cuddle times and walks
  • Don’t allow tours during rest times to keep noise to a minimum

For stressed dogs, we try any combination of other things: covering their door, putting them in a Thundershirt, giving them a peanut butter Kong or bone to occupy their minds, or adding activities to their schedule.

If you have any ideas you would like to share with us about ways to keep dogs relaxed, feel free to email us at info@dogwoodslodge.com!

Important Daycamp updates

Dogs love Daycamp. The playing, the socialization, the toys and pack experience. And our well-trained staff go the extra mile to ensure your dog has a safe and enjoyable time.

While one of the key benefits of Daycamp to any dog owner is a well-exercised dog, we’ve learned that too much exercise is a bad thing. That’s why we now incorporate more rest periods during Daycamp. Our dogs have responded well: there’s less afternoon crankiness, less stress on joints, and more quality play periods.


At Dogwoods Lodge, we’re always trying to improve — so we can provide your dogs with the safest, most enjoyable Daycamp experience the Midwest has to offer.

The Latest at Dogwoods Lodge

Not on our mailing list? You can still stay up to date on the latest at Dogwoods Lodge. Just check out the image below!


Why I’m Thankful for my Dog

Why I’m Thankful for my Dog
Dogwoods Lodge employees share what they love best about their four-legged friends.

This time of year it’s easy to get caught up with the turkey and discounted shopping. But we really should take time to reflect on the things we’re truly thankful for. And for these Dogwoods Lodge employees, they’re most thankful for their dogs!


Caitlin is thankful for Argo!

  •  Caitlin AuerBreed: Border Collie Mix
  • Age: 2 years old
  • Nickname: Booper (She likes to “boop” her nose against mine)
  • Tricks: Argo can open and close cupboards, spin, play dead, high five, and we even share secret hand shake.
  • Temperament: Argo is a total sweetheart, but she has a little sass in her. She loves people as well as playing with other dogs — especially if they’ll run with her.
  • Favorite things to do together: I like taking Argo outdoors. She likes any game involving a Frisbee or water, so in the summer I take her paddle boarding and hiking.
  • Why I’m thankful for Argo: She’s my automatic playmate and right by my side for any adventure. Argo’s never failed to put a smile on my face, even after my worst day.
  • Argo’s favorite thing about Dogwoods Lodge: Argo loves seeing the staff and her doggie friends. And she loves the PB Kongs and Buddy Times when she’s lodging.


Ashley is thankful for Daisy!

  • BreedAshley Koester: Yorkie
  • Age: 7 years old
  • Nickname: Daisy Duke
  • Tricks: Daisy will shake if there’s a treat!
  • Temperament: When it’s me and her, she’s sweet and loving. Around other dogs, she’s a little shy.
  • Favorite things to do together: We love to cuddle. Also, she’s a licker.
  • Why I’m thankful for Daisy: She’s my best friend and fur baby. My life wouldn’t be the same without her, and I love getting to be her “mom.”


Andrew is thankful for Striker!

  • Snapchat-3539689623179998798Breed: Shih-Tzu
  • Age: 7 years old
  • Nickname: Strizz
  • Tricks: He can roll over and spin in a circle.
  • Temperament: Striker is chill. He thinks he’s the biggest dog in the room always.
  • Favorite things to do: Hang out with his best friend, Rass.  
  • Why I’m thankful for Striker: He’s my best pal.
  • Striker’s favorite thing about Dogwoods Lodge: He likes getting hot dogs from the trainer and hanging out with his dog pals that he’s made in Daycamp.


Erin is thankful for Gabbie, Toby and Sadie!

  • Erin dogBreed: Cockapoos
  • Ages: 9, 6 and 5 years old
  • Nicknames: Gabs, Toby T, Sadie Sue
  • Tricks: All three will sit, high five, and anything else as long as there’s a treat present.
  • Temperaments: They like to bark, but they love people. Toby likes to cuddle, and Sadie will jump in anyone’s lap.
  • Favorite things to do: Cuddle and play.   
  • Why I’m thankful for my Cockapoos: They make me smile every day.



Ben is thankful for Zelda!

  • Ben DogBreed: Border Collie
  • Age: 2 years old
  • Nickname: ZZ, Zelds, Zelda the Heavy Metal Princess
  • Tricks: Zelda can kiss on command, catch, and lie down. She goes nuts if you ask her if there’s a princess in the house.
  • Temperament: She’s active; she prefers to be outside and loves to explore every part of the yard.
  • Favorite things to do: Run and fetch her toys. She’s also the best cuddler when she finally calms down.
  • Why I’m thankful for Zelda: She is the sweetest lady on the planet and makes for a pretty awesome best friend.
  • Zelda’s favorite thing about Dogwoods Lodge: The bones and treats I bring home for her.



Janell is thankful for Emma and Foxie!

  • Breeds: Beagle and Pomeranian
  • Janell DogsAges: 8 and 12 years old
  • Tricks: Emma can tell time: She knows when we’re leaving, when it’s time to eat and when it’s time for bed. They both love to chase squirrels. And Foxie likes doing whatever Emma is doing.
  • Temperament: Emma loves all humans — especially kids. Foxie keeps to just our family. They both like to race the neighbor dogs through the fence.
  • Favorite things to do: Emma likes to snuggle, eat treats, run around the house and fight for my chair with Foxie. Foxie likes to bark and get a back scratch.
  • Why I’m thankful for Emma and Foxie: They snuggle with me and are always happy to see me. I laugh every day around them.
  • Emma’s and Foxie’s favorite thing about Dogwoods Lodge: They love getting baths and attention from the staff.


Page is thankful for Master and Messanger!

  • Page 1Page 2Breeds: Border Collie/English lab/American bulldog mix and Border Collie/English lab mix
  • Ages: 7 and 16 years old
  • Nicknames: BA, Baa, little brown dog; Mess or ol’ man
  • Tricks: Basic commands and Messanger can dance!
  • Temperament: Master is loving with the whole family—a little too much with the cat and Messanger. Messanger can be super silly sometimes and a grump other times. He spends most his time guarding his corner.
  • Favorite things to do: They both love belly rubs and snuggles. Master jumps on my lap for butt scratches and likes to play fetch. Messanger loves tug-o-war.
  • Why I’m thankful for Master and Messanger: These dogs brighten my day and cheer me up the instance I get home.
  • Master and Messanger’s favorite thing about Dogwoods Lodge: Messanger loves baths and treats at Dogwoods Lodge! Master also enjoys the treats and toys he gets there.



And the thing we’re most thankful for at Dogwoods Lodge? Getting to spend the days with awesome dogs like yours. We hope you had a happy Thanksgiving!


3 ways to reduce the spook.

Halloween can be scary for your dogs.
3 ways to reduce the spook.


  1. The Spook: The Costume.

Who doesn’t want to see your dog as beloved Yoda or wrapped in a bun? Well, perhaps not your dog. Despite your pup’s unwillingness to wear a costume, safety concerns do crop up when get-ups get especially intricate: like immobility, strangulation, choking, snagging, and more.


The Save

First, never leave your dog unattended while they’re in costume. Next, make sure your pet is comfortable in their costume. This doesn’t mean they’ll bark for joy for the opportunity to dress up, but it does mean that they’ll be able to breath, move, and relax comfortably.


  1. The Spook: The Candy and Pumpkins.

We all know chocolate and sugar isn’t good for us — but it’s even more hazardous to our beloved dogs. From the toxic elements of many candies to the choking hazards of their wrappers and sticks, treats can play dangerous tricks on your dogs on All Hollow’s Eve.


The Save

Keep candy bowls off the floor and low tables. Make sure you children know the dangers of sharing Halloween spoils with their best furry friend. If you’re worried your pup has dug into the candy jar, be on the lookout for vomiting, diarrhea, severe agitation, and elevated heart rate. Take your dog to the vet if you see any symptoms.


  1. The Spook: The Doorbell and Its Visitors.

Maybe your dog gets anxious at the sound of the doorbell. The night of trick-or-treating, it rings again and again and again. Or maybe your dog likes to slip out the door. Or perhaps he’s afraid of new people—especially these people dressed in masks and with hats. Be sure to take extra precaution by the door to avoid a lost, anxious, or aggressive pet.


The Save

Consider camping your dog out in a room far from the front door for the night with a radio or TV playing to drown out the sound of the doorbell, knocks, and strangers and a chew toy to keep them busy. If the inevitable does happen, and your dog does sneak out, be sure to have proper identification that’s up to date to increase the chances of finding your friend.


And the easiest save of them all: Bring your dog to Dogwoods Lodge for the evening. We’ll keep your pooch happy, calm, and out of spook’s way.

Meet Alice: The Featured September Dog

AliceLongtime Dogwoods Lodge fans know: Alice is one smart cookie. And she better be — she and her sister, Libby, wear the praise as Dogwoods Lodge mascots and best friends to owner, Jessica Lohry.

Jessica trained the cattle-dog mix herself. Agility, narcotics, search and rescue, advanced obedience, CGC—and even certified as a diabetic alert dog—Alice has talents, and a talent for learning.

Package all those skills up with a ball of energy and a personality sweeter than pie, then you’ve got Alice.

So next time you’re at Dogwoods Lodge, be sure to bend down to give her a pet — and throw her ball. She deserves some lovin’ after all her hard work around the Lodge.

Nickname: BoBalice  Alice2
Breed: Cattledog mix
Size: 45 lbs
Abilities: Agility, narcotics, search & rescue, advanced obedience, CGC, and is now a certified service dog (Diabetic Alert Dog)
Temperament: She’s got springs for legs, ridiculous amounts of energy, raw intelligence, and the sweetest personality
Fortes: Cuddling and playing fetch