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‘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

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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

5 puppy faces you can’t say no to …

… And Dogwoods Lodge employees trying to harness their powers. 

Who wore the cute face better? Dog or dog counselor? You tell us! (We think we already know who’ll win, though.)













Have a happy 4th!

The 4th of July

Keep your dog safe and calm

Dogs aren’t singing the same tune about fireworks as Katy Perry. In fact, this patriotic day that goes out with a bang is one of the highest ranking for dog escapes. On top of that, some dogs become nervous wrecks.

Guess what? It doesn’t have to be that way. Follow one of these three tips below to keep your dog safe, confined and happy, while you enjoy American traditions.

  • Set your dog up for safety with beforehand accommodations at home. “I tell clients to put sound sensitive dogs in a kennel in the quietest room in their house—which is usually the basement. Set them up next to a loud fan to drown out any extra noise and let them have a long-lasting, high-value treat—like a PB Kong or an Everlasting Treat Ball—and they will happily hunker down for a couple hours, oblivious to what else is going on outside,” says Jessica Lohry, Dogwoods Lodge owner and certified behavioral specialist.
  • Check with your vet. If your dog nearly jumps out of its coat when you cough, it’s safe to say he’ll take poorly to loud blasts booming in the sky. Chat with your vet and discuss options for sedation and/or products like an anxiety wrap that will keep your dog calmer.
  • Board your dog at a facility you can trust. Dogwoods Lodge goes through all the necessary precautions to keep your furry friend calm and safe. In addition to the concrete construction, which blocks out most firework noise, we have televisions playing for comforting sounds, and dogs are always monitored during their frequent bathroom breaks, which are done in yards with solid 8-foot fences to ensure their safety. Rather than run the risk of them escaping while your attention is elsewhere, have complete peace-of-mind by booking your dog a room at the premier Des Moines facility.

Above all else, never leave your dog unattended or free in the yard when fireworks or other loud activities are happening. And have a great, safe Fourth of July!