By Jill Nagy
Two Glens Falls women parlayed their love for canines into a thriving dog obedience training school in South Glens Falls.
In August, Paws4Obedience moved into new, larger quarters to accommodate a growing clientele.
The new facility, at 1638 Route 9—across the street from the former facility—was opened with an all-day celebration that collected four or five crates of food, toys, and other accessories for shelter dogs. It also raised more than $500 for the shelters and for Woofs for Warriors, a Glens Falls organization that helps veterans acquire service dogs and facilitated the adoption of several rescue dogs.
The two women, Lora Bacharach and Brianna Rabine, opened the business in December. They offer a series of obedience training classes and specialized programs such as therapy dog preparation, off-leash obedience training and competitive sports.
Twice a week, they take groups of dogs and their owners for a “reality class,” getting out and around to test in the real world what they learned in the classroom.
This is one of the most enjoyable classes they offer, Bacharach said. It is a chance for owners and animals to bond. Obedience classes are a pre-requisite for the reality program and attendance is by invitation.
The therapy preparation classes have been “one of our biggest hits,” Bacharach said. The class helps owners of prospective therapy dogs know what to expect and how prepared to deal with various situations.
Bacharach began working in kennels as a teenager and also adopted a “difficult” rescue dog who was initially fearful of other dogs and of people, especially men. As she worked with him, she said was “constantly” learning.
“Older dogs really have a lot to teach you,” she said.
That first dog died two years ago, She now has another rescue dog, a golden retriever, as well as an Australian shepherd she uses for demonstrations and competitions. She came to the new business with 10 years of dog training experience under her belt.
Rabine also began working with dogs as a teenager, especially with rescue dogs. Her specialty is working with dogs with behavior or aggression problems. She does most of the in-home classes that Paws offers.
The Paws4Obedience owners present free seminars and workshops on such topics as “How Your Dog Handles You.”
In addition, they maintain close relationships with shelters, the veterans organizations, and other dog trainers in the area and try to do “anything we can do to get dogs adopted and into good homes.”
For programs they do not offer or that are overbooked, they refer clients to other facilities, an arrangement that is mutual.
Their next project planned is an all-day “pre-school” type program, scheduled to begin in October. The owners plan to provide a fully structured day with training, a hike, nap time and other activities for up to 10 dogs. The program is already fully booked for two days and they hope to add a third day, and another trainer, by the end of the year.
Fees for classes vary. For group obedience classes, limited to eight dogs and two trainers, fees are from $140 to $180 for a six-week session. Private lessons are also available.
Currently, the school has between 100 and 150 clients and “we keep growing and growing.”
Classes, fees and information about the trainers are all on the website at www.paws4obedience.com. The telephone number is 1-484-375-5999.