Archive for the ‘pets and animals’ Category

3 Reasons to Take Training Classes With Your Dog!

August 3, 2012

1) Training builds better behavior.

While this may seem obvious to many, some dog owners expect the dogs to just become more well trained with age. Through training classes, your dog becomes a pleasure rather than a pain. The guests who previously avoided your house because of your poorly trained dogs will now enjoy visiting. And while some people think training only puts stricter rules on your dog, your dog actually has more freedom because he knows how to behave himself!

2) A trained dog is welcome in more places.

Especially during summer and fall, dog owners consistently become disappointed with how much they have to leave their dog. Wouldn’t it be great if your dog was well behaved enough to come to your kid’s soccer game with you or even join along on the fun of camping for a weekend? Better yet, wouldn’t it be great to be able to have your dog stay in a hotel room with you? Training classes are the answer to these types of issues. Start including your dog in more family activities rather than just thinking of him as another hassle to have to come home to let outside.

3) It can be fun for all involved!

Admittedly, some weeks I feel like we laugh more during class than actually train, but I’m sure that can’t be the case because all the dogs go home looking so good after our five or six weeks together. However, training truly can be fun for the entire family. You are allowed to bring your kids to class and sometimes depending on the situation other dogs from home, and the best part of all is that you’re all learning some important techniques to transfer over to real life situations once you leave.

Listed below is our fall group class schedule, but as always, if you are more interested in doing private training, feel free to contact me personally at You can check out my website to find out more information about my history and training style and feel free to check out Jess as well at her website. We hope to have the opportunity to train with many of you this fall.

Puppy Preschool (up to 6 months old)

Monday 6PM (starts 9/10*)

Instructors Jess Ritchie & Scott Williams- 5 weeks for $125

Group Obedience

Monday 7PM (starts 9/10*)

Instructor Scott Williams- 5 weeks for $125


Monday 8PM (starts 9/10*)

Instructor Scott Williams- 5 weeks for $150

*Monday classes begin a week later than the rest of the session

Wag It Games *new class*

Tuesday 6PM (starts 9/4)

Instructor Jess Ritchie- 6 weeks for $135

Tricks Level 1

Tuesday 7PM (starts 9/4)

Instructor Jess Ritchie- 6 weeks for $150

K9ProFit (fitness class)

Thursday 6PM (starts 9/6)

Instructors Jess Ritchie & Scott Williams- 5 weeks for $125

The Art of Shaping

Thursday 7PM (starts 9/6)

Instructor Jess Ritchie- 5 weeks for $150

Beginner Agility

Friday 6:30PM (starts 9/7)

Instructor Jess Ritchie- 6 weeks for $120

Agility Level 1

Friday 7:30PM (starts 9/7)

Instructor Jess Ritchie- 6 weeks for $120

Beginner Agility

Saturday 12PM (starts 9/8)

Instructor Jess Ritchie- 6 weeks for $120


New Training Facility Opening in Lowell, Mass!

April 24, 2012

We are pleased to announce the opening of our brand new 3,500 square foot dog training facility at 850 Lawrence Street in Lowell, Massachusetts. Scott Williams of Beyond The Leash and Jessica Ritchie of Cookie That! dog training have formed a strategic alliance in able to provide a richer experience to local dog folk.

Together these two companies will offer classes in Agility (coming soon!), Tricks, Competitive and Basic Obedience, Detection Dogs, Weight Pulling, K9 Fitness and more. Our current spring schedule is as follows:

Beginner Scentwork click to enroll

Sunday 10AM

Instructor Scott Williams- 5 weeks for $150

Advanced Scentwork click to enroll

Sunday 11AM

Instructor Scott Williams- 5 weeks for $150

Tugging Class

Monday/Friday 1 PM

Instructors Jess Ritchie & Scott 
Williams6 sessions for $120

Puppy Preschool (up to 5 months old)

Tuesday 6PM

Instructors Jess Ritchie & Scott Williams- 4 weeks for $100

“Get on Your Bed” Class

Tuesday 7PM

Instructors Jess Ritchie & Scott
 Williams- 5 weeks for $125

Tricks Level 1

Wednesday 6PM

Instructor Jess Ritchie- 6 weeks for $150

Group Obedience click to enroll

Wednesday 6PM

Instructor Scott Williams- 5 weeks for $125

Tricks Level 2

Wednesday 7PM

Instructor Jess Ritchie- 4 weeks for $100

The Art of Shaping

Thursday 6PM

Instructor Jess Ritchie- 5 weeks for $150

K9ProFit (fitness class)

Thursday 7PM

Instructors Jess Ritchie & Scott Williams- 5 weeks for $125

Tricks Level 1

Friday 6PM

Instructor Jess Ritchie- 6 weeks for $150

Tricks Level 2

Saturday 3:30PM

Instructor Jess Ritchie- 4 weeks for $100

Located just thirty minutes from Boston, the Lowell, MA dog training location is easily accessible from the 495 highway. And it’s just minutes from Southern New Hampshire as well as a short drive from most of the North Shore.

If you are interested in establishing better control of your canine companion or simply looking for new, stimulating activities to do with your dog, give us a call! We are offering introductory specials on most classes and look forward to meeting everyone. Call 866-957-DOGS (3647) today!

Competitors show heart in French Ring Trial – Patriot Ring Club

September 7, 2010

Decoy Ian Gresh, of Cape Cod, takes a bite from one canine during an exercise at the Patriot Ring Club trial on Aug. 7 and Aug. 8.

North Shore Dog Training Blog – Competitors of various levels from all over the Northeast attacked, bit, and leaped around a course in Boxford for the first Patriot Ring Club French Ring Trial in Boxford, MA on Aug. 7 and Aug. 8.

And their owners had fun, too.

Credited with helping to expand the sport in New England, the French Ring Trial, sponsored by Scott Williams and Beyond the Leash, featured a range of competitors from the beginners to the highly skilled. However, competitors all showed their dedication to canines and the protection sport that tests a dogs instinct to bite, their ability leap and climb, and their overall obedience.

And dog trainer Scott Dunmore, who recently began practicing French Ring with his Malinois Vollie, said that obedience is always hard to maintain when your dog is excited about the attack.

“That’s the biggest challenge – control is the issue,” said Dunmore. “It’s definitely one thing to have control in your backyard, but it’s much harder during a trial.”

However, French Ring requires both the dog and the owner to be at the top of their game. The wrong command or just saying a command too many times will be of detriment to your team. Too much praise for you canine won’t help either.

PA resident Rick Rutt took his dog up to Boxford to compete in the French Ring trial. Rutt is also the president of the newly formed American Ring Sport Federation, a US organization governing French Ring that began in 2009.

Rutt said the ARF matches the strict set of rules and requirements that can be seen among trials in France, where the sport began. He said that the Patriot Ring Club trial was well-rounded showing of talent.

“I think there’s a good mix,” said Rutt about the range of ability in the competitors during the two-day trial.

Rutt said there is a clear sense of unity in French Ring when you can see that the dogs and owners enjoy themselves no matter how skilled they are.

“The thing that makes this sport great is when you have people that are doing it for fun and people that are experts,” said Rutt. “Everybody’s there for the sport and the dogs.”

Once a canine competitor passes a temperament test required to enter a trial, the dog can compete through three different “Rings” or levels of exercises.

The protection sport features significant biting exercises and therefore requires the use of decoys, or men in protective suits that can take a dog bite.

Decoy Ian Gresh, of Cape Cod, began working as a decoy for French Ring just six months ago. Gresh said there are many attributes that make a decoy effective – some more obvious than others.

“I guess you have to have a high pain tolerance,” Gresh said as he cooled off in the shade following a run with the last canine competing.

But he said that decoys must be in good physical shape. He said dogs can be running at speeds in excess of 30 miles per hour when attacking and you must know how to move in order to avoid injury.

“If you don’t bend your leg right, you can snap your ACL,” said Gresh.

He also added that you definitely need to love it.

“You have to have a big heart for it,” said Gresh.

For the trial, Williams flew in a French Ring judge from France, Pierre-Yves Secretain. Hailing from Normandy, France, Secretain said that competitors were up to snuff.

“It’s a very nice trial,” said Secretain. “I see very good dogs today.”

Final scores are below:




Beyond the Leash currently offers Williams’ nationally recognized Doggy Boot Camp, obedience classes, and Nosework classes, which trains a dog’s ability to search with their nose.

Clicker Training at Clicker Expo

February 9, 2008

I THOUGHT IT WAS ABOUT DOG TRAINING…..WHO KNEW? I had the opportunity to go to Clicker Expo this year in Los Angeles. I thought I knew about clicker training before this past weekend but after attending the Clicker Expo I realized I knew very little. The event was created and hosted primarily by Karen Pryor’s Company A quick Google search of her name will bring up books, tapes and training products on clicker training. Her company has recently started a clicker training academy where one can obtain a certification using this process of interacting with animals. I attended this event with the hope of learning something new about dog training, how dogs learn and how maybe I could accomplish my training goals with less conflict. I was not disappointed. The staff of instructors/lecturers were highly skilled and for the most part highly educated. I attended a couple of lectures and a “lab” with Ken Ramirez. (Ken Ramirez, vice president of animal collections and training at Chicago’s world-famous Shedd Aquarium, develops and supervises animal care programs, staff training and development, and public presentation programs for the marine mammal collection. He oversees animal training for all animals in the aquarium, including fish, sharks, and reptiles. He joined Shedd Aquarium in 1989.


A 30-year veteran of marine mammal care and training, Ken worked for nine years at Marineworld of Texas. He also coordinated marine mammal care programs at Ocean Safari in South Padre Island, Texas, and has acted as a consultant or coordinator for many marine mammal programs throughout the world. He began his training career working with guide dogs for the visually impaired and has maintained a close connection to dog training throughout his career. Currently, Ken has a new pet training television series in development.


Ken has been active in several professional organizations, including the International Marine Animal Trainer’

s Association (IMATA), of which he is a past president, and the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network, where he has served on the board of directors since 1987. He also has served on the board of the American Cetacean Society.


In addition to his other work, Ken has written for several scientific publications, including Marine Mammals: Public Display and Research, and Soundings, published quarterly by IMATA. He teaches a graduate course on animal training at Western Illinois University and authored the book ANIMAL TRAINING: Successful Animal Management Through Positive Reinforcement, published in 1999. The book has become required reading for many animal trainers in the zoological field.)


Ken is a great teacher, trainer and author. His lecture on secondary reinforcers was really impressive. I began creating multiple reinforcers as soon as I got back to training on Monday.


Since I enjoy competitive obedience trials I am always interested in getting the highest possible reliability with the least amount of conflict and (here’s the catch) with no training collars, leashes or other types of devices that are attached to the dog during competition. I think that what Karen Pryors organization is offering is a means toward that end. That’s not to say that I’m a clicker training fanatic but I see great value in teaching a dog how to actively participate in the learning process. Am I ready to give up my choke chains, prong collars, shock collars and devote my life to Clicker Training? No, not yet. But I would be very willing to take a six week old puppy and create a positive foundation that would last a lifetime using a Clicker and treats. I would also be very willing to continue on with the Clicker throughout that pups life to continue teaching and reinforcing behaviors. That being said, when I’m at the park with my dog, and if he bolts after a squirrel that is running toward the street and into traffic, I’ll be relieved to see him turn on a dime and come back to me because he was wearing an electric collar. If my dog and I lived in a bubble like, for example oh I don’t know maybe a Dolphin in a tank, I’d be more inclined to take that leap into Clicker Utopia. Dogs will be dogs and I just love mine too much to take that chance.

To conclude I think that all dog trainers should learn the principles behind Clicker training but I believe in a more balanced approach. My clients come to Beyond The Leash for results. They are not looking for Competition level obedience but they are also not looking for something warm and fuzzy that takes a long time with low reliability. We all would love to be able to train our dogs with no verbal corrections let alone physical corrections. Ideals exist only in the imagination, perfection is never obtained. We must treat our dogs with dignity, respect and fairness. Give them plenty of exercise and love and don’t correct them out of shear frustration. They don’t know why the hell your jumping up and down making a lot of noise. If you need a trainer find one with experience and compassion. Find a dog trainer that really likes dogs! I was surprised to find and still am surprised when I meet trainers that obviously don’t like dogs. Sometimes many years of experience means old school methods and just plain career burn out…….