French Ring Eastern Zone Championship 9/17/11 Boxford, MA 01810

September 13, 2011

The Patriot Ring Club is hosting its second trial this upcoming weekend in the field behind the West Boxford Library. Dogs from all across the nation as well as Canada will be competing in arguably the most difficult dog sport around. French Ring is comprised of obedience exercises, jump execution, and bite work and demands dogs with exceptional drive, unbelievable control, and true natural athleticism.

Four club members will be competing this weekend, including Scott Williams who created the club in spring of 2010. Williams also owns Beyond The Leash, a local dog training business that specializes in problem dogs.

The trial will be sanctioned by North American Ring Association (NARA). And judge Yves Billat is traveling in from France and decoys Matt Nieuwkoop and Eduardo Loyola will be coming in from Washington state and Puerto Rico all for this one day event! Spectators are welcome, but if you decide to join us, please leave your dogs at home. The address of the field is 188 Washington Street, Boxford, MA 01810. The trial will begin promptly at 9:00AM on Saturday, September 17th. To learn more about this trial or if you have questions about dog training, call 866-957-3647(DOGS) today!


Dogs Rule in 2011!

January 4, 2011

A new year is upon us! I am very excited about getting involved in some new K9 activities as well as moving forward with existing nosework classes. New Nosework  Classes will be offered by Beyond The Leash in Boxford, Ma. On January 9th. There will also be a FREE Nosework Demo at All Dogs Gym in Manchester, New Hampshire on January 19th at 7pm.  A week after that, new Nosework classes will begin at All Dogs Gym as well.

I have just recently started taking Flyball classes at Gemini Dogs with my three year old Malinois Cane. He is a natural athlete and as long as I don’t rush the details of the foundation work, he will do great and have a lot of fun doing it.  I have high hopes for my dog Cane this year. Not only am I getting into the Flyball stuff, but I am continuing with his French Ring Sport training. I would like to enter him in a trial in Montreal, Canada in May. He will most likely compete at Ring 2 for the third time. He has already obtained the level of Ring 2 but he won’t be ready for Ring 3 by May. I am also continuing his Bed Bug detection work. Hopefully these activities along with walks in the woods will keep my dog busy enough to stay out of trouble.

There will also be a brand new class that I am developing for 2011. This will be another “drive-based” exciting activity for dogs that all dogs will enjoy. More details will follow soon.

For more info feel free to call 818-974-9354

Let’s enjoy our dogs in 2011!


Boston Dog Training Classes

December 7, 2010

It’s been awhile since I have checked in. As the winter months come upon us I have been busy with Nosework classes, Bootcamp dogs and Bed Bug training! Funny how life’s twists and turns find us doing unusual things. I have greatly enjoyed my time in New England and especially Boxford, Ma. It is really out in the country but only 40 minutes from Boston and just 20 minutes from New Hampshire! It’s also close to Newburyport and the ocean. So it’s really a pretty nice location to live,  removed from the hustle and yet not have to drive 2 hours to reach civilization. More later. Back to training! Oh yea, check out my site at Beyond The Leash!

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.

Upcoming French Ring trial part of a larger movement

July 29, 2010


New movement to strengthen the European-based sport in the US

North Shore Dog Trainers Blog – Amongst a groundswell of activity for a serious revival of authentic French Ring sport, dog trainer and Beyond the Leash owner Scott Williams is now part of a growing group of canine specialists that are taking the protection sport back to its roots.

For those that don’t know, French Ring is a fast-pace, exciting sport that tests a dog’s agility, obedience, and their ability to attack and detain human subjects, or decoys. Canines jump, leap, and climb their way through obstacles as well as challenge themselves with attack exercises, both biting and escorting.

Rick Rutt, president of the recently formed American Ring Sport Federation, said that French Ring enthusiasts began a new organization for the sport in the US after many became to realize that the current French Ring organization operated with less stringent rules than their European counterparts  . He said it’s encouraging that Williams will be hosting a French Ring trial in Boxford, Ma. on Aug. 7 and 8. It represents one more step in the movement that is bringing a more disciplined and challenging form of French Ring Sport to the North Shore and the East Coast.

“There hasn’t been a French Ring Club north of Boston for a really, really long time. It would be nice to make that a hot bed of French ring once again,” said Rutt.

Williams, a dog obedience specialist and an expert in the recreational activity of Nosework, has been operating a French Ring Club out of Boxford, MA since the spring and using the upcoming trial to bring enthusiasts of sport from around New England into one venue.

For one thing, Rutt said that the type of activity in Boxford is exactly what the revitalization of French Ring sport needs right now. One main goal of the American Ring Sport Federation is to make trials, or competitions, spread over many regions so that Ring Sport enthusiasts don’t have to travel far to compete.

“It just gives everybody the opportunity to train and trial in a much more concentrated area,” said Rutt. “It definitely is an asset to us.”

There are currently 15 clubs on the East Coast practicing under American Ring Sport Federation rules since promotion of the new organization began last year.

For dogs, French Ring sport is a game, but a game that they take very seriously, and it caters towards dogs with a strong “prey drive, ” including breeds such as the German Shepherd, Belgium Shepherd, and Malinois.

Williams’ French Ring trial will take place on Aug. 7 and 8 and will take place in the fields behind the West Boxford Library, located on Washington Street in Boxford.

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.

French Ring Trial!

July 2, 2010

French Ring Trial Announcement!
The Patriot Ring Club is hosting its first French Ring Trial on August 7 and 8, 2010. The trial will be held in North Eastern Massachusetts. The field location is not finalized at this time. A French Judge is confirmed and Decoys are confirmed. Entry fees will be $50. We are presently welcoming volunteers to help with all aspects of the trial. If you have never seen a French Ring Trial it consists of obedience, agility and protection-based exercises. All dogs compete off leash and without collars. It is a challenging and exciting European dog sport. Spectators are welcome and encouraged to attend! If you live in North Eastern Massachusetts, Southern New Hampshire, Southern Maine or Southern Vermont, this will be a great opportunity to see what this activity is all about and meet French Ring Sport enthusiasts in your area. Save the dates! For more info call: 866.957.3647 or visit

Top 5 dog breeds in Boston

July 2, 2010

North Shore Dog Training Blog People like a variety of breeds for a variety of different reasons. Many people feel that their dog is “the cutest” and that their breed has all the best characteristics. Well, some of them are right.

Here are the top five dog breeds in the Boston area for 2009. As a side note, the Yorkshire terrier was kicked off Boston’s list since 2007 and the bulldog took its place with some other shifting involved (see the 2007 list below).

1.Labrador Retriever – “The Labrador Retriever is medium in size, strong, athletic, and well balanced. They are friendly, outgoing, and possess an extremely sweet personality. There are two types of Labrador: The American, which is tall and lanky, and the English, which is more thick and heavy. This sporting breed is adept at hunting and retrieving. Labrador Retrievers are revered as companions and highly respected for their loving nature.

This breed is highly intelligent, loyal, and deeply devoted. The Labrador Retriever is reliable, affectionate, and thrive on human companionship and attention. They are absolutely wonderful with children and get along exceedingly well with other dogs. They may be reserved with strangers and make good watchdogs. If this breed is left alone for extended periods of time without attention or stimulation they will become lonely, bored, and destructive.”

2. German Shepherd Dog – “The German Shepherd is a breed of classic beauty and possesses superior intelligence. They are highly adaptable, energetic, curious, strong, and dependable. This breed displays a magnificent appearance and is extremely agile with great stamina and endurance.

A member of the herding group, the German Shepherd is fearless, bold, hard working, and alert. They are esteemed for their loyalty, deep devotion, and courage. This breed thrives on human interaction from their family and does not like to be left alone for extended periods of time. German Shepherds are exceptionally wary of strangers. They will most generally get along with other household pets they have been raised with. This breed will attempt to perform the task of herding on anything and everything that moves. The German Shepherd is not recommended for the novice, apathetic, or sedentary owner.”

3.  Bulldog

“The Bulldog is moderate in size, heavy, and built low to the ground. They are strong, kind, amiable, and courageous. This breed is not vicious or aggressive and is quite dignified. They possess a passive demeanor and have a quirky sense of humor.

This breed is loyal, exceedingly affectionate, and deeply devoted to their family. The Bulldog is dependable, gentle, and does well in a home with children. They will get along with other pets they have been raised with but may be rude and try to bully strange dogs. They thrive on human attention and are dependent upon it for their happiness and well-being. The Bulldog has excellent guarding abilities but will only bark when absolutely necessary. This breed is very possessive of food and should never be fed in the presence of children or pets.”

4.  Boxer

“Boxers are lively, strong, and extremely loyal. They have an exceedingly high energy level. They carry themselves with pride, but are never arrogant. They have a stoic stance, and are intelligent, loving, delightful companions.

The Boxer is patient, dignified, and self-assured. They exhibit curiosity, but are wary of strangers. This breed is fearless and courageous if threatened. They are keenly alert and have a heightened sense of hearing, which make them excellent guard dogs. The Boxer adores children and other pets they have been raised with. They have an inordinate need for human companionship and do not like to be alone for extended periods of time. They are not well suited for a two career family. Insufficient attention may lead them into “bad” behavior in an attempt to be noticed.”

5. Golden Retriever

“The Golden Retriever is a gorgeous, large, and energetic breed. They are the world’s foremost family pet and companion. They are sturdy, well proportioned, and are well known for their hunting capabilities on land and in the water. The Golden is perceptive and agile.
Golden Retrievers are loveable, polite, and highly intelligent. They exude charm and confidence. They are sweet, eager to please, and devoted family companions. They do not do well if left alone for extended periods of time or they will become mischievous and destructive. They have a tendency to be overly exuberant and distractible. They are always gentle and patient with children. They are friendly with other pets. In fact, they are friendly with everyone. They tend to bark as a form of greeting. The Golden Retriever is not well suited for a two career family as they require an inordinate amount of human interaction and companionship.”

(All breed information and photos are from

Boston area’s top dogs in 2007

1. Retrievers (Labrador)

2. German Shepherd Dogs

3. Yorkshire Terriers

4. Retrievers (Golden)

5. Boxers

All ranking information taken from and

For training information, please visit or call toll free 866.957.3647

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

Top 5 outdoor activities to do with your dog in the North Shore

May 22, 2010

North Shore Dog Training Blog – North Shore dog trainer Scott Williams is offering his nationally-recognized Doggy Day Camp soon and he wants to remind dog owners that there are many outdoor activities in Essex and Middlesex counties that can serve as fresh and interesting ways to exercise with your dog. As summer grows near, these relatively low cost options are a great way to enjoy the weather as well as provide your dog with positive experiences that lead to better behavior.

Practice the “Come” command

Whether in your yard, a dog park, or while hiking, you can always practice the ‘come’ command with your canine. It gives you an excuse to leave the house and enjoy a nice summer day, yet it can also be a productive activity both your dog and you.

Have your dog swim and play fetch at a local pond

Visiting any local pond or swimming hole is a great way to spend time with your dog and allow them to practice fetching and swimming in one activity. It gives your dog a workout and reinforces structured commands as well.

Visit a dog park with your dog

Dog parks in general allow your dog to roam free and socialize with other dogs. Dog parks in Essex County and Middlesex County are few and far between but they can represent a trip to do something special with your pet. Pet owners can choose from Leslie’s Retreat Dog Park in Salem, MA, Lowell Dog Park in Lowell, MA, and Breakheart Reservation in Saugus, MA.

Go hiking with your dog

There are hundreds of miles of trails throughout many state parks in the Northeast region of Massachusetts. Hiking is obviously solid physical exercise that will also keep your dog occupied and happy. State parks with a variety of terrain and trails include the Georgetown-Rowley State Forests, Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest, Harold Parker State Forest, Bradley Palmer State Park.

Go camping

Whether for a family with a dog or a single dog owner, going camping with your canine can be a different outdoor experience. Here are a number of camping areas in the Northeast. Always double-check to ensure dogs are allowed.

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.

Beyond the Leash produces a solid group of Nosework contenders

May 16, 2010

Viviana and her Labrador Betty work to find scents on ordinary objects during a recent Nosework class. Betty passed her odor recognition test in March.

Nosework trainer Scott Williams went through his first round of odor recognition tests in the last two days of March since moving from the West Coast. His canine students produced a success rate that speaks to their abilities and reveals a positive evaluation of Beyond the Leash courses.

The odor recognition tests are a means to obtain an official certificate to allow canines to compete in sanctioned Nosework competitions or trials, which test a dog’s ability to locate a target odor within a predetermined period of time. The odor recognition test requires that dogs locate a scent within three minutes and sufficiently alert their owner. If do this they are awarded their certificate on the spot.

Despite the rainy weather, dog after dog filed into the basement at Lincoln Hall in West Boxford to take part in the tests and earn their certificate. Over the two days of trial tests, Scott ran 43 dogs of all shapes and sizes through his gauntlet of white cardboard boxes, one of which contained a birch-scented Q-tip.

With the help of one of his friends from the West Coast, Penny Scott-Fox, he gave each dog three minutes to find the birch scent inside one box. And of the 43 dogs, 39 were able to locate the scent and alert their owners sufficiently with in the three minutes, producing a success rate of 91 percent.

The four dogs that did fail do so because they either could not find the scent in three minutes, their owners did not notice that they had found the scent, or they simply alerted their owner on the wrong box.

He said that the success rate was satisfactory and that the four dogs failed for the typical reasons, i.e. new environment, human error.

Scott’s canine clients are now prepared and their owners are hoping to enter them into upcoming Nosework trials .  The next trial will be coming up soon in September at Masterpeace Dog Training in Franklin, MA.

With an official certification in Nosework training, Scott has the appropriate training to issue certificates that allow dogs to enter Nosework trials. He will soon be running another round of odor recognition tests for some dog owners in Connecticut.

Scott is beginning a new round of Nosework classes on May 23. Contact him at

‘Nosework’ classes brings dogs into their own

May 13, 2010

Boxford dog trainer has more than 100 clients hooked on ‘Nosework’

Nationally-recognized dog trainer Scott Williams has recently begun introducing the activity of Nosework to dog trainers and local pet owners in the Northeast. His company, Beyond the Leash, is currently one of a handful of training businesses in the country certified to teach the sport that is rising in popularity. While your dog doesn’t like checking Facebook and you don’t prefer sticking your nose into a pile of wet leaves, Nosework represents an activity that you and your dog can genuinely enjoy together.

Nosework involves hiding food or scented objects to strengthen your dog’s ability to locate an odor. These search-dog techniques introduce structured activities to your dog and allow him or her to grow; grow more into focus, grow closer to their strongest sense, and grow closer to you. The class begins by first incentivizing your dog to search and hunt using food hidden in one of several cardboard boxes. But in subsequent lessons, these canine students will track a birch scented q-tip under the wheel carriage of a pick up truck.

Scott Williams, of Boxford, has firmly placed himself as an east coast pioneer of the activity. Starting with classes in West Boxford, William’s Nosework training has now spread throughout New England as his students, some of whom are dog trainers, are now beginning to teach the classes in their own respective regions. Williams, however, is one of only a dozen trainers in the country with a certification to teach Nosework through the National Association of Canine Scent Work, the official governing agent for the sport. While it has been well under a year since he moved from the west coast, Williams has engaged over 100 dogs and dog owners in the activity that can bring a domesticated canine back to its primal instincts.

Dog trainers dig Nosework

Dog trainer Mac McCluskey travels down from Lebanon, Maine to attend Williams’ Nosework classes in Boxford. During a recent class, McCluskey took his 3-year-old Belgian Malinois Naiya through an advanced Nosework course. The course had the canine looking among random boxes, around the perimeter of a building, and in the various nooks and crevasses around the outside of a car using the search command “find it.”

“I do other dog sports with the rest of my dogs and I needed to find something for her. She seems to be pretty much a natural for it,” said McCluskey. “So it’s good for her and it’s a great outlet for her.”

McCluskey goes on to explain how his dog, and others, can enjoy the sport so much.

“Dogs are just like giant noses on four legs…dogs smell things the way we see things. So in a structured environment like this it really draws on what they do best. And that’s use their nose.”

To learn more about Nosework and Williams’s primary class, “Intro to Odor,” visit or contact Williams at Williams also offers obedience classes as well as his patented “Doggy Boot Camp.”