Playtime: So you want (or do you have) a dog? Adoption and Training Resources

Dog #1: Ziggy

Usually when people ask you “Have you seen It’s us– the TV show / tearjerker on NBC – it’s about plot reveals or sympathizing with how much you cried while watching. More recently for me it was asking if people had seen the story where the character Toby looks at a website designed to find pets, in this case a dog, to relieve stress.

Just over two years after losing our dog, I found myself doing the same thing to relieve stress and distract myself from what was in the middle of a tough school year. Another search the day after I saw this episode – combined with “not a ‘no'” from my husband – started our path to adding a dog to the family. We had to do a bit of a “we’re going to Disneyland” reveal about finding a dog, but we had to mix it up with a deal with working with the kids because turning the “not a ‘no'” into “yes”” demanded promises to share the workload on this dog.

In the past our pets had been strays or adopted from a human society style place, where you usually meet and bring the animal home the same day, so I was unprepared for our experience on the web trying to adopt a new dog. This route found us sitting at our kitchen table being interrogated by a woman doing a “home check”; spend a whole day making several stops between Lynnwood and Puyallup; lots of waiting and frankly, a bit of heartache, before we end up with our first new dog – I swear they are breeding – Ziggy, a 10 month old Miniature Pinscher mix.

A puppy class. (Photo courtesy of Blue Collar Doghouse)

While we waited to get Ziggy home, I started researching resources; I checked locations to get my family’s recommended food, compared prices for necessities, and stopped by Blue Collar Doghouse in Edmonds to see if they had any recommendations on how/where to find dog boarding since what they offer is weekday dog ​​daycare. It was then that I met Cathy Madson CPDT-KA, dog trainer and manager at Blue Collar Doghouse. Madson not only gave me some names, but also answered some questions I had about our adoption and his impending arrival.

It wasn’t a full week of having Ziggy home before I called Madson for help, and another week until we were on the roster to start an introductory basics course. six weeks at Blue Collar Doghouse. You see, Ziggy suffers from separation anxiety. If you’re like me, you had no idea what existed in dogs – like zero idea. Wikipedia describes dog separation anxiety as a “condition in which a dog exhibits distress and behavioral problems when separated from its owner.” Now I’ll spare you every detail – unlike everyone I’ve spoken to – but we really leaned on Madson’s advice, as well as the staff at Brier Veterinary Hospital, who offer a free visit. to the office for rescues.

After seeing great results using Madson’s suggestions, we couldn’t wait to start the session. The first class, which is for humans only, felt like my first PEPS group, as we walked around the room sharing cute stories and airing grievances, if you will, that created an instant camaraderie within the class. Over the next five weeks, we taught Zigs, as we call him, to sit, lie down, touch his nose with our hand, get into bed, and lie down. We also got a lot of help walking on a leash while using a clicker – I won’t break it down, but it’s basically the same principle as the whistle used with the dolphins.

What was so great for us was that in that first session she really broke down the method and so we were (mostly) able to apply it to other situations and training needs – like how to feed two dogs at a time or how to get a Lego gun from a dog who thinks it’s food. I say mostly because we also did a private session with her which is discounted if you take lessons as we needed some extra help with our very nervous dog.

Madson told me that the next “Intro To Basics” session at Blue Collar Doghouse starts July 31st. For questions, registration, and information about their many other classes, you can click HERE.

City of Mountlake Terrace dog obedience classes. (Photo courtesy of the Town of Mountlake Terrace)

Before I get to the second dog, our amazing experience at PAWS, based in Lynnwood, and how you can donate to them at this month’s Edmonds Art Walk, I want to let you know of the many other options for local dog training. There are three different dog training classes available in the town of Mountlake Terrace. Another session of their “Basic Dog Obedience” course begins on July 9th. This weekly evening course covers “walking on a leash, sitting, lying down, getting up and coming”. Their “Beyond Basic” class builds on these skills and, in my very non-expert opinion, it’s a good idea. The town of Mountlake Terrace also offers a Puppygarten class for puppies 8-16 weeks old. This class covers basic socialization and obedience; “Sit, lie down, come and walk on a leash.” I called at the MLT Recreation Pavilion today and each class still has space available. For more information on each class or to register, you can visit or call them at 425-776-9173.

PetCo and PetSmart, which have locations in Lynnwood, also offer training courses. Specific classes and schedules aren’t online, according to the man I spoke to about PetCo, because options vary by location. He told me that their trainers are flexible and can make it work if the classes available don’t fit your schedule. One of PetSmart’s checkers, who was comparing prices among other companies the last time I was there, sang the praises of one of their trainers who had helped her with her struggling dog. also against separation anxiety. For more information on PetCo courses, their contact details and schedules are HERE and for the same information on PetSmart, you can click HERE.

Now let’s talk about PAWS! I could spend all day on PAWS (Progressive Animal Welfare Society) which not only has a Companion Animal Shelter in Lynnwood, but also a Wildlife Center. In fact, if your dog is found stray in Edmonds, he may end up waiting for you at PAWS. While we’re at it, they also offer low-cost neutering and neutering surgeries for qualified low-income individuals, and they take in injured or orphaned wildlife after helping you determine if assistance is needed. I was on the other end of this phone call for a baby opossum and they were very helpful.

Dog #2: Jack

After over four months of having Ziggy, I was still visiting the website full of available dogs on a regular basis. Considering the continued reading and having exhausted most options to cure Ziggy’s separation anxiety, we decided – with the advice of several professionals – to adopt another dog when we found the right one. Our experience adopting Jack – a little bit of everything 5 years – from PAWS was calm, thorough and kind. The staff answered our questions while making sure Jack was a good fit for us and us for him. While Jack wasn’t the bearded dog I was looking for pictures for, he was the kennel dog I couldn’t help but return to. His uneven ears, fox-like tail, and incredibly soft coat make his lineage very fuzzy, but it’s fun to guess. When meeting the children, he managed to climb both towers at once and the pleas to take him home began. It was great to have Jack here and the consensus that “two dogs isn’t twice the work” seems generally true. Ziggy is doing much better while we’re away, and with the guidance of Madson, the Brier Veterinary Clinic, and the PAWS behaviorist, he and Jack quickly become friends.

Pet portraits for PAWS at the July 19 Edmonds Art Walk.

If you want to help PAWS, there’s a fun opportunity to do so at ARTspot Edmonds, 408 Main St., during this month’s Edmonds Art Walk on Thursday, July 19. Artists Mike O’Day, Cody French and Julia Carpenter will go so far as to sketch portraits of anyone showing up with their dog or photos of any pet. From 5-8 p.m., you can get an original pet portrait for a suggested donation of $10 per drawing, no reservations required. Artists can also work from a photo if your dog might not be an AWE fan and “photos are a great option if you want a portrait of your cat too!” according to the Facebook Events page.

ARTspot Edmonds says this is “one of the funnest art walk nights we’ve had in the last year,” raising $795 in donations, with 100% of your donation going to PAWS. For more information about this event, you can find the Facebook events page HERE and for more information about PAWS, you can visit

— By Jennifer Marx

Jen Marx, mother of two boys, is always on the lookout for a fun place to take the kids that tires them out enough to go to bed on time. You can find her on Twitter trying to make sense of the kids’ plea to “just eat the mac n cheese.”

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