The Hippo


Jul 15, 2019








Sit. Stay.

Here are a few local programs offering expert help in training your dog. Check local shelters, kennels or veterinarians for pointers toward more training opportunities.

• Dog obedience classes are held at the Greater Derry Humane Society, Salty Lane Farm, Derry, on Monday evenings. The cost is $75 for a six-week session. Registration is required, and participating dogs must be current with all inoculations. Owners must accompany pets. Learn grooming, body language, behavioral modification, discipline, nutrition and more. Call 432-1512 or visit to sign up.

• Dog training classes are offered at PetSmart stores in Manchester (777 S. Willow St., 668-9848), Nashua (4 Cellu Drive, 595-6460) and Concord (299 Loudon Road, 224-1028). These in-store sessions are with the owner, the dog and a trainer and can be customized based on the dog’s needs.

• Fortunate K9 Dog & Owner Training at 29 South Ave. in Derry offers a six-week Obedience 101 class starting Saturday, Feb. 25, at 1:30 p.m., which will provide owners with the tools they need for a well-behaved dog. Cost is $259, and class is limited to six dogs. Call 432-5959 and visit

• Obedience classes are held through the Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire. Classes include “The Puppy Course,” “The Basic Course” and “The Advanced Course.” These hour-long, five-week courses are held every Tuesday and Wednesday night at the shelter at 545 Route 101 in Bedford. Call 472-3647.

• All Dogs Gym & Inn (505 Sheffield Road, Manchester, 669-4644, offers training sessions each month. Class subjects include good-dog behavior, agility and dog sports, matches and shows, and more.

• Olympia Kennels (168 Lane Road, Chester, 887-2391) offers dog obedience classes for $125 for five classes. E-mail or visit

• AllBreeds Canine Training Center (87B Bridge St., Pelham, 635-9199) provides a structured canine training program, as well as dog daycare and professional pet sitting services. Obedience training is 12 weeks long and teaches dogs how to walk nicely on a loose leash, behave in the presence of dogs and people, etc. Visit

• Ellis Dog Training (10 Main St., Suite 2A, Gonic Mill, Gonic, 335-1191) offers dog obedience classes throughout the week. Visit Cost is $100 for six weeks. Private training is also available by appointment.

• Mission Impawsible (Brentwood, 642-DOGS, offers obedience training for all ages and behavioral/obedience levels in dogs. Call for information or to book an appointment.

Places for pets

All Dogs Gym & Inn

505 Sheffield Road, Manchester, 669-4644,

The Barking Dog

210 Rockingham Road, Derry, 434-2275;

7 Beech Hill Road, Exeter, 773-2275;

208 Londonderry Turnpike, Hooksett, 222-2275;

Sendaishi Pet Resort

355 Straw Road, Manchester, 622-9684,

Your dog is an honor student
Canine academies bring out the best


It’s no surprise that even in hard economic times, people still find ways to treat and spoil their pets.

It may mean a trip to the groomer for a puppy pedicure, or a bag of feline-friendly baked goods brought home for Fluffy. Or it may be an outdoor play date at a local dog park or an agility training class at a nearby dog facility. Pet owners are often willing to go above and beyond for their four-legged friends, in traditional and sometimes less traditional ways.

Take Gail Fisher’s All Dogs Gym & Inn in Manchester. The facility offers such popular, time-tested doggie-care standards as grooming, boarding and training as well as relatively newer phenomena, including dog sports and daycare.

Fisher said she saw a growing need for dog daycare in the area and decided to establish her own place in 1993 at a former Gold’s Gym facility. She was renting the space for dog training classes at night, but the building was empty during the day. Fisher said she wanted to give people an alternative to leaving their dogs cooped up at home all day while they were working.

“I thought, ‘Why not try it?’” said Fisher, who has lived in New Hampshire since the early 1970s and whose book, The Thinking Dog, was published two years ago. “We [started to] offer doggie play during the day, and we saw 25 dogs per day within a year.”

During daycare services, dogs are matched with other pups that have a similar play style and energy for group play time. In addition to playing together, with trained staffers present, pooches have snacks and lunch time, nap time and training if requested by owners, which Fisher recommends for dogs that are timid or less confident.

“Training helps a lot of dogs come out of their shell,” said Fisher, who became an animal-lover at age 9 when she adopted her neighbor’s dog. Fisher now has two cats, a Bearded Collie and a rescued Shiba Inu.

All Dogs Gym & Inn, which has 50 full- and part-time employees, recently rolled out a new service called “The Puppy Place,” a separate area with trainers who work with puppies on basic manners such as house training and not jumping on people. This area and the facility’s other services are available from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. to accommodate commuters and others who work late, Fisher said.

Perhaps most unique to the facility are its doggie sports, including dog agility obstacle courses and Rally Obedience, a do-at-your-own-pace stationed course of dog manners and commands for dogs and owners.

“Dog sports in general are a great way for owners and dogs to do something together that involves training, exercise and an energy outlet,” Fisher said. “A lot of people meet great friends through dog sports, and they can involve the whole family.”

Dog agility classes include an obstacle course with tunnels, climbs, jumps, a “dog-walk” plank and more. The course, which has 18 to 22 obstacles, changes every time, and Fisher says the dogs seem to enjoy it. Other agility options include basic classes, competitive events, practice teams and non-competitive demonstrations.

All Dogs Gym & Inn also provides an option to help dogs build some C.L.A.S.S., that is, canine life and social skills, for which the facility has a “degree” system.

“It’s not sports, per se, but we teach [social skills] classes, awarding master’s, bachelor’s or Ph.D.s” to dogs who pass the class requirements, Fisher said. “They are all skills valuable for real life with your dog. We started offering this in January. Even the training itself involves lots of games.”

Jody Rogers, who has taken care of dogs since 1989, also offers agility classes and dog sports, including swimming and flyball, as well as a host of training opportunities at the three locations (Derry, Exeter and Hooksett) of her business, the Barking Dog.

These include courses in manners and basic training for puppies as well as off-leash obedience, recall, trick training, canine “good citizen” classes, and a specialty course called “Cranky Canines” that’s designed to calm and improve volatile behavior in dogs.

“We’ve maintained the mission of peace of mind and a good dog experience for dogs and owners,” Rogers said. “The foundation of our service is boarding, and in the late 1990s we began to offer dog daycare,” during which dogs can stay for the day, with structured activities for socialization, exercise and manners.

“A tired dog is a happy dog is a good dog,” she said.

As for the classes, most of them are just for fun, Rogers said. They provide a time for owners and dogs to bond and for owners to challenge and reward their best pals.

“It’s an odd thing, but the pet industry as a whole, and we are no exception, has done very well even through bad economic times,” Rogers said. “People are not skimping on their animals. Most people are trying very hard, and they may skimp on services for themselves, but they’d never think of changing their dogs’ diets or not taking them to play. Dogs play a really important role in our lives; they become members of our family.”

Located on 60 acres of land in northwest Manchester, Sendaishi Pet Resort is another place where dogs can socialize and dash around to their hearts’ content. Husband and wife Bill and Joyce Matott opened the facility in 1976.

“I had a stable job at a bank and stayed there for 20 years,” Joyce Matott said. “After a fashion, I wanted to do something different. I visited some kennels in the area and thought, ‘They’re not that nice, so let’s do something different.’”

Sendaishi offers a variety of services and activities for dogs, including play schools and nature walks, daycare, boarding, grooming, obedience training, and a unique canine rehabilitation program for post-surgery dogs and dogs with osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, disc disease and other conditions.

Joyce Matott, who took veterinary technician classes and completed a similar program at the University of Tennessee, has been rehabilitating dogs at Sendaishi for the past eight years.

“It’s something that I feel really good about when dogs leave,” she said. “This is doggie PT (physical therapy). Dogs come in twice per week. … Sometimes we get more geriatric dogs, and it’s just fun for them; it seems to rejuvenate them a bit.”

In addition to an underwater treadmill, Sendaishi offers stretching exercises, heat and cold therapy, ball and balance board exercises and more in the way of rehab.

When Joyce and Bill Matott aren’t rehabilitating dogs and overseeing Sendaishi, they are caring for their 28 Alaskan Malamutes, which live in a separate outdoor, roofed area near their home. When the dogs were younger, Bill used to race them, Joyce says. These days, they are more likely to be found at a dog show.

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