August 21, 2014

A new breed of athlete in Williston

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State-of-the-art dog training facility opens in town

May 19, 2011

By Adam White
Observer staff

Cassy Lamothe (left) and owner Amy Haskell of Show Me The Biscuit are enjoying their new state-of-the-art training facility in Williston, after enduring two previous seasons in an unheated barn in Milton. (Observer photo by Adam White)

There is just something noticeably different about a champion athlete. The way he maintains his focus forward as he weaves between poles on an obstacle course. The way he tenses his powerful leg muscles before leaping over a hurdle.

The way he licks his master’s face after gobbling down a treat as a reward for his performance.

Elmo, a 6-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, leaps over an obstacle on the agility-training course at Show Me The Biscuit in Williston on Monday. Elmo has won numerous titles in agility competitions, thanks in part to more than four years of training during which he has indeed been shown the biscuit. (Observer photo by Adam White)

Elmo, a 6-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who has won more than his share of agility competitions, is a star pupil at Show Me The Biscuit – a dog training company with a new, state-of-the-art indoor facility on Zephyr Rd. at Guy’s Farm & Yard. Elmo’s owner, John Marcus of Jericho – who admittedly represents the “highly-addicted end of the spectrum” when it comes to competitive agility training for dogs – is thrilled with the new facility.

“Nobody else in the state has equipment that is this new, and this safe,” Marcus said. “It is very important to me that my dogs don’t get injured, because I run them hard. This type of floor and equipment is exactly what is being used at all of the biggest competitions.”

Show Me The Biscuit moved to the new facility after spending several years in Milton, where the company was forced to conduct several seasons of indoor training inside an unheated barn. Trainer Cassy Lamothe was forced to cancel training sessions when the temperature dipped below 20 degrees, largely to protect those who didn’t have natural fur coats.

“That was actually harder on the people than it was on the dogs,” Lamothe said. “Dogs take everything in stride.”

The new facility in Williston opened last month, and boasts approximately 4,000 square feet of space in which Lamothe and owner Amy Haskell have assembled a colorful array of ramps, tunnels, hoops and other obstacles to help hone canine agility.

“We’ve been very busy,” Haskell said. “We’re more centrally located here, and we’ve had a lot of new clients.  People really like the new space.”

The curriculum runs from puppy training through good manners classes to a good citizenship course, of which a dog can earn a certificate that its owner can use to impress a potential landlord. Show Me The Biscuit also offers therapy dog classes, for animals that will later visit people in hospitals and nursing homes.

Though Elmo’s agility training has translated into trophies and medals, Lamothe said that even non-competitive canines could benefit from working out at the new facility.

“One of our biggest goals is to help people communicate with their dogs,” Lamothe said. “Problem dogs typically don’t know what they’re supposed to do; a lot of time people think they are training their dogs to do one thing, but the dog is actually learning to do the opposite.”

That heightened level of communication is often the key to behavioral issues, particularly with dogs in new living situations.

“We see a lot of rescue dogs that don’t have a lot of confidence, and training helps make them better,” Lamothe said. “In fact, a lot of dog problems – like being too hyper or food-driven – can be turned into positive behavior through training.”

Show Me The Biscuit will host a Fun Day on Saturday, May 21, to help introduce the public to its new facility in Williston. For more information, call 879-3130 or visit www.showmethebiscuit.com.

 

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