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Leash Etiquette & Training Your Dog to be Calm on the Leash

Most dog to dog altercations occur on leash. Why is this?

  1. Owners generally have the leash taught, which changes the body language that the dog is giving off. This causes the initial greeting to be tense, or worse. A kind, natural greeting is in a wide, curve pattern that ends with their nose at the other dog’s butt. This very rarely happens with someone holding the leash.

  2. Owners often let their dogs try to “play on leash”, which usually ends up with one dog being clobbered and both dogs getting tied up, all the while with poor body language due to the leash. This eventually ends up going badly.

  3. Owners don’t always ask permission to allow their dog to greet another dog on leash. They often just allow their dog to approach, even if they don’t know if a dog is friendly or if the owner is ok with it.



My dog is crazy on leash, but we have been going to obedience classes for years!” Have you ever heard this?

If you allow your dog to approach people or dogs while pulling at the leash, they are going to learn that pulling gets them what they want. Plain and simple. If you demand that they sit and be calm (and praise them for that), AND if you do not allow them to be greeted or to greet on leash, they will learn that is how they are supposed to behave. They will learn that you are the most important person in the room and that the other people and dogs don’t matter that much. This is especially important to instill when your dog is a puppy.

MORAL: DO NOT ALLOW YOUR DOG TO GREET OTHER DOGS OR PEOPLE ON LEASH (if you want a calm dog that is focused on you).

How do I socialize my puppy then?

  1. Socialization does not necessarily mean physically interacting. Puppies under 5 months need to be exposed to different types of people, dogs, places, environments, sounds, smells, etc. If you teach them that the way they need to experience all of these things is by pulling on the leash, that is exactly what they will learn. If you teach them that we experience all of these things calmly, then that is what they will learn. They do not need to approach people or dogs to learn to be okay with them.

  2. Socialization to dogs, in the sense of continuing to learn play-styles and body language, can be done in a structured play setting–like inviting other well-behaved dogs over to play, or taking them to a puppy class where play is involved, or having them attend a conscientious daycare (like Dogwoods) or doing buddy times (one on one play) at Dogwoods. Trained professionals won’t let your puppy get overwhelmed/traumatized by dogs, which often happens when owners try to allow their puppies to play with the wrong dogs.


August Newsletter



Summer is HERE!

Have a stay coming up within the next few months? It’s time to hurry and book your dog’s stay at Dogwoods Lodge! Labor Day is already filling up as we speak and even the holidays are slowly getting booked.

Don’t delay and reserve your stay!

Our Next Group Classes Start August 1st
Did you miss our recent group classes? It’s never too early to enroll your dog in our next set of classes. Give our front desk a call to get you and your dog enrolled today!

Beat the Heat – Get a Treat!
With the weather getting hotter and the cool days fading away, it gets difficult to keep a dog entertained. When it’s too hot to go for a run, you’ll need an indoor alternative to keep them busy. Dogwoods Lodge offers a wide variety of bones, toys, and treats to help keep your dog from getting bored while being kept inside. We have everything from massive, tasty dino bones to interactive food balls.Need something simpler? Try a pig ear or a windee for a snack that they will adore. Not only are they tasty to your dog, but they also provide a great way to get rid of tartar and plaque build up. Ask our customer service specialists about what would be best for your dog today!

New Summer Time Service:

Make a splash with our new service for the summer! Pool time includes twenty minutes of play time in one of our pools followed by a cold Frosty Paw or ice cream kong.

Featured Retail Item
Today is the day to get your paws on a kangaroo filled Windee! This yummy treat will be 15% off for a limited time. Plus there are some wonderful benefits for your dog:
  • It’s a great way to introduce the kangaroo’s new protein
  • Joint and mobility support from the glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Kangaroo is heart healthy and high in protein
  • Removes plaque and tartar build up from their teeth

Happy announces her retirement!
Miss Happy has been a member of the Dogwoods Lodge family since July of 2013. This lovely little lady enjoys playing with many of the puppies that we have had throughout the years in our daycamp. A daycamp day was never complete for her without her lunch time peanut butter kong! Now that Happy has reached her senior years she has decided to retire from daycamp and spend more time at home with her family. We all love you, Happy!

They grow up so fast…

Featured Pup


The Mixed Shepherd

Check out our featured pup! Bruce is a bouncy, fun-loving mix who moves like he’s an animated character. He’s a dog that always brings a smile to every person he meets. Bruce loves RVing with his parents and saving the innocent in his other life as Batman.

Did You Know?
The most dogs ever owned by one person was 5,000 Mastiffs by Kublai Khan. That’s a lot of dog food!

Schedule Your Daycamp Dates NOW!

Have a set of dates that you need your dog to go to daycamp? Hurry and get that date reserved before it fills up. Rooms fill up quick, so don’t miss out!

Thank You!

Dogwoods Lodge staff would like to extend a thank you to all of our generous clients who have given us tips during check out! We have decided to pool our tips and rent a space for an awesome new break area where we can relax and bond after a hard-worked shift. We’ve started filling it with all sorts of amenities like couches, tables, television, game systems, board games, ect.

Chemical Free Cleaning!

We strive to not only keep your dog safe and sound, but to also provide them with a clean environment to stay in. Dogwoods Lodge is proud to announce that we have upgraded to a cleaning system that eliminates the use of any harsh chemicals!


This June we had to say goodbye to one of our daycampers, Jax. She was an amazing girl that brought smiles to all of our staff. Although she was shy at times, Jax became very close to those around her. Our heartfelt condolences go out to her family.


©2017 | DOGWOODS LODGE | All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
2960 SE Grimes Blvd
Grimes, Iowa



A Dog’s Anxiety

Just like humans, our canine companions experience anxiety for numerous reasons. With us being the owners of these animals it is our job to ensure that they live happy, stress-free lives. Causes such as trauma from past experiences, separation from their owners, improper socialization, or even having anxious owners are all factors that can contribute to a dog’s anxiety. Traumas such as abusive behavior from previous owners or abandonment can lead to future stress that the dog’s new owners will have to look out for.

The following are signs of a dog being anxious:

  • Panting
  • Whining
  • Pacing
  • Self destructive actions
  • Destructive to property
  • Urination in abnormal places like inside the home

The following are signs of a dog exhibiting fear:

  • Trembling
  • Tucked in tail
  • Flat ears
  • Hyper salvation
  • Cowering
  • Licking their lips
  • Frequent yawning
  • Attempts to hide

There are several solutions to aid in a dog’s anxiety, but not every solution will work for each individual dog. Some veterinarians may suggest a anxiety medication, Thundershirts, behavior modification techniques or even some calming treats. Separation anxiety has alternative solutions such as hiring a dog sitter, sending the dog to Daycamp for the day, or crate training while you are away.

If you need help overcoming these anxieties please contact our canine behavior specialist or our doggie guru at training@dogwoodslodge.com!

Schooling for a School Dog

Dog owner turns to Dogwoods Lodge Board ’n’ Train program to reform dog

Amy Ondler drove three hours one way to Dogwoods Lodge with Toby, her 8 month old, 70 pound goldendoodle in the car, being his normal obnoxious self.


At 2960 Southeast Grimes Boulevard, she opened the car door, and Toby yanked her into a reception area of pine paneling, an antler chandelier and a double-decker dog bed that rivaled the comfort of the sofa next to it. She pulled him to the counter, as he impishly bit at his leash and barked for attention.


Alice, a red and white speckled cattledog, and Libby, a calf-high tan mutt, trotted out with wagging tails to greet the pair. Behind her followed Jessica Lohry, owner and trainer, with a smile on her face and her hand extended — to take Toby’s leash. With it, she took his fate…


Toby had been gifted to Seasons Center Behavioral Health for students with special needs as a young pup. However, he was not allowed to step paw into the facility, because of his constant frazzled naughtiness. Caretaker Ondler brought Toby to Dogwoods Lodge hoping he would be fit to come back with her after he finished the four-week-long Board ’n’ Train program.


“The story of Toby and the Board ’n’ Train is kind of a unique one. He was a goldendoodle gifted to a mental health agency that needed to transform into a well-mannered, not so hyper therapeutic dog. Before going to Board ’n’ Train Toby was nipping, jumping, barking and dominant over all things,” Ondler says.


Toby was nowhere near ready to spread his joy to the children at Seasons Center.
“Continuous unruliness is the best way to sum it up,” Lohry says. “He would bark, jump on everyone and the counters, bite at everyone’s hands and clothes, bite at his leash, talk back — the list goes on and on. If he were a human, I would call him an ADHD bully.”


Though Toby’s “rap sheet” included a long list of common problem areas (and a few not-so-common), Lohry was confident her program could rid him of the bad behaviors. Lohry has had plenty of experience with all types of problem behaviors and training challenges. Eight years ago, Lohry earned professional training certification, behavioral specialist certification and e-collar training certification, and she has practiced all disciplines since.


The Board ’n’ Train program was developed by Lohry from those years of experience and her training philosophy.


“Of all of the programs we offer, Board ’n’ Train is by far the best one for so many types of dogs. Fearful. Stubborn. Challenging. Bull-headed. The dog learns at an incredibly fast rate in the program compared to in the home. And the four-week time span away from their current way of life gives them enough time to get out of the bad habits and into the new good habits, which is key,” Lohry says.


After the first week, Jessica had trained Toby how to come, sit, stay, walk on the leash and other basic obedience. The second week, she continued his obedience training with distractions, like other dogs, squirrels, outdoor noises and other people. In the last two weeks, she solidified his training by walking around public venues and past a yard full of dogs. So Toby could play fetch with the children back at the school, which doesn’t have a fence, Lohry also remote-collar trained him with the “come” command.


Ondler returned four weeks after her first visit to pick up the dog. Toby tested his owner momentarily by jumping on her and refusing to listen to her commands. Lohry spent time with Ondler, training her on how to get Toby to mind. And within minutes, Toby was responding to Ondler as he would Lohry.


“After coming home from Board ’n’ Train, he is remote collar trained, is able to go to the office setting, relaxes with kids while they pet him and is an all-around great dog. Not only did he behaviorally benefit from the Board ’n’ Train program, he also learned how to interact, play with and enjoy other dogs, which has been a great benefit for him as now he loves doggy play time,” Ondler says.


Since the program, Toby visits the facility nearly every weekday. He lies in his bed calmly without needing constant attention. He greets the children without mauling them. He plays fetch off his leash without trying to run away. He puts smiles on the students’ faces.


“Four weeks sounds long to be away from your dog,” Lohry says. “But I like to remind owners that it’s a very short amount of time in the whole scheme of things, and it is so worth it in the end. People almost always ask, ‘Why didn’t I do it sooner?’.”





About Dogwoods Lodge

Jessica Lohry opened Dogwoods Lodge in 2013 with the belief that dogs and dog owners of Des Moines deserve better. The full-service dog facility offers lodging, daycamp, grooming and training, as well as additional amenities to make dogs’ stays safer, engaging and more enjoyable — so their owners can have peace-of-mind while they’re away. For more information, visit DogwoodsLodge.com.

‘Remote Collar Debate’

Remote Collar

The Remote Collar Debate, or e-collar debate, has made national news recently. The trainers at Dogwoods Lodge would like to put in our two cents on the subject to help educate the public on their legitimate uses.

Remote collars or e-collars have been used for decades, primarily by hunting dog trainers. As of late, many other types of trainers have learned how to properly train dogs with these devices and have experienced their many advantages. The difference between how they were used in the past and how they are used now is significant. Hunting dog trainers used to use the collars at high punishment levels when the dog did something incorrectly. Now, modern trainers use them at very low levels — that humans can often barely feel — primarily as a communication tool. When taught properly, the dog is prompted by the low-level stimulation to do something or to stop doing something.

The advantages of remote collars when taught by educated, experienced trainers or owners are many:

  1. An e-collar gives many owners the peace of mind to let their dogs go off leash, which allows the dog and human a much happier existence.
  2. Owners who use e-collars for teaching the “come” command know that any level of stimulation is better than their dog putting themselves in danger of being hit by a car or running away.
  3. Dogs who may have had to be rehomed because their owners couldn’t handle them due to their craziness, strength or size can now be taught to be controlled in a very calm manner — and without popping their owner’s shoulder out of his/her socket.
  4. Ever had a deaf dog? It can be frustrating. But thankfully, they do really well with remote collars. The stimulation acts as a light tap on the shoulder, so they know you want their attention, and then you can give them a hand signal for what you want them to do.
  5. Many dogs who don’t respond well to other types of training do very well on the remote collar because they have to make decisions for themselves. The owner isn’t constantly tugging on them, screaming at them, shoving treats down their face… There is simply an annoying light stimulation that the dog has to figure out how to turn off. And by doing what their owner requests, it magically stops! Thus, making the command the dog’s decision to complete. It works wonders for stubborn dogs who seemed previously untrainable. (Huskies anyone??)

Those are just a few of the pros. See how they can be put into practice with this video!

The only cons to the remote collars are:

  1. The dog (in most cases) has to be wearing the collar for commands to be successful.
  2. There are many not-so-awesome brands on the market.
  3. They are available to the general public. Our feeling is if you haven’t taken a course on how to teach your dog on the e-collar, don’t do it. It’s very easy to confuse your dog and do it incorrectly.

So, the next time someone starts into a debate about remote collars, please try to enlighten them to the many pros of modern-day e-collars.

Why your dog hates being left home alone.

Ever notice that when you start packing your lunch for the day, your dog starts panting as if he just ran a marathon? Or maybe it’s when you exchange the sweatpants for jeans. Or maybe the moment you sling your purse or bag over your shoulder. Your dog knows you’re leaving — and unless you grab his leash and invite him along, chances are he’s not happy about it, because he knows that means he’ll be home alone.


You’re going somewhere exciting — and he’s going to miss out.

So maybe you’re not going anywhere exciting, but anywhere with you is exciting for your dog. He’s a member of your family. And he likes to stay with you, because when you leave he doesn’t know when or if you’ll be back, and he thinks he’s missing out on a super fun day with you.


It’s boring to be home alone.

So maybe he’s going to go chew on the corner of the couch to pass his time. Dogs need stimulation and exercise. But when left home alone all day, they often end up entertaining themselves in ways we owners aren’t too happy about. Or, they simply sleep all day and expect play, play, play! when you get home from a tiring day.


He’s got to go.

The bathroom. Bad. But there’s a pane of glass between him and his designated toilet and no one around with opposable thumbs. It’s bad for his bladder to hold it; it’s bad for your carpet for him not to.


But guess what? You don’t have to leave your dog home alone when you’re gone for the day! Bring them to Dogwoods Lodge, and we’ll provide frequent bathroom breaks, socialization, and optional amenities like Daycamp, buddy time, private walks or runs, and more. When you pick your dog up, you’ll have a well-exercised, happy pup ready to snuggle up next to you for the night.


Treat your dog to a fun-filled day while you’re away — ask about our Play Day Package!

Methods to keep your dog stress-free

Did you know…

…we do all sorts of things to keep your dog as stress-free as possible?

  • Play calming classical music during rest times
  • Have in-floor heating
  • Provide services like cuddle times and walks
  • Don’t allow tours during rest times to keep noise to a minimum

For stressed dogs, we try any combination of other things: covering their door, putting them in a Thundershirt, giving them a peanut butter Kong or bone to occupy their minds, or adding activities to their schedule.

If you have any ideas you would like to share with us about ways to keep dogs relaxed, feel free to email us at info@dogwoodslodge.com!

Important Daycamp updates

Dogs love Daycamp. The playing, the socialization, the toys and pack experience. And our well-trained staff go the extra mile to ensure your dog has a safe and enjoyable time.

While one of the key benefits of Daycamp to any dog owner is a well-exercised dog, we’ve learned that too much exercise is a bad thing. That’s why we now incorporate more rest periods during Daycamp. Our dogs have responded well: there’s less afternoon crankiness, less stress on joints, and more quality play periods.


At Dogwoods Lodge, we’re always trying to improve — so we can provide your dogs with the safest, most enjoyable Daycamp experience the Midwest has to offer.

The Latest at Dogwoods Lodge

Not on our mailing list? You can still stay up to date on the latest at Dogwoods Lodge. Just check out the image below!


Why I’m Thankful for my Dog

Why I’m Thankful for my Dog
Dogwoods Lodge employees share what they love best about their four-legged friends.

This time of year it’s easy to get caught up with the turkey and discounted shopping. But we really should take time to reflect on the things we’re truly thankful for. And for these Dogwoods Lodge employees, they’re most thankful for their dogs!


Caitlin is thankful for Argo!

  •  Caitlin AuerBreed: Border Collie Mix
  • Age: 2 years old
  • Nickname: Booper (She likes to “boop” her nose against mine)
  • Tricks: Argo can open and close cupboards, spin, play dead, high five, and we even share secret hand shake.
  • Temperament: Argo is a total sweetheart, but she has a little sass in her. She loves people as well as playing with other dogs — especially if they’ll run with her.
  • Favorite things to do together: I like taking Argo outdoors. She likes any game involving a Frisbee or water, so in the summer I take her paddle boarding and hiking.
  • Why I’m thankful for Argo: She’s my automatic playmate and right by my side for any adventure. Argo’s never failed to put a smile on my face, even after my worst day.
  • Argo’s favorite thing about Dogwoods Lodge: Argo loves seeing the staff and her doggie friends. And she loves the PB Kongs and Buddy Times when she’s lodging.


Ashley is thankful for Daisy!

  • BreedAshley Koester: Yorkie
  • Age: 7 years old
  • Nickname: Daisy Duke
  • Tricks: Daisy will shake if there’s a treat!
  • Temperament: When it’s me and her, she’s sweet and loving. Around other dogs, she’s a little shy.
  • Favorite things to do together: We love to cuddle. Also, she’s a licker.
  • Why I’m thankful for Daisy: She’s my best friend and fur baby. My life wouldn’t be the same without her, and I love getting to be her “mom.”


Andrew is thankful for Striker!

  • Snapchat-3539689623179998798Breed: Shih-Tzu
  • Age: 7 years old
  • Nickname: Strizz
  • Tricks: He can roll over and spin in a circle.
  • Temperament: Striker is chill. He thinks he’s the biggest dog in the room always.
  • Favorite things to do: Hang out with his best friend, Rass.  
  • Why I’m thankful for Striker: He’s my best pal.
  • Striker’s favorite thing about Dogwoods Lodge: He likes getting hot dogs from the trainer and hanging out with his dog pals that he’s made in Daycamp.


Erin is thankful for Gabbie, Toby and Sadie!

  • Erin dogBreed: Cockapoos
  • Ages: 9, 6 and 5 years old
  • Nicknames: Gabs, Toby T, Sadie Sue
  • Tricks: All three will sit, high five, and anything else as long as there’s a treat present.
  • Temperaments: They like to bark, but they love people. Toby likes to cuddle, and Sadie will jump in anyone’s lap.
  • Favorite things to do: Cuddle and play.   
  • Why I’m thankful for my Cockapoos: They make me smile every day.



Ben is thankful for Zelda!

  • Ben DogBreed: Border Collie
  • Age: 2 years old
  • Nickname: ZZ, Zelds, Zelda the Heavy Metal Princess
  • Tricks: Zelda can kiss on command, catch, and lie down. She goes nuts if you ask her if there’s a princess in the house.
  • Temperament: She’s active; she prefers to be outside and loves to explore every part of the yard.
  • Favorite things to do: Run and fetch her toys. She’s also the best cuddler when she finally calms down.
  • Why I’m thankful for Zelda: She is the sweetest lady on the planet and makes for a pretty awesome best friend.
  • Zelda’s favorite thing about Dogwoods Lodge: The bones and treats I bring home for her.



Janell is thankful for Emma and Foxie!

  • Breeds: Beagle and Pomeranian
  • Janell DogsAges: 8 and 12 years old
  • Tricks: Emma can tell time: She knows when we’re leaving, when it’s time to eat and when it’s time for bed. They both love to chase squirrels. And Foxie likes doing whatever Emma is doing.
  • Temperament: Emma loves all humans — especially kids. Foxie keeps to just our family. They both like to race the neighbor dogs through the fence.
  • Favorite things to do: Emma likes to snuggle, eat treats, run around the house and fight for my chair with Foxie. Foxie likes to bark and get a back scratch.
  • Why I’m thankful for Emma and Foxie: They snuggle with me and are always happy to see me. I laugh every day around them.
  • Emma’s and Foxie’s favorite thing about Dogwoods Lodge: They love getting baths and attention from the staff.


Page is thankful for Master and Messanger!

  • Page 1Page 2Breeds: Border Collie/English lab/American bulldog mix and Border Collie/English lab mix
  • Ages: 7 and 16 years old
  • Nicknames: BA, Baa, little brown dog; Mess or ol’ man
  • Tricks: Basic commands and Messanger can dance!
  • Temperament: Master is loving with the whole family—a little too much with the cat and Messanger. Messanger can be super silly sometimes and a grump other times. He spends most his time guarding his corner.
  • Favorite things to do: They both love belly rubs and snuggles. Master jumps on my lap for butt scratches and likes to play fetch. Messanger loves tug-o-war.
  • Why I’m thankful for Master and Messanger: These dogs brighten my day and cheer me up the instance I get home.
  • Master and Messanger’s favorite thing about Dogwoods Lodge: Messanger loves baths and treats at Dogwoods Lodge! Master also enjoys the treats and toys he gets there.



And the thing we’re most thankful for at Dogwoods Lodge? Getting to spend the days with awesome dogs like yours. We hope you had a happy Thanksgiving!