Always creative and a go getter, this reporter remembers interviewing Jayme Woodhouse McKenzie about an initiative she started in Grade 2.
Some years later, Woodhouse McKenzie started training dogs when her dog, Spencer, came into her life. She had to learn and teach from the beginning and it continues today as she celebrates the second anniversary of her store, and training centre business., Pawsitive Attitude Dog Training, in La Ronge.
She employs five people, some work in the store and others are walkers.
“When I got Spencer, I started training her, and then there’s a lot of missing things here in Town. Like, there’s no walking, so I started the walking and then it sort of grew from there,” McKenzie said.
After getting the walking component underway, she added a rental building, which she hopes to purchase and expand.
The store was the next step, and it boasts a colourful array of dog-friendly stock.
“There’s dog food, toys and then I make my own treat line of dog treats and we also do the training in there as well,” McKenzie said.
She also offers basic dog-training. It begins with learning to sit, stand up and other elementary moves so that, “people around town learn how to train their dogs properly.”
Usually starting with a young dog, she continues to build onto the training.
“It’s been really good because a lot of people don’t know how to treat their dogs,” she explained. “It’s a learning experience for the dog and the owner.”
McKenzie has some organized classes going now, such as the Puppy Class, the Basic Manners, and “we’re hoping to do an advanced one this fall.”
Another aspect includes walking groups for socialization, she said.
“The big groups, helping them to behave around other dogs and stuff.”
Find her niche, she began training herself, which involved taking a year long course which gave her a Dog Trainer Certificate. Then she trained with trainers in Saskatoon, before starting her business.
“It’s a lot of work but it’s definitely fun.”
She recently completed Therapy Dog Trainer course.
“Now, I can certify them in Canada … It was a lot, but I’m glad to have it cause there’s nothing closer. It’s hard to find service dog trainers as well anywhere, so that’s been helpful.”
She also travels to Saskatoon to train service dogs, as well.
“I go to Saskatoon every two weeks-ish and do mainly service dogs there.”
Training service dogs includes basic training then focusing on the particular tasks they are required to do, which includes various techniques to sensitise both the dog and owner.
On the other side of the business, the store, with few pet products, particular healthier options, she began bringing in “heathier treats”. I try to keep the standards high … it keeps me busy!”
And future plans include purchasing the building she now rents and expand the top floor with a large training room.
“All those walls can come down so it’s just one big training room. People want, like dog washes … it’s basically a big bathtub a dog can go in. and you can bring your dog. It’s a lot easier. People want that, but we’re just slowly expanding.”
Other dreams for the future include perhaps a private dog park, but getting the land needed is challenging