Press-Republican

June 16, 2013

Canine Adventure has improved play yard

DAN HEATH
Press-Republican

PLATTSBURGH — A local doggie daycare has installed state-of-the-art artificial turf in its outdoor play yard.

Deidre Berman, who owns Canine Adventures with her husband, Greg, said they installed about 4,600 square feet of artificial turf in the fenced-in play area in early May.

“It has many, many benefits,” Berman said.

The material is low maintenance and allows liquids to drain through to five-inches of sand below. It eliminates holes and trenches the dogs used to dig in the play yard, which makes the area safer for both dogs and humans.

Dog owners happy

Her clients are happier, Berman said, because the dogs now come home very clean.

The project was funded with a $20,000 grant through the Town of Plattsburgh’s Microenterprise Grant Program. Berman said that to qualify, she had to hire at least one new employee and attend business training provided by the North Country Small Business Development Center.

There is also an 1,800-square-foot interior play area featuring a rubber floor, which is better on a dog’s joints.

Canine Adventure opened in 2008, and only offered doggie daycare at that time. Grooming was offered for awhile, but the business now offers training classes instead.

Those are provided by Canine Adventure Head Trainer Deb DeSilva, who is also president of the Clinton County Canine Club. She has 25 years experience as a communications professor in college, which she is now applying to both people and their canine companions.

DeSilva said she is a certified American Kennel Club Good Citizen and Socialization, Training, Activity and Responsibility (S.T.A.R.) Puppy Evaluator. She has earned more than 75 continuing education units from dog-training workshops and plans to take the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers exam in September.

Canine Adventure offers a wide variety of group and individual training classes from off-leash puppy training for dogs from 10 weeks to 24 weeks old on up. Consultations for advice on choosing the right breed of dog are also available.

The idea is to get dogs socialized as early as possible, after which they are ready to attend daycare. Berman said puppies are often isolated from other dogs and can be overwhelmed when they first interact with other dogs.

Focuses on positive

DeSilva said her training is all based on positive reinforcement, not aversion techniques such as prong or shock collars. That may take a little longer, she said, but is more likely to last longer.

“Our goal is to help them become well-rounded,” Berman said.

Play groups are organized by the size of the dog. There is one staff member for every 10 dogs.

The center has a lot of interactive toys to provide pets with mental stimulation.

“That can really lower their negative behaviors,” Berman said.

Staff from Canine Adventure have made presentations in schools and child day-care centers on interaction with dogs.

Canine Adventure started a small retail business about a year ago. Berman carries a variety of high-quality foods, treats, toys and dog accessories.

She said most people don’t realize you should change the type of food a dog eats periodically so it has a more well-balanced diet. DeSilva said that can also help prevent pets from developing allergies.

Originally from Plattsburgh, Berman worked as a veterinary technician while earning a degree in Animal Behavior and Psychology.

Worked at SeaWorld

She trained domesticated animals at SeaWorld Adventure Parks and was later assistant manager of a large doggie daycare in Virginia.

After she returned to Plattsburgh, Canine Adventures was launched due to her fascination with watching dogs interact.

“I like watching them,” she said. “I like watching the behaviors behind them.”

For more information, visit www.canine-adventure.com or call 562-0552.

Email Dan Heath:dheath@pressrepublican.com