Pampered Paws in San Pedro: Mocha Graduates School!
Did you know we have a full-service dog grooming, daycare, boarding, and training academy on Middle Street in San Pedro? If you own a dog, you probably know all about Pampered Paws. And even if you don’t own a dog, you’ve probably seen the super-impressive pack walks on the beach. 10, 20, 30 dogs all walking in perfect alignment…no sniffing, no barking or scuffling. All moving together with a singular mission – make way for the pack walk!
I knew about the grooming at Pampered Paws – we sent our Elsie for a beauty session a few years back. And we have purchased dog food and treats there before. But we didn’t need any real dog training. Until now…
You might remember Mocha. Momo. She was left on Back-A-Back Street, San Pedro about 3.5 years ago. Half pitbull, half potlicker (we say she is a “Belizean Ridgeback”) – she lived on and around one of the cement docks and always looked so sad. One day she mustered up the courage to lean, hard, against Jeff’s legs. But he said we couldn’t get another dog.
And then we saw that she was pregnant.
Mocha gave birth to 13 puppies in the shell of an old golf cart on Leap Day 2020. We didn’t have a choice anymore. Mocha and her dozen (one didn’t make it past the first day) went to live at a foster home (thank you Tammy!)
We made a pen, rolled out some linoleum (called “marley” in Belize), and moved them into our house two weeks later. We spent the next two months or so of the pandemic lockdown cleaning up after the puppies, getting them adopted, and letting Mocha adjust to her new life. Lots more puppy pics at all stages in: An Ode To A Belizean Potlicker: Mocha and her Dozen
Mo is fantastic and gets better every day – sweet and eager to please. She is extremely deferential to Franny, our other dog, who is a little bully. But Mo is also very reactive…especially on walks. Excited…pulling…and extremely anxious when we run into other dogs…either trying to jump them and press them to the ground or just racing around like a maniac. Her only interaction with other dogs had been when she lived alone on a dock, unfixed. They probably weren’t the best experiences.
Jeff decided it was time for Mocha to go to school.
We brought Mocha to Pampered Paws for an introductory session – so that Kathy, the owner, San Pedrana and pet expert, could evaluate and give us some recommendations. She opened the business in 2001 and it has grown exponentially since then. Kathy also works tirelessly with SAGA Humane Society – she is one of the kindest and most hard-working people I know. She’s amazing.
We signed her up for the 4-day training course. Mocha would be dropped off at 9am each morning and pick her up around 3pm. Using balanced training techniques, Kathy and her team would work with her.
And here is what I had TOTALLY wrong about this whole process: this training was not just for our dog. We would not drop off Mocha and then pick her up “fixed”. Sure Mocha would learn how to sit at the door (her new “door manners”) and wait for our okay to go through.
She would learn to walk at the side of her walker and not ahead – no pulling and marking. She would learn to do a “down stay” when she got home. BUT this all depended on OUR LEADERSHIP. And mine in particular. No more of my “I’m her mom”, “comfort her and pet her through everything – good and bad”, and “but I just want my dog have fun and be a dog” philosophy…
Mocha needs leadership and direction. And here’s the crazy thing. SHE LOVES IT. Her tail goes crazy, round and round, when she sees her new Teacher Kathy. She comes home so much more relaxed and sleepy…so sleepy.
Jeff and I both had to practice our new lessons (we also got assigned reading) and Kathy documented it all…so we would not forget. She even came up to our house – to work with US and Mocha on our stairs, and at our door and on our walk.
4 days of intense study and Mo’s dad picked her up in the boat and brought her to the camp (her favorite place in the world.) Most likely singing Alice Cooper’s “Schools Out For Summer” together.
And this is a continuous process that is up to us. I have signed on to take Mocha for 2 short structured walks a day. To work her mind and her body but mostly her mind. To put her at ease…and make us all happier. We also hope to bring her to Pampered Paws once a week so she can walk with the pack and continue this amazing new ease around other dogs.
Kathy is a magician. Our anxious dog is now a dream…and can still be my baby. Win, win, win. I would recommend this to anyone who is having any sort of issue with your dog.
For more information on Pampered Paws, stop in and check out their website. It’s such a great operation and Mo is showing a whole new respect for my leadership! For now anyway…