Dog Gone Smart Hosts Puppy Bowl Puppies
Nestled in Norwalk, Conn. is something dog lovers would call a magical place.
Dog Gone Smart is a state of the art canine center with multiple services for dogs and their owners. It features day care, boarding, training, grooming and even swimming.
Dog Gone Smart also manufactures innovative pet products like the trademarked Repelz It pet beds and apparel.
The company was actually home to 16 of the 2015 Puppy Bowl puppies. Florida Little Dog Rescue, who provided 16 pups for Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl, housed the puppies at the Dog Gone Smart facility before the big game. This allowed for important social interaction and play time.
Chris Onthank, founder of Dog Gone Smart knows the importance of puppy interaction.
“Dogs are euthanized in America because of lack of proper socialization during imprinting,” he said. “Most aggression comes from fear so puppies are put down for dog to dog aggression or dog to people aggression so the first 16 weeks are critical to a puppy’s growth.”
Onthank is an aggression specialist with extensive knowledge in dog behavior. He founded Dog Gone Smart in 1993.
According to him, Dog Gone Smart is one of the oldest dog day care center in the United States. Each class and boarding area is separated by age and size to ensure proper safety and interaction.
“We have puppy playtime here,” he said. “We have puppy swim. We get them in the water. We get them to hear different sounds and see different sights. By letting them do this, we find that the dogs are better with people, less fearful, easier to train so we start now with our puppy classes.”
Dog Gone Smart tests all their products at the facility. That’s how they know it works.
“Our new Ninja bed is used as the cushions on all the beds in our pens out there,” said Onthank. “It’s been here for two years now so we know it doesn’t get chewed up and then we can start producing them and selling them.”
Onthank and the Dog Gone Smart team also works with retailers as a trainer in stores.
“Associating yourself with a trainer makes for great and easy sales,” he said. “If you clear out and do some group classes, it’s a great and natural add-on service. It can really increase sales. Customers really look to trainers for recommendations.”
Every one of the Dog Gone Smart trainers do yearlong training internships before working at Dog Gone Smart. Some trainers have been with the company for over 15 years.
“We’ve seen it all,” said Onthank. “And you’ve got to bring in somebody that really has that expertise so they can answer all questions confidently.”
Dog Gone Smart and Pet Age held a training camp with many of the Puppy Bowl puppies. All were adopted out but some clients in the area still bring the puppies to Dog Gone Smart for training or boarding or grooming.