Miranda Creative Support

Maybe he should visit with his second family for a bit.


Hello friends,

This isn’t post telling you how clean our place is. It was spotless before this virus, and it will be spotless again, in the better days ahead.

We’re writing because clients are calling and asking for advice.Some are not getting flights home, others are expecting national guard deployment. The heroes in the frontline of healthcare, EMS and first responders know that there are long days ahead — everyone is asking for help with a plan.

Whatever is at the heart of your anxiety, we know it’s a difficult right now to determine what’s best for your entire family — including your beloved dog.

Here’s what we suggest:

1. Have your options open — if you think you **may need to board your dog, make sure vaccinations are up to date and in compliance with our healthy guidelines — (https://qkdogs.com/our-services/dog-boarding/)

Call us to talk about your potential timing and so we are aware of space needs.

2. If your dog is here and needs to stay — don’t worry, he is having an amazing time and will continue to do so. Call and update us about your change of plans and we will pour on some extra love to reduce anxiety… in you. We will send more photos and provide any treats that you request.

3. Stay informed about CDC guidelines — most, but not all, are suggesting that dogs be kept away from those working through the COVID symptoms because there is so much we don’t know about this animal-based contagion. Do your research and consider your options, especially if you are a sole owner.

4. Work with us on keeping social distance and understand that we will be accepting dogs using our in-house collars and leashes, and doing transfers at cars/curbsides for a bit, to reduce exposure on all sides.

Have questions? We all do… but we will do our best to answer what we can. Please call or email at any time and together, we will get through the next few weeks as healthy as possible.

For the love of dogs, respectfully, Jennifer Broome

14 ways to show your dog LOVE this Valentines Day!

  1. EXERCISE! This is probably one of the most important outlets in a dog’s life. Sadly, all too many dogs just do not get enough. Dog’s do not care if it is too cold out. They do not care that you are tired from work. They did not wait for you all day just so you can love on them, NOPE they yearn to run, romp, play and burn energy. Satiate your dog’s carnal need to move, travel, cover ground and be outdoors. If the weather is just too crummy for you, then invest in a treadmill as dogs love to workout on a treadmill. Just 15 to 20 minutes can really exhaust them.
  2. LEADERSHIP! Being your dog’s Leader does not mean you have to be some crazy Alpha, yelling, overly controlling, extremely dominant human. The best definition of a Leader is that others want to follow. If you can portray consistent Leadership you actually can take a lot of stress off of your dog since they will choose to follow you rather then own you, guard you, challenge you, or take on the role of running your household.
  3. TOUCH! If you are touched endearingly by a loved one, think about how that form of communication made you feel. It often relaxed you, soothed you, and that touch felt good and kind. Why then do people rough up, pat hard, and otherwise pet or stroke a dog with such excitement, energy or dominance that it is actually antagonistic to a dog!? Try this instead… touch your dog with sincerity, softness, kindness and compassion. You will find that this touch soothes them, relaxes them, it creates an incredible bond, and your dog will melt into your touch calmly.
  4. TRAINING! At QK we coined the phrase “A Tired, Trained Dog Is A Happy Dog!”. Rather than lots of NOs or corrections for wrongs, train your dog so he knows how to act properly. At QK our standard is to teach all dogs to walk politely on leash, come to us, sit, lie down and go to bed. These simple commands give dogs direction and help to mold actions and behaviors. A trained dog is happier, healthier, more self-confident and just more pleasant to be around!
  5. TRAVEL! One of our QK mentor’s Rick Smith says “Good Dogs Get To Go Places!” This is so true. Take your dog to a brewery, go to a state park, go to the beach, even just go for a car ride. Dogs love to be with their owners and they enjoy new places and adventures. With proper training and exercise, your dog can learn to be quite a good citizen and live such a more fulfilled life.
  6. WAISTLINE! Don’t let your dog become overweight. Just 3 extra pounds on a dog is equivalent to 30 pounds on a human, so if your dog is even 6 pounds heavy that is like you gaining 60 pounds! Do not worry about weight numbers; instead, look at your dog every day. In a healthy, physically fit dog you should be able to feel their ribs and see a waistline. When they sit there should not be a roll of fat on their waistline. Keeping your dog trim will help to keep them healthier, reduce sports-related injuries, reduce the incidence of fatty tumors and allow them to live an even longer life. Love them with exercise and training, NOT treats.
  7. FEEDING PROGRAM! Look at your dog’s waistline. Are they too heavy, too thin or just right? Do not just follow the instructions on the food bag, feed your dog to achieve an ideal body score condition based on your dog’s exercise schedule, age and metabolism. Cut back food as needed and certainly increase when needed. Review your dog’s diet. Are you aware of DCM (Dilated Cardiomyopathy)? This is a serious issue right now with a grain-free diet in dogs, so please do some research. Stop by the kennel or call us to discuss food as we have lots of experience with a variety of diet choices based on your dog’s needs.
  8. QK SUPPLEMENTS! We have three supplements that are custom made for us. Our QK Daily Support Plus has pro and prebiotics for digestion, vitamins and minerals, Omegas for a healthy coat and joint supplements. This is a great addition for all dogs to their current diet for overall improved health and wellness. Our QK Digestive Wellness is loaded with pro and prebiotics to help maintain a healthier gut for dogs who may digestion issues. Lastly, our QK Norwegian Kelp provides a variety of health benefits.  Read more at https://qkgear.com/collections/for-the-dogs
  9. DENTAL CARE! Look at your dog’s teeth. Most dogs already have periodontal disease by the age of 2. Tartar built up on their teeth is loaded with bacteria that goes right under the gum line and into the bloodstream. This can lead to a variety of health issues and sadly affects organs and shortens dog’s lives. Nurture your dog’s chewing desire by providing healthy chews that can break up tartar, clean teeth and give your dog a healthy activity which they crave. We highly recommend YAK chews. Visit our QK store to purchase these chews.
  10. QK DAYCARE! Enroll your pup in our energy-burning, fun-loving, playmate packed PLAYCARE program. They will be sure to romp, play, socialize and truly have a blast.
  11. QK SPA DAY! The dirtier our QK dogs get playing, the more fun they have. After QK Daycare why not pamper your dog with bath, a haircut, a Furmination treatment to reduce shedding and the works with conditioner, ear cleaning and pedicure.
  12. NEW ID COLLAR! We offer some really spiffy, colorful, and stylish identification collars complete with a pop-riveted brass nameplate with your important information. In the event your dog is lost or injured, an ID collar could save his or her life. The biothane (plastic-coated nylon) or leather feel synthetic collars resist odor, they are waterproof and easy to clean. Call the kennel to learn more or visit to see our samples.
  13. COMFY BED! From our cot style, Kuranda beds to fleece mats and fluffy cot covers we have great dog beds that are easy to clean. We use Kuranda beds exclusively at QK for all of our boarding and training dogs as these beds are chew resistant, easy to clean and the hammock-style design keeps them suspended off the hard floor to protect their joints. We use these beds in our training programs as a GO TO BED destination since the elevated bed becomes an easy way to identify a place for dogs to go to. We also offer stylish covers for the beds or we have giant rolls of heavy-duty thick fleece that we can cut to size making great crate beds or fleece mats to throw over furniture, car seats or pillow style beds. These mats are bleachable and hold up amazingly to use and abuse.
  14. NEW TOYS! Dogs always enjoy new toys. Supervised toys include any toys that dogs can chew, ingest, or destroy. These are often plush and may even have squeakers. Did you know the squeak toy drives dogs crazy because it sounds like a dying prey animal! Therefore your dog LOVES to rip these toys apart since that carnal nature cannot be contained. So, while soft toys are a ton of fun for dogs, they are also one of the top causes of surgery due to ingestion. Be careful with soft toys. Worried about your overly aggressive toy chewing dog? Try a Kong toy, Nylabones, deer antlers or synthetic toys or marrow bones that can be safer for those aggressive chewers. (Avoid all rawhide bones as they are often bleached, dyed, salted, and can be a terrible choking hazard.)

Dr. Williams recommends…

Winter is here, and with it come colder temperatures. Many dedicated dog owners take advantage of this relief from warmer days to give their pet a break from flea and tick prevention. However, pet owners and veterinarians in various regions of the US will continue to see ticks during the winter months. It is not unusual to find ticks on dogs in the Northeast United States throughout the year, and Lyme Disease is diagnosed during all 4 seasons!



Because of this, we recommend flea/tick prevention 365 days per year, especially with the trend of warmer winter weather. Remember that ticks are not killed by cold temperatures! While ticks may “hibernate,” as soon as the thermometer climbs to near 40 degrees Fahrenheit, they will become active again and ready to feed on your pets.

Regarding the type of flea and tick medication you select for your pet, you should be aware of how they work in general. Some of the products available will repel ticks, whereas others do not repel but will kill ticks when they bite your dog. It is possible to use multiple products together to protect your dog both externally and from the inside out as well.

We also recommend year-round heartworm prevention. This monthly medication not only protects your dog against heartworm, but most of these medications also cover your pet for hookworms and roundworms. Some preventatives take care of whipworms and tapeworms as well.  Keep in mind that your dog can come into contact with these parasites while running around exploring the environment all year long!

If you have any questions please feel free to contact Dr. K @ QK, KWilliamsDVM@qkdogs.com

And remember that February is Pet Dental Health Month! 80 percent of dogs will have some sort of dental health issue by the age of 3, and periodontal or gum disease is the number one illness found in dogs. So, be sure to take care of those pearly whites!

The Well-Rounded Traveling Dog

By QK Owner Jennifer Broome

Good dogs get to go places! Your dog would love nothing more than to be with you and enjoy adventures with you, but sadly many dogs dislike car rides, get car sick, or become nervous, aggressive or unstable in the car.

Let’s avoid these issues with your NEW pup and revisit this method to possibly rehabilitate those worrisome, naughty or fearful older travelers.

The crate is your friend. From the time pup comes home after 7 weeks old, the crate is the best place to help keep pup safe, secure, to feed, allow to sleep, chew high-value bones, and simply learn to have patience and self-control. The crate is often the very first form of training that we use to help with housebreaking, feeding, manners and forced downtime. When the crate is used with consistency, pups learn to love their crates as they truly become a safe haven.



The transition from crating a puppy in the house to rides in the car while crated helps to offer pup a sense of security. Pups are often lulled to sleep like a baby in a car seat. Following this method and mindset makes sense on so many levels. Ultimately, we want our dogs to relax and enjoy car rides or traveling in general whether it be on a boat, plane, train, etc. When a pup is conditioned to being crated, the crate provides the ultimate source of comfort, safety and security.

On the other hand, I all too often experience unruly, obnoxious, nervous, or aggressive dogs coming down the driveway to QK. These dogs may have their heads hanging out the window, they may be launching from window to window frantically barking, they show up carsick, frothing, upset and on more times than I care to count they have JUMPED out of the windows!

How do you want your adult dog to behave? How can you get to that point if you ride with your little puppy on your lap, or on the front seat next to you? Do you wear a seatbelt? Is the front seat really safe for a dog? Absolutely NOT. And sadly if you were to get into an accident not only can your dog become a projectile to get launched through the window, the next thing that happens is that they flee from an accident and often get lost or hit by a car.

When you leave a puppy loose on a back seat, front seat or anywhere else left alone, they may feel anxious and stressed. They may try to look out the window (which can cause motion sickness), chew the interior, get into trouble or cause distracted driving. Puppies are busy and they easily get into trouble.

If you think that you are being nice to your dog by allowing them freedom in your vehicle you are really only putting them in danger.  Dogs can get terrible eye injuries by hanging their heads out of windows. Yes, that tongue may be whipping in the wind, slobber flying and ears straight out BUT this is just not safe.

The dogs that race from window to window are owning the car. They are looking for targets to bark at, they may be anxiously eager to jump out, and they have no idea how to relax. The car is not only a stressor to them, it is game to defend their vehicle, it is an unhealthy job and ultimately these actions cause a great distraction to the driver.

While it may be extremely difficult to retrain an older dog to relax in the car….it CAN be done! Going back to cratework in the home and transitioning the crate to a car can help to recondition a bad traveler to feel safer and more relaxed. This might even start with simply sitting in the crate in the driveway going nowhere, just eating a meal in the crate and maybe enjoying a valuable toy or bone.  Start with short drives around the neighborhood, take the dog to a park for a walk, and make it enjoyable (Not just a trip to the vet or a 4-hour trip).

Want to avoid all the above issues in the first place!? Start your pup off right by purchasing a small plastic Vari style crate (not metal) to provide pup right away with security and comfort.  Small puppy crates only cost about $35 to $50 and this is money very well spent. You will be amazed how much pup will LOVE being with you, getting to go to new fun places, and how well socialized they will become by traveling. Increase the crate size as pup grows. Once pup hits about 1 to 1.5 years they may be able to simply stay in the car back seat or back of the SUV on their own; however, crates are still the best, safest way for our beloved dogs to ride in our vehicles.

A Year in Review

By QK Owner Jennifer Broome

This has been the longest stretch in several years that I did not write a newsletter!  I believe my last one was in June. No news can be good news as we were just incredibly busy. Rather than write, I was training dogs all day – getting back to my roots of doing what I love. We had an amazingly productive year.

So, what’s new at QK?

In the Spring we hosted another week of back-to-back clinics with our mentor Rick Smith. We are honored to host him each year to inspire us, challenge and coach us to be better dog trainers and handlers.

As a Team, the QK crew adopted a rescue lab named Rivers. She had been through several foster homes after arriving at a southern shelter with her litter of puppies. She was still just a youngster herself and needed a job. With lots of teamwork, we cared for her, cut back her talon-like nails, took about 15 pounds off her with proper diet and exercise, socialized her, and put months of training into her starting with a solid Foundation on leash, then off-leash, and ultimately she went through our gun dog program with QK Trainer Chris Parry. Chris really worked patiently, and Rivers flourished as an upland field hunter and retriever. A previous QK client saw the posting on our site and drove a long trek from upstate NY to meet her.  They hit it off famously and Rivers not only found a new home, but she also came back for advanced gun dog training and is now living the life on a NY estate enjoying daily runs in the field, lots of swimming and endless bird and duck hunting!

We also hosted 3 QK Boot Camp Seminars for dogs and their owners this year. These seminars were an incredible success with the third one attracting nearly 30 dog/handler teams! This 4-hour intensive lecture and hands-on training by QK Owner Jennifer Broome along with trainers Chris Parry, Jessica Velasquez and other QK Team members, gave people an opportunity to learn more about how dogs think, how to teach obedience, how to address problem behaviors and how to better “speak dog”.

In 2020 we will be offering 3 more of these “PAWESOME” Seminars!

We finally retired our trusted blue New Holland tractor that plowed the earth and tackled many of the QK projects over the past 15 years. Poor gal just got tired. BUT she was replaced with a bigger New Holland with quick attach equipment and Jason is busier than ever with grounds and maintenance work keeping her well exercised!

She was only a ‘little bit stuck.’

We finally were able to fence in our play yards as part of our long term QK vision creating 7 new 100 foot long spacious exercise areas behind the Lodge building.  This perimeter fencing added so much new secure outdoor space to allow our boarding guests to run and play simply by being let out of their outdoor kennel runs. This addition greatly improved the QK experience for our client dogs adding lots more outdoor time and the capability to provide multiple playgroups for each dog based on their size, age, and energy level. The daycare dogs spend most of the day outside playing as well.

We installed a QK Memorial Flagpole thanks to the generous donation from a client!  We will not only be doing a ceremony to celebrate the beautiful flagpole this Spring, but we will also be starting a new tradition to offer a yearly “Blessing of our Dogs” at the flagpole. This will be a celebration to memorialize all of our beloved furry family members past and present. It will be a QK Patriotic Paws Party!

And we welcome neighbor and talented Tufts educated veterinarian as our new onsite vet! We will be introducing Dr. Kristin Williams soon on our website and our Facebook page. We warmly welcome Dr. K to QK! She will be helping us to provide wellness exams, treat sick or injured dogs, administer vaccines or medications on call as needed. We are THRILLED to add her expertise to QK Dogs!

We have a lot more that we accomplished in 2019, and we are so proud of our success thanks to our loyal and dedicated clients!

We enjoyed one of our busiest seasons yet with both boarding and training dogs. Check out our website as we update our photos and add our new QK action video.

We look forward to seeing everyone in 2020!

At QK we believe

“A Tired, Trained Dog is a HAPPY Dog!”


Canine Sicknesses

By Jennifer Broome, QK Owner

Please be aware that I write this article as feedback from being a kennel owner now for nearly 20 years. I am not a veterinarian, a scientist who studies canine diseases or someone at all with a medical background. However, as a dog lover and commercial kennel owner I make it my duty to learn as much as I can about canine illnesses, I educate myself through online articles, books and most importantly the direct feedback of the many veterinarians that I respect and reach out to.

This summer we experienced another bout of canine viruses at QK and my goodness did it stress us out! The employees at QK love dogs, love caring for dogs, and they take incredible pride in their work with the dogs. When we need to call you to inform you that your dog is sick it literally makes us sick too. So, why and how do dogs get sick?

Well, in general, any time you have groups of dogs together, they can easily spread parasites, diseases and viruses. No matter how diligently we scrub, clean and disinfect our kennel building daily it is the constant coming and going of dogs that bring in the illnesses. Dogs are physical, they play mouth to mouth, and they think NOTHING of eating poop, licking other dogs, putting everything and anything in their mouths and licking their feet after they’ve run through the grass, dirt, and water. This is just a recipe to get sick easily!

Let’s start with parasites such as worms and giardia. Statistics say that nearly 50% of puppies and young dogs will get worms, coccidia or giardia. With young immune systems, not only is it more difficult to ward off the parasites, but puppies EAT EVERYTHING! Getting worms is easy! Want tape worms? Eat a little dead animal such as a rotting mouse carcass. OR, just eat a flea. Want to pick up some giardia!? Well contrary to what some people think (only by drinking contaminated water), giardia is most easily spread by cysts that are shed from an infected animal. They can survive for weeks in the environment as cysts (often in soil, wet areas, grass), and when they are ingested by an unsuspecting host, they turn into trophozoites and repeat the life cycle. So even with our meticulous poop pick-up, dogs can shed these cysts and other dogs can step in the poop remnants, lick their foot or even pick up a stick or eat grass that has the cysts on them. These parasites are fairly easy to diagnose once a dog has acquired them (most common is diarrhea that is very fowl-smelling for giardia) or you will see worms in their stools (tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, oh yum!). At QK we spend WAY too much time examining poop… but this helps us to learn more about the health and wellness of the dogs in our care!

Have you REALLY looked in your dog’s mouth!?  Well, in our training program we make a habit of touching the dogs all over and giving them thorough examinations as part of our training, desensitizing and handling. Sadly we cannot do this with many of our boarding dogs because they are so ill-behaved they will not allow us to examine their mouths. It is not all that uncommon for me to find the HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) in puppy’s mouths, especially those pups that have previously been to dog parks or daycare. These are viral mouth warts that are pretty gross and very contagious and typically affect young dogs under the age of 2 because, once again, their immune systems are not fully developed. These oral warts are small benign tumors found on the lips, gums, and mouth. They are easily spread when dogs make direct mouth contact, share toys or eat/drink out of the same bowl. While some cases may need veterinary intervention if the dog has so many growths it affects eating or becomes infected, most often there are just small clusters that go away on their own within 1 to 5 months as the affected dog’s immune system matures and mounts a response to the virus. Last year I adopted a lab pup who came from a NYC family. This pup had HPV and readily gave it to my own lab puppy who grossly developed a mouthful of the warts. Other than being really yucky, they were gone within 1 or 2 months, but not before she so nicely spread it to some other pups I was raising. Even my 3 year GSP got a few in his mouth; oh what fun!

And lastly, the worst of the canine sicknesses we all too often experience involves coughs and respiratory illnesses. It is common that nearly twice a year we contract a respiratory virus at the kennel, often around the holidays when we are super busy and just one dog brings it in despite not showing any symptoms. In fact, dogs are typically contagious BEFORE they even start to cough, so once they start coughing, they already spread the virus. Since the holidays are the busiest times of the year, the windows are shut (baby it’s cold outside!) and the heat is blasting, this dog-packed toasty environment can be a nice host for those pesky viruses. Then we also seem to see cases by mid-summer when again we are full of dogs in boarding and training, it is extremely hot and humid, and we need to keep the buildings shut with the air blasting to keep our canine guests comfortable. Despite our incredibly modern filtration systems, air exchange system and meticulous disinfecting, the viruses thrive in these environments.

Each year we examine the illnesses that we encounter, we reach out to dozens of veterinarians to compare what they are seeing, and we get advice on how to manage and treat the illnesses. We experienced our first case of mild canine cough at the end of July this year. At first it seemed like a mild strain. While often referred to as kennel cough, Bordatella bronchiseptica is an easily contracted bacteria that causes a hacking cough or, occasionally a runny nose. Any pet can get the disease, and many cases are self-limiting enough that they require no treatment at all. BUT, in a kennel environment when your dog, simply put, is more stressed than leisurely living in their own homes, your dog can not so easily fight off the illness. Our local veterinarian prefers to put all dogs on Doxycycline right away to help ward off secondary infections. One of our client veterinarians recently said he has seen over 500 cough cases last month! Another client’s dog contracted the cough at the dog show circuit. This has been a bad year. Through August and into September with a packed house of dogs we just could not seem to eradicate the virus. Not only were we seeing the common Bordatella, we took the initiative to cover the costs for tests to swab several dogs to see what was being transmitted. We had identified several different species of bacteria. While we commit ourselves at QK to 100% transparency and we started to warn all of our clients back at the end of August in and early September, we soon realized that unless we began to send dogs home and try to empty the kennel, we could not get rid of the looming viruses.  We sent all of our training dogs home by mid-October and closed down the building for 2 weeks. We brought any new dogs into the Lodge building to keep them isolated.

Thankfully in November, we saw a healthy kennel again with just a few cases of sniffles and minor coughs. Now in December, we have put our new protocol into place requiring ALL of our boarding and training dogs to have the 2 part bivalent canine flu vaccine. The recently-developed canine influenza vaccine can help reduce the spread of this disease and the severity of its symp­toms. The vaccine can also reduce the occurrence of the disease and prevent complications such as pneumonia. However, it doesn’t prevent dogs from contracting the infection. It does decrease the duration of coughing and the severity of lung lesions. The vaccine has been successfully tested on dogs and is found to be safe and well-tolerated by pets. While thank goodness we have NEVER experienced the canine flu at QK, it certainly has been seen in nearly every state in the US and we are helping to protect our dogs from an outbreak.

We explain much of our protocols and vaccine requirements in our boarding contracts. We warn that dogs are more susceptible to illnesses in group settings no different when people pack into an airplane and share the same air or we gather together with a variety of family and friends at the holidays. We all seem to get sicknesses from these occasions at some time or another.

While a healthy dog with a strong immune system can easily ward off illnesses, younger dogs, immune-compromised dogs and older dogs can certainly be at risk. An upper respiratory infection in some dogs can turn to pneumonia in a flash although fairly uncommon. If you are concerned about your dog’s health and want to have them covered for accidents, illnesses and injuries which can ultimately be very costly, I highly recommend Healthy Paws Canine Insurance.

By clicking here we link you to our Healthy Paws partnership.  I personally have 4 of my 7 dogs insured and honestly, their health insurance is far better than my own. I pay $250 total for all 4 dogs each month. Just a few weeks ago my show/field German Shorthaired Pointer needed facial surgery after a porcupine encounter on our Michigan hunting trip. The surgery cost over $3,400; thankfully Healthy Paws covered 80%. In the past, another one of my competitive field labs needed two emergency exploratory surgeries for a painful and distended belly. Turned out he had a spleen torsion and those bills were over $8,000 and 80% covered. My sweet field lab, Treat, also endured 2 years of leg surgeries and rehabilitation after an ACL tear then LDE tear, and her medical bills were nearly $15,000. Yup, once again covered!

So, while we do our very best at QK to keep your dogs safe, happy and healthy, we do not keep them in a bubble. We let them romp, play, chase birds, socialize and exercise. Accidents, illnesses and injuries can occur, and for your dog’s well-being please consider getting them health insurance. The piece of mind knowing that you can pursue high quality medical, specialty and emergency treatment is incredibly valuable and comforting for our furry family members.

South Bound 2020

By QK Owner Jennifer Broome

Recently, I learned that the abbreviation WFH means “work from home.”

In a few weeks, I will be WFF — “working from Florida.”

13 years ago, I realized that I could not be the best in my industry, the best for my clients, nor my best self if I let the weather of New England sideline my training, exercise and development for three months every year.

After one particularly challenging season, I decided to begin a new discipline — fighting the urge to hibernate —to relocate to winter quarters to maintain best practices for me and the animals in my care.

In modest Floridian housing, my apartment above the barn, I set significant goals for training myself and my dogs. I also take the time to learn new skills and prepare myself to be the best resource possible for my clients when the weather turns each spring.

Many have asked me about my routines, discipline and WFF habits. In this personal journal, as I’m packing to make the annual sojourn, I’m happy to share with you why I head south to get my head on straight, every year.

Where do I go/stay? I am in Northern Florida/Southeast Georgia. While the weather is warmer, as you can see by the photos, I’m still in my all-weather gear, this is not the tropics by any means.

This is how I dress for North Florida weather in January. While it may be sunny, it is still COLD! At least no snow.

How do I travel with all my animals? I use a combination of my specially-designed QK Dog transport truck and horse trailer. My ROCK of a husband, Jason, follows me in another vehicle, towing my ATV. He is my wingman as towing a horse trailer down 95 to Florida is a chore in itself. As a result, my journey takes me a few days, but it’s important that we all (dogs, horses and myself) arrive safely. Once in Florida, Jason helps me carry all of my gear upstairs, move in, shop for hay (hand-loading hundreds of pounds of horse food!), do much of my grocery and paper-goods shopping, getting me settled in!

How do I organize my time? I divide my time in three focused areas — animal training/care; professional development and physical renewal. I participate in an incredible retriever training group with amazing, talented trainers 5 days a week, 4 to 6 hours a day, to run field-trial setups for marks and blinds. Each day we are on well-designed grounds with technical ponds and lots of challenging land areas.

I balance the outdoor work with desktop work — revising policies, writing training guides, updating our website/marketing and planning new classes/programs based on client needs.

In between, I and the dogs enjoy the outdoors, and I “tune up” my own strength through a variety of weight-training programs. Preventing injuries (for two or four legs) is my top priority.

What are my annual goals… and this year’s goals? This year, I will be training my nearly 2-year-old lab pup, Filly, again and her 1-year-old ‘cousin’ Phletcher. (If anyone is interested, Phletcher will be for sale in the spring with a great resume of upland bird hunting, field trial setups and beginning blind retrieves). I also hope to do some educational videos/training guides that have been requested of me for many years.

The view from a holding blind waiting to run my lab pup, Filly, on retrieves.

How do I stay in communication with my team/operations? In this era or mobile devices, zoom and more forms of technology than we can keep pace with, staying connected to QK and all partners is pretty easy. We hold nearly daily telechats, and my beloved hubby, assumes leadership while I’m on location. After a few years of experience, the process is seamless.

When do I return? By the close of March I am eager to head home, back to a lovely New England Spring and back to my incredible business, employees and clients. I am refreshed, inspired.

Exercising the pack in harness off the ATV.



My Florida digs, an awesome apartment above the horse barn!


You Want Me To Send My Dog Away!?!

Boot camp training for dogs is an incredibly successful method to help teach basic obedience, restructure bad manners or fix behavioral problems. From puppies as young as 3 months to older dogs, the concept of sending them off to school can often be life-changing for both dogs and their owners.

If sending your dog away scares you, I suggest some important points for you to consider:


Visit the facility

Is it clean, are the employees professional, friendly and helpful? Take a tour and look at the condition of the dogs. Does it smell bad or look dirty? Is there appropriate ventilation, access to fresh water, do they make individual custom meals for each dog, do the dogs get to interact safely and do they have access to plenty of time outside?

Is the facility licensed, insured, and do they have security and safety practices?

Ask for references! Most often a good training facility is referred by veterinarians and very often by word of mouth through happy customers.

How is the employee to dog ratio and what do the dogs do throughout the weeks and weekends?

What is Boot Camp

At QK, we are dog experts. Our passion for tired, trained happy dogs is exuded in the pride we take in our facility, our care for the dogs and the standards for our training. We know how to interact with dogs because we don’t love dogs… We RESPECT dogs. With respect comes the knowledge and of understanding their needs. Dogs thrive on structure, rules, exercise and pack interaction.

Often first-time dog owners or even long-time owners just do not have the knowledge, time or capability to train a puppy. From the start the puppy learns bad habits, unruly manners and they are often coddled and handicapped since owners provide mostly affection rather than set a standard for rules and start good training. Soon the pup doesn’t even know how to learn because they were never held accountable. Owners think it is ‘mean’ to make a puppy do something. That pup grows into a teenager who then cannot process basic tasks such as walking on leash or even being respectful of humans. Just because they are cute, puppies get away with jumping, biting, and owners just do not know how to hold the pup accountable. In today’s society where every kid gets a ‘participation ribbon’ just for showing up, dogs are equally treated with more praise and coddling then with responsibility for their behavior. Cookie or treat-training and non-stop praise without clear correction for unwanted behavior give dogs the reins to take over. Most of the information out there today on dog training says, “ignore the bad behavior and praise the good behavior”. Well, this is absurd to me!  So if a puppy bites you or jumps you are to turn away, ignore them or give them a toy to re-direct? While you are at it, why don’t you send them a text message telling them that you really do not like the way that they are acting, and you will take away their toys if they do not behave? Sorry, but this is not clear communication for dogs. Ever see a puppy annoy or disrespect an adult dog? That puppy gets a firm growl and often a scary quick attack bite more frightening than painful, and the puppy gets a CLEAR message… DON’T do that again!

When a puppy or dog comes to QK Boot Camp, they start right off with rules. From kennel runs or crates to supervised feeding and human interaction, every moment is about structure. What they may have previously gotten away with at home (barking, jumping, pulling on leash, being obnoxious with humans, etc.) now gets addressed and corrected. Furthermore, the entire staff is consistent, and the dogs are put into a teaching environment. This change in life literally ‘reboots’ the dog and they have a new start. This allows them to learn more quickly as things are very black and white. We use tremendous patience, persistence, and repetition to teach the dogs their leash skills, and we are quick to correct lack of effort, refusal or disrespectful behavior. Just as quick as we correct, we move on again to teach, we do not hold grudges, get angry, frustrated or annoyed. This method sends a clear message of leadership to the dog and they can process the lessons and learn very quickly.

Unfortunately, as soon as the owner returns, the dog can easily revert to their old ways. This is very common and once the owner is around, it is normal for the dog to go back to their old behavior. However once the owner sees the wonderful training and new behavior, the owner is most often more eager and willing to step up and be the dog’s leader. No matter how much training a dog has, if an owner is not willing to demonstrate the consistent leadership by enforcing obedience, rules, and structure, the dog will take over the relationship and the human becomes the follower.

In the grand scheme of things, 2 week or 4-week boot camp goes by in a blink! Call it 14 or 28 days and dogs are expected to learn a whole new lifestyle!? Well, it does happen, and we have tremendous success at QK with our boot camp programs. This time away from the dog’s home life and comfort zone is a relaunch for the dog. They get a fresh new start and progress quickly. The truth about boot camp is that training the dogs is the easy part! The dogs are eager, willing and happy to learn. The owners… well, that is and has always been the challenge. The dogs are a reflection of their home life and owner interaction. The dogs tell us a story and they do not lie. Whether they are fearful, overweight, aggressive, or unruly, their behavior clearly shows us what the owners did or did not do. In order to be successful with our training, we must clearly train the owners, explain how, why, when and where and we must be able to prove our words through the actions of the dogs. When we are able to train the owners as effectively as we can the dogs, the owners can successfully become the trainer! A knowledgeable, confident owner becomes the Leader and the dog willingly, eagerly and happily becomes the follower.

Point of Contact Training

What is that?!

Point of Contact training is the method of teaching a dog to yield to physical pressure on any spot on their body to get them to readily, willingly and ultimately follow that touch. The pressure can be applied up, down, left, right, towards you or away. Each of these touches of pressure eventually become a named command such as sit, down, heel, here, go or whoa. While we mostly use POC on their necks, the pressure can be applied anywhere on their bodies or even a motion towards them with the goal to have the dog gently, softly and eagerly move. A truly finished dog happily, willingly and lightly follows the lightest POC pressure. Rick Smith is one of the masters behind POC training with his Huntsmith family’s training system using a chain system and the Wonderlead.

How POC is initially gained?

Most dogs learn to pull. Their necks are powerful, and many dogs simply dig in and pull their owners all around. To many dogs, a leash is simply a means to pull. Dogs pull as a reaction to being held tightly on a leash. I find it incredibly frustrating to watch most people hold the end of a dog leash. They grip with tightness and the dog has no release of pressure. No wonder they pull… or the owners say, “He is MUCH better off leash than on leash”. Of course he pulls…the poor dog can never achieve comfort since the human will not let go! A dog pulling on a leash is most often a human created behavior. A tight leash causes a dog anxiety and frustration which often turns into fear on leash, aggression or numbness to the pressure where they just keep pulling all of the time.

The Huntsmith method starts with the tie out chain system by teaching dogs that no matter how hard they pull on their own, they cannot win. Ultimately, the dogs learn to give in to the chain and simply stop pulling. We have adapted this method at QK but prefer to call it the PATIENCE CHAIN. Using this chain, the dogs have about 16 to 18 inches of slack. They are spaced safely apart from each other and they get to spend the entire day outside with us. If they are pulling on the chain, they are doing it to themselves. By common sense, they quickly learn to simply stop pulling! In fact, to be most comfortable they should just yield to the chain and lie down. Wow, how cruel is that… asking your dog to lie down and chill out!? We equate this Patience Chain to a school desk for a student. Sit in your seat, listen, be polite and learn. All of the dogs that come to QK for training start their POC training on the Patience Chain. Rather than being stuck inside a kennel run or a crate, they are with us all day to interact, wait their turns, watch other dogs work and we are able to easily and effectively do multiple training sessions with many breaks in between so that the dogs can ‘soak’ up the lessons.

What is the next step in POC?

Once the dogs have learned to stop pulling on the Patience Chain, we use the Huntsmith Wonderlead as our training leash to further establish POC. Since the dogs have already spent many hours on the chain learning to not pull, the transition to this leash is easier. While the leash itself is a great tool due to the rigidity, proper placement high on the neck and the ability to apply and then release pressure quickly, the key to this process is just as much in technique as it is equipment. With this noose style slip lead, we use quick movements of light pressure and release to have the dogs walk with us, come to us, be still and go away.

There is really no talking or commands needed as the dogs must learn to follow the POC before we even consider naming the action. The learning process is amazing as the dogs learn that they are capable of turning off the pressure simply by following the direction applied. Since our hands are extremely quick to reward their correct actions, they are not forced to comply, rather they choose to seek a slack leash. We continue to push, challenge and teach the dogs to follow our POC by presenting them with difficult obstacles. We use our POC to lead the dogs over, under, or through these obstacles. We will use patience and light touches if the dog is trying. If they bail out, refuse, quit or fight we give a quick corrective tug. By quickly eliminating “fight, freeze or flight” reactions, we can get rid of resistance that often later comes out as behavioral problems. For example, if a dog does not want to go down a scary flight of steps or across a slippery floor, they may run off, avoid it, live in fear of it, or get aggressive when asked to face things that make them uncomfortable. Once a POC is established, the dogs become extremely willing partners that soon learn to walk with their handler and ‘try’ nearly anything we put in front of them. The dog’s confidence increases dramatically, and they learn to love to try challenges put before them!  As this light POC pressure is practiced and mastered, the dogs follow the lightest touches with extreme willingness. This is the point where we may choose to name the POC with the action, such as a light touch of upward pressure cues ‘sit’. Or a downward pressure cues ‘down’. These cues ultimately become sit, down, here, heel, whoa and go to a place.

The final stage in POC leash work is using that same touch to overlay to the remote electronic training collar. Since the dog has had hundreds upon hundreds of opportunities to follow the pressure and get rewarded with the instant release, we can apply simple light nicks of stimulation with the e collar to take the place of the leash. Within about 1 or 2 weeks the dogs clearly understand the e collar overlay and soon the dog can enjoy a life off leash, yet the owner has the capability to communicate with the touches to cue the dog to the commands. No more bolting, running away, or ignoring commands because have off leash communication.

Point of Contact training is a systematic process that makes so much sense to the dog. It is based on horse training and uses the same cues for rein to bit work in the horse’s mouth or seat and leg pressure to cue the horse to side pass, move or stop. Pressure is the enforcer, the instant release is the reward!  While you can use force to make a dog do something, this means you forced the action, the dog did not willingly choose to comply.  You CANNOT force a 1000 pound horse, you must use lightness and clear communication.  Horse people are often much savvier because if you held a horse tight like most people hold a dog on leash, harness or muzzle harness, the horse would hurt you!

So, think about this training method. Think about how tightly you wrap the leash around your hands and never let up. Let us help you to retrain your dog to politely walk on leash by teaching YOU how to be polite with your leash! We are here to help with classes, private lessons or boot camp training at QK.

Recapping our 2019 Spring Rick Smith Clinics

We recently hosted Bird Dog Hall of Famer and renowned trainer/clinician Rick Smith for the 6th-consecutive year at QK. This year we offered his 3-day Intermediate seminar followed by a 2-day Advanced Handling seminar over Mother’s Day Weekend. The weather was a challenge with temps in the low 40s, high winds, intermittent showers, and some driving rain but we endured and had a fabulous time!


As always, Rick brings us a lifetime of knowledge and dog training experience and his stories, explanations, and coaching allows each clinic participant to target their training needs. As Rick often says, “Watch this, because even if your dog is not doing it now, it most likely will at some point!”. Learn from every dog.

Rick has so much to share with each participant and over the course of the clinics, it was obvious how each handler and dog stepped up their game and improved. This clinic was particularly impressive because most of the 12 handlers were not only well versed with Rick’s Foundation method, the handlers and their dogs were some of the best and most experienced group we have hosted yet. This meant we really went into details, fine training nuances and new information that Rick doesn’t often get to share because the dogs and handlers are not ready.

We started with tie out chain work getting the dog’s minds right, calm and focused. With repetition of chain work, Wonderlead handling drills, and check cord drills we were able to work a group of 12 dogs in a pack to practice steadiness, focusing on their handlers, chaos drills with lots of distractions and finally bird drills. This format of patience work, obedience, honor drills and finally field drills was very successful and each round we were able to push the dogs harder and gain better fieldwork.  The dogs looked great, stylish and confident!

We never sat still for long and we were either in a class lecture, working obedience or working field drills. We traveled off the QK grounds to Sugar Brook Field Trial area for brace mate work, handling drills and bird drills. The dogs were always on their toes never knowing what we were going to throw at them next, but this succession of consistent practice only got them all sharper and more willing to work as our teammates. When the dogs were not running in a brace, they were held accountable to stand (while loose) still back at the breakaway line and wait their turns. There was some serious patience taking place and the dogs were tested and challenged with this format.

After attending nearly 20 of Rick’s seminars I am amazed how much I learn every time he teaches. For those of you that want a better hunting dog or competitive field dog, whether it is a pointer, flusher or retriever, I highly recommend taking a Rick Smith Seminar. It is some of the best money spent on dog training and Rick travels the country teaching these clinics nearly every other weekend. His commitment and desire to share his knowledge along with his gift for teaching make these events an experience that any true dog lover will relish. Most importantly, Rick has an aspiration to make each of us better through stepping up our game. Rick’s attention to detail through patience chain work, approaching and handling your dog on and off leash, and your overall consistency is the key to maintaining a balanced dog. Most of the actual training is never around birds. Once the Foundation is taught and the skills practiced consistently, the dog knows their job and the field work becomes an incredible partnership of silent communication. We are so proud to host Rick each year and not only to offer these clinics to our clients, but we also embrace Rick’s coaching and mentoring with the QK trainers. For 6 years we have been diligently following Rick’s methods and our QK standard has become well known. Rick’s mentorship and guidance have taught us skills and techniques through thoughtful, consistent Foundation work and we are getting more work done with the dogs than ever before. It is an amazing process and the dogs thrive with this format. As Rick Smith says “Never Settle”!