I’m Changing My State

By Jennifer Broome, QK Owner

First, my apologies- this title does not refer to moving from Connecticut to Florida, instead it refers to a change in physical and mental state of being. 

Think for a moment how you first felt when you read the title – was your first reaction FEAR? Fear of change? Fear I was leaving you? Fear of the unknown and what it would mean?

Recently I began studying with a motivational guru and the primary focus is all about our ability to change our state from one emotion to another in order to live a more fulfilled life.

Think now how you are feeling – a bit more relaxed? Less fearful? Wanting to know more?  How much effort did it take to go from insecure to confident?  From fearful to curious and quietly confident? From anxious to relaxed?

My new awareness and ability to understand ways to instantly change your state is truly amazing and empowering. It is a beautiful skill to be able to control your emotions so that you can immediately change your state.

These ideas led me to relate “Change in State” to my dog training and the many dogs that I encounter. 

A question that seems to always come up with dog owners is “How can I just make my dog calm down?”  My answer is typically the same, I do not try to make a dog calm down, instead I balance their emotions with work, excitement, and relaxation. And you can too!

For example, I can get my own dogs very excited and in a state of high arousal through exercise or field work training, but then I direct them to engage a thinking state of mind.  This helps them control their emotions and change their state!  Instead, all too many owners use a lot of excited energy which puts a dog in reverberating state of arousal and reactivity.  When the dogs become too wild, jumping, nipping, barking or exhibit anxious behaviors (often instigated or initiated by the owners) those owners suddenly want a calm, relaxed, well-behaved dog!

This typically does not work for dog owners who fail to teach a dog basic foundational obedience commands (heel, sit, lie down, come here, go to bed). AKA – a change of state – CALM!

I’d love to see these same owners go from highly excited to calm, from confused and fearful to receptive and trusting, from scathing mad to instantly happy and grateful.  Yes, it may seem pretty tough to do, but it’s a skill every one can hone!

When I think about a pet dog’s ability to change states, I think about how people greet their dogs with enthusiastic voices and tones, rough-em up petting and physical interaction.  Many owners encourage this behavior.  The wigglier a dog is, the busier their minds are, and most pet owners think this is a happy dog when really it is an excited dog and often behaviorally unbalanced.

When the owners get frustrated with their dogs escalating and sometimes obnoxious behavior, they want to the dogs to suddenly turn a switch and be calm.  I call it engaging their OFF switch – it’s a change of state!  This can be successful IF the dog has a great education for obedience where a wild, excited mind can suddenly be re-directed to sit and be still.

However, most owners fail to practice calmness with their dogs through obedience training in a thinking mindset.  The outcome is a highly aroused dog stuck in an excited state of mind. Dogs often have poor impulse control in response to stimulus while stuck in this mindset – just like many people.


I find it extremely stressful to be around dogs that are perpetually trapped in an anxious, busy, excited state of mind.  Their pulse is quickened, respiration increases, blood vessels dilate, digestion is interrupted and adrenaline flows. IT is time for ACTION!  When demands on the body and mind are stressed, this causes a fight or flight mode. This is expected during exercise, training and play time and can be a healthy way to drain energy. This is not desirable when you need a calm and relaxed dog!

So, what are great ways to help a dog engage their OFF switch (change state) to find a sense of calmness, low stress, peace, and Zen-like stillness?

I teach this with a crate or patience line training.  Both methods allow a dog to be in a confined area to practice being still!  Dogs that are allowed nonstop physical movement become stuck in a state of being neurotic.  They just cannot seem to relax physically or mentally.  Dogs sleep upwards of 12 to 16 hours a day, puppies upwards of 18 hours a day, and it just makes sense to confine them during these times so that:

  1. There is a factor to force the down time and encourage being still. A crate or patience line teaches them to figure it out on their own. This does NOT involve you doing it for them, THEY learn to change their state themselves!
  2. They truly DO stop to rest and sleep.
  3. In calm, quiet times their bodies can rest and digest, repair itself and replenish resources. They CAN and WILL become balanced and calm. I refer to this as a GIFT of forced down time (and we could all use that ourselves).

I believe that a well-balanced dog can master changes in state. 

That means that YES, they can exercise, run and play with an elevated heart rate and excitement, and YES, when suddenly leashed up or when asked to go lie down they have the ability to rein in and relax.


The flip side would be a dog that even after exercised stays aroused and in an incessant mindset of action (fight or flight activity).  This includes barking, whining, demanding attention, panting, pacing or general nonstop movement.

Which do you think would be of benefit to both of you?

How can you work on changing your dog’s STATE and have a more fulfilling relationship?

Do you balance controlled down time, mental problem-solving challenges such as obedience and then offer an outlet for energy burning times with exercise and play?  The more balance you can create, the more success you will have in your ability to change your dog’s state.  Our QK motto….A TIRED, TRAINED  DOG IS A HAPPY DOG!

Jennifer Broome now offers virtual training via Zoom. Contact us for more information or to schedule training.

What’s new for 2022?

At QK We are ever evolving and improving!

Due to arrive soon and be erected for the Spring, our new Steel Structure Covered Arena over our outdoor Challenge Course.  This will allow us to train rain or shine…well honestly we already do, BUT we will certainly be dryer and less sunburnt.

A BUSY schedule with new owner interactive classes at QK!

From Scent work, weekend puppy courses, obedience classes, new gun dog courses and our full day boot camp programs we have an exciting line up. We will also host specialty clinics with several of the TOP dog trainers in the country.  See the Calendar of Events on our website.

Meet our new metal workhorse ‘JOE’ Jenny’s Orange Excavator.  This has been a long time coming and we are excited to transform our grounds even more for our gun dog courses, hunting fields, woodland trails and more!

New puppy cages arriving!  We have such beautiful success with our puppy training programs that we are adding a new bank of custom kennel crates to our puppy room for larger breed pups.

New QK merchandise.  From new hats to t shirts and stainless-steel mugs and more we have fun QK gear to show your loyalty and support of our brand.

An addition to the Lodge!!??  We are currently planning an atrium gymnasium indoor training area out back to offer even more space to train and exercise dogs.

An AMAZING QK Staff!  Like many businesses who endured employee turnover during and post COVID, we sadly saw many of our long time QK staff move on to other careers.  While these changes presented challenges, we have built one of the STRONGEST Teams ever!  We have 4 amazing QK Trainers, we have 3 outstanding, experienced front office staff/managers, a PLAYCARE+ Team of counselors and many new kennel care workers.  With our onboarding processes and strong commitment to QK excellence, we continue to take our BRAND to new levels with creativity and passion.  Our 2022 QK Team ROCKS!

Preventing arthritis in your dog

By Kristin Williams, DVM (AKA Dr. K at QK our on-site veterinarian!)

I recently attended an online veterinary educational event regarding orthopedic disease in dogs. The presenter stated a couple of things which really had an impact on me. They are: 

1.) Up to 60% of dogs will ultimately suffer from osteoarthritis 

2.) Osteoarthritis is mostly a disease that starts with YOUNG dogs 

So…LOTS of dogs will have issues with arthritis, AND they are likely to be apparent at a young age. 

The reason for this is that many of the issues that cause problems are developmental orthopedic abnormalities such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, luxating patellas (knee caps), OCD (Osteochondritis Dissecans – bone disease where cartilage fails to mature properly), angular limb deformities, etc. 

What can you do to help prevent these issues in your dogs, or if already present, what can you do to treat them? 

First, if you are looking to purchase a dog, PLEASE make sure that the breeder has done appropriate screening tests for the breed. Here is a link that I have included in a previous newsletter with recommended genetic tests by breed: 

Browse By Breed | Orthopedic Foundation for Animals | Columbia, MO ( 

NOTE that mixed breeds aren’t listed, but genetic issues can still be passed to the puppies, so adult testing before breeding would still be advised. Many “puppy mills” and other mixed dog breeders do not perform ANY screening tests on the parents. Ask for proof! 

Second, if your young pup has an “occasional limp” that comes and goes, don’t ignore it! Bring it to your veterinarian’s attention so that the source can be identified and treated at a young age if at all possible. The sooner the better if there is something to be fixed, before arthritic changes start to develop. 

Third, especially if you have a large breed dog, ask your veterinarian to perform screening radiographs of at least the hips (and elbows would be good also), which could be done at the time of spay or neuter if you plan to do so with your dog since he/she will already be sedated. Good radiographs (Xrays) are difficult to obtain in an awake dog, since the patient often resists having their limbs manipulated into position to get a diagostic image. 

Fourth, consider starting your dog on a good quality researched joint supplement early in life if issues are present, or your dog is an extremely active competitor. I personally prefer Dasuquin, made by the company called Nutramax, which has done a TON of research on the efficacy of their products. Another excellent product is called Adequan. This joint medication is administered via a series of initial and maintenance injections. Adequan also has a significant amount of research backing its claim of efficacy. 

Last, as I have harped upon previously, maintain your dog in a good, lean body condition. This is NUMBER ONE to help prevent/treat arthritis. I am sad to say that not all vets will recognize that a dog is FAT. So, here’s a link to a body condition scoring chart (which I have posted in previous newsletters) for your reference to help guide you to maintaining a happy, healthy dog! 

Body-Condition-Score-Dog.pdf ( 

Bringing A New Baby into a Home with Dogs

An Interview with QK Obedience Trainer Sheena McNeil by Jennifer Broome, QK Owner

All kids should have a fluffy, loving and loyal dog to grow up with!  Remember the days where there were dogs loose in the neighborhood that would happily stroll about, visit families and play exuberantly with people and other dogs?  I sure do!  In fact, my neighborhood Golden Retriever was aptly named “Jennifer the Dog”.  Ironically when my mom was pregnant with me, she met the neighbor when the golden puppy ran into our yard.  My mom told our neighbor that was going to be MY name!

These days, dogs really do not roam loose anymore.  Between leash laws, dog licenses and just the hustle and bustle of suburban or city life, this would be dangerous for our dogs.  Most are not really car savvy, and they are also not always well-behaved or social enough to enjoy wandering freely.

In addition, dogs today seem to be, well just different from those farm type or neighborhood dogs of days past.  Families are getting designer breeds, pure-bred working dogs, or rescue dogs and these dogs are very much part of the family.  These dogs are extremely smart, athletic and work oriented yet they often lack early socialization, manners training and even basic foundation training for obedience.  Unfortunately, it is common to lose perspective that dogs are animals, and they view things very differently from humans.  Just this week I had two calls about young, well-bred dogs that bit children.  Sadly, it was the human’s faults in both cases.  The dogs were simply being pack animals and they were asserting their dominance in their natural behavior.  One of these cases, the dog was aroused by children playing ball games with her and the dog nipped out of excitement and dog style rough play.  The other case, a juvenile intact male working breed dog was sleeping at his owner’s feet and a grandchild just happened to walk by, startle the dog and the dog lashed out with a bite.  In hindsight, with the family all packed into the Grandparent’s home post COVID for months, there was just too many young children in this dog’s domain, and he should have been crated.  This dog was doing the job he had assumed, he was protecting his master.

I reached out to our QK Trainer Sheena for her perspective and advice on dogs in a household with children.  Sheena has a 2-year-old toddler, and in my opinion, Sheena is doing everything right to protect her child as well as being fair and appropriate with her FOUR dogs. In all fairness, Sheena was a Dog Mom before a Human Mom, so the dogs were there first!

I have a tremendous respect for our QK Trainer Sheena McNeil who originally came to me many years ago as a client.  She later spent several months in intense schooling at the Michael Ellis Dog Training School in California, and she made such an impact with her instructor Michael that he gave Sheena his high energy, working Labrador Retriever.  Sheena and this dog bonded, and Sheena worked hard with this dog for scent detection and field work.  Sheena owns four very driven, working dogs to include 2 American Labrador Retrievers, 1 Springer Spaniel and 1 Brittany Spaniel.

Here is the feedback that Sheena offered to me:

“I wanted to send you a couple of notes about how I introduced my dogs to a baby coming into my home.  

  • Baseline level of obedience on all dogs in the home.  They must go lie down, sit, recall and have manners.
  • Adults in the home have strong leadership, structure, and boundaries with all dogs in the home, First and Foremost!
  • Dogs should be good at adapting with changes to schedule. Dogs that have been on the same schedule for most of their life are going to have a harder time when this huge change happens. Most times with new parents, their dog is their child and when the baby comes, generally, this changes and having clear boundaries and structure in the home is crucial to a dog accepting this change. 
  • Dogs are comfortable using management tools in the home. (ex. Crates, placebeds, x-pens, baby gates, etc.) Placebeds, Wire crates and x-pens can be helpful with allowing the dog to feel like part of the family while still being contained. 
  • Make sure the dogs have somewhere to go to be alone/undisturbed when the family has people constantly coming in and out of the house to see the baby.
  • Change the dog’s setup and schedule, as soon as possible after finding out you are expecting, to what it will be when the baby arrives.  This way there will not be a change to schedule or routine when the baby comes.  Also, dogs will get stressed when parents start changing around the house so getting that done early so that they dogs have time to adjust to the changes can help.
  • I had someone take the dogs for the first week I was home so that I had a chance to settle in with baby before dealing with the dogs.  This is a wonderful but stressful time for parents and adding stressors one at a time instead of all at once can be helpful.
  • Not sure why it is common practice for parents to bring home a blanket for their dog to smell before the baby comes home.  In my opinion your dog can smell that baby even before you know you are pregnant.  Not sure why smelling a blanket is supposed to be helpful.  Strong leadership in the home is more important. 
  • I also did not allow my dogs to come near the baby.  When I carried my baby around, they were to give me space PERIOD. I did not put my child on the same level with the dogs. When I did eventually do this, it was from behind a gate. From the first day the dogs were to respect the baby’s space.  They do not need to be near the baby to smell her. 
  • (optional) for the first few months I did close the dogs off (baby gates) from the rooms that I spent the most time in with the baby.  
  • I worked on having the dogs be able to walk on leash while I pushed and an empty stroller to make sure that there were no concerns there.
  • For dogs that are sensitive to sounds it might be helpful to desensitize them to baby crying. I would use a recording if needed. 

These were things that I did when I found out that I was expecting, and my pack of dogs transitioned very well to this GIANT life change.  I will say that I have only done this once, but I feel it was pretty successful.”

Wow Sheena, this is really great advice.  Thank you for taking the time to share your success story.  I know how important your four dogs are to you, but I also know that they are high powered field dogs, and they too need jobs.  Obedience and following our Leadership is a job, and one that enables them to accept their place in our family pack dynamics.  A child should never be put into jeopardy around a dog.  Our job is to protect our human family and keep order with the furry ones.  Just remember, they don’t cry, throw food or throw tantrums to show their resistance, they growl, snarl and bite!  They are dogs.

Why would I get pet insurance? 

By Dr. K.

So…I got a new Springer Spaniel Puppy!  And guess what the first thing is that I did?  I GOT PET INSURANCE!!!!

But…I’m a vet.  Why would I get pet insurance?  The answer is: because the expenses of treating serious accident, injury, illness or underlying orthopedic conditions can get VERY expensive very quickly and require specialty care that I cannot provide for my own animal (never mind the average dog owner).

In addition, there are many genetic diseases that could be an issue for my dog before I even have any other problems!  Check out this website and find your breed (or the parents of your breed if a known mix) and see how many possible diseases your breeder should have screened for BEFORE breeding your dog/puppy:

For the English Springer Spaniel here are the suggested screenings:

• Hip Dysplasia
• Elbow Dysplasia
• Eye Examination
• Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) DNA Test
• Degenerative Myelopathy
• Autoimmune thyroiditis
• Cardiac Evaluation

These are just SOME of the possible underlying genetic diseases that are common in the breed I chose.  I will hope I never have to deal with any of them!!

So how much is Pet Insurance, anyway?  Here is the chart I was sent by the insurance company that I chose.  Obviously, as your deductible goes up, your cost goes down!  I ultimately chose a higher deductible since I am mainly interested in covering catastrophic issues.  Keep in mind that this chart may be significantly different for other breeds and ages:

Deductible Taxes Recovery and Complementary Care (Optional) Monthly Cost
0.00 0.00 15.56 136.09
50.00 0.00 12.45 110.28
100.00 0.00 10.78 96.43
200.00 0.00 8.87 80.62
250.00 0.00 8.20 75.07
500.00 0.00 5.94 56.26
750.00 0.00 4.47 44.04
1000.00 0.00 3.36 34.79

I chose the company Trupanion, because they were willing to waive all wait periods for any issues I had provided I signed up for a policy immediately after my dog was examined by a veterinarian.  I also considered Healthy Paws, a very good company that QK owner Jennifer Broome has had excellent experience with over several years with multiple dogs.

So, food for thought – consider pet insurance, especially if your dog is young.  It is best to get insurance before any underlying issues surface which are then considered to be pre-existing conditions and are excluded from coverage!

Doc K


Dog Food Storage Dangers

By Jennifer Broome, Owner, QK Dogs

Many of you do the research, you ask your vet or your breeder and through due diligence you choose a food that you feel will be the healthiest choice for your beloved dog.  You all know the adage “You are what you eat!”  Well certainly the same goes for our furry companions.  These days there are a plethora of dog food options out there, from ‘boutique fad dog foods’ to the tried-and-true Purina Dog Food that QK Dogs has come to rely on as the most digestible, healthy, and safe choice for our dogs while in boarding and training at QK.

Regardless of your dog food choices, as a kennel owner of over 25 years, I am seeing some huge problems when it comes to sending your dog to us for care.  Dogs are dropped off with garbage cans, Tupper wares, kitty litter containers, fancy storage containers and even plastic bags containing their dog food.  While this may be your choice for your convenience of dog food storage, it is actually a nightmare for the caretakers of your beloved dogs.  Why!?  Well, we want to know which food that you are feeding!  We want to check the protein and fat levels and we want to read the label to understand the protein source so that we are feeding the appropriate amounts.  Recently we had very obese dogs show up on a freeze-dried designer food stored in Ziploc bags.  We were feeding according to the owner’s request, however when I actually decided to play detective and look up the food, it turns out that the owner was feeding over double the recommended amount of this very rich food!  Additionally,  we want to know the batch of particular food that you send along because we are always on alert for recalls or possible food issues.  All of this is on our shoulders while you may be happily vacationing out of the country!  What if your dog runs out of food?  What are we left to assume?  Can we try to Google the kibble shape and guess!?

While your dog is away from home they are naturally stressed.  Changing their food abruptly can easily cause stomach upset, so we need to be able to order more food or try to find a similar match if you do not send enough.  Many dogs burn a lot of extra calories while in boarding and training, so owners often do not send enough food.  Owners often send their own ‘scoop’.  They say just give their dog 1 scoop twice a day.  Well, a ‘scoop’ is often a far cry from a measured cup, and dogs need to be fed appropriately based on their breed, age, body score and exercise.  We ALWAYS use cups when measuring our QK Dog’s food.

Well, isn’t it actually more convenient to just dump a 40# bag of dog food into a plastic or metal container for easier storage?  Yes, honestly it is!  However, there are many dangers with this.  Here is a reply from Karl Gunzer, Director of the Sporting Dog Group with Nestle-Purina PetCare:

“It is recommended that food be kept in the original bag that it comes in for several reasons.

First and foremost – sanitation. Any time you transfer food to another container, you are going to add the potential to introduce bacteria, germs, etc. I’d bet most storage containers, even when new, do not go through the same sanitization processes as our Purina bags.

Also – as your QK Veterinarian Dr. Williams suggested, the reality is that people don’t regularly clean storage containers and by continually dumping new food in with old, they increase the chance for rancidity, mold, etc.   Even if they’ve used all the food, if the container is not washed, cleaned and sterilized, there is still cross-contamination.

 Another reason to keep it in the bag is traceability. If you’re ever concerned about the quality or safety of the food – you can provide the manufacturing code which can trace the product back through the full supply chain.  Most people who dump their food in a bin throw away the bag, and consequently lose the ability to trace their food if there are any concerns.”

Hmmm, pretty useful information, isn’t it?  So, in order to keep your pet’s food properly stored, the best advice is to put the entire bag into a resealable container.  Once you run out, simply toss out the bag and replace with a new bag.  This should help to ensure freshness and you will have access to the specific bag serial numbers in the event there is a recall or problem.

And remember, when you send your dog to us for care, please include the original dog food bag!

Perspective from a Dog going to PAQK Bootcamp

What is your dog thinking?

Good question!

From body language to barks… dogs communicate what they are thinking or feeling all the time.

In this story, we imagined what a new arrival to one of our boot camps would have to say:

My leash has been up on the kitchen counter since last night. I know we’re going O-U-T, today.

Is she awake yet?
Maybe my wet nose in her armpit?
“Ughhh ok, ok, I’m up, I’m up,” my packmate says.

Good. Good. Good.

She kicks her legs out of bed and slips on those fuzzy slippers I like to gnaw on behind the couch… my den. I’ve already chewed three pairs, but she keeps buying more.

Good. Good. Good

Is that the sound of the door opening? Woosh… I push past her and mark my favorite spot on the lawn…ahhh  What do I hear next? Foood! More food added to my always-full bowl  No waiting or begging for me!


She’s grabbing the leash! Must jump… Must circle …. Must pulllllll… pullllll.. pulllll to the car.

“Slow down boy, relax,” she says, but I can’t stop. I have squirrels to chase… SQUIRRELS!. I see one, and I’m off running…until… my collar causes me to start choking. But, that’s ok… we are going for a RIDE.

Nose against the glass.

Nose against the glass.
And, let me start that high-pitch whining and barking that makes her shoulders hunch… until… yes.. the window is down and I’m leaning out, my ears flapping in the breeze!
Good. Good. Good.
Hey, that was the dog park we just passed.
Dog park.
Bark… Bark… Bark
Are we there yet?
Tell me we’re there.
Why are we going so slow?
I’m hungry again.
Where are we?
Was that a SQUIRREL?


Wait, what is that?

A boat. A ramp. A circle thing in the air.
And… DOGS! Soooo many dogs.
Let me out.
Let me out
Let me out.
Pulling, pulling, can’t breathe… but can’t slow down.

So many dogs, So many people, it’s P-L-A-Y-T-I…


My packmate stops. I stop. That was loud.
I hear the voice again… ‘Who’s DOG is THAT!?’
Then I see her… the LEADER.
I want to smell her… jump up and say h-e-l
Did she just step towards ME and defend her space!?…. woah.
LEADER looks down at me.
I don’t like that.
Stop looking at me.
I lean on my packmate for help and.. oh no… she gives my leash to the LEADER!
We are walking fast.
I know how to stop this… I sit.
LEADER pulls ME.
Ok, I’ll run away.
She pulls me AGAIN.
I try to go in a different direction.
She pulls.
And… she’s looking at me AGAIN.
Soon, we’re going to the left, we’re going to the right, she’s stopping, we’re turning, we’re walking.
What is happening to me? Do I kind of like this?
The longer we go, the more I like it…, I feel calm.
The LEADER is in charge, and that’s ok. I actually feel calmer following her guidance.
Wait, is that a boat? That’s not ok.
No, not getting in the boat.
It’s wobbly. It’s strange. I’m afraid.
LEADER tugs. She insists.
LEADER tugs again, she must know I can do this… and.. I JUST DID IT.
I’m in the boat. My tail is wagging. I’m proud of myself!
And, I’m out of the boat.
LEADER rubs my head, she’s proud of me too.
Wait, is that a ramp? My next challenge?
The day passes quickly, my entire body is tired.. including my brain (although I’m not sure what that is).
Time to go home.
Time for a ride.
I don’t care about the squirrels,
I don’t care about the food, not even the slippers can keep me awake.
Not today.
We did good today.
I hope we come back soon.
But for now, I close my eyes, a tired, trained, and very happy dog.

Helping the Prevention of Kennel Cough – by Dr. K

As a veterinarian, especially as the staff veterinarian at a large boarding and training facility, I wanted to share the facts about something that I often deal with… kennel cough!

This is also referred to as “Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex.” Why? Because there are many organisms that can cause an infection.

Here are the names of just SOME of the common organisms that we can culture from swabs of a dog’s respiratory tract:

  • Parainfluenza virus (CPiV)
  • Adenovirus type 2 (CAV2)
  • Distemper virus (CDV)
  • Herpes virus (CHV)
  • Influenza virus H3N8 (H3N8 CIV)
  • Influenza virus H3N2 (H3N2 CIV)
  • Respiratory coronavirus (CRCoV)
  • Pneumovirus (CnPnV)
  • Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria (Bordetella) 
  • Streptococcus zooepidemicus bacteria (Strep zoo)
  • Mycoplasma cynos bacteria (Mycoplasma)

The message I want to bring home here is that we cannot cover many of the organisms with vaccination! And, different vaccines convey different levels of immunity.

We refer to the kennel cough vaccine as the “Bordetella” vaccine (highlighted in the list above). ALL kennel cough vaccines cover Bordetella, which is one of the bacteria that can cause infection. If your dog receives an oral or injectable Bordetella vaccine, these ONLY cover the Bordetella organism.

However, intra-nasal vaccines can include additional organisms such as Parainfluenza and Adenovirus. Many vets (myself included years ago – although I have now changed my ways) prefer not to give intranasal vaccines because dogs don’t enjoy getting them! However, studies have shown that in terms of kennel cough protection and local immunity in the nasal passages where infectious organisms enter the body, these vaccines are superior to others for protecting your dog while in a kennel environment.

Many dogs that are vaccinated STILL GET SICK while at QK because vaccines just can’t cover everything in the long list above. But, you can request that your vet administer a multi-valent intranasal vaccination for the best protection possible!

The Impossible Fix

By Jennifer Broome, QK Owner

It’s safe to say that COVID-19 affected all of us, both personally and professionally, in one way or another. As quickly as the world slowed down this past year or so, it has picked up pace even faster. As the number of vaccinated people continues to rise, so does our business here at Quinebaug Kennels. We are very fortunate to be so strong in business today, let alone at all, after such a difficult year. Our kennel and training facility was able to survive and thrive despite the challenges of the pandemic because of our loyal clients and beloved dogs, and we are endlessly grateful.

Over the years, we have adapted to the changes, demands and interests of our clients. Currently, we have made a decision to accept new boarding clients on a very limited basis so that we can accommodate our current clientele. With a rapid escalation in travel, we felt it was only fair to provide a reliable boarding facility to our loyal and repeat customer base. After all, it is because of these dedicated dog owners & QK fans that we are still in business!

The team also felt that the dogs (& owners) who had grown to know and love QK from past visits would best thrive with us, having a foundation of QK obedience and previous understanding of our high level of care, exercise and socialization during their stay. For those familiar with the QK campus, we have transitioned “The Lodge” into the training building. The previous smaller training building, now called ”The Cabin,” is currently being used for boarding.

As boarding is gradually on the rise, it feels that training has been a vertical hike to the top! With upwards of twenty new assessment forms a day, we hired a customer care employee simply to answer all of the email inquiries for training. While limited with space and trainers, since our ratios are about 8 to 12 dogs per trainer per day, our training is currently booked out into July… Gratitude is the word that best sums up how our PAQK feels about all of this incredible business!

While quite often what accompanies the ‘pros’ are the ‘cons,’ our biggest struggle currently is actually something many of our future and potential clients can help with! As a back story…

The team members at Quinebaug Kennels work diligently day in and day out, with endless grit and an unwavering passion for their craft. Because of this, the QK name is well known up and down the East Coast, especially in the New England area. Many of our new clients have learned about us from word of mouth referrals, like their veterinarian or a close friend, but more often than not, they simply saw a very well-behaved dog and spoke to an owner that raved about our services, training and care! These well-trained dogs are walking billboards, and when a fellow dog owner is witness to the result of this proper training, they seemingly want the same for their own dog. While this is wonderful, sadly, this is not always possible.

I have had the pleasure (and often pain) of reading ALL of the Assessment Forms and lately, I find myself shaking my head at the answers to these thoughtful and purposeful assessment questions, more so than ever before. If you are easily offended, please don’t read ahead, but if you welcome a dose of reality, please carry on…

While Doodles can be incredible dogs, the puppy mill breeding of these designer mutts has become an epidemic in the canine world. What the average consumer envisions as a cute, fluffy, cuddly puppy more often than not becomes a little snarky wall of teeth. Quick to bite and bark incessantly, these designer dogs are genetically skittish and unfortunately, mentally unstable pups.

It may be easy to go into a pet store and buy a puppy based on looks, or order a puppy online with a credit card and have it shipped right to your doorstep… but welcoming a new canine companion into your life should not be an instant gratification kind of shopping experience.

Would you marry someone without seeing where they lived? Meeting their parents? Understanding how they were raised and cared for? Learning about who they are as a person? The simple answer is no. It should be no different with a dog. If you have not interviewed the breeder, visited the living conditions of the breeding dogs or met the dam and sire of the puppy, there is a mistake being made that will only impact both the owner and dog’s quality of life. Due diligence on the buyer’s part is imperative. It is crucial to learn the standard of the breeding facility, as well as the health, wellness and living conditions of the breeding dogs in order to be well educated on the pet being welcomed into the home as a member of the family for the decade or so.

As a very experienced and competent trainer with decades of dog speak, I’ll say this most ardently… I cannot fix what you brought to me already broken!

  • If a puppy has an unstable temperament based on genetics, I cannot magically fix that.
  • If you neglected the early imprinting and behavior shaping training for patience, I cannot magically fix that.
  • If you failed to introduce your dog to new people and other dogs for socialization, in new situations that were environmentally enriching and mentally stimulating, I cannot magically fix that.
  • If your pup was coddled, sheltered and you neglected early behavior shaping, then training could prove to be a nightmare, and I cannot… well, you know the rest. True success behind well-mannered, stable dogs consists of a variety of factors.


We are facing more and more failures in our program simply due to the unrealistic demands of our clients, both before and after training, as well as the quality of dogs that are being sent to us. An example:

A high-energy Australian Shepherd, built for herding, has a tendency to nip and bite. That is what they were bred to accomplish. Because of this, they fundamentally need intense exercise and must have extremely strict, consistent rules from their owner(s). Within a four-week training, we’re able to correct many of these behaviors with strong leadership, only to then have the owner not enforce the rules when returning home. In short… what is the point?

In addition, if you have no knowledge of your dog’s genetics and they come to us with hip dysplasia, severe allergies, skin sensitivities, gut/GI issues or other health problems, then how can I ask them to perform and work if they are uncomfortable, in pain or unable to do simple obedience tasks?

Because of this, we felt it was best for all of our training dogs to have an onsite visit with veterinarian Dr. Kristen Williams, so she can assess and identify a variety of potential medical issues. While she cannot do X-rays or more intense tests to ensure there aren’t severe underlying health issues that would affect your dog’s ability to meet the physical and mental challenges of our programs, a general overview of your dog’s health and wellness proves to be very helpful from a training perspective. Unfortunately, many of these issues arise when we start training and what we often initially think is resistance or aggression is simply the result of a fight response to physical pain from unknown health problems.

These are only two of the many examples we are seeing from improper and inexperienced dog ownership. From a trainer’s perspective…

If you’ve never utilized crate training for patience, isolation and manners work, then how can I fix your pup’s separation anxiety in mere weeks? Separation anxiety isn’t just missing you and chewing the corner of a couch leg as a result when you leave them at home… At QK, it often means a pup that barks themselves sick, into a tizzy, where they not only emotionally shut down from stress, they weaken their immune systems with this kind of response, triggering physical sicknesses (irritable bowel, upper respiratory illnesses, skin problems and more).

If you drive down our driveway with your pup on your lap and she is babied, coddled and loved with more emotion than rules and structure, how can she thrive in a cage suddenly and be expected to be happy and healthy in boot camp, surrounded by other dogs and unfamiliar faces?

If you bring a dog to us that is already over 1.5 to 2 years old and has learned to bite, has developed high reactivity or severe behavioral issues that were never corrected, how can we possibly be successful if the ENTIRE family is not on board and committed to the training? This means that everyone comes to the go-home lesson, each family member is consistent and held accountable for the crucial changes that need to happen when the dog returns home. A dog will only rise to the occasion and be a willing partner to people who are truly invested in the training and willing to change themselves.

Also, why did you wait until your dog was well into adulthood (over three years old) to realize that now he needs to be trained? At this point, behaviors are ingrained. Most likely, if YOU allowed these behaviors, then you are as much of the problem as the dog…

If our children go to school for 17 years…. How can I ‘fix’ your dog with simple 2-week leash training? Leash training means just that, we work on leash skills… We teach and enforce heel, sit, stay and go for a solid two weeks on-leash to shape new & improved behaviors with leash lightness, politeness and communication.

This does not and should not mean that it magically transfers to off-leash. If your dog did not respect your immediate rules on-leash, then why should he be expected to listen off-leash? This is why we encourage a true four to six-week off-leash program. We condition and nurture all of the leash skills to the light sensation of the remote E-collar communication in order to use this as your remote leash to immediately enforce commands.

We fully realize that many people today adopt dogs and help to provide homes for rescue dogs. That is wonderful in theory, but is it fair to you, your family and the dog? If you are a first-time dog owner, then it is very important to know your dog’s genetics so that you can provide the training, energy demands and leadership to match your dog’s needs. Not all rescues make good pets, and many can be dangerous for first-time dog owner families. Rescue dogs of unknown origin or rearing and older dogs present great challenges with training. Some may respond wonderfully (and successfully), more often than not, we must do our best and accept that this dog may never be able to be loose around other pups, is generally unsafe around children and must live a restricted life… because it simply cannot be fixed.

While we want to help train ALL dogs…..we just cannot accommodate the more challenging dogs, especially those who have been done a disservice from a very early age. We are limited with our space at QK and sending us a dog that nearly outweighs some of our trainers, and wants to attack other dogs, is a dangerous dog we have no interest in having at our facility.

As trainers, we are subjected to dog bites every day. To be fair, ALL DOGS BITE! However, when we are faced with tougher breeds, older and improperly imprinted dogs, canines over 60 pounds who never had to listen, their reaction to our leadership is flight (run away) or fight (attack us). While the little dogs are the quickest and seem to bite us the most frequently, the larger dogs cause the most damage.

The tone of this article has been one of frustration, but it is important to be truthful from a trainer’s perspective for past, present and future dog owners. More and more, we are experiencing incredibly spoiled dogs and having to work with owners who have enabled these behaviors. And as trainers, we are then suffering from the demand to miraculously fix them, in mere weeks. These same owners often message us throughout the day with questions like…. “How is Fluffy doing?” “Why does she look sad or scared in the video update that you sent us?” “What do you mean Fluffy bit you?”

It is with confidence that I say, if your dog fails our program because they are physically or mentally incapable of handling the stress of the kennel, the new set of rules and the demands of training, we beg you to be introspective as the dog owner before displacing blame. Lately, I have heard, “Well you traumatized my dog” or “Whatever happened at your kennel made my dog worse” or “My dog went through your program but obviously was not trained because they still do not listen to me”… The accusations are endless.

The simple reality is this… if you really want to have a happy, healthy and stable dog then YOU, the owner, must be held just as accountable as your canine companion is. Due diligence with puppy rearing requires a lot of work, from crate training, manners work, housebreaking and frequent socializing. If you send us a balanced dog, we can work wonders with our training! The dogs who serve as roaming billboards for us do so because their owners are diligent, proactive and actively contribute to the obedience.

The best way to learn about being a great dog owner is to attend one of our QK Owner Boot Camps. We offer these once every month, and we teach you about canine behavior, their needs and how to get started properly before you even get a puppy! Feel free to contact me directly at, visit us at or give us a call at 860-546-2116.


New Dog? Quick Tips from Dog Expert, Jennifer Broome

You dreamt about it, you pondered it at length and you finally decided that the time has come to welcome a new bundle of joy into your life… the furry, fuzzy kind that is!

As exciting as it is, making the commitment to invite a canine companion into your home is a decision that should not be taken lightly. A true member of the family and a living, breathing creature, dependent on your love and care, should not be purchased online, sight unseen or from a pet shop in an impulsive moment of weakness. The process of buying a puppy should be a systematic and strategic choice based on care and thoughtfulness, catered to the canine’s specific needs. Whether you are purchasing a dog from a trusted breeder or adopting from a shelter, there are crucial considerations to keep in mind from start to finish. Here are a few cardinal rules…

PAQK Rule #1: Do your due diligence!

From dog shows to dog parks to other miscellaneous dog events, find and/or create opportunities to meet the breeds. You may be surprised which canine captivates you! Ask questions and learn about each breed’s exercise needs and their development history. Many dog breeds were developed over centuries ago, with specific jobs in mind, so many are genetically wired and built to fulfill these roles. It is inherently ingrained in them, from their physical build to their mental capacity, to carry out these tasks. Which brings me to my next rule…

PAQK Rule #2: Do your homework, study and learn about the breeds to find what canine group fits you and/or your family best (here’s a little bit of info from a veteran dog trainer to get you started)!

The group known as herding dogs, also known as guard dogs, are wonderful in regards to protecting both people and livestock. They are highly intelligent and extremely athletic. While this makes them incredible workers, it also typically causes them to chase small animals or children, biting at hands and nipping at heels. In addition, they are very vocal dogs and love to bark. As incredible of a breed as they are, these dogs do not necessarily make the best happy-go-lucky family pets, as they constantly need firm leadership as well as a ‘job’. All in all, if these demands are not enforced, then they become wonderful biters, often get very protective and aggressive (not to mention the incessant barking) and can ultimately become dangerous. Needless to say… not typically a great choice for a first time dog owner!

Sporting or field dog groups are bred to chase and find game, from nonstop retrieving to incessant searching. They are incredibly athletic, smart and very busy. They are wonderful dogs for very active individuals or families who also socialize their canine companions and provide them with endless environmental enrichment. These dogs will fail when confined to apartments, fenced in yards or live with nonactive or first time inexperienced owners. They need consistent leadership, exercise and mental stimulation. Without these things, they become award winning chewers, develop anxiety issues that stem from frustration and they can be extremely destructive when forced to live a sedentary, boring life.

Hounds were developed to pursue warm-blooded quarry. Sight hounds are sleek, athletic and use explosive speed and keen vision to chase prey. Scent hounds rely on their powerful noses to track and trail animals. Most members of the hound group will stop at nothing to pursue their game. What does this mean for a dog owner? Simply, what makes them amazing at persistently catching their quarry parallels a significantly challenging trainability factor. A hound’s main objective, inherently bred, is to chase by eyesight or attach their noses to the ground to track scent. They are genetically predisposed to react with these behaviors than listen to human leadership. They tend to be very independent dogs, making them a difficult family pet for most.

The working group, as labeled by the AKC, are the dog versions of the ‘punch-the-clock, blue collared worker’ and they include some of the most ancient breeds. Ancient meaning that their genetics are very strong and their nature ingrained in them deeply. These breeds were developed to assist humans in a working capacity, from pulling sleds and carts to guarding flocks to protecting homes or farms. They are known for their imposing stature, strength, alertness and intelligence. Just as the AKC group explains, they are a working dog! This means that if you fall in love with one of these breeds, then it is crucial that you ensure they are on the family payroll with a specific job(s) in mind. Oh, and by the way, obedience IS A JOB… so train them well!

Moving on to the terrible terriers… Just kidding, they are great little dogs! Feisty and fast, these dogs were bred to go underground in pursuit of rodents and other vermin… did you know that terrier actually means “burrow”? They are extremely energetic and known for their distinct personalities often described as ‘eager for a spirited argument’. These dogs can make great companion dogs, but their energy level, determination and stubbornness needs to be matched and surpassed by their owners. Again, all boiling down to proper and consistent training and leadership!

And let’s not forget the toy group of dogs… meaning small (‘toy size’) enough for apartments and human’s laps, making for a great, all-around companion dog. They are still active and intelligent, requiring training and exercise, but their smaller size can truly make them manageable for many owners and children. The downside to these pups is that they have strong protective instincts, so a life upon the sofa or their human’s laps can easily morph into aggression when they decide to also own those spaces as theirs. Like all dogs, regardless of their diminutive size, they still need adequate exercise along with plenty of rules and boundaries. Oh, and TRAINING!

After really learning about these dog groups, it becomes apparent that there are only a handful of dogs that were truly bred to be ‘companion’ dogs, and even those breeds still have many training and exercise requirements. If children go to school for nearly 17 years to become educated, socialized and proficient adults, then why shouldn’t your dog equally be held accountable for rules, structure and training as youngsters are, in order to mature into well-behaved adult dogs? (Rhetorical question, of course)! In dog years, the intense ‘schooling’ should be the first two years of life and then continuously maintained into adulthood thereafter.


PAQK Rule #3 – Meet your dog before committing to it for life!

Would you marry someone after seeing a few photos of that person on the internet? Or after the first date? The answer should be… NO! The same goes for dog ownership. After you settle on the breed or rescue that ‘sings’ to you, your lifestyle and your goals, the next step is to not only meet your dog, but get to know him or her!

If you are interested in a pure-bred dog, be sure to visit the AKC website and look for AKC approved breeders in your area. The next step would be to call the breeder and interview them as compassionately and intensely as they interview you. The breeders who are most investigative about you and your family are the ones who care about the best placement for their dogs. These breeders want to ensure a quality life for their dogs as well as the new families who are welcoming them into the home.

Also, read about the AKC CHIC (Canine Health Information Center) database, as each AKC breed now has specific CHIC health requirements. This means that the BEST breeders take the time and spend the money to carry out a variety of genetic health tests to ensure that they are breeding dogs to meet the physical and health standards of the breed. Simply, a true conscientious, responsible breeder breeds for consistency regarding HEALTH, TEMPERAMENT and TRAINABILITY. While you can expect to pay $1200 upwards of $4500 for a properly bred pure-bred dog, the old adage is true… you get what you pay for.

If you are convinced that a designer dog is your match, then there are a few things to keep in mind. Most of these dogs come from puppy mills, back yard breeders or ‘professional’ breeders. These dogs often lack consistency. An example of this would be Doodles, who range in size in the litters from toys to giants and no two look alike. They take breeds with extreme known genetic health issues (Poodles, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Golden Retrievers, etc.) and most neglect to do any health tests. Often, and unfortunately so, breeding is a business for them and they are not doing what is in best interest of the dog and/or the future individual or family that is searching for their new canine companion.

More often than not, we see these dogs with all kinds of skin, eye & intestinal issues, hip dysplasia and more. Had health testing been done, then these diseases could have been screened out. However, these breeders, which we refer to in the industry as puppy mills, sell very expensive, genetically disastrous and mentally unstable dogs. They breed for ‘weird’ colors like creams, brindles, merles, blues and silvers.  As you breed for color specifically, you begin to see more skin problems, visual and auditory problems. While buying a unique dogs for an exorbitant price might seem enticing, the result is often a dog (and it’s owner) who will suffer from the mental and physical challenges that accompany its poor breeding.

If you decide you still want to pursue a designer dog regardless, then be sure to at least meet the breeder, visit their facilities, check for cleanliness and humane conditions, and most importantly meet the parents of your puppy! If you do not love and appreciate the characteristics of the parents, then do not buy that puppy. When a puppy is born into abuse, neglect, overcrowding and was not thoughtfully loved and handled by humans to receive imprinting from birth to 7 weeks, it is very difficult as a trainer to fix these ingrained behaviors.

If adopting a rescue is on your radar, please spend time with him or her and get to know the dog BEFORE committing to the pup permanently. Do not just meet a van on the side of the road filled with rescue dogs of unknown temperament, origin and health and expect this abused, neglected, scarred canine to magically become a safe, reliable family companion.  This is much of the source today for unsuccessful dog adoptions.  Unfortunately, most are unaware of what they’ll be dealing with once they get the dog home and all too often the pup is too much for the unsuspecting family.

Also be cognizant that this ‘rescue’ pup was most likely born into unstable conditions.  The hormones from the mom fed the puppy’s body and these puppies may have had to fight for their lives. From starvation to a lack of proper medical care, they experienced neglect and had to fight to survive. These dogs take a lot of time, compassion, training and care.  They are not always the best choices for first time owners, families with children, or other pets that could be hurt. However, anyone that can take a puppy or dog of unknown origin and provide a structured, nurturing, loving and disciplined home for a rescue and allow the dog to blossom with confidence, happiness and stability… is a HERO in my books!

There’s a lot to think about, but with the guidance of these three PAQK rules, let the exciting journey to find your canine companion begin. The team here at Quinebaug Kennels is here to help you and your family however we can, and look forward to being on this new adventure with you and your new dog for many years to come!