by June 27, 2013 at 11:00 am 0


A day at the farm in Maryland. Click above to see photos.(Courtesy K-9 Divine)

What can be better than a day in the country side with a group of your friends?

Rachel Jones at K-9 Divine has just that for your dog.  K-9 Divine will not only take care of your dog while you are at work, they will also give them a day in the country, running (supervised!) through a fenced-in pasture. We spoke to Borderstan contributor Rachel Jones about her business.

Borderstan: When did K-9 Divine started?

Rachel Jones: I started K-9 Divine 10 years ago as an in-home training business. Six years ago I bought my house in Logan Circle and started boarding dogs. 1½-years ago, I rented the farm and started daycare and boarding at the farm.

Borderstan: Where are you located?

Jones: The farm is located in Harwood, Md., which is near Annapolis. Dogs can also board at my house in Logan Circle and we go to the client’s homes to do training.

Borderstan: What services do you offer?

Jones: We offer daycare at the farm Monday through Friday, boarding at both locations seven days a week and training whenever it is convenient for the client. We also offer boarding with training.

Borderstan: What is the cost of boarding and farm day?

Jones: Boarding is $65 per night or $50 per night for stays over one week. A farm day is $40 or $350 for a package of 10 days or $650 for a package of 20 days.

Borderstan: What makes K-9 Divine different from other dog care services?

Jones: Our daycare is different because it is outdoors on 13 acres. The dogs have lots of room to run and they have enough personal space so they don’t feel stressed out. We also have more people supervising the dogs than most other daycares. Our boarding is in a regular house and the dogs are not caged or kenneled. They are allowed to sleep wherever they want, even in the bed with me! So it is much less stressful than the average kennel or daycare.

Both myself and Amanda Brady, the daycare manager, are professional dog trainers, so we are very aware of dog behavior and body language and can make sure dogs are happy and getting along with each other.

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by June 25, 2013 at 2:00 pm 0

From Rachel Jones. Email her at rjones[AT] She is  she is the owner of K-9 Divine and a professional dog trainer. 


Nip your dog’s kleptomania in the bud. (Rachel Jones)

Does your dog steal things, such as shoes and socks — and then force you to chase her around to get them back?

Many owners are faced with this problem, which can start as a silly game and result in the dog becoming aggressive about giving things up. Nip your dog’s kleptomania in the bud before it turns into an aggression problem!

A dog that chews on your couch while you’re not home is not a thief. In this article, we are talking about dogs that steal things in front of you and then run away. For most of these dogs, the “thievery” is an attempt to get your attention, as opposed to a real desire to chew on the object.

Your first line of defense is to ignore them when they have stolen something. Many dogs will drop an object and leave it alone once they realize you aren’t going to chase them. Even if you are sure your dog is going to chew something up, try to ignore him for at least 30 seconds after he’s stolen it and see how he reacts. Also, if the object is something of no value, such as an old gym sock, it is better to let him have it than to continue playing the chasing game.

Many trainers teach you to trade a treat for the object, or tell your dog to “drop it” and then give them a treat. In the context of stealing, however, trading for a treat will only prolong the game for life. Remember that your dog wants attention andor food, so she will certainly continue to grab things if she knows it will get her a treat.

The best way to break the cycle forever is to commit to three weeks of having the house bare of anything to steal. This is hard, especially if you have kids, but it will be worth it in the end. If there is nothing around except dog toys and there are several weeks in which you never have to chase around/yell at your dog, he will forget about the game and move on to another activity.

Crating your dog and keeping him supervised constantly will also prevent stealing.

Teach your dog to engage in nice behaviors in order to get your attention, such as sitting, lying down or going in the crate. Set her up for success by removing the possibility of stealing objects, and you will enjoy a peaceful relationship for years to come.

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by June 10, 2013 at 2:00 pm 0

From Rachel Jones. Email her at rjones[AT] She is  she is the owner of K-9 Divine and a professional dog trainer. 


Does your dog hide when the fireworks begin? (Rachel Jones)

Many adult dogs have phobias about loud noises, such as thunder and fireworks. This is mainly the result of not being exposed to the noises during their critical period of learning, two to 14 weeks of age. If your dog already has a noise phobia, or you would like to prevent him from developing the phobia, there are steps you can take — and 4th of July celebrations are less than a month away.

Exposure to Stimuli

Puppies need to be exposed to stimuli as soon as possible. When puppies (and humans) are born, their brains are not fully developed. As a puppy’s brain develops and connections are being formed, she must experience a variety of sights, smells and sounds in order for the maximum number of connections to form.

If a puppy never hears a firecracker or similar noise when she is young, she will not develop a connection in her brain that will enable her to process the sound when she hears it as an adult. This can lead to adverse reactions such as urinating, vomiting, intense fear or aggression.

Introducing a Dog to a Loud Sound

The proper way to introduce or desensitize a dog to a loud sound is gradually.

  1. Do not force the dog into a “scary” encounter with the noise or stimulus. If done properly, your dog should never feel agitated or frightened during the training.
  2. Start with a very quiet version of the sound. You can actually buy sound files of thunder, fireworks and gunshots.
  3. Make sure your dog is having a good time while listening to the sound by feeding him treats, playing with a favorite toy or giving him a belly rub.
  4. Gradually increase the volume (or your proximity to the sound); always being sure that your dog is relaxed.
  5. If your dog shows any signs of nervousness (ears back, wide eyes, panting, licking the lips, tail tucked between the legs) lower the volume or end the session.
  6. One moment of panic can derail all of your work, so be sure to proceed very slowly and only increase the volume if your dog appears to be relaxed.

Many dogs escape from their homes and go missing during thunderstorms or fireworks. Take the necessary steps to ensure that your dog is safe and happy during summer storms and festivities.

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by February 18, 2013 at 3:00 pm 0

From Rachel Jones. Email her at rjones[AT] She is  she is the owner of K-9 Divine and a professional dog trainer. 

Rachel Jones is a dog trainer. (Courtesy Rachel Jones)

Rachel Jones is a professional dog trainer. (Courtesy Rachel Jones)

Every dog owner teaches his or her dog to sit. But can your dog sit when it counts: in the elevator, or when greeting children or other dogs? A dog that can sit in every possible context is better trained than a dog that has an incomplete mastery of 20 different tricks.

Borderstan is filled with people and dogs. Having a dog that is too friendly or hostile can be a public relations nightmare.

Neighbors are not amused when your nice Golden Retriever jumps on them in the elevator. Conversely, people are very impressed when your dog calmly sits in crowded areas. If you have limited time to train your dog, focus on getting him to do this one command very well.

To start, hold a treat on your dog’s nose and move it slightly over her head. Give her the treat when her butt hits the ground. Do this a few times in a row. Once you feel that you can reliably get her to sit, add the command. Say, “sit” and then lead her into a sit with the treat.

After practicing for a few days, try it without leading her with the treat. Once she can do it in the house, take it outside and practice in busy areas. Although it is very easy to teach your dog to sit in the house, you may need to practice for weeks or months to make the command reliable around distractions.

If your dog is sitting, he is not: jumping, lunging, biting or chewing. Make a list of your dog’s undesirable behaviors and train him to sit in those contexts. You will be amazed how impressed people are at your dog’s good behavior!

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by December 26, 2012 at 2:00 pm 3,250 0


A dog is always hungry. (Rachel Jones)

From Rachel Jones. Email her at rjones[AT] She is  she is the owner of K-9 Divine and a professional dog trainer,

No matter how much you feed your dog, she always wants more, especially when you are eating. All dog owners have received desperate pleadings for food at the dinner table. Is begging a necessary doggie ritual? Absolutely not!

The first thing to remember is that dogs are domesticated wolves. Their DNA is still nearly identical to that of wolves. In the wild, food is hard to come by. Wild canids sometimes go for many days without eating, and they must learn to bear hunger patiently.

Pet dogs possess the same level of patience. Unfortunately, most pet dogs do not learn to be patient; by always getting what they want, they develop intolerance for frustration that manifests itself in obnoxious behaviors like barking, whining and jumping.

When a wolf is in between meals, he cannot afford to waste precious calories on unnecessary activities. Therefore, when not actually hunting, wolves try to stay as still as possible. Domestic dogs have the same programming:

They will not engage in behaviors that get them nothing. This is the most important fact to know about your dog. If you do not reinforce your dog for begging, he will stop! Not reinforcing behavior means not paying any attention to the dog when she is engaging in the behavior. Attention can be positive or negative. In order to completely ignore your dog when she is begging, you must avoid all eye contact, talking, yelling, touching or correcting.

In or Out of the Room During Your Mealtimes?

How do you ignore your dog during mealtimes? First, your dog does not always need to be in the room with you when you are cooking or eating. If you have a puppy, put him in his crate or in another room during dinner. This will prevent him from being able to engage in begging at all.

If you want to have your dog in the room while you are eating, you must be prepared to ignore barking, whining, staring or jumping. It will take your dog several weeks to catch on to the fact that he is getting nothing from begging, so you must consistently ignore him every time, no matter how annoying the behavior gets. If you feel yourself losing your temper, it is always better to quietly move your dog to another room than to yell or correct the dog. Punishment is just another form of attention.

Remember that a well-fed dog has no reason to beg for food. If she is doing so, it is because you are reinforcing the behavior in some way. Eliminate the reinforcement and you will eliminate the begging.

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by December 10, 2012 at 4:00 pm 1,957 0

From Rachel Jones. Email her at rjones[AT] A professional dog trainer, she is the owner of K-9 Divine.


Repetitions and more repetitions. (Rachel Jones)

It can be very frustrating to train a dog, especially when an owner is dealing with a serious problem like aggression or fear. Having a proper understanding of learning theory and the way dogs learn can help a person have realistic expectations and a successful plan.

Humans have much higher powers of cognition than dogs. We have critical reasoning, which allows us to process concepts such as right and wrong, and draw conclusions based on observations. Dogs do not have this ability. Dogs learn by repetition. That is the only way they learn both behaviors and emotions.

Therefore, it is important for humans to set aside both the idea of morality and our common teaching style of lecturing and explaining when working with dogs.

Successful Repetition: 200 Times

In order for a dog to learn anything, he must engage in the same behavior successfully at least 200 times. For example, a dog must hear the word “sit” in conjunction with putting her rear on the ground 200 times before she links the command with the behavior. Similarly, if she jumps on your visitors 200 times and gets attention she will have learned to jump on people.

Therefore, in order to have a well-behaved dog, you must set them up to engage in many repetitions of good behavior, and few repetitions of bad behavior. If you don’t want your dog to do things like knock over the garbage can or jump on the furniture, you need to organize his time so that he can’t possibly engage in those behaviors. Allowing him to do it and then trying to punish him for it is not very successful, since he does not grasp the concept of right vs. wrong.

Once a dog has engaged in hundreds of repetitions of a certain emotion, such as fear, it takes a lot of work to change how she feels. For example, if a dog has been barking and growling at strangers for three years, it will take at least a few months to change the behavior. Beware of television shows where the trainer works with the dog for one hour and “cures” it of fear or aggression. In reality, training programs for emotional issues take months of tedious repetitions on the part of the dog and the owner.

Whether you are teaching your dog to sit or working on an aggression problem, you will have a much greater chance of success if you understand the way your dog’s mind works and commit to a realistic amount of time to train.

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