Donna Eddins, owner and operator of Dog Woods, delights in working with canines. In fact, she thinks it doggone fun.
The family-owned business was started by her mother more than 50 years ago.
Donna was 12 years old when she began walking dogs in obedience shows. At age 24, Eddins became a partner and she and her mother worked together until her mother retired eight years ago.
Now the full-service professional dog training facility is run primarily by Eddins and her son Michael, a student at University of Memphis.
“People just expect to see someone in the family working with their dogs,” said Eddins. “They know we’ve had years training and loving dogs — we weren’t taught in an eight-week course.”
Eddins enjoys all parts of the training venue.
“When I was younger, I really enjoyed training and showing my own dogs,” said Eddins. “I won quite a few obedience trial championships. now that I am an AKC judge I just get excited when other people’s dogs (from Dog Woods) win.”
Through the years this facility has successfully
trained both obedience trial champions and Master Agility dogs at both national and regional levels. Since the training is done indoors, classes can be held year round. According to Eddins, Dog Woods has more than 100 dogs in some sort of class every week.
“Many people just want a dog trained to be their friend,” said Eddins. “We do what is needed to help owners and their dogs attain happy relationships.”
A three-week camp program also is available for owners who don’t have time to come to a weekly class.
Often, families going on vacation use this time for the dog to be trained.
The dog is trained while being boarded at Dog Woods.
“We have someone who spends the night with them at Dog Woods. They let the dogs in and out, feed them and do the kennel work,” said Eddins. “When I come in, the dogs are ready to train. after the three weeks, we give the owners a few lessons also and it works out fine.”
Dog Woods offers private lessons, group lessons, basic canine obedience training and advanced competition classes, puppy classes, including socialization, the camp program, and the agility training.
Since Eddins has become a Delta Evaluator, she works with training dogs to learn therapy skills. a dog needs to have basic obedience training before attempting the Therapy Skills class. This class focuses on the required commands needed to pass the Delta Society Pets Partner Evaluation.
Therapy Skills dogs and their owners learn to help people in a variety of different settings. for example, some dogs take part in the reprogramming classes at the public library. Dogs are trained to sit patiently beside a young reader and let her read to him.
Therapy Skills dogs are also used in grief camps or in nursing homes. They do work with Alzheimer’s patients as well as with the children at St. Jude and with hospice care.
“Volunteer labor is a pretty big accomplishment,” said Eddins. “The dog must be calm. It must be able to handle people grabbing it.”
Looking back, Eddins recalls the many dogs she has trained in so many ways. In the years she has worked with dogs, this trainer has developed her own style of teaching.
“Dogs are like little kids. If you teach them something and give them some good distinct rules with boundaries, they feel secure and loved,” said Eddins.
Dog Woods is located at 3041 Germantown Road, just a few blocks north of Wolfchase Mall. the pet training facility may be reached by calling 901-386-9900. the website isdogwoods4dogs.com.