Corraling dogs is his passion

Tim Cline, owner of DogWatch of Winchester, trains a golden retriever using the DogWatch system.

Tim Cline’s 4 1/2-year-old business has gone to the dogs.

Cline, 36, is the franchise owner of DogWatch, a company that sells electronic radio collars and hand-held transmitters to train a dog to stay in the yard, avoid certain areas in the house, control its barking and stay close to its owner while walking or jogging.

The company, headquartered in Natick, Massachusetts, has been recognized as a “Best Buy” by Consumers Digest, and Cline said there are currently 2,000 customers he serves in Frederick, Clarke and Warren counties and the cities of Winchester and Strasburg.

Two of the company’s BigLeash training collars received a “best in pet products and resources” award in 2014 from Family Choice, a product and service rating organization.

“It’s great to be able to protect someone’s animal because pets are really part of the family,” said Cline, a native of Winchester and James Wood graduate who worked primarily as a farrier before taking over the franchise from Dan Nicholson, who had owned it for 20 years.

“I had purchased DogWatch from Dan and used it for several years for my German short-haired pointer and was impressed with it,” said Cline. The chance to be in business and help owners train their dogs appealed to him.

“I get out and meet people, get to work with animals; I love it,” said Cline.

“He’s great,” said Linda Roberts of southern Clarke County. She and her husband Chuck live in the country and use DogWatch with their three rescue dogs — all terriers.

“Tim is easily accessible, very professional in his approach, easy to talk to and explains things very well,” said Linda Roberts. “We have a lot of land around us and we needed a way to keep dogs at home rather than wandering around the neighborhood. We didn’t want to build a fence in our backyard, we wanted to keep the open look.”

Willie, Sadie and Smokey [the newest terrier addition] wear collars with a battery and when they near the underground wire there is a beeping sound and if the dog goes beyond the boundary he gets a mild shock. The boundary is lined with flags at first and the dogs visually learn the limits.

“You can set the collars at different levels,” said Linda. “Smokey’s is very light and it beeps when he gets near (the boundary). They learn pretty quickly. You want them to respect the boundary but not be terrified of it.”

Cline notes the company is approaching its 25th anniversary and that its products have expanded to include cats, as well as dogs, and they can be configured outside to keep a pet out of a driveway, pool, swing set, sandbox or garden.

Indoors, a wireless transmitter can signal off-limits to a pet with a range up to 8 feet in diameter.

“My goal is to get customers comfortable with how they want to train their pet,” said Cline. “One thing I like is it provides convenience and comfort in bad weather. You can let dogs go out by themselves to do their business and not worry about them running into the street or highway. It doesn’t hurt the dog and prevents the dog from getting hurt.”

Cline said he loves animals, especially his friendly brown Boykin spaniel, “Gunner,” who is 2 years old and has been trained to be a hunting dog using DogWatch.

“I can always talk from experience,” he said.