STEPHENS CITY — In 2015, Lance and Connie Moss decided to do their part in helping out dogs and their owners.
The couple opened the Strategic Paws Training facility right outside of Stephens City. The facility allows people to bring their canine friends to train or to stay in their kennel when their owners go out of town.
“We are a positive training facility,” Connie said. “Everything is positive and reinforcement training. We don’t use choke chains or shock collars. We’re all about striking a balance between the dog and the owner and finding a common goal to work toward.”
Strategic Paws offers various types of training, including agility, teamwork, and competition-style obedience training.
“Everything is geared toward pet dogs transferring or crossing over into sports, not just expensive sports dogs,” Connie said. “We like everybody, and we want everyone to participate and do something with their dog.”
Connie Moss, who handles the dog training aspect of the facility, said that her passion for animals is what drove her to training dogs.
“It started with me training horses, and then I moved to dogs,” she said. “I love working with dogs and really like working with the people. To watch the dogs and people make a connection to me is what it’s all about.”
She said that their four-week courses cost $120. She also said that Strategic Paws offers “TEAM Club,” which is geared more toward obedience and other behaviors.
“It’s a great thing for all dogs that want to move into any kind of sports,” she said.
There is a training promotion at the facility for recently adopted shelter dogs.
“Owners will have to show they have adopted the dog in the last 60 days,” Connie Moss said. “If they can show proof, they can get a 20 percent discount for one of our beginning classes, which just cover basic manners and a few fun sport behaviors.”
Strategic Paws can house five dogs at a time in its kennel, but Lance Moss said that was intentional.
“We’re a very small, “boutique” kind of kennel where the dogs get a little more attention,” he said. “We try to keep it a very calm, peaceful atmosphere. There are not a lot of dogs here on purpose simply because it would change the atmosphere of the place.”
The kennel offers elevated dog beds, aromatherapy and calm music. Lance Moss said that the kennel at Strategic Paws is a little different from most dog kennels.
“We didn’t use chain mail fencing for the kennel,” he said. “We have solid walls and plenty of ventilation. It allows the dogs to be comfortable without being bullied, bully or get excited by their neighbors.”
When the dogs aren’t in their living areas, they’re outside getting fresh air and exercise on the facility’s 2-acre field.
“We place a big emphasis on getting the dogs outside and exercise as much as we can,” he said. “We feel it helps them calm down.”
Lance Moss said the facility charges $45 per night for boarding. He encourages people who are boarding their dogs to bring their dog’s food and other things that would make the dogs feel at home.
For more information on Strategic Paws Training, visit http://www.strategicpawstraining.com.