Chip Ingersoll admits his three dogs — Bella, Sprite and Cora — are the real celebrities of Alpha-Dog Pet Center, which he owns in Amherst.
“A lot of people know the dogs because they come to work with us every day and they bring a lot of joy to customers,” says Ingersoll, who opened his one-stop pet complex in 2013.
Alpha-Dog is best known for its 24/7 Self-Serve Pet Wash Station that’s incredibly useful “if you dog rolls in something at 2 a.m.,” says Ingersoll. The stand-alone building is also appreciated by pet owners whose dogs may not be exactly friendly to other dogs or people. The center’s store sells pet food, toys, treats, pet clothing (think holiday costumes) and specialty items, including pet-themed jewelry made by local craftsmen. Full-grooming services and therapeutic dog massages also are offered. Ingersoll is also a certified dog trainer, specializing in behavioral issues.
1. Use treats for training. It’s more of a motivation for dogs than just praise. Most dogs can be weaned from treats as training advances.
2. Reward dogs for emotional states, like calmness, as well as for physical acts like sitting. Your dog learns it is being rewarded when its energy level is down.
3. A more permanent change in behavior is possible if, after you correct a dog and it does something “good,” you reward it. If a dog “counter surfs,” correct it, but then reward it when all four paws are on the ground.
46370 Middle Ridge Road, Amherst, 440-984-2519, alphadogpets.com