MARIN INDEPENDENT JOURNAL
San Rafael has its own puppy whisperer
Hillary Alexander, owner of Hillary’s Hound House, with her puppy class, teaching listening skills and patience. (Glenn Herring)
By KATE FIZSIMMONS
PUBLISHED: February 20, 2019 at 4:08 pm I UPDATED: February 20, 2019 at 4:08 pm
What family wouldn’t want help potty training and socializing a new puppy? Hillary’s Hound House offers that and much more, especially for families with young children. Owner Hillary Alexander explained, “Parents often get a puppy after their children plead for one. The idea of a puppy sounds lovely, but parents know it can be like having a new baby in the house and that comes with lots of responsibility.”
Children want a cute, soft, cuddly companion to follow them around, and what do they often get? Alexander says with a warm smile, “A little barbarian with teeth, that jumps, barks and runs around just out of reach, so in a very short time, if the experience isn ’t good, the kids are the first to say they are over it and don’t want the puppy anymore. Our goal is to make it a better experience for everyone.”
Alexander is in her element as she moves through a group of five puppies, while several more watch from their crates on the sidelines. The puppies, some only 8 weeks old, are intensely focused on her. When she stops, they immediately sit and look up at her attentively. The word “sit” is never uttered. Both of Alexander’s hands are held tight to her chest, as five pairs of eyes watch her. After sitting patiently for a period of time, each puppy gets a treat and remains sitting. It is like watching the Pied Piper.
Erin Fish brings her puppy, Ralphie, to the program, and admits, “Our teenage daughter talked us into a puppy. We didn’t know what to do. We’ve only been coming for two weeks and already he is learning potty training and recall. We are delighted and he loves coming here. ”
“I don’t believe there is any program anywhere like this,” said Alexander. She lovingly refers to her day program for puppies as “the nursery, where we are training all the time. They learn from other puppies, mimicking their behavior, in addition to watching the trainers. I am so lucky to have such a great staff. Each morning, we take them to a private ranch in Novato, with two fenced acres where the puppies can run safely. Afternoons are training sessions, too. ”
Renee Adelmann’s family got a puppy in September. “We needed help. Puppies are so much work. We started with a 4-week class, then extended to 6. Hillary kept him all day for training and on Saturdays, the families can come and learn what the puppies were taught during the week. My friends were amazed that he learned to ring a bell when he needs to go out. Her school is amazing and out of 5 stars, I’d give her 20.”
Learn more about upcoming classes at https://hillaryshoundhouse.com.
Hillary’s Hound House offers 4 and 6 week programs for puppies 8 weeks to 10 months. We also offer evening and weekend classes for puppies. Please visit us at www.HillarysHoundHouse.com. For training videos and photos of the puppies in our Jumpstart Program please visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/HillarysHoundHouse
781 Andersen Drive
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 453 4515