Times of Wayne County

Positive K9 dog Training


 Doggone great place for canines


By the time she was in the sixth grade, Melissa Cocola was shunning the idea of lemonade stands to earn extra cash, she leaned more towards the babysitting business, but not for humans. Melissa found her calling in dog walking. Melissa has spent the past 17 years with the dogs. After completing her masters program at the Columbus, Ohio National K-9 and certification from Cornell, Melissa and husband, Robert Maher, began searching for just the right location, just the right formula for her dream. The canine certified trainer, one of only two in the area, did not want to operate a ‘kennel’ for man’s best friend, rather she elevated the often harsh setting of a standard boarding facility to a new level. Two years ago the search ended. Way back off the road, with no blaring signs to mark the stone driveway, Creekside resort was born. At first entering the facility, off Sherburne Road in the Town of Walworth, several aspects of the basic kennel are missing. There is little barking. There are no caged animals; rather the guests at Creekside (aptly named as a creek runs alongside the facility) have their own ‘rooms’. The Dutch-style doors can be closed for privacy, or the top left open for the more curious dogs. In the lobby area, where owners sign in and register the dogs for boarding, or training, there is a lounge area with soothing music always playing, a fireplace, television and all the amenities a dog could dream of. The television piques some interest with the cable TV show Animal Plant tuned in, or perhaps a DVD for the relaxing “yappy hour.”
There is no squabbling between guests. Rules are enforced in the 30 room facility which includes an outdoor half acre fenced-in play area, an inside work-out room with a treadmill, two 15 minute walks a day on trails surrounding the Resort, and nothing but the healthiest food, baths and brushings.

No animal is ever allowed to play with others unless completely supervised.
Comfortable beds and blankets in each room and the absence of floor drains for the occasional accident are evident. Each room is also thoroughly cleaned twice
daily. Of course, snacks are provided for guests. Fleas? Not here, to become a regular guest, dogs must be on a flea and tick control program for a month before a room is booked. What is the price tag for all this canine cuddling? “Our boarding rates are $25 per night,” said Melissa, adding that there are no extras that any other boarding facilities add to a base price. Dog owners find the peace of mind with Melissa and staff a welcomed pleasure to any vacation or time away from the four-legged family member.
“Brother Wease” of the WCMF Radio’s
Morning show was more than pleased
on Tuesday when he picked up his Pug,
Jesse (James), after the dog spent a
week getting an attitude adjustment
(training) at Creekside Resort-
Positive K-9 in Walworth.
Then, there is the training program, a must for all modern dog enthusiasts. Ever want to pull out your hair, (or the dogs) due to excessive chewing of anything
from shoes to stair banisters? How about the constant howling, jumping on everybody, peeing and pooping inside on that oriental rug?
“I was literally in tears,” said WCMF Radio talk show host Brother Wease’s wife Doreen. This, after the family bought what they thought would be a cute and cuddly pug breed dog to add to their animal parade of a rottweiler and two cats. “She wanted the dog dropped off and didn’t want the dog back,” “That dog peed and
pooped everywhere,” he added. The radio jock said the puppy was driving both he and Doreen “nuts”, never listening to commands and running havoc around the house. Melissa explained that with today’s dual working families and so much time away from the home for children’s events, nights out, and various activities,
dogs, who need loving time and exercise, often fall into disruptive habits. Creekside and Positive K-9 programs
have developed an intense training session that teaches the animal the rights and wrongs of life in a gentle manner. The 7-day residency program costs $600 and includes a lifetime of follow-up lessons if necessary. Melissa is quick to point out that not all the disciplines learned fall upon the dog. Human family members must learn to respect the mindset of the dog and its need for exercise
Among one of Melissa Cocola’s favorite breeds is this guest Doberman in the half acre fenced-in running yard at Creekside Resort
“I’d swear this is not my dog. It sits, lies down and walks next to me on command,” said the morning radio talk king. He added that his pug is so ugly, that it is cute. What should a dog owner look for when buying a new family addition? Melissa is no fan of the new fashion of cross-breeding dogs to get a particular look, or feature that may be trendy. She cited short, unnatural legs and health problems that could cause pet owners heartache and medical bills in the future. She admonished breeders who breed for the buck without consideration of what they may be doing. “Everything is a poo these days,” she stated, referring to mix breed designer dogs. For a young family and their first adoption, Melissa recommends a lab, as a “starter” dog, but reminds owners that dogs still need daily walks to stay sane, healthy. Cocola recommends passing over the cute, mixed breed dogs, bred for certain characteristics. In the country setting she added that the Doberman is a wonderful dog of choice. For a strict companion dog she highly suggests the King Charles Cavalier Spaniel. “That is a wonderful dog,” she added. “Remember, every breed has its quirks.” Melissa believes a dog’s temperament is 50% genetics and 50% environmental. She added that it is amazing that people today will pay $1200 to $1500 for a genetically bred designer dog that a decade ago would have been snubbed even as a free animal. For more information on Creekside Resort, or Positive K-9 call Melissa Cocola, or Robert Maher at 315 986-8654.
Melissa said there is often a waiting list for both boarding and the individual classes. She does not believe in anything but individual training. She also touts electronic underground fences in training dogs to stay within the yard. Melissa reminds pet owners that all fur dogs shed. “It is part of owning and taking care of a dog.”
What should a dog
owner look for when
buying a new family
addition? Melissa is
no fan of the new
fashion of crossbreeding
dogs to get a
particular look, or
feature that may be
and rule enforcement. “I tell all our clients that the training does not end when the dog goes home.” The program outfits a dog and owner with the tools
necessary for allowing a caring relationship. As for Wease and Doreen? “A week ago this dog was hell. A week later this dog is now show-style” said a pleased Wease, his 7 month old pug sitting quietly at his feet.