The Berks-Mont News (

Puppy Kindergarten unleashes the rules


Sunday, November 3, 2013

In an effort to tame the tails in this dog eat dog world, new dog owners are enrolling their pooch in Puppy Kindergarten.
Puppy Kindergarten is just one of the classes for dogs that the Douglassville Pet Center, 1019 Ben Franklin Hwy., Douglassville, offers.
There are three divisions to the Douglassville Pet Center which include dog day care, grooming and training.
Tammy Hilberg is the trainer of the canine classes that are held Wednesday nights. There are two sessions of Puppy Kindergarten class; scheduled at 6:30 p.m. and at 7:45 p.m.
“Dogs are not humans in a fur coat,” Hilberg said. “Life is punishing enough. Punishing them is not good. You’re never gong to have a good relationship [with your dog] if you don’t figure out what motivates him.”
Hilberg has her Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science, where she learned about the science behind clicker training and learned to really understand the animals.
For Hilberg, training is about prevention. Using leashes and gates are a key tool in working with your puppy to reenforce the good behaviors. Her advice suggests not to repeat yourself when training puppies. You should wait for the dog to be calm and sit before rewarding them.
The class is aged based, and puppies can come in as early as eight weeks.
“Most of the neuro-connections have been made by 16 weeks,” Hilberg said, stressing importance of socialization, positive reinforcement and interaction by the time the puppy is two-months-old.
“It’s a great class. Sadie loves it,” Kay Bower, Douglassville and Sadie’s owner, said. Sadie Rose is a 14 week old Golden Doodle. “It’s helping her to overcome her fear of other dogs.”
In addition to puppy kindergarten, the Pet Center also offers an advanced manners class.
The Pet Center is part of the Douglassville Veterinary Hospital, located in a building directly behind the Pet Center at 105 Griffith Dr., Douglassville.
The facility was opened by JoAnn DeWire 15 years ago, and was specifically built to serve as a veterinary hospital. Together Dewire along with her son Geoff DeWire, run the hospital and center.
“We practice a good level of medicine. It’s modern,” Geoff DeWire said. “My mom grew up with animals her whole life, so it was a natural inclination for her.” DeWire shared.
His strong compassion for the animals lead DeWire to follow in his mother’s footsteps.
“You learn as you go but it takes time to separate yourself of what you’re doing,” DeWire said about dealing with the emotional impact of working as a vet.
At the Douglassville Veterinary Hospital, everything from emergencies, normal exams and wellness checkups, vaccines, radiology, dentistry, surgery and blood analysis can be done on site.
Six doctors work at the veterinary hospital; Dr. JoAnn DeWire, Dr. Geoff DeWire, Dr. David Paull, Dr. Colleen Beyer, and Dr. Megan Zeigler.
Visit for additional information.