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Training during the dog-days of winter

Tuesday, Mar. 18 | By Hannah Dellinger
Liberty Hill Pet Resort now boasts a new training center building, where owner Mary Ann Robertson can give her four-legged pupils lessons, rain or shine.
Fauquier Times Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
Liberty Hill Pet Resort in Bealeton has expanded its facilities with a brand new training center.

“We can do so many things in the new facility,” said Casey Jo Eckard, manager of Liberty Hill Pet Resort. “We can be in when it’s really hot, really cold or raining. We can do classes and have doggy daycare in there. It provides a lot of opportunities for us to do different things.”

Liberty Hill Pet Resort has been around for nearly 10 years. Mary Ann Robertson started her business with training classes. She then added on an exercise pool for the dogs to the property, started offering boarding, doggy daycare and retail items.

“I find working with dogs very interesting, and you can never learn everything,” said Robertson. “There’s so much research and new information constantly coming out that it’s impossible to know everything. You’re continually challenged to learn more and more.”

Robertson has a degree in Animal Science, is a certified Pet Dog Trainer-Knowledge Accessed (PTDT-KA), a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), and attended one of the largest dog training schools in the country, the Animal Behavior College. She also worked at a veterinarian office for many years and owns two shelter-rescue dogs of her own.

The pet resort rests on 13 acres of farmland, owned by Robertson and her husband. There are cattle, sheep, alpacas and chickens on the land, that serve as training tools for the dogs. Robertson explains that having a lot of distractions for your dog to encounter while training can be a benefit, so that the dogs will be prepared to listen to commands in any environment.

“The advantage of coming to a class, as opposed to training at home, is that you can practice working around other dogs and animals,” said Robertson. “It is good to practice in different environments with your dog, so that no matter where you go the commands will work.”

The new training center will allow for classes to be held year-round, even in inclement weather. There is a large open room for classes, with hooks on the walls to tie dog leashes to. There is even enough room to set up agility courses inside.

“We will now be able to have indoor training classes,” said Robertson. “This has been a miserable winter, so now when the weather is bad we won’t have to cancel classes. The training center has heat and air conditioning, so when it’s really hot in the summer we can go in there also.”

To celebrate the completion of the newly built training facility, Liberty Hill Pet Resort hosted a Grand Opening event on March 15 for clients and the public to attend. The movie “Hotel for Dogs” was shown with free popcorn.

For more information, visit: lhpaws.com.

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