“Do it for the love, not for the money Not for the guns and not for the honeys Do it …
I can’t imagine a life without dogs. I work with them, training them is my hobby, I live with them, they go almost everywhere with me. They make me laugh, comfort me, guard my house, are loyal, pure hearts… I’ve been an animal lover since childhood, choosing my stuffed animals over dolls. I didn’t grow up with pets, but that didn’t stop me. I started with horses, riding my bike to the stable every day after school. Trail riding, jumping, dressage, cleaning stalls, brushing and bathing the horses. Years later, recreational cycling led to racing mountain bikes and road bikes on a professional level. During this time, I was living on my own and realized a life-long dream… I got my first dog! Teejay was a happy-go-lucky, black Labrador Retriever. He went everywhere with me. He slept on my bed, rode in the car, attended bike races, shared my snacks (and stole quite a number of them), hiked with me, went swimming and became my best friend. After a few years, it was time for a second dog. This time, it was a yellow Labrador named Duncan. When Duncan was young, I had to retire from racing due to health issues. I now had tons of free time. I wanted to spend more time with my dogs, so I looked into dog activities. TeeJay and Duncan became certified therapy dogs. We worked with children and adults with special needs, children with cancer and families of 9/11 victims and first responders. I also discovered dog sports. Field Training, Agility, Obedience, Nosework, Dock Diving. Dog training is an exciting challenge that continues to teach me how to speak dog and creates incredible bonds with my dogs.
When I had the opportunity to start a canine rehabilitation business, I jumped at the chance. It’s been a dream job!! I get to utilize my skills as a human Physical Therapist to help dogs regain mobility and to improve their quality of life. I love the challenges of running my own business. A year ago, I expanded my business by adding a boarding kennel. I was already offering online classes for canine conditioning and competitive obedience training. I also started teaching webinars for obedience training and created a membership-based training website. It’s ONLY because I have the most amazing employees and friends that this is all coming to fruition!! I could never have accomplished it without them.
I believe very strongly in the power of the mind and positive thinking. I wasn’t always that way and certainly wasn’t raised that way. But through daily mindfulness practice, I’ve been able to make huge changes in my life. As a single businesswoman with many interests, I lead a busy, often hectic life. I make a conscious effort to also lead a healthy, balanced and holistic lifestyle. Exercising, meditation, essential oils, reiki, healthy eating and yes, I do enjoy a glass of wine.
Dogs are my best friends. They keep me company, protect me, travel with me, go to work with me. They are affectionate, make me laugh, have taken me all around the country, have brought amazing people into my life and are always teaching me new lessons. I am grateful and blessed to be able to combine all things dog into Petra’s Dog Resource Center.
Petra graduated from UMDNJ School of Health-Related Professions with a degree in physical therapy and has experience working with an extremely varied caseload including pediatric through geriatric clients with a vast range of diagnoses. Her areas of expertise include in-patient rehabilitation, orthopedics and neurology. Petra attended the Canine Rehabilitation Institute in 2007 and graduated as a certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist. Petra is fully certified in Canine Acupressure and is a Reiki Level 2 Practitioner. Petra’s black Labrador Retriever, Tyler, was the 2008 and 2009 National Obedience Champion and First Runner Up in 2010. In 2012, Petra and Tyler became the first and only American team to win the Obedience World Cup (they placed second in 2010). Petra’s dogs have earned titles in hunt tests, field trials, agility, and nosework. Currently she is competing at the Master Level in agility with Zaidan. Zeal has earned his OTCH in obedience, was Second Runner Up at the 2017 National Obedience Championship, has won numerous Regional events and won the prestigious Obedience Classic Tournament in 2017. Petra has written several articles on canine conditioning, canine injury prevention, competing with your dog and more. She has been published in a number of magazines including Clean Run, Front and Finish, and Whole Dog Journal. Petra currently offers webinars and online classes for canine conditioning and competition obedience training.
I’m a mother of three children and two little Chihuahuas. I have been in love and fascinated with animals since I can remember. Growing up my family lived close to a brook and patch of woods that was just filled with small creatures for me and my friend to catch and observe. We caught crayfish, tadpoles, pollywogs, frogs, snakes and anything else that wasn’t fast enough to get away. I learned how to handle animals gently to without me or them getting hurt.
I joined 4H at a young age and was taught more skills on how to take care of animals. My dream as a young child was to be a Veterinarian. In my science class in high school my teacher kept an Iguana and corn snake in the classroom all year. Every day I could, I would hold the snake and slowly get the Iguana to let me pet it. Eventually I was able to hold the Iguana. My teacher told me she was amazed at my patience because the Iguana would never let anyone near him.
I’ve owned and cared for many pets through the years, from dogs to snakes. My love for dogs has inspired me to pursue a career with dogs. I’m currently enrolled in online classes to become a Vet Tech. I’m excited to be working at Aqua Paws helping animals heal and get stronger so they can live their lives to the fullest. I’m also happy to be working at Playful Paws at Petra’s caring lovingly for the dogs as if they were my own.
The best way to describe Laurie is “There is always room for one more”. Her whole life has revolved around animals. Dogs, cats, horses, pocket pets, fish you name it, she’s owned it! She has been a veterinary technician for over 23 years and loved every moment of it. She was passionate about every aspect of veterinary medicine especially surgery. After all those years of working at hospitals, she wanted to redirect and focus on rehab. When she found Aqua Paws she could not wait to get to work. Such an amazing and rewarding job to help dogs and cats heal and be a part of bringing back quality of life for them. She got certified as a Canine Massage Therapist from Brandenburg Massage Therapy school and brings everything she already learned from being a tech to Petra’s Dog Resource Center.
Outside of work, she is trying to keep up with her 2 children and fur babies. She has Border Collies, Chihuahua’s and her kitties. A lot on her plate, but it’s what makes her who she is. She loves every moment with them and loves working with the girls at Petra’s Dog Resource Center..Life is good!!
Thank you so much for a great seminar on April 29. I’ve been to a lot of seminars over the years and always come away learning new things. What I absolutely loved about yours was that you gave each of us advice on what to do with our dog. One size does not fit all! Just because most dogs like something, we think our dog will. The importance of the true engagement between exercises took on a whole new meaning for me.
Your advice on how to gauge if our dog is really ready for the ring, was priceless for me! I’d never thought about the mental engagement side before. My husband teaches at a university and I mentioned to him about his students having the mental stamina to concentrate on a three hour exam when the most they do all year is a one hour class!!!!!
You really made it a fun day, lots of laughs, great group of people and looking forward to your next one!!!
With thanks, Vivien
I was fortunate enough to attend Petra Ford’s Awesome Obedience for Dog and Handler Seminar this past weekend at Cleveland All Breed Training Club. I always admire her ring performances in the videos I have seen, not only for their precision and animation, but especially for the wonderful connection she obviously has with her dogs. One of her opening statements at this seminar was, “ What you see in the ring is a reflection of your relationship with your dog”. She is obviously passionate about sharing her ideas on how to develop that relationship, and she responded candidly and clearly to each question (and there were many of them!) and each problem that participants brought up. We learned how to keep our dogs strong and healthy, how she trains some of the obedience exercises, but most importantly, that our criteria must be clear in our minds and then make them clear to our dogs, so that we can have a happy, willing partner in training and in the ring.
My thanks again to all involved in this seminar. It was definitely a WOW weekend for me!Thank you
Over the weekend, I attended the Petra Ford seminar at Cleveland All Breed Training Club. Like often happens during good weather seasons in Ohio, I had many choices of things to do and ended up splitting my weekend and only attended the seminar on Saturday. The reason I only attended on Saturday is because, with an OM1 and UDX and whining in the ring, I have reached the conclusion that we have achieved all we are going to achieve in Obedience. While that may still be true, I must say that I am so glad I spent a day learning from Petra. Her insights on how dogs learn and how to read and manage their emotional or drive state was fascinating! After talking with her, I drove home inspired and with some ideas. I am now challenged to see if I can figure out how to get my dog through an Obedience class in a happy emotional state with no whining. Time will tell if we ever get back in the ring or not. If you are interested in Obedience, and ever have the opportunity to attend one of her seminars, I highly recommend it. Thank you, Petra!Ann S
I’ve signed up for her online course and can’t wait (have done the Awesome Obedience fitness course TWICE. Love her!). Ruby started out as a huge whiner … about anything and everything – happy, nervous, uncertain, excited, bored ….. and I could see it being a big problem in the ring and especially in the field. So I’ve been “On it” from day 1 – making her aware of it, trying to break things down into the tiniest of pieces so she doesn’t stress (meals, training, etc.), teaching lots of calm behaviors and doing impulse control, rewarding when she shows awareness and doesn’t vocalize, etc. But it’s a 24/7 endeavor! (my husband can’t see the problem at all 🙂 ). She’s hugely better, but it’s definitely in her make-up, so I can’t WAIT to hear what Petra has to say! Otter stresses down in the ring but screams in the field lately LOL (not worried about that one – we’ll get it), so lots to learn. I’ll bet you anything you make further progress with Hartley now that you have even more tools and insight in your toolbox. You are such an awesome team in all you do!!!Mary Horne
Your seminar was incredible! I am inspired to more thoroughly break down every piece of an exercise with my dog. Petra, you reminded me of the importance of being fair in my training and making sure my dog fully understands every tiny aspect of what I’m trying to communicate. I had been looking for someone to take my training to the next level. Thank you, Petra! I am SO motivated now!
Fantastic seminar, I think you hit every area where I need improvement. Working sessions were so helpful. Thank you, Petra, for being honest and forthcoming with information and experiences, and so generous with your time and energy.Susan Donoghue
The previous owners of the Woof and Purr Inn have retired, and the new owners have not only picked up where they left off, but they’re cleaning, renovating and improving everything! Highly recommended!KENDALL
Aqua Paws’ laser treatments and the Adequan that Petra suggested, are allowing Miss Beans, aka “Her Highness”, to enjoy her veteran competitions with Laura Edwards showing her!! Beans enjoyed her Sweeps Veteran and Pajama Party Sweeps and the 11 to 13 Veteran Class at the Springer National in September. Even more fun Beans got her first 200 (Check Laura’s arm number :)).
In addition to the National, Beans has enjoyed placing and winning in her Veteran classes in Georgia in January, 2018, West Virginia in April, 2018 and Texas in July, 2018!!!
Thank you Patty, Petra and everyone at Aqua Paws and Playful Paws at Petra’s,
Beans and MarleyBEANS
We are so grateful to Petra, Patty, Carol and the staff at Playful Paws at Petras. We received some sad news about our boy, a week before leaving for vacation, and boarding him. Thor had stayed with the previous owners before, but we were not familiar with the personnel at the new Playful Paws, and were concerned. When I called to let them know the situation Carol immediately put my concerns to rest with her compassion, empathy, and obvious love of dogs. I soon received a follow up call from Petra, asking probing questions, so we had a care plan in place, and reassuring me that our boy would be well cared for. When I dropped off, I was in quite an emotional state (sorry Patty ), but Patty was so wonderful with Thor…showed me where he would be staying, in the newly refurbished kennel area… invited me to stay as long as I wanted…climbed into his kennel with him til he was acclimated…, and assured me that we could call at any time to see how he was doing. Our family so appreciated receiving daily photos and updates…and Thor enjoyed being pampered. When I picked him up, I saw the crew hard at ork..cleaning and interacting with the boarders. Most importantly, IMHO, my boy was as happy and energetic as he always is…Our experience was wonderful and we thank the crew at Playful Paws at Petras for caring for, and loving our boy so we could enjoy our family vacation. 5+ stars
This place is the only place I will take my dogs if they need rehabilitation. Several years ago they helped my Westie walk again in just 4 weeks after suddenly losing use of her back legs! And now my toy poodle who had to undergo bilateral knee surgery, only to find out on the day of her surgery that her right hip had necrosis (meaning the bone was dying) so I took her to Petra’s for her rehab for her hip. In 2 months my little girl is running around like she never had surgery…And the way they treat my dogs when they are there is wonderful! Like one of their own!!! They’re simply the best in what they do!!!Jean M