By Victoria Gaither
It was a dream come true when Als Allan, a certified professional dog trainer and owner at Mountainside Mutts in Rutland on Route 4 took over the Norman Rockwell Museum building a year ago.
“This building had been on sale for over eight years. There were very few people with a commercial interest around Rutland who didn’t come in at some point,” Allan said.
“Within the building, we have removed all the old museum display units, and it’s now a dog training area. It has approximately 1,250 square feet of training space and a now securely fenced-in area that offers almost double that space to work outside,” Allan said.
Allan has been in the positive dog training business for some time. Her dog street credentials include her training under Victoria Stilwell, the famous English dog trainer and television personality of the show,”It’s Me or the Dog.”
“I was a student of Victoria Stilwell,” Allan said.
That belief and approach to using reward-based methods to train dogs is what she learned at the Victoria Stilwell Academy and through other canine education.
Her resume reads like a laundry list of educational accomplishments. A personal experience with her dog pushed her to seek different training methods.
“I wanted to give people the option that there are other ways” to help your dog.
That different way brought Bethany Sprague to see Allan when she and her husband were getting ready to welcome a new Goldendoodle pup into their Rutland home.
“I was a little panicky about bringing the new little guy home and wanted to be sure that he had a good start; we hadn’t raised a puppy in six years,” Sprague said.
Sprague already had another 6-year-old goldendoodle named Ranger and cats at home.
She discussed how Allan worked with her and her new pup, Roush, on crate training and basic manners through a reward-based system to get the best benefits for the puppy and mom.
Dog mom Laura Schroeder traveled from Dorset to see Allan. Her dog, Darwin, needed a little help when out walking and when someone came to the door.
“Based on our training, I now have a number of techniques I can use to help with my dog’s reactivity issues; we’ve made significant progress,” said Schroeder, who believes in reward-based training.
Allan said her first year of business brought some challenges, but on a steady path, her dream is now a reality.