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Dogs take a dive at Southtown K9

Facility can help with weight loss, obedience, other doggie ailments

Published: Monday, July 21, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, July 21, 2014 9:57 a.m. CDT
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
Jackson leaps off the 40-foot-long dock dive Friday at Southtown K9 training and aquatic center and snags a bumper. The black lab's owners, Shannon and Chris Davis, are dog trainers who recently opened the aquatic training center in their backyard on Buell Road in Rock Falls. Jackson's longest leap, by the way, is 20 feet.
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
Lindy Lou, a labrador retriever, is still learning the tricks of the trade.
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
Jackson snags the bumper after launching from the 40-foot-long dock dive at Southtown K9 training and aquatic center in Rock Falls.
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
Chris Davis of Southtown K9 prepares to throw the training bumper as Jackson builds up speed.
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
Along with obedience training, Shannon and Chris Davis of Southtown K9 rent their above-ground pool for dock dive training and for pups to use the water for weight loss or physical therapy.
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
Jackson leaps out and snags the bumper.
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
Jackson flies through the air with the greatest of ease, snagging the bumper before landing in the water at Southtown K9 training and aquatic center in Rock Falls.

ROCK FALLS – Shannon Davis is a dog lover first and a dog trainer second.

Because of her love for dogs, Davis has created Southtown K9, a dog training and aquatic center.

Saturday was the grand opening for the facility, which sits on an acre of land at 7829 Buell Road.

The facility is in the backyard of Davis’ home.

Davis, 42, is certified as a dog trainer. She received her certification from Animal Behavior College, which is based in California.

“They have a yearlong course, and you go through hands-on training,” Davis said. “I’m certified, as far as basic training goes.”

Davis said the facility offers basic obedience sessions. Sessions are 30 minutes and cost $15 each. Among other things, dogs are taught to sit, wait and focus.

Basic obedience classes started June 30. People can also spend $20 for their dog to spend 30 minutes in a training pool.

It’s an 18-by-30-foot above-ground pool with water depth ranging from 4 to 4.5 feet.

“If a dog has surgery on its leg, or if the dog is just overweight and needs to exercise, they can rent the pool for 30 minutes and swim for exercise,” Davis said.

Some benefits of having a dog swim, Davis said, are weight loss, exercise to release excess energy, and activity for senior dogs.

A sturdy ramp allows dogs to get in and out of the pool.

Attached to the pool is a 40-foot-long dock dive, where dogs can run and jump into the pool.

The dock dive sits 2 feet above the water. It has sturdy handrails, and one entrance and one exit. In addition, the entrance and exit stairs are gated.

“I bought the pool used, and we built the dock,” Davis said. “We have all this in our backyard.”

The pool and dock are not fenced in, but a fence will be built in late 2015.

Davis lives on a rural property, so dog barking is not a problem, she said.

Molly Cardwell of Rock Falls took Chief, her 2-year-old white lab, to one of Davis’ obedience classes.

“This will be his third week in the obedience class, and I love it,” she said. “There is only one other dog in the class, so you usually get one-on-one training.”

Once her dog gets through the basic training, Cardwell said, she would like to see Chief experience dock diving.

“I at least want him to try it,” she said with a laugh.

Make dog call

Appointments for Southtown K9 are available from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sundays.

To set up an appointment, call Southtown K9 at 815-416-9474.

For more information, visit Southtown K9's Facebook page or visit www.southtownk9.com.

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