April 15, 2011
Pets are a $48 billion industry—and over half of the dogs in America are overweight, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention—which helped inspire former McGraw-Hill exec Ratna Anagol open the Zoom Room, a franchise from Southern California specializing in dog agility, in Pacific Grove.
There was other powerful inspiration: After a bout with breast cancer in 2008, Anagol found her priorities changing. She took a couple years off and worked for Serrena, a nonprofit and the Center for Integrative Therapies. Her next mission was to find a job doing something she loved and that would allow her to spend more time with her children and pet.
Soon she found the Zoom Room on a trip to Los Angeles and took her kids and dog to the training in Hollywood.
“This is exactly what I’m looking for!” she said after her first dog training session."
What she saw was a big gym for dogs with all sorts of equipment and obstacles—ramps, equestrian-style fences and raised tires—and instructors coaching dog owners and Rustys into completing tricks as elaborate as fetching Cokes from the fridge.
They do traditional obedience training ($150/six classes) with its own twist—Tic Tac Toe, for instance, teaches dogs to sit and stay in various spots while engaging the owner in a creative game—and specialize in agility training. Below follows a quick peek at some of the other interesting activities offered starting this week, following the grand opening Saturday, April 16:
• Puppy Training Zoom Room offers puppy preschool for puppies eight to sixteen weeks old. Puppy preschool focuses on how to address housebreaking, chewing and nipping. This class also provides socialization for the puppies and introduces puppy obedience ($25/class). Puppy agility, for dogs two to nine months, introduces little Fidos to the obstacle course’s jumps, poles, walkways and teeter-totters. It is designed to go easy on the joints and growing bones of the puppies while building confidence and communication between the owner and the puppy ($25/class).
• Trick Training The multiple levels include Tricks 1, which covers the classics like roll over and play dead, and Hollywood Dog Training, the third and final level, where the dog can learn to ride a skateboard, play toy basketball, turn on and off the lights, fetch a drink from the fridge, and wave hello and goodbye to guests ($150/six classes). First dogs learn basic skills such as touching a bell, which leads to flipping a light switch on and off. Being able to fetch a tennis ball leads the dog to retrieving a basketball. A mastery of these basic skills translates to superior tricks.
• Doggie Disco These funky parties can be thrown to celebrate the owner or the dog at any time—dog birthday parties, breed meet-up events, charity fundraisers, bark mitzvahs, singles mixers, or just about anytime the owner wants to party with man’s best friend ($150/10 dogs).
The Grand Opening is Saturday, April 16, starting with four free agility classes at 10am, 11am, 1pm, and 2pm, a dog trick contest from 3-4pm and a party from 6-10pm. Everything is free and everyone is welcome. Zoom Room, 120 Central Ave., Pacific Grove. 717-4580. www.zoomroomonline.com