Zoom Room

Dog trainers aim to create positive environment

Upon learning after college she could not reasonably rescue every dog in need, Michele Mendoza searched for other ways to help as many dogs as possible.

Working with dogs ever since, Mendoza for the past 3 1/2 years has owned and operated Zoom Room, a dog-training facility in North Austin.

Classes at Zoom Room are designed to increase the bond between owners and their canine companions, Mendoza said. But most importantly classes are intended to be fun, she said, a task made easier in a training studio equipped with obstacles.

"The beauty of agility training is that it teaches [dogs] what the words mean, so it's not only physical exercise but also mental," Mendoza said.

Training is most effective, she said, when children and other family members share in the learning experience. Mendoza hosts an owner-only orientation before duos dive into the introductory obedience course, which includes up to eight dogs.

Zoom Room also has dog agility classes, puppy training and courses to teach dogs new tricks. Mendoza stresses repetition and positive reinforcement in her training methods.

"It's kind of like talking to a person who doesn't speak the same language," she said. "You sometimes have to say the same thing over and over again."

Zoom Room also hosts private gym sessions and dog parties. Meetup groups are divided based on dog sizes, giving dogs a chance to socialize in an indoor setting, Mendoza said.

"Owners like being able to go to a space where trainers will tell them why their dog is doing something and what is considered appropriate behavior and what is not," she said.

Events also give Mendoza and her trainers, Lindsay Dye and Laurel Carvell, a chance to provide owners tips on overcoming problem areas.

"Every dog is a little bit different," Mendoza said.

Dog-training classes

  • Obedience 1: Basic manners Get and keep dog's attention despite distractions
  • Obedience 2: Stays, walking and recalls Walking on a leash and coming when called
  • Agility 1: Obstacle management Basic obedience training to gain confidence on obstacles
  • Agility 2: Intermediate training Develop more control and speed on obstacles
  • Agility 3: Advanced training Addresses footwork and off-leash control in preparation for agility competitions
  • Agility 4: Advanced handling Speed, attention to detail and smooth progressions between obstacles emphasized
  • Puppy 1: Puppy preschool Housebreaking, nipping, chewing and jumping habits addressed
  • Puppy 2: Puppy obedience Learning sit, down, stay and correcting common puppy behaviors

Zoom Room, 7739 Northcross Drive, Ste. H, 512-371-1223, www.zoomroomonline.com

By Joe Lanane
Joe Lanane’s career is rooted in community journalism, having worked for a variety of Midwest-area publications before landing south of the Mason-Dixon line in 2011 as the Stillwater News-Press news editor. He arrived at Community Impact Newspaper in 2012, gaining experience as editor of the company’s second-oldest publication in Leander/Cedar Park. He eventually became Central Austin editor, covering City Hall and the urban core of the city. Lanane leveraged that experience to become Austin managing editor in 2016. He managed eight Central Texas editions from Georgetown to San Marcos. Working from company headquarters, Lanane also became heavily involved in enacting corporate-wide editorial improvements. In 2017, Lanane was promoted to executive editor, overseeing editorial operations throughout the company. The Illinois native received his bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University and his journalism master’s degree from Ball State University.