Endless Mountains Hiking 101 - Part 2 -  Sniffing Out Some Trails

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Endless Mountains Hiking 101 - Part 2 - Sniffing Out Some Trails

We hope you enjoyed our last post about preparing your pooch for a hike and that you learned some helpful tips and tricks!  In Part 2 of our Endless Mountains Hiking Series, we will share with you some of the local trails in Northeast PA that Kaitlyn has scouted for us.  It is important to remember, however, that though hiking with your best fur buddy is certainly beneficial for both of you, not all hiking trails love Fido as much as we do.  Always be sure to do your research before hitting the trail.

1.  Elevated at 1000 feet, Lackawanna State Park is one of the most popular hiking spots in northeastern Pennsylvania.  With eighteen miles of looped trails devoted solely to foot traffic, fifteen miles of additional trails open for biking and other uses and an ample water supply it is a great place to hike with your dog.  The best part - if you plan on spending the day at Lackawanna, there are many options as far as things to do in addition to hiking.

Have a picnic!  There are plenty of picnic tables provided.

Go Horseback Riding or Mountain Biking. However, you should be mindful if you decide to horseback as many of the foot trail bridges are not built for equestrian crossing.

Fish, Boat or Swim!   The park is surrounded by Lackawanna Lake and there is also a pool at the park that is open from 11 AM to 7 PM Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day.

Hunting is allowed.  For this reason, you may want to keep your dog on a leash so they don’t wander off or chase something into a dangerous area. There are also signs along the park stating that while hunting is permitted, dog training is prohibited, probably for safety reasons.

Go Camping!  Campgrounds and camping cottages provide those who wish to stay on site with amenities such as flush toilets, warm showers, and electric hook-ups.

Do Some Winter Activities.  In the winter, visitors can cross-country ski, sled, and toboggan through designated areas of the park as well as ice-fish and skate.

2.  Located not far from Carbondale, Merli-Sarnoski Park features fifteen miles of nature trails for hiking with your four-legged friend, although you must keep them on a leash. Given the park’s rural location, it’s best to bring any food and drinks you and your dog might need with you to the park. Along with the trails for hiking and mountain biking, Merli-Sarnoski Park also provides a soccer field as well as basketball and volleyball courts. The 35-acre lake is stocked with fish on a regular basis by the Fish and Boat Commission and allows ice fishing during the winter months as well.

3.  While the Lake Scranton Walking Trail does not allow pets, you are very likely to see a friendly squirrel or a deer unafraid of humans passing by. This quiet and easy three-mile nature hike on a paved trail, located only a short drive from I-81, provides beautiful scenic views of the lake as you follow the path. The Lake Scranton trail is very well-traveled given its closeness to the city as well as local apartments and homes only a short distance away.  You more than likely will be sharing your hike with joggers and moms spending some quality time with their little ones while pushing strollers.


4.  The Pennsylvania portion of the Rails to Trails system lists many fantastic hiking spots across the state. The trails located closest to Eva’s Play Pups Countryside Dog Camp are the D&H and O&W trails, which run parallel to one another and stretch from Simpson, Pennsylvania to the New York state border. On these trails, you can catch glimpses of the Lackawanna River as well as wildlife, such as the bald eagles who nest at Stillwater Dam. You can bring your dog and hike, bike, or even ride a four-wheeler down these well-tended hiking trails. If you are a beginner or looking for an easier hike, these would be your trails. After a few minutes, once you get into the deeper part of the trail and if you’re comfortable with your dog's recall, it is safe to keep them off-leash or on a long lead.  Consider bringing bottled water and snacks for yourself and your dog and also keep an eye out for wild animals which may cross your path.

5.  The Keystone College Trails wind through the woods on the school’s rural campus for about seven miles, allowing for both casual hiking and a tough run. Only a half-hour drive from Scranton, Keystone College’s trail system provides a variety of terrains to chose from.  The biology department even posts informational placards along the trails to identify the different flora and fauna a hiker might see along the way. There is a pretty ample water supply here for your dog, but don’t ever hesitate to bring something along for them just in case, as this hike can take up to three hours. Given the trail’s proximity to campus and the town of Factoryville, you are unlikely to encounter predators such as bears or coyotes.  When you finish with your hike, you can even stop for a bite to eat at Keystone’s Giants Grill.

This list is just a start to exploring the many hiking experiences you can enjoy in northeastern Pennsylvania. Always remember to think ahead about what you might need to do or bring to prepare yourself and your pooch.  And as always, be sure research any place you are going with your pup ahead of time so you can have a safe and fun hiking trip.

Article contributed by Kaitlyn Hankins

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Endless Mountains Hiking 101 - Part 1 -  Preparing Your Pooch


Endless Mountains Hiking 101 - Part 1 - Preparing Your Pooch

“If you’re properly prepared, the benefits of hiking with your dog are immeasurable. Hiking can be great therapy for a dog that is exhibiting boredom-based bad behavior at home such as shoe chewing, lawn digging, or gratuitous barking. Remember, a tired dog is a good dog — and hiking is a great exercise for humans as well as beasts (Source: dogster.com).”

The Endless Mountains region features some of the most beautiful and scenic hiking trails located on the east coast. Whether it’s a casual walk on a paved pathway or a more difficult hike through one of the state parks, Northeast Pennsylvania provides a variety of different options.  In this article, Part 1 of our two-part blog series, we will explore how to prepare your pooch for your hike.  Stay tuned for Part 2  next week when we will take you through some of our favorite hiking spots in Northeast PA!

With any trip into the wilderness, bringing your dog with you can raise certain issues which should be kept in mind. Is your dog protected against fleas and ticks?  Perhaps you should consider using extra preventive?  Even if your dog is protected, you might want to check them (and yourself) for ticks after hiking through high grass and wooded areas.  Will your dog return to you when called, or will you have to keep them on a leash?  Is there fresh drinking water available, or will you need to bring water and snacks for your four-legged friend?  All of these questions should be understood before taking your dog to any public hiking ground. One of Eva's Play Pups Countryside Dog Camp's counselors, Kaitlyn, is an avid hiker.  She will share some of her tips, tricks and favorite gear and products with us.  

Collapsible water bowls are really helpful to have on the trail for your dog to fill either with the water that you bring for them or from the fresh water supply along the trail. You can find these from multiple brands at your local pet supply store. 

 “Depending on if you and your dog are avid hikers, the length of the hike you’re taking and the difficulty level, you might consider investing in a dog harness,” Kaitlyn shares. “They are available through different companies such as Ruffwear or Outward Hound and available in different sizes.  Your dog can carry their own items for their hike, and even some of yours if your hiking pack is at its full capacity.”

We asked Kaitlyn to shed some more light on the wide world of dog harnesses and hiking packs.  Here were her recommendations…

If your dog is a beginner hiker, she recommends using the “singletrak pack” by Ruffwear, especially if your dog is new to hiking and wearing packs. This is ideal for if you’re just needing to carry and supply water for your pooch. You always want to start light and work the weight on with each hike that you take with your dog. Never store more than 25% of your dog’s weight in their hiking pack and make sure that the weight is evenly distributed. The singletrak pack is very low-profile and comes ready with two saddlebags that hang close to the body and allow for agility for your dog while you’re out hiking. There are two 0.6 Liter collapsible water bladders included with this pack.  Kaitlyn finds it especially helpful to have and fill one of each on each saddle bag to distribute the weight evenly. The stash pockets will hold leashes, doggy bags, and a collapsible water bowl.  This pack is ideal for a simple day hikes where you mostly just want to carry water and simple items for your dog. 

The harnesses provided on all of the hiking packs for dogs makes hoisting your dog in and through difficult places much easier for you on your hike. The “approach pack” is ideal for a beginner hiking dog and for day hikes, however, does not come equipped with water bladders as all of the other packs from Ruffwear do.

If you are looking for a pack for your more experienced hiker dog, Kaitlyn recommends “the Palisades” pack by Ruffwear. Larger hydration bladders and removable saddlebags are available on this pack for more storage room and easy crossings through water or tricky terrain. This pack is ideal for multi-day hikes and adventures for your dog and the load compression system secures the belongings in the saddlebags so they stay in place and not causing any sort of discomfort for your dog.

Another great product that Kaitlyn shared with us is something she likes to have for both the beginning and the end of a long hike.  An all-natural Paw Salve is very useful for after long hikes in rough terrain, in the snow, and to have if your dog is often walked on the cement and prone to salts left over from snow plows. It is also great for dry, crusty little noses!  Kaitlyn’s favorite brand is a local product from her home-state of Maine - an herbal paw balm by Pet Works of Maine.  All of us here at camp prefer to use local products but we have heard wonderful things about Musher’s Secret Pet Paw Protection.  It can be found either on their website but if you search locally - we are sure that your local pet supply store may have a product that would suit you and your dog well. 

Hiking with your best furry friend can be an exciting and rewarding experience for both of you.  Just be sure that you are prepared so that your adventure is as safe and fun as possible!  Stay tuned for Part 2 next week when we will sniff out some of the best hiking in the Endless Mountains!  Kaitlyn has even tested out some of the local trails to give you a good idea of what to expect for you and your furry friends!

Article Contributed by: Jennifer Matarese & Kaitlyn Hankins


On the Road Again


On the Road Again

Those of us with furry friends can all agree that there is nothing like watching a dog hang its head out a car window with its tongue flailing about wearing a wind-born grin.

Road-tripping with your fur baby or traveling with them in any way, shape or form is a true way to bond and share memories for a lifetime.  A trip to the beach, a mountain excursion for a hike in the cool shade, and even a nice dog-friendly B&B in the countryside are all ideal for your dog to be mentally and physically stimulated during your mutual free-time.  However, these trips also need to include some careful pre-planning to keep your pooch happy and safe.

1. Make arrangements so you don’t have to leave fido in the car.
We know that when the weather is warm and sunny, it is high season to take a trip with your pup.  However, because of that warm weather and hot sun, we should not be leaving our dogs in the car for any period of time.  

2. Plan ahead my researching dog friendly parks, beaches and resorts and practice proper social behavior.   Even when you find suitable amenities for you and your pup, you must remain vigilant of other canines.  Always yield to other pups coming through small spaces in hotels or B&Bs.  This establishes and maintains respect.  Also, keeping your side of the street clean is key.  One must always keep in mind that whenever you go, you are a tourist among the locals.  Keeping your dog leashed will not only keep them safe from conflicts with other dogs, but also allow you to maintain control in what is a strange, new place for your fur baby.

3.  Be sure that you have proper identification for your before traveling.  According to the American Kennel Club, you should carry a recent photo of your dog with you and make sure they are up to date on all their tags, including addresses and vaccinations.  You should also make sure that they have a secure leash and collar.  At Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue, volunteers are taught to always walk the dog on a separate device than what their tags are on.  This way, in the event that your dog takes off it will still have its tags on it’s collar.  We recommend using a prong collar along with their flat collar and attaching the two using a carabiner.  You may also use a harness or martingale collar.

 4.  Keep a routine.  In the middle of traveling everyone needs to visit a rest stop, right?  Well, fortunately the world is your dog’s rest stop but it is important to try and keep their routine as predictable as possible.  Allow them to have bathroom breaks as often as they do at home.  Feed them at the same times and always keep water handy.  Even buying a spill-proof water bowl is essential for them lapping up a drink anytime they want in the car.  Dogs like a routine as they already live in a world they don’t exactly understand.  Keeping things as familiar as possible will allow them to relax.  Bring their own food, pack a kong - whatever it takes to ensure fun.

And now - for the secret weapon - http://www.gopetfriendly.com/road-trip-planner.  This trip planner works very similarly to any navigation device, but with helpful dog-friendly stops, hotels and fun activities along the way!  After all, it is a vacation!

Article Contributed by: Natasha Domanski




Just picture walking into a typical day of work at the daycare:
Pups meander over to you as you walk in the door and wiggle their butts as if to say “hello”, you smile at the room of pooches and put your things down to get ready for the day. You recognize happy puppy faces as some wrestle around the room playing or wake up from a peaceful nap.  You settle in and your co-worker gives you the low-down on the happenings of the day.
You squeeze through the door to be greeted by a bunch of barking, relentlessly jumping dogs. You try to make your way through the room, but they trip you up at every step.  They tear at your belongings before you can make it through, maybe your cell phone drops on the floor and shatters.  Their barks are so loud that you can’t hear your coworker say “hi”.

Both are alarmingly possible, but here at Eva’s Play Pups we are constantly working towards de-adrenalization, a philosophy that utilizes several methods in the dog training world that result in having a day like the first scenario.

De-adrenalization begins the moment that one walks into the room.  A true pack-leader (as we call our kennel attendants) must walk into the room with an air of confidence.  Without even speaking they have to let the dogs know that they alone are in charge. They walk in never allowing a dog to jump on them.  We communicate this by giving a firm “NO”, and standing in a tall, upright manner.  This way when something is finally spoken they have respect for your superior size and the noises made have true meaning.  In these rooms one must always remain calm and purposeful when giving a dog instructions.

Dogs are incredibly tuned into their noses and hearing rather than sight.  Their smell is up to 100,000 times more powerful than a human’s, and their hearing is up to a third better than ours (National Geographic, June 2014).  We must use this to our advantage - we must attempt to speak their language and only make noise when necessary to maintain a calm environment.  It is never really necessary to raise your voice to a dog.  They hear everything whether it’s a whisper or a shout.  Most trainers will encourage you to find the right pitch of your voice when in command for optimized response from a dog (How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend, The Monks of New Skete).

Another underlying philosophy that works towards de-adrenalization is keeping low base stress level in each dog.  Sometimes when a daycare is busier this is quite a challenge, but with the right methods it can be done.  If and when a dog is acting up - possibly getting what we call the “zoomies” when they zip around the room at high speeds - we need to assess how this dog’s day has been progressing.  Does he or she seem stressed from fear of another dog or dogs in particular?  Do they seem stressed by their health?  Maybe they have a sore tooth.  Obviously, when humans have a toothache they are less likely to have tolerance to noise and are less able to concentrate.  Why would a dog’s discomfort be any different?  Maybe they are stressed because today they did not feel like leaving their comfy dog bed - we all have those days.

No matter the cause this dog with the zoomies may need a brief relaxation period.  By studying their body language we can tell if they are in fact overwhelmed or fatigued.   If this is the case this dog needs to de-adrenalized by taking a break in the “place” command - lying on a bed for the instructors chosen period of time.  This gives the dog a chance to catch up on their labored breathing and to mentally assess how different they feel now that they are taking a moment to relax.  Sometimes they just need a nudge in the right direction to calm down.  

The third method we use at the daycare is leash relaxation.  In this case we could have a pooch who is just not responding to commands and is so adrenalized they may not even stay still in “place”.  Although, we have found when many dogs are then put on a leash they instantly calm down.  This is because firstly, this is something familiar - they gain confidence because they know what to do on a leash.  They also gain confidence by now being attached to a human.  Since a human will now walk them around they feel the extra attention they may have been seeking and this placates them.  Finally, having them on a leash keeps them mentally stimulated.  When they follow the pack-leader who is holding the other end of that leash it mimics a follow-the-leader situation.  Of course, this does not work for every dog, but all these methods are shopped around.  

When you have a large group of dogs and things unexpectedly escalate it is usually due to the energy of just one or two dogs.  If you are able to get that one dog under control the room is entirely peaceful.     

In this safe and fun environment that we create at Eva’s Play Pups in Brooklyn and at the Country Boarding in Pennsylvania, the pooches are able to get down to their true spirit of socializing as a dog should.  We are simply there to guide them, not to tell them how to do this.  

Article Contributed by Natasha Domanski



Who Says You Have to “Sit and Stay” at Home?

Traveling with your best friend can be challenging – if he or she is furry and has four legs, that is.  Sniffing out and selecting a perfect spot for you and your pooch for a Pocono vacation does not have to feel like a trip to the vet.  Bring Fido is always a very useful online resource when scouting for pet-friendly places to stay, but we took the time to fetch a few awesome pet-friendly places in the Poconos for you! 


1.  Countryside Cottages provides a warm & inviting place for you (and your pet!) to come back to after a full day of activities.  Countryside cottages has a pool area, spacious green fields to start-up a game of softball, an area to play a friendly game of volleyball, a recreation room chock full of games, and plenty of quiet places to just sit and relax.  The property is about 20 minutes away from Camelback Mountain ResortCamelbeach and Aquatopia, 30 minutes from Bushkill Falls, as well as golf courses, riding trails, and much more.

2.  For The Ruffin’ it Type: Jim Thorpe Camping Resort is located in Carbon County on 28-acres of wooded campground with all of the modern conveniences a family could want - and the added bonus of being a pet friendly!  The site hosts a convenience store, a laundry facility, restrooms and shower areas, camping cabins, a pool and wading pool.  If you’re seeking some adventure, the Camping Resort is less than a 15-minute drive away from three whitewater rafting adventure sites such as the Jim Thorpe River Adventures as well as numerous biking and hiking trails. If you’re looking for a night of entertainment, the Mauch Chunk Opera House is also less than five minutes away.

3.  Ledges Hotel is a historic hotel located in Hawley, PA.  Built in 1890 and nestled in the rock ledges of Paupack High Falls, it was originally the John S. O’Connor Glass Factory.  Ledges Hotel is also home to its own restaurant, Glass – Wine Bar Kitchen.  Enjoy scenic boat tours nearby, as well as the Bingham Park Riverwalk, the Hawley Silk Mill, and much more.  The hotel only holds a limited number of pet friendly rooms, so be sure to get an early jump on booking with your four-legged friend.

4.  Established in 1852, the historical Hotel Fauchère is located in Milford, PA. The Hotel Fauchère offers fine dining in its own Delmonico Room, and a guest only conservatory and garden in Bar Louis. Besides their many amenities and being minutes away from the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Hotel Fauchère goes above and beyond to cater to your four-legged friend. The hotel’s pet program includes doggie-massages, dog-walking services, and gourmet meals prepared especially for your pooch.

5. The Village at Pocono is located in the heart of the Pocono Mountains and located beside the Pocono Raceway, which owns and operates the resort.  Ranked one of the 10 best hotels in the Poconos by Trip Advisor, The Village at Pocono is located near many premium restaurants, Skirmish USA Paintball, Jack Frost National Golf Club, Jack Frost Big Boulder Ski Area, Mt. Airy Casino, and much more. The Village at Pocono would love for you to “stay” in one of their pet friendly rooms!

6.  OK folks – let’s be honest – you love your doggie to death but sometimes, you might want just a smidgen of alone time!  What if we told you that there is a place where your dog can have a vacation too – and won’t mind spending a little time away from you?

Located in Uniondale at the edge of the Pocono Mountains, Eva's Play Pups Countryside Dog Camp is only fifteen minutes from Elk Mountain Ski Resort.  With 52 acres available for hiking, playing, and swimming, your dog will get the opportunity to spend the day outside with constant supervision by trained professionals.   Eva's Play Pups Countryside Dog Camp provides doggy day care as well as short- and long-term lodging. Parents can leave their dogs for the course of their vacation or drop their doggie best friend off for a so they can have time to themselves.

No matter what part of the Northeast Pennsylvania you are visiting, there are plenty of places for you and your pooch to stay and play, making for a perfect Pocono getaway!


Meet Jake!


Meet Jake!

Jake and friends in front of barn.JPG

Oh, hello there.  No need to apologize for waking me up. I love spending the day sleeping on the deck so I always sleep with one eye open just in case. 

My name is Jake, I'm a big bull mastiff, and I live at Eva's Play Pups Countryside Dog Camp with my mom Eva, my dad Tom, and all my doggie brothers and sisters. I love meeting new people and making new friends with all of the dogs who come to visit or stay at our doggie camp.  I also love lunch, but that's another story.

The great thing about living here at the Countryside Dog Camp in Uniondale, PA is that I get to meet lots of new dogs all the time. Since we accept dogs for both dog boarding and doggie day care, I get to hang out with city dogs who come to visit from Brooklyn as well as country dogs from nearby in Northeast Pennsylvania. On the afternoons when new dogs arrive from New York, I'm hovering around the kennel waiting to say hi as they leap off the van to go for a good run after that long ride. No matter what the weather may be, we all have a blast exploring the grounds and finding lots of new smells.

At Eva's Play Pups Countryside Dog Camp, we get to spend the whole day playing outside all over the camp. With just over fifty acres available, there's lots of room to run, whether it be a hike through the Wayne County woods, a good chase across the fields, or a nice walk around the pond. My mom Eva says I'm not allowed to swim because I'm a mastiff, but there's nothing wrong with sticking your paws in the cool water while the other dogs dive off the dock or paddle around in the water. I'm normally pretty laid-back, but sometimes I like to get a good wrestle in with one of my friends. It doesn't matter whether it's just a nap on the deck with my giant schnauzer friend “Brown,” or going for a run with my pit bull buddy “Champ.”  Dog friends are some of the best friends you can make.

But it's not just other dogs I like to play with. The camp counselors who work here are some of my best friends. I love it when Jennifer gives me a great big hug or when Sheryl scratches me between the ears. I also get excited when people come to see the camp with their dogs. Sometimes I even get to meet kids, who always love to pet me and give me all the attention I deserve. I enjoy joining them on tours of the kennel and the camp to show them how much fun it can be to let their dogs come to stay. The more people I meet, the happier I am.

Do you have a dog you'd like to send to our camp out in the beautiful Endless Mountains? I'd sure like to meet them!  We can go for a good run or just take a nice nap out in the sun.   I also know all the best ways to trick a treat out of one of the counselors. Come and meet me! If you scratch me between the ears and offer me a snack, I'll love you forever.

Article contributed by:  Jennifer Matarese