Stylish dog retreats

Stylish dog retreats

Writing this blog is not a job. It’s a passion. And it’s always a joy to see people’s homes and take pictures, but my recent shoot for this article was one of my all time favorites because of the real stars, the dogs.

Yes,  pardon the pun, but Stylish Retreats has gone to the dogs for this outing.  But we went in style, that’s for sure. Gus and Chloe were perfect posers and behaved impeccably, thanks to their trainer, Michele Boardman.  She didn’t want to be in the post so this is the only photo of her, but believe you me, she’s the dog whisperer behind these well behaved canines. I thought it would be entertaining to see the pups in stylish stores where they’re welcome so off we went to the Hill Center in Green Hills.  J. McLaughlin is very dog friendly.

This posh store is such a colorful and beautifully styled store with classic clothing. I’ve often thought I’d like to decorate a room in my house with these colors.   And I love the fact they welcome well-behaved dogs.

Celebrity Dog Trainer Michele Boardman is the owner of Nashville-based “WonderDogs.” She works one-on-one with puppies and adult dogs and their guardians to enhance communication and relationships using only positive techniques. She was on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno years ago with her wonder dog, Ginger. (Look it up on You Tube!!!).  Part of her training includes taking dogs, like Chloe and Gus to stores, not for socializing the dogs,  but to work.  Michele explains that dogs were bred to work for humans, but in this day and age,  their job is to be our companions. And that means having good manners, like you’d teach children.

Michele has taught Gus and Chloe “down, stays”  at transaction counters like this one. If only they could help pay for purchases!!!

The training also includes waiting at doorways.  Take a look at this shot in front of another one of her favorite spots, Oak Hall at the Hill Center.  I kept thinking how challenging it would be to train two dogs at the same time but Michele has their full attention.

Michele says the first 16 weeks of a dog’s life are when they learn about 80 percent of their socialization so she tries to expose her dogs to all kinds of people, whether they’re tall, short, old or young.  The idea is to familiarize the dogs with your environment so they won’t have fear.

Chloe seemed to enjoy Zach’s attention at Oak Hall.  And I didn’t see her or Gus jump on anyone in the store.

Wardrobe consultant Rebecca Thompson took a break from working with a client to interact with the stylish pups. They fit right in this handsome environment which includes a dog bed under a table in the men’s area of the store.

That is for the store owner’s dog, Jake, who occasionally visits from Memphis.  My Jake, a westie, may have to go with me next time.  On this visit, he was just with me in spirit.

On a side note, I will say I am often stopped and asked where I found this purse. It came from a kite store in Sag Harbor!  I couldn’t resist!!!!

I really don’t think I could take my Jake shopping with me though, ’cause I’d want to try on so many things and he may not be patient enough to wait.  You see, he’s 14.  But trainer Michele says you can teach old dogs new tricks.  She says she trained her star dog Ginger at age 12 to do a new trick for a Toyota commercial.  So maybe there is still hope for my little buddy!  Then again, he may be able to hang out in the back of the store with Chris where a small bar is set up in case a customer is going to be here for awhile.  Chris is also a dog lover.

On our next stop, Michele had another client’s gorgeous dog, Blue, who she took to Nordstrom.

Blue is an Australian Shepherd who really needs to be a model here along with the mannequins!  Those eyes! And she, like Gus and Chloe, got so much attention in the store.

But she was so well mannered and listened intently to Michele despite the distractions.

I see a theme here.  Anyone else love blue?!?

Michele takes her dogs wherever she goes unless it’s a restaurant.  I think it’s safe to say dogs are welcome at many retail establishments if they’re well mannered and on a leash, but I would always ask first before I took my Jake into a place.

Such a fun morning of retail therapy for me, and besides taking in the latest fashions at the gorgeous stores, it always does my heart and soul good to be around man and this woman’s best friend.

     My thanks to Michele Boardman along with her charges, Gus, Chloe and Blue.  Such a delight.