Zoom Room Revs Up Dog Fitness
The only national franchise of its kind, Zoom Room offers unique dog training with a social club vibe
While the average size of Americans’ waistlines steadily creeps up, unfortunately so does that of our furry friends.
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), 54 percent of dogs and cats—or 8.4 million pets—are now overweight.
As winter approaches, and the thought of going out for a walk or run becomes less attractive to both you and your pet, you wonder what to do.
The focus of the space is dog agility training and a canine social club. Dog agility classes offer off-leash obstacle courses for your pooch, keeping not only her body active, but her brain too. And it also keeps you on the go, so you’re both benefiting from a little activity.
“Participating in agility classes keeps pets’ heart rate up, and increases their muscle tone, both of which help them shed weight faster,” says Jaime Van Wye, who established the first Zoom Room in Culver City, California, in 2007.
Over the years she’s seen huge changes in pets. “A Shetland sheep dog waddled into the first class it attended,” she said, “but once she lost some of that excess weight, she had more energy and was happier. She could actually jump over the jumps, whereas at first we had to have her walk over them.”
The classes do more than simply exercise body and soul—they’re also great for owner-dog bonding because you’re both working together towards a common goal and supporting each other in the classes.
Zoom Room offers agility, obedience, and tricks classes, in addition to private class options. The latest class is Urban Herding, which teaches dogs to ‘herd’ large exercise balls. Through this class, “owners create amazing off-leash control with their dogs,” she says.
In terms of practicality, a popular class is Scent Discrimination, although it could be argued that this benefits owners even more than their four-legged friends.
Along with general sniffing skills, this class teaches dogs to find one of the things that we humans lose most: our cell phones.
“Dogs enjoy smelling—it’s instinctual enjoyment for them,” Van Wye explains. “During the class, they play and use their nose to find objects and we pair a scent with them.”
This is called associative learning: Giving a dog a reward when he sniffs out a specific scent. In this way, dogs learn to sniff out the scent of their owners’ mobile battery.
Another class that plays on our Zeitgeist is their Hollywood Dog Training. This class works with you pooch on advanced set work and stresses distance control and hand signals. Zoom Room also helps put together a portfolio with photos and YouTube clips, so you dog can be the next Boo.
There’s a social side to Zoom Room, too, which doesn’t necessarily benefit your pet in terms of her weight, but certainly gives her a chance to be sociable. There’s also an agility league, through which the dogs can win awards and trophies.
And there’s an indoor dog park that can be rented by the half hour by up to three dog owners at a time. This means your dog can exercise and play in a climate-controlled environment—no more sweaty outdoor dog park waits or long walks in the rain—with a full agility course and toys.
Or you can even party like it’s 1979 at a Canine Social Club that can feature a Doggy Disco, which comes with the requisite revolving mirrored ball, lighting effects, music, and laser shows. Parties can include anything from birthdays to pet commitment ceremonies to Bark Mitzvahs.
Don’t be surprised if you see a Zoom Room near you sometime soon. This franchised company is growing fast.
It’s already available in states including California, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Florida, and soon you’ll see more—in cities such as Philadelphia, Columbus, OH, and San Francisco.