Bring Your Dogs to the Woofstock at the Barnacle Historic State Park

Woofstock Barnacle Historic State Park Equipaws Pet ServicesWoofstock 2018: The Barnacle Goes to the Dogs!

You and your dogs are invited to join us at Woofstock at the Barnacle Historic State Park on May 6! This is such a fun event for your pets and for you! They can meet new friends and compete in a dog/owner look-alike contest. If you are looking for a new family member, Paw Patrol Animal Rescue and Sanctuary will be bringing adoptable dogs. You can take the chance to introduce your dog to their potential new family members and see how they get along! Paw Patrol was featured in Dumped: A Rescue Story. Check it out!

What to Do at Woofstock at the Barnacle:

Miami K9 Officers Woofstock Barnacle Historic State Park

There are plenty of activities and fresh air for you to enjoy from 11am to 4pm. We’re always excited to see our Miami K-9 officers in action with demonstrations on how they work and other cool tricks. We’ll also have pet-related vendors, an animal blessing, hot food, and live music, too.

Come out and visit with our pet vendors:

Paw Patrol Animal Rescue & Sanctuary
Kiddos Magazine
Pet Wants Miami
SoFlo Veterinary Consultants
Canine Film Festival 2018
Bubba Rose Biscuit Co.
Le chien Gourmet
Save The Strays Foundation
Soul Dog Zen Cat
Dog is Good
Fetch My Vet

As always during the park’s regular business hours, well-behaved pets are welcome. All dogs must be on a hand-held leash that does not exceed six feet in length.The Historic Barnacle State Park is located at 3485 Old Main Highway, Coconut Grove, FL 33133. The event is free each year with $2 park admission and kids under 5 years old are free – as are the dogs!


About the Barnacle:

Throughout the year, The Barnacle Society sponsors numerous events, including moonlight concerts and outdoor films, in an effort to raise funds to support this lovely Historic State Park. If you have any questions or interest in volunteering or becoming a member, visit or call the Park Ranger Station at 305-442-6866.

Equipaws Goes to Catch Canine Training Academy


Equipaws Goes to Catch Canine Training Academy

Our social media specialist and dog walker Kristen Cortese just completed the Catch Canine Trainers Academy taught by Dee Hoult, CEO of  Applause Your Paws Dog Training and one of only 250 Certified Dog Behavior Consultants in the world. We sponsored Kristen for this week-long intensive dog training as part of our overall mission to improve the quality of our clients’ dogs’ lives. We spend a lot of time one-on-one with your pups- our walks are a perfect opportunity to reinforce their training. Kristen just completed training with the best so she can in turn work with our own dog walkers on maintaining great behaviors and walking habits for your pups!

Anatomy of Dog Training

The week-long, hands-on training happened from January 23-37, eight hours a day at Miami-Dade Animal Services. The group learning alongside Kristen was small, which gave them even more time with Dee to learn tools on how to teach dogs basic behaviors such as heel, sit, lie down, go to their place etc., and some tools on how to break a dog of certain behaviors such as leash pulling. The workshop included a lot of work with adult dogs, whom they taught how to sit, stay, heel, lie down, and to go to their place.

The training also covered how to get a dog’s focus back when you’re training, as dogs can get very distracted. Dog training is a very interesting calling that is a lot more difficult and time-intensive than it looks. A few things a trainer must do include:

  • Clicking and rewarding at the proper time, establishing a system of marking the behavior and rewarding. transition from first luring a dog into doing something,
  • To taking away the lure,
  • then moving to using a hand signal…

basically eliminating things until dog understands a verbal cue. We have a renewed respect for dog trainers!


Watch Kristen in Action at Catch Canine Training Academy!

Major Lessons in Dog Training:

One of the main takeaways Kristen shared with us is how easy it is to reinforce bad behavior inadvertently. Dee taught the group the psychology of how we actually reinforce bad behavior without realizing it. “I’m really cognizant of it this past week with our walks. If I let this dog pull me to sniff, I’m rewarding negative behavior.”

“A walk is a walk. And when a dog performs and does what it’s supposed to do, then you allow them to sniff. You’re using these fun things like sniffing and playing as rewards. If you don’t use them to use as reward for positive behavior, you’re missing out. Another example: why would you leave food in dishes for dogs to graze at their own pace? Feedings are a perfect opportunity to reinforce behaviors that you’ve taught!” says Kristen.

Every interaction with our pets is an opportunity to continue to reinforce positive behavior in them. As dog walkers, we know we’re not just walking dogs; there are so many other things going on. We can support whatever training the dog has completed given that we spend so much time with our clients’ pups. Some quick takeaways:

  • There’s a time for play, but you also want to continue to reinforce the behaviors you’ve spent time instilling in your dog.
  • You can undo them with silly things like walking in the house too excited, squealing and over-exciting them, and then they end up jumping.  
  • Every move you make is important, something you have to be mindful of if you want to reinforce good behavior.

That’s why it’s important for the whole family to be on board with reinforcing good behavior, or else training will be a waste of time and money.

Kristen learned that, not surprisingly, a lot of dog psychology is totally relatable to how we raise our children. “This is exactly what’s going on with my daughter. I couldn’t believe the parallel between training kids and training daughter. Every day we can either reinforce positive behaviors or negative behavior as walkers, thus missing opportunities.”

We are all very satisfied with what Kristen learned. Kristen says, “Dee is amazing. We worked heavily with the shelter dogs which was challenging and fulfilling. If you can work with them you can work with any dog! We also worked with trained dogs and did a lot of exercises alongside other trainers, who we watched and learned from.”

Trainers Helping Homeless Animals at Miami-Dade Animal Services

We also love that the training took place at Miami-Dade Animal Services, because the larger dogs have a harder time getting adopted than small dogs do. This workshop directly benefited and changed many doggie lives, because a trained dog is much easier to handle and adopt.

Kristen agrees: “It was nice to go to Miami-Dade Animal Services. They have a beautiful facility and it was so rewarding to volunteer there. We each took out three different dogs daily, all big shelter dogs. It was really cool to work with them because we don’t know what they know or what they’ve been trained in. There’s a very broad description of their personality when you see their sheet.”

Kristen really enjoyed the training, and we can’t wait for her to share her knowledge with our dog walkers. “I loved being able to work with dogs that are unwanted. You gain a sense of respect for these trainers. It’s a hard job but the rewards are high because these dogs are so smart. You take away the most that you are implementing something and it’s this communication that goes on between you and the dog- it’s like seeing a kid learn. When they realize you’re teaching them to sit and they get it consistently, what you set out to do you’ve accomplished. That’s the best feeling.”


Coconut Grove Pet Sitter Spotlight: Mike Tacoronte

Coconut Grove pet sitter

Coconut Grove Pet Sitter Spotlight: Mike Tacoronte

Meet the newest Coconut Grove pet sitter in our pack, Mike Tacoronte, who will be walking, running and caring for your pets in the dog-friendly Coconut Grove and Coral Gables neighborhoods! Mike served in the U.S. Air Force for 20 years and is now a retired veteran filling his time with volunteer work and animal-oriented activities. Although he has a tough exterior, his big heart and soft spot for animals has made him a perfect fit for our team!

Mike has had the opportunity to volunteer at several animal shelters across the country including in Anchorage, Alaska, San Antonio, Texas and locally here in Doral. “I volunteered at pet shelters because I wanted to get as many dogs as possible out of their cages for at least a few minutes of the day, so they could stretch their legs and play for a while,” Mike tells us. One of his life goals is to keep dogs active and fit, even if they are confined to a shelter.

Coral Gables Dog Walker & Coconut Grove Pet Sitter

As fitness plays an important role for Mike, he finds great passion in walking, playing and running with pups. After he began volunteering with the Miami-Dade Animal Services he discovered our company from a neighbor. “I couldn’t believe that I can do what I love AND get paid!” Mike exclaims. He loves the idea of providing a customized service for dogs, while getting them out and about when pet parents are working or on vacation. He believes regular exercise is crucial to the pet’s well-being, so when he found out our motto was “Fit, healthy, happy!” it was a total match.

We’re lucky to have him in our pack not only as a passionate animal lover serving as a Coconut Grove pet sitter, but also as an avid photographer. Mike focuses his Canon rebel SLR camera on dogs and fitness-oriented models. Mike also practices Movement Culture, which is a free-flowing style of exercise containing elements of breakdance, gymnastics, capoeira, and other arts.

Dog-Walker Dog Toy Tips

When he is off duty, Mike and his Mom share pup parenting for an adorable Schnauzer mix named Charchael. She is a cuddle bug who loves his attention! Mike’s personal favorite and go-to toy for Charchael is the Chuckit. He also uses the Zipflight frisbee with Charchael who loves to catch in mid-air and play tug-o-war! Bonus feature: dogs can’t tear this item to shreds. Mike says, “It’s really sturdy and strong…for most dogs.” He would recommend these toys to any pup parent.

Mike clearly believes dogs are the best thing out there, and so do we! If you see him in the neighborhood feel free to stop and say hello. Mike is looking forward to his days filled with our Equipaws canine family!