Town Crier Articles

Know Your Business: Zoom Room
Posted on June 1, 2024 6:52 AM by Scott Ellis
Zoom Room (5129 Main Street) is a nationally franchised training center for people and their pets. The focus of each Zoom Room is on positive reinforcement for dogs to help them with socializing, agility and obedience. 
New Town Zoom Room owner, Tamara Lembke got involved with Zoom Room about a year and a half ago. Her background in marketing combined with her experience training animals at SeaWorld Orlando was a key motivator for her opening the local center. She chose Zoom Room especially due to the focus on positive feedback to the animals and their owners. There is no “bad dog” shouted at the pets and no use of shock collars or other negative training methods. 
Every Zoom Room employee must undergo a minimum of 40 hours of offsite training conducted by the national headquarters. Consistency in employee training and methodology is key to ensuring that every dog and owner are made to feel special.
Tamara and her family (husband, four children and two dogs) are Williamsburg transplants and consider themselves permanent residents. They love the feel of Williamsburg, the kindness of the folks who call Williamsburg home and how good it feels to raise their family here. 
Zoom Room is open seven days per week and currently has five employees. Since it’s part of a respected franchise (with over 64 locations in the USA) consistency is key. Each Zoom Room franchise is decorated the same, uses the same training equipment, the same training methods and offer the same items for sale. Training gear, toys, treat, beds, bowls, collars and leashes are all available for purchase. Some of the treats had very interesting names; Peanut butter Himalayan chew and Bacon Himalayan chew are a few examples. 
Every dog that comes into Zoom Room must be on a leash and dogs are not permitted to engage socially face to face. All dogs must have up to date vaccinations and special puppy classes are held on weekend mornings for the very young pups. In order to ensure cleanliness the entire room is cleaned, swept and mopped every night. 
Puppy programs start at eight weeks. Puppy Plus programs start at four months. Puppy agility classes start at five months of age and adult dog agility class starts at eight months of age.  When I inquired as to why agility training is needed for pups and young dogs, Tamara said it helps especially with dogs that are shy and those that might be coming from pasts that may have had issues. Training and education are key to help owners know how their dogs are growing mentally.   
While I was talking with Tamara, I watched as Rachel, one of the trainers conducted a class for four dogs. Each dog and owner were at corners of the room and were being coached through several exercises. As part of the training, I watched as Rachel went around the room past each dog with a pair of crutches, gently tapping the crutches on the floor as she walked around. One young dog stood at the edge of his training mat and then sat quietly as Rachel passed by. All the while the puppy was given positive encouragement by the owner and Rachel. She did the same with a walker. It was wonderful to observe, something I would not have thought of – using crutches and walkers as training aids. Tamara pointed out that part of the training uses different sounds, different items – all to help install calmness into each dog for as many situations as possible. 
I asked Tamara and Rachel what their favorite dogs were to train. Rachel quickly replied, “rescue dogs and service dogs” and Tamara said she loved the puppies. As we discussed various breeds of dogs Tamara noted that retriever pups need training as early as possible. They love to chew on things! As an owner several times of golden retrievers I can heartily concur and wish we had a chance to have our goldens, Pepsi and Ruff trained when they were young. Would have saved us chewed brake lines, air conditioning wiring (low voltage thank goodness) and a kid’s pool that had a hole chewed in it the very first day we set it up! 
When asked about special memories of a dog they helped train they both laughed and said the same thing. A 219-pound mastiff. “Wow” was all I could say. 
The energy and positivity of Tamara and Rachel and their love for animals was clear. I certainly gained a lot of admiration for how they train the dogs and owners and as a New Town resident who walks frequently, I can only hope that many of the cute puppies and dogs my wife and I encounter daily have been trained at Zoom Room.   
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