A few indoor dog parks and canine training places have popped up lately around Long Island, and while they offer heat in the winter and cool space in the summer, as well as trick and agility training, Martial ARFS is a completely different breed! Created by Jeris Pugh, Martial ARFS offers one-of-a kind activities for your most loyal companion. Pugh’s history as a trainer at Tiger Schulmann’s mixed martial arts schools for more than 12 years and his subsequent private dog training business, where he utilized principles from teaching martial arts and functional conditioning training along with conventional dog training methods, was the impetus to starting this unique dog training approach. With a little guidance from his wife, veterinarian Eve Pugh, Martial ARFS studio in Carle Place was formed. “We base everything we do on the fact that all dogs need physical activity to be happy and healthy,” says Jeris Pugh.
Our roving Natural Awakenings Long Island (NALI) canine reporter, Gambino, went for a trip with his mom, NALI Publisher Kelly Martinsen, to see what sort of kicks he would get from this experience. When asked the practicality of this concept of martial arts for canines, Pugh explains, utilizing children with attention and hyperactivity disorders as an example. “Getting a child with AD (H)D to stand still is extremely difficult, right? Getting a child with AD (H)D to stand still while on one leg learning to do a karate kick is easier because the challenge of standing on one leg forces them to engage both mentally and physically so they don’t fall over.”
First step for all dogs entering Martial ARFS is an assessment. “This is very important,” states Pugh while taking a ball away from Gambino. “We need to see how your dog reacts to certain actions, like my removing this from him. We need to see how he reacts being around other dogs,” adds Pugh during the same assessment while bringing his own dogs into the main training area.
With the assessment complete, Gambino was ready for his first Karufte class—the beginner class that all dogs must go through. For the next 45 to 50 minutes, Gambino went through various activities in which he was both mentally and physically stimulated as he and I work together at the various exercises utilizing focus, reward and trust, as well as an enormous amount of muscle energy.
The class had a wonderful mix of dogs, including Nash, a rescue from the Turks and Caicos (yes, some people bring shells home from the beach, but Joanne Genzone, from Bellmore, and her family took Nash home. Within weeks, they realized Nash was from a feral dog breed and needed tremendous behavioral and socialization modification. “On his first visit here,” Nash’s owner says with a laugh, “he bit Jeris.” Yet seven months later, Gambino was there to see Nash get his yellow belt, having passed the rigorous belt test. While Nash was on the FitPaws ball, Pugh explains, “Your job as their trainer is to help them struggle to maintain their balance for longer and longer periods of time. This also helps create a bond and trust, which is one of the things we have seen with Nash.”
Another dog in the class, Indie, was wearing a green belt. He is a well-trained dog who also participates in field trial competitive events. Perhaps you may have even seen him on Wantagh Parkway pulling his owner, Jen Schwartz, on a Diggler scooter roughly six miles. “Yet,” exclaims Schwartz, “after 40 minutes training at Martial ARFS, he is wiped!” The fourth dog in our group was a 3-year-old rescued mixed collie named Mel, along with his owner, Patricia Russo. Mel was there to learn, have physical and mental stimulation, and have fun.
“You can see,” says Pugh, “When we incorporate physical activity with various behavior modification techniques and the principles of various martial arts, we are able to add fun and exciting mental challenges to behavior modification.”
With 12 different Martial ARFS styles (classes), with great names like TaiPoochi and PoochItSu, there is something for all dogs, no matter whether puppy or senior, Great Dane or Chihuahua, canine athlete or sofa surfer, and no prior obedience training is necessary
For more information about what the Martial ARFS™ can do for you and your dog, call 516-280-8331 or visit Martial-Arfs.com. The Martial ARFS is located at 251 Voice Rd., Carle Place.