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Hudson Valley Howlers Dog Scout Troop


Laura Betti and Mark Condon established the Hudson Valley Howlers (HVH) Dog Scout Troop in 2012. In it's short existence, the troop already boasts more than 25 human members and more than 35 canine members. Laura and Mark currently serve as co-leaders for the troop, which is based out of Pause Dog Boutique in Red Hook, NY.


The Hudson Valley Howlers Troop is for people who:

-Believe that raising a dog takes skill and responsibility

-Celebrate the bond they have with their dog

-Want to learn new things

-Give back to the community

-Have fun with others


Our troop gathers for social and educational events, providing a casual forum for the exchange of ideas, knowledge and new experiences. Hudson Valley Howlers troop members include:

-Dog trainers and professionals

-Teens and adults who love their dogs

-Dogs of all varieties, sizes and abilities


The Hudson Valley Howlers Troop is generously sponsored by Ruge's Subaru, Pause Dog Boutique and Pitching-n-Painting.

In order to meet the needs of our troop members and the resources available to us in our local community, the Hudson Valley Howlers have developed a creative patch system that allows our members to earn patches during group activities and also on their own.

Official Hudson Valley Howlers Troop Patch

Patches You Can Earn During Troop Gatherings:

Drive-In Patch

"All Pawddles Up" Patch

Pawtumn Adventures Patch

Disaster Preparedness Patch

Swimming Patch

Water Outing Patch

Fire and Fireflies Patch

Pawprint Painting & Targeting Patch

Basic Manners Patch

Patriot Pooch Patch

Hiking Hound Patch

Patches You Can Earn On Your Own:

Ambassadog Patch

Nose Work Patch - Level I

Tricks Patch - Level I

Disaster Preparedness Patch

Swimming Patch

Basic Manners Patch

Roving with Rover Patch

Freestyle Frisbee Fun Patch

Hiking Hound Patch


Most folks who inquire about joining our troop have the following questions:


What does it take to be a member of the Hudson Valley Howlers?


The Hudson Valley Howlers operate as a local troop. Anyone is invited to join. Joinging the troop allows you to participate in the activities that we organize and to work towards earning our official troop patches with your dog(s).

How much will it cost me to be involved?


Being involved in troop activities is always by choice and varies in price depending on the nature of the gathering. The Hudson Valley Howlers (HVH) strive to keep activities at a low cost, which largely is made possible by the generosity of Ruge's Subaru and Pitching-n-Painting. In the past, the cost for activities has varied from $0-$12.


Patches also come with a fee, however. The Hudson Valley Howlers have chosen to establish our own patch system and to provide activities that meet the specific interests of our troop members. Our patches cost $10-$12 each.

Does my dog have to be well-behaved to join?


Nope! We accept dogs of all shapes, sizes and personalities. Exhuberance and lack of refinement means more fun for all and the opportunity for more training for you. We do suggest that you complete a free behavioral evaluation with our resident troop trainer, Polly Kaplan of Sirius Play Dog Training and K9 Nosework. She'll meet with you to help you determine which types of activities will be most appropriate and least stressful for your dog - and other members of the troop.


Many members have more than one dog that participates in activities. Members pick and choose which activities will be most comfortable and appropriate for each of their dogs. For example, one dog may love water and one dog may hate it. The owner brings the dog that loves water to our water-related excursions and leaves the other one home. It can be difficult to handle more than one dog at a time at these events anyway, due to the number of distractions. So, we generally advise that folks bring just one dog at a time to the events. We offer multiple activities to earn each patch from year-to-year, giving all dogs a chance.

What types of activities does your troop do?


We do all sorts of fun and eductional activities! Our home base is Pause Dog Boutique, but we have gone to many locations to do events. Some of the many activities we have done include:

-Attending a drive-in movie and educating patrons about how to safely greet a dog

-Hosting a training seminar on recognizing calming signals/signs of stress in dogs

-Geocaching all over Rhinebeck and Red Hook

-Kayaking on the Hudson River

-Serving as ambassadors (and ambassadogs) in educating and entertaining kids at summer camp

-Hiking at Bash Bish Falls

-Gathering for a campfire

-K9 Nosework, tricks and clicker training sessions

-Coordinating a holiday "cookie" exchange to gather treats for distribution to the local SPCA

-Going apple picking and enjoying fall festivities at a local family farm


In addition to scheduled gatherings, we offer patches you can work toward on your own with your dog. When you are ready, you can demonstrate the specific patch requirements via video or in person for review.

Do I have to sign up for activities?


We do require that you pre-register and pre-pay (for those events that have a fee) for events and activities so we can be prepared to meet everyone's needs. When we post our activities on our Facebook page, we include an "RSVP by" date and ask that you pay upfront in person at Pause Dog Boutique or via Paypal.


Why would I want to do this with my dog?


Much to many folks' surprise, Hudson Valley Howlers is a well-respected organization filled with a wide array of dog owners. From dog trainers to the first time dog owner, we've got it!


By participating in the Hudson Valley Howlers, you will have the opportunity to bond with your dog, improve your dog's behavior, get to know like-minded people, and provide your dog with opportunities for socialization and skill building.


As an added bonus, most folks love the patches! Just like Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, you have an opportuntity to purchase a vest for your dog and work toward earning the patches. They are adorable and folks feel a real sense of pride when they achieve them.

If I want to join, what are my next steps?


Here's what you need to do:

1. Review all of the details here and make sure it sounds like something that would be appropriate for you and your dog. Involvement in the Hudson Valley Howlers should be fun for BOTH you and your dog - not stressful and anxiety-laden.

2. Complete and submit this application to

3. Once we receive your application, we will invite you to join our private Facebook group. We post everything there, making it easy to stay connected and involved.

4. Join us for any or all of our troop activities and word towards earning patches.


The Hudson Valley Howlers were originally affiliated with Dog Scouts of America. During our affiliation, the following dogs passed the Dog Scout Title test and were recognized as official Dog Scouts with the organization:

Riley - July 2012

Empi - August 2012

Dutchess - R.I.P. 2015

Derek - September 2012

Stewie - October 2012

Ella - October 2012

Ramona - October 2012

Harley - December 2012

Moe - R.I.P. 2015

We have many more members too! Here they are:



















Siena - R.I.P. 2014

Although the Hudson Valley Howlers are no longer affiliated with Dog Scouts of America, we can still help you if you are interested in getting involved with the national organization. Contact us for more information at


For more information, contact Mark Condon at Or, stop in to chat in person at Pause Dog Boutique at 10 East Market Street in Red Hook, NY.


Have Us Visit:


If you have a function that you'd like our troop members to attend, please don't hesitate to contact us. Many of our canine troop members are performers, and almost all of them enjoy visiting with folks of all ages. We are available to do educational sessions for kids and adults on how to greet a dog safely and what it means to be a responsible dog owner. Please contact Mark at


Media Inquiries:


The four-legged members of our troop already have quite a following! If you'd like more information about our troop for print or video, please contact Mark Condon at

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