Dogs, and Their Owners, Get the Royal Treatment at Paws Mahal


Carol Culpepper has two great loves aside from her devout Christian faith: animals and Indian architecture. Since 2017, she’s combined the two by naming her dog training business “Paws Mahal” and decorating her Sherwood facility with elaborate Indian stylistic touches.


Overseeing a staff of eight and boarding up to 40 dogs at a time as they undergo several weeks of training — in addition to working her magic inside pets’ homes — Culpepper is constantly busy with her canine clientele. Looking back over a lifetime of animal interactions, she shares the story of how it all came together.

Dos Paws Mahal

“I went to East Africa when I was in college, and I was fascinated with the Indian architecture that was there,” Culpepper recalls. “I just always had a flair for the domed buildings and the Taj Mahal. Aside from the Indian tapestries in my lobby and office, I also have an elephant statue from India outside keeping the gate shut.”


Culpepper had long trained dogs in her previous home in Florida before moving to Arkansas to care for her elderly mother. The seasoned trainer personally owns a Labrador mix and a Doberman Pinscher and maintains a large fenced-in yard for her canine pals to play and socialize with other dogs and to provide training in an outdoor setting.


Beyond owning lots of dogs throughout her childhood, Culpepper’s animal expertise extends from her earning a Bachelor of Science in Zoology and Animal Behavior. She later became a veterinary technician and worked with tigers in a “fun facility” for eight years. She has also trained horses throughout her life.


Culpepper jumped at the chance to open Paws Mahal, realizing she could merge her two biggest passions together while also helping dog owners across Central Arkansas have better, happier pets.

Dogs Paws Mahal

“I recognized and realized the great need that people have just for their pet dogs to have manners,” she says. “The typical things we do are things like dealing with dogs jumping on people to greet them, and dogs not coming home.”


Paws Mahal’s training programs are individualized for each dog based on their needs. Keeping in mind that many customers are on a budget these days, Culpepper tries to keep her prices reasonable and offers two-, three- and four-week programs for her canine charges.


“We get them on a schedule and have a structured management of their day,” Culpepper explains. “And typically, we also offer day care here and boarding. So, all the dogs get on the structure and schedule. Just by being here and immersed in the structure is important for us.


“They thrive on knowing what to expect and what’s expected of them,” “For instance, what time their walk is, and then they have a rest period after their walk. They do well when the communication is clear, and the boundaries are very clear and patient.”


Another aspect that Paws Mahal deals with is dogs that bark constantly.


“I would have to say that the responsibility of that lies on the home. It’s normal for a dog to act as a sentry, and then they get in a bad habit,” says Culpepper. “So, there’s a lot of little things that sort of go into forming that habit: boredom, exercise, then with the absence of intervention by their owner to put an end to it, it just escalates and gets worse and worse. And they just get in a terrible habit of barking incessantly.”


Culpepper maintains a staff of eight, with three of them on-site at all times. Their dog limit is 40, most of which come in for pet day care from morning to evening at $24 per day. She explains that owners see the service as a necessity for their dogs to socialize and get exercise when they can’t personally invest as much time as they need in them.

Half-day care is $17, and a full day of care plus training/walking sessions is $70 per day. Boarding costs $35 nightly, if a dog weighs less than 20 pounds, and $45 if a dog weighs more. If owners add in training to the boarding costs, the price goes up to $75 per night. In-home consultations – which Culpepper personally handles – start at $150, and might cost more if the traveling distance is far, but there is no time restriction for the consultation.  


“One thing that differentiates us from our day care is that it’s a calm and quiet environment,” Culpepper says. “We like to keep the dogs’ mindset in a home mode, and not in frenzied activity, because that’s a priority that really helps the dogs.


“I’d like to thank the Lord for giving us the inspiration and help to make this happen. That gives us the foundation for everything.” 


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