Rocky Junior and I have had many successes we could share, from Rocky to Nikko, both troubled Rottweilers, with many more great stories in between, as well as after.
Picking and choosing whose story to share is a tall order, and we don't have photos available for all the dogs whose stories we might tell. Though transforming a troubled, "aggressive" dog into a great citizen is a highly rewarding thing, I do consider every dog a success. If we have worked with you and your dog and you'd like to be featured here, please feel free to contact me.
There are two important concepts I convey to potential clients:
1. Training is the best investment you will ever make in your dog; and
2. Dogs and their behavior are products of their environment, most importantly their people.
Please take a few minutes to read some of our success stories, and seriously consider investing in training for you and your dog. It's the right thing to do.
Rocky Junior, Ft Lewis Dog Park, 2012
Nikko, Rottweiler male, age 2
Rocky Junior and I met Nikko, a strikingly handsome Rottweiler, and his new parents, Erica and Vern, in the fall of 2011. Erica and Vern had recently went through the loss of their elderly dog, and discovered Nikko on a rescue group's web site, falling in love with him right away. They went to meet Nikko and adopted him immediately; he seemed to be a gentle, intelligent dog, just perfect - or so they thought.
As soon as Nikko went out in public he began exhibiting fearful behavior, barking, growling and lunging towards other dogs and people. Erica and Vern were terrified - what was wrong with this dog? Thankfully they met Rocky Junior and I right away. We gave them lots of great advice, and got Nikko into training immediately. Though he was nervous in class, Nikko learned quickly and did very well. Then, one day, he had a potentially violent, scary outburst upon seeing something he wasn't familiar with. I knew this was due to his not receiving training and socialization as a puppy, and because he was an adult dog, specialized work was needed to modify or eliminate his frightening behavior.
Rocky Junior was a young puppy at the time, only about 12 weeks old and weighing maybe 20 pounds (vs. Nikko's 125!). We began doing private, one on one lessons with Nikko and Erica, using a number of counter-conditioning exercises to desensitize Nikko to the stimuli that caused his reactions. Rocky Junior was the star of the sessions, playing his role as a non-reactive dog to perfection. We also worked hard to build focus in Nikko, and after only four hours of training we had a non-reactive, highly focused and calm Rottweiler on our hands! Erica and Vern were overjoyed, and so thankful that they could now share their lives with the wonderful dog they knew Nikko was always meant to be.
Nikko passed the AKC Canine Good Citizen test after completing his training, overcoming his fear and aggression issues to become a great dog, just like Rocky, whom you can read about in OUR STORY. Nikko just needed the help of someone knowledgeable, compassionate and caring to show him the way - along with a lot of help from a young puppy named Rocky Junior! Nikko's story is incredible, yet one any dog with behavioral problems can share - all they need is the right help.
Kody, Samoyed male, 9 months
Kody's a good boy! Like many dogs and puppies I work with, Kody fell in love with me, doesn't like to see me leave and wants to go home with me.
Sometimes dog owners feel bad when they see this sort of behavior from their dogs, but I explain to them that dogs respond best to a person who presents the complete package to them: positive leadership, training, teaching and, above all else, having fun. My goal is for pet parents to achieve that type of relationship with their dogs, one of many reasons I recommend to clients that they do their best to emulate my behavior with their dogs.
Kody lives in Graham, WA with his humans, Dereald and Jean. When Jean contacted me for help she was frustrated and worried - Kody was jumping on people, nipping, not paying attention and engaging in other unwanted behaviors. He wasn't like their previous Samoyeds, who'd been calm and well behaved. I assured Jean that all Kody needed was guidance and the right help, and that I was here to provide them with what they needed.
After Kody completed his basic training (four lessons totalling 4 1/2 hours) he'd been transformed into a great puppy - he's now highly focused on his owners, no longer jumps and nips, and is well on his way to becoming a true model citizen. We hope to see Kody in intermediate training soon!
Stryker, Staffordshire Terrier, 2 years
When Rocky Junior and I met Stryker and his parents he was a typical, highly energetic, friendly and overly distracted young Staffordshire Terrier. Though they didn't specifically say this, I think his parents thought Stryker was just plain crazy! Stryker didn't "listen" to his parents, pulled hard on the leash almost all of the time, and lacked any kind of focus or attention span.
We started training for the humans first, which we always do, enlightening Stryker's parents on how dogs learn, what kind of role models (positive leaders) they are looking for from their human family, what works in training, what doesn't work in training, how to avoid the pitfalls most pet parents unknowingly engage in, which damages training and the dog-human relationship, and more.
True to form, Stryker soon started to become a focused, much better behaved young dog. He learned training behaviors quickly and easily, and always loved coming to training - I think his favorite parts of training were seeing me and Rocky Junior. Stryker just fell in LOVE with us!
Stryker's parents were fully dedicated to Stryker's and their education, and took their friendly, enthusiastic boy through all possible training with us. The results were absolutely fantastic, and I have to say I admire them for being so dedicated to their dog - I wish everyone was!
Stryker still gets very excited when going out with his family, and will pull on the leash when he's feeling the enthusiasm and excitement. But he's still an absolutely wonderful, friendly dog who has learned and retained a lot - a far cry from the young, uncontrollable guy we initially met. Rocky Junior and I truly LOVE Stryker, and hope to see him in training again someday.
Trick, 3 & Jake, 2, Staffordshire Terriers
We met and began working with Trick (left) and Jake (right) in the summer of 2015, after Jake broke free from his owner and was involved in a biting incident. Pit bull type dogs have high prey drive and often poor impulse control, making early training and socialization all the more important. Few dog owners invest in professional training, though, and sometimes bad things happen, as was the case here. Luckily for Jake, his owners decided to get the help he so desperately needed.
I Speak Dog, and this photo, taken only minutes into Trick and Jake's first session with me, illustrates that fact quite well. We did a complete obedience training program with both dogs, then moved on into behavioral modification work, using only positive reinforcement training methods and no force at all.
Training is a process and the amount of work needed to reach goals varies from dog to dog and, more revealingly, from person to person. Trick and Jake's parents had to commit to several months worth of work to reach our goals, and I'm proud to say we were able to establish reliable impulse control in Jake and eliminate his reactivity (aggression) towards other dogs - a process my incredible Rocky Junior was a big part of. Good job, Trick and Jake - we're proud of you!