We take a very holistic approach to training and behavior. Behavior is quite contextual and heavily layered; various factors and ingredients feeding into, influencing, and impacting it. What most people see and begin to address is the symptom and by-product of an underlying need not being met and fulfilled, and the stress, frustration, insecurity, and anxiety created due to this. We're also heavily schooled, experienced, and educated in all these ingredients (e.g. Nutrition, Dog Psychology and Behavior, Human Psychology and Behavior, etc), so our programs are incredibly well-rounded and address both ends of the leash (after all, there are two; each directly impacting the other). "Behavior" is a web of many things that are interconnected and influencing the next. Much like with people, unfulfillment leads to neurotic behaviors (excessive digging, barking, jumping, chewing, whining, aggression, etc). Dog training is, what I refer to as, "inadvertent life coaching". We are our dog's primary source of information, and we're helping to shape and develop their self and world concepts. Once we understand how to meet and fulfill a dog's instinctual needs as a member of a completely different species of animal, most misbehaviors tend to decrease in intensity or resolve themselves. Dogs look to us for their cues, guidance, directives, and how to feel about every situation they enter into, and they're not born understanding what we consider to be appropriate, polite, or respectful behavior. The onus 100% falls upon us to teach them this and help them connect those necessary dots. Dogs are constantly communicating with us, everything is a conversation; but most people don't understand how to read or interpret what it is they're conveying. We can't teach, lead, or guide, without understanding how to best and most effectively communicate first. My goal is to help bridge the gap between human and canine, and build a foundation based upon mutual trust and respect ~ the platform from which all successful training stems. To help people step up and into the role their dog needs them to play, therefore enabling the Dog return to calm and balance. Gosh, this work is so rewarding on so many levels. Everything learned in working with our dogs literally ripples out into every other arena and aspect of our lives. Showing up as calmer, more grounded, better versions of ourselves. Becoming more aware of ourselves and the energy we're bringing into each space. Learning how to communicate more effectively. Helping the human to realize his or her strength, influence, and confidence. Through empowering the human end, we enable people to become the leaders their dogs absolutely need them to be. This inevitably and directly affects the canine end. Teaching and empowering the human, training and guiding Dog. Vastly improving quality of life and peace of mind for both. After all, there are two ends of the leash. This works lends itself to positive shift and change, and even complete transformation. What we offer, you simply can't put a price tag on: Hope. Possibility. Relief. Peace of mind. And quality of life.
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The gateway to working with us through what's called the IBAC (Initial Behavioral Consult and Assessment) which lasts approx. 2.5 hours in length. The information collected from this serves as the foundation from which our training approach is based. The IBAC is highly, highly detailed, quite thorough and extremely informative. During this, we're assessing and viewing all the contributing factors and ingredients playing into the dog's behavior, choices, and practices. We get the human side of the story, as well as the dog's. More often than not, the two are quite different. Immediately following the IBAC, a follow-up email is sent recapping and highlighting everything that was discussed during the IBAC for the client's records. While this is sent, note-taking is always encouraged. Our pricing is not generalized, as no dog and human-dog dynamic is the same nor is our approach for every client.
I've trained with some of the most incredible and notable people in the industry (to include the "Dog Whisperer" himself, Cesar Millan), am constantly furthering my own education, and have also nurtured the natural gifts and instincts I was born with. Instinct and intuition is something that no book or human can teach.
I must give credit to my first solo responsibility dog, Lobo. I was learning as I went with him, and he would prove to be one of my greatest teachers. The first few years were easy-breezy. He had tons of "dog friends", and his social skills were constantly being put to the test in varying environments; but when my husband and I decided to get divorced, everything changed. I changed. Our location changed. A new puppy had entered the pack a few weeks prior. And it was like a switch flicked in Lobo. Who was once a very friendly, gregarious dog, became over protective and aggressive. Even dogs he'd played with every week for years became high risk. I only had so much I could spent on getting help, so I sought out the cheapest trainers I could find.... and ended up going through about 6 of them. All of them harped on "obedience training". One of the biggest takeaways from this experience was the realization that "obedience training" does not resolve "behavioral issues". While Lobo was a "highly trained" dog, no one addressed (or had the information to address) the 2 major components at play here: the state of mind mind aspect of the equation... and *me*, the human ingredient. We are our dogs' primary sources of information, and I was not fulfilling my role. Again, although highly trained, his *behaviors* still remained, even intensified, so I invested in a 2 week board and train program. Lobo responded well there, but when he returned to me, he reverted right back to his behaviors. BIG CLUE and a lot of information there; though something I didn't see, recognize or understand at the time. Long story short, I ended up spending thousands of dollars, anyway... and he ended up biting someone and losing his life. I went through years of pain, anguish, shame, blame, and guilt...and set out to learn all I could about canine behavioral, emotional, and physical health. And ended up learning so much more. Lobo was one of my greatest teachers, and pointed me to the path I was meant to walk on. He's still very much with me; his story and what he taught serving as the heart, the core and foundation of what I do, how and why I do it. It's a sum of all parts and not a "one-size-fits-all" proposition, and all too often very important ingredients are being left out when folks are attempting to address behavior. Many are just working to address the symptoms and expressions without efforting to understand what's underlying them first; hence why most training programs fail.
We work with all types of challenges; setting and laying a foundation for puppies, and also tackling behavioral hiccups and issues in dogs of all ages (anxiety, phobias, "aggression" and reactivity, fear, nervousness, shyness, sensitivity, excitability, obedience, etc). We're also incredibly passionate about empowering, equipping, and educating the human end of the leash, as the dog's human is the dog's primary source of information in this world. The better able we're able to equip the human, the better they'll be able set their dogs up for success, thwart any potential hazards down the road, and even troubleshoot them on their own.