Our dogs, Barclay and Charlie, were the victims of over-indulgent human parents. It started off innocently enough – we liked to sit with them on the furniture, share food with them and our “commands” were merely suggestions. It was easy to spoil them because they are relatively small – Barclay is a Chihuahua and Charlie is a Rat Terrier – and so even their worst behavior didn’t have a big impact. Nevertheless, Barclay was very aggressive – no one could walk near either of us when he was around without him attempting to bite – and Charlie would jump on guests and generally do whatever she wanted, in that charming terrier sort of way. Both dogs would seem to “lose their minds” when strangers came to the door or they spotted other dogs while on walks or while riding in the car. While we were often annoyed by their behavior, the need to change it became critical when Deanna’s sister and newborn baby moved in. We just couldn’t risk the baby getting injured and giving the dogs up wasn’t even a consideration.
That’s when we hired Beyond the Dog and sent the dogs to the 21-day boarded training – or “Rehab” as we call it. When they returned home, the difference was like night and day. Both dogs were much calmer; Barclay no longer trembled with nervous energy. And, needless to say, both were extremely responsive to Sean’s commands. To be truthful, it took me awhile to fully accept the changes I needed to make in my own behavior in order to support them and cement their learning. Sean made this easy, though, by patiently explaining the rationale behind everything and making slight adjustments when possible to accommodate us without sacrificing the training. The main motivation for us to change, though, came in the following days as we saw just how more relaxed and happy the two dogs were – we simply just didn’t want our self-indulgence to negatively impact them anymore. There was no more insanity when a stranger dared to darken our door; while they reacted by barking, they quickly retreated to their “place” on our command and remained there until they were released. Now, even when we’re on walks, they barely even notice other dogs, let alone react like rabid mongrels! And that makes life more enjoyable for all of us.
Importantly, we no longer have any concerns about how the dogs will react to the baby. Our pack has been restructured and they now know that they rank below all the humans in the house, no matter how small. And since there is no confusion about this very basic canine principle, everything else is easy. We still enjoy our dogs – just differently. We now enjoy working with them and get to experience their obvious joy in pleasing us – they really are show-offs!
We highly recommend Beyond the Dog because of their devotion to positive reinforcement and the impact adherence to this principle has had on the emotional outlook of our dogs – and our outlook as well. There is simply no negativity in this method – you will never use “No!” or “Bad dog!” or any other negative command again. Positive reinforcement will be the only thing your dog associates with your voice. If you have ever tried any other training method, you will quickly recognize the difference this positive energy makes between you and your pets. They will feel good and so will you. And you will know that this is the best investment you have ever made.
–Kim, Charlie and Barclay