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K.M.

Bellingham, Washington
Vera
2 years old
German Shepherd-female, rescue
Dog and human reactive

We adopted Vera, a 2.5 year old German Shepherd, 6 months ago. She had been chained in a backyard and badly neglected and mistreated for her first 1 1/2 years, and then had been at the Whatcom Humane Society for the next 6 months where she became excessively kennel stressed. When we adopted her she went through a 3 month honeymoon period where she was somewhat fearful but generally well adjusted. However, she rapidly learned that she could keep those things she was fearful of at bay by reacting. This behavior escalated and we became worried about her growling at people and lunging and barking at any dog within 50 feet of her. Even going to a new location was very stressful for her. She developed some obsessive behaviors that were difficult to deal with. I have had a lot of experience with dogs and have trained dogs for 20 years. So for two months my husband and I worked with her daily with classical and operant conditioning ourselves, and I attended a conference on reactive dogs and applied what we learned. Vera improved but very slowly.

We started taking classes with Diane 2 1/2 months ago. Her calm, confident, non authoritative manner was perfect for Vera and she rapidly bonded with Diane. With Diane’s insight into dogs and their behavior, she gave us confidence in Vera’s potential and gave us many ideas on how to manage Vera’s obsessions which, as she promised, have now all but disappeared. She was able to give us very concrete direction in how to manage the pack dynamics when Vera and Lola, our golden, had a scary confrontation (we have a collie in addition). We can now manage pack barking and play confidently using only positive interventions. Vera is at a point now where she is friendly and eager to meet any stranger we introduce her to. We no longer worry about her growling or snapping at strangers.

All of Diane’s classes are personalized, carefully planned and the time is used to its fullest. She never misses an opportunity to give positive feedback to the dog or the handlers. With her Context work she has had Vera progress from barely tolerating one dog stationary at 30 feet, to being relaxed with 3 dogs and one stranger running 5 feet from her. She has also given us many ideas and exercises on how to prepare Vera for safe off leash work, how to stimulate her mind, and how to calm and sooth her using Tellington Touch and Calming Signals, and how to teach her to choose to use calming signals when she is stressed. Each class is followed by a detailed email outlining Vera’s progress, what we covered in class, context work to work on for the week and obedience exercises.

Diane is a remarkable trainer and fun to work with and I would highly recommend her to anyone with any issue concerning their dog. Her insight into dogs and their behavior is remarkable, and beyond teaching skill building with Vera she has given us insights which have hugely influenced our relationship with Vera in a very positive way. We are lucky to have a trainer of this caliber in our area.

Christopher<br />Arlington, Washington

Christopher
Arlington, Washington

His owners adopted Christopher at 3 years of age. He was turned into a shelter because the previous family couldn’t afford to feed him and he wouldn’t stop chasing farm animals.


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Families In Training Series

Dog training and behavior modification often is not just about the dog. It is about the family.


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