Dogs are incredible. They live in an alien world with an alien species that makes a lot of gibberish sounds all day long. They can't speak our language yet they still understand us on the deepest level. Dogs are so connected to us that they feel what we feel, and can even smell changes in our bodies. For thousands of years, dogs have had so many jobs that humans, and even computers, can't match. Day after day, they teach their weird alien human what unconditional love really means.
THAT is a Superhero!
We use the word "dog training" on our website only for the sake of search engines! Conventional dog trainers are all about obedience and tricks. We are human teachers, not dog trainers. Our training sessions will feel much more like counseling and coaching than obedience class. We believe that you and your dog are a powerful team that needs to communicate. Once you learn how to "speak dog," you will understand your Superhero!
The more science studies how animals and humans learn, the more evidence mounts in favor of positive reinforcement. Whether you are 4 or 40, human or animal, we all want to be told we are doing a good job. We shower our dogs with praise, affection and food to celebrate their successes. We don't use slip leads, choke chains, pinch collars or shock collars.
Every dog has a unique personality, just like us! They are motivated by different things, respond to their environment in different ways, and learn in different ways. So, we tap into your dog's natural style and teach you both how to work as a team.
Right Dog, Right Tool, Right Handler
Most human language is based on sound. Most dog language is based on facial expressions and body posture. The one place these overlap is sign language! Science has shown that dogs respond much more reliably to hand signals than verbal commands alone. We use American Sign Language in our training to help the humans rely less on talking and get more in tune with their nonverbal communication. Puppy training is so much easier when you can speak dog language.
Dogs are very simple. It's easy to learn basic concepts of puppy training. It is NOT easy to do this work day in, and day out, especially if you are overcoming behavioral issues. We don't train your dog to be "perfect," because there is no such thing in dogs or humans. We teach you how to be a dog trainer. And it's hard work! We only work with clients that are dedicated to putting in time and effort to build a relationship with their dog. Trust us, Superheros are worth it!
When I was 21 years old, I adopted a dog from a rural county animal shelter, and named her Bisbee. Bisbee had been surrendered with her dog "brother," who got adopted many, many months before she did. Those many months were spent alone in a chain link and concrete kennel. Bisbee was such a successful escape artist that she managed to climb out of her 8 ft enclosure, so more chain link was added to keep her in. After more than a year, I rescued her from this prison and thought I could help her.
The first time I left her alone, she escaped her crate by bending the wire and squeezing through the bars. I zip-tied the crate together. I returned to find the crate exactly the way I left it, except Bisbee was not inside. To this day, I have no clue how she did it. She easily scaled a solid 6ft fence many times. Houdini became her nickname.
Bisbee didn't do well on walks. She pulled, whined, barked, lunged and even growled and snapped at people, dogs, everything. All those difficult and embarrassing behaviors made me walk her less. And less. And then never.
At home, Bisbee was incredibly sweet and hyper-bonded, but only to "her person." She did not like strangers and tried to nip them from behind. Once, I tried to hire a pet sitter. At the interview, I gave the person detailed instructions on how to win her over with treats, but instead of holding the treats, they set them on the coffee table. When Bisbee came to investigate, they reached over her and put their face directly in her face. She bit them on the cheek. I navigated a hospital bill, animal control, threat of legal action, and a lawyer. I called a behaviorist with a full college degree. Their lasting comment: "Well, you'll never be able to trust her." That was that. Bisbee and I were in solitary confinement together. No one came over, and I never went anywhere.
Her behavior didn't change. One day she scaled the fence, and I caught her right away. She scaled the fence again, I brought her home. One day she scaled the fence and I didn't know it until I heard her frenzied barks. I will spare you the traumatic details, but she nearly killed the neighbor's dog.
I couldn't trust her. I didn't understand how to help her. I didn't want something like this to ever happen again, especially not to a child. My vet didn't counsel me about other options. I did what "experts" said was best.
I euthanized her.
I failed her.
If I had someone to help me understand why she behaved that way, I would have understood that she was just scared. I would have understood how to help her. I would have understood that she could change. I wouldn't have given up hope. If only I knew, I wouldn't have failed her.
I vowed to never fail another dog again.
That was 20 years ago. Since then, I have devoted myself to understanding dogs. My work with dogs comes from the very bottom of my heart, as an honor to Bisbee. I work to honor all my Superhero dogs who have passed over the Rainbow Bridge: Bisbee, Chrissy, Max and Gito. I work in the here and now for my two puppies, Lil and Finn, to give them everything I didn't give to Bisbee (we walk, A LOT!). I work for all the Superhero dogs that are just scared and confused. I work for the humans, so they can experience the joy of Dog Life.
I want to give you hope for your dog. You only fail if you give up.
Don't fail them. Don't give up.