My dog Nikki and I took the “Confidence Building for Scaredy Dogs” class with Lisa Ruthig. Since then, Nikki and I have gone on to become a pet therapy team, volunteering through Paws for People organization. We visit patients at the Worcester Recovery Hospital, UMass Hospital, and Mary’s Meadow Nursing Home. We’ve been to the Worcester Public Library for their reading program to help children struggling with reading. We have also been to many events to promote pet therapy, including, most recently, Pet Rock. Lisa was great to work with, she gave me many valuable tips to help Nikki and me be successful at our evaluation
Sarah and Danny
I don't know if you remember us but we remember you, and we are thankful. My husband and I took your puppy class, back before we were married, and then the basics class with you, with our dog Remy (the Saint Bernard mix). We have since moved to Pennsylvania and have newly experienced the dog park world. Living in Southbridge we didn't have much in the way of dog parks but we did have a great Doggie Daycare, Woof & Whiskers, that Remy attended since he was a puppy and we really loved. Here in PA we have a couple different parks that we now visit and have met so many different dogs and owners, and where we realized how grateful we were for the lessons we learned and were taught by you and your staff. We have seen and experienced so many different situations in which we have used the tools we learned in your class and breathed deep sighs of relief when they worked.We have even had the privilege of passing on some of those lessons to the people we have met. People are amazed by how well Remy responds to us and listens to our commands, at almost two years old, he has turned into a loving and loyal guy. I know that we owe this to the foundation that we created by starting out early and taking your classes when he was a puppy.
We experienced two dogs in an altercation at one of the parks on our second trip there, it was a new world to both us and Remy, and when we realized what was happening instead of panicking, I called my dog to me and held him in a stay until the owners could intervene. My heart was pounding and my knees were shaking but that moment when Remy turned his head from the scene, ran towards me, and stared into my eyes as I gave the command to stay, was the proudest moment of my life. Playing and practicing commands are one thing but actually using them in the face of real danger and knowing that they work is the best feeling.
For that, I just want to say thank you! Thank you for teaching us the tools we needed to help give our dog the best chance at living a happy and healthy life!
Jillian Snow Hallihan
Pack of Paws helped me greatly with my German Shepherd. Donna and Kristine are amazing trainers. They are truly the most non-judgmental, helpful, amazing people you can be around. We took reactive dog training twice, nose work twice and did private lessons. Needless to say Sophie was able to be around another dog on Christmas without issues. Pack of Paws has taught me how to notice Sophie's demeanour when she is in unfamiliar environments and what to look for to make it a successful training for her and I. She can also take walks now and pass other dogs (some days are better than others). And when new people come to the house it now takes less time for her to calm down and warm up to them. We appreciate all you do, you have helped us tremendously with Sophie!
Karen & Olive
I first contacted Donna in August of 2011 for help with my 2 y/o miniature dachshund, Olive, after she had two episodes of biting, which was something new. After some questions, Donna suggested Olive would be appropriate for Scaredy Dog since her biting and some other behavior seemed to be fear-based. I have to admit, I was slightly skeptical because Olive happens to be completely blind in her right eye and has only 20% vision – essentially light perception – in her left eye. She was very skittish around new people and other dogs and we had wrongly babied her. But I approached the class with an open mind, positive attitude, and the determination to be a better dog “mom”. I cannot put into words how much the Scaredy Dog course has helped both Olive and me! We have been given the tools to deal with many situations and to control Olive’s environment. Donna was able to adapt the course material to accommodate Olive’s lack of vision and was sensitive to Olive’s very large “personal space bubble”. Olive successfully completed the course and is just now finishing PAWS 101. We hope to enroll her in Nosework next. I see the signs of all our hard work every day as Olive has become a more confident dog and I have become a more effective dog “mom”. Thank you Donna! I always recommend you to all the dog owners that I know!
Tara & Maggie
Donna literally "saved" our dog, Maggie. Maggie was rescued as a stray from the streets of Tennessee. When we adopted her in June, we noticed many aggressive tendencies in her towards other dogs and men. We took her to another dog trainer, who basically told us that Maggie was a lost cause. The other trainer suggested that we get rid of her. It completely broke my heart. I spent an entire week crying my eyes out, as I had fallen in love with my dog, and yet, was being told by a so-called "dog expert" that I should get rid of her.
Donna is ALWAYS available to help out. If I send her an email with a question, she literally responds within the hour. She has so many good tricks for solving typical "dog problems"- she is completely amazing!!!!!
I HIGHLY recommend Donna. If it wasn't for her, we wouldn't have our beautiful little girl Maggie.
Martha and Harry
Yesterday Harry and I went to the Conn. police K9 Olympics at UConn and he was pretty close to perfectly behaved! He was petted by numerous children and adults and appropriately interacted with several dogs, with permission, and was able to be distracted to ignore others.
Thank you for all your help and good advice!
See you at Noah's Ark at 11:30 on Saturday the 16th for another round of classes and focus on meet and greet strangers. I think we are nearly ready for the therapy dog certification test once I can overcome that barrier. As you know, Harry must sit and ignore the other dog while I greet another person with their dog.
You're a miracle worker!
Tess has been doing great! She is growing and developing into a more confident dog. She can still be a little fearful - but she knows to go to her bed where she feels safe. My son has been home from college with lots of his "Big" guy friends in and out of the house regularly. She is getting used to them all. She is also doing quite well with me at the horses. She sends them in their stalls (without biting their feet) and then backs away to let them eat. Also, I know buying a border collie with small children was not the recommended breed. Let me tell you - this dog still absolutely loves all children!!! She is so sweet with them all - the babies up through the older ones. I could go on and on forever about how much I love my dog. And I would like to thank you for teaching me how positive dog training is the most successful way to develop a healthy relationship with you dog!!
Happy New Year!
Dawn & Jon
Just wanted to thank you for working with both of our shelties (ok, really working on us as dog handlers) to help provide them with lots of fun and stimulating activities that can take the place of spinning and barking. I think we enjoyed the training as much as they did. I couldn't figure out where it how to post pictures on the Facebook site so I'm attaching a couple. The video of Jak taking his step onto the bosu is pretty good too - I'd love to post it if you want and tell me how.
We definitely plan to check out some other classes and keep playing our games & dog yoga at home!!
Erin, Brendan & Trigger Boyle
Hi There! We have been so excited to have our 3 month old German Shepherd enrolled in Pack of Paws! The tips and tricks we have already learned after a few weeks of puppy kindergarten have been invaluable. As a German Shepherd, Trigger can be too smart for her own good & often gets bored with her toys or games we play with her! Everything we learn in class is a great distraction for her and keeps her mind stimulated. She responds well to her name and the hand target, and we are working on roll over & loose leash walking. We have been taking advantage of the play groups as well as we would like Trigger to be socialized as much as possible and she is the only (first) dog at home. We have been so pleased with all of our experience with pack of Paws and can't wait to enter into the next stage of basic obedience!
Thank you reactive dog instructors! This morning while walking Bella at a public park. I saw a man walking towards us with a pack of four huskies, each on a separate six foot leash. Or rather, they were walking him as he had no control except to hang on for dear life. I gave Bella her emergency u-turn command and she immediately turned with me to take a different route. I could hear the pack barking and carrying on behind us and while Bella did have look at them a few times, she showed absolute no reaction. Thanks for putting that tool in our tool box! BTW, Bella can now crate in a building with other dogs and have familiar dogs walk by her crate without reacting, no need for a crate cover. Yay, Bella!
Pickles has learned how to walk nicely on a leash! After taking the class we learned skills that we were able to practice together at home and Pickles has gotten much better over the past few weeks.
Doreen, Jim, Lexi and Pete
I wanted to forward a photo of Pete with the dog walking group. We never would have believed it was possible for him to be comfortable in a group but here he is with Lexi and our local friends. All the work in the Reactive sessions and ongoing efforts at home have paid off. We are so much better than for all the lessons and advice.
Frankie is a terrific dog who also presented us with some new challenges. The Pack of Paws team has helped us with the basics up through some "stranger danger" issues that we're still improving on now with home visits. She's learning, we're learning, and we're all thankful for Pack of Paws!
My shelter dog Gracie attended your Reactive Dog 1 training in Spring 2015. The classes taught me a lot re: understanding fear reactive dogs & managing Gracie’s behavior. She’s also learned to look to me when we encounter “scary situations” and/or use our touch command, etc.
While there are occasional situations when there is reactive behavior from Gracie, I use the tools to best manage situation vs. before my training – I did not know what to do. I’ve raved about Pack of Paws to the shelter staff & other owners with “dog issues”.
The class was well worth the drive from CT!
We had private behavioral classes in our home and at our local park. The classes were very informative and even fun at times. The homework allowed us to make the time for 1 on 1 attention for our furbabies. It was a great experience with Pack of Paws and I have referred people to contact you many times because we were so pleased with you all.
Our favorite and most useful skill learned was greeting visitors respectfully!
Sophia & Kona
Two not so pleasant fights between Kona and Sophia changed everything, including how we lived. We spent a few weeks keeping the girls completely separated from each other and only allowed out of their crates one at a time to spend some time playing with Tonka. We worked with a behavior specialist who directed us to Donna and Pack of Paws. Through some fun private training sessions we were able to get the girls to be near each other without serious issues towards one another. We discovered our “angel” Tonka caused quite a bit of commotion and worked with him also.
Now, we are able to walk all three dogs together, Sophia and Kona are able to play in their kennel together under supervision of course, and they love to sniff each other and give each other moochies (kisses) through their crates.
This has been a huge improvement considering that I spent weeks crying because I was certain I would have to give up one of my babies. Donna truly has been a godsend to us – without her patience and help we wouldn’t have learned anything about our dogs personalities and behaviors and our dogs wouldn’t have been able to learn good behaviors and some impulse control.
I'm half way through growly dog class and was given back a rescue dog I helped place 9 months ago. I was afraid my dog (a four year old rescue) was going to tear him limb from limb. But I used what I had been taught and unbelievably it worked. I reached out and was able to secure a personal home visit in only 2 days. By the end of the visit both dogs were sitting in the same room doing their lesson as if neither were there. There were only a few feet apart (but on leashes) and not one bark or growl or pulling on the leash. It was a miracle. Two days later and we are using everything suggested and we still have had no growls or barks. We are still a few weeks away from having them roam the house together but I would have had to put him in a shelter if it hadn't been for this class. I urge anyone who is on the fence to bring their growly dog there. I waited until my dog attacked a neighbor's dog (who was fortunately not hurt) before reaching out and I'm so glad I found them. I've learned that her reactions are out of fear and it is my dog to help her feel safe. For the first time in more than 2 years since I got her she will sit down in the back seat relaxed instead of standing between the front seats looking back and forth in case a dog, cat, squirrel or jogger dares to come in sight. I haven't even worked with her on this. She just is calmer and i like to think that she is trusting me to keep her safe rather than feeling like she is still on the streets needing to attack to keep the bad guys away. So forget everything you ever learned about dog training and come to Growly Dog class and learn how to really help your reactive dog.
Janice and Bob
Hi Donna, I wanted to thank you for what Bob and I, along with Emmy and Murphy, are learning in your class. Last Saturday has been one of the best classes yet for us. Emmy seemed to do better with paying attention. (I noticed anyway.) I have to tell you a little story. Monday morning before I put their food down, I asked them to sit and stay. On the THIRD try, I was giving up (going to be late for work). I asked one more time, they both sat, I put the food down. Emmy came without being released and I thought to myself JUST GREAT, NO ATTENTION SPAN!!. Murphy was not at his bowl. I turned around and saw him still sitting waiting for me to say OK. I praised him and went on my way to work feeling good. Have a Great day. See you Saturday.