Cheers & Raves

Our community wants the best for their four-legged family members. Their stories may sound familiar to you. As you read about their journeys, imagine the possibilities for your pup here at Wonder Dog University!

Stories from Our Happy Customers

Larry & Pam Haskell

Cheers for C.C!

We have fostered 74 dogs and have a lot of experience with them and this was the most extreme case of fear we had encountered. Emma, our foster dog, had been seriously abused and was very wary of people. It took a long time for her to become comfortable with us. Even after she became less fearful, we had difficulty trying to walk her on a leash. She would resist when we attempted to put a harness on her and would either lay down and refuse to move or buck wildly when we attempted to walk her. We were very concerned that, even if we were able to get her on a walk, she might struggle out of the leash and run away. Her behavior when confronting unfamiliar situations was unpredictable. While she was comfortable running free in our back yard, there were obvious situations like vet visits that required controlling her outside our property so this was a very serious issue. We were able to put the harness on Emma and we can now walk her. It was a really dramatic change in behavior and attitude. She went from being fearful and resistant to walking on a leash around the neighborhood and giving every indication that she enjoys the activity. The training requires a lot of patience and persistence, but the payoff is there if you persist. Another life saved! We highly recommend C.C. to address training and behavior issues.

Kerry Price

Raves for Susan!

We have 2 rescue dogs: a 3 year-old Golden Retriever and a 10 year-old Aussie Shepherd mix. Our Golden Retriever Callie came to us with some major anxiety issues. Not only did Susan help Callie to walk confidently on leash, but she also understood the psychology behind Callie's behavior. This made it much easier for us to work with Callie because we were able to understand the reasons behind some of her choices and fears. Before we knew it, Callie was able to walk the neighborhood effortlessly, get in and out of the car, and learn basic commands. As if that wasn't enough, we were at the end of our rope with our Aussie mix Raleigh. In his old age, he began almost uncontrollably lashing out at dogs passing by on walks. After putting some of Susan's suggestions into practice, we are now able to enjoy walks with both dogs again. We cannot say enough wonderful things about Susan. She has a profound knowledge of dog behavior and a gentle, caring manner to which our dogs eagerly responded. We are so thankful for you Susan!

 

Sherri Grady

Cheers for C.C!

I am so very thankful for C.C! Teddy is my first pet. I got him when he was 8 weeks old and he is now 7. I have been wanting to take lessons since the first week I got him. I had reservations about group lessons because I thought that since I was so unfamiliar with pets and dogs in general that it would be very difficult for me to benefit from them with Teddy. I continued to read books and tried to implement suggestions. However, I never got anywhere with them on my own. My vet  recommended a private dog trainer but I was resistant. It was so expensive and I didn’t know if the benefit would be worth the cost. I didn’t know if I would connect personally with the trainer which I knew would impact how much I would actually be able to learn. I took the plunge after someone I knew and trusted very well recommended C.C. to me. I knew within the first 15 minutes of our first training session that neither of my fears were true. C.C. was so intuitive in her observations of Teddy’s behaviors including the dynamics between Teddy and me. She helped me actually understand him so much better. I was absolutely amazed at how Teddy responded to the lessons and to C.C. I saw immediate improvement after one lesson which was priceless from a cost/benefit analysis. I love hearing her observations of what his experiences seem to be because it helps me understand him at a different level. For example, I did not realize that he was doing certain things to “calm down.” Once I realized how to read his arousal process better, I was more equipped with how to prevent it and respond to him effectively at any point in the process. Watching C.C. demonstrate training is so fun because she is amazing with him and he responds so quickly to her cues and interruptors. It is extremely helpful for me to observe her.

The videos and extra information C.C. has sent to me post training are all amazing as follow ups to our training session. They help me remember what the highlights of the lessons were with videos to demonstrate techniques. The information about calming methods has been extraordinarily helpful!! Teddy is usually extremely anxious and on high alert. For example, during thunderstorms or fireworks he usually is excessively whining or barking. Now, with the help of the training and the calming methods we have used, he has no problems during those specific events. It is as if they are not even happening! I used to let Teddy ride in the front seat of the car with me which would result in him randomly getting agitated and barking at other cars, people or dogs. When I used to try to put him in the back seat, he would whine so much that I would give in and bring him up front because he is just so cute and I couldn’t stand it :-) Now - he only rides in the back seat - with a harness and dog seat belt. He loves it - he stays below threshold the entire time. He lays down and usually falls asleep for the whole ride with no whining at all. Overall Teddy’s baseline threshold of arousal has decreased significantly since our lessons began. Everyone who interacts with him regularly has noticed. The comments have been, “He seems soooo chilled out,” “Teddy is so relaxed,” etc. He is barking less and whining less in general. Teddy used to go over threshold immediately when we went outside. Now we can walk out on the porch and even go for short walks and he can focus on me with limited negative behavior. This is huge. I haven’t felt comfortable taking him on walks in 5 years. I have been mostly playing with him in the house and only going out for potty breaks and occasional play time. Now, we go on short walks at least 2 times a day and have lessons on the porch! The lessons helped me have techniques to use to help him lower his threshold. We are still in the process of training with seeing other dogs or cats up close on walks but I am confident that with continued training and consistent practice, we will be able to eventually pass by other dogs without negativebehavior. C.C. is phenomenal. Not only is she knowledgeable, dependable and personable, but she is also an amazing teacher for both humans and animals! It is absolutely worth the time, money, and effort if you are struggling with any negative pet behaviors. Do NOT wait to take the plunge. I sooo wish I had not waited this long. I was concerned that we weren’t going to make progress because of Teddy’s age and how long I have reinforced his negative behaviors through ignorance. I have been shocked at how quickly he has learned to respond differently. I am delighted with the results. I could not be more pleased with where we are after 3 lessons. The results have far surpassed my expectations. In addition, our lessons are one of my most favorite things to do! Thank you so much for the gifts you have given us!!!

Crystal Greenwood

Raves for Susan!

I cannot say enough about Susan and her training methods. Early on in our dog's life, we encountered an unfriendly off leash dog that ended up attacking our dog. From that moment on, our dog had fear based leash aggression. We spent years trying to find a trainer to help us through this situation and then we finally found Susan's Growl classes. Unlike every other training we had done, Susan used positive reinforcement and time to help our dog feel more comfortable while on leash. She gave us tools to help our dog when we were put in a situation that required immediate action. She used the group to her advantage, simulating real-life scenarios and setting up training opportunities. She taught us about the importance of space and a dog's body language. She recommended reading material and gave us skills to work on outside the class. Most importantly she gave us an understanding of what was going on with our dog and taught us how to better communicate with our dog. Without Susan's training, we would still be using scare tactics and prong collars to "correct" our dog. Now we know when we see another dog on our walks, we don't need to panic. Susan taught us how to interpret our dog's body language and how to respond. We have a better relationship with our dog because of Susan. We cannot say thank you enough!!

Jenni Tyler

Cheers for C.C!

I worried, will this be a waste of money? Is my dog crazy beyond repair? I had actually signed Buffet up for a basic puppy class when he was less than a year old. He was older than the other dogs in the class (and much, MUCH bigger), and I was told that that class just wasn't suitable for him. So I was terribly afraid the same thing would be said of the Growl Class. Of course, I was wrong. The course was perfect for my big guy. The personal attention was exactly what he needed. My favorite part was that CC redirected the training after observing my dog's behavior. He is (or was rather) very reactive to other dogs, but is even more so reactive (excitedly) to people. So when she saw that he wasn't paying attention to the other dogs because of all the people milling about, she sent in an assistant trainer to work on his people manners - a training above and beyond what I had paid for. I have recommended this class to my best friend - to many of my friends, in fact! But I tell them that a year ago, I considered giving my dog up because his behavior was beyond my control. I feared going on walks because I worried about what would happen should we encounter another dog. And if I can't even walk my dog, I don't deserve to have him. But now, all I have to do is point at my big guy while we're out. He (usually, he still has his moments) sits nicely simply observing passing dogs now. The course training quickly worked into all other areas of training. By teaching him one simple command, the look-at-me command, he not only learned not to overreact to other dogs as was intended, but he also learned how to walk politely on a leash, how to come when called, and how to return to my side after he had wandered off to sniff things as dogs do. I'm so thankful that I didn't have to give him up. That would be the second time someone has let him go, and that's not fair to him. Also, I love my dog! I would hate to re-home him. But I'm also extremely pleased about how accessible CC was and is, even now, a year later! I know that if I have questions or concerns, I can easily contact her and she's always happy to help.

Chelsea Crofford

Raves for Susan!

I've been blessed enough to have a dog who is excellent at cuddling, a great listener in multiple obedience classes, interested in learning all about agility, and a dog who is playful and nice with other dogs. He's a saint in the house (most of the time) and an all-around amazing dog. He just so happened to be terrified of kids. Terrified. And his reaction resulted in kids being terrified of him. Really terrified. Where we lived in Ohio we were saturated with excellent and wonderful dog trainers, but no one seemed to be able to turn his fear around. We weren't even looking for a dog who loved kids. We just wanted a dog who didn't send kids running. But we kept striking out and his behavior seemed to be getting worse. We ended up relocating from Ohio and got lucky enough to stumble upon Susan. We booked five private sessions "to start" because - let's be honest - he was horrible around kids and this was going to take forever. Or not. Susan's approach was unlike anything we had ever used and built upon the skills that he had and used the things he loved to learn. After the first session we were able to walk around, use our skills, and be near kids without growling and barking and pulling and freaking out. After the third session, he had met the most important kids in our lives - our 8- and 9-year-old cousins. We spent one more session with Susan and the kids "just to be sure" this wasn't some insane fluke (my suggestion, not hers). It wasn't. His comfort level has grown tremendously because of what we've learned from Susan. It was easy to mix her training into our every day lives. Because of this, Renegade gets to spend weekends with his (now favorite) people.

Pat Miller

Cheers for C.C!

I have worked with C.C. on numerous occasions, both at our academies here at Peaceable Paws, and doing phone consultations with her for her own work with her clients. The academy dogs have always benefitted significantly from her attentions. I have been consistently impressed both with her skills here, her commitment to her own professional education, and her dedication to providing her clients with a top quality, effective and professional service.

Pat Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA
Director, Peaceable Paws Trainer Academies

Leigh Anne Duchene

Raves for Susan!

Susan has worked with all five of my dogs at one time or another and the results we see are amazing! She is very patient and adjusts her training to the individual needs of her client and their dog. We have done group classes as well as private lessons and both were beneficial.

Leigh Anne Duchene, Owner In the Dog House Dog Daycare

Lou Demarinis

Cheers for C.C!

Before the lessons I would say my biggest fear was the training not being effective. In the end, this did not come true at all! The cost for the training was minute compared to the results. CC did a great job instilling confidence that with hard work any problem can be overcome, and with her help it was. My favorite part of this experience was establishing an even better relationship with my pet. You get to understand them much better throughout the process, and with feedback from CC you can manipulate and adjust the training schedule to better accommodate your pet. Unequivocally, I can quantify the difference in her behavior! Ava is much calmer, and has very little anxiety upon being left alone. It was a long, hard process but she is clearly much more comfortable in her own skin. Not just with separation, but just with anxiety in general. She still needs to sit by the window, but she is usually taking a nap when I pull back home ☺. If you want a compassionate trainer that is available from morning to night to answer your questions and concerns, CC is perfect for you. She was willing to get to know my pet and adjust a schedule and program to fit her and my needs. You can tell she is someone that genuinely “gets” animals and has a deep compassion for them.


C.C. surprised me with her attitude, approach, and determination to make our training program a success. There is so much misinformation and lies peddled on reality shows and the thousands of blogs. It was shocking to learn from C.C. how many of these approaches can make a situation much worse. Outside of the results, what pleased me the most was the availability and willingness to lend an ear that CC showed throughout the process when I was frustrated. That aspect was invaluable!

Melissa Gray

Raves for Susan!

When I first came to you years ago, I thought that my dog Sophie was exhibiting ‘bad’ behavior. I was somewhat mortified to learn that it was me that needed the training, as I wasn’t giving her the leadership and guidance that she needed! Since then I have brought countless dogs – both my own and fosters – to attend your classes. And each time, I learn even more. I have a house full of rescued dogs of all ages and backgrounds, and it is such a delight to have a well-adjusted healthy ‘pack’! I used to think that all I had to do was love these incredible creatures, but now I know how to be a responsible pack leader so that each member of my family – and our visiting fosters – can thrive and be happy! I can never thank you enough for all you’ve taught me and for all you do to help so many animal lovers in our community!

Founder/Director - Daisy’s Place Retriever Rescue 

De Daltorio

Cheers for C.C! 

To have a professional dog trainer with C.C.'s experience and knowledge is invaluable for any program! Charleston Animal Society acknowledges 77% of bites may come from a dog kids know and love. Due to this astonishing fact, we realized the importance of teaching children how to be safe around dogs and read body language.C.C. was willing to take on this task! She came each week, for 10 weeks of our summer camp, and was able to explain the importance of noticing fear and anxiety in dogs and what children should do to help alleviate the chance of an incident. Not only did the campers love her personality and wit, they could understand her concise instructions. Also, as a result from each encounter with her, numerous shelter dogs benefited.

De Daltorio - Sr. Director of Humane Education, Charleston Animal Society

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