& family

It had been 25 years since my husband or I had lived with a dog, so the arrival of our week old puppy turned our lives upside-down. We knew we had to feed her, give her water, and take her for walks- but beyond that we were clueless. With 2 young boys in the house we needed some guidance and structure in order to make this fluffy addition transition smoothly into our family.

When Justine arrived with a bag full of toys, games, and chicken we had no idea what we were in for. One hour later our boys understood the dog’s boundaries, played hide and seek, and taught her to roll over. Now Bella the Bolonoodle had an eating and walking schedule, learned how to sit, and seemed relaxed and comfortable with our directions.

After Justine left, we had a much better understanding of how to integrate Bella into our lives and felt more relaxed about having our boys take responsibility for their new friend. We realized it wasn’t the puppy that needed much training- it was us! Justine provided a wealth of knowledge in a very short time- and she has since helped us over the phone with extra questions we needed answered- I don’t know how we would have done it with out her, but I’m sure glad we didn’t have to find out.

& family

We lost our family dog a few years ago and have been waiting for the right time to get a puppy. This spring we brought home a 12 week old English Bull Dog, Lucy.

Having four kids under four and a new puppy was a challenge – to say the least!!!

Leah was amazing. She gave us the tools we needed to manage the puppy in our busy household. Every week we had a list of things we need to work on with Lucy. Leah always had a solution. Training Lucy became a fun, family event.

We are grateful for her patience and great ideas. Lucy is grateful for her yummy treats! Thank you.

& family

I cannot say enough about the Family Dog, but will try my best…

I have had dogs my entire life so I don’t consider myself a canine novice. I know the basics and have gotten by just fine (or so I thought :). We got our old Labrador, Piper, before we had our two children. She was a reasonably well-behaved creature who sailed through puppy hood without any major disasters! When she died un-expectantly last April, we quickly decided to get another Labrador since having a dog is such a huge part of our family. I didn’t think much about getting training assistance until after I brought home our bundle of Pixie Dust! My two girls, ages 4 & 7 reacted with a mixture of joy and trepidation. That’s when I realized that our family unit could use some dog training expertise- and fast! I saw it as a perfect opportunity to up-level my own canine skills and knowledge, empower my children and ultimately, create a terrific dog for both inside and outside of our home.

The Family Dog delivered on all points. Justine was incredibly adept at helping us understand and guide our puppy’s behavior! Her training method/approach was straight forward, playful and genius. I couldn’t believe how much I didn’t know about dogs… and kids! 🙂 Justine created training sessions that were both fun and instructional for all. It was amazing to watch how she engaged my children in the care and training of our new family addition. Now, months later, we are all enjoying a great sense of pride over our collective contributions to our well-behaved, sweet pooch! 🙂 A HUGE THANK YOU to The Family Dog. Your training ROCKS!

& family

We adopted Lucky at 8 weeks old and it was so much harder than we thought it would be.

We were so fortunate to fine the Family Dog, they helped us with the logistics of having a puppy AND small children, scheduling and training.

We had so many questions and the Family Dog was there with answer and solution that made sense – and worked! We enjoyed working with professionals that were so knowledgeable and thorough.

We would highly recommend them to families with children and dogs! P.S. I think Lucky would highly recommend them too!

& family

Our puppy Ailsa is now 7 months old and we started working closely with Justine before she even arrived!!!

She advised us to not just to do private sessions, but also group classes (where she could socialize with other dogs) that way Ailsa would get the best start in life. Both types of training have been invaluable, but the one-to-one sessions were the most useful for keeping ALL family members consistent!

When I grew up, puppies were trained using choke collars and smacking the dog – I knew I didn’t want to do that! There is just no need when you can train in a fun, positive way. I was super surprised when Justine taught our 8 week old. I had no idea that a puppy could be taught basic commands from such an early age. I enjoyed learning how to make training FUN. I grew up with dogs, but never raised one of my own, so I knew very little, so it was great that Justine was available to answer my questions. She helped us puppy-proof our house and she had a valuable list of items to buy (and what not to waste your money on!) She had a plan for house training and the tips on how to raise a well-mannered dog.

I especially liked that our 7 year old daughter was included in the training of our puppy and Justine showed her what to do when Ailsa got ‘a little exuberant’!.

I couldn’t recommend The Family Dog enough to anyone is considering getting a puppy. The Family Dog has been a more than positive experience for all of us!

& family

Remember when you look at your toddler and want another baby? It’s the same with a puppy. You forget the sleepless night, endless clean ups and frustration.

I thought I knew everything and was prepared for the arrival of our new puppy since we already had a dog. I was so wrong! My biggest problem was my older dog. She had free reign of the house, she had earned it. She was now trapped by gates and a "puppy proofed" home. The puppy would jump on her wanting to play all day. She was so stressed.

LEAH SAVED US. She taught and guided us thru everything. We now have our home back and two very happy dogs.

& family

I highly recommend The Family Dog. As the mother of two young boys, I expected a little bit of chaos when we brought our Labradoodle puppy home, but things got really crazy really fast.

Justine showed up and helped us get everything back in order. She was able to create a training plan that worked with our schedules and our lifestyle.

Our puppy Ashley is now thriving and she is truly a member of our family that we could not live without.

& family

Frankie, a Beagle mix joined our family unexpectedly when my oldest son was 6 years old and my second son, was just over a year. A fabulous family dog, Frankie nevertheless had some ”un-family” friendly habits.

Working with The Family Dog to overcome these issues was always a fun, enlightening and rewarding experience. They listened to our issues and concerns, asked well thought out and focused questions and helped us work out solutions that fitted in with the specific needs of our family. With their help we worked on Frankie pushing down the stairs (not great when you are carrying a struggling Toddler) and out the door, stealing food off the table and walking nicely with a stroller. Visit us today and you won’t find a dog who will win an obedience or trick contest, but you will find a well integrated family pet. My oldest son knows how to behave appropriately with the dog, the three year old is very clear on certain rules such as not getting in the dogs basket and even our new baby seems to be starting a good relationship with our four legged family member.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Family Dog and their philosophy to other families working to integrate a new dog into their family. They were able to offer my family the help we needed to have a truly wonderful family dog.

& family

We recently realized our dream of getting a bulldog puppy, Olive, as our first family dog. After learning about “The Family Dog” approach, we knew that we ALL needed to learn to care for and train Olive. It was important that we agreed on training methods and were consistent.

Leah and I met alone first and then involved my husband and son in the rest of the sessions. I learned so much from Leah at this first meeting (pre-puppy) that I cannot imagine what I would have done without this information. For example, I did not know that the first 16 weeks are a critical learning period. We needed to expose our puppy to as much as possible to make her comfortable in different situations. Now I understood why some adult dogs are not friendly towards other dogs- they may not have been properly socialized as puppies. Leah gave us fun visual materials to work with including a bingo card of different experiences to share with Olive.

Equally as important were the home preparation and housebreaking strategy. From day one we had the proper supplies on hand and a training plan in place. This became very important a few weeks after we brought her home. My husband was traveling and my son and I both got the flu. It was a week of snow and sleet- just miserable to be outside. We struggled through the night wakings and hourly trips outside, but we did it. We knew how important it was to be consistent with her plan. Having Leah’s guidance really helped carry us through a very strenuous time. I also knew I would have trouble letting the puppy cry in her crate. We discussed this and found a solution that worked out well – without stress on me or the puppy.

Leah also empowered our son to read Olive’s body language (with fantastic visual aids) and taught him how to manage undesirable behaviors. They are really getting along well. He was really happy to be included in the training sessions and is very proud of his knowledge.

In short, I think this is the best investment you can make for your dog’s (and family’s) happiness. The old saying that “price is forgotten long after quality is remembered” is certainly true here. Spending a little extra for proper training will give us years of happiness with our dog. She is turning out to be a pleasure to be around and we are not having the issues that many other dog owners we meet often have. Knowing now that the puppy training window is short, we are making the best of the time we have before the “teenage” months. Olive is now 18 weeks old and knows the commands sit, down, leave it, thank you (to release), come and stay. The housebreaking is going well and she sleeps very peacefully in her crate at night and for naps.

We also supplemented Family Dog training with St. Hubert’s puppy classes which was also valuable, but I found it hard to concentrate with other dogs and owners in the room. With home training, Leah demonstrated the commands and then observed while we practiced with the puppy. She then corrected our technique, if needed. It was relaxed and fun.

Thank you so much Leah! We have learned so much and are so grateful for your kindness.

PS. Olive thanks you for the treats!

& family

When Justine walks in the house and all eyes are on her. Our dogs adore her, so they respond positively to her direction. She has a real talent for connecting one on one with our dogs (2 beagles) and with us.

Justine has been able to help us with our one year old Beagle/King Charles puppy who has an abundance of energy (nice way to put it) which needed to be channeled in a positive manner. Chloe has made great strides in the last couple of months thanks to Justine. She has not only trained Chloe, but us too!

& family

Dear Leah,

Your natural way with animal is amazing. From the first time Jack met you he was hooked. It was like an instant crush! As a family we so appreciated your insight and help.

Our goal was to make Jack a happy obedient member of our family and our goal was met because of your advice and guidance. We took it all to heart and did our best to incorporate your techniques at home and it worked like a charm. Although we loved all our dogs and miss them dearly, Jack is the most well behaved, enjoyable dog we have had so far. Thank you so much again and it’s a comfort to know you are around if we need any more help.

& family

Justine has been an excellent trainer for our Labradoodle named Brule.

She had the innate ability to focus on the situation, recognize the problem and change his attitude quickly. To give an example, Brule was a JUMPER, with one meeting and several training tips, I have to say Brule jumps on people no more!

Justine makes everything easy, fun and is a complete inspiration to us.

& family

Well what can I say, Leah at the Family Dog is a God Send!

With a new puppy and two young children, my husband and I wanted to make certain that the puppy would be an added benefit to our lives and not a hinderance. My sister recommended Leah to me and she and I embarked on joined training with our sibling pups. Leah was patient and quickly learned how each puppy was different and how each family needed to focus on slightly different things. We had a wonderful time training the dogs to have good manners and in ways trained ourselves to do right by these little pups. We were educated as to why behaviors happen and what it signals so that we can avoid problems especially with the children. Leah was flexible and accommodating and constantly reminded us that this is a dog and boundaries need to be clearly established so that we could all exists as a happy family unit.

It was impressive that this little pup could learn how to sit, stay and lay down. Leah taught the kids to play safe games with her and even taught her how to dance! She still dances everyday for a little piece of banana. My husband was skeptical at first thinking that we could just do this without help. However, after the first session’s fantastic results he was impressed and now engaged and a little training every morning with Molly I think he has as much fun as she does.

Leah even showed us how to mange the pups when the are playing together and how to create a good play environment. Leah has been there for our families. We were fortunate that Leah watched our pups when we went on vacation and she was nothing short of amazing. Not only did the pups have the love of her and her children, she made videos of them playing them together and constantly reassured us that they were fine. Our experience with the Family Dog has been amazing and I will continue to take training sessions periodically to strengthen our relationship with Molly.

Thank you Leah and keep making the dogs and their families smile!