JoJo and “Izzy” –
I honestly can’t say enough “Pawsitive” things about Kendra and “Pawsitive K9’s”. I will be the first to admit that I have treated my fur baby more like a human baby and have spoiled her rotten for far too long. This isn’t always a bad thing, but I truly had no idea that I was the one who was creating and reinforcing certain behaviors that I did not like nor want from my dog “Izzy” until Kendra came over for a Behavior Consultation Session. What I appreciated so much was the way Kendra broke things down for me and explained things to me from the dogs point of view. She made it seem so simple and in all honesty, I really had never even thought of some of the things that she brought to my attention until I saw how Izzy was running the show in my own home and it was far from cute.
I have had some serious health problems for a few years now. Izzy has been my support, my constant companion, my heating pad and on many days the only thing that could make me smile. When you are experiencing chronic pain for months and years on end getting yourself in a better head space can make or break your recovery. As they say “laughter is the best medicine”. Well I laughed a lot at Miss Izzy. The way she would cock her head to the side knowing I found it cute when I was eating my food and wanting some. How could you not give that cuteness a bite? Its only a little bit. If she didn’t get it fast enough she would start pawing at me sitting right next to me on the couch to make sure I understood what she wanted. So cute right? I thought so until I started noticing she was doing it to anyone who had food anywhere around her. This was especially troublesome when we had guests over. Let me just say that when your Husband’s Boss comes over for dinner and clearly doesn’t like a dog in his personal space begging for food, climbing on him, not leaving him alone and when he sits down to have a serious discussion and you have no control as your dog just runs away from you its no longer cute, its downright embarassing.
One of the first things Kendra asked me to do was to show her how I prepare and eat food when I am home alone with Izzy. She asked me to pretend that she wasn’t there and to just go about my normal routine. Well lets just say after only a few minutes Kendra had a few exercises for me to try. When I couldn’t stop laughing because it was obvious that Izzy was running the show, Kendra asked me if I found what she was doing in the moment cute (which was pawing and begging for food sitting right next to me on the couch). I explained that I used to but it had just gotten so bad and I don’t know what to do except laugh at her. Kendra said “have you ever thought to ask her to get off the couch?” I looked at her with probably a very surprised look on my face because the answer was no. She asked me to try which Izzy completely ignored. I said “off the couch”, I snapped my fingers, I used my scolding tone….. none of it worked. Kendra then asked me to stand up, take a deep breath and asked if this was one of the behaviors I wanted to work on to which I said “yes please I know its not funny after awhile but I have no idea what to do”. What happened after this still blows my mind to this day. In under ten minutes Kendra had Izzy laying on a towel on the floor in a down position where she stayed while I ate my food on the couch completely unbothered, followed by a conversation for over a half hour and Izzy didn’t move. Kendra hardly used any words. She corrected her using only her body language, her energy and only a couple times by gently physically moving her to show her where she wanted her to be. I couldn’t believe that was my dog.
Once the exercise was done, she broke it down, every step from where Izzy was in the kitchen while I made my food, running around overly excited thinking it was for her, to constantly getting people food, treats and snacks just for being cute, to feeling 100% comfortable getting on and off the couch whenever she liked, no concern about my personal space. In Izzy’s mind she had learned from me (because I had never given her any reason to think otherwise) that this was her house and I was her master. Well lets just say that ended right then and there. Izzy has not had any people food in over four months now (she’s also lost about five pounds). She now stays out of the kitchen whether anyone is in there or not. When we are eating she immediately goes to her bed and lays down. She is only allowed on the furniture when invited and only on a blanket designated to be her space.
Izzy is definitely a happier dog now. As Kendra explained to me, dogs like and actually thrive on structure, a consistent routine and clear communication for what you want from them because they ultimately do want to make you happy. I just had no idea that I was the one creating problems that were frustrating me and only making them worse by making excuses and spoiling her more. I’ve learned so much from Kendra in such a short amount of time and I know that Izzy and I still have a lot of work to do not only during our future sessions with Kendra but also during our daily routine when Kendra isn’t around to help me. The huge difference I’ve seen in such a short amount of time has been so impressive to me I truly feel Kendra has a gift and I want to encourage anyone that has any type of problems with their dogs to take advantage of such a wonderful opportunity to learn from Kendra. I guarantee that it will make your life so much more balanced and happy using only clear communication, love and positive reinforcement.
My next goal is to work on our walk. Kendra has already given me a list of things to keep in mind and work on. Getting outside to walk her has been difficult at times with my health issues so when I have been feeling well enough to take Izzy on a walk I didn’t think it was a big deal for her to walk in front of me leading the way, or to not go to the bathroom when and where I asked her to go because I kept thinking how nice it must be for her to be outside and just be a dog. Well as Kendra put it “A dog will always be a dog, which is why it is so important for her to know who the “Pack Leader” of your house really is and to be clear and consistent about the behaviors you want from her and the behaviors you don’t ”. We still have a lot of work to do, but the difference is that I now look forward to it instead of dreading it because I don’t know what to do to get the results I want. It is never too late to teach your dog. Neither Izzy or myself are spring chickens, but I feel that we are both learning along the way and that it is not only improving our relationship but making our lives better.
Thank you Kendra for all your help. I can’t fully put into words to express how much happier our household is now. We can have guests over without being embarrassed chasing a dog around that doesn’t listen to us at all. My Grandbabies can come over, eat their snacks and when I tell Izzy to go lie down I know that not only will she do that, but she will also stay there until I tell her it is ok to move somewhere else. My Husband couldn’t believe when he came home from his last work trip the difference in her behavior and in my overall demeanor. This has been a blessing for so many reasons and we can’t thank you enough.
Sue and “Pallet” –
I enlisted Kendra’s help after a serious conversation with my Daughter who informed me that her family may not be visiting with the kids anymore, because they felt that the children were not safe in the presence of my beloved German Shepherd, Pallet. We had learned to love and live with her. Imperfect though her behavior was, when at home alone with us, she was fine. When people came over she was not. Obviously I wasn’t liking the thought of someone telling me that I needed to change things in my own home, but after thinking things over it was clear to me that unless I made some serious changes, the alternative was not having my Grandchildren over to visit and ultimately allowing the problems I was having with Palate to get worse. After thinking about it, I realized her behavior and compliance needed work, before something bad happened that I couldn’t take back.
I’ve had German Shepherds my whole life. We’ve always lived in a “Country Setting” where they roam free never on a leash and keep our property and our family safe. I admit that I always had to keep a close eye on Palate when she was around the kids because she was reactive to their quick movements. She would try to heard them which is a characteristic of the breed, but when she nipped at my eldest Grandson things changed drastically from his parents point of view and understandably so.
After talking to Kendra I realized that my hip replacement surgery and the extended recovery and physical therapy that followed wasn’t just life changing for me, it was for Pallet as well. We had gone from active days with long walks through the field and around the property to basically being stagnant for weeks at a time. My Husband started taking her for walks which helped, but ultimately her Pack Leader had gone from confident and active to being pretty inactive and feeling weak which is where I realized after working with Kendra is where Pallet felt the need to step up and take over the role of Pack Leader.
We started with the basics and I mean the basics – food, water and the leash. Palate had never really been on a leash except to see the vet. I warned Kendra that she would fight it and be quite difficult to which Kendra was unfazed and said “thats ok, just pretend I’m not here”. Kendra asked me to show her how I put the leash on Palate and proceeded to watch her bite the leash, bite my hands, bark and alligator roll in complete protest. Kendra then asked if this was something I wanted to work on to which I immediately said “yes please”. Kendra then asked me to remove the leash, put my hands at my sides, completely ignore Palate and walk away.
I was embarrassed about how my dog acted and a little concerned that she may hurt Kendra since I had gotten her so worked up. Kendra sensed my pause and calmly said “don’t look back as you walk away. Completely ignore her. Go inside and close the door. You are more than welcome to watch from the window.” Kendra explained to me later how much my energy was affecting Palate and showed me by removing me from the situation while she worked with her. I went to the window where Palate couldn’t see me and I couldn’t believe what I saw in such a short amount of time. To this day I still say that Kendra switched my dog out for another that looked like Pallet when I wasn’t looking because what I was seeing wasn’t the same dog that I had just walked away from. I don’t know how Kendra did it, but she did so without talking to Pallet which really surprised me. As Kendra later said “dogs don’t talk to one another using words, its body language, energy and a few specific sounds”. I watched Kendra stand there calm and steady while Pallet chaotically ran around the yard, smelling and circling on a mission to find me. She settled a bit once she figured out where I had gone and that she wasn’t getting in the house. Pallet then decided she wanted Kendra to throw the ball for her to which Kendra ignored. Then Kendra and Pallet started communicating in a way I had never seen. I don’t know what Kendra did but somehow she had the leash on her before I knew it and they were off walking down the driveway. There was no protest, there was no alligator rolling, there was no barking and there certainly was no biting. I was truly in shock. It looked like a completely different dog walking down the driveway on a leash. About a half hour later I saw them coming back up the driveway. Pallet was walking on a loose leash next to Kendra. She wasn’t pulling at all and she had the happiest expression on her face. I couldn’t believe that was my dog. Pallet ALWAYS pulls me and most of the time I was holding on for dear life. That was obviously not the case with everyone and I knew then that this old dog needed to learn a few new tricks.
We have been fortunate enough to work with and to learn from Kendra for over a year now. The difference in Pallet and our home life is truly immeasurable. There were so many little things I was doing in our daily routine that I was never aware of that was giving Palate the impression that she made the decisions in the house and didn’t have to listen to anyone when she wasn’t getting what she wanted. I learned how important consistent exercise is for her to be able to drain that pent up energy and calm that excited shepherd brain of hers so that when it was time for the Grandchildren to come over she was able to be calm around them. Above all I learned that when a mutual respect is given from both the children and the dog the most beautiful memory making can occur. We have rules now that are both for the kids and for Palate so everyone can have a good time when we all visit together. I know now how to see the signs Palate gives me when she is getting too excited or overwhelmed and needs me to give her a quiet place to have some space. I know now how much my energy affects her and how sensitive she really is. I now can leash up and walk my dog without any resistance from her. She now sits and waits patiently for the leash to go on her and after some lessons from Kendra on leash pressure she now walks next to me not pulling at all. She’s a very smart dog. In all honesty I think it took me longer to learn all these new things than it did her. She definitely thrives on having an established daily routine. From feeding times to walks she knows what to expect and when to expect it which has helped both of us.
We still use Kendra and probably always will. Sometimes we need advice, sometimes we need her to come over to observe so we can fine tune things and sometimes its as simple as a phone call or email. Kendra sticks with her clients for as long as they need her and are truly invested in having a “Pawsitive K9” member of their pack. We can’t recommend her enough. Thank you Kendra for all of your help. We have established the foundation we truly needed a long time ago. My Daughter and Husband have been so impressed with the results of our hard work that we can now have the Grandchildren over without them being concerned about something terrible happening.