We were walking our (at the time) 3 month old Siberian Husky, Kira, in a wooded area near our home and met some women with their dogs running off-leash and free spirited. We were impressed with the recall ability of the dogs and asked how hard it was to train them and they both told us about Atlantic K9 and the terrific boot camp their dogs had attended, and how much it changed their confidence and ability to keep their dogs safe and to trust in their ability to have them enjoy freedom while knowing they can call them back at any time. They showed us the transmitter they had and the e-collar and said it changed their lives.
We had always understood that Siberian Huskies were ‘runners’ and not to ever be trusted off leash. Additionally, Kira was/is very smart and was able to manipulate her best-intentioned owners with her cuteness and love-ability, and was also very nippy. We were doing the best we could in crate and potty training, and things were going well at home, but we knew we could use some professional support. We tried/met with other trainers who came to our home (during Covid) and it helped, but we could tell that there was a lot more we could learn and more consistent support Kira could benefit from, so we reached out to Kathleen at Atlantic K9 via the website.
Kathleen got back to us right away and set up a call to discuss our needs and situation. We had a great call to understand the philosophy and training style, schedule and options. It wasn’t a pressure call, more like a discussion about what’s possible and why we may want to consider ‘X’ over ‘Y’, etc.
We thought about it for a week or so; we weren’t sure about leaving Kira somewhere for 2 weeks so soon, and how she (and we!) would do for that long. We finally decided it was worth it and called Kathleen to set up the dates. After some paperwork and eSignatures, we were heading to Boxford to drop Kira off with her food and bed-we have three boys and it felt like we were taking them to a sleep-away camp! We met Kathleen at our car, and Kira went with her so happily-we were both sad and impressed! Kira had a difficult first night of adjustment, but then 13 days/nights of fun play with other dogs and intensive training. Kathleen and her staff post pictures a couple times a day of all the dogs, either during training or during play and it was so nice to see Kira running and playing with other dogs. We are embarrassed to say how many times/day we refreshed the page to see if there were new photos (I’ll say I am NOT a dog person, and we did not always plan to have a pet…so this was all very surprising!).
We had a couple calls/email exchanges during the 2 weeks to discuss things Kathleen saw and was working on and then we went to pick up Kira on the 14th day and also have a lesson with the new tools (eCollar and Herm Sprenger prong collar). Kathleen told us she’d right away work on jumping, because Kira will certainly be excited to see you. It was hard not to be excited and let her jump up on us, and it was also really interesting and impressive to see the transition and transformation of Kira. She was still a playful puppy, but she was also aware and obedient of and to direction. I really thought she was advancing before we brought her to Kathleen, but after the 2 weeks, she was a different dog! Our 1 hour lesson lasted much longer (thanks Kathleen!) and we left with Kira and new techniques and tools. We got home and she no longer was interested in biting, chewing, and her general devious practices. I was skeptical at first, but we used to keep her in a very small area of the house because she would either pee immediately or chew on anything she could get. Now she is free to go where she wants, but really just checks things out and always is happy to stay near us.
Her neighborhood walks used to take about 90 minutes are about 15 to 20 minutes now, because she walks so well. No more pulling, stopping, jumping on other people and dogs! No more chasing every bird and rabbit and squirrel. Walking in the neighborhood is peaceful and easy, and she can walk in ‘heel’ or ‘freely’ so easily. We practiced with the tools (the eCollar is something you have to get used to) and I walked with Kira in the woods several times with a long lead and finally tried off-leash and she was amazing. We also just took a small trip to the beach for a few days and stayed in a new house. Kira loved the water and beach and was able to be off-leash, confidently, even with a bird sanctuary on the dunes and she had no trouble in a strange house. She slept in her crate and went to the door every time she needed to potty. It was game-changing!
Kira’s training at Atlantic K9 was an amazing foundation that we know we need to continue on to keep Kira happy and consistently reinforced. We notice that if we are not consistent, Kira will look for opportunities to use other behaviors she was successful with before, so more than half of the training that Kathleen has done is on us and focused on how to interact with Kira; it’s not a silver bullet, but a powerful tool with a fantastic start! Thanks Kathleen!
We will definitely tell anyone we meet about Atlantic K9, and Kira looks forward to boarding with you and your amazing team!