Our Schnauzer puppy was turning into an incessant barker. He was not the little Romeo we brought home from the breeder months ago. We spent days on the Internet and tried many approaches to calming him down around strangers. Nothing worked. Smudge’s disturbing behaviors only became worse.
We made the rounds of obedience trainers in Massachusetts and Connecticut, but the place that felt like home was in Boxford, MA, the creation of Kathleen O’Connell James of Atlantic K9. Kathleen is an ardent dog lover and certified trainer. Her love and compassion for puppies through aging dogs is remarkable. She is the Yoda of dog trainers.
We sat in her living room and regaled our concerns about Smudges’ struggle with fear aggression. She had heard it all before.
We learned from Kathleen that Smudge viewed the outside world as a dangerous place. He barked and growled at men, moving cars, joggers and terrified the gardeners. While we are describing the problem, Kathleen is watching Smudge hiding under my feet. Slowly on his own, he walks over to her and licks her hand. Tail wagging at high speed. We found our trainer. Their trust was immediate.
Kathleen has created a warm and friendly training space where dogs can attend her boot camp program, a get-in-shape-overnight training program. Each boot camp experience is designed for YOUR dog, given no two dogs are exactly the same. Each training course is individually crafted. We look into the soul of the dog, Kathleen said. That was all we had to hear.
After boot camp, another option is day camp where dogs come during the day and practice what they have learned with other dogs. There is a pet pick up and deliver service back to their families at the end of the day.
This wonderful home/workshop is where dogs learn and play in spotless outside pens. Dogs are assigned playmates based on size and temperament. It’s socialization and school, and the teachers are dog lovers. What else can you ask for?