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Sam & Harry

Boot Camp

When Harry Met Sammy

We had adopted Harry from a local rescue organization in November, 2019. Harry is a two year old, 20-pound ball of love, a mix of something, we aren’t quite sure what, but maybe terrier or Havanese. He had a wonderful personality from the get-go, he just wanted to be loved. But as the weeks went by after we brought him home, we also saw he had some dangerous habits – the biggest one was dashing out after cars and trucks. And although he liked playing with other dogs, whenever we were on a walk and another dog would go by, he was just beside himself, barking, pulling, almost aggressively. And Harry, who only has 3 1/2 legs, because one of his front legs is just a stub, he was able to wriggle out of his harness a few times while on walks  and he would take off like a bullet, not listening to us at all, he was gone!  I was so afraid he was going to get hit by a car or run away. 

We tried going to traditional, rewards, treat based training, and he learned some basic commands. But those dangerous habits seemed very ingrained. Nothing we did was working. I wasn’t enjoying walking him, I was always on guard. Then one day, while while we were together in front of my house, two hugs security type dogs walked by with their owner. Harry went crazy and suddenly he was out of his harness running full speed right at the two dogs. Their owner tried to control them, but Harry went right up into their faces. I lost 10 years off my life, how he came away unscathed I don’t know – but I realized I needed to take his training more seriously and that I needed help.

I called around many different places, but kept coming back to Atlantic K-9. From their detailed website, and then from when I spoke with Kathleen and Jenna, I felt this could be the answer I was looking for. I did have a lot of concerns though and they patiently talked to me and answered them all.  I didn’t know much about e-collar training and I wanted to know things like: would it would hurt him; would it change his personality; would he be distrustful of me if we sent him away to boot camp after having rescued him?, etc, etc. They walked me through step by step of the boot camp process and their holistic approach to dog training. My husband and I made the decision to invest in Harry so he could have a safe and happy future.

We both agree it was literally the best money we have ever spent! Hands down! Dropping Harry off at Atlantic K-9 for his boot camp was easier than I thought because I had so much confidence in Kathleen and her team already at that point. They are so warm, caring and professional and truly passionate about what they do. They sent me updates throughout his stay, and I could see he was getting along well with the other dogs. Because of his 3 1/2 legs he did get tired more quickly than the others, and they adjusted his training to accommodate his needs. 

When Harry came home, he was exhausted from his hard work of learning new things, but his personality hadn’t changed at all. In fact, he seemed more loving and settled knowing his boundaries.  Kathleen did a session with myself and my husband to teach us how to keep up the training at home. I was skeptical if this was all going to really work – if it would stick – but I can’t tell you how the training transformed Harry and his bad habits. I know with my own bad habits, I usually wind up regressing back to my old ways, but Harry has not. We have to give minimal corrections – he just knows what to do and he does it. He’s so well behaved and happy. 

As I write this, it has been five months since his training and he is still on point. I had a second follow up session with Kathleen and she took Harry and I into the woods with one of her dogs – and we off-leashed Harry for the first time. Something I never thought I’d be able to do! He listened so well, stayed right with us, and enjoyed the walk so much, even with distractions like squirrels etc. 

When dogs walk by or cars whiz past, he is calm, cool and collected! When I ask him to come – he comes running back to me every time. He’s still our fun loving Harry, he’s just so much safer – and I’m so much saner. I can’t thank Kathleen and her team at Atlantic K-9 enough. I recommend them with a grateful heart! 

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