I met Emily by chance walking our dog Stella. Stella is an American Staffordshire Terrier whom we rescued through the Peninsula Humane Society when she was 5 months old. They had found her running in and out of traffic. Stella is a sweet and loving dog, and full of lots of energy. Emily noted Stella and I walking, or I should say her pulling me as I tried to not let her pull me. Despite having her 2 years, we still didn’t have the training thing down. My partner and I had been looking for a trainer but for whatever reason, just never found the right person or took the time to jump into it. Walking with her through our neighborhood in SOMA could be a challenge, and I have to admit, kind of sucked. We were using a harness that clipped on the back. Emiliy advised that what I was doing was “literally how you train sled dogs” and advised a front lead harness. She gave me a card and made some recommendations of harnesses that I could find on line.
The next day, I went and got a front lead harness and put it on Stella. OMG. Like a different dog. She wasn’t pulling and would actually walk beside me. I took a video and emailed my partner, and said “You won’t believe it!”. I called Emily and we hired her that day.
The changes that we have seen in Stella have been unbelievable. We live in SOMA and went from a pulling dog who would bark at skateboarders, jump up on little kids, and eat everything on the ground (including homeless pooh – gross!) to a dog who is interactive with us, plays agility games (jumping up or standing on hydrants for a treat), backing up from children and sitting calmly for attention, totally ignoring skateboarders, and leaving homeless pooh and other things where they belong, on the ground.
I am amazed that this is the same dog. What I love the most about Emily and her training is that her techniques are about management and engaging your dog. Stella is Stella. My partner and I don’t believe in shock collars, aggressive management or training your dog into submission. The first part of her life was hard enough, we want a relationship with our dog of trust and love. Emily understands and advocates this theory. Stella is who she is. She is still the happy, rambunctious, energetic dog who loves life, people, and other dogs. What Emily showed us is how to channel that energy into productive and fun ways of expression. The training has really built a closer bond with Stella and she is very focused on us as we walk. The walks have actually become really fun.
The true test came last week up in Santa Rosa where we have a home in the country. Stella goes crazy over the wildlife (turkey, deer, rabbits, etc). She will often try to get out and chase them. A front door was inadvertently left open and Stella escaped from our home and ran down the driveway, near the cow pasture. This is a dangerous spot and she has run under the fence and chased the cows in the past. My partner said, “back up” from about 200 yards away. She stopped, turned, came running back up the driveway and sat at us feet. Unbelieveable.
I highly recommend Emily! The money and time was worth the improved quality of life that we have with our family member, Stella.