4. Alpha-Zen K-9 Academy
- 19 years in business
- 109 hires on Thumbtack
- Serves Santa Cruz, CA
"We love Tammy !
We have a 2-year old Aussie with pretty serious issues regarding: charging at the door barking (scaring guests), barking at random noises, biting (yikes! but yes.. many times to even friends and family), and leash aggression. We had 2 trainers before. One was at the prestigious Cali-K9 which was like training your dog to almost be like a police dog with a lot of consequences including pulling very hard on the chain where they want his two front feet to literally be lifted ( we didn't want to do this at all .. but we trusted them because of their amazing reviews )..this caused our anxious pup to become a very anxious dog, esp. to strangers... we then went with another trainer from Pet Food Express who was purely positive reinforcement. Here, she had him locked away in the room for months without social interaction in order to try to desensitize him and slowly introduce him back to people and triggers. THIS DID NOT WORK. If anything, his habits got worse and we forgot what it was like to even have a dog anymore :(
We reached a very sad point, full of tears, where we discussed the fact that we might have to give him away but we decided maybe board & train was the next step. There are articles out there saying this method is not suggested because it might not be long lasting, or maybe the dog might just listen to the trainer and not you. Anyways, we came across Tammy and at first was very hesitant. As a millennial couple both working in high-tech.. we were killing ourselves over online research. Thumbtack wasn't a service I ever used before so I trusted other sites like Yelp & Facebook which Tammy didn't have too much of a presence on :(
We did a bunch of research and even paid $100 for a consultation with Lori Hamilton - but it didn't feel right.. but she was still on our radar as another top option.
When we met Tammy, she seemed incredibly sweet, genuine, & honest. As she is going full-time as a dog trainer, I knew she was going to treat our dog Finn as an individual and not just a number or revenue. She truly cared about his life and happiness. Eventually we made the decision to go with Tammy, reason being is because we know not everyone is as tech-savvy and we went with social media all-stars like Cali-K9 before which didn't go well.. so we couldn't judge a trainer just based on online presence.
When we got Finn back from Board & Train you could tell how much he adored her. It was crazy! When she walked away he locked his eyes and body towards her. When she comes for our trainings now, our dog throws his body on her and rubs himself missing her. This is how I know she spent a lot of time with him instead of just shipping him off, and crossing our fingers that Finn was getting the training attention he needs.
Forward 2 months, Finn is not perfect but he is x10 more manageable and we know what to do if he reacts in any way. He now goes to work with my boyfriend as an office pup, we aren't scared to take him downtown, he rarely barks at the Amazon dude (this could be fixed very fast before it happens). My boyfriend and I are so happy we went with Tammy now! She is the most patient person ever and I am so excited to have her integrated in our lives. She has helped us find so much different solutions regardless if its testing individual techniques or even supplements to help with Finn's anxiety. The greatest gift she gave us is the confidence that we are a great dog owner and that we also have the greatest dog!
Put time and effort in your dog & Tammy will always do the same! We are continuing to board with Tammy when we go on vacations, so our relationship will definitely continue for a long time <3 (:"