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Animal Behaviorists Close to You

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Animal Behaviorists Close to You

Top Rated Animal Behaviorists Around Ashburn, VA

TOP PRO
  • 2 years in business
  • 90 hires on Thumbtack
  • Response time: 3 hours

KfreeKaren F.

Verified review

Choosing the right trainer is a difficult and overwhelming task. The following is my experience with Kathryn and Perfect Poochies. Summarized: Kathryn is amazing. I have a whole new skillset at my disposal. My dog is calmer, has less anxiety and if new issues surface, I am better prepared to deal with them. If you are a new dog owner looking for a starting point or find yourself struggling with any number of unwanted behavioral issues, she can help. Kathryn is extremely knowledgeable, experienced, versatile and patient. She was never condescending or judgmental while helping me understand areas I needed to improve. She has an uncanny ability to understand dogs and what makes them tick. Once she gets to know you and your dog, she will provide an honest assessment of what she considers to be the underlying issue(s) and lays out a plan for correcting or managing it. The love she puts into her work is evident in everything she does from designing your personalized sessions, her regular follow-up and her encouragement to reach out any time you have questions or issues. Detailed: I am a first-time dog owner. Our 18-month, 170-pound Great Dane, Odin has been part of our family since he was 2-months old. We immediately enrolled in the first two puppy training classes at Pet-Smart. Our family has consistently applied what we learned. Everything was going great with Odin until somewhere around 7-months of age. Odin would occasionally start barking at a person for no apparent reason. This behavior gradually increased to include anyone reaching into his face, unexpected fast movements and large groups of people swarming in on him. We solicited advice from our Pet-Smart trainer and studied tons of training materials – books, training guides, Internet. Some of the techniques we tried helped, but if Odin was truly upset, the only thing we could do was apologize and leave. Odin remained excellent with dogs and children but the number of adults that triggered his barking was increasing. During the summer, I was having work done on my car and I brought Odin because there were plenty of paths nearby. It took longer than expected for the car to be finished and when we returned Odin was exhausted. A young man approached, and I quickly warned about Odin’s anxiety and in his over-tired state, his behavior would probably be worse than normal. The man assured me that he had experience with dogs, and slowly bent down near Odin, leaving plenty of space and not making eye contact. He gave Odin time to get used to him and smell him and soon enough Odin was comfortable and enjoying being petted. Unfortunately, when the man was ready to leave, he jumped up which surprised/scared Odin who then also jumped up and started lunging, growling and barking at him. The man was very kind and understanding, but it was time to seek out professional help. I searched online for trainers and dog-behaviorists and there were a number of options. As we were trying to choose one, I remembered a friendly and outgoing woman who had hosted a free local dog training session. Odin seemed comfortable around her, so I reached out to see if she would be interested in private training sessions. The woman was Kathryn of Perfect Poochies. Not only did she offer private training, but she had ample experience with large dogs and the exact behavior I described. Our first training session involved getting to know our family and Odin. She asked questions about what we were experiencing and what we tried to mitigate it. Next, she analyzed our actions and body language as well as Odin’s behavior, response, reactions, attitude etc. She used this information to create a custom training plan for fear-aggression. We met once a week wherein she would teach me new techniques and verify I could perform them correctly. She would evaluate my actions and behavior and if anything I was doing contributed to his anxiety, she would help me find alternatives. At the end of the session, she always left me with several things to work on before our next session – as with anything in life, the key to success is repetition and consistency. Occasionally, she would introduce me to new products that could help with Odin’s training. The products were not a ‘company product’ or money-making gimmick - they were products she had success using with other dogs. If I wanted to try them, I had to find/order them. Following six sessions, Odin had less anxiety and I am able to successfully manage what remains. Odin now looks to me when he gets nervous instead of instantly reacting. By changing my leadership style, he obeys commands more readily and consistently. Before Odin would lurch and jump to get to anything that excited him (squirrels). Now, he just gives a light tug on the leash or stares. When he is told to “Leave It”, he settles down immediately. Previously, I would make large loops to avoid passing people. I was worried he might start barking at them. Now we can walk right by and all I have to do is tell him to “Leave It.” Odin’s responding immediately to my commands has increased my confidence, which in turn has decreased much of his anxiety. There are a couple of dog walkers in the neighborhood with whom I walk Odin. In the beginning of our training, Odin had limited contact with people and dogs. When I had the chance to meet up with them again, they marveled over the transformation in Odin’s behavior and how calm he bad become. Another technique she suggested is Odin wearing a bright vest that says, ‘In Training’ and lists a couple of items not to do around him (things that trigger his anxiety). The vest has helped make others aware of Odin’s ‘special needs’ well before they approach him. I have also gotten much better at recognizing things that may trigger his anxiety so I can avoid, prevent or discourage it. Thank you for reading my review. I am very grateful for the help I received from Perfect Poochies. It was worth every penny. Speaking of which, don’t stress about the fees, Perfect Poochies is perfectly affordable.

TOP PRO
  • 3 years in business
  • 281 hires on Thumbtack
  • Response time: 2 hours

Josefina R.

Verified review

I had the pleasure of working with Ryan. I was a little apprehensive at first because I didn't know what to expect but he was recommended to me by a friend who had worked with him in the past. I adopted a senior boxer a year ago who was reactive toward strange men and anyone walking around my apartment. Ryan was calm and confident when meeting and working with my dog. He knew what he was doing and good at spotting my dog's behaviors and how to address them. He taught me how I needed to be approaching and working with my dog from being in the apartment, going on walks, and encountering strangers on our walks. He showed me how to be a better leader and that I needed to show that I was in charge. There were times that I was nervous and anxious but Ryan encouraged me and gave me the confidence and skills to address and correct my dog's behavior. Once our sessions were done Ryan would check in on us and see how things were going and how my dog was doing. I felt comfortable to ask any questions and reach out to him at any time. I would definitely recommend Ryan and his ability to understand and correct behavior.

TOP PRO
  • 6 years in business
  • 80 hires on Thumbtack
  • Response time: 2 hours

Teri C.

Verified review

My rescue dog, Jasper is extremely hyper and has a bad habit of jumping on people when they come in and excessive whimpering and barking as well. We tried EVERYTHING! I was very skeptical but within one visit JoJo had come into my home and within 5 minutes had Jasper quiet and calm. She told me what I need to continue to do in order for him to maintain this good behavior.. Thanks Jojo! I never would have believed it was possible for him.

TOP PRO
  • 5 years in business
  • 25 hires on Thumbtack
  • Response time: 13 min

Fernando K.

Verified review

Jay Lewis, owner of Canine Dominion, is a master at working with dogs. Our dog responded to him instantly with trust, respect, & affection. He works closely with the family/owners, which is very productive for all. Your dog (and you) learn so much, so quickly. Canine Dominion also offers boarding, which we can vouch for as excellent. CD is the best!

TOP PRO
  • 3 years in business
  • 55 hires on Thumbtack
  • Response time: 2 hours

Michelle R.

Verified review

Vicky was great! She not only took great care with all of our animals, she handled my anxiety well! We received photos and notes every day with updates of the animals and how they were doing. I told her not to worry about one of my super shy cats because if she tried to find her, it would stress her out more than just being left alone...well, the first day I get a picture of that cat just chillin with Vicky! When we came home we were greeted with an, "Oh...it's you. You're back" bored look from the animals...that was GREAT! I knew she kept them so happy they were not pining away for us or stressed out. I had used another pet sitter for seven years due to convenience, but the animals seemed stressed when we returned. With Vicky, everything was great.

PackFit

4.3

(30)

  • 92 hires on Thumbtack
  • Response time: 3 hours
  • Lorton, VA

Gloriana E.

Verified review

After searching multiple sites and trying out two other trainers, we found Kimberly on Thumbtack and liked what we read. Her "holistic" approach to dog training really appealed to us and aligned perfectly with our view of the connection between nutrition, physical and mental health, and behavior. When we did the IBAC, we immediately felt a click between the three humans (Kimberly + puppy parents) and Lucy (puppy). Through our work with Kimberly during the training sessions and our practice at home, Lucy has become more calm, responsive, and seems now to recognize us as the "pack leaders". One of the most important lessons we learned is that adjusting on our own energy and behavior is key to effect change in our dog's energy and behavior. It is important to bear in mind that no trainer - no matter how good - can make a dog's behavior change consistently and permanently after the training program without the owners' follow-through. With Kimberly's guidance and our constant practice, we're confident that we will continue making steady progress and nurture a balanced, well-behaved dog and a loving, respecting bond between us.

  • 33 years in business
  • 25 hires on Thumbtack
  • Response time: 4 min

Kendra K.

Verified review

I can not say enough positive things about the excellent service, training, and support I have received from Haywood and his team. Background: I rescued an almost 3yr old neutered male GSD in December. My husband and I have breed experience so I was hoping that we'd be able to improve some of his problematic behaviors (barking, poor socialization, very territorial, and disordered pack mentality) and then join a group class. We quickly figured out that the behaviors were not related to bonding to us and his new GSD sister but rather that was just him. So we started looking at private lessons. When I arrived at Academy, I wasn't sure what to expect. Alexa and Adrianna started our evaluation. Haywood joined us half way through and it worked out perfectly that he did because the team was able to observe my dog's reaction to someone entering "his" territory and his reaction to men - both of which were significant. At the end of the evaluation, Haywood and Alexa provided their recommendation for training - private lessons to start with a transition to group classes for a fixed fee. My dog would learn multiple commands and how to be around other dogs. Again, I can not stress enough how economical Academy ended up being. It took us a little longer than the average client to be ready for group classes. If I'd had to pay per lesson at the market rate in this area, it would have cost DOUBLE. Seriously...I did the math. Three weeks ago, my previously barky, somewhat aggressive, territorial GSD graduated from Academy with the highest test score of his group. He didn't make a peep. He recognizes the humans in our home as alphas. He is able to walk on a leash in our neighborhood without lunging at other dogs...in fact, he was steady as a rock last week while a neighbor's small dog was barking up a storm. I honestly feel like Academy Dog Training saved my dog's life. If his behavior had continued to escalate, he eventually would have hurt someone and been euthanized. Haywood's method was exactly what my dog needed and Alexa (our primary trainer for private lessons) got to know both my dog and myself. There were days I was prepared to give up and without her encouragement, support, and knowledge were invaluable.

TOP PRO
  • 3 years in business
  • 33 hires on Thumbtack
  • Response time: 2 hours

Holly C.

Verified review

Jody came over for our first session last night and it was wonderful! She took all the time we needed to talk through a variety of dog behavioral topics, answering all our questions and giving us a lot of advice, including advice outside of the scope of basic training or what we had discussed initially. She brought interactive food dispensing toys to show us, gave us handouts of what we talked about, and showed us how to work on specific commands, coaching us through it. Jody also educated us on a lot of different ways to ensure our dog is safe, healthy, and mentally/physically stimulated - I really appreciated how we looked at how to care for and work with our dog on the whole, not simply to teach commands. The entire session was so helpful to us, and Jody was a pleasure to work with! We're excited for either more one-on-one sessions and/or a class with Social Tailwaggers!

TOP PRO
  • 17 years in business
  • 45 hires on Thumbtack
  • Response time: 10 hours

Mary S.

Verified review

I returned to my home in Virginia after having been out West for a few years, caring for my parents. Upon my return, I learned that my closest friend had just weeks to live. She wanted me to be with her. At the same time, my little 18 month old dog was not well. We still didn't know exactly what was wrong, but with increasing frequency, she had severe bleeding out of both ends! It turned out to be a serious autoimmune disorder, and she must receive pretty close attention because symptoms are subtle until it is a life-threatening emergency. I was torn, knowing that my friend had two cats and I couldn't take my dog with me. She requires medications and a special, home cooked diet. I placed a notice for an emergency, 24-hour pet sitter who could take my dog in their home, because she wasn't well enough to be alone. I received many responses. I chose Nikki partly because of the caring message she left me, and I was impressed with her medical background. Upon meeting Nikki, I felt reassured, and appreciated her directness and honesty. I felt very little trepidation about leaving my little dog in her care for what could have been a few weeks. Finding Nikki was a gift. Trusting her with my little dog came easy by the second day. She always made time to talk with me when I called to check on my pup, and the details she told me helped me to know that she was keeping a close watch on the little one. Her love for animals is very apparent, and she notices everything. Nikki has, on several occasions, taken my dog into their home on very short notice, and on other occasions, has kept her a day or two longer than planned, again without prior notice. (A couple of times, my home cooked meals for the dog ran out, and Nikki cooked up a batch without being asked.) Nikki is very knowledgeable concerning medical issues and treatments, and I NEVER worry when my dog is with her. My pup enjoys every second with Nikki and her family, and it's a special treat for her to go there. She is well socialized during those visits, with Nikki's family and seven pets, with neighbors and friends, and with other pets that Nikki sometimes has at her home. I have gifted my dog with a 24-hour stay at Nikki's home on quite a few occasions, even when I didn't need a pet sitter! Nikki has far exceeded my expectations of a pet sitter, and I've always received from her so much more than my money's worth. I highly, highly recommend Nikki. She is skilled, patient, reliable, honest and caring; she notices every detail, and she LOVES animals! I'm so thankful to have found her.

TOP PRO
  • 17 years in business
  • 16 hires on Thumbtack
  • Response time: 14 hours

Carly C.

Verified review

Dolores was amazing! We had just rescued our dog, Taylan, from an organization in Thailand and were concerned about her behavior toward our two cats. We didn't want to start right off with bad habits and weren't sure how to desensitize Taylan to our boys, so we hired Dolores. Immediately we felt comfortable with her and were impressed with her expertise and knowledge of dog behaviors. She left us with professional materials and talked with us about strategies for desensitization, which we've been practicing since our session. She validated our work with Taylan and helped give us peace of mind that we weren't ruining our new girl :). I would recommend Dolores to anyone who is seeking professional, knowledgeable help with various dog behaviors...and also help with human uncertainty!

  • 38 years in business
  • 28 hires on Thumbtack
  • Response time: 17 hours

Megan D.

Verified review

We've had two sessions with Maxine (an initial 3 hour visit and an hour long follow up visit) and couldn't be happier. We took in a 3 year old lab/beagle mix named Hamish about two months ago and needed some help with basic obedience training and also some specific problems: nuisance barking, pulling on the leash, and some occasional guarding behavior. After just one session, we were able to communicate much more effectively with Hamish and his problem behaviors lessened. And the extra guidance we got at our follow up session today has already proven extremely useful. Hamish used to bark and bark at passersby and not heed any of our efforts to quiet him. Now he barks less frequently and when he does we're able to get his attention and he stops. His recall has also improved dramatically. Overall, he's also much calmer - it's obvious he feels more comfortable now that he understands our respective roles and what's expected of him. We feel fully supported by Maxine and highly recommend her services.

  • 18 years in business
  • 7 hires on Thumbtack
  • Response time: 12 hours

Jennifer C.

Verified review

Jane took care of our FIVE little fur-bearing family members while we were away for a week. She is by far the best pet-sitter we have ever had! She started with an initial meeting in our home, which was incredibly thorough. It's clear she has a real love for and understanding of dogs, and real skill handling behavioral issues with pets. It's also clear now that we've had her support that the full range of services she offers is delivered with the same gentle, insightful, and steady care that every pet owner wants for their four-legged loved ones. She also retrieved our mail and made sure the house was safe while we were away--a real bonus! Jane provides daily written updates, which were incredibly helpful (she also identified an issue with our bathroom ceiling that would have taken us a few days to notice after we came back). She even found our shy guy, Skinner, every day, even though he is very good at hiding from strangers! We returned home to a happy, snuggly, healthy menagerie that had been expertly cared for. It was such a comfort knowing we had reliable, thoughtful care while we were away. We'll definitely reach out to Jane again the next time we're out of town. Strong endorsements from both of us humans and our furry five-some!

  • 4 years in business
  • Bowie, MD

About

Because I currently have, and have always had and enjoyed many small animals sharing my life. Each one has been my child. Always cared for in the best of ways. I will treat your small animals as if they are my own. I am very conscientious in all aspects of my life. I value life, in all of it's forms, very highly.

  • 3 years in business
  • 22 hires on Thumbtack
  • Vienna, VA

Audrey W.

Verified review

Orla, the owner of Adventure Paws, is great! I cannot recommend her highly enough. We moved to Allston with our 7 year old Norwich terrier, who was not very happy about the change. Orla has patiently worked with our dog to make her more comfortable in the new neighborhood and with new dogs. Orla has been great about reinforcing training and working to curb bad behaviors/encouraging good behaviors. Our dog has been much better behaved since Orla came into the picture. She is highly responsive and flexible. We get text updates about our dog's daily walk and anything they worked on/fun things they did. If we ever need a change in timing Orla makes sure our dog is taken care of. Aside from daily walks Orla has stayed for overnight stays when we have been away - it was great to know that our dog was well taken care of when we were gone. If you need a dog walker in the Allston area Adventure Paws is the place!

About

I provide very loving customized care for cats, dogs, birds, reptiles and rodents. I tend to the pet's total well-being -- walking, feeding and fun, gentle playing. I am able to give medications, pills, creams and injections. You will be delighted with the high-level of personal care that I give. Your pets will be happy. I will also see that household things are done such as trash removal, plant care, curtain or blinds opening / closing and mail retrieving. While you are away, I will keep written notes. If you want, you may call me to check on your pets or home.

  • Washington, DC

About

We use Hypoallergenic and Natural Hair Products Pet Grooming Pet Boarding Cat Grooming Kennel Service Kennel

  • Halethorpe, MD

About

I am an owner of dogs, cats, chickens, a goat, and a turkey. I am very knowledgeable with animals. I have a flexible schedule.

  • 7 years in business
  • Washington, DC

About

My service stand out too please my client. And earn there trust ! maintain there house and take care of any pet

  • 1 hire on Thumbtack
  • Summit Point, WV

About

I thoroughly enjoy training animals whether it be dogs or horses. I have been training for over 30 years. Taining involves spending time with your animal and that is good for everyone.

  • Woodbridge, VA

Jan G.

Verified review

Good Dog Pet Care is wonderful! We are experienced dog owners but our latest rescue turned out to be a "dominant" dog & we had no experience with that. Alex saved the day (& the dog)! His knowledge of animal behavior is superior & he taught us so much. His dog walking service is also superior. His employees all share his love of dogs, are prompt & reliant, & our dog always returns happy & tired! All I have to say is "Alex is coming" & she sits @ the front door waiting for him, without moving, until he gets here. It is very obvious how much Fiona loves Alex! We have used Alex's services for over a year now & couldn't be happier. Right now Alex & his dog Hank are staying @ our house for 2 weeks while we are on vacation. We are truly relaxed knowing that Alex is there & Fiona is happy & content. You will not regret using Alex!

About

Wholistic Hound Academy teaches you how to train your dog so that they make incredibly brilliant choices! We do more than just teach sit and down. We teach your dog the life skills that are so necessary for living in the human home. Our goal is help you and your dog enjoy living together...as it should be.