I used to think that owning a dog only required a loving owner and a cute dog.
"I met Olive, a cream-colored Tibetan Terrier, on December 22 at the Peninsula SPCA where I found her sleeping quietly in the corner in an otherwise completely chaotic room with several other dogs jumping and barking. She definitely was cute and it was hard to believe that she had been abandoned or lost a few weeks prior and ended up in the shelter. During our meet & greet, I put her on my lap and she fell right asleep in my arms. We spent two great weeks during the Christmas break together getting to know each other, then I left home to go to work for the first time in January. That's when I found out that Olive had the worst case of separation anxiety by destroying the front door, sitting on the stove, and crying all day long in my absence. I had no idea such thing existed, as none of my family dogs growing up had anything that remotely resembled such behavior. It was impossible to leave her at home and I felt completely helpless.
That's when Margaret came to the rescue. There's no one else as patient as Margaret who methodically helped me determine the source of Olive's issues and the figure out steps to help my fuzzy dog with the cutest brown nose trust me enough to know that I will not abandon her or harm her. Just about when I was ready to give up, in tears, feeling so sorry for Olive and even myself for even thinking about the possibility of returning her back to the SCPA, Margaret was the soothing voice that assured me that we will both learn to trust each other and gave me several wonderful ideas to ease the situation.
These days, Olive can be found either sleeping on a soft cushion or sitting by the kitchen window, sniffing the world out there without destroying anything in the house, and running around the beach and climbing the high mountains on weekends."
Buddy Learns House Rules and How to Live With 3 Kids
"My name is Buddy and I am now a five year old, very mature collie who was lucky enough to be trained by my wonderful teacher, Margaret. I learned so much about life and what it means to live with people. Of course I learned basic obedience, what I could chew on and what was off limits. I learned to relieve outside and many other puppy skills that make my owner so happy and proud of me. I learned to love playing tug and fetch and I still play it with my family. There are three children in my house so I learned how to behave around children. Margaret also taught my mom lots of things about my training and how to continue my good behavior. Margaret taught me how to be a wonderful dog."
-Buddy J. (the dog)
Read what happy clients are saying about Family Dog Training.
Jumping and Leash Pulling Puppy
"My husband came home with a puppy one week after his father passed away. I thought he was nuts, but what could I say? Turns out, our chesapeake-lab mix was adorable for the first month. Then behavior problems ensued. He jumped up on people constantly and would not walk alongside while on a lead. I was at my wit's end when Margaret spent a few sessions with us. Her positive behavior approach and knowledge gave me the tools to work with our puppy and it made all the difference. She gave me concrete and tangible ways to correct those bad habits! Thank you, Margaret!"
Two Perspectives on Training
Tammi & Allen’s (Ginger's people) thoughts on the training:
"Margaret was great. She started the training by getting to know us, how each of us felt about Ginger and how we wanted to see her behavior change. She listened, asked us what we wanted to work on and then planned the training around our needs. She started each session with questions about how the training was going with Ginger, our progress and any challenges we were having, and then worked with us on the training we felt we need for that week. Margaret listened and adapted her training to us and Ginger. She also sent along her notes and recommendations in an email after each training session."
Ginger’s thoughts on the training:
"Lucky dog, lucky dog, lucky dog. I got the treats and my owners got the training. Well to be fair, I worked hard too, but I got tasty treats for my work, especially enjoyed the “high reward” treats of hot dogs and cheese. My name is Ginger, and I am a Sheppard, Hound mix that was rescued through an adoption organization in Southern California. My new owners saw very quickly the sweet and devoted companion that I could make with a little training and positive reinforcement. I can be a handful when I want to chase squirrels and charge the front door when company arrives, but I’m smart and learn quickly with the proper patience and motivation from my owners. Margaret was very patient with me and my owners."
"We highly recommend Margaret from our dog training experience."
-Tammi & Allen
No Longer Frustrated - Now We are Excited to Learn!
Margaret, I took your Working Dogs class because I wanted to desperately teach my dogs how to fetch. Both my dogs were rescued from a rescue group and they came with their own set of challenging challenges. Stuart was extremely shy and terrified of movement and the noises of all the balls and toys. Piccolo was young and could not sit for more then a few seconds.
Fetch was something I had struggled with and I didn't know how to teach them. Both Stuart and Piccolo had no clue what I was trying to communicate to them, until you showed me how to reward them in small steps. Wow I was impressed.
Once I took your class I wasn't frustrated anymore and they were excited to learn. Their brains were working and we were actually communicating to each other. What fun we have together now. Once the light bulb went on in their heads, they gave me the look of, "You mean I get a treat for this ! Ok lets train then!!"
Because of your classes, we set out to learn more and every night we train 15-20 minutes. Here are a few clips of what they have accomplished since taking your working dogs class:
Thank you so much for making your classes so fun and inspiring us to learn more. Stuart went on to get his basic, intermediate and advanced tricks dog certificates by testing in front of Kyra Sundance (the Author of 101 Dog Tricks) at a work shop this year "Do More With Your Dog". Hopefully young little Piccolo will follow in his footsteps.
Sally the High Energy Puppy
"Margaret was so helpful. Sally is a high energy puppy and Margaret gave us so many useful tips to keep Sally challenged. Also Margaret gave us lots of congratulations for doing well week to week. I would definitely recommend this trainer."
-E.A., Menlo Park
Found in a rural shelter, with big soft brown eyes that said, "Take me home with you." Cooper, an extremely fearful dog, is learning to trust and adjust to life in the suburbs.
We found Cooper at a rural shelter, an owner surrendered young mixed breed dog with big soft chocolate brown eyes. She settled cautiously, but nicely into her new surroundings with us, however, it gradually became clear that she was an extremely fearful dog. We found ourselves faced with training challenges we did not know how to handle and altering our lifestyle significantly because of her behavior. We consulted with a couple of trainers, who after observing Cooper recommended that we re-home her or take her back. We weren’t ready to give up on her.
And then we found Margaret! Prior to our first meeting, Margaret strategized with us about what we all needed to do at the door so she could enter the house and Cooper could get practice at front door behavior. Cooper barked at Margaret for 50 minutes of the first 60-minute session and Margaret turned every bark into a teachable moment for all of us while assessing the nature of Cooper’s problems. We saw significant results within the first four weeks of training, giving us confidence that with Margaret’s help, we could commit to this “project”. Margaret is a knowledgeable, encouraging, compassionate and patient trainer with a viable training solution for every problem we have encountered. She has gained Cooper’s trust and is teaching us the tools we need for working with such a fearful dog. Cooper is happier and learning to trust us to keep her safe while we are learning to respect her fears, building solid strategies for taking care of her, and going about our daily lives again. We highly recommend Margaret; she gets 2 thumbs and 4 paws, up from us, Nancy, Corky and Cooper, Cupertino
Goldie the Great! Traumatic experience overcome with a loving family and a little help from the trainer!
Goldie is a 7 year old female chihuahua/corgi mix.
Poor Goldie had a very traumatic experience a few weeks before we adopted her. Her owner passed away unexpectedly, and Goldie kept vigil for a whole week, without food, before the authorities discovered her.
When we adopted her, she'd spent a month in both the animal shelter and the rescue.
Although she was a sweet girl, we didn't know where to begin with her training.
Goldie had extreme anxiety going further than two houses away from ours, and was afraid to go on walks. She would stop in her tracks, and wouldn't budge. At the same time, although she never had an accident inside our house, she refused to go potty anywhere on our property! I dreamed of just opening up the sliding glass door and having her run out and go potty in the back yard.
Thank goodness Margaret came to the rescue!
With Margaret's patient help and amazing guidance, Goldie has learned to overcome her anxieties, walk with a leash, come when she is called, sit, stay, and go potty on demand!
We are so thrilled... Goldie included! Goldie is now a very well adjusted, happy member of our family!
Really Caring & Highly Recommended
"Margaret is a really caring, dog loving person. She is friendly, helpful, suggestive, and knowledgeable. I would highly recommend her as a dog trainer."
-P.P., San Carlos Ca