ROBIN THE LIFE SAVER, February, 2017
I guess you could say that Robin is a lifesaver! We rescued our sweet and very energetic Coal a little over a year ago. After about 8 months with us, Coal developed dog reactivity out of what seems like nowhere. So now, I not only had a very high energy dog, I could no longer take Coal on walks, to the dog park or even board him when I went out of town, without the fear that he would get into a fight with another dog. After an incident with another dog, we thought our only option was to surrender Coal out of fear that my family was in danger of an “aggressive” dog. A friend referred me to Robin and after just one meeting, our lives were forever changed. Robin observed our interaction with Coal, asked lots of questions about his behaviors and reactions. After getting the big picture, Robin talked to me at length about how to make sense out of his actions and how to correct these behavior issues with positive behavior modification. No yelling, no shocking, no prong collars, just teaching Coal how to modify his behavior to help control his impulses in a positive and loving way. I committed to walking Coal (with the suggested Halti Head Harness) everyday, incorporated the interactive toys Robin recommended. Now Coal is well adjusted and learning to control his dog reactivity. In just a couple of months he’s gone from not being able to be within at least 20 feet from a dog on our walks, to being able to sit on the side of the cart path and allow dogs to pass. Our walks are more frequent and enjoyable now that he isn’t pulling me and I know how to handle dog encounters. I often get compliments of how well behaved he is on our walks. Thank you Robin for helping me understand “why dogs behave a certain way” and how to teach positive behavior modifications based on mutual respect and not punishment. – Monica
PRAISE FOR ROBIN’S TRAINING – OLIVER
I want to brag on what a great, great job you do. Thanks for being such a great teacher. I appreciate your knowledge, friendliness, encouragement when our dogs succeed and when they are misbehavin’, your organization, your willingness to listen to our questions and really want to help us find solutions, your thoroughness, and your handouts.
These are just a few things I mention that I sometimes take for granted and fail to thank you for. Please know we value you. – Bruce and Jan Haag (and Oliver of course!), April, 2016.
PRAISE FOR ROBIN’S TRAINING – GABE & ATTICUS
We want to thank Robin Sockness of My Best Buddy Dog Training for the great experience we had with our two Border Collies Gabe and Atticus. They are very well-behaved due to the training that they received from this class. We were out-of-town with both of them and everyone commented on how well they listen. While taking the class, Robin was always available for questions we might have before our next class as she was only a phone call away. They are very socialized due to the class and learned all basic puppy skills. This is a class that we would recommend to anyone with a new puppy.- Buddy and Donna Teague, May, 2015
BRUNO & ZOEY
Hi Robin! Just want to update you on Bruno’s progress. I just took both the dogs for a walk (Zoey got a Halti harness too!), and we had a lovely walk tonight. The dogs are paying attention to my pace, I still have to stop occasionally, but it is an improvement of 90% in just three weeks!! I am thrilled! The feeding from my hand as you recommended (and talk about on your website) really got their attention – amazing! They are definitely paying attention to me on walks now! Thank you so much for all your help, I won’t need shoulder surgery now!! Can’t wait to tell the staff at our vet’s office, Braelinn Animal Hospital, who referred us to you. I sing your praises!! Thank you again! –Leslie, Bruno & Zoey
Jack is doing fantastic! He is quite the polite gentleman now when we have company…far from what he was before you worked with him. He still follows his commands and is always eager to please. Thank you for everything! I have enclosed a couple of pictures of our sweet boy! – Robby & Lacey Bowman
DREAMY THE THERAPY DOG PREP GRADUATE!
After she settled in, I took her to a traditional obedience class, with choke chains and no treats. She would reluctantly heel around with the rest of the class, but when we passed the family and friends who came to watch, she would take off for the nearest lap! It soon became pretty obvious that she was not enjoying the class, so I started looking for an alternative.
My friend Merilee mentioned that she was planning to take an advanced puppy class with Robin, so we signed up. Dreamy loved the new classes! All positive training, and lots of treats! The dogs were allowed to socialize during down times, but Dreamy usually opted for belly rubs instead. Robin told me then that she might make a good therapy dog.
I didn’t think we could do it. Therapy dogs have to walk on a loose leash, and Dreamy is just too excited about seeing the world and visiting with everyone she meets to be bothered with a leash. Schipperkes are known for their mischievousness, not their obedience!
When Robin offered the therapy dog class, we signed up. I still had my doubts, but after going on observations and seeing what a difference dogs can make, I became very motivated. Robin continuously offered lots of positive support and helpful suggestions.
We did it! Dreamy was awesome at her observations, and showed us that she was meant to be a therapy dog. But we couldn’t have done it without Robin’s help. Thank you so much for what you have given us. Not only are we excited to be a therapy dog team, but Dreamy loves training!
SOPHIE THE THERAPY DOG PREP GRADUATE!
It means so much to me that Sophie and I are on our way to bringing a little joy to others! It’s true that Robin taught me how to teach Sophie to walk on a loose leash, to leave it, to watch me and all of those other good dog behaviors. But the most amazing thing that Sophie and I gained from her training is a deeper connection with each other. Because of our newly learned behaviors, it means we can really enjoy each others company when we take long walks or visit new places. Robin taught me to understand that she’ll always be a dog and it’s OK when she doesn’t behave “perfectly”. I love Sophie so much and I feel so fortunate to have had Robin as my dog mom mentor. Thank you!!!! – Michelle Smolinski and Sophie
PHOENIX THE THERAPY DOG PREP GRADUATE!
Phoenix and I went through My Best Buddy’s Courteous Canine Puppy Class and recently completed the Therapy Dog Preparation Course. I feel with Phoenix, because of the positive reinforcement – it is a relationship of trust and understanding. This was so different from the training I went through with my chocolate lab, Hershey. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this special bond that will only become stronger and richer for I, too, love Phoenix so very much. You will always be “Auntie Robin” and I love the fact that you’re there whenever we need you!!! – Merilee Giddings and Phoenix
TO AUNT ROBIN…WITH LOVE!
Hello! My name is Annie and I am a 3 year old black English Labrador Retriever. When I was just one year old, my mom adopted me from a very nice lady and brought me home to live with her. Since I had spent all my life living with my mom, dad and other sisters who were just like me I was a little scared to be leaving, but super excited as well. I had never ridden in a car before, or lived in a house, or gone for walks in the neighborhood. I certainly had no concept of what it meant to be a therapy dog or a reading education assistance dog, but my new mom and Aunt Robin had big plans for me. Shortly after I came to my new home, mommy enrolled me in Aunt Robin’s puppy classes. I am not a puppy – by this time I was two years old – but I didn’t know all the good stuff that Aunt Robin teaches so off we went! Aunt Robin is just the best teacher! She makes school FUN! I learned how to play with other dogs that were in class and I learned a lot of new skills, too, like how to lie down, leave it, wait at the door, heal, watch me, and lots of other cool stuff. There were some men in my class that came with their dog and at first I didn’t like them very much – men scared me. But these were nice men and with Aunt Robin’s help, I learned to like these guys – they weren’t so bad after all. They gave me treats! And scratches behind the ears! Who doesn’t like treats and ear scratches? At the very end of class, Aunt Robin has awards for us. We had fun competitions and guess what?! I won the award for the “Longest Wait”!
Even after I graduated from Aunt Robin’s puppy class, she and mommy continued to teach me new things and they brought me on play dates with other puppies. Since I grew up with only other dogs that looked like me, I wasn’t too sure of all these other breeds of dogs. Who knew there were so many?! And they all look different! I was especially barky when I meant new dogs, but after a lot of practice with Aunt Robin one-on-one at the park and other places, I no longer feel the need to bark so much when I see a new dog. Did you know that you get yummy chicken when you see a new dog?! WOWZA! Training with Aunt Robin is just so much FUN!
My mommy still takes me on play dates to Aunt Robin’s house. Aunt Robin has the coolest back yard – there are so many smells and there’s a pond! I am not allowed in the pond; so Aunt Robin got me a pool of my very own instead! I am now a registered therapy dog with Therapy Dogs Incorporated (www.therapydogs.com) and I am a Reading Education Assistance Dog. I get to do visits at the nursing home, hospitals, boys and girls clubs, schools and libraries. I visit with the young children and the young at heart! Me, my mom, my sister Gina, Aunt Robin and her dog, Kiku, are all CAREing Paws Teams. You should check us out at www.CAREingPaws.org.
Thank you, Aunt Robin, for teaching me the skills I needed to become a happy, confident dog! Now I can help others!
PORTER CAN NOW GO TO BASEBALL GAMES!!!
Porter is fabulous!! I am actually looking forward to taking him to some little league baseball games this spring, something we would have never attempted before!
I joined the Canine Courtesy class with my 3-year-old Labrador Retriever, Porter. To say he was a bit excitable is an understatement. He would practically tackle anyone coming to our door! I thought changing this behavior was an impossible task, but with Robin’s help, we taught him to be calm when encountering visitors. And this was done all through positive reinforcement, no yelling or punishments.
I highly recommend this class for anyone with an over-excitable dog.
ONLY HALLOWEEN IS SCARY NOW!
I was referred to Robin after my retriever mix, Sophie, attacked my neighbor’s dog over a bone. It was very scary but, thankfully, no one was injured. When I realized Sophie’s bad behavior was escalating, I knew I needed help. Robin came to my home to meet Sophie and my other dog, Cooper. She taught me the importance of “parenting” and showed me the techniques that would help me be in charge. I have been using those techniques over the past several weeks with both of my dogs and am amazed at the results. Not only do I have more control in my home but there have not been any other incidents of aggression. I am very thankful for Robin’s help and plan to use her expertise for our future training needs.
LATTE – THE KID IN THE MIDDLE!
Latte is a people-loving pointer and one who makes us laugh. We first saw her cute, freckled white face looking out of her safe crate at PetsMart in their Adopt-A Pet program sponsored by the Fayette Humane Society. We asked to walk her but had trouble getting her out of the door because she wanted to hug everybody. We liked her personality immediately and because of her coloring and our love for coffee, we called her Latte. There are 3 of us living in a side by side duplex that share Latte. It works perfectly. She sleeps at Ginny’s home and eats at Dave and Cathy’s place. When one of us is away, she happily migrates to the other. And she has different jobs in each household. Ginny walks her and introduces her to neighborhood kids. In Dave and Cathy’s home, she welcomes everybody warmly and entertains the grand kids. When their 6 month old grand twins joined the household, Latte became their major guardian. She was happiest when she could stretch out between the girls on the floor and enjoy their pinches, pokes, hugs and love-bites. Our biggest problem with this pointer mix was her taking us on enthusiastic arm-wrenching squirrel-sighting walks. Robin’s patient help and encouragement in training Latte has brought all of us into the enjoyment of loose-leash walking now. Robin’s dog obedience class has helped us immensely in many areas. Cathy wishes she had some of this dog obedience training when her children were young! There are really many healthy crossover points in these positive techniques. Latte is now a registered therapy dog and enjoys having children read to her.