manners class participants, fear of veterinarians
I always wanted a dog. So, when Ivan and I realized that we had enough time for dog, Bella became a part of our lives, we got a new friend and member of the family. We knew it was not going to be easy, that polar breeds are not great for inexperienced people, but we believed we can do it. We were lucky enough to have met Sandra.
Bella never had major issues. But samoyed is a breed with strong will. And that’s great. Samoyed is perfect, beautiful dog, but requires a lot of effort, time, patience and love.
As we were inexperienced, we’ve heard lots of different advices that we thought were good. In particular, Cesar Millan’s methods. Many people told us: “Bella is dominant”, “Bella is bad dog”. We believed them, but were skeptical. Veterinarians have told us that Bella is “bad and aggressive”. It is difficult in some situations to be cool when lots of people tell you bad things.
Sandra explained to us that dogs do need love, that we have a good start with teaching Bella, that dogs are not bad, and that ‘s the reason for Bella’s behavior at the vet is fear. Also, Bella wasn’t growling because she did not want to let go of something, but because we did not teach her drop stuff. Bella wouldn’t come when called because we didn’t teach her properly to come every time.
After consultation, we concluded that we were being naive to have listened to others. We’ve attended basic manners class. Bella already new a few things we were learning in classes, but that didn’t matter. Bella loves to work and train, and most of all loves Sandra. Those two days a week we went, were Bella’s favorite days of the week. When we would get out of the car and head toward Urban Pet, Bella started pulling inside. Otherwise, Bella does not pull on the leash. She pulled because we went to see Sandra. Sandra kept in contact with us and she has a lot of patience to answer any further questions we might have.
Since the first conversation with Sandra, we no longer thought Bella was bad and we ignored the harsh methods. We were doing everything with love and understanding. The results are excellent. With a positive approach we can do anything. Teach recall, sit, stay… It took us a while to teach Bella “leave it” and ” drop it”. But we did it! It took us longer, but learning never stops. Bella always drops stuff when asked!
I can not describe how happy we are that we met Sandra.
Doris, Ivan i Bella
Lino, miniature Pinscher cross, 16 months old
fear of people, sounds, sensibility to touch, reactive to dogs
Lino was adopted when he was only five weeks old. From the start he was very fearfull, which we have somehow overcome, although in some situations he was still very uncomfortable. After he was neutered, his fears got worse to the extent that he barked at every sound an would not allow to be touched. On a walk, he was so frightened, he would bark at everything – people, cyclists, cars and dogs. He he starded charging at dogs as well. He started snapping at us and biting, although his bites were very soft and gentle. The situation has become so bad and I was on edge because I did not know how to help him or myself. After the first meeting with Sandra we had our hope back. She, as well as her approach are very positive. After a month of working with her, Lino is a completely different dog. He relaxed a lot, he cuddles again, walks are filled with pleasure again. We know now how to react in certain situations and most importantly, we trust each other again. I can only say words of praise, and that this is only the beginning of what we will be achieving thanks to Sandra and her advices! A big thank you and I warmly recommend it!
reactive to touching and handling, chasing cyclists
Sofie was showing aggression out of fear in certain situations. She was afraid of bicycles, was charging at the legs when someone approached her and wouldn’t like to be touched during examination, especially at the vet. Since we did not know how to properly deal with this situation and we didn’t want to use coercion to solve this problem, we turned to Sandra for help. We wanted Sofie to relax, to feel safe and enjoy all the situations that she may encounter.
At the initial meeting, we already learned a lot, and received detailed instructions on how to handle the “critical” situations. We took individual classes and we slowly exposed Sofie to different situations and stimuli. Sofie has responded well, and in time she was completely relaxed. Sandra’s approach is positive and calm. She taught us how to get Sofie’s attention, and much more.
Today, Sofie is coping easily in different situations that she previously feared. Now we know how to control and predict Sofie’s behavior, and to avoid certain situation. We believe that further work with Sofie, with the advice from Sandra, will help us achieve that Sofie behaves even better.
Many thanks to Sandra for her knowledge and guidance! I definitely recommend her and Urban Pet to anyone wishing well for their dogs.
Rex, mixed breed, five years old
aggressive behavior, sensitive to touching and handling
We found Rex, or better said – Rex has found us. One day he appeared in front of our yard and did not leave for several days. As we never had a dog before (although we always wanted), we decided to give him a home. But right from the start, although he followed on a walk and was obedient, Rex did not like to be touched. He would growl quietly every time we approached him and tried to touch him. He was dirty and neglected, but we could not wash him. During the first visit to the vet for vaccinations and chipping (we could hardly get him to enter the clinic), Rex acted like he was mad, trying to bite the vet and everyone around him including us. A veterinarian only did what was necessary, wished us luck and advised us to seek help from a dog trainer. After that, he wouldn’t let us approach him or touch him at all.
One day my father lost his nerve. He decided to touch Rex while he was sleeping. Rex suddenly woke up and bit him on the forearm. My father’s friend gave him a contact of some guy who was a dog trainer. This man had put a noose around Rex’ neck, and every time Rex growled, he would apply a strong jerk and reprimanded him. When Rex tried to bite him, he shoved him to the ground and held in that position while Rex was screaming as if he was getting slaughtered. What we experienced was terrible, and we were even more discouraged. His advice was to get rid of the dog because “he is crazy and very dangerous” and “to get rid of him and get a purebred puppy, so we know what we’ll be dealing with”.
After this terrible event, Rex retreated into the darkest corner, growling at anyone who approached him. This went on for days, and we seriously started to be afraid of him. He would get out only to eat and only when no one was around. He would go out for a walk only when we opened the door, got away and leave him alone. We couldn’t put a leash on him as he would growl and try to bite us, especially my father. We’ve lost hope and were quietly deciding whether we should put Rex to sleep (euthanise him). Then at some work gathering when casually talking to some colleagues someone suggested we call Sandra. Although we didn’t believe anyone can help us any more, we decided to take this one last step.
Soon after, we scheduled the consultation with Sandra. Her attitude and approach was incomparable. There was not force whatsoever! She sat near him in the yard and waited for him to approach her, which he did after a while. She did not yell at him or try to punish him if he growled, and she didn’t try to force anything on him. At one point Rex settled near her, so she gently began stroking and scratching his chest after which Rex began to relax and allowed her to touch him and examine him. She suspected Rex had an infection in both of his ear canals, has sore back and that his anal sacks were also infected. We stood by in disbelief as he allowed Sandra to examine him as if he knew her for ages. She was carefully monitoring his warning signs and responses. The next day we went together to the vet, and he confirmed that he had ear and anal gland infection. He received treatment, and when he recovered we kept in touch with Sandra and worked on Rex’s behavior issues.
Today Rex is a healthy dog, with shiny hair, lively and cheerful. His back still hurts, veterinarian concluded he had an old injury. We learned how to properly handle Rex, how to approach him and to touch him it, how to give him a massage and relieve discomfort. Today, Rex trusts us and loves to cuddle. He sleeps in bed with my dad and they love each other. He still does not like going to the vet, but at least we know now what we need to watch out for and how to act.
Dodo, mixed breed, one year old
destructive behavior, howling, urinating and defecating when left alone
Thank you for your advice and help! We managed to somehow arrange things and adjust work and free time. Dodo is better. He no longer howls when we’re gone. A neighbor says he hears him shortly barking here and there, but it is not as bad as before. Dodo sleeps in his crate open and he accepted it as his den. He even sleeps there over night, because he chooses so! In the morning, he comes up to our bed and wakes us up with kisses.
Bigi, maltese, two years old
reactive toward other dogs while on leash
Bigi was once attacked by a stray dog, and I panicked. Problems started soon after, his behavior changed overnight. And not just his, but my own behavior as well. We both became insecure and suspicious of any unfamiliar dog. I was scared and avoided long walks taking him out just to relieve himself.
I really wanted to change that and wanted to find someone who can help us, to show me what I am doing wrong and help me to become more confident, to show me how to strengthen my relationship with Bigi. I thank Sandra for her patience and humane approach.
Lara, staffordshire terrier mix, two years old
resource guarding food and items, pulling on leash, jumping on people, fear of children
Lara was adopted when she was six months old from our relatives who lived in a country. From the start we had problems with her jumping around the household and on people, biting people’s hands and feet. Walking on the leash was impossible, especially for me, so only husband took her for walks. She was also running away from us and wouldn’t let us put her back on leash, so we stopped walking her off leash.
We took obedience classes, but instructor advised us to muzzle her and use choke collar. Instructor also told us to punish Lara by grabbing her by the scruff and pinning her to the floor. Despite all she was still pulling and jumping on us during walk. She tried to jump and grab every person that was passing by. She was hiding from children, and if they got too close she would start barking. She would most probably bite them if they tried to touch her. Our walks were a nightmare. Lara also began to growl at us when we gave her food, especially if it was a bone or a treat. She was also guarding toys and wouldn’t let them go when she grabbed them. If we tried to take something from her she would growl and try to bite us. We couldn’t leave anything on the floor – socks, slippers, anything – everything was hers. She even bit me once. She didn’t hurt me, but I give up attempting to take anything out of her mouth. All this has pushed me to seek help from someone who works with dogs with behavior problems.
After the consultation with Sandra we were very satisfied with the her work and approach. We were delighted that things are perceived from a different perspective, which takes into account various factors and emotional state of the dog – something we have not even dreamed of since we were always taught and advised that the dog must do something no matter what. Otherwise you’re not a “pack leader”. Some changes were immediate. Lara quickly learned that it is not necessary to growl when eating. Through playing games, she learned to drop things when told, and she didn’t jump on us as much. A lot of things we did were wrong, because we didn’t know better. Walking on a leash improved. Lara is more focused on us and she is getting even better. Lara is wearing a harness although many have told us that she will pull more. The problem with fear of children is still present, but we are trying and working on it, and we can see an improvement. We’ve learned how to control certain situations, how to act and what to look out for. We are very grateful to Sandra for help, support and advice for which she’s always available!
Martina i Krešimir