“We adopted Abby, our lab/plott hound mix, last October and began taking her to classes with a local trainer. We committed ourselves to the process and aimed to follow the trainer’s methods, yet we couldn’t help but question what we were taught as Abby grew less confident and more reactive. As an educator (and a human being with a heart), I clearly saw that what we were being asked to do with Abby wasn’t fair to her or to us and ultimately was damaging our relationship. Abby was shaking with anxiety in class. (Quite honestly, so were we.)
Then we met Helen: Enter light. Enter knowledge. Enter heart. Enter sense of humor. Enter hope.
We began meeting for private sessions and Helen showed us simple ways to work WITH Abby and her beautiful nature, not against her. “Are you having fun?” she would ask us expectantly with eyes wide, “Because this is supposed to be fun!”
The first night after implementing the new strategies, Abby slept peacefully with a doggy smile on her lips. The second time we met for a private session, I asked Helen if I could hug her (she said yes). By the third session, we were in awe of this lovely “full of beans” dog that we hadn’t been understanding until now.
Abby loves Helen. She loves class. She loves life. Abby loves to work and learn and to be the absolute nut that she is, and she trusts us now in the way we always hoped she would. We’re working hard together, and we have progress yet to make, but she has bounced back so quickly from her earlier negative training experience thanks to Helen who meets Abby where she is and sets her up for success every time.
NOT all trainers and methods of training are the same. Helen is compassionate and extraordinary. The methods she shares are proof positive that behavior can be modified without force. We’re so glad we regarded that pit in our stomach, that we questioned and rejected what didn’t feel right with our earlier trainer and sought a different way. We only wish we’d done it sooner.”
–Sara, Scott, & Abby

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