Testimonial - Otto

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When we first adopted our mixed breed puppy, Otto, he was 10 weeks old and we were thrilled to have a new hiking buddy in the family. However, despite a few puppy socials at local pet stores and a puppy kindergarten course, Otto made it clear that hanging out around other dogs wasn’t exactly his thing. Entering the world of “owner of a reactive dog” was extremely difficult for us at first. Like many others, it was an issue we did not fully understand. Living in a busy area with other dogs around almost every time Otto went out for a potty break, his issues quickly pushed us all to the breaking point. After many tears and an awful experience with a trainer who used physical corrections, we were finally lucky enough to find Helen. Helen called me immediately after I sent my inquiry and assured me that she could help. Since that time the progress Otto has made is outstanding. Even though it has only been 6 months, sometimes I don’t think we fully remember the “old Otto” and just how much he has learned. Helen’s style of “training the human” is extremely refreshing and she always keeps training sessions fun and relaxed. Training a reactive dog is overwhelming, frustrating, and requires a lot of homework but with Helen’s guidance and responsiveness I always felt confident in the skills Otto and I were working on. Otto has learned coping skills and I have learned how to read him better and redirect him before his fear sets in. After having a very strained relationship in the early months of his life, it has been an extremely rewarding experience to work through this problem with Otto as a team and in doing so grow a bond of love and trust. Otto can now go outside and walk by other people without fear – something we never thought he would be able to achieve many months ago. Although he may never be able to go hiking as we originally imagined, Otto can pass by another dog successfully in many cases and in the times he feels scared he now has the skills to calm himself down quickly and continue on his way. Perhaps one of the most important lessons we learned from Helen was to accept Otto for who he is – both strengths and limitations included. We are so thankful to have found Helen. She is extremely dedicated to what she does and offers constant guidance, resources, and support. My husband recently said, “I wish I loved my job as much as Helen does!” I would never hesitate to refer anyone to NMBDT. Thank you so much Helen for helping our little family – we will be forever grateful!