wags n' brags
the pawsitive dog

pawsitive dog stories

Are you a + dog client with a story you'd like to "bark" about? We'd love to hear it! Your story may make a difference in helping other dog owners develop an enjoyable lifelong partnership.

Ferdie's Story

I just wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for helping usbegin a fulfilling relationship with Ferdinand and helping him to become a much happier and secure littledog. We plan to enroll in further obedience trainingwithin the next couple of months but you havegiven us so much to work with and so much more confidence in our ability to handle his aggressive behavior and move him further along towards voice control and beta status...

As you know, when we came to you,Ferdiewas 11 months old and we were feeling hopeless and desperate as he continued to biteme and show other aggression towards me and large dogs. I feared that we couldn't keep him and it was truly breaking my heart. During the first class, he seemed practically feral, hiding under a chair, growling, snapping,and snarling at every dog. I know he scared the hell out of the other owners (one person even admitted it!) - they wonderedwhy we would keep such a dog when we describedhis problem behaviors. Those same folks were blown away at how much he changed and my expectations for him have been raised. After the first couple of classes, he was really excited when he saw where we were going and bounded down the stairs despite the fact thathe had to work much harder than a lot of the other dogs. I am soooo proud of him and us!

It was also helpful to learn about the psychology of dogs - who knew they were so complicated! But who knew that it could be so effective and fun to train your dog!!!!

So, we will be singing your praises whenever we can, working hard, and enjoying the rest of our summer with Ferdie.We will see you in the fall - we cannot thank you enough!

Ann, Bree & Ferdie


Olive's Story

I remember the first time I came to the Pawsitive Dog in 2003 with my fear-aggressive Australian Shepherd mix. Olive was so afraid of everything that, going outside my front door in her own neighborhood, she would snarl and lunge at anything in her sight which moved. She had never bitten anyone but I knew that, without professional help, one day she most likely would.

I had adopted Olive from a no-kill shelter when she was 4 months old. When I saw her at the shelter, she appeared to be what I was looking for a smart, active, herding dog. The next day, I began to meet the true Olive when she trembled going outside the front door and frantically barked and lunged at cars and passersby.

I hired her first trainer and brought Olive to puppy kindergarten. As other puppies settled in, Olive became increasingly agitated with each new class, barking at other puppies and nervously eyeing activity in the street through the window. She barely "passed" the class. Although I later tried to work on her reactivity at home, increasing her distance and exposure to things which triggered her fear, I was unsuccessful and sought help from a second, more experienced trainer; but by then Olive's reactivity had intensified. When I had to move, I was very concerned about Olive adapting to a new place and knew that I needed to get serious about training her. After settling in, I asked everyone I knew for referrals to trainers who hard experience with dogs like Olive and heard about the Pawsitive Dog.

Coming to the Center and training with Jenifer and her staff has been the best thing to happen to Olive and me. When she evaluated Olive, Jenifer asked if I was prepared to work hard. That was all the encouragement I needed. Olive and I have worked hard together and been conscientious about doing our "homework." Every class we took, I learned something which helped. Improvement was slow but visible. At first the classes were stressful for both Olive and me, but by the 3rd class, I could tell Olive was enjoying coming to a place which had terrified her. I began to learn that Olive is happiest when she "has a job" and I give her direction.

The training has paid off. Olive always will be reactive but with ongoing training, her behavior is under control. My neighbors now comment on how well behaved Olive is. New clients at the Center seeing Olive hold a "down-stay," off leash and on a bed next to other dogs, often have no idea that underneath that controlled exterior is a reactive dog. Training has become a passion for both Olive and me; she is a member of the "100 club," having taken well over 100 classes. I have successfully added a second dog, a stable more dominant male, to the household. Jenifer and her staff have been wonderful. They are firm, compassionate no-nonsense trainers who really "get" dogs and clearly love doing what they do so well. Without them, I'm sure that I would not have Olive today.

Debbie, Olive & Milo


Lucy's Story

I cannot say enough great things about the pawsitive dog. When my husband and I first got our "little girl", Lucy, we thought we were prepared; but we had no idea how much work it was going to be. She is an Airedale terrier with lots of energy. We had a dog walker come twice a day when we were at work, and we would play and exercise with her all morning and all night when we got home. But it still wasn't enough and as she grew older and more energetic our little terrier became more and more of a "terror-ier". We really didn't know what more we could be doing to stimulate her and tire her out. We would get up earlier and earlier every day to work in play and exercise with her before we went to work. It was never enough. In the meantime we were becoming zombies! We were also concerned because although she wanted to please us, her frustration from all the pent up energy she had was making her very difficult to train and she was becoming aggressive.

Enter the pawsitive dog ! YAY! When we first met with Jenifer I knew it would be the perfect place for us and for Lucy. Jenifer and her team are honest, down to earth and know their stuff! Within two weeks we had a completely different dog. She would wait patiently in a down while we watched TV and not bother us and run around like crazy. She would sit when asked and down when asked. She stopped trying to be in our face all the time. That was just to start! Then, just a short while later she was doing down-stays and would wait until released. She was actually listening to us. She was so mentally stimulated from the classes and the day school that when she came home she was no longer a "terror-ier" but rather a snuggle bug who just wanted to love on us and share with all she was learning.

The true test came when we went to dinner over at a friend's house. They love dogs and wanted us to bring her. We were a bit nervous, but we thought we would try it and see how it went. We put her bed down in a corner and told her to down and stay and gave her a chewy. She lay there all night and never bothered us once while we enjoyed dinner, drinks and even a raucous board game where we were all jumping around like idiots. She just lay their happily chewing on her bone, occasionally looking up as we made fools of ourselves. Later that evening my friends commented on what a good dog she was. Little did they know that only three weeks earlier she would have been a nightmare in their home!

She loves school and we do, too! Each and every day our relationship with our Lucy grows into a deeper and deeper bond. She is the love of our lives and thanks to the pawsitive dog she is growing into such a good dog. It is such a treasure to spend time with her and see her growing into herself in a pawsitive way. Now that she has such a strong training foundation we have a better relationship with her because we trust her and can take her everywhere with us. Thank you, pawsitive dog! We couldn't do it without you.

Rachel, Brando & Lucy


Cassie's Story

Photo by Anne Francis
I adopted my Shepherd mix Cassie 3 years ago when she was four years old. She had never walked on a leash and was fear aggressive to other dogs. Two other trainers gave me a dim prognosis for any recovery, particularly with her dog aggression. One refused to train her.

I live in the South End where there are lots of dogs, so knew I had to do something. She is a wonderful dog, good with people and with my 3 cats. When I finally came to the pawsitive dog, she walked on a leash but just barely, dragging me around the neighborhood. I was astonished that she would be trained in a room with other dogs, and in the beginning I was scared to death. Jenifer helped me overcome my fear and Cassie's fear as well. She taught me the need for consistency and the need for me to take charge. We started slow and small, and then built up, so now she can be around other dogs and even a little friendly to some of them. My neighbors think Cassie is a miracle, and she is; but it is due to her willingness to follow my direction and my knowing how to lead her, under the guidance of the pawsitive dog. I am forever grateful for helping this sweet animal work toward her full potential.


Stanley, Louie & Sophie's Story

Photo by Sasha Nialla
We had an Italian greyhound, Stanley - sweet, but undisciplined, in part because we had an older dog that was in very poor health and she took all our time and energy. When she died, we got another Iggy - Louie.

Now we had 2 dogs, Italian greyhounds, a breed known for being high strung, and difficult to train. We decided it was time for the pawsitive dog. When we got there, there was an Italian greyhound, Sophie, lying on a bed, relaxed in the midst of training other dogs, people coming and going, telephones ringing ...

Jim and I thought, it's a trick dog; NO Iggy could hold a position like that, ever! I told the trainer and she said, "Oh, someday your two will do that." We nodded politely and laughed ourselves silly when we left the building. We said, "Wait 'til they get a dose of our dogs. They will never get them to sit still, never mind obey a command like 'go to bed.'" But we thought it couldn't hurt to try, so the following week we started school.

Within a month, we tried day school. Within 2 weeks, they were holding a "down, stay" on the beds. We stopped laughing and began to think we could actually have good dogs that were safe, happy pets that could adapt -- and we do.

Carol, Jim, Stanley, Louie & Sophie


Theo's Story

Photo by Breslin Benyo
+ dog has positively changed our dog, Theo, and us. I will say Melissa and I would most likely not have Theo today if it weren't for + dog. He was a feisty 4-month old puppy that we just didn't know how to manage. I would even go so far as to say he was a ferocious, monstrous puppy with sharp teeth and bad manners. Melissa and I have a much deeper understanding of what he's about and how to handle him, thanks to Jenifer and the + dog team. And we love going to class!

So he's our handful, and we'll keep working with him, especially since our family will soon grow by one baby.
Jenifer, Breslin & Daniel ... you are a dog-send! Thank you so much.

Lisa, Melissa & Theo


Orion's Story

Photo by Steph Lafond
Our first dog was a beautiful, sweet Great Dane. She was always very eager to please, playful and at ease with other dogs at dog parks. When our second Dane turned out to be a bigger challenge, we knew we'd need a professional! We had moved since training our first dog, so we set off to find a trainer in Boston. I'm not entirely sure how, but luckily we found the + dog .

Six years ago when we started t