What do my Students have to Say?
Pam is amazing in her understanding of dog behavior and in her ability to devise training steps to improve the relationship between owner and dog. My dog, Ginger, had developed some noisy barking, growling behaviors with strangers which were getting worse. Pam’s methods quickly develop the dogs focus on the owner to produce good behaviors that provide a substitute for unwanted reactions. Overall my dog is much calmer, more responsive, better behaved, loves Pam, and thoroughly enjoyed the classes.
Pam is tireless in her love, advocacy, heart and passion for dogs. She is knowledgeable, compassionate, funny and relatable. She will help you work through your troubles and forge a bond with your canine companion.
This woman is nothing short of remarkable. Pam has such a way with dogs and so perfectly explains the “why” behind what she is asking you to do. She’s a wealth of information, with a variety of tricks to help stay positive and calm.
I’ve been following Pam Dennison’s advice since I first discovered her book, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Positive Dog Training” many years ago. It totally changed the way I train my dogs, and we’re all happier for it. That book is out of print now, but she has revised, updated, and self-published its follow-up, “You CAN Train Your Dog.”
You don’t have to go to New Jersey to train with her, though. I took the first part of Pam’s “Clean up your act” online course several months ago and I enjoyed it so much that I’m back for Part 2! Pam always responded to my messages and had constructive comments on my videos–it was a very encouraging process!
I have to say, too, that you have to pay many hundreds of dollars more for such individual attention in some other online courses.
Since I took the first class, my newer dog has earned multiple obedience and rally titles. But I recognize that if I want to advance farther up the obedience ladder, well, I have to keep “cleaning up our act”!
Pam is an excellent positive trainer. Really positive- some trainers state that they are positive but if you talk to them for any length of time, it comes out that they will use shock collars, prong collars, or choke chains. Pam is POSITIVE and is always the spokesperson for the dogs. She works wonders with reactive dogs and is great for other training types, ie agility, manners, freestyle, etc
Pam is excellent. Highly recommend Positive Dogs. I have come to Pam and her school from another school that did not use the positive reinforcement approach in training. There is a clear difference in the approach at this school versus where I have come from. We have been with Positive Dogs for about 3 or 4 weeks and the difference in my dogs attitude is tremendous. He wants to learn and is a happier guy doing so. No more popping, shanking, yanking on the leash. no more prong collars or anything of the type that causes pain or any discomfort to the dog. You will see your dog learn, see the thought process, and see him enjoy doing so. I am so grateful (and so is my dog) to have found Positive Dogs and Pam. What a wonderful place and my dog and I look forward to going to class. Can’t wait to see where my dog and I can go as as a team!
I am so happy with Pam’s training. My dog is improving every week and has gone from being reactive to loving people.
After relocating from South Carloina, and moving into a more populated neighborhood here in New Jersey, I realized it was a bit more stressful for my three mixed breed triplets than I had thought. I rescued the sisters from an abusive situation over five years ago when they were six months old. Having five private acres of land, only occasional guests and very few neighbors, I spent little attention to the “human socialization” aspect of their lives. They were happy, healthy, and loving. After the move, the sisters were forced to accept a new lifestyle. Their daily walks were full of strangers, both human and canine, to which they became aggressive not only towards our neighbors, but also towards each other. I enrolled the most affected of the three in Pamela Dennison’s Positive Motivation Dog Training class for aggression/reactivity. Pamela allowed me to take full advantage of the private class by bringing in each dog separately in order to expose them to a different setting without the threat of harm to themselves or others. I learned so much about canine behavior and was able to REALLY get in “touch” with my dogs, both LITERALLY and figuratively. Pamela not only demonstrates the skills you need to succeed, but also uses easy to understand terms in order to teach you why dogs behave the way they do. Her wealth of knowledge, along with her unwaivering patience and dedication, prove that Pamela has found her true passion in life and her true calling!!! I have witnessed amazing results my dogs and should the need arise, Pamela has assured me that she is just a phone call away! I will begin the class “Managing the Multiple Dog Household” soon and with lots of patience and practice, I’m sure that my “girls” will be “model canine citizens”! PAMELA DENNISON’S POSITIVE MOTIVATION DOG TRAINING deserves 5 STARS!!!
I came to Pam for Rally Classes. I had never set foot in a Competition Ring before, but wanted to give it a try with my Beagle, Ory and then 2 years later, with my other Beagle Maddy. Ory is very laid back and Maddy is high energy but soft dog. Pam is a tremendous help to me. She always makes the lessons fun and I love that Pam will work with us on any problem that might arise in between lessons.
Thanks to Pam, my dogs and I have made big improvements and now have the knowledge and confidence to step into the ring.
Since I started working with Pam, Ory has earned:
World Cyno Sport Rally: RL1-2-3, all with Award of Excellence, RL1X2, RL2X2, RL3X, ARCH, ARCHX.
Australian Shepard Club of America: RN
American Kennel Club: RA, CGCA, CGCU,
He also works as a registered Therapy Dog
Maddy has earned in only a little over a year:
World Cyno Sport Rally: RLP, RL1-2-3, all with Award of Excellence, RL1X2, RL2X, ARCH, ARCHX
Ranked 8th nationally in 2014 in the ARCH Division!
American Kennel Club: RA, CGCA, CGCU
and now Maddie has her MX!
and in 2017, she earned her MX2 and in 2019, earned her MX4 – the only Beagle in the WORLD to reach this pinnacle!!!
Thank you Pam, I could not have done it without your help
Kirsten Murphy, Hackettstown NJ
I came to Pam based on her personal experience with her human aggressive Border collie Shadow and her positive training methods.
We have 3 Australian Shepherds, one 11-yr old and 2 just over a year old. Our youngest, Dazzle, was suddenly having issues with new people coming into our house.
With just 6 hours of private lessons, Pam was able to help me realize that we were not having “Dazzle issues” so much as we were having “multi-dog issues.” With her help and guidance, I started seeing changes in my group’s behavior almost immediately! She gave me a lot of great foundation behaviors to work on, tailored to our particular situation. With continued steady practice, I know they will continue to improve. Most importantly, however, she gave me hope! Thanks Pam!
Karen Z., Paisley, Velvet, and Dazzle Stockton, NJ
To my Bullmastiff Friends,
I have a story to tell with a little bragging if you don’t mind and also to prove “Positive Training” really does work!
My husband and I both grew up in families with Large dogs. So once we were married it was not an issue that we would have a BIG dog.
Over the years we had St. Bernard’s, Akita’s, a SharPei (I know not large) and BMF. We have always been believers in taking our dogs to dog training classes so they know at least the basics. Sit and Down.
Every single dog we owned had a “Prong Collar.” This is what we learned and this is what we did so that I could walk the dogs and not be dragged around town.
When we got Miss T, we of course went to dog school and as a puppy they gave me a puppy prong collar. I put it on her because “all big dogs need a prong collar.”
Well Miss T was not like any of my other dogs. She was sensitive and did not react well to the collar, nor did she react well to the instructor that I was working with so I quit dog training.
While discussing this with Andrea Kelly (our breeder), she suggested we try the “Positive Motivation Dog Training” (PMDT) facility in Belvidere NJ. It is about a 45 minute drive for us but they had weekend classes so I enrolled. At this time Miss T was just over a year old, I could not walk her with out the prong collar and she didn’t listen to a word I said. I HATED taking her for a walks and when I did, I prayed that we would not encounter other dogs. When I would see one coming I turned around and went the other way. I knew I needed to figure this out before I had a Giant Dog that had to stay just in the back yard.
Now I was not so dumb to know that most of the issue was me. I also needed to learn how to be calm and project confidence so that we could have a successful training session. No one ever worked with Me, they always worked with the Dog…. Miss T and I enrolled in classes at PMDT.
A true success story. Miss T will be turning 3 in Oct.
Last week I was asked if Miss T and I would help our trainer with a client of hers. She has a reactive dog and wondered if I would bring Miss T over and just walk by the house while she worked with the other dog behind the fence. She said Miss T and I have such a great relationship and we both stay calm and focused, and this would be good for her while working with the reactive dog.
Talk about coming a long way… Me calm, Miss T calm… I am so fortunate I found PMDT. I have a dog that I can take anywhere, on lead and off, she comes when called (the first time, every time) she waits until she is released, not because she is scared she will get into trouble, but because she wants to please me. She is truly a awesome dog, and I am so happy to be her Human.
I know I sound like an info-mercial, but POSITIVE TRAINING… It REALLY, REALLY works.
Your classes are so wonderful! My puppy gets so excited to go to class that I think he feels the same as I do. It’s such a positive experience and we are so happy you all do what you do.
Sincerely, Danielle D.
Pam, I wouldn’t be exaggerating when I tell you that my relationship with Samson changed overnight. Literally! I went home from class on the first night and got out the clicker and some treats and did about 5 minutes of basic Week 1 homework (clicker priming, eye contact & name recognition). The next morning when I woke Samson up he took one look at me and wagged his tail – which he had never done before! (He’s not a “morning” dog). That was my conversion moment.
Now when we see him getting excited / hyper, we just get out the clicker and do another training session! He focuses all his energy on the training and is so enthusiastic that we end up working for 10/15 minutes.
I could go on forever, but it wasn’t until our first class that I realized just how negative Mike and I were. We were frustrated all the time with Samson and all we did was correct him and try to discipline him. It is much more enjoyable to give him unexpected pets and “good boy’s” and smiles when he is just being a good dog than it is to walk around the house armed with spray bottles and water guns waiting for him to get into trouble again.
Now when we pick him up from doggy day care he runs to the car to see us, tail wagging, smiling, and beaming with enthusiasm. We still have a lot to learn, but thanks to your team and your method, we are having an absolute blast doing it!
Pam…. I have to say that your classes are just way too fun! I can’t believe how much I get out of each and every one. I never would have thought 6 months ago that my puppy would be heeling next to me with changes of directions looking up at my face. Joey is always so happy in class. This experience just WAY exceeds all of my expectations… Just wanted to say thank you and keep up the good work. You’re an awesome trainer.
I echo Stacy’s pleasure with the classes. I have really seen great progress with Truffie, and I am so pleased to do it with positive methods. I’m sure she’ll have her ups and downs, and if I were more skillful she’d do better, but we are so lucky there is a training center with this philosophy so close to us! I just can’t understand why more people don’t adopt positive training. I have trained both ways, and this is just way more fun. When I think how I used to set my dogs up for corrections in the old ways….poor things. How much nicer to set them up for success. And yet most people who know me think I’ve gone over to the wimp side for grandmothers or sentimentalists. I can’t for the life of me understand why it’s considered fine to teach your dog something by sharp jerks on the collar, but it’s looked down on to teach them the same thing with chopped liver.
Plus I do think they learn lots of things faster — at least Truffie does. She can’t always think because of her barking, but when she can think, she learns very quickly.
Holly, East Bangor, PA
Thank you for the wonderful experience I am having with my dogs since training with you. More than just the exercises, sit, stay, come when called, competition behaviors etc., your positive / clicker training methods have helped me develop a new and better relationship with my dogs. Instead of chasing them around the house to put their prong collars on, they are now excited when they see me arming myself with a clicker and treats.Instead of calling them repeatedly to get them in the house from playing in the woods I use the whistle call you taught me. They come flying in every time (even from the dead carcass they found!).
Coaching with you has also made ME a better handler. I am better able to communicate with my dogs exactly what is expected of them and how to reward them for it. Certainly it is a relief to never have to use punishment to get my dogs to work with me.My goal for my Belgian Malinois puppy is to have an OTCH title. Punishment based trainers do not believe that is possible to achieve with clicker training methods. Watching you compete with your dogs with the highest level of precision proves it CAN be done. You are an inspiration, and FUN to work with. I look forward to the work ahead.
Daniel De La Rosa
Thanks to you and whistle training – you saved at least one life this morning – I did NOT have a heart attack chasing the escaped terrier!! Yup, 5 am, pitch dark, two dogs out on leashes for the morning constitutional. Someone was apparently asleep at the leash, because I suddenly discovered a clip was no longer attached to Dusty’s harness. I had about 2 seconds to snag him before he realized he was loose [and at 5 am that was not nearly enough!] and he was off like a shot into the darkness. The “Dill” however, was perfect as we ran back into the house to lock her up and grab cheese and a whistle. [yeah, I know, they should be in my pockets at all times, but we do this every morning without incident] I ran back out to the end of my driveway – no terrier in sight – whistled and rustled the ziplock. Not sure if he came to the whistle or the sound of a ziplock being opened, but several seconds later, here he comes racing across the snow! Whew! No heart attack for me, no lost dog, no late to work!
Keep teaching it – you never know when you’ll need it!
Sheri, Long Valley
I will always remember our first private session with Pam and our German Shepherd Sasha. My husband and I both came to Pam because we had a 4 year old dog who was fear aggressive. We had recently lost our Rotti who had been with Sasha since she was a pup. She looked to him for everything and when he died, she fell apart. We had no relationship with her what-so-ever. I had trained her from a pup using a correction based training with food rewards when she did something right. These training methods, coupled with her temperament caused her to lose trust and faith in us, leaving her with no one to rely on when Duke was gone. At this point she had never bit anyone but had we not done something, I knew it would just be a matter of time.
In our first lesson I could not even get her to pay attention to me – she simply did not want to be with me. She was so stressed that throughout that first class she would continually run back to daddy and hide her face between his legs whenever she had the chance. I was heartbroken. I felt that I had completely messed her up. As we worked with Pam and began to learn about behavior and how our actions affected her, we began to understand what she was going through. We learned where we made our mistakes, as well as what not to do in the future. Because she didn’t trust me, Sasha seemed to feel that she had to be on guard at all times and constantly watch her surroundings. And if a stranger would come to the house – forget it. We had to crate her in order to have people come in. Loose leash walking was non-existent. She knew how to lay down, sit, stay (kind of) but was not reliable with this. A heavy sigh from me would cause her to tuck her tail between her legs and react in a submissive manner. She had no self-esteem, and was beginning to display severe separation anxiety behaviors, including urinating and defecating in the house. She clearly preferred my husband over me which was a great disappointment as she was supposed to be my dog.
We’ve been working with Pam for 2 years now and Sasha is doing great. We are now in the Breakfast Club group class that concentrates on helping dog and owner with their issues, be they people or dog. She walks on a loose leash and can actually focus her entire attention on me instead of what is going on around us. I now have a relationship with my dog and actually enjoy being with her. She now enjoys our attention and affection instead of just tolerating it.
A few examples of her most recent accomplishments are that we are able to take her for walks on the trails on a loose leash with other people and dogs (dogs were a problem too) and I even had a complete stranger in the house while I was home alone and she did not bark or growl at her. I also can pull in for gas with her in the car without her going nuts. She is actually beginning to prefer my attention over my husband’s, and best of all she is starting to allow complete strangers pet her. This may seem small things to some people, but to me they are huge!
There was a time when we were debating about rehoming her because we did not know what to do. I am completely convinced that the method of training we were using then was the main cause of her problems and will never go back to that type of training again. Positive training may seem like it takes longer to get results, but the opposite is true. If you honestly dedicate yourself to working with your dog each day, results happen that much quicker. And best of all, there are no side effects to positive and the rewards are greater!! For me and the dogs!!
Our relationship is so strong now, because of the work I have done with Pam, Sasha is now ready to learn how to herd sheep! I also plan to compete in Rally-O and agility in the future. I would not be where I am today with Sasha without Pam and Positive Motivation. We now have Codi, a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog and train him using positive methods. We were told by the breeder (and almost everyone in the breed circle) that we need to “show him who’s boss,” and discipline him using harsh methods or he will never listen. Just the opposite is true. And every time someone meets him and says how wonderful he is and how sweet and loving, I just smile and say “It’s all due to positive motivation.”
Stacey Herman Modica; Califon, NJ
I had been told to use a firm hand and aggressively socialize my 8-week-old Rotti pup, Rusty. By the time I found Pam, my Rusty had turned into a 14-week-old nervous wreck fearful of every stranger he met. Since Pam did not own a rottweiler, I was skeptical her Rustypositive motivation would work on a tough breed of dog. Pam assured me that with positive motivation, and letting Rusty go at his own pace, I would see good things happen and have a dog that wanted to obey me, not one that was afraid of me. I think she had a harder time showing me how to do things correctly more than she did Rusty. After a couple of classes, it was hard to keep Rusty away from Pam. Every time he saw her, he would run up to her and sit waiting for her to acknowledge him. By the time he finished her class he was running up to everyone looking for his treat. Quite a difference from the little scared puppy at her first class.
No matter what breed of dog you have Pam will work with you and show you how with love, patience and consistency there are no problem dogs only good doggies in need of positive motivation. If you are looking for a kind and knowledgeable trainer, I highly recommend Pam Dennison.
Peggy M., Newton, NJ
My rescued Bull Terrier Satch and I have been training with Pam for close to 18 months now with terrific results. Satch has a problem being around other dogs and would really react badly when he got within 10 feet of one. Just the other day, at our “Breakfast Club” class, Satch was within 2 feet of Pam’s Cody and didn’t aggress. In fact Cody stepped on Satch, by accident of course, and there was no inappropriate reaction on Satch’s part. We’ve been in “growl” class just under 12 weeks and it’s amazing to me that he’s progressed so much in such a short time.
Satch has come a long way. All of his skills and gotten so much better and his focus on me has improved greatly. I’m not only thrilled about Satch’s progress but the other dogs in class are doing just as well with their “issues”. Thanks Pam. I sincerely doubt that we could have done it without you and positive training.
Ethel Abelson and Satchmo
I always knew my dachshunds had the capability to learn and be better behaved, but for years I struggled with helping them to become better dogs and subsequently, better companions. I simply did not know how to effectively communicate to them what I wanted, and in turn, give them what they needed.
I had two problems. Hans, my 6 year old, would lunge, jump, bite and totally freak out when he met new dogs, no matter the territory. I could tell that he was simply overwhelmed. He was not being vicious, it was more of a ‘I am so excited to meet you, I want to play, and I have no idea how to handle myself!’ The problem was that if we met a dog that responded to his aggressive actions, we had a dog fight on our hands.
Bean, my three year old dachshund, is very timid, shy, and has the tendency to be a fear biter. I have foster dachshunds in and out of my house weekly, Bean was especially anxious when new ones came in. He would bark and charge the new dogs. This proved to be a real problem when I had dogs that responded to his attacks. I could tell that my dogs wanted to handle both situations better, but simply did not know how to cope with the stress. I certainly was not making things better by yelling at them when they barked, or introducing them on tight leashes while they lunged at the new dogs.
When I found Pam Dennison’s school, Positive Motivation, and spoke with her about her techniques, I knew right away that this was the key to success with my boys. Since taking Pam’s Basic Obedience class, Hans and Bean are simply better dogs. After a few short weeks, Hans no longer lunges new dogs, and simply sniffs and says a quiet hello. Hans was especially antsy around dogs bigger than him, (not too hard since he is a Daschund!) and he now does NO barking, jumping, or freaking out. With a few short sessions when new dogs came into the house, Bean has learned that ‘good things happen when fosters come to visit’ and his anxiety has greatly reduced, which in turn reduces the barking, growling, lunging and overall stress level in the house.
I was simply amazed when he only barked twice at a new foster and never did it again, when historically we literally had barking for the first few hours and sporadic attacks for days.
I could not believe how easy and simple it was to teach Hans and Bean that new dogs in the house are a good thing. By simply rewarding positive behavior, and ignoring the ones I did not want, I have greatly improved their manners.
The best part is that it only takes a few minutes, a few times a day to see improvement, and it is a technique that you can use for a lifetime. Lately, I have found my dogs staring at me, literally begging to do some training! Positive Motivation has helped me to build a strong relationship with my dogs, and I can see that they are happier. I believe that a dogs main goal in life is to please its owner, and Positive Motivation gives you the avenue to make that happen. I personally feel it is our responsibility to show our dogs how to communicate with us and this is clearly the way to go. I will continue working with Hans and Bean, long after our class has ended and I can’t wait until the next one starts so we can learn more!
Heather M., NJ
“I have 3 Australian Shepherds and periodically foster a rescue until adopted. I had trained obedience exercises with all of my dogs using compulsion and food, but had been unable to fine tune their performances and help them generalize without losing confidence. Pam’s positive techniques have not only “tweaked” the minute details of each exercise, but have made practicing much more fun for both me and my dogs! (And I am getting higher scores to boot!)
Positive training even reaches into the souls of the rescue dogs who have so much emotional baggage. This training method in no way reminds them of their past abuse and in this way we are able to shape and remold their attitudes and behavior.
These methods are less stressful on the dog and owner. By simply reinforcing good behavior and ignoring bad behavior, the dog learns without stress or emotional upheaval.”
Lisa P., Port Murray, NJ
“After taking our boxer, Ruby, to traditional training at a prestigious training school for a year, we were perplexed and concerned to find that we now had a dog that, at 1 year, was being labeled aggressive. She had become a very fearful/aggressive dog, afraid of everything, who developed lumps all over her body. She would fight with our other dog, so that for safety’s sake we had to keep them separated. The training school had no answers for us and we could see that she would soon start biting. In addition, her fear had grown so that she wouldn’t even go for a walk.”
“We couldn’t let this go on, so I searched the Internet and by luck I found Pam Dennison at Positive Motivation Dog Training. Within 4 days after the first class we started to see amazing results. We were learning to truly communicate with Ruby and were thrilled with how well she was responding. We don’t have to separate our two dogs anymore. We learned that the hives, which we thought were bug bites, related directly to her stress and within days they disappeared and have never come back. Ruby becomes more confident each day in so many ways that we never thought possible. Positive training has taught us to set Ruby up for success and has helped create a happier more confident pet that is now reaching her full potential.”
Kim F., Long Valley
BULLMASTIFFS in Obedience!?! Well, Pam likes a challenge, and, despite the breed’s reputation as “untrainable,” she agreed to take on Ted andGoyle, two dogs who are as different as night and day.””After just 11 months of working with Pam, Goyle (the original shrinking violet) attended her second obedience trial. She took a deep breath, gulped, and went into the ring, keeping a close eye on her friend Pam who stayed ringside, giving Goyle the little confidence booster she so desperately needed. Five minutes later, Goyle had her first qualifying score towards her CD, and a third place ribbon.” “Three weeks later, Ted made his debut. Nerves are never a consideration with him, but he does have a sense of humor, so one never knows quite what to expect. Once again, Pam was ringside and got to see her student not only get his first qualifying leg towards his CD and second place, but also be awarded High Scoring Champion in Obedience at the American Bullmastiff Association National Specialty out of the Novice A division.””Pam’s positive methods and creative solutions, plus her willingness to work with each dog as an individual, are truly a recipe for success.”
Andrea K., “Ted” NAC Amer./Can. CH Bastion’s Ruff Rider O’Waters, OA TDI OFA-E and “Goyle,” Far Hills, NJ
“With Pam’s expertise, patience, encouragement and positive methods, I have seen a great deal of improvement in Greta’s behavior. In just 4 weeks of praising her good behavior and ignoring her bad behavior, my German Shepherd Dog has calmed down more than I could have imagined and hoped for. Greta now has enough self confidence to ignore our neighbors and their dogs, whereas she used to “greet” them with a bark that would scare a lion! The hardest part of course, was re-training myself to always be consistent in what I say and do, as well as practicing patience when I am tempted to say “no!” In addition, I am learning how to read her body language so that I can better understand her. I am continuing to work with Pam and Greta so that someday soon, we will be able to let Greta try her hand(or paws) at sheep herding!”
Lori M., Washington, NJ
“Pam is fantastic. Her techniques were immediately effective with our Jack Russell terrier, Evie-Mae — and Evie had the best time in the world learning. Sometimes after figuring out how to do a lesson, Evie (still a puppy then) would explode into running big fast laps around the room — a behavior she reserved only for the best games, the most exciting visitors, and generally, when she’s feeling totally totally happy. The most important lesson we were able to teach her was being calm — not always an innate trait in Jack Russells!
When we later bought a kitten (Sparky), Evie was so tense with excitement we thought she might over-react and hurt her. So we applied the techniques that Pam suggested and rewarded her (Evie, not Pam) each time she looked away from Sparky and remained calm, even if just for an instant. So Evie learned to keep attentive to our voices, even when something super-doggy-remarkable is in sight.
And in general, we appreciated Pam’s demeanor — her calm approach, her absolute love of dogs, and her creativity with solving problems. When we started her in group classes, Evie was very very agitated and overstimulated — enough so that we considered cancelling. But Pam never gave up and even rearranged the room a bit to make Evie feel less overwhelmed, by blocking some of her view of the other dogs. It helped some (Evie’s ability to get excited if she wants to, may be greater than all the world’s best efforts to calm her down!), but Pam’s thoughtfulness and never-give-up determination to make it work meant a great deal to us.
We recommend Pam and her techniques whole-heartedly.”
Tom and Kris Kelleher and Evie Mae, Blairstown, NJ