What do my Students have to Say?
Pam has been so much help with my Ziggy! When I reached out to Pam, his reactivity/aggression with unfamiliar dogs and people had me really worried. He is such a sweet boy with people he knows and I just want him to be safe and happy. I have worked with other trainers before and, though he made slow progress, the behaviors persisted. Pam really focuses on training the human to understand the dog and has constant great ideas to get past road bumps in the training process. She has really worked to customize the training to Ziggy and I. In just the short time we have been working with Pam we are already seeing a positive difference. His daytime dog walkers are commenting on how much better he is at ignoring distractions. I have even been able to call him away from the fence when some of the neighbors are out in their yards (a huge improvement from his usual behavior of barking and throwing himself against the fence). I am really hopeful now with Ziggy and can’t wait to see him succeed even more under Pam’s direction! With her help I have also been able to apply her ideas and techniques to the rest of my pack (Ziggy is one of four doxies in my family) and they are doing really great too! Our newest pup was even the star pupil in her puppy class! Who knew Zoom would yield such great progress??!!
Training with Pam has been such a great experience for us and our dog. Due to scheduling challenges on our part, we started our training over zoom and I was shocked at Pam’s ability to guide, observe, catch and correct. If I was doing something in correctly, or my hand was turned the wrong way, Pam saw it and helped ensure I did the training properly. Following our zoom sessions we were able to coordinate in person sessions and the experience was just as good. I am thrilled to know that we have options for both in person and virtual and in either scenario the training is top notch. We have learned to better manage our surroundings and utilize the training and skills in real life situations. Week after week our skills have improved and our dog is constantly impressing me with how quickly he learns the skills. Pam has a great approach and is teaching us practical solutions that we can successfully apply to reduce our dogs reactivity and build his trust and confidence in us. Amanda Kaczerski
“Working with Pam has been amazing. My dog’s name is Rhett and he is reactive to people, dogs, cats, small animals, really anything that spooks him. We had worked with a trainer for a couple years prior to meeting Pam. In that time, we used an e-collar and a prong collar to help in training. The training felt like it was making him worse. I had a handful of interactions that left me discouraged. We took about a year off of training and I was getting desperate to be able to walk my dog without him dragging me all over and scaring those that walked by us. That’s when I came across Pam. We made more progress in 2 months with Pam, than we did in 2 years with the other trainer. I remember having a moment where a dog came running out of a house and barking at Rhett, and Rhett lunged/barked once and took a second to look at me instead of continuing his behavior. That had never happened before, and I immediately had tears in my eyes. It might seem like such a small thing, but I was so proud of him in that moment. Previously, he would always be hyper-fixated on whatever was causing his reaction-I had never had an interaction where he paused for a second and made eye contact with me. That was the moment I knew we were doing the right thing by working with Pam. Training via zoom is also a fabulous way of training. Pam walks you through things step by step and is always willing to answer any questions you have. My favorite thing about training via zoom is the fact you have Pam in your ear, guiding you through situations that arise while training. She’s the best!! I will 100% continue working with Pam and I recommend her to anybody who has the same issues Rhett does. I can’t wait to see where our training will take us!! Thank you Pam for everything!!”
Pamela is a very skilled trainer. I brought my two dogs primarily to learn how to come when called and to loose leash walk. I found Pam to be very knowledgable, a clear communicator of her instruction, patient and helpful in ways beyond what I initially came for. After 6 weeks my dogs are coming when called and they are walking so much better on a leash. What I feel was even more meaningful are the small things Pam noticed when I interacted with my dogs. For example, I learned that how I breathe and the rate at which I speak to them matters. Deep breathes and slower, clearer commands, made my pets and I more attuned to each other. I was feeling very overwhelmed with two young, energetic dogs when training started. Six weeks later and I see improvements in all areas even those I didn’t anticipate. I will be continuing with Pam through basic obedience and beyond.
Michele, owner of Mae (2 year old Shepherd mix) and Teddy (8 month old Australian Shepherd).
I am thrilled to share our extraordinary experience with an outstanding dog trainer who has worked wonders with our beloved furry family member. From the very first session, it was evident that Pam’s expertise, passion, and dedication to canine training were truly exceptional. With immense pleasure, I highly recommend Pam Dennison as an extraordinary professional in the world of dog training.
Pam possesses an unrivaled knowledge of dog behavior and a unique ability to tailor training techniques to suit each individual dog’s needs, particularly those such as ours that are reactive and nervous. Pam takes the time to understand both the strengths and challenges of every dog she works with, allowing her to develop a personalized training plan that maximizes results.
One of the most remarkable aspects of Pam’s approach is her unwavering patience and depth of understanding of life with a reactive dog. Pam never rushes through a session. Her calm demeanor and compassionate nature instill confidence in both the dog and the owner, making every training session a positive and enriching experience.
Throughout the training journey, I continue to be astounded by the progress my dog made under Pam’s guidance. From basic commands to more complex behaviors, every step was thoughtfully addressed, and the results were nothing short of amazing. What was once a challenge quickly transformed into a joyous and rewarding process for both my dog and me.
Beyond the technical aspects of training, Pam has a unique talent for imparting knowledge and empowering dog owners. She provides valuable insights and practical tips, ensuring that the training experience extends beyond the confines of their facility. Her commitment to equipping dog owners with the skills necessary for long-term success is truly commendable.
In addition to her exceptional training skills, Pam radiates a genuine love and respect for animals. It is evident that her work goes far beyond a profession; it is a true calling. Pam’s dedication to promoting positive reinforcement and creating a harmonious relationship between dogs and their owners is simply inspiring.
Our family is forever grateful to Pam Dennison for the remarkable transformation she has facilitated in our dog. Her expertise, professionalism, and unwavering commitment have undoubtedly made a profound impact on our lives. If you are seeking a dog trainer who combines unparalleled skill with genuine passion, I wholeheartedly recommend Pam Dennison at Positive Dogs in Washington, NJ. Your canine companion will thank you, and you will embark on a journey that exceeds your expectations.
Thank you, Pam, for being an exceptional trainer and for sharing your remarkable gift with us!
We went to Pam with our cockapoo after he was involved in an altercation with two larger dogs. Our dog was timid and afraid of new people when we began. As our lessons progressed, our dog became more and more comfortable in new surroundings. Pam’s expertise also helped us gain more confidence in bringing our dog into new environments. Pam is an amazing advocate for dogs and we look forward to future sessions with her as we look to further train our dog. Thank you Pam!
Pam was not the first trainer we went to but definitely the best. Her knowledge and experience are apparent as soon as you meet her. She doesn’t just teach commands; she teaches you how to understand your dog, how to teach your dog to understand you. Definitely worth her weight in gold. I feel like we learned at least a year’s worth of skills in just a few weeks. Would highly recommend Pam without any hesitation.
About to finish my first set of private training for my extremely frightened and nervous dog that I adopted 7 months ago.
What a difference this training has made in my pup.
He now enjoys his lessons, he is relaxed and under the fabulous tutelage from Pam Dennison, he is beginning to come out of his shell.
I know that this is the beginning and not the end of his learning and I would not do it with anyone other than Pam.
Thank you for your expertise, your patience and your love for the animal.
You are the BEST!
I learned quite a lot working with Pam and my recently adopted GSD who sadly, has a history of abuse. Learning to instruct my dog to do something I wanted them to do, rather than trying to correct them out of an unwanted behavior, as well as making sure I was reinforcing the behavior I wanted instead of an unwanted behavior, are just a couple of the important changes Pam helped me make to my understanding of better training and a better relationship with my dog.
I love the way Pam breaks down training to small steps and her videos show her own responses when things don’t go to plan which is very helpful as it teaches us all about patience and humour ? her knowledge is boundless.
Pam is a terrific trainer, and has much to offer dog owners as well as other trainers! She is excellent at breaking challenging behaviors down into smaller steps, and is immensely practical in her approach. Her online courses are also excellent. I’ve used the methods in her award-winning DVD, Training the Whistle Recall, with all my dogs, and they all come running at full speed! I’m using her You CAN Train Your Dog book as part of my online course about dog training for therapists involved in Animal Assisted Play Therapy. Risë VanFleet, PhD, RPT-S, CDBC
Founder, The Playful Pooch Program, Author of the award-winning Play Therapy with Kids & Dogs and The Human Half of Dog Training: Collaborating with Clients to Get Results
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.
Pamela is Amazing!! I stated training my Pomapoo puppy at another school and things were going all sorts of wrong. It was making me and Koda (my puppy) very frustrated. Koda wouldn’t look at me anymore and would run away when I tried to get home in the car. I was beginning to doubt that Koda and I would survive our service dog training. (Koda is being trained to be a diabetes/anxiety/stroke-seizure-migraine alert dog)
After just a couple of weeks working with Pamela I cannot tell you how much a difference it made. Koda will now look at me and comes running when I call him instead of running away. He is learning at a phenomenal pace. He now even sleeps next to me in the bed instead of at the end. Pamela’s positive techniques have made a huge difference for Koda and myself!! I can not thank Pamela enough.
Everyone should take their dogs to Pamela! It will improve your relationship with your dog. No matter whether your just training your dog to do basic skills or something like a therapy/service dog. She is Amazing!!!
I honestly am so happy to have found Pam when I did. After joining households with my bf, my dog’s behavior (and my own lack of knowledge of how to handle him) was causing stress. We’ve done training before at a large chain pet store, but it never stuck. I looked for a trainer and found one that literally dozens of people recommended to me. I did one session with them and they were wanting me to use a prong collar which stressed my dog out so much he wouldn’t drink and then would drink so fast be made himself sick. Of course I couldn’t continue with that. Right away, I was doing more research and looking for a POSITIVE trainer. . . I found Pam, and I wish I’d found her sooner.
I joined the beginners class over zoom, and I’m only halfway through and can already feel a big difference in my relationship with my dog. He’s definitely paying more attention to me, and I think our relationship is only growing stronger because I feel more equipped to communicate with him and teach him instead of just being frustrated.
I am honestly so excited to keep learning and see what my dog and I are capable of learning together.
P.s. — my dog is four, so it’s not just for puppies
Pam is an exceptional trainer.
She has a deep, deep understanding of animal behavior. We came to Pam with a 9 month old Brittany pup who was full of energy. Within 5 minutes of seeing us, Pam was able to make a suggestion that immediately helped him relax. Her ability to break down dog behaviors into small steps that we could train incrementally was super helpful. Each week we learned something and got a little better.
I also really appreciate the “positive” aspects of her training approach. It feels so good knowing that we are not inciting fear in our dogs but rather rewarding them for behaviors that we want them to do.
We’re now about 6 months out from finishing our training with Pam, and we continue to work on lessons that Pam taught us. We never really stop — I think that’s a key message that Pam got through to us. Just keep working with the dog. At this point my pup can be in the back yard. I can go to my back porch and blow a whistle (in the way Pam taught) and he comes running. So amazing.
One thing to note — Pam is not actually training the dog. She is training the owner to work with and train the dog. The vast majority of challenges we had with our dog’s behavior were actually caused by something we were doing, not the dog. So if you are not willing to change or not willing to work with your dog outside of the time you spend with Pam, you may not have much success. Just do what she says and you’ll be amazed with the results.
I met Pam several years ago when my daughter was trialing as a junior in Rally. We signed up for some classes to help with a very shy sheltie that my daughter was showing in juniors. Pam helped us using her positive methods and my daughter was able to obtain level 3 WCRL with that dog (a level no one thought she could).
After several years of not entering the show ring I decided to show my Shelties again in obedience. I’ve been involved in dogs for many years but had “quit” any advanced obedience classes as I was against using the harsh methods most trainers had been using. I especially was NOT pinching any ears to get a dumbbell hold. I worked mostly by myself doing just the basics in obedience which got me though the beginner levels. Pam encouraged me to start practicing obedience with her as she assured me she was only “positive.” I started training with her and due to all the years of working by myself there were plenty of sloppy habits I had developed. Pam was able to fix it all with her meticulous training and get me into the ring again.
I’m happy to say that since working with Pam I was able to attain National Rankings with all my dogs in CDSP OBEDIENCE and multiple HIGH IN TRIALS. We have also been in the ribbons in AKC Rally and am working towards an Excellent title. In obedience, We are now working on Dumbbell holds and go outs with NO HARSH METHODS! We should be ready for Versatility and Open soon and I’m excited to continue with Obedience and most importantly my dogs love their training. I recommend Pam for anyone who wants to attain a working relationship with their dogs and NO cringe worthy training methods.
In 2022, Laddie ranked #7 in Novice C, Comet ranked #3 in Novice C and Star ranked #15 in Novice B!
Looking forward to seeing everyone in the Ring!!
Laura Ashtyani, Comet, Star, Laddie and Shelly
I can never thank you enough for all of your help with Misty. Despite her horrific first few months of life, she was a smart, sweet puppy and a great agility prospect. However, a few months after adopting her she developed a reactivity to other dogs and it was a behavior I was unprepared to handle. Thanks to your GROWL class and your continued support, I can now take Misty to classes and trials and we are having a blast! In one year she earned her Novice AND Open Agility titles in JWW, STD and Fast! Your work helped both her and me. I am now confident and relaxed in managing her in busy dog spaces and all with POSITIVE reinforcement and training!
With our deepest gratitude.
I found Positive Dogs after sending my dog to a “balanced” (abusive) training program. I adopted a beautiful male corgi, Bennie, when he was about two years old. He was abandoned and experienced trauma from living on the streets. While he has a great personality and is very loving, he displayed food aggression and resource guarding issues when I brought him home. I tried working with him on my own but that failed, and he got more aggressive around other dogs and people. He bit me, my uncle, and my roommate due to his food/territorial aggressive behavior. Since I have had him, he became protective over me and started guarding me. He tried to bite my partner while we were laying in bed watching a movie one night. None of the bites resulted in serious injury, but I was desperate to get him trained to not bite. I consulted my local vet and asked if they had recommendations for a dog trainer that could help with this situation. The vet recommended a “balanced” (abusive) training program. The trainers explained the program to me as using the force necessary to establish his role in the relationship hierarchy. I was not comfortable about using choke chains and electronic shock collars, but they assured me that this would work to stop the biting and aggressive behavior. I sent him to this board and train program for 4 weeks. They returned him to me and said they couldn’t train him. They told me that he would need to be put down because he’s too aggressive and dangerous. I was absolutely gutted. These “professional” trainers recommended putting my boy down. Bennie has been my companion for the last few years and they wanted me to put him down. I was disgusted, disheartened, and depressed by this advice. I decided that night to find a better solution.
The solution was Positive Dogs. Pam has been a blessing for me and Bennie. We did the six week program for aggressive dogs, and he is a different dog. Pam is an expert in positive training and dog behavior. She is a wealth of knowledge and taught us so much about dog behavior that is necessary for every dog owner/lover to know. From simply learning the basics of how to properly communicate with him, our relationship has become stronger and more trusted. My partner and I earned his trust by training with him everyday. Pam taught me how to teach him new behaviors and responses to situations that have changed my daily life for the better. While his training is a work in progress, I am confident in Pam’s training and in him. I recommend everyone to go to Pam’s Positive Dogs. I am so grateful for her knowledge, advice, and training program. Thank you Pam!
I was very concerned about our new 5 yr old Rottie rescue. He was protective of me and becoming aggressive towards my husband. Pam was highly recommended and thankfully when I called she answered! I can not say enough about the positive results we have achieved after only 6 weeks. Pam’s extensive knowledge of dog behaviors, body language, and how they think blew our minds. It was amazing to see Ben start to relax and respond to us as WE learned the correct way to communicate with him. We went to Pam because we had a problem, however everything learned in our training sessions would be valuable for anyone that wants a better understanding and relationship with their dog. Thank you Pam for coming to our rescue so we could be better dog parents! You are truly awesome at what you do!
About 18 months ago, we adopted a rescue dog who was an emotional mess. We trained with you, and the skills you taught us helped to bring her around. I wanted to drop you a note to say thank you for your help and your professionalism. Leda is now a fully integrated member of the family and is a loving, charming and cheeky dog.
Thank you for everything you did for us and her!
We worked with Pam over Zoom to train our 8 month old doberman over the winter and we couldn’t be happier with the results! We were hesitant at first as we weren’t sure how training over Zoom would work but it truly was seamless. Once the lessons started, I completely forgot we were talking over a computer because it felt like Pam was in the room with us. To top it off, we never had to reschedule due to bad weather or even leave the comfort of our own home! We love training with Pam because she explains why she’s teaching exercises a certain way which makes things easy to understand and remember later on. I couldn’t recommend Pam’s classes enough.
This review is long overdue, but I miss training with Pam and definitely decided it’s time to write this review. After a horrible incident with a Brooklyn dog trainer using a spray bottle on my dog in a Rally Obedience class and only hearing about other punishment-based obedience trainers, I thought I was going to have to train Rally Obedience on my own, with no guidance as a green handler with a green dog. Thankfully a friend suggested Pam, and I contacted her.
Pam’s Rally Obedience class was a game changer for me. She worked on fixing the connection issue I had with my dog, and taught me how to work with my dog to fix our skills and especially my techniques. She showed me how to work with a nervous and environmentally sensitive girl.
I started in the nick of time as I had signed up for an AKC Rally trial before working with Pam with no hope for a Q… much to my surprise, we ended up with a 95 in the Novice A class and first place at our very first Rally trial and we earned 2 Q’s towards our title in both trials.
Pam is purely a positive trainer, no coercing, leash corrections, collar popping, or aversive methods were ever used in our class.
As someone in Manhattan at the time, I rented a car and made the trip, her class was worth it.
Although I’m no longer in NYC or the east coast, I can’t recommend her classes enough!
“I have learned more in Pam’s classes in 2 weeks than I have in the bulk of classes (more than 20) I have taken with other trainers. Super excited to see what we can learn by the end of our first class together and the journey of training with my other 2 dogs. Continued training is always good to keep that relationship with your dog strong and I know it will only get better with all my dogs under Pam’s instructions.” Cheryl F.
I contacted Pam bc I was obligated to have a trainer/obedience training set up for a Great Dane rescue. She was amazing ! Prevented us from getting into a challenging position over our heads. We opted to go to a well respected breeder and get a puppy. She has been incredible! So responsive I feel like I’m her only client and I know that’s not the case. There are very bad trainers out there I know we experienced the person a few years ago. Pam is NOT like the rest bc she’s the best. Hands down. First class all the way ! I can’t say enough and we’ve just begun training. The results are magic. If you do what she says in her training you will have a great experience.
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