Meeting with Cindy was life-changing for our family. We had our Golden Retriever, Shadow, since she was a puppy. We gave her a bone for her first Christmas, and noticed right away she was extremely protective over it (growling). We immediately took Shadow to [another trainer] to rectify the situation as soon as possible, but made the mistake of not doing our research. We were told our pup was an Alpha female, and that if we didn't put in place the proper corrective measures, that she was sure to bite someone and would have to be put down. We were also told our sweet little girl was never meant to be a household pet, and would be much happier as a working dog with structure. We went and purchased a shock collar, a muzzle, and took every drastic measure to punish Shadow and assert our "dominance," so much so that after a year she would snarl even if you looked her way. We were feeling extremely defeated and had honestly considered re-homing Shadow before things escalated. Then, after visiting with a close friend and relaying to her what the [previous trainer] had advised, we were referred to Cindy and everything changed.
Cindy came to our house only once, for a private session, and that was literally all it took. She watched us interact with Shadow, and was quick to point out what a WELL BEHAVED, INTELLIGENT, AND GENTLE dog she was. What???!!! We had been told this dog was not for us and would likely have to be put down...how can this be? Cindy explained to us how our relationship with our pup is like an account, and all the positive interactions you have are like deposits, whereas any corrective measures or negative actions are withdraws. Our accounts were in overdraft. We learned how to be proactive instead of reactive, and to focus on acknowledging the good rather than punishing the bad. That day, the yelling stopped, the punishments and the corrections stopped...and guess what...so did the growling and snarling! We had spent so much time focusing on training our "working dog" as we were told that we forgot to let her just be a puppy, happy and carefree!
We can honestly say that after that one session with Cindy, the tension and turmoil in our home was no more. Shadow has absolutely thrived since then and although we kick ourselves all the time for letting things get so bad, this is why we want to share our story. We can't do any better if we don't know any better, and in Shadow's case, we thought we were doing all the right things. Cindy approached our pup will love and compassion, and was able to point out signs our girl had been giving us all along that we had completely missed. We can't imagine where we would be now without her help and guidance. She was completely empathetic and understanding to our situation, and we now realize how archaic our previous methods of "Alpha Training" and "Pack Structure" truly were. Shadow is our absolute pride and joy now, and every time family and friends comment at how well she is doing, we feel overwhelming gratitude and respect for Cindy.
- Ricki and Spencer