Sadie, the Malinois

After doing a lot of research, our family purchased a Belgian Malinois puppy in May of 2014. We thought we had done the right research and were prepared for a high-energy dog that would participate in our active lifestyle. Unfortunately, we weren’t prepared for all the baggage our little puppy would bring with her. While she excelled at the training offered at a local pet store, she was terrified of people and other dogs. Whenever friends tried to get near her or pet her, she would retreat from them, usually barking and growling. She became overly protective of her home and anytime someone knocked on our door, Sadie would charge it with her hackles up, and wouldn’t settle down, even after we told her it was okay. She even began herding our boys. What we thought was going to be a fun experience with a puppy quickly turned into a nightmare and we felt we were losing control of our lives because of her.

The catalyst for finding a new training method occurred during a puppy socialization hour at the local pet store. Sadie was walking around the room and growled at a large black lab as she passed by. The lab didn’t take kindly to this and pinned Sadie to the ground. This in turn started a dogfight. My wife was asked to leave and I came home to an emotional family. We were at wits end and thought we had purchased a dog that couldn’t be repaired. I began searching the Internet for someone to help us. While I found lots of different trainers and training methods, Rick’s was the only one that stood out to me. I was impressed with the videos on his page, his background in breeding and training dogs, and the other testimonials. I showed my wife his page and we agreed to call him.

Rick met with us at Cottonwood Park and after a lengthy evaluation of Sadie, he determined that the majority of her problems were environmental and not genetic. That was the good news. The bad news was that she lacked confidence and was beginning to act more aggressively. Rick told us it would take twelve lessons and lots of patience to help her overcome the issues she was displaying. We were so impressed with Rick’s honesty, candor, and knowledge that we quickly signed up for all the lessons he recommended and we have not regretted that decision.

Rick focused on building her confidence and quickly found that we could use Sadie’s love for running to help achieve this goal. Based upon the training session goals, we met at different locations to introduce Sadie to many different environments, specifically those where lots of people would be present. Rick came to our home to observe her reaction when people came to the house and trained us on how to deal with her. He even came to my work to train her with my students watching. The training sessions were not a “one size fits all” mentality, but were tailored to Sadie’s needs, and that made all the difference. Sadie is a much different dog, but her change hasn’t come without a lot of work and patience on our part, and wise guidance from Rick. While she is till leery of adults, she has begun to allow them to come up to her and pet her. She loves children and playing with other dogs. She is confident and fun to be around. We owe it all to Rick.

We feel the majority of the training was for us; we have learned a tremendous amount from Rick. He excels at explaining why and what he is doing. Sadie’s vet noticed a huge difference in her behavior and asked for Rick’s business cards to hand out to her clients. We have handed out numerous cards to people we have met who inquire about the training we’ve put her through. Based upon our experience over the past year, we can wholeheartedly and without reservation recommend Rick to you. If you’re willing to put in the work, you will not be disappointed.

Samuel and Jennifer