This is the first in a many-part series on businesses with whom I've recently had either extremely positive or extremely negative experiences. For the sake of courtesy, I'm kicking it off with a positive one.
North America: 1-877-631-7478
Many of you already know that I've recently adopted a 10 month-old mutt. His name is Ryu, and he looks like a hyena reject from a Japanese anime movie. He's a cross of a multitude of breeds; best guesses approximate something like 50% Lab (temperament), 25% Grey or Sighthound (body and energy level), 25% Pitbull (jawline), and 125% submissive pushover. He is probably the most gentle dog I have ever met. He adores women and follows them around everywhere they go - though I'm not yet sure if this is simply part of his personality or if it's something he's already picked up on from hanging out with me too much.
My new 10-month old Hyena Puppy.
Note: Not really a Hyena.
Also like his alpha, he can be clumsy, awkward, stubborn, and often confused as to what's expected of him. He
and I was in dire need of some training. The rescue I adopted him from (Eleven Eleven - highly recommended as well) suggested I get in touch with Joe Rosen (of, you guessed it, JR's Dog Training in Montreal) to get started on lessons right away. I mostly wanted to make sure he was clean in the house and heeled well with me when we go jogging, but halfway through the training I realized that JR was in fact giving me all the tools and information I needed to raise what was becoming, in essence, the perfect dog.
JR is a no-nonsense kind of trainer, straight to the point, and not afraid to tell you when you're messing up. Like Cesar Milan, he focuses on getting the dog owners to understand how to communicate with their dog. In scarcely 4 weeks, practicing the techniques I've learned from his classes, Ryu has gone from an aloof goofball to a serious, eager-to-please, obedient friend. It's uncanny how he can almost read my mind and instinctively knows what he's supposed to do, when he's been bad, and when he deserves praise or a reward.
Classes are outdoors, lots of fun with other dogs and owners around, very reasonable, and, unlike other trainers, he offers a written guarantee and a lifetime promise - that was pretty much what swayed my decision to go with JR's Dog Training over someone else. He's gentle but firm, and doesn't neglect the all-important discipline aspects of training a dog. I don't believe that using only positive reinforcement would work in Ryu's particular case, and JR adapts his technique to the unique personalities and temperaments of each dog. At any rate, I'm much more comfortable giving my dog a tap on the behind than not being sure if he'll run out into traffic when I'm not looking.
I've known lots of other folks with dogs, but I can count on one hand the dogs I've met who are well-behaved, well-mannered and fit the cliché of being "man's best friend".
Since we've began the courses, I've been able to get Ryu to keep up with me, heeling, on almost my entire daily jogging run. He sits, doesn't jump on visitors anymore, waits patiently for his food, shows no aggression whatsoever, and is very good with other dogs. At first I wasn't sure if I was going to keep Ryu or not, but thanks to his skyrocketing obedience and confidence levels earned from his training, it looks like he'll be sticking around.