Holly is a three-year-old shepherd. She is a loving, playful girl, but has had issues with anxiety from an early age. We went through puppy obedience training and she did well with that; however, at around 8 months old she developed reactivity towards other dogs and it progressively got worse. Due to her behaviours, it got to the point where I no longer felt comfortable taking her on busy hiking trails or to dog parks. Even neighbourhood walks became stressful due to her barking/lunging when approaching other dogs. Her recall was not reliable and if she locked onto a squirrel or other point-of-interest she would not come back; no amount of treats could entice her to listen to me in that moment. We had worked with two different trainers over the course of a year but saw minimal improvements. I felt like there were fewer and fewer places I could take Holly without fear of creating a scene, and my dream of taking my dog on hikes, trips to the beach, and camping seemed completely out of reach. That all changed the day we started working with Poppy. My husband, Holly and I signed up for two private sessions with Poppy, and by the end of day one, Holly was walking past other dogs without reacting – this was a dream come true! After the second session, Holly’s recall had improved significantly. Now after some practice, I can take Holly off leash in open areas with other dogs present and she stays by my side. Poppy is incredibly knowledgeable and she created a calm, supportive environment for us to learn a strategy that has made Holly a more balanced, well-mannered dog. I still can’t believe how quickly I saw a change in Holly for the better; I wish I had heard about Poppy and Source K9 sooner. Poppy, we can’t thank you enough!
- Kaitlyn and Holly
When we sent our boy to Poppy, we were at our wits end. Now in comparison to many dogs he was not a super problematic dog, but to us it was a very stressful time. He had developed some territorial aggression, he was high energy, very anxious, and vocal in all situations. We had been working with positive reinforcement trainers for months, and even though we didn’t end up continuing with them, I know that they would say we were extremely diligent with their regime, we made his training our number one priority and we worked on it tirelessly.
As the months went on, yes his obedience and “good” behaviors became stronger, but the positive reinforcement was not negating any of his aggressive tendencies in our yard. His anxiety in and outside the home was only worsening. He was stressed and unhappy, and we knew that if ever faced with an uncontrolled situation, he would go after someone that entered our yard (or anywhere he thought was ‘his’). In December I contacted Poppy in a panic, she was quick to fit us in, and he went for a board and train for two weeks.
When he came home we instantly noticed a huge change in his whole demeanor, we were pleasantly surprised but also knew that we needed to keep up with their protocol for him or he would slip back into his old ways. Overall he was calmer, and happier! We are delighted to say that he now welcomes all guests into our home and yard with his whole body wagging, in a happy calm manor! He is actually happy that they are there, which is something that I thought would be impossible for him! Before he went he could never settle, he needed constant stimulation and would never (no matter how enticing of a toy or treat) just go lay down and chill out, this has been the most significant difference for us, as now he no longer paces, he can self-entertain and relax! There are no words for how this has changed our lives and his, the training they implemented with him, and instilled in us has completely enriched his life! We cannot thank Poppy enough, they have given us the control we needed, which allows him to live a very fulfilling life!
Shayne (Zurc's Mom)
For the first three years of Bear’s life, he was isolated, in a small backyard with minimal attention or training. At six months old, he started fighting with his father and banished to the yard. The original owner only cared about the father, a Cane Corso and the mother, an English Mastiff.
When he was rescued, one year before we adopted him, he bounced from foster to foster and eventually stayed in a shelter waiting for adoption because no one could handle him. A year and no one wanted to put in the time and effort. Trust me, it was a lot of effort.
He attacked a vet tech, he has a bite record. He was labelled aggressive.
Before my husband and I adopted Bear, we had had three dogs previously, a Rotti/Shepherd, an English Mastiff and a full size Labra-Doodle. We were used to big dogs. All of our dogs passed from old age except the Doodle who was diagnosed with stage four kidney failure at 10 years old. That was three months prior to us finding Bear.
I had vowed, “no more dogs”. It’s heartbreaking when they leave us and having lost three in as many years, I didn’t think I could do it again. Then I saw Bear’s picture and heard part of his story and I knew I wanted him. My husband wanted him. We applied, we interviewed, we waited, we met, we waited again. Then the day came we could take him home.
We were told that Bear could not be crate trained, he would just break out of them. We were told he could never be off –leash due to aggression. We were told to use treats and distraction when he behaved badly. (Isn’t that teaching a dog that bad behaviour earns rewards?) We were told he hates the vet, shove treats in his mouth. He hates bikes, shove treats in his mouth. We were told “don’t make eye contact” and when meeting new people, they had to turn their backs on him as he approached them.
He had puppy tendencies, no manners, was stealing food from the counters and cupboards, peeing and pooping in the house, growling and lunging at people, bikes and cars. He “mouthed” our cat who in turn was traumatized and disappeared for three weeks.
We knew going in, we would have to do extensive work/training with him, but we didn’t know howextensive. No wonder none of the fosters kept him.
He knew basic commands but chose to ignore us. We didn’t have the time to spend 12 hours a day training him. That’s where Poppy came in.
We had him for three weeks when I called Poppy at Source K9, almost in tears. I was at my wits end – already. I was ready to send him back.
She agreed to take Bear for a two week board and train. We were nervous leaving him and even though we knew he didn’t understand what we were telling him, promised we weren’t abandoning him and would be back. We had nothing to worry about. Poppy was amazing. She was calm and a knowledgeable, balanced trainer.
Poppy sent us our first update before we even got home (we live 2.5 hours away) – she got him into a crate and he didn’t destroy it, in fact he was snoring like an old man.
For the next two weeks, we got several updates, photos and videos. Bear was doing awesome.
When we picked him up, Poppy spent a few hours teaching us how to use the remote collar she had been training Bear on and showing us what he had learned and what he could do. Bear was a completely different dog. He wanted to learn and to please us.
We got him home and agreed on strict structure, holding him accountable for his actions and routine.
He’s in a crate (custom made) when we are not home and when we’re sleeping. He listens and obeys commands. We can send him outside to do his business – off-leash – and he immediately comes back when called.
He loves to learn and understands the word “no”, especially when it comes to our cat. I just have to calmly say “no” whenever the cat is around and Bear looks away from him.
He brings us toys when he wants to play. He walks well on a leash and pays attention to us. He sits politely waiting for his food. He stays out of our kitchen which means no more stealing food and no more messes. He’s calm and content to lie on his bed and let the world go by. He even snuggles with my husband watching football on Sundays.
Since he’s been home, everyone wanted to know how it went. Most people know we adopted a new dog, a big dog, a dog that came with issues, and most knew we sent him to stay with Poppy. I’ve recommended Poppy to everyone who will listen or who has dogs.
I cannot thank Poppy enough for what she’s done for Bear and the time she’s spent with him. She taught us how to be good leaders and maintain his training and mostly to be patient. Training takes time.
Poppy, you are amazing.
Racheal, Charles and Bear
Our family is extremely happy with the training that Poppy (Source K9) did with our 14 month old Vizsla. Billie decided that at 6 months of age she was no longer going to listen to us outside the house as her surroundings were so overstimulating she could not contain herself. That meant that we could not let her off leash to hike with us on the trails or go to a park and play. Added to that, she would just run back and forth in our backyard as fast as she could trying to hunt with no direction or intent. Billie was happy to do this as long as you would let her. Despite 5 training classes, training everyday and private lessons with others, in my mind she was out of control and we had no results.
So, with Poppy’s help and her 2 week train and board program, we got back a relaxed and attentive young dog who now goes off leash on the North Shore trails, comes on command, walks on heel, fetches and plays ball in our front yard with us.
I couldn’t imagine what life with a dog would be like not being able to have this freedom for the next 12 years. Thanks Poppy!