Introducing is a monthly feature on our website. We are so proud of the progress our owners and dogs make through our training programs and we want to share some of those stories with you.
March 8, 2014
Ed, Jeannie and Ozzie
Ed, Jeannie and Ozzie have been attending group classes on Saturday in Sunnyvale for almost 2 years. They charmed us from the start with their willingness to laugh, eagerness to learn and well, just look at Ozzie. His charm is quite obvious. Ozzie is a male, 9 year old Schipperke. Schipperkes are Belgian and were bred to be small shepherds. Ozzie doesn’t know anything about shepherding, but he does know a lot about barking at anyone who dares walk in front of his house, tricking people into petting him so he could bite them and hating his German Shepherd neighbors. (You know those German Shepherds probably say all manner of rude things about how Ozzie isn’t a real shepherd.)
Ed and Jeannie say they went through several trainers before they reached the end of their rope when Ozzie bit their niece’s hand the day before her wedding. They were ready to give him to a friend who said she was willing to take him. Ozzie’s considerable challenges were just too difficult to live with. In the end, Ed just couldn’t go through with giving Ozzie away, so they committed to try one more time with a trainer. They contacted Bay Area Dog Training and when Mike came to their house for the evaluation, Ozzie didn’t know whom he was viciously barking at. Mike immediately did a couple of quick corrections to stop the deafening barking. Ozzie was quite puzzled by this turn of events. No one had ever gotten his attention like that before. Needless to say, Ed and Jeannie were sold. They worked with Mike in private lessons to get Ozzie to stop barking at everything that passes by the window, to stop lunging at other dogs and most importantly, to not bite people!
All of that really makes Ozzie sound like a pill, but he has his sweet side, of course. He loves to go on road trips and makes a point of putting his head on Ed’s shoulder when Ed is driving. He’s also a big fan of being chased and will do anything to encourage it. His favorite game is to grab a shoe or something else he know will get Ed or Jeannie’s attention and then he shows them that he has this thing and then he takes off running. They, of course, must chase after him otherwise it’s zero fun. Jeannie says that when she comes home from being out, he’s so happy to see her that he jumps into her arms! No wonder they decided to give him one more chance and find another trainer. That’s some seriously cute stuff.
November 21, 2013
Stephanie and Hank[Full disclosure: the author is in love with Hank. Hank is one of those dogs that everyone loves because he is 1) giant and 2) he’s super sweet. Hankie is the most laid back dog ever in the world and we are fairly certain that Stephanie is telling a whole bunch of lies about what he was like as a baby puppy.]
Stephanie met Mike Hatjes in the mid 80’s, when she working as a vet tech at Kirkwood Animal Hospital. When she got her first dog as an adult, a Golden Retriever named Jack, she called Mike to help her train him. Jack was an easygoing dog that had zero behavior issues. He was a wonderful companion, so when he died from a brain tumor, she knew she wanted another Golden Retriever. This is where Hank enters the picture. Hank was a puppy with a mission. His goal was to cause as much mayhem as possible. He liked to bite Stephanie, he liked to shred papers (this is a favorite activity of many dogs) and he stole socks, just to name a few bad things Hank did. Stephanie needed help from Mike immediately with Hank. When Mike came to Stephanie’s house for the first evaluation, he found his friend covered in bite marks from this horrible puppy. Hank earned himself the nickname Mighty Bitey for all that biting he did.
Through private lessons and then group classes, Hank got straightened out and now he barely does a wrong thing ever! Stephanie did share with us that if she has left a tissue or a napkin in her car, Hank will jump from the back seat to the front, shred the napkin and then happily return to the back seat with a self- satisfied look on his face. This proves that even really good dogs cannot be good all the time.
Nearly 6 years old, Hank is not your average Golden. First off, he is big, 100 pounds big. Secondly, Stephanie keeps him shaved down for a good part of the year, so he goes around looking like a giant puppy. Thirdly, despite his bad, bad puppy days, Hank has grown up to be a very loving and friendly dog. Stephanie says the thing that surprises her the most about Hank is how much he loves everyone. And it’s true, Hank has never met a stranger and we doubt he’s ever met anyone who didn’t instantly fall in love with him. He is quite simply, a lovely dog.
Hank is also super lucky dog that gets to sleep in the bed with Stephanie. He even has his own chair that sits right in front of a window that looks out on the street. This allows Hank to keep close watch on the neighborhood goings on. His favorite treats are Puperonis and a rawhide. If you asked Hank what a great day would look like, it would be 2 walks, a trip to the beach and then cozying up to Stephanie for a good night’s sleep.
When we asked Stephanie the three things about Hank that does that charms her every single time she listed:
1. The exasperated look Hank gets in dog class. He lays his head flat on the ground and looks like the most bored dog ever in the world.
2. Hank likes to take his half of the bed, in the center. This means that Stephanie is often pushed to the edge of her side from the extreme cuddling that happens most nights. (Technically Stephanie isn’t charmed by this, but she’s accepted it.)
3. Hank loves everyone. He is the friendliest, happiest dog.
You can find Stephanie and Hank in the elite Level IV class on Wednesday nights. Even though Hank is a very good dog, Stephanie continues with obedience training because it’s a fun thing for both of them to do together each week and they are both still learning. Stephanie told us that the biggest reward from all this training is having a dog that will listen to her off leash!
Bay Area Dog Training is pleased to introduce you to our new dog trainer,
Emily caught the attention of Mike when she was in group classes training her beautiful mix breed dog, Sirus. Mike noticed her determination and her excellent leash handling skills. Emily was enjoying working with Sirus and knew she had an aptitude for it, but wondered if she would be well suited to training other dogs. She approached Mike to ask if he would be interested in teaching her to be a dog trainer. After interviewing Emily, Mike realized she would be a great addition to the BADT team. The two began working together immediately.
At first, Emily’s apprenticeship was observing Mike with private clients and helping at group classes. Mike was impressed with how quickly Emily learned the necessary skills as well as her work ethic and dedication. Soon she was handling dogs on her own and advising clients on how to deal with problem behaviors. She’s exceeded Mike’s expectations with every challenge he’s given her. Emily has expressed a deep satisfaction at being able to help people train their dogs into valued family pets.
Emily is now teaching group classes and is available for private lessons.
October 10, 2013
Cyn and Odo & Roe
Cyn and her husband Randy have known Mike Hatjes since the mid 80’s. Cyn trained 2 dogs with Mike before Odo, a Rottweiler and Labrador mix, came along. This was not her first rodeo and she was pretty certain that she could manage this 3 month old puppy. Come on, she had this. It’s fair to say that Odo had other ideas. Odo was a ridiculous (and stubborn) puppy whose exuberance for life prevented him from doing silly things like “listening” or “sitting” or “walking on a leash”. It became obvious to Cyn that she might need a little bit of help with Odo, but it had been so long since Cyn needed help with dog training, she wasn’t even sure if Mike was still in business. Much to her relief he was and she immediately signed up for some private lessons and group classes. One of the greatest things about attending group classes is that you get to see dogs and owners making real progress. Witnessing the trajectory of Cyn and Odo was inspiring. Odo went from being a day dreamy dog who had to be forced to pay attention to following Cyn’s commands perfectly.
It’s funny how animals come into our lives. Sometimes we seek them out, sometimes they just show up and other times your husband talks you into it. The latter is Roe’s story. Cyn and Randy always had 2 dogs and even though Cyn felt that Odo was enough and he was happy as an only dog, Randy thought they probably needed another dog. Cyn doubted this and when she was e mailed photos of some available puppies, she wasn’t impressed. Even when they went to go look at the sweet Doberman mix puppies, Cyn was very adamant that they were not bringing home a dog. It probably doesn’t need to be said, but yeah, they came home with a dog. It’s pretty hard for a puppy to not be adorable and Roe was certainly no exception. Unfortunately, Roe was also snappy and had fear aggression. Cyn didn’t have any experience with aggressive dogs and wasted no time signing up for private lessons with Mike. Roe made tremendous progress through private lessons. She continues her training in our advanced Sunnyvale group class where her fear aggression is diminishing. In fact, she’s often so relaxed in class that when given the command “down” she flops right over on her back and luxuriates in the sun for a moment.
Even though Odo and Roe share no genetics, looking at them, it’s easy to believe that they are brother and sister. They’re both that amazing caramel color that seems only to happen to mix breeds. They fell into their proper roles very easily. Roe is the annoying baby sister and Odo often has to tell “mom” when she’s in a bit of trouble! Recently Cyn was doing some work in the backyard and she very carefully cordoned off the area to keep the dogs out, but Roe wasn’t having any of this boundary nonsense. That area needed to be fully explored. Cyn had no idea that Roe was in the forbidden zone until Odo came to her and told on Roe!
We asked Cyn some questions about her dogs:
What are 3 things that your dogs do that charm you every time?
When he’s happy, he jumps about 5 feet straight in the air!
He talks when he’s excited about something and if I talk back, he answers me.
When I start talking, he cocks his head, he really listens to me.
She’s very vocal, every turn in her sleep is accompanied by a groan.
I started brushing the dogs’ teeth when they were puppies and when I get ready for bed, she will stand at the bathroom sink while I brush my teeth, waiting patiently for her turn.
Roe is not shy and her favorite position is on her back, spread eagle.
What are the house rules? Are dogs allowed on the furniture? Where do they sleep? Do they get people food?
The dogs are allowed on the furniture by invitation and Odo sleeps in the bed, but Roe sleeps in a crate (she’s not trusted to have access to the house at night.) They aren’t allowed table scraps, but the dogs love vegetables! Lettuce, broccoli, celery, etc, these are delicious treats to them.
What do the dogs love to do?
Odo and Roe love playing tug of war, going on walks and taking trips to Petco.
September 10, 2013
AMIR & WOLFIE
We noticed Amir and Wolfie the moment they stepped into our Level I class in Sunnyvale. Wolfie is a very beautiful white German Shepherd and Amir’s love for his dog was apparent from the get go. While Wolfie is the family dog, Wolfie and Amir are strongly bonded with each other. Amir is responsible for a large amount of Wolfie’s care and he is the main handler of the dog.
Wolfie was a horribly behaved 7 month old puppy when Amir, 15, started classes with BADT. Wolfie was biting family members, stealing food, and destroying furniture. Wolfie pretty much did every single bad thing he could think to do. Wolfie’s standing in the family was on perilous ground, as Amir’s dad told Amir that he had to two weeks to get Wolfie sorted out or they would have to return Wolfie to the breeder. After doing a lot of research and talking to friends, Amir finally decided to try group classes with Bay Area Dog Training to learn how to get Wolfie under control. In the very first class, Wolfie came in thinking he was hot stuff, he was used to a world where everything went his way. Mike Hatjes took the leash from Amir and corrected Wolfie’s idea about who was in charge. Amir says that Wolfie’s behavior was markedly different at home just after that one class!
Amir felt empowered with the things he learned from Mike and Wolfie’s behavior continued to improve over that class session, so much so, that Amir realized that he wanted to continue to Level II and Level III. A year later, Amir is the very proud owner of an exceptionally well behaved dog and he continues to come to dog class to fine tune his skills as Wolfie’s handler and to seek out the advice of Mike with any issues that might crop up. We are especially proud of Amir and Wolfie because they’ve made so much progress in our classes and because Amir is 15 years old. We don’t see many teenagers who are so dedicated to dog training and willing to get up early on a Saturday morning to attend dog class!
When we caught up with Amir, we asked him some questions to get to know him and Wolfie a little bit better.
What are three things your dog does that charm you every time?
a) Wolfie is very gentle when taking food from someone. He just uses his front teeth.
b) Wolfie is quite vocal and has very unique and specific noises he makes, depending on what he wants. He makes a noise when he’s tired and another one to tell you which car window he would like opened.
c) I love it when Wolfie thumps a back foot when he’s scratched along the side of his body.
Do you play any games with your dog? Go anywhere special that is just for the dog?
Wolfie really loves playing with a laser pointer, but Mike recommended against that because it can make dogs very neurotic, so instead my dad and I take Wolfie to a park and I hide. My dad tells Wolfie “find Amir” and he does! Wolfie also loves to play fetch and run around empty fields. Wolfie’s most favorite thing is to go to the beach, he loves to walk in the sand and play in the surf.
What are your house rules? Is the dog allowed on the furniture? Where does he sleep? Does he get people food? What do you allow your dog to do that you probably shouldn’t?
Wolfie is not allowed on the furniture, he usually sleeps in his crate, but sometimes I allow Wolfie to get into bed with me. Wolfie enjoys sleeping with his head on a pillow. Wolfie doesn’t get table scraps, but a big treat is steamed rice and boiled chicken.
Wolfie’s love of paper napkins has never faded. He knows he’s not supposed to eat them, so he will steal one and then hide it. If someone is watching, he’ll run around the house and play “keep away” with the napkin until he’s asked to surrender it.
Tell us about the thing that has surprised you the most about owning this dog.
Wolfie’s behavior change has surprised me the most. I had just accepted that Wolfie was going to be a bad dog, but through BADT’s classes, I realized that Wolfie was just waiting to become a very polite and well trained dog!