Kim was recommended by our vet (Murray Hill Vet). I read the glowing reviews on her website before contacting her. From our initial conversation and my interviews with other potential trainers, I knew Kim’s positive reinforcement approach and manner were the right fit for Abby, our golden lab mix, and our family. We rescued Abby in 2018, 6 months before we became empty nesters. She was about 2 ½ years old, and the rescue knew very little about her history except she had been abused and was extremely nervous and fearful. We quickly learned she was housebroken and knew basic commands so we didn’t sign up for any formal training despite our lack of experience as dog owners. My husband and I hadn’t grown up with pets nor did we have pets in our home while our children were growing up. All seemed fine until the pandemic.
As we began emerging from lockdown in Spring 2021, Abby’s behavior toward anyone entering our house who wasn’t part of our immediate family of four had changed dramatically. She barked incessantly, was agitated, and had to be leashed. After an especially challenging evening with friends who had been to our home many times pre-Covid, we knew we had to address this issue so we could comfortably socialize again at home with friends and family.
Kim worked with Abby and me, her primary handler, over our 6 sessions to create a “toolkit” (Kim’s words) of strategies, rewards, and stimulation that works for Abby. The first few sessions were extremely hard work and emotionally exhausting for Abby and me. Check-ins and homework (including practicing with guests for short periods) were important parts of our training. A few days after each session, Kim always texted to see how things were going and provided suggestions/adjustments based on my feedback. By our last session, we had made significant progress in helping Abby feel safer, calmer, and less likely to display negative behaviors when someone came to the house. My family has also learned these techniques as well, and we’ve had continued success when we need them.
After our initial package ended, Kim provided additional sessions on leash behavior since I now often had difficulty controlling Abby when we encountered unfamiliar dogs on our walks. Kim worked her magic here as well, customizing another “toolkit” for us. Our daily walks quickly became more enjoyable for both of us since I had learned how to use a treat bag effectively and was more confident handling Abby. I now can usually divert her completely from these “trigger” situations. When I’m not, I can now quickly minimize her negative reaction and get her under control compared to before.
It’s been a few months since our final session, and Kim continues to check in periodically. Her ability to understand her clients (human and canine), her positive approach, her wealth of knowledge about crating, rewards, commands, and stimulation (her recommendation of a Snuffle Mat was a game changer) and her passion for her work have made a huge difference for us. I highly recommend Kim and would not hesitate to hire her again.