What do my Students have to Say?
I came to Pam based on her personal experience with her human
aggressive Border collie Shadow and her positive training methods.
We have 3 Australian Shepherds, one 11-yr old and 2 just over a year
old. Our youngest, Dazzle, was suddenly having issues with new people
coming into our house.
With just 6 hours of private lessons, Pam was able to help me realize
that we were not having "Dazzle issues" so much as we were having
"multi-dog issues." With her help and guidance, I started seeing
changes in my group's behavior almost immediately! She gave me a lot
of great foundation behaviors to work on, tailored to our particular
situation. With continued steady practice, I know they will continue
to improve. Most importantly, however, she gave me hope! Thanks Pam!
Karen Z., Paisley, Velvet, and Dazzle Stockton, NJ
To my BMF Friends,
I have a story to tell with a little bragging if you don't mind and also to prove "Positive Training" really does work!
My husband and I both grew up in families with Large dogs. So once we were married it was not an issue that we would have a BIG dog.
Over the years we had St. Bernard's, Akita's, a SharPei (I know not large) and BMF. We have always been believers in taking our dogs to dog training classes so they know at least the basics. Sit and Down.
Every single dog we owned had a "Prong Collar." This is what we learned and this is what we did so that I could walk the dogs and not be dragged around town.
When we got Miss T we of course went to dog school and as a puppy they gave me a puppy prong collar. I put it on her because all big dogs needs a prong collar.
Well Miss T was not like any of my other dogs. She was sensitive and did not react well to the collar, nor did she react well to the instructor that I was working with so I quit dog training.
While discussing this with Andrea Kelly (our breeder), she suggested we try the "Positive Motivation Dog Training" (PMDT) facility in Belvidere NJ. It is about a 45 minute drive for us but they had weekend classes so I enrolled. At this time Miss T was just over a year old, I could not walk her with out the prong collar and she didn't listen to a word I said. I HATED taking her for a walks and when I did, I prayed that we would not encounter other dogs. When I would see one coming I turned around and went the other way. I knew I needed to figure this out before I had a Giant Dog that had to stay just in the back yard.
Now I was not so dumb to know that most of the issue was me. I also needed to learn how to be calm and project confidence so that we could have a successful training session. No one ever worked with Me, they always worked with the Dog…. Miss T and I enrolled in classes at PMDT.
A true success story. Miss T will be turning 3 in Oct.
Last week I was asked if Miss T and I would help our trainer with a client of hers. She has a reactive dog and wondered if I would bring Miss T over and just walk by the house while she worked with the other dog behind the fence. She said Miss T and I have such a great relationship and we both stay calm and focused, and this would be good for her while working with the reactive dog.
Talk about coming a long way... Me calm, Miss T calm... I am so fortunate I found PMDT. I have a dog that I can take anywhere, on lead and off, she comes when called (the first time, every time) she waits until she is released, not because she is scared she will get into trouble, but because she wants to please me. She is truly a awesome dog, and I am so happy to be her Human.
I know I sound like an info-mercial, but POSITIVE TRAINING… It REALLY, REALLY works.
Your classes are so wonderful and Sharleen is a great
trainer. My puppy gets so excited to go to class that
I think he feels the same as I do. It’s such
a positive experience and we are so happy you all
do what you do.
Sincerely, Danielle D.
Pam, I wouldn't be exaggerating when I tell you that
my relationship with Samson changed overnight. Literally!
I went home from class on the first night and got
out the clicker and some treats and did about 5
minutes of basic Week 1 homework (clicker priming,
eye contact & name
recognition). The next morning when I woke Samson
up he took one look at me and wagged his tail - which
he had never done before! (He's not a "morning" dog).
That was my conversion moment.
Now when we see him
getting excited / hyper, we just get out the clicker
and do another training session! He focuses all
his energy on the training and is so enthusiastic
that we end up working for 10/15 minutes.
I could go on forever, but it wasn't until our first
class that I realized just how negative Mike and I
were. We were frustrated all the time with Samson
and all we did was correct him and try to discipline
him. It is much more enjoyable to give him unexpected
pets and "good boy’s” and smiles
when he is just being a good dog than it is to walk
around the house armed with spray bottles and water
guns waiting for him to get into trouble again.
Now when we pick him up from doggy day care he runs
to the car to see us, tail wagging, smiling, and beaming
with enthusiasm. We still have a lot to learn, but
thanks to your team and your method, we are having
an absolute blast doing it!
Pam.... I have to say that your classes are just
way too fun! I can't believe how much I get out of
each and every one. I never would have thought 6 months
ago that my puppy would be heeling next to me with
changes of directions looking up at my face. Joey
is always so happy in class. This experience just
WAY exceeds all of my expectations... Just wanted
to say thank you and keep up the good work. You're
an awesome trainer.
I echo Stacy's pleasure with the classes. I have
really seen great
progress with Truffie, and I am so pleased to do it
methods. I'm sure she'll have her ups and downs, and
if I were more
skillful she'd do better, but we are so lucky there
is a training
center with this philosophy so close to us! I just
why more people don't adopt positive training. I have
ways, and this is just way more fun. When I think
how I used to set
my dogs up for corrections in the old ways....poor
things. How much
nicer to set them up for success. And yet most people
who know me
think I've gone over to the wimp side for grandmothers
sentimentalists. I can't for the life of me understand
considered fine to teach your dog something by sharp
jerks on the
collar, but it's looked down on to teach them the
same thing with
Plus I do think they learn lots of things faster
-- at least Truffie
does. She can't always think because of her barking,
but when she
can think, she learns very quickly.
East Bangor, PA
Thank you for the wonderful
experience I am having with my dogs since training with
you. More than just the exercises, sit, stay, come when
called, competition behaviors etc., your positive /
clicker training methods have helped me develop a new
and better relationship with my dogs. Instead of chasing
them around the house to put their prong collars
on, they are now excited when they see me arming
myself with a clicker and treats.Instead of calling
them repeatedly to get them in the house from playing
in the woods I use the whistle call you taught me.
They come flying in every time (even from the dead
carcass they found!).
Coaching with you has also made ME a better handler.
I am better able to communicate with my dogs exactly
what is expected of them and how to reward them
for it. Certainly it is a relief to never have to
use punishment to get my dogs to work with me.My
goal for my Belgian Malinois puppy is to have an
OTCH title. Punishment based trainers do not believe
that is possible to achieve with clicker training
methods. Watching you compete with your dogs with
the highest level of precision proves it CAN be
done. You are an inspiration, and FUN to work with.
I look forward to the work ahead.
Daniel De La Rosa
Thanks to you and whistle training - you saved
at least one life this morning - I did NOT have
a heart attack chasing the escaped terrier!! Yup,
5 am, pitch dark, two dogs out on leashes for the
morning constitutional. Someone was apparently
asleep at the leash, because I suddenly discovered
a clip was no longer attached to Dusty's harness. I
had about 2 seconds to snag him before he realized
he was loose [and at 5 am that was not nearly enough!]
and he was off like a shot into the darkness. The "Dill" however,
was perfect as we ran back into the house to lock
her up and grab cheese and a whistle. [yeah,
I know, they should be in my pockets at all times,
but we do this every morning without incident] I
ran back out to the end of my driveway - no terrier
in sight - whistled and rustled the ziplock. Not
sure if he came to the whistle or the sound of a
ziplock being opened, but several seconds later,
here he comes racing across the snow! Whew! No
heart attack for me, no lost dog, no late to work!
Keep teaching it - you never know when you'll
Sheri, Long Valley
The best thing that ever happened to Ceasar was
coming home with me and the next best thing for
my boy & me was finding you. The clicker training
has given me a new dog. Do you know Greg took him
to the vet last week and Greg being Greg let Ceasar
meet people. He was wonderful! He is beginning to
like people and instantly leans on them for pets.
Besides that he is actually playing with me! We
play chase and it is the cutest thing I ever saw
Irene O'Connor and Ceaser (the recovering human aggressive
I will always remember our first private session
with Pam and our German Shepherd Sasha. My husband
and I both came to Pam because we had a 4 year old
dog who was fear aggressive. We had recently lost
our Rotti who had been with Sasha since she was
a pup. She looked to him for everything and when
he died, she fell apart. We had no relationship
with her what-so-ever. I had trained her from a
pup using a correction based training with food
rewards when she did something right. These training
methods, coupled with her temperament caused her
to lose trust and faith in us, leaving her with
no one to rely on when Duke was gone. At this point
she had never bit anyone but had we not done something,
I knew it would just be a matter of time.
In our first lesson I could not even get her to
pay attention to me - she simply did not want to
be with me. She was so stressed that throughout
that first class she would continually run back
to daddy and hide her face between his legs whenever
she had the chance. I was heartbroken. I felt that
I had completely messed her up. As we worked with
Pam and began to learn about behavior and how our
actions affected her, we began to understand what
she was going through. We learned where we made
our mistakes, as well as what not to do in the future.
Because she didn't trust me, Sasha seemed to feel
that she had to be on guard at all times and constantly
watch her surroundings. And if a stranger would
come to the house - forget it. We had to crate her
in order to have people come in. Loose leash walking
was non-existent. She knew how to lay down, sit,
stay (kind of) but was not reliable with this. A
heavy sigh from me would cause her to tuck her tail
between her legs and react in a submissive manner.
She had no self-esteem, and was beginning to display
severe separation anxiety behaviors, including urinating
and defecating in the house. She clearly preferred
my husband over me which was a great disappointment
as she was supposed to be my dog.
We've been working with Pam for 2 years now and
Sasha is doing great. We are now in the Breakfast
Club group class that concentrates on helping dog
and owner with their issues, be they people or dog.
She walks on a loose leash and can actually focus
her entire attention on me instead of what is going
on around us. I now have a relationship with my
dog and actually enjoy being with her. She now enjoys
our attention and affection instead of just tolerating
A few examples of her most recent accomplishments
are that we are able to take her for walks on the
trails on a loose leash with other people and dogs
(dogs were a problem too) and I even had a complete
stranger in the house while I was home alone and
she did not bark or growl at her. I also can pull
in for gas with her in the car without her going
nuts. She is actually beginning to prefer my attention
over my husband's, and best of all she is starting
to allow complete strangers pet her. This may seem
small things to some people, but to me they are
There was a time when we were debating about
rehoming her because we did not know what to do.
I am completely convinced that the method of training
we were using then was the main cause of her problems
and will never go back to that type of training
again. Positive training may seem like it takes
longer to get results, but the opposite is true.
If you honestly dedicate yourself to working with
your dog each day, results happen that much quicker.
And best of all, there are no side effects to positive
and the rewards are greater!! For me and the dogs!!
Our relationship is so strong now, because of
the work I have done with Pam, Sasha is now ready
to learn how to herd sheep! I also plan to compete
in Rally-O and agility in the future. I would not
be where I am today with Sasha without Pam and Positive
Motivation. We now have Codi, a Greater Swiss Mountain
Dog and train him using positive methods. We were
told by the breeder (and almost everyone in the
breed circle) that we need to "show him who's
boss," and discipline him using harsh methods
or he will never listen. Just the opposite is true.
And every time someone meets him and says how wonderful
he is and how sweet and loving, I just smile and
say "It's all due to positive motivation."
Stacey Herman Modica; Califon, NJ
I had been told to use a firm hand and aggressively
socialize my 8-week-old Rotti pup, Rusty. By the
time I found Pam, my Rusty had turned into a 14-week-old
nervous wreck fearful of every stranger he met.
Since Pam did not own a rottweiler, I was skeptical
motivation would work on a tough breed of dog. Pam
assured me that with positive motivation, and letting
Rusty go at his own pace, I would see good things
happen and have a dog that wanted to obey me, not
one that was afraid of me. I think she had a harder
time showing me how to do things correctly more
than she did Rusty. After a couple of classes, it
was hard to keep Rusty away from Pam. Every time
he saw her, he would run up to her and sit waiting
for her to acknowledge him. By the time he finished
her class he was running up to everyone looking
for his treat. Quite a difference from the little
scared puppy at her first class.
No matter what breed of dog you have Pam will
work with you and show you how with love, patience
and consistency there are no problem dogs only good
doggies in need of positive motivation. If you are
looking for a kind and knowledgeable trainer, I
highly recommend Pam Dennison.
Peggy M., Newton, NJ
rescued Bull Terrier Satch and I have been training
with Pam for close to 18 months now with terrific
results. Satch has a problem being around other
dogs and would really react badly when he got within
10 feet of one. Just the other day, at our "Breakfast
Club" class, Satch was within 2 feet of Pam's
Cody and didn't aggress. In fact Cody stepped on
Satch, by accident of course, and there was no inappropriate
reaction on Satch's part. We've been in "growl" class
just under 12 weeks and it's amazing to me that
he's progressed so much in such a short time.
Satch has come a long way. All of his skills and
gotten so much better and his focus on me has improved
greatly. I'm not only thrilled about Satch's progress
but the other dogs in class are doing just as well
with their "issues". Thanks Pam. I sincerely
doubt that we could have done it without you and
Ethel Abelson and Satchmo
I always knew my dachshunds had the capability
to learn and be better behaved, but for years I
struggled with helping them to become better dogs
and subsequently, better companions. I simply did
not know how to effectively communicate to them
what I wanted, and in turn, give them what they
had two problems. Hans, my 6 year old, would lunge,
jump, bite and totally freak out when he met new
dogs, no matter the territory. I could tell that
he was simply overwhelmed. He was not being vicious,
it was more of a 'I am so excited to meet you,
I want to play, and I have no idea how to handle
myself!' The problem was that if we met a dog
that responded to his aggressive actions, we had
a dog fight on our hands.
my three year old dachshund, is very timid, shy,
and has the tendency to be a fear biter. I have
foster dachshunds in and out of my house weekly,
Bean was especially anxious when new ones came in.
He would bark and charge the new dogs. This proved
to be a real problem when I had dogs that responded
to his attacks. I could tell that my dogs wanted
to handle both situations better, but simply did
not know how to cope with the stress. I certainly
was not making things better by yelling at them
when they barked, or introducing them on tight leashes
while they lunged at the new dogs.
When I found Pam Dennison's school, Positive Motivation,
and spoke with her about her techniques, I knew
right away that this was the key to success with
my boys. Since taking Pam's Basic Obedience class,
Hans and Bean are simply better dogs. After a few
short weeks, Hans no longer lunges new dogs, and
simply sniffs and says a quiet hello. Hans was especially
antsy around dogs bigger than him, (not too hard
since he is a Daschund!) and he now does NO barking,
jumping, or freaking out. With a few short sessions
when new dogs came into the house, Bean has learned
that 'good things happen when fosters come to visit'
and his anxiety has greatly reduced, which in turn
reduces the barking, growling, lunging and overall
stress level in the house.
I was simply amazed when he only barked twice
at a new foster and never did it again, when historically
we literally had barking for the first few hours
and sporadic attacks for days.
I could not believe how easy and simple it was
to teach Hans and Bean that new dogs in the house
are a good thing. By simply rewarding positive behavior,
and ignoring the ones I did not want, I have greatly
improved their manners.
The best part is that it only takes a few minutes,
a few times a day to see improvement, and it is
a technique that you can use for a lifetime. Lately,
I have found my dogs staring at me, literally begging
to do some training! Positive Motivation has helped
me to build a strong relationship with my dogs,
and I can see that they are happier. I believe that
a dogs main goal in life is to please its owner,
and Positive Motivation gives you the avenue to
make that happen. I personally feel it is our responsibility
to show our dogs how to communicate with us and
this is clearly the way to go. I will continue working
with Hans and Bean, long after our class has ended
and I can't wait until the next one starts so we
can learn more!
Heather M., NJ
"I have 3 Australian Shepherds and periodically
foster a rescue until adopted. I had trained obedience
exercises with all of my dogs using compulsion and
food, but had been unable to fine tune their performances
and help them generalize without losing confidence.
Pam's positive techniques have not only "tweaked" the
minute details of each exercise, but have made practicing
much more fun for both me and my dogs! (And I am
getting higher scores to boot!)
even reaches into the souls of the rescue dogs
who have so much emotional baggage. This training
method in no way reminds them of their past abuse
and in this way we are able to shape and remold
their attitudes and behavior.
are less stressful on the dog and owner. By simply
reinforcing good behavior and ignoring bad behavior,
the dog learns without stress or emotional upheaval."
Lisa P., Port Murray, NJ
"After taking our boxer, Ruby, to traditional
training at a prestigious training school for a
year, we were perplexed and concerned to find that
we now had a dog that, at 1 year, was being labeled
aggressive. She had become a very fearful/aggressive
dog, afraid of everything, who developed lumps all
over her body. She would fight with our other dog,
so that for safetys sake we had to keep them
separated. The training school had no answers for
us and we could see that she would soon start biting.
In addition, her fear had grown so that she wouldnt
even go for a walk."
"We couldnt let this go on, so I searched the Internet
and by luck I found Pam Dennison at Positive Motivation Dog Training.
Within 4 days after the first class we started to see amazing results.
We were learning to truly communicate with Ruby and were thrilled
with how well she was responding. We dont have to separate our
two dogs anymore. We learned that the hives, which we thought were
bug bites, related directly to her stress and within days they disappeared
and have never come back. Ruby becomes more confident each day in
so many ways that we never thought possible. Positive training has
taught us to set Ruby up for success and has helped create a happier
more confident pet that is now reaching her full potential."
Kim F., Long Valley
BULLMASTIFFS in Obedience!?! Well, Pam likes a
challenge, and, despite the breed's reputation as "untrainable," she
agreed to take on Ted andGoyle, two dogs who are
as different as night and day.""After
just 11 months of working with Pam, Goyle (the original
shrinking violet) attended her second obedience
trial. She took a deep breath, gulped, and went
into the ring, keeping a close eye on her friend
Pam who stayed ringside, giving Goyle the little
confidence booster she so desperately needed. Five
minutes later, Goyle had her first qualifying score
towards her CD, and a third place ribbon." "Three
weeks later, Ted made his debut. Nerves are never
a consideration with him, but he does have a sense
of humor, so one never knows quite what to expect.
Once again, Pam was ringside and got to see her
student not only get his first qualifying leg towards
his CD and second place, but also be awarded High
Scoring Champion in Obedience at the American Bullmastiff
Association National Specialty out of the Novice
A division.""Pam's positive methods and
creative solutions, plus her willingness to work
with each dog as an individual, are truly a recipe
Andrea K., "Ted" NAC Amer./Can. CH Bastion's
Ruff Rider O'Waters,
OA TDI OFA-E and "Goyle," Far Hills, NJ
"With Pam's expertise, patience, encouragement
and positive methods, I have seen a great deal of
improvement in Greta's behavior. In just 4 weeks
of praising her good behavior and ignoring her bad
behavior, my German Shepherd Dog has calmed down
more than I could have imagined and hoped for. Greta
now has enough self confidence to ignore our neighbors
and their dogs, whereas she used to "greet" them
with a bark that would scare a lion! The hardest
part of course, was re-training myself to always
be consistent in what I say and do, as well as practicing
patience when I am tempted to say "no!" In
addition, I am learning how to read her body language
so that I can better understand her. I am continuing
to work with Pam and Greta so that someday soon,
we will be able to let Greta try her hand(or paws)
at sheep herding!"
Lori M., Washington, NJ
"Pam is fantastic. Her techniques were immediately
effective with our Jack Russell terrier, Evie-Mae
-- and Evie had the best time in the world learning.
Sometimes after figuring out how to do a lesson,
Evie (still a puppy then) would explode into running
big fast laps around the room -- a behavior she
reserved only for the best games, the most exciting
visitors, and generally, when she's feeling totally
totally happy. The most important lesson we were
able to teach her was being calm -- not always an
innate trait in Jack Russells!
When we later bought a kitten (Sparky), Evie was
so tense with excitement we thought she might over-react
and hurt her. So we applied the techniques that
Pam suggested and rewarded her (Evie, not Pam) each
time she looked away from Sparky and remained calm,
even if just for an instant. So Evie learned to
keep attentive to our voices, even when something
super-doggy-remarkable is in sight.
And in general, we appreciated Pam's demeanor
-- her calm approach, her absolute love of dogs,
and her creativity with solving problems. When we
started her in group classes, Evie was very very
agitated and overstimulated -- enough so that we
considered cancelling. But Pam never gave up and
even rearranged the room a bit to make Evie feel
less overwhelmed, by blocking some of her view of
the other dogs. It helped some (Evie's ability to
get excited if she wants to, may be greater than
all the world's best efforts to calm her down!),
but Pam's thoughtfulness and never-give-up determination
to make it work meant a great deal to us.
We recommend Pam and her techniques whole-heartedly."
Tom and Kris Kelleher and Evie Mae, Blairstown, NJ