Alta

Hello Canine Academy Friends!

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Catherine, Alta, and I are on our first "Dogcation" together this week up in Traverse City. We wanted to let you know that Alta is a GREAT DOG. We are having some great adventures that include several new environments, hikes, and last night we took her over to our friends' house for dinner and Alta was an angel. Even with their three year old son running around! She stayed on her place mat throughout the whole meal and listened well all night. On hikes and in parks we have been able to remove her leash and she comes enthusiastically each time she is called. Completing the off-leash program allows us and our dog to live the best version of our life together.

Thank you for all of your support. Looking forward to some upcoming outings!

Love,

Ross, Catherine, and Alta

Bella & Lil'Mama

Dear Lisa, Kara, Amanda, and the amazing staff at Canine Academy,

We can’t thank you enough for all you have done to help and support us in the training process for both Bella and Lil’Mama.  Our lives have forever been changed because of the support we have received, and continue to receive, from you all.  Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!  😊

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Bella, our 3 year old lab-pit mix, joined our family as a puppy from a rescue.  We tried several different training programs with her at local pet stores and such and while she learned how to army crawl and shake her obedience was less than desirable.  Bella had a mind of her own – if there was something on the counter she was counter surfing before you could blink (butter was her favorite – it would be gone in a few seconds).  You really couldn’t sit down and relax because just as you sat down she was off getting into something else.  We loved our sweet Bella, but we were at a crossroads with her.  We soon found Canine Academy and enrolled her in the Beginner class, and then the Intermediate Class.  Bella took part in the day training and while not “great” just yet we were definitely seeing improvements.  After much consideration, and discussions with Lisa we put Bella into the off-leash obedience program at Canine Academy.  We were sad when we had to leave her for the 6 weeks, but the time did fly by, and we were able to call to get updates as well as see her progress on the blog.  The day we went to pick Bella up was just amazing.  Amanda walked into the building with Bella and I couldn’t believe just how well she was doing.  She was walking confidently, obeying commands, and when we were finally reunited she greeted us nicely without jumping up and anyone toppling over.  Finally, after a few visits we were able to bring her home!  The first few days were amazing – she wasn’t counter surfing, she wasn’t jumping on people when they came in the door, she would down and stay while we ate dinner instead of getting on the table… it was amazing!  We kept waiting for the “honeymoon” period to be over… when is she going to realize she’s home?  But, here we are 4 months later and she is only getting more confident, and more obedient each day.  She is such a well-mannered dog that we can take places, go for walks with, and relax on the couch with every day.  We seriously can’t thank Lisa and her staff at Canine Academy enough.  

Lil’Mama, our 1 year old pit mix puppy, joined our family last summer.  We quickly placed her in the beginner class at Canine Academy and then the Intermediate class.  She was doing excellent learning the commands, taking walks, and listening at home.  While Bella was away in the off-leash program we continued Lil’Mama’s training in Intermediate and Day Training – she really was doing well and we didn’t see a huge need for the off-leash; I even remember telling Lisa (just before we brought Bella home) that Lil’Mama is good – we’ve got this.  Well, Bella came home and after seeing her confidence we realized that Lil’Mama could use some continued work and support.  While she was already a good dog, we wanted her to be a great dog – primarily to stop jumping on people all the time, and heel without pulling us!  So, we enrolled her in off-leash.  In June Lil’Mama left to go spend 6 weeks with Lisa, Kara, and the rest of the staff at Canine Academy.  Once again, we were tracking her progress through frequent calls to check-in and the pictures and posts on their blog.  The 6 weeks flew by and about a week ago Lil’Mama came home.  We can take walks and do a simple let’s go, or a heel and she walks confidently by you (not pulling you down the street).  When visitors come by she keeps all 4 paws on the ground.  Both Lil’Mama and Bella are doing fantastic – we were even able to go out to eat on a patio with both of them this past weekend!  

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While both puppies still have their abundant energy and love to play they are confident in themselves and are obedient; they are well-trained and we can’t thank Lisa, Kara, Amanda, and the rest of the amazing staff at Canine Academy for all of their support through the process and their continued support as Bella and Lil’Mama continue to improve on a daily basis.  

Thank you for everything,

Trisha, Kirstin, Bella and Lil’Mama

Fitz

Thank you to the team at Canine Academy,

 Our experience  at Canine Academy with our Boston Terrier/Pug Mix, Fitz was exceptional!

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 After rescuing Fitz at 11 months from Michigan Animal Rescue League we quickly found out why he had been surrendered.    He was full of character but had too much destructive energy and boy-oh-boy was he fast.  In fact, we had been warned to always keep him on leash as he would run away.  After enrolling him in beginner classes we realized that Fitz was a bit too much for us to handle in the training department and we needed to enlist the skills of Lisa and her team.   When we met with Lisa to discuss Fitz's behaviors we were chagrined to find that he was "guilty" of almost all negative behaviors that the Off Leash Program helps to correct.  Stealing, biting, jumping, garbage picking,  begging, leash pulling...  You name it and it seemed that he was doing it.   

We did attend both Beginner and Intermediate classes and took advantage of Day Training as well.  On many mornings, when I dropped him off at Day Training my parting comment was always "Please fix him!"   Our house felt very tense  and felt small with every door to each room closed,  garbage cans moved to the top of the toilets, and all shoes, mail, computer mouses, TV remotes stored in high places.  It felt that nothing was safe including a brand new pair of prescription glasses left on the end table that were very damaged.  Tension was definitely running high.

We did miss Fitz while he was away and honestly we worried that maybe Lisa and the team had met their match in Fitz.  I half expected a call saying "Sorry...  He is not trainable and we need you to pick him up."   Happily, that call never came and as we watched the Facebook posts we loved seeing all the adventures that Fitz was experiencing. 

While he was at Off Leash we noticed that our home was no longer a whirling dervish of destruction.  The doors were once again opened and our things were returned to the proper place.  Those doors have remained open even now upon his return.  We now, can trust him and he knows what is expected of him.

Our Off Leash Graduate is a confident, well trained dog.  What a pleasure it is to take him for a walk or car ride.  Mealtimes are peaceful and are no longer a battle because he is in "place"  

We are really enjoying having him home again.  Thanks so much to the whole talented and patient team for showing Fitz that he can be a great dog all the time.

We will see you soon!

-The Knox Family

Gracie

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Gracie, an English Golden Doodle exuberantly bounced into my life 7 months ago.   She was extremely energetic, and the play was never-ending.  She loved to bite, eat absolutely everything she found on the ground, chew anything she could, and run around the house like a tornado.  She is a very flexible dog and could squeeze into almost any tight space where I couldn’t reach her when she had something she shouldn’t. She broke things in the house with her love of the “chase game” when I complied with her wishes and played the game to rescue her from swallowing whatever she had in her mouth. As adorable as she was, I was exhausted and frustrated and although my previous dog had been through all the courses at Canine Academy including off-leash and had turned out to be a very Great Dog, I felt like no one could tame this little puppy that I loved. 

After completing the beginner and intermediate obedience classes, Gracie went to off-leash and I got a break from all this energy. While watching the posts of Gracie training in various places and sitting in a store on her own and, even better, BEHAVING, I would just laugh with glee.  I couldn’t believe it.  The people at Canine Academy told me they had seen it all and that Gracie was indeed trainable, and they were right.  She is still very energetic which means that I get a lot of exercise, but the bad behavior in the house is gone. 

In my past experience with Canine Academy, they are always there for you and your dog.  The day training classes are great to keep improving your dog’s behavior and to give you a little break.  There are lots of outings to participate in to get your dog used to being out in crowds and around other people and dogs.  They are always available if you have a question or a problem with a particular behavior.  Lisa was even with me when my other dog, Maggie, took her last breath, and I will always be grateful.  She has a way with dogs and knows how to train the people that love them.  So, now my little best friend has become a Great Dog, and I have become a Great Dog Mom! 

With deepest thanks always Canine Academy,

Colleen Gagnon & Gracie

Ted

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Our American Bulldog, Ted Williams, is the second dog we have trained through Canine Academy.  We are so happy and pleased with the training, that we tell everyone we meet how wonderful it is. We have referred several people to the program.  We would never ever have a dog that we didn't train through Canine Academy.

Joe, Anne and Ted

Merlin

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I picked up my dog, Merlin, at the end of June from Canine Academy, when he became a successful graduate of the Off Leash Program.  Woo Hoo!  Merlin is a mix between an Australian Shepard and a Poodle.  Another heartfelt Thank you to Lisa who gave me a much appreciated lead on him as I rescued / adopted him, from the K9 Stray Rescue League in Oxford, when he was 5 months old.  It was love at first sight but admittedly, I didn’t know what I was in for with him, as his personality and energy level is so much different than my previous dog, who was a Bouvier.

Merlin is the second dog that I have had that has gone through the Off Leash Program and I would not hesitate to do it again. My first dog, Sosie, was a Bouvier, and she went through the program later, when she was a bit older.  She was the greatest dog ever, as Merlin is and is becoming, more and more each day. 

Even though I had been through the program before (many years ago), I still wondered about the 6 week time frame, but was assured that the time would pass quickly.  And it really did, even though at times it was a bit agonizing.  I read some of the other Testimonials on the website and I can relate to so much of what was written by other great dog owners.  Merlin is super high-energy and was a terrific puller on his leash and harness.  It was super high-excitement (really over the top), whenever we would encounter anyone (people and dogs) on our walks.  We stopped walking him for a time and just played fetch in the back yard as walks were becoming so difficult and stressful.  He was a digger and a stick and acorn eater.  Now, that has changed.  I can also attest that his personality has not changed after going through the Off Leash Program.  He is the most loving dog and is still very excited, high energy, and he runs like the wind.  His energy is just channeled differently, if that makes sense.

It was very helpful and reassuring to watch the instructional tapes and to see pictures of Merlin on the Blog and videos (of him and other great dogs) on Facebook.  They were so much fun to watch.  I checked the Blog countless times while he was in the Program.  That was wonderful, although I did shed a tear now and then.  That wasn’t available with my first dog when she went through the Program.  It was such a pleasure to see him as he was making progress.

One of the other great things that I love about the Off Leash Program and Canine Academy, in general, is that when I bring Merlin in for Day-training or Boarding (even though I don’t go away too often), I know he is safe and is with other great dogs.  It is such a comfortable feeling.  I also cannot say enough good and positive things about the Staff.  Everyone has been so helpful and reassuring and the information shared with me has been invaluable.

I hope this information may help some of you who may be deciding if this is a good option for you and your dog.  Again, I would not hesitate to do this again, and take part in the Off Leash Program again in the future.  We do have work and practicing to do together, Merlin and me, but what a joy and a difference I see ahead of us.

We look forward to the outings we would like to take advantage of and participate in, in the near future and all of the other great things I know is in store for us.

Thank you to Canine Academy and Staff from Merlin and me.  You are the greatest!!

Sincerely,

Teresa and Merlin



 

Mollipop

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Last September, our family adopted a 4 month-old mixed-breed puppy from the Rochester Humane Society. At first, Mollipop was as sweet as her name suggests. As she grew a bit older, though, she exhibited an excessive amount of hyperactive energy and was constantly in motion. She never paused to cuddle and wouldn’t nap unless we crated her. She often resorted to mischief to cope with her nervous energy, and we were convinced she didn’t know how to relax. Mollipop surfed the counters regularly, stealing anything she could reach. She shredded mail, homework, instruction manuals, etc. She destroyed three pairs of our daughters’ prescription glasses, a universal remote control, several shoes, and eventually some furniture. She lived for the game of chase that ensued after this naughty behavior in order to stop her, therefore creating a frustrating and expensive cycle of negative attention. We realized  quickly we did not have the tools to train this puppy effectively. We were exhausted and desperate for some relief when we learned about Canine Academy.

I enrolled Mollipop in the Beginner training class and day-training twice a week. This combination of training definitely helped curb her destructive behavior, but I could tell we had bitten off more than we knew how to chew with this pup. You see, Mollipop was a 45 pound mix of pit-bull and boxer. In addition to being extraordinarily cute, she was very strong and very stubborn. I’d leave the one hour class exhausted from wrestling her into position. While I couldn’t deny her slow but steady progress, I knew we didn’t have the the kind of time necessary to devote to training to guarantee her success, and the inconsistent use of commands at home from my husband and our three teenage kids was terribly confusing for all of us. Mollipop’s training was admittedly an afterthought because of our crazy schedules, and her bad behavior was taking a negative toll on our family.

I felt bad for Mollipop. I had wanted to give her a loving home with a family who adored her. Instead, the chaos she created caused our stress level to go through the roof and we began to resent her because she seemed like constant work. So instead of enrolling her for her the Intermediate Class, we opted for the Off Leash training program. 

At the time, it seemed like an exorbitant amount of money to spend on a dog. We had some very real concerns: Would she remember us? Would she be mad at us for sending her away for 6 weeks? Was Mollipop even capable of being a GREAT dog or was this a hopeless waste of money? If it worked, would she still be playful or would she lose her personality? We agreed the time and expense was worth the risk. We dropped her off in Oxford and wished the staff the best of luck. At 8 months old, we were pretty certain Mollipop was going to give their trainers a run for their money.

Week 1: I won’t lie - we didn’t miss Mollipop AT ALL. In fact, her absence felt pretty amazing. The house stayed clean. We didn’t miss the cold trips outside to take her potty. The stress level in the house lowered dramatically. The break from her mischief felt like a breath of fresh air.

Week 2: Mollipop started to make some pretty impressive photo appearances on Facebook via the Canine Academy blog. She was sitting. She was staying. She was obviously LISTENING to commands! This was very exciting to see.  There was hope! She was doing it! 

I called to check on her:  I about fell out of my chair when Lindsay told me she was doing great and everyone loved working with her! She wasn’t driving them crazy?!!! Amazing.

Week 3: Photos of Mollipop all over town started to pop up on the blog! Videos demonstrated her ability to calmly stay in one spot even with the distraction of strangers and other dogs surrounding her! Our hope for our puppy quickly turned to PRIDE. We started to remember all of the fun things about Mollipop. How she was always so happy to see us. How much she made us laugh. How we named her because she would “pop” her little butt up in the air when she was excited. We began to miss her terribly and couldn’t wait to see her! 

I called to check on her: She was ahead of schedule!!! How could this be possible?!! There’s no way we could have done this on our own!

Week 4: I now checked FB every day for more amazing photos and videos of our trained dog. She continued to surface - inside classrooms, stores, nursing homes, etc. But I noticed something very different now. Her ears appeared relaxed and borderline floppy. Her demeanor was calm and relaxed. It was obvious the work was no longer hard for her and she was enjoying herself. Our dog rocked and we couldn’t WAIT to bring her home!

I called to check on her: Mollipop has gained confidence and is beginning to understand that humans and training keep her safe. The feeling of “safe” is comforting so she looks forward to commands to avoid danger!

Week 5: Mollipop sightings continue via the Canine Academy Blog. We anxiously prepare for her arrival. We buy her a welcome home basket of toys and treats and talk about her incessantly.

I didn’t call to check on her: I know she's in GREAT hands and doing just fine!

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Week 6: My husband and I went to Canine Academy to work with Mollipop for three 1 hour training sessions. 

                Day 1: We were nervous and excited. I think she was too. She was happy to see us and worked very hard with great success. We felt anxious and a bit overwhelmed. We were worried we’d mess up her training!

                Day 2: We were much more relaxed going into this session. When she saw us, she was ecstatic. She dropped at our feet and rolled over for the biggest belly rub with excitement. She worked hard with great success, and was definitely relaxed.

                Day 3: We felt confident with the information Kara and Christine had patiently shared with us to educate us about our Great Dog. We understood we would make mistakes, and so would Mollipop, but ultimately everything would be okay. Mollipop was happy to hop in the back of our car to go home with us, but we never got the feeling she was impatient to leave Canine Academy. It brought us joy to see how comfortable she was there and how fond she was of her trainers. We were happy for our girl.

Since she’s been home.

We are happy to report that Mollipop continues to be a GREAT DOG!!! Still a puppy at 9 months old, she is extremely well behaved. We take her with us everywhere with great confidence! We even opted to stay local for Spring Break so we could spend time with her and reap the benefits of her training! We took her for a two night staycation at The Townsend Hotel (the staff there is amazing) and shopped with her in Birmingham. She was happy to be along and very polite in every store we visited no matter what distractions presented themselves.

We then took her to the country for a few days where she enjoyed the freedom of wide open spaces and the room to run like the greyhound she thinks she is. We are most amazed by her willingness to stay close to us. It’s obvious she trusts us to keep her safe and that brings her great comfort. Mollipop no longer presents as an anxious dog with nervous / hyper energy. Instead she is calm, gentle and loving. She enjoys relaxing and cuddling with people. She is polite when meeting strangers and friendly with children and other dogs. While she is still tempted to dig (as it really is great fun), she now stops when we tell her to leave it. She no longer surfs the counters because her OFF command has taught her that’s not a safe choice. She rarely gets into trouble because she chooses to be near us, and is almost always within eyesight. Therefore, we can catch her before she makes mistakes and correct her with ease. 

In reality, we spent far less money on Mollipop’s training than we would have spent on a Spring Break trip with our family of 5. By foregoing one week of vacation, we now feel like we LIVE ON VACATION WITH OUR GREAT DOG! It’s truly the best decision we could have made! We are so grateful for the staff at Canine Academy! They treat Mollipop like family, and are incredibly invested in her success. We never hesitate to call to ask questions and are so thankful for their ongoing support! Mollipop's training affords us the luxury of peace of mind whenever she is with us. As a result, we play with her all the time and she receives the love and attention she deserves. She brings our family an immense amount of joy and we are so very proud of her! She IS a GREAT dog!!

The Myers

Maggie & Sullivan

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Five years ago on a beautiful fall evening we brought a new yellow Labrador retriever puppy into our home.  “Maggie” became our “girl” and part of our family.  We enrolled Maggie to take the beginner and intermediate training classes with Canine Academy.  While this training provided Maggie with the tools she needed to follow our commands, under high distraction she was still unpredictable.  The following Spring while on a walk on Paint Creek Trail, Maggie had the urge to go swimming. She pulled her leash out of our hands, jumped into the creek during the spring high water runoff and was swept downstream where her leash got hung up on a branch of a submerged log.  Sue and I looked at each other with horror as we both thought Maggie was going to drown.  Somehow the leash came undone and Maggie swam to the bank and climbed out wagging her tail, smiling!  It was at that moment we decided to enroll Maggie in Off Leash Training. It was a difficult 6 weeks without her around but after completion of the training we were elated with the entire process and the Canine Academy staff that trained and cared for Maggie.  Off Leash training was just what we (and Maggie) needed allowing us to travel, walk downtown Rochester, shop in pet friendly stores and shopping malls, go to outdoor concerts in parks and dine in pet friendly restaurants.  She learned to always come when called ensuring her safety. In other words, having a dog that we could make part of the family on any variety of outings.

So fast forward to the fall of 2017.  A phone call from Lisa about another young Labrador retriever that has a medical issue, needs post-surgery care and a forever home. He’d been a Leader Dog in training with Lisa until sidelined by elbow dysplasia and would be making a career change.  “Would we consider a brother for Maggie”?  So after thinking it over, we said yes!  We met “Sully” and discussed physical therapy and surgical after-care with the veterinarian.  We knew we were in for a lot of work and the work turned out to be more than either one of us imagined but we were committed.  We followed doctors’ orders and grew to love Sully as much as we love our Maggie!  It was a long 3 months of crate rest, therapy and veterinary visits but in January of 2018, Sully was finally off restrictions and entered Canine Academy for Off Leash Training.  The Canine Academy staff did a marvelous job training Sully and now we are the proud owners of two off leash graduates!  We are so grateful for the dedication, the caring and compassion of the Canine Academy staff as they train and care for our dogs. Just this past week, both dogs used their skills as they accompanied us to a local elementary school where the children read to them as part of March Reading Month activities. We couldn’t be prouder of both of them!

After Sully completed his Off Leash training, Lisa set up visits for Maggie to be re-introduced to her brother and it went very well.  When we took Maggie and Sully home, Sully entered the house, got a nice long drink out of Maggie’s water bowl, looked around, sighed and laid down on his bed.  Sully knew he was home and settled right in.  It was like Joanna Gaines was saying. “Welcome home Sullivan, welcome home!”   Thank you, Lisa and Canine Academy staff, for enabling our dogs to be Great Dogs!

David and Sue Boes

Bella

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We adopted Bella (1/2 Doberman, 1/4 Staffy and 1/4 Weimaraner) when she was six months old. Bella has always been full of personality, loving and enthusiastic.  However she was not very disciplined, she jumped on people, licked faces, barked relentlessly at other dogs and vigorously pulled us along on her walks.  She would occasionally even snatch unguarded food (potentially off plates!).  She did all of these things in the best of humor often looking at back at me or licking my hand to say “aren’t we having a great time?”  Her rescue organization had recommended obedience training and I located Canine Academy on the internet.  We began beginner classes and day training.  The classes changed a  lot of Bella’s behavior and things were really improving at home, but if you added any distractions (other people or dogs) she would not respond to commands quickly, or at all.  I left a few pet stores to put Bella back in the car and then went I back in to the store complete my purchase.  People were intimidated by her behavior and it was embarrassing.   The trainers in Birmingham suggested that off leash training would help Bella overcome distractions.  I was very nervous about a six-week separation and worried that all of Bella’s personality would be trained away.  But I read a lot of other testimonials on Canine Academy’s website and I thought that it would be unbelievable if  Bella could respond to all the commands described in off-leash training.   So after meeting with Linda and Lisa who explained the whole program, Bella attended off-leash training for six weeks in November and December.  All of the Canine Academy trainers and staff helped me survive the six weeks while Bella was away at “boot camp”. I watched the blog and the Facebook page and made an occasional phone call and the time flew by.  When Bella came home, I had the same experience that other people described. She still had all her quirky and endearing traits (somersaulting into you for cuddles and defining her conditions for watching television as a family (must be touching!).  She immediately sought out and began playing with her favorite toys.  The difference is that she does all these things in a well-behaved fashion and listens and responds to all her commands under all sorts of distractions. Her behavior is amazing and we continue to take her into more and more new situations with great success (she even recently attended a party and did not sample anything off the buffet).   Bella is now a Great Dog!  We wholly recommend off leash training. Everything Canine Academy said was true and we am very happy we did it!

Paul, Jane and Bella

Oscar

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To those of you considering this off-leash training program, this was the best money I have ever spent. I have a Shiba Inu who like most (all), have a mind of their own. I love an outdoorsy lifestyle and wanted my dog to enjoy it as much as I do, which was not possible when I’m in constant fear of him running away absentmindedly. After a little over 6 weeks of a strangely quiet home, I was able to pick my dog up. I am now able to take walks off leash and know that as soon as I call him, he comes running back to me with his tail wagging and a smile on his face... every time. That’s all I really wanted, but I got so much more. I have a confident dog who knows how to behave in all sorts of situations. Things I never realized, were corrected. The entire staff is fantastic and so supportive. The daycare is perfect for a little refresher and I feel happy leaving Oscar for boarding knowing that everything he has learned is being maintained and strengthened. Long story short, I have an off leash dog, something I never really was possible. It makes my heart happy that he is happy, and that’s an investment well worth it. 

Kelsey