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Posted by on Dec 14, 2011 | 17 comments

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Hi Jan,

I just want to thank you again for helping me transform my dogs. I know Kavik and I haven’t been in class the past few weeks because we have been in the middle of a move but don’t worry I have still been working hard with my girls! Kavik has really come far in the past few weeks and I am so happy with the way Nikkia behaves now. We’ve done lots of fun things and want to share our improvements.
Two weekends ago we went up to my grandparents cabin for a family get together. Nikkia and Kavik were all too happy to go. I hadn’t done any off leash work with Kavik yet so I wasn’t planning on letting her off. After a few hours she was really board sitting around while Nikkia and my Mom’s dogs explored and she had been doing really well with her recalls at home in the backyard so I decided to give it a try. I had of course already conditioned her to the e-collar so I put it on and let her loose. She did fantastic! She’s almost as good as Nikkia is now. She was even in a full speed run and turned right around and came back when called. And while we were exploring we ran into a HUGE marmot both of them stayed with me and left when told instead of chasing it or needing a correction. Kavik did fall into the pond though… that was a stinky ride home and she immediately got a bath. Haha
Then last Tuesday I was off of school and work and didn’t feel like unpacking so I decided to take them on a little adventure. We got up early that morning and were off. It took us a little while and a few detours but we finally figured out how to walk to Tanner Park from our house. We played there for about 3 or 4 hours and Kavik did great! She is totally different from when I first got her. She used to begin howling as if in pain every time she saw a strange off leash dog and would continue long after it was gone. She was unsure about the first few dogs but after seeing Nikkia nicely greet them and play warmed up very quickly. She even made a really good lab friend about her age and they wore each other out. I am also very proud of Nikkia she is not a bully at the park anymore. I felt so embarrassed the first time I took her and we didn’t stay long because she was such a bully and wanted to run towards every scuffle. Well that Nikkia is long gone now. She approached every dog nicely without charging hacking up or lifting her tail in a dominant manner. There was even a big scuffle on the bridge when you first get into the park above the little pool we were playing in. Every single dog jumped out of the water and ran towards it except Nikkia and Kavik they just stayed playing calmly like it wasn’t even happening. There were also a lot of men there fitting Kavik’s fear profile and they all had treats and seemed to know that she was in need of some trust building. She of course ran away from all of them so they would stop, drop a few treats at their feet look at the sky and wait. She accepted the treats from all sniffed them and even licked a few hands. She isn’t ok with receiving a petting from them yet but even then this is big progress for her! Overall with all the detours and running around the park for hours we went almost 10 miles that morning. Lets just say we all went home and took a looong nap!
Lastly since she did so well at the park I decided to take the plunge and take them to the Strut Your Mutt. Another big win! I made sure to get up a couple of hours earlier to walk them the 3 miles down there and tire them out a little beforehand. Kavik did so well and didn’t act stressed at all. If she was uncomfortable with a person or dog she would just come in a little closer to me and I would either talk to the person about her history or step in between her and the dog (she was comfortable with about 70% of them though). The good thing was since I put their red packs on everyone thought they were working dogs so they all asked to pet her and Nikkia and I didn’t have to worry about hands reaching out at her from every which way. She also didn’t bolt at all which is huge because she used to try to bolt from EVERYTHING that scared her or made her feel uneasy. Even little bugs… We got there at 8:30am and perused the booths through all of the crowds until 10am when the walk started without 1 issue. They did awesome on the walk and we stayed for about another 2 hours afterwards. Nikkia negotiated herself 9 frisbees and Kavik got lots of treats and even accepted lots of pettings towards the end mostly from women and kids. She is still a bit hand shy but will let someone pet her after a treat, a couple of sniffs and a lick. We even saw a 4 month old Shepherd Husky pup that looked like it could have been a mini her. We had a blast and I was so happy to have well behaved dogs that I could take to it. This is the first year I have gone because I used to be too afraid to take Nikkia. It’s hard to believe a year ago she was too dog aggressive to go and this year I was able to successfully take not just 1 but 2 dogs and they were some of the best behaved dogs there.
I am also happy to announce Kavik’s incessant whining has finally stopped and my sanity has returned. She still whines for about the first 30 seconds after I put her in her crate and leave but the 3, 4, 5, hour whining sessions while she is with me have finally ended. She will even lay quietly next to my chair while I am studying now. I think the amount of socialization she has gotten lately has helped a lot and I have also intensified her exercise schedule. Since she is part Husky and I don’t have a sled or snow I bought her a harness and taught her how to pull my bike a few weeks ago. She was a natural and learned how to go, stop and turn when signaled within the first 20 minutes. Nikkia has been doing this for years but is a little too small to pull me for long all by herself. She can go at a bikes pace for miles but can only pull me the first couple of blocks. Now that I have two of them we can go for miles without me needing to work too much which makes it a great exercise for them on the nights when I come home exhausted. I’ve also been making Kavik wear a backpack on our runs and walks because without it even a 6 mile run is nothing to her. This dog seriously has A LOT of energy to burn and is doing a great job of keeping me in shape.
Also I wanted to ask when will you be doing your next round of CGC tests? I think Nikkia can pass everything at this point and Kavik is well on her way although we may have to wait until the following round with her we’ll see. I am having a hard time finding any apartments that will rent to me with them and know having their CGCs would help immensely. The only thing I am a bit unsure about with Nikkia is the 3 minute wait with a stranger. How should I condition her to that so she becomes really comfortable? She will usually down or sit stay with me leaving a room fine do you think that is an indicator that she would be successful?
Thank you again for all of your help hopefully we will be able to come back in, in the next week or two when things slow down a bit more.
MacKenzie, Nikkia & Kavik


  1. I have been to so many dog training classes and was most impressed with Jan and her class. She recognizes and works around each dogs level, ability, and breed personalities so training is fun for both owner and dog. She truly loves dogs and it shows! Thank you Jan.
    Cathy & Riley

  2. It was my pleasure to go through Jan’s classes with many of my fur children. It made me a better dog mom and provided an understanding that lead to a much better understanding and loving relationship with my dogs. It is much easier to train a dog when you speak their language.
    Jan was always just a phone call away and always provided a positive option to any issue I had. I miss having Jan near by, but as always she is just a phone call away.

  3. WOW! I can not say how much Jan has changed our lives. We have two female boxers. Our second girl was a rescue. At first, she was ok with other dogs but as time went on (period of years), I couldn’t even take her on hikes…and then no more runs because she would act so terribly toward other dogs. Barking, lunging, and making a huge scene. It became so embarrassing that we simply stopped taking her to public places and if we saw other dogs out on a walk, we would have to turn around or find a side street to go down.

    We had tried a few trainings along the way, but things never got better. We felt like we had tried EVERYTHING! We were so frustrated, but our girl was so sweet- we just didn’t know how to fix the problem.

    Long story short, Jan saved us. I was skeptical that anything could be done for our dog and she was doomed to life without hikes, going to the dog park, or other things dogs (and my husband and I) love.

    I called Jan and she was so helpful on the phone when I called- in fact she was actually on vacation but took the time to talk with me and answer all of my questions. We started training and Jan was so great. The first class was hard, but Jan was so positive and reassuring. She really helped me make it through!

    Jan has classes in different environments (including beautiful areas focusing on walking which is fun for you and your pups, shopping in Draper which is so great, and other types of areas). The classes also are with different dogs which was just what we needed! There are a variety of different times available. Both of our girls went through the training and it even really helped our other boxer who we did not consider to have any major behavioral issues.

    Life now is great. We hike off leash with both of our girls, go on walks and runs, and we recently just did a 5K with our pooches and there were tons of other dogs there- and she was great!

    Although she is 1,000% better, she’s not perfect. The great thing about Jan is she also taught me about dog behaviors so I can take a step back and analyze the situation in order to improve it in the future if something does happen.

    Jan, we cannot thank you enough. There’s not a walk we go on that my husband and I don’t mention you- honestly. You saved our sweet little rescue boxer from a life without the things she loves! She is so happy and so are we.

    Thank you,
    Tawni and Justin Jetter

  4. Jan actually made it possible for me to enjoy my dog and possibly saved by marriage! We have an Anatolian Shepherd who is now one year old and he was really aggressive with other dogs, my husband was freaked out and thought our boy was destined to go back to a goat ranch, but with Jan’s help and attending the Live Oak classes – he is turned out to be a wonderful, sweet dog.

    Jan even came to our house when he was a little guy and demonstrated the alpha roll – which changed our dog forever for the better.

    We intend to continue the classes at least for another year.

    Joyce and Solomon

  5. Jan is fantastic! Being a first time dog owner I have a lot of questions, and jan has always been there to answer questions! I am a frequent caller for help and she has been amazing to help me through the week! She is great with my super shy sheltie puppy! I can’t thank her enough for dealing with all my questions and my shy puppy! Thank you so much for all the help!
    Jenna and Noah

    • This is a common prtcaice among working dog breeders. The fact is, most of their dogs would not be suitable as family pets for the reasons your describe, as well as the fact that they are hard-core working dogs, and lack many of the family-friendly, couch potato traits that the average pet owner is looking for.If you can’t sell these dogs to another musher who can use them, you have few options. This is especially true in remote areas of Alaska and Canada, where populations are low and it’s difficult to network in order to find these dogs homes.IMO, better this than having so many excess dogs that your kennel management or ability to feed them all suffers.The fact is, this is the way dogs were bred and handled for hundreds of years before the warm-and-fuzzy pet owning population came into existence. Personally, I couldn’t do it. But I understand that sometimes it must/should/needs to be done.ADD: J’s Husky In fact, a shorter-legged dog running on a team of leggier dog runs no real risk of breaking its legs. It does, however, run a risk of tiring faster and working harder to accomplish the same speed as the others. It will slow sooner, and slow the rest of the team. These dogs are typically just sent to a slower team, in kennel or with someone else.

  6. Jan has helped me for over 2 years with 2 dogs as they graduated from one level to the next. My dogs love the interaction, socialization, and change of scenery as we visit different parks each week throughout the summer. I have come to Jan with quite a few challenges from my hyper Pointer puppy. She never ceases to have new ideas and activities for me to try in resolving those challenges. What I have loved about Jan is not only her experience and knowledge, but her eagerness to help. She is extremely responsive and helpful. Thanks to Jan I was able to keep my once uncontrollable dog and make her a big part of my family. Also thanks to Jan, I am a new member of the Intermountain Therapy Animals group and I’m ecstatic to start sharing my wonderful companion with those in need of some cheer! Jan made me aware of this group as well as stepping me through the tasks they would test me on to certify my dog and I. We passed every section with ease!

  7. The word Pack as defined in Webster’s Dictionary and I beevlie understood by my fellow IACP members is as follows: A full set of like or associated things handled or considered a unit . Hmmmmmm, so an IACP conference which educates their members on helping clients develop a team and/or unit relationship with their dogs is bad? WOW!!! Now someone tell me how does the word Leadership translate to Dominance?? I don’t beleive it does or every will: *Leadership To go ahead of as to show the way, guide,to serve as direction. *Dominance to have control, to have masterful or supreme control over, to tower above or loom over. As you can see they are very different but viewed as one by many people, organizations and unfortunately those holding degrees within animal science and behavior venues.On the subject of dog friendly trainers, I’m familar with a few members of the Truly Dog Friendly . I’m surprised to learn yelling, screaming and growling while teaching Leave It is a truly dog friendly approach to dog training.Thanks for the information because the dogs who cower,shake and hide behind their owners could of fooled me. BTW Ian Dunbar is also a member of the IACP Hall of Fame.

    • oh, I just love dogs. I had a dog that sat in the window all day long–a lab. A catoolhce lab. He just loved the sun. And he would sit behind the curtain just like Millie does. That picture reminds me of him. Miss him.Love your pictures, and your commentary at the end!

  8. I Love Jan! She is amazing with her clients (both the furry ones and their owners). She helped us take a well behaved basically trained puppy to another level. He is now on the road to being a therapy dog! I will never go back to just basic training again with any of my future dogs. Thank you Jan for your passion and caring for people and their pets!

    • Thank you for your great videos! What is your take on the Gentle Leader heard colalr? I’d love to hear your opinion. We recently adopted a rescued 1.5 year old Sato from Puerto Rico and we’ve had challenges teaching her to walk on a leash. The Gentle Leader has made a huge difference and it looks like it’s working well for us. Our dog does not like it but accepts it. From the dog’s perspective, are we doing the right thing? 

      • Gentle lead collars are not my favorite. If it works for you that is great but they are very unnatural for dogs. The mother dog never pulls her puppies by the nose so they don’t understand it. Also, since it pulls the dogs head around if you are not careful you can damage the vertebra in the neck. I have found that this collar has a tendency to cause aggression in dogs since you are shutting their mouth and pulling their head around causing them to feel vulnerable to attack. The collar I prefer is a prong. When used correctly this is the kindest collar and the dog immediately understands it and responds to it. It assimilates the mother dog correcting her puppies with her teeth and they understand that. Also, when a dog attacks another dog he uses his mouth on their neck. Dogs understand that. You must use it correctly and as with any collar it can be abused. The leash must be loose when the dog is doing what he is suppose to do and a correction is given only when the dog is out of position and then immediately back to loose again. Dogs really do love this collar and understand it. Let me know if you have any other questions.

      • I love the boxer pic! I grew up with boxers and they are the best dog hands down. The only pets we have right now are bunenis and I do not foresee a dog in our future but if we ever get one it will definitely be a boxer! We had a couple of brindle ones like the one on the back of your couch, so cute!!

  9. I read this article completely about the comparison of hottest and preceding technologies, it’s awesome article.

  10. Nowhere on the Internet is there this much quality and clear information on this subject. How do I know? I know because I’ve searched this topic at length. Thank you.

  11. Wow! So great to meet you Jan! Thank you for spending so much of your time and canine wisdom with us yesterday. There should be a law stating that every new puppy owner be required to purchase and experience one private session with you! Our only regret is that we didn’t introduce you to our “PACK” sooner! We look forward to working with you again this Saturday. THANK You, THANK You!

    • Thank you so much for the nice comment. DJ did good this morning. You are a great trainer and he is a wonderful dog. He just needed to know that he was a dog and that you are his leader. Again, thank you so much and thank you for training with me. Remember, if you have any problems or questions don’t hesitate to contact me. Jan

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