We paid full retail price for the mentioned training. We were not asked to write, nor were we compensated for this post, and all opinions are my own. Despite loving our rescue dog, we definitely had a rocky start. When we first brought Nola home she was calm and friendly and didn’t bark. One day when my husband came down the steps with his keys jingling, she barked and it surprised everyone since we hadn’t heard her bark before.
I suspect that as she became more comfortable and understood that we were “her people” she became less calm and more protective. We were able to teach her to sit, but only for a treat. She walked me rather than the other way around, she didn’t listen, and she was scaring me with some barking, nipping and growling at the kids. She barked at the mailman, the neighbor and really, the wind.
We loved her but she was hard to enjoy. She needed direction but we didn’t know how to give it and everyone was frustrated. We called Sit Means Sit, had a consultation and signed the paperwork for her immersion training the same day.
She was gone for two weeks, living with the trainer and even going shopping with her. Her face in this picture is hilarious.
This is what it reminded me of:
We missed her terribly but we received texts, photos, updates and even videos nearly every day.
When the trainer came to bring her back, she came in to get us up to speed before bringing Nola in. Everyone was standing anxiously at the door and we were shocked to see her come bounding in the door off leash. You could have knocked us over with a feather as she demonstrated everything she had learned. We could hardly believe it was the same dog. Interestingly, she learned everything she did for praise alone. No treats!
The training included several private lessons, as well as a year’s worth of group lessons (see first picture!). You only get out of it what you put in of course, and if you don’t keep up with it, you won’t maintain what they learned. We initially messed up not realizing that the “place” command should be on a raised or clearly different surface, but she still “placed” her little heart out for us! She was concentrating so hard in this picture, LOL.
Sit Means Sit uses an electronic collar as part of the training, and recommends that you use it for at least a year. It is not a shock or corrective collar rather, it’s used as an extension of your voice. It serves as a tap on their shoulder to say “hey you, pay attention to what I’m saying!” My husband and I both tried it on our hands and didn’t find it painful.
When she came home, she’d learned come, sit, down (which she still hates), place and out (anything in her mouth is to come out, very helpful for us when she is play biting).
We were able to take her to the park without her dragging me around and were able to give her commands when she wanted to bark at other people.
The place command is incredibly helpful when the doorbell rings and she wants to go crazy, or when I’m trying to make dinner or get the kids ready for bed.
We had slacked a bit on practicing this so she has a tendency to leave her place when we turn our backs instead of waiting for us to free her. We’ll keep working on it! I also want to get to more group classes (we’ve only gone to two so far but they have them about 4 times per week).
For one of our private lessons, I asked the trainer to come to our house shortly before the older kids got off the bus, because she tended to pull me down the driveway, bark at every little thing and go insane when they walked across the street. After the lesson, I worked with her on leash for a bit and I’m happy to say that now she goes down to the bus stop off leash and I’m able to maintain great control of her!
The training wasn’t cheap but it was worth every penny. She seems much happier now that we’re in control and can easily give her a command to redirect her if she is barking, jumping, nipping etc. It’s an ongoing effort and we have more work to do, but we are able to walk her off leash…off leash (!!) and life is much more enjoyable. She is the same sweet dog and her personality wasn’t changed at all. Unfortunately, the side of the Sit Means Sit van says they don’t train husbands, wives or kids. Hee hee.
Have you heard of Sit Means Sit? They are a franchise and there may be one near you!