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River The Australian Shepherd

My name is Alana, my fiancé is Colleen and our dog’s name is River. River is almost 2 years old, Male, Australian Shepherd that became an addition to our family in June of 2020. I travel a lot for work and is practically home a couple days of the month. Limiting my time spent growing with River.

At 4 months, River started exhibiting behaviors that were actually red flags but we thought it was “puppy being cute”. River has grown protective over Colleen and it resulted to him growling at me on many occasions at any moment I am near her.

Further into the months, River’s behavior has trickled downward with the following:

  • Excessive barking, growling and occasional lunging at anything that moves. Bikes, walkers, dogs, cars, etc…

  • Our walks would lead to him pulling us and we never knew what to expect. If we saw anyone, we’d change our direction to avoid contact.

  • Car rides were out of control. His reaction includes heavy panting, high pitch crying/barking and throwing himself from one side of the vehicle to the other as he tries to take on each car, human and bicycle on the road

  • Because we had River during Covid, we didn’t have family, friends or their dogs at the house and this caused a lack of socializing for River with both humans and other animals. Plus, we were fearful that he would hurt our loved ones.

Colleen and I felt that we as pet owners were failing River. To top it off, we were told on multiple occasions that we should “get rid of River”. As pet owners who are devoted to their responsibility, there is no “get rid of your dog.” “He’s a lost cause, he’ll never change”. None of this is an option nor is it something we truly stood for. Hearing these words tore us, but we never gave up. River needed us more than ever. We decided to take him to our vet and just see what options were available because we needed guidance.

Our vet recommended Sarai. We had our first evaluation and instantly connected with Sarai’s values and dedication. Firmly believing that training doesn’t start with the pet, it begins with the owners. Sarai was very forthcoming, patient and understanding with us. Ensuring that we may contact her at any time with any updates, good or bad, so she may help direct us accordingly. Sarai was extremely confident, careful and patient with handling River and in no time, gained his trust along the way. We instantly noticed boosts of confidence and River’s level of enthusiasm once he returned from boarding.

Over the course of six sessions, his training has improved as well as his behavior!

Leading up to River’s graduation, we have never felt more peace, happiness and excitement for River’s big day. Walking through a high-trafficked mall to showcase his newly acquired skills! Our proudest moment for us was seeing how confident and trusting River was towards us and vice versa. Life with River now has triumphed all that we’ve always wanted for him.

He now enjoys car rides and so do we! We’re able to bring him along to pet-friendly stores, chat with family & friends, hiking excursion, even walks throughout busy farmer’s market!

Down to the finest moment where folks have complimented and acknowledged River’s progress. Labeling him now as “A whole ‘nother dog!” What once was considered a dark and stressful time has now blossomed into so much happiness, peace and positive experience.

Sarai has been our trainer now for almost 6 months and she has truly impacted our lives. She cares so much about the outcome of these dogs and really gives her all to ensure both pets and owners receive the best, quality training. Although we have many more work to do, this all wouldn’t have been possible without Sarai. We are truly grateful and appreciate Sarai for all she has done! We cannot wait to see what the next chapter of her training career will be like on the East Coast & wishes her the very best in everything! Believe us when we say that women changed our lives.



See more stories about how G&S Dog Training is LIFE-CHANGING!

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