Another dog trainer recommended me to Ralf at Happy dog Training after my 7-year-old Chihuahua, Tanner, started exhibiting signs of aggression. His aggression was directed toward other dogs and people, including my family and me. I’ve had Tanner since he was nine weeks old. He was always the kind of dog that was happy to see people but kept his distance. Seemingly, he would be social at one point and then retreat. He would greet people, tail wagging, and he would run away when a hand reached out to pet him.
However, my family and I would always be able to pick him up to calm him. But then this morphed into growling at people approaching him and nipping at their hands or feet. I started becoming worried and feeling helpless and sad, especially after getting bit myself. I had no way to calm him when he would start growling and lash out. It was very scary, and my family encouraged me to get rid of him since I was about to have a baby. This was not an option I was willing to consider. So, I took him back to various basic obedience training and one-on-one training programs.
The trainers often weren’t sure what to do. One trainer recommended that I use drugs to calm him so he could be more receptive to training. I felt increasingly helpless until I met with Ralf about a board and train program. He evaluated my dog and immediately reassured me that my dog was not "aggressive" and that he would be able to get him to make better choices. It was tough to decide to hand over my furbaby for 6-8 weeks. I had never been away from him longer than two weeks in the seven years I’ve had him. Ralf assured me he would send videos, and I could check on him whenever I wanted.
I also worried it wouldn’t work. What if my little rascal outsmarted this super qualified dog trainer? Talking with Ralf through the whole process was enjoyable. I thought he was a real nerd about everything dog-related and very open-minded to individualizing training for each dog. We spoke about every detail, down to the food I was feeding him. I’ve seen a lot of improvement in my dog after changing his food.
It’s been a few months since I’ve had my dog back home. I am so grateful for all the work Ralf did with Tanner. My biggest fear when I gave up my dog for training was that I wouldn’t be able to keep up the habits. I feared he would go back on his old path or that my dog would have changed so much that it wouldn’t be my dog anymore. What I got out of training was the best version of my dog. Whenever Tanner is anxious now, he looks at me for directions. This is amazing!
Ralf taught me about respecting his boundaries and ensuring others also do this. It’s been a game changer for us. We’ve had no problems with him biting or growling anymore, and it’s easy for me to calm him when he starts to get nervous. He also follows commands, especially on a leash and when other dogs are around.
I have a 1-year-old baby now running around, and I’m happy to say there are no problems with their interactions. This may also be because the baby always has snacks, and they love the same rubber squeaky toys. Thank you so much for all your hard work and attention, Ralf. You’ve made a difference in my life in a short amount of time. I should have done this way before but was scared to start because I didn’t imagine what the result could be. Tanner thanks you, too.Liena R.,