We were in trouble. Carmen, our border collie mix was getting more and more aggressive and was just not behaving according to our expectations. She had been nipping at the neighbor kids. She would be so excited she would not relax or calm down. The pitch of her bark kept getting higher and higher, and heaven help us if someone came to the door. Nearing the end of our rope, we were searching for answers and luckily found Sarah. She was able to schedule an in home visit with us on short notice. Within minutes of arriving Sarah and Carmen were fast friends. Sarah identified the problems (mainly us), and gave us the tools we needed to help us and our pet start heading towards normalcy. We continue to work on all the good things Sarah has pointed out for us and are seeing remarkable progress. Thanks Sarah, thanks so very much.
Jim and Wendy Unrath
Without Sarah's help I don't know where we would be now. I first got Ace when he was 4 months old and thought that puppies didn't have "personality" problems. Boy was I wrong!! I thought his fear of new people was cute and that he "needed" me.... then things went from OK to worse, and worse, and I knew I was in trouble. I enrolled him in obedience classes and he was terrified to the point that he was becoming aggressive. I consulted with several other trainers and behaviorists who all said that he was an impossible case and I was expecting too much from him. Unwilling to give up Sarah was my last hope and with all of her help and expertise Ace is becoming the good dog I knew he could be. Whereas before we could not even walk out the door without extremely agitating Ace, we can now go for long walks without incident. I am so grateful to Sarah for all of the help that she has given us and excited that I can lead Ace with confidence. Thank you so much for everything you have done! Ace and I could not have done this without you!
November 19, 2004
I had successfully owned dogs for over twenty years. With my next dog, I changed breeds from Scottish Terriers to a Whippet. With prior experience, lots of Internet research and plenty of books on the shelf, I thought I had prepared my self for training Glencora.
Wrong. Glencora was more of a challenge than expected. As I encountered behavior problems, the web sites devoted to the breeds were no help. Books were worse. I found the advice often contradictory. Without sound advice to correct Glencora's destructive behavior, she became a difficult, insecure puppy whose behavior was worsening as she grew.
A home visit with Sarah changed matters in days. Her advice was logical, consistent and significantly different than the book advice. Glencora responded well to the challenge of Sarah's program and in only a few days became an absolute delight to work with. The destructive acts when experienced when Glencora steadily diminished.
Glencora's confidence around other dogs improved tremendously. She went from being insecure dog to expecting to play.
After following Sarah's advice, Glencora has become a marvelous companion. Her advice was worth was worth every cent. From now on, I will never get another dog without consulting with Sarah first.
December 1, 2003
My family and I have a 5-year old, small poodle-bichon female dog. We got her when she was 8 weeks. She was a dominant dog right from the beginning. She was quite demanding and had a mind of her own. This was our first dog and we had little knowledge on how to raise her. We took our dog to puppy classes and adult classes and she learned some things but it was difficult to get her to listen to us. She wasn't destructive in the house and she was easy to potty train. As she got older, she started to get aggressive towards people (especially males) and other dogs. There are only a few dogs that she likes in the neighborhood that she met as a puppy. She became very territorial and protective of me. At times she wouldn't trust the family and would hide under the bed or table or move away from us if we would try to pet her. We spoiled her quite a bit by pretty much letting her have her own way and allowing her to sit on the furniture, etc. If we would tell her to get "off," she would growl at us. She became possessive of her toys. When someone would come to the house by ringing the doorbell, she would bark loudly, growl, and was ready to go after anyone who tried to come into the house. We would have to put her in her cage or gate her in another room. Restraining her would make her even more upset. It was getting to the point where we couldn't have anyone over to the house anymore. We tried private dog sessions with two different individuals who claimed to be dog trainers/behaviorists, but their recommendations just made things worse. I read about Blue Dog Training in a newspaper article and decided to call Sarah Kalnajs. Sarah responded to our request for help right away. Even though she was booked up with appointments, she found the time to visit us. When she came over to our house, I knew instantly that she was very qualified in dealing with the behavior problems of our dog. She knew exactly what to do in response to the dog's dominant and aggressive behavior towards her. After we went over the dog's history, she explained to me the causes of the dog's behavior, her recommendations for treating the behavior and a step-by-step program we were to follow in order to modify the behavior. After around 3 weeks of following her program, we could definitely see results. Anytime we had questions about what to do, we could either e-mail her or call her and she would respond immediately. After a follow-up visit with Sarah, we could see the positive changes taking place in our dog. This is the first time that we have succeeded in making improvements in her behavior. I highly recommend Sarah Kalnajs of Blue Dog Training to others experiencing dog behavior problems. If you have any questions, I would be glad to discuss them with you.
We are lucky here in Madison to have such a great advocate for our dogs in our own backyard! I feel very fortunate as a professional trainer to have a resource like Sarah and Blue Dog around as a great place to refer clients who need behavior assistance that is beyond my training. I am personally very pleased with the recommendations Sarah made in a behavior consult for my dog Gemini. Despite being a trainer myself, I think sometimes you do things differently with your own dogs. I appreciated that Sarah shared an honest opinion about what I could do differently to alleviate my dog's anxiety. She pointed out a few things I didn't even realize I was doing! I tried Sarah's recommendations and they worked! I also hear great things in the community about the services that Sarah and Blue Dog perform. I have had several clients mention that they have worked with Blue Dog in some capacity and have been very pleased with the results. It's so enjoyable to hear that these days since anyone can hang out a sign and claim they know all about animal behavior.
Jodi Rendl, Professional Dog Trainer
I recently hired Blue Dog for help in understanding my sometimes aggressive Siberian Husky 'Chilly'. I had sought help for Chilly from another Madison based trainer, but wasn't given any information or insight into his aggressive behavior or any defined training plan to help him. Fortunately with Blue Dog both issues were taken care of. Sarah Kalnajs took the time to thoroughly evaluate both Chilly's current behavior and his case history, which allowed me a much deeper understanding of his actions and what would be required to help him. I was given a very helpful video and an easy to follow training plan as well as numerous suggestions of relevant books to read. I am happy to report that after three weeks of training I am very pleased with the progress Chilly has already made and look forward to continuing to work with Sarah as Chilly progresses.
Sarah, we have seen a considerable difference in Packer. We have taught him 'down' using the treats. He will go down every time. He only picks up the shoes once and awhile now, we also told our families and friends when they come over not to make a big deal about Packer when he comes to the door so he has not peed in the house either. He loves when we play hide the cookie. We have only done it in the living room so far. We feed him one meal a day from our hands. We also throw his food in the yard twice a week. He has not growled at us at all, even when we take something out of his mouth if he doesn't drop it when we tell him too. He also is giving up on getting our attention every second of the day. We usually have to go to him to give him attention now, when we want too. I would like to thank you again for helping us with Packer. We do love him and it would have hurt us a lot if we would have had to put him down. He seems like a different dog to us. I know most of his problems were what we caused and after being at your place and talking to you we saw that clearly. Thanks again.
Sarah is very knowledgeable. She spent a good deal of time with us, answered all my questions and left me with a list of practical suggestions
for future work with my dog. I especially appreciated her fee reduction for rescued dogs! I would highly recommend her.
Sarah's up beat and enthusiastic personality makes training a relaxed and fun experience for both dog and human.
We greatly appreciated being coached by Sarah to help us enable our dog to become better mannered through simple, doable strategies.
My dog Phoenix immediately responds positively to Sarah! I see his eagerness to learn and please. He also sees that he is not going to get away with unwanted behavior. Sarah is training ME to properly train my dog.
Sarah has impressed us with her knowledge. She explains canine psychology in a way that makes sense!
We have only been working with her for a couple of weeks but we have seen quite a difference in our dogs. Her "Status Reduction Program" has really helped. Our dogs aren't as pushy and are learning to be more polite. Sarah has exceeded our expectations of what progress our dogs could make in such a short time. We highly recommend her.
We look forward to learning more from her and seeing our dogs continue to improve.
Thanks again Sarah!
Kim & Scott Jaeger
We were very pleased with Sarah's professionalism and impressed by her wealth of knowledge. We were very satisfied with the guidance she gave us for our 3 miniature dachshund dogs. Sarah is not only exceptional with animals; she is equally as wonderful with humans. We would highly recommend her.
Deb and Dave Lapotka, Madison, WI
Thank you for taking the time to give me advice for our dog; he is now on medication for his bladder control and you were right, it is a medical condition!
The person you referred me to for help choosing a veterinarian in our area was also a wonderful and helpful contact; it is so nice to know that there are honest people like both of you out there to help. You didn't try to "make a buck" and you put the health of my dog first.
Thank you again for helping my family become "adjusted". You took time to improve the quality of my life with my husband and my dogs (whom are very dear to both my husband and myself).
Lisa A. Baiocchi Witt
Problem Behavior Consultation / Modification
Sarah was terrific! I have a seemingly easy going Siberian Husky, that in the presence of small animals turns into a raging lunatic. I had mistakenly hired a dog trainer in the past and even watched some videos on dog aggressive behavior however nothing seemed to work. I decided to try blue dog training on a whim and as it turned out was blown away by the service. First of all Sarah K. took the time to explain the differences between a dog behaviorist and dog trainer. With this Sarah then did a very thorough assessment of Chilly and was able to explain in simple terms what we were dealing with and how we could work with him to better manage and develop positive behavioral patterns. Sarah took the time to follow up and also gave out a dog training video seminar which was of much use as well. All in all, I would highly recommend Sarah and Blue Dog Training.
We just started working with Sarah and so far are having a great experience. She is thorough, clear, a very good teacher and really seems to care about all dogs and people involved! We particularly appreciate the amount of time and energy she's spent on our case (our German Shepherds are engaged in a serious status war), both in the session and during her free follow-ups. She seems really committed to helping us until we see a positive outcome. I wish we'd consulted her earlier.
Sarah is a natural...she must be part canine. :) My husband and I were having problems with our second rescue dog when he hit adolescence. He became aggressive with our other dog. We had gone to another well-known behaviorist in our area and were not comfortable with the plan we were given. When Sarah entered our house and knew how our obnoxious adolescent was going to react we knew she was the behaviorist that could help us. My husband and I were impressed with her wealth of knowledge and how well she explained things. It is obvious that Sarah loves helping people and their pets. I work at a veterinary clinic and have referred several clients to her. They tell me how happy they are with the results they have achieved. Just like my husband and I, they don't know what they would have done without Sarah's help. We haven't experienced any aggressive behavior since we were two weeks into Sarah's plan and that was nine months ago. We highly recommend Sarah. She goes above and beyond what one would expect!
Kim & Scott Jaeger
Sarah made a huge difference for my formerly "problem" doggy. You can teach an old dog (and owner) new tricks. At age 7, Sebastian went from being a dog who sometimes stole and guarded "treasures", growling and snapping, to being a beloved member of the household, not touching the cat food, going to the dog park and playing well with other dogs. Sarah was patient, thorough, and helped me understand -- and follow through on what Sebastian needed to behave well.