Hero's Hero

Hero.jpgHero was a six month old pup when he came to me; I was excited and nervous, as I had never before rescued a dog whose story was so hard, and he was already half my weight in size. Now I know we were both feeling anxious and insecure.

Kasey Herrera and Gabrielle Johnson each worked with me individually, showing me how to establish calm, build respect, and work through some of Hero’s fears. We signed up for classes and workshops soon after and have been training ever since.

I can’t find adequate words to describe the experience we’ve had. Yes, we’ve acquired valuable skills – from loose leash walking to recall and etiquette for meet and greets, focused attention in distracting environments, and respect for space. But, more importantly, Hero and I are developing a relationship based upon a bond of trust. I am learning, quite literally, to speak dog; and he is learning that he can rely on me to be his safe place.

We’ve had our moments. I have felt frustrated and discouraged. But Kasey and Gabrielle have held me up. They’ve believed in me, supported me, and given me the guidance I’ve needed to keep at it. Now, people regularly praise Hero’s calm, polite nature and his good manners in public. They are amazed that he is so well-behaved at just a year old. I tell them about 2SpeakDog. I will never be able to sing their praises enough.

- Meg H.

Foster to Family!

Piper2When our foster dog Piper came in to our home, we instantly fell in love. However, we knew that we wouldn’t be able to keep Piper unless we could help her with her separation anxiety and insecurities.

Kasey and Gabrielle helped us with these things almost instantly. They helped us to create a trusting bond with our dog who we think had never felt trust before. She has learned  to respect our space and our decisions because she feels like she can finally relax with us.

We still have a long way to go, but we know that 2SpeakDog will help us get there. We have been hooked on working with them, because we’ve seen the results firsthand. They truly care about our dog and believe in her, even with her unknown background. They are a big part of the reason that she became an official part of our family!

        - Emilia L.



Sebastian Loves His Crate

SebastianJennifer, I had to take a moment to send you some pics of Sebastian. He is like a new dog! He is going in his crate without a leash, sometimes he plays on his own in his crate and he doesn’t try to get out of his crate while we are gone anymore. It’s truly amazing!! We got a camera for Christmas so we can check in on him and he is doing great while we are gone! We don’t even have to put the clamps on his door anymore!! Crazy?!?! I just wanted to thank you! Putting the pad underneath his tray, spraying his area with my perfume, giving him special treats while he is in there, breathing calmly before leaving and not talking talking to him until we are outside have been great suggestions. We also rearranged the room and got a couch and hang out in that room more. We can even put bedding in his crate and he doesn’t shred it.

He is also playing more and really coming out of his shell. We are very thankful for the help we have gotten from you as well as our class we took in with Amy. We start our second class with Kasey today and are very excited.

I thought you would like to know how much you helped us! We never could have imagined he would come so far just since September. We still have work to to do with him for sure, but wow!!! It’s just been awesome to go from where he was to now!

Susan R.

Terrified TrudyMae Blossoms

TrudyMae canoe

This is a long overdue shout out and testimonial about Jenn’s work with TrudyMae.
As you know, TrudyMae had a really tough beginning…rescued from near death, found in the woods having had puppies but no sign of the puppies, heart worm, into heat…just a series of hardships to overcome. 
As a result, she was terrified of the world and most things in it. She retreated to her “safe” spot in the bedroom and mostly stayed there. Jenn came to our home several times and showed us and TrudyMae how to “be” together and gradually, with visits, training class and lots of TLC, we are delighted to report that almost two years into our life with TrudyMae, she is healthy, funny, somewhat adventurous, willing to take risks with us…is a champion ball catcher, swimmer…loves rides in the canoe. She smiles a lot, and generally behaves well with others.
What a turnaround. 2SpeakDog’s method of training and confidence offered us hope, results and helped TM be the good and faithful companion we always knew she could be. Thank you!

Frazier, Brad, and TrudyMae

Charlie the Rescue Baby

Charlie Testimonial

I wanted to send a note of Thanks to Kasey. Charlie is our rescue baby, and even after 1 year of love and socializing, he remained so fearful of people and dogs. We could not trust him to remain gentle on the leash, and walking him was a struggle. 

Kasey came to our home and worked for hours with Charlie and us. We have employed her method for several months and he is a different dog. Just working on healing and sitting provided him with structure that calmed him and shifted control enough for him to build confidence. So much so, that he is trustworthy in most situations. It has made all the difference and all of us enjoy our walks now and we no longer hesitate to invite guests into our home.

I strongly recommend 2Speakdog, and Kasey. It is one of the best investments in happiness that you can make.

Ben and Mary Sexton

Training Leads to Confidence for Connor

Connor 1In Loving Memory of Connor, who has crossed over the Rainbow Bridge.

In March of 2014, I adopted Connor, a 4 year old lab mix. He was a really good dog in the house, but on our walks would pull terribly on the leash. Around 3 weeks after he arrived, he began displaying leash reaction to other dogs when we were on our walks. Although I had prior experience with dogs, this was a new situation for me, and I was at a loss as to what to do. The rescue group I got Connor from recommended I contact 2SpeakDog. We started with a private lesson in my home with Kasey Herrera. Kasey observed Connor and gave us some things to work on, and recommended he attend Basic II group class. I have to say initially I was hesitant that Connor could learn to control his behavior, but between classes, walking workshops and some one-on-one coaching he and I learned how to walk nicely, and to control reactions towards other dogs.Connor

Fast forward to a year and a half later ... Connor has completed Basic II, Intermediate and Advanced Classes. He has earned his Canine Good Citizen and Community Canine/Canine Good Citizen Advanced Designations. He has been in 4 charity dog walks without any reaction incidences. He loves to walk (nicely) with his pack buddies! Does he still react to other dogs? Sure, sometimes, but he and I now have the tools and resources to work at controlling the situation, and I have the confidence to help him to continue to overcome this behavior.

We are very thankful to Kasey Herrera, Jennifer (JD) DeGarmo and Jennifer Kyzer for all of their help, patience and encouragement with me and Connor through this process.


Bonding with Holden Helps Heal

I got Holden at four months. He was a rescue. He was largely indifferent to us and extremely aggressive with strangers. He was an alpha but bordering on fear/aggression with other dogs. He is very smart and you could tell he thought he was smarter than us. He was also extremely reactive to high pitched voices, hand gestures, loud noises and engines … I could go on and on.

I took him to a puppy training class with another company and he learned basic commands. He also bonded with us and that improved things. But when he was ten months old, I received a serious head injury.  I wasn’t able to leave the house, which exacerbated all of his stranger issues and led to him being very under-socialized.

It was then that I reached out to 2SpeakDog. I learned from Jennifer Kyzer that Holden felt he had to step up and take care of me. That combined with his fears was making him a nervous wreck, and his nerves led to aggression.

Through an in-house session, Basic I and Basic II Obedience Classes, and many workshops, I can now tell you that Holden is a different dog. He trusts that I will look out for him so he doesn't have to be on alert. He looks to me for guidance in new situations. I’ve learned to keep him working, and to read his signals and react appropriately to every situation. I also now know how to keep him (and me) calm in potentially escalating situations. I can introduce him to strangers and calm him when he gets nervous/reactive.

2SpeakDog, thank you so much. The bond I have formed with Holden as a result of this training has been monumentally important to me as I continue to recover from my head injury. And if he could talk, I know Holden would be thanking you, too.


Fear of Stairs Conquered

FenwayFor the first 3 months of living in our new house, Fenway was terrified to go downstairs to our walk-out basement. He went freely up and down the other stairs, but he appeared terrified to even get near the top of the basement stairs. We had tried everything our vet has suggested but Fenway would push his feet into the floor and refused to budge. We tried leashes and collar grabbing; he is over 100 pounds so carrying him was not an option. We ended up having to take him out the front door and walking him around to the fenced in back yard.

We reached out to 2SpeakDog and Jennifer Kyzer came over, got to know us a bit and discussed all the things we had tried. We spent our training session working with her on new approaches and WOW! Just two days of working with Fenway and it seems his fear of the basement stairs is history! After Jennifer left, that afternoon and evening he did great on the stairs using the leash.Fenway2

The next morning I used the harness only, but he did not seem to be as comfortable. However, after that he went down easier and easier with the leash. At dinner time I went down to fill their bowls, and to my complete surprise he came charging down the stairs on his own!

Ever since then, Fenway hasn't needed the leash. He seems like he is totally ease. I can't tell you how thrilled we all are! This is such a relief, and I wanted to share and let you know how appreciative we all are!

Robert and Diane

"Speaking Dog" - Communication is Key

WaldoI am a big fan of 2SpeakDog! Using the techniques I learned from JD and Jennifer Kyzer, I started working with my Labrador Retriever puppy at 9 weeks old. He will be 2 years old next week and he responds to over 70 vocabulary words and many hand commands!

My 2SpeakDog obedience class contained several deaf dogs and I learned the importance of visually communicating as well as teaching verbal commands. In addition to the basics, Waldo knows the names of friends and family, fun tricks, many toys by name, and best of all, when I call him, he runs to find me!

Instead of “Where’s Waldo,” we play, “Waldo, where’s … ?” and I add the name of a toy or person. He knows to go find that toy. If he can’t find it, I can say, “Check your toy box!” and he will go in the living room and check his toy box. He is amazing and I can imprint any toy or person with him in less than 5 minutes. He just "gets" it.

2SpeakDog opened up a whole new world for me – now my dog and I can communicate, with or without words. So many people stop me and compliment me on Waldo. We still have a few things to work out, but I am hoping to spend the next 13 years working with him!

Thank you so much, 2SpeakDog, for this fun and rewarding relationship!


Out of Control Puppy

Marlee1Our family acquired a gorgeous English Cream Golden Retriever and she integrated well into the household with our other dog, Yuki, for the first few weeks or so. But by the age of 4 months, Marlee was quite a handful. She showed no respect for our two young children, would not follow commands, was loud when crated, and would growl, snap and even bite us when she would steal a child’s toy or other ‘off limit’ items. The kids would scream for her to get away from them, cry when she jumped on them, or took food from them, and we were beyond frustrated!

Our vet referred us to Jennifer Kyzer with 2SpeakDog and we were encouraged after our first session. We also realized she was very SMART and we had to learn more about training and behavior to ‘keep up with her’! I remember the first night she slept through the night (in her crate) and also the first time our 4-year old daughter could feed her with a ritual in which Marlee would wait for her food until she was released. We also practiced calming techniques to settle her down, and worked hard on crate training and obedience commands and tricks.

Marlee is now about a year old and is a wonderful addition to our family. She knows all her commands, does well on- and off-leash. She has even welcomed a kitten gently and appropriately to our family!




Training for a Problem Dog

Roger2We got our "problem dog" Roger about 3 years ago. We knew about his issues from the beginning but thought we could work on them over time. We had always had good luck training our other 2 dogs and figured time and love was all Roger needed. Roger had always shown signs of aggression around new people. We called it his "stranger danger", but it wasn't cute. He would growl and even snap at new people. We tried everything we could think of working with him. We tried constant walks in hopes that he would just eventually be de-sensitized and we tried anxiety meds. Eventually we just had to settle in to the routine of keeping him penned up in his kennel whenever someone new was around. He just wasn't improving. At home he was the sweetest most loving puppy dog, but when a new person came over he turned into a growling, snarling terror!

Roger1We decided to try a trainer and called 2SpeakDog. Jennifer Kyzer came over to our house and she got to see first-hand how hard to handle Roger could be around strangers. Jennifer observed Roger’s behaviors for a while and then set in place a plan for us. She taught us how to think like Roger so that we could better understand what was going on in his head. From Jennifer we learned that Roger felt like we needed protection and how we could lift that burden from him. She taught us exercises that let Roger still fulfill his need to protect us but also give us the option of taking over control so that Roger could relax and let US protect HIM! She even helped us fix a minor food aggression issue he had been having that allowed us to feed him with the other dogs instead of all alone in his kennel.

These days Roger is a brand new dog. He's still our loving puppy at home but when we have company now Roger surprises us every time with his good behavior and friendly attitude. He has obviously gained confidence and lost his fear. We are SO appreciative to 2SpeakDog for giving us and Roger that gift. We LOVE 2SpeakDog!

Emily & Colin

What a Great Experience

WillieAs I prepare for week six of 2SpeakDog's Obedience I class, I feel compelled to tell you what a great experience the sessions have been for my dog Willie and me. Willie is a very enthusiastic (also, crazy, funny, and silly) 14 month old Golden Retriever.

When my husband and I acquired Willie from a breeder at eight weeks old, little did he know what a big job was ahead of him. He had to fill a huge hole left in our hearts caused by the loss of three older Goldens between 2012-2014.

We live in the Farmville area and have a 1.5 hour commute to get to your facility. I initially wondered if the 3 hours of drive time would be worth it. I can say YES on so many levels. Your facility is perfect for training and everyone there has made us feel like family.   

I thought I had the perfect relationship with Willie, but since training at 2SpeakDog and working on our homework - it has greatly enriched my bond him. He actually looks for the opportunity to do good things and get rewarded.

We look forward to future training opportunities at 2SpeakDog!

Terri (and Willie!)

Going From One Pup to Two

Hawkeye v2This is a big THANK YOU to Jennifer Kyzer!  She is simply amazing. She walked into our house and right away both of our dogs knew that she was in charge (and so did we!).  We have been dog owners for 16 years and have been around the block. But we got a new puppy recently and our house was turned upside down.  Our 4.5 year old dog was injured twice by the new puppy and we were distraught. Our veterinarian, Dr. Randy Mortimer, told us to call Jennifer Kyzer.  She has changed our lives.  We did an initial consult and within 24 hours, we saw major differences in both our dogs. We were taught so many different things in the first session - how to recognize the dog’s body language, how to set boundaries, how to diffuse a situation, etc. We are living so much more peacefully; it is truly like night and day.  We can’t wait to continue to work with Jennifer with more private sessions and with puppy school.  Jennifer is gentle and kind and we trust her completely.  She is so knowledgeable, and we know if she could help us, that she can help most any situation.

Christopher & Kelly

Choosing the Right Pup for our Family

TinsleyWe are soooo thankful for all that Jennifer Kyzer taught us when she came to visit our foster dog, Jeff!  Thanks to her help, Jeff was adopted to wonderful home with a dog trainer.  Even more exciting, thanks to what she taught us, we recently went and spent a day with a litter of puppies and were able to pick the perfect puppy for our home!

We were torn between two puppies, one was the middle of the pack and the other was the runt of the litter.  We knew Jennifer had suggested a middle of the pack pup, and when we tried the settle with the pups, clearly the middle of the pack did best with all of us - she had just about an instant settle!  Having the knowledge Jennifer gave us, we were able to help our daughter understand why the runt of the litter, which was strikingly beautiful, was not the best choice when you took into account the dynamics of our house. 

When we brought the new puppy home, all of our animals greeted the puppy and all have fully accepted her.  The advice Jenn gave us was incredible and right on target.  It is amazing to see what a difference picking the "right puppy" for our home made.  We have used the strategies she taught us in teaching leave it and she picked up on them right away.  Once she gets all of her shots, we look forward to signing up for one of your puppy socialization classes!  Thanks again!


Mental Stimulation Helps a Smart Pup

MollyIn December of 2012, we adopted a rescue pup, Molly, a border collie mix.  We began our training with 2SpeakDog with a Walking Workshop to address the leash aggression we were experiencing.  We had leash rules and she had lots of friends at daycare, but we've never had a dog with this behavior, so we needed some assistance!  Not long after we began our training, we realized we have one amazingly SMART girl on our hands and we need to keep her mentally stimulated to keep us all happy. 

We have now attended Intermediate and Advanced Level classes, Molly has received her Canine Good Citizen, had a few private lessons, attended several Workshops and is continuing to learn something new each week.  We always come away from a session energized about our training, and with a tired pup!

We're confident that we now have a good foundation of tools to help Molly be her best doggie self. It's been a lot of work, a lot of fun, and we look forward to continuing her training with 2SpeakDog!

Julie and Mike

Continued Training Makes Carson a Happy Pup

CarsonI rescued Carson almost two and one-half years ago.  He had been a hunting dog who, I discovered, clearly didn't like loud noises.  I originally contacted Jennifer to help me with him because he was shut down and anxious when left alone in the house.  She taught me how to make him confident and how to lead him.  She suggested we start training classes; as it turns out, Carson loves training and has met a good buddy because of the classes.  For two years we would take training classes and retake them, just to keep him socialized and mentally stimulated.  He even passed his CGC exam.

Recently I started working longer hours and had to take him out of an Intermediate training class before we could complete it.  Soon after, Carson started getting into the recycle bin, barking during the day, and would be almost frantic to see me when I came home.  I have a roommate that comes home and walks him immediately, so he wasn't alone any longer during the day, and he was still being walked two hours a day.  The big difference was he was no longer in training with me.  JD emailed to see if I wanted to pick up the last half of an intermediate class (the same level we dropped out of).  Her timing was perfect!  Four days after being back in training, Carson was back to his usual calm, confident self in the house while everyone was at work.  

Because of my training and workshops with 2SpeakDog, I knew what to do when Carson's anxiety returned and undesirable behaviors cropped up.  2SD helped me know my dog and his needs well, and I am grateful for the way they helped us develop our relationship.


Training Makes for Awesome Aussies

Bogey and FinnTwo years ago we brought a beautiful, blue-eyed bundle of energy home. We had never owned an Australian Shepherd before but we had researched the breed before getting Bogey. We knew, as a herding dog, he would need lots of exercise and socialization. Furthermore, training was a must. We had to wait a month before the class began, and we dedicated ourselves to housebreaking him and providing the exercise he needed for his boundless amounts of energy.

We walked Bogey on leash, let him run through the woods behind our home, and take him to the river to swim. No matter how much exercise he got he would return home and pace relentlessly. We kept questioning what we were doing wrong or if we had just under estimated an Aussie's physical activity needs. We were certain he needed training.

Finally, class began and we quickly learned it was us that needed the training. Jennifer helped us to understand that while we were meeting his physical needs, we weren't meeting Bogey's mental needs. Bogey responded instantly and we participated in many classes and workshops. We developed a much stronger bond with him. Bogey has a strong herding instinct and is very reactive. This can cause problem behavior when in public and especially around children. With Jennifer's help, we learned what to do in these situations.

There was a time that we would have considered ourselves crazy to add another Aussie to our pack. However, after learning so much from 2SpeakDog, we did just that. We now have Finn and he has benefited so much from all we have learned. He resisted crate training so Jennifer came to our home for a private lesson. He went immediately in the crate and has not had a problem since. We laughed and often say she sprinkled her magical fairy dust everywhere. Finn is now participating in classes and workshops. We are so happy we found 2SpeakDog and they truly are the best!

Debbie and Andy

Learning to Lead

FinnIn January 2012, our family bought a male European Great Dane.  Finn became a much beloved member of the family and a good pal of his terrier brother and sister.  I thought that training meant housebreaking and doing basic commands like sit, stay, and coming when I called.  While for a little dog, that may be sufficient, it definitely was not enough for me to control a 175 lb. dog.  On top of that, Finn thought he needed to be in control and became aggressive with other dogs.  After a few incidents where I was unable to stop the escalation, I sent Jennifer an email saying that I thought we would need to surrender Finn.  I was heartbroken, terrified, and felt like a total failure.

Jennifer listened to my concerns and assured me that together, we could come up with a plan to help me better control Finn.  Many things she suggested were just little things, like making him wait for his food, that showed Finn that I was in charge.  I was also fortunate enough to be able to work with Kasey, 2SpeakDog's Large Breed Specialist, who has two Great Danes of her own.  I began to gain confidence and feel like I could train this dog.

I have stopped being terrified to take him for walks.  Finn has become much more calm because he can relax, knowing that he no longer needs to be on guard.  My whole life, I have had confidence issues.  There is nothing like the feeling I get from being able to control this huge dog!!  To go from total despair and feeling like a failure to where we are now is a miracle!  We still have much to learn, but I am so thrilled with all we have accomplished. I can not thank 2SpeakDog enough for all they have done for our family!


Thank Goodness for Walking Workshops!

RunnerIt's days like these when every penny and every second of teaching Runner to walk well on a leash becomes worth it. With two ribs out of place, I simply could not have tolerated any amount of tugging/pulling on the leash. We got in 3 miles in the morning and 2 more in the afternoon of near flawless walking.

Thanks to all your walking workshops in 2011 and 2012, I made it in one piece and Runner is happy and not destroying my house! Thank you!



Neo Learns Trust and Respect

Neo1Jennifer Allen Kyzer really provided what my dogs and I needed. It wasn't elaborate training for commands – I credit her with getting Neo and me to work together, and for him to trust and respect me. I did not find anyone else who understood quickly where my dogs and I were as a team and what we needed, nor who had the "walking workshop" format that she offers. I can't thank her enough. I really appreciate the work Jenn did with us and the help and encouragement. We can go places with more confidence now. Neo is still Neo – he still has his moments – but I know what to do, when and how.

I am so excited about the possibilities I can see for Neo and Breezy after our session. I really felt that Jenn "got" Neo and she "got" me too. It felt like Neo, Breezy, and I all clicked into our rightful spots … a great feeling because it's progress! Already! Tracking has been a really nice activity for us. He gets to be "the boss" and there are no other dogs to really worry about. He really loves it and I really love watching him work. I can see all the subtleties of when he is on the scent and when he is searching for it. Jenn, thank you so much for coming out and working with us.


Sascha is Amazing

SaschaThank you SO MUCH, Jennifer!  I can’t tell you how much you helped last night.  Knowing what to work on and that I CAN do this is making all of the difference.  Sascha and I worked on respect for hands and focus this morning, and she did great.  She barely even sniffed my hands - just looked at them intently and then looked at my face! AMAZING! Then I was actually able to get her through the door etiquette routine!  I was a little worried I wasn’t going to get that one. One visit and I’m a believer!  

Cathleen and Rob

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