Look no further

To anyone who is considering Laurie Buffington and Dog Days training:

Look no further, Laurie Buffington and her team at Dog Days are the most effective and qualified dog trainers you will ever experience.

My first introduction to Laurie was with Jasper, my chocolate lab puppy. We participated in each level of training classes Dog Days offered and we emerged with the most wonderful, well trained dog possible.  That was the “easy dog”…then it got complicated …

After losing Jasper to cancer in early September 2011, I ventured down the rescue dog road.  I rescued “Annie” in late September of 2011, after DNA testing she turned out to be a full half golden retriever, border collie, bichon frise mix.  Against the advice of Laurie, a month later I rescued “Harry”.  After DNA testing I learnt he was a lab, retriever and German short haired pointer mix.

My life, then fell apart, I had two crazy pups who were so different from my beloved Jasper I was at my wits end.  Why did I go against Laurie’s advice to not get two?  Two puppies at the same time is a huge handful.  I am not exaggerating that without Laurie, I am not sure I would have been able to keep both.

Here are a couple of disasters which I conveyed to Laurie to explain my distress:

Dear Laurie

We had disaster at the reservoir/Coot area on Tuesday.  To cut a very long story short, I somehow managed to talk myself out of a $100 fine per dog.  Annie and Harry were doing great, holding downs while bikers, hikers etc came by us and then without a warning, they broke …………… ran flat out into an enclosed wildlife area.  I became invisible to them, I honestly thought they were gone, I THOUGHT they had seen cows in the distance, unbeknown st to me they had ran head long into a prairie dog colony. The prairie dogs were not visible.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw an official boulder county vehicle parked in a nearby parking lot, then of course, out of the bushes appears an official looking man screaming “go get your dogs now!”

After finally tracking the dogs down, we all got to meet Mr Matt, the Head guy at City of Boulder of Open Space, of course it had to be the boss.  Laurie, not sure how, but I managed to get him to crack a smile, maybe because when he asked me to confirm if the dogs were mine, I said “No, these are definitely NOT my dogs” as they sat sweetly at my feet, innocently staring up at me.  Luckily, I had my green tags on both dogs.

He actually turned out to be great and after discussing many things including my training efforts, sorry, but I had to mention you(!), he said he knew of you and your training, how seriously I take training, how hard I am trying,  bringing up how good Jasper was, praying on his emotions by telling him they were rescues … etc , etc he kindly said he would not ticket me in lieu of a ten minute lecture from him.  Phew!  He did inform that if they had come out with a prairie dog in their mouth it is currently a $450 fine.

I think he actually appreciated the fact that I am trying by using you and your training methods and acknowledged that with your help I am committed to training.  Needless to say it was a huge wake up call.  Environmentally, they are SO far from being 100% under voice and sight.  A bird, a duck, a rabbit turns them into different dogs, looks like I am heading down the e-collar collar road as you suggested, I may do it somewhat reluctantly.

The next disaster:

Twin lakes, both dogs off leash on the off leash trail, Harry had never swam, out of the bushes came a mama and papa duck with their ducklings swimming in the lake, Harry took off and swam after them, it was awful, he swam after them for 40 minutes in pursuit, as an all around animal lover it was killing me, I am not sure what would have happened if this time I had encountered a ranger, after what seemed like an eternity I cajoled Harry to the shore …. straight home and an email to Laurie, e-collar time.  The stress of having these dogs off leash in the environment had finally sent me over the edge…

Next steps:

Laurie and Shantel came to my house.  Laurie helped me deal with the environmental elements I deal with at home.  We live on on land with a lake, a dogs dream, but not a nervous dog owners dream.  Laurie helped with suggestions in controlling the dogs.

The dogs then spent 10 days board and train with Laurie. Laurie was able to learn so much about the dogs and their temperament/behavior.  This led her to being able to train the dogs appropriately.

She emphasized training ME was the most important part!

To say walking my dogs on off-leash trails has changed is an understatement.

I went from crying in frustration with these dogs who I loved, but were testing my patience to having passersby’s comment on well behaved they are.  Go figure …

Thank you Laurie.

-Sarah Mittlehaus

Sarah Mittlehaus