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Reegan, Kelly and Dusty

Reegan, Dusty and Kelly ANKC Obedience

Steve has been working with Reegan and her two dogs Dusty and Kelly. Dusty was very nervous and sensitive in new environments, far from the ideal Obedience Trialing dog. Steve worked with Reegan to overcome these problems with his Training in Drive System, at the time of writing this article Dusty gained his second 1st place in the Open ring.


I had Dusty from a puppy and knew he wasn’t all that confident a dog around 6 months in.  He startled by noises and movements easily but bounced back in a few seconds so thought I could cope with that. This was a much harder vice than I thought.

He wasn’t like my past dog which was relatively bomb proof; she is tough as old boots!  She had her own issues as she was a rescue dog so I had already been through the wringer with her behaviour wise. I thought this dog will be easier and with age Dusty will get better, but I was sadly disappointed!

I tried to change what I did with him as a puppy, training positively so I attended Puppy school that offered Clicker training. I still didn’t know how to work with him and had limited knowledge.  I was genuinely worried about him, as I didn’t really know how to deal with a dog like this. I kept going to training and did what I thought to be positive. Which wasn’t helping much?

I wanted to trial Dusty further in ANKC Obedience but stopped at the Novice level, knowing he couldn’t cope nor go into open with what he was producing. He was doing just that, coping and shutting down to cope. He titled in Novice, but I was so disappointed and disheartened by how he was learning and coping. He just wasn’t in a happy place.

I then decided if anyone could have the determination to work Dusty in a better way it was me, I was determined it would happen one day I just didn’t know how and or where to turn until…

I had been trialing my older dog too and noticed a girl at a trial with a nice Border Collie and she had a K9Pro shirt on. She wasn’t competing, just training her dog a bit differently to everyone else and I said to myself how fun does that look, they were both enjoying their time together.  She called it Training In Drive. Yep: I had a puzzled look on my face as if to say, what the hell is that. She explained it and I think I had a puzzled look on my face but my thoughts were I like it, wow! Her dog trainer has developed this system and I wanted to know more about it.

I asked a few questions then ‘stalked’ her on Facebook to ask more questions, it took a little convincing. I saw K9Pro had a one day Seminar coming up locally and decided to go with the friend I ‘stalked’ and also volunteer Dusty as a demonstration dog. This demonstrated to me all the things I could be doing better to help Dusty be a better dog and compete with him. Little did I know the person I stalked I would become good friends with and she has been very successful trialing as well.

After this I booked a consult with Steve to provide me an assessment on Dusty and what we could do. Steve listened and observed Dusty and provided me with some great starting points to train in drive.  Don’t get me wrong I was very confused as it turned my whole world of dog training inside out and upside down. I had so much to re-train myself to be able to train Dusty.  Learning games, marking behaviours, shaping and different ways to increase drive and motivation, it was so much fun though.

I soon found out that Dusty was way smarter than me and I couldn’t keep up, I was learning and he was teaching me. I felt out of my depth learning to play tug, I remember sending a video and looked horrible. Over time I have now learnt better technique! It was frustrating and yes I have thrown many tantrums frustrated. Thoughts of rehoming him or deciding to just have him as a pet as I became frustrated, but Steve helped me find Dusty’s strengths and given Dusty the power to learn himself and make the right choices.

It also shown me that Plan A may not always be the solution, you may need plan B or even more plans after this. Steve is a dog trainer who is willing to exhaust all avenues to success and never give up on your goals. It has been hard work, mentally for me, it’s been a very hard and challenging road and still is.

dog trainer
Dusty wins Open Ring!

……. What doesn’t challenge you doesn’t change you…….

After me seeing Steve for a little while, Steve asked me if I would like to join the team he had formed with other like minded people to train and be part of Team days and Facebook group.  The Team gets together and train every few months and everyone can support and observe each other’s dogs.

I was fairly worried to join the Team as I thought I don’t have the dogs he wants, Dusty will never make it as good as these dogs. But the team is nothing like that, we all have different paths and challenges and that’s what makes us unique.

There is also a closed Facebook group to upload videos and discuss our dog training hurdles, share our success and general dog training discussions. In between training days, depending on location of the team members, we may catch up to train at a local park or similar or even at a trial.

Now I have been able to trial Dusty and I have learnt to plan and make better decisions. What’s been best is to have the support of other Team K9 pro members at a trial whether competing or bringing their dogs out to do some training. The Facebook group is so helpful; it is mainly for the Team to use as their own forum.  The Team days have not replaced my lessons, I still need these.

The Team days have given me the support that I needed to get me through the tough times. They have provided the distractions and real life trial situations.  I have truly wonderful friendships with the team members. With one team member we have similar dogs, oh how we swap stories!dog trainer

I have trialed for 5 years now and this experience has seriously changed the way I think, plan and do everything with my dogs.  Without the team support I wouldn’t have that bit of extra motivation to be positive and challenge myself that little bit more. Honestly it’s been extremely hard, but worth every bit of effort to get the ultimate reward.

K9Pro & the Team have shown me how to be grateful, happy and positive in everything I do, not just my dog training. It’s made me a stronger person, a better trainer and my relationships with both my dogs is amazing.  I now have much more motivation to learn more about dogs and their behaviours.

Finally, Steve is no ordinary dog trainer. He is far superior in his vast knowledge and experiences, he has a way of thinking that is incredible. You don’t go to Steve weekly, he provides enough homework to last you for quite some time.  Steve is not your average dog trainer, he is quality and you pay for that and you get it.

I did have trouble convincing my husband this until he has seen the results!  It is only recently my husband says ‘Steve knows how to get you the results’ and even better than you expected. This guy knows his stuff!

That’s why I call him Super Steve!

…………It’s all about the journey not the destination……

Need help? This related article may help.

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