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Heather and Skye

Two weeks ago we returned from our 2-day intensive training course with Steve and the increased motivation in both Skye and myself has exceeded even my expectations.

From the reactive, uncontrollable brat that lunged and barked at every other dog within a mile radius a year ago, to the focused, driven dog I have now is nothing short of a miracle – and for that I will always be indebted to Steve Courtney, who believed in us just from a desperate email I sent him twelve months ago.

Skye’s reactivity was preventing us from “fitting in” to a normal training club so normal training went out the window. In hindsight, this has been a blessing as it has taught me so much about my dog and what drives her.

Skye is my 5th GSD over a span of 30 odd years and I thought my knowledge of dog training was pretty good – until I was confronted with my high drive, hard-nosed little girl who had her own agenda. I did all the supposed right things – puppy pre-school and regular training classes but with a dog that was not food or toy driven, focus was a huge problem and we spent more time out of the class than it until it became obvious that this scenario was not going to help us become the team I knew we could be. Three personal trainers later and I was at my wits end. Flat collar, front leading harness, dominant dog collar and check chain – all to no avail.

I found K9 Pro’s website and read the testimonials on the Long Distance Training programs and thought “what have I got to lose?”. Two months after corresponding with Steve, he held a seminar at K9 Pro HQ and so I flew from WA to Sydney on my own and attended. I made a pact with myself after that seminar that I was going to bring Skye to meet Steve.

We did the Loose Leash Walking program and then on to “Training in Drive” – all via correspondence/videos – and the pull to take Skye to Sydney got stronger. A lot of people thought I was mad spending the money I did to take Skye to K9 Pro HQ for a personal meet with Steve but it was the best thing I could have done for me and my dog.

During our 2-day training we spent very little time doing the normal “heeling” patterns encountered at the majority of training clubs – instead, it was broken down into pieces that did not bore me or my dog to tears and to see these coming together is awesome.

The “Training in Drive” system has been invaluable to us as Skye was neither food, ball or toy driven but give her a flirt pole or a tug, and a whole new Skye takes over!! Finding out what drives your dog and gaining focus is definitely the key and the biggest learning curve was mine. (See Skye in the early days giving the K9 Pro Flirt Pole a work out here).

Steve’s assessment of Skye via videos proved to be spot on and with the fine tuning we received during our visit, I am excited for our future. The K9 Pro “family” (other clients, who some of us may never meet due to distance”) are so supportive and it certainly helps to have like-minded people on your journey.

A huge thank you to Steve – we will succeed!!!

K9 Pro – During Heathers time here we grabbed some video, you can enjoy that here.

After reading Heather testimonial,this is what Steve had to say.

Skye is a very nice dog, well put together “old school” style Shepherd that really just doesn’t take any crap. The first time Heather emailed me I knew that, and although Skye was reacting to other dogs, that to me wasn’t a real concern, I knew unless I could get some drive satisfaction into her, well we would only be band aiding problems.

Being on the other side of the country presented its issues, but I started off with a Loose Leash walking program with Heather, in hindsight this was a test to see what sort of commitment Heather had. I knew Skye would push Heather around, that is Skye lol.

Heather has been training dogs for a long time, you can see it in her technique everywhere, whats more, she loves it. The real hero of this story is Heather, she has been constantly adapting to change her methods to get the best out of Skye. Let me tell you, making these changes isn’t easy, especially when the person telling you is 15000km away and you have never met him.

But she never hesitated, I asked, I got video of Heather doing… I raised the bar, and over this pair went.

Heather had the reactive behaviour towards other dogs well in hand within about 8 weeks or so, sure there was some polishing left but not a lot, it was then we cracked on to training in drive. You will see by the video above Skye really thought that our Flirt Pole was made for her, still does!

Out they went every day a few times a day “looking for trouble” as K9 Pro clients learn to do, you see instead of walking dogs at 5am and midnight to avoid dogs, I want my people out looking for trouble. Heather would reply, “Sorry Steve, slim pickings today, only could find about 5 dogs”. lol. Please remember, I was not standing beside her, never met her and out Heather was going “looking for trouble” and dealing with it.

I also remember the workshop where I watched Heather have a number of light bulb moments and watch some of my clients dogs work, and that is where I saw that look in her eye that she was getting right on that plane to go home and get even more out of Skye. Heather made a few friends that week, many of my clients are so supportive it really helps widen the net.

Time flew and Heather and Skye were here, we “worked” hard for two days, well lets call it work, we had a blast. I pushed Heather hard and she came back looking for more the next day, I really try to fill the time I have with people with as much as they can handle, sometimes more!

Our last 2 hour session was the best, the drive we extracted was now being put to good use, Skye worked her GSD butt off and boy did she look good. We have done no formal heelwork with Skye, just a little perch work, but this was the time to push it.

I am really proud of the work I have done with Heather and Skye, but more proud of the work Heather is doing, I did good, she’s doing GREAT!

Heather you have succeeded, were just going to put some icing on it…

This pic was taken the day after I finished with Heather, pictured is dog aggressive Skye and dog aggressive Bo Miller (Vicki Miller another dog rehab machine!)

Photo by Vickie Priestley




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