Mika the two year pointer mix
“Ms. Independent Drama Queen” Just let me at the stink-en raccoon. Okay I will accept your food then leave me to hunt that darn Skunk in the back yard.
Imagine- this is your first dog. You wanted a “relaxed and chilled out dog”, or at least, we did. Apparently the universe thought we SHOULD do better than that. We got Mika- two year old pointer mix, from a wonderful local rescue group. Once the “honeymoon period” was over and her doggy brain figured out that she had conned us into keeping her, she decided she was going to do her best to “impress us”. Mika turned out to be an intense hunter with a very strong will and highly independent streak. She is pure machine and seemed to have no need for any human interaction except during mealtimes (lol), no interest in toys, didn’t play with other dogs at doggy daycare; she was really only interested in going for the prey. Turns out she was also extremely fearful of strangers, other dogs and new environments- we later learned that this fear/ anxiety/ stress is a strong indicator that she was not socialized from young. Not at all.
After lunging/ barking and growling at my parents, we started enlisting trainers for help. The first trainer suggested a Prozac prescription so that Mika can calm down in order to absorb obedience tactics. I don’t see that as a sustainable solution, neither does it solve the root of the problem. Also I was frustrated that she was so booked that she could only see us two months later, and her appointments are one hour sessions only. That’s just not going to work for our situation (I NEEDED HELP STAT!) or Mika, who is such a complex dog that Cindy and I later on likened her to an onion with lots of layers.
My doggy daycare recommended Cindy. I submitted a form at her website and she called me the next day- a SUNDAY. You know the feeling when you’re at the end of the rope and then the skies opened and angels sang? That’s exactly how I felt from the very first phonecall with Cindy. That phonecall itself was about an hour long, and she hadn’t even met us yet! She gave me lots of insights, answered my endless questions, and shared her experiences and methods. I knew right away that Cindy was whom we need.
Cindy is acutely sensitive and in tune with dogs’ energies and challenges. She has an amazing gift for reading signals so imperceptible that us mere mortals miss even without blinking, and she has eyes at the back of her head, she never misses a single cue from the dog- when a dog is in her presence she is aware of what it is doing (or even just thinking of doing) 100% of the time. She is wonderful at being firm but not pushy, assertive and respectful of what the dog can handle. More importantly, Cindy trains humans to be strong leaders just as hard as she rehabilitates dogs. Yes, we are exhausted, and no, Mika is not quite the perfect dog yet- she will be an ongoing project for a while- but she is a very enjoyable part of our household now! Cindy’s value is empowering us as dog handlers. From vet appointments, engaging with humans, to having overnight/ out of town guests in our home, we now have the tools and knowledge to manage Mika, read her body language, and techniques to relax her and/ or teach her how to calm her mind when she feels stressed. Cindy is also a huge proponent of nutrition and using natural remedies to help dog ailments, and she very generously shares her research and findings. She has invested tremendous amounts of time and energy in helping us to improve Mika’s digestive health (so important for dogs) through a combination of diet, natural products, and creating and teaching us to replicate a structured environment for Mika. I honestly can say Mika will not be the dog she is today without Cindy’s guidance and leadership. THANK YOU CHIEF!!!
Bichon Frise, Billy
Cindy worked wonders on our nine-year-old Bichon Frise, Billy. Several years ago Billy was attacked by an Akita. Since then he had become aggressive to other dogs; growling and snapping when he encountered dogs on his walks. Even when the dog was across the street he displayed aggression. This was very worrisome to us and extremely embarrassing! We avoided taking him to areas where he was likely to see other dogs.
The real problem presented itself when we decided we wanted a service dog for our special-needs daughter. Billy would have to tolerate another dog in his house and allow it to be part of his family. We were afraid that Billy might have to go because we had little hope that he could be rehabilitated. We had tried other dog trainers. Billy would behave somewhat when the dog trainer was present, but revert to his old behavior when they had left.
When we began working with Cindy we knew right away that she was different. She taught us how to calm and relax Billy, so his fear and aggressive responses were reduced. She worked slowly and patiently with Billy, and by the end of the first appointment he was calming walking with a friendly border collie.
Working with her lab/pit bull Ace, we had training sessions in our house where Billy learned to be calm even in the presence of a larger, more dominant dog. It was amazing to watch. Billy learned to accept the presence of other dogs and not fear them.
Cindy kept Billy for training for the two weeks where we went to Southern California to obtain and train with the service dog. She was there when we brought Niko home so she could help with the introduction. It couldn’t have gone better. Now Billy and Niko are friends. They hang out together and even play at times. We couldn’t hope for a better result.
Cooper - Mr Stoic
Cooper “Mr. Stoic” Don’t even think of getting in my face
I just wanted to thank you once again for the unbelievable help you gave our family. I say family because you really made us realize that Cooper’s aggressive behaviors were not really his fault, but ours. Once we realized that we were pretty much the root of the problem, and accepted it, things sort of fell into place. Your “sixth sense” with not only Cooper, but with our family dynamics was an added bonus. You picked up on nuances within our family that we hadn’t even thought about.
Additionally, your ability to help us be more aware of his small cues regarding his hip dysplasia and his pain threshold truly opened our eyes and helped us be able to care for him better. Your helpful tips on feeding, walking, and even going in and out of doors has helped our daily life in so many ways. Cooper is so much more fun to be around now that you have us trained.
Thanks again for the amazing work you did in just the few short days we had in the area. The amount of time you spent with us was unbelievable. Your true dedication to your work is wonderful to watch, and truly admirable. If it weren’t for you and your unique way of handling aggression, I’m sure that many of the dogs you work with would not have much of a chance at life. That’s why we love you!
On behalf of the ever-grateful Cagan family,
- Lynn Gallati-Cagan
Ace - The Charger
Ace “The Charger” I can not help myself.
Cindy is an amazingly intuitive trainer who knows how to establish a rapport with both the dog and the family from the very first minute. We are continually impressed with her calm and confident leadership style and Ace has loved her from the moment he laid eyes on her. Our family has truly learned how to be leaders to our dog and working with Cindy has changed all of our lives for the better. Ace had been exhibiting aggression towards other dogs and now Cindy has given us hope that he can be remediated and remain a happy part of our family for the rest of his life.
- Heidi, 7/15/10
Charlie - The Insomniac
Charlie “The Insomniac” If I can’t sleep you sure is heck are not going to.
When we first called Cindy Gehring, we were at the end of our ropes! For the previous 8 months, our dear 14 year old rat terrier, Charlie, just would not sleep at night. He would go into anxiety attacks, roam around aimlessly, refuse to be confined to a kennel (that he used to love), act out in very bizarre ways, and basically keep us up all night long. We spent thousands of dollars on medical tests to rule out any medical problems and had tried everything: tranquilizers, psychotropic drugs like Prozac and Anapryl, acupuncture, homeopathic remedies, behavioral techniques, and consulted with an integrative medical veterinarian. Nothing, absolutely nothing was working. We were all sleep deprived for 8 months, exhausted, frustrated, and facing the possibility of having to euthanize our beloved Charlie if we couldn’t find an answer soon.
Cindy was amazing. She patiently observed Charlie in his own environment and the interactions of rest of the family. She also asked tons of questions before deciding on a course of action. This was a great relief to us because many others we consulted with were quick to jump to conclusions and take us down the wrong path, or they just threw up their hands and let us make the decisions because they didn’t know what to do. After a couple of weeks of thorough evaluation, Cindy presented a plan to us. She worked with all of us patiently and compassionately. I was amazed at her expertise not only with dogs, but with humans. She knew how to apply practical techniques to our situation, lifestyle, and personalities instead of asking us to fit her mold. It was also clear that she was thinking about us outside of the training time, because she would research other options, consult with other trainers, and come back the next week with even more recommendations for us.
After a couple of months of training, it became clear that Charlie needed some “advanced tools”, so Cindy recommended the e-collar. At first we were a bit hesitant, but we trusted her completely and she took the time to answer all of our questions. Cindy took over as “pack leader” for a long weekend while my husband and I went away for a much needed time of relaxation. She stayed at our home and trained Charlie using the e-collar. We came home to a different dog! Charlie now sleeps in his kennel all night - well at least until 5am - after all he is an old dog! We are all more rested now and the pack is back in order. Charlie is so much happier! He even has his old feisty and funny personality back! It warms my heart to see him running and playing again, and we owe it all to Cindy. Thanks to her, we have our beloved Charlie back and can enjoy him, hopefully for several more years. THANK YOU CINDY! You saved his life and our little family.
- Cynthia & Claude
Josie - The scared and unsocialized dog
Cindy has become like a member of our family; we feel so lucky we found her. When we first adopted Josie a year ago, from the San Francisco ASPCA, she was a scared and unsocialized dog from her time on the streets. Her excitement and fear of other dogs frequently manifested by whining and running up to other dogs making them uncomfortable. Despite Josie’s clear interest in other dogs, she was unable to play with other dogs without scaring them with her off-putting approach. Then we found Cindy. Under Cindy’s training, she has been transformed into a totally new dog. Now, she is much more relaxed and well-behaved. She is able to make friends with our friend’s dogs and play with new dogs. She’s even become more loving and affectionate with people, instead of moving away when anyone tries to caress her. She has completely come into her own and become a more balanced dog.
We can’t thank Cindy enough for the changes she’s helped us implement in our handling of Josie to allow her to grow and succeed. Cindy is thoughtful, caring and extremely effective. She spent a lot her energy not to only train Josie, but to train us in how to be better leaders for Josie. Cindy has changed our lives, and we cannot recommend her highly enough, particularly for those families adopting rescue dogs.
Josie’s parents, San Francisco, CA
Frankie - The misunderstood
If you just all understood me, I could be a wonderful dog!
We adopted Frankie, a Siberian Husky/Australian Sheppard mix, from DPS rescue in January 2013 and started him in puppy training courses from a nearby training school. He is such a smart dog that he excelled in all of the basic training techniques and was ready to move into the intermediate classes. We brought him in one day and he started to bark aggressively at the other dogs so we were asked to join the “attitude” classes, and we did. We were advised not to have him interact with other dogs until he was “fixed”. Weeks of standing still in a circle with not much more than a few minutes of discussion around Frankie’s behavior and we decided this was not the right place for him. He wasn’t ready for off leash group classes but sure wasn’t bad enough to be in these classes.
We went to a fundraiser for DPS over the summer and met Cindy. In just the few minutes that we saw her handle our dog, we knew she needed to train us. When we brought Frankie to her, we had stopped walking him near dogs, never brought him to a dog park, and tried to shelter him from other dogs to prevent any outbreaks.
Just two sessions with Cindy, and Frankie was a whole new dog. We learned that we, as the handlers, needed training more than the dog did. She taught us how to read our dog and gave us the tools we needed to work with him. She also provides the right environment for the us and the dog to practice in. She listened to our concerns and simulated the environment to where Frankie would have his outbreaks. And by the end of the 2nd session he was walking around other dogs and at our side without pulling or barking. She truly is gifted!
Thanks to Cindy, we have the perfect family that we wanted. Frankie is a happy puppy now that he can socialize with other dogs and get out for his walks and runs with us. Not only did Cindy help our dog, but she helped us by giving us the tools to continue his training and gave us the knowledge to understand our dog to give him the best life possible.
Rick, Fiona, & Frankie, San Jose, CA
Baxter - Crazy Carin Terrier
We became Baxter’s parents on October 7th of this past year. Baxter was five months old when we got him; absolutely adorable, full of energy and “all terrier”. My husband and I had never raised a puppy together so, needless to say, Baxter was a real learning experience for the two us!!
I thought we were doing a pretty good job except that we had “walking issues”. Whenever we took Baxter for a walk he would go crazy whenever he saw a person, another dog (the worst), a squirrel, a bird, a leaf blowing in the wind, etc., etc., etc. We tried everything imaginable to get him past this behavior but nothing worked and it was becoming an unbelievable nightmare for all three of us. THEN WE FOUND CINDY!!!!!!!
After a set of sessions with Cindy we were amazed at the change, not only in Baxter, but in us as well. I though Cindy was just going to “fix” Baxter’s walking problem but, after working with all of us, she ended up fixing a lot more than just that. We were so impressed with Cindy and the way she works with us and our puppy (we call her our “dog whisperer”) that when she recommended the use of an E-Collar to help Baxter we agreed without hesitation. We even had Baxter stay with Cindy for a week so she could do the initial training with the E-Collar for us. That was the longest week ever because we missed our little puppy. We could not wait to pick him up and were utterly amazed when we saw what Cindy had accomplished in one week.
Cindy truly is a “dog whisperer”. She has a unique ability to walk into a puppy/dog/people situation and work/train/rehabilitate everyone involved and then walk away leaving a happy, healthy, wonderful puppy and puppy parents!!!
THANK YOU CINDY!!!!!!!!!!!
Baxter, Yvonne & Tom, San Jose, CA
Dakota and Gabbanna
Dakota “Ms. Drama Queen” I am in charge right? & Gabbanna “The Run Away” Wow the door is open go for it NOW!
I knew I needed dog help now! but it wasn’t until I saw Cindy’s truck while driving down the highway did it finally motivate me to do something about my doggies, Gabanna - a cattle dog mix and Dakota - a chow, collie mix, Gabanna being the more “unruly” one (or so I thought!) would dart out the front or side door whenever anyone came into the house. This really worried me because we live in a rural area and I was concerned for her safety with all the wild and domestic animals out here in the boonies of San Jose. So I was going to “fix” Gabanna!
Dakota is a pretty loyal dog; she never takes off (unless prompted or following Gabanna towards the hills!) and always wants to be near me. So when I called Cindy for Dog Help Now! It was Gabanna that needed the “fixing” or so I thought. Another annoying habit was my dog’s inappropriate greeting skills, which were to practically lick and smell to death any new visitor to my home. Not only was this not proper dog manners, it was totally embarrassing not to have control over my dogs whenever someone came in my home
So when Cindy came to my house she spent quite a bit of time assessing our family (Human and Dog) situation & interaction. I think she was really checking me out more than my pooches ;0) Well, after the first session I knew Cindy was the trainer I wanted to work with!! I instantly felt comfortable with her and really was starving for some guidance. Cindy demonstrated that not only does she absolutely know her stuff about dogs, she also knows a lot about people too, since leadership grooming is also one of her specialties. After that first visit, I was so excited about our forthcoming sessions and with each and every one, we made significant progress. But the most important thing I learned with Cindy’s help, is that it’s not the Dog that needs the training, it’s the Human ;0) we need to be the calm assertive leaders our Dog’s are craving and we must be consistent! It is this consistency, or lack thereof, that will teach the dog how to behave. Now, while things are much better in my home with my beloved pets, I tend to slip once in awhile. But then I remember Cindy’s words and picture her smiling face and I go back to the basics of being a good Human Leader. Thanks Cindy for all you have done to teach me how to be a better Human Leader!
Brenda Tolan, San Jose, CA
Speckles - Mr. Defensive
Speckles “Mr. Defensive” do not move too quick it makes me nervous.
We started working with Cindy after an incident with our 2 yr old Dalmatian, Speckles. We had gotten him at 18 months old from our local dog shelter. After we brought him into our home it became apparent that our dog had been abused by previous owners. We knew he was hard of hearing, but he also had trust and fear issues.
Cindy came into our home to work with us, so she was able to see behaviors that never showed up in the training classes we took our dog to. Cindy helped us see the link between what we thought were small unrelated behavioral issues and how to overcome them, the best way possible for us. She worked with us and our dog to make sure that we saw and understood his particular behavior issues and how do address them. She came back regularly to monitor our progress and help us through the rough spots as they came up. Cindy taught us how to be pack leaders; without her we probably would not have been able to keep our dog. We are forever grateful to her and have her back periodically to make sure we are all still on track.
Flynn - The Barker
Flynn “The Barker” Are you listening to me? I am trying to tell you something here!
I believe that people come into our lives when we most need them. Cindy Gehring brought me back to my most confident self, teaching me to be the pack leader of my four beautiful, funny, rambunctious Golden Retrievers. She was firm but kind, she gave me assignments that we both worked together on in our next sessions, and she accepted me as I am, a creative, fun-loving, free-spirited dog breeder and animal lover. Her business card says Dog Trainer, but really she’s a human trainer, giving us the skills we need to live a wonderfully happy life with our pets…please feel free to contact me directly at: http://firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mary Kennedy Eastham, MA, MFA - Doggie mom to Sabrina, JoJo, Flynn and Oliver