Success Stories!

At Tug Dogs, we are all about making life better with your dog. Our trainers have helped thousands of dogs become easier to live with, more stable, and a joy to have around through our advanced training techniques and understanding of canine psychology. Ready to be our next success story? Get in touch today to get started!

Breed Pit Bull
Service Behavior Rehabilitation
Issues Impulsivity, Leash Reactivity, Manners
Owner Hanni Geist
I adopted a 3 year old pit bull in September 2016 and I was in way over my head; Lou is very sweet, but she had no leash manners and reacted severely when she saw a dog even in the distance. Overall she had no impulse control. While she is not aggressive, I was afraid she would get herself into trouble, because she essentially was a 68 pound toddler who had no manners.

Walking her was a nightmare. She didn’t have good leash manners to begin with, but it would get even worse when she saw or even heard a dog bark – she lunged, spun in the air and was very vocal. Oftentimes she wouldn’t calm down at all until we got home. Needless to say, while I loved her and was committed to her, it was extremely frustrating. Walks often ended in tears.

I worked with another dog trainer, who came to our house and we also did group lessons. I saw small improvements in her every day obedience, but really her reactivity when seeing or even hearing another dog pretty much didn’t change. I first came to Tug Dogs Spring of 2017 and it changed everything, I’m so glad I looked for other trainers! One of the key differences between Tug Dogs and the other trainer is that Erin and the other Tug Dogs trainer take their time and work with the dog using individualized trading methods. And the other big difference is that they also work with you and how you contribute to the unwanted behavior. In my case, I had built up so much frustration, tension and fear that I set up Lou for failure without realizing it. Once Erin explained to me how important it is to be calm, to relax, not go faster, but rather go slower, a light bulb went on in my head.

Tug Dogs changed everything for me. I’m much calmer and confident in my training. Lou and I continue to build a strong relationship based on calm, rules, consistency and a lot of love. A year ago I avoided busy parks, now I deliberately go into these situations to train with her. And a week ago we went out to an outdoor brewery! We take it day by day, some days are better than others, but overall we can now enjoy our time together and go on more adventures.

James McKellips, Co-Owner of Peaceful Pets Pet Sitting Services
Breed N/A
Service Trainer’s Course
Issues N/A
Owner James McKellips
Tug Dogs has changed my life!

Recommitting to my education was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I went looking to add value for our pet sitting clients and structure for our employees. What I came away with is a new philosophy for life.

Erin is an experienced and engaging educator. In a fast paced and chaotic world, she illuminated a path for success based upon years of experience in the field. Starting with consideration for the dog’s perspective, she teaches a zen inspired way of communicating with dogs in a simple, clear, and loving way.

I’m just beginning my journey as a dog trainer but I see the path. After applying what I am learning, I had  the feeling that Tug Dogs Dog Trainer Academy is just where I need to be. I do the homework and see results with our own dogs. I look forward to replicating this process with our clients’ dogs, to bring peace into their homes.

Erin’s energy is infectious and that’s all I needed to encourage me to continue on this path. I’m so thankful to have been referred to Tug Dogs and look forward to taking the next steps of my education here.

James McKellips
Co owner of Peaceful Pets Pet Sitting Services
10+ Rescued Boxers
Breed Boxer
Service Evaluation, board and training, private training lessons
Issues Fear, aggression, anxiety, manners, leash reactivity
Owner NorCal Boxer Rescue
NorCal Boxer Rescue is a non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing Boxers “In Need” all over Northern California. Roughly 90% of our rescue Boxers come from area shelters and although we pre-screen for severe behavioral issues we still often take Boxers with various behavioral issues ranging from mild to severe.

Approximately 2.5 years ago we were referred to Tug Dogs for their board and train program. Over this period of time we have utilized the Tug Dogs organization for their board and train program, assessments and regular boarding. The professionalism and knowledge from the staff trainers, Erin, Stace and Rebecca is outstanding. They have helped our boxers with such issues as resource guarding, leash reactivity and separation anxiety just to name a few. NCBR is thrilled to be able to work with Tug Dogs in our quest to rehabilitate and train Boxers in need.  Without Tug Dogs NCBR would undoubtedly be unable to save the number of Boxers that we do each year. Attached are pictures of just some of our “Success Stories” that with the assistance of the Tug Dogs organization have gone on to experience beautiful lives.

-Deb Wood, NCBR Foster Home Coordinator

Breed Min Pin Mix
Service Boarding and Training
Issues Socialization
Owners Barbara and Davina Dubnick
It was our lucky day when our neighbors told us about Erin and Tug Dogs!  Erin’s skill and TLC helped transform their fearful, un-socialized rescue dog into a happy, friendly, playful, tail-wagging one!  We were so impressed and eager to visit Tug Dogs to find out for ourselves whether it would be a place for our dog.

Ever since we had the pleasure of meeting Erin, our precious Bambi has been staying at Tug Dogs for extended periods of time when we go out of town. Bambi is thrilled to be there with her many friends, to run freely in the large field and snuggle with Erin.  We are always delighted to see pictures of Bambi on the Tug Dog Facebook.

Erin has a gift for communicating with dogs and understanding their unique personalities and needs.  She is professional, reliable, trustworthy and kind.  We have recommended Tug Dogs to our friends and they are as pleased as we are.  We have complete confidence and trust in Erin, and total peace of mind when Bambi is in her loving care and having so much fun!  We are so thankful for Erin and Tug Dogs!!

Breed German Shepherd
Service Day Training, Private Training Lessons
Issues Dog Aggression, Impolite/Out of Control
Owners Jackie Conway and Robert O’Brien
Mo is our rescue German Shepherd and we absolutely love him. 6 months into having Mo in our home, he started acting out. Mo was not listening, pulling hard on walks (he took us on walks) and lunging at other dogs when they walked by us. This was getting to the point we couldn’t take him on night walks. His behavior was unacceptable and scary at times.

At 122 lbs Mo is hard to handle when he acted out, we were at our wits end with his behavior. I contacted the foster agency from whom we adoption Mo from and they suggested Tug Dogs. I contact them and had an evaluation and it was decided he needed weekly lessons. Trainer Rachelle contacted us and we got started with private training lessons. By the end of the first lesson we had acquired tools to help us control our environment while one walks. Not only was Mo learning new skills but so were we.

Mo was doing so well with lesson that he was able to start attending Day Training with Erin.  Erin was great with Mo and not only was Mo getting one on one attention we also got our homework which helped make the training stick. This wasn’t easy and it took time and dedication. Life with Mo is so much better now and he’s a completely different dog. I would recommend Tug Dog’s and their trainers to anyone who thinks their dog is lacking discipline. Not only do they train your dog but they give you the tools to use in everyday situations. Thank you to Erin and her team.

Breed Mutt
Service Behavior Rehabilitation Board and Training
Issues Human Aggression, Dog Aggression, House Manners, Obedience Training
Owners Shafali Grewal
Ghost was given his name because we was a feral street dog seen intermittently feeding on scraps outside dumpsters of fast food restaurants.  A team of dedicated rescuers located in Southern California came together to trap and save Ghost. After a harrowing ordeal of him running onto a freeway on-ramp, Ghost was finally caught and taken to receive medical attention.

When Ghost arrived to Tug Dogs he was fearful to the point of self injury. He could not be handled by humans, would attack his leash and collar in a desperate attempt to free himself, and (if escape was not an option) was immediately aggressive towards approaching humans and dogs. Ghost’s behavior was so severe, he would injure himself if we tried to move him using the leash at all.

But all of Ghost’s fears and problem behaviors changed once the amazing team at Tug Dogs started working with him. Through their facebook page, we got to watch as Ghost transformed from being a dog who was too scared to walk on leash, interact with humans, or hang out with dogs into a dog who could enjoy life with us.

Tug Dogs trainers were kind, patient, and extremely knowledgeable in handling this very challenging case. They worked tirelessly to get Ghost comfortable with people, dogs, and even just living in a home.

We are all astounded and so appreciative of the hard work Erin and her team put in. Ghost is now living a happy doggy life with humans he loves, dog friends he plays with, and has made a full adjustment to our home. We can’t thank the team at Tug Dogs enough for giving this special guy a chance to have a wonderful life.

Cairo and Zurich
Breed Shiloh Shepherd & German Shepherd
Service Board and Training, Day Training, Dog Boarding
Issues Inter-dog aggression, obedience training
Owner Lisa Farrell
I met Erin ten years ago for a group class with my Shiloh Shepherd puppy, who was 5 months and about 60 pounds at the time – so, I knew training was high priority. He responded to basic commands such as sit and lay very well in the house and on neighborhood walks, but Erin was able to help me in understanding how to keep his focus when there were more distractions.  I have gone to Erin for little tune up trainings throughout the years and she has always able to guide me through whatever I was dealing with.  No matter where I take him, people comment on how well behaved he is. He is a joy to me both at home and when we are out and about.

Erin was there for me again when, about seven years ago, I decided to give my Shiloh Shepherd a brother. I adopted a one year old German Shepherd rescue.  His initial training at home went smoothly. However, about a year later, he developed barrier aggression when new neighbors had several small dogs that would back at him thru the fence. This very quickly escalated to redirected aggression against both me and my other dog. After a short time of very unsuccessfully trying to correct his reactive aggression, I knew I needed help. I contacted Erin and after carefully listening to me, she suggested behavioral rehabilitation.

Not knowing his background prior to life with me unfortunately left some possible pieces of the bigger puzzle unknown, but Erin was able to work with him and his aggression. He stayed with her while she worked with him to understand his behavior and to correct it and then she worked with me so that I was able to maintain the amazing rehabilitative work that she did with him.

Fast forward seven years and his aggression has not returned; he is a loved (and loving!) member of the family. I have had many dogs over the years and worked with many trainers on issues small and large, but Erin is just amazing and I could not be happier that that our paths crossed; she is the one who I will continue to return to for my training needs.  Thank you, Erin!

Padfoot & Bella
Breed Staffordshire mix
Service Private Training, Day Training
Issues Impulsivity, Dog Aggression, Leash Reactivity
Owner Nicole Lang

We were referred to Tug Dogs by another trainer about two years ago and couldn’t be more thankful. Our Staffordshire terrier mix, Padfoot, is a rescue with a very energetic, reactive, and dominant personality. We took him to training classes, hired a couple different trainers, and used several training methods with little results.

After getting into a scary fight with our other dog, Bella, we immediately enrolled him into a local bootcamp, but he was released early for being too much to handle for the staff members. Feeling defeated but determined not to give up, we came to Erin at Tug Dogs shortly after and our lives have changed completely ever since. With the help of the Tug Dogs’ trainers AND resident dogs, both Bella and Padfoot now have a healthier, safer, and happier relationship with each other, us, and other dogs. While training is always a work in progress, we have learned how to give our dogs the household structure and exercise they needed from us all along.

Tug Dogs is always inspiring us to become better dog owners and versions of ourselves as we help our dogs become better versions of themselves. Seeing the smiles on Bella and Padfoot’s faces when they get to visit Tug Dogs is priceless. We believe all dogs deserve a chance regardless of their past and Tug Dogs is the perfect place to help with that. Thank you for everything Erin and Tug Dogs!

Breed Pit Bull Mix
Service Private Training & Day Training
Issues Dog Aggression & General Insecurity
Owner Poyin Chen
Since the day we adopted Violet, she has shown extreme reactivity towards other dogs and had food aggression and was reactive with strangers. On my own, I was able to work with Violet so that she was no longer food aggressive or people reactive, but I was at a loss of how to manage her dog reactivity. Over time and due to many training mistakes I made, Violet developed a history of dog aggression that progressed to where she was only giving very abbreviated body language cues, to the point where it seemed that she was attacking other dogs with no warning. Once she was to that point, I would be unable to regain her attention so that walks were a very stressful but necessary (due to Violet’s high energy level) part of our daily routine.

Violet is a pit bull and we all know that this breed comes with built-in bias from people who don’t understand the breed. Due to Violet’s reactivity towards other dogs, I was in constant fear of lawsuits from other dog owners or having the police called if Violet lashed out at other dogs. My husband and I have always enjoyed going camping but any dog-friendly campsites meant that many other dogs would also be in the area, often off leash. Violet’s reactivity meant that when we did decide to make the commitment to go camping, most of our attention would be focused on managing Violet’s behavior and keeping an eye out for nearby dogs, as they would drive Violet into a barking and lunging fit. Violet also loves the outdoors and going to the park, but again, at the sight of any dogs in the vicinity, she would be on high alert, hackles raised, at the end of her leash, and sounding as intimidating as possible. Any walks where she ended up too close to another dog usually meant that we’d have to take a day off from walks so that Violet could decompress.

Previous trainers had always attributed Violet’s behavior to her being a brat and trying to get away with being a rude dog without having done a thorough behavior assessment. I really appreciated that our first interaction with Tug Dogs was for Violet to have a full day behavior evaluation in a controlled setting with other dogs. Being able to get to the root of the behavior problems helped us to set up a more effective training plan that worked with Violet at a pace she was comfortable with instead of pushing her beyond her limits. I also appreciated that as much as we were there to train Violet, the other part of the training was to train me on how to best work with Violet’s high strung personality. I learned to alter my body language, tone of voice, and the way I gave corrections to best suit Violet’s behavioral needs.

The trainers at Tug Dogs were amazing at teaching me how to respond to Violet’s behavior. I really appreciated the one on one sessions after each day train to practice my own training technique under the guidance of the trainers.  I would 100% recommend Tug Dogs to everyone with a dog, not just those with behavior problems because even laid back dogs need to learn some doggy etiquette.

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