Merlin, a border-collie, loves to swim. He was born and raised in Seattle and he grew up chasing Frisbee and balls in Lake Washington. He could play in the water for hours and never get tired. We moved from Seattle to California and were excited that we moved into a house with pool as we thought that Merlin could continue spending hours in the water with his toys. We were shocked that our water loving dog was terrified of the pool. Merlin would not go near the pool, would circle widely around the pool when in the backyard, and hide in the bushes at the first sight of us in our swimsuits. We asked Ralf to help us with this issue and Ralf modeled for us how to slowly and consistently expose Merlin to the pool (as opposed to carrying him into the pool which we were doing). We spent the first week just walking Merlin calming and assertively around the pool, reinforcing that the pool was not scary. Over time, we slowly started walking Merlin into the pool and after two weeks Merlin was successfully swimming in the pool with reckless abandon.
Ralf demonstrated a mastery of dog psychology and taught us specific techniques to address a range of dog behavior problems (and how we humans contribute to the problem). We feel such gratitude for Ralf and his support and with the highest regards recommend anyone to contact Ralf if they are experiencing any type of issue with their dog. Thank you Ralf!Molly and Simon T.,
We got Arthur from the Seattle Humane Society with notes on his file that we were going to be his fourth home and that he was aggressive towards Men. Despite the warnings, we wanted to help this poor pup out and he played very well with our dog. Over the next year, despite hundreds of dollars spent on trainers, books, and classes, the problems got worse. His scary and unmanageable behaviors increased over time, including growling at men, lunging at cars and bikes on walks, and attacking other dogs. Additionally, Arthur bit several members of our family. We moved from Seattle to California last year and were at our wit's end. We were so desperate and afraid of what Arthur would do next we started calling shelters in our new area to try and find another home (all of the shelters advised us that the best thing we could do was put Arthur down due to his aggressive behaviors). Ralf was our last resource and my wife and I agree that Ralf saved Arthur's life.
Ralf wasn't the first trainer we met in order to help with Arthur but he was the best. The first and best thing Ralf gave us was hope. He told us during our first session that there was hope, that our snarling scary beast was actually a friendly, scared and cute dog that just needed consistent, firm leadership. Ralf didn't just give us the usual "tips and treats" like the other trainers did, telling us that "he's never going to be a cocktail dog" or my favorite "he's a real dog's dog". Instead Ralf taught us a philosophy of dog leadership and specific techniques we could use and live with. As our skills and confidence grew as pack leaders, the frequency of Arthur's “bad” behaviors rapidly decreased.
Arthur no longer growls at men and doesn't lunge at bikes and other dogs on his numerous walks throughout the day. In fact, Arthur actually wags his tail when he meets new people! Arthur no longer lunges at me when I get up in the middle of the night and we are not longer afraid that he is going to bite someone. Words cannot express the gratitude and appreciation we have for Ralf, his patience and knowledge and all that he has taught us. We are now more confident, consistent and hopeful dog owners and look forward to enjoying the rest of Arthur's long life together as a family. Thank you Ralf!Simon & Molly T.,
I attended one of Ralf's Dog Walking 101 classes. My 18-month-old female Pit Bull is obedience trained but still has a problem wanting to walk a little bit ahead of me. As soon as Ralf took the leash, she walked perfectly! He demonstrated for me the right way to hold the leash and the right way to correct. He also explained dog psychology in a way that made total sense and was easy to understand. He is respectful of the dogs and their owners.
I took my Pitty for a walk this morning ... OMG! It was magic. I kept her leash much shorter and not to say I didn't have to correct her, but so much less and she responded immediately. I quit being so paranoid about the fact that she wasn't exactly where she was supposed to be according to AKC standards for obedience shows and allowed her front legs (shoulder) to be even with my legs with her head a little in front of me. Some professionals say that is a no-no. Well, it worked just fine and I was very happy with it. Sometimes she would even drop back a little on her own which Ralf told me she would eventually do. I sure didn't expect it less than 24 hours later!
Sometimes when we walk, a few people will comment on how pretty she is. This morning a man on a bicycle said, "She is a very pretty dog." Another man walking said, "What a nice dog." Another man on a bicycle was looking back at us and said, "She is very smooth.". I didn't catch the rest of it cause looking back at us he went a little to the left and almost into the path of a bus! I had to yell at him to watch out. The whole point of this is: my one lesson with Ralf last nite was amazing and made my walk with my Pitty today the BEST I have ever had with her.
I intend to go further with my dog's training and when she and I are ready for that, I will be calling Ralf to get started. Thank you Ralf !!!Ellie D.,
Jake is, by far, the strangest dog that I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. I rescued him when he was 4 months old. His beautiful blue eyes, wrinkly face, and "I can do it myself" attitude captured my heart the moment I first met him.
From what I can gather, his first few months of life were rough. He was found by the side of the road with both of his back legs broken, and the day I went to pick him up, I also learned that he was (and is) completely deaf. After my first few days with Jake, it became clear to me that he had in some way been abused. Unlike any other young puppy I've ever met, he was very unwelcoming to touch of any kind. To make matters worse, I quickly learned that he was not very fond of other dogs. It started off with growls and nips, and as time passed, it quickly turned into calculated attacks. I could see brief glimpses of his sweet and soft at home, but there was such a thick layer of anger covering it up. It made me so sad to see him this way.
I spent months learning how to train a deaf dog, and socialize aggressive dogs. Google became my best friend. But try as I may, Jake's aggression towards other dogs became, quite frankly, unmanageable. Eventually, I had completely given up trips to the dog park, hiking, the dog beach, and really any form of activity that offered a chance to encounter other dogs. I was sad, and Jake was visibly becoming very depressed. The quality of life for both of us had diminished, and I felt so guilty and hopeless. I felt like I had nowhere to turn. And then I met Ralf.
I had tried other trainers in the past, and one had even told me that there was nothing that could be done for Jake at all. So suffice to say, things didn't seem promising, and I didn't have a lot of hope going in. I can't tell you how wrong I was. Very quickly, Ralf taught me about being the leader and making Jake both respect and trust me. We learned that Jake's aggression was actually coming from fear and not dominance as I had originally thought. All of this time, I had been treating the wrong problem! As a happy side-effect to our sessions, our walks improved (no pulling at all!), and Jake started to let me touch him in places I'd never been able to before (ears, paws, belly, etc.). He had become more affectionate, calm, and seemed much more relaxed.
Then, after 2 years of failed attempts, I was shocked and amazed that within only 3 months of working together, we were able to take Jake INTO the dog park for our lessons. Soon enough he was off leash and it was only a matter of a few weeks until we saw him, for the first time EVER, actually PLAY with another dog. He was running, wrestling, and jumping just like a puppy should, and all of this without any aggression being shown. I literally started crying, right there in the middle of the dog park.
The change that I have seen in Jake is nothing short of a transformation. Family members have told me that he is a new dog, and we are now taking regular trips to the dog park. I even took Jake camping with 2 other dogs and he did great! I cannot say enough about Ralf and the fantastic work that he's done with my little canine hero. He has literally changed our lives for the better. Thank you doesn't even begin to cover it. I fully intend to call Ralf with any and all of my future dog training needs, and highly recommend him to anyone with dog needs of any kind.Jamie S.,