Since moving to Pittsburgh 3 years ago, our rescue dog, Mozilla, had developed a tendency to lunge and bark at people while walking our busy streets or riding in the car. My wife and I had been trying techniques that we found online to address this but with little success. Walks were increasingly stressful for Mozilla as well as for us, as we would be constantly shortening her leash to nothing as well as practically dragging her past people we couldn’t avoid.
I was impressed with Debby from the moment she met us — instead of her usual standing her ground and barking, Mozilla went right up to sniff and accept treats. Debby obviously knows the right body language to use around dogs. She explained why the things that we were trying weren’t working and explained how to make Mozilla more comfortable (and this less likely to bark!) around strangers. We spent most of the session out on our very busy sidewalks as Debby helped us practice our recommendations, and she provided us with a folder of helpful information as well as personalized follow-up notes afterwards. Debby’s techniques worked beautifully and best of all, were dog-focused — instead of teaching you how to “make” your dog do something, she teaches you how to help your dog make good choices. No wonder Mozilla LOVED her after just one meeting! Over the next 2 sessions, Debby helped us adjust our techniques as well as better understand dog behavior and body language and Mozilla is visibly happier and more relaxed on our walks now. We’ve had joggers surprise us, workmen walk right past us, kids dash by — instead of barking, Mozilla now looks to us for treats or sniffs the ground to sooth herself. I absolutely love that the solution to our problems was to find a way to make our dog happier and more secure — we are really enjoying the stronger bond with her, and I love that strangers on our walks now represent opportunities to practice helping Mozilla relax rather than stressful situations to avoid.