'Bouquets 'from our clients
We have had an excellent experience with Forever Friends. We read a lot of books on puppies before getting our golden, Levi. We didn't really know if we "needed" puppy classes. By 3 months old, he was crate trained, didn't chew and would sit on command... so what more could they teach us? A friend of ours (and long time client at FF) persuaded us to sign up for the puppy class anyway - if only for socialization. We are SO glad that we did.
The instructors taught us invaluable things, that we use everyday, and we have never heard about anywhere else! An instructional book or YouTube video is no substitute for having a caring professional meet your pup and help you address bad habits and teach good ones.
There are many positive aspects to FF (good classes, useful handouts, nice facility etc), but by far the best thing is the staff. Mary-Ann and Cheryl were more than happy to answer a few quick questions or even work one on for a few minutes after class if necessary. Mary-Ann has been a tremendous support and source of endless wisdom helping us manage some of Levi's challenging behaviours.
In addition to the puppy classes, we also boarded Levi with FF while we went on holiday. Mary-Ann worked with him daily and we came home to a different dog! He is not perfect (although he was when he was with her!) but he is so much calmer, more obedient and less impulsive.
We are so thankful for Forever Friends and would highly recommend it to any dog owner. It is definitely worth the time and money!
Jessica and Jonathan
Just thought I'd send off a few more pics of Stella as we just celebrated our first anniversary with her on family day weekend. She continues to do very well, accepts hugs from us and seems more relaxed. Our princess is not a morning girl and is now allowed to "stay in bed" while the rest of us get up to do barn chores, she seems to appreciate that we allow her that, she no longer panics when left in fact enjoys her alone time. Stella is really enjoying her walks and her time with the other dogs and cats and even the horses. Just yesterday I watched as she gently stuck her head in the water dish to have a drink with her tiny cat sister, quite a sight to see the two of them drinking together. The photographs below were taken on family day as she and Tim had a grand time in the fresh snow. This is when she seems the happiest, pure joy running with abandon with no sign of any reservation at all. Stella still does have a sad side to her, we still see the pain from the betrayal she felt, the story is that her family abandoned her at a high kill shelter and we believe that she loved someone deeply and still misses them or is concerned about being abandoned again, she is such a sensitive soul, it's hard to believed how someone could have done this to her. At least that very dark place we saw in her eyes is completely gone and she most of the time seems content, we wish that somehow we could take away any sadness she feels, not sure that is possible. Last summer I joined Pilots and Paws Canada as a volunteer Transport Coordinator, if you haven't heard of us please look us up at www.pilotsnpawscanada.com it's my way of giving back and trying to help homeless and neglected animals, there are so many out there that need help and air transportation is a great way to get them to where there are homes, fosters or a safe place. Take care,
"Hello Everyone at Forever Friends,
Just wanted to let you know how well Stella our rescued Rottweiller is doing, she continues to progress in confidence and in the last couple of months has found real joy. She now gets along just fine with our Sheltie Luke, who she had early on pinned and we are thrilled to see that their relationship has progressed to the point where they are gently playing together and even if he does growl at her she just walks away with absolutely no concern. Stella now leaps around in excitement to go for her walks and sleeps curled up with whoever happens to be near the fire. All 3 dogs and 2 cats are able to eat their meals together in the kitchen with complete respect for each others space. It has taken months but we can now hug Stella, she put her big head on our lap for some loving and greets strangers in a very calm, quiet and friendly way.
Mary-Ann, we cannot thank you enough for taking the time to discuss Stella's needs and making some suggestions when we were having such a hard time and for suggesting the basic training that was key to her gaining much needed confidence. We are so proud of her for trusting us enough to help her on the painful journey that she had to make and the feeling now to see her run and play with abandon is beyond words. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Louise & Mike Shane
“We are very fortunate at Canines with a Cause, to count on the help of Cheryl Smith and Forever Friends Dog Training Center. Since our organization does not have a wheelchair accessible training hall, we must rely on the support from other businesses or facilities that can offer it to us. When a particular community center we used in the past for group training sessions became too small to accommodate the number of puppy raisers and dogs in training with our program, Cheryl Smith and Forever Friends Dog Training Center came to the rescue by allowing us to have access to their training center at no cost to our charity. All at CWAC are very grateful for their kindness and wish to share with others what may go behind the scenes at times unknown to many but that is so important to us and allows us to continue our work with training and placing service dogs in the community. Thank you, Cheryl!” --- Miriam Mas – Founder of Canines with a Cause
"We had our first 'test' at an agility trial this weekend. I thought you might like to hear the story - success is always rewarding. Since first meeting with Cheryl at Forever Friends late fall, Chica and I have been working on a de-arousal program. We started at home - distractions being deer, squirrel, ATV, anything that got her attention and I established my scale for gentle jaws. I've continued to use her cot (with her sardines as reward) as a place for her to be safe and relaxed and a place where she can watch the action around her without reacting. I extended the areas to work her - Home Depot with dog friends she knows, Pet Value with strange people and dogs, worked her by a horse and all this lead up to being 10' away from a cage of kittens at Pet Value (the owners have been really supportive). That was two weeks ago. I've also been working in agility with another reactive border collie and that has paid off as well. The first test at an agility trial happened yesterday. Although I was really tempted to enter her in steeplechase, the first class of the day, in which she excels, I didn't. Instead I worked her on her cot in different areas of the arena. I also pretended that we were entering the third event by doing our pre-event warm-up, took her to the in gate and tested her jaws. She was at about a 3 and I worked her to 0.Then I walked away from the gate and took her for a play. I also incorporated "rest" times for her by leaving her in the car instead of in her crate inside the arena. I entered her in 2 events - at the start line she was a 0 in both. (I can't tell you how pleased I am with having an objective scale for measurement. The added bonus to her being relaxed is that I was which comes around to helping her relax, then I relax - well, you get the picture.) I had a friend video tape our second run and it is obvious that we are both relaxed, that she is attentive, not distracted by anything outside the ring.The highest she got on the scale was a 4 and that was one time time when I was working her by the in gate of an advanced event, fairly close to where the dogs were preparing to enter the ring. One handler brought her toller right in front of us. Tollers being an object of attention for Chica, I worked her very simply and rewarded often. She started at a 4 and then I worked her lower. It just felt wonderful to know that I have this tool!! I can't thank you enough for this great start to our comeback. On to the next test in April, a seminar with some dogs she won't know and some who are familiar. Thanks again."
"I've taken a series of classes with Forever Friends, and they have greatly improved my ability to understand my pet, and to train him in a consistent, positive manner. Their approach to 'train the trainer' strengthens the results, while providing a fun and social environment we thoroughly enjoy. The instructors are great!".
"While we have had only a few lessons, I must tell you that it has been immensely helpful in our attempts to understand Jasper and to reverse the cycle of miscommunication. Our first family pet has been a bit of a puzzle to us, but I feel we have really made a break-through with your guidance."
"The instructors are very friendly, helpful and approachable."
" Forever Friends Dog Training Centre is one of the few training facilities that I am comfortable in recommending to dog owners. The Centre has trainers who have extraordinary teaching and personal skills and who embrace positive, motivational training techniques. While every trainer at the school is top notch, the Centre is very fortunate to have Cheryl Smith. Ms. Smith is renowned throughout North America for her exceptional skills as a behaviourist, teacher, trainer, lecturer and author. Ian Dunbar calls her one of the “top trainers”. She is also recognized by the courts as an expert witness on dog behaviour. The trainers at Forever Friends Dog Training Centre meet or exceed all of the criteria that the National Capital Coalition for People and Dogs considers essential for a good trainer. I am pleased to vote for Forever Friends Dog Training Centre (and all of its trainers) as Ottawa’s best dog training school ".
"I have recommended your classes to dog owners I work with who have similar problems with their dogs, because of the positive results I have had."
"Before we adopted Wyatt, I did a fair bit of research. I thought it would be helpful to speak with trainers to see if they had ever worked with dogs who had a similar background to Wyatt's. (I received) advice not to adopt Wyatt, that he would never be able to learn anything and that we should 'just leave him where he is'. It was more than a little discouraging. My next step was to approach the Humane Society to see if they could recommend another trainer. Without hesitating, they handed me a Forever Friends business card and said that Cheryl Smith would be able to help us. We met with Cheryl the week before we brought Wyatt home. She was encouraging and very helpful and we walked away with a good idea of what we were taking on. We know Wyatt will never be a boisterous, outgoing Golden Retriever, but he is miles ahead of where he was when we first brought him home. Five months ago, his face was filled with despair and fear. Now, everyday, we see moments of pure joy! We know we've found the best group of people to help us with Wyatt!"
"Informative, emphasizing the importance of repetition. Very well done! We've already recommended your classes - you guys are awesome. When we can, we'll be back again and again!"
"I first adopted my Rhodesian Ridgeback, Nailah, in September of 2005. Her adoption agreement required obedience training. I sifted through the yellow pages and found what seemed like a reputable school with many endorsements so I attended their puppy class. Their training methods were "old school" as we were taught to correct our puppies with small leash "pops" and to praise them if they performed a command correctly. I accepted this technique because it didn't seem to be hurting the dogs. In their "Intro to Obedience" course, we were required to put either a slip or pinch collar on our dogs. I attended two or three classes before I realized that their training methods were, what I considered, to be abusive. Nailah and I were walking in line around the classroom with all the other dogs and, every so often, Nailah would lunge towards another dog in anticipation of playing with them. She was still, of course, a puppy. The instructor got so upset with this behaviour that he took her leash and yanked on it so hard that he broke the brand new slip collar I had bought for her only an hour before the class. I immediately left the class, never to return. I recounted the story to friends and they immediately recommended "Forever Friends". The best thing I could have ever done for my dog was to call and book our first course with "Forever Friends". I was relieved to learn that this school's methods never used intimidation, force or any negative reinforcements. .... I found that Nailah was now excited to go to school and loved her training sessions. Forever Friends has made me a firm believer in positive reinforcement training and that hurting your dog in the name of "training" is totally unnecessary. If you ever get the feeling that your dog is getting hurt by a trainer, don't be afraid to stand up for your dog and pull them out of that class. There is something better out there and it's called "Forever Friends".
" I had dreadful experience with another trainer in the city. The dogs were taught using force, and complied by submission, even urinating in what I can only describe as fear of the 'trainers'. I couldn't sleep at night, as I began to see other fear-type behaviours from my pet. I quickly moved on to a method which has been proven successful to me. My comment is to encourage owners to visit the training establishment before joining, trust their intuition, and stay away from forceful methods of training. My pet and I have bonded using methods encouraged by Forever Friends."
"Please add my vote for the Forever Friends Dog Training Centre as the best dog training school in Ottawa. Their methods are simple, kind, extremely effective and 'dog centred' (ie, their knowledge of dog behaviour is superior). 'Gentle', 'gotcha' and 'off' (don't touch/don't eat) are three indispensable commands they teach. (I could write a book!) If it weren't for Cheryl Smith and her trainers, I would have had to return my (now amazing) mini schnauzer Shadow to the breeder, such were the difficulties we initially experienced with his behaviour. Now he is gentle, sweet, obedient (most of the time) and we enjoy him tremendously ."
"Very professional and very helpful. One-on-one time was always available."
"I have learned to have faith in my dog's ability to correct certain behaviour with my help. (He) has learned more boundaries since he joined F.F."
“Kind, gentle manner of dealing with dogs, always include all dogs in class, positive reinforcements.”