Lexi is our firstborn. She’s the sweetest dog you’ll ever meet. She’s beautiful. She’s great with Graham. She’s smart… She’s crazy.
When I was in college, my parents got a Lab named Bailey and my dad trained him SO easily. He could walk off-leash, would do all sorts of fun tricks, and was generally really well behaved. So when we brought Lexi home as a puppy 5 years ago I expected it to go super well. And it did for a while. She learned basic commands and a few tricks really quickly and she’s really good about doing what we tell her to, with one exception: when she’s excited, all bets are off.
It got to the point that I loved Lexi, but sometimes I really didn’t like spending time with her. Just typing that makes me cringe. It sounds awful, but we would make plans for her to go to my mom’s house while we were having parties so she wouldn’t get wound up with all the people in the house. If we were just having a friend over for dinner, Lexi would spend the evening in our bedroom because we didn’t want to have to worry about her jumping on our guests out of excitement. I really hated that and I hated how frustrated I would get over it. I felt like a horrible dog mom because I didn’t know what to do to help her.
We knew for a while that it was time to get help, so we finally called a trainer. We asked around to some friends and coworkers and found someone we thought could get the job done. Within 5 minutes of showing us how to walk Lexi, she was calm and following our lead. I was floored.
I honestly expected a trainer to be like the people you see at pet stores with the puppy classes, but was so pleasantly surprised to find that’s just not the case with professionals who truly specialize in dog behavior and know what they’re doing. I loved that he went over the reasoning behind everything he was showing us. He was patient and very calm, which was wonderful. The best part of the whole process was that everything made sense. Getting a dog to exhibit the behavior that we want them to isn’t rocket science, which is why I know we’ll be able to work through her anxious behaviors now that we have the tools and understanding that we need.
If you’re interested (and local), the trainer we used was Todd Langston who owns Pack Life K-9 Behavior Solutions (lots of great resources on his site!). He helped us immensely in just two hours. Todd came highly recommended by one of Jon’s coworkers and I am so glad we called him. He did not disappoint.
The main reason I wanted to write this post (which is not sponsored, by the way, I just REALLY believe in what Todd did with Lexi) is to encourage people who might be on the fence about whether to have a trainer help them to just do it. We let what we thought would be the cost stand in the way of making this decision earlier, but we were surprised to learn how affordable his services were. I wish we had done this years ago because it’s so worth it to be able to really enjoy your dog. Even if you’re not using Todd, find a reputable trainer in your area and give them a call. You won’t regret it.
Have you had a trainer come to your home to help you and your dog? What was your experience like? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!