We were nervous and excited about getting a puppy and were bracing ourselves for what everybody knows can be a difficult first year until they grow out of the puppy stage. We heard about the SmartDog program through our one set of friends who had two large, amazingly-sweet and well trained dogs. They couldn't say enough about the training. Our dog Gus has just turned a year old and we are constantly amazed at how easy and enjoyable he has been. We don't stress out at all and neither does he- he knows exactly what is expected of him and is happy to please. When we go for walks off leash he actually has more freedom (and safety) than he would without the training. We can throw the ball and know that at any moment we can call him and he will be right by our side. We walk by other dogs that are pulling on their leashes out of control and barking and Gus just calmly looks to us for direction. The neighbors and the regulars at Starbucks all know Gus because they can't even believe how well trained he is.
Our daughters were afraid that Gus would come back from training like a "robot dog" and he would lose all of his playful puppy character. At one year old he is still all puppy; he likes to play and run and chew whatever he can get his mouth on. The difference is that we tell him what he can chew and when it is appropriate to play and bark and when it is not to. I never have to worry about him or what he is doing or where he is. Our daughters appreciate that he follows their lead. Nobody complains about taking care of the dog because he is so easy. He has integrated himself instantly into our family and we really couldn't be happier. This is our third dog and none of them has been as well adjusted or as easy as Gus. We were hesitant at first and thought maybe we could train him ourselves but there is absolutely no comparison. My husband is also a huge believer, he would do it again and again. The amount of enjoyment and ease that we experience with Gus every day for the rest of his life is worth every penny.
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