Humans and Their Dogs Love Us!
Lea was seemingly fearless as well as compassionate
Upon meeting Lea, Mike & I knew we were in the presence of someone highly gifted at training dogs. Lea was seemingly fearless, as well as compassionate, with the attitude of no challenge being to great. Kona was a one of those challenges; she was a rescue living feral on the streets of South East Detroit. Kona came with some behavioral baggage to say the least and we needed a trainer who was the best of the best in the business to work with her. The day we got Kona back from training was as if we were witnessing a new and improved version of our once fearful, unpredictable, and aggressive dog.
With a baby on the way we couldn’t be happier to confidently know how good of a dog Kona is now and that we have nothing to worry about with her around our new baby. We couldn’t thank Lea enough for what she’s done for our family. There’s no more yelling and getting stressed out over our dog's behavior. If anything, Kona has become a great stress reliever and an absolute joy! Everywhere we go whether its on our stand-up paddle board on the lake or heeling in downtown Birmingham, we get so many compliments on her excellent behavior. People say, “Why can’t my dog behave like that!?” The secret lies in Lea’s expertise formed on her years of experience with all different types of dogs and situations. Thank you Lea!
-Cameo Rogers, Kona's Owner
It has been an amazing transformation in Rex
A few months ago I was worried about our dog Rex and not being able to adapt into our new family atmosphere. When we brought our new baby, Bear, home from the hospital Rex was very possessive of me which led him to be aggressive towards Bear. It was MISERABLE! Rex is 5 years old and has been a huge part of our lives. We didn't want to give him up, but we would not in anyway put Bear in danger. It also wasn't fair to Rex to spend 75% of his day in his crate and only come out when Bear went down. We looked into options and found Lea.
It has been an amazing transformation in Rex. Lea's philosophy is to teach the dog how to be safe. Rex was acting out of fear and now he knows how to put himself in a safe place. The training is definitely not easy. We say that because Greg and I spent hours memorizing our new commands for him and still get corrected when working with Lea. Lea was the best trainer we have ever come across, and we have come across many trainers with Rex :). We went from having a dog that ruled the house to now having a dog who is fun to enjoy. He is now able to be in the nursery with Bear and I and just lay on the rug and hang out. He now will even kiss Bear's feet or hands. It truly is remarkable. He is great on walks now, he can heel with the stroller and is even off leash trained. While walking yesterday, someone came out of their townhome to compliment Rex and how good he was with the stroller. We still have some work to do around new visitors coming to the house and the doorbell, but we are just amazed at the progress we are seeing right now. More importantly, we are just excited to have a dog that can assimilate into our new family life.
Rex is much calmer now, which Lea did say is a result of the training. He can relax and not have to be constantly on watch. We were heart broken thinking that we would have to give up Rex. We are so glad we spent the money to invest in this training, because now we are equipped with the tools to teach Rex how to be safe in any environment.
The change seriously is remarkable. Lea mentioned how some families will send their dogs there right when they pick them up as puppies so they don't develop any bad habits. You can bet that for our next dog we will be doing that right from the start. We can't thank Lea enough for all that she has done. We are so grateful and so glad that Rex can stay part of our family!
-JNK, Rex's Owner
Kai heels on command, walks without pulling
Hi Lea, I wanted to thank you for working with Kai as we are so much more confident in her behavior.
With being a Pit Bull from a family that did not want her any more, we had a lot of concern about her background and environment....not to mention, people tend to give Pit Bulls a bad rap automatically. So to undo the stigma, we decided to have her trained "off leash".
Kai heals on command, walks without pulling, comes when called even with distraction & blends in with other dogs including our 11-year-old Golden. We still work with her on a daily basis reminding her of the commands in the situations that occur in daily life.
I highly recommend this training.
-Diane & Ray Rogers, Kai's Owner
Lea worked with her diligently to behave
I have known Lea for approximately three years. We have a rat terrier named Stella who is now almost four-years-old. Lea worked and trained Stella for six weeks and her professional training skills speak for themselves. Stella had been taking over the house and not in a good way. Our 10-year-old fox terrier didn't like Stella either.
I seriously couldn't believe Stella's behavior when I picked her up (from training). Before she was unruly, wild and out of control unless she was exhausted from playing ball. Lea worked with her diligently to behave in a controlled fashion. Making Stella feel safe and secure via training was crucial in her development of socializing with the family. I appreciate Lea's dedication and expertise in helping Stella realize her potential as a welcomed and valued member of our family. She is now pursuing her Therapy Dog License (UPDATE: which she now holds) and I hope to be able to share her with others who are in need of a dose of puppy love. I respect Lea for her knowledge and ability to help train a dog who is out of control and also help the owners to continue that wonderful leadership. Lea's outstanding talent has helped make Stella excel as a wonderful pet and I am so appreciative of that.
- Bonnie Hough, Stella's Owner
Maggie... is a delight to be around
Lea DiBella was one of the trainers I worked with while training my Goldendoodle, Maggie. Lea was wonderful to work with and has a wealth of knowledge about dogs and how to train them. Maggie and I trained with Lea for several years. Maggie is now almost four-years-old and a delight to be around because she has good manners and understands numerous commands as well as hand signals. We now work in various therapy settings and to keep Maggie on her toes, we have attended many brush-up training sessions with Lea.
It is obvious that Lea loves what she does and loves the dogs. It shows in the results. I would recommend her to anyone.
-Colleen Gagnon, Maggie's Owner
(Lea) was always smiling and willing to help
Before Bucky entered Lea’s classes he was difficult for me to handle and I had taken him to several other doggie classes but it was hard for me to train and sometimes I needed two people to practice. Lea had my dog for several weeks and when he came home, he was a different dog and well behaved. I continued with Lea’s special classes after he had gone through his off lease training so I could watch how she handled each dog and how they reacted to her. Every class was very impressive and my dog reacted so positively to Lea. She was always smiling and willing to help everyone if they had a problem and could always correct and solve their problem.
-Joanie Deskin, Bucky's Owner
(Lea) is a fantastic people trainer too!
Not only is Lea a great dog trainer, she is a fantastic people trainer too! Diesel is the most loving dog you could meet, but had horrible manners when we adopted him last year. With Lea’s training of Diesel and coaching of us, we now have the same loving and goofy dog, but he knows how to act appropriately. He thinks Lea is great and we agree!
-Jennifer Hart, Diesel's Owner
I can confidently let him outside ...without a leash
I wanted to send you a quick note on Ace Luciano’s progress since his training with you. He is wonderful! As you know when we first met, I’m a working mom and was trying to make my children happy by having a puppy in the home.
After training with you in the 8-week overnight program, Ace does a wonderful job walking through the neighborhood and I don’t even have to hold his leash. He even stops and sits at the street corners till I release him to cross.
Most importantly, I can confidently let him outside to go potty without putting him on a rope or leash and know that he will come back inside versus running away.
He is so good, that I was able to expand on the training you started with him and he is now a registered therapy dog. Were very proud of Ace and really appreciative of the time and effort you put forth to train Ace and as well, the time and effort you put forth to train me as well J It takes the whole family to make it work… it’s not just magic.
Thanks again for everything and we look forward to seeing you at your refresher courses in the future. Also, please keep me posted on your boarding process and facilities.
-Jennifer Luciano, Ace's Owner
She is so good with dogs, she understands them
Lea DiBella trained my Mickie. She is so good with dogs, she understands them, I love her style of training. She did an excellent job with my dog. I trust her with my dog! I highly recommend her to be your dog trainer too! Thank You.
-Lanah Converse, Mickie's Owner
Denali is now well behaved and has confidence in himself...
Our dog Denali has come back transformed! Being an alaskan malamute puppy he would nip, jump on people, pull us with his leash and only came when he wanted to. Our first visit after 4 weeks Denali was much bigger but was calmer, sweeter and controlled. We asked our young daughters if they felt safer with him and they both said yes. That meant the world to us as parents.
Denali is now well behaved, has confidence in himself and is much more pleasurable to be with. Lea kept us well informed and took photos that helped us get through the process. She treated our dog as if he were her own. Lea's experience, professionalism and passion is shown through her training. Her human training and follow up was great. We would recommend Smart Dog to anyone.
-The Cook Family, Owners of Denali
He came back much calmer, confident and attentive...
I am so thankful that we had Riley trained at Smart Dog. Very soon after we brought Riley home as a pup I realized that because of stressful situations that arose I would not have the time nor energy to train him.
We have a home filled with children and grandchildren and lots of activity. One of the grandchildren was afraid of dogs and so I was concerned he might become even more so because he had never been around an active playful puppy. I needed the right person to give Riley the attention he needed to nurture him and show him how to be a confident, obedient, and loveable member of our busy family. We heard about Lea, and Smart Dog from a friend, so I gave her a call. Right from the start Lea went over and above to answer all my questions, and boy did I have a lot! She has been one of, if not the most professional person I have ever known. Extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of dog ownership and different problem situations with no judgement for us dog owners... only encouragement.
He came back much calmer, confident, and attentive, while still being his loveable goofy self. Love that. All the follow-up meetings and knowing that I can call her any time to ask her anything is great. I feel so much better knowing that future meetings (which are included in the training package) will reinforce MY training.
The hardest thing was simply not seeing our puppy for a while. But I understood, and it was all worth it. Everyone in the family was so excited to have him come home and what a homecoming it was. Everyone in the family was enjoying Riley, giving him lots of love and attention. I was thrilled when I saw our grandson, who had been to afraid to pet him sitting calmy next to him petting him. :-) Best family night ever. Lea made that happen.
- Diane Warnke, Riley's Owner
We are so pleased with Lea’s talent and passion for what she does...
I am a returning client of Lea DiBella, She trained my first Bulldog in a class setting and we have recently partnered up in our businesses because of our common love of dogs. I am Owner of Oxford Bulldog Club and breed AKC English Bulldogs, We have a new stud that we produced last year and he is a VERY energetic bulldog. After evaluating him we agreed a 6-week training session would be best for my boy, Lucky. He has completed his 6 weeks with Lea and has come back a new dog! His personality is still the same but his behaviors are now in control. He learned 8 plus commands and we are now doing follow up appointments and lots of practice at home. We are so pleased with Lea’s talent and passion for what she does. Oxford Bulldog club is a proud supporter of Smart Dog and will only refer our clients to the best. There is no better testimonial than when you have seen it for yourself with your own dog. Thank you Smart Dog for making my Lucky Pants a very Smart Dog!
-Jennifer and Larry Coker; Oxford Bulldog Club, Owners of Lucky
...one of the best decisions we have made for our dog...
Investing in the off leash training was one of the best decisions we have made for our 7 month old GSD Niko. Lea's expertise and experience have made Niko a great addition to our family. I would highly recommend Smart Dog training to anyone wanting a well trained dog.
-Ken Cameron, Niko's Owner
Duffy is more focused and calm...
Lea did a wonderful job training our dog Duffy. He is more focused and calm. He listens to commands with quick response. He is still our loving little guy with a college education. Lea is a wonderful trainer, we are so glad we found Smart Dog Obedience
-Dave & Sharon Sigler, Owners of Duffy
...one of the best decisions we have made for our dog...
Lea and the Smart Dog team are wonderful! Polar is an absolute joy to take out in public now, we actually look for places to go with her now. The weekends include Partridge Creek, Downtown Rochester, and now one of our favorite family outings to the Senior Center to share a little love J None of this would have been possible if it weren’t for the training Lea and the team provided, keep up the great work.
-Sean and Amanda C., Polar's Owners
A life-changing experience for the entire family!
We are so grateful to have met Lea at an open house of a local pet food store where several of her off-leash training graduates were showing off their skills inside the store. My daughter and I were envious of the owners of these dogs that were behaving so well amidst so much activity and stimulation. We knew that our dog, Charlie, would have been completely out of control in such an environment.
Before Charlie’s training with Lea, he was very difficult to handle outside. He pulled aggressively when being walked which made it impossible for my young daughter to control him as he’s very strong. If she played with him in the back yard, he often got distracted with other things and would not return when called. (We don’t have any fences in our subdivision.) Many times he would run after neighbors, people walking by, and/or other dogs and he was very difficult to retrieve! My daughter stopped wanting to do anything with him outside as it was just too frustrating and unpredictable. It became necessary to leash and walk with him every time he needed to potty outside which, during the harsh winter months, was incredibly inconvenient. Our training attempts were only mildly successful; Charlie was becoming a chore rather than the joy that a pet can and should be. We desperately needed someone to help us train Charlie to be obedient to our commands.
That is where Lea’s expert training saved the day. We enrolled Charlie in her off-leash program and the transformation was truly incredible! After a few short weeks, Charlie returned to us with a much calmer demeanor and with skills that made life so much easier and more enjoyable. All the frustrating experiences of pulling, chasing, jumping up, and running off and not returning were gone. Charlie responds immediately to all the commands that allow us to control his behavior and keep him safe. And, Lea made sure we, as owners, had all the knowledge and tools to reinforce Charlie’s training. With private follow-up meetings and training sessions, (included as part of the off-leash training program), we are much more confident owners too.
Thank you, Lea, for your training expertise and professionalism throughout the process. It was a life-changing experience for the entire family. We are so pleased to say that Charlie is no longer just a pet, he’s a companion and cherished family member.
-The Papp Family, Owners of Charlie
...Thank goodness for (Lea), she saved our dog...
We were in a very desperate situation with our new beagle puppy Lou. We had had him for 3 months and we were getting nowhere with potty or obedience training. Lou was a very nervous boy and while snuggly and happy, he was just a little anxious. So, we turned to Smart Dog and Lea. Thank goodness for her!! She saved our dog! Not only is he potty trained and excellent with his obedience commands, he's also so much more relaxed and happy. Thank you so much Lea for all you did for Lou and us!
-Patricia K., Lou's Owner
A life-changing experience for the entire family!
To say that Lea trained our dog is an understatement....she transformed him! It has been unbelievable seeing the process and we are forever grateful to Lea for her experience and dedication.
We have a 2 year old Goldendoodle. Before meeting Lea, we had done a bit of training with another company without much success. Their training techniques were impractical and ineffective.
Our dog was very friendly and enjoyable in the house but quite a handful outside of the house or whenever company was over. He barked constantly, never came when called in circumstances with distraction, and jumped on people. However, he was wonderful with our children (with the exception of some mouthing), so we managed to put up with his less than ideal behaviors.
The pivotal point came after our 5th child was born. Again, he was wonderful with the baby but became very protective of our house. We had an electric fence and realized that he was growling at anyone who approached the fence line. At one point, a neighbor approached him while he was in our bushes and he lunged at her. We were concerned with his protectiveness and worried about his aggression. At that point, we were desperate and thankfully were referred to Lea.
After a few weeks, she worked her magic and now our dog is back home and everyone is happy! We have control of him inside and out. He no longer barks or jumps. And we can actually take him for walks with multiple bikes and strollers and kids running ahead -- the dog remains focused despite all the distractions!
The training techniques are effective but more importantly practical. With our busy household and constant chaos, Lea taught us how to handle our dog in a way that is fair to the dog but manageable too. We couldn't be more pleased and are so happy to have our well-behaved dog back!!
-Clay and Sienna Dietz, Owners of Coco
...our beautiful 80 pound girl became a well-rounded dog...
Honey is a 2 1/2 year old Golden Retriever, who loves everyone and enjoys life. By taking Honey to be trained by Lea, our beautiful 80 pound girl, became a well-rounded dog, who listens, walks with dignity and is able to really enjoy life.
We are "snow birds" and winter in Florida. Previously we did not trust Honey to stay with us on the beach, and we had to keep her on a long leash. Since Honey's training she now plays with other dogs, runs around with freedom, and loves the beach. We can take her leash off, she comes when called. We can walk anywhere with her, give her the heel command, and she stays right by our side. Honey even enjoys the occasional "happy hour" experience, usually in a down stay!
Our friends come to visit, and Honey does "place" and waits until everyone settles in, and then greets the guests with 4 feet on the floor! This was really a miracle!
We are so pleased, our dog enhances our life, we can take her where we want to take her, and we owe it all to Lea and her awesome training.
Colette and Bob Judge, Lake Orion, Michigan and Jensen Beach, Florida
We enrolled Violet in Smart Dog's off-leash program and it has worked wonders!
Shortly after we got Violet, it became clear that she would be a challenge. Although Violet’s a very sweet and friendly dog, she has a mind of her own and quickly became a challenge for our household. Leash pulling, jumping up on people, not coming when called and frequent mouthing were some of the unwanted behaviors that we needed to resolve. She needed a training program from a professional as our attempt to train Violet ourselves was not producing enough positive results.
We enrolled Violet in Smart Dog’s off-leash program and it has worked wonders! When properly applying the program’s techniques, Violet will know and follow all learned commands. She’s a joy to take on walks and has greatly improved the way she handles herself around our family, strangers and other dogs. I would recommend this training program to anyone who wants to have their dog become an enjoyable part of their family for years to come. Thanks Lea!
- Dave & Emily Ross, Oakland Twp., MI
...Lea was amazing and so patient, she made us feel very comfortable...
After may frustrating months of trying to train our pup, Zeus on our own, we finally gave in and decided to turn him over to Lea with Smart Dog; the experience has been life changing to say the least. Lea made us feel so comfortable giving up our fur baby for six weeks; even though it was tough to be without him for so long, it was definitely worth it.
Zeus went away to "boot camp" and was an incredibly hyper, competitive and overall frustrating pup - we almost didn't recognize him when we picked him up. He is now so confident and well behaved. We receive compliments all the time now about what a good boy he is, something we never imagined before we had him trained with Smart Dog.
Lea was amazing and so patient; she made sure that we understood the logic behind the training and made us feel very comfortable before sending him home with us to ensure that all three of us (myself, my fiance and Zeus) would be successful.
I would never own another dog without having him or her trained by Smart Dog - it was well worth it and we couldn't be happier with our little gentleman!
Thank you Lea!
Hillary and Matt Hough
"Leah worked a miracle. Pablo is utterly transformed!"
I got a rescue puppy for my 11 year old. The honeymoon lasted oh... give or take - 24 hours.
Pablo scratched and clawed walls, chewed base molding, menaced and snapped at the neighbors. I took him to a couple puppy training sessions but he was impossible to handle, hard to walk without wildly dragging me all over the sidewalk etc I was so distraught with puppy Pablo, I did not see any way I could keep this thing in my house. I did not have the time or the know-how to train this wild animal. Even my kid didn't want anything to do with him.
A friend recommended Lea and Smart Dog Training. I honestly did not want to invest the money in him because I was very cross at this point and solidly convinced i would never love Pablo. He was the worst dog ever. He had ruined my life. Finally I gave him over to Lea.
I'll be honest. I dreaded the return of Pablo and loudly hinted to Lea that she could keep him forever. I was VERY skeptical. But after 6 wks, much to my severe disappointment, Pablo was returned to me. I braced for the worst. BUT WAIT!
Lea worked a miracle. Pablo is utterly transformed. He is now super well behaved and listening to commands! he is relaxed and comfortable! He no longer jumps up on people, no barking/growling at every passing dog or human! He comes immediately when called! walks calmly next to me even without a leash. Pablo is now a fun and happy dog, and unbelievably, an excellent pet.
Lea is a magician. I now actually LOVE Pablo and I never thought I would say that! Smart Dog and Lea are life-changing. Her training program REALLY works and is the only way to go. The investment was absolutely worth it and Lea is awesome to work with! If you're debating, DON'T. Smart Dog is the only choice.
- Teresa Chow (and Pablo)
...it's been a complete life-changer...
Lea completely changed the way we view life with our dog, Gino. Gino was just a goofy big boy that didn't have manners and had a bad habit of eating (and completely swallowing!) any soft item on the floor. We lived with baby gates throughout our house and had to watch Gino at all times. It was exhausting. Lea came in and completely bonded with Gino. He absolutely loved working with her and was his same sweet and goofy self with her, only much more aware, confident and relaxed. He started to look to us for direction and was eager to hear his next command. Lea has allowed us the comfort of taking Gino everywhere we go without having to worry about him jumping on others, running through someone's house, or stealing soft objects off the floor. Everyday with Gino can now be different as he can go to the busiest of dog parks and will come when called, will walk in a pet store without grabbing every bone he walks by, and will listen to our every command when we enter someone's home. It's been a complete life changer for us and we are SO incredibly happy that we completed the training while he was young! Couldn't have imagined better results and are so thankful to Lea for her patience, love of dogs, and her passion for making your family pet a great one!
Thank you Lea!
- Josh and Lindsey LePage of Oxford, MI
...now he's a smart and confident dog...
Our dalmatian puppy Dexter was a naturally shy, frightened, but agressive dog. I tried socializing him at a very young age and took him many places, but eventually I could not even get him through the door to the vet's office without him barking and trying to run away. We decided to enroll him into Lea's Off Leash in Kennel Training program. After 6 weeks away, he was a new dog! He still had the same great qualities that we loved in him, but now he was a smart and confident dog. We are now able to take him in public, to the store, and even to softball games with kids screaming, running around, people yelling, etc. and he follows my commands without question. Lea gave us (and him) the tools to lead a happier, more relaxing life. At only 10 months old, Dexter is now less stressed and able to be the fun loving Dalmatian that we wanted- all thanks to Lea! We highly recommend Lea as a dog AND people trainer!
- Dan Lippitt and Andi Slick-Lippitt
...Smart Dog is the best...
I am so thankful to have found Smart Dog. Charli was so different then our first dog and more of a handful for me. I really wanted a trained dog . Lea worked with us first in private lessons. I realized she was really gifted with Charli and had her doing things so much easier and faster then I could. I decided what was best for us was to turn her over to Lea for training. The 6 week kennel program was great. It wasn't easy giving her up but in the end it was the best thing we did. What I love most is Lea's dedication and commitment through follow up sessions to correct the mistakes I make. The dog comes back well trained but the follow up is the key. Smart Dog is the best and I highly recommend this kind of training.
- Mary Findley
...IMMEDIATELY at our initial appointment, I knew Lea was incredible...
My husband and I got our first dog, Dierks, at 8 weeks old and he's been spoiled ever since! He's a wonderful dog, incredibly sweet but very pushy, needy and huge at 100+ pounds. We knew we wanted another dog, so we looked into rescuing our next one when Dierks was about 2 years old. We found Easton on an adoption website looking skinny, with notches out of his ear, and the biggest smile on his face! Come to find out, he had been a stray on the street that a shelter picked up. There, another dog attacked him where a piece of his ear was bit off and his leg was pulled through a fence. Luckily a rescue saved him, and that's how we were able to find him! He is absolutely the sweetest dog, has loved every person he meets and is very relaxed overall. Dierks and Easton were instantly inseparable- playing
non-stop, cuddling together, eating next to each other and sharing toys. A little over a year into having the two dogs together, we started to notice Easton was becoming a bit territorial in our backyard. I asked our vet about it and he told me not to worry as long as it wasn?t really serious.
Before Christmas, we had our first incident of Easton going after Dierks aggressively inside our house. We were devastated and completely caught off guard; they had always gotten along. Luckily neither dog was injured, just both upset and on edge. We slowly reintroduced them back together that night, and all seemed fine. A few days went by and we relaxed a bit, thinking it was just a fluke. Then it happened again and we knew we had a serious issue. I was an absolute wreck, my husband was frustrated, and both dogs were miserable. We kept separating the dogs and looked around at our options, knowing that Easton was a great dog- good with people, kids & most other dogs- but obviously we needed a solution for his behavior with Dierks. We luckily found Smart Dog with Lea and IMMEDIATELY at our initial
appointment I knew she was incredible - she was so focused on getting to know Easton, wanting to know his back-story and all of our concerns. She thoroughly explained the training and explained why she thought Easton was acting that way towards Dierks. We signed Easton up shortly after for her in kennel 6-week program. I was hesitant at first, not knowing if it was the right choice and concerned with the long time I would be without my pup. While he was there we got lots of updates not only with pictures on Facebook, but also more detailed updates via email. I was so excited with his progress and everything I heard about his training, it really flew by!
After six weeks were up, we were beyond impressed with how smart and well-trained Easton was! It took a couple weeks at home for us to get adjusted- Easton with us being in charge of the training, the two dogs together, and just overall getting back into our routine. But since then, it has been wonderful!!!!! We are so happy to have our life back; I am less stressed and worried overall. Easton and Dierks are currently playing together with toys as I type this! They are back to their old selves and happier together as brothers! Lea has been awesome with follow up- answering my constant questions and following up with appointments. I have no doubt we made the right choice for our family, I don?t know what we would?ve done without her program!! We even got our other dog Dierks into private appointments with Lea while Easton was gone, and we have seen huge improvements in him as well. I would recommend Smart Dog training to absolutely anyone!
- Christina and Tim B.
My husband and I are so happy that we put Cooper through Smart Dog Obedience Training program. Cooper just turned 1 year old and has been home from the program for 5 months and is the best little guy. No more unwanted jumping up and nipping us. He knows his commands well and Lea is great about providing follow up visits and outings to help reinforce the training assuring his and our continued success.
Training with Lea provided us many valuable and necessary tools for Cooper's safety and well being and instilled confidence for him to help make the training successful wherever we go. What we love best is not having to tie him out to potty and being able to play and hike in our woods with Cooper hands free without worrying he is going to run off or chase squirrels - or the neighbors cat. We have problems with coyote in our area and Cooper's consistency at staying within his boundaries of our yard and coming when called is an absolute must for his safety. Our friends always remark what a good puppy he is and how well behaved and happy he is.
While it was difficult to let him go for 6 weeks it was truly worth it and knowing he was in Lea's care in a safe, warm, and friendly environment was very reassuring for us. She really loves dogs and especially cares and bonds with the dogs she works with. And now we have a smart, confident, happy dog who is a joy to take anywhere.
- Dee and Gaylord (and Cooper) Stashuk Metamora
...now we have a smart, confident, happy dog who is a joy to take anywhere...
I want to tell you my story, at least as much as I remember. I went to my forever home on October 31, 2015. I was excited to be in a new place but sad to be away from my siblings. Mom kept taking me outside to go potty and I didn’t care for that, but when I went, I got a treat, so pottying outside paid off good rewards. On a daily basis, I’d go for walks with my owner. Somedays I just wanted to go a different direction then Mom wanted me to go, ultimately, she won out but once I was bigger and stronger, I’d be the winner and I’d control the direction of our walks. I only got to play in the big yard when I was tied to the deck. Not much fun when you have a big yard but can’t run all over it. Inside was another story. I was kept in the kitchen with gates keeping me from going to other parts of the house. I like jumping on Mom when she was getting my food ready, or for no reason at all. I really liked jumping on the counter. There must be something good up there for me. I heard Comet off, Comet no, Comet stop, Comet leave it…. sheesh, I’m ready to change my name. I liked going for car rides and one day we went to meet a new friend. Her name was Lea. Lea was really friendly and told me I’d be a smart dog soon. I’m not sure what that meant, but Mom said it was a good thing. The dog my Mom had before me had training with Lea and she was a really, really smart dog. I sure heard a lot about her, so maybe this Smart Dog thing is good thing.
Now it’s January and I’m getting bigger. Unfortunately, I still was not big enough to reach the counter tops or control the direction of our walks but I wasn’t going to give up. Another car ride and I was back at Lea’s house. This time I went to another room that had dogs in it…woo hoo, heaven on earth…I went in a kennel next to Sam. He was really friendly and my first new friend at Lea’s house. There were three other dogs in the area and I knew it wouldn’t be long and they’d be my friends too. Sam showed me how to go outside to take care of business. He walked through this flap and was gone. Hey, where did he go???? Then he came back the same way. It didn’t take long, and I figured out that magic trick. Little did I know that was the first of my lessons. I thought I’d just play all day.
Well, I was partly right, I played a lot, learned a lot and slept a lot. More importantly, I grew a whole lot. Mom isn’t going to recognize me. When Lea called me, if I came right away I got a treat and a lot of praise. She would say “Comet, Come” and make a hand motion. It didn’t take long to figure out listening to Lea was a good thing and she kept me out of trouble and safe.
We went for walks but when I tried going a different direction, Lea would have me stay by her side and give me lots of treats…hmm, I think I’m getting the hang of this, stay by Lea’s side, get praise and treats; go a different direction, get in trouble. Some days we went to a farm where I had a lot of room to run and play. There were other dogs at the farm, Toby, Rozia, Gunner, and Easton. I’m so glad there are a lot of dogs around for me to have as friends. Every day I went on different adventures with Lea. Some of our adventures included the park, stores, walks in the neighborhood or woods. There was another person that looked like Lea (must have been her assistant). She gave me treats when I listened to her too. Woo Hoo, now I’m getting the hang of this; listening is a good thing and keeps me safe. On one of our trips we met Cooper at the park. He’s really cute and close to my age too. Plus he’s a smart dog and listens well. We played together and had a blast. Who knew learning was going to be so much fun!
After six weeks Mom came back to get me. Lea gave me a bath so I was all clean and fluffy. Mom almost didn’t recognize me. I was almost twice my weight from when I was dropped off. We went for a short walk with Mom and I knew when Mom told me to do something, it was best to listen because she, like Lea, would keep me safe. Next Lea took just me for a ride in the dog bus…guess where I was going…back to my own home.
I knew we were almost home because I knew the roads around my house from all the walks. We went inside and I had to check if all my toys were still there…yep, all accounted for. But now I have a bigger kennel. Sorry Mom, I grew a lot while at Lea’s, but I learned a lot too. Mom put the gates away and I had to be on my best behavior so I could go in the different rooms. When I went to sniff the trash, Mom said “leave it”, and I walked way. It must not be a good thing to get into the trash because I got praised for walking away from the trash when I was told to “leave it.” I thought I could reach the counter without jumping since I was so much bigger, but then I remembered Lea taught me “off” which means four paws on the ground. I tried to jump at the counter once and heard “off” and knew I better get off and stay off the counters. My first day back from camp was busy and exciting. Early the next morning I started whining for Mom to feed me at 5:30 AM. I heard her yell, Comet, quiet!! Oops, better stop whining. Apparently Mom doesn’t get up as early as Lea which is okay, I’ll just have to change and eat when she wants me to eat.
Since I’ve been back home we go on more walks and I know we’ll go all different places but it’s not always the direction I want to go, but it’s the safest direction. All the people that stop and talk tell Mom that I’m such a smart dog and so well behaved. If I sit by Mom’s side people pet me and I really like that. I went to a friend’s house where there were a lot of people. They were putting colored plastic things around the yard. I tried to get one and someone said “Comet, leave it” and I just walked past it. Oh boy, I got a lot of loving for that. Then a little girl was picking up those plastic things and putting them in her basket so I thought I’d check them out again. She told me to leave it and I guess they aren’t for me. No problem, I have tennis balls to chase.
Because I’m a smart dog now, I can play in the big back yard without being tied up. That’s awesome and gives me freedom to run and stretch my legs. I’m still a puppy so I have more learning to do, but now I’m a smart puppy and am glad I went to Lea’s house. I even get to go back when Mom isn’t able to take care of me so I get to see my old friends and make new ones too. Being a smart dog sure has its benefits!!!
...because I'm a smart dog now, I can play in the backyard without being tied up...
My story began when I first picked up Bella when she was just ten weeks old. I had no idea that she would become aggressive toward children and even neighbors that she had come to know.
At the dog park and after many tries to have her trained, I discovered Smart Dog and I am so thankful every day. Now everyone wants to pet her. Workers in a Subway saw me walking her and wanted to pet her and I am now able to let her come in and they couldn’t get over how well trained she was. A woman in the store was extremely frightened as her dog had been attacked and she was visibly shaken when my Bella came in, yet she was able to pet her without any problems.
Due to the training that Bella received at Smart Dog I now have a dog that I can take everywhere i go.
- Cecilia Russell
Everyone wants to pet Bella now...
Well worth every penny...
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.
- Karen Marderosian
What a wonderful experience...!
OFF-LEASH TRAINING - 5 STAR
What a wonderful experience we had with Lea and the SmartDog team! I now have two off leash trained pups by Lea and they are fabulous around the family, children and other dogs. We are thrilled with how well Max (50 lbs) and Ace (15 lbs) play together at home and go for walks around the neighborhood. We rescued Max about 18 months ago and weren’t sure how big he would get. He quickly grew to be a 50 lbs lab / boxer mix and we knew that Lea would help train him so we could keep him with the family. He is so well behaved and such a loving pup… we are so lucky to have found Lea and her expertise in Metamora.
THERAPY DOG TRAINING - 5 STAR
Lea also helped our other pup Ace become trained as a therapy dog. When Grandpa came down ill, Ace was then able to visit him in the hospital and when Great-Grandma went into an assisted living home, Ace was able to visit her there too! It was a great experience for everyone and brought smiles to everyone that saw him.
BOARDING - 5 STAR
We also feel confident leaving Max with Lea when we go on vacation, because she takes care of him like her own. Most importantly Max has such a great time socializing with other pups she has in her off-leash training program. I can’t say enough about Lea and her SmartDog team: fabulous, wonderful, kind-hearted, and amazing trainers that deliver successful results that last!
Thanks Lea to you and your team for everything you do!
- Jennifer, Dino, Max and Ace :)
I instantly knew SmartDog was a fit
My little girl Maggie and I went out to meet Lea at the "farm" and I instantly knew this would be a good fit for myself and Maggie. I dropped of a 7 month old smart, curious, rambunctious and obstinate puppy hoping for the best. Lea would send out updates and photos of Maggie's progression through the training always at the right time. It is as though she knows when you are missing your dog and need an update.
Finally the day came to head out for my training. I had practiced my commands as instructed by Lea. As I was out of sight watching Lea and Maggie go through their training ritual I can honestly say I was overcome with pride of how well she was doing. While she was the same dog I had dropped off she had grown immensely. She was well behaved, confident and still playful. She was truly a transformed dog. In the following training. With us all as Lea told me from the beginning Maggie will only be as good as I was with the training. Our daily walks and time together consist of working our way through her knowledge she gained while at Smart Dog LLC. I would recommend Smart Dog LLC to anyone who is looking to make their dog more confident, well mannered and loving. Thanks Again for everything Lea!
- Matt Affeld
The best gift for our puppy.
I cannot say enough positive things about Lea and Smart Dog, LLC! We were looking for a training program that was a little more structured than the standard puppy classes we already completed. Smart Dog LLC's in-kennel program was the best gift we could ever give our puppy and we could not be happier!
Our Labradoodle puppy, Loretta, has always been very fun and loving, but she was starting to exhibit some behavior that we wanted to "nip in the bud". She would do annoying things like chewing on shoes and furniture, but also aggressive things like biting and running out of the yard. We did a lot of research into puppy training programs in Oakland County and the Smart Dog in-kennel program made the most sense. The ability for the dog to board in the training environment offers a consistency that most owners can't provide, and the program itself is second to none. Loretta learned to feel safe and confident in a secure and loving environment. Now that she's home, we enjoy her in a way we couldn't before. Instead of looking for mischief, Loretta knows how to make smart choices. She has always been friendly, but now we can trust her to interact appropriately with other people and dogs. She makes good choices and if she falters, Lea gave us the skills to lovingly correct her and bring her back to her safe zone.
I'm so glad we decided to send Loretta to Smart Dog, LLC and highly recommend their programs to anyone with a puppy or dog!
- Karrie Roever, Lake Orion, MI and Loretta
My mind was blown!
When I took Ellie to meet Lea for the first time, we were both not quite sure what to think going into it. After talking with Lea and hearing all Ellie would be able to do after the off leash program I signed her up that day!
Before the training walks with Ellie were quite the experience. If she saw a dog while on the leash she would go crazy barking, growling, and anything to try and get at the dog. Ellie LOVED to jump. She loved to jump so much she hit heads a lot with people that were standing. She also was a very anxious dog, always looking around seeing if there was anything to bark at.
When I first saw Ellie with Lea at the training session my mind was blown! Was this my dog? Why wasn't she jumping like a kangaroo, pulling Lea across the yard, and looking around every second to see if there is something she wants to bark at? When Ellie came home she was the same goofy girl she's always been, but she was much more well behaved! Now we go for walks and hikes and when we pass other dogs she acts like they're not even there. She even heels off leash. She doesn't head butt people anymore thanks to the off command. She knows where her safe "place" is no matter where we are. Ellie has come back a more confident dog, it's truly amazing! Her anxiety is gone, she can now sit on the couch next me (of course with her favorite command hup) and just hang out, without a worry.
It's nice to know that I'm safe when she's around and she knows she's safe because I'm around. Thank you Lea for allowing Ellie and I to do so much more together now!
- Reiko Kadowaki
Storm had transformed into a new version of herself
We adopted Storm about a year ago with no intentions of any in depth training like what Lea has to offer. Out of the blue, someone mentioned Smart Dog LLC and how it changed their dogs life and their relationship with their dog. So the next day we picked up the phone and scheduled an appointment.
Storm was nervous, anxious and very fearful since the day we rescued her, and our only hope since day one was that she could live out the rest of her life happy, content, confident and safe.
We knew we had nothing to worry about after seeing the result of the training, so we dropped her off with the best intention and the best wishes.
When we picked her up, she had transformed into a new version of herself. We couldn’t believe it! Storm was everything we had hoped she could be for herself and for others around her. With everyday, Storm grows into that version of herself a little bit more and we couldn’t be more proud. What Lea and her staff were able to provide for our family is priceless. We look forward to sending our future pups back knowing they will always be in good hands.
- Trinity Skrine