Zen Dog Training

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Dog-to-dog Aggression Case - 3 incidents prior to training

Trainer: Rachel Locke

Rhea has been doing so well with the training. We were able to introduce her to my sisters dog, at her house, without any issue. Rhea wasn't even interested in her, just wanted to sniff the ground. I also took her to the park today and there were numerous dogs outside. Every time she saw a new dog she sat down and waited. Didn't pull to see them. At one point she had 3 little dogs around her and just continued to sit there. I was so proud of her. Thank you for all of your help with her!

~ Autumn & Rhea

Puppy Training

Trainer: Rachel Locke

Thanks Rachel. Thanks again for all the help. He has come a long way in the past two weeks and we have you to thank!

~ Ken & Vilma with Joseph

New Puppy Training

Trainer: Rachel Locke

Thank you so very much for everything! You helped all three of us so much. The confidence that you instilled in us has been so valuable. We wish you many more successful years of doing what you love! We will certainly let you know should anything come up!

Kate & Joe with Lucy

Puppy Kindergarten

Trainer: Nayiri Krikorian

Nayiri is the dog whisperer! She is great at helping you learn how to train your puppy but also understand their behavior and why they might act the way they do. I have a boxer mix who was the largest puppy in the class and sometimes out of control but she was able to teach me how to get him to listen and calm down. I did the six week puppy kindergarten class and by then end he could do everything she had taught us. I plan to sign up for another class so I can make sure my dog stays well behaved and happy!
— Julie + Charlie the boxer mix

Puppy Training - Private and In Class

Trainer: Rachel Locke

We couldn't do with out you!  All of the tips and guidance you gave us really helped us understand how to instill the most important values in Charlie as a young pup!  I'm so glad we ended up with you!

~ Michal & Brian (Charlie)

Puppy Plus Package

Trainer: Nayiri Krikorian

We attended a six week class in Charlestown with Nayiri and we can't say enough good things about it! In addition, we also had Nayiri come to our house to see our pup in his "natural habitat" so she could observe his typical routine and behavior. Our 5-month pup no longer nips (well almost never), he can sit, lay down and stay when we tell him to. Not only did Nayiri teach us how to correct unwanted behavior with positive reinforcement, but she also showed us ways to use what he's already learned to teach him other things! We are so happy that Nayiri has helped us train our pup into a dog that fits with our lifestyle.
— Caitlin, David + Wally the wheaten terrier

First-Time Puppy Parent

Trainer: Nayiri Krikorian

Nayiri is a fantastic trainer — clear, to the point, and always upbeat. She's also quick to respond to phone calls and emails, which is a huge help. And since Indie is my first puppy, I had a lot to learn but she was always patient and positive in helping me get the hang of training my dog. I'm much more confident working with Indie. Count me among the very satisfied and happy Zen Dog Training customers! I can't recommend Nayiri highly enough.

—Sarah + Indie the spaniel

Pulling On Leash

Trainer: Rachel Locke

Can I just tell you that I walked Xanadu and Kelda this morning and I was barely holding the leashes. Like barely.  Like it was at my fingertips.  They didn’t even need it. smile
Thank you for helping us with them. 

~ Jackie & Xanadu

Puppy Class Graduate

Trainer: Rachel Locke

Hi Rachel,

Thank you so much for your class we took with Baker.  He is so much calmer thanks to the your relaxation techniques and people often comment on how well behaved he is, which for a barely 4month old puppy, we are extremely proud!

~ Ellie, Tim & Baker

Puppy Training

Trainer: Rachel Locke

Rachel, I have to tell you that with each walk the pulling diminished and now it’s not even happening.  Stress free walking.  It’s like night and day.

He’s barely, and I mean barely, reacting to [his former dog daycare]. He is now way more interested in me and what I might have as reward for being calm.  Again, stress free.

We’ve been doing his Sit and Down Stays and he’s a total rock star.

I am doing the Leash Interrupting when necessary, and it’s working really well when encountering people with dogs.  Sometimes when I put my foot on the leash, and he’s calm, he’s getting a bunch of treats.  I am talking to the other person with my hand down, if he’s calm.  Trying to make it a non-big deal.  Again, it is working!  

Anyway, I am so happy you entered out life. Woody is definitely our little baby, and you’ve helped us tremendously.

~ Jill & Woody

Zen Dog Graduate of Puppy Kindergarten and Advanced Puppy Classes

Trainer: Rachel Locke

Jake is doing GREAT!  His Recall is awesome!  He starting CGC in March!  You played such a big part in getting him this far - we love you!!    

~ Shani & Christine (Jake)

Puppy Plus Package

Trainer: Nayiri Krikorian

We did the six week Puppy Kindergarten and in-home visit with Nayiri. She was great with our labradoodle pup Watson. He responded very well to her training and her style of teaching. She was able to help us address behavioral issues like biting and barking immediately. She is also great with people, which was important for my husband and I since this is our first puppy. She was extremely patient in listening to our concerns and coming up with a solution for us. Nayiri also explained how puppies learn and why this kind of positive training works for dogs. 

Puppy Kindergarten is a fantastic socialization tool for puppies. Meeting new puppies in a controlled environment made a huge difference in Watson's manners in public. It also provided great socialization to other people as well. 

I can't say enough positive things about this program. Zen Dog Training is incredible and totally worth every penny!

— Kelsi, Brian + Watson the labradoodle

Shy Dog Training

Trainer: Nayiri Krikorian

We had the pleasure of working with Nayiri for a few months, as she helped us train our very timid pup Jax!

Even though Jax still has a lot of work to do, he has improved SO MUCH and that's all due to what Nayiri had taught us. My dog LOVED her, and she really helped us out a lot. She is patient, and her techniques are fantastic. 

We are bummed our training sessions are over as they were so enjoyable. 5 stars for any training with Nayiri, could not recommend her enough.

— Taylor, Janelle + Jax the spaniel mix

Adult Dog Training - On Leash Reactivity (dog to dog)

Trainer: Rachel Locke

Thanks again for another great training session yesterday, Rachel!
Mr. B has been doing fantastic - just take a look at this photo from this morning where he's just happy as can be with another dog *right* there! We stayed in that locale to enjoy our coffee for 30 minutes with people and dogs passing and he was relaxed. That leash and you are magic!

~ Nicole & Barney

Puppy Kindergarten

Trainer: Nayiri Krikorian

My pup and I just finished the puppy class with Zen Dog and it was ah-mazing. Our class was with Nayiri and let me just say that she is the BEST! I honestly can't say enough about how much we enjoyed working with her. She is patient, helpful, and super funny which really makes the process more enjoyable. This is my first time as a dog owner and honestly, Nayiri made all the weird crazy things I was going through feel so much less weird and crazy. She really understands what we are going through as dog owners. I highly recommend Zen Dog — and specifically Nayiri Krikorian!

— Kim + Toby the Wheaten terrier

New Puppy Training

Trainer: Rachel Locke

Thank you so much Rachel. We really appreciated your guidance and experience!! You’re phenomenal!

~ Meri, Jon & Xena

New Puppy Training

Trainer: Rachel Locke

"It was a pleasure to work with you Rachel!  It is such a relief when someone who knows what they are doing comes in and saves the day!"

~ Leland, Liz & Pivo

Adopted Adult Dog Training

Trainer: Rachel Locke

"Mihir and I felt compelled to write to say a big thank you again on behalf of us and Barney because you did such a great job training all of us! wink

Barney is doing so well - he's becoming a star loose leash walker, his barking around others has quieted down *considerably* outside and has improved inside when there's enough space.  His barking when introducing a new person into our home ends after approximately 2-3 minutes of treat training, and he keeps his cool around other dogs at 20 feet and sometimes even closer (depending on the dog and the day). Just having the tools to know what to do has helped all of us immensely - thank you again!"

~ Nicole, Mihir & Barney

New Adopted Dog Training

Trainer: Rachel Locke

"Thank YOU so much. We really felt so energized and hopeful after the visit with you, and we know that Cadi will just continue to be a rockstar. We went on a short walk today around the neighborhood, and she was so responsive to the directional changes...and even walked by a bird without twitching an eye!

You have helped us so much, and we are forever grateful."

~ Maureen, Tyler and Acadia

New Puppy Training

Trainer: Rachel Locke

"Rachel, You are truly a wonderful teacher. For what it's worth, I've spent most of professional career teaching at the college level and I've encountered very few individuals who can communicate information as well as you. I'm a firm believer that in order to be a great teacher you really need to LOVE what you do. Working with you has only reaffirmed this belief.  It has truly been a pleasure."

~ Rob and Larkin

New Puppy Training

Trainer: Rachel Locke

"Thank you SO much for our training together!!  I had so much fun and it is just such a relief to have some reassurance and guidance!  This information is great I am going to get these checklists started asap!"

"Gosh this weekend was a whirlwind!  Thank you SO SO much for your help!  You gave me immediate relief and Maggie and I had a great weekend!!!  First full work week this week -- we geared up in preparation as you instructed and we made it happen!  She is doing great! Also, your techniques already have her walking on the leash so well!!  THANK YOU!  Can't wait to spend time with you again soon!"

Again thank you for being so incredibly amazing!"

~ Carolynn & Maggie


Puppy Class Participant Feedback

Trainer: Rachel Locke

"Thank you again for your fabulous instruction!"

"We miss our sweet little class! smile"

"Thank you for everything...It was a wonderful experience working with you and I do hope we can stay in touch....XO, A, A, H & M."

"You were an amazing teacher! We will miss you and we will keep in touch!"

"We are doing quite well, no accidents in the house!  He is growing up so fast. He runs up the front stairs and we are still working on the rest.  He went into his crate last night with out treats being given to him first... (Of course I ended up giving him a couple).  He is learning everyday and is so smart!  I loved every single minute of our class together!"

PHOTOS BY: Matt Gotowala

Puppy Class Feedback

Trainer: Rachel Locke

Rachel is an incredibly gifted teacher who has a unique ability to communicate fairly difficult training concepts in a way that it accessible to everyone, including first time dog owners. Her classes are well structured, welcoming, and fun. Rachel brings joy to the process of dog training.  Her love of dogs is infectious and she makes a point of connecting with each and every dog—each and every owner—in her class. Instead of imposing a “one size fits all” approach, she contours her training strategy to the specific needs of your dog. She is incredibly responsive and, in fact, seeks out opportunities to chat with everyone individually to discuss training progress.

Rachel’s method works and she revolutionized our dog training. From leash walking to basic obedience skills, our dog has thrived under her system. We are incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to work with her. She is truly a special trainer and we strongly recommend her to anyone hoping to cultivate a loving and lasting relationship with their dog.

~ Rob and Jenny (and Larkin)


Puppy Kindergarten

Trainer: Nayiri Krikorian

I give Zen and Nayiri 5 stars hands down. She is patient and knowledgeable with all the dogs... and owners! For each class she makes herself available before and after for additional personalized questions and also has great positive tips on how to control unruly behaviors. I haven't heard her stumped once! Our class was a true mix of big and small and she managed all the puppies wonderfully.

My pup looked forward to attending each week to see Nayiri and friends and it's great we now have the knowledge and control of the situation to continue to train her positively.

— Megan + Olive the Dachshund

Puppy Play Biting

Trainer: Elissa Carreras

My session with Elissa last month was INCREDIBLE and solved so many of our problems with Riggins immediately. No more barking in his crate (or barking for attention) and no more play biting. Not to mention that all the games/exercises that she taught us (and left us with the handouts for) have been extremely helpful and he now is great on the leash, comes when called and DEFINITELY knows his name. I took him home for Thanksgiving and my whole family couldn't believe how well-trained he was for a 15 week old puppy. I'm so looking forward to our future sessions as he's becoming such a great dog thanks to Elissa's help.

- Hannah and Riggins, Cambridge, Ma

Raising a New Puppy

Trainer: Elissa Carreras

Your visit was awesome and we all learned so much!  You are so good at your job.  Both Joe and I are eager for your next visit!

- Jodi, Joe and Abby, Somerville, Ma

Puppy Class Participant Feedback

Trainer: Elissa Carreras

"Elissa was so patient and willing to listen to our 'New Parent' concerns. She was very good with ALL the puppies."

"I loved Elissa's enthusiasm. She does a great job using all the dogs to demonstrate exercises and not singling any one out. Loved the personalized Q&A sessions."

"Elissa has a great energy and pacing to her classes. Love the answering of participant questions."

"Elissa gave lots of extra tidbits that were helpful and was always willing to answer any questions."

- Zen Dog Puppy Kindergarten Participants, Charlestown, Ma

Puppy Class Update

Trainer: Elissa Carreras

Wanted to give you an update on Hudson! He is getting big, and is now officially 6 months, AND potty trained! YES! He is the best! Thank you for giving us all the building blocks!

- Kat, Zack and Hudson, Puppy Class, Charlestown, Ma

New Puppy Training

Trainer: Elissa Carreras

We had a great time with Elissa today-- we had almost as much fun as Annabelle and learned lots of great tips and tricks to keep her a happy puppy! THANK YOU!

- Emily, Dan and Annabelle - Fenway Area, Boston, Ma

Socializing an Adult Dog

Trainer: Elissa Carreras

I asked Elissa to help me train my 2 year old American terrier, focusing on the recall command and on channeling her energy appropriately during play time with other dogs. Patience and enthusiasm come to mind when I see Elissa working with dogs. My dog is becoming able to play more calmly and to obey my commands while in action. I highly recommend Elissa as a dog trainer. She is a wonderful person to work with and she helped me build a more trustful relationship with my dog.

- Elysabeth and Molly Arlington, Ma

Puppy Class Follow-up

Trainer: Elissa Carreras

Having Elissa to the house for an in-home training session after finishing puppy class was a great reminder for how to set the rules for a happy puppy and happy house! Thank you!
Loren/ Josie, Waban, Ma

New Puppy Training

Trainer: Nayiri Krikorian

We did a 6 week puppy 1 class with Nayiri. What a fabulous trainer. We had started with some classes at Petco, but with our pup's biggest need being socialization, we decided to look for a training opportunity with other dogs.

Then we heard about Zen and decided to give it a try. The classes were excellent, as there were about 7 puppies in it, and since our dog's biggest problem was a lack of socialization, it was great to watch her grow and get more comfortable in the group setting. 

As for the trainer herself, Nayiri was wonderful — she sent out notes prior to class so you could prepare for what you would be going over that day. She gave each dog a fair dose of individual attention, and accommodated certain dogs' personalities in the class to ensure that if they were too shy or wound up or tired, they could still learn a number of the tricks and tactics we were reviewing that day.

We also did an in-home session with her, and that, in many ways, was a life saver. Although it's not cheap, it's great to extend the lessons beyond the classroom to show what to do when your dog does X at home, or how to respond to behavior Y in the settings your dog is most familiar with. On top of that, just about every tip that Nayiri gave ended up with em nodding my head like "Wow, that makes a ton of sense."

Overall, this was a great experience, and was genuinely a class I looked forward to every Wendesday for me and my puppy.

— Matt, Kate + Giada the Lagotto Romagnolo

New Puppy Training

Trainer: Nayiri Krikorian

Getting a new dog can be overwhelming at times and I credit my survival to working with Nayiri Krikorian (who reassured me that Penny would be the best dog she could be with a little practice).

I still remember the first time I spoke with Nayiri.  I was in Las Vegas on my first work trip after the arrival of Penny.  While Penny was adorable in every possible way, I was anxious about how I would be able to manage the lil bundle of love and energy.  Speaking with Nayiri was an instant stress relief because it was clear that this was her area of expertise and that she would be able to handle Penny (and me).  Our training sessions only confirmed my initial instincts -- Nayiri has mastered the technique of training dogs (and humans).  Her love for dogs is obvious, but her professional manner and focus on what works best for her clients is equally noticeable and important.  She arrived at each session with a plan for the session and maximized the time she had with both Penny and me.  I also really appreciated the fact that she would spend the time at the end of the session reviewing what we had done and talking about what to do going forward. Nayiri's commitment to training did not end with the session -- she was (and still is) available by email and/or visits when she is in Charlestown.  

Because we had such fun in the training sessions, we also took Nayiri's puppy kindergarten class at Durty Harry's.  Despite four very active and excited puppies in one room, each week Nayiri worked with the group to get the basic pup skills down (and have some play time).  She knew each dog, its owner(s) and the puppy's strengths and weaknesses and did a great job of working with each dog one-on-one equally among the group.

With every new pup I meet in Charlestown (thank goodness there is a never-ending supply), I recommend Nayiri because she was definitely a life saver for me (and Penny)!

— Alex + Penny the Labradoodle

New Puppy Training

Trainer: Gordon Fontaine

Gordon is great. I could stop there, but I won't. 

We first heard about ZDT from a neighbor who suggested we look them up. Our Dog walkers were familiar with Gordon's name and knew someone who had used him in the past who had positive results. I then took to yelp, and found many positive reviews and I was excited! 

We have done both an in-home session as well as are in the midst of puppy kindergarten taught at Durty Harrys in Charlestown. 

First, our one-on-one session with Gordon:  Gordon was great, he arrived and immediately greeted us, as well as our pup June (who was more than willing to provide puppy attention to anyone willing to play with her). It was a great two hour visit. We went over our homework, and did some in-home training, as well as went on a walk to do some leash training. We even walked down Broadway for a bit to see how she would handle loud noises--- Gordon spent *more* than the promised 2 hours with us. He really is committed to his clients, and to his dogs. 

Gordon left us with good homework and "games" to play with June that would help her training. More importantly we understood WHY and HOW certain training techniques worked (or didnt!). The first visit is really about US learning how to deal with her, not the other way around.... so do not expect 2 hours of non-stop training your dog. Its just as much about you as it is your dog. 

Also, Gordon gave us log-in access to his online database of videos (hours and hours!), training tips, guides he's written, and other tidbits on his website. 

We have also started a class at Durty Harrys in Charlestown with another Zen employee, Nayiri. Nayiri clearly has the same mentality as Gordon-- so much of it is positive reinforcement. Durty Harrys was easy to get to and find (despite is rather unassuming sign outside). Nayiri took the time to understand how all of us learn and communicate with our dog... also she welcomed us to arrive early before class to have puppy socialization opportunities. (which, as we all know, is critical in a dog's development!) 

To anyone considering taking a class or a one-on-one session... do it. The earlier in the dog's life the better. Especially puppies! 

Zen, Gordon and his team are great, and I already would highly recommend it to anyone!

New Puppy Training

Trainer: Gordon Fontaine

It was so great having you over for a training session with Lola. Your techniques are useful, effective, and to the point. You've decoded the language of dogs and simplified it for everyday use! I'm impressed with your ability and gift.

I think the most important part to training is having the owner feel comfortable and wholeheartedly believe in what they are being taught because that is what gives them the confidence to convey that message to their dog.

You have helped me achieve that with Lola and I can already see an improvement. The crate and tethering techniques you've taught me have really set in with her.

On the topic of socializing our puppy, I took Lola to the Boston Public Garden and we randomly came across a pig. His name was Bobby and he was domesticated....came when called, waited for a treat, even sleeps in the same bed as the owner.

Maybe he can be your next client!

– Stephanie and Lola the Golden Retriever

Puppy Kindergarten

Trainer: Nayiri Krikorian

Took the puppy classes at Durty Harry's Charlestown and couldn't be happier! Classes were fun, informative and very helpful. A must for anyone with a new puppy who wants training help, great socialization, fun for your pup and a great trainer. Nayiri is very informative, knowledgeable, friendly and always there if you need help or are having trouble. Best of all, class size was small and everything was very positive ! I now have a well-mannered puppy that loves to learn, what more could you ask for?

— Fran + Merlin the Australian Shepherd

Puppy Kindergarten

Trainer: Nayiri Krikorian

We took our puppy to class at Durty Harry's in Charlestown with Nayiri.  She's the best!  Not only is Nayiri very knowledgeable and knows how to run a class, she is super friendly and fun to be around.  We (parents + pup) learned a lot at puppy class and actually looked forward to going every Sunday morning.  Nayiri was always available when we had questions or just needed to vent about those tough puppy times.  We definitely recommend Zen Dog Training!

— Kaity, Kevin + Piper the mixed breed

New Puppy Training

Trainer: Nayiri Krikorian

My partner surprised me with our puppy Kona for my birthday... which was great because I always wanted a puppy but not so great because I wasn't prepared for the amount a work it would take to train her!  Playbiting, jumping, pulling on the leash, chewing...  you name it, Kona did it.  

Enter Nayiri from Zen Dog Training!

As soon as Nayiri came in, Kona tried to jump all over her but Nayiri started her training "magic" right away, discouraging Kona from jumping while explaining exactly what it was that she was doing.  Soon she had Kona sitting instead of jumping all over the place, and she was able to keep Kona under control during the entire visit.  Nayiri spent two hours with us, listening to what we wanted to work on with Kona and prioritizing our needs.  She was really patient with all of our questions, and gave us really clear and easy to understand instructions.  She even left us with a bunch of training material (that she and another trainer wrote themselves!) so we would have written directions on how to keep up with Kona's training in between visits with Nayiri.  

We've seen such a difference in Kona's behavior since working with Nayiri.  We know she has a way to go, but we're confident that if we stick with our new Zen Dog Training plan Kona is going to grow up to be a really well-behaved dog.  And we know that if we have any questions, Nayiri is really easy to get a hold of!

—Michelle + Kona the mixed breed

New Puppy Training

Trainer: Nayiri Krikorian

In one word: Awesome!

Nayiri is extremely knowledgable of all things puppies/dogs and did a great job going over the fundamentals: potty training, leash walking, "sit"/"down"/"stay"/"leave it" and much more! The handouts she provided reinforced our lessons, which was helpful.

Nayiri is extremely dedicated to her students/pups and will follow up on any specific issue you might have and work with you one on one. She is fantastic. She makes you feel there is NO such thing as a dumb question which is great for a first time dog owner like myself! Zen Dog Training is a great community to be a part of, I highly recommend, as does my dog Charlie!

— Stephanie + Charlie the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Veterinarian Recommended

I am writing to describe the services of the wonderful Zen Dog Trainer, Nayiri Krikorian, who came highly recommended by my veterinarian.

What a joy it was to work with Nayiri, who had my little dog quite literally eating out of her hand the moment she entered the house.  Nayiri's style, which certainly appealed to me, is to help the owner to train his/her dog using reasonable and realistic positive reinforcement.

My dog responded instantly, knowing that i was in charge, and that he would be rewarded for his good behavior.  I responded instantly, as well, having been empowered by nayiri with a whole new bag of dog training tricks!  I know that i can contact her in the future, if there are issues that need attention, and I feel very fortunate to have found her. 

-Henry in Revere, MA

Excessive Barking

Trainer: Gordon Fontaine

I just wanted to let you know that....YOU ARE OUR HERO! We just returned from a week visiting Caleb's parents. On our last visit, Noodle barked all night and all day. This past visit he hardly make a peep & they were stunned by how well behaved he was.... Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!! We are so happy!

—Jen & Caleb, Cambridge, MA 
Noodle, 3-year old Cockapoo

Solving Behavior Problems

Trainer: Gordon Fontaine

I know you said that there isn't a silver bullet for this type of behavioral problem, but four days after your visit, Ernie actually listens to us when we tell him to stop! 

Thank you for taking the time to understand his unique personality. It's so frustrating when you feel outsmarted by your dog, but with your help, we've finally won! I can't thank you enough.

—Beth Monaghan, Brookline, MA 
Ernie, 3-year old French Bulldog 

New Puppy - Rambunctious strong-willed

Trainer: Gordon Fontaine

I just wanted to write you and tell you how much we appreciate your coming out to help us with our little Cassie.  I CANNOT believe how different she is -- it is a total transformation! 

She is like a new dog, and we are SO grateful to you -- and to my friend who led me to you and your gentle methods of helping Cassie become a good citizen. I have to be honest, it was hard for me to love her before because I felt to at so odds with her, and now that has completely changed.

—Suzy Axelson, Reading, MA
Cassie, 3-month old Yellow Lab

New puppy - Young children in the home

Trainer: Gordon Fontaine

I just wanted to tell you some great news - Duncan is amazing - he's a totally different dog!

He doesn't bark at me. He's really mellow in the kitchen and when we are hanging out. He's not chasing Brady at all! (Brady is her 3 year old son) Not one bit! Not a nip. He's so gentle. He sat on his lap. No biting. No nipping. No chasing!

And what did I do? I did the things you said. I did it two times and that's it! He's never touched Brady again. It's a miracle! He's so calm, he's so happy, he's so loveable!

And I'm just amazed. I'm amazed! So I just wanted to thank you so much! It's been really great, and I'm definitely going to need you to come back again soon."

—Laura, Belmont, MA 
Duncan, 9-week old Chocolate Lab

Reactive Dog Training

Trainer: Alana Meserve

Our two hour visit with Alana Meserve showed results immediately and we couldn't be happier!! We brought her the challenge of helping us deal with two 10 year old rescue dogs - a Westie we received two months ago who was showing signs of reactivity with other dogs, and a Black Lab our adult kids adopted several years ago who was not well received by our Westie. Since a grandchild will be in the mix soon, we were desperate to solve how these dogs could get along.

Alana arrived an hour before the Lab and started right in to teach us how to use clear and positive techniques to communicate with our Westie. She demonstrated how to use treats to reinforce the behavior we want and words and body cues to signal what we want to change.  We practiced the Name Game and by the time the Lab arrived, we were able to use these tools to feel confident that we would succeed. In fact, an hour later we were walking off leash in the woods with two dogs happily rollicking in the snow!

Thanks to Alana and the resources she left from Zen Dog Training, we and our dogs enjoyed a positive, practical and professional training session.

—Nancy Klieman and Dannie Westie

Small Dog Training

Trainer: Alana Meserve

We attended the puppy class run by Alana Meserve in Belmont.  It was excellent.  Our class had puppies ranging in size from 50 pounds to my 4-pound chihuahua.  Alana helped all the dogs (and owners) feel at ease, have fun and most importantly, train our dogs.  She is a superb trainer.  Also, all the classes are backed up with well-written support material.  It's a great way to refresh yourself between classes.

—Juile D And Carmen Chihiuahua

Praise from Veterinarians

Trainer: Alana Meserve

She is very knowledgeable about, and entirely dedicated to, both her work and her dogs. I offer my highest recommendation for Alana. You and your furry friend (or friends) will both be glad that you consulted with Her.

—Dr. Dana MacNamee DVM Bay State Animal Clinic

Aggressive Dogs

Trainer: Alana Meserve

I called Zen Dog after an incident where my dog had bit my hand.  Batman has had some issues over the past couple of years, and he has had some instances of biting me - not cool.  This particular time was the almost-last straw, and I was at my wit's end.  I was seriously considering putting him down, as his behavior was dangerous and unpredictable.  After a short consultation with Gordon on the phone, he told me that I could spend some time with Alana Meserve - the Zen Dog aggressive dog specialist.  This was a very good suggestion!

Alana came to our place for a consultation and we continued working with Alana for three more sessions, during which time she helped us to identify significant triggers for our dog's unsociable behavior, and show us ways to handle him when he was growly.

Alana saved Batman's life, and much of our sanity.  We love our pup dearly, and his behavior management plan (and OURS) has been working very well.  I cannot recommend Alana enough - she is genuinely talented and incredibly pleasant.

—Maureen Devlin, "Batman" Mini Pincher

First Time Dog Owners

Trainer: Nayiri Krikorian

As new dog owners, we knew we needed help in training our whippet puppy, Zoe, but we also needed help in how to do that training. We had no idea what we were doing.  Zen Dog’s positive reinforcement techniques worked on Zoe right away and she learned the basic commands quickly.

More importantly, Nayiri instructed us on our actions as owners, explaining to us that Zoe would be looking to us for clues on how to behave, and that she would react to our words, actions, and emotional responses as we worked through training.

I was very impressed with Nayiri’s dedication to the dogs she trained.  She repeatedly invited us to call her or email her with any questions.  After finding out Zoe had been injured weeks after our time together was over, she called us to give us tips on how to make Zoe’s recovery easier on her and on us.

Thanks to Nayiri, Zoe is a happy, sociable puppy, and we are happy, confident owners. 

—Kelly, Kevin + Zoe the whippet

Adult Dog Training

Trainer: Nayiri Krikorian

I have been working with Nayiri since we adopted our mix-breed dog as a young puppy a little over a year ago. As I have no experience with dog-training, I have greatly appreciated Nayiri's supportive, patient, and clear advice. Nayiri was able to help us with teaching basic commands, as well as to address issues particular to our dog and family. She also helped us to recognize "bad habits" which were developing, which we had overlooked. Nayiri consistently promoted positive reinforcement, rather than a more punitive training style. Yet, she also helped us to integrate firm, and clear directions when our dog was "testing" us. Nayiri has even worked patiently with my two children, and taught them fun games to play with our dog. She has been extremely flexible about scheduling, has answered questions via email, and provided us with written information.

—Kim + Koda the hound mix

New Puppy Training

Trainer: Nayiri Krikorian

We adopted our puppy, Bailey, at 3 months old and immediately started looking for a trainer. What I loved most about Zen Dog Training is that they offer in home one-on-one training unlike some other places I had looked into. They also offered night/weekend training which was exactly what we needed. Also, the initial phone consultation was a great preview of what to expect.

We signed up for the Perfect Pup package that gave us two visits lasting 2 hours each. Definitely worth it! Nayiri was an absolute joy to work with. You could tell she had a great love for dogs! As soon as she entered our home and Bailey raced to 'greet' (i.e. jump on) her she was in training mode yet was still able to do the initial meet/greet with us. Nayiri took the time to listen to our specific concerns as well as tell us about common puppy issues and what to expect since this was the first time either of us had a dog under the age of 1. Nayiri showed us fun ways to teach Bailey common commands and how to advance once he got the hang of it.

It was great that there wasn't a cookie cutter program; everything was tailored to what we wanted to achieve. We received great training material as a reminder once she left as well as access to their online site with an abundance of training videos and info for all stages of a dog’s life. Nayiri was extremely flexible in terms of setting up the follow up appointment which we had to reschedule on our end a couple of times due to work conflicts. Nayiri was available through email for any follow up questions/concerns we had and responded quickly with advice which was helpful as we continued our training. The follow up meeting was great. We were able to discuss all the things that had happened with training and what we still needed to work on. Nayiri also gave suggestions on some next steps she thought Bailey was ready for. We recommend her to anyone who would like to train their dog and will definitely keep her info handy just in case we feel the need for additional training in the future. We definitely lucked out finding this service!

—Jenny, Pat + Bailey the retriever mix

Reactive Dog Training

Trainer: Gordon Fontaine

I've taken Moxie out on several walks since you left and instead of dreading the sight of another dog, I've been excited to see one approaching. I do yoga breath and jolly talk and turn her back to look at me and, lo and behold, she barked once or twice and then just kept walking.

With my increased confidence, I went to the Danehy Dog Park this morning where there were 10-15 dogs of all sizes. Moxie didn't bark at all, even while she was still on the leash waiting to get in the park. She didn't really want to play with the other dogs, but when they approached her she wasn't intimidated and was even a little interested in sniffing and going around in circles. No aggression at all! 

It's really clear that I'm the one who needed the training!  Moxie seems to just be waiting for the guidance. I really appreciate how you present things in a way that makes sense and is easy to grasp. And the handouts are great. I know this is a process, but seeing some concrete changes so quickly is such a confidence boost that we can actually do this!

— Tina from Cambridge
Moxie, two-year-old wheaton-doodle

Reactive Dog Training

Trainer: Gordon Fontaine

After being referred to Gordon at Zen Dog Training numerous times by our vet, I finally called because my two-year-old terrier/border collie mix Jake wouldn't allow visitors in the house, I couldn't control him on a leash and he snapped at a friend's three-year-old in our yard.  I had little to no hope that Jake could be controlled.

After listening to Gordon it all made sense and I began to understand why Jake acted the way he did and actually responded to the messages that I was sending him.  I trained with him each evening after dinner in our yard.  Two weeks later, I was walking our two dogs and for the first time EVER, people smiled and were able to walk by us without Jake lunging at them.  A woman stopped and told me that I had a beautiful dog and asked me what kind he was, I replied with details about Boston, she said, "No, the other dog."  I realized that she was talking about Jake!  For the first time ever, people were seeing that Jake was a good dog, a beautiful dog that I always knew but no one could ever see through his rough exterior.  Through my tears, I told her about Jake and was so proud and so happy at that moment.

Gordon gave me the training and the techniques to give Jake the life that he deserves.  We are so happy and thankful to Gordon for what he has done for our family.

— Melissa from Belmont
Jake, two-year-old terrier/border collie mix
Boston, four-year-old pug/golden retriever mix