Zen Dog Training

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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

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: 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