We hired Sara to help with our three older dogs who were having behavioral issues. We're about halfway through our 6-month training program and seeing great results so far! Admittedly, a lot of dog training is human training, so the learning burden is really on the dog parents, but I do believe my pups have gained quite a few skills over the past few months! Sara is patient, kind, talented, and incredibly knowledgable.
After searching for top rated trainers in the area and interviewing a couple, we decided to go with Sara at Smiles Dog Training for a few reasons: she offers science-based training, utilizes non-fear tactics, and employs a hybrid online and in-person teaching method that worked well for our schedule. Most other top trainers seem to employ fear-based tactics for training, and shock collars are prominent elsewhere. Sara does not believe in these negative reinforcement strategies, and this is the main reason we chose her! Results are achievable without them, and everyone is happier with positive reinforcement!
The online written and video material in the training program is high caliber. It's accessible on a computer or smart phone/tablet, and is paired with weekly zoom coaching calls to review, answer questions, work through emergent scenarios, and practice hands-on skills. The 6-month training program offers a handful of in-person lessons as well, to further broaden and strengthen everyone's skills. Zoom lessons are a great way to get started, but the real-life training is super helpful as well!
5/5 stars for Smiles Dog Training! Very professional, results-driven, high quality training program. I highly recommend Sara and her dog training business for anyone looking to strengthen their bond with their dogs and build out skillsets to manage stress, distractions, and better behavior!
Sara equipped me with the skillset to safely manage my newly adopted reactive dog and helped me implement a routine that allowed my dog to better predict and adjust to her new home environment. All these things caused a dramatic improvement in my dog's demeanor, and subsequently, our household's quality of life. In addition to addressing my dog's immediate behavior needs, Sara's fear-free training techniques helped me facilitate an incredibly strong and fun relationship with my dog. Outside of dog behavior, Sara has been a wealth of knowledge for so many other things.
Sara's astute observations helped me obtain a double hip dysplasia diagnosis for my dog that her vet had previously overlooked. Additionally, Sara provided tons of research and anecdotal evidence that helped me advocate on my dog’s behalf to her vet and make educated decisions regarding pain and behavior management medication protocols.
Lastly, Sara took the time to understand my lifestyle and tailored training sessions around activities/behaviors that were important to me and relevant to my household’s daily schedule. This was unlike a lot of the other dog trainers I interviewed, who came with a rigid rubric of training tasks.
My dog is also a big fan of Sara's warm, fun demeanor and is always excited for our scheduled training sessions.
Overall, I cannot recommend Sara highly enough to anyone looking for help with their dog’s behavioral challenges.
Sara has helped us tremendously with our shy/fearful dog, Buster. He was the first dog I had ever adopted, and when he started showing signs of being fearful, I knew we needed to contact an expert for advice. Thankfully, Sara was there to train us (and Buster!) so that we could help him feel safe and comfortable and start building his confidence. Sara gave us great tips on how to introduce new people to Buster, and we are still using her techniques four years later. She also gave us helpful tips/tricks for grooming and brain enrichment games we can do at home. Sara has great recommendations for veterinarians too! Finding a fear-free certified vet was imperative for Buster, as the vet was an especially scary place for him. Her vet recommendation has been priceless for us. Her love for animals and overall knowledge of animal behavior is immediately apparent when you meet her. We truly are so grateful for Sara's help with Buster 🙂
Sara is the best dog trainer we have ever had. Our Annie is wonderful & it is because Sara started training her when she was 8 weeks old.
I interviewed three other trainers & there was no comparison.
Sara sets the stage for your puppies future years. She explains & has answers for all your questions.
I highly recommend her. She's incredible!! Your puppy will thank you.
Our family LOVES Sara. She is the most kind, compassionate, and intelligent person and she has helped us tremendously with our two dogs. We initially sought her guidance when bringing a second dog into our home. We were unsure about the proper way to do so, as the new dog was not a puppy and had numerous challenges to overcome. Sara patiently guided us through the process and we literally had her on speed dial for the first few months! She is not only an excellent dog trainer, practicing fear-free techniques that give the dog the utmost respect and choice, but is also a gifted listener. We even joke that she is our personal counselor! Thanks to Sara, both of our dogs are well adjusted now. We continue to work with her when issues arise, and always look forward to “picking her brain” for new, innovative ways to problem-solve (she came up with a brilliant way to do our dogs nails). We cannot recommend her highly enough and happily sing her praises.
Lori & Angela
Sara has been so fantastic with all of our pups! We were introduced when we adopted our 2nd dog to help with our first dog. Sara goes above and beyond and the extra mile to make sure you understand your dog and helps you to succeed to create a happy and healthy puppy home. We look forward to working w/ Sara again with our new rescue and current rescue!