I would like to share my experience in how Stephanie has turned around my 4 1/2 year old Mini Schnauzer, Bentley. He was a very reactive dog. Barked at dogs, people, tv, etc. but not all the time. This made it difficult for me since I bring my dogs out with me wherever I can and I had to limit my outings with them.
Within the first private lesson, Stephanie identified some of the issues and how to correct them. I was very impressed on how she asked many questions, really observed Bentley’s behavior, and provided me with confidence that this behavior could be changed. It was very apparent that she was an extremely caring, knowledgeable trainer and her goal was to help.
Within two months, Bentley has made such great strides in walking without barking. He is improving in other areas as well, barking at people entering house, barking at sliding door, etc. I continue to work with him and the tools that Stephanie has provided. We are currently enrolled in the Peace Walks class which is amazing.
I have had people come up to me in the neighborhood and tell me how much he has improved in such a short period of time. They all wanted to know what had I done and I tell them I finally found a wonderful caring trainer, Stephanie Kowalewski of Heavenly Hounds. I think that is the best compliment for Stephanie.
I am very grateful since she has made our lives so much better and I feel that Bentley is much happier.
J.G., Yardley, Pennsylvania
We have been taking our Golden Retriever, Meadow, to Heavenly Hounds for about 4 months. We’ve taken the puppy class, the teens class, and have gone to the puppy socials. Looking forward, we hope to be back for Paws around Princeton and their therapy dog program. Everyone we’ve worked with has been very knowledgeable and very friendly. We’ve even emailed questions that were outside the scope of these classes and received rapid and detailed responses.
The training courses aren’t just about what to do, but also why to do it and when a given training is going to be useful. By training the owners as much if not more than the dog we end up getting the tools to continue training and practicing on our own. It seems a more holistic training regimen than basic “sit/stay” obedience.
The puppy and teen socials have been a great lesson in behavior as well. While the dogs are playing and the trainers are watching and encouraging friendly and healthy play, they explain what they’re seeing and what it means. Probably my favorite line to come out of these was “That’s a play bow. It’s basically the international symbol for ‘Whatever I do next, don’t take it seriously!'” During these sessions, the trainers were working with shy or skittish dogs to coax then out and find the right combination of doggie personalities so everyone has fun. Meadow has come home tired and happy from every one and its been really funny to see her find her favorite playmates.
I couldn’t be happier with our decision to start training with Heavenly Hounds. I feel like our dog is the best she could be as a direct result of the trainers.
The McCoy Family
We have been working with Heavenly Hounds for a few weeks now, and I am SO very impressed! I don’t write many reviews…. only when I am moved to do so, by folks who provide superlative service. This business is one of those! Everyone is so professional, knowledgeable, super nice, and friendly. I am also very happy with their website, and they are supremely organized. It’s so easy to sign up for classes. They are very responsive to emails. They’re also very clear on how to prepare for classes, and they provide incredible information. Thank you, Heavenly Hounds, for helping our puppy become a polite member of society!
Julie C., Lawrenceville, New Jersey
Training can save your dog and today it saved ours. Training your dog is so much more than having them sit, stay, and walk nicely on a leash when you ask…training can also be used to save them in an emergency situation. Today my husband had scary experience with our two dogs and what we learned through Nicole at Heavenly Hounds helped us very much in our emergency situation.
Today our two dogs were out in the yard while my husband was working in the driveway. When he went back to check on them he found an open gate and no dogs. He couldn’t find them anywhere. So many thoughts go through your mind…busy main road down the street with people speeding past, patch of woods in the other direction, crazy people that take dogs from their homes, etc.
During one of Nicole’s training classes we learned about the “top secret emergency code word” to have your dog stop everything he is doing and come to you immediately. It’s the most sacred word to your dog and it is followed by things they love most… praise, love, excitement, and most of all… treats, a lot of treats! Remembering this particular training exercise, my husband stood in the yard and yelled the secret code word as loud as he could. Seconds later both of our dogs were running full speed back to him!
If you have been to a Heavenly Hounds training class you know exactly what I am taking about when I mention the “emergency word” and how and when to use it. If not, you need to get to a Heavenly Hounds training class so you can teach your dog how to sit, stay, and possibly even a code word to save your dogs life.
Amy S., Ewing, New Jersey
I had a wonderful experience at Heavenly Hounds, after deciding to certify my 6 year old Great Pyrenees as a therapy dog….having had no basic obedience training ever. Nicole L was so positive, so encouraging, so knowledgeable, and so incredibly patient. He passed his CGC in just a couple of months with flying colors, and we cannot wait to enroll in our therapy class. I highly recommend Heavenly Hounds to anyone, and cannot imagine you will find a staff more competent and enthusiastic than this one.
Nancy P., Yardley, Pennsylvania
We want to let you know how much we appreciate how Heavenly Hounds has enhanced our lives as dog owners. Through your classes, we have channeled our Springer Spaniel’s energy and intelligence into something so much more rewarding than a game of fetch. You do such a wonderful job of “training” us to train our dog, that he not only rolls over, twirls, spins, jumps through hoops, backs up, hides in a box, and takes a bow, but Stoney will also get me a tissue when I sneeze — Amazing and great fun for entertaining our guests. We plan to continue with your other classes because you have clearly demonstrated that dog training is a lifelong lifestyle of enjoyable interaction that our pet takes as much pride in as we do. Thank you and we will see you in class!
Fran & Marc Y., Hillsborough, New Jersey
I had previously started my puppy, Kira, in a correction-based obedience training course at the age of 4 months, but realized within the first three weeks that correction training methods were not good for my sensitive dog. I then found Stephanie and her positive-based training methods and have not looked back since. As the other testimonials have also said, Stephanie has an incredibly intuitive way of communicating with both dogs and their humans. The weekly training sessions for me have now become a relaxed and happy event as I’ve watched my puppy blossom from a dog with separation anxieties, touch aversion and lead aversion into a happy and confident little dog who is really learning to communicate with me. Kira is now 7 months old and we are very happy with our progress, and we’ll be staying with Stephanie for as many training courses and private lessons as she has to offer.
Karen W., Pennington, New Jersey
I’ve been interested in training my dogs since high school and have worked with several trainers throughout the course of my life. I recently decided to try my hand at puppy raising a service dog. In January I brought home Wena from Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), an organization that breeds, trains and places dogs with the handicapped and hearing impaired. During Wena’s first day at my house she took a tumble down the stairs and I’ve been struggling to help her overcome her resulting fear ever since. It wasn’t until she was 6 months old that I was able to build her confidence enough to go up and down stairs, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to teach her to jump into the car. As she grew older and got heavier this was becoming a huge problem and would certainly preclude her from continuing in the program, much to my chagrin. Luckily, a friend introduced me to Stephanie and she came to the house for a private session to help Wena get over this hurdle. Within 1 hour she was confidently jumping into my SUV! I was amazed at Stephanie’s intuitive ways with Wena and the connection she made with her in such a short period of time. She has an uncanny ability to read dogs and come up with creative solutions that enable dogs to overcome their obstacles. I’m continuing to take classes with Stephanie because just watching her techniques and hearing the progression of steps she uses to obtain correct behavior has made a tremendous difference in my ability to train. As a result, Wena and I are continuing to make great strides in her training. It’s so incredibly rewarding. Thanks Stephanie for helping Wena to become the best service dog she can be!
Beth S., Hopewell, New Jersey
Stephanie was Watson’s first teacher. He is 3 y/o now and I have taken two additional classes with him. More than anything, Stephanie has taught me self confidence (which is important when raising a Basset) and Watson and I have grown to love the “learning time” together.
Barbara P., Princeton, New Jersey
Before coming to you, our German Shepherd puppy was very shy – particularly with other dogs. But with your puppy socials and training classes, she is now growing increasingly more confident and it’s great to see her playfully interacting with other dogs. As owners, we are learning so much from you; we use your excellent advice in our daily life with our dog – at home and on walks. We are grateful for your help.
Bob T., Princeton, New Jersey
Stephanie has the unique combination of qualities so seldom found in the dog training world: the ability to relate to both dogs and people. My dog Peaches and I both love her! We have taken an obedience class and a trick class with Stephanie, and I was amazed at how much my dog learned. I really believe if she put her mind to it she could teach Peaches how to cook!
Jan. S., West Windsor, New Jersey
I am currently fostering Denver, my second service dog in training. I have had a great experience completing the Basic Class and now the Puppy Class. Stephanie’s explanation of and modeling of each command is easy to follow. She is very positive, calm and yet assertive while teaching. She is quick to compliment Denver and me on each step to success. She allows us to make mistakes and is able to guide us in using the correct approach all the while staying positive. I am at ease while working with Denver in each new situation in the class.
We have learned how to execute and be consistent in training with each new command. We have learned the Sit, Wait, Name Game, Find It , Here and Loose Leash Walking just to name a few of the commands. Stephanie not only teaches us the correct way to use these commands, but the purpose of each as well. This is very important to know and understand the “Why” of each command we use with our dog. Stephanie gives us examples using everyday occurrences to further explain the importance of each new command we learn. I also scheduled a private lesson with Stephanie to gain further knowledge about the behaviors that needed to be corrected in our home. This hour was very beneficial and gave Stephanie the ability to watch Denver and me work together as she made more suggestions on ways to fine tune our skill level. I also greatly appreciate the follow up work sheets that explain the why and the steps needed to complete each command. I have thoroughly enjoyed these two classes and working with Stephanie. She is highly qualified and exemplifies professionalism while also creating a relaxing, fun learning experience for the dog and the owner!
C.J., Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania