60 Main Road Westhampton, MA 01027     Call us at 413-527-7364

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What our clients say about It's Pawsible

Sparky and Suzi

Meet Sparky

It all started the morning after we picked up our puppy. As I opened up the wire door to her kennel, our Dalmatian puppy went into reverse! She was very timid and shy and had to be dragged out of her crate. This had one advantage, Sparky never jumped on people but that was the only advantage. My husband and I learned that we had what is called a fear aggressive dog.

We learned that because we had picked her up late from the breeder, she missed a critical socialization period. We now had a problem that could escalate into having a dog that bit people and that ultimately could result in us having to euthanize her.

Realizing that we needed help, I picked up the phone and called Certified Professional Trainer, Beth Ostrowski-Parks. She with the help of her husband, Wayne, runs a "State of the Art" dog training center called It's PAWSible! Dog Training Center.

The three of us soon discovered that Beth and Wayne were also state of the art. Beth had said that private lessons were available but Sparky really needed to be in a class so she would be exposed to more people and other dogs.

Classes began. Sparky did well because we did our weekly homework, never missed a class, and because she was afraid to do anything else! Beth purposefully ignored Sparky. She never used her to demonstrate an exercise. She never even made eye contact with our dog. Although at times it was painful to be ignored, we wished our "kid" could be more sociable like the others and not be the dog to avoid. But we knew that this was in Sparky's best interest.

After a few weeks, Sparky began to improve. She no longer always walked with her tail clamped tightly between her legs and with her head and her ears lowered. Occasionally, she would lift her head, her tail would relax, and we would get a glimpse of the dog that she would become.

At other times, I would be crying inside as I watched the other dogs in class work from a sit-stay. When the command, "Come" was given, they would bounce across the floor to their owners with their tails wagging. My dog would crouch, pull back, and be afraid to cross the room to get to me. It was pathetic to see. But both my husband and I kept working with her.

After a few classes, Beth scheduled a private session for Sparky. When we arrived, the Training Center appeared larger than usual. Beth was seemingly minding her own business and sitting on her desk top in the front of the room. She instructed me to turn Sparky loose and to join her on the desk top. Initally, Sparky ran around sniffing everything, but was equally careful to ignore Beth. While she ran, Beth asked me all kinds of questions about my dog, her background, and behavior. Finally Sparky came up and sniffed her. Beth commented that the dog was trying to figure out if Beth was safe to be near. The next time Sparky approached her, Beth carefully tossed her a training treat. Finally Sparky took food from Beth's hand. Then the two of them played fetch. I sat on the desk and smiled. Sparky was interacting in a positive manner with someone else!

At the end of the session, Beth had given me many instructions including to try to take her where there were people and lots of activity. She cautioned me to be proactive as Sparky met people and explain to people how they should be when engaging with Sparky.

Over time, it worked! Now Sparky goes to horse shows, walks on crowded city sidewalks, and lately enjoyed watching a parade. Usually she wags her tail and holds her head up high. Occasionally, she becomes fearful, but that is the exception, not her daily behavior. People that knew her before she completed the Basic Obedience training can't believe that she is the same dog and have commented on the positive personality Sparky has developed.

We are currently enrolled in Beginner Agility at It's PAWSible! We know now that it is pawsible to correct difficult behavior problems! We look forward to class each week.

My husband and I believe that Beth saved our dog's life. Thank you Beth! Thank you Wayne! And thanks to all the staff at It's PAWSible! For making Sparky the star that she is today.

Suzi and Wayne B,
Westhampton, MA