Every pet lover dreams of one day having their very own sweet, cuddly puppy to raise and be part of the family. Who doesn’t love sweet, snuggly puppies!? I was no different. Growing up, we always had a family dog, and they were always an integral part of the family. I could not wait to have a dog of my own one day. When I met my boyfriend last year, the idea of a puppy slowly crept back into my mind. I wouldn’t let the subject rest until I had one! He didn’t grow up with pets, so his attitude toward the situation was a bit different than mine, but nonetheless, after much persuasion on my part, he agreed, and along came Sweeney!
We brought Sweeney the Puggle home when he was eight weeks old. At first, Sweeney was like any other adorable puppy. He played, snuggled and slept a lot! He, in my opinion and others, is one of the most handsome fur babies I have ever seen. He learned commands quickly and was basically potty trained before we even brought him home. He quickly learned his crate schedule, how to walk on a leash and what NOT to do behavior-wise. Sweeney was the smartest dog I’ve ever been around… then began the toddler/ “terrible twos” stage. We had a dog walker for Sweeney who came every day to relieve him and walk him for about 20 to30 minutes. She was with us for a few months. We started to notice around the age of seven months that Sweeney was regressing. He was a little terror and chose not listen to commands. He was terrible on walks. He bit me all the time and jumped on people. My boyfriend and I (more so him) were losing patience and fast. He was definitely starting to regret getting a puppy. One day, unplanned, we came home early from work while the dog walker was there and boy, were we in for a surprise! She was chasing Sweeney around the apartment, trying to get his harness on for their walk. (Side note: Sweeney is trained to sit when having the harness put on and taken off) Of course, he thought of it as a chasing game. She then proceeded to tackle him onto the couch while he was playfully biting her. She asked, “How do you guys do this?” My boyfriend sternly grabbed Sweeney and made him “sit” until the harness was on. We then understood why he was all of a sudden acting out. He was getting away with murder with this woman, and she wasn’t being firm with any of the commands he was taught. We knew it was time for a change. We needed training, guidance and a new dog walker for our pup.
We found Kai and Happy Paws just by doing a basic Google and Yelp search. Most dog walkers in the area were out of our price range, and we also wanted training experience to help us with day-to-day training. Happy Paws was willing to come meet us and Sweeney for no charge to see what options were available to us. Kai met with us and we instantly loved her (and so did Sweeney!). Her professional presentation and demeanor was beyond impressive, and Sweeney’s immediate reaction to her made our decision quite easy. The cost options supported our decision and Kai became the newest member of our family. Soon after she started with Sweeney every day, twice a day, we began to see a pretty dramatic change for the better. After only a week, Sweeney regained his proper walking habits. After our first training session, Sweeney learned patience and how to control his energy. Of course he’s still a puppy, but the change we saw in just a few weeks after Kai started working with him was remarkable! Kai was able to identify our specific needs as puppy owners and came to the conclusion that his behavior was changing and he was misbehaving more due to the lack of exercise he was getting daily. Happy Paws had a package to accommodate our and Sweeney’s need for twice a day walks while we worked. They also were extremely flexible with our days off and out-of-town visits. I can’t imagine feeling more secure about leaving my pup in anyone else’s care. Kai grew to love Sweeney just as much as we did and with time, learned exactly what our little pup needed and has guided us with that information ever since. Sweeney is now patient at home (most of the time… he IS still a puppy J ). He walks at our side, rather than pulling all over the place. WE are learning to guide HIS walks, not HIM guiding OUR walks.
We learned Sweeney just needs an outlet for his energy in order for him to listen better and to maintain a behavior we approve of. Kai taught us that our energy directly affects Sweeney and it drives his behavior, both positive and negative. She is slowly training me to be his leader, not his playmate, which is the primary reason he mostly bites me and not my boyfriend. We know everything Kai has taught us will lead the way to having and maintaining a well-behaved adult dog. I would highly recommend Kai and the Happy Paws family to anyone looking for a little help with their furry family member or to anyone who is simply looking for someone to give their dog a little love and attention while they are away, whether it is just at work or away on vacation. We couldn’t have done it without her, and Sweeney is who he is today, as a growing adolescent puppy, because of Kai. He loves her, we love her and you will too.