"To be kind to your dog is better than having strict obedience, and I tell you, a cooperative companion awaits you right there at your feet. You only need a heart that will listen, patience to teach, and kindness to guide." - Sparky
When Nigel arrived in our home in January from Redemption Paws we knew he had come from a horrendous past. He was rescued from a hoarding situation. He had sores, was malnourished and very scared. For four-months I worked with him and slowly saw his personality emerge. And, then, as he felt safer, there were issues. I knew I needed expert help and reached out to Sparky at Pivotalchange.ca. Sparky explained rescues, once they feel secure, begin to deal with some of their fears, and in Nigel's case, I had seen him become vicious with other dogs who came to my home. Also, he was becoming dangerously close to attacking my guests.
Sparky taught me how to be Nigel's advocate when we have guests over, making sure they realized how to interact with a fearful dog. I took the lessons from Sparky and taught Nigel how to manage his emotions so he no longer became angry with people. I learned how to help him become calmer when people come to the door - although Sparky was his very favorite and sometimes he couldn't quite control himself when greeting her. Nigel was such a fast learner once I could communicate with him effectively. Like, he quickly learned to look to me when he becomes concerned about anything, outside and inside. I learned how to have a conversation with Nigel about being handled, teaching me to respect his choices not to be touched when he didn't want to be. It was really fascinating to watch Nigel making decisions on his own and communicating 'yes' and 'no' to things I asked. I could see over the weeks, he was changing the way he thought about things, was feeling less scared, and enjoying making choices about other dogs he liked or didn't like. Sparky also taught us a lot of fun games to build up his confidence and you could see him really enjoying these. My family and friends have noticed a big difference in Nigel in the time we worked through the program. I would highly recommend PivotalChange.ca for anyone dealing with the complexities of a new rescue - Harrison Nolan
Sparky was recommended to me to help us provide fear & force free, and positive reinforcement program for my dog Sako. He is a big guy and in his first year he has had a couple of incidents which has led him to be aggressive towards other large dogs. He would get really excited at wildlife too, hauling me when on lead. I was hesitant to use an online face-to-face service at first, but after my first phone call with Sparky I felt she knew what we had going on and would be able to help. Sparky was able to teach me effectively how to become Sako's protector, teacher and coach, all through Zoom. She used drawings, videos and presentations, and also her own dog, to show me how to work with Sako and help him not be so fearful outside, to listen more and to remain calm. At one point while I was on a walk, three deer crossed the street and with the training we have learned, Sako was able to watch them cross without any pulling, and keeping his attention on me. I would recommend PivotalChange.ca online program for anyone who wants to see real changes in their dog's lives"
- Greg Ferguson, British Columbia, Canada
Zena was rescued from Attawapiskat, Ontario and I adopted her from the Moosonee Puppy Rescue in Bracebridge. I knew she had at least one litter if not more. I was told other dogs had likely preyed on them. It was heartbreaking, but when I looked at Zena I just knew she was special. We bonded right away but it was clear Zena was very scared and barked like mad at other dogs or people with dogs and we have a lot of foot traffic. She also pulled on leash which was painful. I needed help and found Sparky.
Sparky and Behaviour Tech, Rosemary, made sure to guide me through the program to change Zena's behaviours, and in some cases, mine too. One, or both of them, met with me on nearly a weekly basis and I began to see all the things I needed to learn to help Zena. It was a lot of work. In the weeks to follow I began communicating better and I could see her responding, calming down and looking for help. From setting up a safe spot for her, to helping her when she was upset, to moving her away from the front door and explaining in doggie terms I didn't need her to bark at people. We ran through a lot of practice session with me and Zena to become knowledgeable and gain skills to manage Zena when she was scared.
The program worked. It doesn't just end though. It is a lifetime of health routines that keep my Zena happy and loving her new life. I love this sweet dog and Sparky and Rosemary really helped me make her life better."
- Petra Moore
I chose to work with Sparky because she was recommended by a trainer who said that I needed special help in aggression control. Angel (my dog) had become unsafe with other dogs and small animals – I did not see this behaviour when I first adopted her. Angel was shy and afraid of everything but as she gained confidence some interesting traits started to appear…
Choosing to work with Sparky was a perfect choice for us – she gradually brought me through the training needed to change Angels’ aggressive behaviour so that I wasn’t always on high alert every time we left the house.
Sparky taught me how to walk Angel without the lungeing and pulling that was taking a huge toll on my back and shoulders. All the training was from a place of gentleness and love, her approach is completely force-free. Any unwanted behaviour from Angel was redirected and followed by a positive action that could be praised – so we both could feel good about the training, even when the results weren’t yet in place. I learned a lot! Sparky explained the myths (many) and the facts – I was surprised more than once!
When I began working with Sparky, I was already experienced, I had always had a dog and I thought I knew quite a bit about training but the methods she used were new to me and eventually very successful. I had taken on the challenge of working with Angel, a rescue from the horrors of the Korean Meat Market and she had suffered a lot of physical and emotional trauma. Sparky helped me every visit with new takeaways such as impulse control work on recall, how to reinforce positive behaviour, I was encouraged to PLAY with Angel and challenge her with mental stimulation…. I was shown how to help Angel overcome her fears. Throughout the program, I saw the enormous benefits of spending time and working with my dog. I was incredibly impressed with how well the program worked and how the time and love paid off for both of us. We have made huge progress and I will continue to use her philosophy and training tools.
I highly recommend Sparky’s program for anyone who has a dog with challenging behaviours or who simply wants to see the best possible version of their dog – we get what we give.
Sparky has been so amazing at helping us with our older dog of 10 years who is fearful of other dogs. She is also been helping us integrate our new puppy with our older dog. I don't know what we would have done without her. Other trainers discouraged us from getting a new puppy with our older dog. Sparky has made the transition so smooth and continues to help us recondition our older dogs protective and fearful behaviour. Our 2 dogs can now play and be together which we never thought was possible. Thank you Sparky for all your help!
- Christy Barber
Worried about our dog Katie, we have been delighted with her change. She is a totally different dog, less fearful and more confident. Katie was very aggressive toward other dogs after being attacked 2 years ago. We realized Katie would be willing to fight any dog and knew this would be a problem in our upcoming move to Toronto, where dogs abound. Taking her anywhere, even on walks, had become very stressful. We needed help, and heard about Sparky at PivotalChange.ca. We called to learn more about her services, and it became clear to us on our first call she would be able to help Katie. Now after completing the Behaviour Modification Program, we would highly recommend Sparky’s PivotalChange.ca as the way to go!"
- Mackenzie & Alec
"I had my first full session with Sparky today. She was amazing. She answered all my questions with evidence based responses which really impressed me. Clearly she knows her stuff!" - Dog Lover Lori Vaudry
"Rick and I are very happy with the one on one training that Sparky has been providing. She has taught us many things about our little girl Sadie." - Dog Lovers Jacki & Rick Smith while in program - see below for post-program recommendation.
Sparky came to help our family when we were overcome with issues that we were dealing with regarding Sadie, our lovely Aussie (Australian Shepherd) who was attacked by two dogs during the summer and pulling while on her leash. We had resorted to the shock collar but that did not seem to correct the problem.
It all started with a phone call the middle of September out of desperation. Sparky explained to us she was not your typical trainer, her training is solely based on behavioral training, not using any training devices such as bark collars and shock collars. Our first meeting was at the end of September where Sparky did an assessment of our needs, watch how we all interacted and to get a feeling of what Sadie's requirements were.
The second meeting was on her property and Sparky allowed us to interact with her beautiful dog, Sunshine.
Each meeting consisted of a new tool that we were taught and introduced to Sadie. Sadie enjoyed learning and we enjoyed teaching her.
Sparky showed us the signs to look for and how to work with Sadie to overcome her fear of other dogs and how to control her leash pulling with treats and simple commands and phrases.
We still have work to do with Sadie around other dogs but with the behavioral training that Sparky has provided us we are more in tune with Sadie's responses and how she reacts around other dogs.
Thanks again Sparky.
Jacki, Rick and Sadie.
My husband and I have a mellow 12 year old Lab/Terrier dog, Molly, who is not socialized, and used to being 'the only child.' This winter we decided to adopt Chelsea, a one year old rescue Husky/German Shepard mix with lots of puppy energy. Chelsea saw Molly as a playmate but Molly felt very threatened by her. As a result, we were very concerned that they would get into a fight. Therefore, we kept them separated in our house. We were at a loss as to how to integrate them.
This led us to seeking out Sparky's help. Through her program we learned how to give Molly the assurance she needed. Sparky showed us how to have Molly understand that she was protected by us and NOT vulnerable to what she perceived as Chelsea's threat.
As well, we were guided by Sparky to show Chelsea that she was to leave Molly alone (not to try to engage in rough puppy play).
The end result is that we have a happy home. Molly feels comfortable being around Chelsea, and Chelsea leaves Molly alone. They now share the same areas throughout our house. They are comfortable walking side by side outside too.
Sparky was exceptionally professional at all times; always available for answering our questions along the way.
We have benefited greatly showing Chelsea ways to behave with various methods as building our bond with her.
I particularly enjoy all the positive methods we have learned regarding our training with Chelsea. Our understanding of our dogs' behaviours is greater for this program.
All the best,
Joanne and Fred
Very good appointment, lots of help and positive support from Sparky! I am the one who needs the training as well as the dogs I think they are faster learners than me. LOL! Very Happy with the love and caring shown by Sparky. She is an excellent teacher!" - Dog Lover, Pat Kay - currently in program
Over the holidays, our family remarked on the significant change in our dog, Tilley. She was much more confident, calmer, and well-behaved. We told them we had started working with a Dog Behaviorist, Sparky, who was recommended by one of the local trainers. Sparky placed us into her 3-month program to help Tilley with her fear of cars. She would spin uncontrollably and lunge after cars going by. We also wanted her to walk better, and to stop stealing clothes. The depth of knowledge and training Sparky provided us gave us everything we needed to help Tilley. We are now able to read Tilley's signals and communicate with her more effectively. We know now what is needed to guide and support Tilley through her fears and to show her what we want in a gentle way. We enjoyed the experience working with Sparky and would recommend her to anyone looking for solutions to their dog’s problems.
Carlie & Todd Willford
Now that we have completed the program we would like to express our appreciation.
We were skeptical at the start but we are more than satisfied with all the effort and work you put into helping us better understand our dog’s behavior. And of course, the training we received that showed us how to work with our dog. We learned why our dog behaves the way she does and how we can help her deal with her issues.
We realize that we have a lot more work to do but we are confident with the tools that you provided us, that we will have a more relaxed and happier dog.
We enjoyed the experience and we would highly recommend your services.
Cathy and Bob
When we reached out to Sparky we were concerned about the behaviour with our dog might be a danger to others. We tried training collars, taking advice from others, researching on google what to do, but nothing worked. We engaged Sparky to help us out with her force-free Comprehensive Behaviour Program. Now we have a dog we feel comfortable around. We now get in front of her behaviours before they get out of hand. We also know how to manage new events that might result in her becoming reactive.
The best part about working with Sparky is she was able to explain why our dog was doing what she was doing and how we can help her. We had to make some changes in our life but it was worth it. Throughout the months, Sparky responded back quickly to all our questions and provided great ideas to resolve problems that arose. And, an added bonus, our dog is no longer incontinent which was likely due to her overall anxiousness.
For those considering hiring Sparky to help them, we would definitely recommend her. Make sure she is the first place to go before trying anything else - it will save you time and money and lower your frustration. She will guide you to resolve your dog's behaviour, no matter how challenging.
Mike and Christine Kittl
Working with Sparky and team has taught me so much. Honestly, Abby is a whole different dog. Just amazing"
- Dog Lover, Bev Bogeart
"I met with Sparky about my Yorkshire Terrier who was driving us to despair with his constant barking. We felt we had tried everything. She partnered with us, developed a plan that worked for our family, and then trained and coached us. We were delighted with the results. The difference now is significant with noticeable reduction in his barking, he is more courageous and calm, and just seems happier. Sparky is easy to talk to, explains everything well and was very reassuring that we would have success even when nothing else had worked. We have no hesitation in recommending Sparky."
-Dog Lover Ragan Zilic-Lovegrove
Thank you Sparky for your help with Juneau! Our one-on-one sessions with you have assisted us to better understand what he is communicating, and your training plan to strengthen our bond and positively guide his behaviour is working. We have seen amazing results when we consistently apply the methods, and he absolutely loves the mental stimulation games! "
Dog Lovers, Dan & Tracey Christian