"Approximately 10 months ago we were blessed with our Maggie. I knew from the beginning we both need a little guidance. Before Maggie, our family consisted of two dachshunds (Lilly and Gracie) and a "labeagle" (Abbie) (she's a lab that came out of a beagle) lol... Well Abby had a lot of energy and needed a playmate. And boy did she get one!! Which was fine until Maggie turned territorial and selfish. She would pick fights with Lilly and Gracie over practically anything. Well I couldn't have any of that.... Our family is loving and cuddly.... Not vicious and mean. So I turned to the Internet for help in my area. No luck. I noticed on Facebook there was German shorthair groups... Lucky enough I found Sandy at windy ridge farms. I knew this was the right choice instantly. It was hard leaving Maggie 4 hours away but it was well worth it. I waited two weeks before visiting. Right away I noticed her behavior improve greatly. After the 4th week I was completely amazed! When we brought her home... Everyone found new respect for her. She found her place in my pack and haven't had any issues since. I myself have learned so much about this particular breed and I know now how important it is to keep her busy or she'll keep herself busy and I might not like her idea of fun... "--Ann F. St.Clair Shores, MI
"I remember meeting Sandy as I was checking out all the dog training books and stuff I needed to get before picking up my new adopted Chocolate Lab puppy. She must have noticed how nervous I was since it had been almost 20 years since I trained a dog. Back then it was all choke collar and make them mind kind of attitude.I know I panicked when she said we needed to introduce Kahlua to 100 different people in the first 30 days. We lived on ten acres in the country and I don't think I could have found that many people in six months. From that day to even now I follow what she says. Even though I no longer live close, I still call her for advice. When I got a second rescue Chocolate Lab 2 1/2 years later the first person I called was Sandy. I wanted more lessons. She told me I knew what to do just as before. She was right.My Kahlua is 9 and Mocha is 6. They are my shining stars." -Chris M. Haslett,
We first got Hyfe when he was only 5 weeks old. We knew that was a little to young to get a puppy but viewed it as a bit of a rescue situation as we were concerned about his environment. We assumed that the environment we would provide would make up for the fact that he was leaving his mother and siblings at such a young age. Boy were we wrong! All was fine for the first 2 weeks, but as Hyfe approached 7-8 weeks old, he started demonstrating some concerning behaviors. He was very protective of his toys and would snarl and growl at anyone who tried to get near him. It got so bad that he actually badly bit my middle daughter as she merely walked past him as he was playing with one of his toys. It was more than a nip. It left a compete set of bloody teeth marks in her foot. Not knowing how to deal with this behavior, we started trying various approaches, all of which only made things worse. As he got older he started chewing and biting us anywhere he could get ahold of us. He would jump, dive, lunge, whatever it took to sink his teeth into our flesh. And then he would not let go. He shredded our clothes, ours shoes, our skin. It became extremely aggravating and painful. And no amount of scolding would stop him. We started researching his problem behaviors and realized that he was lacking in many social skills he would have learned had he stayed with his family through the 8 week developmental time frame. We read all the interventions and tried them all. All to no avail. Things continued to get worse. There started becoming more aggression toward all of us but me especially. He would jump at me and be bristled up and show his teeth. He would start to play and his play would turn mean. And the biggest problem was not just that he was becoming aggressive. He was becoming a rather large dog. Much bigger than we anticipated. He is half German Shepherd and grew very big very fast. So his biting and jumping and aggression was very painful. I started to dislike Hyfe. I didn’t trust him. I started wanting to give him away. I had never felt this way about an animal in my life but I truly could not stand him. I feared he would bite one of the girls. So I called a dog trainer I knew. He was not able to work with Hyfe due to health reasons so he talked me through some things over the phone. He said I was describing a fearful dog. I hadn’t realized it, but he was in fact afraid. He was afraid of me, he was afraid of my husband, he was even afraid to leave the deck by himself to go to the bathroom and often just potted right on the deck. He was afraid of everything. And it was being expressed as aggression. But despite my new understanding of him, nothing the trainer told me worked. So he referred me to Sandy at Windy Ridge Farm. I called her in desperation. Most dog trainers don’t want to take dogs away from their home to train because it’s important to train the owner with the dog in the natural environment. I understood that, but just needed to get this dog away from me. I needed a break. Sandy was very understanding and sympathetic and offered to take Hyfe for us for a session of training right then and again when he was around 9 months old. I was relieved. His training the first session was great. He learned some basic commands, which came in handy, but mostly he learned to connect with me to follow my commands, which had never happened before. We still had lots of problems, but I saw an improvement, which gave me hope. We decided to keep Hyfe a little while longer and see where things went. I knew I couldn’t give him away to just anyone because he would not be treated well. He was a dog with a lot of issues. So we kept trying. By 8 months, Hyfe was starting to have big problems again. He was very large by then so he was much scarier when he had his episodes. Most of his problems came when I was trying to put him on a leash or tie him up outside. He would jump all over me in a very dominating way. I would push him off, get upset and emotional, and he would come back for more. He would almost knock me over because he would lunge at me and jump on me. I called Sandy again. She was ready to take him for his second round of training. She started to see what he was doing to me and realized he needed some firm boundaries. He didn’t understand me and I didn’t understand him and we were becoming a volatile combination. She kept Hyfe for about 2-3 weeks this time. The last week I came over every night so she could train he and I together. The first night was awful. I was disappointed and worried. The next night was amazingly different. And things only improved from there. Hyfe still has issues and lacks appropriate dog social skills. But he is learning and trying everyday. He and I have developed a love and a bond I never saw coming. Sandy gave us something that’s hard to explain. The only way I can put it is, she gave us a language we can speak together. We had never had that. We could never connect with each other and now all of a sudden we could. I am now able to see past all the emotion and bad behavior to the real heart of this dog. And while he will never be the perfectly socialized dog due to his early separation from his family, he is a dog who has made his place in our family. We know his shortcomings and help him cope with them. We know when he is ready to face a new situation and we know when he is not, and allow him his space. We have been able to set firm boundaries for him, which gives him confidence and trust. But most of all, we have a language we can speak to each other. And we owe it all to Sandy at Windy Ridge Farm. She has been our life saver! She stays in constant connection with me, answering my questions, listening to my worries, and equipping me with new skills. She is hands down the best trainer, and we will forever be indebted to her. Thank you Sandy!! --Kristi S, Tustin, MI
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Windy Ridge Farm
Serving Northern Michigan including Traverse City, Cadillac
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