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Clients comment on the power and success of Dave Cugno’s Program:
Here finally, was someone who saw the dog I knew and had the expertise to help me…
I have a beautiful black German Shepherd (Raven) who bit anyone who she thought was suspicious. I adopted Raven from a local shelter and was told ‘she does not like men’. Well that was an understatement! Within a month she had bitten my adult son. A few months later she bit a friend’s roommate. She and I have been kicked out of two dog training classes. I hired someone to do private lessons, but this person would not come close enough to us for me to even hear her over Ravens barking. However, she would not use a muzzle because it was aversive to the dog, she wanted the dog to ‘decide’ not to lunge and bark. After a few expensive visits where she would stand 100 feet away and shout things at me, I had to agree with Raven that she indeed looked suspicious.
I had been advised by experts that ‘her prognosis’ is not good and that she is a danger and should be put down. So, I had pretty much decided that no one would be able to help and I just had to accept Raven the way she was. One day I was looking on the internet and saw videos from David Cugno’s Canine Center. I watched them over and over and finally picked up the phone and called.
When David first met Raven, he asked me to hand him the end of the leash and he took her. For about 6 seconds she barked, lunged, and tried to bite him, but David is and expert so he just walked away with her and she meekly followed!! When he told me that Raven is really a very sweet dog that is just confused about how to behave, I could have cried with relief. Here finally, was someone who saw the dog I knew and had the expertise to help me teach her what to do.
I left Raven for a week of training with David and socialization with dogs and people. The results were obvious immediately. Not to say we were done yet, but she was obviously comfortable and relaxed. For three months Raven and I have gone back for training, I am now a confident owner and Raven knows exactly what to do. She will probably never love strangers, but now she and I both know that she will sit by my side and wait for me to tell her what she should do.
Raven is a happy dog now, when I call her she gets a big happy look and comes running to me like it’s the most fun thing in the world. David taught me simple, effective, fun ways to work with Raven.
In addition to the training, David has boarding for dogs he has trained. The dogs are out all day with other dogs and people. I think of it as a refresher course in people and dog socialization. Now, I can go on trips and know my dogs are happy and well behaved while I’m gone. That is a big relief! My life has gotten much easier in many ways now.
I found you on Facebook and really liked what I saw…
Thank you for your response. Things are settling down here, probably because I did just what you said to do. I check on them often while they’re outside playing, and if one of them starts to get a little too aggressive, I actually talked to them as if they were one of my kids (they are!) and said to them, “Oh now, cut it out, I’m not going to put up with that today” in a stern voice, and wow, they stopped immediately!
Also, we had one month younger pup staying with us temporarily. It seems as though when he went back to his home, things settled down a bit also.
I found you on Facebook. A friend had a video up with you and your (five?) dogs at a park. I checked you out further and really liked what I saw! People almost always recommend Ceasar Millan’s techniques, but I don’t agree with them… I like your way much better!
Again, Thank you for your response. It’s nice to know someone who truly loves and respects dogs!
I cannot tell you how much easier life has been…
Bella has been amazing. She is getting older now (will be 2 next month) but her listening and obedience skills are better than ever. I have been taking her to Valley Forge to go hiking, and we have been seeing a lot of deer. The thing that cracks me up about this is that she doesn’t want to chase them! Some of the deer were very friendly and came right up to us, and she just laid down and watched them-all without me saying or doing anything! She still gets excited when she sees my family, but knows that she will not get her belly rubbed until she calms down. So she sits and waits for everyone to walk in, and then will go lay by their feet.
I cannot tell you how much easier life has been with her since we have been through all of your training. When I look back at it, I can’t believe that we had been coming for lessons for a full year! The difference in her personality when I dropped her off for her initial training and now is incredible. Before I dropped her off, all I could think about was that I might have an aggressive German Shepherd on my hands and had even thought of putting her up for adoption because she was getting so big and I didn’t think I could control her. Now she is the biggest baby and sits by the door until I come home I can’t thank you enough!!!
Dave Cugno has been instrumental in helping my family create a peaceful home…
Dave Cugno has been instrumental in helping my family create a peaceful home. My husband and I proudly adopted two puppies four years ago from a local animal shelter. Since these two puppies were separated from their mother at an unnaturally early age, their traumatic start in life began to contribute to some very undesirable behaviors. So, in anticipation of the upcoming birth of our first child, we knew that we needed help. We attended various dog training classes, were avid watchers of dog training shows on TV and purchased what seemed to be every dog training book on the market, and it all proved near useless. Patrick and Darcy were large, strong dogs and they were quickly becoming out of control. Then came Dave…
Upon meeting our dogs, Dave precisely identified our dogs not as aggressive but extremely insecure. After going through Dave’s training, my husband and I learned how to implement the stability and security that our two once insecure, protective breeds (one German Shepard-Chow mix and one Pit mix) needed to peacefully and gently co-exist in our home. We now witness the amazing human and canine bond between our infant daughter and Patrick and Darcy, and it is one of the kindest relationships that I have been privileged to experience.
My family happily made the drive to Dave from Wilmington, Delaware to attend his poignant lessons. In fact, we were so tickled with the results that we jumped at the opportunity to advance to collar training with both dogs. We happily undertook this expense because of our faith in Dave. His pulse on our family was uncanny. I am now proud to take Darcy, our Pit mix runner, on runs confidently with her collar three times a week. In the past, I used to fear the situations that we might encounter, fearing I could not anticipate how she would react to children, dogs or strangers, but now I am confident in my companion, and know that I am able to provide her with the stability that she needs to react exactly how I need her to in each and every situation.
My family and I are indebted to Dave for what he has provided to our home. We know we are providing our dogs with a good, stable life, and above all they are happy. Our dogs are young and we have a wonderful, long road ahead with our dear companions. What Dave gives to his human and canine companions are invaluable, a truly priceless service.
Dave is a salt of the earth kind of guy. He provides the straight, honest feedback that can only come with the sage wisdom of his experiences. Dave gives you the tools and knowledge that you need to create a peaceful, loving co-existence between humans and canines, and for this I am forever grateful.
The McLeod Family
Dave is the person to use if you want a happy family with a new dog…
Dave Cugno is the most talented dog trainer my husband and I have met (and we have tried many!). To come into his yard and see 80 dogs playing and happy with no growling/barking/fighting is an amazing thing to experience. I highly recommend his training in which you become the pack leader with no reliance on treats. Dave was helpful during and after training including answering many, many of our questions. Dave is the person to use if you want a happy family with a new dog.
If Neptune could talk, he would say ‘Thank You Dave’…
Neptune loves the Cugno Canine Center and so do we. Dave Cugno has taught our family how to give Neptune a happy balanced dog life. Neptune is one of the best trained dogs we have ever met. He comes when called (even off leash), he uses a remote collar, he heals, sits and does down all on command.
We brought our dog, Neptune to Dave at 16 weeks old and we continue to bring our dog for boarding, training and any questions we have along way. Dave is our expert – go to guy! Neptune is 2 years old now and the trust that our family and the Cugno Canine Center have can’t be duplicated. We all feel comfortable and relaxed leaving our dog at the Center. When our dog boards at the Center, I know he is in a controlled environment where he can also have fun and as a bonus our dog’s daily commands are reinforced by the trainers and staff that have contact with Neptune during his stay. Consistency is a principal component to dog training and this is something that can’t be provided by another kennel.
Training a dog is not the easiest nor is it the hardest thing to do but it seems to me that people don’t finish their dog training. We finished! We actually finished (well we continue to train with repetition on a daily basis but I’ll have Dave explain that). Because Dave Cugno was our trainer we got to the finish line. Dave motivated us to continue to work with our dog – even when it was easy to give up – even when it seemed that we came close enough to our goals – Dave took us to our goals and past our training goals. We saw the changes in Neptune’s behaviors as we followed Dave’s instructions and so we kept listening to Dave and we kept witnessing the results in our dog. Dave’s training of us and our dog has produced results. We couldn’t be happier with our choice in bringing Neptune to Dave and the Cugno Center.
Grateful Dog Owners, Bridget & Doug Gustafson
If you’re looking for the best Dog Trainer around, you found him…
Dave has been working with my guy Buddy (Corgi/Cattle Dog mix) and I since 2008. I adopted Buddy from a Rescue back in 2005 and while overall he was well behaved he definitely had some leash aggression issues towards other dogs and some anxiety issues (he constantly chewed up my throw rugs). Taking Buddy for a walk was always an adventure, I am not a small guy but at times Buddy would literally pull me down the street (or if I was not paying attention almost pull my arm off) whenever he saw another dog. And in addition I was looking for a good kennel where I could board him after having some rather bad experiences at other kennels (where Buddy would be penned up most of the day).
I had Buddy go through the training course with Dave and I noticed the difference right away, both in myself and Buddy. Not only did Dave train Buddy he trained me, he taught me how to react to behaviors and situations, how to effectively use commands and the proper response when Buddy would fail. The transformation of Buddy and me was amazing. Walking Buddy was no longer an adventure, Dave taught me how to recognize signals and anticipate situations, the walks became fun. Buddy also benefited greatly from the social aspects. With the training and the social boarding I now have a very happy dog. The anxiety he displayed before has disappeared and my rugs could not be happier. When I go on vacation or out of town I know he is in the best hands and once Buddy realizes where he is going he gets very excited. When I pulled into the parking lot he literally cannot wait to get out of the car because he knows he is going to hang out with his buddies, unlike my experiences with other kennels where I literally had to pull him out of the car.
Because I was so happy with the results Dave and I decided to advance Buddy’s training by introducing a remote collar. Buddy being a highly intelligent Dog (I never realized just how intelligent until Dave trained me) he adapted to the remote collar very quickly. With Dave’s guidance I was able to train Buddy to the point that we now do not use a leash when we go for a walk. This same dog who used to literally pull my arm off is now walking with me without a leash!!!! Sure he still gets excited when he sees other dogs, only now he is completely under control and his urge to bolt after them gone.
I have recommended Dave Cugno to family, friends and co-workers looking for help with their dog. I could not be happier with the results and with the transformation I have seen both in myself and Buddy. If you’re looking for the best Dog Trainer around, you found him and his name is Dave Cugno.
Bob Muller & Buddy
We wish we would have known about Dave a lot sooner. He is a miracle worker in our eyes…
We would like to take this time to thank Dave for the great job he has done with the training of our dog Lucy (an almost 3 year old mixed yorkie/cairn terrier). Lucy has what everyone calls the “small dog syndrome”. She would display aggressive behavior when another dog or person would go by (whether she was in the back yard, walking or riding in the car). We couldn’t invite anyone into the house without placing her in her crate, for fear that she would bite someone.
One day, this past March, I was talking to a co-worker and telling her how frustrated I was because of the situation with Lucy. She told me about Dave and that she had taken one of her dogs there a few years ago and she was in the process of taking her new pup there for training. At this point we were willing to try anything. We called Dave and he told us that he wasn’t a miracle worker, but would do his best. After 2 weeks we went back to get Lucy to find out that she was a different dog than what she was when we dropped her off. Since then we’ve been working with Dave and have gained an abundance of knowledge. We apply that knowledge in our daily training sessions with Lucy. She’s not “perfect” but is a lot closer to it now. We still have some work to do, but the results are remarkable. We wish we would have known about Dave a lot sooner. He is a miracle worker in our eyes.
Dave is so patient and his compassion for what he does is incredible. He is always working with the dogs and their owners. We know that if we ever have a question about the direction in which Lucy is going that we can always call him for advice.
Prior to hearing about Dave, we had been through 2 other trainers, a dog psychologist, and our vet placed her on Clomicalm. (Dave, we haven’t told you yet but, thanks to you, Lucy has been completely weaned off of the Clomicalm. Something we never thought would be possible.)
We are very grateful for Dave’s guidance and expertise.
Ceece, Kathy & Lucy
From this experience with Dave, I learned so much about dogs and realized that…
I met Dave Cugno several years ago after adopting an insecure and nervous dog from the PSPCA. My dog was around 2 years old and labeled as extremely dog aggressive, to many a lost cause. We went through other well known trainers in Philadelphia with little to no success. Through much time and dedication, Dave helped teach my husband and I the tools we needed to help get my dog to where he is today; a happy and well balanced individual who is incredibly friendly to both people and dogs. From this experience with Dave, I learned so much about dogs and realized that with the proper knowledge, experience and dedication, every dog has it in them to be a great dog and an awesome companion. After this, I felt confident to use what Dave taught me to start fostering dogs for both PAWS and the PSPCA. For a girl who used to be terrified of bully breeds, I was able to pull some of the hardest cases that involved pit bulls and along with much guidance from Dave take them in my home. With Dave and my own dog by my side- we were able to help get these dogs the strength and foundation they needed to be successfully placed into a forever home. I am so happy to have Dave as a support; he helped us develop my own dog into an amazing companion and without Dave I never would have successfully fostered dogs from Philly shelters.
Danielle Target Land
You have a gift to be able to understand what a dog needs AND how to…
Dave…You ARE a true, honest to goodness Dog Whisperer. Not the guy on TV-(who I love, admire and respect), but the guy who fills in the missing parts of the relationship between human and dog. You have a gift to be able to understand what a dog needs AND how to give the human the ability to understand and follow through with what they need. PLUS…You make it so easy-as long as you do it the way it’s taught by you. My favorite Quote from you is…”If you do it my way, you won’t have to keep correcting the problem, it won’t be a problem anymore” . It’s amazing-you’re amazing for sharing your knowledge and your gift-Thank you from me and my dogs who who you’ve helped so much!
Ilene, Lucy and Madison Mankes
He’s able to go to the park, be off the leash and enjoy sniffing in the woods…
Chris and I are extremely happy with how well our Lab, Auggie, has responded to the remote collar. We originally wanted the collar since we live an area where yards are small, but open park spaces are abundant and we wanted to take advantage of the areas for him to run around. However, if we were going to let him off the leash we wanted to be sure that he’d listen to our commands.
When we started, we just viewed the remote as an invisible leash. However, after working with you and getting to understand things from the dog’s point of view, we can’t imagine owning a dog and not having it. Auggie responded great and we were able to nip those common puppy behaviors of barking, nipping and jumping on visitors quickly. We’ve even been able to stop his sock stealing habit! Plus, without even being a year old he’s able to go to the park, be off the leash and enjoy sniffing in the woods or chasing his tennis ball.
Thank you so much for all of your help and if you need anything else in the future, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Dave’s approach is less about getting your dog to do a lot of obedience “tricks”…
I came to Dave Cugno with three small dogs who were driving me crazy with their barking, anxiety around other dogs, peeing in the house, and chewing up everything in sight. I had already been through obedience classes at other facilities and had consulted with other trainers, but I was still struggling to maintain order in my house and, worse, to just enjoy my dogs.
When I initially started working with Dave the first thing I noticed was that he never stops moving and that he talks quickly and non-stop. The second thing I noticed was that he knows his stuff. Once I got used to his style and realized that I can easily jump in with questions and requests for further clarification, the training process was easy. If I had questions or concerns during the week, Dave responded promptly to my calls or email and spent a lot of time on the phone with me to make sure I understood and felt comfortable with his answers and suggestions.
Throughout the training process, the primary focus was establishing myself as the pack leader. I was given some basic house rules to enforce – very straightforward and easy to implement – which made a tremendous difference right away. Then I was given a progression of weekly assignments for working with my dogs that made sense and were very manageable time-wise. Over a period of months, I met with Dave every week or two to go over what I had been working on the previous week(s) with my dogs and to learn the next step in our training.
Dave’s approach, unlike other trainers I had worked with, is less about getting your dog to do a lot of obedience “tricks”, and more about helping you create a relationship with your dogs so that they see you as their pack leader. This, in turn, will help you and your dogs resolve (or avoid) many of the common behavioral issues that people have with their dogs.
Today, I can honestly say that I truly enjoy my dogs and do not feel any of the stress that I once felt with them. I am much more confident in my ability to handle my dogs and any future situation that might arise. Without reservation, I highly recommend working with Dave Cugno. I can’t imagine owning another dog without going through this program.
You can completely trust David, he has an extensive knowledge about dog and dog training…
I have a 2-and-a-half year old beautiful German Shepherd that I’ve had since he was 8 weeks old. I could tell that by the age of 4 months Bailey is going to be a difficult and stubborn dog, that is why I hired (and changed) trainers 4 times. None of the trainers I had 1- understood Bailey and 2-their methods just did not work because he would find ways to go around them (he was able to outsmart the humans).
Finally, by word of mouth I heard of David Cugno and I told myself that he will be my last resort, pretty much if he can’t ‘fix’ my dog, I will have to live with him the way he is. By then, Bailey was a year-and-half.
To be clear, Bailey is the best/smartest dog, however, he had major issues with other dogs (barking and growling) and has always been very protective of me and my husband. He also had some leadership issues, even though I was doing (what I thought) was best and followed all the traditional leadership rules. Bailey was the dog that I could not walk with next to another dog, because he would charge and bark, pulling on the leash. In addition, he did not like to take ‘no’ for an answer, so after I was done playing with him, he would keep trying and putting his toys on my lap. He had other minor issues, that only reflected the fact that he is not a confident dog and feels he’s the one in charge. I can honestly say that David is THE BEST dog trainer around and I just really wish that I had found him when Bailey’s issues started to come out. I told myself that ANY other dog I have in the future will go to David no matter what. David understands how Bailey’s mind works and he is able to teach me and my husband how to treat and train Bailey so he is the dog that I know he can be.
If you expect to bring your dog to David’s and that with no effort, all issues will be fixed – you are wrong. There is ‘homework’ and you have to work on your dog on your own time. I live over an hour away and spent quite a lot of time driving to see David (because it was so completely worth it) and working with Bailey. But after a few months I started to see Bailey’s potential. But I was diligent and following ALL the rules David set and followed his instructions to the dot.
You can completely trust David, he has an extensive knowledge about dog and dog training. He will give you a perfect dog, if you are willing to put in the time and effort to work at it too.
Now, Bailey is a happy and more confident 2-and-a-half year old Shepherd. I can walk him around other dogs and know that he will not bark or growl. In addition, when guests come over, Bailey is not running to the door to greet them. I tell him to lie down, and he will not move, until I release him. This allows my guests to come in, settle in, and only when I choose, Bailey will come to say hello. He also understands that I (and my husband) set the rules and he must follow them.
We are completely happy and 200% satisfied with David. You will be too.
Dora and Andy Wong
He simply obeys because he has been taught to obey…
I’d like to share a moment with you which happened recently at our local dog park, which occurred while our 8 year old daughter Rachel and I were having fun amongst a pack of dogs with our miniature pinscher Bailey. What is most significant about the moment is that it is one that I couldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams even just a few short months ago, and which only occurred because of your incredible training techniques, your absolute commitment to enhancing the relationships between dogs and their owners, and your conviction in your pupils (of both the two-legged and four-legged variety).
The moment goes like this: amongst a pack of 30 to 40 dogs, my daughter and I, standing perhaps 100 yards apart, are taking turns calling Bailey to “come” and watching him sprint from one of us to the other, and upon arrival, sitting perfectly beside the left foot of the person who called. After being congratulated with a “Good Boy, Bailey!”, the other of us would command him to come and he would sprint 100 yards back to be congratulated again. What is unique about the situation wasn’t just that Bailey was behaving exactly as he was instructed (a huge feat all by itself) but that he was perfectly tuned into our training even amongst a pack of 30 to 40 dogs. As you know, one of Bailey’s bad habits (or was it one of ours?) had been that his innate protective behavior made him anxious and aggressive when around other dogs. Here he was just a few months after his training and he was actually enjoying the drill and was oblivious to the dogs around him, behaving perfectly.
The crowning moment occurred later, when a stranger came up to us to comment on how she had never seen a better trained dog and that she couldn’t believe that he was taking commands, happily and equally, from myself and from an 8 year old child.
These types of moments happen regularly now with Bailey. And our thanks go out to you for the work you have done with us. Moreover, it is during moments like these where I’m reminded of certain statements you made to our entire family during the training process which were so difficult to believe at the time and that have been proven absolutely true.
I am reminded, first, of you explaining to us that “an obedient, well-trained dog is rewarded by getting more freedom, not less”. When our training started, we naively thought we were going to break Bailey’s spirit when, in fact, as a result of the training, he is enjoying freedoms he absolutely would have never known had he not been brought to you. Bailey travels off leash, he enjoys the dog park, he travels in our car, all because he is well trained. He did none of those things prior to his training.
I am reminded of your seemingly surreal conviction that the result of Bailey’s training would not be that he listens “some of the time” or “most of the time” but once trained properly he will respond (and I can hear your voice as I type this) “100 Per Cent Of the Time”. Again, this was a reality we never would have dreamed of.
I am reminded of you promising that once Bailey was trained properly in general that it would translate to virtually everything we ask of him. In other words, as promised, Bailey would no longer decide between the commands he obeys verses the ones he doesn’t obey. He simply obeys because he has been taught to obey.
And finally, I am reminded of you promising that by utilizing beeper training (which, for all of the wrong reasons, we at first avoided) that the “beep” would make everyone’s voice “equal” so that Bailey would respond equally to everyone in our family. Since it was our youngest daughter’s goal to train Bailey so he could some day be off-leash, it was fitting that the praise we got that day at the dog park was said in front of Rachel. It validated her belief in Bailey and it validated your promise that, once trained, everyone’s voice in the family would be respected equally by Bailey.
You were honest with us in your earliest meetings and training about Bailey’s stubbornness. You were clear about what we needed to do as a family to change his behavior. And you were accurate in predicting the results. For all of this, our family thanks you. We now have a happier dog that has great freedom, who is more at ease and less anxious, and that knows and respects his place in our family. And as seemingly unbelievable as it may be, he is a dog that when in public, stands out in a crowd for his great behavior and evokes unsolicited compliments from strangers. We all have come such a long way.
Please feel free to share our “moment” with any prospective clients you meet. We are some of your biggest fans and we are so glad to have worked with you!
Michael and Kara Marciano – Wayne, PA
We have gotten so many compliments on how well behaved our dogs are…
We have been working with Dave Cugno for over a year. We were in a situation where we needed to gain control over our two four-year old Akita’s. They had been to training before, but nothing like what they have experienced with Dave. It was to the point where I couldn’t walk my own dog because of how powerful he was. We wanted to learn the basics and talk the same langauge. They knew some tricks and were naturally good dogs, but I wanted to know how to the best owner to this specific breed so that we could all live more happily, and that is what Dave taught us. We started with the basic training at home, which the dogs learned very quickly. The great thing about Akita’s is that they are very smart and very loyal, so training did not feel like a chore. After they learned the basics, they both went to what we refer to as “doggie-camp” for 10 days, separately. They had never been separated, so this was a new experience for all of us. When we picked them up, they didn’t sprint to greet us, and jump all over us. They looked to Dave for direction, and were composed. I was shocked. Once we took them home, they remembered all of what was focused on in training, and it made such a difference. I could actually walk my own dog. It was fantastic! Since then, we have gotten so many compliments on how well behaved our dogs are, and how well they listen to us. We are very grateful to have the knowledge of how to best work with our dogs.
Doreen & Mike Korba
Dave taught us a lot about the psychology of dogs…
It is our pleasure to write this recommendation for Dave Cugno and tell of our experience with him and our dog, Riley. Riley is a 2 year old German Shepherd, and just about this time last year we did some extensive traveling with him. We became concerned about his behavior when we realized that, while friendly, he was jumping on people and was very excitable. While on vacation, we realized that his barking at other dogs, his tendency to jump, and his excitability made him scary to people we encountered. One man we encountered while traveling commented “So, you have an aggressive one there.” While he is a very sweet natured dog, we needed more help to train Riley so that others could see the sweet, smart dog we knew was there.
We went through another training program prior to this so he had basic skills (he was even a Canine Good Citizen), we were looking for something more intense. At first we were very skeptical of a training program that made you leave your dog for an extensive period, but once we met Dave, we knew Riley would be in good hands. We received a report within the first couple of days that Riley was doing very well, and responding to the training. We were nervous when we picked him up 10 days later, but immediately noticed a difference.
We had been very anxious about being able to keep up with the training, but Dave was able to work us through these fears, and was very attentive to our needs through the process. He very deliberately explained why he was doing things a certain way with Riley, and furthermore he taught us a lot about the psychology of dogs . . .which made a lot of sense to us and reinforced that we were doing the right thing in order to have a dog that was not only well behaved, but happy!! It was important for us to understand that we had to be comfortable with the process in order for Riley to be successful, and Dave was able to drive this home with us in a firm but understanding manner.
Dave has remained in very close contact with us, and has worked with us on remote training Riley as well. Again, while initially very nervous, our fears were quelled when he took the time (and it was a lot of time for this!) to explain the theories behind it.
It is evident upon first meeting Dave that he has a passion for dogs, and tolerates their owners well!!! We put him through the ringer with our endless questions, fears, and constant barrage of “what if’s”. Since meeting him and working with him, Dave has remained a steady presence in our lives, and has shown that his relationship with us did not end after the initial training. His investment in making sure that we understand the process and have a good relationship with our dogs (we have two German Shepherds, though only one went through the training program on campus) has been priceless.
We are happy to report that we just returned from a weeklong vacation filled with rest stops, other dogs, and situations that last year would have taxed Riley…and us. Not only did Riley do great with his training during these times, but he looked happy and content. What resulted was a great vacation for us, and Riley, and our other dog Addie. This has showed us that our confidence in our ability to be good pack leaders has strengthened the bond between us and our dogs, and allowed for a greater experience as a family.
We look forward to our continued work with Dave and would be happy to provide any additional information to someone interested in knowing more about our experiences with Dave.
Suzanne Muench and Jennifer Sisum
Dave’s intense passion, high energy, and true love of dogs are evident as soon as you meet him…
We have been happily working with Dave Cugno since January 2010. We brought our dog Jackson to meet Dave after being frustrated with Jackson’s behavior as well as some previous trainers’ strategies and advice. During our first meeting with Dave, he was able to befriend Jackson, who is normally wary of strangers, by getting him to lay down on his side and be pet. We were immediately impressed and knew we had found someone special!
Dave is not a dog trainer. He is not just interested in teaching Jackson to “sit” or “come.” Instead, he is concerned with the “whole dog,” or Jackson’s well-being in general. Over the past few months, it has become apparent that Dave truly cares about Jackson and wants him to be the best dog that he can be. He did not search for a quick fix for Jackson’s issues, but rather a long-term strategy to make him a healthy and balanced dog.
Dave also cares deeply about our satisfaction. He has committed to working with us as long as we want, or until we are happy with the results of our efforts. Dave is extremely dedicated to his chosen profession. His intense passion, high energy, and true love of dogs are evident as soon as you meet him. Dave never gives less that his best during each training session we have.
We still have more work to do with Jackson, but we are confident that with Dave’s direction and unending support, Jackson can be a better dog. We know this is only the beginning of a long relationship with Dave. Thank goodness we found him!
Jen and Kyle Dyer
We will continue to recommend Dave to everyone we know…
Congratulations on your next chapter of dog training and business from Whisky and the Murray family! We will continue to recommend you to everyone we know as you have been wonderful with Whisky. Our wacky Wheaten has not always been easy and you have been there to graciously help us with every challenge along the way (anxiety, new babies, etc.).
Kristin Moses Murray
As Dave puts it, a dog is happiest when he accepts you as the leader…
When we came to Dave we were at our wit’s end with Aiko, our 7 year old Akita.
For years I’d struggled to get his behavior under control; his dog aggression issues, his incessant leash-pulling, his dominant behavior towards guests and most recently, nipping my girlfriend on the shoulder. Having a big dog like Aiko can be a liability, and I knew I needed help.
I had read countless books on dog training, from the Monks of New Skeet to Caesar Milan, and we had tried other trainers before. Puppy Kindergarten, Socialization, one-on-one training. I knew a lot about dog behavior and training, but I couldn’t understand why things just weren’t working. Pretty much every trainer we saw was overwhelmed with Aiko and it was clear that they couldn’t do much to help us.
I’ll admit that at first I thought that when I plopped down the money for the dog training and Aiko spent 10 days with Dave and his team, that he would be “trained” when I got him back. Not the case, that just isn’t the way training works when you have a dog with 7 years of bad habits (or any dog, really). But we worked slowly, and I was thrilled that Dave offered to work with us for as many sessions as it took for us to get his behavior under control. Dave really cared and wanted both us and Aiko to be happy. As Dave puts it, a dog is happiest when he accepts you as the leader, and I wanted that to be the case for both our sake.
Now, I’m not going to say that Aiko’s behavior is perfect, but it has improved a lot. He may never be a friend to other dogs, but many of his issues have gotten drastically better and I’m very hopeful that with consistency on our part, he will keep getting better.
Dave may strike you as a little odd, but I think that’s because he’s actually part dog. He seems to be able to instinctively understand what is going through a dog’s head and why he’s doing what he’s doing. He may not always be able to explain it to you, but he will tell you what to do, and lead by example. The more I see him work with Aiko, the better I understand how I need to change in my attitude toward the dog and training in general.
Training is a lifelong commitment to your dog, and we’re glad that we have Dave to help us get through. Our dog may be one of the most stubborn he’s come across, but Dave doesn’t scare off. I’m glad that we finally have someone we can trust to help us.
Now he absolutely listened to whatever we said…
We got our dog Spider, a Portuguese Water dog, in June of 2004 when he was four months old. Our family of four – myself, my husband, and our two boys aged 10 and 12 -fell immediately in love with him. We went straight to dog training classes, as we had been advised, and he did beautifully- he came, sat, heeled etc. just as he was taught.
But slowly over the next months he took over our house. He jumped up on anyone who entered the room, and most alarmingly began nipping constantly. It got so bad that I worried about having my children’s friends over for fear that he might bite them. One day while my younger child was running outside Spider jumped up on him and bit his shirt tearing in two! Although it still all seemed playful, it was out of control……Then he actually bit our electrician…. That was when we called you. Spider was half way out our door.
We left Spider with you for ten days over winter-break in December 2004. I was not very hopeful as I felt we had already done all the training that we could. You were very relaxed and supportive and totally confident, telling me that this would be an easy job! You returned a totally different dog to us than the one that we left. He was still loving and fun and smart as he had always been, but now he absolutely listened to whatever we said. We followed through with five weeks of classes which seemed to solidify everything that you taught him the nipping has never again been a problem.
When ever we notice that he is starting to run the show again we return to insisting on at least one thirty minute sit-stay per day with more formal heeling commands and he quickly remembers who is boss! Before we brought him to you we had totally given up on entertaining, now he can sit through a dinner party at my husband’s side without moving! Of course, most of the time he is running around and having fun. So thank you so much. We are forever grateful. Do let us know when you are ready to do your magic with human children!
Dave had seemingly “re-set” the clock and gave us the opportunity to start afresh…
After a year of meticulously researching and attempting various training methods, we were almost resigned to being pulled down the street by our very energetic Old English Sheepdog. We’d also given up on the hope of inviting visitors into the house without having to put Henry in another room. He could sit, stay, down, et cetera, but he didn’t get that the rest of the time he couldn’t do whatever he pleased. We figured we’d give it one last try, but otherwise we’d just use a gentle leader to walk Henry and we’d keep him separated from guests.
After two weeks [with Dave], Henry was ready for us to start expecting more from him. Dave explained to us that we would still have a lot of “history” to overcome with Henry, but as we followed Dave’s instructions over the next few weeks and months, we realized that we truly did have a new relationship with Henry. Dave had seemingly “re-set” the clock and gave us the opportunity to start afresh and interact with Henry as positive leaders. We were amazed!
Two months later, Henry no longer strains to pull forward during every step of our walks (we still have some work to do, but Dave continues to help us with that!), he comes to us when we call him, not only at home, but also in a dog park full of his canine friends, and he lets visitors to our home get settled before he calmly allows himself to be pet. Henry is obviously more relaxed – he knows what he’s supposed to be doing and what his role is – and we get to see his goofy, eager-to-please personality. We are grateful for Dave’s guidance and expertise, and appreciate the deep shift that has occurred in our relationship with Henry because of his continually high expectations for us.
Sam & Katrina
People are now asking me if she is the same dog they met a year prior…
I just wanted to take the opportunity to thank Dave for the great work he has done with the training of both my dogs, Katie and Misty. Nothing is more rewarding than to hear someone say, “Wow, your dog is so well behaved. I want one just like your dog.” Or “I wish my dog was as well behaved as your dog.” I always respond by saying you need to take your dog to [Dave]. I have known Dave for almost 5 years now and during that time he has always been a great resource for me whenever I have encountered problems with either of my dogs. His consistency and determination helped me to stay focused and stick with the program. My dog Misty had serious socialization issues when she came into our home. However, since entering the training program, she has improved vastly. So much so, that people are now asking me if she is the same dog they met a year prior.
Monica R. Buck
Dave is practically a miracle worker…
I am writing to commend you for your amazing efforts with our dog Leo. We adopted him from a Rescue in Virginia where we live, not knowing how badly he had been abused by his previous owners. Leo had the worst case of fear-aggression any trainer had ever seen. This dog was way more than we could handle. Constantly biting, howling in fear, and wild behavior. We boarded Leo with Dave with incredible results. Leo was not biting, losing control of his bowels, and was just happier knowing some basic commands when we picked him up. Dave treated Leo and us with respect and kindness. I will recommend Dave to anyone who has a ‘problem-dog’ or any dog who may only need a little help, as he is practically a miracle worker and has patience beyond any trainer we have ever worked with. Dave is an expert, and his knowledge of dog behavior is incredible. Thank you Dave!
John and Ariana Gillette – Mclean, VA
[Our dog] has shown vast improvement in her ability to be calm in the presence of other dogs…
We would like to let you know the profound transformation Inga has undergone since she (and we) began your training this spring. As you know, Inga is a three-year-old German Shepherd/Husky mix who we adopted at an adoption fair.
When we brought her home, we were struck at first by her love for people, and especially children, but we were horrified at her leash aggression towards other dogs. It got so bad that we were afraid to walk her on the streets where we live by the Philadelphia Art Museum. On more than one occasion, Inga bit each of us, and other family members who were walking her while trying to control her. She constantly pulled on her leash, and out of frustration we were very close to throwing in the towel. Since your training, Inga has shown vast improvement in her ability to be calm in the presence of other dogs. Recently we took her to the dog field by Boat House Row. There were at least 20 other dogs either playing freely or on leash. Inga obeyed our commands to sit, get down, and stay down, even in the very close presence of these other dogs. We were able to chat with the other dog owners without any concern about her conduct.
No doubt, your coaching to us on the ways to be alpha around Inga has made all the difference. Thanks for making our (and her) experience an enjoyable one.
Josh Sarner & Nancy Pratt
They not only help out their four legged clients, they help their two legged clients just as well…
Dave trained our Vizsla Ranger when he was 9 months old. We have been clients for almost 2 years. Ranger LOVES the daycare and our family vacations. He knows when we pull up that he is off to a week vacation of his own. While we are away we are always confident that Ranger is out playing for hours on end with other dogs and getting the best care and exercise ever.
Since we found [Dave] we have zero guilt about leaving for an hour, day, night, weekend or week. The entire crew is always nice, helpful and all are fabulous dog handlers. The transport service made a great place ever better. I had the sad situation where we needed to find a new home for our second dog. [They] helped post an adoption ad on their website for us; they not only help out their four legged clients, they help their two legged clients just as well.
Stacey & Jim Francis – Merion Station, PA