rds someone; it’s hard to find the words to properly express the impact they have had on your life. Anyone who is relatively close to our family knows that our wheaten terrier Emmitt stole our hearts the moment we set eyes on him 4 years ago. He has brought so much love and happiness into our home but it hasn’t been an easy journey. Emmitt has always been what we would call a “free spirit”—essentially he didn’t listen, was crazy hyper and at times showed aggressive behavior towards other dogs and humans (only in our immediately family) that was cause for concern. As you can imagine, once our daughter was born, her well-being and safety became paramount and we struggled with correcting Emmitt’s behavior. After meeting with countless trainers with no results, things reached a breaking point this summer and we were literally days away from re-homing Emmitt when we decided to try one last approach.
We met our dog trainer Steve Del Savio several months ago when we did a 1 on 1 training session with him in our home. He was amazing and honest—the reality is if you don’t apply what you are taught during these sessions, then they are essentially a waste of time (and money). After working with us for a few hours and evaluating the severity of Emmitt’s behavior, Steve recommended his board and train program. As a protective mama I wasn’t ready—I’m embarrassed to admit this but I didn’t want to send Emmitt away with him–I couldn’t bear the thought of him scared and heartbroken and away from our loving home. As Emmitt’s behavior worsened, Brian and I had a decision to make—do we give it a go or say goodbye to our first baby? We just couldn’t say goodbye. We spoke with Steve and decided to send Emmitt to him for 3 weeks. The great thing about his program is that you are incorporated into the training so your dog associates you with the new rules and boundaries being put into place. I’ll spare you all of the details but the change in our dog has been the most incredible thing to witness. Steve didn’t’ just teach Emmitt, he taught me and Brian how to be dog owners—we were clueless. He showed me that loving a dog isn’t all about hugs and kisses. Animals need boundaries, guidance and exercise and with these things in place our Emmitt has soared. We are stopped on the street all of the time by people commenting on his amazing behavior, our vet didn’t believe it was the same dog and the veterinarian assistant actually contacted Brian for Steve’s contact information for help with her unruly Pitbull. Our family and friends marvel at how far he has come but we know that we have to continue to put in the time and work to keep him on this successful path. We are so incredibly happy to have been able to keep our family together and the reality is we couldn’t have done it without Steve and his honest approach. We will be forever grateful. If you are reading this and have a troubled dog, I beg you don’t give up on them. Realize you can’t do it alone and call Steve–he works throughout NJ and NY. I promise you won’t be disappointed.