Danielle Moretti | Dog Owner

For my son’s 9th birthday I bought him a miniature pincher and shitzu mix puppy.  Bruno is now 6 months old and 17 pounds and full of energy!  We have never owned a dog before and to say the least struggled with puppy behavior!

Without knowing how to train a dog I looked into puppy classes that were either overpriced or not within our busy schedule.

When I connected with Tommy he was more than willing to help train Bruno and help me with any problems I was experiencing.  I was becoming frustrated with not only my dogs behavior, but also his safety because his specialty was running into the road and down the street.

Tommy invested his one-on-one attention to Bruno everyday. Within a weeks time, most of my daily frustrating issues were solved. Bruno now stays in our yard, walks perfectly on his leash, has stopped having accidents in the house, and now responds to my commands. More importantly we can enjoy Bruno as part of our family now that the education and basis of understanding my dog has been set.

I am extremely grateful for the training Tommy gave to Bruno and myself, and it is comforting to know he was just not another number in a class. His education was not only thorough, but it was consistent, and it is comforting to know any questions in the future are only a phone call away.

Kimberly Failing | Dog Owner

I am the proud owner of a Great Dane named Abby.

Abby and I have been together since she was 12 weeks old.  She was a wonderful puppy – very playful, extremely loving with myself and the rest of her family, and enjoyed everyday romping in the backyard; however, whenever the neighbors would visit to say hello, she was always very standoffish.  She would bark and bark and, you guessed it, bark at them.

I became very frustrated with constantly having to keep her in the house, unsure of her reactions to neighbors outside.  When a guest would visit, Abby was not allowed to meet them.  I was just too hesitant as to what may happen.

I decided she needed some training, so we went to puppy classes when she was 6 months old, it was a very pristine place with many puppies, in a group setting of about 10 people and 10 dogs.  Now, Abby loved playing with the other dogs, and definitely out-weighed them, being that at 6 months she was about 50 lbs., but they all played.  No fights at all with her.

During the class participation, the instructor did notice Abby’s “stranger danger” issues and asked if we could participate on the outside of the circle as she didn’t want to stress out my puppy.  We paid a lot of money to stand off to the side and not participate in the one issue I had from the start, SOCIALIZATION!

After four more classes similar to this one, I decided we were not getting anything positive out of these posh, pricey, classes, and in a way it was only frustrating myself and I’m sure looking back Abby too.

A few months later, we once again hired a new trainer.  This time they came to the house, specializing in clicker training.  I figured it couldn’t hurt to try and Abby was now weighing in at 125 lbs., which to me meant better get her more social or she will never be able to share in visits with anyone.

So I was now paying $60.00 or more an hour and there was nothing positive coming from the clicker trainer except that she did not believe Abby was aggressive – just confused.  After the last session of the trainer asking Abby to sit, clicking the clicker and standing there for 20 minutes, waiting for Abby to sit I decided that was the end of that trainer.

I then had my head set on getting the best trainer in Rochester.  I researched and found someone who had been in the business for a very long time, specializing in aggressive dogs.  We enrolled and I was so excited I thought that this was the answer.  She would love it and start being able to enjoy her large stance and not feel as though she had to be scared of people.

This was my own conclusion on why she was showing an aggressive stance with strangers.  So we went and we attended the second class, and as all of the dogs in the class were barking, including Abby, we were asked to stand in the corner where there was a door and another room attached to it.

When Abby started to bark, we were told to take her into that room, make her sit and stay, and when she settled she could come out again.  Now mind you, if you have never heard a Great Dane bark, it is very deep and could rattle the windows; however ALL OF THE DOGS WERE BARKING!  But we listened to the trainer and the assistants.  After all, they know what they are doing they are the “best of the best”.

Then one of the lessons that we did was people would walk around the circle of 15-20 dogs and they would say hello to the dogs.  Once again, no one was allowed to say hello to Abby; they were only allowed to throw pieces of their hot dogs to her and defiantly told to not make eye contact with her.

At the end of the class the big trainer came over, started petting Abby and she did not like it, but she let him know and growled at him.  He took a step back, looked at me and said, “I suggest you get rid of her.  She is aggressive.”

That is all he said – basically saying she is a lost cause.  I left feeling deeply wounded.  This is my baby.  She is a sweet tender giant who I felt has issues and I was hoping a person who “specializes” in aggressive behavior would be willing to work with her, not just say, “Oh well, put her down.  She’s a danger.”

After being let down so many times and frustrated, I decided to stop trying.  No more walks for fear of something happening.  When a visitor came over she would be in another room, and I moved her to the backyard on a leash so she would not be able to see life on the street.

I then came across American K9 Training Services. I have known Tommy Doehler for many years, however did not know that he was training dogs.  So after all my disappointments I asked him if he would be willing to help me.  He jumped at the chance, which made me feel so much more relaxed.

He was different from the very first conversation we had about Abby – he was positive!  It was nothing like the other trainers.  He had an amazing disposition just in his initial meeting with Abby, and I knew that this time she was finally going to get what she needed.  Tommy told me she is not aggressive and he couldn’t believe that was what they saw.  He said she was wound up like a spring.

We have three other dogs, which she loves; however, she is still a pup and very clumsy at the weight of 167 lbs., could crush them on accident, so we keep them separated, but they do mingle occasionally.  Tommy pointed out some very insightful things to us: First, she is a dog and she is not able to be with the others.  This must make her feel like something is wrong with her and that she is an outsider.  He also said she is more unsure and scared than anything and she has low self-confidence.

So he began the first lesson on Monday and she was responding very well.  Now my dog has NEVER been off leash.  By Friday, Tommy not only had Abby off the leash, but she was sitting, staying, and coming when she was called.  She loved it!

Then we practiced the steps for when a visitor comes over.  She now stays in her safe area on her bed and waits until you tell her she can come.  I believe if I did not have Tommy as a trainer for both Abby and I, we would have both lived the next few years very frustrated and lonely.  I honestly am thankful for Tommy for helping me, but even more thankful for Tommy helping my Abby.  She definitely deserves a life of a love and happiness and now I truly believe she will.

Thank you for not giving up hope on those who need it the most.  You are truly talented and I am so thankful for you!


Melissa Jones | Dog Owner

Tommy has showed us how simple it can be to help a dog learn good manners and the correct behavior.

As a result we can now look forward to many years of dog ownership/companionship. Our dog is a happier dog now that she knows her boundaries. Our frustrations are now gone because he has given us the correct tools to help our dog stay within those boundaries.

Tommy is a very patient person and a true animal lover, both of which are extremely important qualities of a dog trainer. The personalized reference guide that he created for us has helped us tremendously and whenever we need anything he is always just a phone call away.

Tommy is the best and we are grateful for his knowledge and expertise!

Rachel Strauss | Dog Owner

Working at a reputable animal hospital since May 2008, I am constantly surrounded by the good, the bad, and the ugly canines can potentially offer. Having two dogs of my own (a 4-year-old Pit Bull mix and a 1-year-old Rottweiler mix) recommending trainers to improve canine behavior wasn’t only something I had to promote at work, but it was something I was trying to deal with in my personal life at home.

My dogs are wonderful, they’re like kids to me. Kind, genuine and truly, my best friends! Their problem? Their overly zealous behavior when guests arrived for a visit was not only frustrating, but detrimental and embarrassing. Not only did they jump up on people in excitement as soon as they walked through the door, but were constantly jumping on the couch having to be the center of attention while people were eating and drinking trying to hold a conversation with one another.

I knew something had to be done with their “overly-friendly” behavior, but as a full- time student and part-time employee, I leave at 8:30 a.m. and come home at 8:30 p.m. exhausted with barely time for a walk, more or less being a dog trainer! I have called numerous obedience trainers and recommended many obedience trainers to clients. Either the scheduling conflicted with my busy schedule or, more importantly, their pricing, to say the least, was absurd!

At my wits end not knowing where I should turn to for help, I was referred to Tom through a mutual friend.
His structure, guidance and compassion with all of us, has left me confident in knowing that I CAN, and will, handle any situation with my dogs appropriately: from how to avoid dangerous situations that may arise at the local “dog park” to understanding the important meaning of praise to a dog and the difference between a “command” and a “correction.” Not only have I learned there is a technique for holding a leash, I now know it isn’t necessary to have a dog “heel” in order to experience a carefree, enjoyable walk around the block.

I welcomed Tom into my home with open arms hoping for the best, but thinking the worse. “He’s gonna quit after an hour with these two, I know it!” After one session I noticed a difference in BOTH dogs. He came everyday for five days, and I can now say I have two dogs who not only understand that they have a designated place to “lay down” and “stay” when visitors arrive (until they hear, “Good Girls,” which is their “release” at the appropriate time); I have two dogs that actually listen and comprehend what I am saying to them for the first time in years!

Please, feel free to e-mail me at gerberdaisy7@gmail.com for any feedback from me. I am truly impressed and would highly, HIGHLY recommend Tom Doehler as not only your dogs, but your trainer as well. It’s truly unbelievable the amount of information you and your dog(s) will learn.