After what happened on our walk the other night we felt compelled to share this so that anyone considering hiring a trainer would know that Michael should be his or her first choice. Our dog Winnie is 7 ½ years old and because of a near fatal illness when she was just six weeks old she was never properly socialized. Since given a clean bill of health at close to a year old, we tried puppy class and exposing her to the “real world”, but she’s been riddled with anxiety issues and fear aggression her whole life. She spent her days getting herself sick over every noise and crazy over every person that passed the house, tried to enter the house or even tried to leave the house. We were beside ourselves trying everything we could to work with her, but also never stopped spoiling her because we are big pushovers for her pretty face. A few months ago we met Michael at a pet store and talked, well actually cried, about Winnie and how hard it was for her and for us. The stress was hurting all of us. He offered to try and help us, and I can say emphatically that he has. We have only had a few sessions to date, but the changes in all of us are enormous. We used to have to walk Winnie very late at night to avoid crossing the paths of any people or animals, but now she is getting better with every trip on the leash and even manages the occasional stroll in the bright sunlight. She has learned to listen and seems to be giving up on her need to be in charge. We have had people to the house without confrontation, no small feat for a dog that would bark so viciously, you just knew it was a matter of time before she bit someone. After a couple of sessions, we ventured to a dog park with Michael at the front of the pack. The first trip was anxious and tentative, but the second trip was better -she was “sniffed”and didn’t react badly! We’ve also learned the value of “flooding”to change bad behavior and bad habits, and it is working. Winnie can now sit by the front door when it’s open and watch the outside world without trying to attack it. All of this brings us to the other night. Miss Winnie has never approached strangers, ever. In fact, she pulls to walk in whatever direction would take her away from the. The other night on her walk, we were passing a couple and their young son who was in a wheel chair. The boy said “What a pretty doggie. Pretty dog, pretty dog.”And that’s when it happened -Winnie took a few steps towards the boy, sat down and when the boy put his hand out, she nudged forward and allowed him to scratch her ears. It was only for a few moments and then she rose to walk away. The boy said “pretty dog”again, Winnie let out a muffled howl and we went on our way. I could have cried right there, but it was in a state of shock. Thanks to Michael’s patience, knowledge and love of what he does, our little girl is starting a new path to a much happier life, and so are we. Thank you Michael. Thank you for sharing your love of animals and your vast knowledge with us.