Ginormous shout out to John Smithhart of K9 Good Manners. Our Beau has returned! He is pure pleasure now. He is extremely well trained and eager to please. Thanks John for your gift, time, training and commitment to Beau and EVERY dog you train. Money well spent. So excited to show folks the transformation. Well done!
-Candace- North Carolina
I brought Lilly to John at K9GM when she was a year old. She was very, very sweet and obedient prior to coming…while in your presence. When you left the room however, chaos ensued. She shredded everything. She seemed to have a keen eye for anything either expensive or irreplaceable. Leather bound books were found I n one inch square spread throughout the lawn…in the dead of winter. While picking up wet pieces of paper in sub-freezing temperatures, it crossed my mind several times how humane euthanization is. The final straw was when my roommate came home from South Africa with a hand whittled decorative bowl. It was and ornate one of a kind wooden bowl. Truly beautiful. Within 24 hours Lilly had reduced it into a pile of toothpicks. Not even Rain man could count the number she had shredded it into. That’s when I sought help.
After completing John’s six week program, we never had an issue again. Really. Never. We finally learned to speak the same language. I continued running the obedience drills that John taught us, and I truly believe it gave Lilly purpose and established a pecking order in our home. She was no longer bored. With the skills we learned, Lilly and I began to play hide and seek. I would put her in a down stay and then hide her toys, I would then release her with the command ‘okay, go get it.’ We both love playing it.
The coolest thing that came from this is when Lilly learned to generalize the command “go get it.” One day while walking Lilly through the neighborhood, I dropped my cell phone…from a bridge….into a ditch. It had recently rained and the slope was far too steep and slick for me to navigate. But it wasn’t for Lilly. I told her to go get it. She looked and looked for a toy and came up empty. I sent her down again. Finally she brought me the only thing down there that smelled like me…my cell phone.
“We had a new Black Lab puppy, Liza that my daughter helped to deliver. My wife and I did not have the time to put into training this new puppy as we were busy starting a new business of our own. We took the puppy to a local puppy school, but when the teacher told us that Liza did not know her name, we knew we needed help. I found John on his web site. John’s military background and experience made me want to find out more about his program. I called him and immediately felt comfortable leaving our puppy with him for his 6-week program. When he brought Liza back after 3 weeks, we could not believe the difference! She was calm and confident and followed commands. Not only did she respond to her name, but she would look at me and SIT still, lie DOWN, walk without pulling and best of all, got to her PLACE. PLACE is a wonderful instruction that John teaches the animal to go to a certain pillow or carpet, lay down, and stay there until released. It is a life saver!!! Now, Liza has completed John’s 6-week class is a great member of our family. She is completely house trained and create trained. With regular obedience from us, she is doing better and better. She is still a 6-month old black lab with limitless energy, but she puts her energy toward the obedience and being a good dog. Thanks John, you took a young, wild puppy and turn her into a responsible member of our family.”
- Pennington Family -
To future K9 Good Manners Customers,
I am proud to say I am now the owner of a perfectly trained Shepard named Tessa. Before I took the Tessa to Good Manners, she was your typical troubled dog. As good as I thought she was my friends would only come to the house if the dog was caged and never if I was away. Tessa was very possessive when it came to her toys, and her way of showing affection was jumping up and trying to sit on your lap in an awkward stalker-like manner. Among other things, she was extremely afraid of going on walks where there were crowds and loud noises, and when I did take her out she was unmanageable and chased just about everything that could move.
After six weeks with Geoff and John, I saw what every pet owner has dreamed when they first bring their four legged friend home from the rescue league. Tessa possessed the confidence of a show dog. Her issues of possession had been buried behind her desire to please, work and play. More importantly, the three days I spent in South Carolina proved that I had never really understood what was going through my dogs mind. I was trained to be the leader Tessa was looking for, which in turn gave her the confidence to bear the crowds, and just be a dog.
Today, 2 months after she left Good Manners, Tessa has logged more miles than she has than in previous years. I’ve started biking with her heeling just a foot off my pedals never breaking the plane of my front tire. She has summited two mountains and can now crash comfortably next to me in a tent saving me plenty of money on kennels. I don’t regret for a minute sending Tessa to South Carolina, and I’ll be doing it again with every dog I bring into my house in the future. Thank you Geoff and John, and don’t forget to give me a shout out when you’re in Southern California, you’re always welcome here.
Los Angeles, CA
I contacted John at K9 Good Manners after my dog Katie May, a boarder collie pit mix attacked another dog and costs me over $400. I immediately got a phone call from John and it was decided that both Katie May and my other dog Connor, a malamute mix, would go through his 6 week in kennel training program. Throughout the program I got updates and was always able to get in touch with John. The first day I saw Katie May I knew she was a different dog. She went from being uncontrollable on the leash, aggressive towards all dogs, destructive in the house and just a round about bad dog, to being the best dog I have ever owned. She now listens the first time I tell her to do something, doesn’t try to escape out the door and even in the house when not in a command she is calmer and well behaved. She is now able to be around other dogs and shows no aggression, she is actually living with a rescued female lab and 8 newborn puppies and there have been no problems. Even Connor who was always a laid back stubborn dog seems to have a new zeal for life. Thanks to this wonderful training program I can now continue running my dog rescue without worrying about if the rescue dogs are in danger of my own dog. I highly recommend this program to all my clients and anyone that has a dog; even if your dog does not have major issues the obedience alone will make your life so much easier.
Angelina Brewer, Doggie Orphans Great and Small
I was one of those people who thought my dog wasn’t that bad. You know 2 year old Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are supposed to run all over the place, counter surf, get in the garbage, totally ignore you and have no control over her tennis ball love. I had taken Hershey to a local pet store for their generic beginner dog training and that gave her some basic obedience, but it did nothing for my confidence or her confidence with behaviors in the house or out in public. I finally decided that in order to really enjoy my dog and improve our relationship she needed some training that really works and that I could continue and feel confident about when I got home.
I found K9Goodmanners online and called for more information. From the very beginning they were professional and friendly. I elected to have Hershey’s 6-week training over the summer and John and Geoff really worked with me on dates that fit with my busy schedule. While Hershey was getting trained I got weekly updates on her progress and photos of her doing some of the training. I was really impressed by the amount of training I received when I came to pick her up and the amount of time they took to teach me how to be confident in her training in order to continue it when I got home. Hershey was like a new dog and I am a new owner. Hershey is still a very active dog, the difference now is that she is always under control. There were three major things I asked them to work on with Hershey in addition to the basics of healing, sitting, down, place, and climb.
Hershey was so tennis ball driven that she would be obsessed with playing ball and she would ignore any other commands when she had her ball. The guys worked with her and it is amazing. Now Hershey can stay in a sit or down position while the ball is being thrown in a busy park and not move until I release her. Another big issue for Hershey was water. Chessies are bread to be strong water dogs but she would be so excited to get into the water that she would go in even if it was dangerous or inappropriate. Geoff worked with her in and around water and with some continued reinforcement, she in now under total control around water and goes in and out of the water on my command. Another of the basic trainings they provided was place. This command worked better than I could have ever hoped. Now, when people come to the door, I put Hershey in a place (she sits on her bed and doesn’t get up until released) and I can open the door, greet people and have them settle in without a dog jumping or just being in the way. This has worked so well that Hershey doesn’t even get up when the cat rubs up against her, or if at someone else’s house, a toddler or another dog comes up to her or pulls on her. I could go on and on about how great this training is and how well it has worked for Hershey.
K9Goodmanners doesn’t just train your dog to do commands in one environment. They train the dogs to do the commands with a variety of distractions, in different locations and increase the duration of time the dog will do the command. It is amazing how this training has helped in many different situations from going to the store, riding in the car, visiting friends and outside in open areas or parks.
K9Goodmanners was definitely the right decision and I always give them credit when people compliment how obedient Hershey has become.
-Sarah S. Baltimore, MD-
Dear K9 Good Manners,
Thank you so much for taking the time to make a difference in our lives. Muffin was having many problems in our home and we had no idea what to do with her. She barked at other dogs, corrected me when I was trying to correct her (biting), and had some issues with the garage door as well as the windows. I have had her home for 10 weeks now and I am proud to say that she is a completely different dog. Now she doesn’t bark at every other dog on the street and she doesn’t bite me when I open the window. She had some psychological problems and she is as good as cured. If it were not for you, Muffin would be in a different home.
The training worked so well, we even let you have our little puggle, Mona Mae. It was hard to let her go because she was the baby in the family, but I can honestly say that I wasn’t worried because I knew she was in great hands with your trainers. I have had her back for a week now and she is doing really well. My pups are getting along great and I am grateful to have found you! You not only made my dogs obedient but showed me how to be the leader.
I can’t thank you enough for what you have done for my family. It is so nice to have teachers like you who actually sit down with the parents and teach us the how to see the world through a dog’s eyes. That makes a big difference! I would be happy to give you a reference anytime.
Thank you again,
-Sasha S. Savannah, GA-
I got Stoney as a stray almost six years ago, when he was only three months old. I was a naive dog owner who thought showering him with affection and letting him get away with whatever he wanted was the way to handle things as a dog owner. As he grew bigger and more stubborn, I realized I had been wrong in my assumptions. Stoney has a good nature about him, but he also has a stubborn streak as long as his legs and having a dog with that mindset is a frustrating thing when you don’t have any control over it.
After seeing how far Dexter had come in only a few short weeks with Geoff, I started thinking that maybe I should bite the bullet and enroll Stoney in the program, as well. It didn’t make much sense to have one dog that has superb obedience skills, and one that does not. I left Stoney with Geoff the day I picked up Dexter.
Stoney has always been, to put it mildly, a strong-willed beast. I knew that if Geoff could train him like he did with Dexter, the program is really worth it all.
Stoney is doing great.
The K9 Good Manners program absolutely dispels the myth that you can’t teach old dog new tricks. At six years old, Stoney has become that obedient dog that I always wanted. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.
- Dena -
I would like to share my experience with K9 Good Manners. First of all let me give you a little background on my Great Dane, Lincoln. Lincoln (at the time) was a two year old who was raised by a young man who liked Lincoln to pull him around on his skate board, he was raised inside their house until a new baby came to his family and was then banished to the back yard on a 10 foot chain for almost 6 months. This is where I came in, or I should say Lincoln came into my life.
When I met Lincoln I was rescuing him from the gallows as the family had decided to put him down because they could not find a home for him. He was aggressive toward strangers and jumped when he was being friendly. To make matters worse the six months he was chained outside his home he was neglected and had little human contact except for when he was thrown his meals. We are pretty sure that he was “treated” with a shock collar because he was terrified of any apparatus that beeps, i.e., cameras, cell phones, beepers, etc.
At the time I brought Lincoln home I was unable to go outside with him at all. If he was on leash that was a signal for him to drag me wherever he wanted, literally. I weigh just barely 25 pounds more than Lincoln. Because of his life of pulling a human aboard a skateboard and straining at the end of a chain his neck and upper body muscles are overdeveloped. I was bruised from the top of my shoulders to the tip of my toes. If he was not jumping on me, he was knocking me down or stepping on my feet. His tail lashed (and still does, ha! ha!) like a whip. A 120 pound dog even when he is being affectionate can cause lots of damage. My search for a trainer began because I found that unless I could get to the point where I could handle Lincoln, I too would have to make the decision of what to do with him. But, since I had made the commitment to him the day his previous owner boarded him into the back of my pickup I felt I owed it to him and myself to find an alternative.
Let me say this from the outset. Before I decided on John at K9 Good Manners, I contacted a half dozen dog trainers in the area as well as many miles away. I found some much cheaper and a few more expensive. I came across many different methods of training. There were some that used what I considered abuse in their training and others that wanted you to keep your dog on a perpetual “treat” diet. John uses treats but his method teaches your k9 friend not to expect a treat for every good deed. Can you imagine having to carry food products around in your pocket for the rest of your pups life?
I can say that John and K9 Good Manners SAVED Lincoln’s life and CHANGED mine. I learned that our K9 friends want to be challenged, they love learning and their desire in life is to please their people. Just because Lincoln and I completed six weeks of training, the training does not stop there. Lincoln and I are still learning. You must continue what K9 starts. John gives you the tools but you and your dog must continue to use them for a lifetime.
Lincoln now walks at my side without dragging me across my yard. He very rarely jumps but quickly obeys when corrected. He still gives me slobber baths but I am sure that if I REALLY WANTED that to stop I could use any number of methods that K9 Good Manners has taught me. My 4 year old granddaughter loves being around the “giant dog.” Lincoln is so gentle with her, he is also gentle with my two Chinese pugs but still drools when he sees the cat … but he does not chase the cat as he did before.
We walk approx. 2-4 miles a day … on leash. We have crossed paths with other dogs, cats, ducks and even a couple of deer and once a raccoon and every time he has sat and downed on command. One of the most valuable things he learned was the “place” command which to some means to sit and stay. Lincoln has become my companion and a valuable and integral part of my family. When I first got Lincoln the idea that he would ever be more than an alert system for strangers or guard dog was just a dream. He is now all of the above and more.
One of the things should you decide to go with John at K9 is that no matter when you start or end your program you can always count on them to be only a phone call away if you get stuck and need help with your dog. When I have had questions they are always answered with sincerity and professionalism. Ever so often someone on their staff calls to check up on Lincoln and our continued success. When they say ‘guaranteed for the life of your dog,’ they mean it.
K9 does not just take your dog for 6 weeks and then sends him/her home with you. You will also go through training sessions. After all you will need to learn what he/she has learned. You can trust the staff at K9 to treat your dog with love, respect and attention.
I highly recommend K9 Good Manners. You may choose K9 feeling secure that you have chosen what is best for you and your dog no matter his breed or problems. Just one more little thing I would like to share with you about John at K9. I had the opportunity to see John in action with a group of dogs that were unknown to him. He was a visitor at a location where another dog, which so happened to be a Great Dane, and the owner were having very similar problems with her dog as I did with Lincoln. Within minutes John had the Dane sitting and heeling upon command. He is very firm but humane. I believe that the training program offered at K9 Good Manners is the best to be found! You will not be disappointed should you decide to engage any member of their staff.
- Wanda De Mattos -
I arranged with the lady from the rescue to meet Dexter at PetSmart in Anderson, SC. Of course it was love at first sight, but walking him around the store it was clear that he would need some training. When a 90 pound dog decides he wants to go in a certain direction, it takes a lot of strength to get him to go a different way. In other words, he had no leash manners. He would sit, but only for treats, and as soon as the treat was gobbled up, he went about his business. He was and is one of the sweetest-natured dogs I’ve ever known, but when you have a dog his size, it’s imperative that you have complete control and trust in that dog.
I had contacted John a few weeks before getting Dexter about his training program for my other dog, a retriever mix named Stoney, but, I just couldn’t imagine living without Stoney for six weeks. After I made the decision to get Dexter, I thought that he’d be the perfect candidate for John’s program because I hadn’t built the emotional attachment to him that I had with Stoney.
When I dropped Dexter off with John, to be trained by Geoff, Dex dragged me all over the yard. When I went to see his progress after being in the program for only three weeks I was floored. I couldn’t believe that locomotive of a dog was heeling PERFECTLY.
I’ve put in the necessary time after bringing Dexter home to continue to build on what Geoff taught him. I am amazed every time he responds to his name and comes when called, even if it’s when he sees a cat across the street and all of his instincts are telling him to chase it, he will stop short in his tracks when I call him back. He sits the first time I tell him to, he’ll go to his place when told, and doesn’t move until I tell him to.
The real icing on the cake, however, is the compliments I get from people on how well-behaved my dog is. It’s priceless to me to have a dog who I have complete and total trust in. There aren’t any unpredictable bad behaviors because I know I have complete control over him, and that’s pretty amazing with a dog his size.
We found Maybe as a stray wondering in traffic. She was full of fleas and worms, but within a week, we had her back to good health. She had won over our hearts, so we started the long journey of raising our first puppy.
We purchased the book “Puppies for Dummies”, talked with family and friends who owned dogs, watched a few more episodes of “The Dog Whisperer”, and assured ourselves that training this pooch would be a snap. How tough could it be, right? Then reality hit. The list of issues was growing: housebreaking issues, submissive urination, constant nipping and biting, defiance, and a host of other expected, but frustrating behaviors. We were starting to re-think our decision.
We enrolled in a local group puppy training class, and while Maybe did learn some of the basics, we found that with two people working full time, it was difficult to be able to provide the consistent reinforcement that she really needed. We really needed to find a better solution.
We had great success with in-kennel training while living in the Chicago area, so after some research, we found K9 Good Manners. John and his staff were very friendly and knowledgeable. The environment was casual and friendly, and it was clear from the start that the focus of K9 Good Manners was solid training.
Maybe stayed at K9 Good Manners for seven weeks, and it was really amazing seeing how she had progressed. She already knew “sit”, “stay”, and “heal”, but it was really drilled into her, so it was second nature. And the most amazing commands for us have been “climb” and “place”. We do let her up on the couch, so the “climb” command (usually) lets it be on our terms, and Maybe (usually) is obedient to that command.
The “place” command has also been so helpful for those times when we are trying to eat or do things where Maybe can’t get in the way. While it’s sometimes more challenging than just crating her, she does get to be with us.
Thanksgiving, 2008, prompted us to write this note, because initially, we were a quite nervous about how Maybe would do with guests, another dog, and the overall stress of hosting a Thanksgiving dinner. Simply put, Maybe was amazing! She “placed” during dinner without any complaining. She greeted and played with the guests without causing problems, and she even avoided the snacks on the coffee table well within her reach.
Maybe is still a very willful puppy-dog at just over eight months, and she continually tests our patience, but she does know the training, and we continue to be pleased with the results.
-Jim B. Anderson, SC-
Our family got a pure bred Rottweiler puppy (Munay), and being a first time owner of a Rottweiler, and having two young children, we knew we had to have our Rottweiler trained. We have been to other dog training classes with our other dog, but they didn’t seem to be very effective. Thankfully, one of my colleagues told me about K-9 Good Manners, and we contacted John to set up our training for Munay. We took Munay down to K-9 Good Manners as a completely untrained goofball, and we got back highly obedient great family dog, although, she still is our goofball. Since, getting Munay back we have taken her to soccer games, family outings, and walks through the various pet stores. Everywhere we go people are amazed at Munay’s obedience.
Additionally, we were walking Munay through one of the major brand name pet stores, and we ran into the head trainer demonstrating his Newfoundland’s obedience to perspective clients. Once, the trainer’s dog saw Munay it started lunging at us, but Munay remained on her heel command, although, she was alerted and watched carefully the other dog’s whereabouts. We were amazed that Munay’s level obedience put the head trainer’s dog to shame. By the way, even in this situation I never had to use more than two fingers to walk and control my dog, truthfully, she will do this off leash. This just demonstrates the high quality of training Munay received at K-9 Good Manners. Thanks to K-9 Good Manners we have the best behaved dog wherever we go, and we are proud owners of a well behaved, affectionate, and goofy Rottweiler.
Thanks to all the staff at K-9 Good Manners,
Patrick & Margaret
After moving to No.AL from the Wash DC area I thought it would be a good idea to get a companion dog for my Chinese Crested Ernie, so I began the search for a rescue dog and that’s how I found Stella. Her online biography was less than accurate, it was more like fiction. Stella came with big issues and health problems. She was abandoned at about 6 months when she was thrown out of a moving car near a gas station. When I met her she was living in a crate most of the day in a smelly house with a smelly yard, and with little human contact. She didn’t know the basics of training; trying to house train her was like rocket science for her, and just learning her name was beyond her comprehension. I had just bought a new home and this little dog was destroying it, she was eliminating everywhere and chewing on everything even the walls. I have had many pets in my lifetime and I’ve never had an issue training or housebreaking them…even rabbits.
I enrolled Stella in basic training at the local pet store which proved to be a waste of time and money. I asked my vet for advice and she suggested I contact the Talk to Animals people but they didn’t think they could work with me, so finally I came to realize that there just weren’t any animal experts in my area. I was so desperate that I was considering having her euthanized, there was no way I would take her back to the smelly place she came from and I didn’t want her to end up homeless again. This is a shocking admission coming from someone who doesn’t eat meat because I’m against harming animals.
When it was time for me to train with Stella I was amazed at how calm she was; she didn’t howl when put in her crate, she could place and stay still without jumping around, and she knew her name. She sits like a pro, heals on command and most important, she comes when called…by her name. Probably the most beneficial training was the training I received, what I learned about my dog and to better understand her. Geoff saved Stella’s life!
Since completing her training at K9 Good Manners, Stella has not had any more accidents, not even in her crate, she is now properly crate trained and goes into her home when I ask, and she always goes to the door when she wants to go outside. She no longer eats my walls, she goes to her place and stays there until being released, and she plays well with Ernie. People have commented on how well behaved she is; coming when called, obeying commands, and this from a dog who didn’t know her name. I highly recommend K9 Good Manners, they not only train dogs they train the owners too.
~Anne Kinkella, Alabama
Dear K9 Good Manners,
Chet and I can’t thank you enough. We have had dogs for 25 years and have never had a problem with training. With Boris and Sasha, I had met my match. They were very sweet and loving but would just not listen and did not get along with our 3 other dogs. They loved to charge and leap several feet through the air and land on people and the other dogs. I was very worried that I would have to return them to pet helpers shelter. Then we were told we were going to have to move for Chet’s work and their training went on hold for a month which did not help us one bit.
Boris and Sasha came to you as very uncontrollable 6 month old puppies that we could not walk on a leash or take anywhere and came back as members of our pack.Within 2 hours of leaving the training center we were getting complements on their training. Wow what a difference 6 weeks make. They Now get along with our other dogs and play without fights. ( we never thought Daisy would accept them ). It is truly a pleasure to work with them now. We have had a few issues ( mostly our faults ) but Geoff was and is only a phone call away and has solved the problem.
They do all their commands the first time we say them. No more sounding like a broken record….sit..stay stay stay stay. Now it’s just sit and they don’t move till we free them. We take them to the lake and with other dogs and kids making lots of noise and running around they still listen to us. We put them in place and they don’t move. The compliments are rolling in.
Their biggest test was on the 4th of July. We had a cookout with 10 people here 8 they did not know and they were angels. They could not believe that 5 dogs would be so calm with that many people. They never went near the food table nor did they beg for food. ( what a change )
We truly can not thank you enough for for giving us peace and tranquility in our home. If anyone would like to talk to me about the great service that k9goodmanners gives please do not hesitate to contact me email@example.com
Holly and Chet Broton