Shelly's School for Dogs
- Shelly's School for Dogs has an innovative and comprehensive "whole dog" approach to training. We call it Control-Through-Kindness. As no two dogs are the same, no
- pet training
Waste of $3000
I’d like to start off by saying that in spite of my strong dissatisfaction with this school and a total waste of my $3000 fee, it had nothing to do with the trainer I was assigned. Roy was professional, very easy to work with and great with my dog. He accomplished what he was instructed to do by Shelly Leibowitz, owner of the school. UNFORTUNATELY, THAT INSTRUCTION, SHELLY’S PROGRAM, DID NOT SOLVE THE PROBLEM. When I first met Shelly, we told him that our Golden Doodle Dexter was excitable and jumped on people. It was especially a problem for our young grandchildren who were often severely scratched and knocked down. I asked Shelley if he could correct the jumping behavior. HE ASSURED ME HE COULD. I was feeling desperate at the time – I loved my dog and didn’t want to give him up, but couldn’t allow him to hurt visitors. Shelly explained that Dexter would be obedience-trained and then I would be trained to control him properly. I made a point to say that I’d be willing to follow all his instructions, but at the end, I just wanted to be assured that the jumping would stop. I didn’t care about the sitting, healing, etc, but Shelly said that was a “means to an end”. He assured me that “no more jumping” would be the result. He said I’d have a “whole new dog.” I should expect it to take 2-3 months. I agreed to the $3000 fee. Yes, $3000 – I was desperate. During the next year, I dropped off Dexter at the school as required and then went myself for training. I tried my very hardest to follow all the instructions I learned at my training sessions. I went to training 2-3 times per week. I practiced for several hours a week. I truly gave it my all. Roy said I was doing everything correctly. But, now it is a year later and Dexter is still jumping on people. Things are no better than they were a year ago.
I was upset for a couple of other reasons. Shelley never told me ahead of time that Dexter might be required to wear and be trained by electric collar. I was desperate enough to agree to using it (I wasn’t given a choice) but I do feel he should have told me that before I signed the contract – not everyone is comfortable using an electric collar on their dog. I feel he deliberately hid that information. The contract, by the way, is very, very long and required dozens of initials. I really felt like I was signing my life away. Shelly makes quite sure he is protected. With the verbal promises he makes and doesn’t keep, I can understand why he needs to do that.
Another reason I was upset was that when I agreed to pay the $3000, Shelley told me that would include everything. I would not have to pay another cent. That wasn’t true. I was strongly pressured into buying the e-collar (about $250) from him. When I confronted Shelly about the issue, he said I could buy it but return it when I was done. I would NOT get all my money back, however. Just a portion. So, in spite of his promise there were additional expenses.
On a positive note, Shelly was willing to continue working with me and Dexter longer if needed. However, after a year and investing 100’s of hours and still getting nowhere, it was time to cut my losses. If I used the electric collar and stood right over Dexter, he did not jump up. However, when the collar was off or I wasn’t around, Dexter continued jumping. The continued hours (and I mean HOURS) I invested in his training was getting me nowhere. My grandkids were still getting scratched. Shelly didn’t have an answer of how to protect my grandkids when I wasn’t right there watching.
The real problem is that Shelly made promises he couldn’t keep. He led me to believe that with time Dexter would no longer require the collar. He also NEVER explained that I (or whoever went through the training) would always have to be around to control the dog. That doesn’t help when my children and grandchildren stop by the house when I’m not home. If I turn my back, Dexter jumps. If I knew I’d always have to be around, I could have just as easily kept him on a leash next to me at all times and saved myself $3000.
I feel that Shelly is not forthright about what can be accomplished. When things were not improving, he made it a habit of blaming my inability. Yet Ray, Dexter’s assigned trainer, told me I was doing everything perfectly. He said few others put in the amount of time and effort that I did.
I am writing this review as a warning to others. With the contract I signed, I have no legal recourse to getting any of my $3000 back. It is lost. So, if you decide to use this school (and I recommend you don’t) ASK VERY SPECIFIC QUESTIONS. Find out what methods (e-collar?) will be used. Protect yourself. Get Shelly to put in writing that the behavior you want to be corrected will be corrected in the way you need – I ‘m quite sure he won’t agree to signing anything beyond his own contract. I know of several other people that went through similar experiences with Shelly. I only wish I had been warned ahead of time.