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Your Dog's Friend

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animals

Mission: The goal of your dogs friend, inc. Is to help keep dogs out of shelters by educating and supporting their humans. We offer behavior and training advice; sponsor free webinars; run positive dog training classes; wrote and gave to adopters: "the shelter and rescue dog book;" refer dog "owners" to positive trainers, walkers and vacation care; send an e-newsletter with behavior & training articles; and maintain a website with announcements and information educating dog "owners" and professionals.

Results: In 2020: nearly 3,000 webinar attendees with another 6,000 people watching our webinars on YouTube; 4000 students, 83,000 newsletter opens.

Target demographics: Our goal is to help keep dogs out of shelters by educating and supporting their humans. Please read "About Us" at http://yourdogsfriend.org/about-us/.

Direct beneficiaries per year: nearly 3,000 webinar participants with another 6,000 watching our webinar videos on YouTube; 4000 students; 83,000 newsletter views

Geographic areas served: Our positive classes are both online and in Rockville, MD. We have people attending both from throughout the DC metropolitan area and from other states. Our free webinars are attended by people from all over the world.

Programs: Positive, force-free dog training classes and free webinars

Community Stories

134 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 4

YDF is terrific, not only for in-person classes and their (mostly free) seminars and lectures, but their periodic emails with informative articles. I always recommend them to our friends with dogs, both local and farther afield, at least to sign up for the emails so they get the benefit of the articles. Their classes have really good instructors and we have learned a lot of skills throughout the classes that help us help our dog be happy and well-behaved. Their mission of supporting all dog-owners, but especially adopters, is so needed with to help dogs fit into their homes and stay out of shelters! So often, simply having the correct training technique (instead of outdated methods or common myths) can make all the difference between a family keeping a dog or giving it up. YDF does a great job to try to ensure more dogs stay in their homes!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I LOVE this place! I believe I first learned about it through the PGSPCA, but then other people who shared my love of dogs started referring me, some of them even teaching classes. I've been to multiple free seminars, some TTouch classes, and a nosework class. My only 'gripe' is that they are so far away from me (I live in Bowie). I desperately wish we had such a place here in Bowie.

The owner of this nonprofit is meticulous in her careful screening of teachers and speakers. All of it is excellent information, up-to-date and strictly positive. If I could give this place 6 stars, I would!

bharagan

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've attended a number of workshops and training sessions thanks to this nonprofit. I am a better, more knowledgeable dog owner as a result. They are consistently professional and imaginative in their offerings.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have brought my dogs to several classes at Your Dog's Friend. They us very positive training methods and are great instructors.

I have also attended some of their free seminars and have learned a lot from them and enjoyed them.

Training helps dogs stay in their homes and out of shelters and they offer a reasonably priced program.

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

Your Dog's Friend offers services that are very necessary and help our world and society be a better place for both animals and people. This organization has found its niche, and provides important services to the public with a positive and unique perspective and approach. I personally have benefited tremendously from their educational services and have in turn been able to share that knowledge with countless others to the benefit of dogs and people in the mid-atlantic region. I have been able to use their services in connection with my volunteer work with other charitable organizations that rescue dogs, my volunteer work providing a foster home for nearly 100 rescued dogs and puppies, and my own dogs, friends, and neighbors.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

If you live with a dog, you'll find many ways to use Your Dog's Friend in Rockville, MD. YDF offers training classes ranging from puppy socialization to advanced pet training, including pet level agility and the fun new sport of K-9 Nosework. YDF hand picks top trainers who use rewards based methods only. YDF's web page offers lots of information that benefits new and experienced dog people. Best of all, the free workshops scheduled throughout the year on many weekends cover a wide range of topics ranging from training, health, managing problem dog behaviors and responsible dog parenting. This place should be cloned and found in every community. Hats off to Debra Ekman who puts her heart and soul into this non-profit.

Previous Stories
1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Your Dog's Friend is dedicated to supporting dog owners so their pets can be lifetime companions. All dog training classes are taught by professional trainers committed to science based, positive training methods. In addition to group classes, Your Dog's Friend hosts free workshops with speakers talking on a wide array of topics of interest to the dog owner. This grass-roots non-profit that just gets better every year.

1 Linda361

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I can't say enough good things about Your Dog's Friend! I have attended many of the FREE, yes, FREE, seminars on a variety of dog related topics and a monthly seminar aimed at new dog parents. The seminars are open to the public. All one needs to do is sign up. No gimmicks, no pressure to purchase anything; just positive, practical ideas and methods to help adopters and dog families. The speakers are professionals who are well versed in their areas of expertise. They always include time for questions and even stay after the program is over to answer personal questions. I also enjoy the email newsletters that come out every few weeks. They are informative, positive and practical. YDF offers a wide variety of classes from basic manners to fun and games.

I participated in a program called Foster Dog Alliance for many months. That program was truly a life saver for me and my foster dog!!! She came to me frantic, fearful and dog reactive. Although I had worked with many different dogs in a variety of volunteer capacities, including 21 other foster dogs, I didn't know how to reach this dog. With the assistance of the wonderful trainers we were able to find positive methods that worked for her. After fostering her for over 11 months, and seeing her returned from a failed adoption, we decided to adopt her. I continue to have contact with the trainers if I have questions. Although we have not conquered all of her issues and fears we continue to work with her using the methods and fun games that we learned in class. She is so much more relaxed, fits nicely in our family and we are delighted to have her. I could not have done this without the assistance of the Foster Dog Alliance.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been so impressed with Your Dog’s Friend from day one—this non-profit is truly dedicated to keeping dogs out of shelters and about educating owners using positive training methods. It doesn’t get any better than this!
I have attended numerous “free” lectures at Your Dog’s Friend and have been amazed at the quality of the speakers and of the variety of topics all so relevant to pet dog owners. Each and every time I have come home with helpful kernels of information. The Shelter and Rescue Dog Book, written by Debra Ekman, is handed out free at all of these occasions and at other events. This is a gem of book and covers everything a pet dog owner should know and it includes tons of helpful references.
I have attended an Adopters Workshop offered monthly by Your Dog’s Friend. The room was full of dog owners who had question after question---the presenter, a dog trainer, answered every question and more! This non-profit works so hard to educate owners about dogs. This year my dog and I took a triebball class at the center---the instructor was highly qualified, the class was structured and so much fun that I am signing up for a follow-on class.
Running an exceptional non-profit like Your Dog’s Friend takes a village of dedicated staff and volunteers. This requires 100% dedication and tons and tons of work! Your Dog’s Friend ROCKS!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I can't tell you how impressed I am with this organization and its staff. My puppy Hugo has just recently has become over reactive to other dogs ( he's only 7 months old -- maybe it's an adolescence thing). The customer care from this group is amazing! I am in the Agility Games Class right now and the teacher has been exceptionally caring. She wrote me the MOST AMAZING email yesterday with great ideas, options and links. And today Debra has come back to me with this incredibly helpful list of websites and links. She offered to assist me in getting into a reactive dog class or finding a personal trainer to work with. I can't tell you how great it is to have this kind of support.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We took our newly adopted dog to the reactive dog class, and it was an amazing transformation for our dog and our family! Without the tools which assisted all of us when walking our dog in an urban area, not sure we would still have our dog. He is a great addition to our family we love him, and we love the staff and volunteers who work for this wonderful organization!

1 jaxjb

Client Served

Rating: 5

We took our newly adopted dog to the basics training class offered by Your Dog's Friend and found it to be extremely useful and the trainers very helpful. The organization provides a variety of classes and fun programs for dog owners, as well as useful information through the newsletters. Best of all, they offer FREE workshops to the public, an invaluable resource to those looking for help for their canine friends. Although I haven't tried any of the other services offered, I will be sure to try a class with them again soon.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Took a Ttouch class with my shepherd mix to learn a method to calm her down. The class was taught warmly and professionally. The facility was open and airy. Each dog was separated from the other dogs so he or she would not be disturbed by the other dogs. This worked well for my dog. The instructors knew the information and were able to teach the Ttouch to me. I would recommend a class with these instructors and this organization.

Client Served

Rating: 5

All of the training we have received for our two dogs through Your Dog's Friend has been nothing short of exceptional. They have been a trusted resource, and have helped us through tough times with our dog-reactive dog, as well as introduced us to various courses to help our dogs excel and remain sharp, such as agility. We are so grateful to have found this organization and recommend them to all our dog-loving friends!

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a relatively new dog owner, Your Dog's Friend has been incredibly valuable to me. Their newsletter is packed with helpful information - I can tell that much thought goes into creating it. I also appreciate the community of teachers and practitioners and dogs and dog owners that they have built. It is clear that they share a common philosophy and have a lot of respect for each other.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Your Dog's Friend is one the best resources on the internet for positive training, about kids and dogs, to be able to recognize when a dog is stressed, dog behavior and so much more. Debra Ekman is a very caring and knowledgeable person that she is willing to answer any question you may have or refer to someone who may specialize in training a dog with a particular type of behavior. She has been instrumental in helping me learn the many things I never knew about dogs.

When someone is a first dog owner, I always refer them to YourDogsFriend web site so they can learn on how to be a responsible owner but to make that permanent commitment.

Thank you Debra!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been a dog owner for many many years. That said, I find the Your Dog's Friend newsletter extremely helpful. The information is always helpful and practical - no pitches to buy expensive stuff or spend unrealistic amounts of time trying to "fix" problems.
I also have taken classes through the organization and I think the classes were extremely helpful - again, very practical advice.
Staff seems very dedicated and thinking of welfare of both the animals and owners.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Committed people working toward a needed goal -- keeping owners from surrendering their dogs! Everyone in the group is progressional, passionate and helpful. Since finding this resource, I have suggested it to many other new dog owners.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been working with Your Dog's Friend in a number of capacities for about 2 years. I'm currently assisting with Puppy Kindergarten and Puppy 1st Grade classes. I am so impressed by the caliber and commitment of the trainers at YDF. All are committed to using only scientifically-based, force-free, positive reinforcement methods....and they work!! It's so exciting to see the reaction of dog parents when they realized that they don't have to punish their dog in order to teach them manners. Training should be fun for both dog and human, and it is with the fantastic trainers at YDF. I also work with a local animal recue organization, and I strongly encourage all of our new adopters and foster parents to avail themselves of the many terrific resources available through YDF.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

Your Dog's Friend is an absolutely outstanding resource for all things related to dog training and behavior. The reference materials on the website are written by professionals in the respective areas and are full of helpful information about common behavior issues, as well as great info for those who are just considering bringing a dog into their lives. And the free workshops are absolutely incredible!! I've learned so much invaluable information from the trainers and experts that Deb brings in. I have worked with a dog rescue group in the past, and the Foster Dog Alliance is an incredibly rich source of information and support for those who are providing temporary care for rescued dogs that may have issues that are keeping them from being adopted. I have been so impressed by my experiences with YDF that I now volunteer with them. And I'm finally acting on a long-dormant desire to study animal behavior and am now taking classes on becoming a clicker trainer.

Kristen34

Client Served

Rating: 5

We took our extremely anxious, bonded pair of Labs, Lola and Toby to Your Dog's Friend for their "Reactive Class" convinced that we were the only people with dogs that acted like wild beasts on walks. We were pleased not only by the amount of personalized attention given to our dogs, but by the amount of sympathy and understanding we received from all of the trainers. Michelle and Debra are fantastic leaders, and we wanted to extend a special thanks to our personal dog trainers Jeff and Jill for supporting us with everything we needed to curb their wild and anxious behaviors.

The class uses positive reinforcement and game techniques that not only squashed my anxiety on walks, but strengthened the confidence of two overly anxious Labs. I don't panic taking them out anymore, thank goodness. :D

Julie168

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been taking my two 1 3/4 year old dachshunds to Your Dog's Friend now for a little while with great results! We did the Dog Improv: Design Your Own Training Class and a few sessions of the Puppy Party. We are signed up for It's All Just Fun and Games to start this Saturday, and are arranging some private intro to agility lessons.

Debra Ekman really helped me first on the phone with choosing classes and contacting the instructors with other questions. The trainers Jeni Grant, Susan Sanderson, and Sarah Stoycos have all been great helping my dogs with their shyness issues. The training techniques are very gentle and very positive. They go slowly and cautiously, really watching out for the dogs' body language. It is a great positive environment! My pups are making great progress!

My other training class was at PetSmart and while I liked the trainer there, these folks know a whole heck of a lot more about dogs and training, especially with helping fearful dogs overcome their issues. Your Dog's Friend is a great place! I highly recommend it!

Client Served

Rating: 5

As first time dog owners, we really appreciated the information and education we received (as well as the personal attention from the director) as we learned how to handle our high-energy dog. Great idea--help dogs by educating their people!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Talk about an unbeleivable site and resource for your dog! Whether a puppy or an senior citizen, this is the place to go for help and advice. I also volunteer for a local rescue and have 2 rescue dogs of my own. Because of the direct help I recieved 2 years ago, we were able to get a special dog adopted to wonderful parents who were able to further work with the dog. Thank you, Your Dog's Friend!

heydelray

Client Served

Rating: 5

I volunteer for a local rescue, foster and have two dogs of my own. I'm always learning about dogs. I am a forever student in how to better love and care for them. Your Dog's Friend is my #1 recourse for dog training in all metro DC--and they're a 40 minute drive away for me. I recommend them all the time. I take my own dogs there. I've used their Foster Alliance program. I attend their workshops. I completely trust all the trainers and speakers they bring in.

Barbara167

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our experience with Your Dog's Friend in Rockville was....simply incredible! We are so, so thankful for their help with our Lucy. Lucy is a rescue from KY, and had not been at al easy since we'd adopted her December of 2012. Since her Basic Manners class, she has become such a love! The positive training that we learned in the class has made all the difference in the world - the level of trust and love, both ways, has been wonderful. I can never thank the staff at YDF enough!!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My pup and I have taken multiple classes with Your Dog's Friend over the years (basic maners, basic maners II, reactive dog and agility). The classes and trainers changed our lives and behavior in positive ways (and by positive methods)! In addition to boosting my pup's confidence, the folks at YDF boosted mine by being available in/out of class for any/all questions. This is a wonderful organization that fully supports dogs and thier humans!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I adopted a senior poodle mix who proved to have many puzzling behavior problems. The folks at Your Dog's Friend took the time to answer my questions on the phone and in e-mails. They directed me to the New Dog Adoptor class, which was very helpful. I also attended the Dog Body Language class as well. The teachers were funny, informative, and encouraged discussion among all the class members-lots of shaggy dog stories! It's good to know that you and your buddy aren't the only one with issues. Your Dog's Friend helps humans and their canines forge better bonds. My and my Buddy Keebler are saving up to do a Bark Box with Your Dog's Friend. Thanks, jefkeeb

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a fantastic organization. I have attended several of the free workshops and found them all useful in daily life with my 3-year old mixed-lab rescue. Speakers have been knowledgeable and resource material helpful. This is a group of dedicated folks committed to their mission. I am much better equipped to address my dog's needs, which makes for a happier dog and a happier family.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I recently took a reactive dog class with Your Dog's Friend and I can't say enough positive things about this organization. The individual attention (with "coaches" assigned to each owner/dog pair) was something that was truly special about this class. It is evident how much the teachers and trainers care about the pets and improving their lives.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I don't have the privilege of living in the Maryland area, but was sent a web link, that took me to Your Dogs Friend. I was in need of training advice & even knowing that I lived in a different region of the country, they spoke to me several times on the phone, directed me towards other websites with answers that related to my questions, provided additional support by having some of their breed specific trainers directly contact me, provided book information & lastly, connected me with trainers in my area that best suited my needs. If I received such outstanding customer service & live 6 hours away, I could only imagine the level of professionalism when you actually get to be apart of such a helpful & dedicated organization. What an impact they make in their community, in the lives of their clients & most importantly the exceptional life for dogs they help provide.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Your Dog's Friend has changed my life and the life of my dogs for the better. I particularly recommend the Reactive Dog class which is totally awesome. If you have a dog who hates other dogs and barks like a maniac at the end of the leash, this class will teach you how to help your dog learn that other dogs are not terrible. It is truly wonderful. Also, the puppy classes are awesome.

Client Served

Rating: 5

What a great group! I adopted a Great Pyrenees who is a lovely rescue, but I had some back issues that effected my control of the dog on walks and had a near disaster when I fell and the dog got away from me. I called Your Dog's Friend and got immediate help, caring, and genuine concern for my dog and me. I was worked in for a harness fitting within a day and got loads of encouragement, advice and a practical perspective when I felt overwhelmed. The harness is far superior to what we had, and costs no more than we paid for the first one on Amazon, and it works! It is clear My Dog's Friend is not in this for the money. They love dogs! My sweet Pyrenees and I are now working on being a success story and are on the waiting list for training with Your Dog's Friend. This group is marvelous because the people who make it work are marvelous!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Your Dogs Friend is a fabulous organization. They provide terrific free seminars, classes, on line resources and stress positive training. My dog and I have taken the Nose Sniffing class, the T Touch class and the Reactive dog class. All were excellent and taught me how to work with my rescue pup.

Anne68

Client Served

Rating: 5

Can't say enough wonderful things about YDF and all the people involved with this group. Amazing that this is a non-profit -- their free seminars, donation-based training classes and endless online resources are invaluable for all dog owners. Of course, I would have paid much more for their Reactive Dog training. I am so grateful that a former volunteer/Petsmart trainer suggested that I contact YDF, Debra Ekman and Michelle Mange about the training they offered for Reactive Dogs. I didn't even know what a Reactive dog was let alone that I had one -- and a jumbo one at that. My Great Dane is the sweetest, smartest dog I've ever owned, But....she became hysterical whenever we got within sight or smell of another dog on our walks. Same thing with the sound of dog tags jingling in a backyard. Or the slam of a front door. Or a bunch of people talking in their frontyards. In just 7 months we are now able to get by most dogs and situations with ease -- and a lot of positive distraction. The seminars given by professionals in the area are great, too. I have attended -- and dragged family members to a number of them. We were all very happy we had gone. Most importantly, Michelle Mange, Debra Ekman and numerous volunteers are always available by email to jump in and help everyone. If you have ANY issues with man's best friend, DO NOT HESITATE to contact Your Dog's Friend. You will save big money on private trainers and even more importantly, you will learn things and get problems solved you might not know you have. There are no bad dogs -- just people who don't understand them.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Your Dog's Friend is a very good organization. They have free workshops on many topics that are presented by knowlegeable professionals. I reccommmend them to anyone whho wants to learn more about dogs or who has problem with their dog.

They offer many classes geared toward specific dog behavior problems. It is difficult to find these kind of classes elswhere.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Your Dogs' Friend has wonderful workshops and classes to help the public learn positive training skills for both human and the dog. I refer new adopters to YourDogsFriend to help them become better and responsible dog owners. I have learned so much from YourDogsFriend and I continue to learn new ways to strengthen the bond with my dogs. At every workshop there are handouts that provide valuable training and resource information.


I would highly recommend to anyone who wants to learn more about being a dog owner but to understand the many different ways that people and dogs communicate

It does not matter what kind of behavioral or any other problem one may have with their dog, YourDogsfriend is always there to provide assistance. I think maybe the organization should change the name to YourDogsandPeoplesFriend too.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Your Dog's Friend had a great free seminar last weekend on "Overcoming Your Dog's Fear of People" by Jeni Grant. This was the second free workshop that I have attended. This organization and those who come to lecture are providing a hugely important service to the community. If they could only replicate what they are doing in thousands of under-served communities in the nation we might make a dent in the homeless dog/shelter population. While there are lots of people in the DC metropolitan area who are benefiting from the help they are providing in learning to live with our dogs (and they with us) there are so many other places in the country where events like these are sorely needed. I am going to contact Bark Magazine or Dogtime or one of the online or in print dog magazines and get them to write a story about what this organization is doing. If more people knew about this organization I bet that they'd get a lot of interested people trying to re-create what they have done in the DC area. I have been really impressed at how many people show up for these free events. I am a big fan of this organization and I think many more like it are needed around the country.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have attended about 95% of the workshops given by Your Dog's Friend over the past several years, and have learned something new at EVERY ONE of them! The speakers are very knowledgeable on their topics, most provide useful handouts, and many brings dogs to demonstrate techniques. Beyond the lectures, the website is loaded with helpful information, and the founder is always available to answer specific questions. Your Dog's Friend has filled the educational void for people who adopt dogs from shelters and then face problems they cannot handle. I am happy to say that I recommend Your Dog's Friend to everyone who adopts from our rescue, knowing they will receive good information on positive training and the best resources for handling any problems that might arise.
Jackie Threatte
Secretary/Treasurer
Chocolate Chip Dalmatian Assistance League

Client Served

Rating: 5

Your Dog's Friend (YDF) is the only reason that I was able to keep my dog. My wife and I adopted a dog and were very surprised to find that it was reactive. Thanks to YDF we were taught how to recognize when our dog is uncomfortable and how to avoid these situations altogether.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Your Dogs Friend helped me tremendously with my 4 year old adopted dog that had 'issues' from his past. There were many relevant workshops offered and those that I attended all had competent, caring instructors. The handouts, newsletter articles and other 'tid-bits' of information that is relevant to dog owners is fantastic (and to imagine most of it is free!) Thank you for caring for the dog's of the world (or at the very least caring for the dogs of Maryland!)

Client Served

Rating: 5

I became aware of Your Dog's Friend when i signed my foster dog up for classes through their Foster Dog Alliance. These classes are a fabulous way to get a foster dog training from the time you bring them home. I've also enjoyed and learned from YDF's free workshops for new adopters and others. Their mailings and website are packed with useful information. I'm also a donor, as I would like them to prosper and continue their good work with dog's and dog owners.'

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've taken my dogs to classes at YDF, but the greatest help has been with my foster dogs. YDF sponsors a program for volunteers who foster dogs for local rescue groups, offering training specifically targeted at helping us improve our foster dogs' behavior, and their chances of being adopted. YDF also holds seminars and workshops that offer insights and information about all aspects of pet ownership. It is truly an invaluable resource!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I found out about Your Dog's Friend a few months ago and it has been a true lifesaver for helping me and my dog. They have very informative FREE workshops that have been so helpful. I have also taken my dog to a paid training class thru Your Dog's Friend that was worth every penny. Their website is a wealth of information and if you can't find what you need you can contact them for help.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We have attended several puppy classes as well as seminars and lectures. They have helped us a lot with our somewhat fearful dog, now almost 2 years old. We didn't know much about dogs when we first got our puppy, and it has been even more challenging that we thought it would be since our puppy has turned out to be shy and fearful of many things. The classes and lectures we've taken at Youg Dog's Friend have made such a difference, and the humane and fun methods taught make working with our dog a joy and a pleasure.

Client Served

Rating: 5

When Little One first came to live with us as a foster at about 9 months old, we thought she was the most perfect dog. She never made a peep and was very shy but smart. At the initial vet check, our vet told us that he thought that she was trained on a shock collar because she had burn marks on her neck and her hair was burned off. However, we didn’t believe him because it we could not imagine that someone would use a shock collar on a 10lb dog. It wasn’t until later that a neighbor went to consult a “highly-recommended” trainer for this 4 month old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy and was recommended a shock collar that we realized that it must be true.

After about a month when we decided to adopt her, she started barking non-stop (which was a big problem because we were living in a condo at the time) and would lunge and snap at everyone and every dog in public. Being in the elevator to go down for her walks became a nightmare if someone else was in the elevator. Eventually, we stopped getting in elevators with other people and our neighbors avoided us as well. It was like she was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. She was so sweet with us one minute and then she would turn into a 10lb Cujo when we were out. We were afraid that she would bite someone and then she would have to be put down. We were at our wits end and did not know what to do.

After doing some research online, we found some free workshops offered by Your Dog’s Friend. As we attended the workshops, we learned that her reactive behavior was due to the abuse suffered before she came to live with us. We also learned that the reason she was quiet and shy in the beginning was because she was in shock from the new environment and was so overwhelmed by fear that she did not have any reaction. (We originally thought she tricked us into adopting her… because she is that smart) The free workshops were taught by experts and really gave us an insight to Little One’s mind. She wasn’t a mean dog after all, but the abuse she suffered caused an already fearful dog to be very reactive. In other words, she was scared and she thought the best defense was a good offense (She is a Tibetian Spaniel so she might have learned that from Sun Tzu’s “Art of War”.) We were able to discuss Little One’s issues with some very knowledgeable experts at the free workshops and all the experts recommended that we start positive training to build up her confidence and teach her correct behavior. However, there was never any pressure to start taking classes from them. As much as we learned from the free workshops, they never tried to sell us anything in return, which showed us that they were really doing this for the right reasons.

The first class we took was Basic Manners 1 with Michelle (known to Little One as the Cheese Lady) they were able to accommodate her issues by hiding her in a pod so that she could concentrate on learning with us instead of being distracted by all the scary people and dogs in the room. Although I’ve had dogs all my life; they were all, normal, drooly, happy, well-adjusted dogs so I never really had to think about their thought process or how they behave (some of them didn’t have a thought process). Michelle is an excellent teacher and I learned so much from her. I think I learned as much if not more from her than Little One did. We really enjoyed the classes and the best thing was that my husband and I really learned how to communicate with her. Because we enjoyed it so much and saw such improvement, we moved on to Basic Manners 2, Confidence Building, Reactive Dog classes and Agility Classes. With each class, we saw great improvement in her ability to tolerate different people and situations. We also took a Control and Focus class with Al and T Touch with Pam.

Even outside of classes, I can still email Michelle, Debra, or any of the other trainers for any behavior issues that come up and they respond right away to remind us of how to modify a behavior based on the positive training methods that we learned. It’s like having a lifeline.

It’s been almost 4 years since Little One came to live with us and we found YDF. Although the hair on her neck has yet to grow back completely, she is now a completely different dog from the mini-Cujo, foaming at the mouth at the sight of strange people and dogs. After about 2 years of classes, we started fostering dogs again and Little One is has been a wonderful sister to all of our foster dogs. This would not have been possible without the help of the YDF workshops and classes. We recently attended the Bark in the Park event and she was fine with hundreds of dogs and people walking around her. She would go up to a dog, sniff to say “hi” and walk away. Or she would ignore the chaos, sit at my feet and look at me as if to say “I’m a good dog, gimme treat, now” (she’s still learning manners) I was so proud of her that I almost cried.

Sometimes, our foster dogs have some issues as well. YDF has a program called Foster Dog Alliance that we participate in to help the behavior of the foster dogs. This program is important because when I recognize a behavior issue, I try to correct it before the foster finds a forever home.

Our family: Little One, my husband and I are very grateful for YDF and their role in keeping our family together.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I commute 2hrs one way to attend the amazing and informative workshops offered by YDF. The knowledge and experience offered at these workshops is a valuable tool for anyone wanting to learn more about dogs. Whether you are looking for training advise, behavior issues, diet recommendations, and much more, this is the place to go!
Ashley Simon ABCDT
Current KPA student

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband, my rescued 3 month old Lab, and I took a puppy kindergarten class with Your Dog's Friend. It was such a great experience with for all three of us. We were all engaged in the class and were given a great start on how to have a happy, well-behaved, member of our family. Their class gave us lots of guidance regarding the importance of the need for daily reinforcement of the training. They were careful to make sure the puppies were kept separated from one another while the training was taking place and still give a safe environment at the end of classes for supervised play time. The entire experience was very positive and I have recommended them to many others. As a bonus, their newsletters offer valuable information and guides for raising compatible canine companions.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter and I attend the basic class for our rescued puppy of 7 months. It help us to manage her behavior and to know what to do in unexpected situation. It also open our mind how our Sushi is eager to learn and to please us. Now my daughter and Sushi are enrolling the agility class in summer.
Thank you so much for your kindness and involvement.
We are very confident to have a strong and fun relationship for a life dog!

E F.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I chose Your Dog's Friend because 1) it is less than 2 miles from my house and 2) it was recommended by a dog rescue organization.

I have attended the free Learning About Your New Dog workshop (with Jeni) and a free workshop with a guest lecturer about reading dog body language to prevent bites (my dog is fearful, which might lead to bites if she got pushed too far). My dog (a 5-year old Cocker Spaniel) has completed Basic Manners 1, Basic Manners 2, and Agility Games, and we're now in her 3rd round of Agility.

WE LOVE THIS PLACE.

The staff have all been wonderful and helpful, even when I had to send emails between classes to ask a question. They clearly know their stuff about positive training. I thought I could learn a lot for free on YouTube (and you can) but nothing beats having live humans helping you interact with your dog in class.

The facilities are very clean (which is amazing considering how many dogs and people are using it!).

Training supplies are available for purchase, but Basic Manners students got a free binder and clicker and nobody has ever pushed us to buy any other products. (If you do, it's cash/check only, no cards.) They were also able to fit my dog for a harness that has greatly improved our walks.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Your Dogs Friend provides an invaluable service to rescue dogs and their owners. I am a dog trainer and adoption coordinator for a local humane society. Your Dogs Friend provides workshops, seminars, and training classes designed to make the dog adoption process a success. We've used their services many times. Margie Dowsett

1 Carrie35

Client Served

Rating: 5

I cannot say enough good things about Your Dog's Friend. I became a puppy owner for the first time in my adult life about 2 months ago, and I was completely clueless about how to train her and communicate with her. She seemed like a chewing, jumping, pooping and peeing machine. I am literally amazed at how much she and I have learned over the last 6 weeks. Sarah and her assistants are fabulous teachers. They are patient, kind, and supportive. We are just finishing Puppy Kindergarten and starting in Puppy First Grade. The training is all positive, so my dog LOVES going to the classes. She is becoming a well trained and happy dog. If you have a new dog, this is most definitely the place to go!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I had a retired friend who was recently gifted 2 young puppies -- something she was completely unprepared and ill-suited to care for. After several weeks of potty accidents, destructive chewing behavior, etc., I convinced my friend to enroll the puppies in puppy kindergarten, and we selected Your Dogs Friend based upon another friend's recommendation. What a WONDERFUL experience!! I attended all the classes as the handler for the second puppy, and couldn't have been more pleased with all the assistance and support we were provided! Since then, I've attended many of YDF's free.workshops and seminars, and have found them to be incredibly helpful. I've learned SO much through this organization -- I HIGHLY recommend them for any of your dog-training needs!

Lori43

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I adopted a cocker spaniel and needed some assistance with the dog we had getting along with the new dog. I attended a workshop the Your Dogs Friend had and it was absolutely wonderful, I learned so much about how dogs communicate. I would highly recommend any of their workshop, they are well done and they take time to answer all questions. They are wonderful.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We adopted our second-ever dog in May 2012 and were looking for help with specific issues as well as enrolling her in a Basic Manners class. We found both through Your Dog's Friend. They are dedicated to helping pet owners stay with their dogs, and help you through problems and questions. The classes are conveniently located, fun, and full of practical advice. The instructor Michelle Mange is excellent and very practical with her info, and the assistants are knowledgeable as well. Michelle clearly has years of experience in dog training and knows dog psychology. I also like that Your Dog's Friend is only into positive training, no choke collars etc. In addition, Debra Ekman the Director of this organization really helped me when our prior dog passed away suddenly this yr as well. She referred me to the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement for free internet counseling and support which was invaluable.Your Dogs Friend also hold free seminars on a variety of topics throughout the year.

Kristy3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Your Dogs Friend provides the most wonderful and enlightening workshops. I have been attending them since I found out about them a few years back and haven't stopped learning! It's a fantastic organization that I would and do highly recommend to others. Kristy

Pam_25

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Your Dog's Friend provides excellent free educational seminars as well as positive training classes.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I recently adopted a dog, and I am so happy to have YDF in the area! I took him to Basic Manners, had a wonderful experience, and got to see my dog blossom through positive training. He is my first dog, so I'm especially grateful that everyone has been so willing to answer my questions. The website resources and workshops are terrific, too, and steered me toward oodles of detailed information that was gentle and effective for my dog.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I recently adopted a 7 year old lab mix and enrolled her in Basic I at YDF. We had a wonderful experience. The trainers are top notch and there was always someone nearby to answer a question or give a tip. We learned so much and their training techniques were wonderful. Our dog had a great time and learned everything so quickly. I love that this is a positive training environment. To all those dog owners that think they need choke chains, prong collars and punishment give positive training a try, you will be amazed at the results and you and your dog will be much happier. I refer everyone I know!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

YDF has been unbelievably helpful in providing seminars for both professionals in the dog rescue field as well as dog owners in general. Their training approach is gentle with positive reinforcement methods emphasised. We have learned an incredible amount about how dogs think from their speakers and classes. And they provide a free seminar series as well to help reach the largest number of people possible and help change the perception and treatment of our canine companions in society.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Where do I start. I had adopted by proxy a puppy mill dog. What does that mean? That is a dog that is used for breeding purposes to sell their puppies online or in pet stores. This dog had never been handled by humans before or if he was it was rough handling. He was scared of anyone and everyone. I tried different classes and they just seemed to make it worse. I started my own support group. I would have trainers come and talk with us or talk with us on the phone. One of the trainers is one that has her own classes at Your Dogs Friend. It was because of her that there is now a fearful dog class-which is exactly what these dogs need. Your Dogs Friend is the place you can go to when you are at your wits end and don't know where to go-like our family with our dog.

Micha M.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I love this place. I refer adopters here and also benefit from their expertise for my own dogs and fosters and other dogs I work with. My favorite would be the seminars but the classes are top notch too from what i hear from anyone who's ever taken one there. I plan to take some soon with my own dogs to further their education. Debra and the other trainers are patient, kind and polite. That can often be a rarity where non-profits are concerned. This is the best place for dogs from a dog and human standpoint.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I love Your Dog's Friend. I first got to know them when I took their reactive dog class and it made my life with my dog so much better. Since then we've taken several classes and both of my dogs attend classes there and get great benefit from their expertise. They've made me a better dog owner!! Love them and highly recommend them. I volunteer with a rescue group as well and never hesitate to recommend their training classes to adopters.

Kristin L.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Your Dogs' Friend is a wonderful non-profit organization that focuses on helping dog owners get the training and information they need to be better dog owners, particularly of rescued dogs. Their training location is convenient to Rockville and their director is always willing to answer questions and help out with advice.

Megan T.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attended Puppy Kindergarten here. The trainers section off the room to make sure that all sizes, personalities, and play styles are accommodated. They answer your questions about puppy play styles, and step in when things start getting a little too exciting. Four weeks later, my puppy now knows sit, stay, leave it, down, and touch. And there are still two weeks to go! The trainers are available with any questions you have outside of class by phone and e-mail. They stay late to work with you on specific questions. They encourage positive training and give you a free clicker with the start of any Puppy/Basic Manners class. Really I just can't say enough about them. When my puppy started to develop handling problems, the trainers there were a source of advice, understanding, and a wealth of knowledge.

mslankford

Client Served

Rating: 5

A friend recommended Your Dogs Friend for training on my reactive German Shepherd (adopted at 3 years old) and the training, information and support provided was wonderful and enlightening. They're my go-to place for information and seminars on dog behaviors and issues. Wonderful group of people (workers, volunteers and presenters) - made living with my dog so much easier.