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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 dog owners. We offer behavior and training advice; sponsor free workshops; 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; and maintain a website with announcements and information educating dog owners and professionals.

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: 745 workshop participants, 1700 students

Geographic areas served: Our free workshops are mostly in Bethesda, MD and our positive classes in Rockville, MD. We have people attending both from throughout the DC metroplitan area.

Programs: Dog training classes and seminars

Community Stories

87 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

A wonderful organization with terrific trainers. They helped me with my rescue doggie and are always great with suggestions and information. Nice facility and a most important mission to help the community learn and understand about their dogs for a better relationship.

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

Client Served

Rating: 5

Your Dog's Friend has enabled me to help my rescue dog blossom. I have attended many workshops (at no cost) which provided me with invaluable information and my dog and I have benefited greatly from basic manners classes, confidence building, play, nose work and canine good citizen training. My dog gets very excited when I pick up our 'go to class' bag - she loves the stimulation and it carries over from class to a wide range of locations. The trainers have all been most helpful and I greatly appreciate the positive approach to training-- it helps build a healthy relationship with my dog. For dog owners looking for guidance and training, I always tell them this is THE PLACE.

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

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!