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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

61 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

When we adopted our dog as a puppy four years ago, the shelter recommended Your Dog’s Friend (YDF) as a resource. I will be forever grateful for that advice. We have learned and benefited from--and had fun at--every single class at YDF, ranging from puppy kindergarten to TTouch to agility. Each teacher has been knowledgeable, caring, and supportive. In addition, the free workshops consistently provide useful information.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Your Dog's Friend is a fabulous resource to people involved with dogs. I recommend them to all dog owners. Anyone can benefit from their vast knowledge and expertise of dogs and dog behaviors. Their level of care and concern about your dog and the issues faced is phenomenal. Your dog is as important to them as their own dog. All training is positive reinforcement. No old school, mean, barbaric choke chains, yelling or demeaning techniques are used. From the free workshops to group classes-in person or online everyone is friendly, welcoming and helpful.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My dog Dani and I just completed the Reactive Dog class which lasted 8 weeks. The instructor
and coaches were all outstanding. In addition to using positive reinforcement techniques for
training dogs, they also used positive reinforcement techniques for we humans. That is to
say, there was never criticism, only positive feedback and then ideas on how to improve on
the lessons we were taught. Given that we were all starting out with reactive dogs, every
precaution was taken by our instructor to ensure the safety of all. The techniques we learned
for distracting our dogs when other dogs appear unexpectedly on the scene are successful
for me and my dog. And my own confidence in walking my dog increased measurably
because now I have tools to help us both. When possible I attend the special seminars
offered on many relevant topics and always take home useful information for me and my dog. Signing up for classes on the web site is easy and efficient. I was particularly impressed
with how the waiting list worked so efficiently when a space for the class we wanted
became available. I tell everyone I know who has a dog about Your Dog's Friend. Blessings to
Debra Ekman for her vision, creativity. perseverance and stamina to make YDG a vital
and meaningful organization. And blessings to the talented and dedicated trainers /coaches who are so knowledgeable and have years of experience they bring to each and every
class. YDF has made a substantial difference in our lives together and we are forever
grateful. Thank you. Peace to all, Lacey G and Dani(short for Danielle).

Client Served

Rating: 5

If there were more than 5 Stars, I would award them to Your Dog's Friend! Their mission to help people and dogs so that dogs don't end up in shelters is terrific. Their classes with only positive rewards and free workshops are marvelous. I have taken many classes and attended many workshops, and the teachers and speakers are incredibly wonderful. Whenever my dog sees our teacher, Sarah, she is ecstatic and can't wait to say hello to her! Because of a long work day, I hadn't had a dog in 25 years, but retirement provided the opportunity for me to adopt a rescue. Being able to go to Your Dog's Friend for classes and workshops haa been invaluable. And to top it off, they are incredibly efficient -- it is so easy to sign up for classes and receive notifications of upcoming classes you would like to attend. I recommend them highly to you!

judidash

Client Served

Rating: 5

I can't imagine what I would have done without the skilled, caring and devoted trainers at Your Dog's Friend. My little rescue hound puppy, Shayna, loved both the socializing with other puppies and training parts of each class, as did I. And -- this is huge -- when I broke my ankle just a month into classes, I was able to arrange at-home training (extra cost but worth every penny) and guidance in getting extra support for walking and gallavanting in good hands while I was confined to a wheelchair. Classes are limited to strictly manageable sizes, even though they could have doubled enrollment if they weren't so conscientious. Every minute of the puppy socializing is closely supervised by the trainer and assistants, so pups are playing with others of a similar energy level, so all feel and are safe. I feel so lucky to have found YDF, which also offers free supportive lectures to bolster our skills and security as adopters. They really want every puppy to succeed and every adopter to succeed -- which translates into happy loving forever homes.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We adopted a border collie mix last fall from a local rescue group. For the first couple of weeks he was fine, then he began exhibiting reactive behavior to strangers, other dogs, trucks, you name it. I contacted Your Dog's Friend by email and almost immediately received loads of helpful information. Besides notifying me about very good workshops for reactive dogs (which were attended by dozens of other dog owners), Debra and others provided advice and instruction that I could use immediately and that really made a difference. They've provided information sheets, emails, regular notifications about workshops. This is a wonderful, proactive group that has real expertise.

Client Served

Rating: 5

What a great value at a low cost. Fantastic staff who genuinely care for dogs. Sarah Stoycos provided enthusiasm and great advice for Russell , my Boston and I. We originally signed up for a class that did not work out for us because of the time. They were happy to put me in another class that worked out better. They are very flexible and accommodating too. Thank you!

Client Served

Rating: 5

YDF has been an invaluable source of information and support for me and my dog Max. Adopted at an early age, he has always had fear based issues resulting in dog and people reactivity. No amount of training seemed to help and then I learned about positive training and Your Dog's Friend. The YDF website alone provides a large amount of information and is very user friendly. I have taken advantage of MANY of the YDF free workshops all of which have had knowledgeable presenters. I have learned a lot about how to work with my challenging dog. I have also attended TTouch classes with Max and now have another tool in my toolbox to use! If every person thinking about dog ownership would visit the YDF website first, they would be ahead of the game. The fact that all this valuable information is provided at no cost to the public is terrific. YDF provides a great service for people and their dogs everywhere!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Hi everyone! Your Dogs Friend (YDF) offers a wonderful service to young or adopted dogs - like me. Debra and her team of trainers and coaches are all about helping owners learn to work with their dogs, especially dogs with behavior challenges. My folks turned to YDF and their class for Reactive Dogs, because when I was a one-year old adopted dog, I could do great things in the house, but could not focus when there were distractions or we were outside. My folks really like the way the classes are organized and working in the YDF training facility is safe and supportive, for all of us. Turns out, everything is exciting to me, even entering the training facility, but in class I learned my folks can be even more exciting. We were able to practice our skills, with great coaching, and we have learned to be partners. As a result of our training at YDF, I am not just the dog on the other end of the leash. We have learned fun ways for me to use nervous energy and our walks hold "surprises" that I am willing to work for. (Most days!) Mom and Dad are teaching me new stuff every day so I will be able to be a great ambassador for my breed rescue.

We are so glad we found Your Dog's Friend.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have taken several classes with Your Dog's Friend, utilized free workshops and resources from them, and volunteer-coached one class series. The organization does a tremendous service to the community, preventing dump-backs to shelters through the education of dog owners in a way that promotes a healthy, trusting relationship between dog and owner. As a client served, I have benefitted greatly from the classes which are very hands-on and customized to client needs. Everyone I have worked with has been dedicated to the organization's mission, friendly, and knowledgeable. My dog enjoys the classes and I feel that they have all helped me reinforce the bond I have with him.

My (so far) short experience volunteering with the organization has also been positive and has made me feel even more a part of the mission of the organization. Many of the other volunteers also started off as a client and later decided to coach. I think this speaks to the strong level of community engagement at Your Dog's Friend.