We had a wonderful experience with our classes with Fingers and Paws. Our young children had never had a dog or puppy before, and our youngest daughter was very reluctant and afraid of dogs. Lisa went above and beyond to ensure her comfort within the class. She also helped teach not only us and our puppy some behavior and socialization training, but also our children in appropriate ways to interact with their new puppy. The education she provided us was invaluable to our family's success in raising a puppy!
Our family has had such a wonderful experience working with Lisa! We saw many positive reviews about her classes at Westford's Roudenbush Center and wanted to sign our puppy up for socialization classes right away. We were able to speak with Lisa on the phone prior to bringing our puppy home and she was so helpful, giving us great book resources and advice on where to find a good local veterinarian. We were impressed that Lisa was so helpful without us having yet signed up for any services. We brought our puppy Crosby to his first puppy social class a few days after bringing him home at 8 weeks old. He was very nervous, hiding under the chair and not wanting to play with any other puppies. Lisa was very knowledgeable and understanding, and helped create a safe space for him in class. We were concerned that Crosby might have separation anxiety, and we were especially concerned about this because we have a 2 year old daughter and we certainly didn't want any behavioral issues around her. We called Lisa to discuss this and we decided to purchase her Puppy Package, where she came to our home for three 1 hour sessions. She gave us wonderful direction for how to best handle the stress of a new puppy while having a young child at home. Crosby immediately loved Lisa and she was able to make us feel so much more at ease and more connected to our puppy. As we have continued attending puppy social classes, Crosby has emerged from his shell and is so excited to play with the other puppies and is always so happy to see Lisa. We can see that the feeling is mutual - Lisa very clearly loves what she does, loves the dogs she works with, and is passionate about fostering positive relationships between families and their dogs. Lisa is extremely knowledgeable and has a wonderfully positive way of teaching and connecting with people and their four legged friends, and we couldn't recommend her highly enough!
Our English Bulldog Gussy began acting aggressively a little after our daughter turned one. My wife and I tried to correct this behavior as best as we could, but as nothing worked and as we heard/read about horror stories of dogs biting/attacking their "siblings" we got more and more concerned. We were very scared before we found Lisa, but even through our first contact with her, she made us feel more at ease and that a solution was possible. Lisa even extended herself to come all the way to our house which was not an easy trip for her and something we always appreciated.
From the very first visit, we saw a change in Gussy and her interactions with our daughter. Lisa helped us to start slowly and we were able to register little wins along the way that made us feel confident we were doing what was best. We were given training tips not only to correct Gussy's behavior, but also ways to make Gussy feel safer when our daughter was around. This was a big thing that Lisa taught us as we didn't realize Gussy's aggression was coming from a potential fear of our daughter. Lisa not only gave Gussy positive reinforcement, but also let us know that we were doing a great job in making sure our house was a safe place for everyone.
During this time, we also found out Gussy was dealing with kidney issues, which was also contributing to her behavior, so the ability to make her feel safe was even more important. We are very glad to say Gussy is feeling much better, and thanks to Lisa's guidance, she and our daughter are getting along better than ever!
If you're looking for help with your dog's behavior and want to be sure the training is done with positivity and love rather than a strong hand, then we can't recommend working with Lisa strongly enough. Lisa helped us to go from a feeling of helplessness to one where we feel confident we're doing what's best for our family and we hope she can do the same for you!
You were great not only with puppy info but also with working with our kids. Thank you! Info was very valuable.
I enjoyed every part of the class! First family dog so any and all training information is very helpful.
What was least helpful and/or enjoyable, if anything?
The only comment I have is that since this is the beginner class, it is often difficult to focus on the instruction or discussion while trying to manage your puppy and then, of course, there is the occasional random barking. So, the weekly Homework (with review) is very helpful and appreciated!
Would you recommend this class to others, and why?
Yes, absolutely! It’s a great start to puppy training; Lisa is very helpful and knowledgeable!
We started with Lisa even before our puppy arrived; she helped prepare us for what to expect when we brought Chewie home. And now we have completed the Social Puppy 1 & 2 classes as well as the Smart Puppy training class. Lisa is extremely knowledgeable about positive reinforcement training. She really cares about the students, dogs as well as their humans, and truly wants everyone to progress, encouraging questions and communication during and after class. Lisa is amazing and we highly recommend her to anyone in need of dog training!
My puppy Frankie is doing amazing. The classes are so well run and fun (despite the hard work for both puppy and myself)! It was helpful to be educated on how dogs learn as well as the basic training commands. Lisa is an excellent trainer/teacher. You can tell she is passionate about what she does.
Would you recommend this class to others, and why?
Definitely Yes! The first few weeks being home with my new puppy I was very discouraged. I never thought she was a “trainable dog” I decided to try this class and stuck with it ( I had some moments thinking this is too hard!) I am so glad I did Frankie is doing amazing and getting better every day! Lisa is fantastic.
Greetings from me and my happy, upbeat, confident beautiful boy. He is doing outstanding. We have had some episodes of going into the woods and trying to hide out on the trail, but I stay calm, love him and fill his face with treats and he comes out after a few minutes and we go on our way. The trick has been the treats. When I started this I might use 15-20 treats on a walk. Now maybe 5 or six, and that is only because I will give him one because he is my boy and I love him.
I haven't tried much around the neighborhood, but I figure one obstacle at a time. Although he will go down the street a ways and then want to turn back. And that is what we do because he is my boy and I love him. I feel connected to him again. We are locked at the hip. God I love him.
Thank you so much for your very knowledgeable and professional services.
Rocky now rides calmly in the car. Your suggestions were spot on and now he just lays on seat - no treats needed. It's so awesome. ???????????????????? and he's better at meeting people and walking without pulling much.
I really liked the class even though I have trouble juggling the clicker treats and leash!! I'm getting better. Thanks so much.
I knew you would appreciate this story. Yesterday I took Miranda to meet her brother to a puppy play time… They hadn't seen each other since they were adopted and his mom recently found me on Facebook. I thought it would be cute for her to play with a dog with her play style! So I went with no reservations. I figured they might remember each other and didn't expect any problems. Well if you can guess I was wrong!
I am so thankful that I took the time to find you and that Miranda and I had good training. It's stories like these that really show the importance of quality socialization and training. I am glad I knew how to read my dog and knew what to do to keep her happy and safe. She handled her brother being a brat very well and wouldn't have done so if it wasn't for Fingers and Paws Training. You have helped me have a well adjusted puppy.
Considering the nuttiness of the week, Cali did well. She's still stealing (it became apparent to me yesterday I am not as aware as I should be so I can work on the 'leave it') but she is getting much better about drop it (even with her ball so playing fetch is much more fun!). She isn't running away from me as much. Now that it's getting warmer, though, I need to buy more shorts with pockets or start wearing a fanny pack so I always have treats on me!
Your recommendation to stay positive and verbally reinforce her when she drops the stolen item has actually helped me too--having to pretend to be happy makes me focus on the positive so it changes my mood. You're a genius!
The fort has been great. After a bit she lays down next to the gate. I don't think we're anywhere close to taking the stuff off the couch but I am so happy with the Cali-free fort. Thank you for modifying that area to make it work.
Leashing her to the door when we have visitors has helped too. It ensures that she has distance and I can use both hands to work with her.
Sorry for the lengthy email. I am just so appreciative of all your guidance and want to be sure you know!
We signed up for private lessons with Lisa when we first adopted our dog Sandy, a somewhat fearful adult dog. Lisa was great to work with, she taught us the theory behind how to teach Sandy using positive reinforcement. She was very flexible with times for the lessons and they were tailored to our specific needs. We worked on some basic behaviors as well as worked on some issues specific to Sandy (e.g. being around other dogs – Lisa even had her own dog help with that!). Most importantly the lessons gave us the confidence and skills to work with Sandy on our own to teach any other behaviors we want to in the future.
We recently rescued a dog. While we love him and he is the right dog for us, he also has some significant behavioral issues as he was a stray for an unknown period of time. We hired Lisa to help us with these issues. Lisa has deep knowledge about animal behavior and how to change it. She also understands people. This allows her to communicate her knowledge in a way which we were able to understand.
In the few weeks we worked with her, Benji's behavior made huge steps forward. We learned a lot in the sessions themselves, but we were also given exercises to work on in between. Together these helped us understand not only Benji better, but also ourselves.
Thank you, Lisa!
We contacted Lisa to help us introduce a new puppy to our 2 adult dogs - 11 year old female lab and 8 year old male lab. We had a feeling that our oldest dog was not going to embrace a new puppy so wanted to do it the right way. Lisa was awesome - she agreed to meet us at our house when we brought our new female puppy home as well as gave us suggestions and tips for going forward. Didn't we surprise her (and ourselves) with 2 puppies - sisters :). Thanks to her amazing training expertise, patience and great sense of humor & understanding, we now have a happy household of 4 chocolate labs - yes 4!! We could not have accomplished this without Lisa's help.
Lisa Bert has completed 5 presentations to our 3-5 year old children at Westford Preschool at St. Mark’s. I would highly recommend this program for all young children. Her presentation was interactive and kept the children’s attention and interest. She was able to adapt to the different age groups. The feedback from parents and teachers has been wonderful and many children were repeating what they learned well after the program. We look forward to her returning to our program for future presentations.
Most helpful? “Signs to look for in dog when they aren’t comfortable.” Program? “Excellent. Presentation provided useful info to help adjust our dogs to baby. Slides were informative. Video clips were helpful.”
Most helpful? “Subtle behavior cues.” Overall feeling about the program? “Excellent”, “Yes” would recommend to others
Most helpful? “Understanding dog’s signals, techniques to make it a positive experience bringing baby home.” “Yes” would recommend to others
Most helpful? “How to interpret dog behaviors. Associating positive things for dog with baby.” Overall feeling, comments: “Excellent. Very good info, very well presented, definitely worth the price. Thank you!”
“The class was very informative and my dog and I learned a great deal.” Would you recommend this class to others? “Yes, because of the relaxed atmosphere and knowledge of the instructor… Lisa is great.” Other classes you would be interested in attending? “Level 2”
“Loved the class, it has been very helpful. Good training techniques. Would love a Level 2.” Would you recommend this class to others? “Yes, helps set up training outside of class.”
We adopted our dog at seven years old from Buddy Dog in 2011. When we brought our newborn son home from the hospital 3yrs later, the dog had a difficult time adjusting to the shift in attention. He became very mopey and started whining and barking a lot more. We hired Lisa to help us ease the transition for the dog and also set our household up for safety as our son became more mobile. She was recommended to us as a trainer who specializes in the interaction between children and dogs. She was extremely helpful and professional. She provided us with evidence-based reading materials and worked with us to train our dog to tolerate separation better. She also taught us a lot about providing appropriate supervision and arranging dog-and-child interactions to maximize safety. Our dog is definitely calmer and more obedient now, and we would recommend Lisa to anyone!
We bought our dog from a reputable breeder with a long list of credentials. We read all the recommended books, and thought we were on the right track to have the perfect, well-behaved, well-trained dog for us and our three young children. Everything was great for the first couple weeks. We felt we were doing all the right things and everyone was happy. But then it started getting hard. Sunny was very mouthy with everyone and the little puppy bites started to become annoying. We couldn’t get her to listen to anything and she started aggressively resource guarding and snapping at our 7 year-old daughter.
Over the next 2 months as Sunny grew bigger and stronger we had several very tense and stressful moments. It was such a disappointment to have felt so well-prepared and to see things taking a turn for the worse. It was at this point that we contacted the breeder to discuss giving her back. After talking things over we decided to contact the trainer our breeder referred us too, Lisa. We agreed to keep an open mind and meet with Lisa for some in home training to find out if we could salvage our relationship with Sunny. Within 5 minutes of Lisa being in our home, we started to feel a sense of hope. She was instantly in control of the dog and offered real day to day solutions for a busy family. Lisa’s interactive style with our children was incredibly effective and very fun for them. She reserved judgment and completely understood the child/dog priority struggle. She helped us find tactics that worked for us. Improvements were immediate and through just a few sessions of games, pictures, books, handouts, role playing and follow up email we were able to get on the right track.
Lisa truly saved our relationship with Sunny. She has a perfect mix of compassion, huge wealth of knowledge, practical experience and understanding for the situation. We still have a long way to go with Sunny but we now have a much more realistic and optimistic approach to training. We do believe we have a good dog and when we stick to the training techniques we have learned we continue to make progress.