Dog obedience training Coburg

Vivienne contacted me for some dog obedience training Coburg. She had a young, out of control Brittany Spaniel called Happy, who would not come back when called, one of a number of issues Happy had. As she entered her ‘teenage’ years the behaviour got a lot worse – she wasn’t ‘growing out of it’ – the hope a lot of owners have: instead she was ‘ growing into it’! Vivienne wrote me this wonderful testimonial after we had done some solid work together and I thought it would make for an interesting post, because of the lessons learned by both dog and owner. Plus, Vivienne writes about her experience in such an entertaining way. I hope you enjoy it!


The story of Happy, Vivienne and Kirsten the dog trainer.

In 2012 I decided to get another dog. My previous dog, a Brittany spaniel, had been placid, old and a wonderful family pet and I decided that as I loved her dearly that I would get a dog that was the same breed and she would be just like my old dog. I was wrong! I had wanted my new dog Happy to be like my old dog, but she was very, very, very, active and very destructive. Her destructive tendencies were limitless, she chewed through electrical cables, ate 5 pairs of glasses, chewed on the wooden corners of coffee tables, ate arm chairs, I am sure you get the idea.

My solution was to take Happy to the creek twice a day and let her run about off lead. I thought this would wear her out and she would be too tired to be a problem. This worked for a while, until this smart puppy decided an hour walk was not long enough. Happy got into the habit of not coming back when she was called and not paying attention to me, she jumped all over children and old people and was generally a pest and dangerous. Months went by where we would spend an hour trying to get her to come back, crawling in the creek, trapping her on the bridge. Life with Happy was not so happy. I became so frustrated that I wondered if it might not be better to give Happy up, she was out of control and I had no solutions to tame her.

Being part of the dog community at the creek, I heard of Kirsten the dog trainer. I decided I needed to have more skills in managing this dog. I had to do something; it was no longer an option to let this dog control me –  Happy and I needed some dog obedience training! My first meeting with Kirsten was at my home. Happy jumped all over her and with firm and confident behaviour Kirsten turned her back on Happy until she behaved. This was the first of my 6 months of working with Kirsten to control Happy.   Happy went on the lead, she needed to know who was in control and I needed to control her. I had to take responsibility for her behaviour. For months we had her on a long lead so she learnt to come back to me, there was no running free and being uncontrollable. She was rewarded for coming back with treats and games.

Over the months Happy and I learnt to walk together where she did not pull my arm off. We still walk on the lead every morning so she remembers how to walk nicely. She learnt to pay attention to me, to drop, to wait, to stay, to come back, not to throw herself at the door to go outside, and not to jump on people.   It took a long time, but we got there. Kirsten was great, she understood that this was a difficult dog and this was not going to be easy. We worked together; I continued even when I had not done much work with Happy that week, I knew I had to keep at it. Bit by bit we got Happy to the point where she would come when called and behave.

Happy is not a perfect dog, she is still very active, but she is better than when she was out of control. We now go for walks down the creek every day, she does go off the lead, but I know I can get her to come back. Sometimes she regresses and becomes “wild” dog again and I know it is time to up the training and not let her run free for a while. We go back to the basics that Kirsten taught us.

Thank you Kirsten, without your intervention Happy may well have been in the pound. And thank you for teaching me that loving my dog was not enough; I also had to take responsibility for her behaviour. Many people will tell you that dog training is about people training and they are right – I needed to know how to behave with my dog, this is what Kirsten taught me.

Vivienne Archdall

If you are in need of some dog obedience training Coburg, please get in touch! 🙂


About the Author:

Rewards based dog trainer and photographer, living with and loving my Belgian Shepherds, WolfCub, Phoenix and Boo.


  1. Joel March 10, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    Très beau site Kirsten. Je vous suis également sur Facebook, vos photos devWolfcub et Phoenix sont splendides

    • Kirsten March 10, 2016 at 5:01 pm

      Merci Joel, your visit and comment is much appreciated! 😀

  2. Sandra March 10, 2016 at 12:12 pm


    • Kirsten March 10, 2016 at 12:50 pm

      Hi Sandra, thanks for taking the time to visit and comment. Hope all is well in your world. 🙂

  3. Pam March 10, 2016 at 11:12 am

    What a wonderful story with a ‘Happy’ ending! Sure wish I lived closer to Kirsten to get some help with my two fur babies 😀

    • Kirsten March 10, 2016 at 12:50 pm

      Nice description Pam! Thanks for making the effort to comment. 🙂

  4. Barbara Mathews March 10, 2016 at 9:57 am

    Great site very informative

    • Kirsten March 10, 2016 at 12:51 pm

      cheers Barbara, thank you for taking the time to visit. 🙂

  5. Michael March 10, 2016 at 9:00 am

    I learned similar methods you use in training my dog (pomXchi). They Definitely work! She is 10 now and is still highly motivated to learn new “tricks”.

    • Kirsten March 10, 2016 at 12:52 pm

      Fabulous Michael! Thank you for sharing your experience with me. 😀

  6. sue Kapitanski March 10, 2016 at 8:53 am

    Cute story .our boy was an American Water Spaniel and what a hand full he was loving to run and run, head strong and a lot of selective hearing lol.we had him for fourteen wonderful years ,miss him dearly. He would have been a great challenge for you Kristen 🙂

    • Kirsten March 10, 2016 at 1:07 pm

      Sounds like a wonderful dog Sue, forever in your heart eh? Thank you for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it. 🙂

  7. Lindsay March 10, 2016 at 8:52 am

    Lovely site Kirsten 🙂

    • Kirsten March 10, 2016 at 1:08 pm

      Thank you Lindsay! 😀

  8. Susan Hedges March 10, 2016 at 8:42 am

    Years ago my mom adopted a 4 year old German Shepherd. She immediately sent Spike and me to dog training classes. At the end of class she told us that Spike obviously knew what he was doing, but highly recommended that we continue, as I knew next to nothing. That was completely true. We went until I was fully trained. Worked out well.

    • Kirsten March 10, 2016 at 4:07 pm

      So true Susan – the dogs usually learn quicker than we do! 😉 Thank you for your visit and comment!

  9. Margareta March 9, 2016 at 8:41 am

    What a great story – and what a great work of all of you (oh, my goodness, I wished I had known someone like Kirsten, when I had a dog as a teenager and young woman, it would have my life and my dog’s life so much easier)

    • Kirsten March 9, 2016 at 4:46 pm

      Nice to have a visit from you M – I appreciate your comment. 🙂

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