Sometimes on your journey as a dog person you encounter a few bumps along the way.  You need to find mentors and peers to help you get out of a rut and inspire you.  We do this all the time for everyone from high level competitors to everyday dog owners.  If you need help with something call Norma and she will set up an appointment for us to meet.  We can get allot done in an hour!  A big thanks to Juliene Bartley for this awesome testimonial!  READ BELOW

No testimonial could do Francis justice. He’s fun, friendly, patient, clear, communicative and intuitive — with both dogs and people! My big, suspicious, intimidating dog absolutely loves Francis. During out first lesson, even before my dog had noticed him, Francis had already read him and knew exactly how to approach him to ensure that my dog’s first impression of him was a good one. He gave me some great insight into my dog’s personality, and some tips on how to introduce him to strangers and have better interactions with people, which has proven extremely valuable. The exercises he gave us were not complicated, but made such a huge difference, and my dog actually enjoyed doing them. Not once did he seem stressed, or felt shut down; he was eager to work for Francis, and for me, even when he was challenged. I was also given a lot of instruction to improve my own handling skills, such as how to use the leash and position my body to help my dog understand what I want, but never once was I made to feel clumsy or stupid. You can tell, too, that each lesson is catered to you and your dog and what will help you both succeed.

The advice I received was catered to my dog’s personality and my specific issues, and wasn’t at all like cookie-cutter solutions copied from a Dogs for Dummies book. Since seeing Francis, my dog and I have shared many small (and a few major!) victories. I’m more confident with my dog and my ability to handle him — and he is more comfortable and focused on me — in situations that would have felt tricky before. And, perhaps best of all, I understand my dog much better thanks to Francis’ insight and guidance, which has only made our relationship stronger and more productive. I can’t thank Friends of the Family enough for all their help, and I’m looking forward to continuing our education with them! (Circus Class, here we come!)

A rainbow over our training area

A rainbow over our training area

Idle Hands are the Devil’s Workshop: A Day in the Life of a Bay Area Dog Trainer

A full day of dog training starts with a hardy breakfast. There is nothing like fresh eggs and La Farine bread. On this day my father was visiting. He played fiddle at Saint Roch’s while I danced around a blind Akita named Bubba. Earlier this year my Dad recorded  harmonica tracks for former Velvet Underground member Doug Yule. Check it out here.  To watch our Rooster do a card trick click here

Last post I talked about healing behavior problems from the inside out.  Yesterday I received an email from clients in Berkeley who were feeling the rewards of this approach to training.

We are so grateful that we found Francis Metcalf, the incredible dog trainer at Friends of the Family.  Since we have been working with him, our magnificent Giant Schnauzer has made amazing progress.  We only wish we had not waited until HH was almost five years old.  Since we got him, from a top breeder, at seven months of age, HH has tended to lunge at people (never other dogs) and intimidate them, although he has never bitten anyone.  We therefore have, over all these years, severely limited HH’s contact with other people, which has had a big impact on our lives.