My dog can stay home alone for a few hours and she’s become a more confident, polite dog.

Nancy M., Riverwoods, IL June 25, 2020

My family adopted a 10-month old rescue dog in December only to find out she had severe separation anxiety.

We were immediately impressed with Sally's experience, expertise and understanding of dog behavior. The reading materials she provided were thorough and the training protocols very structured.

Following our initial face-to-face consultation, my interaction with Sally was all done via email, but any time I had a question, she was detailed and timely in her response.

Going into the training our main objective was getting our dog to stay home alone, but the training touched on so much more. The training did take a lot of time and effort, but now not only can my dog stay home alone for few hours, she's become a more confident, polite dog and the relationship my family has with her is even stronger.

Sally is a great observer and interpreter of our pet’s behavior.

February 6, 2020

Sally is a fantastic trainer. She's helped us take our dog, Peanut, from an aggressive, neglected, highly anxious senior rescue to an affectionate and beloved family pet. Her training methods are practical and do-able. She listens to us and is a great observer and interpreter of our pet's behavior. And she's helped us to read him and work with him. Her rates are very reasonable for the amount of time and attention she gives. We recommend her to our friends all the time!

Sharon P., Chicago

Sally helped my dog have a happier life and taught me how to make that possible.

February 6, 2020

I can't thank Sally enough for working with me and my young Dachshund Vinnie.   Vinnie came to me as a one year old, highly anxious puppy.  He wouldn't walk more than three houses away from my home.  He was aggressive towards strangers and other dogs. He wouldn't come when I called.  I can't say that all of those problems are completely resolved but Vinnie now walks around the block and half-way down the alley. (He balks at passing the rear entrance of the vet's so we turn around and head back home).  Sally taught me how to handle approaching and passing strangers.  The only time Vinnie barks now is if we are caught by surprise rounding the corner and encounter a stranger.  I still avoid other dogs if I can, but Vinnie is no longer barking at them across the street.  Sally also taught me how to get Vinnie to follow me up to the porch. (We no longer have stand-offs on the sidewalk nor do I just pick him up and carry him inside).  I am very grateful to Sally for helping my beautiful little dog have a happier life and for teaching me how to make that possible.

Louise J., Chicago

Our pup now has way more confidence than before!

February 6, 2020

We cannot say enough great things about Sally! She is extremely knowledgeable and taught us about using positive reinforcement to correct our English Bulldog's laundry list of issues.

Our pup now has way more confidence than before, and we have seen such an improvement in her behavior.

Our dog was TERRIFIED of the vacuum cleaner and tape measure, and with Sally's help, we have seen SO MUCH PROGRESS! Our pup still has a long way to go, but Sally provided us with all of the tools we need, so now it is just up to us to continue to work with our dog.

Sally taught us to read our dog's behavior, and our session's brought us closer together as a family.

Sally is always on time, and she is flexible and easy to work with. We cannot recommend her enough! Thanks, Sally!

Taylor H., Chicago

We’re happy to report our dog with separation anxiety is spending long amounts of time happily by himself.

February 6, 2020

Sally is wonderful! We adopted a tripod pit mix who was about 10 months old at the time. After a little time with us, we noticed he had separation anxiety. We had tried some training on our own with little success, but when Sally stepped in, it was a game changer!

She spent the time to come to our home and work with us to learn how to communicate with our eager-to-learn, food motivated pup. We worked with her over many months, tailoring training protocols for our dog to get him where he needed to be. Sally was both patient with us and our dog and really listened and adjusted as he began to progress. She's an incredible wealth of knowledge and is only continuing to grow that base, so she was excited to implement new training methods whenever we could.

We're happy to report our dog is spending long amounts of time happily by himself, and it's all thanks to Sally. We can't wait to work with her more to continue to help our dog live his best life!

Kathryn A., Chicago

Sally’s positive and humane methods work, if you put in the time and effort.

February 6, 2020

Sally is such a thorough, interactive and articulate trainer. She actually gets in and demonstrates what she is teaching. Not only is that the most effective method of teaching- followed as she does by watching the owner then practice, but it also makes sure her interventions are tailored to your particular dog. She truly cares to make a difference- last session she patiently listened to the many many issues I was having, and covered as much as possible in that session-it was really impressive and showed how important it is to her to be helpful. She is honest and dedicated, and her positive and humane methods work, if you put in the time and effort.
I highly recommend her.

Mattie M., Chicago

Sally completely reframed the way I view and understand dogs.

February 6, 2020

Sally is an excellent positive reinforcement trainer. I cannot recommend her enough.

I thought I knew a lot about dog behavior going into our training sessions, but she completely reframed the way I view and understand dogs. She helped my fiance and I better understand our dogs behavior to get to the root of her anxiety.

Sally truly cares about what she is doing and you can feel good about trusting her with your dog's behavioral challenges.

Rebecca O., Chicago

You’d be hard pressed to find a trainer more knowledgeable and truly dedicated to your dog’s well-being.

February 6, 2020

We have a 1 year old Maltese/Coton mix who suddenly started showing aggression towards strangers so we needed help trying to solve what's going on. Sally was an extremely knowledgeable, thorough and caring trainer and true expert in dog behavior. She taught us so much I didn't know even though I had done mountains of online research before deciding to finally engage a professional trainer.

I'd say one of the most valuable things she taught us was how to understand him and his subtle canine communication signals. Within a week we had him politely sitting quietly to "tell us" what he wanted and communicating with us in ways I didn't realize we could communicate. I understood him so much better and already at that point my family remarked he was like a different dog.

What was also very valuable was learning some of the things we were doing that were most likely making his aggression worse (unknowingly to us). She took the time to explain dog psychology and physiology and it was very helpful in adjusting our own behavior to better set him up for success.

She gave very thorough reports and exercises after each session so we could continue to work with him between sessions as well as very valuable referrals to the best vet behaviorists, pet sitters that could handle "problem doggies" and a groomer that can also work with dogs with aggression issues.

I recommend Sally 100% and feel you'd be hard pressed to find a trainer more knowledgeable and truly dedicated to your dog's well-being, not to mention how much teaching of the humans this all involves. She's very patient. She's also punctual and dependable. Our sessions always started on time.

Marissa L., Chicago

Helped us with resource guarding

Linda D. Wilmette February 27, 2018

Sally has been an amazing help to our family as we worked to bring a new rescue pup into our household. Our older dog began resource guarding and was certainly stressed by the new addition. Sally helped us understand the situation, read the dog's body language, and help get him comfortable with the new family member. In addition to obedience skills, we've worked with both dogs on the basics of nose-work. Sally's professionalism and insights into canine behavior have made a huge difference to our family and I whole-heartedly recommend her to others.

Sally helped reduce Penny’s fear and anxiety

Andy S. Chicago February 27, 2018

Sally has been an incredible help to us and our rescue pup, Penny. We called her after Penny had been showing signs of increasing anxiety and stress for several months. From the moment Sally walked in, she helped us to start identifying some of Penny's issues. She taught us tons of useful and creative training techniques. One of Sally's greatest strengths is that she can come up with creative and unique training ideas on the fly. But most importantly, she helped us understand Penny better and what could be causing her stress and anxiety. This is what really made Sally and her training techniques work. Throughout the course of our training sessions, Sally applied both technical training techniques with practical, real-life, training techniques that we could apply to our daily routines with Penny.

After working with Sally and using the skills that she taught us, Penny has improved drastically. We understand her better. And we have the tools and knowledge to continue to work with her and reduce her anxiety and stress in various situations.

In addition to her knowledge and skill with dogs, Sally is friendly, patient, and professional. She was wonderful to work with and we would highly recommend her to anyone who needs to work on training, stress/anxiety reduction, nose work, or any other issues you may need to work on with your dog.

Growly Dog class yields big improvements in Fletcher

Alissa, Nate and Fletcher Chicago February 27, 2018

We rescued an adorable 4 year old Beagle-Terrier mix who seemed totally well-adjusted according to the shelter and the foster parents, and based on his first 5 days with us... but after that, everything changed. Fletcher started exhibiting severe anxiety, incessant barking, and leash reactivity. Walks with him became a nightmare, sitting at home hearing him bark nonstop wasn't much better.

After doing some research, we reached out to Sally. She taught us so much in our first session with her, that we were able to observe significant changes in Fletcher at home after just one session (this is not an exaggeration, literally ONE session). He quickly learned that a positive way to get attention from us was to sit politely and look, instead of barking. We learned about how to help him work through his "zoomies". We all learned to play Fetch and Tug of War better, and Fletcher became a little less nervous.

Then we joined Sally's Growly Pups class to work on his reactivity towards other dogs - and it has been life-changing. Don't get me wrong- Fletch is still no angel, but he's thinking about his choices now, he's communicating his discomfort instead of just losing his mind.  Equally importantly, we've gained confidence in our ability to read him, and how to handle him when a dog surprises us by coming around the corner. We no longer spend walks dreading the moment that we see a dog across the street, and then profusely shouting apologies on behalf of our little beast, instead we carry treats and trust in the strategies we've learned.  Overall, dog ownership has become a lot more enjoyable since Sally entered our lives.

Sally will teach you not only the "how" but the "why" behind it, which I think has the overall impact of making you a more intelligent dog-owner, and all of her methods are research and evidence based. If you have your own little terror, and you feel like there's no hope, please know, help is here. Her name is Sally. And you WILL see results, because Sally knows dogs.

I know we still have tons of work to do, but we wanted to express our appreciation for how far we've already come! Our very anxious pup is becoming slightly less so as he's gaining new confidence :)



Separation Anxiety Help

Patrick C. Chicago August, 2017 October 10, 2017

Sally helped my fiancee and I with our dog's separation anxiety issues. Before we sought out Sally's help, we felt like prisoners in our own apartment. We couldn't leave our dog alone in the apartment for more than 5 minutes before he would start to pace, bark, and cause general disruption to our fellow neighbors. Eventually, after trying thunder shirts, calming music, sprays, and bark collars, we figured enough was enough and we researched trainers who specialized in Separation Anxiety. This is how we found Sally.

Sally came to our apartment and met with us and our dog, Emmett, to determine the best course of action. She helped us establish training protocols that would help Emmett eventually self-soothe while we were away. We started out slow by leaving him for only 20 - 30 seconds at a time then, through persistence and work, we got him up to 20 - 30 minutes of alone time in our apartment where he would lay down and sleep the entire time. It was a long road. We worked with Sally via email over the course of 5 - 6 months and were eventually able to leave him alone for over 5 hours. At this point, we had the building blocks to continue practicing with Emmett. Recently, we reached a point where we left him alone while we were at work for over 9 hours. He slept the entire time!

For those seeking assistance with Separation Anxiety issues, you should be aware that it will take a lot of work on your part. You get out of the training what you put into it. There are going to be times when you feel like you're regressing, but you should stick with it. You and your dog will thank you in the long run.

Thanks so much for all of your help Sally!

Milo was having some trouble

Josh L. Oak Park October 15, 2015

We have a 7 year old Labradoodle named Milo, who has always been a sweet, but high energy and a bit anxious.  We worked with several trainers when he was a puppy including some one-on-one sessions where we tried and failed to address some weird repetitive behaviors. Milo was having some trouble adjusting to new infant twins in the house, barking whenever they cried, and always hovering around them.  We asked for some help getting Milo adjusted to having babies around, and with his weird behaviors, which had gotten worse with all the changes.  Sally helped us through our baby coping issues in short order, and referred us (and came with us to the appointment!) to an excellent behaviorist who helped treat Milo's anxiety issues with meds.  The best gift Sally gave us, however, was a really great understanding of how Milo thinks, and how we can interact with him to encourage him to make good decisions moving forward.  It has changed the way we related to Milo entirely, and we're all a much happier family.  I wish I had found Sally when Milo was a puppy!

barking and lunging

Nancy P., April, 2015 May 1, 2015

I completed “Growly Dog” with Sally and Amy about a month ago with my three year old leash reactive lab.  He was unable to see a dog on the street, even across, without barking and lunging at it.  I have two other dogs and would have to walk him separately because he was starting to attack my other lab when there were other dogs around.  I was so afraid that I would eventually have a dog fight on the end of my leash and knew that I had to get help.

I am a new dog trainer and have known about Sally and her work with reactive dogs for a few years now and she was the trainer that I knew could help us.  The class is set up for all of us, dogs and people, to be successful.  All dogs have their own space and are never put into situations that they cannot handle. Because of this distance, they are give the opportunity to make their own decisions and with some help from us, figure out that there is an alternative to the way they have been reacting.

A week after completing the class, I was walking Gunner and in the course of that one walk, we came across nine dogs, all at different distances BUT he did not react once!  It was a huge break through for us.  I know that we have a long way to go, but this class has given me the tools to continue to help him make the right decisions.

Growly Dog

Eric C., April, 2015 May 1, 2015

I signed up the Growly Dog class in February 2015, and was very pleased with the results. I signed up to address aggression issues that my dog Max had when encountering people on walks. After completion of the course, I have seen a large improvement after applying the training techniques learned in this class. Since the class is small in size, Sally was able to provide specific feedback that pertained to Max's behavior. It also allowed her to customize the pace of training to meet the needs of the dogs enrolled in the class. Most importantly, the class taught me to read behavioral signs my dog was giving to clue me in on his emotional state. This has really improve my ability to prevent full blown outbursts, and improved the overall relationship I have with my dog.

Maizy’s Progress

Tisha M. Teeluck and Maizy Chicago, Illinois January 27, 2014

At 9 months old, I discovered that my puppy Maizy seemed to be having behavior problems, which had not been displayed before. I didn’t see the early signs of anxiety and thought I was experiencing what I thought was a reversion to naughty behavior that sometimes happens when a previously well trained puppy reaches that age. Maizy had “earned” her way out of the crate because of great behavior. Then she had a dangerous “reversion”. After leaving to run a few quick errands, I came home about 90 minutes later to discover that Maizy had pulled the computer cord out of my lap top, out of the wall (thank goodness) and had chewed clear threw it. Out came the old crate and I thought, just a bit of reinforcement of the training we had already done.

Then the neighbors began to complain…Maizy was crate trained very successfully and never uttered a peep while she spent her allocated time there. Now, I was hearing from my neighbors about the persistent barking, whining, crying….so I knew now that this was not a simple reversion back to puppyhood. This was a bigger problem. And that was where Sally came in. After a thorough intake with me and also time spent observing Maizy, Sally created a full program that has included multiple exercise and tactics. At Sally’s advice, we have combined relaxation protocols and training with augments such as the Thundershirt, changing Maizy’s diet, adding in holistic supplements to create a more calm atmosphere and a more calm dog.

We have made a lot of progress! While Maizy still remains in her crate if I am gone for longer periods, she is a calmer dog altogether and we are letting her stay out for short stints (up to an hour) with no complaints from the neighbors and no destruction in the house. Anxiety is a challenging condition to treat but it can be managed. It takes a strong commitment from the owner though, and in my opinion, a very talented professional trainer like Sally in order to put a successful program together. One unexpected outcome? Because of the work I have done with Maizy, I have also created a much stronger bond with her and although her condition has occasionally exasperated me, I have come to truly appreciate ALL of her qualities and have seen what a special and truly amazing dog she is!

Saving Scrappy

Joanna, Larry and Scrappy Haerle Chicago, Illinois January 27, 2014

We sent a desperate heartbreaking plea…to Weimaraner Rescue! We were hopeless about keeping someone we’d grown to love dearly in the year we had him…Scrappy the Weimaraner aka Mr. Anxiety. He had on occasion shown signs of anxiety, especially separation anxiety, with barking, salivating, vomiting, and scratching. It all came to a head when he attempted to get out of his kennel area while we were at work by destroying a window frame, breaking the large plexiglass window cover trying to get out the window, tearing the bolted kennel front away from the wall, slicing his paw and requiring stitches. We were willing to do anything to keep him and had tried classroom training, herbs, essential oils, and even drugs.

Fortunately, our plea was answered by Sally Bushwaller, who offered to come to our house to see what could be done. By the end of the first training hour, Sally became our “Dog Whisperer”, as Scrappy began his transformation. It’s been a long, challenging road with many hours of training, but we can now leave him alone, in a crate, for several hours at a time. Sally has taught Scrappy to offer relaxing behavior in all facets of life, especially when left alone…no small feat…and has engaged him in ways we never thought possible, all while having fun.

It’s a different way of training than we’ve known from our last three dogs, but one we’ll always use in the future…we’ve shaped him to offer and get rewarded, we don’t ask for behavior! Scrappy knows what’s expected of him…or certainly works hard to figure it out. We look forward to our training sessions. We were blessed to have found Sally and recommend her as she is truly an expert in separation anxiety and cares deeply about the dogs she works with. Her work with anxious dogs sets her apart from other trainers as she teaches us to be more patient and take baby steps. Her methods are successful if you’re willing to learn and work by her. Scrappy can attest to Sally’s success in that two years later he’s still living with us and, most importantly, we can all feel safe and comfortable leaving him home alone.

Thank goodness for Sally!

Elise Weiler January 27, 2014

Our rescue dog, Ginger was exhibiting a host of fear-based issues, and when her fear started turning into aggression, we knew we needed professional guidance. We chose to go with private training, and Sally Bushwaller was recommended to us. Thank goodness for Sally! Ginger is doing so much better now than when we first started training. What my husband and I really love about Sally is that she she really gets to know and evaluates your particular dog and figures out techniques that the dog will respond to.

The main problem we have been trying to eradicate with Ginger is aggression towards visitors to our home, and Ginger has made huge strides since Sally has started working with us.

Sally is super diligent – she takes detailed notes (and sometimes video), and provides very valuable feedback so that we can continue to make progress in between sessions. It is apparent that Sally truly cares about my dog and helping her overcome her fears. I would highly recommend Sally for any training that your dog needs.

Her approach and philosophy work

Gina Botterill January 27, 2014

When Sally Bushwaller first visited my home, my dog’s behavior had become almost unbearable.  In a couple short months from when I rescued him, he went from a cute little sometimes-hyper shy guy who never barked, to an obnoxious drama queen (her words) who had manipulated his way to the center of my home universe.

I searched the internet for help and answers, and broke down and reached out to AnimalSense, thinking I might fix it with some classes.  I liked the receptionist right away, and she helped me to know that I needed a little more.  In comes Sally. Just one session.  That’s right — one session.  And within two weeks, I had a new dog.

He doesn’t bark, he rarely jumps up…. he waits calmly sitting until I tell him it’s ‘OK’ to eat his food. (I still have a hard time believing this one.)

Her approach and philosophy work.  Friends cannot believe the transformation, and I’m so relieved to have such a fun, calm, and appropriate companion to share my home with.   I’ve since met with her another time, and everything I learned continues to work.

After each session, you receive a full report (mine was 10 pages) that includes what she observed, how we spent the hour, recommendations, and attachments with step-by-step instructions.  I love these reports.

Don’t take annoying dog behavior as a given…. call [Sally] now!

Sally is amazing!

Amanda Kos January 27, 2014

We adopted our rescue dog about a year ago and her aggression towards both dogs and people has gotten worse over time. When I called the AnimalSense office and explained our issues, they recommended we work with Sally Bushwaller, through private lessons.

Sally is amazing! She’s knowledgeable, experienced, patient and creative. A word of warning: You must be prepared to do the work on your own as well.

You will get out of it what you put into it. I wasn’t prepared for how much work this would be for ME at first. But Sally is very encouraging, and after each session would send me detailed notes on what we covered and what we should continue to work on.

I look forward to working with her again – her love of animals really shines through her work.

Only anxiety reducing will do the trick

Jamie Binder January 27, 2014

I wanted to thank  Sally Bushwaller for giving me the tools to help my dog phobic Yorkie, Macki, reduce his panic and anxiety. Sally is the third trainer I’ve tried and in three sessions, her insights have had remarkable success.

As she puts it, obedience training can’t help my pup, only anxiety reducing will do the trick to refocus his attention to more pleasant matters. I will continue using her techniques to help Macki because they work.

Its nice to finally see a difference

Robin G. Des Plaines, IL January 27, 2014

I want to thank you for your help. This is the first time, with all of the training that we have done, that I feel it is really making a difference. I am thankful we got rid of the shock collar. I really think that was holding him back quite a bit and making him worse. I really am proud of him and think he is handling the new training very well. Its nice to finally see a difference in him. We really are taking this very seriously and are determined to make life less stressful for him. I can’t thank you enough and will definitely keep in contact and give progress reports :)