Testimonials

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 :)