Victory for Bear the other night - he successfully met and peacefully coexisted among two other dogs in
the neighborhood for like 30 minutes, even when they let the other dogs off leash :) yay! so we've made
a lot of progress with the calm ones, now going to work on dealing with the reactive ones, which tend to
get him pretty wound up. Couldn't of gotten here without you guys, appreciate all your help and
Thank you very much for allowing us and Harley to be a part of the class. He is doing great with our
daughter - he is very tolerant of her approaching him, and allows her to pet him and hug him! We are so
grateful for this experience, the changes in Harley, and the fact that he will continue to be a part of our
-Tina & Todd
Thank you Pups Dog Obedience!
I sought the help of a trainer for my 5 year old Rottweiler, Beau, because over time he developed
aggressive behavior towards other dogs and children. I was at my wits end with how to help him get
over this behavior. I wanted to find a trainer that knew about my specific problems and would provide
me with solutions rather than just teaching my dog to sit and stay. Karen's methods have helped Beau
with his confidence, and trust in me as his handler. During our time in the class Beau became more
comfortable around the other dogs and people. He surprised me sometimes with how well he did even
when I was nervous about an exercise. I was very impressed with Karen and her dedication to helping
myself, and others in the class with their dogs. She clearly knows what she is talking about! Even in a
class of more than 20 people and dogs she gave myself and others special attention to help with specific
needs. Karen truly cares about the well being of all the dogs in her classes and will not let someone
walk away without results. Whether it takes 7 weeks or 7 months! Thank you Karen for your sincerity,
attention, and expertise! I look forward to working with you more!!
-Emily and Beau
I am writing this recommendation for Karen Decker and her company P.U.P.S Dog Obedience Training,
LLC with extreme appreciation. Karen began working with my rescued German shepherd dog, Vostok
last summer. Vostok was at 9 months of age. He had never been socialized, or even left the breeder's
home (except to go to the vet). Vostok was extremely shy and frightened of everything. I enrolled him in
a beginning obedience class. It has improved his confidence immensely. Karen recommended all the
right training aids for Vostok and he made lots of progress during the sessions. Training with Karen and
her helpers Susan and Kristin has really been a life altering experience for Vostok ( and I )! Not only did
I learn obedience, but I also learned how to correct his bad behaviors. Now Vostok is 1 year old, and I
couldn't ask for a better dog. Thanks to the tips and techniques taught to us by Karen Decker, our one
year old German Shepherd Vostok has developed the skills and confidence that are expected of the
breed. Karen clearly loves the dogs and loves working with them. Vostok and I had such fun in
Obedience Classes. Thank you Karen for your kindness, patience, and great sense of humor. You
definitely made our time at training a positive experience. I highly recommended P.U.P.S Dog Obedience
Training to anyone with dog training needs or specific issue.
A few months ago I adopted Bear, a dog that weighs over half my weight, had an outrageous prey drive,
was wary of strangers of the two legged variety and had just become very aggressive with dogs, even
from a good distance away. I had never had an aggressive dog and became terrified to walk him outside
for fear he'd start another lunging and spinning and growling and carrying on, and I had no idea what to
do and wasn't sure I could control him. Nevermind that my type A personality made me beyond self
conscious that I had the "crazy dog" in the neighborhood and was that person that people looked at
and shook their head in disgust that my dog was so out of control...so I didn't think Bear and I were
meant to be. I tried working with a trainer who used food techniques and that was no match against a
squirrel or approaching strangers. But, get him inside, and around familiar people and he was the most
lovable dog you could ever meet. He was a 70lb lap dog that often "melted" right onto the floor to be
petted. After a few months, I was at my wits end with this seeming bipolarity when I knew how good he
could be, but just wasn't the same dog outside.
My brother has a high energy pit bull that had gone through PUPS with Karen and they were doing
amazing things on and off leash after only 8 months, so I promised myself and Bear that I owed him
another shot. By the time the first class came around I was one big ball of frustration and emotions ran
high as Bear had to go for a time out in the car while everyone else was getting fitted for collars because
he kept barking and displaying aggressive behavior towards other dogs. then we had time for lesson
one and Sue walked me through the heeling exercise and we've never looked back -- she not only helped
me through that, but stayed late to discuss and better understand Bear's triggers so she could give me
the right advice. Sue and Karen give you the right tools you need to be successful and Sue spent so
much time with me after class working with techniques I could use to help Bear focus on me. After the
first class she said training was going to be fun...I was in tears and it was only the first class, how could
this ever be fun?? But you know what's fun? Watching your dog grow and succeed and get better by
the day. She was absolutely right. Sue made me see how great Bear could be and I know now that he
will be the dog I always wanted, we just have a bit of work to do.
PUPS technique has made Bear more confident in me and just as importantly, made me more confident in
me. He's far calmer and seems much happier than when I first got him. Infinite thanks to Sue for
adopting Bear and I, and getting us on the right path and showing me step by step what to do when we
come across another dog or person. While Bear is still cautious around strangers, he is much more
trustful of me and after only a few weeks can now tolerate some dogs at a safe distance. We have a
ways to go, but my confidence is so much higher and I know Bear and I can get there with more
practice. While I'm still pretty sure Sue likes Bear more than me (ha!), it's okay by me because he's
becoming such an awesome companion. Love you guys! Thanks for everything!
-Sarah & Bear
Dec 27, 2011
I was just thinking and wanted to share..........
I think you are AMAZING!!!!!!! I don't know....it just popped into my head all that you do to help the
rescue world and I wanted to say THANK-YOU!!!! You give people hope, you take their concerns and
put them on your shoulders as well so they are no alone....a true partnership. You can see the love and
commitment in your eyes to help these dogs AND their guardians get to the next step
Jeanne Giorgilli, volunteer at Mid Atlantic Bully Buddies Rescue
Dear Karen, A few years ago you helped me and my dog Cassie. Cassie had killed my cat and was on
"death row" herself. You were a great comfort to me and even allowed us to take your class at no cost.
While we didn't finish the entire coarse,a corner was turned.With much more understanding I've been
able to work with Cassie and today she is a healthy , sweet ,much loved wannabe lap dog. Wishing
you a blessed holiday ! With much appreciation ,
-Holly Cooke Fitzpatrick
I hope you have a moment and a cup of coffee. I wanted to write you a letter about the story of me and
Charlie. We acquired Charlie at the age of 1. Although he lived in our house since he was 8 weeks old,
he became our dog when he was 1 because our daughter moved away. So we had Charlie and we love
him. However, we didn't really know how to train him and we had an older dog with bad habits so, he
took them on. Even though Annye took him to a puppy obedience class, he was unruly, barked
uncontrollably in the house and on walks and definitely would not come when called. Although that
was annoying, we didn't care because we loved him. He just pretty much embarassed us a lot.
For a lot of years I wanted to try agility with a dog. I would see it on TV and really wanted to give it a
try. When our older dog died and it was only Charlie at home, I really wanted to try it but knew there
was no hope because he was so ill-mannered. In the agility trials there are other dogs, stranger humans
and NO LEASH. I thought I was so bad at training and Charlie was such a mess I should send him away
to a boarding trainer for a month. We found a trainer that was outrageously priced and we visited. The
visit happened in the summer of 2009, Charlie was six. He acted his unruly self at the meeting and the
trainer said "you will not be able to train this dog". " He is too old to begin this type of training." "I
don't know that I can help you". She thought she might be able to get him to do a few things, but that
when he got home he would simply revert to his old ways. She was so negative about his ability to be
trained I almost gave up.
With encouragement from my partner, Estelle. I attended a puppy training class with my daughter and
her dog. I tried to use some of the training on Charlie but found he would not respond if I didn't have
food treat. I knew I couldn't have food in the agility ring so I didn't feel good about the food rewards.
That's when I came to you. I may have the dates wrong, but I'm pretty sure we took the class from you
in the fall of 2009. Yahoo! We had success. Charlie loved the positive training and he did pretty well.
You really taught me some things. The best thing you taught me was to expect success and how to talk
to my dog. "Don't scare him to death with you loud voice, Kerry". "Don't loom over him, Kerry, he
won't like that". You taught us to train without treats. We made some progress and I was ready for an
agility training class.
I found a training class in Pasadena but they would not allow Charlie in their class unless he took their
basic obedience class. So I did. In the summer of 2010, we took another obedience class, again with
food. It was good. I learned some things but I didn't really like the way the trainer spoke with the
humans in the class so I looked for something else for agility training. We signed up with the Oriole
Dog Training Club in Woodlawn for Agility Kindergarten and began what has been a year of agility
classes. [still ongoing].
Meanwhile, I put our rescue pup Josey in your class which was a refresher for me and Charlie and I did
your Advanced Class in Winter 2010. By now, Charlie is solid on "come when called" and has an
amazing "sit stay". Not so much an untrainable dog, eh?
That brings me to the reason for the email. After years of wishing and just about two years of
thoughtful preparation, Charlie and I did our first Agility Trial this past weekend. Oh my goodness, it
was fun. I am attaching videos. You can see how happy Charlie is too. This "untrainable" pup has a
solid sit-stay that most agility dogs don't have and he kicks butt on the agility course. He is eight now!
I wanted to thank you for providing the courses you do. You taught me, not Charlie, once I knew how
to do it, he did. Thank you for being patient with us! I hope you enjoy the videos I attached. See how
happy he is! If you can't see these for some reason, I can send you the link.
-Kerry and Charlie
Oct 5, 2011
I am also a huge fan of Karen Decker with Pups Dogs Obedience Training. She is amazing.
Her program is very logical and works wonders. She gets amazing results and you will get so many
benefits from her classes, in addition to just "training": improved communication and interaction with
your dog, understanding your dog's behavior and how it relates to the breed of dog you have, and
awesome socialization of your dog with other dogs and people. Although you will be in a class setting,
she modifies and adjusts her exercises to your own dog based on his/her breed, size and temperament.
She is one of the only trainers in the area who are not afraid to address serious problems such as people
and dog aggression. She is also funny and a pleasure to talk to, and very rescue oriented.
As you can tell, I have so many wonderful things to say about her. I took her classes previously with
my foster dogs and I am currently in one of her classes with my own dog.
-Ioana Hance, foster with Pound Pals of Radford, VA
Mid-Atlantic Bully Buddies has come a long way in the past few years. What started out as a very
small pit bull rescue, helping a handful of dogs a year, has evolved into a “mostly” pit rescue (hey, some
other breeds steal our hearts now and again too!) We are proud to report that we are saving the lives of
over 175 dogs a year! This could not be accomplished without the help of Karen Decker. What can we
say, we love Karen! And even more so, our adopters love Karen. While we focus on finding homes for
our dogs, the most important thing for us is making good matches, informing our adopters of the facts
on the breed, setting adopters, as well as their adopted dog up for success, and helping all of our
MABB pit bulls become wonderful ambassadors for their wonderful breed! It is nice to know that Karen
shares in these beliefs just as passionately as we do. Karen’s knowledge of the breed is something that
we can’t stress enough to adopters; it is invaluable. Let’s face it; pit bulls are smart, high drive,
energetic dogs. Not all obedience classes are sufficient in meeting the needs of this wonderful breed.
Karen’s classes on the other hand ensure that when a MABB match completes her training course, they
will leave with confidence and true dog handling skills. We have had numerous adopters at their wits
end with their dog and after just a few weeks into Karen’s class, life with their dog changes. Suddenly,
walking them on leash, around other dogs and other distractions, is a breeze. MABB is so fortunate to
have developed the wonderful partnership that we have with PUPS.
-Tami Gosheff – founder and President of Mid-Atlantic Bully Buddies Rescue
I'd like to share a bit about my life with you. My name is Julie, I am a 43 year old wife, mother of four and
the owner of three dogs. We have a 7 year old French Basset Hound a 6 year old Yorkie and a 3-1/2
year old Rottweiler. I LOVE all of them (even the husband and kids). This story is really about our
relationship with our Rottweiler, Zieke, and if it weren't for Karen Decker and P.U.P.S Dog Obedience
Training we would have lost a very important member of our family.
A few years back my husband's nephew (who is a breeder) mentioned he had a brand new litter of
puppies. I couldn't resist taking a look at these babies so I stopped by. Well of course with one look
(they were less than a week old) I proclaimed "I will take the largest male puppy", we worked out the
financial arrangements and off I went. Over the next several weeks the nephew would bring my new
"baby" and his birth mother over so we could really bond in an attempt to make the transition for Zieke
easier. It seemed to work out fine until we notice when Zieke was around three years old he began to
"grumble". We sort of ignored it thinking it was nothing until he began to grumble and snarl, mainly at
our 17 year old daughter Samantha. So we called the nephew/breeder and asked him to come over to
see if he thought we had a problem or if the behavior was the result of something we were doing wrong.
He promised to come by but never could make it. Zieke's behavior continued even after we would
discipline him immediately by putting him in his inside kennel or outside. It got so bad that we would
kennel Zieke whenever we had company for fear of what may happen. About a week before Easter, my
husband Bill and I were getting ready for a trip and I needed help getting ready so the breeder nephew's
wife and 2 year old came over for the day. All throughout the day the two year old kept kicking the
dogs for which she was reprimanded repeatedly. Later in the evening, just before they were leaving she
stepped on his back leg and it happened; he bit her. He bit her once and quickly released her. He ran
away with his head down as far as he could get from everyone. We were horrified. The two year had to
get five stitches in her head. If that wasn't enough, about a month later our 13 year old daughter Sabrina
had a softball game one Saturday morning and for some crazy reason we brought all the dogs, on
leashes of course. A passer by stopped to inquire about Zieke and reached down unexpectedly to
touch him and before I knew it he jumped at her and growled like a mad dog. I quickly jerked his leash to
bring him back down. Thank goodness no one was hurt but our fear of our own dog grew ten fold.
Zieke truly was MY baby so everyone looked to me to deal with this vicious dog and it was up to me to
either correct the problem or send him away. With a broken heart and a tear filled computer keyboard I
searched for a Rottweiler rescue in Maryland and Delaware on the internet. I felt like I had no choice but
to send Zieke away. I soon found the website for Majesty Rottweiler Rescue. Through their website I
found P.U.P.S Dog Obedience Training and Karen Decker. There was hope I may be able to save my
"baby". The only problem was that I live on the Eastern Shore of Maryland only minutes from the
Delaware line and the training was two hours away. I cried some more then emailed my husband at work
(he works about a half an hour from the P.U.P.S Ellicott City training location) and asked if we could at
least talk about taking Zieke to the classes. He said we would talk about it which to me was as good as
a yes. We worked it out so that Zieke and I would go to work with him every Wednesday for the next 7
weeks. We would leave at 5:30 am and get home around 9:30 pm. Yes we were tired but I can't tell you
how much these classes have changed our lives. Zieke is a NEW dog. Karen taught us how to have
confidence with Zieke and he to have confidence with us. He now understands that we will let him
know if we need him to protect us and he is so much more relaxed, he actually trusts us and our
judgment. When he is on his leash for walks, he no longer feels the need to lunge at people to protect
us. We've learned that Zieke was not a vicious dog but that he has hip and knee pain which is possibly
why he bit the two year old and that his grumbling is just his way of speaking and not an aggression
thing like we had thought. We have had people over since Zieke has passed his class and they have
even said they feel more comfortable with him now. We absolutely recommend P.U.P.S Dog Training to
anyone, they may even save your family like they did ours.
Wow, Karen, you changed a precious dog’s life for the better and ours, too, thank you so much!!!
Dewey, a beautiful and affectionate 5-year old Labrador/beagle mix and SPCA veteran which my son,
Mark, rescued two years ago, showed what we came to learn was fear aggression to other dogs through
instances like fiercely lunging at a dog more than twice Dewey’s 35+ pound-size - so much so that
Dewey caused that other much larger and also aggressive dog to beat a hasty retreat, Dewey lunging
with bared teeth from inside our secured front glass door at a dog just on the outside of the door, and
Dewey lunging while on his leash for a walk with me at a loose dog which challenged him as we walked.
Dewey does none of that now without the use of food rewards, emotional or physical abuse, or shock
collar, but through the use of much directed emotional assurance and expert physical guidance from
Karen to me for Dewey in her group class.
Since Dewey was usually very affectionate and submissive to us, I couldn’t understand Dewey’s over-
reactive behavior toward other dogs until one veterinarian technician explained that Dewey knew he had
a good thing with us and was telling the other dogs to stay away. Dewey also came with a couple of
bite scars on one ear, so it seems he had a history of dog-run-ins and wasn’t going to take any more
without that offense is the best defense mentality. Karen also explained Dewey’s fear aggressiveness
was started from his guardian breed as Labrador as well as hound dog breed of Beagle, which helped me
understand Dewey better.
When Mark left to live with friends in another state for seven months to look for a job there, I couldn’t
muscle Dewey or pick him up as my son had done when another dog appeared. After two trainers
couldn’t redirect Dewey, I was at my wits’ end, especially since both of those trainers had been highly
recommended, the first one referenced by the local SPCA, and the second one with two references, one
from a longtime dog-owner friend and the second from an experienced veterinarian.
Another dog-loving friend in another state googled fear aggression in dogs along with my zip code on
the Internet to find P.U.P.S. Dog Obedience Training for us!!! But, we weren’t there yet. Now, I was
trainer-shy. When Karen said she did group classes because that was the atmosphere in which she
could train dogs to de-stress and calm down, my anxiety level went up because Dewey’s first two
trainers actually showed fear themselves when they saw another dog in the vicinity of Dewey. The
second trainer had firmly emphasized that Dewey should never be in a group class or with another dog,
but should only use individual training.
So, poor Karen, I had to talk to her on the phone and email her several times before I was convinced she
knew what she was getting into with us and that we should really try her class. Despite reading all the
wonderful references on her web site, I had to ask Karen for references, and she willingly gave me
many. I emailed six of Karen’s references and they all responded with so much encouragement. I had
the dog the neighbors feared and these other wonderful and generous dog owners Karen had worked
with so well made me feel I wasn’t alone by describing their personal struggles with their fear aggressive
dogs, then describing Karen’s path to calm obedience and their now happy dogs.
Despite phone calls as well as emails to Karen and despite all those wonderful references, I was very
apprehensive going to our first group class with Karen last April because of Dewey’s reaction
background and his two trainer experiences, so I wouldn’t go by myself. My son happened to be home
the weekend we started P.U.P.S., so the two of us kept Dewey away from the other dogs, though Dewey
began to bark incessantly!!! I felt helpless because we would have removed Dewey from the situation if
we had been on our own. Karen looked up from her registering duties on the other side of the field, had
never seen us in person, yet called out, “Dewey’s here!” That was the beginning of my understanding
of how much Karen loves people and dogs and people and dogs know it.
Karen’s lovely daughter, Kristen, who so ably assists as well as comes around to make the owners and
dogs feel welcome, showed us how to calm Dewey down quickly and harmlessly. We saw the
beginning of new behavior in Dewey in minutes, amazing to Mark and me, after dealing with Dewey’s
aggressive behavior for 18 months! Later, in another class, Karen saw Dewey lunge when another dog
got too close to Dewey. She immediately understood why Dewey was doing what he was doing and
instead of reacting in fear, apprehension, or harsh correction, offered right-on advice to correct the
situation for us. I was astounded at how much Karen cared about dogs most people want euthanized.
Karen cares so much about these often-maligned-kinds of dogs that she goes the extra mile, working
outside of class, and often makes herself available between sessions to assist or answer questions.
The final reward from Karen’s training with Dewey came unexpectedly. Dewey is still dog-sensitive, but
does not react like he used to, seldom reacting at all. When training was done and Dewey moved to
Mark’s new place in North Carolina, Dewey surprised us all by getting along well with a special, feisty
dachshund named Werner, a dog about one-third Dewey’s size. Dewey had not done well with Werner
a year earlier, but the training helped Dewey calm down. We loved and enjoyed Dewey before, but now
we love and enjoy him even more. Wow, unbelievable, and Happy Day. Thank you, thank you many
I'm glad that you were able to feel the warm feeling of your good doing - of providing a good training
opportunity for Bella. Your training program really helped to make her ready for her forever home. Bella
and her brother, Pepper, (a shaggy black cocker spaniel) came into my life as foster dogs about a month
after the passing of my Golden. Pepper ended up needing emergency surgery for spinal cord
compression (which I sponsored and I am still waiting for my promised reimbursement from the small
rescue group) -he had a 5% of walking again . . . we put him through rehab and he recovered in another
loving home. Bella's generous free training - was a great gift in helping her to build confidence and
skills to help her keep her forever home . . . :) Bella helped to heal my heart while she was with me and
her healing loving powers continue with Cait. She is very well loved by Cait. Bella is a very happy dog .
. . and she continues to grow from the foundation you helped to set. Prior to her leaving Maryland, my
friends and neighbors were really able to notice the improvements that Bella was making over that
winter / spring. She was able to make progress in her anxiety levels. It was also amazing to see her
confidence grow on the leash as worked through some of her issues with other dogs. Thank you again,
Three of my most recent dogs were either rescues or had previous owners that didn’t want them
anymore. The first dog, Angel was dog aggressive. I had enough with this behavior and was looking
for a solution. I found P.U.P.S. The training was innovative because it gave us many opportunities for
her to be around other dogs. When we started training, she shook like a leaf and as training progressed
she became more confident and obedient. My second dog, Piper was easy to train. But the third dog,
Pepper was a different story. When I got him, he would barely walk on a leash, pulling me down the
street. Also since he is a hunting breed with a high prey drive he is always looking for the squirrel or
rabbit to chase. The outside training with lots of distractions was invaluable to us. We’ve done the
basic and advanced obedience training. Now he not only walks great on a leash, does an automatic sit,
recall, down, stay, and stand and we are progressing with off leash work. Thank you Karen, Sue and
Kristin for all you have done for us. We are quite a team now.
Miss daisy had a surprise for me today. I haven't been getting her training in for the last week,
except twice, which is ridiculous. I had to work and study for 2 state licensing tests for my job,
which I had to take on Friday. No excuse, there's no reason someone can't give 10 minutes
a day to the pup, regardless. I would just get so involved in getting thru my work and all my
studying material, I would turn around and it was 9pm, and she was ready to go up to bed with
the baby. I felt horrible.
Anyhow, she was playing out front, which is a huge UNFENCED front yard (we’re pretty much in
the woods), with Charlie and the baby today for about an hour. She was obsessing over her ball,
as usual. He tried to get her in, and, of course she didn't come. He kept doing the old "come on
girl, come on in, please, do u want a treat". Forget it; important to keep in mind she will take the
ball over a bone anyway!! I finally went to the door and told him to be quiet and quit bugging her,
you're ruining my training. He said she'll never come; you're going to have to go get her.
I stood on the porch thinking, okay, she doesn't have her leash on, so I can't do her "come" recall,
because if she doesn't come, then what, no correction, which you ladies drill into our heads. So,
I thought, I’ll do my informal recall of when we're just hanging out. I just said nicely and mellow,
daisy let's go...then I started my smile and backing up excited, and would you believe that girl
DROPPED her ball and came running at me so excited full speed, wiggly butt and all. She
was so excited to COME. Charlie’s jaw dropped to the ground. SHE'S NEVER DONE THAT
EVER, he's yelling. I just said, I told you she was MY girl. As we are gloating in amazement,
she decided to run back across the yard to her ball, since she was already told good girl a million
times. He said "there's no way she'll do that again". I repeated, she repeated, flying to me as
fast as she could with that cute butt going.
I am so proud of her, and your training techniques. She has gone from a dog that didn't really
care when we came home, to running and jiggling to greet me when I walk in (still doesn't get off
the couch to greet Charlie). He doesn't appreciate that too much. He says she is supposed to
be his dog, since Phoebe and Alex were mine before I met him. I loved her as my DOG before,
because I didn't feel the bond like I did with phoebes and Alex, who were my LIFE. And, she
never really acted like the type that was eager to please, like so many dogs are. I see a huge
noticeable difference in my feelings toward her, and an over the top difference in her bond toward
me. It’s obvious the new found respect we have for each other.
I know this was long, but I am so proud of her, and no one else can appreciate my excitement like
you and Kristin and sue. I was trying to tell my sister about it, and she just said oh that's good
and changed the subject. Apparently it was boring her.
I can't thank you enough, as well as sue and Kristin. You are doing an amazing thing for these
dogs, and people. I missed the love and bond I had with Phoebes and Alex, and was just so
empty constantly wanting that again. I actually feel that wonderful feeling coming again with
daisy, and didn't think I would. Thanks so much Karen, I mean it. Please don't ever quit what
you're doing until you're an old lady and can't make it thru the class without peeing your pants.
Well, actually, maybe at that point you can just get some depends and keep on teaching.
You’re doing something very important. I love you guys!!!
-Tammy and Daisy (March 14, 2010)
As so many of us out there, I adopted a beautiful 1 year old Rottweiler in the hopes of giving him a
lifetime of love and happiness. I just knew he’d be the perfect companion for my amazing Phoebe, a 3
year old Rottweiler. To my disappointment, at the age of 3, my adorable and huge boy, Alex, turned
into a very aggressive, scary boy. He was still very loving to my friends and family, but, I couldn’t trust
him around strangers or other dogs. I was taken by surprise, since my Phoebes was just a doll, and did
therapy dog work at the hospitals and nursing homes.
All I could think of was “Oh my gosh, he’s going attack someone, what am I going to do??!!” I was
horrified. I called Karen, since I had trained my female with her years earlier. Hysterical, I sought her
advice, and asked, “Am I actually going to have to let him go? I love him so much”. She calmly told me
of course not, give him a chance, doesn’t he deserve it?
We discovered that his nastiest aggression was with other dogs, he just wanted to kill them. I was
devastated when we began class, and he wanted to attack all of the other aggressive dogs there. I was
terrified that I wouldn’t be able to hold onto him due to his huge size, and how psycho he went at the
other dogs. So embarrassed, I apologized to Karen, and asked if we should leave. She told me NO
WAY, he needs to be here! We’ll fix him! And, boy, did she…by the end of our training, he was
weaving in and out of all other dogs, completely ignoring them. There were even a couple of aggressive
dogs that still lunged at him. No worries, all he cared about was me. He could not have cared less about
them, as if they weren’t even there. He enjoyed his training so much. All I had to do was say let’s go
work, and, out the door he’d run, ready to do his lessons. At that point, I was so upset at myself for
ever thinking that I may I have to let him go. All I could think of were those confident, and calming
words from Karen. “Give him a chance, doesn’t he deserve it?”
He ended up giving ME a life of love and happiness.
Just think, what if I hadn‘t given him a chance?
Please don’t give up, there is always hope…
Tammy and Alex, Maryland (2000 written in 2010)
I adopted Marley in June of 2006 from the SPCA as a 9 month old. He was super sweet and
easy going for a youngster- especially a hound mix. Like any responsible dog owner, I decided
to enroll him in a basic obedience course. After doing some research, I chose a program that
utilized the “clicker” method and figured this would be a great way to teach him obedience.
Unfortunately, I was wrong. The “clicker” proved to be a very unsuccessful technique for training
Marley (even though he graduated). Marley refused to obey any of my commands unless I used
the “clicker” and had a treat in hand to reward him. He was unreliable so I did my best to work
with him on my own.
My fiancé and I moved into a place together in 2007. During this time, we noticed slight changes
in Marley’s demeanor. He began growling when we asked him to get off the furniture (he wasn’t
allowed on it), ruthlessly pulling us during walks and digging in the trash can in plain view. As
time passed, Marley became much more stubborn, disobedient and dominant. Our first real
eye opening experience was when Marley bit my fiancé on the hand. We were both shocked
and frantically sought out ways to cope with an aggressive dog. After researching, we adopted
the “nothing is free” mentality and realized that we needed to establish fair alpha leadership with
him. The changes we made (such as asking him to sit before being petted, not allowing him to
walk outside before us, feeding him after we ate, not playing tug games, etc.) seemed to help
the situation a little, but it wasn’t enough. The last straw occurred this January, when Marley bit
me in a fit of aggression. Our situation seemed hopeless. But after contemplating our options,
we decided that we needed professional help… and that’s when I found P.U.P.S. Training.
Immediately, I contacted Karen about our situation and she promptly provided me with
information about her training program. I was excited that her technique did not use food as a
reward! Instantly, I felt that P.U.P.S would be an excellent fit for Marley and I was right! My
fiancé and I worked him through the 7 week obedience course and have been amazed at the
results. Marley heels on the leash, sits, stays, and comes when we call him- just to name
a few of the commands he has mastered (without food rewards!) As a result of the training,
he is much more relaxed, confident and willing to please us. Our relationship with him has
improved tenfold and we are grateful that we gave ourselves and Marley a second chance. I
can’t thank Karen enough for her professionalism, expertise and help in training us to work with
Marley. Thank you again Karen- we can’t wait to take Marley through the advanced course!
I adopted Sadie from a young couple who were desperately seeking a home for her instead of taking her
to the pound. She’s a headstrong mixed breed, and was fighting with the other dog in their home. She
had no discipline, and was very anxious.
She came to me in June of ’09, and I was sure I’d be able to “fix” all her issues. I was sure kidding
myself! We had a rocky first few months, and I was starting to wonder if I’d made a mistake with Sadie.
Then I found Karen Decker of P.U.P.S Dog Obedience Training. Thank goodness!
Learning the proper methods and the importance of consistency in our training made a world of
difference with Sadie. We can now Heel on leash, which makes walks so much more enjoyable. She also
learned to Sit, Stay, Stand, and is working on Come (recall). We still have a long way to go, but our
confidence (and my sanity) are growing by the day. Sadie has learned that I’ll be fair and consistent,
and I have learned what a joy it is to share my life with a wonderful dog like Sadie!
We are going to keep on working, and plan to complete the advanced obedience training with PUPS.
It is such a great relief to know that we have someone “on our side” who can help with advice and
encouragement. Karen, Kristin, and everyone involved gave Sadie and myself so much more than just
an hour a week…they gave us support and understanding, plus the right tools to build a solid and
lasting owner/dog relationship!
THANK YOU, PUPS!
Allie from Catonsville, MD
On Easter Sunday we had a bite incident with Cesar, one of our 6 month old bully breeds. Animal
Control was involved and Cesar was put under quarantine for 10 days. Cesar had never displayed
aggression towards anyone and we were worried that we may have to put this sweet dog down. Not
knowing what to do, we scoured the internet and yellow pages for someone that specialized in bully
breeds and could deal with aggressive behavior issues. We were lucky to find Karen and PUPS Dog
We were originally told that our two puppies were Pit Bulls. During our initial phone call we described
to Karen what had happened and she indicated that this behavior was not characteristic of Pit Bulls.
She suggested that we bring Cesar for an evaluation. Upon meeting Karen we were very much
surprised to find that instead of Pit Bulls Karen felt that our dogs were American Bull Dogs. She said
that based on the Guardian mentality of this breed she was not shocked at how Cesar had reacted to our
guest as he had shown very aggressive behavior towards Cesar when the two were first introduced.
During Cesar’s’ initial evaluation, Karen determined that Cesar’s’ behavior was not based on him being
an aggressive dog but rather that he lacked confidence. She assured us that the training program
would help instill confidence in him around people and other dogs.
Karen also noticed that Cesar was very protective of his sister Lily and asked that we leave her out of
the program so that Cesar would not be distracted by her presence. I am happy to say that on the last
day of class, Cesar came in first place in the graduation day game. We have now returned to go through
the training program with both Lily and Cesar.
Prior to attending this program we had owned numerous dogs but had never enrolled them in any type
of training. We cannot say enough about the education and attention that we received from Karen and
her staff. The time we have spent with her has not only taught us how to handle our dogs but how to be
better educated and responsible owners. We are huge fans of the PUPS Dog Obedience training
program and would recommend it to anyone.
-Ed and Tina Melichar
Do you remember the feeling that came with the bundle of joy of your puppy? So cute, so cuddly and in
my case - so demanding.
I met Karen from P.U.P.S. at the right time. Champ, my bundle of energy was running after a neighbor
with me in close pursuit. Perhaps you’ve been there. All the while, a van was slowing down and out
jumped this lady saying “fall to the ground” and she did. I was now also concerned with had I cleaned
my yard from Champ’s early outing. But I followed suit and in the middle of his chase he turned around
and came to my rescue. Thus began the love affair with my pup and P.U.P.S.
We signed up for what I thought was just training but quickly learned I signed on a friend and an
advisor in learning my dog. Champ is a bull dog/cane corso mix - very strong willed and he needed a
strong leader. As a result of P.U.P.S., I made it through his pivotal maturation milestone ages of 9, 12
and 18 months - can you believe dogs have adolescence fits?
Karen (P.U.P.S.), is committed to the well being of the owner and the dog. Champ and I receive
compliments on how well he walks with me and how social he is. Early, Karen advised that Champ
needed to meet 10 new people a week - so we hung out at the park that summer.
There are so many things I could share about P.U.P.S. In closing Karen said make it to the 2nd year,
train him and you will have a loyal friend forever and that he is - my Champ, my champion.
Thank you Karen and P.U.P.S.
-Carmen & Champ, Ellicott City, Maryland
I recommend PUPS without reservation! We’d rescued Shakira, a 3-yr-old beagle/shepherd/foxhound
mix, in December 2008, and soon after we started her in a traditional training program. Now, Shakira was
never a problem dog – she is the sweetest thing and generally very even-tempered, but she weighs 70
pounds and can be a handful when she is excited. So we went to this traditional training program, and
although she eventually could do things on command, after a year I felt we’d made no significant
progress on consistent heeling or coming on command. I found out about PUPS online, and the idea of
outside training with lots of distractions appealed to me because of Shakira’s hound background. I am
very pleased with the results I have seen with Shakira. Karen’s style of training, the use of progressions
in the establishment of good behavior and positive dog-owner relationship, has been key to that; each
lesson builds upon the previous one. Classes are not just the same thing week after week. Shakira heels
very nicely now, and even when she is not heeling I often can’t tell she is on the other end of the leash.
So our walks are a real pleasure. As the 8-week program wound up, we were working on the foundation
of off-lead reliability. While we are not there yet, I firmly believe that we are going down the right path
and we have a style of working together that will help us be successful. And Karen will continue to
support us on that journey. One last point: I absolutely love that Karen makes herself available between
classes if we are having trouble with our homework. As a first-time dog owner, I found that invaluable.
I just wanted to share something that happened earlier today that really was a compliment to you. I was
walking Caldonia around the 'loop' in my neighborhood and a young couple I've never met before
stopped me to ask about my dog. They said they see us walking all the time and out of every dog in the
neighborhood (and believe me there are a lot) my dog walks the best! They went on and on about how
they always see her right at my side at the same pace I'm going. Then they asked, half joking, if she had
training with the Dog Whisperer. I told them yes she did...Karen Decker!
Debby and Caldonia (2008)
Karen Decker is the OBG (Oldies But Goodies Cocker Spaniel Rescue) dog trainer of choice, hands
down! I have worked with two other trainers in the past and Karen is leaps and bounds beyond anyone
else I have ever worked with! She is extremely knowledgable about the personality traits and drive
behind each specific breed.
Her specialties are Rotties, Pits, Shepherds, but works with ALL breeds. Karen is VERY well-respected
and liked in the public and rescue community. She does not use treats for rewards and works on
building a dog's confidence so treats aren't even necessary.
One thing Karen expects from her human participants is that they do the homework associated with
each training session. If the dog doesn't meet her expectations at the end of the training period, she will
work with the dog/owner free of charge until the goals are met. I could truly go on and on about her and
her two training assistants.
Deb Adler of OBG Cocker Rescue and “Bubba” (2008)
We rescued our half lab half rottie, Kaos, when he was 8mos old. His name should have been our first
clue to his personality. In order to take Kaos for a walk, we risked dislocating our shoulders from the
amount of pulling he did on us. To go to the vet was a nightmare because we would be in close
quarters with other dogs. But everyone needs a little Kaos in their life. Our vet's office, Negola's Ark
Veterinary Hospital, recommended P.U.P.S to us after witnessing our struggles to control our dog. After
attending the basic obedience training classes, Kaos no longer fits his name. Now we love to go for
walks with Kaos! Our friends and parents comment on how well behaved he is and how well he listens
to us. Kaos has a very dominant personality which can be a challenge but, P.U.P.S has given Kaos and
us the confidence and knowledge to have a healthy and safe relationship. We never thought we could
take Kaos from being wild, and well, chaotic to the playful and obedient dog that he has become! P.U.P
S. is a wonderful group that truly understands dogs and owners. Without them Kaos and us would still
Shannon, Roy and Kaos Nicholson (2007)
I wanted to let you know that I took Quinn to the vet yesterday for shots and the vet was SHOCKED in
how much Quinn has improved. He went on and on about how he is so confident and responsive to me,
even in a stressful situation. I told him all about you and your program. He said he is definitely going to
recommend you to a number of his clients. He said good trainers are hard to come by and that he can tell
you are awesome just based on Quinn's changes.
Last weekend, I dog sat for a friend. The dog was a pit bull mix. Mind you, I never could really dog sit in
the past, as Quinn did not take to well to having other animals in "his" house. But, he has been working
really hard and is so much more confident and relaxed these days, I thought I would try it out.
Well, Quinn exceeded all expectations. He allowed me to love and pet the other dog as he laid calmly on
the floor. He ate his food alongside the other dog without protecting it. He took naps next to the other
dog, and played with him in the backyard. The best part though, was the walks. I was able to walk both
of them side by side. When the other dog would stop and sniff, Quinn would SIT next to me, ears back,
waiting patiently. It was AWESOME.
Seriously, thank you for everything...you have really made our lives easier and Quinn so much happier.
Katie and Quinn (2008)
Click for MORE Client References....
Katie and Quinn
Bubba and Deb
Liz and Shakira
Tammy and Daisy
Karen's daughter Kristin
Bella and her new owner
Harley and Natalie