Back in September of 2007 my wife and I bought our first house. Right around that time my good friend
was telling me that his sister had a Rottweiler, named Bruno, whom she had since he was 8 weeks old.
She didn’t have much time to do any training and he was becoming a little out of control. She was about
to take him to the SPCA because she didn’t know what else to do with him and she could no longer take
care of him(at 11 months old). I’ve heard a lot in the past about big black dogs not getting adopted very
often and knowing there would be a good chance he would be put down if he was taken there. I talked
to my wife, April, to see if we could take him in, and we did. Our Daughter was so very happy that we
were getting a dog and became best friends with him within a few days.
Bruno was definitely rough around the edges when we first got him. When we took him for walks, he
would walk out at the end of his leash pulling as hard as he could from start to finish. He would also
growl and bark at anyone who would get within 15 feet of us. One day in January we had April’s
parents over for dinner and April’s mother was trying to get Bruno to roll over. He snapped at her and
bit her on her forearm. That night April and I talked about what happened and decided we could no
longer keep Bruno out of fear if he attacked our 6 year old daughter. I did know one thing though; I was
not going to take him to the SPCA.
I contacted a wonderful person named Terry with Majesty Rottweiler Rescue. She told me that the one
thing that Bruno needed was obedience training, so he knew right from wrong and that we were the
pack leaders. Terry told me that we wouldn’t find any better training than with P.U.P.S. Obedience
Training since they specialized in dogs with aggression issues. Our only issue is that we live in the
Newark, Delaware area and the cost of the trip every weekend and the cost of the classes would be too
much for us to do at the time. I looked into obedience classes in the area and was told by a couple of
people that Bruno needed more than what they could do for him. Out of the kindness of her heart, Terry
told me that if we took Bruno to see Karen Decker that she (Terry) would pay for the classes. Terry
wanted what was best for Bruno, and that was having him stay a member of our family. Terry then put
me in contact with Karen, who knows Terry well and told me she would not take one cent from Terry
and offered to do the classes for free. April and I decided that we would be idiots to not take Karen up
on her offer so we enrolled him in a class that started in February. On our first time driving down from
Newark, we somehow got turned around once we went through the inner harbor tunnel and crossed
through it 4 times, so that was quite an adventure, but we still made it there even if we were a few
Fast forward 6 months.
Bruno has turned out to be a wonderful member of our family. Annalisa, our daughter, was and is so
happy that we didn’t have to get rid of Bruno. She plays with him everyday and loves getting his rottie
kisses and giving him kisses in return. April’s mother can’t believe the transformation that he’s had and
the wonderful dog he’s become. She is not scared of him one bit anymore since we took him to P.U.P.S.
One day we had our parents and brothers and sisters over for dinner. One of April’s brothers was there
with his wife and two sons (ages 4 and 2). Caden, the 2 year old, was walking into our kitchen just as
Bruno was starting to eat some of the food in his dish. Well, before anyone could do anything, Caden
had his hand in Bruno’s food bowl. To our delight, Bruno didn’t seem to care one single bit. He didn’t
growl, snap or anything. We were so very proud of him that day.
If you have a dog with any type of aggression issues, or just want a method of communication between
you and your dog, you CANNOT go wrong with taking them to P.U.P.S. and receive training from
Karen, Sue and Joan. Without their expertise, I don’t think that we would have kept Bruno. There is a
good chance that Bruno owes his life to them. We are eternally grateful for the generosity of Terry and
Karen and we cannot thank them enough. The two hour drive we made every Sunday was well worth
it!!!! THANK YOU KAREN, SUE AND JOAN!!!!!!!
Nate and Bruno (2008)
I have been doing rescue for approximately 20 years now. In all this time, I have constantly searched for
someone with breed specific knowledge to get the optimum results in a training course. I have also
searched for someone that could correct behavior problems, when a dog's life is hanging in the balance.
When I started with Karen Decker I knew that FINALLY I found exactly what every dog owner and
rescue needs! Karen shows us, exactly what to expect, when to expect it, how to achieve our goals, and
bring out the best in our dogs without food rewards and clickers, with every breed. Only someone with
real expert knowledge could achieve what Karen does. I observed many dogs that came to her with
owners in distress, fearing their dogs behavior problems would result in euthanasia. She works with
aggression, fear, lack of confidence, and by the end of her course, she has a well behaved confident dog
with no more issues. I would suggest Karen to anyone that wants to get the most out of their dog.
Judy Marion, Nova Rottweiler Rescue League, Inc.
We adopted a three year old Bouvier des Flandres (Kate) who had come from an abusive home. Kate
was afraid of her own shadow, overly dominant, had no self-confidence towards the outside world, and
was completely "crazy"...The first time I took her to Karen's training class she cried, barked, jumped
around non-stop, and I was sure I would be asked to remove her from class! Not so. One the contrary,
what Karen did was nothing short of a miracle! Karen explained that Kate's problems all stemmed from
her lack of confidence in herself, so what we had to work at was building up her self-confidence, and
I've been amazed at how that has changed her overall behavior. She is now a much happier, relaxed and
confident girl, and we shall forever be indebted to Karen.
Cathy Monaghan, Virginia
Karen Decker along with her excellent staff, helped us with our puppy Jerzy, after he was attacked by a
dog in our neighborhood. Because of her expertise, she was able to ensure our puppy would not be
negatively affected by this accident. Jerzy is a well adjusted member of our family. Thanks Karen!
Jerzy and the Jury Family
Majesty Rottweiler Rescue had been contacted by several trainer's who wished to work with us, we
decli ned their generous offers because we did not believe in their methods of training. After speaking
with Karen at length, I knew we had finally found a Trainer with the knowledge needed in order to
assure an obedient yet self confident dog who would be better prepared for the adjustment into a new
home with their forever family! I cannot stress enough the importance of attending P.U.P.S Dog
Obedience Training Class for any dog but for our "Guardian Breed" it is as essential as the air they
Terry Robertson, Majesty Rottweiler Rescue Inc.
My 100 Pounds of Peaches
Nine months ago, Hanna, our German Shepherd, came into our lives as a sort of a rescue, but not really.
She is extremely intimidating looking because she is so dark, so big and…a German Shepherd. She was
also very intimidated in just about every situation. I told her previous owner that I would help her find a
home for her, so she came to stay with me, my husband, our cat, and our two Golden kids. She was
extremely afraid of men (not my husband, though), even 10 year old boys. She was great with the girl
kids: she would even sit and watch them walk home. She never bit, never growled, but it was apparent
she had issues with men.
Before I agreed to help her owner find a home for her, I took her to Karen Decker, owner of the P.U.P.S
Dog Obedience Training, for an evaluation. I wanted to make sure she was adoptable because the last
thing I wanted was to give a potentially disagreeable dog to a family. Karen evaluated her and found her
to be of sound temperament, not impulsive, and extremely thoughtful. How she knew that, I couldn’t tell,
but I will tell you she was absolutely, 100 % dead right. I decided immediately to put her into obedience
classes so when we did turn her over to new owners, she’d at least know a few basic commands.
I knew of Karen’s reputation and style of training – no food rewards, only praise. She has trained dogs
for 15 years that I know of. She knew exactly what kind of behavior each breed would exhibit for each
lesson, whether it was a “heel” session or a “sit” or a “down” and she would explain each behavior so
that the owner could help understand their dog’s thought process and help facilitate a successful
session for their dog. One of the lessons is a “sit/stay”. Hanna got “heel” and “sit” down immediately –
in fact, a star pupil – but “stay” was entirely different. At first, the second I turned my back to walk
confidently away from her, she would break her “sit/stay” and follow me. The next week, everyone
would have been moving to 15 ft. ”sit stays”, but we couldn’t do that. So Karen set Hanna (and me) up
to be successful: she adjusted the lesson. Instead of walking away with my back to her, I would back off
facing her. Instead of shoving a 15 foot “stay” down her throat (and mine), we started off with three feet
and then a five foot stay and we progressed from there. I was ultimately able to walk away from her with
my back to her without her breaking her command. As she got more confident that I would return to her
side, she learned “stay”.
Now, lets move forward a few months:
Hanna’s confidence has absolutely soared. And the test came on Super Bowl Sunday. I was extremely
apprehensive – other than her obedience classes, which are very controlled, she had not been around
so many people…and so many men. Karen explained to me that as a guardian breed, she had to learn we
pick our friends, she does not pick them for us. As our guests started to arrive, my anxiety started to rise
– we had 25 people over for the game. She did her barking thing – after all, she is a guardian breed –
only this time, once she knew they were our friends, she immediately settled and allowed everyone –
including men and including a man from across the street, who she previously wanted NOTHING to do
with – into the house. I absolutely attribute her change in behavior solely to Karen’s classes. She was
so friendly and she held her head high. She visited our guests when she was invited and everyone
commented on what a friendly, calm, confident girl she was.
To make a long story short, we did find a good home for Hanna…we found a loving, safe, secure, warm,
forever home for her – a couple who would love her to death and would walk through fire for her….we
kept her. And I have absolutely no doubt she would walk through fire for us.
Thanks, Karen…for a million reasons: helping me understand Hanna, helping Hanna be comfortable
with life and people, but mostly, thanks for nudging me in the direction of keeping her. We absolutely
love her, and we absolutely love you.
Cindi Violette, Columbia, MD
We met Karen October of 2001. My husband Billy gave me a Chocolate Lab puppy (Gabe) for my 20th
Birthday! Gabe was so rambunctious! He broke my nose twice with all his energy. I wanted to take him
to obedience training and called many places. I wasn’t having any luck. I was even told that I may want
to consider having him put to sleep. Finally, I asked my Vet what I should do. He recommended Karen
with P.U.P.S. Dog Obedience Training. I called Karen that night. I was nervous she was going to tell me
something terrible…like maybe putting Gabe to sleep is a good idea. I was so wrong! After a very
lengthy conversation with her, I was so impressed I couldn’t wait to meet her. She really cared and made
me feel so much better. She wanted me to train Gabe to want to listen to me and want to be a good dog.
Not just because I had a treat, but because he really wanted to! Billy and I then took Gabe to meet her
and she was more AWESOME than we could have ever imagined. Even though she was all alone (no
staff yet) with that big class, she made each of us feel like we were the only client she had! She showed
each and every one of us exactly what to do that met our family and our dog’s needs. Gabe is wonderful
now, he is always paying attention to where the family is and his surroundings, making sure we are all
okay. Karen even used him in her add in the Pet Gazette in 2004!
In 2002, Billy gave me a Yellow Lab puppy (Gracie) for my 21st Birthday! Gracie too went straight to
Karen. By then Karen was developing a staff, just as amazing as she is and the classes grew bigger, but
she still made everyone feel more important than the next. Gracie was a very nervous puppy. She was
scared of men and would go running and hide if she saw one. Karen told us not to worry she would
work on it! Karen turned our sweet Gracie Girl into a loveable Pets On Wheels Puppy! Everyone who
meets Gracie falls in love with her! Thanks to Karen, of course.
In 2005, someone left a 5 week old puppy at our back door! Eli is ½ Black Lab and ½ who knows! He was
left with a note that his mother was mean and killed the first 4 in his litter, leaving only 4 more the owner
saved. Eli had many aggressive problems and we were very worried about him being separated from his
mother so early. Worried…we never should have been. Karen, as usual, came to our rescue! Eli is a
lovely puppy. In fact, he’s the smartest of the group! He wants to please us more every day and Karen
has made it possible for all of us to help him to do just that!
Karen helped our family communicate and work together. I don’t know if she trained the dogs or us but
whatever she did, it worked! People look at us like we are crazy when I tell them I have 3 Labs. I tell them
to call Karen! If you were to meet us, you would see how collected they are. We truly owe that to Karen.
She taught us how to develop a relationship with our dogs so they would be attentive and happy and
we could get the most out of our dogs. No yelling or bribing with treats or begging for food. Just good
dogs who want to do what we ask and get praised for it!
Thank you Karen! You are a part of our family. You’re truly an inspiration to all of us and you know how
much we love you!
Love always…Laura, Billy, Gabe, Gracie and Eli Brauns
Alden continues to improve and is a joy to have as a member of the family. We thank you for your
insight and instruction. It’s a well thought out course which helps the average pet owner realize that
every breed takes a different approach.
Keith & Jen
Judy Marion, Nova Rottweiler
Rescue League, Inc.
Hanna the German Shepherd
Terry receiving Rotti kisses
Laura, Billy, Gabe, Gracie
and Eli Brauns
Bruno with his family