Working with Mike Harvey these last few weeks has been just what we were looking for for our small (but mighty) rescued Terrier mix Goose. We found Goose after he had been dumped on the beach in the Caribbean; after several weeks fending for himself, he was uncertain, anxious and, at times, aggressive. While several months of living in our home calmed many of these issues, he still was dog-aggressive and suffered from separation anxiety.
While visiting Sarasota for the summer, we wanted to do what we could to get these issues under control and after researching MANY options in the Sarasota-Bradenton area, we were happy to schedule a free consultation with Mike. Mike arrived promptly and explained his own history with dog training and detailed his system before taking us outside to see his own dog Missy. Typically, when confronted with another dog, Goose goes into a frenzy (lunging, baring his teeth, growling). However, in this situation, wearing one of Mike’s test collars, Goose stayed focused and listened to my directions despite a new dog running all around him in “his” yard. This was supposed to be a demo for us to see how well-trained Missy was, but I was sold by seeing how well my dog had responded.
We scheduled our private lessons (2 at home, 1 out with Mike’s dogs) and have been attending his group classes now that we have completed all of the basics. Training has been as much about my boyfriend and I learning how to command Goose properly as it has been about him learning how to respond they way we want. Mike was flexible with our schedule and our budget and worked with us being that we are not Sarasota residents (or snowbirds). I only wish we were more permanent residents so we could take advantage of his “group lessons for life” package! We owe a big debt to Mike and truly appreciate what he has done to make the future look brighter for Goose.
A Note about E-Collars: I was mildly apprehensive before discussing them with Mike and seeing them in action myself. E-Collars have evolved quite a bit over the last few decades so take the time in the consultation to ask questions and feel the collar on your palm. Goose’s anxiety caused him to become so overwhelmed that he lost the sense of everything going on and would act out accordingly. The e-collar has been amazing for keeping him focused so that he is better able to listen when we give him a command (whether it be to sit when we are at home, or more importantly, to heel when there is a dog he would much rather go investigate when we are out and about). It has been an unbelievable training tool for us and know that for a dog like Goose, whose anxiety and aggression overwhelmed any reaction to a treat or a clicker, it was the right choice.