Banjo - Washington Heights, NY  / Owner Handling Skills

"I was terrified to walk our big Lab mix, Banjo who belonged to my daughter, I never walked him because of his size. I had 4 sessions  with Dot and we practiced walking him. She was so encouraging and positive and so understood my anxiety and resistance that I began to relax.  She was so confident in me that she removed my fear and anxiety.  My attitude, my thoughts, my fearful gestures were felt by Banjo and he became scared as well, when I gained  self-confidence  he too became relaxed. I been happily walking Banjo since last July and even survived this cold and slippery winter with him."

-Susan K.

River - Washington Heights, NY  / Group Class

Rivera"I first called Dot when my shelter rescue, River, was about 4 months old. We had a one-on-one session in which we laid the fundamentals and some tips for training in the coming weeks. It took some work on my part but River quickly did well following Dot's advice and we later signed up for Dog Scouts. The class was great and now River sits and lies down on command, can walk with a loose leash, comes, and even dropped a chicken bone that he snapped up before i saw it. I can't say enough good things about Dot and her methods. Definitely a great trainer."

-Mark E.

Lucy - Washington Heights, NY  / Group Class

Lucy "Lucy was a stray found in Washington Heights. She was very resistant to walking in some areas of the neighborhood and was fearful of many city sounds. A friend recommended Dot to me, and through both a private and then group class Lucy has become a more confident dog. Though positive reinforcement Dot teaches you how to work with your dog to overcome any obstacles. She also follows up and provides guidance after the class is over. I highly recommend Dot to anyone who has an obstacle to overcome or would like to have a better relationship with their dog. Thanks Dot!!!"

-Kristin S.

Sadie - Washington Heights, NY  / Group Class

Sadie"Dot's reputation precedes her in Washington Heights, where scores of dog owners happily recommend her services and classes to new dog owners like me. Her reputation is well-warranted. Her class is not only informative, but fun as well, for both me and Sadie.

Kind, compassionate, and patient, she is adept at training both dogs and people so that they can continue their shared adventure with a common language. Its been a joy for me to watch Sadie mature under Dot's tutelage. I am certain that Sadie feels the same about me."

-Amy N.

Stewie - Brooklyn, NY  / Puppy Training

Stewie"Stewie just went through a few weeks of puppy training. It was a great experience for both Stewie and myself. It gave us a chance to get to know each other and interact better. I was able to understand him better and interact with him as I was showing him to behave better. With the help of Dot. She showed me how I could have Stewie perform certain behaviors like sitting, laying, giving me his paw & staying. He was also able to learn a few more advanced tricks like rolling over and shaking his toy when told to do so. Many of the behaviors were taught in a fun way. Stewie thinks he's playing, but in reality he is learning many different things. Of course, this also has to mean that after you've been shown what to do, by Dot, you have to follow-up with it and keep on having the dog perform these behaviors on your own time. This will allow him to learn these behaviors better and at the same time will give him the playtime and interacting with you that he needs on a daily basis. Overall, this is something I recommend for people to do. Its a great experience for both you and your dog."

- Jessica T.

Pepper - Manhattan, NY / Working with Reactive Dogs & Excessive Barking

Pepper"Shortly after I adopted Pepper he became very protective of me. He is an adorable 4 year old male schnoodle of 18 lbs. Normally, his manner is calm and playful. However, he became a guard dog attacking men at my door and scaring them away. His resource guarding and attacking made me fearful I would some day find myself in a lawsuit from someone who was bit by him.

His behavior centered on the door buzzer and strangers at my apartment door. When the door buzzer went off, he would succumb to the ‘zone’ where he would bark and jump uncontrollably and it was impossible to return him to his normal, calm state. When the deliverymen arrived at the door, he would lunge at their pant leg to bite them. His targets are typically ethnic men.

I reached out to Dot and her partner Dawn. For approximately 3-4 months, they taught me how to control Pepper.

Their strategy focused on desensitizing Pepper to the buzzer and distracting him with something better (rewards). Moreover, they taught me to shield him from lunging at the door as a message that I protect him, he doesn’t have to protect me. The end result was a controllable dog who responded to commands the first time and who was no longer frightened when people came to my door. Dot and her partner went through a methodical series of steps to teach me the basics in controlling pets. They started out building a foundation and built from there. We started with basic sit/stay commands and gradually introduced the distracters (buzzer, knock at door, person at door).

For me, they used adult learning theory to assist in the training –
- Explained strategy
- Demonstrated action
- Then it was my turn to demonstrate.

Through repeated exercises, the training and expected behavior were embedded in my mind. They were always well prepared and brought reading materials and ‘homework’ – practice exercises and questionnaires to guide me through the expected behavior.

Already, I’ve recommended Dot and her partner to a couple of other dog owners. I highly recommend her training services."

- Linda L

Parker - Manhattan, NY / Working with Handicapped Dogs

Parker"Parker is about 90% blind. He barks every time the apartment buzzer rings and also when the doorbell rings. We completed 5 sessions to help Parker on his response to the buzzer and doorbell. As a result of the continued training, Parker has toned down his reaction to the buzzer. We are still working through this with him since it will take time to adjust his behavior, however, we learned a great deal to help us with the process."

- Cheryl R.

Busta - Manhattan, NY / Building a Better & Stronger Relationship with Your Dog

Busta"Thank you Dot for helping us build a better and stronger relationship with our puppy Busta. As first time puppy owners we had no idea how to focus his attention to do what we asked of him. With the techniques that we learned we have not only been able to teach Busta the basics, but we are planning on using them for more advanced training as he gets older."

- Africia & Clemens H.

Rhozy - Pelham Bay, NY / Above & Beyond Dog Training Service

"Hey Dot, I really want to thank you for all your help with Rhozy. She is my first puppy and after only one training session I was able to understand her so much better. Not only did you teach me what you said would be included in the training sessions, but so much more. Not to be scared to feed her raw food and how to turn feeding her into a fun activity. I now feed her Nature's Variety thanks to you and she loves it and her poop doesn't stink! :) You were extremely informative always during training and whenever needed. Even after months of the last training session you've made yourself available. I honestly do believe that you have gone above and beyond and I feel I can count on you for any concerns that may arise. Thank You!"

- Kenia O.

Jaden - Astoria, NY / House Training Puppies

Jaden"We are such proud parents of Jaden as she graduated Puppy class with Dot last Wednesday. She learned many commands, such as sit, stay, fetch, leave it and that it totally benefits to be a “good girl”.

Dot showed us how to potty train her best and now she’s totally got the potty pad thing under control. Of course with the exception of her booty being out of the pad at times…lol.

Even though our princess thinks she’s a bulldog at times by breaking, climbing and biting her way out of situations she’s a doll. Thanks for everything DOT. Jaden is our first puppy and we really truly couldn’t have done it without your help and guidance."

- Joan D. & Eddie J.

Boxxer - Bethlahem, PA / Handling Large Dogs

Boxxer"I can’t thank you enough for putting my mind at ease while we were away. Boxxer lucked out having you as part of the family. It is such a good feeling to find a Professional Certified Dog Trainer to watch Boxxer and know that he is in good hands and well taken care of.

After moving out of NY, I must tell you that when we decided to go on our last family vacation we searched all over for a good kennel for our 96 pound boxer/husky mix to stay. He has not been the bestbehaved dog for us, but we have been working on his behavioral issues.

This person was on with Cesar Milan on National Geographic's popular show, The Dog Whisperer. So we were more than happy when she said she would take our dog for the weekend thinking that he was in wonderful hands. Well, we left on a Thursday and by Saturday we received a phone call stating that Boxxer was misbehaving and either she or her dog trainers could not handle him. They could not get him inside the facility Friday night and left him outside all night. I was so upset to hear that. I felt horrible that he gave her a hard time but I was very disappointed that she could not handle him better. This woman handles and trains horses and many dogs and could not gain control of Boxxer. After that episode, we decided the trip down to NY was worth the extra driving.

You are so good with Boxxer and have such control over him without being forceful. Your dog training techniques have worked wonderfully with Boxxer, he absolutely loves you! It’s funny but when we are dropping him off to you it’s almost like a fun vacation for him as well. I just wanted to let you know how truly happy and grateful we are with you. I would highly recommend you!"

- Danielle R

Rocky - Manhattan, NY / Dealing with a Rescued Dog

Rocky"Dot is the consummate professional in every respect and when you’re dealing with a rescued dog that has been abused you’re dealing with a different set of circumstances. Issues have to be approached very creatively and compassionately and one must think “outside the box” - which is exactly what she does. When Rocky is in her care I don’t worry. When I take him to her place he scratches at the door waiting for her to let us in and when I pick him up he comes back very happy…there is no truer testament."

- Jamie G.

Hershey - Manhattan, NY / Helping First Time Dog Owners

Hershey"Dot is as warm and caring as she is professional in her approach to dog training. As a first time dog owner I was nervous and unsure of how to handle my 8 month old pit bull puppy. I was so relieved to find a compassionate and thorough dog trainer in Dot Rivera.

Dot was never patronizing, always patient and supportive. She stressed positive reinforcement and building a strong bond between pet and owner. Dot covered the basics (over and over again) with patience and humor. She made herself available for follow up questions and went above and beyond in each of our training sessions."

Dog Boarding Service

"After living at Dot's for two weeks, Hershey is a more gentle, obedient and calm puppy. I wish Dot would move in with us to teach us her ways, but I know she has her own family of pets she is committed to. I'm so happy I found Dot Rivera and I recommend her to all my friends for any and all pet issues."

- Margarita M.