I am often asked: Why I would drive over two hours round-trip for a “dog class”? I tell them that I owe it to my dog to give her the best learning experience I can find. The bonus is that my dog really enjoys her classes. Opie’s progress won’t be possible without the instruction and support that SMART DOGS provides.
We have had many pets during our 33 yrs of marriage but they were mostly for the kids. We have always talked about having that special inside dog once we retire to keep us company. Next thing we knew and before we were really ready, a friend offered us a Cairn Terrier – she handed over a little ball of fur whom we named Skye.
Skye had basically been in the backyard with his sister for the first nine months of his life. He had received no human socialization (other than at meal times when he was fed) and cowered anytime humans came near him. We had to coax him out of his crate each morning with a treat. He also was not house-trained. We decided if he was going to become the dream pet of our retirement years, we needed help. We contacted our Vet, Dr. Green of Alma Animal Clinic, and he recommended Mary.
Mary is all about effective, gentle and kind training. She taught us a method of training that gets positive responses without raising your voice or using force. Mary reduced the training down into small steps and gave us lessons to practice each week. She was always available for special questions during the week by email or phone. Thanks to Mary’s expertise and patience, Skye has become a well mannered dog and a joy to spend time with.
I have been a student of Mary’s for several years now and am so grateful to have connected with SMART DOGS. When I met Mary, I needed to develop a better relationship with my significant other’s dog who was an extremely independent (i.e. “Bossy”) pitty. Mary helped us develop an amazing relationship that started with building a strong foundation in basic manners and teaching us about positive reinforcement. When we rescued a new pup, Mary helped me again to established an amazing connection with Lola – lessons that still set us up for success today in our many adventures and simple daily life. Mary’s skills in agility training have also been just superb and her classes provide a unique activity for my highly energetic pup that allows us to channel her energy in a fun way!
Outside of the many classes and skills Mary has taught us, I am more so appreciative for the sense of community and connection provided at SMART DOGS. Mary herself has always gone above and beyond to provide information and resources that have advanced my understanding and overall care of my pets. When one of our pets was diagnosed with bone cancer, Mary was at the ready no matter what questions I had and connected us with the best lifeline we had during the process. I really cannot express how grateful I am for the life lessons and resources provided by Mary and the SMART DOGS family. She has welcomed us since day one – always making me and my pets feel confident in all she teaches us – and we are a forever loyal SMART Dog family!
Something very special is happening at the SMART DOGS Training Center in Van Buren. Mary Gilbreth, PhD, Certified Professional Dog Trainer, and SMART DOGS owner/principal trainer, has created a wonderfully safe and stress-free environment where dogs and their people can learn about each other, build their training skills, and have tons of fun while doing it! As a dog training professional myself, I have first-hand experience with training centers and trainers throughout the country. Unequivocally, SMART DOGS is one of the best, with an absolutely top-notch line-up of classes and programs, all presented with state-of-the-art, true positive reinforcement clicker training and a solid knowledge of how dogs – and people – learn effectively.
To every aspect of her teaching, Mary adds her deep appreciation and understanding of a dog’s heart and soul. Plus she gives the human end of the leash the same respect that she gives the dog. I refer many people to SMART DOGS for training, and I also travel a long distance myself to bring my own dogs there to train. It is worth every mile driven and dollar spent. Mary has helped me sharpen my own training skills and to “see” my dogs more clearly as the amazing individuals they are. I am extremely grateful for everything Mary has taught me, and my dogs Hannah and Jackson are equally grateful! Thank you so much, Mary.
FOR sure this is a MUST have!! I brought my 3 month old German Shepherd in because when I got her she was VERY unsocial~she would GO NUTS at anything that moved~seriously, I wish I would have taken video of our first night, you would be amazed at the progress we have made. SMART DOGS is great because it teaches YOU how to teach your dog!! This really works and it has made a difference in my life. I have 3 boys under 6 and Coraline will stay on her mat when I cook dinner, laundry, etc. I cannot say ENOUGH good things about how life changing this class is!
OMG!!! TAG Teach seminar was phenomenal! Thank you Mary and thank you Theresa! I cannot wait to put this awesome tool to work! So much fun!!!
Off-leash heeling, outside, with unfamiliar people and dogs all around and the lake in full view. This time last year I never would have believed I could do this with Bella. Thank you Mary/SMART DOGS for all your help getting Bella where she is now in her training!
Mary saved my dog and I. Truly. Alex was on the way to the Vet’s to be euthanized when the Vet suggested Mary. We found out we (humans) were a large part of our behaviour issues. Thanks to Mary, Alex is now a Canine Good Citizen and is learning Rally. Best of all, he is a furever pup. Thanks Mary!
Thank you for all your dedication! I hope everyone knows that we would not get the same thorough training from anywhere else in this area. You go the extra mile every class.
SMART DOGS training school has changed my life with my dog Spartan. Spartan is a very energetic Doberman, and being my first dog of my own I was at a loss on how to train him. I had tried pinch collars, shock collars, several different books on opinions of how to train. When you love a friend as I do my Spartan, I didn’t want to hurt him every time we went for a walk or at all for that matter! So I called Mary. I was thrilled the first time I spoke with her on the phone, I could sense her true love for dogs and respect for them as well. I started the beginners class and I’m so happy with my decision. I was taught how to fix the problem without choking, pinching or any of the other cruel methods out there. I have advanced on to the next class and hope to go as far as I can with Spartan. If as students we do as directed by Mary the results are amazing!
I feel in more control and in tune with Spartan than ever before, like a new connection we didn’t have before. I’m so grateful to Mary for her endless patience and praise. She is an inspiration to me and second to none. If you want to see just what is inside your dog and who he or she really is, Mary will guide you to make your dog be all he or she can be. I feel every dog deserves that chance.
I am so happy I found Mary/SMART DOGS last year. It has been such a great experience attending many of the classes over the last year, which include agility, rally and basic obedience classes and also private lessons. Mary’s facility is very safe, clean and well taken care of so I have no concerns as to the safety of my dogs. Mary’s training focuses on positive reinforcement/clicker training. She has tremendous patience training me on how to work with my dogs to reinforce the behavior I need from them (her motto is “you get what you reinforce”). I have an exceptionally exuberant Labrador Retriever that loved to bark at me (which is loud and stressed me out) and Mary has worked consistently and patiently to show me how to reduce his barking and get the desired behavior that I need from him. I can now run agility, play ball, daily life, etc… and enjoy it and I use what I learned to apply to my other dogs too. My 5 dogs and I are calmer and happier and we look forward to our training days at SMART DOGS.
Have you ever tried to hang sheet rock yourself? You can get it done. It may even look great to you & everyone else. But then you watch a true professional do it, they make it seem so effortless & they can get the job done in very short period of time. It’s like watching poetry in motion. The same goes for dog training. Picked up so many valuable tips today from Mary at SMART DOGS Dog Training.
Best experience in training ever. They can handle even the hardest humans to train! 🙂 And absolutely great with dogs!
I must brag on SMART Dog Bella and her handler Stacy for earning the Title of Water Rescue Dog (WRD) at the Old West Newfoundland Club Water Test today! A lot of hard work went into earning this title and much advise and encouragement from Mary. Thanks SMART DOGS!
It’s only going on week 2 and so far all of Mary and Stacy’s advice for calming Kadie’s anxiety has helped so much even in just the short amount of time we started the new routine. Kadie is not only more focused already but she’s less stressed! Hopefully sit, stay will come easy! Thanks for all the help and THE ADDED QUIETNESS! I definitely recommend Mary’s SMART DOGS, if I can see this much change in one week, can you image the change to come on graduation night!?
Thank you Mary for all of our class photos and fun! Pickles and I love agility, our class mates and you!
I whole heartedly recommend Mary and SMART DOGS to everyone I meet that has a puppy, dog or is thinking about getting one! The bond CJ and I have would never have been as close without Mary’s guidance and the SMART DOGS positive training program. I’ve enjoyed each session and gained many insights…and Mary has the patience of a Saint. 🙂 I have loved every pet I’ve ever had and they have loved me but there is something very special that comes as a result of working together as a team, learning to build trust and obedience in a positive manner. Working with Mary through SMART DOGS has created a deeper bond than both CJ and I would have ever achieved by ourselves. I can’t say enough good things about the program or Mary. You should come and experience this for yourself with your puppy/dog and see the amazing transformation that occurs as you train together.
Training at SMART DOGS has been an enjoyable experience. The positive approach has been a true bond building time between Scout and myself. But the most important thing is how Mary has opened my mind to seeing dogs and even life in a different light. We will keep attending classes so long as there is a class for us.
A wonderful place for dogs and humans to learn.
I began looking for a dog training method, after being involved with several dog rescues. I have 5 dogs of my own and needed a more consistent method of communication. I began combing the web for help and stumbled onto the SMART DOGS website. So thankful I did! Dr. Mary A Gilbreth offers a practical, gentle and easy to learn method. She works with you and your dog at whatever level is appropriate. She also shares a wealth of information on dog behavior, nutrition, health and more. I thought my relationship with my dogs was good before SMART DOGS. I am amazed at the change. The SMART DOGS’ way has put the spark back into my two senior dogs’ eyes. It has given two shy girls more confidence. And it gave me the tools to help my young active dog through a difficult recovery process. SMART DOGS is an awesome training school and its right here in the River Valley.
I just wanted to tell you I’m loving the online aspect of your classes. They’ve been so helpful with my life being so hectic.
Love the SMART DOGS approach to training!!
Super friendly and very professional. A+++++
I appreciate Mary’s instruction. Always the right mix of compassion and no nonsense. I have had dogs my entire life (almost 60 years) and was surprised to discover how little I actually understood about them before coming to SMART DOGS. I originally had two goals in mind – getting Angus to come when called and to help him build some confidence in new situations. We accomplished these goals, but more importantly the training helped us develop a stronger and happier relationship. The connection is better, the understanding is better and we all – dog and humans are having more fun!
I am so thankful that I found Mary at SMART DOGS. My prayers were answered because I was desperate to find someone to help me with a rescued dog that had issues of fear and trauma.
Thinking back to the day that we found “Buddy” on the interstate lying against his dead friend (my husband named him “Buddy” because of his loyalty to his friend), he was so afraid of my husband and the other rescuers, not to mention traumatized by losing his friend. We were eventually able to capture Buddy and bring him home. To my surprise, Buddy would still be afraid of me a few weeks after living with me and I had no idea of what to do. Fortunately, I found Mary at SMART DOGS.
Mary taught me how to gain Buddy’s trust, with patience and plenty of love with never putting any pressure on him. Always using a soft voice, clicker and treats, Buddy learned basic commands like sit, stay, come, get it, watch, and down. And using the same method of training, he allowed me to put a collar and leash on him and then eventually Mary and I began to walk him down my street and in my neighborhood.
She showed me how to handle situations that would come up, such as Buddy refusing to walk or if he experienced any other fear issues and how to handle them. Also, she taught me how to crate train him (that also took a lot of patience because of his fear issues) by making it a Fun Game, again without putting any pressure on Buddy.
Mary taught me how to socialize Buddy with new people and other dogs including my eight year old German Shepherd Chow mix Susie, who is uncomfortable meeting other dogs. Mary taught me how to recognize what to look for when introducing them and observing body language that would indicate acceptance or not. She taught me what to tell people about how to use their body language to help Buddy relax, and how to give Susie breaks at first so Buddy wouldn’t cause her too much stress. I thought Susie would not accept Buddy, but to my surprise she did and she LOVES her new “brother”!
Mary also helped me introduce my two cats to Buddy and all the while watching their body language as well as his. Again to my surprise, Buddy likes the Cats, and they like him! After a lot of patience and love, Buddy is doing very well and has accepted us as his family. Thank you, Mary, for making this happen. You worked hard and never gave up on him or me.
Working with Mary and our two 6 year old miniature schnauzers has been an unbelievable, eye opening experience. A few months ago we could not even take a walk without generalized chaos every time our girls encountered any people, or worse yet, another dog. Two days ago, 8 construction workers gathered in the street didn’t even earn a second look! We now have one very confident learner who was once a timid little thing who didn’t like to eat, until Mary, in her very subtle way, suggested a new raw diet. And her big sister, who was scared of her own shadow, is working on being a champion on the agility course. Our thanks and gratitude to Mary for making the humans realize we had so much to learn.
This is the best money we’ve spent so far!
Mikie is learning and having fun training. We highly recommend SMART DOGS Dog Training.
★★★★★ We LOVE SMART DOGS and Mary! She is one amazing woman! I’m so thankful for her guidance and patience with me. Working with my dogs has been such an eye opening experience for me, not just in training, but in self awareness. I don’t think I ever would have learned so much about my personality, behavior and habits if it weren’t for the last few years at SMART DOGS.
I’m also most grateful for the bond she taught me to nurture with my first sweet fur baby and now, another one! I would recommend her to anyone with a dog! I think we all can learn from her program and take something special away from it. I’m looking forward to many more classes at SMART DOGS and watching my dogs excel in all that we do!!