The following testimonials are a small sample taken from clients and referring businesses who have been involved with Clever Paws.
*Owners details have been changed for privacy reasons.
Tinky & Mollie, Golden Labrador; Sunshine Coast 2015
” In January 2015 I acquired Mollie, a golden Lab who came from a general rescue centre. She is approximately 2 years old. A beautiful natured dog who very much wants to please. She was timid and lacking confidence when I got her which I put down to her not very pleasant start in life. We bonded quickly and I did my best to install confidence, love and set boundaries with her.
However, no matter what I did, whenever we came upon other dogs either in a group or walking past, Mollie would get the hair standing up, bark and growling which I couldn’t help but feel stemmed from her lack of self confidence and it all being fear based. It was also extremely difficult for me to call Mollie back when other dogs were involved. I did not know how to approach the problem. My local vet told me about Melissa who had helped a lady with a young Kelpie who apparently was “very naughty and an escape artist”. Having grown up on a property with Kelpie working dogs all my life and knowing how hyperactive they are prompted me to phone Melissa immediately!
Mollie and I met Melissa that week and I signed up for 5 lessons that day. I instantly warmed to her kind, common sense approach. It was obvious she was passionate and very good at dog training. Mollie liked her as well. Melissa showed me how to have Mollie walk beside me in civilised manner and what approach to take when passing other dogs in our first lesson. I also liked how Melissa conducted her approach to lessons, upfront and expecting a commitment which to me highlighted professionalism and dedication. It was all succinct and explained well giving me a clear picture which made it easy to decide if I wanted to go ahead. Integrity and honesty are very important to me and I could see Melissa had both.
Mollie and I have just completed our 5 lessons with Melissa and it has been wonderful, Mollie has progressed so much, her confidence has increased considerably, she walks with me beautifully, her recall is so much better also. Her whole demeanour is more settled. I also leant so much from Melissa. Every question I ever had she was able to answer in a way that I could completely comprehend. We are going to do more lessons with Melissa, so Mollie and I can learn more skills……. and just because we can!! It creates such a great relationship and all I ever want is for Mollie is to be a dog that is happy and confident in her own skin. Thanks to Melissa and her training methods she is well on the way! I am so looking forward to our next lot of lessons!”
Jason & Ingrid with Muddy, Chocolate Labrador; Sunshine Coast 2015
“We purchased a beautiful chocolate Labrador, (Muddy) for our children for Christmas. After a few weeks it became apparent that we had the naughtiest dog on the planet! She constantly barked, bit the kids, bit me, and destroyed every pot plant. After getting advice from every friend that owned a dog and googling every dog website on the internet we decided to call in the expert! Melissa came over and showed us some simple but effective techniques to control Muddy. We noticed a remarkable improvement immediately and after 5 weekly sessions Muddy has become such a well behaved dog. (Although she still destroys our pot plants!) Thanks for coming over and training us Melissa!! Would highly recommend Melissa to any dog owner”
Penelope Bellamy, with Bailey; Male Border Collie. Sunshine Coast, 2015
I love my dog but walking Bailey had become unpleasant and a chore. On all our walks he was ahead of me pulling in a hurry to go no where constantly pulling in the direction HE wanted to go, not necessarily the direction I wanted to go and all this pulling and yanking started to hurt my back. As we were walking if he noticed a dog behind a fence, through false bravery he’d go for the dog. Then on the beach he’d be hesitant of dogs. Walking on the beach was he’s favourite place and letting him off to run was bliss – until he wouldn’t come back when I called him. In fact when called, he’d look at me, look in the direction he wanted to go and bolt with me running in toe, furious.
A friend of mine listened to me complain again about my “badly behaved dog” and recommended Melissa. After talking to Melissa I booked some continous training sessions where she straight away taught me and Bailey how to walk – with instant results. I couldn’t believe it, by the end of my street he was walking by her side instead of pulling! Following Melissa’s guidance and with practice In no time at all I was able to walk with him by my side, walk past dog guarded fences and Bailey would just continue walking, without reacting – even with the most agressive dogs. We’ve progressed from great walking on the lead to walking on the beach off the lead – and he comes back when called! I just love it and so does he!
I now love walking with Bailey. You know when you see and admire a dog that just follows it’s owner at their heels, I feel as though I’ve got one of those now. Bailey’s happy to come when called, loves all the attention he can get and unexpectedly our relationship has become a lot closer and he’s much more loving and playful and so am I.
Thanks Melissa – spending time with you and following your lead (hahahha!) has been worth it – we walk twice a day and I love it!
Joanne Parker, with Micah; Female German Shepherd. Mackay / Sunshine Coast, 2015
Over the years all of my German Shepherds have had very strong and independent characters so I was expecting no less when Micah arrived in December 2011. However I wasn’t really prepared for “Micah the Destroyer” as she was nicknamed by family and friends. Micah’s first year of life was a blur of hyperactive behaviour, dragging on the lead, biting and mouthing, frenetic chewing, hysterical barking and gradually becoming more and more aggressive with dogs that we met. We could not even walk out the front door without her having a hysterical melt down, barking and turning in circles on the lead – all because of the two little dogs across the road. We went to obedience lessons with the local obedience club but she could not be near the other dogs without reacting to them. We tried some basic agility with another group but her aggression continued to escalate to the point that she was wearing a basket muzzle ‘just in case’. At home she was lovable and funny and engaging but any time spent with Micah outside the yard was an unpleasant experience for everyone. Nothing seemed to be working – choker chains, head halters, muzzles, nothing curbed her aggressive behaviour when other dogs were around.
By the time she turned one I was becoming more and more desperate and decided that I really needed some help with her, but I didn’t know how anyone would be able to change her behaviour. Every year I visit the Sunshine Coast over Christmas for an extended visit with family so I decided to look for a trainer there. Thankfully I found Melissa as I’m not sure other types of training would have been as successful. Within the first two sessions using Melissa’s techniques Micah had learnt to walk calmly on the lead and to ignore other dogs who passed by the yard. I thought that even if she never progressed any further than this stage I would be a very happy camper. Further sessions with Melissa and continued practice helped to build on these skills to the point where she was able to be down at the off lead beach without any dramas. The skills we learnt with Melissa were built up gradually over the course of the training and reinforced during each session. Micah learnt many new things but probably not as many as I did! Melissa provided detailed explanations for Micah’s behaviour and the techniques we needed to use to help her. I felt that I probably needed just as much re-training as Micah did.
Now that we are back home the training continues. We are now able to leave the yard without hysterical hissy fits and ignore the dogs across the road. We can go to the beach without being dragged along the sand and although we don’t encounter as many dogs as we did on the Sunshine Coast beaches, we are able to pass by calmly with just a quick inspection before continuing on our walk. While we have had a couple of problems with other more boisterous dogs approaching us at break neck speed I have been able to quickly use the techniques Melissa showed me to manage Micah’s behaviour and avoid confrontations with these dogs. The changes in her behaviour are not just evident when we are out walking. She very rarely mouths or bites now and everybody who comes to the house comments on how much more calm and settled she is at home. And what I love most of all is that we have been able to change her unwanted behaviours without changing her lovable and enthusiastic personality. Thanks Melissa, you are a miracle worker!
Joe & Amanda Dicker with Luger, 8 Year old German Shepherd. 2014
We (Amanda and I) decided some 3 years ago to get a German Shepherd, because we both love animals and to provide that extra bit of security, when I am away from home.
We decided on an older dog, because it would require no training (well, we were wrong there) and it had to be able to get on with our cats.
A big ask, but I send emails to various GSD breeders, and we got an instant response back about Luger, a 5 year old female GSD, allegedly cat-friendly. Luger was basically a breeding dog and also used as a patrol dog during her first 5 years. She was starting to fight with one of the other dogs in the kennel, and the breeder reluctantly had to let her go. She is of champion descent and did not seem to have any issues when we collected her.
Until we brought her home and then she chased the cats (they disappeared for a week, but luckily we got all 3 of them back).
It did not take her long to accept us and our children (in their late teens, early twenties then) as her family, but Luger had big reservations about people she did not know (especially men) coming into our house.
Of course we started walking Luger as soon as we got her home, and all she could do was pull, pull, pull on the leash, and lunge and bark at other dogs. We were not quite sure that we had done the right thing by getting such a strong (and strong-minded) dog, who was such a sook at home, but was more or less “unwalkable”. We did engage a dog trainer when we still lived in Buderim, but with no result really, after a few lessons. She recommended a Halti-harness, but that did not do much for Luger. Amanda got a sore shoulder from walking Luger, and our daughters did not even attempt to tame this “crazy dog”, who was great around the house, but did not seem to like any other dogs, or most people for that matter. We sort of “battled on” with Luger, and even though she was not quite what we wanted her to be, we loved her to bits.
Last year we moved to Kawana Island, after building our house. We knew it was time that we did something serious with Luger, after she nipped one of the builders, and she also had a go at one of our male friends inside the house. No serious injuries sustained, but a few drops of blood were enough to really frighten us into thinking that Luger may do more damage. So I got on the internet, and the Clever Paws website came up when looking for dog trainers on the Sunshine Coast. The website was well done and very professional. I called Melissa and sent her an email, explaining the problems we were having with Luger. We then organised for Melissa to come to our home and meet Luger and us. We had a long discussion the first time about how and why is Luger behaving the way she is, and Melissa was very understanding about our issues with Luger.
Well, within a week (initially we had a few sessions a week) Melissa had Luger walking on a loose lead, with a soft collar. Melissa’s training method is not by punishment, but we were astounded at the progress that Melissa made with Luger (and us) in those first few weeks of training.
Within 2 months Luger was (sort of) accepting that other dogs were ok, and did not need lunging at. Within 4 months Melissa had Luger off the lead at Currimundi beach, and Luger was quite happy to be around other dogs, although she came to walk in between us if not sure when other dogs came up to her.
Now, almost a year since Melissa started with her, Luger is an (almost) model dog. She does not pull on the lead (even our daughters are now very happy to walk her, and she is very comfortable around other dogs. Luger comes when she is called 95% of the time, we are still working on that (we have worked out thatour training her never really stops, even though Luger is now 8 ½ years old).
In the afternoon Luger sits on our deck, and watches all the other dogs being walked along the boardwalk in front of our house.
I am sure she thinks “wow, my life is pretty good now that I am a “model dog”, and I have become this thanks to Melissa”. And we, as Luger’s “parents” are of the same opinion.
Joe and Amanda
Cheryl, Coco & Lulu: Doberman Females, Beerwah. 2014
“Our 5 year old Doberman, Daisy, passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly. We always said the next time, we would get two puppies. Welcome CoCo and LuLu, 7 week old Doberman’s. After having many puppies over the years we decided to have these puppies trained, as we now have small grandchildren.
At only 8 weeks of age, we enlisted Melissa’s help. Her common sense techniques were so easy to put in place; simple things that you wouldn’t think of, such as the fact that even though they were sisters they still needed to be individuals, and trained as such. We covered Separation issues, Barking, Recall, Stay, Whining, Not to jump, How to stop them running out when a gate is opened, Lead training, Teaching them to swim. (they love to swim now !) We covered so much in our ten sessions!
I found Melissa to be so flexible as well; one lesson I had my 2 year old grand daughter and I asked if we could have a lesson to make sure the puppies knew to have manners around her. This went well, and now my grandchildren can play in our back yard without being harassed by (now big) puppies.
Our last session was at the beach, and I was quite nervous because they had never been to the beach before…but they were perfect! It was easy to see that the past 10 sessions of training had paid off. They now go to the beach regularly. Our puppies are 10 and a half months old, over 30kgs and are a joy.
Different people come and go in our yard during the week and we know that the puppies are happy to see them no barking no aggression just happy to get a pat and be helpful (helping the Gardner put the palm fronds on the burn pile is hilarious to see) But I know that that without Melissa’s help I would be sitting here writing a very different story. PS. Melissa’s techniques even worked on our sometimes wayward Cockatoo.”
Alex & Bailey, Maremma Sheepdog X, Caloundra. 2013
“Before we started training, Bailey used to give me rope burn on my hands from walking him, he would attack other dogs, bark uncontrollably, bite me and never come back to me at the beach! Now thanks to Melissa no barking and walks right next to me, friendly to other animals even if they get aggressive towards him and comes back to me when called .. Melissa’s a lifesaver 🙂 I’m so happy with Bailey now. ”
Merridy, Zac, Billie & Chloe. Noosa. 2013
“Thanks so much Melissa for the lessons you have taught us! We now know how to continue training our dogs, Zac and Billy! You have such an ability with dogs…truly amazing! No more running away or incessant barking! I tell everyone we meet when walking the beach or at the park that it is because of Clever Paws that it is now possible! Thanks Melissa…and Storm!!!”
Ian & Duke, Marcoola Beach. 2013
The following story is great example of the dogs who are rehabilitated from severe aggression issues with strictly humane methods in a timely manner with long term results through one-on one behavioural modification with Canine Behaviourist Melissa Bruce at Clever Paws. Duke is an especially good example of a dog who was previously training with an inhumane prong collar; as you will read, this was not the solution to Dukes behavioural problems. Duke has since been featured in several TV & print media articles supporting the QLD petition to ban prong collars, a drive initiated and supported by Clever Paws Canine Behaviourist, Melissa Bruce, in 2011.
“In late 2010 I started seeking help for Duke with dog on dog aggression. We had just moved into a new house with a total of five dogs in neighboring yards and this quickly became a desperate situation. Duke would bark all day, fight at the fence with the other dogs and started becoming extremely anxious and aggressive even if he just heard or smelt another dog.
Nothing that I tried would calm him down. If he thought a dog was nearby he was not interested in food, not interested in toys and certainly not interested in me. I dreaded leaving the house even to go to work because I knew the neighbors were fed up with the constant barking and fighting. I found a trainer who, after seeing Duke’s reaction to other dogs, suggested that I use a prong collar in combination with weekly training sessions. They informed me that Duke may never be completely free of his aggressive reactions but we’d certainly learn to control them.
I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of using a prong collar but I was assured that it was not harmful and simply mimicked natural interactions between a member of the pack and the pack leader. After first using the collar I was relieved. It quickly allowed me to curb the aggressive outbursts and made walking more manageable. Unfortunately, as the months rolled on Duke’s progress was quite slow. His behaviour improved in the controlled environment of our training sessions but away from training the aggression and anxious behavior was just as common as when we started.
Corrections with the prong collar would suppress the reactions but it obviously wasn’t helping with the root cause of the problem as 6 months on we were still having issues. At about this time I started to think that there must be better options so I searched for other trainers and found Clever Paws. Melissa spent some time getting to know Duke’s situation and wasn’t impressed to find out we’d been using a prong collar. She immediately made it clear that we wouldn’t be using it again.
Apparently we were going to put Duke on an ordinary flat collar and take him out to assess the situation. I thought she must be crazy. After spending so long trying to avoid other dogs and regularly needing corrections with the prong collar I thought this was going to be a disaster. Melissa took Duke on the flat collar and spent a few minutes establishing a relationship with him before heading off for a little walk.
By the end of that first hour we had passed a couple of dogs and I was amazed. Melissa was able to get Duke’s focus very quickly when he reacted so the walk actually seemed quite uneventful. Over the next couple of weeks Melissa taught me how to communicate effectively with Duke. Not surprisingly, this didn’t involve a prong collar which I realised was sending very confusing messages to Duke.
Exactly two weeks after our first session we were walking through an off-leash dog park with almost all signs of Duke’s anxiety gone. We still had a couple of incidents where Duke reacted to other dogs but we were now able to quickly defuse the situation. Keep in mind that this is all without a leash…..so much for needing a prong collar!
After a month Duke is noticeably happier and more relaxed both at home and during our walks. I was extremely proud recently when another dog approached him off the leash and barked aggressively right in his face. Duke’s reaction would be best described as ‘Meh’. It did not bother him in the least. I can not stress enough how grateful I am for the help that Melissa has given Duke and I. The results after just 1 hour were far better than our previous 6 months training on a prong collar.” -Ian & Duke, Marcoola Beach
Mountain View Veterinary Surgery, Buderim, 2012
“We have great pleasure in recommending Melissa Bruce and her K9 training service to you. We have referred many of our clients to her and they have been happy with her friendly and professional approach. She is caring and compassionate and very skilled with solving behavioural problems in dogs. Should you have any questions about Melissa, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.”
Kerri Abbott On behalf of Dr. Greg Mahon, Mountain View Veterinary Surgery Sunshine Coast
Blossom Goodchild & Ned, Noosaville. 2012
“Little Ned (6yrs old) arrived on a plane from Sydney after a sad little picture arrived in my inbox, saying he was in need of a home as his family were moving to England. Our cocker spaniel Sandy had passed away from a tick only two weeks earlier … and I felt it a bit soon to have another four legged friend come into our lives.
However, one look in to those eyes and I was sold. So … he arrived … He had lived with his previous family for all most six years … and had two sisters from another litter that lived with him also. Apparently they bullied the little fella quite a bit. He also has a broken foot which was never mended so set itself the wrong way round. The family think he may have been abused at the puppy farm. I will never really know, but he certainly was a very nervous little soul!!
Over the two years we got to know and love each other he settled in to his new home. Probably wondering what he had done wrong and why he had been sent away. We had issues with Ned. He would always be aggressive toward other dogs on a walk … he barked at the drop of a hat … he used an area of our front room carpet as his extra toilet … the list goes on and on.
About two months ago we had a fraught call from our next door neighbour explaining that Ned would bark for the entire time we were out . For hours and hours and hours and hours and hours!!! Having not been notified of this … how were we to know!! So … I googled Dog Trainers and came up with Clever Paws!!
What a find!!! Melissa came to meet us and discussed Ned’s behaviour and what needed changing …. MAGIC!! Within the first week the outcome was amazing. I was astounded that NED responded to the training so quickly. It appeared that most of his behaviour was due to anxiety and the more we worked on him not being afraid to let other dog’s come close, the less anxious he became. By the end of the first week we could walk past dogs without him even growling or looking their way.
Over the next four sessions we were shown methods to keep him out of the wrong toilet area and to our surprise he now goes down the outside back stairs where we have a bit of a romping area. He would not go near the steps before. They appeared too daunting to him … or so we thought.
NOW … I just say ‘NED DOWNSTAIRS’ and he happily descends and has a good old sniff around in his new found playground. Melissa gave us advise on his diet and any issues at all. I could never get him to jump in the car, so I used to lift him up … Now I say ‘hup’ and in he leaps.
All the issues that I thought were going to have to be accepted as part of our lives have been resolved. I could not believe how quickly the results happened. You have to be committed to work with your dog in between sessions, but it was such a joy to see how responsive he actually was!!
I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND anyone who has any behavioural issues at all with their dog to get in touch with this amazing lady! She has such a way with these animals. I cannot finish without mentioning STORM her beautiful gentle co worker. What a team they make! Thank you so much Melissa. You have changed Ned’s life and ours! He is so much happier and relaxed … And … no more barking , because he doesn’t feel threatened. The neighbours thought I had sent him away!!! Many thanks to you from Blossom Goodchild …and Ned … and the neighbours!!!”
Kellie & Tess, Buderim. 2011
“With our first baby arriving in October, I feared our dogs would get pushed aside and too hard to handle. Tess, my 15 month old cattle dog liked to jump up on people, bark, pull on the lead, never come when she was called and showed aggression towards other dogs. Going for a walk or to the dog park just became an unenjoyable experience, and we were getting complaints from the neighbours about the barking.
Tess is a very submissive and nervous dog, so i had to be careful in how I disciplined her. She would wet herself and hide for hours when she got in trouble….not to mention the first class performance she would put on at the vet. We were facing sedation prior to her vet visits if things didn’t improve, which I was not keen on.
I didn’t know where to begin with training her. I wanted to have confidence in knowing that I could have control over Tess whilst maintaining a respectful relationship. From the minute I spoke with Melissa at Clever Paws about Tess’ issues, she assured me that we could work together to change these bad behaviours. I was willing to give anything a go. Melissa met with us at home for a couple of sessions and then at the off-lead doggie areas to really put Tess to the test. She also bought along other dogs to help with the training process.
Tess is a smart dog, she picked things up really quickly and just after 5 sessions she had improved immensely. Melissa gave us practical advice and techniques which were easy to follow, and got the results by practicing just 20 mins a day. Not only do I feel more in control but I can see that Tess is a happier calmer dog.
All the work paid off when Tess went for her annual vet check up and vaccine last week. He couldn’t believe what a change Melissa’s training had made and said she was like a new dog. He was able to do a full examination without any objection.
Tess enjoys her training sessions now (and the treats/rewards). We still have to do the work as she sometimes try to see how much she can get away with. However, I can take her for a nice walk without her lunging at other dogs and there are no more angry notes left on the door when we come home from the neighbours about her barking. Melissa was professional, genuine and available to us anytime if we needed help.
I would highly recommend Clever Paws training to anyone looking for results. I found it was easy once I knew what to do and understood doggie psyche, something you just cant get without the experts.” – Kellie & Tess, female Cattle Dog from Buderim.
Katie Toole, Buderim, Sunshine Coast. 2011
“Melissa’s passion for training has helped my dogs behaviour improve immensely, Her training is nothing short of brilliant, it works fast with great results. The dogs behaviours have improved 100%. I highly recommend Melissa’s training to anyone, I’m ecstatic to now have two well-behaved dogs!! ” Katie Toole,Money Today
Allison Robinson, Buderim, Sunshine Coast. 2011
“As a busy mother of 4, just the thought of bringing a new puppy into the home strikes fear into the heart! I approached this thought cautiously, realizing how positive this experience could be for my children and particularly my 12 y/o old son, whilst understanding that the puppy, at the end of the day, is another responsibility and concern for me. The question was: How can I integrate a puppy into our daily routine with as little disruption as possible?
This is when I spoke to Melissa. I realized that with her support and a little bit of consistent effort, I could manage the “event.” I say event, because that is how it felt to me. Even still there was an equal amount of trepidation, as there was joy, at the thought of extending our family with a puppy. It was a big decision and after weeks of consideration and then searching for a puppy, we found one and it was time to bring him home.
We arranged to have Melissa there when we arrived home. I can’t tell you how grateful I am that she was, because as to be expected, we had a typical 8 week old puppy on our hands, all feet and mouth, jumping and biting. Just what you would expect……right! Wrong, within less than 5 minutes I no longer had that kind of puppy on my hands! And with just a small amount of reinforcement, that training has stuck with him.
My 12 month old can now sit on the floor with him and cuddle without being smothered with puppy love. I am sure this will make a huge difference to her experience and enjoyment of growing up with a puppy and soon to be medium/large dog in the house. It was just so beneficial to start his training from the moment he walked into our home. The rules were set; and there was no opportunity for him to develop poor, dog to human, social skills. We also set ourselves up with some toilet training guidelines.
Melissa followed up with a visit the following day where we quickly went over yesterdays learning and then addressed his appalling eating habits. Having come from a large litter he was quite accustomed to jostling for his food and was quite defensive of it already. With so many children in the house and so many more coming through it was really important that he didn’t become possessive and aggressive towards food. Within 2 minutes we were able to slow his eating down! It was incredible! He went from frantic to controlled, just like that!
The following day we had another follow up, where we discussed more eating habits and training, where we can teach him to leave his food when the children are close by. I didn’t even think of that! As I am writing this one week later, I can say that not only will he leave his food on command, but he will wait on his bed til he is fed and most importantly my 12 month old can sit on the floor right in front of him and eat without being accosted. Alby just sits there and watches her eat. I can’t believe the transformation.
I would not have thought that a 9 week old puppy could have had such composure. Having all those social skills put in place we then left it a few days to let Alby settle in. He was probably more than a little shell shocked by all the sudden changes! On his 4th day in the house, Melissa came to go through leash training and recall. Now the real doggie training begins. We are doing sit, lie down and stay. Come when called. Fetch and drop the object and we are playing tug, tug with a particular toy. That is enough for us now. It sounds like a lot when I write it all down. But the whole family has some involvement in it and it really only takes about 5 mins or less when ever we can think of it.
Toilet training is going really well, apart from his first night I haven’t even had to wake up to any messes first thing in the morning, and it only took 4 nights before he could hold on til early morning before asking to go out. Day time toileting is still a little dependant on how conscientious I am, but if I can leave the door open for him he will take himself out to the toilet.
Of course he is teething and is allowed to have free play time in the back yard. So we have that puppy behaviour to contend with; as he possibly chews and digs his way through the backyard. However, I am yet to have that conversation with Melissa, perhaps she has some sort of miracle to deal with that too!! 3 training sessions was all it took to take all my fears of living with an outrageous puppy away and have been resolved within a week.
Melissa has a great understanding and empathy for the puppy and puppy owners alike. She is quick and effective, with lasting affects. Her skills have not only made a difference to our puppy, but to all of our lives. We still have a puppy and we will have further training sessions to head off or deal with growing pains but for now we have a happy, well adjusted member of the family that we can all enjoy! The cost has been put down to part and parcel of buying a puppy and it has been worth more than gold. Thanks Melissa.”
*Katie & Connor, Sunshine Coast 2010
“Connor and I met Melissa in April this year (2010), when in desperation I rang Clever Paws seeking help for a growling problem. Connor is a ten year old golden retriever, who has been growling at other dogs for the last four years, making walking him difficult and somewhat humiliating. Having recently moved to the Sunshine Coast, I was desperate to be able to walk Connor on the beach without being stressed about an off leash dog approaching us.
After attending puppy school, adult dog training and private training before, I doubted that there was any hope for him. Who would have thought that you could teach an old dog new tricks! However, Melissa was confident that we could get Connor to the point where we could walk him on a leash without him growling at any approaching dogs. It was through her positive attitude that I became motivated to fix our problem. Melissa has a deep understanding of dog psychology…Connor had respect for her within about two minutes!!!!
She conducted a thorough assessment of our situation, and surmised that Connor had typical fear aggression. She then devised a plan to help us manage his fear in order to conquer the growling behaviour. This plan was as much about educating me as it was about training Connor. Melissa helped me to develop an understanding of my own behaviour when training Connor so that I could convey the appropriate messages to him.
All of the training methods that Melissa used were completely humane, and focused on engaging Connor’s way of thinking. After the first visit, I could see changes in Connor’s behaviour. As we progressed through our sessions, the growling episodes with other dogs decreased, and Melissa gradually handed me the reigns to manage Connor’s behaviour on my own.
Melissa has a lovely relaxed manner, and always remained in complete control of Connor in all situations. When I was stressed by Connor’s behaviour, Melissa provided me with explanations and reassurance, giving me the confidence to continue in training. With all the hours we spent together walking him, I always found Melissa to be friendly and professional with a good sense of humour. Connor and I still have a little way to go in our training, but I now feel confident that we will reach our goals. I enjoy walking him now, and I’m not afraid of other dogs. With every challenge I encounter, Melissa is available by phone or e-mail to suggest solutions. I have no hesitation in recommending Melissa to assist you in solving your dog’s behavioural problem. ” *Katie & Connor
*Robin & Family, Sunshine Coast. 2009
I have known Melissa Bruce for a period of just over 12 months. We started working together when I employed her to train me to train my 12 month old puppy… Over the last 5 years Melissa has designed and developed a very successful canine training business here. She has a solid clientele base and takes great pride in the success she has had here. This is a testament to her strong work ethics. I believe Melissa has many good qualities that make her a reliable trainer. Her intrinsic understanding of canine physiology and nature is outstanding. To couple that with her personal approach and commitment to her clientele makes her a desirable service provider. Melissa is always punctual and well presented; she is polite and well spoken. However her quiet self confidence gives her the strength to deal with any situation calmly and concisely. I would without reservation highly recommend Melissa for any training requirements that you may be considering.” *Robin & family
*Carol, Shawn & Billie, Sydney, 2008
“Our friends told us we were mad and we thought it was a risk, but we had our hearts set on a border collie, despite living in a small inner-city terrace with only a small backyard. Six months ago we took in a seven-week-old, short-haired collie girl who soon began to answer to the name of Billie. What started its young life as an adorable black and white ball of fun has quickly matured into a mischievous adolescent with a playful nature and sharp wit. Like most puppies, she held a strong desire to chew on just about anything and anyone, so at 10 weeks we knew we were going to need some professional help.
My wife did plenty of research and comparisons, but we eventually turned to Melissa from Clever Paws to guide Billie towards a well-behaved, but still individual demeanor. Melissa came to our house and, first off, quickly allayed our fears about our property being too small for an endlessly energetic border collie. She told us that if you give your dog enough exercise and mental stimulation, it will be happy just about anywhere. Secondly, despite her tiny stature, little Bille already thought she was the leader of the house and was blissfully indifferent to any commands or instructions from us. Melissa showed us how to temper Billie’s strong will with and eventually she started to get the idea she wasn’t the queen of the castle. Our other concern was Billie’s habit of constantly pulling on her lead whenever we were out walking. She’s a lot better now, but still gets a bit too eager when there’s a park nearby. We’re still working on that one. Billie is still only young and has a temperament to match, but we’re confident she’ll continue to grow into a well-balanced, well-behaved and happy dog, thanks to Melissa’s guidance.” *Carol, Shawn & Billie
*Susan & Lucky, Sydney, 2008
“Before we started training with Clever Paws, Lucky, a Cattle Dog, liked to jump up on my two young children, often nipping them as well. He would constantly pull on the lead and never listened when I gave him commands. He had been behaving like this since I got him as a young puppy . Before training with Clever Paws, we had never done any training. After approximately 3 – 4 training sessions with Clever Paws, we had him under control! I liked how approachable Melissa was, combined with her ability to provide sensible advice and practices that were easy to adhere to. I believe her customer service rates very high. She was so easy to talk to and was available at times convenient to us. I am very happy to say, Lucky is now a pleasure to be around instead of a pain! ” *Susan & Lucky
*Lucy & Margaret with Tiara & Honey, Sydney, 2008
“Tiara & Honey were two quite disobedient Chihuahuas. They wouldn’t come when called, wouldn’t respond to commands and were constantly pulling on their leashes when walking. For small dogs, they were just about turning themselves inside out, they pulled that much! Fighting between themselves was also common, jumping on lounges, on people, and lots of barking at guests and people. They would bite the vet and growl at small children. Unfortunately, they had been behaving like this for about 18 months! We decided to start training with Clever Paws, and after about 4 sessions the improvement was remarkable. We had only ever tried training them ourselves, with no success. What we liked the most about training with Clever Paws was how fast and effective it was. In about 4 weeks they were a lot calmer, and we could actually have visitors…we actually enjoy taking them for walks on their leash now! We would highly recommend Melissa as a trainer. She was promptly here at 6 am each session to suit our working schedule with excellent results. Melissa has helped us achieve the unthinkable, and because of that, we have a much more pleasant house. ” *Lucy, Margaret, Tiara & Honey