Three years ago I got a beautiful young labrador retriever puppy. I really knew nothing about training and so she grew up to be a pretty unruly teenager. I'm small and she was getting hard to control. So I went looking on the internet and I found Kevin Salem's "Real Life Dog Training." It seemed too good to be true! I could bring her to him and he would train her to behave! What more could a busy woman ask for?
Well, I called him up and he agreed to take her sight unseen. He seemed a little bit condescending and when I told him I had been to a couple places who used treats in training, he went on a tirade against "those sorts of trainers." He seemed a little rough around the edges, but the testimonials on his site were so good!
I dropped my girl off and four days later received a frantic call from Kevin. He told me he couldn't train an aggressive dog like her. Aggressive? My girl has always been sweet-tempered. She was a little overly exuberant, jumped on people when they came in the house, knocked over kids in excitement, and pulled horribly on the leash. After she knocked my 3-year-old niece over in greeting I knew it was time to call in a trainer. But aggressive? She had NEVER been aggressive.
I drove over to meet him at a local gas station (he won't even have you drop the dog off or pick it up at his house! I guess that should have been my first clue!). The dog that came out of his car was dirty with several cuts on her nose. She immediately lunged for Kevin and he smacked her hard across the face. She ended up on the ground with him on top of her. His only response. "Get this f'in aggressive dog out of my face."
He shoved her at me and hopped in his car and drove off.
I called him several times to find out if I could get a refund since he didn't actually train my dog and she came back to me with aggression issues that she never had. He didn't return my calls. I discovered several cuts around her neck and took her to the vet who said that it was the result of using a prong collar on her. He told me he didn't use prong collars, yet he put one on her and yanked it hard enough to have cut her skin in several places! I called him to find out if I could get reimbursed for vet bills. He didn't return my call.
He finally called back two weeks later and said "Listen, you f'in b*tch. You're not getting anything!" And then warned me that if I dared try to write a negative review, he would sue me. That's why I'm using a fake name on here. I'm scared this crazy guy will come after me! He's gone after other people!
My dog has had major issues ever since I got her back. FOUR DAYS and my poor girl was lunging at other dogs, running away from humans and occasionally trying to attack men of a certain stature. It's been over a year since I took her to Kevin Salem and I've been working with a certified behaviorist who is helping me correct her issues. But she'll never be the same sweet girl she was before I brought her to that horrible little man.
Please check out the people you want to train with! If I had done so, I would have found the reviews that would have scared me away from him! As is I've lost a lot of money, both to him and now to the trainers that have to fix the damage he caused. I will never EVER trust another "board and train" place because I can't see what they're doing with my dog. I've learned my lesson, but now my poor dog has to deal with the emotional fallout of what he did.