With a little love and authority, even the most stubborn dog can learn to live his – or her – best life.
Just ask Meaghen MacDonald, owner and head trainer of Well Balanced Dog Training in Maynard.
MacDonald uses a balanced method of training dogs – somewhere between constant treats and being forced to make a dog too submissive, which they believe teaches a dog to be fearful rather than confident.
“I want dogs to have fun. To bond with your handler and respect those boundaries with your handler and make the right decisions yourself, ”she said. “I knew there was a gap in the market and I wanted to do a workout that felt good but worked.”
She was a professional trainer for seven years, starting with her own dog, Thunder. As a mixed breed rescue dog, she began with purely positive training and rewarded the dog with good behavior treats. Nothing seemed to work. Thunder guarded his food and water and began to destroy things in the house. He got into quarrels with other dogs and even started hunting people.
“My whole world revolved around Thunder. It was so far that he became dangerous. I knew if I hadn’t done anything to fix what was going on, he should have been put to sleep, ”she said.
She had worked with several trainers before and knew she had to find one who was willing to work with a challenging dog. After extensive research, she found a trainer and began a balanced workout, using a pronged collar when walking her dog, an e-collar, and a muzzle. With hard work, Thunder was transformed and still lives with her today.
She uses the same techniques in her business and uses the special collars to get the dog’s attention instead of causing pain, she said. She follows the teachings of Sean O’Shea of The Good Dog Training and Rehabilitation in New Orleans and Jeff Gellman of Solid K9 Training in Providence.
Teaching dogs to obey and have fun
Well Balanced Dog Training services include puppy obedience training, behavior modification, and advanced behavior modification and training that requires retirement in the facility for three to six weeks. She also offers study and play groups and puppy courses.
MacDonald’s passion is difficult dogs.
“I take dogs with me that most dog trainers don’t take. I rehabilitated a lot of dogs like this. It’s definitely a passion of mine to turn this dog’s life inside out [and] Teach them to be safe and not to be so scared of everything, ”she said.
She teaches animal parents to love their dogs by being their leader, she added, and she wants people to enjoy being with their dogs.
“I want dogs to have fun, bond with their handler and respect these boundaries with their handler and make the right decisions for themselves,” she said.
Amanda Sutherland is the intake coordinator and dog trainer. Sutherland is a nurse but said COVID “burned out” her so she took a break to work with MacDonald to grow the business.
As a budding dog trainer, she believes her main job is to have a cohesive family with a dog.
“We create a life for the dogs and the people in which the dog lives as part of the family in the family, as opposed to families that live around their dogs. Our main goal is to create a happy family unit so that the family has the freedom to live their life with the dog in it, ”said Sutherland.
Balanced dog training
ADDRESS: 82 Main St., Maynard
DETAILS: Group lessons for dogs and puppies. Training courses with boarding school available.
INFO: https://wellbalanceddogtraining.com; [email protected]; 508-221-2210