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Veterinarians, rescue, shelter, speaking & "enlightened" trainers' references

“Susan (Overfield) is a wonderful instructor and has a command over dogs and the people that they own. Cut Bank Animal Shelter uses Susan’s training techniques and psychology of dogs with every animal that we handle. We have had no returned animals when adopted. People love that they are receiving a dog that knows more obedience (& good behavior) than they had ever expected. An adoption from our shelter includes an hour long talk about dog psychology and basic obedience. We are very happy to recommend Susan to anyone that has a dog with behavior or obedience issues. Susan will also work with special needs dogs. Those that other people have given up on. Susan has a way with dogs that many people may envy. She is willing to teach anyone that is willing to learn.

Tina Gauthier Phone: (406) 873-4624
Special Services Officer
Cut Bank Animal Shelter”

I have referred numerous clients to Susan with dogs who have had a wide range of behavioral dysfunctions. Every one of them has been extremely satisfied and the results are quite evident when they return to the clinic. Feedback has been very positive regarding her knowledge, techniques and demeanor.

— Dr. Rick Helms, D.V.M., Great Falls Veterinary Service, Great Falls, MT

I heard Susan speak about behavioral-training, bought a copy of her book, and took it back to our facility trainer. We are a large boarding/dog daycare/veterinary/training facility and, as such, have many dogs coming to us for many reasons. Upon switching to Susan’s method, we have had clients that have seen dramatic behavioral changes for the better. The majority of these clients had attended other training classes, many times and over several years, without seeing results with their dogs. They are now extremely happy with their dogs’ behavior and are advocates of this common sense method. We can’t say enough good things and will be having Susan down to offer a BOSS Dog Clinic and private consultations with out clients. We will also be having Susan train our staff in her method in order to create more well-behaved dogs and competent dog-handler employees.

— Continental Boarding Daycare, Charlotte, NC

I first heard of Susan Overfield over a year ago through her book, “Saturday Dogs, and the Owner’s They Trained”. I couldn’t believe what I was reading, at first, but if you stop and think about it, it makes total sense; If you truly know dogs, or any animal for that matter, then its important to communicate to them in terms they understand. The same theory is used on horses using natural horsemanship and the results are almost magical! You get the same “magical” results if you teach a dog good behavior. You can not teach proper behavior through methods of treats, force, aroma therapy, praise only, etc. Lots of people think you have to praise your dog to the extent that they are jumping around, licking you like crazy, not being still; that spells one thing out to me: you have just created a high anxiety dog that will give you and everyone it encounters problems the rest of your life! Dogs in the wild don’t go around giving treats to each other when they doing something right or learn something new. Dogs in the wild don’t go around psyching each other up to go on a walk or to go outside to go to the bathroom. Dogs in the wild establish a leader, no questions asked. The leader then enforces rules and if you break them you deal with the consequences. I use Susan’s method: you teach a dog good behavior first and the obedience will follow. I use nothing but a slip lead when working with any dog regardless of size. The first and foremost thing I teach a dog is how to calm down by sitting. That alone solves the majority of issues. It teaches the dog when it sits, it has to calm down before you are allowed to do anything else. If the dog gets up, it has a consequence of an “aahhtt” growl. Its the simplest method I have ever used and it is the most effective. The end result is you will have a dog that is a happy, stress free, anxiety free, well behaved, and a well balanced best friend. I have personally used this method on my own dog who had issues from car sickness to bullying other dogs. She has been free from those issues for over a year now.

— Kelly Suddoth, Dog Trainer, NC

Overfield Wows Pet Care Industry…COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (March 25, 2009) — Susan Overfield, of Vaughn, MT, a nationally recognized dog behavior expert trainer, just returned from Las Vegas, where she was asked to speak about her unique dog training method at the Pet Care Services Association 2009 Spring Meeting. The Pet Care Services Association is the recognized leader in the Pet Care Industry representing pet care facilities offering boarding, grooming, dog daycare and pet training services globally…Ms. Overfield is the author of a widely recognized and acclaimed book, “Saturday Dogs-and the owners they trained”, a delightful and informative book describing her unique approach to dog handling and training. The title of the book is a reference to her weekly Saturday classes for dogs, which are always in high demand. Ms. Overfield is a sought after speaker not only because of her singular approach to training, but also due to her interactive style and wit…Joseph Lyman, CEO of the Pet Care Services Association, believes Overfield’s method is a progressive and necessary one for the pet care industry to understand and become skilled at. He says, “Overfield’s method helps pet care professionals to offer controlled, safe care of pets at their facilities. It will prove to be an effective approach for years to come.”

— Pet Care Services Association

Susan has been asked to speak both locally in Montana as well as nationally. Her methods are “behavior-based”, and her classes differ greatly from the more conventional obedience based lessons…She approaches the problem dogs by focusing on the bond between the owner and the animal, and the problems inherent in that relationship. By establishing a more appropriate relationship the problems are more readily and effectively dealt with…Susan is a dynamic speaker with an engaging manner. She is a believer in audience interaction, and is readily able to respond to questions from participants. Her ideas and opinions are clearly expressed, and her results are undeniable…My personal experiences with Susan (we have taken several dogs to class since our first poodle) have led me to the opinion that I would like every dog owner who walks through my door to have first spent a few hours with Susan. She has honestly change the way I interact with my own dog, and completely altered my views on basic obedience. I highly recommend her as a speaker and instructor.

— Dr. H. Grasseschi, DVM, Big Sky Animal Medical Center, Great Falls, MT

From dog owners

On behalf of Joan and me, we want to extend to you our sincere thanks for what you helped us achieve on Friday. The experience was a bit overwhelming for Sunny, Sparky and Dukie, but as we listened and learned from you, we were simply amazed at the God given talent you possess. Upon our arrival at home we continued where you left off. As of today, other than a few attempts to push the envelope, all three are in the “COOPERATE MODE”. Our home is peaceful and their behavior is totally changed. Joan is reading your book and after a few pages she looks at me and finds you to be one amazing woman, and so do I. As we sat with you we were processing information as fast as you sending it out. We both learned to much about our dogs, you also helped us learn more about ourselves. It was beyond an honor to get to spend time with you. Sparky, Sunny, and Dukie are now where they “belong” because of your intervention.

— P. & J. C., NJ

I just have to tell you how amazed I am at how incredibly easy it has been to get little Guy under control…..We are doing a week of hiking and camping and it is beyond belief how good he can be…..It is really almost miraculous. He is so much easier to be with, and not a shred of his fabulous personality is lost, in fact I would say enhanced! So all the thanks is from me, I never used to be able to get good photos of him, because he would not slow down, I am in awe! I love it!

— Debbie E.

Hello Susan! I have been meaning to email you for a while but we’ve been pretty busy with the dogs. I just want to let you know how things are going and to thank you so much for your time. I almost called you a few times because I thought I was going to give up. Thank God I didn’t! Janus is my best dog. He remembers things I forget to tell him to do. Such as sitting before he can go outside. It became a habit right away and he does it everytime without prompting now! He settles down much easier now and we arent using the leash at all for him. He is soaking up the quiet life and being part of the family all day long! It is wonderful! Fawn has taken a bit longer and she is the one that gave me the most trouble and it has been a complete turn around. We are still having a little trouble with guests, the dogs still get over excited and jump on people but tonight we had my mom stop by and you would think my dogs were the best behaved dogs in the world! Both sat at her feet and waited to be pet, they didn’t make too much of a fuss but you could tell they were just itching to! Anyway, I just want to thank you so much for coming over and spending the time with us. We are much happier and haven’t had the problems we were having. You are a miracle worker & we will be thankful to you as long as we have our wonderful pets! Thanks again Susan!

— A. R., WI

Clinic testimonials

Great clinic! And a great hands on fund raiser! Amazing to see the change in so many different dogs in such a short period of time. I have had the good fortune to work with Susan before and am a firm believer in her methods with border collies. However, watching these different breeds respond in record time (despite owners who were much more difficult to convince) was phenomenal.

— Anne K., Great Falls, MT

I was taught how to work with my dog by Susan. My dog, Brooke, can go everywhere with me and I trust her completely. She knows what she can and cannot do and behaves so well people as me who trained her. I tell them Susan and then explain Brooke understood from the first, it was me that needed to be trained. I also tell them, ‘Just do what Susan tells you.’ I have never needed a choke collar and I don’t use treats. Brooke has learned every new thing quickly using Susan’s method. Her training method has been able to stand the test of time as Brooke has matured. I took Brooke when she was 8 weeks old and have been able to adjust to all her ages and changes because of what Susan taught me. If I get another dog, I will only use Susan’s method because it is best for the dog and they understand it.

— Michael M., North Carolina

I took my dog to Susan’s dog camp because I had heard how well her training worked and I had a friend whose dog had gone to Susan and I was really impressed with how well he minded. What really was amazing was that he would correct his own behavior when my friend made a correction sound, she didn’t need to give commands or touch her dog. Queen and I went because she would not listen to me, come when she got out and would not stay when I told her to. By lunch on the first day Queen was a totally different dog and was able to work without a leash even though there were lots of other dogs. I was a little slower learning what had to be done. I have sent several friends to Susan’s camps and they are just as pleased as I am. One friend took her puppy when it was 8 weeks old and says she can’t even imagine what Mandy would have been like if she had waited until she was older. Everyone should learn this method. Susan is great with the dogs and us, the owners.

— Cathy H., Tacoma, WA

My husband is in the military and was away most of the time. We got an Airedale puppy for the family, but I had the responsibility of making it behave. He was a very stubborn puppy and by 10 weeks old had started nipping the kids. My vet recommended Susan because she had such success with dogs and puppies. We started class when Luke was 12 weeks old. Immediately bad behavior stopped. He became a wonderful dog and knew all his basic obedience very quickly. He could sit, stay, come, walk on and off a leash with us and would correct his own mistakes when we made the correction sound all before he was 15 weeks old. We have moved across the world and now live on base and Luke is wonderfully behaved. We know we can trust him no matter what. I always tell people it was Susan who trained both of us.

— N.S., Taiwan

We took our dog to Susan when it was almost three-months old. By starting her that young we have never had any behavior or obedience problems. Susan taught us how to work with her and what to expect as she grew up. I would never go back to the other methods of training (treats or choke chains) on any dog we might have. It was worth the trip to go to Susan. People are just amazed how well our dog behaves.

— T. P. D., TX

Our dog suddenly began trying to bite us when we fed her or removed her food bowl and resisting when we tried to put her in a crate. We had heard Susan worked with dogs and got immediate results, so we called her. Because we lived two hours away, we could only make class twice a month. Susan works with each dog individually and we saw an immediate difference behavior. We learned to ‘talk’ to Lettie and problems disappeared. We are all much happier.

— R. B., Bozeman MT

My mom made me go to a clinic that Susan had because my dog was being crazy. He jumped on us, didn’t come when we wanted, chased our cows and didn’t sit and stay. I was in 4-H obedience, but it didn’t make a change him. Mom said she had heard good things about Susan. I went to the clinic and she talked to us first, a lot, about dogs and why they do what they do. Then she taught us a sound to make if the dog didn’t listen and behave and how to use it. By lunch, my dog had stopped pulling me and was doing what I wanted when I asked. I have won lots of awards in 4-H obedience competitions with him doing what Susan taught me to do. My whole family likes him better and he is happy.

— B.H., Cascade, WA

When Susan talks, all the dogs listen. Our collie has learned so much from attending her classes. He was so excited to see Susan at the second class that he ran right up and jumped on her. He has learned patience as well as working on a long-down, come, and walk on and off-leash. Our young collie was a neglected kennel dog and would not have been able to attend any classes where he was asked to do things beyond his ability. Susan really understands dogs and communicates well with them-and us. Our collie has turned out to be a wonderful dog and has learned from the classes some of the things that dogs just need to know. He is much more calm now and listens well to commands. Thanks Susan!

— Sharon E., Conrad, MT

Our dog training experience with Susan was invaluable. Using voice commands (no choke chains or snacks), our dogs learned obedience and we learned to trust and communicate with our dogs. Within minutes of our first visit with our first dog, Susan had him leash-broke.

— Polly & Norm C., Great Falls, MT

Having Susan show us how to work with our dog was one of the most positive and beneficial experiences we and our dog could have had. Our dog, Rio, is our first rescue dog and we were not real sure on how to work with him. Through Susan’s guidance we learned how to understand Rio. She helped us establish an effective method of training to give us the confidence to deal with a dog that had no socialization for his first three years. I would have no reservation recommending Susan as a trainer for any dog.

— Ed D., Great Falls, MT

I cannot say enough about Susan Overfield’s training methods. I started with her with my unruly lab, Sadie, who had been through ‘traditional’ obedience training. Sadie quickly realized that without a choke collar and leash or treats, I had no control. But I saw almost immediate results after going to Susan. I also very much like that her classes are ongoing, and that she trains each dog as an individual. I have used Susan’s method for all three of my dogs, and with every shelter dog I have ever worked with (50+), all with excellent results. She knows how to teach owners a universal dog language! Not only do I like her, but so do my dogs. She is the only person I will leave them with.

— Pam H., Great Falls, MT

I called Susan out of desperation over my 6-month old holy terror cocker mix named Dylan. He was totally out of control. I felt like I was talking to the walls when I tried to teach him anything. In our first phone conversation Susan assured me he was trainable. Needless to say, I didn’t believe a word she said. When we got to her house for the first lesson, he was so excited that he pushed me out of my vehicle onto the ground as he tried to get at the other dogs in her yard. Well, within about 10 minutes Susan had him heeling on a slack leash. And she did it without hurting him or punishment. From then on he behaved like a little gentleman and seemed to love learning. The changes in him were amazing. Susan taught both Dylan and me how to communicate with each other. He is now three-years old and a joy to live with. I’m really grateful to her for teaching me ‘dog speak’. I’ve recommended her to all my friends and they’ve been extremely happy with the results in their dogs, too.

— Debi P., Vaughn, MT

Annie, our first dog who is a chocolate lab, is our pride and joy. We asked our vet about obedience classes and she told us about a few. One used a choke chain and we knew that wasn’t for us. Another one taught class in the country on a sheep farm. The choice was simple. Susan is amazing with dogs. She had Annie going no leash after a couple of classes. As Susan has said she has to train the parents more often than the dogs. The best part of the class is afterwards the dogs get to play and run. Susan even takes a picture of the dogs on graduation. I highly recommend Overfield Kennels.

— Tracie H., Great Falls, MT

I attended Susan Overfield’s Psych-O Clinic. The clinic consisted of two classes. The first class on the psychology of the dog’s mind gave me a whole new perspective and understanding of why my dog behave the way it does, why any dog acts and/or reacts the way they do…The second class was all about putting into action what we had learned. This class provided me with the solutions to being in control of my dog. Susan taught us how to establish the position as “THE BOSS”…I have seen marked improvement in my dog as I continue to apply what I learned from Susan; considering my dog was the most difficult, strong-willed dog in attendance, it’s amazing!!! I am very excited and relieved to have found a solution that doesn’t require abusive treatment. I was considering a shock collar which I am thrilled to say is no longer an option. I whole-heartedly recommend Susan’s classes to ALL dog owners, whether they have obedience problems or not, it can improve your understanding and relationship with your “Best Friend”.

— Michelle G. Great Falls, MT

I believe Lady is becoming more of a lady! She’s learned to stay in the small fence (dog yard) in the back yard after only one corrected infraction – I’d say she’s doing good! I haven’t had a problem with her staying in the fence since. Thanks for sharing your practical knowledge and dry humor – it helps with learning retention!

— Jan O., Great Falls, MT

This Clinic was a wonderful resource for us. I was grateful to learn of Susan’s clinic. What caught my interest was the approach (learning more about dog psychology to enable us to work with them), and its being sponsored by CCHS/with half of the proceeds going there. Since we had been awaiting enrolling the 9 month old in obedience training, we had done no training. As a result, he was quite out of control when we took him into the “classroom” on Saturday. When he saw the other roughly 15 four-legged “students”, he totally lost his composure. He was out of control. As we progressed through the afternoon training and Susan’s working with him, he made a great deal of progress in a very short time. By mid-afternoon, when he and I had an opportunity to work together alone in the center of the classroom, we had him to a point where he would sit, off leash in the middle of the room and stay there…in the presence of the other dogs. It was amazing.

— S.A.L., Great Falls, MT

We learned a great deal from material presented in her day-long clinic, the difference in our dog, Ginger, was amazing. Before attending, Ginger would pull and lunge when we walked her, Susan first recommended that we get rid of our Flexi-Lead and choke chain, which we did. The difference was almost immediate. Now Ginger walks along beside us and rarely pulls. I now regularly drop the lead, and she walks beside me dragging the lead and never has tried to run off on her own. Susan is very dedicated to helping her students, both human and canine. She definitely knows dogs and how to communicate with them. Her methods make sense and are not difficult to follow. Susan impresses upon her human students that they are boss and must communicate that to their dogs. I have been especially impressed with her willingness to help, even after classes are over, via e-mail. Susan goes above and beyond in her assistance to her students. One can tell she really does want all her students to succeed.

— Ann C., Great Falls, MT

Susan makes dog training as simple as, you are born, a bunch of stuff happens, and you die. I believe a well behaved child or dog is a joy to be around. An ill behaved child or dog is NOT a joy to be around. With Susan’s help and guidance, Molly, a yellow lab, is a joy to be around and a very happy animal, because she can accompany me to work and almost everywhere else I go. She plays with me like the 18 month puppy she is, but will also walk, come, stay, load up, go to her bed, and go to her office all off leash and often with hand signals. I have put much greater effort with far less results utilizing other trainers. I highly recommend Susan as a trainer and will take all future puppies, the next one will be named “Dump Truck,” to Susan’s classes as soon as Susan said he is ready. Susan’s ability to train myself and my wife in the proper way to communicate with Molly was incredible. She accomplished in a few Saturdays what 4 other trainers, with four other dogs, could not. Molly is the best behaved dog I have ever owned and it is 100% due to Susan Overfield.

— Sean H., Montana

In regards to the Dog Clinic and being a first time dog owner I am so glad I didn’t spend my money elsewhere! I not only learned how to be a good and great dog owner but in what simple ways I can accomplish being a productive dog owner. I can only speak highly of the information and skills I walked away with on May 6th. Above anything else it is such a great reward to live in harmony with our dog and be rid of stress because Susan took the time to be candid and truthful about what works and what doesn’t. We only have good things to say about the professional service given by Susan and her dedication to a job she truly loves. Thanks Susan and Cascade Humane Society for the opportunity to better ourselves and better the life for our dog.

— Wendy & Tony S., Montana

Hi. I just want to send a note to let the Humane Society know how much the clinic has helped Bear. I got him from a family that rescued him from MAFB. The first few weeks I had him the only way I knew he was still in my fenced yard was that his food and water disappeared. The first winter he spent in his dogloo with a lot of straw. Eventually, he would come take a treat from me but I had to pretend that I did not see him. He would lay at a short distance and let me pet him with my feet. The first 10 months that I had him I only was able to pet him 5 times and that was only by chance. The petting occurred because I was able to lay a hand on his back because he forgot how close he was to me. The minute my hand would touch him he froze and his eyes would go back and forth like he was expecting me to beat him…Within 6 weeks of our first real petting, bonding experience he came in at night(that happened on the Fourth of July). He finally decided I was the ‘lesser of the evils’. Last year, myself and two of my neighbors tried to catch Bear for Susan’s clinic and I was unable to do so. This year I was a few minutes late as I am having some problem with recall…That day spent at the clinic this year has made a big difference! I learned skills and confidence in handling that 2 other dog obedience classes in past years with other dogs and other trainers did not help at all with Bear. Just in the last month he is much more friendly and not as afraid of strangers(or the garbage containers and parked cars) when we walk. He is much more behaved in the house, listens better on command and recall is getting better. I see progress every week. The steps are small but very evident. Her clinics are great and should be continued on a regular basis. If Bear could get this much out of it, I’m sure others are as well. THANK YOU SUSAN!!!!

— Terri L., Great Falls, MT

I attended your clinic and absolutely loved it. We have always had dogs and they have always been our spoiled babies, but I see now that they can easily be much better behaved than in the past. It was a real eye opener how easy it is to take control with a mere “sound”. Our dogs are very good dogs, but I have learned to help them be even better! I have become more confident as I work with them that they will mind! Your knowledge about the brain functions, and how a dogs minds work was fascinating. I would recommend your clinic to everyone, and hope to be able to attend another myself. Thank you.

— Terry F., Montana