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Testimonial 27 - Ralphie

Mary speaks dog, and in my professional opinion is a valuable asset to animal welfare…” - Brenda A. Klaunberg, VMD

I sought Mary’s help in the spring of 2014. As a veterinarian, I have substantial knowledge of canine behavioral problems, but it is not my area of expertise. After adopting a middle-aged border collie rescue, (my 4th border collie) I knew I was in over my head and needed some professional help. 

Ralphie has a lot of anxiety problems, with numerous triggers. His emotional scars run deep, and his initial reaction to uncomfortable situations was to use his teeth; worst of all, the bites usually came without warning. Euthanasia was not the path I wanted to choose, but was an absolute possibility if Ralphie could not be rehabilitated. After a home consultation, Mary and I agreed that Ralphie was not beyond repair, but was certainly going to be a complex and challenging project. She gave me some additional training methods to help redirect his unwanted behaviors, encourage wanted behaviors with positive reinforcement and repetition, and teach him methods to desensitize and cope with his anxiety. I used Mary’s advise and exercises to train Ralphie in some basic behavioral modification. 

After about 6 months it was time to start asking more of Ralphie. We took Mary’s class “Professional Handling” and I was amazed at how quickly that improved our relationship. Ralphie struggled through some issues during class, but Mary has an amazing ability to read a dog’s emotional state, and she adapted the training for each individual dog’s needs. Ralphie really enjoyed the work, and his confidence grew. In a few short weeks, our relationship improved immensely, with Ralphie more trusting and looking to me for guidance and comfort. We continued on with Mary’s recall class “Doggie Come Here…” It was really fun for me as a vet to watch not only my own dog’s improvement, but also the betterment of the other dogs in class and their owner’s relationships. After the busy summer winds down, Ralphie and I look forward to future classes with Mary.

I did not always understand Mary’s methods, but I obediently did what she taught us, and was always pleasantly surprised by the results. Mary really knows a lot about behavioral problems and positive training methods to deal with them. I love that she took her educational training and applied it to her own challenging project. Mary listened to and learned a lot from her dog Scarlett, with wonderful results that she is able to apply towards other dogs in need. She has the credentials, talent and experience to help a lot of animals. Mary speaks dog, and in my professional opinion is a valuable asset to animal welfare. She is passionate about improving the lives of dogs and other animals (including their human companions). Ralphie still has a long way to go and may never be a ‘normal’ dog, but he has not bitten anyone since meeting Mary, he copes with many of his anxieties, and acts much more normal than 16 months ago. Mary probably saved Ralphie’s life, and we are both extremely grateful. Mary has my professional endorsement and I have recommended her to several of my veterinary colleagues.

- Brenda A. Klaunberg, VMD from Mount Airy, MD

Mary Huntsberry, MA

Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist
Elite Fear Free Certified Professional
Montgomery County, MD

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