Karen is a miracle worker!
Our dog is a rescue who had severe anxiety. We knew she needed more than just run of the mill big box store “training” to help her overcome the fear. Karen helped us understand what she needed even before the actual training started. This enabled us to change her environment and help her grow her confidence. This was so crucial!
Our dog now walks on a leash, tells us when she needs to go out, coexists with our cats, doesn’t pee in the house, and has the confidence I was afraid she’d never develop. Without Karen, this would not have happened. Her love of dogs and deep understanding of their needs shines through every session. She has the flexibility and humor necessary to bring out the best in dogs. I honestly don’t know where we’d be without her.
Dreamy Skies and Karen Krieg were key factors in helping our beloved Shep grow into a confident, personable, gentle, and happy dog.
We are a married couple in Washington D.C. who both had dogs as children, but not since. Our large mixed-breed dog came to us in the spring of 2022 from a local rescue society that saves dogs in the South from kill shelters by placing them with foster homes in the DC area and eventually in permanent homes. From the beginning, Shep was sweet and fun to be around, but his anxiety about the noise of the city and lack of confidence around vehicles and strangers worsened progressively over the initial few weeks. He developed a fear of going outside, with the sudden noises and large moving objects that are part of any city’s landscape. His fear worsened, and before long he refused to even leave our apartment and go into the hallway with us. He also stopped sleeping past 4AM at this point, despite very large doses of anti-anxiety medication prescribed by his vet.
A former work colleague who had gone through a similar problem with her dog encouraged us to reach out to Dreamy Skies and Karen. We were almost afraid to hope that she could help Shep, since we had encountered many ‘dog experts’ online who rely on shock collars to elicit obedience, or who worked from the assumption that all a dog needs is to learn a few tricks, which will eventually give them the confidence to do the more difficult things. Even in our sleep-deprived desperation, we were not willing to shock our sweet and trusting dog, and while Shep learned to sit, it didn’t do much for his confidence. We picked up the phone and scheduled our first appointment with Dreamy Skies.
Karen is different, and she told us that from the start. If you choose her to help you, be prepared for the process to take some time, as her methodology requires several weeks between lessons for you to spend using the techniques with your dog and learning together. The improvements in our dog’s confidence and anxiety levels were so significant that it would have been unrealistic to expect them to happen over a matter of days or weeks. It is also unrealistic to expect the changes to happen on their own, without real commitment on your part to work with your dog as directed between lessons. Your full participation is required, as it should be. The methods she uses are less about teaching the dog to do specific things, and more about teaching the humans in the equation how to recognize and encourage positive, self-calming behaviors. Putting it all together, these tools allow you to guide the dog into relaxing and never falling into the feedback loop of stress that results in them getting inappropriately afraid or upset. How to understand things like “that is just a truck driving by, nothing to worry about” or “that guy dropped a box, it doesn’t have anything to do with you”, or even “that person is allowed to be there, don’t worry about them”. Teaching the dog how to calm himself down when he is getting anxious. How to simply relax and be a dog.
“Karen has changed our lives and our dog’s life. The training was mostly about us as owners and how we talk to our dog, how we give her feedback, when and how we praise her, and how we teach her what behaviors result in positive experiences. Honestly, I wasn’t sure at first about using an e-collar, but my hesitation was quickly allayed. My husband and I couldn’t recommend Dreamy Skies enough, and we’ll be using the training we’ve learned forever. We can’t wait to join Karen for the weekend group walks.”
“Karen helped with shifting his mindset so that he wouldn’t be anxious around his triggers.”
I reached out to Karen with a dog who had a lot of anxiety-based reactivity.
We had worked with other trainers in the past, but basic obedience didn’t help when my dog got overstimulated. Karen helped with shifting his mindset so that he wouldn’t be anxious around his triggers. He still has some work to do, but he has gotten so much better: he used to be aggressive towards strangers coming into his home, but recently we had houseguests and he was amazing. Both the guests and my family kept talking about how calm and well-behaved he was.
I highly recommend Dreamy Skies and Karen if you have a fearful or reactive dog and aren’t having success with other trainers.
“Karen at Dreamy Skies is great!
When I rescued my adorkable dog, Goose, from the Humane Society last May I knew he was supposedly dog selective but he turned out to be dog reactive, lunging and growling at any dog no matter how big/small or close/far away. It was incredibly stressful. It didn’t help that his separation anxiety led to destructive chewing indoors too! I felt out of my depth and scared that I would have to return this loving goofy dog to the Humane Society if I didn’t find a solution.
I tried multiple trainers before finding Karen and each of them were helpful in a limited fashion but only Karen’s training plan gave me a dog that I can now walk through the neighborhood in peace and take hiking and to the pet store and to brunch on a restaurant patio without fear. I won’t lie, it was a lot of work for both Goose and me and we still have work to do but watching him play and make friends with Karen’s dogs and go on her client PACK walks (2 things I thought he would never be able to do) has been worth all the hard work over the past 5 months.
I can’t thank her enough.”
“Karen changed our lives. We adopted a dog three years ago. Turns out he was a complete love bug with us but he had a tremendous amount of stranger danger.
He was leash reactive and reacted to anyone petting him that he didn’t know. Working with Karen was great but doing the work she proposed was challenging. Karen trained my husband and I as much as she trained our dog Angus. After several sessions, Karen continues to help us when we have issues that we aren’t quite sure how to handle them. Let me tell you those issues that we need to address now are so minor compared to the issues we had before. After training with Karen we took our dog with our friends to the farmers market he didn’t lunge, growl or bark at any single person, he was a completely changed dog. We owe that to Karen for tirelessly working with our dog and equipping us with the methods that we need to help him be successful in situations that scare him. I cannot recommend Dreamy Skies more. After completing the initial training our dog is happy, healthy and enjoys going out in crowds. I say initial because, when she says it’s for life, it’s for life.”
“We’ve worked with Karen at Dreamy Skies for the past few years. We love working with her!
Our young German Shepherd, Leo, was getting more and more out of control to the point where our kids could not walk him and it was SO stressful. Leash aggression, barking at the door and visitors – and we could not get him under control. We had always taking training and obedience classes since he was little, but those techniques were not working anymore. So I finally came across Karen in my search for help.
Karen came to our first consult and stayed for 1 1/2 hours. By the time she left she had taught us basics so we had some control of our situation. The issue was not Leo, of course, but our not being able to communicate well Leo, so he was confused. Each session as we worked with Karen taught us more and more and Leo became calmer and calmer. We cannot recommend Karen highly enough. She is an investment in yourself and your dog. CALL HER!”
“Karen is simply a miracle worker. I wish I had started with Karen three years ago when I first got my dog. I tell EVERYONE who is getting a dog to use her. Here is my story…
I’ve had my dog for three years, and in those three years she has been on trazodone for high anxiety moments, the maximum dose of fluoxetine (puppy prozac), and various homeopathic remedies, to no avail. Lucy was a stray and not much is known about her past- except for lots of physical scars signaling abuse. Prior to working with Karen, we had completed almost every possible positive based training class in the DC area– over twelve different classes to address her reactivity, anxiety, and general temperament. At one point at a loose-leash walking class, Lucy spent much of the time rolling in the grass and too scared to run into the dog tunnel. I have a special dog on my hands. 🙂 No surprise, Lucy continued having on-leash reactivity issues and I was afraid of what could happen.
I found Karen when I thought there was no hope- Lucy had recently bit a dog who was in our house. Karen came to the house for a consultation with Lucy and although I doubted her optimism for training Lucy, we signed up. Fast forward four months, Lucy is able to go for runs on leash (she was previously too scared to run on leash), ride in elevators with other dogs without barking/lunging/reacting (actually, sitting in a beautiful sit!), and meet strangers with confidence.
Karen employs e-collars and prong collars, which she tells you upfront. There were no amount of hot dogs/salami/stinky cheese that would distract Lucy from a nearby skateboarder. At the same time, when Lucy makes the right choice, she is lavished with treats– hence the term balanced training, that Karen uses. Lucy remains her cuddly, affectionate self and now has the confidence to face the world without having to react to scary things. Karen’s training works and she is always available for questions, tune-ups, or another session. We LOVE her!!”
“We adopted a dog almost a year ago from a local foster in DC, and right away we knew we needed dog training. My pup had severe separation anxiety, bit us numerous times in the first few days we got her, would growl at us and be aggressive about her toys and treats, and sometimes was scary to be around even though she was small. We called Karen and she got back to me ASAP to set up a consultation, and was immediately available via email and text until our initial meeting to help with some of the behavioral issues my dog had. Karen helped us incorporate written instructions, in person guidance, and training homework in to every lesson. At each session she demonstrated how we could reinforce positive behavior at home. We had no issues with the e-collar and found the strategies she taught us helped us feel confident as new dog parents. In addition, the monthly Pack Walks were free training sessions that taught my dog important interpersonal skills and drills that reinforced positive behavior. Not to mention Karen always brings coffee and donuts! Now we feel armed with the skills for life that we need to continue to train my dog, and any future dogs. She continues to be available via text and email long after we graduated from training as new issues arose in our recent move from D.C. to Chicago. I would highly recommend Karen and Dreamy Skies to any dog parent hoping to cherish their relationship with their dog. It’s been a year now with Hillie and our household could not be more grateful!”
“We tried everything with our Lab mix, Kona, but she just kept getting more and more dog-aggressive and was just too much to handle. Car rides were a nightmare. Not only was it stressful and embarrassing to take her anywhere, but it started rubbing off on our other dog, Poppy, who is super-fearful and has his own issues, he didn’t need more! When Kona redirected on me while trying to lash out at another dog in the neighborhood and punched a hole in my thigh, I’d finally had enough. I did some research and am so grateful that I ran across Karen on Yelp!! Today, we went into Shirlington with Karen and both dogs. What a great day! We have wanted to take our dogs out and dine al fresco but figured it was never going to happen. Today, we treated Karen to a beer while the dogs lounged at our feet. What an amazing transformation!
Also, Karen’s just seriously cool. We can’t recommend her enough!”
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