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.
The cost is significant, and is more than fair for the results we received. Those results are due to the tools and methods Karen taught us. Shep is a member of our family, and also a true friend and companion to us both. We derive so much satisfaction from walking around the city with him, watching him greet and play with his dog friends, and taking hikes. The fact that these are now normal events in our life with him is very much due to Dreamy Skies and Karen.