This area is reserved for animals who have shown dramatic improvement in a short period of time. These animals and their humans are definitely winners! Each member of the winner's circle gets a winner's medal and a certificate. Each year 1 or 2 animals are chosen as the most improved of the year.
Kuma-Most improved Dog of 2016
Meet Kuma. Our most improved dog for 2016! My first meeting with Kuma was his face lunging towards mine, at the end of his leash, barking insanely! It took 3 visits to even be able to touch him. After a lot of hard work by his humans, with our guidance, Kuma can now go for walks and have humans over without exploding.
Miles and his mom Austin-Most Improved Dog in Canine Basics class. Oct 26, 2016 Miles came to Austin as a rescue. He barked and ran from Miss Marie at their first meeting. Miles barked at anyone coming into the house, or even passing by the door. Miles lunged at every dog that walked by. With the help of a turkey diet, some calming herbs and lots and lots of hard work, Miles has calmed down and can be walked down the street without having a meltdown.
Snow-Most Improved Puppy in Class 10/1/16 Snow came to class the first day lunging at and trying to hump Tiberius. Snow thought that trying to hump Moira was really fun until Moira informed her that was unacceptable (Malamute style). By class 4, Snow had decided that being a lady-and calmly letting Edddie Munster say hello, was the proper thing to do. In six weeks, Snow grew up from a little demon to a polite young lady.
Meet Chip-most improved dog in Canine Basics class, July 2016. Chip began his life as a stray on an reservation in New Mexico. His dog mom was a stray, so Chip was undernourished and only knew humans to be cruel and uncaring. He was rescued and brought to Colorado as a puppy. He was adopted by Nick into the only human family he ever knew. Chip began life in his forever home with no doggy or human social skills. Earlier this year, he got out of the house with his adopted doggy sister Moo and pounced on another dog, which got him into trouble.
With 2 private sessions and 4 weeks in class, Chip has learned not only how to perform basic commands, and play nicely with his canine friends; he also earned his AKC Canine Good Citizenship award on the first try!
Aisha, most improved dog in Socialization class. When Miss Marie first saw Aisha 3 1/2 weeks ago, Aisha was biting at Miss Marie, barking and snarling. It took Marie 15 minutes just to be able to touch Aisha. Another 15 minutes and the "magic" of acupressure began.
Aisha and her mom Terry have worked incredibly hard over the past few weeks, until Aisha was held by everyone in class, and no longer screeched at the sight of another dog. Aisha say "I am still a scared girl, but I am learning courage and trust"
The first time Miss Marie came to my house, my brother Rudy hated me. I was an obnoxious puppy climbing all over Rudy, jumping on him, trying to steal his food. Rudy just wanted me gone. After some "counseling" Rudy learned to tolerate me more and I learned to be less obnoxious. I went to Star Puppy class, and was still a little pushy. Thanks to Miss Moira and my classmate Toby, I learned how to play nicer. Not only did I graduate, but I was awarded most improved puppy in class. My brother Rudy even came to see me graduate!
A little pup with a huge ego. The first day of puppy class Hercules decided to mount not only his classmates, but Miss Moira! He refused to listen to his human parents and bit both his classmates and his humans. After several "smack-downs" by Miss Moira, a sacrifice and a "sit on", Hercules' attitude finally started to change. Hercules got to view puppy class from his back, playing "pass the puppy" for most of the 6 weeks. By graduation, he was a perfect gentleman, and even bowed to Moira when she entered the room.
Winner of most improved puppy in class, AKC Star Puppy Class, Oct 2015. Lenny began his puppy class career by attacking his sister Sazy, and attempting to hump Stuart and Moira. After being sacrificed, in front of all the puppies he was trying to impress, Lenny decided that being polite was a better idea. Lenny no longer picks on his sister, or tries to bite his humans.
Curly was a rescue dog who came to his forever family in early 2015. Barbara wanted to teach Curly to be a hearing dog for her, but Curly had other ideas. Trying to bite Miss Marie in the face was on the top of that idea list. We spent most of our first 2 sessions trying to convince Curly that his teacher was not a chew toy. He would not allow Marie to hold him, touch his feet or even put a headcollar on.
Curly first learned to walk on leash without pulling Barbara off her feet. He then learned that barking at other dogs was not polite, especially when those dogs are Ranger and Mara. Gradually he allowed Marie and then others to handle him. Curly graduated from Socialization class with honors. Then he decided to get serious about service dog training. Curly has learned to alert Barbara to the doorbell, someone knocking on the door and the smoke alarm. He's now learning how to behave in public. "What do you mean, I can grab food off the shelves at King Soopers?!' "Oh, boy, more boundaries to learn:(" Curly hopes to join the service dog alumni page soon.
Suki was rescued from a hoarder. He nearly died from malnutrition and parasitic infection before while in rescue and before being adopted by Jackie. When he was finally healthy enough to travel to Colorado, he came to join his new forever family. His first week in Colorado, Suki was so emotionally shut down, he did not want to eat, would not leave his bed, and refused to interact with anyone.
With some aromatherapy, acupressure, and lots of TLC, encouragement and patience, Suki began to wander from his bed and go outside with his extended doggy family-Cleo, Essie and Nora. With guidance from Miss Marie and lots of positive reinforcement, Suki learned to walk down stairs, go for leash walks, and even climb in/out of the car. By the end of socialization class, Suki was interacting with other dogs including Mara and Ranger. Now, everyday is a new and exciting learning experience.
Lilly's (and "mom" Sheryl) first meeting with Miss Marie consisted of barking and running from Marie. Lilly hid beneath the table, barking violently. Every person was a horrifying monster. Lilly bit at ankles and feet when visitors tried to move throughout the house. With herbal treatment, nutritional support and lots of acupressure; Lilly began to settle down. The next step was to teach Lilly to wear a Gentle Leader and to walk without lunging at every dog that came near.
After meeting Enya and Ranger, and several of Miss Marie's staff and students, Lilly began to understand that the world did not exist just to frighten her. Gradually Lilly began to trust and accept strangers. After trying to bite Miss Marie repeatedly, Lilly finally realized that being nice was much more productive. Eventually, Lilly was able to join Socialization class and graduate with honors. Lilly was voted the most improved dog in her class. Lilly is now a happy, mostly well-adjusted source of pride for her "mom".
Loved to run into the street and chase other dogs. His folks called Miss Marie, and Kingston tried to lunge at Ranger during his first lesson. After much hardwork, and "re-education" with Ranger and Mara, Kingston finally learned his place was NOT with the big dogs. He stopped lunging at other dogs on leash just in tome to graduate from Good Manners class. Kudos to his folks, Edith and Scott, for being persistent.
Most Improved Cat of 2014-Merlot
Merlot hated everyone except her "Dad" Evan. She charged and bit pet sitters, friends and even Evan's parents. Merlot would not allow anyone to touch her. She spent time around visitors hiding under the bed, hissing and then attacking their ankles as they tried to leave. After a year of hard work by Evan, her pet sitter Lauren and Miss Marie; Merlot will actually come into the living room with guests. Some, including Evan's family, can even pet her. Although she still hates Miss Marie
Rescued from an Indian reservation, and placed in her forever home in 2013, Roo liked to challenge her new mom. She did not come when called, pulled violently on leash and generally ignored every command. After mom was educated in dog language and expectations, and Roo counseled by Miss Enya; forever is looking pretty happy. Roo now walks beautifully on leash, comes when she is called and no longer obsesses over squirrels and prairie dogs.
Arrow and Jupiter
Arrow (the great dane) had a happy family life and then Jupiter (and his human) moved in. Within months, Jupiter and Arrow were fighting. Of course Jupiter's size (as a Shiba Inu mix) did not deter him from "getting it on" with 100+ pounds of Great Dane. The dogs had to separated at all times. Then the humans decide to call Miss Marie. She helped the humans understand each dogs needs, and body language (and that I wasn't starting it, says Arrow!). Miss Enya demonstrated proper greeting and interaction. Within 1 month, Arrow and Jupiter were able to share their home with their humans-at the same time, without fighting. Each dog learned to respect the other's boundaries. The humans learned how to be better dog parents.
Bailey thought that jumping on people, nipping at heels and barking at big dogs was great fun. After receiving some private tutoring from Miss Enya, Bailey decided that bowing to the Malamute princess was a much better idea :) Bailey now has lots of doggy friends (of all sizes) , including her classmates from Canine Good Manners. Bailey says " Playing with other dogs is so much more fun than barking and lunging at them." Pictured here receiving her Moist Improved in Class Award.
Gary & Egon
Our First cat winner's circle members Gary and Egon. These cat routinely defecated and urinated on the furniture, including their human's beds! Egon spent most of his life hiding under the bed. After aromatherapy, enriching their environment with more scratching posts and toys, these kitties thought their litter box was just grand. No more "accidents". Egon is beginning to think that visitors are pretty fun to watch, and on rare occasion rub up against.
Salami-Most improved dog in class Began class pulling on leash, jumping on everyone and barky barky barky! Aced his Canine Good Citizenship test!
Eva enjoyed chewing circular holes in the furniture, and had a complete meltdown whenever mom left. She lunged at other dogs or leash, and dog park were not an option. After changing her diet, aromatherapy, and behavior modification, Eva can now join her friends at public events and yes, dog parks. Although she is still learning to be alone, she improves every day. Eva has become a joy for her human "parents" instead of a nightmare. Eva is pictured here being voted "Most Valuable Participant/Most Improve Dog" of her Feb 2014 Canine Socialization class.
Honey began Good Manners class, hiding behind Tyler and bolting from anyone approaching her. In just 6 weeks, she was in the front of her class. Honey can now enjoy her walks, without being frightened and barking at every dog she past. Voted Most Improved in her Class
Named after a brave dragon, Mushu was anything but brave. His first impression of Miss Marie was to bark and run to the back of his yard. With the help of herbs, acupressure massage, and lots of work on his "mom's" part; in 2 months Mushu went from scaredy dog to novice therapy dog. He is still a little unsure about tall men, and wheelchairs; but braved out his first nursing home visit this past weekend. Mushu aspires to becoming a therapy dog and help his "mom" help people overcome eating disorders.
A definite little punk when we began training in March 2014. Punky lunged at every dog passing by on leash and could not go to the dog park. This photo was taken when Punky graduated from Canine Socialization class in June 2014. She loves walking with mom now on her Gentle Leader and can actually play with many dogs. She is still learning to be play nicely with smaller dogs; but is not longer considered the neighborhood bully. Punky was actually invited to join the seasoned therapy dog on a nursing home visit (but had to decline due to scheduling conflicts).
Most improved in class, Leah came to class a head strong very bossy little bulldog. She nipped at her humans and terrorized her "big sister" Ava. In class, Ava learned to be respectful to her family members and other dogs.
Timon and Pumba
Timon and Pumba were "busted" for escaping their fence and attacking a smaller dog in March. After 3 sessions with Miss Marie (and Enya), these dogs avoid smaller dogs. Pumba actually ran from a barking French Bulldog. The dogs know how to stay within an open gate and turn away from both large and smaller dogs. As soon as they are off probation, Timon and Pumba will start learning their dog park manners.
Lexi-most improved dog in therapy dog academy April 19, 2014. Lexi's first greeting for Miss Marie was lunging at her face snapping. Lexi was terrifed literally of shadows, humans, dogs, and anything that moves. Lexi began behavior modification in February, and completed therapy dog academy 2 months later.
Duchess (husky) and Denver (cat)
3 weeks after beginning behavior modification with Miss Marie. Dutchess favorite game used to be chase the cat through the house, climbing on furniture and tearing down blinds. Now the two can watch each other from a distance- but off leash- calmly! Dutchess and Denver hope to be spending some unsupervised time together very soon.
Tundra loves people but hated other dogs. Tundra thought greeting consisted of bark, growl, lunge and snap at faces. Tundra was voted the most improved dog in March 2014 Canine Good Manners class. After being corrected by Miss Enya repeatedly, Tundra finally learned that turning his head to the side was a more appropriate greeting. Tundra has moved on the therapy dog class and hopes to play "Easter Bunny" in April.
Tundra's (AKA Easter Bunny) debute as therapy dog, under Miss Enya's guidance (of course). Tundra started her training by trying to attack Miss Enya (never a smart move). Tundra barked and lunged at every dog that entered class and was a deomn on a leash around other dogs. After Good Manners and Therapy Dog Class, she got to "hop through the nursing home" alongside her mentor, Miss Enya.
Rhemmy was the most improvement dog in the Socialization class. For over a year Rhemmy has run from Miss Marie and most strangers. By the end of class, Rhemmy was meeting and greeting strangers and other dogs. He even let the apprentices (Bri/Leonna) walk him away from his mom and grandma.
Rayna was a stray and hit by a train. Rescued and "stitched back together", Rayna remained very fearful of other dogs and humans. She lunged at Miss Marie and Enya during their first meeting. When adopted, Rayna did not even know how to play with toys. Everything in her world was a fight for survival. After 2 months of work with Miss Marie and Enya, Rayna was able to attend class and greet other dogs politely. She won the Most Improve Dog award in her Good Manners Class.
Little Conrad had worked with several other trainers and still launched himself at any passing dog. He terrorized his neighborhood. Then he met Miss Marie and Miss Enya! In October, Conrad took his first trip to the dog park, and has been enjoying his new doggy friends every since. He walks with his mom every day, like a gentleman. Conrad was voted most improved in his October Canine Socialization Class.
Cujo lived up to his name! Lunging at every human who came into his house, especially the mail carrier. After 3 months of intensive work, Cujo not passed his Canine Good Citizen test, but greets people politely. He still barks at the mail carrier, but no longer considers postal workers lunch.
Sally used to lunge at other dogs on leash, and try to bite humans. She was terrified of almost everything. In this photo she is receiving an award for being the most improved dog in her therapy dog class. Two weeks before, Sally played Easter bunny at a local nursing home! (See photo under pet therapy)
My first meeting with Walter consisted of him biting at my face and neck several times, and him urinating all over his apartment and me. After 3 months of nutrional therapy, behavior modification, treatment of a urinary infection and 6 weeks of Good Manners class, Walter passed his Canine Good Citizenship Test with flying colors. He excelled in class, and now greets humans and other dogs politely. Walter has been invited back as a demo dog for future puppies to learn manners from.
Most Improved Dog Therapy Dog Academy (May 2012). When I first meet Max he literally could not sit still. He obessesively mouthed people, ran in circles, and jumped on people. He was a bulldozer in a china shop. Multiple trainers could not bring Maxx under control. Maxx could not be around other dogs without trying to bite them. Now Maxx has doggy friends, is an obedient (mostly) boy and greets people politely. He has not only learned self control, and off of all medication; but is also learning to help his "aunt" as a service dog. Maxx is also preparing for his therapy dog certification.
Most Improved Dog Canine Good Manners Class (May 2012) Velvet was actually thrown out of his vet's office for biting staff members. He was posing as a "landshark" during our first meeting, snapping at anything that moved near him. After deligent work with his moms (Crystal on the left, Sue on the right), Velvet not only passed his Canine Good Citizen test; but returns to help inspire other dogs to better behavior.
Testimonial from Goodie's "dad"
When seeking a female standard poodle puppy, I sought a pup that would fit in (be on the submissive side) with my other standards Elle and Moses given their age and Moses' health challenges. The breeder in California told me per the temperament testing, that Goodie fit the bill. Well, Goodie turned out to be an Alpha Wanna Be with health challenges. Now as the first past chairman of Delta Society's Beyond Limits to train trainers for assistance dogs and the former chairperson of the Assistance Dog United Campaign, I've been around quite a few trainers and trainers with Phds who couldn't get a dog to come. Marie was able to teach this old dog (not just Goodie) some new tricks and help to integrate Goodie into this household despite the incorrect temperament evaluation - which is no small trick especially given a too smart for her own good pup who had her doddering Dogfather wrapped around her paws.
Elly, Nicole, Franklin and Winston
Winston was seen for inappropriate urination in the house. Franklin and Winston would not respond to commands and were difficult to walk. After 2 sessions, all three dogs were well mannered and excited about the new baby due in the family in September.
Most improved dog in star puppy class. Matter didn't think he would graduate from puppy class because he didn't want to listen to his "parents". He loved to torment his family cats. In a "come from behind" , and with some help from Eddie Munster kitty, Matter graduated the top of his star puppy class!
Angus-our first winners circle addition for 2011
Angus was a neglected and virtually discarded dog when adopted by his family. He was extremely fearful and chased shadows uncontrollably when he began working with Miss Marie. Angus tried to bite his vet on his first visit. In just 2 months, with a lot of work and patience from his devoted parents, acupressure massage, a change in diet and supplements, Angus is meeting new people and dogs. He has become more confident and secure. This photo (Of Angus with his "parents" Phil and Shelli) was actually taken at a veterinary clinic that he had never been to before, where everyone loved Angus!
Max & Sally
Once upon a time there was a dog named Max.
Max was rescued from an abusive home where another dog beat him up very badly.
The other dog left scars on Max's face and on top of his head.
Max was adopted by loving man and woman and was happy.
One day, his owners noticed that Max looked lonesome so they decided to get him a playmate.
They found a dog that was very similar to Max at a kennel.
The man and woman decided to name her Sally.
Max loved his new sister, but was very jealous.
Max got so jealous, that one day when Max felt he was being ignored, he peed on the bed.
The man and woman got very angry with Max.
Max was good for a little while but then did it several more times.
The man and woman decided to call Marie Seelmeyer for help.
Marie came over and worked with the man, woman, Max and Sally.
Max learned to be good.
The man and woman learned how to become leaders of the pack.
Sally learned to sit.
And they all lived Happily Ever After!
Akita and Chesapeake Bay Retriever Mix (brother to Cheyenne )
Age 4 months
Concern: Dominance Aggression
Treatment: Neutering, Leadership and Obedience Training
Outcome: Graduated Canine Good Manners, obedient and well adjusted.
Most Improved Dog 2005
Jack Russell Terrier
Age 2 years
Concern: dominance and possession aggression, lack of training
History: running from owners, snapping at owners and other dog ( Labrador ) in household, especially around food and toys. Incessant demands for attention, uncontrollable jumping, humping and mounting.
Treatment: leadership training with owners, obedience training.
Outcome: Graduated Canine Good Manners, well adjusted and obedient.
(Very happy owners and Labrador!)
Most Improved Dog 2006
Age (at initial consultation) 6 months
Concern: Obsessive/compulsive tail chasing and spinning, severe anxiety
History: obtained from breeder. Tail chasing began at very young age and worsened with time. Spinning and tail chasing for hours without stopping, ran into walls. When held, to stop tail chasing, nipped and began very mouthy. Relaxed in crate, but began chewing tail when strangers entered home. Jumping and nipping at people’s faces. Tip of tail chewed to bloody stump.
Treatment: anti-anxiety medication, leadership training for owners, neutering, Dog Appeasing Pheromone, and intensive behavior modification.
Outcome: rarely circles. Stops when told. Anxiety managed with alternative activities, Graduated Canine Good Manners, calm around children and in new situations. Anxiety manageable.
Murphy Fink (right)
Most improved dog –runner up 2005
Bull Terrier and Corgi Mix
Concern: Dominance and Possession Aggression
History: Stealing food and objects from owners and other dog (Great Pyreneses), growling at owner.
Treatment: leadership and obedience training
Outcome: Graduated Canine Good Manners, Registered Therapy Dog
Most improved dog-runner up 2006
Chow Chow/Shepherd Mix
Age (at initial consultation) 4
Concern: impulse control concerns, especially with cats or when agitated, aggressive towards wheeled objects.
Treatment: behavior modification, leadership training, and thyroid supplementation.
Outcome: Registered Therapy Dog and Canine Good Citizen.
Most Improved Dog-Runner Up 2006
Concern: aggression towards male owner, anxiety
Treatment: Leadership Training and Behavior Modification
Outcome: Respectful of owners, happy and well adjusted.
Most Improved dog-Honorable Mention- 2006
Age 6 months
Concern: fearful of humans, severe anxiety
Treatment: Anti-anxiety Medication, Leadership and Good Manners Training, and Behavior Modification
Outcome: “Thank you for bringing Dolly and me closer together” –Becky
History: Kodiak is a Finnish Spitz who was very nervous in class. He barked and sanpped at strangers, especially men.
Outcome: Kodiak completed Canine Good Manners and was awarded his Canine Good Citizenship. He is a happy member of his family.
History: Camille was extremely fearful and fear aggressive. Camille was referred to Canine Behavior Counseling for repeatedly trying to bite her vet and vet's staff members.
Outcome: Camille was treated with an anti-anxiety herbal mix, and slowly resocalized, both out in the world and at her vet. This photo was taken at Dr. Shannon's (her vet) office with members of the staff that Camille tried to bite 3 months previously.
History: (Whippet mix) after working with 3 other trainers, Sophie continued to be very aggressive towards other dogs, and at the door. She was not allowed off leash around other dogs.
Outcome: Although Sophie is still learning, she no longer barks viscously at the front door. She enjoys quiet and clam walks with her owner, and attended her first dog party at Miss Marie's. She is learning to play appropriately with other dogs and her owner is learning how to read Sophie's body language and actions to determine when Sophie may be behaving inappropriately at the dog park.
(Most Improved Dog Runner Up 2010)
History: Very reactive and aggressive towards other dogs and children. Bit at least one child.
Outcome: Although Tigger is still learning, she is much calmer on the leash, only barks at few dogs, and can be petted by children. She will be making her first visit to a dog park soon.
(Most Improved Dog 2010)
History: (Mastiff Mix) Rescued in 2010, Motley was very difficult to handle, he pulled dangerously on leash, lunged at other dogs and growled when approached by certain humans.
Outcome: Motley graduated from Star Puppy class, love to walk with his owners, and even plays well with other dogs.
Little Rock Cordes
History: (Lab) very anxious, aggressive towards other dogs and strangers, exhibited obsessive compulsive behaviors and was completely unable to focus on commands.
Outcome: Little Rock greets strangers by sitting, is able to respond to commands, has stopped all obsessive behaviors and can go to the dog park. He is currently off all medication (originally used to treat his obsessive behaviors).