What hasn’t Donna done for us (& Mo) We met Donna through the Quincy shelter, where we adopted Mo. Mo is a lab/pit mix, a puppy when we adopted him & full of energy. Mo was also very fearful in new situations, which caused him to be skittish, especially around strangers & other dogs. Donna was incredibly helpful & gave clear instruction. As Mo showed improvement, Donna developed new routines & training. In addition to the training, Donna walks Mo during the week, which reinforces his progress, keeps him on the right track & also tires him out! We have also used Donna several times to board Mo when we’ve been away. Donna sends us updates regularly when he’s there so we have no worries he is behaving & well taken care of. Donna has been not only a huge help to us, but has become part of our family.
-Lisa B., Quincy, MA
This is Pringle, practicing the 'down-stay' we learned in Donna's agility class. Pringle spent the first months of her life living in shelters and foster homes. She was under-socialized, fearful, and lacking self-control when we rescued her. We started working with Donna one-on-one to get Pringle more used to being in new places and with new people. Donna also recommended we try agility training to build Pringle's confidence, burn some of her excess energy, and put her clever mind to work. We really enjoyed the classes, and still practice the elements we learned in every-day life. To keep Pringle on the right track, we've also undertaken the Canine Good Citizen and Winter Games classes with Donna. She is an excellent teacher who has an infinite amount of patience with both dogs and owners, and who can clearly explain how to tackle what you might think is a challenging or difficult behavior. Pringle adores (and behaves for!) Donna, and we are really looking forward to trying Donna's new nose work class some time soon. Because of Donna, I now have a lot of constructive ways of working with Pringle instead of just being negative with her when she acts up. This has changed our relationship for the better, and I really can't thank Donna enough for that. And I'm always so pleased we spent the time in training when people tell me what a good dog I have - thank you, Donna, so much of that 'good dog' is because of you!
-Diane F., Hull, MA
Donna Culbert has been a godsend to us in our first 8 months of Westie puppy partnership. (Westies will not be 'owned'. They're very spunky little creatures!) Having grown up with Westies and Cairn Terriers, I thought I knew exactly how to handle our little man, but he surprised me again and again, with everything from the very typical puppy nipping to some more exotic unwanted behaviors like fruit stealing. We attended Puppy K at the New England Dog Training Center, where we first met Donna. That class was wonderful for basic manners and socialization, but I found myself frustrated afterwards when Finley would alternate between pulling at his leash or laying down on the pavement on walks. A consummate Westie, he was hard to train to recall with distractions. I decided to do a few one-on-one lessons with Donna. These sessions have been wonderful! Donna gives very clear and usable advice, with targeted 'homework'. We started with basic attention commands and have been working up to more constant control of this little guy's impulses. Targeting ('touch' commands) and consistent reinforcement have really helped us corral Finley's boundless energy and get his attention focused on us, though he'll probably always have a weakness for foolishly friendly squirrels. One of the most important things in training a dog is training the human, and Donna has patiently helped me help Finn, in a very friendly and caring way.
We haven't had any major behavioral issues to contend with, in part because we started working with Donna early on. I'm excited to continue to work with Donna on more sophisticated obedience commands and I would recommend Donna without hesitation to anyone looking to improve one of their most important relationships, the one with the dog!
-Stephanie, Alan, and Finley
I found myself in the very challenging situation of having an 18-month old male shelter dog on my hands who needed enough exercise for 3 dogs and was convinced every unknown person and dog on the street was out to get him. I had no experience in this type of circumstances but needed a ton of very well-informed professional help in a hurry. Donna came to the rescue in a big way. She had not only the bravery to step in and work with a pretty beefy dog that had directed some pretty ferocious barking at a very experienced trainer, but also had a soft touch and a positive outlook that made an enormous difference in our poochs life. We wouldnï¿½t have made it without her help. Not only is his level of problem behavior much diminished, but we can take him out any time and be confident we have the tools to get him in the right state of mind before trouble starts.
-John D., Cambridge, MA
Fergus is a rescued, happy-go-lucky terrier mix who adored Donna and her CGC class. He loved to "perform" and aced his CGC test.
Conversely, Penuche, a rescued hound mix, came to the CGC class a doggie wallflower. She was shy and fearful of strangers, and would rather have ducked behind her humans. With so much baggage, she needed to take the class two times before passing her CGC test. Fortunately, Donna has a great "bag of tricks" and knew how to help us calm and coax and treat our shy girl into shedding some of that baggage and letting her inner happy puppy shine through. Penuche and I had a lot of fun!
Donna was knowledgeable, calm, kind, and patient - and not just with the dogs!. She offered clear instruction and demonstrations, and was very helpful in customizing her training to the needs of the dog. The class environment was always organized, safe, personal, positive and respectful of the dogs. We have recommended Donna to other people and will continue to do so.
-Ellen G., Quincy, MA
We have been boarding our Golden Retriever, Tess, with Donna for three years and could not recommend her more highly. Tess loves staying with her, and we love knowing that Tess is getting the best possible care in a warm, comfortable, friendly environment. Tess truly feels like she is at home, or at least the next best thing. Donna has gone above and beyond for us, taking Tess to the vet, and even taking care of her after a surgery. The funny pictures Donna has taken of Tess at her house demonstrate to us just how happy Tess is there, and are some of our favorite shots of our silly girl.
Donna also helped us prepare Tess for the birth of our first child 2.5 years ago. Her training methods were effective and Tess is now a wonderful "big sister" to our 2.5 year old daughter and her 5 month old brother.
-Kiera C., Boston, MA
Donna has been working with us and our 3 year old Pitbull, Tucker, for over two years. She worked for a year with Tucker on training walks, as well as doing individual training/body handling sessions and has had him as a "house guest" many times when we've been out of town. We could not be happier with Donna: upon meeting her it became clear to us almost instantly that she was going to be professional, devoted and caring, and we were right! Her calm demeanor is a perfect fit for Tucker's high energy and it's shown in his improved behavior. Whether in a training session or dropping him off at Donna's house for the weekend, we always know he's in good hands. And don't just take that from me - one glimpse of Donna and Tucker's tail practically wags off his behind! Suffice to say, we love working with Donna and are so glad we found her.
-Diane & Greg
Our dog is an energetic crazy girl. We tried other trainers who threw up their hands. Donna got her to behave and even do tricks! She has helped trouble-shoot how to deal with certain behaviors and how to change bad habits. Our dog loves her. She even recognizes the sound of Donna's car!
-Alexandra H., Belmont, MA