Natasha Turcotte said she was looking for a little magic when she invited Daniel Cyr to work with her Abby, a five-year-old black lab mix.
Cyr, also known as the North Shore Dog Whisperer, was able to deliver that magic. Before his intervention, Abby barked when people came to the door, and jumped on visitors. She also jumped at children and on furniture and would “basically almost jump off the walls,” Cyr said.
After Cyr's visit, Abby was like a different dog.
“It's amazing the difference,” Turcotte said. “My dog listens. I give her one command and she's completely calm.”
So how does the North Shore Dog Whisperer do it?
Because dogs readily pick up on emotions, the Massey resident said he's very careful to exude a neutral energy when meeting a dog, something he said has always been an especial gift of his.
Immediately upon entering a client's home, Cyr slips a soft lead over the dog's head. After that, he said, the dog has a choice to “fight or flight,” but Cyr doesn't let them do either, so they have no choice but to become submissive.
Once Cyr establishes dominance, it becomes much easier to teach them what's expected. Cyr then works with the owners to teach them how to control their dogs.
“It's all on-hand experience,” he said. “They've got to be at least 80 per cent satisfied before I leave. It's done within three to four hours, and I guarantee my work if they follow my program. They will have a well-behaved dog.”
Cyr is able to correct dogs with a number of issues, including dogs that bark and jump on people at the door, pull on the leash while out for a walk, run away, and even those who are aggressive towards humans or other dogs.
He said his interventions only fail to work in about five per cent of cases, and that's because the owners are unable to follow up on what they've learned, and discipline their dogs.
“It doesn't matter how vicious that dog is, I'll win the dog, but it's very hard for the owners,” said Cyr, who charges, on average, about $400 to $600 to correct a dog.
“Some owners are scared of their dogs, and those are the ones that are very hard to reach.”
A lot of canine behavioural issues come down to issues of dominance, he said.
Believe it or not, a submissive dog is a happy dog, because they're no longer “on duty” and trying to protect their territory, Cyr said. Conversely, a dominant dog is “a pack of nerves,” he said.
“A dog like that doesn't sleep well,” Cyr said. “He will bark, will keep the owners awake during the night. They will bark at any movement. They will confront people at the door. They will show the vicious body language.”
It's actually easier to correct larger dogs than smaller ones, who are often treated as lap dogs, Cyr said.
“Lap dogs are always guard dogs, and they're always raised insecure,” he said. “If the owner encounters any issues, they always pick up the dog, so the dog wants to attack.”
Other mistakes dog owners make are paying too much attention to their pooch when they arrive home, as that teaches them to jump all over people at the door, and repeating commands, as the dog just starts to ignore them.
Cyr, who has been in the field for about a year and a half, and has four dogs of his own, said he's always had a way with dogs.
“My first dog, when I was 11 or 12 years old, it was a husky, and I had that thing trained in no time at all,” he said. “Most people say a child would never be able to train a husky. They're the most stubborn dogs.”
Working with misbehaving dogs has been rewarding, Cyr said, as in some cases, he could be saving the animal's life. Some problem dogs end up being euthanized, he said.
Misbehaving canines also cause their owners considerable anxiety, Cyr said, as they could bite other people or animals, or cause substantial damage to their homes.
To learn more about the North Shore Dog Whisperer's services, phone Cyr at 705-865-1584 or search North Shore Dog Whisperer on Facebook.