You are not alone!
Are you still not sure? All of these clients have been in your shoes of wondering which way to turn for help. It is one thing admitting that you need help, then, where to get help from? Ugh, more decisions! Having a pet with behavior issues can be frustrating and embarrassing. It seems like everyone else has the perfect pet and that you must have done something terribly wrong. Not everyone wants to share the issues that they had to work through but I can guarantee you that you are not alone! For those clients that are willing to share, thank you! Hopefully your sharing helps give someone else the courage to help their pet too. It might feel like you are alone, but you are not!!!
We reached out to Royan for help with our dog, Kali, a two year old lab/shepherd mix who seemed like the perfect dog 80% of the time, but had some particularly challenging issues with separation anxiety and fearful aggression when meeting new dogs. We were worried that maybe we'd somehow accidentally traumatized her as a young puppy by leaving her alone for too long or introducing her to new dogs at a dog park where she got beaten up on and became afraid rather than confident. We also live in a house with two other dogs who belong to our roommates, one of whom is extremely fearful-aggressive and we were concerned that Kali had picked up some of her fear and aggression from this other dog since living with her.
On our first call, Royan immediately soothed our concerns and ensured that Kali was not "broken" or overly traumatized, she just needed to learn how to be confident in herself! She taught us how to recognize Kali's behavior from a dog's point of view, which helped us empathize with her fear and occasional aggression instead of punishing her for it. Royan provided us with all the tools and resources we needed to start teaching Kali how to feel more confident, both in herself and in us, and she encouraged us every step of the way through weekly phone calls and daily email updates.
We cannot recommend Royan and Keep Your Pet, LLC highly enough! After our first couple of sessions, we immediately started noticing a shift in Kali's behavior and we are now equipped with all the tools we could possibly need to help Kali be the best she can be. We understand so much more about dog behavior and how to communicate with Kali effectively so she knows what we expect from her and we understand how to calm her anxiety and boost her self-esteem so she doesn't feel she needs to protect herself (or us) from other dogs or strange people anymore. Royan even allowed us to ask questions about the other two dogs we live with, even though we're not their owners and we hadn't specifically asked if she would be willing to work with three dogs as opposed to just one.
Royan is an incredibly generous and compassionate person with a heart of gold helping people and dogs recover and maintain their friendships even when it seems like there's no hope. She will work with your schedule and everything is done remotely, so it's really up to the owner to make the magic happen, which is so empowering and presents a long-term solution rather than just a quick bandaid fix. Royan truly embodies the principle contained in the quote: "If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you'll feed him for a lifetime." I feel like that should be Royan's motto for her dog training! Seriously, don't hesitate to call her if you want help with your anxious, aggressive, fearful, or whatever dog - she's the best trainer in town by far!
Thanks so much,
Briana Halliwell & Zoli Kertesz, Appleton, Maine
Working with Royan was amazing. My dog had a unique first year of life in which he was able to run free and didn’t learn how best to “communicate” what he was feeling. Excitement and anxiety would often manifest as nipping, excessive barking and other “unwanted” behaviors. We always had a strong relationship, so when Royan said that she’d help strengthen our bond I thought, “But we’re already so close!” Lo and behold, after working with Royan my pup and I are closer than ever. Royan’s philosophy is based on the simple question, “If you don’t change your behavior, how will your dog know that you want them to change theirs?” Royan patiently taught me how to read my dog’s communication signals and how to show him what I’m thinking (i.e. that he doesn’t need to worry, I will protect him from anything “bad” or “scary,” etc.). As most communication with Royan is done via phone or email, it really is the responsibility of the owner to do the work to help improve their dog’s behavior. That work is what makes it such a beneficial program; not only will your dog’s behavior improve, but your understanding, trust and respect for one another will, as well. I highly recommend working with Royan. Thank you so much, Royan!
Moira Pieri, Camden, Maine
To whom it may concern:
This letter is written as an evaluation of the pet behaviors consulting services of Royan Bartley.
In July 2020, my wife Laureen and I adopted a “rescue dog”, Enzo from the Pope Memorial Animal Shelter in Thomaston, Maine. Enzo, a four year old, is a sole survivor of a litter of six, part brindle Labrador retriever, terrier and perhaps some pit bull. He was a “damaged dog” having adjustment problems which saw him through several different “placements”.
It took three sessions at the shelter before we could pet him, take him on leash, or even consider fostering him.
With the assistance and immediate support of “Mike” at the shelter we determined to try to foster Enzo Upon getting him home in Lincolnville, it became apparent that we needed continuing support if this placement was to be beneficial to Enzo and to us. After two weeks of fostering we determined to adopt Enzo but recognized the need for expert support, training and animal behaviors management consultation. The shelter suggested that we contact Royan Bartley of Keep Your Pet, LLC. which we did in August of 2020.
Weekly sessions with her over the telephone have resulted in Enzo’s rehabilitation as a family pet. He continues to bristle in new situations with strangers, but he is significantly more manageable as a pet. With my wife and me he has become a “love bug” actively seeking out contact with us, playing with us, and just enjoying life with us. There are still rough edges that only time and positive reinforcement will alleviate, but progress over the past few months has been monumental.
Royan’s qualities which have lead us to this point are: an obvious deep working knowledge of animal behavior, an understanding of the interface between human and animal behavior, and clear empathy for adoptive parents struggling with a difficult pet. Her sense of toleration levels of the pet owners is remarkable. It is used as a ladder upon which a program of increasingly more demanding behaviors are established and reinforced. Her forte is assuring that the owners and the pet are brought along the same path at the same time. The results of this have evolved into a pattern of behaviors for us, the owners, to utilize to secure Enzo’s positive behavior in what were difficult to impossible situations just a few months ago.
It has been extremely difficult to write this letter with so many superlatives that would clearly render the letter suspect.
In a single sentence: Royan Bartley has enabled my wife and me to live with and enjoy the affection, attention and protection of a wonderful animal whose past behaviors would have doomed him..
Very truly yours,
Laurie & Bill McCarriston, Leland, North Carolina
Enzo has become the greatest pet!!! Enzo has gone from challenge to champion in our thinking!!! Thanks for supporting us in this transition, and for supplying the keys to managing his behavior!!!!
We recently adopted “Max”, a wonderful 14 month old golden doodle puppy in an adult dog’s body. He’s great, but came to us with some challenging behavioral issues that had to be corrected. That’s when we reached out to Royan to help us work with Max. All the work was done remotely through e-mail, video instruction, and downloaded material. Royan is extremely professional and knowledgeable about animal behavior, how to have both dogs and owners be happier companions while staying safe.
Bill Austin & Joan Rockwell, Cushing, Maine & Brattleboro, Vermont
We can’t thank you enough for showing us how to understand our scared little rescue dog and effectively intervene to modify her behavior so she is now a positive, confident dog. As you know, when we first met you, we were despondent over whether we could ever get Bella to share the house with our daughter’s dog who was visiting, and to stop growling at folks who came to visit. She who formerly lunged and barked fiercely at other dogs, now walks placidly, waiting for the approaching dog to pass, which has totally transformed the appeal of giving her daily walks. And she is quickly learning that visitors don’t require her to protect us from them.
What we especially appreciate is the clear concise way you have explained animal behavior, so we feel equipped to deal with other issues using that knowledge and positive reinforcement. Plus, your positive, patient personality has made it a pleasure to work with you. We HIGHLY recommend you to other pet owners who are facing issues, or just want to better understand their pets and build a more positive relationship.
PS – please feel free to use this on your website or whatever. You are a miracle-worker!
Ellen McCarthy & Rich Bradley, Camden, Maine
We brought Rocky into our home and office as a puppy, and were blown away by how fast he learned. He was quick to potty train, loyal, and even learned a few tricks in those first few months home with us. As he got a little bit older, there were a few issues that came up, specifically regarding aggression/ being very possessive of certain toys or areas. With him being an office dog, we knew we needed to address these issues ASAP, but as first time dog owners, did not have the skills to efficiently modify his behavior on our own. Royan’s willingness to work with us remotely and accommodate our crazy schedules really made the program doable and successful for us. Our dog Rocky is almost a year and a half old and comes to work with us every day. It was crucial that we nipped bad habits in the butt to ensure that our clients and employees could enjoy Rocky, without us worrying about his behavior. Royan was quick to get back to us whenever we had a question, and was very thorough in providing weekly assignments and checking in on our progress. This made it that much easier to make sure we really stuck to the routine and followed through with assignments. Seeing Rocky’s progress was so reassuring. He is a very smart dog and we feel so much more confident bringing him to work with us now that we have the tools and resources we need to adjust any behavior problems we have going forward. We are so thankful for Royan’s guidance and knowledge, and highly recommend reaching out to her if you have a pet with a behavior issue or just need a little help with handling your pet.
Kelly & Pete Dufour, Portland, Maine
Our three cats had been together for six years. We have two female cats: one 12 years old, one 10, and a 6 year old male. The beginning of February we began to notice tufts of fur and broken cat claws. Soon the 3 cats began fighting daily.
With Royan's daily guidance for three weeks we learned how to redirect the cats' focus to acceptable behaviors. Even having different feline friends for over 40 years we have never had three in the house at one time. We learned a lot about territory and making them feel safe. There was a lot of observation of the interactions to know when the
focus needed to be redirected. At first, for a good two weeks we had to separate the male cat in another part of the house and let him out when we were at home so that they all could be supervised. In about two weeks time we could let him out all day and it took another two weeks where we gradually let him out earlier and earlier each morning.
After about two months they were getting along as they had before. Occasionally they may begin to go back to the previous fighting behavior but we can spot it and redirect the energy.
Royan has made it so that these cats can get along, have us keep all of them and enjoy each other's company again. I would highly recommend Royan for help in any pet issues that may arise.
Nora & Thomas Michaels, Camden, Maine
Working with you has been a wonderful learning experience. Zoe's success is my success and I know I couldn't have achieved it on my own. You always responded in a timely way to any of my concerns and didn't make me feel stupid or wrong. I needed the behavioral knowledge and understanding that you provided as well as the support and encouragement that you always gave me along the way. It made me realize that I could train her through behavior modification techniques that just made sense once you explained the reasoning behind them and also reminded me of the need for consistency and commitment in order to succeed. I think I surprised myself each time I saw any positive changes in behavior. I am very proud of Zoe.
Thank you so much for giving me the tools I need to continue on the road to super success!!! Feel free to use anything I've said about my training experience. I won't hesitate to refer others to you just as a friend referred you to me.
I think about you every time Zoe is complimented for being such a well behaved dog. She is a gem and I am so happy to have her in my life.
Cindy Fraser, Camden, Maine
Royan's guidance and recommendations, both in class and out were very helpful for our family. It's clear that she cares deeply for both her canine and human students.
We have a sweet, smart, young reactive dog. We learned many tools to help him to be the best dog he can. We learned how to work with him, through positive reinforcement, so that he is safe and secure and that everyone around him is as well. We learned how to teach him to be more comfortable and calmer in challenging situations, and how to determine what situations cause him to react.
Controlling his environment so that he can relax more helps to lessen his impulse to protect himself or us. We learned to gradually condition him to new environments or situations, where he is able. And we learned to protect him from agitating events.
Royan's message was clearly and thoroughly presented, she is always open to questions and takes whatever time or focus is needed. She has a wealth of knowledge about dealing with reactive dogs and is often able to come up with new approaches if needed.
Before we consulted with Royan, we were wondering if we could keep our dog with us. Now we feel that we can, and that we are all happier together!
Royan has helped us a great deal in training our reactive dog. We know now how to train him and work with him so he can have a good life with us, how we can bring him out into the world safely. We learned out to work out any quirky issues that he has, that we previously could not overcome. She has a great depth of knowledge and creativity and an endless amount of patience. She clearly cares a great deal about dogs with issues and is committed to helping dogs and their people live together in harmony!
Laura Strubbe, Camden, Maine
Thank you, Royan, for helping us understand and work with our newly adopted rescue dog, Kasey. As veteran pet owners (all adopted) we brought Kasey home confident that we had all the tools we would need to help her become a member of our family. It didn't take us long to realize that the depth of her challenges - fearfulness and trust- would require more insight and understanding than we possessed at the moment. It's true that one can find a lot of information on how to work with fearful, shy, aggressive or dogs with other behavior issues, but they can not take into account the wide variety of variables at play for each specific dog. That's where you offer an invaluable service. Your expert knowledge of animal behavior, triggers that may lead to unwanted behaviors, and coaching us in real time on how to approach behaviors that Kasey presented, gave us the confidence and understanding on how best to work with her. Not only has your feedback been effective in making Kasey's transition into our family easier for both her and us, but it's made us more cognizant of the communication pathways required to foster a deep nurturing bond between animal and human. Thank you again for helping us onto the right path.
Heidi & Terry Washburn, Union, Maine
Tara (probably known as Honey to you) has had quite a journey from Georgia all the way to Maine!
She wouldn't leave her kennel upon arriving to P.A.W.S and because we had shown interest in her prior we were asked to pick her up immediately as a special case. We took her home but as she wouldn't leave her kennel we had to lift her inside of it up three flights of stairs to our apartment! She was unused to apartment living and spent all her time pacing and just couldn't get comfortable. On top of that she wasn't potty trained and also very frightened of any street sounds (and even house sounds like a toaster). Any time she heard a motorbike she would stop in her tracks and wouldn't budge. We had her for a few days but were overwhelmed even though we have a dog of our own. Luckily the dog behaviorist that works with P.A.W.S named Royan took her on for a week to take a closer look at her. She came back to us much better and we also had the tools for potty training and how to normalize her new environment.
Even though at the start she wouldn't even come near us to be stroked we slowly built up trust with her. A quick movement when putting on the leash might set us back a week! Our other dog Elton was really our saving grace in the beginning. Tara (Honey) really looked to him for social cues and followed him on walks and started to under gain confidence. He is very laid back and mellow and we think that wore off on her. The best we could do was let her come to us on her own terms and just build a framework where she could succeed. Take her on four walks a day so she can do her business and knows to expect them, make her kennel a safe space just for her and give her constant love and patience.
It was hard in the beginning and we were unsure if we could adopt her living in town and decided to foster at first. But of course not long after we became a "failed foster"! She is such a beautiful being and we're so glad we kept her and persevered. Even though it's only been 6 months it's even hard to remember her being so terrified and nervous. She owns the streets of Gardiner, Maine now and her sassy side is coming out. Her tail wags and goes out as opposed to being permanently curled under her legs. She is a supreme snuggle bug and loves to get as close as possible to us, preferably with her nose dug under your clothes or blanket. Now that she has recall and knows her name we take her to the waterfront park by the river that is fenced on one side and is ideal for dogs. At first she had poor coordination and was scared of the water and leaves but now she is extremely fast and dexterous. Elton has taught her about looking for squirrels and eating grass and she has found her very own game - chasing waves (this makes Elton jealous of course). Also she's discovered digging holes and making water channels, slowly figuring out the science of irrigation.
It feels like the past month we've reached a level of irreversible trust and she looks to us for comfort. She still has a hard time with visiting the parents and getting in the car but we're working on that.
Thanks to all of you for your hard work! We can't imagine a life before Tara (Honey) now.
Clark Heijbroek & Stephanie Rendall, Gardiner, Maine
Shortly after we had adopted our rescue dog, Noelle, someone suggested I get in touch with Royan, who was the animal behaviorist who had been working with some of the shelter animals. I was new to having a dog in the family, and assumed we'd figure out on our own what Noelle needed. (How hard could it be, right?) Two years later, I finally acknowledged that, yes, help was needed beyond the training I'd been doing with our pup. Noelle, we learned, was considered “reactive,” and much of her energy was going into barking, pulling, lunging and wearing me out!
I needed to be out of town for a week, so engaged Royan's assistance. Noelle stayed at Royan's house while I was away, and she received abundant love, trust, care, attention, and training from Royan and her husband, Neal. Noelle took to them immediately when we arrived for our pre-stay visit, and was delighted to settle in for her week of "private doggie vacation camp."
Royan is gentle, wise, steady, fun-loving and always positive and professional. Her quiet manner calmed Noelle as they worked together. Her intelligence about animals and their behavior revealed itself in practical and progressive ways. Aware that every dog is different, she tuned in specifically to Noelle's needs and was able to redirect her from problem behaviors to responsiveness to directions. While I was away, I loved receiving messages with updates about Noelle's progress, including some delightful (and sometime hilarious) videos, as well. It was a fine week, indeed.
It’s important to note that working with Royan is not a “quick fix.” Our dog has made tremendous progress, yet still continues to need me to work with her regularly. But now I have better knowledge and experience as a result of having engaged Royan’s help, and that alone makes a big difference in how I interact with Noelle. I am calmer, clearer-minded, and more capable in resolving whatever issues arise with our pup. When I get puzzled about something Noelle is doing (or not doing), Royan is gracious in helping me address things.
She offered some thoughtful suggestions regarding our home environment, too. For instance, our mailbox had been right on the front porch, and Royan wondered if perhaps that contributed to Noelle's crazy, non-stop, loud barking every time the mail carrier arrived. Sure enough, since I've moved the mailbox off the porch and arranged some plants to camouflage it, Noelle barely responds to the mail delivery! Such a simple solution from someone who "gets it."
I cannot say enough good things about Royan's work with our dog -- and with me. She is not judgmental if I've done something stupid; rather, she nurtures the good and encourages choices that benefit both our dog and the humans who love her. Her caring nature and good humor make it a joy to work with her, and I know that Noelle is grateful for Royan, as well.
I love the calm assurance I’ve gained and the skills our dog has developed since we began our working relationship with Royan. She is helping us keep our pet in the best ways possible. I would say to anyone who feels alone, frustrated, exhausted or even just curious about how to improve your relationship with your dog: call Royan — and do it right now!
Beverly Scott, Camden, Maine
Royan is a gift to our dog and family every time we see her. She is gentle and clear with her expectations and makes our dog feel loved and successful. She meets our dog at her level and sets clear, stimulating, learning targets that build on one another! She is not only training our dog but also educating us as "dog parents". Royan is safe, reliable and organized in her plan of action! I highly recommend her services!
Kimberly Wickenden, Rockport, Maine
Hiring Royan became the difference between fully enjoying my fostered "grand dog" and being frustrated out of my mind not being able to work a full work day in my home office. Before Royan took him for five days in her home for training, Kaiser had what I would call "extreme attention seeking issues" and related impulse control difficulties. Kaiser is SO much happier now! He is relaxed, content and quiet instead of anxious and loud. And the best thing is, thanks to Royan sharing her exceptional dog whispering insight, I understand Kaiser well now and can therefore reach new levels of training on my own. Kaiser and I both have gained such confidence. Royan totally surpassed my expectations. She is simply fabulous!
Kate Hotchkiss Taylor, North Haven, Maine
Royan was a huge help with our sweet and fearful German Shepherd Elsa, adopted from PAWS last fall. My husband and I wanted to learn to help Elsa feel more at ease, and to work with her in speciﬁc situations in which she appeared fearful. With Royan’s insight and coaching, we saw positive changes right away.
During our ﬁrst meeting, Royan listened to our concerns, then observed Elsa with us, giving feedback, then formulating a plan for us. During the second session, the three of us walked Elsa in an area where we encountered a few people and other dogs. Royan helped us recognize Elsa’s stress signals, as well as environmental stimuli which we hadn’t tuned in to, but which affected Elsa. She quickly responded to follow up questions, and provided helpful reference material, in addition to a comprehensive written plan.
Royan’s calm, gentle demeanor put Elsa and us at ease. Her instruction and feedback were insightful and tailored to our needs, concerns, and limited level of experience. Her encouragement as we worked with Elsa created a positive experience for all.
Royan’s expertise helped us become more attuned to Elsa’s needs. As Elsa’s trust in us has grows, she’s slowly becoming more conﬁdent and comfortable, and our bond continues to strengthen. We’re so grateful for Royan’s knowledge and deep commitment to improving the connection between pets and their people.
Cindy & John Murray, Camden, Maine
Royan helped us out 4 years ago when we got a new puppy and had issues with biting and potty training problems in Minnesota. We were getting close to the point where we didn't know what to do and even considered re-homing her. Thanks to Royan's help and advice, we got her on the right track, and today at 5 years old she is the BEST dog ever! It would have been a terrible mistake to give up on her, and we are so thankful we had someone giving us such great advice.
Paul Bye & Erin Mcintosh, Rochester, Minnesota