We got Beatrix when she was five months old, right out of surgery for a broken back leg. First she was on drugs, and then was terrified and in pain. She was not allowed off leash, couldn’t play or run or interact with other dogs. We enrolled in Ventura Pet Wellness Ultimate Puppy Kindergarten class and the first day Beatrix just cowered in the corner. When we walked her at home, it would take four times as long as it should because she would stop and freeze with trepidation every time another dog or person passed. We made some progress in puppy kindergarten as she slowly gained range of motion in her leg and a little bit of courage. We enrolled in the Ventura Pet Wellness Good Manners series and her leg and confidence continued to improve. She passed the Canine Good Citizen test. Now, Beatrix has been doing the Ventura Pet Wellness Agility series for almost a year and she’s a whole new little dog. She confidently interacts with other dogs and, even with a little hitch in her step, powers through the agility courses with determination. Check out Shannon Riley, from Truly Force Free Animal Training here: www.trulyforcefree.com!

 

Click here for the full transformation story!

Lola and Nic

In September of 2023 a friend reposted on Facebook a post of 2 Old English Sheepdogs available for adoption. I have always had dogs, but had to put my 15 1/2 year old dog down in April, and I was not ready or looking for a dog. But, I had raised, bred and showed OES for many years, and an impulsive decision led to me taking both dogs, Lola and Nic.

My heart and emotions made the decision, not my brain. My friend who was with me told me both dogs had issues and they were going to take a lot of work. They had been outside dogs. We didn’t know much more about them. I was not interested in a puppy, so this was perfect. I thought!

I did not know what I was going to have to deal with…..

Accidents in the house, fence fighting with the dogs next door, barking constantly, jumping on me and visitors, jumping on furniture, counter surfing and jumping the front fence. They were
not leash or crate trained or used to being around people and other animals. They took me for a walk.

After falling on a walk, not being able to get Nic into the house if the neighbor dogs were out,
Nic peeing in the house, and the constant barking, I knew I needed help. I knew a group class would not work, and luckily Shannon was recommended both by my vet and a family member.

After reading the applications for Lola and Nic, and observing them at our first training, it was recommended we start from scratch and assume they haven’t had any training and may not even know there names. Shannon thought they might both have anxiety issues and we would
continue to observe them. I was asked to video them in their crates when I was gone and home.

Lola and Nic learned their names and to come, sit, stay, and down. I am working with both of them on loose leash walking. Lola is further in the process, but I continue to work with both of
them. They have calmed down, bark less and are completely different dogs since I rescued them in September. They both are calmer, loving, sweet, and a bit goofy.

The first month I questioned whether I made a mistake and would need to rehome one or both dogs. I’m so grateful to Shannon, her experience, and her approach to training. I love having the dogs for company and entertainment when they are playing. I honestly miss them when I travel.

Click here for the full transformation story!

Lucca

Lucca was adopted during the pandemic and it was just him and me in my house for about six months during the latter period of lockdown. Once that eased, I learned that he was very intense when visitors entered the house – wary and suspicious, protective of me and the house, and obsessed with my guests.

Training has been very helpful for both of us – not only helping Lucca to better respond to visitors, but also helping me to be more aware of what was really going on with him and guide him appropriately towards better behavior. A bit less stressful for all parties!

Click here for the full transformation story!

Cody

(Aussie)

When I met Cody he was terrified of strangers and new environments as well as a history of BITING! He is now comfortable with me helping him overcome his fears.

We build trust by going slow, letting him choose when he was ready to be pet and approached by me and other strangers. With a past trainer Cody was taught that if he approached humans he would be shocked with the shock collar, but with me he learned that if he approached humans he received a treat and he was not forced to interact with anyone unless he wanted to. Eventually Cody started relearning that people were good and NOT a source of pain!

Beverly Bigger

Click here for the full transformation story!

Bailey & Cricket

Bailey came to my house in April of 2021 weighing just 13 pounds, and looking like a sack of bones. She was only able to eat baby food and her mouth needed cleaning several times per day. She would wrap her arms around her food bowl from fear that she would have it taken away. She wanted to lay with the other dogs in the pack, but mainly she wanted to lay her head on any human around and just be loved.

It wasn’t long before I called my sister and Bailey became a foster failure. She is the friendliest dog you have ever met. We take her to the dog park, and she thinks it is the place where she gets to meet all the humans, the other dogs are just kind of there and of little importance to her. When she sees a child under the age of 5 she instinctively gets very low and submissive to let the kid know that she is safe to pet. We had a stranger at the dog beach smack Bailey because she “looked like an aggressive German Shepherd” and Bailey just wagged her tail at her as if she forgave her and knew she didn’t mean it.

Now, our Bailey girl does have a slight naughty streak in that she really wants to make sure you meant to tell her to go to bed, and not that you wanted more cuddles, but she is a great dog. This is why she is our rescue from Korea’s emotional support dog.
Bailey came to my house via my sister who works as a Vet Tech for an animal rescue. Bailey approached a Border Patrol Officer in Mexico near the San Diego border when she was about 3 months old. She was severely malnourished, had a gaping hole in the side of her face with bones exposed, but was still wagging her tail. The Officer knew of a veterinary dental school in San Diego and chose to take the puppy there for help. As soon as the school saw the damage to Bailey’s mouth, they called the rescue my sister worked for as the damage was too severe for their level of work, and they did not think the puppy would make it through the surgery.

My sister and her rescue enlisted a specialist to repair the damage to her bones, try to create a usable mouth, and discard the rotten/necrotic tissue. Bailey passed away many times during the course of her first few weeks at the rescue. They called her “baby puppy” and “mouth dog” because they didn’t want to name a dog they didn’t think would survive. Somewhere in the first week or two I saw a picture of this hopeful girl with love in her eyes and asked to be her foster if she ever became stable.

Click here for the full transformation story!

Boulder

(Kelpie/Lab Mix)

Boulder has been fearful his entire life! When he came to puppy class as an 8-week-old puppy he was afraid of the other puppies and people in class. Boulders parents worked very hard to socialization him doing extra work everyday to get his exposed to new environments, people and other dogs. Boulder was so fearful that he would actually BARK at his parents or me if we were wearing a new jacket or hat.

Although, Boulder is still fearful and has to be supervised at all times when he is in public he is able to go on walks, he does have some dog friends, and he has more human friends. Boulder has been able to successfully participate in a group Agility Class!

Click here for the full transformation story!

Breaking The Chain Conference was very informative and relative!

This conference was very informative and relative! More about managing behavior than the topic of force free which I found very valuable.

Terry Kelly

Marigold

(Blind/Deaf Australian Shepherd)

Marigold is a three-year old Australian shepherd. Marigold was born with poor vision, without any hearing at all, and with a mostly white coat. Marigold is afflicted by a genetic disorder commonly known as “Lethal White”.  It’s called lethal white not because the disorder is fatal but because dogs with this disorder have no value to breeders, so most of them are euthanized at birth.  When I adopted Marigold she was fearful of new people, new places, her harness and was also nervous when a human touched her and walks were overwhelming. The first trainer I took her to said she was “too aggressive” and should be returned to the rescue. After meeting with Shannon Riley Marigold is now able to go on walks with her harness and have her head touched!

Click here for the full transformation story!

Ghost

(Chihuahua/Dachshund/Terrier Mix)

Ghost loved agility! Then in October 2022 he became paralized due to a herniated disk. We did not know if Ghost would ever walk again. He was banned to his crate until February 2023. NOW look at him in June 2023.

The miracles of medicine – NEVER GIVE UP!

Click here for the full transformation story!

(Aussie)

Thanks to Shannon I’m able to work on getting my fun loving Aussie back that is not reactive towards other dogs! I was able to learn about her anxiety so I can help her more and not be scared of changing her sweet personality. It’s still a work in progress but she’s already come so far and now I feel equipped to help her.

Before the training class she wasn’t even friendly with dogs she used to love. And now this is her enjoying a fun play day with her friends!

Natalia Smith

Tosca Luce

(Mixed Breed)

Tosca was a shy puppy who would hide and bark at any dogs or people she saw. Also, inanimate objects would make her start barking, especially if it was in a spot she wasn’t used to seeing it in.

As she got older, some of her behavior got worse, and not only would she bark, but she would lunge and charge towards other dogs, in particular, who came close to her. After realizing her shyness was due to anxiety, we started her on medication with a behavior modification plan that focused on identifying what triggered her and working on ways to prevent those things and/or redirecting her attention when triggering incidents occurred.

Tosca has been on medication for about nine weeks, and we’ve started to see a decrease in barking and stress, particularly in cases where she would immediately start barking. It’s easier to redirect her attention, and she is also quicker to stop barking when she starts. Tosca is so so much happier and I’m less stressed myself.

Click here for the full transformation story!

Callie

(Mixed Breed)

It is time to rest, sweetheart. You have completed the last obstacle of your course. You started your course as a sickly, scared rescue dog, who rescued us.

You weaved yourself into so many lives and brought so much joy. You herded us well. Shannon’s training and temperament taught you to enjoy other dogs and agility.

Loved your expressions with jumps and contacts. You never rushed. You loved it when we cheered for you at agility. Here goes, “You go girl!” Hope there are not too many jumps in heaven. You’re taking a piece of our heart with you.

We love you Calzer.

Click here for the full transformation story!

Nala

(Mixed Breed)

In June 2009, I adopted Nala when she was 11 months old!

Nala loved running, playing and herding the other dogs. Once we stopped going to the dog park, she no longer had other dogs to play with and she became more of a people person kind of dog.

Nala LOVES her agility class with Shannon Riley at Ventura Pet Wellness & Dog Training Center!!! She’s always ready to go when she sees me putting on my running shoes and getting ready for class!

She has proven that Senior dogs CAN LEARN NEW TRICKS!

Click here for the full transformation story!

I loved your class!

Your love of what you do shows. It was fun and kept our attention. I will definitely be back for more. I love to learn and hear feedback from others.

Workshop Attendee

Groot

(Dachshund)

Our dog Groot is a dachshund which most of the world knows means barking. When we started to see Shannon🐾 to help socialize him and improve his skills on decreasing his barking she highly recommended the Thunder Jacket. We started using it on Groot for social events, fireworks, and any new visitors that would come to our home. He has improved tremendously and is now able to spread his word to even some of his siblings that were firework panicking or social anxiety driven. Thank you so much Shannon🐾.

Regina Alderman

Eva

(Chiweenie)

My consistent love for Eva, Shannon’s wisdom and guidance, and my willingness to follow through on Shannon’s guidance created the magic that has transformed Eva’s life.

I adopted Eva, my beautiful, smart chiweenie just as the pandemic started. I adored her from the  start. Nine months after bringing her home, Eva had a series of panic attacks that were truly alarming—screaming, shaking, slobbering. I called Shannon and we began to help Eva become less frightened of people, of baths, and of going to the vet. My consistent love for Eva, Shannon’s wisdom and guidance, and my willingness to follow through on Shannon’s guidance created the magic that has transformed Eva’s life. Eva is so much more confident and I am more confident in caring for her. I am so grateful for this help from Shannon.

Kathryn Ridall

I just wanted to thank you for helping me get back on track with Ranger! Using the clicker on walks has made a huge difference for us. Also after our conversation about dinner time (which had been such an awful time of day for weeks)…. I started feeding him a stuffed kong and Kong wobbler with kibble, in his crate, in  a separate room, before we start our own dinner, and he has done great and will even settle down after eating. I’ve also been adding different kinds of treats to the food dispensing toys along with kibble and that has made a huge difference. Focused training with clicker seems to be helping him too. Thanks!

Private Training Client

Shannon definitely made us feel encouraged and supported. And also, we did not notice the time until we were done today and leaving Shannon’s house, so BIG THANKS to Shannon for talking to us for so long!! We didn’t realize it went so far over the time. Very much appreciate her willingness to answer all our questions and talking through everything so thoroughly.

Erin

Chata Girl

(Boxer)

My 14-year-old Boxer, Chata Girl, has done amazing with bad behavioral issues while implementing training tools that Shannon taught us. You CAN teach an old dog new tricks!! Chata us so much easier to handle and walks are a lot more pleasant for us both. Thank you and God bless you, Shannon, for helping us get there!’

Sandy H.

Ziva

(Aussie Mix)

Reactive Dog Workshop

I adopted a mixed breed who is mostly Australian Cattle Dog a year and a half ago. When I first got her I had a difficult time just getting a harness or collar on her. My vet recommended I contact Shannon for help. I did and she gave me many tips that helped me get her calm enough to perform simple tasks. When I went to the workshop she laid out so many different things to do to help with the behaviors my special little friend was exhibiting. Ziva I am sure was abused as she was so hand shy. I made a pledge to her when I adopted her she had a forever home. She is in agility training with Shannon now and she absolutely loves it. She and I have a long way to go still, but with the tips on training that I have gotten from Shannon that I work on every day my little gal pal is learning slowly but surely that she does not need to react so quickly and aggressively. I love the force free approach as it is making both of us much calmer. My Ziva is starting to realize that she is my forever gal pal, that has found a permanent home. Thanks Shannon for helping to fill my life with purpose and joy in training this amazing working dog who just needs a job.

Kay B.

Joe, 8 year old Cocker Spaniel rescue attend private training session with shannon coyner

(Cocker Spaniel)

Our dog is now a fully integrated member of our family

I recently adopted an 8 year old Cocker Spaniel rescue and needed some sound guidance on how to modify the many behavioral issues that my dog developed while he was a stray. Shannon’s seminar on dog aggression explains dog behavior in terms that are easy to understand and her suggestions to modify behavior are all based on rewards rather than punishment. I was almost ready to return my dog to the rescue organization because we were having so many problems with negative interactions with other dogs and cats. After implementing her suggestions, our dog is now a fully integrated member of our family and gets along well with other dogs and cats. I would recommend Shannon’s seminars or one on one training to anyone who needs help training your dog. Shannon’s wealth of experience and extensive training in the field of animal behavior separates her from other “self taught” dog trainers.

Gary Meneghin
Retired Wildlife Biologist, Oxnard, CA

Very well presented. I learned a great deal! I am anxious to get to work with my anxious fearful dog.

Workshop Attendee

Shannon helped our dogs overcome their fears

Shannon helped our family with our two dogs who had some pretty serious issues with fear. She spent a lot of time with us, listening and supporting us through the work we were doing. She is loving, kind and generous. Our family loves her, both dogs and people, and we are so grateful to have her in our lives.

Wendy D.

Shannon makes training fun

I came to Shannon Riley-Coyner with Lena, my high energy, nervous and insecure three year old Lab/ Weimaraner mix. She accessed my dog’s temperament for agility and our training began.

Shannon has a passion for working with dogs and their owners. Her motivational force-free training methods and positive reinforcements have transformed my dog. As we advanced through classes my dog gained confidence and her energy is continually harnessed into something positive. Shannon makes training fun for my dog and for me. The skills Shannon demonstrates set us up for success.

Shannon Riley-Coyner is an impressive, effective and committed trainer. She encourages and motivates by making the work fun and rewarding and has helped me better enjoy and appreciate my dog.

Jenny K.

Gibson is now responding to commands

I was fortunate to start working with Shannon when I adopted Gibson, my then 3 year old street dog. He is Australian Sheppard. He is a very sweet dog, and, of course, very attached to me, but he was a handful when he came to live with us. He had been on the street and had been mistreated to some extent and had fears of things we could never know about.

Shannon’s kind and firm way with him was so effective and she was able to teach me the ways to bring out his best behavior. Her humane and gentle approach to training was evident from the beginning. Gibson was so responsive and happy to do whatever she asked of him. I didn’t take long from him to be a good companion on the leash and respond to commands while off the leash.

We attended one of the agility classes that Shannon taught. It too was a good and positive experience for both of us. Shannon’s control of a class with 10+ dogs and owners all doing agility for the 1st time was amazing. She knew the dogs’ names and was able to personalize the training for each of them on a weekly basis by watching their movements and behaviors. Her years of experience, personal success with her own dogs in agility competition, and love of what she does were evident at all times.

Shannon has also made home visits and met me at the park to work on specific issues that Gibson was having. She writes extensive visit summaries with detailed plans for things to work on and ways to achieve the goals that were set.

Shannon is a wonderful and kind and enthusiastic dog (and owner) trainer. She gets the highest kudos from me and I recommend her whenever possible.

Lorraine P.

Noah is now a giant bundle of joy

Thanks to the miraculous work of our expert trainer, Shannon Riley-Coyner, my boxer mix, Noah, and I have figured one another out and have become loyal best friends. Just as I was on the verge in the early days of giving up on my out-of-control and spun-up beasty boy, Shannon taught me how to turn all 70 pounds of him into a giant bundle of joy – all with her fun, upbeat, positive reinforcement approach, tender loving care, technical brilliance and endless encouragement. I would recommend Shannon to anyone!

Lori S.