Colorado’s own dog whisperer

By Sally Uhrich

Thinking of acquiring a dog? If you are like most potential pet owners, you dream of leisurely walks, time spent playing fetch, cuddling and caressing your most loving, loyal and of course, obedient, canine companion.

Unfortunately for some pet owners, the dream becomes more of a nightmare. Although most puppies will initially exhibit some form of negative behavior such as nipping, wetting or chewing, most will respond to normal basic training. When these behaviors escalate to a more serious level, it is time to consider professional help.

Fortunately, help is close at hand with Suzi Schaefers, master trainer and owner of Canine Psychology Center (CPC). Schaefers specializes in rehabilitating and modifying extreme canine aggression. She also works on all aspects of obedience. A dog’s training/rehabilitation is customized to meet the individual needs of each dog, as well as the specifications of the family.

Schaefers has been training dogs for almost 25 years. Her journey began with her first “dog job” of delivering guard dogs around the city of Denver for the Colorado Dog Academy from 1985 to 1987.

After attending the Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology, she went to work with the Canine Behavior Modification Center in Boulder from 1991 to 1992. Next was the American School of Dog Training in Aurora from 1992-1996. After honing her skills in aggression rehabilitation and behavior modification, as well as the more difficult task of training the humans, Schaefers opened her own dog training business. CPC has been in operation for 13 years.

The center’s philosophy is that all dogs, even aggressive dogs, should be given the chance to become balanced, stable and happy. Formal dog training is deemed a necessary part of every dog’s life, not just for an aggressive or ill-mannered dog. The time to start formal training is when a puppy is eight to 10 weeks of age. Basic puppy obedience is done with positive motivation and food treats.

Age six to 16 weeks is a very critical socialization period in a puppy’s life. After 16 weeks of age, it will become more difficult for the animal to be receptive to new procedures and commands. By the time a pup is six months of age, it is the equivalent of a human teenager and may have acquired bad habits from you, your family, and other dogs.

CPC offers several dog training programs to meet the individual needs of your dog and your family. To find out which program is right for you, a private evaluation lesson will be scheduled with your dog and your family. This lesson will demonstrate how your dog interacts with you in strange surroundings and how your dog responds to you around other dogs.

The trust level of your dog will be evaluated, as well as observing dominant or submissive behavior. The evaluation will also decipher how your dog views you in the “pecking order.” Details on the “wolf pack theory” will be explained to help you understand what your dog is thinking and why he/she is displaying certain behaviors.

The lesson allows you to view the training area and kennel area, should you opt for the board and train program or for future vacation boarding. A one-time evaluation fee of $100 will be credited to the cost of your chosen training program, should you decide to train with CPC on the day of the evaluation.

When you bring a dog into your home, it is your responsibility to make sure your pet is well mannered, under control and a safe dog around children, dogs, other animals and strangers. An aggressive dog is not only a lawsuit waiting to happen, but it is unbalanced, unstable and unhappy.

If you lack the dog training experience required to train or rehabilitate your own dog, please seek the help of a professional dog trainer.

CPC is located in Pine, Colorado. To schedule a private evaluation and receive a price quote, call 303-995-0132 or

Colorado’s own dog whisperer
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