Willowbrook Shout at the Devil – “Motley”
Nicknames: Motley Moo, Moo Face, Moo Man, Moomers, Moomie, The Moo
Motley is pretty much the reason why Jersey Shore Dogs exists. My wife and I obtained him from a breeder in 2009. We moved into our first home in November of that year and were itching to finally have a dog of our own. Initially, we were looking for a border collie puppy, but after finding Motley on the breeder’s website, we new we had to at least go meet him. We took a short ride north to Connecticut where we hung out with the breeder (now a good friend of ours) and met Motley’s mother (Roxie, RIP), his sister, Dazzle, and a bunch of other dogs. All of the dogs were great – good looking, even tempered, but each with its own personality. Motley was supposedly shy around male strangers, but when we walked up the driveway, he literally came right over and sat next to me. I remember Kari (the breeder) saying, “Well that’s a first.” Guess you could say it was a sign
Fast forward to after we brought Motley home, introduced him to our families, got him settled, etc. One night we came home to a letter on our door, basically telling us that our dog was barking and howling constantly anytime we left the house. We decided to video tape Motley next time we went out and to our surprise, we found out that he was literally having a panic attack – panting, pacing, barking, howling for HOURS… he had a pretty moderate to severe case of separation anxiety. After reading about this behavior problem online and in various books, taking Motley to work with me (at the time I worked for my father’s business), putting him on medication, eventually – about 4-5 months later – we were able to get his separation anxiety under control. Today, he can be left alone for hours (without any issue) and he is off the medication as well. It was an extremely long, stressful, and trying ordeal, but knowing he was finally able to be by himself really helped strengthen our relationship. And, in that process, it also made me realize how much I liked problem solving and helping my dog through a really tough issue.
At some point during the separation anxiety training, I took Motley to a local dog behavior trainer to work on some other behavior issues. It was at that point that I was introduced to the world of “positive reinforcement-based” training. At the time, I was only familiar with more “old school” methods (e.g. force-based training), so this opened up a whole new way of thinking about how to better leverage positive things to get a dog to want to do something vs. making them do it to avoid a punishment. Train your dog without causing them pain? Amazing! This was pretty much the turning point that eventually led me to get educated about animal behavior and then later own start my own business.
Willowbrook The Devil Made Me Do It – “Dazzle”
Nicknames: Dazzle Dog, Crazy, Stinks, Stinker
For a border collie, Motley ended up being a lap dog – loves to cuddle, loves to lay on the couch with you or in bed. He’ll play Frisbee, but only if there’s something in it for him (like green tripe) This led us to get Dazzle. We met her back when we initially met Motley – they are actually brother and sister from the same litter. When we obtained Motley, Dazzle wasn’t available, but between the breeder moving south and some coaxing on our end, we eventually took the trip to Connecticut four months after getting Motley to add another pup to our family.
Dazzle is your average border collie, but with an off button. She LOVES to chase pretty much anything that moves – a frisbee, a ball, another dog – did I mention frisbee? She almost always has a “smile” on her face – normally a happy dog, but will let you know if she has a problem with something. She’s also known to be the “fun police” and will break up any dogs that appear to be a little too rambunctious (in her mind) with their play. On the other side, she’s also known to break up a few dog “arguments” as well.
Dazzle’s favorite pastime is swimming and the dog beach. Every time we try to leave the beach after being there for a few hours, she’ll literally stay by the water and watch us walk to the car… just to make sure we are really leaving. One day, we took a picture of her by the pool wearing my sunglasses – this photo ultimately led to being the “model” for the future creation of the Jersey Shore Dogs logo.
Willowbrook Run Down the Devil – “Chase”
Nicknames: Chaser, Monkey, Monkey Man, Crazy (and more to come, I’m sure)
We obtained Chase from the same breeder that we obtained Motley and Dazzle from. For the past couple of years, every time she had a new litter, we talked about getting one of her puppies (we got Motley and Dazzle at age 2), so we could take them through puppy kindergarten and begin shaping his/her behavior from a very young age. At the time, we lived in a townhouse – two dogs were hard enough, three would’ve been chaos. Luckily, we ended up buying a new house pretty much around the same time the breeder had a few new litters. After careful consideration, off we went to Connecticut once again. We went back and forth choosing between two puppies from two different litters, but ultimately chose Chase (along with a strong recommendation from the breeder). Our hope is to get him to do frisbee or agility on a more competitive level once he is older and his growth plates close and body is more stabilized, but if it doesn’t work out, we will settle for some backyard fun instead
Chase is completely out of his mind, crazy! Every day he makes us laugh with his antics and silly things he does. At the same time, he is also very intelligent and soaks things up like a sponge. It’s amazing how quickly he picks up on tricks and behaviors – every day I look forward to working with him, playing with him, and teaching him new things. It was a little hard at first having three dogs, but now that we’re in a routine, things are going much more smoothly. I’ve also found a new found respect for all of my clients with new puppies — you really don’t realize how hard things can get at times until you’re literally dealing with an unhousetrained (and untrained) puppy 24/7. I’d like to think this new experience has made me an even better trainer/behavior consultant.
One cool thing about Chase is he’s actually half brother to both Motley and Dazzle (they all have the same father) so aside from being “our” family, they’re technically already family by birth We’re also really glad that we were able to get Chase because (unfortunately), their father (Dev) passed away a few days after we brought Chase home. We are so honored to have three of his offspring – he was an amazing dog.
I’m sure as the months go by, I’ll have many more stories to share about the border collie crew. In the meantime, check out the below videos of Chase learning the down cue, and ringing a bell via shaping.
Melissa from Jersey Shore Dogs was exactly what we were looking for when seeking help to train our 6-month-old Australian Shepherd. We wanted a trainer that would come to our home and educate us, the owners, on the best way to train Brody. Melissa was always timely and very friendly with both my husband and I and our pup, Brody! We learned so many great training methods and Brody has been so responsive! It takes patience and practice, but I am very happy with what Melissa taught us and Brody has been learning and becoming such a well-trained puppy!
We were brand new pup owners (never had a dog before), and we researched trainers locally and Matt Tuzzo and Jersey Shore Dogs came highly referred. Matt returned my call promptly and was flexible to set up our first meeting and training. And he is always a text away even after our training was completed (and still 3 months later), for any question or input as we continue to evolve with our pup. Matt made our pup extremely comfortable and at ease, and after our first two hours my wife and I felt we had a great deal of useful information that helped us to be better owners/parents and to take some of the early frustrations out of dog ownership. Matt returned a few weeks later and we worked on other training and even the basics of good leash walking. Today at 6 1/2 months, our pup is potty trained, responds to multiple commands, enjoys her walks (as do I when at first they were very frustrating), and she is at ease with strangers and new dogs. The latter is due to Matt’s recommendation to send her to puppy kindergarten, in theory to a competitor, but Matt knew the play time with multiple pups under a controlled environment with a specialist in puppy kindergarten was the best for our pup. That says a lot to me about Matt and his interest of your pup or dog first.
When I realized I wanted some outside help with training my puppy, reaching out to Matt was the best decision I could have made. Even after just that initial phone conversation, I felt so much more at ease and I could not wait for our appointment. I already started to see a positive change in Rex’s behavior while Matt was still at my house, and he even stayed past our scheduled time to show me additional ways to train and work with my dog. The homework he gave us was straightforward and easy to follow. Matt made it clear that I could e-mail him at any time with questions or if I needed clarification on something, and he meant it. I must’ve e-mailed him 10 times in the first two weeks after our session and he was always very prompt in answering. He is eager to help and offer insight in any way he can. To say Rex loved working with him would be a huge understatement!
We can’t thank Matt enough for the work he has done over the past year and a half with our rescue dog Indy. We adopted him at five months old realizing quickly that he suffered from severe separation anxiety. Matt helped us develop (and continuously tweak) a plan that helped our sweet boy manage and cope with what was previously nearly impossible. Later, we had Matt back to work on fear of strangers, with almost immediate progress post visit. Matt’s knowledge, approach, and sensitivity are second to none.
Boogie did OUTSTANDING work today and I wanted to share her tremendous progress…We went to check out a park in Spring Lake, which turned out to be “swarming” with people and dogs (relative to what we’re used to). I almost D-I-E-D when a woman, who was walking her dog across the street, kept staring at us while I was working Boogie, getting her attention to focus on me. I thought she was staring like, “Uh oh, pit bull”, but then she said, “Wow, great job!” – I was giddy after that! I feel so much more confident with her and in my ability to deal with situations. Recently, we passed a house with a dog on the porch, but I didn’t see the dog before he started barking. I immediately got Boogie’s attention and we crossed the street…but immediately saw a cat (which Boogie wanted to chase), so again we crossed the street…zig zagging. I kept praising and treating the entire time and she responded so well! Other than the obvious importance of this training, I know when people see a pittie with a handler who seems to know what she’s doing (thanks to you!), and is prepared, constantly monitoring, working and is focused, it HAS to make a difference in their opinion of these dogs. Thank you for helping me achieve one of my major goals, being a good breed ambassador. Boogie is a super star!
Matt – the training tools and time you devoted to us made for an exceptional transition of Wilson into our household. Bringing a new puppy into a household with Benny, a very spoiled 7-year-old, weighed heavy on us, but we have achieved a nice balance and they have become friends. Your training tips and the time we spent following your directions and protocols, along with the investment of time at puppy kindergarten, has brought us to a good place. Thank you, we are very grateful!