I have known Karen for nine years and have witnessed her interaction with our dogs as well as others.
I obtained a puppy about a year ago that unfortunately had a scarey experience with a buck at a young age. Since that time he has been scared of everything including people outside of our family. His reaction to strangers was agressive to the point I hesitated to take him off of our property. He became terrified of our horses and even our cat.
Karen came to our home and evaluated the situation and then returned for a session on leash training since Bo also had issues with pulling on the leash. She also worked with him around our horses helping him overcome his fears and helping him build self confidence.
We recently met at Tractor Supply to help Bo with his fear of strangers. His behavior has completely changed after basically one and a half sessions. Karen has provided me with the knowledge and tools I need to deal with Bo's problems.I know that she is always there if I need additional help. I would recommend her to anyone needing help with their dogs. She approaches training with positive reinforcement of good behavior instead of punishment for incorrect behavior.
Karen was recommended to me by my cousin Sterlene Vincent for boarding our two labs this past year. My dogs have stayed at Kamar's Bed-N-Biscuit Pet Resort on numerous occasions, and I feel they have really enjoyed their visits while there.
Karen is very knowledgeable about the care and security of each and every animal that visit at the pet resort. I felt so confident about Karen’s knowledge of dogs that I recently hired Karen to help me with dog training for my 7 month old high energy lab, Gus. Through Karen’s positive training, he has come a long way as far as his aggression towards food and our family. He is much calmer, listens more intently, and responds to my commands. He has really learned a lot (as well as myself), and I owe it all to Karen!!
Karen is very patient and understanding with Gus, and always keeps her promise to be at my home on time with every appointment. I am so glad that I found her when I did because Gus was a much harder puppy to train than any puppy I have ever had before.
I highly recommend Karen at Savvy Pooch K-9 Training for all of the support and guidance you need with your loving pets. She has a good heart, very knowledgeable in canine behavior, and she definitely loves what she is doing...
Almost 15 years ago, my then boyfriend, and I pick up Buddy, our sweet yellow lab from Karen. He was an awesome dog, but we lost him 2 years ago. We immediately knew we wanted another dog from Buddy's bloodline and looked up Karen. We lucked out to find that Annie, who was from Buddy's mother's bloodline, was hoping to have a litter in the fall.
We could tell that Karen was very particular about who she would sell puppies to when we met with her to see the parents, Chase and Annie. We were lucky to make the cut, but happy that she wouldn't sell to just anyone. It showed us how much she cares for her pups.
We loved looking at the pictures of the puppies on Facebook and we were so excited to come down and pick up puppy. Champ is the most awesome dog ever! He is the smartest dog I've ever owned and has tons of personality. Karen had already started working with his training socialization. The day we brought him home, he already knew to sit beside us as we worked around the house.
Champ is a happy, energetic dog. We couldn't love Champ more and are so thankful that Karen is so conscientious about her puppies. Champ is probably the most photographed dog in Dallas. I've attached some of my favorite pictures of him.
Jenny & Neal Sivie
Posted: Saturday, March 5, 2011 4:48 pm
Betty Taylor, For the Herald-Zeitung Herald-Zeitung
NEW BRAUNFELS — They have long been known as man’s best friend and often answer to the name of Max, Spot or Champ. Dogs are known for their loyalty and undying love for their owners.
A group of dog owners met on a recent Tuesday night at VFW Post 8315 in Schertz to build on those well-known traits of their pets and expand on them even further, hoping to train them as therapy dogs.“A therapy dog is basically a trained dog that goes out and provides services to different groups and events,” said Karen Minson, owner of Paws 4 Hearts Working Therapy Dogs of Spring Branch. “We have gone to nursing homes, Yellow Ribbon Program Events (helping military and families connect before, during and after deployments), R.E.A.D. events (helping kids with reading events) and with the Wounded Warrior Project.”
A therapy dog is basically a trained dog that goes out and provides services to different groups and events," said Karen Minson, president of Paws for Hearts Working Therapy Dogs of Spring Branch. "We have gone to nursing homes, Yellow Ribbon Program Events (helping military and their families connect before, during and after deployment), R.E.A.D. events (helping kids with reading events) and with the Wounded Warrior Project."
Minson and her team provide training for dog owners wishing to get their dogs certified as therapy dogs. She opened Paws 4 Hearts about a year ago, and since then, her therapy dogs have helped people in ways almost too numerous to count.
“For stroke victims, for example, our dogs are trained to lie still while patients practice brushing the dog’s hair,” Minson said. “We tell them the dog’s name, and then, a few minutes later, we will ask them, ‘Now, what is the dog’s name?’”
For patients undergoing physical therapy, say, on their leg, therapy dogs can get up on the table with them. The therapy dog can have his leg exercised at the same time the patient is undergoing physical therapy for his leg. Minson said the sight of a dog lying on a table having its leg exercised usually has patients laughing.
“It keeps their mind off the pain,” Minson said. For some, it’s also much easier to talk to a dog than a human. Minson and her therapy dogs work with the Guadalupe Child Advocacy program in Seguin to help kids who have been abused. Dogs are non-judgmental, and they want to please. It is why they are perfect, Minson says, to serve in so many capacities as therapy dogs.
During the most recent therapy dog training, Minson greeted a 14-week-old yellow lab, a Black Mouth Cur, a black lab and a Sheltie. They all seemed to follow basic commands and all seemed eager to get started with their training. The class is a once-a-week, six-week class and is open to all breeds.
“We begin with an evaluation,” Minson said. “We’ve taught everything from pure breed to pure mutt.” The main thing Minson looks for during evaluation is a willingness to get the job done — both by the dog and the handler. Even dogs who were at first afraid of their own shadow have successfully passed the program. They just need to show a willingness to learn, Minson said.
Dogs cannot be officially certified until they are 1 year old, but Minson suggests training them much sooner. “We can always give them the test when they turn 1 year old,” she said. Therapy dogs must stay up to date with recertification each year.
For Eli and Krystal Cruz of Cibolo, it just seemed like a natural fit to train their 14-week-old yellow lab, Chunk, as a therapy dog. “We’re both military,” Krystal said. “I am a military working dog trainer at Lackland. I’m hoping he can be a therapy dog for Intrepid and Fisher House for Wounded Warrior.”
Sarah Dietrich of San Antonio said she knew when she and her dog, Sahara, found each other that Sahara would be a good therapy dog. Sahara is a Black Mouth Cur. “I knew what therapy dogs were because I grew up on a therapy (horseback) riding farm,” said Dietrich, who is originally from Pennsylvania.
Minson’s own dog, Chase, a 9-year-old yellow lab also wears a PTSD badge on his certification jacket — indicating he is a certified therapy dog also trained in helping those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The retired champion show dog works patiently with Minson. He lies motionless on the table as Minson moves him around. She demonstrates how she moved him further away on the table to help a patient who needed coaxing out of her wheelchair for physical therapy. “What I told her was, ‘I think Chase sure would like a hug,’” Minson said. “And I think it was the first time she had gotten up out of her wheelchair in a week.”
One can never know for sure, but perhaps one of Chase’s favorite parts of his job is the pet massage. What looks like a smile seems to curl from his lips as Minson gently massages his fur, explaining how important this simple act is in helping stroke victims with their physical therap