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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all. I have been on and off for almost two years now on here. The last update was... I finally found a trainer suitable to send my beloved dog Apache to (I was so very wrong) for 6 to 8 weeks.. for general obedience and training, I needed the help desperately. Here comes the update.. brace yourselves.

I called a local place several times with great ratings, they never called me back and the hours of operation were kind of odd.. basically hard to reach on every possible way it seemed. SO I called a man I had previously spoken with when Apache was one... he talked to me for what seemed like an hour, soft spoken and seemed very knowledgeable.
Fast forward to 14 weeks ago, we called him once again and decided to move forward with him taking Apache to train for what the contract said 6-8 weeks.
I am first going to list the giant red flags that my stupidity apparently didn’t pick up on initially.... then I will elaborate on my ordeal and my dogs.
1) he doesn’t allow anyone to visit their dog at his place. He said it “breaks training concentration”
2) he didn’t take my dogs dog food. I have Apache on Fromm, has been for over a year. I asked and he said “oh no, he will be fine” ... odd I thought but I was a believer of his experience stupidly.
3) he asked me before he left, a little weirdly when I did a LOT of worrying and thinking... “good looking shepherd and where did you buy him again”? Weeks later that comment stuck.
4) during training he not once called to update us. Not once. I called of course and my calls were rarely if ever answered. When they WERE he bs’ed me and told me how “aggressive” Apache was and training kept being prolonged. He hung on the aggressive word many times.
5) the more I spoke I realized he sounded like a real... smooth talker. Never gave us a date when he would return our dog.
6) around week 9 I was in severe worry mode... when I spoke to him via phone, I said “ sorry I’m not trying to bug but I just... really miss my dog” his weird reply was, while chewing on food “ yep I miss mine too”. . . . Excuse me?? You have trained over 20 years and slipped and make me believe you don’t even own a pet yourself now.... I was very worried then.

Actual story now::
I found his website ***please contact OP for name/location of business***. We live in Waco... so an hour and a half drive tops. Long lengthy talk about our dog, and we moved forward and he took payment after we sent the card info. 1200 dollars for 6-8 weeks.
He used words I believed in , trust, time, getting to know my dog.... he had apparently trained thousands of dogs he claimed, and he had a very OLD but real video of him doing K9 handling in a small arena on his website. ( it was odd that the video was recorded between 1989-1992 era... all of his videos were... I’m big on the 80s and 90s so I knew they were very very old, but real nonetheless)

He came to pick up the dog at our residence. He made it seem like... a free service he enjoyed doing. I know punch me now. But... he came... we welcomed him in... Apache was muzzled immediately because he was reacting like I knew he would a stranger in the home.

He eyed the dog and talked to us over an hour in our Own HOME and used all types of technical training words hatcflew right over our heads. We were believers of him and his vast “knowledge”. So they left.

I never got calls, photos, updates... I only got verbal semi updates after I would call and call and finally get an answer or call back. I started called at week 3. Trying not to bother... but by week 10..... I spoke with a classmate in my local college who also owns a Shepherd... after she heard he was there 2 extra weeks and she saw my concern, she reached out to her trainer friend who was truly concerned as well. I got back bad info about him, she had heard through the grapevine a few bad things about this “**please contact OP for name or trainer**”. She said get your dog.

I called my husband panicked and crying, telling him I don’t care I want our dog ASAP and call him and arrange it. My husband didn’t listen to me. He got angry and said I was panicking and acting ridiculous, why would I not trust Dan and why I listening to this person at school. I was very upset, I already have severe anxiety so that day was terrible. Because Of my husband not listening to my gut feeling... 3 more weeks passed.

Almost 14 weeks into “training” and no calls still, no updates... I’d had enough. I called my breeder at this point to get help. She contacted her dear friend who trains and she called me back... wanted his info, I willingly gave... she and her friend called at different times to pretend and talk to dan about training.

I got a call back.... Jennifer you need to contact the sheriffs office in that county... get a deputy to help you and go.get.him. ASAP. She knew there were too many flags and she was worried as well.

My stupid husband (sorry but I’m still mad) finally got it I guess and realized I meant business, and we went immediately the next morning to the sherriffs office... I had a deputity follow us out there... I stayed in the car and then kind officer handled it. I had my contract for proof. It took my all to stay put in my vehicle.

Guess what... **please contact OP for name** was not there apparently, only his dope fiend looking lady trainer was... she met the officer at the gate... looked baffled and I heard her say training could take 6 months. Liar liar liar. Also I believe ***** was there on his property somewhere, he wouldn’t show face. He never in a million years expected us to show... I guess he thought he could keep stringing me along.

I know he was breeding my dog. I know it. Who knows what happened... I will never know.
When Apache finally was led out, by this woman....who couldn’t even TELL the cop his name... “oh the aggressive one?” She didn’t want us getting him back, after almost an hour of her “trying to call **** and text him” the officer said we would not leave until our dog was returned.

He came out, my beautiful dog.... panting, dirty, matted fur, he looked like a prisoner literally. No life in him.

As soon as he saw me he lit up, but he smelle like feces and urine ( I know that poor dog had been laying in his own filth day and night... NEVER has my dog smelled that bad... and I have gone 5 months without bathing him before so I know. ) his coat had never been brushed. It took me brushing him manytimes to get him looking like he did before. One bath? Wasn’t enough... he was filthy. Not dirty dog outside filth... this was terrible.

It has been two days home now... he has ainpy been sleeping. Has had some nightmares, and when I touched his neck I noticed he flinched. He’s not the same right now. He is severely traumatized and today I am seeing a bit of difference but it’s been bad.

I trusted this person... stupidly. I text him and called him, not nice things believe me... no answer. He also took his website down. You can see it online but it won’t open now.
I let him know in my texts... that I am sure he was breeding my dog without any consent.

Training??! He is the same. No leash commands, nothing at all... he literally lied to me through his teeth and probably just bred him over and over and locked him back up.

I did... what. I thought was right. I would never send him away unless I felt comfortable. This has all been a nightmare. I have cried so many tears. My husband didn’t listen to me 3 weeks ago. I just.... it’s been so bad. This man also lives on the property so it’s not like he will move, I’m sure he is devising a new plan or webpage right now. He is 62 years old.

I wrote a LONG complaint to the online BBB and am waiting for it to post, apparently he can respond.... I called the local sherriffs office again to go out there one more time... but I’m sure he did a lot of hiding his dirt in a night... so when I got a call back, the officer said there was a Pyrenees and a Rottweiler there and both had water. That’s all. No help.

I immediately took him to the vet that day I got him back, bacterial infection from eating his poop while being stuck in a cage nonstop.... and dehydration.

That’s my story.
 

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Wow. Many many times I've said, always vet a board and train place extremely carefully. You are trusting someone with your dog. It's big deal. I'm so glad to hear he made it home alive.

There are some excellent board and trains I'd recommend, but the vast majority I wouldn't even trust to board a dog. Much less train one.

File as many official complaints as you can, make your story as public as you can, and work with the Sheriff's department. Your bank may be able to help you get the money you paid him back, as well.

I hope Apache recovers and you can find a reputable, experienced trainer to help you move forward.

My heart breaks for you and Apache. I've always had the impression you care deeply for him and are trying to do your best by him.

There are some incredible trainers out there, so don't let this turn you off finding a good trainer.
 

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WOW! What a nightmare! I'm glad you got your dog back, but sorry he had to go through that. Hopefully you sharing your story will help others avoid something similar. If it were me I'd be looking into a civil suit to help you pay for your dog's rehab with a good trainer!
 

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I would be as devasted as you are. I'm so sorry this happened. Maybe the most important part to help him heal is to not treat him as a victim? I hope there will be justice for him.
 

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Oh, Jennifer...my heart aches for you. I can only imagine the rage and grief.

I would consider gathering your records and possibly filing criminal complaint for criminal animal neglect, and fraud, if you have reason to believe state laws were violated here. Perhaps talk to your local DA if the sheriff doesn't take animal complaints seriously. The complaint would be about the treatment of YOUR dog -- it doesn't matter what they've hidden about other dogs. An investigation may turn up other owners too. If necessary, see if you can have a lawyer help you write out a sworn complaint for the sheriff and insist that it be relayed to the county prosecutor. Definitely get a lawyer to evaluate whether you can file a civil complaint too!

Consider having your vet take xrays. I hate to say it, but they sometimes tell the story the dog can't tell, with records of healing fractures from being beaten. It's awful to see. We've found BBs lodged in these dogs from being shot at close range as "punishment" a few times too. I hope the xrays find nothing -- I've cried too many tears with our rescue vet over things we found, and I don't want that for you...but I'm worried by what you've described.

You've got a long road ahead of you, but he can recover psychologically. A friend is fostering one who as the same stuff from abuse -- nightmares, afraid to be touched on the neck, terrified of strangers, would shriek, splay flat on the floor pee if you picked up a shoe or lifted a hand....bad stuff. He's now about 6 months out, and doing a lot better. His foster mom is very experienced using classical counter conditioning -- which is exactly the right technique to help these dogs.

After your dog physically recovers, I would try to find a Karen Pryor certified force-free clicker trainer -- forget all the "positive training sucks" stuff you read here because the people who write that stuff haven't dealt with the kind of rehab you're likely facing. Clicker training REALLY helps these dogs who were trained abusively -- it's not right for all dogs, but it is sometimes life-changing for dogs that have had awful training experiences in the past. It may help heal your soul a little too to work with someone who is gentle and force-free.
https://karenpryoracademy.com/find-a-trainer/#!directory/map
 

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thanks for your story. I am feeling bad for you and yours. Don't you wish you could go back in time and change things? The one thing that can bring good from this is if you save someone else this grief. The cautionary tale is make sure everything a trainer or boarder does is out in the open and visible.
 

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Oh Jennifer, this made me so angry and sad, I had to log in and post immediately.

What a horrible experience for your dog!
It just infuriates me that he took a hefty training fee, and perhaps made some stud fees as well, while totally neglecting your dog and probably leaving him in a crate all day.

I can not believe that word has not spread about him sooner.
It is true that there is practically no oversight on dog trainers, and anybody can hang out a shingle and get a card.

If you do ever use a trainer again, please do it through referrals from community and friends....
Our obedience class was excellent, and it was recommended to me by several people (my friend, my guitar teacher, and another dog owner) so I felt confident about going there.

So sorry and I hope Apache gets back up to speed soon.

Re money: If you paid on your credit card, you may able to dispute the transaction, and at least get the training fee back. I got back some fraudulent web hosting charges that way.

Re trainers...people that come to mind for referrals are his breeder (if well-regarded)? the vet? or the local GSD rescue?

The frustrating thing is that for animal cruelty, it's usually a fine or a slap on the wrist.
 

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Some people are just so horrible. I'm glad you got your baby back. I had a similar thing happen to a horse of mine out on a free lease. The man almost starved him to death. Long story short I got my horse back and there was nothing they could do to the SOB legally. About a year later I heard the man had terminal cancer. I didn't shed a tear over that....Karma.
 

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I'm so sorry this happened to you and Apache. I remember when you posted about getting a trainer, and I was hoping the best for you. A similar thing happened with a local trainer near us a few months back. The owners pressed charges, and when they went public, more people came forward to say their dogs had been badly treated at this board-and-train facility as well. The dog in question was badly de-conditioned, they had pictures, and the testimony of their vet. If Apache is in really bad shape, perhaps you should seek legal advice to help prevent this person from mishandling any other dogs. :(
 

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I am so very sorry this happened and such a horrible experience.

If you charged this on your cc, especially VA or Mc, start a chargeback claim against the charges immediately. I'm on the road but wanted to offer you this. I was well versed in the charge back procedure from a business standpoint. Start the process now and the cc company can issue a temporary credit while they investigate the claim. This should only take a 15 min-1/2 hr phone call to them to start the process. Let them know the police were involved to get your dog back. They will want a copy.

If you used a debit card there may be a few procedure differences but the claim can still be made.

Again, I'm so sorry this happened. Try to stay strong for your guy.
 

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I was sick when I read your post. I remember him from previous posts as a beautiful black working line who was showing some aggression toward family members. The sad thing is that there is never an easy fix for behaviors. Even if the trainer had been very good, methods still need to be used at home correctly to stick. I looked up the name and saw a very positive internet presence. Even the Yelp reviews are good, which can happen if someone pays for bad reviews to be removed. People have used Facebook groups to reach out and find others who had similar experiences to their own, but it needs to be done in a way that can’t backfire on you. I don’t know how to do that, but someone will. There is strength in numbers. Document everything, then try to find anyone else who had a bad result from working with him. There must be others. He may have been good once, but if drugs are involved, that changes people. Just be careful what you post. If you decide to go that route get legal advice so you don’t harm yourself in the process.
 

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Another option is to file a small claims suit. These very from state to state I suspect and if you win, you would still have to collect. At least in Oregon (in days gone by - long gone by) the small claims court left collection of judgement up to the prevailing party. You could likely also file a different civil suit to claim damages beyond return of the fee.


I think most of us have done something similar - gone with something when we likely shouldn't... I'm sorry you fell for this guy's BS. More I am sorry for your dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Further digging on this terrible man...read this please..lengthy but he sounds bad..

I found this the night before we went with the deputy to get our Apache. Opinions??? I'm not too keen on these specific "laws" but from what I see...he sounds like a huge con..... this story sounds like something from that show "Dirty John" ….I mean...what do you say even....
https://www.leagle.com/decision/1987902734sw2d1681856
 

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Sounds to me like two rather questionable people .... both the person apprehended and your "dog trainer" (bailsman) Your guy doing what he thought he could get away with, the other guy not exactly a sterling character.
 

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Is there any proof or indication he bred your dog? That is a big accusation if you don’t have proof or if he didn’t. I went back and read your previous posts about your dog. You were given a lot of good input a year ago and again this last April. Your dog is a lot for your to handle. He was before, and now he seems to have been handled roughly. Have you planned how you are going to work with him from now on? Is it something you can do? I see a lot of red flags behind this recent situation. That dog deserves to be in capable hands who can give him the type of handling he needs and the time to work with him. I had some fosters that had suffered abuse or neglect and it took every bit of my time to get the dogs to the point where I could release them to a forever home.
 

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by week 3 I would have gone and got my dog. I WILL visit my dog at any trainer anytime I want since they WORK FOR ME but I will let them know I will visit.
 

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Now I am mad. If it were my dog some animal rights group would get some info >:). BBB( most people dont know how to even go to BBB's website) wont do anything and neither will the PD. Your only choice is the internet media as long as you have proof. gotta stop, making me madder.
 

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. If you decide to go that route get legal advice so you don’t harm yourself in the process.

OP - Someone has posted a negative review of this guy the other day on Yelp referring to your thread and posting the link to it. FYI


On another note, I googled every which way up and down and sideways and cannot find a single negative review on this guy.
He is even quoted from a police department on what could have went wrong with a police dog who turned on handler and had to be shot by


Did you take pics of your dog all matted? It may very well be he was kenneled in barn and had straw bedding.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
This is my response to a few who have asked “how do I know etc “ ( I’m just responding, pardon if it comes off hasty.. I’m not at all, text is impersonal)
Of course I have no actual proof. There would be no way. But... my dog was gone 13 weeks... that’s a very long time for a dog to be boarded and gone to NOT show improvement. None at all. He’s very dominant sometimes but goofy and loving too. In my opinion, he did nothing with him but probably breed him for money and string me along.

This was someone with YEARS experience okay... my dog was not so bad that you can’t get him to train or learn. Plus he is full of fear. Never fearful beforehand.

He wasn’t in a barn with hay... my husband was only allowed by the woman working there to get to a certain point, he said she was so fast when she turned her back to walk into kenneled area in the back behind the fences... he couldn’t even look in there. She didn’t want him seeing it for some reason, she literally **** the door before he could even check it out and then let Apache run out.

He took his “business website” down. Why.... would he do that. If he was innocent and knew he was innocent, he should have immediately driven to his place and talked to us. Right away. She kept saying “oh I just can’t get hold of him, I hate when he does this” ... suspicious. Avoidance to me.

He never even CALLED us back that DAY. Not to apologize or say “ why would you think these things of me?” He’s dropped off our radar completely. I’m shocked if someone with an innocent slate who wasn’t being dirty... didn’t defend themselves in the slightest. I mean he should care what a paying customer feels about him and how he handles business.

I am led to believe my dog had been kenneled up hours upon hours.... he stinks so bad still it’s unreal and it’s been 2 baths, I’m not trying to push him though so I’m waiting between bathings.

Touched his neck, he flinched and he just... layed like a zombie for two days in the corner of our house by the air vent holding his tire toy, not letting it go. I’m very serious.... for hours. Only up to drink lots of water. This was NOT his normal demeanor. At all.

Last thing... I also read the one or two articles the local news had used his reference in a Houston “dog abuse “ case or whatever.... all I can say to that is... people aren’t what they appear apparently. I read those before I ever decided to go get my dog... and was hoping something like that would clear my gut instinct and worry... but I know now that means nothing. Absolutely nothing. Nobody really knows what goes on behind a closed door.... i read those myself and was thinking “ well, he must love dogs”. Anyone who loves dogs or is trying to help, or rehabilitate them wouldn’t let them get as filthy as mine was and he also had a bacterial infection which the vet said was from unclean conditions or eating his own feces ( from being locked up too much and wanting to clean his own waste probably)

He dropped from 90 pounds roughly to 77. I know... shepherds are stressed super easily... but that’s not good.

He.never.called.us.back. Not once. Not a text. Nothing. Why??!! If it were me... and I get innocent... if they my best to get to the bottom of why someone felt so upset and fix it.

On the bbb there was another negative review of him.... basically similar situation but probably different breeed of dog. She was very angry. Her dog was in poor condition and very sick upon return. He just... brushed the whole thing off apparently.
 
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