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Woody, a True Success Story

Woody the golden retriever

Woody was rescued by Norcal Golden Retriever Rescue in the spring of 1998. He was one and a half years old at the time, and had sustained a front leg injury by falling out of the former owner's pick-up truck. The injury necessitated amputation of the right front leg. Woody was, and is, a happy boy and he recovered quickly. When Pat, the volunteer who fostered Woody, initially evaluated him he appeared to be happy, playful, loving to people and fine with other dogs. After the "honeymoon" was over, however, some behavioral issues began to surface. Woody – who had been a single dog – was now the sixth and newest member of Pat's canine pack.

Food bowl and toy aggression soon became apparent. Socially Woody began looking worried and nervous whenever an intact male was around. Soon he began growling at these intact dogs and not long after began viciously attacking them. The problem progressed to Woody attacking any dog, male or female, whom he did not know. Obviously a dog like this cannot be adopted from a rescue group, so Pat adopted Woody.

Thankfully, shortly after his adoption, Pat heard about Martina. Martina invited Woody and Pat to observe her growl class. When Martina first met Woody she could not believe he was so naughty. Woody is so cute and adorable. However, Martina soon saw Woody's other side. Her diagnosis was fear aggression. One could actually read his mind...."I need to kill this dog before he kills me." Woody was so frightened that he initially kept his back to the class and refused to look at any of the unfamiliar dogs. Woody was very obedient and knew all the basic commands, so general obedience training was not an issue. When the session was over it was apparent Woody needed more than basic obedience. By coincidence, Martina was just starting her special dog aggressive class.

That class was the answer Pat, Woody and Martina had been looking for. Today Woody is totally socialized and can actually help his mom, Pat, foster new dogs brought into NGRR rescue. Woody can also be loose in the front yard while Pat does gardening and Woody will greet other dogs walking by. Woody is now the normal happy Golden Retriever the world has come to know and love and expect.

From a Welsh Corgi (ghostwritten by his person):

A welsh corgi

My name is Willie and I am a three year old Pembroke Welsh Corgi. My full name is "Brnayr Where There's a Will"– so that should give you some idea of my strong personality! When I was just a pup, my mistress, Robbie, called Martina Contreras complaining about my amazing ability to transform her trousers into swiss-cheese... When Robbie was down to her last pair, "Professor" Martina appeared at our house and within an hour I had developed a new capacity to distinguish between humans and sheep! Martina gently taught me not to nip at people, and I am a happier dog for it. ...I have Martina's excellent training to thank for my happy social life. Sometimes we take a class from Martina just for the fun of it. She never fails to make my mistress laugh and I just adore her– the way she reads my mind makes me think that Martina is actually a dog in human guise. I'm now learning to herd sheep and I'm enrolled in an agility class– such fun!! I've come a long way and I owe a big juicy bone to Professor Martina for her wonderful teaching skills! In short, I highly recommend her classes to all human and dog-beings– she's the Best Teacher Ever. Willie and R.R., Half Moon Bay

More comments from Martina's clients:

The highest compliment I can think of for Martina is that she makes dog-training fun. She's entertaining and engaging to both the dogs and their alleged masters, and this is what makes her effective. The key to training our dogs was to train *us* first. Because Martina makes learning training skills fun, you learn these skills more quickly and they stay with you. It makes the entire experience of dog ownership more enjoyable and rewarding. J.T., Los Altos

I was delighted with Martina's beginner class. She made training my Basset puppy an enjoyable experience for both me and Oliver. He and I have gained much respect for each other because of this class. Training is done in a straightforward, easy to understand manner. Martina is an expert on dog psychology, so you learn why your dog learns commands, not just how to give the commands. A.S., Cupertino

Martina and her class were the greatest! I cannot praise her enough. Beyond her exceptional knowledge and expertise, and her instinctual gift with animals, there was also her fabulous enthusiasm. She immediately became thoroughly acquainted with each dog and its owner(s), following their progress with great interest and insight. Martina was always able to spot a problem and address it in such a way that it became instructive for the entire class. We all felt that she genuinely cared for each dog as an individual - that her concern went well beyond that of a mere teacher/trainer. She remembered every detail, and whenever you called her at home she responded so quickly! Finally, mention must be made of Martina's incredible sense of humor. (She could succeed as a stand-up comedian!) Martina is truly an expert - fully knowledgeable about all breeds, training techniques, problem solving and she is genuinely gifted in her dealings with both people and animals. K.T., Los Altos

First I would like to thank you so much for all of your help and guidance. Our friends tell us all the time what a change they notice in Buddy. When we came to you, I was at the end of my leash with Buddy, as his behavior was having a significantly negative impact on my friendship with a dear friend; now she is one of the people who tell others how far Buddy has come. Buddy may never be dog park material, but without your guidance he wasn't looking like he could be walked in the neighborhood. I know we have come a long way, and we may have a long way to go; but I have hope now that I have never had before. Laura & Steve D, San Jose

When I first met Martina Contreras, she had just completed hand signal training for a deaf pit bull mix, named Rosie, at Pets In Need. This dog was so sweet, and I remember in the follow up with Martina about this dog, she had just found the perfect home for her with a woman that was hearing impaired herself.

Martina is a committed dog behaviorist/trainer. She gives her all, which always means she gives her hearts to the dogs she encounters (one of her many charming traits). Professionally, Martina's wisdom and helpfulness has always been something I can and will continue to count on, since as a pet care provider, I often come across dogs that have behavior issues. I've also had to call on Martina's expertise in evaluating various situations, in which she was always ready to help a client or me with questions (e.g. a couple with a family dog that is expecting a baby, and how to adapt the dog before hand in prepping for the baby's arrival). I can't count the number of times I've given Martina's number out to someone that has presented a dog issue to me, and she's helped them out by just offering suggestions and pointers on a situation.

You always know a dog that's been Martina trained. They are quiet as a "mouse" (her pet name for her students), and they stop and sit at every corner on their walks. A.P., of Furry Friends Pet Sitting Services