Working with Grace has been the best thing we've done for our Formosan Mountain Dog, Bento, as well as for ourselves! We got Bento in March 2019. At first, all seemed good and well, but then little things started happening here and there that started to get us worried. Random barking fits at supposedly random dogs and strangers. Fearfulness when people came over or when over at other people's houses. Our "dog manners" class we had signed up for recommended identifying his triggers, then counter-conditioning to them, but we just didn't see that as a real solution, especially since part of our issue seemed to be the randomness of it all. We tried classes, and we consulted with other trainers, but none of it seemed to help.
Prior to adopting Bento, I had done a lot of research into dog training and positive reinforcement training. I was made to feel like there was a "right" method for training your dog. Working with Grace has helped me realize, it's less about the dog and more about you. She teaches you about how to read your dog's behavior, recognize signs of stress, and teaches you strategies for how to deal with stressful situations when they happen. Stressful things still happen, but now we are prepared when they do happen.
I also love that she focuses on teaching your dog how to relax and be calm. We've noticed that since we've practiced being calm with Bento, he's been able to recover more quickly when stressful situations happen. We've also seen TONS of improvement during our walks. Bento was a puller and loved to take the lead on our walks. These days, he's much better about walking at our pace and following our lead!
We've been working with Grace since August 2019, and over the 7-8 months we've been working with her, our relationship with our dog has changed dramatically for the better! If you're feeling lost in what to do about your dog's behavior, Grace will definitely help!
Grace from Mensa Mutts has been a godsend!
We adopted our beloved Jazmine from Adopt a Doggie 2 years ago from Taiwan and all started out well. But then, we had an incident where Jazmine attacked another dog. There were extenuating circumstances around this incident which did not make it all of Jazz's fault, however, after that she became fearful/aggressive towards certain dogs as well as a bit anxious in general.
After her being one of the friendliest dogs in the neighborhood and a pretty chill dog to begin with, this change was pretty upsetting. I looked into other trainers and was not comfortable with their methods, nor did they really address the issue.
Finally, I found Grace! It's been a bit of a journey and we are not 100% there, but with Grace's guidance, commitment from me and my family, and a bit of work, I have to say that Jazz is becoming the dog of my dreams!
Her 'anxiousness' has decreased considerably and her fearful/aggressiveness towards other dogs has started to diminish considerably. Most importantly, Grace has helped and given me the skills to help Jazz become the best dog she can be.
Grace has helped me realize that it isn't necessarily the dog that is the issue, but the person that needs the help/training. I'm becoming more 'in tune' with my dog and able to read her signs quicker and have more confidence in how to react and manage situations.
My confidence has given Jazz more confidence which in turn has led to a better me, a better Jazz, and a better relationship between us. Thank you Grace for all you do for dogs and their people!
OMG!!! I can't say enough about what a miracle Grace has been!
This is our 3rd Taiwan dog that we have adopted and unfortunately he came to us with very high anxiety around people, especially men. We are thinking that he was abused before he got to us.
We had gone to 3 trainers, all who said that we would have to live with him the way he was or keep him on CBD to keep his anxiety controlled, which I might add, made him crazier.
I was referred to Grace, thinking, OK, give ANOTHER trainer a try, and all I can say is that I am so glad we did.
She has a calmness about her and a knowledge of how to work with these high anxiety dogs that is amazing.
When she first met our pup, she said 'oh yea, he has hope', and we thought yea right. He was sitting in his crate, backed in a corner and shaking. At the end of the first session, with Grace's instruction for us, he was no longer shaking and was actually laying down, peeking at Grace over his bed.
From that day, it only got better with us doing our 'homework' from Grace and occasional email questions, our pup was able to 'relax' himself when his anxiety kicked in.
Our biggest and proudest moment that I have to tell about and give Grace so much credit for, is that we could NEVER get our pup to go on a walk by himself (we have 3 dogs) or even get past our driveway without putting up a fight of jumping and twisting and pulling to go back home. If he did go on a walk with the other 2 dogs, he would pull, jump and try to run if he saw a stranger or heard loud noises.
After working with Grace and teaching our pup how to relax himself, Grace decided it was time to try him with the walking. In ONE session of working to get him to go out on a walk alone, I am SO happy to say that after 3 weeks of 'homework', our pup is able to go out on walks by himself, walks right by our side, no pulling, jumping or twisting and when there is a stranger walking toward him, we have him sit and relax himself and he lets the stranger walk by with no anxiety! He even looks forward to his walks alone now and he walks with a wagging tail!
We really can't thank Grace enough for all that she has done to help 'train' us to train our pup.
Thank you Grace!!!!
The search is over, you have found your trainer! Grace is the best! If you have a fearful and/or anxious dog, Grace has the tools to help you and them have a calmer, more peaceful life.
Our dogs (both adopted from Taiwan) barked at every neighbor and every dog on the block constantly. Including anything that moved past our house, be it a person or a fly. We also couldn't go on a walk without an incident involving our "crazy" dogs lunging and barking the entire time. The neighbors looked at us like we were crazy. We felt so bad that we couldn't control our dogs!
It's been 3 months working with Grace and we are blown away with the results! After Day 1 we began to see positive changes. Both dogs are so much happier and more relaxed overall. Their personalities have blossomed more and more each day and it is clear they can work through their fears and anxieties. We can now successfully take them both in the front yard without them going nuts. And after what we learned in today's session, we will be starting regular walks again. This is a huge accomplishment!
Looking forward to seeing both of our pups continue to learn and grow. Thank you Grace!
March 2018 we adopted our Taiwan dog/FMD Molly. From the start she was nervous and fearful but also reactive towards people. At first she would just avoid them or growl, but this soon escalated in her barking, charging, jumping and nipping. Several FMD owners we met recommended Grace so we scheduled a phone call through her website. We got so excited we scheduled our first session immediately at the end of the phone call.
I love how Grace doesn't focus on obedience but starts at the root of the problem. Basically all our homework focuses on helping/teaching Molly to calm down and relax. First we practiced a LOT at home but eventually we noticed we were able to use these techniques in any situation! (from nail clipping to scary situations outside you name it)
It's been about 5/6 months now and Molly isn't just able to calm herself down much easier but is also happier in general. It's the first thing people notice when they haven't seen her in a while :)! Of course we do every now and then get into a situation that's still too much for her, but because of what Grace taught us we are now able to see it coming and help her out. We will definitely keep working with Grace and I'm very excited to see what Molly will be like in a year or so!
A year ago, I adopted a 6 month old Formosan Mountain Dog. My dog had a fear of strangers and was extremely sound sensitive.
He would constantly bark at random sounds and any strangers he saw on our walks. It was impossible to walk him without coming back home burnt out. He was afraid of everything and I was sad that he lived his life in fear and wasn't able to be happy in his daily life.
I was referred to Grace for help training my fearful dog. After going through her program, I was able to learn how to recognize when my dog was calm or needed a little help remembering to calm down. I think the most valuable things for me were learning how to read my dog and how to react in different situations.
After my first few sessions with Grace, I had developed a solid set of skills to use when managing my dog's anxious behaviors. It has been a while since my last session with Grace, but I've been using the skills I learned and my dog has been able to grow amazingly well. Where he used to nonstop bark at sounds or strangers, he now only lets out a soft woof and lets me help calm him down. I'm excited to continue working with Grace!
Grace has turned my Polly into a brand new dog! She was pretty reactive toward strangers and other dogs, very fearful and would growl/bark at them.
Grace identified that she wasn't aggressive but more untrusting of others and her training consisted of exercises to help her gain more confidence and trust. We never thought Polly would be able to be crate trained because as a puppy she absolutely HATED it and would break out of it. But now she sleeps perfectly through the night everyday and enjoys it as her little safe space in the day.
Polly has made so much progress and Grace has been able to provide us with tips/exercises that are easily digestible and actually DOABLE. 10/10 would recommend grace!!
We first met Grace in fall of 2018. I had scheduled a "Dream Dog" phone consultation because we were at wits end trying to help our then 11 month Taiwan dog mix with her fear issues. She was a rescue with a known traumatic event as a pup and came to us with tremendous fear of people, dogs, and nearly any new situation. Like many other fearful dogs, her fear was evolving into aggressive-appearing behaviors as she unsuccessfully struggled to cope with her overwhelming fears. Our family came to know that when she was not feeling the stress of a fearful state, she is a sweet, loving, playful and funny girl, who would much rather cuddle and play than anything else. We felt so sad that she lived in the constant stress of fear, but all of the training and recommendations that we had tried so far did not seem to be making a significant difference. The consultation call lasted about 1.5 hours and Grace impressed me that the first thing that she wanted to do was listen to us talk--to gain a detailed understanding of our dog's story, her behaviors, their impact on our lives, our goals for our girl and how she would fit into our family life. She encouraged us to look beyond our limited goals--goals which had become increasingly modest as we grew to doubt that she would never overcome her fear behaviors.
Grace then spoke about the goal of building confidence within our dog. That gaining real confidence, as opposed to us trying to distract her from fear with obedience tasks, would give her the internal coping skills to deal with her fear triggers. It rang true for us--that this is what we were looking for so we signed on to do the intensive program for our dog.
Over the four months since then, our little dog as come a very long way. Grace came to our home regularly and gave us a variety of "homework" tasks. I recall that when I was first introduced to the early homework assignments, it couldn't help wondering how those simple tasks would make a difference, but we trusted in Grace's experience and did our homework with our dog. Within the first two week interval, we saw improvement in her ability to reach a relaxed state. Over time the homework involved introducing new locations and challenges into the routine, but always with the goal of allowing her to work out how to become relaxed. Grace gave us the tools to help our dog. It felt great to see that she was gaining the skills and confidence to be calm and happy, even in locations that were once scary for her.
We know that these changes like building confidence take time, but we are very grateful for Grace's insights and detailed and personalized guidance to help our dog. Grace is always responsive to our questions, and we never feel rushed during our sessions. Grace's passion for helping and truly understanding dogs like ours, who are probably the most challenging pups out there, is really amazing. And thank goodness she has that passion, because we have gained so much hope and such a better of quality of life with and for our dog with her help.
We were referred to Grace after we got a FMD/Lab mix dog from Taiwan. We had her for a few days and she was showing what we thought were signs of aggression (barking/snarling at strangers and other dogs, especially in our house) - we reached out to Grace in a panic and she was very responsive on Facebook, we sent her videos and she provided digital support and we were able to set up an appointment almost immediately with her.
She came over and was able to get our pup under control in a matter of minutes (and explain that she wasn't aggressive, simply scared and needed a confident leader) and gave us several techniques to work on that helped her become more confident, calm and learn to soothe herself.
We have worked with her for a number of months in a variety of settings (our home, her home and out a cafe with lots of strangers) and she has helped us with our leadership style with our dog and helped the pup feel more confident. We also did the board and train when we went out of town and that helped immensely with our dog's treatment as well. We would definitely recommend Grace for dog training, especially for shy/nervous pups!
I am so happy I reached out to Grace at Mensa Mutts! Grace is not only a fabulous trainer, she's a wonderful human being!
I initially reached out to Grace because my dog Bentley would bark and lunge at other dogs while on walks. In addition, he was a door dasher! I needed training in order to provide Bentley with the necessary guidance to ensure he was safe at all times.
Then, after chatting with Grace, we decided that Daisy, my tripod, also needed a bit of training because she had not been very self-confident especially after getting hit by a car and losing her leg several summers ago.
Fast forward four months with Mensa Mutts and Bentley is no longer a door dasher, certainly doesn't bark as much and is much more fun to walk! Oh, and Daisy is becoming a self-assured dog again - yes, she's getting her groove back!
More about Grace: she listens; she provides simple instructions; she corrects me without judgment; she is always on time; she gets me and my pups!
Grace is everything we needed and my pups - and I - are much happier. Thank you, Mensa Mutts!
We first contacted Grace at Mensa Mutts after our dog nipped at worker at a potential boarding place when he tried to put on her leash. We had adopted our Taiwan/FMD dog Nina two months prior. She was also extremely fearful of new people, sudden noises, self-opening doors, and would bark frantically at people/dogs when they walked by the house.
Grace gave us techniques/tools to help Nina calm herself and be less fearful. Grace was positive and lots of fun to work with. Nina is a different dog from the one we first brought home. Friends and neighbors continually comment on how relaxed and calm she is, and we owe that all to Grace. She is amazing!
We've just had one session with Grace so far, but I am already thrilled with the results. Our dog Jodie is scared of most strangers and can be territorial in our home. We love to entertain in our home, so this has been a problem. Jodie has growled at people, tried to nip at people, etc., so we just stopped inviting people over for a while.
When Grace came over, she gave us some simple techniques to stop the behaviors we weren't happy with. While simple for us to do, we never would have come up with these techniques on our own.
We had a dinner party last night with 6 people and didn't know how it was going to go. We tried out the techniques Grace taught us and Jodie was AMAZING. She just slept or relaxed near the table while we ate. I am so thankful Grace helped us. We got immediate results and get to continue living our lives again.
Close to three years ago, my wife and I rescued a Spaniel mix that we named Summer. She's a great dog, perfect in every way. I like to think it's due to me being a graduate from the University of Dog Whisperers, (taught by Prof. Cesar Millan), that allowed me to leverage the knowledge from "Pack Leader 101" to properly train her. This was great for me (A.K.A, PACK LEADER), but turned out not so much for my wife. You see, she claimed, when taking our dog for walks, Summer would bark at other dogs or chase (or lunge) after squirrels. I shared Prof. Millan's video curriculum with my wife, and reminded her that she needs to "Exert dominance!" and "You need to show Summer YOU are pack leader". Eventually, we (okay, maybe I) concluded that Summer would consider herself pack leader over my wife on their walks. The barking and chasing of squirrels? C'est la vie.
Around the beginning (or middle) of this year, my wife and I noticed a new dog owner with an extremely well behaved dog. While Summer rarely barked at other dogs when I walked her, I definitely noticed a (stark) contrast between the other dog and Summer. A few months later, we noticed the dog owner with ANOTHER extremely well behaved dog. This continued, with this dog owner constantly showing up Summer with her well behaved dogs.
"I should talk to her", my wife remarked.
"You just need to be PACK LEADER", I would respond.
It pains me to share what happened next. You see, as PACK LEADER, you take great pride in your pack. While walking with my wife and Summer, we passed two young kids on skateboards. Summer, our sweet little Spaniel mix who barks at dogs and chases squirrels, did something she's never done before. She lunged at one of the kids passing by (which, obviously spooked him).
"That's it, I'm talking to the dog walker the next time I see her!", my wife said.
She found out that the dog owner, Grace, was indeed a dog trainer. My wife explained our issues, and specifically the barking at other dogs and lunging/chasing after squirrels. Grace offered to evaluate Summer and then would recommend a plan to train her. Grace explained that she offers different options, with a more aggressive in-home option for dogs that require a bit more work (which explained the new and different dogs we would see with Grace). The day came for Summer's first session with Grace, and my wife expected the worst. When Grace returned, she gave us her assessment:
Turns out that while Grace did observe some issues with Summer, she was able to correct them quickly. This ability to correct allowed Grace to conclude that it wasn't so much Summer, as it was maybe more the handlers. She asked my wife and I to join her for a quick walk, to observe how we handled Summer. Grace quickly corrected some issues, and in less than ten minutes, my wife and I were believers. Summer walked pass dogs without barking. She ignored those pesky squirrels (and birds). When ANOTHER dog would rile her up, Grace explained how we could address that situation.
We had two more evaluation sessions, and during each session, Grace shared her knowledge with us. She taught us how to calm our dog and explained how the calming exercise could re-enforce Summer's state of mind (between "active" and "relax"). She provided more techniques during walks, which made a huge difference for not only my wife, but myself. And finally, she answered all questions my wife and I had, explaining WHY the things she suggests work (basically the science behind it).
After three sessions, my wife and I were 100% sold on Grace. What she did with Summer (and more importantly, me and my wife) was amazing. I thought, as PACK LEADER, I was doing a good job handling Summer. Grace showed me ways to improve, and improve they did. Here's the kicker: What she suggested didn't involve exerting MORE dominance to become even MORE PACK LEADER. In fact, my walks with Summer changed from a more "controlling" walk to a much more "relaxed" one for both of us.
We still see Grace every other day or so, walking her own dog or a new client dog, and they're ALWAYS well behaved! However, since she records her sessions, you can see the progression and work to get to that stage. Seeing Grace walking a new, well-behaved dog, and then watching the video of their FIRST session together, amazes me. It truly is an art, and Grace is a master artist.
My wife and I totally recommend Grace and Mensa Mutts for anyone looking to train their dogs! You will not be disappointed!!
I contacted Grace after having poor experiences with other trainers, all of whom said that my rescue dog Harvey was dog-aggressive.
She showed my family that Harvey's behavioral issues actually stem from being anxious and fearful, requiring confidence work. Grace has a calm, assertive and patient presence as well as methodology.
She takes the time to really get to know the animals and families she works with to create tailor made, easy to complete strategies that get results. After working with her for just a few months/sessions, Harvey has already shown big improvements becoming more calm, confident and happy. Walks with Harvey encountering other dogs are getting increasingly more manageable. I'm excited to continue working with Grace!
Grace is an amazing trainer for our pups and us! She has taken the time to get to know us as well as Daisy and Dexter. Grace's knowledge of animals and people is outstanding. She brings insights into how to bring the best from our dogs and ourselves.
After losing our previous dogs, we decided to adopt from a rescue. Daisy and Dexter were abandoned on the streets of Michigan. The shelter could only tell us they thought they were about a year old and a bonded brother and sister, so would be adopters had to be willing to adopt them together. We knew we wanted a credentialled professional to work with us one-on-one. We weren't sure where to go to find the person that we would be comfortable with and create a positive learning environment for us. Then, we heard of Mensa Mutts and did some research. From the very first call, we felt connected with Grace and have been thrilled that she is sharing her knowledge and techniques for the benefit of our fur babies!
As we've been discovering Dexter and Daisy's personalities, Grace has been incredible with teaching us what to look for, how to provide them consistency through our 'homework' and live a better more "chill" life together.
We highly recommend Grace and Mensa Mutts to anyone with a pet(s).
She is holistically a kind, gifted and wonderful person!
Grace is absolutely wonderful! She helped me get over the last few hurdles of training my pup Shadow. She is a very happy confident pup that can now relax more on our walks and outings with less pulling/tugging. She is now more relaxed with very busy/noisy/loud situations such as the BART station near our house. Grace was just what she needed to be a better pup.
I totally recommend this trainer! She's a previous client of mine, who left her office day job to start her own dog training business. Her personal business took off almost immediately with no surprise, as her love and passion for dogs is no secret! Honestly, it was almost impossible to have a training session without covering the topic of dog training, which was super helpful to me, because my dog was a monster before the time I met her. How advantageous it was for me to have a dog trainer as a client, who I could ask away all my dog training problems--from dog aggression toward other dogs, to crate training… to getting him to stop eating off the table, you name it!!
Admittedly, for the first couple years of Koa's life, he lived outside, because no one in my family could handle him. With him being the first big dog that my family has owned, we had no idea how to train him. If you've only had small dogs, let me tell you this: your dog can get away with misbehaving, merely because of the fact that he/she is small. Consider this.. big dog running between your legs and jumping on you vs. small dog doing thing same thing? Big dog jumping and running around, up and down your couch & bed vs. small dog? This is the worst: big dog dragging you on the leash vs. small dog?
Finally, I couldn't take it any more and Grace seriously gave me hope that my dog wasn't a lost cause. If anyone of you knew Koa as a puppy, you knew how crazy he was before! Now, after only six sessions of training, he's a house dog, who can be walked IN PEACE.
Don't give up on your dog, if he's a little/big monster. Dog training is an investment, but IT IS SO WORTH IT. My family now can't get enough of my dog. Come to this workshop! It's free and Grace Henke at Mensa Mutts knows what she's doing. Take my word for it.
Grace is a dog whisperer! We adopted our dog about a month ago and he was having problems with strangers. She came over on Saturday and of course he loved her and didn't show any of the issues we have been having. It was the best stranger visit ever!
She gave us some wonderful tips, we were able to try them today and it worked! A simple tip as stepping on his leash while at a restaurant made all the difference! I highly recommend Grace and will be keeping her on speed dial!
Merielle and Andy Olson
Andy and I want to thank you for a most rewarding experience. You were recommended to us by the FMD club on Facebook. I had posted something about needing a trainer for a shy and fearful pup. Your name came up several times.
Willa, our pup, was lunging and barking at friends and family members. We were clueless as to a solution.
Your calm and gentle approach helped us deal with Willa and interpret her needs. Turned out, she's not aggressive, just shy and insecure.
The unique bridging method you taught us helped immensely. She seems to know that we will protect her, that we can handle it. We learned that she can get overstimulated and to read her signs that she needs to calm down and be removed from the stimulus. She now loves her crate and sometimes goes to it voluntarily to calm herself. The massage helps, also.
The most important lesson was to believe in her goodness and willingness to be a well-behaved pup. The training is on-going. It's a full time job. Willa still has her issues, but we are committed to being loving and consistent doggy parents.
We are grateful to have found you, Grace, and wish you all the best in your endeavors. We will continue to recommend you to anyone who needs a trainer.
It's hard to describe how much Grace/Mensa Mutts has helped our dog, Jodie.
We also worked wtih Grace again before the arrival of our new baby. She helped us come up with concrete tactics we could apply in our household once the baby came. As a result, the dog welcomed the baby into our home (even though she normally doesn't like new people) and she even wags whenever she's near the baby.
Grace feels like a true partner to us. We asked her to board Jodie while we were in the hospital having the baby and Grace was on call for us. With just a few hours notice, she was able to pick up our dog while we rushed off to UCSF.
Jodie is a fearful, but curious dog. If you have a dog that is fearful or shy, Grace can really help bring out their confidence, so they can be the best version of themselves. We love Grace and are thrilled to recommend her to anyone.