Hi everyone, I’m Amanda, Two Wheels Four Paws’ second trainer and HB’s other half. I realize I haven’t formally introduced myself, and I’d like to take the time to tell how I became affiliated with TWFP. Brace yourselves; I’m starting from the beginning! I had two dogs before starting my life with TWFP, Juno the Doberman and Spotted Dog the Catahoula x Border Collie.
I had been living in Woodbridge working in Fairfax when I met Spotted Dog (SD), he had bitten someone at a mere 14 weeks old and was facing possible euthanasia if his aggression was genetic. Being a Catahoula, this was likely. SD was 5 months old when I met him. Even though Juno and I were living in a group home with several other people, my landlord thought he was “small and adorable” so I could keep him. Life went on, he was so smart, willing to please, and damn cute. I wanted to try the ALL POSITIVE training route! Things were going great!!.. Until adolescence.. I was working in Doggy Daycare and everyone was pushing me to neuter him, his aggression would get better.. He wouldn’t mark in the house.. And Juno is intact so I figured altering him at 7 months would be our best option. WRONG! He got waaaayy worse! Through my own personal life turbulences, I ended up moving back down to my hometown of Fredericksburg, and SD became unmanageable. I was living in a one bedroom apartment with a family member, his dog, cat, and then my two dogs. It was pretty tight but we made it work.
At the Fredericksburg Pet Expo, I received a very vague dog trainer’s card from someone who had used him before. I stuck it in my pocket and continued at the Expo, working Spotted through distraction, and he was growling at people, dogs, and kids. About a month later, at home, he would jump on people asking for attention and then start snarling and growling at them. I decided to pick up the card and check out the website. Since I have read about and worked with dogs for years (click here to learn more about my experience) I am always skeptical of other trainers or peers in the dog world. I check out this very website, watched HB’s videos, and learned he was a Protection Dog Decoy.. I was in awe! Someone could help me identify SD’s issue AND help me along with Juno’s protection! Yes! His prices were also incredibly fair! I gave him a call and scheduled something for that coming Saturday to work with both of my dogs. Well, Friday morning came quickly and after I had taken the dogs out for a walk and was sitting down with my coffee when Spotted Dog lunged and grabbed my face. Shaken, and knowing how to stop a dog fight, I yanked the 11 month old 45 pound dog off of me. At 8:30 in the damn morning, I called HB like 3 or 4 times. I left a voicemail depicting the incident while crying. HB later called me back, agreed to meet me that evening, and push our session forward. Long story short, he deemed SD was an asshole with no boundaries and told me to correct the behavior, not ignore it. In my pursuit of All Positive, I lost one of the most important aspects of Dog Training: consequence. You can’t band-aid an issue like that, you have to confront it!
We had a very enjoyable first session, so we agreed to meet for protection work the next day. In the pouring rain, he worked my Doberman, and taught me how to catch Lucca on the sleeve. I honestly thought I was going down, the mud was slick, the dog is HUGE and powerful, and I am quite small. HB coached me through it, told me he was impressed with Miss Juno’s ability, and how I handled decoying. He asked me to take a picture with him. We did, and I had never felt so appreciated. I won’t lie, that evening I went to sleep thinking about that. We again, set up another session. This time it was to teach me how to decoy more, and I met Anna (Aw-Naw) the Malinois for the first time. At the time, she was the cutest 5 month old firecracker and belonged to a client. I had never really worked with a dog like her before, and won her over playing tug. I had chosen quite the serene place to train; it was a beautiful, quiet fall afternoon. We sat in the back of HB’s truck and chatted about all things working dog. He kept kissing Anna on the head, and I so badly wished I was that puppy. We trained again, this time he took me on business ventures with him. I assisted him in training sessions, and we got to know each other more and more. Later I hid for Twitch in her SAR training. I helped him with more sessions, and I fell asleep every night thinking about him and his life, wishing to be a part of it.
After one particular session, we were sitting at Loriella Park, and HB mentioned he needed a partner to start his working dog business. I agreed graciously, as I so badly wanted to spend more time with him doing something so close to my heart. I had become so confident, so sure of my abilities, and I could see the results with my dogs. He jokingly mentioned he once told his apprentice, Whitney, she could live in a van in his backyard and train dogs for him. I told him I would do it in an instant if my dogs could be with me. Later that week, HB assisted me in working on my parent’s farm while they were away. My mom had an accidental litter of Anatolian puppies, which we whelped together. We continued to teach and train, the following week we talked more about the role I would play within TWFP. We spent every day together, and a romance blossomed between us. We decided it would be most efficient for me to move in and start to apply my knowledge to training dogs. Within the first month I trained a dog of my own with happy results.
The following month, I had 3 dogs specifically in for MY Board and train. All the while we were traveling, doing In Home sessions all over Virginia. I hadn’t even known these places existed, and we were making money. We ate in a lot of cool places, saw a lot of beautiful sights, and to this day I could not tell you how many dogs I’ve trained. We’ve whelped our own litter of German Shepherd puppies (Twitch and Lucca babies!!), and he has “converted” me into the “elitist” GSD owner lifestyle. Yes, I don’t know if any dog will ever amount to my German Shepherd puppy. Whelping that litter, imprinting my puppy, Killian, and raising him to what he is now is my first endeavor I will have control of start-to-finish. While at the time of this post he is only 6 months old, I know he will be an unforgettable chapter in my life, in the TWFP growth, and our other endeavors. None of that would be possible if I didn’t keep HB’s card and check this website.
Together we have done so much in a short amount of time. We now have our own facility, 7 dogs (potentially 8 here soon..), a successful business, and an incredibly strong, passionate relationship- which will become a marriage this fall. I’m excited to share my own thoughts, my knowledge, and my experience with everyone who comes to our site. Thanks for reading!