Julia Levitt Dog Training
Julia is a proud graduate of a workshop for advanced dog trainers with Cesar Millan "The Dog Whisperer."
Julia Levitt has helped many dogs and their owners learn how to live together in harmony.
News Flash from Leah and Bob
I adopted Bob in September before moving to Ann Arbor. Not only is he the best buddy I could ever ask for, he also has a gift for making others smile with his goofy but stable personality. Our dog trainer recognized this (he actually helped her teach subsequent obedience classes as a bit of a "Teacher's Assistant" after he passed ours with flying colors), and suggested he would be a great advocate for pits everywhere as a therapy dog.
I'm thrilled to share that Bob is a registered Therapy Dog through Alliance of Therapy Dogs and Therapaws of Michigan. We had our first assignment last night, where we visited the University of Michigan Undergraduate Library during finals week and helped students relieve some stress. He did great! My hope is that when people interact with Bob, they not only have a great experience, but also lose any fear and stereotypes about this fantastic category of dogs.
COMMENTS FROM THE MOST RECENT "JULIA LEVITT DOG TRAINING" GRADUATES
me first start by saying that Julia worked a miracle for our dog Buddy, and in
turn for our family of two working adults and two active children. We had
thought that the sort of dramatic behavioral change for dogs that takes place
on shows like "The Dog Whisperer" was more entertainment than reality
television. We could not have been more wrong. Julia transformed
Buddy from an extremely anxious and stressed pet into a calm and confident dog
who is comfortable in his place in our home and our family. We will
forever be grateful.
Buddy joined our home from a shelter about four months before we hired Julia to help us. Buddy is a sweet, loving dog who wants to be around people every waking moment. When left alone, we quickly learned that Buddy would became very anxious, and ultimately started to become very destructive. He destroyed several crates to start. After we gave up on crate training Buddy (among other reasons, for his safety), he would automatically use the bathroom in the house as soon as we left, and he would run desperately from window to window looking for us until we returned. While it is flattering to be missed so much by a pet, this was obviously very unhealthy and stressful behavior. We were very concerned for Buddy's health and safety.
Before speaking with Julia, we had met and worked with several dog trainers and behavioralists to address Buddy's problems, or at least reduce their severity. Unfortunately the recommendations we received from these other trainers were either impractical or insufficient. After several weeks of training, we had made little progress in addressing Buddy's issues. Things were reaching a point where we were concerned that Buddy wasn't going to be able to continue to live with us unless we were able to come up with a dramatic change.
When we first spoke with Julia about Buddy and his problems, she reassured us that these were issues that she had seen often, that she was confident could be addressed, but that would reqiure an environment that was different from our home. We were thrilled to hear that there was a possible solution for Buddy, but wary of the thought of having to "outsource" Buddy to do it. We had heard from some of the people we met with that this "outsourced" solution wouldn't work. However, Julia noted that our busy family of two working adults and two active children was not conducive to addressing Buddy's problems. If we wanted to really "solve" his anxiety and reduce his stress, we would need to leave Buddy with Julia for a month. We agreed to do so.
Julia asked us to come visit Buddy two weeks after dropping him off. We couldn't believe the changes already in Buddy's behavior. First, Buddy was fully crate trained. This came as a complete shock. While Julia had told us she would be crate training Buddy, being able to do so in just two weeks' time seemed beyond belief. However, there was Buddy, relaxed in his crate and not panicing at all like he did when with us.
Second, Buddy was not anxious at all. He sat or laid down calmly in his "place", waiting for his next instruction. To top it off, he had become an excellent leash walker, and was very obedient while walking. To say that these changes were dramatic is a gross understatement. Buddy was the same dog but with a completely new level of confidence and reassurance.
After visiting, Julia spent another two weeks further perfecting and solidifying Buddy's skills. She even had time to teach him a few games to play with the kids.
After four weeks, it was time for Buddy to return home. While Julia had spent a lot of time with us on the phone and in person during my visit, when returning Buddy to our home, she took the opportunity to not only train Buddy, but to train all of us too. She taught us the importance of providing a calm and reassuring space for Buddy, as well as what to do when things went wrong. She worked with each of us (including the kids) for all of this and more,
The big question of course was "would it stick?" Would all of the "tricks" that Buddy had learned in Julia's care transfer to our home? Thankfully, the answer had been a resounding YES. Buddy has no problem being in his crate while we are out of the house. He is calm and confident not only when we are gone, but when we are home too. While he was always eager to please, he (and we) have learned how to channel that desire into the types of behavior that make him a valued family member -- one that we all love being with, and look forward to seeing when we return home. Julia's transformation of Buddy has been that dramatic change that we needed for him to succeed in our home.
Yogi and Debbie
We wanted to get another puppy because our Golden passed away at 13 years old. However, we had a 2 1/2-year-old dog (Yogi).
How should I say this? Yogi had no manners, and in order to bring another dog into our home we would have to train Yogi. My work schedule along with two teenagers didn't leave me much time for training. I was about to give up on bringing another puppy into our home when I remembered a personal friend telling me that she had her dog trained for a month from some awesome trainer. I called her up to ask for the trainer's name and contact information. Julia Levitt from In Harmony Dog Training in Ann Arbor. My first question to my friend was "How is your dog doing now?" I knew it had been a long time since her dog was trained. She told me he was doing great. She told me that I would be thrilled with Julia -- that she is "the real deal".
I contacted Julia and told her all about Yogi's bad behaviors. Julia told me that it was nothing she couldn't fix. I was shocked because I have been longing for guidance without criticism or judgment. I instantly liked Julia on the phone. She has a calming and reassuring tone. I couldn't wait to meet her in person. After meeting with Julia and listening to her we decided to move forward -- to turn Yogi over to her for 30 days to see if her experience (I call it magic) would work with Yogi.
Yogi issues before Julia
1. I would have to cross the street whenever people or dogs were coming toward us.
2. Yogi would bark at people who came over.
3. Yogi would jump on people who came over. (He is big so that was a huge issue).
4. He won't stay when told to stay.
5. He would chase our cats.
He was like a defiant toddler.
1. Yogi and I walk great together with people coming toward us. We avoided crowded areas. I am happy to say that we have been to Zingerman's downtown and he did great. I am so proud of him.
2. Yogi looks at me to see if he should bark or if he tries to bark I can immediately stop the behavior.
3. Yogi stays sitting or lying down when someone walks in until we tell him it's OK to get up.
4. The cats he ignores. He has even begun touching noses with them.
5. Yogi stays even when our puppy is barking for his food. He does not break until he is released.
These are only a few behaviors that Julia helped us with. I never would have believed that Yogi could change. Most importantly that WE could change. This is a dog I had to put on a vibration collar every day when I walked him to make him try to listen to me. I think the big lesson that we all learned during Yogi's 30 days with Julia and our family going over once a week was that Julia never raised her voice. I wondered how Yogi could hear her. I am thrilled to share that we do not use that fearful tone of Leave It, Don't do That, No, Wrong, etc. He has learned to pay attention to us as a family. He is focused on us and we are focused on him -- not on all the chaos that we used to focus on. Julia's calm assertive technique is now part of our daily life. We now have our dog trained and we are all calmer. I have called Julia an Angel and I mean it. She worked a miracle with our boy. She is the "Real Deal" and she walks her talk. All the time Julia spends with our family and the handouts for better understanding is part of her success. Anyone who feels like they have no time, no confidence, no skills -- I highly recommend Julia and "In Harmony Dog Training." We have the utmost respect for Julia bringing dogs into her personal home and transforming them with her family.
Our new puppy loves Yogi's manners as well.
I would be happy to answer any questions you may have, because I know I sure had a lot of them myself. So proud of The Julia & Yogi Team.
Debbie Crispin Ann Arbor 734-429-9481
Just a quick update on how we’ve been doing so far. When I got home, Bruno and I went on a long walk from Ashley St. to the Diag and back. He was stellar. When we were walking up to the Diag, there was a Golden Retriever walking toward us, trying to get Bruno’s attention, as well as trying to chase squirrels. Bruno looked over in his direction, and then just kept walking. He was distracted by the squirrels in the Diag, but he never pulled on the leash.
On the way home we walked through Nickel’s Arcade and there was a dog in there who was staring Bruno down. I, nor did Bruno, pay any attention to the dog and we walked right past it.
I had a huge smile on my face after both of these great accomplishments. He has come SO far in just a month. I’m also amazed at how well he follows all of my commands while we’re out in public.
I wanted to run up to school for a few hours to get work done, and he went right into his crate without a fight, and without crying.
This has been so wonderful!
A few months ago my sister Kandee and I adopted a five year old St. Bernard. The longer we had her the worse her behavior became. She would jump on people, and we couldn't take her for a walk. It was too hard being dragged by a 139 pound dog! It was very difficult to get her into her crate. We couldn't even open the door as Clementine (we call her “Clem”) would bolt off! The same was true about a car. She could get in, but don't open the door or out she'll fly! We didn't know what to do.
My sister was recommended to call Julia and that's what we did.
Julia began training Clem. Julia soon found that each exercise she taught Clem, and there were quite a few, Clem learned very quickly. Clem knows how to come when called – even when not on leash; she knows how to sit; go down; and go into her crate -- which we call her "castle." We are very happy she doesn't go shooting out the door of the crate into the house, and when we take her for a car ride. In each exercise Clem was a was a willing and happy "student".
What we found out is that Clem loves to please! When we have her in the backyard we call her to come, without a leash -- and Clem happily gallops over to get her reward of petting. We also found that when Clem does something worth praising, she looks up at us in a loving happy way -- as if to say "Aren't I great?" Of course we agree she is great!
I remember my sister Kandee asking Julia at the beginning of Clem's training: “Can Clem become more docile?" Well, Clem is indeed more docile. She is also more happy now -- knowing what we want her to do, and she is so happy to do everything we ask of her. We always knew Clem was smart -- but Julia helped us to realize just how smart she really is.
Rachel and Kandee Rickard
Snow is our 2 1/2 year old Golden Retriever who came to our lives and filled them with happiness and joy. Snow was the "almost perfect" dog. She was playful, always close to us, very smart, beautiful. All that we wanted in our dog. However, since her puppy times she always "had a crush" for her toys and would guard and try to keep them close to her. At the beginning we found it funny but with time it grew into a possessive behavior.
This possessive behavior turned into other problems with Snow trying to bite us and showing aggressiveness towards us in any situation where we would challenge Snow's "authority". The frequency of those occurrences increased and we got to a point of total despair for not being able to live in harmony with this dog that we love so much.
We tried everything you could imagine. Group classes, books, videos. Nothing worked. We started calling some local trainers and they would offer a "consultancy" to see Snow a few days a week and let us know what to do. Not encouraging to even start.
At a point of total panic and frustration and almost when all hope was gone we discovered Julia. From the very first conversation over the phone it was clear that she was a "different breed". It was clear that her first goal and objective was to help us and Snow. She was genuinely interested in learning and trying to understand what the problem was and how to help us. After many discussions with her and personal visits to Ann Arbor, a 2 hours drive for us, we decided that our family deserved a chance to be happy again. Not an easy decision as just the thought of being away from Snow for a month would make us cry but we convinced ourselves that Snow was going to Hogwarts, this magical place that would bring harmony back to us.
We saw the evolution week after week. We were part of the process all of the time as Julia would keep us posted daily. She would call us or email to discuss the day, send us pictures, and send us articles to read. She was clearly 100% dedicated to helping Snow and would not measure efforts in this process. She was just a pleasure to work with.
When Snow came back home we were very apprehensive. Yes, we wanted her behavior to be corrected but we were afraid that the training would have changed her into a "cold and non engaged" dog. That was not the case! Snow came back as Snow. She is still the same dog, she still likes to chew ice, lay down with us on the floor, loves to be petted while we watch TV, loves to go up on the bed. The difference, and this is not a small one, is that she does these things now when and only when WE allow her to do them. We are in control and with that Snow is a happier dog today and we are a happier family today. Simple things we would not have fun with in the past, like taking her for a walk, are very happy moments today.
A month has passed since she came back and things get better every day. Once in a while she "tests us", exactly like Julia said she would. Not a problem, we know what to do and within seconds the test is over, she understands the rules and we continue as a very happy family with our beloved Snow living in total Harmony with us and now with her new baby sister, another Golden Retriever, Rusty.
Camila Branquilo and Andre Argenton
Michelle and Luna Speak
We are going to travel to Florida this winter and I wanted to be able to walk my dog Luna downtown, on the beach, at the farmers market and all the other places I see dogs being walked in the very dog friendly town we will be staying. The only problem was Luna lacked the confidence to go anywhere, including just a simple ride in the car. She would whine constantly, was afraid, and would pull so hard on the leash it wasn’t comfortable to walk with her.
I did my research and found Julia’s In Harmony Dog Training - after talking and meeting with Julia, my husband, Steve, and I decided it was worth the commitment to Luna and her quality of life - and ours. We agreed to send Luna to Julia’s for training - it was very hard for me to think of being away from her - the timing made it even more difficult, we had just said goodbye to our beloved German Shepherd, Willie, due to cancer. It was extremely hard being away from Luna - more difficult than I expected - but we stuck with it. It’s one of the best decisions we’ve made.
Julia always has a dog owner visit their dog after being at her home for one week. When I received an email from Julia asking me not to come after the first week (Julia said Luna wasn’t ready) I was very worried and didn’t think I could follow thru with it but I knew I needed to trust Julia - I’m so glad I did.
When I was finally able to have the first meeting with Luna and Julia in Julia’s backyard, I couldn’t believe the transformation in such a short time. Julia asked me to use the -No talk-No touch-No eye contact form of training used by Cesar Milan - it was hard because I wanted to hug her and tell her how much I missed her - Luna calmed down and I was able to have contact - it was awesome to be able to pet her and be with her again. It was incredible to see how much Luna would listen and obey commands from Julia. What was even better was how Julia showed me how to be able to have the same tools, skills and influence on Luna.
Over the next couple of weeks we had training sessions with Luna and I always left so happy to see the progress in Luna but also so sad to leave her. Julia would give me homework handouts to read - they were very helpful and kept me focused on our goal. Julia surprised me after one of our sessions when I was expecting to have to leave Luna again but instead told me she was ready to go home.
Since being home Luna is so happy, confident, and calm. We couldn’t be happier! We take Luna EVERYWHERE with us now and she loves it. She waits for her commands, enjoys the car rides, and loves to walk in the parks, Kerrytown, neighborhoods, and anywhere we want to go. When the weather doesn’t cooperate Luna can walk on our treadmill. Julia came to our house many times to help us in training Luna - and just as importantly - training us! The follow-up support Julia gives us is amazing, she’s always just a phone call away. Luna has been transformed into the dog we dreamed she could be and we are also more confident and smarter dog owners thanks to Julia - it was all so worth it in the end, our expectations were met and surpassed! We are sincerely grateful to Julia.
Hutchins was never what one would conventionally consider to be a "bad" dog. He showed no signs of aggression, he was smart, and of course always a very lovable fur-ball. However, Hutch had a TON of energy and he did not know how to control it, especially around other people. He was a jumper, a biter (playfully),and frankly treated his owners like fellow litter-mates!
After Hutch spent 3 weeks with Julia, not only did he know all of the commands (sit, stay, place, come, down) but he also wasn't biting or jumping on Julia at all. It seemed like a miracle! What was even more critical, though, was the training that occurred after those three weeks...Julia training Hutch's owners (us!). It took a while but we've now learned how important our energy and discipline is in the success of Hutch's training. If we weren't willing to change our overly-lenient and overly-excited and affectionate ways, the changes Julia had spent time making were not going to stick. Since coming to this realization (with the help of Julia), we have been so pleasantly surprised with the respect and loyalty Hutch is treating us with. He really is the perfect pup and we couldn't thank Julia more for helping bring out the best in Hutch and in us as dog owners!
We are so pleased with the training our Portuguese Water Dog Mulan received. Our dog was 4 months old when we started looking on the internet for a dog trainer, and that's how we found out about Julia. We met with her and we told her about our puppy's behaviors that we knew needed to be corrected. We wanted to start very soon, but she suggested we wait until Mulan was 6 to 7 months old and that way she would be better able to learn and keep it retained if she was a few months older. We are glad we took her advice to wait on training.
Julia taught Mulan how to have good manners -- not only in our house but when we go for walks. After the training Julia worked with us to get Mulan to be as well behaved with us as she was when Julia trained her.
Now Mulan is a pleasure. When given verbal commands she goes in her crate or her place while we eat, & etc. This makes our life with Mulan a lot easier now that she has learned several verbal commands from Julia. We have taken Mulan on a couple of road trips after her training to visit family in their home and it went so well. I would recommend Julia as a trainer to anyone. She is easy to communicate with and has integrity.
Wayne and Glenda Wade
"We adopted our beloved dog from a shelter and took him to dog training classes for months but walking with him continued to be absolutely miserable. He lunged and barked every time he saw another dog; never came when we called him; and went crazy whenever someone came to our door. We dreamed of being able to run and hike with him but his behavior was mortifying and got so bad that we started to dread taking him out in public.
Our dog spent 3 weeks with Julia and a miracle occurred. Our dog now walks on a leash peacefully, comes when we call him, and sits on his bed when guests arrive. Other dog owners have even enviously complimented our dog when we are out running with him. We were THRILLED to learn from her how we can be in charge and will forever be grateful that she helped transform our dog from a nightmare to an absolute delight!"
Julie Hollberg and Tracy Vettese
"Upon first meeting Julia we were thrilled by the calm assertive presence she brought upon walking into our home. Our puppy Beans was immediately attentive and even sat down in front of her! Julia engages her clients with active listening, calm reassurance and positive feedback ... making you feel as though you can actually accomplish the desired training results. I exuberantly recommend her to anyone regardless of the type of training you need from basic to extreme ... She is wonderful to work with!!!"
Whether it's enjoying your walks together, greeting visitors to your home in a friendly and respectful manner, or peacefulness at meal time -- your dog can do it -- and so can you!
Contact Julia to set up an assessment visit for you and your dog.