Bob's Dog of the Month

Bob Minchella's Dog Owner Counseling


December 2013 - Bailey

We adopted Bailey, our beautiful 2 year old lab/shepherd/golden mix, in March. It was love at first sight for all three of us. Though a sweet and affectionate girl, Bailey had no obedience training, no leash manners and lots of anxiety. Small changes in routine were very stressful for her and her separation anxiety broke our hearts. Upon the recommendation of a friend we started bringing Bailey to Bob in April. It was then that we discovered Bailey’s dog aggression and guarding behaviors.

After two rounds of basics and advanced classes, some special one-on-one time with Bob and lots of work at home, we see a world of difference in Bailey. When we first started school, Bailey was a ball of nerves in the corner of the room (she even had an accident in the middle of her first class) and was constantly lunging at other dogs. In our most recent classes Bailey has calmly and happily participated in class with a dropped leash (something we never thought we’d see) and has even had a few friendly interactions with other dogs.

At home Bailey is a refined version of the sweetheart we first fell in love with. She now approaches changes in routine with confidence and calmness instead of the anxiety we used to see and her separation anxiety is no more. Our daily walks with Bailey are a true pleasure and she politely sits and wags her tail when greeting family and meeting new people. We are constantly getting compliments on how sweet and polite she is.

In the very first lecture class, Bob said that his goal was for his clients to be able to share their lives with their dogs. That’s exactly what Bob has enabled us to do. We can bring Bailey so many more places knowing that she is a far more balanced, obedient dog and that we now have the tools to redirect and correct her when necessary. We say almost daily that bringing home Bailey was the best decision we could have made for our family and we now know that going to Bob was the best decision we could have made for Bailey. She is our best friend and brings so much joy to our families; we can’t thank Bob and his staff enough for all they have done for Bailey!

-- Chris, Caitlin & Bailey Montanaro


November 2013 - Bella

We would like to thank Bob and his staff for the work they do. We are very impressed with the progress Bella has made from the basic puppy class into the advanced class. Bob has trained us on how to communicate with Bella and she has picked up the training well. She loves everyone and everyone loves her. She is a well behaved and balanced dog. And Bella loves Bob. And we feel that Bella is Bob's favorite pitty.

-- Dave


October 2013 - Ruby

I love how impressed people are with Ruby. I often hear how well behaved, cute, and happy she is. Bob had nothing to do with the cute but everything to do with the happy and behaved.

Through training Bob helped us work together. Working together was fun and helped us bond on a very positive level. Bob always tells me, "you did the work" I may have done the work but Bob's guidance and individual adjustments made us into a team working from the same play book. Ruby attended Basic and Advanced Obedience, Tricks, and Agility courses.


September 2013 - Lilly

Bob, I want to thank you for all the help with my beautiful Lilly. A year ago Lilly was a basket case.. She was afraid of everything including the air she breathe. I did everything you told me ( especially hot dogs given to her every time people came to our house) we had them toss the hot dogs over and over and over. We started making progress and then winter came. We had very little company and no little kids coming over everyday to swim. I wasn't sure what to expect this summer when our house, once again would be over run with people. Friday, I had 12 people over for the day, with 5 children , being under the age of 7. I thought I would have to start Lilly's training all over again. I put Lilly on a leash and brought her out with her treats. Her tail was slowly wagging, her nose anxious to sniff, but no hair raising up between her shoulders, no barking, and no backing away in fear. She was a trooper. All afternoon she stayed next to my chair in a relaxed state. Later, in the afternoon, I showed two of the kids the hand signals for sit and down. Lilly respond like a champ, and the kids thought she was great. They gave her a hot dog and scratched her under her head. She actually like it. I took all compliments about how well she behaved and listen with much pride. I never thought I'd see the day that I could have Lilly in a crowd and not have to be on constant alert for fear . Thank you for everything . All our hard work was worth it.

-- Nancy and John Parks


August 2013 - Kasey

We want to let you know that we are so happy with Kasey’s progress! We came to ‘Dogs at Play’ shortly after Kasey began having issues with some other dogs. She previously had played with some of these dogs with no problems until about her first birthday, but then she started to bark wildly and act out of control. Her behavior was very frightening to us and even more so to the other dogs and their owners. We decided that we had to something to end this behavior before it was totally out of control. We went to a couple of other trainers, but were not seeing results, so we contacted Bob. We had taken our previous dog to training with Bob, and she turned out to be a wonderful dog! We contacted Bob and had an individual session with him. He gave us some things to work on and suggested that we put Kasey in a Beginner class. When we started the Beginner class, we did training with Kasey in a room adjoining the main classroom as Bob did not want to stress her. Periodically, Bob would take her into the main classroom for a brief period of time. Kasey was making progress, so we signed her up for another Beginner class and soon she was IN the classroom participating in the class with all of the other dogs. If she started to get stressed, off we went to the adjoining room. By the end of the session, Bob said that Kasey was ready to move to the Advanced class….YEAH!!! Kasey recently started the Advanced class and is doing well, and we have seen her blossom from an insecure dog that was easily stressed to a more secure and happy dog who loves going to class! Kasey LOVES Bob, and I think she would stand on her head for him if she could! We continue to work with her on a daily basis and plan to continue classes indefinitely.

Thank you, Bob,

-- Maureen & Bill Caufield


July 2013 - Lou

Lou is a character; we call him “The Mayor” because he loves everyone and everyone loves him. Lou had a rough start for his first few years, but in a few short months of coming to live with us, he has come so very far. He is very affectionate, has a great sense of humor, is very sweet, and will pretty much do anything for a bully stick. He loves going for long walks, pizza, and watching TV. Lou is very very smart, and tries so very hard to please us. That being said, he is still a puppy and loves to chew… everything (especially the plastic boxes that hold Daddy’s video games).

We’ll have to work on that with Uncle Bob next time...

Lou did great in class, but it’s Mommy & Daddy that need the work. Thank you to everyone on Bob’s team for their patience and love for our furry kids (and for not making Matt & I feel stupid!). We’ll definitely be back for more fun.


-- Claudia, Matt & Lou Burcke


June 2013 - Willow

Willow is a pure bread chocolate lab who by 4 months had more energy than any dog I had ever dealt with. She would not listen, consistently jumped and was always snapping at us with those razor sharp baby teeth. She would chew on anything in sight and if you left anything on the floor, it would be shredded within minutes. And it seemed as if she was growing bigger and stronger by the day. We were starting to fear her more than enjoy her. We took her to Bob with the hopes he could help us control our crazy fur ball. But through the classes we started to realize that it wasn't the dog that was doing anything was what we were not doing that was causing her to act the way she was. We were not being consistent and giving Willow direction. Everything we learned in class we would continuously work on at home. If I was going from the living room to the kitchen, inside to outside or from the chair to the couch there was always a sit, stay, come, heal command given to Willow. We went through a ridiculous amount of treats and tested each others patience often. But after a few months, we noticed that Willow was looking to us as the leaders of the pack and looking to us for her next move instead of doing as she pleased. It wasn't about control anymore, it was a mutual trust between us. She knew her boundaries and we knew ours.

Now, at 17 months, Willow is a completely different dog. She does not jump, snap, chew or steal anything laying around on the floor. She can go anywhere we go and be off leash in most situations. Willow has also earned the privilege of going to work with my husband at a private country club. She loves riding in the golf cart, carrying her tennis ball around on the fairways and "helping" the crew with equipment maintenance in the shop. Something she was not ready to do last season.

Bob doesn't just teach you the basic commands to get your dog to do what you want them to do, he teaches you how to be a leader for your dog and gain your dogs respect. And that is what needs to take place before you will be successful in the human/ dog relationship. We thank Bob everyday for the help in turning our crazy puppy into a wonderful dog and special member of the family!

Thank you!

-- The Bloom Family


May 2013 - Lucky

This is the second husky that Bob has helped us train and I swear she actually knows each and everything that we tell her to do. If you've every owned a husky, you know how independent and hard-headed they can be and how much patience and time you have to put in training them. I am a runner, so since she was 4 months old, she has been running with me, increasing here mileage every few months. Now she can run 7 miles and half of it is off-leash. Our old husky (Kohoe) ran off leash with me from the time she was 2 down 441 - that's how amazing Bob's training is. He not only trained them, but helped trained my husband and I was well (how to discipline, reward and acknowledge good behavior). She is not the Alpha in our home (our 12 year old cat is) and is just one of the most loving, energetic and fun dogs I have ever owned. -- There will never be another dog trainer like Bob --

-- April Miller


April 2013 - Katy

We traveled all the way from Boston to get Bob's help with my problem of losing composure around anything with wheels. Now, after my Mom learned some basic skills, I'm much more dignified and in control of myself. Thanks Bob!

-- Katy


March 2013 - Jess

Jess is my first Berner and I had started classes with her as a puppy elsewhere but wasn't happy where I was going so I checked out Bob's class. I was very impressed with his methods, how well he can read a dog and I love his humor! I learned more from him in a month than I had in a year from the previous dog training facility. Jess was on her way to being the dog I had wanted, a dog I could show, until she developed severe allergies. She is just as wonderful as a pet though and I am grateful for all of Bob's help and guidance with her. Unfortunately a year ago I moved to FL and I have not been able to find a trainer near as good as Bob. I would move back just to be able to take classes with him again. Jess has become a dog reactive dog and I am seriously considering driving to NY just for help from Bob! You guys all rock and I miss you all!

-- Kristin Kufta


February 2013 - Diesel

Bob has made it possible for us to take Diesel camping and just about anywhere else. Diesel is a big boy so obedience and socialization is very important. We have had several compliments on how well behaved Diesel is especially being so young. It was a haul to attend classes every week but well worth it! Bob is a great trainer and wouldn't go anywhere else. Thanks Bob.

-- Doug and Bridget Tower


January 2013 - Kiley

After taking three obedience classes with you, Kiley was ready to learn agility with great ease. I had her going through weave poles, unassisted, in less than 3 days!

Thanks for all your help!

-- Steve and Kiley Goldstein


November 2012 - Spanky

Spanky joined our home as a probable deaf or hearing impaired rescue in June of 2012. He didn’t even know the sit command when he joined our household, and we had issues with fighting between him and our other resident boxer. He definitely needed reinforcement in basic obedience and is currently enrolled in Bob’s Advanced Obedience Class. Spanky is the fourth boxer we have had train with Bob, and we just love Bob’s training style and sense of humor. We can tell Spanky loves going to class because he is so excited when we get his bag ready for class. Bob is even tolerant of Spanky’s “rest periods” during class.

Oh, and that issue about Spanky being deaf or hearing impaired, he can hear every sound! I swear he knew that if he pretended to be deaf, he knew he would end up with us!

-- Jackie


October 2012 - Ty

Ty was very insecure around other dogs. I could not go around other dogs without him barking out of control. My very first class with Bob was a huge success. Although Ty is still a little insecure around some dogs, I can introduce him to them in a stress free quiet environment. Thanks Bob.

-- Tim Cicotta


September 2012 - Keefer

We got Keefer, an English Springer Spaniel as a puppy 6 years ago. We took him to 2 sessions with Bob that first year and were quite proud of all he learned. We thought we had a great pet most of the time, and we learned to find excuses to explain those few times when he’d snap at us or a child. We just decided to not bother him when he was in his crate, or when we’d try to take some ‘high value’ item away from him.

Fast forward to January 2012, kids making lots of noise in the kitchen as dinner was being prepared, and Keefer, probably nervous from all the noise, watching carefully for any morsel that might drop his way. Our 9 year old granddaughter noticed his look for concern and from the dog’s side, slid across the floor on her knees to hug his neck. We’ll never know if he was irritated to be bothered, or if he was simply startled – but her hug was met by a snarl that resulted in 2 puncture wounds to her cheek. An ER visit and several stitches by a plastic surgeon later, we called Bob for help – ready to do whatever he said, even if it meant we had to put our beautiful Springer down.

Bob’s advise was to get Keefer back into a class ASAP so he could observe behavior ‘in all the chaos’ of people and dogs. I am thrilled to report that 4 sessions later we have a changed animal, and his owners are now back in control of their pet. We are enjoying Keefer so much more than we did before, are so much more able to ‘read’ his expressions and body language, and he seems happier and more relaxed knowing what his boundaries are.

This summer we did agility training and are doing tracking this fall. Our advice to ANY dog owner – take periodic classes with Bob – don’t stop!!! Owners and dogs need refreshers. Had we not stopped classes so soon, the pain and grief of last January could have been avoided. Bob absolutely knows dogs. He will be brutally honest and firm if that’s what you need, but you will learn something every time you go for a class!! We are indebted to Bob for teaching us how to live well with our Keefer!!!

-- John and Penny


August 2012 - Sid

I have always had an affinity for dogs and decided to adopt a dog rather than buy a motorcycle. Sid came to me from the Rochester City Pound. He was four months old and the only dog in the pound that wanted nothing to do with me. He didn’t want to be pet, barked endlessly, and his neck was stapled back together for reasons I was never told. What a perfect dog I thought and adopted him immediately. Having no family animals while I was growing up other than two goldfish which died the first night, I had no idea what I was in for. I was persuaded (against my strongest will) to attend a basic obedience class with Bob. Sid was in dyer need of some obedience training. I thought I had total control over his hyper aggressive behavior even after he had bitten a dog half his size. What I did not know was that one session would turn into 9 months of classes. I will never forget the first day everyone brought their dogs to class. Sid and I spent maybe ten minutes total in the classroom together which consisted of me feeding him chicken constantly to keep him from barking (and yes I was reprimanded for that in front of the whole class). The other 50 minutes were broken up into Cindy and Cameron holding Sid while I stood in the adjacent room. Eventually Sid had to leave the class so I could listen to what Bob was teaching. It became very clear during the first class that I had failed leading Sid in the right direction thus far. I was beside myself with tears which I blamed on allergies. At the end of the first class Bob and Cindy both suggested I exercise Sid before I bring him to the next class. I told them we had rollerbladed over three miles before we came to this class.

With much diligence and patience I put forth a solid effort to change my relationship with my friend Sid. We worked hard every single day sometimes multiple times a day. Eventually our training found its way into our daily routine. We would still do our training exercises in the evening but now utilized everything we learned during class in everyday situations. Distractions became positive. For the longest time I steered Sid in the opposite direction of other dogs and people, now we welcomed all distractions. Sid became a priority and a pal rather than a chore. Bob helped me lay a behavioral foundation for Sid which in turn gave Sid a set of principles he could expect. Understanding these expectations has helped Sid cope with real life situations that obviously arise with no warning. Dog class is sort of like marriage counseling minus leash and collar (as far as I know). The training is as much if not more for you as it is for your dog. I have learned that patience and consistency amidst constant love and correction is of utmost importance.

Sid and I recently moved from Rochester to semi-rural western Massachusetts. Not only does Sid go fishing with me now but he also goes to work with me sometimes. Sid has had countless off leash surprise interactions with big, free roaming, country dogs. Sid has shown no aggression towards the other parties and either plays with them or dismisses them and goes back to his own business. On top of that, Sid has become very comfortable with sheep and cows. You can’t put words to the feeling you get when your dog, who was once very dog aggressive, gets along with other dogs. Long story short, Bob knows what he’s talking about, so listen to him. If you do what he says and make a concerted effort to patiently build a positive relationship with your dog, you won’t regret it. Bob and company, thanks for all your help and guidance.

Tally ho mates and much love,

-- Phil and Sid


July 2012 - Beauregard

"When I started Bob's classes with my dog, Beauregard, I had only had him for about 4 months. He's a Great Pyrenees mix around 1.5 yrs old who was pulled from a shelter down south by a Great Pyrenees rescue and brought to me here in Rochester. Beau has a questionable background and his behavior was heading in the wrong direction by becoming hostile with me and other dogs.

I took him to 100% positive training classes and he would bark the entire time, needing a wall to visually block the other dogs in class. He was stressed and would attack if not properly a safe distance from the others and under full restraint. He did improve a little after 6 classes, but could not be trusted near other dogs.

I decided that he needed a different approach and had heard about Bob Minchella. I was nervous starting classes, because of Beau's poor rapport with me and other dogs. After just minutes of being in class, Beau started to bark at the other dogs, and Bob helped me to guide Beau's attention to me and the barking stopped. He has not barked in class since. Beau underwent a miraculous behavior change after just two classes with Bob. I became less tense, which certainly helped Beau to remain calm and we discovered that Beau is actually incredibly intelligent and wanting to learn and please us. He thrives for the training and structure that Bob helped us to accomplish and in just a few weeks, I had a totally different dog. One that was more relaxed around other dogs and could properly meet them, or just obediently sit and stay without jumping up to get at them.

Bob helped us to mold a better relationship, one with calm, trust, love, and obedience. He now goes to doggie daycare at Dogs at Play, plays wonderfully with our neighbors dogs, greets guests to our house gently, loves to play nicely with children, and is incredible with our two cats. He is learning tracking, which he picked up in just one try as if he's been doing it his whole life; anything new to learn is an adventure and he strives to do it right. Without Bob, I'm not sure we'd be where we are today and we are so grateful to have had his expertise. Bob is now known to us as "Uncle Bob" and when it's time for class, Beau is always elated to see him! Thank you, Bob, for helping Beau to break through his past and become the amazing dog we always knew he could be!"

-- Rachel