Dog Training Burlington, VT
Rhonda Bilodeau is a dog trainer certified in Syn Alia Training Systems Trainer (SATS). SATS establishes quick communication with any kind of animal, empowers animals to cope with stressors, manage their own emotions and prepares animals to live successfully amongst humans. Rhonda is certified in Martin Deeley’s E-Touch and a graduate of Robin MacFarlane’s That’s My Dog! E-Cademy with an emphasis on teaching and educating clients on proper handling and training of the remote collar. She is trained in Chad Mackin’s Pack to Basics Socialization & Dogmanship Program and continued advanced socialization and e-collar work with Heather Beck who works for Cesar Milan and Ted Efthymiadis who’s rehabilitated hundreds of aggressive dogs. She is a member of the International Association of Canine Professionals (#4924). She is trained in PetSaver and Pet CPR & First Aid through Pet Tech.
Rhonda has worked with hundreds of dogs and has helped owners rehab their dogs through her specialized training programs:
1 on 1 Training Programs
Board & Train Programs
We work with any dog! From puppies to shy or fearful and aggressive cases. Our programs include life-time email and phone support. After training your dog will graduate into our free monthly group classes & dog socialization programs through Vermont Dog Socials .
or call today for your
(802) 578 2151
When we found out we had a first child on the way we decided at that moment that we needed to get the behavior of our two boxers under control ASAP. Both are great dogs personality-wise, but neither listened terribly well, particularly when distracted/fixated on a squirrel, a ball, etc. Our 1 year old boxer was also an incredible bundle of energy (big surprise). So we called Rhonda…
We couldn’t be happier with the work Rhonda has now done with both of our dogs. We started by sending Zoe (our 1 year old) to Rhonda for the intensive two week training session. Rhonda was great in that she provided photo and video updates on a daily basis, as well as great status updates on progress and exercises they were doing. When we went to pickup Zoe she was a different dog – still full of that Boxer energy but able to be calmed very quickly on command. Her spirit and energy where all still there, but we actually had control when we needed her to relax.
Rhonda worked with us in person on commands to ensure that when we came home we could put them to use. It was very easy to transfer the skills that Zoe learned with Rhonda to our home, especially once we got comfortable with the handheld clickers for e-collars. And what a difference! When the doorbell rang previously, both dogs when running and barking to the door. With the e-collar, one bark and Zoe sat on command, which in turn calmed down the overall energy off which our older boxer Bodie (2.5 years) feeds. When someone comes in the house now the boxers no longer jump all over them to greet the visitor – they now stay in place until broken on command.
We ended up sending Bodie to Rhonda for a couple focused training sessions since we felt he didn’t need as much work as Zoe and we were much more comfortable with the e-collars. Bodie was a natural at picking up commands (he’s a natural pleaser) so now we have two dogs who are so much more easy to walk (Zoe was also a leash puller which was also resolved). We can have people come over to visit without chaos ensuing. We can eat dinner while the dogs stay in place until we’re finished. We can walk/play off leash knowing that we can get the dogs to come back reliably. The list of new freedoms goes on and on.
Our investment with Rhonda was well worth it – what’s amazing is that both dogs still have their same old personalities, quirks and boxer-mischief inclinations, but we’re able to get them to relax and calm down when we need them to.
– Erin & Bob George
When I got Dexter a beautiful German Shepherd, he was 8 1/2 months old & 106 lbs. His owners were looking for a new home as they said he was becoming too much for them to handle. He had been in a house fire which forced a move to an apartment, and hit by a car, all fear inducing events in his young life. I naively thought I can fix this. Dexter was a very high energy, high guard, fearful German Shepherd who tried to control everyone in “his space” by aggression. He got along well with my 120 lb shepherd and smaller mixed breed dog but, the 1 st week he went after my sister I stopped him in time. The 3rd week he jumped and bit my dog sitter, not badly but a wake up call to me. I hired a professional trainer. We muzzled him and started socializing him in her dog classes, teaching him commands, stay, front, leave it, etc. He improved somewhat but I still felt like I had a loose canon walking by my side. He pulled me to the ground just about yanking my arm off several times during this period when someone dared to come in his bubble which was a good 100 ft in any direction. We had to put actual lattice on our truck cap windows to make sure he didn’t go through them after people, as he tried. He sounded like Cujo, people would turn and stare when we went by- Dexter just couldn’t control his fear and dominant behavior. After 6 months of training he chased after my neighbor on his 4 wheeler paying no attention to my commands leave it, come, etc. I realized this poor dog will never be free off leash and he is only 14 months old. I felt helpless. But a friend in MD who had a rescue pit bull with issues had a trainer who recommended Rhonda with VT Dog pack, she said she was excellent and trained in e-collar use. I felt like she had thrown me a life line.
Jan 7th was our 1st lesson. We signed up for the “Perfect Pet” Dog Training Package. Rhonda did a very thorough intake then she met Dexter. He came out of the car in his Cujo mode trying to eat her. Rhonda just stood quietly as he yanked me to my knees as he hit the end of the leash. She threw him a few treats and we got started. In 10 minutes she took him from me, found his working level on the e-collar and had his muzzle off! In 2 weeks there was such a dramatic difference in his emotions and barking I would do them again in a heartbeat. It has been a little over 3 months, Dexters aggression has dropped from a 10+ to around a 2. He walks by my side loose leash, Rhonda and I even took him through Church st. Muzzled but calm nary a growl! When we started coming to Rhonda I couldn’t even hear the people at the ferry tell me which lane to go in Dexter was barking and growling so loud. Now he lies quietly in the back observing the sights. Rhonda has been there encouraging me, never more then a text away when I needed advice. I know Dexter is still a work in progress, but what progress in just 3 1/2 months. So far 100 % recall. Dexter is enjoying his life much more now, and so am I and my husband. In fact the other day he said “I wouldn’t give Dexter away even for $30,000 !” Thanks Rhonda you changed our lives.
– Melody from NY
We had our Redbone Coonhound, Rita, for 5 years before we worked with Rhonda. Rita is a rescued stray who had many issues including: running away when off leash, stealing food at every opportunity, eliminating in the house, poor leash walking skills, dog aggression when on leash, rushing the door, and excessive barking (and sometimes biting) when people visited. Soon after we got Rita, we attended a highly recommended local dog trainer’s class and enrolled in a 6 week, treat-based training course. The only thing that we learned was to teach Rita to sit. The instructor said that based on Rita’s breed and history, we would never get a solid off leash recall. She would walk next to us on leash IF we had treats in hand, but would jump and beg for the treats the entire time and become easily distracted if she saw something more interesting. They couldn’t even get Rita to lay down, let alone stay. We left feeling discouraged and frustrated at our “bad” dog!
After telling Rhonda about our issues and how little I was enjoying being a dog owner, she offered to help. In less than 4 sessions with Rhonda, Rita was no longer stealing food, eliminating indoors, or rushing the door (thanks to the “place” command), and was walking off leash with 100% recall. Our last session included an off leash walk at a popular dog walking spot, something I never thought possible with Rita. Our lives are forever changed! I can now go on dog walks with friends, take Rita to my daughters soccer games, have people over for dinner, and enjoy spending time with her. Rita is a much happier, playful, and attentive dog. Thank you so much Rhonda!
– Laura Oliver, Rita and Family
My girl Adia has been shy, submissive, fearful, and “hyper” from the moment we adopted her at 3 months old. Being my first dog, I thought these were all behaviors that would resolve as she grew into adulthood. Shortly after her first birthday, she started to become reactive on walks towards dogs she didn’t know. I was shocked and horrified. I was confused, upset, and disappointed. At the time, we were enrolled in an obedience class, which only seemed to make it worse, as she became reactive even if the other dogs looked at her. We continued to go, staying after most classes to speak with the trainer about how to handle our new situation, which involved lots of distracting with food methods. Six weeks later and we hadn’t started to see much improvement, and it had gotten to the point where I was dreading taking her for walks. I didn’t want to go one more day without a plan for resolve, and that’s when I found Rhonda.
We started out with the Basic Package, and set to go to work immediately on the program for recovery. Sure enough, the “easy” walks, structured crate time, and the “place” command, seemed to be helping! Adia was learning how to be more calm in day-to-day activities, and although I knew there was still lots of work to be done, I was finally starting to feel hopeful again. Then, to continue improving her socialization skills, we began attending the dog socials. I was thrilled that after only going a few times, Adia began playing with other dogs that she just met, for the first time in months! However, she was still very nervous most of the time, especially on-leash. That’s when we began working with Rhonda using the SATS training method. I cannot explain how grateful I am for being introduced to SATS, with all of our previous efforts as a base, this was the cherry on top.
Using SATS, Adia has learned that instead of getting the rush from being reactive, she can choose to stay calm in stressful situations, and it leads to great things (like butt sniffing)! Adia is no longer reactive on leash, she is much less nervous in general, she started to play with other dogs again, and the level of communication between the two of us is greater than I ever thought possible. So, thank you Rhonda! Thank you for involving us in the Vermont Dog Socials, teaching us the amazing world of SATS, and for your time, efforts, and understanding. You’ve helped bring the positive energy back into our lives!
– Katharine Delp owner of Adia
Two years ago I adopted a pit bull after my 13-year old lab had passed away. Rudy was a wonderful dog, but he had a lot of anxiety and fears that I had never encountered with my lab. Rudy always seemed stressed out, and he was always trying to assert himself in unhealthy ways. We spent the first year of his life going to “click and train” classes and learning positive reinforcement techniques for basic behavior. But Rudy continued to act out. He began getting reactive with other dogs he met, and he soon began getting territorial about our house, often charging the door when people would arrive, and barking incessantly at them. Because Rudy was a pit bull, many of our friends and neighbors had their doubts about him, and thought maybe we had gotten a dog we couldn’t handle. I soon began to wonder if they were right.
We began working with Rhonda and she put us on a training program which included learning to use a head halti and an e-collar to work with Rudy and his issues. I was extremely hesitant about the program at first, because it included using an e-collar to control his behavior outside. But I trusted in Rhonda, and we followed her program for 12 weeks. Within the first three weeks, I began to notice a difference in Rudy. With Rudy spending more time in the crate, he was learning to be calm. Rather than pace around the house constantly, he would lay on the floor near my feet when I took him out of the crate. He also didn’t feel the need to follow me to every single room.
Soon, he learned to let me take control of situations and just relax. He began to trust that I was his leader. I hadn’t realized how important it was for Rudy to have a strong confident leader that he could look to. I soon realized that much of Rudy’s stress was coming from my inability to be a strong, consistent leader for him. By following her crate training and halti lessons, Rudy learned to give up control to me, and I learned what Rudy needed from me.
We then began working on the e-collar training. After 2 months of e-collar training, I was finally able to enjoy walking my dog. I wasn’t getting pulled, I wasn’t fearful that he was going to snap and lunge at every dog that walked by. We are now walking and running leash free. Rudy and I are able to go on nice long hikes in the woods without even having a leash. We barely have to use the e-collar while walking, but just knowing that we have it, and can use it, has made a huge difference for us!
Rhonda has given me the ability to be a strong leader for my dog, and in turn, has given my dog a happier, less stressful life. He is now able to enjoy being a dog, without the daily anxiety he was suffering from due to not having a strong pack leader. Rhonda is amazing, and I would recommend her to anyone who is having trouble with their dog. Rhonda was my last hope for Rudy – and she has given me the wonderful dog I wanted and the best running partner I could ask for!
– Laurie Noyes owner of Rudy (read Laurie’s trials and tribulations on her blog
Rhonda has shown us a completely different way to interact with our very crazy, highly adrenalized dog, Coco. I adopted her as a puppy so I know she has always had behavior issues. We went to two series of puppy trainings, obedience training & finally as a last resort, a two week long boot camp. She was VERY mouthy, sassy, aggressive, prey driven (she is part hound) and totally disinterested in living in our environment under anything but her rules. At the time, we were in Atlanta and she always got along with other dogs.
When we moved to Vermont, her dynamic totally changed where she was calmer around people but became very dog aggressive. I videoed some of her behavior for the vet and he said that he had never seen anything like it so, she was put on clomipramine. Even though I had spent a lot of money on previous training, we decided that we wanted to give it one more try. I interviewed a number of trainers but when I talked to Rhonda, I knew we had our fit. Her methods teach a dog how to self regulate their emotions so that they can be relaxed in any environment.
After just a few sessions with Rhonda we started to see dramatic improvements in Coco’s behavior. With a few simple techniques that Rhonda taught us we are now able to interact in our neighborhood with much greater ease and comfort. We are grateful for Rhonda’s support and for the dramatic improvements we are seeing in Coco as a result. Thank you, Rhonda!
– Laura & Laurie owner of Coco
We have a wonderful, energetic and vivacious big puppy. Her unruliness sometimes got in the way of our enjoying her and that was sad. Rhonda took her for two weeks when we were out of town and she came back transformed. She is happy and playful and she listens to us and obeys all of our very reasonable and necessary commands. This not only enhances our relationship with our dog, but it is essential for her safety as well. And Rhonda’s approach and personality are so cheerful, loving and smart that we had complete confidence in her. We knew when we entrusted her with our dog, that the puppy was in the best possible hands. The cost is well worth it – it’s an investment in a life long positive and loving relationship with the canine member of the family.
– Andrea Bayer owner of Malia