Rhonda Bilodeau is a native Vermont dog trainer who has always had a passion for animals. For the last 11 years she’s been perfecting her training style to train exactly how she’d want someone to train her and her dog. She’s seen how many ‘best in the business’ train and has done many in-person and online training and shadow programs. This gives her the skill and experience to work with many types of dogs and has helped her decide which direction to go.
What she’s come away with is a training style that allows almost any person to easily handle their dog under high distractions yet gentle enough for any temperament. Her training is also reliable for those that want to bring their dogs anywhere.
The training focuses on a strong sense of communication, changing our dogs mental state from stressed to calm, helping our dogs see the world from a pessimistic view to an optimistic view and shaping free behavior off-leash inside the house and off-leash outside the house to more appropriate interactions with the general public and with our loved ones. There is less of an emphasis on obedience and more of an emphasis on the dog being rewarded for choosing good behavior so there is less management needed through their lifetime. Rhonda develops a unique communication system that gives nervous and fearful dogs the information they need to thrive and become confident around their triggers and can help remind the overly rambunctious dog of boundaries set in place so they can keep being the happy go lucky lovable dogs we love (just with some impeccable manners).
Rhonda understands the need for safe, quick, easy to follow training that takes into account how the dog feels about the training. Most of her clients are looking to get their dogs off-leash ready for their wild adventures which is why her tag line evolved into “We Train Social Dogs for the Adventure of a Lifetime”. Rhonda prepares the sensitive dog to live in our crazy hustle bustle world or the high anxiety or energetic dog to function in any environment even off-leash around loads of people and dogs.
Rhonda is a certified dog trainer and has sought out the best in the industry to learn from. She specializes in a system called SATS that builds thinking, optimistic (instead of pessimistic) dogs who earn information through a communication system called perception modification to solve their complex insecurities and reactivity. Rhonda carries a certification and has completed over 1000 hours in modern electronic remote collar training she calls e-collar training. This allows her to achieve off-leash control and obedience for a more rewarding experience off-leash. She offers various Dog Training Programs to the Burlington, VT and greater Northeast communities doing her best working with clients that want their dogs to accompany them everywhere on and off-leash and those that want to build a strong communication system to help with their dogs anxiety and nerves that are causing reactivity or aggression toward people, kids or dogs.
Personally, Rhonda believes that clients should feel comfortable and confident in their training. She believes training can be a lifetime commitment and offers programs and lifetime support to help client’s reach their goals and to make living and training their dogs effortless. When you train with Rhonda you become a life long friend that she’ll support for as long as you need.
Rhonda pioneered the Dog Camp industry in Vermont, starting and helping other professionals run and manage their own Dog Camps. As a professional dog trainer, Rhonda found the Dog Camp environment builds stable, balanced and healthy dogs that understand how to self regulate their emotions. Owners find that their dogs come home better behaved and more obedient. Dog Camp provides supplemental training to the dog, which creates more long lasting and often times permanent behavior changes. Rhonda designed Dog Camp to be the most natural form of daycare but also more intimate and comfortable for the dog. Dog Camp creates positive behavioral changes that are transferable to the owners in their every day life. Her Dog Pack Camp dogs have greatly benefited from the pack style of outdoor daycare and her clients’ dogs have benefitted from the additional Dog Camps that have sprung up in the area as well.
Running dog camps have given Rhonda a keen eye in dog behavior and pack management and what’s appropriate communication and interactions between dogs. She’s helped many formerly aggressive or reactive dogs learn how to socialize again through her training programs and additional support programs like dog camp or Mutt Mixers.
Rhonda is founder of Mutt Mixers, where every dog is welcome to socialize and become more social by participating in non adrenalized play. This is where she thrives! Rhonda loves helping dogs make new dog friends again. She believes there is hope for every dog to socialize again and loves the challenge.
In her spare time Rhonda enjoys lazy days with her dog Gabby and partner Mateo. They love traveling the world and starting new projects. They are naturally entrepreneurs at heart and love dancing to music.
“We adopted our boxer Bella when she was about 7 months old. Within a few months she started exhibiting reactive behaviors–barking at bicycles passing by, lunging towards people walking around us, barking/chasing people if off leash etc. The reactivity was mostly towards people until she had a negative interaction with a dog at the dog park (she approached the dog and it growled and snapped at her). After that time she was not trusting of other dogs and became visibly uncomfortable and reactive towards any dog she did not know. For fear of being yelled at by the people she barked at or her getting into a fight with another dog, we stopped taking Bella to public places. This was excruciating for me because I wanted a dog to join me in my outdoor activities: hiking, swimming etc. After trying trying to solve her problem myself and even hiring another trainer, Bella’s reactivity showed no improvement and I had accepted the fact that Bella had to be a “home dog”.
In a final/desperate attempt to get Bella’s behaviors under control, I contacted Rhonda. She was quick to get back to me and set up an evaluation. After meeting Bella, testing her with another dog and seeing her behaviors, she recommended the “Well Mannered Dog” package and was confident that Bella could behave appropriately in social situations. Obviously I was skeptical at first, but after one session I actually started to believe I could have the dog I always wanted. Bella took to the training right away. Rhonda was direct, patient and extremely informative, taking time to thoroughly explain her methods in conjunction with Bella’s behaviors. During Bella’s reactivity she showed us how to redirect her attention and have her “think” instead of react. She was always available through texting for support/answer questions we had while practicing on our own. After just a couple of weeks we started taking Bella into environments that she used to blow up at and she showed incredible improvement. With a reminder from the E-collar, she didn’t bark at the person walking down the road or growl at the man at the dump.
We continued to follow Rhonda’s directions and by the time we officially finished the training (about 6 six weeks) Bella was a different dog in a GREAT way. A few weeks post training, she is still doing great. Overall, she is more relaxed. She still has her boxer exuberance, but the frantic energy is almost gone. I now take Bella hiking off leash and to the park on a regular basis–no more hiding for us! She acclimates to new people in a fraction of the time it used to take and doesn’t panic in new situations, she looks to us for direction. We even went downtown the other day and she didn’t bark at anyone!! She spends far less time staring out the window for things to bark at and more time relaxing and playing with her toys. Her anxiety has decreased so much, we do not need to crate her when we are not home (she has destroyed furniture in the past).
I cannot recommend Rhonda enough. Her skills/knowledge far exceeded our expectations. She has helped us achieve what I honestly didn’t think was possible–I have a social dog again! Thanks for everything Rhonda!”
–Phoebe Cole owner of Bella