What a wonderful place for any dog to be able to spend time. The staff at HDR have always gone above and beyond in caring for my Eskie Kodi. I would recommend the Houston Dog Ranch to anyone who wants their pet to experience the best. In fact I feel so strongly about the Houston Dog Ranch and the staff that I wrote them the note below expressing just how I feel about them and wanted to share it with anyone interested in finding a place for their pet to flourish and grow. HDR Staff I just wanted to take a few minutes to thank all of you for taking such great care of Kodi during the Christmas holidays. As Kodi and I drove up the driveway to check him in all of the staff was calling out Kodi's name saying hi to him. What a great feeling your staff gave me as a pet owner. I could go away from Houston feeling assured that Kodi was in the best care available. You guys go above and beyond in your care of Kodi! I would leave him with any of you at anytime. Tonia, you and your staff are the greatest!! Kodi has been coming to the 'ranch' for almost three years and has been slowly molded into a 'new and improved' pet over these years. He began his journey at the ranch with Tonia alone in the HDR field just learning how to react with other animals. Having been abused by another animal made this a daunting task for Tonia, so I thought. She worked with Kodi weekly until he was ready for a 'day-board' stay and finally a 'sleepover' at the ranch. Tonia kept Kodi in the office with her during these sessions so that he would come to trust and love the staff while working on his fear of other animals. After months of work with Tonia and Colleen, he was able to start in the small dog daycare program at the ranch. It has now been almost two years since Kodi was able to join the daycare sessions. Kodi has been given a new lease on his doggie life. He has gone from a scared animal to a loving, quite loquacious pet that loves his Friday's with the HDR staff. He even, at age eleven is now able to join in agility classes on Saturdays. I owe all of you guys at the ranch a giant thank you for helping Kodi become the pet he is today. Thank you Tonia, Colleen, Abby, Diane, Katie, Janna, Nicole, Tracy, Alison, and of course Kodi's man Chad for all the love and hard work you have given Kodi over the years. Kodi's vet fondly refers to the ranch as 'Tonia's Playhouse', but I would have to say it has been Kodi's DREAM HOUSE since he has been able to be the puppy he was born to be there.
Kathy G. & Kodiak
In two words: Houston's Best. Our one-year-old Labrador Retriever is in love with Houston Dog Ranch and its wonderful, skillful trainers, groomers, and staff. We have relied on HDR for almost everything dog-related practically since we brought our Lab home--multiple levels of training classes, grooming, and doggie daycare in particular. HDR takes a special interest in our boy, and everyone at the facility seems to know him by sight. We feel we've avoided the first-year Lab-puppy "nightmares" we worried about (chewing, destroying furniture, over-excitability) largely due to the excellent training we received at HDR. The facility, with its running field, bone-shaped doggie swimming pool, and "'hotel' rooms" for dogs, are unmatched in our opinion. (Labs, of course, love to swim, and ours comes home from HDR after his "play" day and sleeps for two days it seems! He's worn out from all the fun!) HDR has truly enhanced our first-time dog-ownership experience. Don't miss this place.
June C. & Beau
We had a wonderful experience with Houston Dog Ranch. We have an English Bulldog, Holly, that is a year and a half old. We were having difficulties with her behavior. She was jumping up, chewing everything, running away from us, constantly pulling on the leash etc. We have had a bulldog before and used an "in house trainer" for a few sessions, so we had a general idea of how to train a dog. That was obviously not working, so I called HDR to get an idea of what they had to offer. I spoke to Abby on my initial call to gather information. She was very helpful on the phone and sent me additonal information via e-mail. About 6 months later, after having our dog "banned" from going on out of town visits with us to our families homes, I contacted HDR again to sign her up. I was sure to have her with Abby, because I had been so impressed with her knowledge and cheerful disposition in our previous contact 6 months before.
Abby was very warm and friendly with us and our dog. She e-mailed me during the week with how Holly was doing and quickly responded to any questions I had. My 6 year old daughter and I picked Holly up after the 12 day stay. After watching the DVD of Abby training Holly, She demonstrated all of the behaviors Holly learned and let us practice working with Holly in each one. She was so patient with my daughter also and made her feel part of the lesson as well. I was so excited about the progress she had made! I truly didn't think it was possible to see those kind of results from our dog. Abby also suggested toys and activities that would help with our dogs behavior in the future. Of course, once I got Holly home it took a little while to get her to respond to me the way she did to Abby. We still work on what she learned, but it was the perfect way to get started. Our family and Holly finally had a spring board to help us move forward. Our house is much happier, for everyone, including the dog! She was also allowed to spend the week at my parents home over Spring Break! I look forward to working with Abby in the future!
Christy L. & Holly
Everyone I've met at the Ranch has been so nice. They remember dogs and owners and are cheerful and helpful. I want to thank Houston Dog Ranch for helping make Mario the great dog he is. I thought long and hard about getting a puppy, especially another male. Puck is 13 and we know he won't live forever..I'm not getting any younger and I didn't want a dog that people would say "who is walking whom?" as he dragged me down the street. I'm not a big fan of small dogs and I adore Puck so we decided to take a leap of faith and got Mario. I started bringing him to puppy classes when he was 11 weeks old and we have gone through 16 weeks of training and socialization with Delia and Colleen. We've met some great dogs and made friends with owners and had expert advice all along the way from warm, caring, and energetic trainers. They stressed "politeness"; having a dog that fits into society and is "polite". I've tried to do that with Mario and for the most part, I think he is a very nice dog. Gradually they taught the puppies to walk, sit, stay, and play nicely with others. They took unpolished puppies and even more unpolished owners and over time made amazing strides with both. They were open to questions and tried to make the time fun as well as productive by using games and minimal competitions. Thank you very very much.
Donna B. & Mario
There isn't enough space here to write ALL of my thoughts about this place!!! I'll start with 3 years ago I got a puppy for my kids (yeah right) and let's just say I was OVERWHELMED by the whole thing- it was like having a baby!!!! Anyway, I placed a 911 call to HDR and Tonia must have felt so sorry for me she agreed to an emergency meeting- she got me through a very rough patch- I couldn't have done it without her- Glad to say that Daisy survived too and now she has become a member of the HDR family!!!
I did training classes there (THE BEST!!!), she goes to play groups there (unlike any play group I have ever seen-human or canine!!) she boards there (so much attention) and now I am happy to say she gets groomed there (Paul is FABULOUS)- It really is one stop shopping!!!
The ENTIRE staff there (shout out to Katie and Allison) should all be certified dog whisperers because they ALL have a way to relate on a real "doggie" level and you can tell they LOVE what they do
First class place for sooooo many reasons!!!! And, it's so convenient!!! Wouldn't know what to do without them----honestly!!!
Ann S. & Daisy
I could write several pages on how beautiful and well kept the Dog Ranch is, but the owner Tonia is the reason the Dog Ranch is such a great place for our dog(s). She is definitely a great dog lover and is someone we all want taking care of our dogs when we need someone else to. As a matter of fact, I have never met anyone who cares as much about my dogs as I do, until I met Tonia. Her love for dogs also extends to her staff. She is very particular about who she hires and lets take care of your dog(s). If you love your dogs as much as I do, then this is definitely the place for you. This is the only doggy day care and boarding I trust 110% with my family!
Rob K. & Barcley & Gracie
They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but I now know you can definitely teach an 'older' dog anything. My dog Beringer and I attended Colleen's Basic Obedience class at Houston Dog Ranch last fall when Ber was 8 years old. Although I had been training Ber her whole life, we had not previously received any formal dog training and some of the techniques Colleen uses were new to me. We learned about clicker training and of course Ber took to it right away (it took me a bit longer to get the timing just right). Beringer already knew many of the basics but Colleen modified some exercises for us and others were well needed refreshers (again mostly for me). In addition to the new (and improved) skills, the enjoyment of the bonding with each other and our human and canine classmates was wonderful for both Ber and me. We were very excited when Houston Dog Ranch offered an Intermediate Skills class with Colleen instructing. We learned about targeting and how we could apply that technique to learning anything. It opened up a whole new world of possibility and in addition to more obedience type skills like going happily to her bed when humans are dining, Ber also learned to spin clockwise or counterclockwise and crawl along the floor (extremely cute to watch). Last month Beringer and I attended a class at Houston Dog Ranch to prepare for the AKC Good Citizen test. Colleen helped us with our skills and I am happy to say that Beringer passed the test with flying colours two months shy of her 9th birthday. Colleen is a wonderful instructor. She is fun, patient, obviously loves what she is doing and brings an amazing wealth of skill and knowledge to her classes. Beringer and I are looking forward to the next class we can take at Houston Dog Ranch.
Cheryn P. & Beringer
Peekaboo is now 16 months and our love of loves. She came to us from Mississippi when she was just a pup and I called on Colleen at the Houston Dog Ranch to help shape her into the obedient dog she is today. I wanted her to be a family dog and to be social with other dogs though she is pretty much an only child. :o) Colleen taught me how to instruct Peekaboo at home, and I have been sending her to the ranch on a weekly basis to socialize with the other dogs in their great daily programs. She is a champ and still learning. I would not send her to any other facility of it's kind. There is none in my opinion.
Ellie and Roy C. & Peekaboo
Lotus (King Charles Cavalier Spaniel) and I came to the Houston Dog Ranch as a puppy and her devoted companion! Lotus was eager to learn and I wanted to find the “right” place that used gentle and loving training techniques. I was never, ever disappointed in the training that Lotus and I received! We went to the beginners class (not puppy) as it took me so long to find the right class for us. Here she learned to sit (most of the time), go down and her signature trick, a high five. She also became willing for me to handle her in all sorts of ways. She loved being in class with other dogs and found each week’s lessons enjoyable and fun (she told me so!). We had such a good time we moved on to the next level of classes. Here she learned to do even more tricks, come much better when called (we are still working on this one!), and other helpful activities to make our lives together even more enjoyable. Colleen is a gracious and conscientious teacher and made each class important in our lives. Thank you everyone at the Ranch!
Diane W. & Lotus
I've been involved in the rescue/foster side of dog adoptions for 10 years. In that time I have participated in several classes from numerous trainers around town, but the Houston Dog Ranch is by far the best! I've taken dogs through their training classes, consulted on specific behavior issues with fostered dogs, participated in their Canine Good Citizenship class with my personal dog and have utilized their fabulous daycare. Their positive based training advise has been delivered in a very professional way and the dogs really respond and have fun while learning!
My little girl, Ella (lab/husky mix), was a tough young dog to train...so we thought. We had already paid a high price through a training organization I learned about from a brochure. Training had gone poorly and my husband and I were extremely disappointed even after the trainer returned to our residence twice. The training technique was cumbersome, although they called it "natural". Friends were critical of Ella's behavior and were reluctant to have her around. Since we had begun a regular play day at Houston Dog Ranch, we decided to attempt again, using their trainer, Colleen. Not only did Ella react immediately, but it was lots of fun for the dogs and owners...plus the methods made sense! Ella now walks on a leash without pulling, sits, stays, waits at a doorway and lays down on command. We have tools that work for life that make our lives and her's enjoyable and safe. Even our friends are impressed at Ella's responsiveness.
Elaine and Jeff F. & Ella
Tonia Whilden is the ultimate "dog whisperer" Tonia has a warm and caring relationship with dogs. Her training technique is simple and effective. She gives and commands respect from the dogs and as a result you are rewarded with a warm loving relationship with your puppy.
Houston Dog Ranch is like a home away from home for Louie. As soon as Louie enters the ranch he literally leaps out of the car with excitement and anticipation. The accommodation is luxurious and the care and attention Louie receives is wonderful. There is no other place for our Louie.
Ina P. & Louie
Tonia was our Weimaraner, Cloe’s trainer when we got her as a puppy two years ago. Very quickly after getting Cloe we realized that we would need more that just love and understanding to enjoy her, as Weimeraners is a wonderful breed that seems to have their own ways and mind.
After only a few weeks, Tonia helped us better understand the best way to communicate and work with our Cloe. More importantly, she did it with positive reinforcement and love. Tonia is an amazing trainer and thanks to her we now have the perfect dog.
Cloe is not only a pupil she also attends Doggy Daycare at Houston Dog Ranch and absolutely loves it. What a wonderful place!! I would recommend Tonia and the Houston Dog Ranch in a heartbeat.
Joan N. & Cloe