Basic obedience and a whole lot more.....

The Happy Retriever

  (774) 233-0640

Molly was brought up from the south by a local humane society. When I adopted her, she was about 5 or 6 months old and full of energy. I wanted a dog that I could take anywhere with me, just like my last dog Belle. Belle could have cared less where we went as long as she was with me, she was happy.

It didn’t take long to figure out that Molly was afraid of everything. She wouldn’t go to the bathroom outside by herself because she was afraid of the trees moving, the noise of the wind, leaves blowing across the yard and even falling snow. I grew up always having dogs, but I had no idea how to deal with her. So I brought Molly into the Happy Retriever to get evaluated by Dorothy and Michael. When they started their evaluation of Molly I thought for sure she was going to eat Michael. They stated she suffered from fear aggression. Over many weeks they gave me new commands and techniques to work on. She caught onto the training and commands very quickly. I started taking her places like the dog park, hiking, bike path and Bass Pro Shops.

I was having problems with her greeting/playing with other dogs so Dorothy and Michael invited her to one of their Saturday Supervised Socialization playgroups. Come to find out Molly did not know how to play with other dogs. She thought charging at them with her hair up and growling, was how to greet other dogs. Dorothy and Michael took Molly under their wings and developed an all-day socialized training day to help her. It has helped her so much with her fears and greeting, not only with other dogs but people also.

With all the training and socialization that Dorothy and Michael have given her, I finally have seen her greet other dogs with a wagging tail instead of growling at them with her hair standing up. She is much better at not fleeing the scene when a loud truck, bike or stroller goes by while we are out walking or hiking. Even if something spooks her now, she may start to flee, but is able to pull herself out of it and investigate the noise, bike, person or herring that took off next to her.

Molly is always going to have her issues and occasional freak outs, but with the techniques that Dorothy and Michael have given me to deal with them through distraction, and all the training they have instilled in her, I now know how to deal with her issues. Her freak-outs are going to be few and far between from now on!

M. Hill

We picked up our sweet lab in August of 2013 and quickly realized he had some behaviors we were not particularly fond of including incessant barking at the window, leaving the yard and not coming when called. We brought him to the Happy Retriever in Holliston and signed him up for boot camp. Dorothy and Mike were wonderful and taught our entire family how to train our dog. Our kids quickly picked up how to give him a command and how to give him a correction if necessary. We now have an incredible dog that is just as sweet, but who no longer exhibits behaviors we don't desire. We can't imagine ever having a dog again without manners and training as it makes all the difference. Thank you Dorothy and Mike for all your help!"

The Mueller Family

Our dog Seamus was an energetic and affectionate 95lb boxer that was reasonably well behaved, but we felt like some things were missing. He had some aggression around food and toys, and we could not let him off his leash without him running off. Dorothy and Michael had just opened the Happy Retriever and so we decided to stop in and ask them if they could help. They suggested an initial consult, and immediately diagnosed our issues. They reviewed our training options and we went with the one week boot camp. What a difference a week can make. They had us work with him at the end of each day to reinforce the training. They helped us master basic commands, they showed us how to make him wait in his "place" until allowed to release.  They encouraged and trained him and us in the use of an electronic collar. Now we can spend time with Seamus off leash, take him for walks in the woods, my daughters can play with him in the yard, and he no longer exhibits aggression around food and toys. We have recommended The Happy Retriever to many of our friends and we are grateful to them for giving us the polite, well behaved dog we always hoped to have.                     

                            The Marsden's

Our yellow lab puppy, August, was a bundle of joy when we brought him home at 7 weeks.  August shortly became a 50lb, 7 month old out of control berserker in our home, around our children and became unmanageable to introduce to guests.  Our relationship with our dog also began to suffer as we were frustrated with his behavior.  We heard about The Happy Retriever from a neighbor who saw that we were having a difficult time and whom had great success with their training.  The first day we walked into The Happy Retriever our dog rushed through the door, taking down several racks off the walls and bounding thru the store, jumping and pulling incredibly hard on his leash.  Since that moment that we met Michael and Dorothy we began to understand our dog’s behavior and were given tips to help manage him.  After our free evaluation we began Elementary School with August and were amazed by how quickly he began learning the skills that we were being taught and by how much he loved the training process.  Michael and Dorothy patiently helped us to learn the basic training skills in a comfortable and fun environment.  We truly looked forward to attending class each week, enjoyed completing our training sessions at home and were shocked by the results.  Our experience with The Happy Retriever exceeded our expectations.  We now have control over our dog’s behavior, can socialize with him in the vicinity and comfortably walk him in the neighborhood.  Thanks to the Happy Retriever our relationship with him is better than ever.


Ryan, Jaclyn and August

Bailey’s Story


In September of 2013 our beloved dog Molly died at the age of 4. She was the perfect dog by all counts. Calm, submissive and a friend to all dogs was the best way to describe her. She was a true anomaly with many documented testimonies from family, friends and strangers! Her death was a tragedy and left us all very sad. Even though we thought we wanted to wait to get another dog, the house just was not the same without a dog. They bring that something special to home that completes a family.


That is when Bailey aka Bailey Belly (when she is good and gets her belly rubbed) aka Bailey Butthead (when she does something naughty and gets reprimanded) came into our lives.


Bailey is an American Stratford Terrier. We got her at a shelter. She was one of only 2 puppies. She was very young (only 3 months).  We were told that she and her siblings were tossed over a fence to a shelter at a very, very young age.   


Bailey turned out to be the exact polar opposite of Molly. Full of energy, into everything, assertive and dominant with other dogs. Her best quality was she loved people…all people… especially the kids. She would take any and all kinds of horse play even if she ended up on the bottom of a pile of kids.  When she did decide to sleep she was the best cuddler. She would have all 3 kids lying on top of her and she loved every minute of it.


As her owner, I could live with “full of energy”, I could live with “into everything”, I could live with “assertive”. What I had a hard time living with was “dominant with other dogs”. That could not be…..we wanted to be that family again that could go on walks in the woods with our dog, meet other dogs and make new friends. Were we now limited to walking in the woods with a dog on a leash? Limited to not being able to visit with other dog people that we met on the way? Was I now not able to let my kids bring the dog for a walk in fear of them meeting another dog?  That is when I decided I needed help and that is when I found Michael and Dorothy at the Happy Retriever.


We attended their puppy classes where we learned all the proper dog training methods and it turned out Bailey is quite smart. She has learned skills such as sit, lie down, stay, place, rollover and to walk beautifully on a leash in record time. But more importantly they socialized my dog. She played with other dogs in puppy class and she attended weekly puppy play dates.  Most likely Bailey was never with her mom long enough to learn proper puppy etiquette so it was very important to have her with older dogs that could teach her right from wrong. That is the best skill that the Happy Retriever could provide to Bailey. They allowed Bailey the opportunity to be retrained. Not just by humans but more importantly by the “Pack”.


Today Bailey is still full of energy but we no longer fear meeting another dog. The Happy Retriever has given our family along with Bailey the tools for success. We now have freedom to do everything with our beloved dog Bailey. Bailey now makes new friends and even gets invited to puppy play dates!  More exciting is we now get to take beautiful walks as a family, in the woods, off leash, with our well behaved dog Bailey right by our sides.  


Thanks again Michael and Dorothy!


Love, The Chuslo Family

We took our 1 year old Labrador Retriever ‘Izzi’ to the Happy Retriever for their 2 week (daily) Boot Camp training.  Within the first couple of days, we could already see the difference in her behavior!  Izzi learned her commands quickly and by the end of those 2 weeks, we had a well behaved dog gaining her full attention and cooperation with just verbal cues and hand signals.  Following her completion of Boot Camp I & II, Izzi successfully passed her AKC Canine Good Citizen certification with our 10 year old son as her handler!


Dorothy and Michael did such a great job sharing lots of information with us. They clearly explained their training approach and personalized Izzi’s training needs that best worked for her and our family.  We are thoroughly impressed with all aspects of the services we received.  They genuinely care about dogs and get great results. We highly and proudly recommend The Happy Retriever!

Kara, Mark, Katelyn, Ryan & Izzi

Laura had been trying to convince me to get a dog for years. I was never a dog person, but I knew how much Laura wanted one. We started looking online for a lab mix to rescue. After weeks of looking, Laura found Jenny at a rescue organization in Connecticut. She was being fostered in Mississippi. A couple weeks later, we picked her up at the local quarantine facility.

Jenny was four months old when we got her and she had endless energy. The only command she knew was sit, and she rarely listened to that. She whined in her crate and would constantly pull on her leash. Laura and I agreed that professional training was the answer. I had seen The Happy Retriever while driving by many times, so we decided to stop by. The first time we went in, Mike talked to us for almost an hour, giving us advice and just chatting about Jenny. We immediately knew this was where we wanted Jenny to be trained. We brought her back for an evaluation, and several more issues were uncovered, including some aggression towards other dogs. 

We decided to opt for the two week board and train. After the two weeks, Jenny had made vast improvements. She always listened to all of her basic commands and her aggression towards other dogs was almost gone. Since then, I have continued to work with Jenny to improve her obedience even further with advice I was given by Dorothy and Mike. Recently, I have been training her with an E-Collar along with help from Mike. 

I can't imagine where we would be today without this training from The Happy Retriever!

Jenny, Laura and Brett

As families who have adopted dogs know all to well, the adorable on line pictures do not foretell

some of the underlying behaviors that exist below the surface. While we had been experienced dog

owners, having had a dog for twelve years prior to our adopting Brody, we knew that structured

training was the most efficient way to his assimilation into our family of three children. A

good dog, Brody exhibited behaviors such as fear aggression, socialization issues with other dogs,

along with other mischievous infractions that go along with being a puppy. Over the course of

several months with the Happy Retriever, we saw significant progress with Brody’s comprehension of

commands, playing with other dogs, and a reduction in anxiety with both children and adults.

The instructional approaches that Dorothy and Mike implemented struck a balance between

compassion and firmness, and surfaced innovative strategies that focused on effective use of

the training collar as well as the use of food rewards to reinforce positive behavior. Brody’s

success can be directly attributable to our partnership with The Happy Retriever, and we provide

their instructional program our most sincere recommendation for all types of dogs and their owners.                                    The Cummings Family

My husband and I rescued our puppy Ruby last June.  She was 15 weeks old and had been a rescue from Antigua.  When Ruby came to us, she had particular difficulty going in and out of doorways.  We were not sure why this was, but upon starting puppy 101 class at the Happy Retriever, Dorothy and Michael pointed out that we didn't know what she went through before she came to us.  They suggested to encourage her with enthusiasm and treats to help her learn to enter and exit the house.  Now, 9 months later, she is not only able to enter and exit the house without coaxing from us, she does not even need to be led out on her leash.


My husband had little experience training a puppy before Ruby, and I had zero experience.  I was discouraged in the beginning while trying to train Ruby, but Dorothy and Michael really helped ease my mind that she would get it as time went on.  During puppy 101 class, we learned that dogs need to be brought outside many times during the day to help them learn where to go to the bathroom, and to treat them each time they did this successfully.  Within a month, our dog was housebroken.  She began giving us signals such as sitting by the door or whining by the door to let us know when she needed to go out.  


Through puppy class, we also learned a lot about the importance of socializing our dog with both people and other dogs.  We would never have known how important it was to do this without Dorothy and Michael emphasizing it so much.  Being a teacher and having the summer off, I started taking Ruby with me everywhere to socialize her as much as possible after learning how important it was.  I set up numerous times for her to play with my brother's dog, and we would have lots of family and friends come over and meet Ruby.  Ruby was quite the aggressive puppy, in mostly a playful way, but still too big for her britches.  Michael and Dorothy offered a Saturday socialization class for some of the fall and winter as Ruby got older, and this helped her socialization skills with other dogs very much.


We learned many commands at the Happy Retriever puppy class, including sit, come, let's go, place and of course, no.  We learned when a puppy was the correct age to be praised and not corrected, and when a puppy was then old enough to be both praised and corrected.  We learned the proper use of a training collar in puppies 102 class, and this made such an incredible difference in the training of our dog.  She would tug on her leash when I tried to walk her, and chew through her leash when I would stop and talk to neighbors.  Now she doesn't do either.


My husband and I are so happy we have Michael and Dorothy so close by, who are so knowledgeable about dogs and love having them as well.  We have learned so much from them.  We are looking forward to more fun at the Happy Retriever this summer! Thank you Michael and Dorothy for everything you have done for us and Ruby!

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