This is a long overdue note. We have two fabulous dogs, Kaleigh our blue merle border collie and Annabelle, our black and white border collie/ black lab mix. They have always gotten along fabulously until a few weeks ago. Suddenly and surprisingly, Kaleigh started fighting with Annabelle. The fights appeared completely unprovoked, and we were very disturbed by this, as it usually happened when our three year old and one year old daughters were in the backyard, with us and the dogs. The fights escalated to such a level that we were unable to break up the fights by yelling, “no,” or by utilizing any other measures we thought might stop the behavior. The behavior became very frightening. Fortunately, no one had been injured, but we knew that we needed some help to stop this behavior ASAP! One of our neighbors had even suggested a shock collar or even euthanasia, neither of which we were interested in and found completely repulsive! So, we placed a call to our vet, who, after determining that no organic cause for this behavior change existed, recommended Joanne Murphy with Dog Dynamics. Joanne came out and did an evaluation of Kaleigh’s behavior toward Annabelle, and her behavior toward her surroundings, in general. After an extensive evaluation and discussion, Joanne was able to point out some behavior patterns that Kaleigh was exhibiting, and she was able to offer some possible solutions. My husband and I started working with Kaleigh, and while I can say that she is still a work in progress, her most troublesome behavior, the fighting, has stopped! Annabelle and the rest of us are so thankful and relieved!

Kaleigh’s less serious issue was the fact that Kaleigh would not come when called, nor could anyone call her off when she was barking at a neighbor, the garbage truck or anything else that she had determined was “invading her space.”  As we told Joanne, Kaleigh was not socialized as she should have been as a puppy, and she has had some neighborhood kids taunting her, in another neighborhood where we had previously lived, so Kaleigh has reasons for her behavior, but we had hoped that Joanne could help us reverse some of these particular behaviors.  Again, Joanne presented some possible solutions to the problems.  Immediately, we started following her suggestions and Kaleigh did an almost instantaneous turn around, and now, comes when she’s called, and we can call her off most things that she is barking at.  Previously, we were completely unable to hold a conversation with anyone outside our fence, because Kaleigh would start barking incessantly, and we were unable to hear.  Of course, it was also scary to the person we were trying to talk to.  Now, after working with her, utilizing Joanne’s suggestions, we can call her off and stand and talk with our friends and neighbors.  Again, she’s still a work in progress, but we are confident, that with continued work, she will continue to improve.  It sounds like such a simple thing, but this has made our lives and our neighbors’ lives so much more enjoyable.  And, we’d like to think that it’s made Kaleigh and Annabelle’s life a little more relaxing and fun, as well.

Joanne, thank you so much for all your help. If another problem arises, we won’t hesitate to call you, and we won’t hesitate to recommend you to others who are having issues with their dogs. Kaleigh doesn’t know it, but our family has a feeling that you may have just saved Kaleigh and/or Annabelle’s life. And, for that, we are eternally grateful!

The Elder Family

I want to thank you for the wonderful personal & written feedback on Cassie & Cody.  Cassie has been a total gem since we talked.  I was very grateful for the assurance that both dogs are fine and that we are doing some things right.  I’ve been amazed by Cassie’s tolerance when Cody approaches her crate.  She has been completely silent.  I have shared your feedback with some of my fellow dog lovers and I’ve raved about the benefits of having your in-home consultation.  I’ll follow your advice and be sure to call if/when I have any concerns.

Karen Bertocci

My family owes a world of thanks to Dog Dynamics for helping us with our puppy Gigi. At 3 weeks of age little Gigi and her nine littermates were abandoned behind a dumpster and left there to die. Through the kindness of someone who rescued these little pups we acquired Gigi. At 3 weeks and barely 3 pounds we brought little Gigi home. Gigi was a wonderful puppy but because of her harsh start in life and the fact she was taken from her mother long before she should have been, we started to have some issues with her that we knew needed to be addressed. Gigi never learned proper bite inhibition from her mother and littermates. Gigi was also a very shy and under confident puppy. At 4 months she started to show signs of being afraid of people. She was also still very, very mouthy. The problem was further exacerbated by some bad advice from a bad trainer. Thankfully, Dog Dynamics came to the rescue. Joanne Murphy came in and taught my children and I exactly how to handle Gigi properly. Through Joanne’s guidance and gentle training methods we began to see a significant change in Gigi’s personality and behavior in as little as two weeks. Now, at almost 6 months our shy, under confident little puppy has become the cuddly, confident, people loving dog we knew she could be. My family and I will always be grateful to Joanne Murphy at Dog Dynamics for her intervention and wonderful ways of training dogs with both love and compassion.

Beth Christo
Owner of Gigi

I have known Joanne for the past 11 years. She has been a wonderful pet owner. She has always followed my medical recommendations with regards to her own pets. When she told me she was going to get her certification for behavior training, I was very excited for her. I could not think of a better person for this job. Since her return from San Francisco, I have referred a number of my clients with behavior issues. My clients have been very impressed and happy with her recommendations.

Dr. Jon, DVM
Magnolia Animal Hospital


Harley is a Great Dane/Belgian Malinois mix who came to live with us when he was about 8 weeks old. He had been fostered by the Wake County SPCA since he had been found as a single stray when he was about 3 weeks old. These days, Harley is a big, lovable two year-old; but that hasn’t always been the case… He has had “issues” since we brought him home. First, because he was taken from his litter too soon, he didn’t learn all of the things a puppy would normally learn from its mother and litter mates about discipline, how to play, dominance, etc. We had to teach him how to play without hurting someone (those puppy teeth are SHARP!). As he got older, Harley participated in some group training and socialization thru the local pet store, but he began having issues with anxiety (separation and situational) and was diagnosed at 6 months with hip displaysia for which he receives a monthly shot (which adds to his anxiety re: trips to the vet). When Harley was about a year old it was clear that we needed help. Harley and I still had not truly bonded, he continued to use me as a chew toy, barked constantly, wouldn’t listen, was being destructive (more so than was age-appropriate), and worst of all I was becoming somewhat afraid of him. Dr Jon prescribed medications for Harley’s anxiety and hip and suggested that we contact Joanne Murphy with Dog Dynamics for more intensive 1:1 training. Joanne was a godsend; she first calmed many of my fears (that I was a bad “mom” or was doing something wrong) and validated my concerns regarding Harley’s behaviors. THEN she provided Harley and me with the tools we needed to ensure that our relationship would be successful. First we worked on ending the inappropriate biting, which (given the right tools) was relatively painless for Harley and I both. We then began working on getting Harley to listen which was (and is to this day) not easy, he is very independent, but we learned that with a lot of hard work and finding the right treat/tool it can be done. Harley had a rough time around the 2002 holidays with some very frightening behaviors related to side effects from some of his medications. Joanne was there to help us work thru this and together with Dr Jon, we got Harley on appropriate medications and changed his diet which improved his mental and physical health and went a long way toward improving our relationship. The techniques that Joanne and Dog Dynamics provided have allowed me to really listen to Harley and look at his behaviors (is he in pain, frustrated, bored, scared, etc) to determine how to address them so that we are both successful in getting what we need. I had never realized that Harley could experience so many different emotions or that destructiveness could be a sign of boredom and how to give him “jobs” to do to keep the boredom at bay. With the help of Dog Dynamics, I learned to look at the behavior before I reacted so that I wouldn’t make the situation worse, but could also teach Harley better ways of expressing himself. These are techniques that I will use forever. In June, we decided it was “time for Harley to have a buddy”, I met a puppy at the SPCA and Joanne agreed to go with us to take Harley to meet his new friend. Her support was invaluable during this experience which I’m sorry to say didn’t have the anticipated outcome. Joanne helped me to see that Harley might need a more mature friend or may need to be the only puppy in our home, a hard concept for someone who’s always had multiple pets. Since that day, I have focused more on improving my relationship with Harley and am happy to say that while I still hope to have additional “babies” things will be okay if Harley is the one and only because we have finally bonded and are on track for a long and healthy relationship! This will never be an easy relationship as Harley will forever challenge me, but together we will work thru issues and as needed we can contact Joanne for assistance to ensure that we don’t fail again.

I will always believe that Joanne Murphy and Dog Dynamics saved our relationship and potentially Harley’s life and am forever grateful for that…

Lillian, Harley’s Owner

Our Piper, an English Springer Spaniel, joined our family when she was 9 weeks old. Immediately she began having separation problems. We put her in the crate and she would howl, pant, and drool. As things got worse with her, our vet recommended we contact Joanne Murphy at Dog Dynamics. She came to the house and spent quite some time getting to know Piper and looking over the physical set up we had. By using videotapes we provided, she determined that Piper was suffering from Separation Anxiety. Piper was not exhibiting full-blown panic when left alone but rather was not able to relax and didn’t know what to do. Joanne made suggestions for placement of the crate as well as outside stimuli (music, TV, lights, Kongs, stuffed bones, chew toys). She suggested ways to make Piper happier about going into the crate that included treats and eating in there. We implemented many forms of behavior modifications such as reinforcing any quiet and controlled behavior in the crate, treating after 2 minutes in the crate and leaving the room, returning and treating after 3 minutes etc. Joanne sent us notes from the meeting that reminded us of all she had suggested, and exactly what we needed to do. She also recommended several books to read that helped. We followed up with a home visit from her 4 weeks later. Now at age 10 months Piper still suffers from anxiety but things are better. Joanne has been extremely helpful and accessible by phone and email. Her positive outlook and knowledge of the situation have helped all of us work better with Piper. Piper is a precious dog, very smart, and getting better because of what we have learned from Joanne. We are so glad to have her on our team!

Gail Lyman
Owner of Piper

Joanne’s dedication to people and their dogs is truly impressive. That dedication, plus her stellar education at the renowned San Francisco SPCA Academy and her drive to maintain the highest professional standards in the field of humane, positive dog training, means that dog owners in the Triangle area have a trainer who they can trust to produce results.

Pamela Buitrago, CTC, CPDT
Professional Dog Trainer

We have a wonderful, sweet and mostly well behaved 18 month old golden retriever and we couldn’t have done it without Joanne’s help! After our 14 year old cocker died, we decided to give a golden a try since they are such beautiful and reportedly wonderful dogs. Fortunately, I spoke to Joanne before Molly came home and she reminded me how much work and time a young, playfully, highly energetic retriever puppy would be. She also recommended some great books. Her advice was wonderful and we got off to a great start with Molly – but boy was she a mouthy puppy. Joanne came for a home visit and gave some great suggestions to work on the mouthing and other ideas for keeping Molly busy. It’s truly amazing to watch Joanne work with dogs – her manner is just perfect and dogs respond beautifully. She’s very knowledgeable and great with owners too! I would recommend her services to anyone looking for a dog trainer.

Jane & Dwayne Patterson
Owners of Molly

As a fellow dog trainer I have had the privilege of seeing Joanne in action on several occasions. Her expertise and professionalism are the best that I’ve come in contact with. When I am stumped with a tough client of my own Joanne is the first person I contact for advice.

Bobbi Durston, CTC, CPDT
Professional Dog Trainer

I had the unfortunate experience, last fall, where three men attempted to break into my house while I was home with my dog. My dog and I were in the kitchen as they were trying to come through the back door. My dog was first to be alerted to what was going on. He raced to the back door barking aggressively which alerted me in time to slam the door shut and fend the three men out of the house. After seeing me in a hysterical state, phone calls, and police coming in and out of the house, my dog was in a very heightened emotional state too. Subsequently after that incident my dog associated seeing anyone outside any of my windows or the doorbell ringing with the break-in. He would whine and aggressively bark and run to the door or windows. When someone would come through the front door after ringing the doorbell, he would still aggressively bark, throw his body against the door, and have his hackles risen. Joanne helped me use techniques to help change his negative association to a positive one. Every time he would see someone outside a window or heard the doorbell ring either in real life or on TV, I would focus him on playing with his favorite toy (a ball). I would praise him and tell him he was a “good boy” and give him lots of treats for playing rather than barking. Eventually it evolved to the point where when he heard the doorbell, he would run to grab his toy and want to play and would not aggressively bark. Now it has evolved to the point if he sees someone outside or hears the doorbell he will ignore the stimulus and not over-react like he used to.

I also had another experience where the exterminator for the rental property where I live was to inspect my house while I was at work one day. He had a master key to disengage my alarm I have for my house. He neglected to inform the rental office he broke the key and went from house to house setting off alarms. My dog was in his crate with an alarm going off, police and rental agents entering my house and I was nowhere around. I wasn’t notified of this incident, which happened at 10:00am until that evening when I got home around 4:00pm. My dog was so stressed to the point that he vomited in his crate and had to sit in it for most of the day. After that incident… if he heard a noise of some sort and I was nowhere around, he would stress himself to the point of making himself sick and vomiting. Joanne was great to suggest other ideas to help him overcome this. I now leave a radio on all day playing softly so the “silence” of being in a crate all day was not too overwhelming. I also had a couple of friends come over while I was at work and they got him out to play and this gave him assurance that every time someone came in while I was not home was not a bad thing. Since I had worked on that with him, I have had packages delivered, and exterminators come in while I was gone and my dog has not made himself sick.

Renee Westich
Owner of Cody

Dear Joanne,

Bob and I want to thank you for your support and advice dealing with problems between Brick and Maggie. It is such a relief to know signs and solutions for the aggressive behavior.

Brick is still trying to move up the ladder to become the alpha and Maggie is still refusing. There is still bickering but we now know this is okay and to let them settle this issue without our interference.

We were very surprised at how simple it is to understand what they are doing if we just look at the subtle signs. Thanks to explaining these signs and the list of booklets to read we are a much happier and confident family again.

Gina Fry

Please be aware that any dog/dog aggression is very serious and needs to be evaluated by a professional. In this particular case, these littermates were not causing serious damage to one another but rather having very normal sibling spats that did not require human intervention. Guidance and education for the owners along with management of the dogs was the best course of action in their situation. Never assume dog/dog aggression will fix itself, it needs to be evaluated by a professional. There is potential for serious injuries and/or death of a dog with any dog/dog aggression issues.

Joanne Murphy, CPDT, CTC

Joanne is a knowledgeable and dedicated dog behavorist with great skill and patience in dealing with difficult problems. Her love of dogs is always evident.

Rose Scarff, CTC, CPDT
Professional Dog Trainer
Positively Pals LLC