Saturday, March 15th was a snowy, rainy New England morning but spirits were bright at Especially for Pets in Sudbury as Brian Kilcommons, dog trainer to the stars and author of best selling dog training books, took the stage to amaze and enlighten the eager crowd of 80. 

Kilcommons presented "Better Communication with Dogs: Relationship, Responsiveness and Relaxation." The format allowed for Q&A as well as participation by some of the dogs in audience. The event raised $2100 for the MSPCA – Angell General Animal Fund.


Here are just some of the comments from attendees who enjoyed the day: 

This was an awesome seminar!  This was the first time that I've seen a training seminar where the focus was so much on the human and hound relationship. While  Brian's love of the dogs was obvious, his true focus was on the humans and how their behavior and relationship with the dog was really the skill that needed to be developed. I've tried several of his techniques and started implementing them into my everyday life. Even with a pup who is eight plus years old, I've learned that you can still learn to make your relationship with your dog stronger. Thanks Especially for Pets for this opportunity! 

I came to learn and it was great. Aside from the technical details that my wife and I learned, I think the real value was that you challenged us to up our game and showed us what was possible with a dog. We both felt greatly encouraged by your “can-do” attitude. You take some of the excess complication out of it. You really lay it on the line about what you are thinking and that makes "buy in" to your advice easy for a dog owner. I think the thing I am most appreciative about is how excited my wife is about play training and having fun with the dogs now. My wife was dispirited about training and when we got home she jumped right into some games with the dogs. I am grateful to you for that.

I just wanted to thank everyone at Especially for Pets for hosting the "Better Communication with Dogs: Relationship, Responsiveness and Relaxation" seminar with Mr. Brian Kilcommons. Attending with my dog was, simultaneously, nerve wracking and wonderful. I nearly lost it when Brian so succinctly summed up my relationship with my dog. He was almost like a therapist, yet funny and very talented with working with all the dogs. I am certain that my work with my dog will improve for having attended this event and due to Brian's insights. I have gained so much from the trainers at Especially for Pets, working mostly with Leslie Zelamsky whose knowledge and patience and teaching ability have benefited me and my dog on a regular basis over the past several years.

All of the staff at the Sudbury store is wonderful, and events like Mr. Kilcommons lecture and one on one interaction with community dogs make it a great place to frequent. Thanks again, to everyone there. See you soon!!

I really enjoyed the seminar with Brian Kilcommons!  I've read two of his books and learned something from each. I like that he puts humor into his work - it helps to keep things light, especially since in most cases of unwanted behavior in a dog is a matter of training the owner on how to handle the dog. It can be tough to hear, but making it as humorous as possible is helpful. I learned a lot and his advice confirmed a lot of what I already knew. I especially liked seeing some of his recommended training equipment. 

I thought that the day went extremely well. It was organized, upbeat and drew a pretty eclectic crowd. Brian was not only confident and professional but he also handled people with great care. In his line of work it is apparent that he spends most of his time training the people and not the animals and it is nice to see that the clients are receptive to criticism when they know that it will benefit their pets. I noticed the calming effect that Brian uses to help people overcome their militaristic focus that they can have on their dogs. He taught more than a few of them that by relaxing, their dogs will be relaxed and everyone will be happier.

Since I am training under Brian at the moment my opinions are somewhat biased.  However, in the short time we have been working together I have been constantly amazed how each and every dog has responded to him.  I was also impressed with how he was able to handle each and every owner participant in an encouraging positive way.  It seemed to me that everyone at the presentation left with the idea that improving their dog's behavior was possible with a little effort and direction. 

Most informative seminar. As a new dog owner, I found the no nonsense advice refreshing. I understand the philosophy being leader of the pack - alpha dog, but in reality it's hard to "create" a personality that doesn't seem natural. Mr. Kilcommons’ techniques were very tangible, very doable, from my perspective. The sarcasm and humor was right up my alley too. So, lots of chuckling for me.

 I thought it was a great seminar! Brian was very humorous and put the attendees at ease.  I was grateful to have the opportunity to ask Brian a question. I have not had much success with past trainers, behaviorists, etc. in training my dog, Bella, so I will research suggestions Brian offered. His training philosophy inspired me to register for a day of training in May with Sarah Wilson, Brian's wife (check out for information or for follow-up email questions). I hope I have the opportunity to attend future seminars given by Brian and other dog training experts.

I am so glad I went. I learned so much about the basic relationship of dogs and their people. I was great to see that other people were having the same problems as I was. Even though I have 20 years experience in the pet industry I can always be caught doing something silly with my own dogs.  

YES, I did enjoy the day. I am putting together a little synopsis for my Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) group and will include some very simple but specific ideas:

  1. We humans say way too much to our dogs because we do not adequately understand the simplicity of canine communication. Simply talk less to them while training.
  2. Understanding and practicing "I lead, you follow" cannot be emphasized enough;
  3. Most dogs are smarter than we think, believe, or acknowledge.
  4. It is NEVER too late to teach an old dog, or an old handler, new tricks;
  5. Make a fool out of yourself whenever you can with your dog. They'll love you more and be better trained for it.
  6. Lighten up and have more fun with training. It's neither rocket science, brain surgery, nor anything that should be taken so seriously.
  7. Understand the breed you have and embrace its characteristics.
  8. Everyone needs a good massage now and then.
  9. Be consistent, be consistent, be consistent. Did I mention be consistent? This includes everyone in the household.
  10. Give lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of praise.
  11. And lastly, do unto your dog as you would have your dog do unto you.

I thought Brian was 50% trainer, 50% therapist and I told him that. He has a keen understanding of people, infinite patience, and a great sense of humor. Let me know if and when he'll be back.It was an absolutely amazing experience. It was like magic - a "difficult" dog comes in with the owner who hardly manages to control it and in a couple of minutes the dog is transformed - focused, obedient, well behaved. My dog has a socialization problem. He came into the store barking and kept barking until Brian took the leash. Brian created a couple of situations when the dog had to confront people and showed me how to handle the situation. On our way out, we passed by a lot of people and dogs and my dog did not bark. The next day, we had a stranger coming into the house. Normally, this results in me picking my dog up and carrying him around and in having the stranger give him a treat. This time, I did exactly as Brian showed me - took my dog on the leash to say Hallo to the stranger, and as he barked, I distracted his attention, gave him a treat and then took again to say Hallo. I had to repeat it 4 times before he stopped - I am sure that it was my problem rather then the dog's - I could not make the communication entirely clear the first time. So, my best take away from the seminar is that it's not my dog but I who need training.  Brian's books are the best dog owners' manuals. Also, if Brian or someone as good as he comes to your store for a similar seminar, I would like to participate in it and I would appreciate it if you let me know about such events.

It was great! I think there are so many trainer opinions on what is the right/wrong way to do things, and Brian just made common sense and made sure that he presented feedback to people in a positive way. Especially for Pets did a great job organizing the event and it was a nice touch to provide the goody bags.

I enjoyed Brian immensely. He held my interest, was quite humorous and informative. He seemed to perform miracles before our very eyes. I learned some new tricks even though I have the most perfect little dog. Thank you for the opportunity to listen to and meet Brian Kilcommons.
Rio and I traveled from New York and had such a great day at your event. We are inspired by and in awe with how Brian Kilcommons was able to read and evaluate the needs of the dogs and their people with in minutes of meeting the teams. I want more!!!
Brian's ability to convey his point in a humorous down to earth manner was truly amazing. One of his many quotes that sticks out in my mind is "Training is something that you do with your dog, not to your dog" really hit home. I would bet that most people never contemplated that mindset and I hope that it changed their thinking.

I got a kick out of how Brian explained about the breed type (Australian Shepherd which are known to be reactive) and how he described Rio as being a "Mensa Dog On Speed". I still chuckle about that comment. The staff at Especially for Pets made us feel comfortable, were friendly and knowledgeable about the training tools that we purchased. So much so that we hung around the store and talked to the staff during and after the seminars. We had never taken Rio to a pet store before and felt safe in your store mainly because the staff managed the people and their dogs so well.
I thought the 3+ hours with Brian was outstanding.  He had such a good read on the humans. Most of the problems we have with our pets are because we don't know how to change their behavior. We can also do things that reinforce bad behavior and we don't even know it. The time was well spent and very entertaining. Thanks to Especially for Pets for sponsoring this day. PLEASE do it again!