Muryphy - An Art of the Dog graduate

Transforming Murphy: A Success Story from Art of the Dog Canine Academy

Picture of Ian Lieberman

Ian Lieberman

Co-Founder & Lead Trainer

In the heart of Denver, a remarkable transformation story unfolds at Art of the Dog Canine Academy. Meet Murphy, a spirited two-year-old mix, and his owners, Angi and Steven. Like many pet parents, they faced challenges that went beyond the basics of dog training. This is their story of change, improvement, and newfound confidence, both for Murphy and his family.

The Initial Concern: A Familiar Challenge for Dog Owners

For Angi and Steven, Murphy was more than just a pet; he was a cherished member of their family, bringing joy and companionship into their lives. Adopted in January 2022, Murphy had been their pride and joy, growing alongside his 9.5-year-old German Shepherd sister. At home, Murphy was well-behaved, listening attentively and respecting boundaries. However, outside the comfort of his home, a different side of Murphy emerged, one that filled Angi and Steven with worry and uncertainty.

Murphy’s apprehension around guests wasn’t just a minor inconvenience; it was a source of constant anxiety. Each knock at the door or ring of the bell became a moment of tension, wondering how Murphy would react. Walks, which should have been joyful and relaxing, turned into a gauntlet of potential triggers, with Murphy exhibiting a fight-or-flight mentality that left both him and his owners on edge.

The situation reached a critical point when they learned of Murphy’s behavior at daycare. What they thought was a safe space for Murphy to socialize and play turned out to be an environment where he struggled, displaying aggression and nipping at heels. The heartbreaking incident where Murphy, unprovokingly, attacked another puppy was a moment of reckoning for Angi and Steven. The incident not only caused physical harm but also shattered the trust and peace of mind they had placed in their daycare routine. It was a stark reminder that the issues they faced were not just about obedience; they were about the quality of life—for Murphy and for them.

This moment of crisis brought a profound realization. Angi and Steven loved Murphy deeply, but love alone wasn’t enough to help him overcome these challenges. They understood that Murphy’s behaviors were limiting his happiness and their ability to fully enjoy life together as a family. It was a situation many dog owners face, feeling helpless as they watch their beloved pet struggle with behaviors they cannot control.

In seeking help, they were driven by a desire to give Murphy the best life possible. They wanted to transform their anxiety and uncertainty into hope and action. This led them to Art of the Dog Canine Academy, a decision motivated by love, responsibility, and the belief that with the right guidance, Murphy could thrive.

Consultation Insights

During our initial 1-hour consultation with Angi and Steven, we discussed Murphy’s history and observed his interactions. Although good at recall and generally well-behaved at home, Murphy’s behavior in social settings, especially at daycare, was concerning. Angi and Steven’s goals were clear: improve Murphy’s leash control, reduce gate aggression, and foster neutrality around strangers.

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The Training Journey: Tailored Transformation at AOD

At Art of the Dog Canine Academy, each dog’s training program is as unique as they are, meticulously tailored to meet their specific needs and challenges. For Murphy, our three-week Board and Train program was the beginning of a life-changing journey.

Comprehensive Skill Development

Murphy’s training was comprehensive, covering a wide array of skills essential for a well-mannered, confident dog. This included:

  • Basic Commands: Mastering the basics such as ‘Sit’ and ‘Down’ provided Murphy with a foundation of obedience and responsiveness.
  • Leash Manners: We addressed Murphy’s pulling and jumping tendencies, teaching him the importance of polite walking, and ensuring enjoyable, stress-free walks for both him and his owners.
  • Heeling: This taught Murphy to walk calmly by his owner’s side, a skill that enhances control and bonding during walks.
  • Recall Training: Learning to come when called is crucial for safety and freedom, giving Murphy the liberty to explore while still being under control.
  • ‘Go to Bed’ Command: A valuable skill for creating boundaries and providing Murphy a safe, calm space in the home.
  • ‘Leave It’ Command: This taught Murphy self-control, especially important in avoiding unwanted or dangerous items.
  • ‘Load Up’ and Crate Training: These skills ensure safe and stress-free car rides and provide Murphy a secure space when needed.
  • Waiting at Doors: Teaching Murphy patience and preventing door-dashing behaviors.
  • E-Collar Principles: As balanced trainers, we incorporated e-collar training to reinforce commands and correct behaviors effectively.

Continuous Support and Progress Monitoring: AOD’s Commitment to Long-Term Success

At Art of the Dog Canine Academy, our dedication to each dog’s success extends far beyond the end of their training program. We understand that the transition back home and the continued practice of learned behaviors are crucial for lasting change. This is why we have developed a unique support system to ensure Murphy, and all our graduates, thrive long after they leave our care.

Proactive Follow-Up Process

Our follow-up process is designed to provide ongoing support for a full year post-graduation. Unlike many programs where the responsibility to reach out falls on the owner, we take a proactive approach. Regular check-ins and updates are part of our commitment, ensuring that Murphy’s transition back home is smooth and that any challenges are addressed promptly.

Comprehensive Owner Education

Understanding that the success of our training also relies on the owner’s involvement, we offer a detailed 12-Lesson Video Course for owners. This course is tailored to help you fully grasp the training principles and techniques we’ve used. It empowers you, as an owner, to reinforce and continue the training at home, maintaining the progress Murphy has made.

AODK9 Homework Packet

To further aid in this transition, we provide an AODK9 Homework Packet. This resource includes video lessons and an assignment tracker, offering a structured and clear guide for practicing and reinforcing the training at home. It’s a valuable tool for ensuring consistency and helping Murphy adjust to his new routines and behaviors in his familiar environment.

Regular Updates During Training

During Murphy’s time with us, Angi and Steven were kept closely informed about his progress. They received five updates each week, complete with videos and pictures, showcasing Murphy’s advancements and daily activities. This level of communication not only kept them connected to Murphy’s journey but also provided them with peace of mind, knowing that he was receiving the best possible care and training.

The Outcome

Murphy’s transformation post-training was nothing short of remarkable. As Angi and Steven noted in their heartfelt Google Maps review, Murphy became calm, well-mannered, and enjoyed walks. His reactivity significantly decreased, and he maintained his playful personality. The consistent updates and photos from his main trainer, Matt, kept Angi and Steven connected throughout the process.

Here’s the link to Angie’s Google Maps review:

An image of Murphy calmly resting at home, after his 3-week Board and Train program at AODK9 in Denver.

Lasting Impact

The training at AOD didn’t just change Murphy; it changed his family’s life. Equipped with the right tools and ongoing support, Angi and Steven feel confident in maintaining the progress. Murphy’s story is a testament to the power of professional dog training in addressing complex behaviors, including aggressive behavior modification.


At Art of the Dog Canine Academy in Denver, we believe in potential and transformation. Murphy’s journey is one of many success stories that exemplify our commitment to enhancing the lives of dogs and their families. If you’re facing challenges with your furry friend, remember Murphy’s story and know that a better life for you and your pet is possible. Learn more about our off-leash recall techniques and other training services we offer.



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