Success Stories

We value what our clients say about us and want you to hear it too! After helping people through some of the toughest times of their life, we have not only become connected but have also managed to create a lifelong support system for them to lean on.

After being turned away from 4 dog sitters and dog hotels, I came to Barbara Jean desperate for a dog sitter that could appropriately handle a dominate 135# male bullmastiff. Without hesitation she opened her home and cared for him as if he were own (and impressively without a harsh hand which had been the approach of others). What I actually found was an effective trainer, great resource and a friend. What I value most is Barbara Jean’s thorough evaluations- she truly wants to understand the details of your particular dog’s situation, and analyze on case by case basis. She has helped me transition several foster dogs to be well behaved functioning members of society– even one with severe car aggression. Her techniques are easily broken down to educate me as to why we choose one approach versus another and why the behaviors may be surfacing. I am so lucky to have her as a trainer and resource; I know you will feel the same.

-Lisa Delle Donne

I have gotten my life back entirely thanks to Barbara Jean. My dog, although a sweetheart, had significant and confusing behavioral issues with other dogs. We had been through 4 other trainers, and he continued to get WORSE! I was at the end of my rope emotionally and financially. I heard about Barbara Jean specializing in rehabilitating dog aggressive dogs. I immediately contacted her, and we set up a 3 week board and train. By the time he came home he was playing with other dogs and gained a significant amount of confidence and discipline around other dogs. He was finally moving in the right direction! I recognize that his rehabilitation is an ongoing process, and I am committed to continuing to work through this with Barbara Jean’s help and guidance. She has formed a special relationship, not only with my dog, but with me as well. The greatest thing about choosing Barbara Jean as our trainer, is not only her wealth of knowledge but how invested she is in our success.

-Melissa Deck

I have struggled with getting Tuckers training on point for his whole life. Tucker is a nervous dog and would panic every time someone came into contact with us. Tucker would bark ferociously and lunge at people and other dogs. It was horrifying. As Tucker grew bigger and bigger it got worse and worse. It came to a point where I didn’t want to take Tucker out in public and id NEVER want to invite anyone over the house. I was really bummed out about it and hit rock bottom when Tucker nipped a family member who came to the house one day. We have worked with other trainers in the past but the advice we received was to put Tucker on medicine to calm him down. That was not an option for us. My cousin recommended me to Barbara Jean. She was know as the ‘last resort’ person to go to for anyone with serious dog behavioral issues. After the very first training session with Barbara Jean, I knew we found our trainer. Other then Barbara Jean being insanely knowledgable about dogs and behavioral issues, she is very patient, respectful and fun! My biggest reservation with dog trainers is that a lot of them tend to be rude and make me feel bad for the way I have handled my dog. Barbara Jean is the complete opposite of that. I feel very comfortable during our training sessions and have learned a ton. We went with the 10 session pack and we just finished our last session. The difference has been day and night with Tucker. He has learned manners around the house and other people, and is a lot more comfortable in public. I have learned how to read Tucker and guide him in public so he is cool and calm with his surroundings. We are also able to have people over without the stress of Tucker threatening anyone. I feel like I have my life back!! I definitely will be continuing our training with Barbara Jean since there is always stuff we can learn. We are so very thankful of everything she has done for our family!

-Ali LaBlanc

I contacted Barbara Jean on the advice of a friend who had been working with her and highly recommended her. She has helped me and Sibley progress so much, I can’t begin to describe how grateful I am. One of the things I liked the most about working with Barbara Jean and RSA is how she holds you accountable for practicing what you learn in each session. The importance of reinforcing the learned behaviors is stressed every time. The one on one format is perfect for ‘troubled dogs’ like mine. When I was traveling to my first trainer, Sibley would behave differently at their location, but once I got her home in her own environment with all the distractions, her good behavior just disappeared and I would panic, often ending up in tears. By bringing her own and other dogs to the training sessions, she helped me relax and trust in my ability to handle my dog. I think a lot of people like the idea of sending their dog away and having the trainer ‘fix them’ and their issues. That may work for some, but Barbara Jean’s patience and guidance was directed at me- and that’s what made the most difference. She has helped me to be the best owner, which helps my dog be a much better behaved pet. When I commented to my friend that I didn’t know if I could afford to work with RSA, she responded “she’s worth 10 times what she charges”. And she was right. Now I can’t imagine my life without Sibs– but before I met Barbara Jean, I didn’t know how I was going to survive with her.

-Cynthia Bennett

Taking our dogs to Barbara Jean was life changing. We have two female rescue dogs who were adopted within a few months of each other. They went from getting along one day to drawing blood the next. We had gates set up all over the house and our dogs fought THROUGH the gates. Our home life was absolutely miserable. After a particularly bad fight that left both dogs limping and bleeding, we made the extremely difficult decision to send them to Barbara Jean for ‘boot camp’. On top of their fighting, one was a jumper and the other had severe anxiety and refused to come in the house when called. While we adored our dogs, they had many behavioral issues that needed to be addressed. Our girls stayed for 6 weeks and when they came home, they were crate trained, e-collar trained, eager to listen, and most importantly: getting along again. Not only did our girls learn a lot, but my husband and I gained much needed confidence. It’s been a little over a year since our girls came home and we can honestly say sending them for training was the best thing we’ve done for them and us. Our dogs are happier versions of themselves and they’re one of my greatest joys in life. We can’t thank Barbara Jean enough for giving us the gift of happy, well trained dogs!

-Gina Sandelli

Barbara Jean is a very well rounded trainer who has helped teach me many skills for getting my dogs to behave the way I would like. She listens to/observes the behaviors to understand the owners concerns and then comes up with a plan for exactly what is needed for the specific dog/issue. She helped with adding more structure for both dogs to help maintain a calm environment and to help the integration go smoothly. It was amazing how quickly they could settle when giving specific, clear instructions to know exactly what the expectation was. We love that the classes are very easy going, and really a judgment free zone. Most of the dogs attending have had their own issues at one time or another so nobody looks down on you if your pup has a bad day and acts up. I’ve also seen firsthand the progress she has made with some other very reactive dogs that we regularly attend the group classes with and it’s amazing. She does some great work and really strives to prove that no dog is untrainable. She’s very personable, professional, and easy to work with and I would recommend her highly to anyone seeking training for their dogs for anything from basic obedience to more intense reactivity/aggression issues

​-Ellen Grealish

I have known and been working with Barbara Jean Crehan as a trainer for about 3 years. She is a phenomenal trainer, who not only has the knowledge, but also just a natural way with the dogs she works with. She takes her job very seriously and wants what is best for both the dog and owner. She understands that every dog is different and has a knack for being able to figure out what approaches work best for each individual dog and owner. She will not give up on a dog and if she doesn’t already have the answer, she’ll be quick to find or figure it out. Barbara Jean loves challenges and wants to help all dogs, no matter what their breed, personality, issue, or disability. Speaking from personal experience, Barbara Jean has done a wonderful job of working with me with my two Deaf dogs, working through reactive issues and other little “quirks” that I’ve run into with my two babies. She has helped me to completely turn their lives around and I know we wouldn’t be where we are at this point if it wasn’t for her. I can also promise that her group classes are always enjoyable and informative, and her one-on-one sessions are well worth the time and money, and she is always willing to travel to you. I highly recommend Barbara Jean as a trainer for any dog, but especially aggressive/reactive dogs. She will never let you down and will solve any problem she is faced with as long as you’re willing to do your part as well.

-Nycholle Eckert

There really are not words to truly express my gratitude for Barbara Jean of Really Special Animals. After working with multiple trainers using various methods and techniques I was making limited progress on handling the reactivity. I was in a frustrating cycle of one step forward, one step back (sometimes two+ steps). I felt I was severely failing my new family member and was hesitant to take him out into a public setting. That is when I engaged Barbara Jean. During the first few minutes of our first consult I knew we were finally in the right place! Barbara Jean listened to my concerns, was extremely patient and nonjudgmental. Today is a whole new world!! Thanks to Barbara Jean my confidence in my handling skills has grown. I am now relaxed during our walks and am no longer nervous each time we pass another dog. I now have the skills to better read my dog’s body language and our bond has surely deepened. All huge steps..Forward ! Thank you Barbara Jean for helping us transition from hopeless and frustrated to hopeful and confident! I highly recommend Really Special Animals for any training or boarding needs. I also frequent Barbara Jean’s Structured Strides weekend classes and board my dog with her when I am out of town. Leaving my dog is difficult, but knowing he is in the care of Barbara Jean makes it easier knowing he is in the very best hands!

-Stacey Kaiser