Ms. Gina Garey was instrumental in helping me understand what was driving my dog’s behavior and, equally important, how to best address it.
“Buddy” is my playful 4-year old yellow lab. He’s a 95-pound ‘lap’ dog. Last year (2017), I noticed that Buddy was becoming increasingly aggressive around other dogs. I was ultimately asked to remove him from the day camp I had been bringing him to. This was devastating because I felt Buddy’s ability to socialize with other dogs was a key aspect to his overall physical and emotional development so I sought Gina’s help.
Gina’s training in the field of animal behavior is extensive and her support was the best! It began with the energy and urgency she applied to investigating the cause behind Buddy’s behavioral change. Her written reports were both detailed and thorough and the one-on-one work she did with us was very effective. Her guidance led me through some very effective changes to my dog’s diet, his behavior on-leash, and, finally my active control over him when engaging other dogs. She tailored a program specifically for me to successfully address Buddy’s behavioral issues and worked with us for several months. I can’t thank her enough!
– Scott F.
I have had numerous rescued dogs over the last 20 years, but none as challenging as Zemi. A hurricane Katrina survivor, Zemi is a 10 year old pointer mix who was flown to Maine from Puerto Rico after spending 6 months in a shelter. Visually impaired, and mostly deaf, Zemi suffered from severe separation anxiety and cognitive dysfunction syndrome. Gina worked with us for several months to help us understand Zemi’s needs and to help him adjust to his new home. She patiently educated us and gave specific instructions which resulted in a steady remarkable improvement in Zemi’s symptoms. As a scientist, I relied heavily on Gina’s formal training, and asked a lot of mechanistic questions about Zemi’s behavior, which Gina addressed very competently. Most importantly, Gina has worked closely not just with us and Zemi, but has included our veterinarian into Zemi’s plan of rehabilitation and training. These are the elements that I think render Gina uniquely qualified to work with animals exhibiting a range of challenging behaviors. I highly recommend her as a behaviorist and I am so thankful to have been able to work with her to educate us and support Zemi in his transition to his new home.
PS: Zemi really is doing quite well! > 8o% improvement!
– Silvia S.
Stella and Hoagie are doing very well and have been improving since we worked with you to resolve Stella’s obsessive- compulsive behavior as well as Hoagie’s overprotectiveness. Whereas before, Stella would zone out and run around the perimeter of the yard to the point of exhaustion and beyond, walk in circles incessantly and pace in the house constantly, she is now much calmer. Although she is still a hyper dog and very energetic she now knows when to stop running and is easily stopped when we motion to her (she is deaf). She will also stop circling and pacing on command. She does these behaviors when she gets excited, but the difference is we can control her behaviors and stop the cycle. Your instructions to us (as well as the medication that the vet prescribed) have been very helpful.
As for Hoagie, he has become less aggressive since he now knows that he is number one because he was first to join our family. Stella knows not to get in his bed, he eats first, and we try to make sure he knows he is the alpha dog most of the time. He still barks at strangers when they come into the house but he is much quicker to calm down and lay down. Neighbors can pass by on our walks and he usually stands quietly rather than his previous behavior of barking incessantly.
We will always be grateful for your expertise and understanding in “training” us to have better behaved pooches!
– Diane & Nash G.
What we learned from you regarding our own handling methods regarding Bo’s protection against people and elements has been extremely useful. He has calmed down considerably with motorcycles, golf carts, lawn mowers and other equipment and situations where I can comfort him. We would have never known about these measures of protection had it not been for you. I am very grateful for that.
– Louise & Dick H.
Gina was a lifesaver for our family. Our 6 year old Cockapoo, Teddy, was acting very aggressive to other dogs on and off leash. I was concerned for the other dogs and Teddy’s safety so I contacted Gina for help. She came over to our house and did an in-depth evaluation of Teddy, She diagnosed him as having generalized anxiety and proceeded to develop and write up an extensive behavioral treatment plan. Gina worked closely with us for the following three months contacting us weekly. We implemented the plan and the benefits were noticeable within the first week. Not only did Teddy’s aggressive behavior stop, but also, he and my other dog learned that I was the boss and changed other behaviors that made our home-life more pleasant. One example of this is that on a recent three week long vacation both dogs slept in their own beds after having slept in our bed for years. No dog hair on the hosts bedding!
I would highly recommend Gina and her services to anyone looking to help their family and pets.
– Karen C.
We have had a good week. Luna is definitely doing better. The ladies in my meditation group at my house thought something was wrong with her because she was laying calmly! I definitely feel like I can control her now.
Luna has started to stay upstairs in the morning sometimes when she knows I’m going to leave. She has gotten much better in the car and I can make her lay-down and stay for a long time. She will stand up when I turn on the blinker. She still tests me a lot when I have her lay down and wait for her food but I am 100% consistent and making her lay down in the living room and wait until I say “OK”.
I am gaining more confidence.
When she has stayed at the doggie cottage overnight recently, they say she doesn’t exhibit anxiety. In fact, when the manager goes out at 9 o’clock for their final let out, she says many times Luna won’t wake up to go out and stays sleeping on her favorite futon in the group sleepover room.
I’d say things are going in the right direction! Thank you!
– Jen Q.
April 28, 2018
To Whom this May Concern:
- I have had the privilege of working with Gina now for the last two and a half years. Personally, since broadening my focus to include behavior assessments, I have been stunned to find how many people are in need of guidance and help. I am so very thankful to have a colleague in Gina who can work with these families with me! The bond that we vow to uphold as veterinarians is so damaged when behavior problems are not addressed in the home. It is so uplifting to offer help, whether minor or major, for people to understand how to alter the pet’s behavior and gain back the relationship that they crave with that pet.
- I have enlisted Gina’s help on numerous cases to include: separation anxiety, fear and fear aggression, neophobia, food aggression and other issues. In each case, my success rate with the patient increases with Gina’s help. When I have the opportunity to follow up with clients, they tell me that Gina’s directions for home behavioral work are very helpful to achieving the goal of change for the animal. The fear aggression cases are indeed one of the hardest for me as I want people to get immediate help in their homes to keep themselves and others safe. Gina has been ready to meet with my clients when needed and give them the directions they need to provide increased safety for all involved. The success in these aggression cases has been great, the clients reporting that after working with Gina they better understood the mistakes they had been making as the dog’s “leader” and the steps that were needed to decrease bite incidences and increase their dog’s happiness.
- After Gina’s appointments, the reports that she generates on her patient visits are very concise and helpful and provide a touchback for me to discuss with clients when I next see them. She steps through the assessment of issues, the behavioral reason for the pet to be acting in that manner, the steps the client is to take to work on the behavior modification and the future goals for visits she will make over time. My clients definitely feel the power of structure and direction that allow for such an often overwhelming issue to be workable. Where I find people give up if left to do things on their own, I am hearing success stories due to Gina’s help in their home. Gina coordinates with my practice very well and we have a patient file that is complete and appropriate on these behavior cases.
- I strongly recommend that Gina be considered for IAABC certification based on her educational acumen and expertise in the behavior field and her application of behavior change strategies that she clearly applies to families and pets in need.
Kathryn Erswell, DVM
Pine Point Animal Hospital
12 Pine Point Road
Scarborough, Maine 04074
April 18, 2018
To Whom It May Concern:
I have known Gina Garey for over 10 years and have witnessed her conscientious progression toward becoming an excellent animal behaviorist. As a veterinarian and practice owner, I have referred several patients to her for various behavioral problems including interspecies aggression, fearfulness, and noise phobias. She is extremely thorough with her evaluation of the dog’s behavioral problem outlining for each client the origins of the unwanted behavior and steps to follow to strengthen the leadership role of the client as well as improving the bond between the pet and the client. She has consistent follow up with the clients and provides them with a thorough written evaluation with logical exercises for the client to follow to help moderate the unwanted behavior. She is extremely positive in her approach to the problem, and clients appreciate her kind direction.
When referring my clients to Gina, I have complete confidence that she can help solve some of our patients most difficult behavioral issues with her advanced expertise. She is the primary veterinary behaviorist we refer to in our practice.
Ann F. Barksdale, DVM/Owner
Pine Point Animal Hospital
12 Pine Point Rd.
Scarborough, ME. 04074