Don’t just take it from us, let our people do the talking!


“I thought your class was great. I learned many, useful techniques and would highly recommend you to anyone having dog behavior issues. In addition to the class, I also appreciated the videos you shared. It was helpful to be able to watch and learn new techniques in the quiet of my own home. Plus, it was like being able to take an impromptu class whenever I could fit one into my busy life. Your idea for an online training endeavor would be helpful to many people.

I was afraid that my “Jekyll and Hyde” dog Lily, would be too reactive to other dogs to be able to participate in the class. She was great in class, thanks mainly, I believe, to the well thought out, strategic arrangement. My favorite part was when the dogs became more comfortable with each other and could get nearer to each other without going crazy. Lily has improved, in that most of the time we can walk by another dog and she will keep her attention on me, but we still have work to do. I love that the training methods you use focus on positive reinforcement rather than punishment, or negative reinforcement. I leaned many useful, new tools to help my dog and I cope with encounters with new dogs and strangers. Finding out how helpful having a real treat bag could be and the importance of higher quality treats was a surprise! Not only has Lily improved, but I’ve been able to use some of the techniques learned in class on my puppy George, who has a lot of the same anxiety issues as my older dog. I think you ladies are awesome!”

Beth Stevenson and Lily

Charleston, SC

“I was afraid that Tusker would attack another dog during class or that he was no longer appropriate for group training. We never had any major issues during any of our lessons! I even remember emailing and asking if you thought it would be ok for him to do a class with other dogs! Setting up cars to block his view and learning skills to distract him kept him calm both in class and at home.
In the months leading up to our decision to seek training for him I was afraid that he would seriously injure another dog and continue to become more aggressive and we would either be forced to put him down or re-home him when we have kids. Now, I still get anxious sometimes, but I feel like we have the skills to correct his behavior and I know that he can be the ball of love outside that he always is inside the house.
I felt like our problems were completely understood, you gave encouraging feedback and gentle corrections, the techniques were easy to use and worked. The biggest gift was easing my anxiety and fears and improving my relationship with my dog so that I could use positive reinforcement rather than punishment. And also, stop crying on a weekly basis during walks or bathroom breaks due to his reactivity!
With our past trainer we used for puppy training, I felt like the reasoning wasn’t explained and her corrections were critical. This was a totally different experience.
95% of the time If I am prepared and someone doesn’t surprise me from behind I can keep Tusker below threshold. Before my only skill was to try and avoid other people by 100 feet or more and hold on to him for dear life off the side of the path we walk him on while another dog passed. I used to get either fearful or sympathetic responses from other people, now I get compliments on how well trained he is. Tusker can stay below threshold with about 20 feet between him and a strange dog, maybe less depending on the situation. A couple months ago a man stopped me to ask if I was a dog trainer or foster dogs because he always sees me working with Tusker on walks!
I have already recommended it to several friends! Before going through this experience we felt like it’s nurture not nature with pitbulls and were proud of our adorable, high energy, friendly and excitable goofball. Then aggression and reactivity snuck up on us around his second birthday. Having a reactive dog made me realize that more people deal with reactivity than I realized. I find that if I bring it up a lot of people can relate and then I tell them what we’ve done to deal with it and they say “Oh maybe we should do that!”
I felt like I understood his behavior more and no longer saw the need for punishment. We had been trying corrective leashes and collars, we had a e-collar we tried for a while, we tried to show him that we were alpha and none of it was making a difference. Understanding trigger stacking, his calming signals, and trying to eliminate visual and noise cues made a big difference. He has his own Spotify playlist he listens to when we go to work now and he has discovered an obsession with string cheese. We also feed out of a kong now and I think that helps too. The biggest thing is getting him to not visually fixate on a trigger and learning how to do that changed everything! When he was a puppy he used to lay down in the grass like he was hunting in the Savannah…that behavior turned out to not be so cute 2 years later but now we know how to stop it. I wouldn’t have known about any of these things before. We are pleased with the results and loved working with you!”

Elizabeth & Henry Bennett and Tusker

Charleston, SC

“The thought of enrolling my reactive golden doodle – Mr Magoo – in any class that would bring him in close proximity to other dogs scared me to death. Magoo was so out of control on a leash that he would lunge and bark at the first sight of any dog. It always took two people to control Magoo while he went into a rage at the end of his leash. I was unable to walk him by myself. In the summer of 2016 I introduced Magoo to C.C. at our first Growl Class. I was a nervous wreck and brought my neighbor for backup. I simply could not control Magoo by myself. During the first five weeks of class the dogs could barely look at one another without lunging, pulling and barking. With our dogs indoors, and separated by barriers, C.C. taught us positive techniques (it’s all about high-value treats) to show our dogs that they could actually look at another dog AND be rewarded with good stuff to eat. It’s wasn’t so frightening after all.
We eventually ventured outdoors so our dogs could see one another, though separated by great distance, and C.C. taught us different ways to get them to turn away or refocus their attention when they fixated on another dog.
It’s safe to say that Magoo went from lunging at other dogs that were 50 feet away to being able to tolerate a dog that stood 20 feet away during this five-week-long class.
I needed more for Magoo and enrolled him in the Advanced Growl in April, 2017. This class was absolutely wonderful for me and Magoo.
The day Magoo graduated from Advanced Growl he was walking FIVE FEET away from the other dogs in class. I couldn’t be happier and I am now able to walk Magoo BY MYSELF!
I can’t say enough good things about C.C. I learned from her classes that it’s more about training the owner than the dog. C.C. was always patient and ever so kind as Magoo and I navigated our way through our fear of the dreaded leash.
I’m hoping for more classes for dogs like Magoo!”

Susan Rittmann and Mr. Magoo

Charleston, SC

“I worried, will this be a waste of money? Is my dog crazy beyond repair? I had actually signed Buffet up for a basic puppy class when he was less than a year old. He was older than the other dogs in the class (and much, MUCH bigger), and I was told that that class just wasn’t suitable for him. So I was terribly afraid the same thing would be said of the Growl Class. Of course, I was wrong. The course was perfect for my big guy. The personal attention was exactly what he needed. My favorite part was that CC redirected the training after observing my dog’s behavior. He is (or was rather) very reactive to other dogs, but is even more so reactive (excitedly) to people. So when she saw that he wasn’t paying attention to the other dogs because of all the people milling about, she sent in an assistant trainer to work on his people manners – a training above and beyond what I had paid for. I have recommended this class to my best friend – to many of my friends, in fact! But I tell them that a year ago, I considered giving my dog up because his behavior was beyond my control. I feared going on walks because I worried about what would happen should we encounter another dog. And if I can’t even walk my dog, I don’t deserve to have him. But now, all I have to do is point at my big guy while we’re out. He (usually, he still has his moments) sits nicely simply observing passing dogs now. The course training quickly worked into all other areas of training. By teaching him one simple command, the look-at-me command, he not only learned not to overreact to other dogs as was intended, but he also learned how to walk politely on a leash, how to come when called, and how to return to my side after he had wandered off to sniff things as dogs do. I’m so thankful that I didn’t have to give him up. That would be the second time someone has let him go, and that’s not fair to him. Also, I love my dog! I would hate to re-home him. But I’m also extremely pleased about how accessible CC was and is, even now, a year later! I know that if I have questions or concerns, I can easily contact her and she’s always happy to help.”

Jenni Tyler and Buffet

Charleston, SC

“I was concerned about confrontation with another dog. C.C. was well prepared for such an event and allowed the dogs and owners ample time and on an individual time table for getting closer to other dogs without fear or aggression. We completed the Advanced Growl Class and I’ll probably take a third. There was great interaction in a controlled setting to allow my dog to learn to relate better to others within a very positive environment. Our favorite part of class was seeing the improvements in not only my own pet but others’ as well. Also you really learn a lot about your dog and what it takes to be his trainer. I highly recommend this course and C.C. in particular. It’s fun and can be life changing for you and your dog’s time together.”

George Roth and Beach Boy

Wild Dunes, SC

“I am so very thankful for C.C! Teddy is my first pet. I got him when he was 8 weeks old and he is now 7 years old. I have been wanting to take lessons since the first week I got him. I had reservations about group lessons because I thought that since I was so unfamiliar with pets and dogs in general that it would be very difficult for me to benefit from them with Teddy. I continued to read books and tried to implement suggestions. However, I never got anywhere with them on my own. My vet recommended a trainer but I was resistant. I took the plunge after someone I knew and trusted very well recommended C.C. I knew within the first 15 minutes that my fears weren’t true. C.C. was so intuitive in her observations including the dynamics between Teddy and me. She helped me actually understand him so much better. I was absolutely amazed at how Teddy responded. I saw immediate improvement. I love hearing her observations of what his experiences seem to be because it helps me understand him at a different level. For example, I did not realize that he was doing certain things to “calm down.” Once I realized how to read his arousal process better, I was more equipped with how to prevent it and respond to him effectively at any point in the process. Watching C.C. demonstrate training is so fun. It is extremely helpful for me to observe her. The videos and extra information are all amazing. They help me remember what the highlights of the lessons were with videos to demonstrate techniques. Overall Teddy’s baseline threshold of arousal has decreased significantly since our lessons began. Everyone who interacts with him regularly has noticed. The comments have been, “He seems soooo chilled out,” “Teddy is so relaxed,” etc. He is barking less and whining less in general. Teddy used to go over threshold immediately when we went outside. Now we can walk out on the porch and even go for short walks and he can focus on me with limited negative behavior. This is huge. I haven’t felt comfortable taking him on walks in 5 years. Now, we go on short walks at least 2 times a day and have lessons on the porch! The lessons helped me have techniques to help him lower his threshold. We are still in the process of training with seeing other dogs or cats up close on walks but I am confident that with continued training and consistent practice, we will be able to eventually pass by other dogs without negative behavior. C.C. is phenomenal. Not only is she knowledgeable, dependable and personable, but she is also an amazing teacher for both humans and animals! It is absolutely worth the time, money, and effort if you are struggling with any negative pet behaviors. Do NOT wait to take the plunge. I sooo wish I had not waited this long. I have been shocked at how quickly he has learned to respond differently. I am delighted with the results. I could not be more pleased. The results have far surpassed my expectations. In addition, our lessons are one of my most favorite things to do! Thank you so much for the gifts you have given us!!!”

Sherri Grady and Teddy

Charleston, SC

“My biggest fear was not enough progress or practical exercises for myself to get out of an escalated situation, understand signs of escalation, and be able to avoid things getting to that point in the first place. I spent $400 on a “guru” in GA for them to basically have my dog sit near a dog park fence to acclimate, leaving me with no “tools in my arsenal” to handle real life scenarios that brought me to the training in the first place. I really enjoyed the counter conditioning exercises. I felt like it was an activity to undo the building of anxiety my dog has grown to default to. Oscar still has his moments, especially when I have both him and his brother Ozzie walking together. When alone, he has dramatically improved with attention, listening, and I am better at catching him before he hits his threshold. I wasn’t able to pin it in time to curb it before. He is slowly able to tolerate more at close proximity and ignore which is fantastic. It’s a long road but its a great feeling to feel like I might be able to undo a lot of this issue in the future. Worth the investment, its a long journey but Oscar and I both left with learnings that have helped bring both our anxiety levels down and helped me to see a future where I can bring him with me more places to enjoy each other! I hadn’t realized stress builds in dogs and can create quick triggers for a time afterwards. Great people, great training, love the learnings and articles sent to me – invaluable! Thank you.”

Jessica Clouse and Oscar

Charleston, SC

“My favorite part of Growl Class was seeing Gus’ improvement outside of the class. When we use class techniques, it is like a little light bulb goes off in his head and he says oh I’ve got this. We can take Gus for walks through the neighborhood. He knows we have his back. When he sees a dog, he looks at us. We do usually give him a treat. He is very food motivated. Seeing a dog means look at my human and get a treat. We will never be able to walk him without constantly surveying the streets for possible triggers, but once we see the trigger, we are prepared on our end so he has a positive response not a negative one. The class gives you the tools to help your dog navigate his scary perceptions of his environment. It will give you more control in a difficult situation where so much depends on how your dog responds. Having a reactive dog does not mean you need to be a shut in. Having a reactive dog that has gone through the Growl Class gives you the chance to experience life with your dog. Months after Gus’ completed his Growl Class, I was surprised at how much he has retained. Only once a month we may practice the “Call your dog!” cue, and he responds each time. Gus is a slow moving dog, so any cue to get him to run impresses me. Everyone was always so encouraging with Gus and the other dogs in the class. If one person had a question C.C. would answer it for all to hear. Gus enjoyed going to class and did not stress during the car ride to the facility. You helped a scared/nervous dog become a more confident dog. You set Gus up for success. That is what great dog training is: setting the dog up for success.”

Carolyn Mauk and Gus

Mount Pleasant, SC


“I guess my biggest fear was that you wouldn’t be able to help Brinkley, that she was too far “gone.” Boy was I happy to be wrong! My fears did NOT come true, AT ALL and the lessons were a marvel! I was so impressed with how easily you seemed to read Brinkley and to coax her along to do what you wanted her to do. It was amazing. My favorite part was watching a master dog trainer get this bouncing bundle of brown fur to look you in the eye and do exactly what you wanted of her. It displayed how smart and receptive Brinkley is and how much she wants to please.
Brinkley could not stay alone! She had horrible separation anxiety. We took turns leaving the house so that she was never alone. Now she can stay alone for up to 4 hours at a time. She is CRAZY happy when we get home, but she does not destroy anything and stays in her “Florida Room” area. I would say to trust CC implicitly! She knows what she is doing, can offer a wealth of advice and materials and your dog will be the happier for the experience. It surprised me how quickly Brinkley responded. Even though the separation anxiety portion of her problem took a while, other things came quickly. BRINKLEY CAN STAY at home alone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Donna Temple and Brinkley

Mount Pleasant, SC

“We have fostered 74 dogs and have a lot of experience with them and this was the most extreme case of fear we had encountered. Emma, our foster dog, had been seriously abused and was very wary of people. It took a long time for her to become comfortable with us. Even after she became less fearful, we had difficulty trying to walk her on a leash. She would resist when we attempted to put a harness on her and would either lay down and refuse to move or buck wildly when we attempted to walk her. We were very concerned that, even if we were able to get her on a walk, she might struggle out of the leash and run away. Her behavior when confronting unfamiliar situations was unpredictable. While she was comfortable running free in our back yard, there were obvious situations like vet visits that required controlling her outside our property so this was a very serious issue. We were able to put the harness on Emma and we can now walk her. It was a really dramatic change in behavior and attitude. She went from being fearful and resistant to walking on a leash around the neighborhood and giving every indication that she enjoys the activity. The training requires a lot of patience and persistence, but the payoff is there if you persist. Another life saved! We highly recommend C.C. to address training and behavior issues.”

Larry & Pam Haskell and Emma

Park West, SC

“Before the lessons I would say my biggest fear was the training not being effective. In the end, this did not come true at all! The cost for the training was minute compared to the results. CC did a great job instilling confidence that with hard work any problem can be overcome, and with her help it was. My favorite part of this experience was establishing an even better relationship with my pet. You get to understand them much better throughout the process, and with feedback from CC you can manipulate and adjust the training schedule to better accommodate your pet. Unequivocally, I can quantify the difference in her behavior! Ava is much calmer, and has very little anxiety upon being left alone. It was a long, hard process but she is clearly much more comfortable in her own skin. Not just with separation, but just with anxiety in general. She still needs to sit by the window, but she is usually taking a nap when I pull back home☺. If you want a compassionate trainer that is available from morning to night to answer your questions and concerns, CC is perfect for you. She was willing to get to know my pet and adjust a schedule and program to fit her and my needs. You can tell she is someone that genuinely “gets” animals and has a deep compassion for them. C.C. surprised me with her attitude, approach, and determination to make our training program a success. There is so much misinformation and lies peddled on reality shows and the thousands of blogs. It was shocking to learn from C.C. how many of these approaches can make a situation much worse. Outside of the results, what pleased me the most was the availability and willingness to lend an ear that CC showed throughout the process when I was frustrated. That aspect was invaluable!.”

Lou Demarinis and Ava

Charleston, SC

“I would highly recommend SouthPaw. Our Rottweiler puppy had issues with resource guarding and going to the vet. C.C. helped us understand what goes through a puppy’s mind. If it were not for her very helpful advice and time spent with us, I think Ben would not be with us now.”

Craig Miller

Gambrills, MD

“I take referrals very seriously. My clients deserve the best and I refuse to subject them to subpar services. I am more than confident in SouthPaw. I have referred many clients and each one has been very pleased with not only the outcome of the training but also with SouthPaw’s professional nature.”

Scott K. Andersen


“I wanted to personally thank SouthPaw! Ben has certainly come a long way and we now know how to deal with him. He has been neutered and is making social visits to the vet. Huge improvement! SouthPaw really did help us out more than they know. They really are great at what they do.”

Nancy Miller

Gambrillis, MD

“C.C. was very thorough in understanding Remy’s schedule, feeding and preferred play routines. She kept detailed notes so thorough that I learned a bit more about his needs. “Aunt C.C.” was always a great sounding board about his training and development with helpful techniques for curbing his barking, walking properly on his leash and house training.”

Lucy Davidson

Annapolis MD

“Months after adopting our dog, my confidence evaporated as she continued to make every walk a struggle. After working with C.C. on recognizing and rewarding positive behavior we are now able to navigate most situations without combat. C.C.’s training also allowed us to finally trim Midna’s nails with a minimum of fuss. Thanks for everything!”

Ingrid Jansen

Annapolis, MD

“C.C. Bourgeois is the very best as a professional and trainer. Katie is doing better walking on lead, getting in and out of the car and we can now manage her reactive tendencies better too. The many print-out guides were a great help! We used them after our Private Consult sessions and Day Training.”

Mickey Crook

Park, MD


Are you ready to put your dog through Southpaw's happy paces?

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