Satisfied Customers


We have a 2.5 - year old German Shepherd named Lailah. Smart, obedient, totally submissive to us, good with kids - a perfect dog for the family and, if you ask me, the best dog ever.   Things have not always been like that. Hard to believe, but several months ago this same Lailah was the most dangerous dog in our neighborhood and we were really considering getting rid of her (which in that case meant putting the dog down). Now it is all in the past, and we are deeply grateful to Thomas for "bringing" Lailah back. We took her as a 2-month puppy from the breeder. And pretty soon she started to guard us from the outside world - was extremely aggressive towards other people, dogs, … anything. When walking with Lailah, I was always alert - keeping muzzle handy and maintaining "empty" space, so that no one was close to me. And if, God forbid, somebody tried to approach me or even talk to me – she would attack viciously. Needless to say, people were not very fond of it – and pretty soon we’ve become the outcasts of our “dog friendly” neighborhood - walking alone deep in the woods, trying to avoid any possible contacts with humans and dogs – not the lifestyle I dreamed of.  Yet she was beautiful at home - completely submissive - kids could do anything with her (say, my 2-year old girl could give her a treat, and then open her mouth and take it back). Kids could play with her toys, play in her crate, and even ride on her. She always was very patient and gentle with them and never showed any kind of aggression toward the four of us.  And at that time she was so protective outside! Yes, she was dangerous, and that was clear!!!   Still I hoped for her to change – she could, I truly believed, be good with the outside world as well. We tried different obedience courses and private trainings. Lailah was usually quick to learn new command, but still we were unable to control her protective behavior. Promising and optimistic over the phone, trainers were quick to give up, scared by the dog (and by more demanding work), pretending they did not want to get hurt. We didn't give up though; we knew that we just needed a VERY GOOD trainer, a true professional. And thank God we found Thomas.  The magic worked from the first day.  He listened to us and understood. "If Lailah is good with kids - we can help you." He calmed us and reassured that the dog was all right, though indeed there were many things to correct. And so we began…. It was a pleasure to work with him and Darla. Anything we needed to correct - they also explained me the reasons why did that happen, and taught me how to deal with that. Magically, every "how to" thing they taught us - worked.  Moreover - it worked IMMEDIATELY. Very honest and responsible, from the very first day Thomas gave us this feeling of being in good hands - he was always there, in person or over the phone. I remember, one day we had some unpleasant situation, called Thomas and he came within an hour. He is also dedicated to a success - he does not watch the time and can spend as much time with you as needed.   Our dog has improved tremendously. Yet, she has not become "happy-face" friendly Lab, ready to lick anyone or anything. But that's OK! That's what German Shepherd is all about! She still does not socialize with every dog – especially with those irresponsibly unleashed dogs, running around in public places, expecting everyone to share their fun. Lailah is still a protective dog, but she is not that unpredictable weapon anymore. She never attacks people, and has become indifferent to dogs she does not want to play with. She is so much reliable! Once we tell her that a person is a friend - she becomes a friend too - can even eat from his hand.    I am not scared to go out with her anymore; and, instead of trying to avoid any potentially "dangerous" situation, I am looking for them - as for an opportunity for me to correct my dog. I never fail!  Thomas has shown us that “dog trainer” is a profession – it is hard, complex and requires deep understanding of dog’s (and human’s) behavior. He has also shown that one should never give up on a dog once he believes that a change is possible. He literally saved Lailah, he changed our attitude and built up our confidence. Thank you Thomas! 




My husband and I have had our two black labs for about 3 ½ years. They are sweet girls and fit very well into our family. Soon after we got them, however, we started having problems with them showing aggression toward other dogs and strangers. When we took them on walks, they would lash out at any other dogs we passed as well as bikes. We could barely control them. We even got nipped a few times trying to restrain them. Things were so bad that we feared taking them on walks. Our walks got fewer and fewer.  They were also very territorial and did not like when people came over to our house. We had to go through an elaborate series of steps in order to introduce them to people. We were always afraid that eventually they would bite someone. They were perfectly sweet and well behaved dogs when it was just us at home, but visitors always set them off. Because of our fear, we invited people over less and less or kept the dogs locked in the crates when we had company.  Last June, we found out that we were pregnant with our first baby. We were thrilled, but also concerned about how the dogs would take the transition. We knew that the way the girls reacted to things out of fear would not be conducive to life with a baby. Our vet actually suggested that we put the girls down. We were appalled by his suggestion but knew that something needed to change. There were only two options as we saw it: find a trainer that could help us stabilize the girls’ behavior or give them up.  Luckily, we came across Tom and Canine Concepts. When we contacted Tom, he was very professional and began working with us right away, while we were still pregnant. He came to our house and showed us ways to work with our dogs in their environment. The improvement was immediate. Because of Tom’s work, we are no longer afraid to take the dogs for walks. In fact, we are even able to go on walks as a whole family with the stroller.  Most importantly, Tom helped us transition the dogs to the arrival of our baby. The transition was so smooth that it was almost as if nothing had changed. The dogs accepted our daughter into the “pack” without incident. They never showed any signs of aggression toward her. We are now able to trust them around her. They sniff her and lick her hands and toes. I doubt we would have been able to achieve this without Tom’s help. His expert training has allowed us to keep our family together. We are so grateful and would recommend him to anyone!




It was literally life or death for Shadow.  I adopted him when he was 1 ½ years old and living in a family’s garage, because their son kept playing too rough with him. Shadow hadn’t been socialized with other dogs, he wasn’t crate-trained – in fact, he wasn’t trained at all.  When the mother opened the door to let me in, Shadow raced outside and across the street and her children had to run after him to catch him. Clearly not a habit that allows for a long life expectancy. I brought him home and signed up for the typical obedience classes – only to get kicked out when the dog trainer discovered he didn’t get along with other dogs.  This trainer suggested I bring the dog-equivalent of mace with me on walks, as a way to manage his response to other dogs.  In other words, she refused to work with us.  Shadow’s world was very small at this point: he couldn’t go for walks because he went out of control when he saw another dog and he couldn’t go for rides in the car because he wouldn’t get in a crate and kept trying to sit in my lap as I drove (he weighs 60 lbs!).  I felt desperate and didn’t know where to turn. Then, a dog groomer told me about Tom.  She had heard rave reviews from her customers who had dogs with similar difficulties.  I called him.  He responded immediately.  I didn’t have to wait for a class with 16 other people to fill up, and I didn’t have to know what I was doing.  Tom was encouraging, supportive, and clearly an expert.  I warned him about Shadow and other dogs.  Unfazed, Tom told me to bring him to class on Sunday.  I chickened out that first Sunday.  I didn’t show.  Tom called to make sure I was okay, and I confessed I was just too worried about what would happen.  He explained why Shadow was having the response he was having and what I might be doing to contribute to it, and he promised me he wouldn’t let anyone get hurt, including the dogs.  I went the next week and for the following 10 weeks, learning skills and gaining confidence.  No one ever got hurt and Shadow learned every behavior we taught him! I had to move across country before we finished training, so Tom scheduled special, extra classes for me and Shadow, to prepare us for the transition.  He has called to follow up with me and has been the only trainer who understood how to connect with me and Shadow.  I have hired other trainers here in California, and the sessions were not successful.  I wish I still lived in Pittsburgh. It turns out Shadow is a quick learner, a natural tracker, and a strong protector.  I know with Tom’s guidance, Shadow could realize his full potential.  

Where every other trainer failed, Tom succeeded.  It was a long drive from Pittsburgh to California, and Shadow behaved beautifully the whole trip.  I truly don’t know what I would do without my friend Shadow.  But I do know Shadow never would have made it, if it weren’t for Tom.  Tom saved his life by teaching him confidence and obedience.   Every morning when I wake up with Shadow at my feet and every night when I come home with a happy dog to greet me, I am grateful.  Tom stepped in when every other trainer stepped out.   A thousand thank yous are not enough to say how grateful I am.

Edna & Shadow





I started with a six month old hyperactive female boxer.  I have trained dogs before, but Tom has shown me a new "concept" in training my "canine".  Even a trainer can benefit from quality training. Tom has made a difference in guiding me to a higher level of training. 

The first time I met Tom, I noticed how his dog totally adored him as she jumped into his arms.  Then I knew that was the kind of trainer I wanted to be, a motivated and positive trainer.  I wanted that for my dog. My energetic boxer who loves to jump has improved leaps and bounds! As I continue to work with Tom, I am amazed at what I am able to accomplish with my dog.

Rita & Aires


My Jack Russell Duke is a highly intelligent dog with a great personality; my mistake was just allowing him to dominate myself and my family, and for so long. Unfortunately, this cool, little dog had become more terrorist than terrier, and just about any unwanted behaviors you could think of he had 'em.  We had problems with excessive jumping, barking and licking, territorial issues, and the most serious of all, aggression and biting to the point of him becoming a safety and legal issue.  So, I knew I had to do something, but I also realized that the basic obedience work most trainers were offering wasn’t going to work for this old dog. I deeply feared that there might not be any hope for him, but then I found Thomas at Canine Concepts. Prayers were answered when he assured me of his reputation for working with the 'problem' dogs that other trainers would not or simply could not help.  Thomas even took two trips to our home in rural Somerset County for our training so he could help with the chaos that previously erupted anytime anyone would dare visit our home. Even during our first session, Duke began to respond to the corrections I was taught to give, and it was so exciting to see him start to turn around for the good right in front of me!  I was very pleasantly surprised by how fair Thomas' fees were due to the extensive travel to see us and especially for his expertise.  He was always available and our training sessions were quite enjoyable to the point of us looking forward to our work.  Duke and I are not yet where we need to be, but thank God and Thomas we're improving everyday.






Amazing Results: We recently rescued an owner-abandoned white German Shepherd mix - about 6 years of age, 85 lbs, and NO obedience training. She had not done well in her foster homes due to over-rambunctiousness and dog aggression. We had worked with large rescue dogs before, so we thought we could handle her, but she was proving too much for us and our dog trainer in Cincinnati. Shortly after we moved to Pittsburgh in June we found Tom and Canine Concepts. To make a long story short - we have a different dog thanks to Tom. She is obedient, safe around our cats and other dog, great with people, and - while still dominant around other dogs - we now know how to handle her and the situations properly. If we had not found Tom, this amazing, lovely creature would have not found her forever home. His training techniques are great, he has provided everything he promised, and the costs are very reasonable for the level of service provided. I would highly recommend him, and have!

I met Tom 18 months ago and worked with him with my older dog. Unexpectedly, she passed away due to cancer. After some discussion, Tom brought in an all-black German Shepherd puppy from the Czech Republic for me from a breeder that he knows. The dog is amazing. He has perfect conformation and is highly intelligent. At only eight months old, he knows all basic obedience commands and is starting protection dog training. Tom is a terrific dog trainer. He loves working with dogs and their humans. It is a pleasure working with someone who is doing what he is passionate about. I am proud to call Tom a friend and give him my highest recommendation for all things dog related. I have seen him take nearly hopeless dogs and turn them into wonderful members of a family. I have seen him bring in a awesome puppy and help him reach his full potential. Tom is terrific. I cannot thank him enough for all of his help.

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