HAPPY OWNERS, HAPPY PETS.
Anyone in Austin looking for a dog whisperer? I highly recommend my friend, Ira Sutedja, who is a dog trainer and was a huge help to our Viszla in curing him of his car phobia! For the past 6.5 years, Dewey had hated the car – standing and shaking with his tail between his legs for entire car rides, even on trips to the dog park.. Ira recently worked with Dewey and I for an hour, and I am so happy and relieved that Dewey laid down on his pillow for our entire 20+ hour road trip this past weekend!! Thank you, Ira!
I’ve known Ira for over a decade and have worked with her the past couple of years with both of my mini schnauzers. The experience has been great and Ira is a professional. The biggest issue we focused is with my younger adult that I adopted and his jumping. With Ira’s assistance I’ve been able to break that habit. Ira also provided great common sense knowledge to help control, prevent accidents by shifting their meal time.
I started working with Ira well before I even had a dog. I knew we would rescue and what I was looking for but I wasn’t sure where to go. She helped us decide what dog breed would be best for our family and what age range would be best to adopt. She assessed our little guy before we brought him home and helped more than I can even say with the transition. She gave us amazing tips on how to transition him and introduce him to our kids. We had her do a one on one training session and it was incredibly valuable. Our doggy loved her and she helped us all know how to start basic obedience training. She taught us what types of food and treats he should and shouldn’t be eating based on his breed and even gave us vet recommendations.
I’ve never met anyone who knows more about dogs and their behaviors or who loves them more. If you have a dog you love and need some guidance, Ira is the best Austin has to offer.
Ira is very intelligent and has solid skills. She is great with people and has a great sense of humor which I know is a great asset in teaching classes and helping people to be more relaxed when they are learning new things. In terms of working with reactive dogs I would trust her to make conservative decisions about the behavior modification plan needed. She is not someone who will make a decision without deep thought put into it.
Julie B. (fellow dog trainer)
Positive reinforcement may take a little more time to see results, but it's SO worth it! What your dog will learn is long lasting, AND they feel empowered because they WANT to do what you need them to do. I can tell you that almost a year later my husky is STILL doing the things she learned from Ira. My dog's entire perspective about living with me has changed. Instead of my dog getting over-excited and then miserable because she's getting yelled at for unintentionally causing trouble, she now views every interaction as a puzzle to getting a treat or a head pat, and knows how she needs to behave to get those things. Then when she does what I need her to do, she sees how she's pleasing me with her calmer behavior, and it's a wonderful, continuous cycle of positivity!
My hyperactive husky went from leaping around and scratching visitors, to sitting and laying down when people come inside. She went from pulling hard on the leash, to instead looking back at me happily and bouncing around vertically to tell me she wants to keep going, instead of pulling! Ira also taught her all kinds of other tricks, including stay, leave it (useful for when I drop food), touch (nose to my hand), come, and wait. My dog views all of this as a game and LOVES to do tricks with me! Ira also cares about dog health, and uses a wide variety of extremely high quality, expensive dried meat treats to both entice the dogs and make sure their health isn't compromised in the process. Not only that, but she also took the time to write out a helpful sheet after every session, reviewing what kinds of things she taught my husky and how I can keep working with her on the things my dog learned. That's why I'm taking the time to write out this recommendation -- she put her heart and soul into helping my dog -- this is the least I could do in return!
I could immediately tell when I started talking to Ira that she is super experienced with animal training. But even then, she isn't afraid to keep learning more! Even in the 3-4 months span it took for her to train my dog, she attended two animal research conventions to reassess what she knows about animals, and keep herself up to date with the latest findings in animal training research. You won't find a better trainer out there, seriously! She's the best! And coming from an animal lover and research-minded person like myself, that's a high recommendation!
My dog is a 12 year old black lab/dalmation/mix. Her name is Zoe and she’s extremely sweet and smart. As she’s gotten older though, she’s gotten a little more cranky. And we started to have issues with her howling in our condo. She is crate-trained, but if we left at an unscheduled time, she would howl from the time we left until the time we returned. Ira asked some questions, such as how much time she spends in her crate each day, how often she goes out, how long she spends playing each day. Then, she suggested that we use a Kong with a treat in it for Zoe to have if we left and she was getting or upset. Ira also suggested that we start feeding Zoe in her kennel so that she had another reason to look forward to being in her kennel, perhaps breaking up her measured food into smaller meals – and often using times that we left home as a feeding time. The Kong trick worked like a charm and it wasn’t long before Zoe was used to eating in her kennel too. And since Ira’s suggestion, almost 7 or 8 months ago, Zoe has only howled in her kennel twice – one of those times, we left without giving her a treat or feeding her. Recently, Zoe also started to lose weight. It was slow, but significant – 30% of her body weight. After running every test the Vet could, he could not find anything wrong with her – and all her numbers came back normal or better than average. The most likely conclusion given was that she was getting older and just as some people get smaller when they are elderly, Zoe may be doing the same thing. However, Ira knew my partner and I had been having some troubles at home. She suggested that the stress and tension around the house may be causing extra stress on Zoe, which could lead to weight loss. It seems as if she was right. As things have improved at home over the last couple of months, and the tension level at home as subsided significantly, Zoe has gained her weight back. And in fact, she may be at a point where we can cut back on a little food for her. Ira is strong in knowing what questions to ask and investigating all angles of a situation. Not that I blame our vet for not knowing some personal details, but it was Ira who suggested Zoe might be going through our troubles with us that led to her weight loss. Ira is considerate and polite but honest. She helped us with the Kong suggestion but was also honest that Zoe may not be getting the amount play time she needed, especially since she is a very energetic dog. Ira continually attends conferences on dog training, which means she continues to be interested in learning, and in my opinion shows that she’s not only serious but passionate about helping animals and their owners. Ira even followed up to see how Zoe was doing after making her suggestions. Thank you for giving me the chance to share our experience with Ira and Zoe.
My husband and I sought Ira's help shortly after adopting a stray dog from the Austin Animal Center. Our Chihuahua/Dachshund mix was very fearful of most people and needed basic training, including house training. Ira called us, then came to our home to assess the situation. She spent a lot of time with us, asked many questions, and provided a detailed plan for us to follow. Ira asked for regular updates and suggested new approaches to problems as they arose, but she also let us set the pace for our training. With Ira's help over the course of a few months, our dog made great progress. He is much less fearful than he was, and his behavior has improved dramatically as a result. I credit Ira for being patient but persistent. It's clear from working with her that our dog's success is her primary goal. Her approach is direct but non-judgemental, and she is exceedingly pleasant to work with. I highly recommend Ira and Austin Puppy!