Welcome to our new page dedicated to our students and their comments!

Hey Betsy,

One more example why we need to listen to you!!!

I just got back from x-country skiing out in my woods with Sam. 5 deer crossed right in front of us and of course Sam took off. I started to yell, "NO, come, stay, stop, blah blah blah, when I gave one command----"Sammy DOWN !!!" He froze (and he was running away from me toward the deer) and then his head spun around like Linda Blair in the Exorcist and he hit the ground. And waited for me to ski up to him, tail wagging all the time. I praised him, and we went on our merry way. Cool, hey???

I was at my local vet- Madison Animal Hospital- Darin Richards, vet, and the girls there say you are the only obedience class he recommends. (:

So, just thought I'd make your day.

Hope to see you when the robins come back. I may have another local gal to bring --with her new lab pup. Hope so.

Vicki and Sam


 Hi all: In today's BDN section C page 1 is a write up about 'Maxx's movie' - Beneath the Harvest Sky making a special debut on 25 April. I haven't seen the movie that premiered in Toronto at the International Film Festival in September, but whatever Maxx's role is (of course, a drug detection dog) it will be VERY FAST and toward the end of the film. Maxx has the fastest legs in the East. The movie will on-demand on satellite and cable 15 April. I'm so excited to see it. I started Maxx in Milbridge and Machias under Besty Newmans instruction, and with Sheriff Donnie Smith's assistance, sold him at 1 1/2 yrs. to northern Aroostook County Sheriff's Office lieutenant Mitch Wheeler. They trained further with Deb Palman, retired Maine game warden; in GA for drug detection, etc., etc. Maxx is the youngest, least-paid member of the ASCSO and has helped solve many major cases. He found stolen money and the thief, had many drug busts, is training now for Search and Rescue. Thanks for reading this. (((((((((((hugs)))))))))) Rosemary



My dog, Patrick, and I are students in your Machias Wednesday class. I have been thinking about you and the class a lot lately (obviously) and just wanted to drop you a note to let you know how much this class has meant to me.

First of all, your teaching technique is superb. I mean, obviously you've been doing this for ages. But you've got every lesson broken down to its absolute essence and have made it perfectly understandable, which is incredibly helpful to those new to the land of obedience training (like me!).  Not only do we understand what we're doing, but why. I feel I've gained a lot of insight into how my dog thinks.

The thing that I am maybe most surprised and pleased about is the deepening bond I am feeling with my dog. I mean, I thought I was pretty in love with Patrick before the class. But working together on these lessons has absolutely deepened my appreciation for Patrick's abilities and the trust that is necessary for us to work together and accomplish goals.

Your incredible knowledge and talent, your sense of humor, and your obvious adoration for the dogs is making a big impact in our household. And for that we are very grateful.

With thanks,

Lindy & Patrick


Hi Betsy ,
Dakotah did excellent at the show this weekend not bad for his first show . the first day he placed 2nd place in Rally novice a with a score of 88 earning his first leg. In beginners novice a he placed 2nd again with a score of 188 that was 9/24/11 on Sunday 9/25/11 We got really distracted by all the commotion in the other ring but we placed 4th earning our 2nd leg in rally novice a with a score of 78. i am sending you some pictures for the web site. i was very proud of him this weekend but i do need to practice with a little more distractions on him and get him a little more focused on me he tends to associate dogs and play time when its not.


Hi Betsy- Just a note to thank you for teaching Spirit (and me) how to “survive her puppyhood” and for helping her to become a really great dog.  You must remember meeting her the first time at ten or twelve weeks of age  ... in short a “little monster”.  You explained to me that we had several problems  ... she’s a “Doodle, she is very smart, and she is very high energy and needs to be in class the day before yesterday!” We enrolled right away and the “trip” began.  “Trip” in many ways, as we travelled every Monday night from Lewiston to Newport and later Pitttsfield all through the winter of 09 and finished Advanced II on June 22 of 09.  We started in Basic and went straight through Advanced Advanced.  the changes were remarkable, even though at times this stubborn handler couldn’t see it.  It was difficult for me to forget her at times downright embarrassing “fruit loopy” behavior  (even in class, when you taught me what I later named “the BETSY manuever” where Spirit had to be brought back to reality by being physically picked up off the floor by her scruff and held in mid air until she settled)!  We’d be wealthy people right now if we had $5.00 for every conversation Betty and I had about “should we call Sue (Spirit’s breeder) and tell her we can’t handle her.  Fortunately, I inherited my fathers stubborn (persistent) Swiss genes!  She’s now almost 31 months old ... you and Sue both kept telling us she needed to mature, now we believe.  Between our 5 mile nearly daily walks, frisbee, tennis balls and entry into the world of Agility, successfully completing her AKC-CGC last month and getting certified as a Therapy Dog (with VERY complementary comments on her application form buy her evaluator) Spirit is a constant source of joy and pride  ... I had a Lewiston Police officer stop in the middle of traffic a couple of weeks ago to comment on how good she looked and how well behaved she is!  For quite awhile Betty didn’t believe that I constantly get these kinds of comments on our walks around town  ... until she was with me one day and someone pulled to the side of the road and made a similar comment!  I’ve attached one of my favorite pictures of her as its proves that she can really be walked off lead in public!  (Taken over on the Bates College Campus).  A huge thanks!  Ernie & Betty


I wanted to send you some pics of Rhiley, as well as our deep appreciation for you and your techniques. Rhiley has brought such joy to our lives and it has been such an experience learning how to train her. Darin and I married last June and his daughter, Mary was our junior bridesmaid. She walked Rhiley, our ring bearer down the isle. We had not yet started our beginner obedience class and Rhiley sort of ping-ponged her way down the isle, sniffing everyone as she went. Mary did a great job intercepting as much as she could and made a great impression on our guests. Rhiley has come a long way since then. She retrieved her first goose in the Harrington River this fall. Graduating recently from Advanced I has also been a great accomplishment, and I want to thank you so much for being such a wonderful teacher.
Jasmine Hammond


I loved reading the student comments on your site, so I wrote one and included pics as proof.

I thought I knew a lot about handling dogs, and so did everyone who knew me. Then I got Sydney (a Standard Poodle), and realized with horror that I wasn't so great - I had just had really great dogs!

So I enrolled in Back to Basics, and my life changed. So did Sydney's. Through Betsy, I have learned patience, persistence, creativity, joy in playing with my dogs, peace in living with them. I have learned what it means to be a good trainer - my dogs (four of them now) look to me at all times for direction, and I have to be paying attention at all times. That took a while to master, but the results have been phenomenal. I still have a long way to go, but now I know that I am the key. When something goes wrong, it's not the dog's fault, but the trainer. A humbling experience, but one that has changed so many things in my life.

My daughter and her infant moved in last spring with another big dog and a cat. Without the time and attention that Betsy taught me to use, this could have been an impossible - not to say downright dangerous - situation. These two pictures show what can be accomplished by a determined and patient student. The first shows SEVEN dogs (2 are my sister's) sitting patiently with full food bowls on the floor, and I am across the room taking the picture! the second picture shows six of those dogs sitting with good manners after the meal, waiting for the poodle to finish his dinner.

My daughter is moving to her new place this weekend. Because of Betsy, we managed, with five big dogs in a small house, to raise a baby from two months old to a crawling nine months without a single scary incident. Thank you, Betsy.

Christine and I had to rush our little pup into her first obedience training about this time last year, because our little granddaughters were too small to deal with her jumping all over them. You did such a great job on her (or maybe us) that they are no longer afraid of her. It may have now gone the other direction.
John & Christine Carey

Betsy,  I can hardly believe that Libby is a year old.  What fun we have had with her....even though there have been some days I wondered what in the world I was thinking of when I decided to get a puppy.  She is becoming a great dog and has given us so much enjoyment.  She has been well worth all the work.
I want to thank you once again for coming all the way to Machias to give us the opportunity learn from you.  It has been a lot of fun and I look forward to continuing on with more classes. 

I would love for you to post my comment.  Your service to our community is so much appreciated and I personally want you to know it.  You make the class fun with your sense of humor and we learn at the same time.  Doesn't get much better than that!
Kathy and Libby

"Hey Betsy,
....  We have learned a lot in your classes and Mogy is handling himself much better.
We went to Oakland for a 5K and half marathon race the kids were entered in yesterday and we received several comments about how well behaved Mogy was sitting beside us in the shade.  He let 3 new people pat him after a time adjusting.  My husband was quite impressed with his manners, he did need some correcting when a stranger would first approach us, but with a couple quick [corrections] he would sit and let us chat with them.  I never thought we would be able to take him out publicly without a muzzle.  I thank you for all your help and attention in classes. 
Mogy and I will continue to work. I know he is still a work in progress; I mean we are a work in progress!
Thank you for sharing your expertise with us.  You truly are a special animal person and dog lover.
Grateful Student,
Mogy's mom- Lisa McClintock"


I have had dogs all of my life.  I have taken formal obedience training in the past but never with the positive results that I have had from “Back to Basics”.  I live on a main thoroughfare with a supermarket parking lot right next door.  Because I have been able to establish the “obedient control” that Betsy refers to (knowing that regardless of the distractions I will be able to call my dogs to me and  they will respond) my dogs can enjoy being off lead in my side yard.  I do not have to rely on treats or any other form of rewards.  Just my voice and the proper command are all that I need.  Thank you Betsy for teaching me how to establish the trust and respect between dog and handler that I now enjoy with my dogs.       From Grace and Storm's Dad, Scott Trowbridge.


Happy Valentine's Day from Hailey, Henry, Paige, and Dory (Machias)