My name is Zak. I am a 3-1/2 year old, 113 pound “juvenile delinquent,” who keeps my mom sane, and sometimes drives her insane!

I am the third German Shepherd my mom has had. I have been told I am definitely the most humorous, most “creative,” and most stubborn of them all! My mom got me at 14-months-old, with no obedience training whatsoever. That’s where Patrick Gibbons came into the picture. Patrick is WONDERFUL…he is extremely knowledgeable, experienced, encouraging, supportive, patient, and honest. He understands that dog training is not just about the dog, it is about the owners as well! My mom said she saw positive results after our first lesson…in fact, I passed the K-9 Good Citizen Test less than two months after my first training session (not that I’m bragging)!

Anyway…I heard Patrick was opening a new doggie daycare facility, Barkeley K-9 University, so I thought I would check it out. I am proud to say I was there on opening day, and it was beyond great! I got lots of play time and socialization with other dogs, along with lots of personalized attention from Patrick! The play area is huge (2,000 square feet), and has really soft rubber flooring that is easy on our hips and keeps us from slipping. It is completely fenced in, and double-gated, to ensure our safety. And the natural grass turf potty area is not only cool, but it helps us dogs to learn where the proper place is to do our “business.”

The water bowls were constantly filled with cool, fresh water; we had plenty of toys to play with; there was a “quiet room” to nap in; we got lots of personalized attention; and we got rewarded for good behavior with treats throughout the day…what more could a dog ask for! Barkeley K-9 University is the place to be…check it out!

And Mom…I promise to make the Dean’s List as an honor student, and not spend my time in detention!

Bentley, my almost 4-year-old English Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and I first met Pat at a puppy class in San Leandro when he was 8 weeks old. With that class, I believe the three of us made a life long commitment to insure Bentley would be the best dog he could be and I, the best owner. We learned how to sit, heal and come when called off-leash. In addition, Bentley can weave between my legs and sit “handsome”.

When Pat opened Barkeley K-9 University we were excited to know we could see him on a regular basis, checking in for socialization and tips when manners slip. I LOVE to talk to Pat about my dog and he never makes me feel rushed or dumb as I learn more and more. And Bentley, who LOVES Pat, too, gets so much attention (He doesn’t want to leave!), ball time and treats! The University is like a clubhouse for owners and dogs who want to be better and better and have fun doing it.

Bentley’s here now, offering his two cents: “Tell them how much fun I have there”! ….Say, please, Bentley….

Java, an affectionate boxer pointer lab mix, joined me when she was four months old. Java loves to hike, “snowshoe” and play with other four legged friends at the dog park and at Barkeley’s K9 Daycare. That is how Java and I met Pat.

I learned that Pat offers dog traning as well so I thought it’d be great for Java to benefit from some additional training while at day care. Java had already succesfully completed puppy class and a second training course through the local pet store. Although Java had learned sit, high five, shake and down I was still having some behavior challenges that concerned me from a safety standpoint. When hiking off leash, my 75lb Java would chase after mountain bikers (you can imagine the reactions) which I knew was dangerous to the mountain biker and Java as well.

Pat slowly introduced Java to a bike and shared with me that Java was reacting out of fear of the bike. For a week, Pat worked with Java and she now rides along side a bike!!! And I can have her in a sit/stay pose off leash and as bikers zoom by Java just follows with her eyes only!!
Additionally, walking Java is no longer a chore in terms of controlling her pace. The additional training has saved me from a future shoulder injury since Java is no longer pulling me on the walk instead she is walking with me.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I was a bit concern initially with the use of a pinch collar to assist with training. All prior training experiences had been solely reward focus. However, Pat’s willingness to patiently explained to me in detail about his training techniques helped put me at ease regarding the “discipline”. And now that I’ve enjoyed the benefits of the training I better appreciate the combination of discipline/reward training. We raise our children with discipline (as hard as it is some times) and love so why wouldn’t we raise our four legged children in the same manner?

Besides, the affection that Java displays for Pat every time she sees him completely erases any and all of my doubts.

Thank you to Pat and Barkeley K9 for making Java a more confident dog, and we will see you soon.


In 2005 we adopted a “rescue” for the first time. Though we were very familiar with the breed (Doberman) we had always raised from a puppy stage. This was far different! This wonderful new friend (Pharoah) came with lots of baggage. He had been left alone in a backyard for the entire three years of his life. We were told he was “dog aggressive” and we should consider him an “only” dog.

After having him with us for a week or so, we had to admit how overwhelmed and under-skilled we were. I sought advice from our vet’s office regarding trainers. They gave us a couple of pamphlets. After making several inquiries, we made a decision on one of them. We signed on the dotted line and thus our training began. This particular trainer used an E-collar and offered us opportunities for classes in the park after the initial one-on-one sessions. This was great, we had a tool plus it opened the door for interaction with others. We met many other owners with many varied scenarios of their own. At one of these sessions Pat Gibbons was the trainer in charge. I was so taken by him. He is professional, passionate, and as Cesar Millan would say… “balanced”. His calm-assertive attitude is felt by the dogs. He connects with them as a leader right away. A big plus for us newbies. Patrick gave us hope. He was willing to share pointers after the classes that helped our problem child. I appreciate the people training skills as much as the dog handling/training skills Patrick demonstrates. He is approachable and caring and I don’t think even he knows the fullness of his knowledge. It is as if this is what he came to this world to do. Truly incredible.

We shared our concerns about what we had been told about Pharoah, and the behavior patterns we were aware of. Pat assessed Pharoah thoroughly and wasn’t convinced he was “dog aggressive”. He brought one of his dogs near Pharoah and Pharoah did not respond negatively at all. In fact, Lulu gave Pharoah a big doggie hello and Pharoah just wanted to play. This was the first glimmer of hope we had been given. No one else dared come to close to Pharoah. The other trainer we had gone to was quite intimidated by Pharoah and Pharoah knew it (so did we).

About 1-1/2 years after working with Pat, we were able to adopt another “rescue”. We began working Lily, with Pat as our trainer, right away. Pat has taken both dogs when we have gone on vacation. When they are with him, we NEVER worry. I cannot think of owning a dog without Pat’s guidance. He understands them and does not hesitate to correct my poor leadership moments. He is our dog whisperer.

Dena Dunkin
Portland, OR


I’m Isis, and I love Barkeley K-9 U!   I am now 4-1/2 years old and 50 pounds of dynamite, which is kind of small, but very much in character, for a yellow lab.  Barkeley is just what I need and want.  When my parents got me, I was a terror, and Uncle Pat says I still “goof around” a lot.  But, I do know what I am supposed to do.  When I want to be, I am very modest, controlled,  obedient, and lovable. That is because I met Uncle Pat at about age 6 months, and he knows my type very well.  I love his brand of training and discipline.  The best part is that Uncle Pat “thinks like a dog” so that he can explain me to my folks.  The second best part is that dog training was very good for my folks; they learned quickly.  Of course, so did I.  A well-mannered dog is equal parts of properly trained parents and properly trained dog.  And, I sure do have my parents well trained!

I am a real people person, but also I like visiting Barkeley K-9 University.  I have lots of good friends there, and we play hard and well together—even if Uncle Pat has to sometimes be the referee and call “time out” for one or more of us.  In the park classes, I get to meet a lot of new dogs, help them learn, and decide which I like best.  Then, I tell them to come to Barkeley to see me, where we can be in a less structured environment.  Don’t get me wrong.   Routine is important, and at the park group classes, everyone learns by watching each other.  I like to think that I am a good example for the new dogs, but underneath, I am a devil.  There is no room for that in the formal training.  But, at Barkeley’s day care there is.

So, when I come home from Barkeley, I am exhausted.  You can see the results in my picture.  I may look passive, and my mom says I am a lover and a wuss.  But you need to meet me – at Barkeley K-9 U – where we will have a great time together.  See you there.

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