CLEVELAND — The Kellehers are a family of three — four when counting their dog, McClane.
“I have a permanent scar here from him biting me,” said Boss K9 Client Nicole Kelleher and McClane's owner.
However, McClane hasn't always been the best behaved. McClane is 5-years-old and has been a part of the Kelleher family since he was a puppy. Like all dogs, he has his own personality. The Kellehers describe it as strong and stubborn.
“He ate socks, then he'd throw them up," said Kelleher. "Then when we'd try to get them he'd attack us, then eat them again. It was a whole big thing.”
He also started getting more agressive when it came to food, he wouldn't let them give him a bath, and he grew particularly aggressive toward men. The last straw was when baby Gwen came along.
"He was getting really aggressive that we weren't able to approach her," said Kelleher. "He was protecting her and biting at us, so that was a big issue."
Something needed to change, so the Kellehers started looking around for help. That's when they found Boss K9.
“People come to us at their wits end,” said Boss K9 Owner Anna Rencs.
Boss K9 is a dog training facility in northeast Ohio that specializes in aggression and rehabilitation training.
“When you're in here, it has a whole different vibe than if you were going to another dog training facility,” said Rencz.
The facility also prides itself on being inclusive. Anna said anyone who might not have felt heard or listened to at another training facility will always be heard and listened to here. She understands the gravity of the situations for some of these owners. For some of these pets and their owners this is a last option.
“I recently had someone call us because they were about to get kicked off their insurance," said Rencz. "So, a lot of people will come to us out of desperation.”
In the Boss K9 space she provides a safe, inclusive community where she can help owner and pet live a better and more balanced life.
“To come here and actually feel like they're seen and understood,” said Rencz.
They do not rush their dogs. They anazlyze the best approach for each animal. Sometimes that might mean overnight stays to get the proper boarding and training they need. Other times it might mean a house call. Bozz K9 said they recognize every dog and family is different.
“So we're not a plug and chug facility," said Rencz. "If we need more time we make sure we have the time to take that on.”
That's what happened with McClane. He originally was going to be board and trained for four weeks, but once going through the training he was still somewhat aggressive toward men so he stayed a couple more weeks until he figured it out. Now, the Kelleher's couldn't be happier.
“He's perfect,” said Kelleher. "I never thought he was going to be like this.”
Which is great so he and Gwen can go back to being the best of friends without her parents worrying.