Dog whisperer: Erika Hall of Grand Junction brings balance to dog ownership
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — When Dana Johnson, of Grand Junction, adopted Gypsy from Roice-Hurst Humane Society, the dog exhibited bad habits including aggression.
After four lessons with Erika Hall, owner of Strutt Your Mutt, Johnson knew Gypsy was going to be fine.
Strutt Your Mutt is a Grand Junction-based business focused on dog-behavioral management, private boarding, and day care. It has operated locally since 2012. Hall recently added a full-time employee, Lexie Malone, and the business moved to a larger property at 1060 Belford Ave.
“I definitely appreciate her work with dogs and her concern for them,” Johnson said. “I am 100-percent sure if it wasn’t for her, Gypsy would have been back at the shelter.”
That’s because, when it comes to training, Hall offers a unique approach.
According to Hall, through training she aims to bring balance to a dog’s life. And instead of using a “human philosophy,” her method focuses on treating dogs, well, like dogs. Training helps with walking, aggression, anxiety, fear, chewing, jumping on people and more.
“Dogs don’t speak English,” she said. “I bring balance by handling them from their perspective.”
Hall is additionally inspired by a nationally known dog expert and trainer, Cesar Millan, who focuses on canine psychology.
“It has spiraled into this wonderful business out of passion and determination,” she said.
“All the dog-world problems can be fixed. There are answers, training and solutions.”
Strutt Your Mutt offers dog training, boarding and day care.
Doggy day care is currently full, and there is a wait list. Per day: one dog costs $30, two dogs costs $50, and three dogs cost $70.
Training cost depends on situation, Hall explained, and an initial consultation costs $45, then it’s $45 per hour for private sessions. She also offers a board-and-train package, which ranges from $50-$75 a day. Half-day boarding costs $30, and 24 hours costs $40.
Hall considers dog training to be for humans, too. And dog owners must be a “pack leader.”
Known for her ability to walk and control 10-12 dogs at a time, Hall said this is possible because she acts as “the alpha.”
Canines have a pack mentality and require an alpha, she explained. Once dogs realize an alpha is present, they become followers and live at peace.
“It’s a state of mind to walk the dogs in a pack,” she added. “It’s not physically controlling the dogs. It’s all mental.”
Hall also practices bringing balance to her own life with yoga, Thai chi and eating healthy foods.
“My life revolves around balancing myself so I can balance the dogs,” Hall noted.
For more information, visit http://www.struttyourmuttgjco.com.
Caitlin Row, Free Press editor, contributed to this article.
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