“So we’ve got books. DVDs. Bookmarked websites. Confusion! I’ll write more on the parallels between the dog world and the horse world and the bird world, but let it be sufficient to say that I was *immensely* relieved to see a familiar name among the legions of online posters: Vicki Ronchette of Braveheart Dogs. I first read one of her posts and thought, “Ah, a trainer who understands training!” and only then I noticed the familiar name. In the jungle of information about captive birds, a familiar (and sensible) voice was a welcome beacon to this “wish I were a lot better at this than I am!” bird lover. Thanks, Vicki, for the support & wisdom.
Author, Lecturer, Dog Trainer
“Whenever I have a client or patient in need of a trainer there is no one else I would recommend but Vicki. Without fail I get nothing but glowing reports of her classes, her ability to deal with pets and people alike and her knowledge and professionalism. I know that she will do the best and you will always get the best from Braveheart Dog Training.”
Dr. George Marmolejo
Chabot Veterinary Clinic
"In May 2015 I bought my Vizsla puppy, Remy. My breeder said he was too pretty to go to a pet home and encouraged me to show him. I had ZERO experience with dog shows, but was game to give it a try (little did I know what I was getting myself into). And so the search began to find someone who would be: A. Willing to completely educate me on how to show a dog, and B. Use positive reinforcement This proved more difficult than I imagined. Luckily, Jenny Germaine gave me a glowing recommendation for her colleague, Vicki Aquino Ronchette of Braveheart Dog Training. Based on her referral alone I arranged a private lesson - and the rest, as they say, is history. From the very first lesson (for which I showed up to on the wrong day at the wrong time, and she still stayed behind to hold an impromptu lesson with me) Vicki was kind, professional, patient - and most of all - empowering. (In retrospect, I cannot emphasize enough how critical this was! I would come to find that the Vizsla ring in my area is dominated by professional handlers - and this is supremely intimidating to a very novice owner-handler. ) We started with a private lesson, and then attended every class and workshop offered by Vicki that we could fit into our schedule- conditioning, obedience, conformation classes, you name it, we were there. For the record, we live in Vacaville, and Vicki was offering classes (at the time) in San Leandro. That’s at least a 1.5 hr commute one way - but it was worth it. Under Vicki’s expert guidance, Remy and I thrived. My handling skills improved, Remy’s biddability improved, and together we flourished as a team. Whenever I fell - and I fell often (and still do) - Vicki was there to pick me back up, offering support, encouragement and kind words, urging me to give it another go. Currently, Remy is ranked as the #1 All-Breed/#4 Breed Vizsla in the nation. He finished his CH at 12 months old, and four months later completed his GCH. In February 2017 he won his first BISS, and recently earned his Bronze GCH, with several group placements along the way. And he’s not even two years old! It has been quite the wild and unexpected ride. One thing’s for sure - I absolutely could not have done any of it without the guidance, support and training from Vicki Ronchette and Braveheart Dog Training."
Sarah and Robert Johnson
“Dog owners are lucky to have such a valuable resource found in Vicki Ronchette. Vicki brings a broad scope of expertise and experience to her students and their dogs, that sets her a step beyond most trainers. She brings her vast background in breeding, showing, judging, breed rescue, grooming, training and caring for dogs to all of her work. Whether you are a student in a public class, a private client or reading one of her books; you will be treated to a passionate, caring and skilled training advisor who is dedicated to continuing excellence and skill development, unlike most people in the industry.”
Lisa Clifton-Bumpass CTC, CPDT, CDBC, CAP2
Mentor, educator, trainer and dog behavior specialist
“I followed your suggestions after one workshop with you and was able to much better “read” my dog and understand how to work with her. THANK YOU!!!”
Linda Souza, Limerick Irish Wolfhounds
"It was a real pleasure to have Vicki Ronchette present Polishing Your Performance and From Shy to SHOWY at UCLA Dogs. Her information was informed and in-depth and clearly comes from a place of passion. She has a dynamic presentation style and truly engaged our students, helping them develop skills specific to their and their dogs’ needs. Not only does she know dog shows inside and out, but her training information is backed by behavioral science.
Speaking as a host, Vicki was wonderful to work with. She is flexible and down to earth making the somewhat daunting task of putting on a seminar so much easier. It was a lot of fun having her out and we look forward to making it happen again soon! Thanks, Vicki!"
--Andrea Stone CCD CDW UCLA Dogs trainer and co-owner
"Valencia does not like the individual exam at dog shows. I mean really doesn't like - she doesn't feel comfortable having a stranger go over her in the ring to the point of having a fear-based meltdown. She didn't start out this way but that changed around 9-11 months of age.
For the last 15-18 months, Vicki Aquino Ronchette and I have been desensitizing and counter-conditioning her to the exam portion.
This weekend we took her to the ideal show - outdoors and women judges - to see where she is at this point and we got three days of Vie being game to stand for exam. Is she perfect? No. She still leans sometimes and she isn't wagging her tail in joy but she has come a really long way due to being very patient with her and being willing to just not enter her in shows until she was more ready.
I do not think I would have ever gotten her to this point without Vicki's training techniques. Valencia is very sensitive and it takes a lot of patience to work with her. The end result? We took first in the BBE class on Saturday over some very nice bitches."
“Dog owners are very fortunate to have Vicki Ronchette teaching classes in the East Bay. I took my fearful and sensitive dog Dottie through 3 of Vicki’s classes. She never forced or punished Dottie for being frightened. Vicki always made us feel comfortable and protected Dottie. We both benefited greatly from Vicki’s positive teaching methods and
“You have such a gentle soothing hand on the dogs. This is exactly what they need and it really calms them down when we take the pictures. People need to watch this and see what you are doing.”
Vicky Cook, Dog Show Photographer
“I had tears in my eyes when I saw how far he’s come in such a short amount of time. I cannot give you enough praise or gratitude!! I’m sure he is going to miss you very much. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!”
“The thing I love about you Vicki, is that you have excellent intuition and insight into dogs( really animals) and are able to teach us to have insight too… Being able to communicate and understand your dog is so awesome.”
“ I just want to thank you so very much for your work with our family. I am so very impressed with your intuit with our furry ones, your knowledge and experience, but especially with your gentle and kind respect for the little ones as worthy Beings. I have never come across that in a “dog worker”, so to speak. I love that you care about Chase’s feelings and respect both their ‘limits’ and are so sensitive to them. You have certainly been a decisive example to Gary and myself.”
Leah and Gary A.
“Can I take a second to brag AND thank Vicki? I just found out Envy is the #6 Owner Handled Vizsla for 2014. I went to one of her workshops a few months ago and started fine tuning our showing. I can’t tell you how much it paid off. Her first time back out she went BOB over 2 top 10s on pros (including her sire) and 3 other specials (1 more handler). The next day she went select. Both days she went best BOBOH. and then a group 4 one day. I really think that little extra we worked on made a huge difference.”
“We want to thank you Vicki for your time and for teaching us how to be better dog owners. We value your opinion and trust your suggestions in regards to our pups education and training. We feel your skills are top notch and are greatly benefiting from your training / practicing methods. Can’t thank you enough with words!! Please don’t take this wrong, but, WE LOVE YOU VICKI RONCHETTE aka MISS BRAVEHEART!!”
Kelly and Nancy
“Thank you for a fantastic, successful class. Case in point, I left the gate open today while working in the yard. While in the garage getting some tools, my wife let Cody out into the backyard without realizing he had a clear path to freedom. About 5 minutes later we realized he was loose and we began to flip out. Before launching a neighborhood search, i jogged down to the end of the driveway and yelled “Cody, here!!! Come here Cody!!”. Ten seconds later Cody was running down the sidewalk straight to me, landing in a settle right at my feet (followed by a super praise and treat party !!! Thank you so much for your dedication to the art of training and for the success we have had with Cody.”
“And I wanted to thank you for all the work you’ve done with me and Sally over the years. Given how reactive she can be, it was great that I was able to draw on everything you’ve taught us so I could safely introduce Mac into the household.”
“Hanna smiling her way around the show ring last weekend… That smile is all thanks to Vicki, her positive training techniques, and the encouragement and support she’s given us! Hanna likely never would have made it with a professional handler, which are the norm in AKC shows for Goldens. Together, we even managed to place first in our class one day, over a pro! Although, the smile is what is the most important thing! Thank you Vicki!”
“I just wanted to share our great win with you all. This weekend my dog ‘Aiko’ Akiera Lone Spirit (Japanese Spitz) won BIS at The Japanese Spitz Club of Ireland’s CH show, and took BOB in Munster Spitz and Primitive Breed CH Show! Aiko was trained completely using Vickie’s book Positive Training for Show Dogs and the happiness and joy he has while showing is all down to her wonderful and positive methods! I am the one of the only ones over here in Ireland using a clicker to train a show dog as far as I know and I am trying hard to spread the word for what a difference it can make. I am forever greatful to Vickie for all of her help, she has been wonderful to answer questions via email and provide encouragement when needed. We are two points away from making him up to Champion so thank you Vicki Aquino Ronchette for being so awesome and writing this book and working so hard to make life better for show dogs everywhere, even in Ireland!! ♥”
Kelly Quinn, Ireland
“Vicki, Thank you for being Braveheart Dog Training. It was so wonderful to watch you relate to the animals. Always with respect, kindness, and understanding. And the response you received was amazing. Jerry and I aspire to gain just an eentz of the skill you display. We very much enjoyed the class and so did Daph.
“We are amazed at how much he has grown in your care. He is globally a much better behaved puppy. Getting along better with big sister, minding when asked, calmer. It’s all good. Again thank you SO MUCH for all you have done for him.”
PF, owner of Brodie, board and train client
“Our Puppy Preschool class was such a good fit for me, in the following sense. Something I can’t easily provide is the opportunity to interact with other puppies. And I am so happy with how Snap grew to enjoy this, yesterday seeming like something of a quantum leap to me. Opportunity is one thing, but what contributed most to the experience is your excellent management and oversight of the interactions among the puppies. Thanks for all you did to make this such a great class for us, and we look forward to seeing you again in two weeks!”
“My friend is very impressed and asked me to show her how to train hers with the clicker. My little blue Merle Puppy took Best Puppy on Saturday and Best Opposite on Sunday. I am really having a good time with the clicker. Thank you so much. Have you published your book yet. I thought you said it was in process last time I was there. Both my friend and I want to buy a copy.”
Australian Shepherd breeder/owner/handler
“As a veterinary technician, long time dog owner and strong believer in the need for obedience class for all dogs, I have worked with a variety of dog trainers and techniques. From personal experience I have found Vicki to be one of the most insightful and successful trainers I have worked with. We would recommend Vicki for all aspects of dog training, from Puppy Socialization to severe behavioral problems. Both dogs and owners have a great deal to gain in fun training and bonding through a successful working relationship.”
Bea Linn, RVT (Resgistered Veterinary Technician)
“I wanted to also tell you how well Rocket did on Saturday at the Ridgeback Specialty – she took first in the 12-18 puppy bitch class over a field of 11 other pretty darn nice puppy bitches. I don’t know if it was our clicker session on Friday that gave her the extra confidence but it sure was obvious to everyone (people actually approached me and said so) that she had a “show attitude” going. Of course I’m thrilled – it was my first nice win with her as a handler. Thanks again – I’ll definitely stay in touch!”
“Thank you for a wonderful class. Guinness and I are all the happier for it! You are a terrific teacher. I’m very eager to keep Guinness’ training moving ahead.”
“Rielly, the spotted dog, starts to wag his tail as soon as he realizes we are going to class! Vicki makes learning fun and exciting for both dog and handler. She breaks down goals into baby steps so it is easy for the dogs to succeed and she is perceptive enough to try different techniques if the dog doesn’t understand. Vicki is passionate about canine behavior. She has instilled in me that the ways you can communicate with your , and the things he can learn to do are limitless!”
Linda Blain, RVT (Registered Veterinary Technician)
“Neither of us had ever had a puppy before we brought 8 week old Josie home. By the end of the first few days, as adorable as she was, we were ready to take her back. We knew a puppy would change our lives but even with all of the research we’d done to try to prepare for her, we were overwhelmed and felt like we were in over our heads. Our vet had recommended Vicki with such enthusiasm that we decided we’d give her a call to see if she could help. From the moment Vicki came into our home we knew she was right for us. In her very gentle and matter of fact way, she got to know us, looked at the way we had the house set up for the puppy and evaluated the puppy. Josie was in love with her from the beginning and within minutes Vicki taught her to sit, down and leave it just using some treats and a clicker. Then she showed us how we could do it just as easily as she did. What a boost to our confidence that was! The biggest relief was in teaching Josie bite inhibition. How quickly she caught on when we said “ouch” just as loud as we could and quit playing when she bit too hard – what a simple and effective way to teach a puppy not to bite! Just as soon as she had her shots, we had Josie in puppy preschool with Vicki and she’s been in a variety of her classes ever since. Under Vicki’s guidance she’s well socialized to other dogs and people and her behavior is getting more reliable all the time. She’s 18 months old now and we can’t imagine what our lives would be like without her – or without Vicki, for that matter! Vicki is always available to answer questions and help us solve problems that arise from time to time. She’s an intuitive and patient teacher and we’re so happy to be using a clicker instead of a choke collar for training.”
Kathy Kinney and Diane Peterson
“You would be so proud of what a wonderful little “man” Teddy has turned out to be. Although it has been such a long time we have been in class just want to let you know his Braveheart training has never left him. This is common. Walking along I see dogs approaching I watch them if I sense something negative I wander out across the street or over out of the way and prepare Teddy,………”watch me leave it good boy”. While the other dogs are completely out of control Teddy (the banned breed) is just totally ignoring them and trotting along. We have had dogs charging out of open garages or wherever and same thing, the ability to keep my dog safe. This may be nuts but I just sense that he trusts that I will never put him in a situation that he is in danger. So just wanted to pass on that once a Braveheart dog always a Braveheart dog. Such a pleasure to walk my dog, all that traing has SO PAID OFF. I think the thing about your training is that you were able to bring out the best in my dog and teach me how to be a better dog owner. I can never ever thank you enough for all that we have learned through you.”
Tom and Deirdre Winterhalter
“We had such a wonderful experience with your class that we definitely caught the agility bug!! It all been so wonderful and I have you to thank for such a great start!”
Tracy M. Duncan
“Just wanted to know that we simply LOVE your class and how you interact with the dogs. You have an awesome gift and it shows with the animals. Plus everyone I know loves you and your techniques!”
“Thank you for providing such wonderful classes. I’m never sure who’s more excited, me or Blue. I’ve had dogs all my life, but the bond with him is much stronger, thanks to your style and teachings.”
“You wrote the book that has helped me the most so far!! Thank you for a wonderful clicker training book. I have suggested it to many of my crested friends who sometimes struggle with shy temperaments. Your techniques have helped me get “eyes” on me, and at home or class, Elvis has a pretty good and happy response.”
Toby and I just are really enjoying your class and we both are learning so much. I am just amazed with your talent Vicki. Dogs just love you and seem to listen to you almost instantly. WOW.”
“What great classes! And that never happens by accident. Your organization and “people skills” just compliment your knowledge and experience”.
“Tank & Capri are doing well. Tank took Group 2 in Bred by Exhibitor at the San Jose show on Valentine’s Day weekend. He is quite the boy!!! We really enjoyed your conformation classes and we will be back, your the BEST teacher we have ever had.
Joy & Kristine Oden
“You are AWESOME and we are so incredibly thankful to have found such a KIND, PATIENT and KNOWLEDGEABLE trainer as yourself!!! Thank you again so very much!!”
Cody and Ashley Walker
“Thanks again for your bird feed advice. We had a few days of protesting, but he’s eating his mash AND the kibbles. (I tried the zupreem super premium, and he likes that much better than the harrisons. I know because I’m finding ground food in the bottom of the bowl.) I love this bird!”
“Vicki is not only knowledgeable about training, but she is innovative. She peels the skin off the onion to get to the root of the issue and tries different avenues to find a solution. However, as equally important to Vicki’s knowledge of training is her wonderful way of communicating
with the client to create an environment where the client does not feel judged. It is crucial for the training environment to be conducive to learning by the client and the parrot. Vicki has both qualities skillfully intertwined. I should note as well that I consult with Vicki long distance and she skillfully focuses on what I say, asks more questions and hones in at what is triggering the behavior through phone, email, video and skype. I highly recommend her as a parrot behavior consultant”.
“I had asked Vicki to work with my Nanday Conure as I have had little success in trying to socialize or hand feed him. In just a couple of hours, he was much calmer, and she was able to hand feed him seeds. She was able to provide me with guidance so that I could continue the work that she had started, with successful results. She was very patient and professional in her approach, and the bird responded quite favorably. I would highly recommend Vicki’s services.”