Pet Photography
by Fred Roessler &
Donnasue Jacobi




My name is Donnasue Jacobi and I’m the owner of Just Like Home Pets. I have had German Shepherds since 1982. My first was a GSD/Husky mix rescue from HSSV in 1982 and I trained her at a local park. I wanted to do more and enrolled in a class taught by someone who was less than positive, actually quite brutal, and it created a lot of confusion for me and Heiki as I thought that the “professional” knew what was best. I stopped when when my heart told my head there’s got to be a better way. This incident created a long retraining of regaining her trust. We managed to get our relationship back to a mutual trust and respect, as only a dog can really forgive a human from doing stupid things.

One important thing I learned is that if you are uncomfortable with something a trainer wants to do to your dog, listen to that “inner voice” as it’s coming from your gut instinct, which is always right and fair. Heiki was with me until she was 14.5 years old until she was overcome by pancreatic cancer. I learned a lot about love and patience with her.

In 1990 I got a pure-bred GSD from Tyson Kennels and Leo is the one that really began my love of competition training and learning so that I could keep up with him as he was not only a loyal and mostly obedient puppy, but he was a high-drive dog that could read my mind and was always a step ahead of me. I worked him in Schutzhund, sheep herding and scent-tracking work. This was the best way I could work out his energy, and get him tired. He also loved to model for my husband in his photographic projects – no costume was too silly. Modeling for treats helped to build endurance and concentration on different obedience exercises. I lost Leo to Degenerative Myelopahy when he was 10.

With Leo I got involved in formal Schutzhund obedience training and was hooked on all three aspects of the sport, obedience, tracking, protection. I began attending (and continue to attend) educational training and behavior seminars. I put AKC and Schutzhund obedience titles on my own dogs, as well as sheep herding tests. I also competed in the Austrian Rottweiler Conformation Shows with my Rottweiler, Sunny, placing 1st and 2nd places with her.

Next came my little female GSD, Lexa vom haus Hannah. She was my soul mate in that all I had to do was think of her and she was right by my side. She was an excellent obedience competitor, and loved working with me. When she was taking her Sch B test, during a soccer game at Stanford, on the long down she actually fell asleep until it was time for me to return and pick her up for the rest of the test. Even the judge was amazed that she was so calm as to ignore an on-going soccer game with balls coming onto our test area. She also did therapy work with teenagers, and she knew which child needed to speak at their group therapy sessions. Lexa would sit calmly next to a child and just bat her eyelashes until the child started to tell her story. She was there for them to hug and cry on her. She was a serious girl, and when she modeled for us, she was a PRO and would barely blink. She loved every costume I put on her and wore them proudly. I lost her when 2 Pits attacked us, she fought like a “she-ra” and that’s why I’m here today – I was able to get away. Her lungs were punctured, shoulder and throat shredded. She survived the attack but because of the trauma her whole immune system shut down and she was diagnosed with cancer within a month. I lost her at 5 years old a week after Leo.

I was a volunteer puppy raiser for SF GSD Rescue for 2 years and fostered 10 pups to get them trained and ready for their forever homes. I gave them all obedience training and also tested them on scent tracking for SAR work, and they got a chance to visit a ranch and do some sheep herding instinct testing. Every puppy should have a chance to visit a farm – the ultimate in great smells to roll in!

11.5 years ago my husband got his own dog, a Rottweiler, bred by a dear friend. Fred would come with me to sheep herding training and would sit in the puppy pen with all 9 rotties in her litter – and he picked out Sunny, as she was the littlest one and the most affectionate to him. Having a full beard was a wonderful pull-toy to the puppies. We got Sunny shortly before we lost Leo and Lexa.

All of my dogs are trained and have accomplished the AKC Canine Good Citizen test as well as the Sch B title, which is basically a combination of an AKC CD and temperament tests. I have also done the AD with my Leo (a 12-mile dog run while I biked) within a 2 hr time frame.

  • Leo vom haus Tyson, AKC CGC, Sch B, Sch AD, Sch 1, HRT Started
  • Lexa vom haus Hannah, AKC CGC, Sch B, HRT Started, Sch Puppy Conformation (6-9 month class)
  • Zonne vom Falke (Sunny), AKC CGC, HRT Started, Sch Puppy Conformation (6-9 month class), 1st place; 9-12 month class, 2nd place
  • Erik von haus Oak Ranch, AKC CGC, Sch B

I have assisted with puppy and beginning training classes for Bari Halperin of Dog Days. By far one of the better group training classes on the peninsula. All the instructors are heavily involved in one of various AKC competitions:  Agility, Rally, Obedience, Hunting, Rescue Water Work,  as well as Guide and Therapy Dog Training. What’s really nice is that Bari provides students with written homework so that it’s easy for you to train inbetween classes — just post it on your refrigerator for reminders.




I use positive reinforcement based training. This incorporates a variety of possible rewards, including praise, food, petting, play/toys and clicker or secondary reinforcer/marker if desired. My methods are both people and dog friendly and get results. Training should be fun; it should strengthen the animal/human bond. Other benefits include providing mental stimulation, building confidence and teaching control. I work with all breeds. I myself have lived with submissive, insecure, shy/fearful, high-drive, independent, self-serving and reactive dogs. Most of these dogs have gone on to earn advanced obedience titles.

I consider myself a common sense trainer who leans heavily towards the positive end of dealing with behavior. I am not an extremist who never believes in saying ‘no.’ Setting boundaries, even using correction or restraint when appropriate is a natural part of life. Everything has a balance in life; extremes don’t work nor make sense. Consequences are a real, natural part of life. It is our responsibility to provide our dogs with calm, confident, fair, non-confrontational leadership and guidance they crave and thrive on. Structure and clear consistent rules build confidence and security for your dog. It also teaches your dog how to respect humans.

Our relationship is the foundation for everything we do with our dogs. Too much freedom/privileges or the need for decision-making causes a great deal of stress in our dogs. It is our responsibility to set them up for success and be their leader. Dogs really don’t need to be in charge — this will make living with your dog a pleasure that should last for many years.

Me/Dog Trainingdonnasue

I am an admitted dogaholic. My life pretty much revolves around dogs and my art. They are my hobbies and an essential part of what makes me whole. First and foremost my dogs are part of my family.

Advanced training builds the relationship/bond that is crucial for harmony. I appreciate both the similarities & differences in breeds, groups and individuals. Travel is scheduled to include my dogs. Besides living with, loving, training, showing, grooming, reading about, writing about, thinking about, dreaming about, shopping for and breathing dogs, any hobbies are also linked to my canine addiction. I enjoy taking photographs of all my dogs (clients included), even the ones that just want walks during the workdays. I often make photographic books of the dogs I work with. This also helps in teaching the dogs to do a sit-stay or down-stay for longer periods of time. I also take action shots of them playing.

I love training all dogs of any age or breed from their first puppy trainings to solving any behavior problems. My goal is to help owners and their dogs get started on the right paw with joy and respect for our differences. Keeping a sense of humor helps keep the lessons fun and memorable. Setbacks are opportunities to learn from a different perspective — we don’t get it right the first time all the time, sometimes solving the puzzle of why can be as interesting as the “how to do something new.”

A word about the infamous “one-day dog training”. There is no such thing as training a dog in one day for all acceptable house manners and obedience. Creating an obedient dog that is welcome anywhere takes time, patience and time, it can’t be done in “just one day.”

I help pet owners understand their dogs and how to help them build a relationship that keeps the family pack happy and healthy. I specialize in puppy training to help owners and their new puppy get started in the right direction for mutual respect and companionship.

I have been training my own personal dogs, German shepherds and a Rottweiler since 1982.  Although they have all been smarter than me, none of my personal dogs ever got trained in one day. I have AKC and Schutzhund obedience titles. All of my dogs have achieved, as a minimum the AKC CGC titles. A temperament test to certify that the dog is socialized and obedient around humans and other animals – it’s not done in one day.

Training takes time, patience, consistency and lots of motivation for at least 12-24 months – that’s how long it takes a dog to mature mentally and physically. If successful training was done in one day, why are there so many dogs turned into the shelters for behavior problems? I can promise to help you figure out how to solve a problem, but success is not done in one day.

Yes you can teach a puppy or dog a new trick (behavior) however you must practice until you know that the dog understands the verbal command as well as any hand signal.