About Gray House
The Gray house was never home to me without a dog in it.
I grew up as Sharon Virginia “Ginny” Gray, and since toddlerhood, I had not known a life without dogs. My earliest memories always included my first dogs – Indiana “Indy” Ink, my doofy and loving tricolor Rough Collie, and Rona, my best friend, and first Norwegian Elkhound. They were with me for fourteen years, my constants, my rocks.
When we lost Indy and Rona – despite living on a 12-acre farm surrounded by horses, cats, birds, lizards, and rodents – no other pet could fill that space the way a dog could. So I convinced my mother to let us foster for a Norwegian Elkhound rescue. I would not realize just how valuable that time would be until many years later.
We fostered 15 dogs over the course of a couple years, all of which were my responsibility to care for and train. A combination of inspiration gained from watching Cesar Milan’s The Dog Whisperer, reading on modern training methods of the late 1990s and early 2000s, and some natural instinct, every dog – well-bred hunters, lazy and overweight old dogs, and even distrustful and aggressive dogs – went to their forever homes trained.
One of those dogs was, to be blunt, perfect.
Quiet, loving, respectful, trustful. His name was Einar. As a middle-aged dog, he was not the first on adopters’ lists, and after 6 months with not one inquiry for him, we chose to make him a true part of the family. On his birthday, Christmas Day, we signed the papers and he was ours.
He stayed with me through college, marrying my high school sweetheart and becoming a Houser, and finally moving to York, PA in the spring of 2014. For over 2 years, life was beautiful. And in October 2016, at 14 years old, Einar passed on from his life with me.
I was devastated. Depression kept me up at night. The only light I could find was in my friends’ dogs, especially those who were having trouble with training them. I poured into training and used my abilities to help my friends’ dogs and to heal myself.
I was ready to adopt again
I was ready to adopt again, but I couldn’t bring myself to get an Elkhound so soon after Einar. So we looked from something quite different – a Doberman. We found Rictus, then known as Bruce, at a Boxer rescue and fell in love at our first meeting.
Rictus was a culture shock compared to the Elkhounds I had worked with, and again I poured into learning about the why behind my training success in the past. I gave myself context and honed my skills to not only train dogs but educate those training them.
I recognized that training dogs are nothing compared to learning how to train dogs. To train dogs, you must communicate with them, and this is where I realized so many owners miss the mark. I saw it in my friends and their dogs. They would ask me, “How did you get my dog to do that?” For a long time, I didn’t know what to say besides, “I trained him to.” Now I realized the answer was really, “I told him what to do and what not to do in a way he could understand.”
And so I decided to address both fronts as a way to help others. I founded Gray House Dog Training in order to give the knowledge of methods, techniques, and tools to dog owners so they can communicate with their dogs on a level their dogs can understand. That is my mission, to build the foundations of a Gray House in every dog owner’s home and make every dog a loving member of their family.