Help everyone bring out the best in their dogs.
I only use methods that are pain-, fear-, and force-free such as positive reinforcement, desensitization, and conter-conditioning to help build the relationship between pet and their human.
I’ve always loved dogs. When I was around 7 years old, I took our family dog (named Auction) through a town obedience class. The final week was an obedience competition which was open to the public. I came in second to a man with a German Shepherd who had already earned multiple obedience titles. To me, coming in second was just as good as winning.
Fast forward many years, many dogs, many cues and tricks taught. I hadn’t thought of becoming a professional dog trainer until my sister found a puppy on Craig’s List that ‘had to be gone by tonight’. It quickly became clear why. The puppy was very active, energetic, and needy. My sister liked how well behaved my dog was, so turned to me for some training tips. I started to think about the previous owner, and how if she had someone to turn to, she wouldn’t have been frantically listing the puppy on a risky website, desperate to find the puppy a new home in the middle of the night.
That was the start of my journey.
I decided right then that I was going to officially learn dog training, rather than just winging it like I had been doing. I signed up for an obedience instructor course through Penn Foster, and started volunteering at local rescues to gain hands-on experience. I completed a dog training mentorship, and then became an instructor at a local company.
I continued my education through various courses, live seminars, workshops, and lots of reading. Became certified through the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers. Earned a certificate in Applied Animal Behavior through the University of Washington. Became a Fear Free™ Certified trainer, joined the Pet Professional Guild, took ‘Living and Learning With Animals’ through Behaviorworks, the Aggression in Dogs Master Course, and currently own my own business providing dog training and behavior modification. I plan on continuing my journey through education, concentrating on the science of learning, as well as aggression, reactivity, and separation anxiety.
If I can prevent just one person from feeling the helplessness of being overwhelmed by their dog’s behavior, it will all be worth it.