Any pet(s) you currently own or have owned in the past (all types!).
I currently have four incredible rescue dogs: Penelope, Dexter, Alexi and Oona (they are always willing to teach me new things and helping me hone my training skills) along with 3 tropical fish tanks.
I have been around animals my whole life. I grew up surrounded by cats and dogs, in the summers I would visit my grandparent’s farm eager to help out with the horses and cattle. I wanted to be Dr. Doolittle so I could talk to the animals.…
What made you decide to become a dog trainer?
When I first rescued puppy Penelope. I was in over my head. She was out of control! I couldn’t move without her attacking me with those needle-like puppy teeth. She attached those teeth on everything I owned, my clothing, my glasses, my couch. She clawed doors and hardwood floors. She wouldn’t walk on a leash and she peed anywhere she pleased. I refused to give up on the little ball of energy and decided to enroll her in a basic manners puppy class. It was life changing! I learned how to communicate with her and understand her behavior. Not only was she staying out of “trouble”, but our bond became even stronger. I realized she wasn’t a “bad” dog, she was just misunderstood.
I was so inspired by that realization that I decided to study everything I could about canine behavior. I wanted to know how dogs learn, how they communicate, and how they bond with us so deeply. I’m so passionate about strengthening the bond we as humans have with our dogs (or other animals) I want to help everyone learn how to communicate with their pets.
What is the most rewarding part of being a dog trainer?
For me, the most rewarding part of being a dog trainer is getting the chance to interact with so many different dogs. I love being able to transform “problem” behaviors into positive behaviors with just a little canine communication, allowing them to live more harmoniously with their families. I live for that “ah ha” moment when they finally catch on to a cue or behavior I’m teaching.
Describe the following:
One or two of your most memorable experiences you’ve had when training a dog.
Every dog I’ve worked with has taught me a valuable lesson in one way or another. They all share a special place in my heart. The most important lesson I’ve learned is that no two dogs are alike- they all have unique personalities, experiences, and even learning styles. A training technique that works for one dog may not work for another dog…so I have to be adaptable, try something else and really tune in to the dog I’m working with
What is important to you as a trainer?
The most important thing for me as a trainer is considering physical and emotional wellbeing of the dog I’m working with. I want the dog to an active participant in training sessions, voluntarily offering behaviors because it’s rewarding, not because I’m forcing them to comply. Science based research has found when dogs voluntarily participate in their training, they learn cues quicker and retain what they’ve learned. Whether it’s training dogs to walk nicely on a leash or prepping them for a more relaxing vet or grooming visit, I am constantly making sure the dog is relaxed and having fun while learning. I work in harmony with the dogs I train, reinforcing good behavior and teaching alternatives or redirecting unwanted behaviors.
What would any of the dogs you have trained, say about you!!
Thank you for helping my human understand me….and for all the kisses!!