What made you decide to become a dog trainer?
I have been training animals for 12 years and have loved every minute of it! My initial path to dog training occurred way back in 2009 when I was still in college. I wanted a part time job that allowed me to make money while working with animals, so I took on an apprenticeship with a local dog trainer. Needless to say, I fell head over heels for training!
What is the most rewarding part of being a dog trainer?
In my opinion, there is nothing more rewarding than watching a dog finally “get it”. It makes all the patience and work worth it! This is especially true for my clients with dogs that have behaviors so severe that they are close to rehoming/euthanasia. There is no better feeling than knowing I helped save an animal’s life through training.
Describe the following:
One or two of your most memorable experiences you have had when training a dog.
One of my most memorable clients was a pit bull with severe separation anxiety. He would literally destroy the home when left alone, and would break his way out of every crate/room he was put in. His owners were about to take him back to the shelter but decided to call me instead! It took about 3 months of training, but when they were finished with me, he was able to be home for 6-8 hours at a time ALONE, with no destruction! I remember his mom was so happy she cried; it was an amazing feeling.
What is important to you as a trainer?
My training philosophy is positive reinforcement and force-free. This means I do not use corrective collars (such as shock or prong collars) and I do not believe in the completely disputed, yet oft referenced, “pack theory”. There is no reason to ever “dominate” your dog! I believe in building a mutual respect between dog and owner and have found that this type of training truly lasts and gets optimal results.
What would any of the dogs you have trained, say about you!!
I think the dogs I have trained would say “we love Emily, she always brings treats!”. They would also probably say “that lady is so kind and patient with me and helps me work at my own pace, which makes me comfortable, and I appreciate that!”