For as long as I can remember I’ve had a passion for animals and felt comforted by their presence.
Having moved many times as a child, I often took comfort in being outdoors and creating relationships with a menagerie of scaled, shelled, feathered and furry critters. Some lived in my home or yard, others stayed wild, but they all taught me valuable lessons about the fragility and beauty of life. How to live in the present and accept the challenges of life. I give thanks every day for all their many forms and for all their many gifts.
Dogs have been some of my very best friends and teachers over the years.
Growing up, the only form of dog training I saw was punitive. Lots of rubbing dogs’ noses in poop for going potty in the wrong place and jerking choke collars for pulling on the leash or some other offense, but it just didn’t feel right to me. I decided that I would far rather have free spirits than broken spirits by my side and very little ‘formal’ training was ever practiced. I did communicate with my animals on a regular basis and they clearly understood some of my language but it wasn’t considered ‘training’ back then.
Then one day, I became aware of a different way to train dogs. A way that is respectful, kind and fun. Using Positive Reinforcement methods, I found that training actually became a beautiful expression of my love for dogs.
I have used the same techniques to train a wolf, a donkey, a rabbit and goats. Talk about fun!
I also discovered that a ‘free spirit’ dog with some training actually ends up being more free. Here’s what happens: When dogs are well-behaved, they’re welcomed in more places, and when they can be trusted to follow a few simple cues, we tend to give them more freedom than we did before.
Over the years, it has been my passion and my pleasure to have worked with 1000’s of dogs and people. Besides teaching classes and working with people one-on-one, I operate a Boarding School right out of my home. Boarding School provides me the opportunity to have a truly intimate connection with many different dogs (because they are living in my home) and has taken my knowledge and skills to a much higher level.
Along with this experience, my training has become more insightful, adaptive and more like an art form. I like thinking out of the box, and since no dog or person is exactly the same I’ve learned how to best modify things to help specific individuals.
My certificate in Canine Behavior Counseling is from the San Francisco SPCA’s Academy for Dog Trainers. I am a certified Canine Good Citizen evaluator and the author of many articles on dog behavior and training published in local periodicals and books.