If you’re looking to get an idea of who I am and more general information on my training methods, you
‘re probably looking for the “About Us” page… Original, I know. But when I originally set up the site, I had the pages labeled gitchy things like “come” “sit” and “stay”, which is all well and good from a design point I guess, but a little confusing from a navigational veiw point. o.O So things changed and now it’s a little more mundane but less confusing. I’m a practical person from necessity, so I suppose that should be reflected here too.
This post is more of a “how I got started” and a history of my early training experiences. We’ll skip over the silly, embarrassing fact that when I was five I trained my neighbor’s cairn terrier (Tootsie by name) to sit, lay down, stay, roll over, and walk on a leash for the cost of quarters if she’d buy the treats and go straight to the slightly more serious endeavors I pursued in Girl Scouts. Did you know scouts could get badges in the 90’s for merely noticing their pets’ behaviors? Or that when a girl’s chihuahua mutt and her father’s norwegian forest cat are the only available subjects, eventually a fairly enthusiastic girl might research, learn to train, and log HOURS of community service with those animals as therapy pets? I was about 9. I’m sure my dad’s cat wasn’t thrilled about being leash trained, but he liked being petted…
I registered my first pets as therapy dogs REALLY early on. This does not, of course, account for any professional aspect of dog training. And being self-taught might indicate a predilection toward an activity, but certainly doesn’t qualify a dog trainer. So I volunteered at the shelter as much as I could, gaining an early understanding of animal management and how to maintain a kennel. Cats are easier if you don’t consider cleaning litter boxes difficult. In high school I studied off and on with a Schutzhund trainer that lived nearby and got a really good handle on classical conditioning. Let’s not forget that I still had my original therapy dog (Rippity was a chihuahua/min pin at our best guess and lived to be approximately 23 years old, working well into his late teens.) as well as several other dogs of my own who were at one point or another working therapy dogs.
Seemingly off topic, I’m also an avid reader. My mother was an english teacher and passionate about literacy, so of course there was lots of encouragement to READ! If I wasn’t stealing my dad’s science fiction novels, I was hunting books on dog training in the library. (Oh look! It wasn’t off topic at all!) I read everything I could get my hands on, took it outside and experimented with any furry, four legged creature I could find. Seriously. All of them. Cats, dogs, hamsters, my best friend’s rat… You know what else you can train? Horses! I’ve done that professionally too. Arabians.
Shortly after graduating high school (at 16 out of boredom and teenage angst, not some super-intelligence, I assure you) I started training dogs in basic obedience professionally. I’ve got limited experience in the show ring (obedience and a conformation class or two), but my passion is helping the literal underdog, which you seldom find in the ring. So I went back to the shelters and volunteered my time and experience there. You can still find me there from time to time and I happily sponsor rescue dogs on specific criteria for training. 🙂
That’s where I got my start. I’ve been training therapy dogs, shelter dogs, dogs found in ditches, purebred frilly dogs, obedience trial show dogs, “the world’s worst” dogs, and service dogs ever since.
My objective in this alternative boarding and training is to provide a safe, competent, affordable, loving option to families with four-legged members for the improvement of the canine-human relationship.