The science behind learning and behavior has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. In college I studied psychology and I soaked-it-up. I loved every bit of what I learned. I graduated Magna Cum Laude. I first used this degree by working in human mental health as a counselor for children diagnosed with oppositional defiance, bi-polar disorder and autism. The director I worked with knew I was interested in difficult cases so he referred me for a position as a caseworker for adults diagnosed with schizophrenia, generalized anxiety and major depression.
Alaska was Calling
I knew that behavioral science was my calling but before diving headfirst in clinical psych I decided to take a six month hiatus from the mental health field to work in Alaska. I came away from that mini-adventure with new plans. I spent my time in Alaska studying and teaching others about the behavioral patterns of the native wildlife; all while living on a boat with my 90 lb. Malamute mix, Kodi. Kodi and I thrived going on daily hikes and with frequent camping trips in the great outdoors. Kodi became my muse in training, I’ll tell you about that later. But for now, all you need to know is that this adventure to Alaska made me realize that I wanted to continue teaching people about animal behavior. I could see that in many ways this could even act as a bridge to help people with their own mental and emotional struggles.
Certification with World Renowned Trainers
In 2009 I enrolled in an academy for professional dog trainers, and headed to Texas to study under two internationally renowned trainers. During this time I learned about beginner and advanced obedience training, behavior modification, and sport work. The sport work included agility, search and rescue, scent detection, tracking and protection training. All of this sport training, as it turned out, would help in the future when working with challenging behavioral cases.
Specialized Training with Proven Success
After graduating I began working at a prominent dog care facility in New York City. I was the head trainer and behavior consultant in the upper west side and upper east side of Manhattan. I conducted behavior assessments, private training sessions and group classes. In 2011 I branched off to create my own business and focus more intently on behavior modification for difficult dogs. Since this time I have poured myself into my work, fine tuning a specialized approach to training difficult dogs, with proven success.
I currently reside in San Diego, California with my husband, Brian, who happens to be a brilliant videographer and the talent behind all of the videos produced on this site and in our courses. We have three amazing kids and three amazing dogs. You might see them now and again when they help me with training videos.
Why I Do What I Do
I went through my dog training certification with my malamute mix, Kodi. This was the same dog that lived with me in Alaska. I loved him so much, but … there were times that his behavior was the source of great frustration and stress. He was highly predatory with small animals, including cats, and when he became anxious he barked. He barked-non-stop. Traditional training techniques missed the mark. They didn’t properly break the problem down into actionable steps.
When I started training professionally in New York I realized that my situation with Kodi was not unique. Not all dogs, not even puppies, are working from a level playing field. If a dog is experiencing over-arousal or chronic stress they won’t be able to learn in the same way as a dog that is calm and relaxed throughout their day. I realized that in order to create long-term, positive changes in our dog’s behavior, we needed to level the fields and work from a rock solid foundation.
I started to focus on developing foundation skills that could generalize into real life situations. The focus was on regulating emotional responses. This process built up stronger communication, created patterns that put relaxation on cue and, as it turned out, dramatically accelerated training. This system proved effective for dogs that are not responding to common training approaches, but it can be applied to any dog to improve their overall well-being.
The training builds stronger communication, a greater sense of trust and improves the dog’s emotional and physical well being. The best part is that it’s an enjoyable process for both people and dogs.
If you are looking for a structured training program, step by step instructions, and training that will make you feel proud of your dog’s successes – sign up for one of my classes.
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