How did you get started doing this type of work?
I have had a connection with dogs since I was a child. My grandmother had a beautiful high energy German shorthaired pointer that I remember training to heel in the front yard. I started taking dog training classes in my early adulthood (many years ago). The training was correction based and all dogs were required to wear a choke chain. A team we where not! Heeling was atrocious with both dogs avoiding a correction like the plague. I ended up dragging the dog along behind me while we "heeled" around the ring. I think the dogs were hoping If I couldn't see them, then maybe the corrections would stop. My dogs hated training and I was unsatisfied with the results. My trainer was well known in the area and was the go to guy for difficult dogs that the local shelters and veterinary services referred to( my vet had told me about him). He was tough but that is what a dog trainer should be right? I knew something was really wrong when he brought his "well trained" bull terrier out to show us how it was done. This poor animal lagged worse than my dogs. It was time to do some research on my own. I found a new trainer quite a distance from where I lived. I was instantly hooked on this new style of training called clicker training. I decided to give agility a try to help my dogs get over their hatred of the leash and collar that had formed from years of corrections.The dogs thrived with clicker trainer and I was hooked!
A few years later as clicker training started becoming more known, I worked as an assistant trainer to an AKC rally obedience judge who specialized in clicker training to work with aggression and fear biting issues. I soaked up knowledge about animal behavior and training fearful dogs.
Many years later I received a pet trainer certification through Petsmart and worked part time helping others with their dogs. I was a Realtor at the time but truly loved teaching classes. My position was head trainer overseeing 3 other trainers and it was my job to work with all dogs who had aggression issues. I stayed with Petsmart for 5 years and they transferred me to 3 different stores as I moved around the country.
Then the competition bug bit! I started competing in obedience and rally obedience on a limited basis with great success. While I enjoy showing, my passion is helping others create a great training relationship with their pets. My focus is on training/socializing dogs to have great manners and live easily within a home environment. I pull expertise from many venues such as agility and therapy dog training to make this possible.
5 years ago I moved to Greenville South Carolina and started teaching classes here on a limited basis. I love working with people and their family pets.It gives me a huge sense of accomplishment watching their relationships blossom.
What types of customers have you worked with?
Teach private and semi private obedience classes specializing in basic, intermediate and advanced levels. Teach therapy dog training classes to prepare dog and handler to pass therapy dog screening. Litter evaluations testing for a puppies working/obedience ability. I DO NOT TEACH PROTECTION TRAINING OR BOARD AND TRAIN PROGRAMS.
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
8 week old puppy and owner came for training. With a motivated owner and 6 weeks of training lessons the gains were enormous. At the end of 6 weeks the puppy would sit, stay with distractions, leave a cookie on the floor and not touch it when told, lay down on cue, greet people without jumping and come exuberantly when the owner calls him.