An introduction.

Welcome to my website and my blog! I thought I would introduce myself a little further for my first article so you get an idea of who I am and why I train dogs.

If you read my about me section, you will have seen that I hold 3 certificates- Certified Veterinary Assistant, Certified Professional Dog Trainer, and a graduate of University of Washington’s Applied Animal Behavior Program. I believe that education is so important when it comes to animal behavior and wanted to make sure I got formally educated. With dog training being such an unregulated field, it’s scary what’s out there. Everyone has got their own ideas and opinions when it comes to dog training. I like to live in a world of facts, not ideas and opinions.

I first learned about dog behavior when I got my own first dog. He has an anxiety disorder and that manifested in some bizarre, obnoxious, and destructive behaviors. I had no idea what I was dealing with at the time and thought perhaps I just had an out-of-control puppy. I remember friends, family and other well intentioned (I think) people giving their thoughts and opinions about what to do with my dog. I heard it all-even down to the fact that I was a bad owner and it’s a good thing I don’t have children. (Ok so maybe not everyone was well intentioned).

That’s when I found Christine Hibbard, former owner of Companion Animal Solutions. I do believe our first phone call I was in tears and I went something like this…”pleeeeaaassseee heeellllppp!” Little did I know that would begin my journey into animal behavior. Little did I know that I would be typing this right now hoping that I can also help anyone who is at the level of frustration I felt that day when I called Christine. I was so impressed by how quickly I could train him, and how much he seemed to enjoy it that I was sold on her training style.

That was 12 years ago. Knowing what I know now, I realize that what I came across that day wasn’t a training style at all but scientifically researched information and methods that come straight from psychology. And I never looked back.

Growing up, I remember a friend coming over to help me learn how to “train my dog”. What we did next still baffles me. We went around the perimeter of the yard while the dog was wearing a choke chain, and told the dog “boundary” every few steps, while giving a quick jerk on the choke chain. Apparently, this was going to teach him to stay in his yard.

Please hear me when I say, NEVER USE A CHOKE CHAIN. We can go into this in more detail in later blog articles, but I do not advocate the use of these and would never train a dog with one. It’s a huge no, no! The point of putting that in this article is to show everyone that most of us are well-intentioned. Most of us don’t want to hurt our dogs. Most of us love our dogs. Most of us want to do what’s very best for our dogs. But what is that? Even I didn’t know.

This introduction to myself, I wanted everyone to get a feel for the fact that I have been right where you are. Needing help, feeling like I don’t know who or how. Even being shamed by others. That’s why I started training dogs. Yes, I adore them and they are so cute and I want to help them all, but I started training dogs to help the other end of the leash…you…the person. I have been in tears, and judged, and even engaged in the wrong dog training methods and that’s why I’m here to help you.

I want each of my clients to feel like I am using scientifically studied methods that are humane and force-free and come from a place of facts, not ideas or opinions. And I want each of my clients to feel like they are receiving the help that they need, without judgement. Also knowing that each lifestyle and situation is different, I want them to feel like the plan works for them. If it doesn’t work for them, it’s not going to work for the dog, end of story. I want my clients to feel listened to and understood. Some of the issues you are dealing with are stressful or traumatic, I get that. I want to make sure each plan starts with compassion and understanding, adds science, and ends with a valuable solution.

And that’s why I became a dog trainer specializing in advanced behavior issues.

(By the way, the dog pictured with me is Tee. He is a blind senior who is waiting for his forever home at Pasado’s Safe Haven.)