Thanks for checking us out! Let me tell you a little bit about me and my training style.
From a very young age, I’ve had a true interest and admiration for all animals. I am fascinated with animal behavior and received my Bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Florida. I have always been impressed by working dogs and the positive impact that animals can have on our lives. I knew from a young age that I wanted to someday train Service Dogs and truly make a positive impact.
I’ve held many positions working with dogs, such as training dogs at the MSPCA animal shelter to increase adoptability rate, I was a veterinary assistant at an animal hospital for several years, I trained Hearing Dogs for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing at International Hearing Dog, I've learned the nuances of many breeds while working as a kennel attendant, I'm an active member for Dog and Cat rescues, and I’ve enjoyed training for agility and obedience trials with my dogs.
Training service dogs at International Hearing Dog has had the most profound impact on my training. I truly learned how to create a thinking dog that offers default behaviors with handler focus around maximum distractions. I learned how to add stress in training, in a controlled manner, to create a dog that can focus under any conditions. I got very proficient in performing temperament tests when selecting the service dog recruits from local shelters. I love socializing the dogs to be confident in all scenarios and teaching the recipients how to understand and work with their dog. I now have very high standards for polite manners in dogs because I know what is possible! I love doing public access work with service dogs, especially when someone says, Oh, I didn’t know there was a dog in this restaurant! My favorite part about training service dogs is the fulfillment and gratitude of knowing that I’m helping someone live a better quality of life. Dogs love to have a job and I love to channel their energy in appropriate ways.
I focus on creating a solid foundation of communication and trust between you and your dog so you are aware of how to reinforce preferred behaviors and how to disagree with and redirect the unwanted behaviors. I try to make training fun for dogs so they offer the correct behavior, receive lots of praise and want to repeat the behavior without prompts from humans! Instead of having the dog rely on external forces and cues from the human, I like to create a thinking dog with a solid base of preferred default behaviors.
I like to do a lot of positive marker reinforcement to shape behaviors and build confidence and I also believe in disagreeing with undesirable behavior. I don't disagree with the dog, just the behavior and move on quickly.
I am a balanced trainer and I will suggest a training collar that I feel best fits your dog and your needs. There's no one tool I use for every dog and no tool I shun either. I have dogs on flat collars, slip collars, martingales, harnesses, Herm Sprenger Prongs, Starmark training collars, low level Remote E-Collars etc.
Most importantly, I am always considering the emotional state of the dog and my goal is create a calm, trustworthy, balanced dog.
Consistent, clear feedback from the humans will create consistent behaviors in the dog. Inconsistent feedback from the humans or environment will create inconsistent behaviors in the dog.
I believe that dogs thrive with both physical and mental stimulation so its important to keep learning fun and slightly challenging to keep them engaged. I will always advocate for the dog’s needs to ensure they are receiving the proper daily mental and physical stimulation.
I am a firm believer of putting in the hard work and then you will be rewarded for many years with a well mannered dog! The rules and expectations for the dogs need to be black and white, I do not have grey areas in my rules or allow a dog to negotiate. I am clear, consistent and firm, not harsh, and I will help you become the Leader that your dog wants to follow.
So much of my training is teaching YOU how to properly interact with the dog so that you can confidently shape your dog's behavior and continue with the foundation that I'll teach you and your dog.