I was a tender young thing searching for knowledge and the relationship of a lifetime. He was a tall, soft-hearted, silver-haired gent with piercing eyes who was worldly, intelligent and gentle. Our time together was spent learning each other’s language, and deepening an unshakable bond.
OK. I was a ten-year-old girl and he was a weimaraner, but the time I spent with Pharaoh in my “formative years” set the stage for a lifetime of dog-loving mania on my part. Armed with a cheap leash, a choke chain and a bunch of borrowed books, I’m sure I tested this lovely dog’s patience on countless occasions, but he never let me down.
Since then, my dogs have been my friends, my kids, my room mates, my therapists, my photographer’s models and the subject of numerous experiments on how to make your desires known to a dog (and get them to care!). Having taken many obedience classes (at least one with a name most dog people would recognize!) and sharing my life and obsessions with weimaraners, spaniels, huskies, golden retrievers and the odd Chihuahua, I will unabashedly admit that I have learned more from them than I have taught.
These days, I’ve traded my choke chains for more positive methods, choosing to approach dog training from the perspective of improving the overall relationship between dog and person, rather than using force or coercion. These new techniques are easy for people to learn and use, the dogs respond quickly and happily and we abandon the concept of “dog training” in favor of building a channel of communication and partnership between the dog and the people.
I’m a professional member of the APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers) and have earned the CPDT-KA (Certified Pet Dog Trainer, Knowledge-Assessed) credential from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT), a certified member of the IAABC (International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants) and have earned the Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) designation (the only CDBC in the Inland Empire!). I’m also an AKC CGC evaluator and belong to the Southern California Dog Trainers Forum.
I’m an active volunteer in the Riverside County DAS shelter system, where I work with shelter dogs to help unlock their true potential and make them better candidates for adoption.