Philosophy & Approach
Each individual has their own set of personal and professional ethics. The dog training industry is not regulated, therefore anyone can claim to be a “dog trainer” or “behavior specialist.” While I did spend the time, effort and money to obtain my CPDT-KA certification, and am proud of this personal and professional accomplishment, the way I choose to share my life with clients and their dogs is motivated by my own set of ethics.
My personal and professional vow is to work with people and dogs using humane, reward-based learning methods. My work is centered around using training techniques that empower the learner to be a part of the learning process. As a teacher, I love to have fun while engaging with my students and I do my absolute best to set up a successful, healthy learning environment. I do not condone or use methods that inflict physical or psychological pain on our canine companions, or the humans I work with.
Dogs are Dogs
It sounds obvious, but dogs are excellent at being dogs. They walk on 4 legs. They bark. They roll in poop (and sometimes eat it). They chase things. They like to sniff stuff. They lick their privates. They walk faster than us. They are ultimate opportunists and always do what works for them.
Working with the Grain
In my years of teaching and learning, I have found that when you allow yourself to understand and respect your dog's perspective, you are laying the foundation for a healthy relationship. This is a hard idea for some people to swallow. Recognizing the motivation for your dog's behavior will allow you to channel their needs in desirable ways. This understanding allows you to develop an honest way of communicating with your companion based on respect and trust that works for both of you.
Relationship & Partnership
Part of what makes living with dogs special is that we thrive on each other’s companionship. Having a relationship with your dog is much more than just giving out rewards for desirable behaviors. It's about being on the same page. It's about being honest with yourself and your dog. It's about understanding why you might want your dog to do something before figuring out how to do it. Working towards a common goal together as partners is what makes everyone feel good and leads to a beautiful life shared together.
Teaching your dog the skills they need to live in our human-derived world takes a ton of work, patience, understanding, trust and respect. Remember that when you brought your dog into your life, you made a commitment to be their guardian for the rest of their life. Always understand your dog and be their advocate. They were not born with a book on how to live in our world and a lot of what they experience is really weird and unnatural. Be kind. Be fair. Have fun and learn together.