After being heavily involved for more than 15 years in rescuing and retraining hundreds of dogs from every Central Texas animal shelter, I’ve seen just about every behavior — good and bad — that a dog can offer. I owe my deep understanding of canine body language and canine communication to those 400-plus dogs I have fostered and trained, as well as to the thousands of client dogs I have worked with. I’ve achieved a high level of training with my once semi-feral Border Collie siblings, Radar (CGC, CGCA, B.A. and Canine Masters with Honors, Birch, Anise and Clove ORT) and Echo (CGC, CGCA, B.A.,Canine Masters with Honors and a Certified Therapy Dog). In addition, my three rescue dogs have extensive training and assist me daily with reactive and aggressive dogs.
I am a graduate of an intensive, Schutzhund-based canine training academy where I was taught how to use the shock collar in punishment-based canine training (telling the dog what he is doing wrong). After learning the ins and outs of a shock collar and after witnessing all kinds of dogs endure this kind of training, I never again put a shock collar on a dog. I choose to be a positive reinforcement trainer (telling the dog what he is doing correctly) because it is not only humane training, I see no need to harm or scare a dog when I am able to get a high level of obedience and understanding from any dog. I stand with the countless professionals in the dog training industry who oppose the use of shock, choke or chain collars — there simply is no need to use such tools. These tools are outdated and in many countries they are illegal.
I am certified through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers and I have passed an intense written exam that requires a minimum of 300 hours as a head instructor. I am also a Fear Free Certified Trainer and one of the first trainers in the country to obtain that certification through Dr. Marty Becker’s Fear Free Program. I am also a nose work instructor.
I am a member of the select group of trainers in the The Pet Professional Guild, The Association for Force Free Professionals. I routinely work with over-anxious dogs, putting to use the up-to-date knowledge I have learned from the industry’s leading professionals. Every year I attend workshops, seminars, view webinars, read (and write) countless articles and books to ensure my working knowledge stays current. I am an AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Evaluator and I have achieved the advanced CGC Title for my own dogs and countless client dogs.
I am the Trainer in Residence for the world’s largest on-line dog community, Dogster.com, as well as the author of a training column called SPEAK! in the nationally syndicated Dogster Magazine (replaced Dog Fancy). I obtained a B.A. in English from the University of Texas at Austin and have been a professional publicist and a working journalist. I am the author of the Spring 2016 book, The Midnight Dog Walkers: Positive Training and Practical Advice for Living with a Reactive or Aggressive Dog (Lumina Media). The book sold out on Amazon from early pre-orders and was named the #1 best book in its category on Amazon. The book was recently nominated as a national finalist from the Dog Writers Association of America.
A new area of interest for me is the fast-growing sport of canine nose work. I am a graduate of two Train the Trainer Courses with Andrew Ramsey — one of the world’s top nose work trainers. I compete in nose work with my own dogs as well as train clients who are competitors or enthusiasts of nose work. I am a member of the National Association of Canine Scent Work. I am an active competitor in the sport and my 10-year-old Border Collie Radar passed all three odors in the Odor Recognition Tests (ORT), as did my 8-year-old All American dog Monster.