After being heavily involved for more than 20 years in rescuing and retraining hundreds of dogs from every Central Texas animal shelter, I’ve seen just about every behavior 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).
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/using a rewards-based system) 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 These tools are outdated and in many countries they are illegal.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 a Certified Canine Behaviourist through INTODogs. I am a Certified Family Dog Mediator (FDM) through Kim Brophey’s L.E.G.S. Applied Ethology Professional Course®. I am 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 a member of the Pet Professional Guild – the Gold Standard professional organization for force free trainers. I was certified through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CPDT-KA) but I decided in 2020 to not renew with that organization. I have retired as an AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator. I achieved the advanced American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen CGC Titles for my own dogs and countless client dogs — including with formerly reactive dogs.
I routinely work with over-anxious, stressed and troubled dogs, putting to use the up-to-date knowledge I have learned from the industry’s leading professionals. I seek to understand the “why” of canine behavior and then set out to find a work-able solution that reduces or eliminates the stress for the dog and the owner. Every year I attend workshops, seminars, view webinars, read (and write) countless articles and books to ensure my working knowledge stays current. In 2022, I am well on my way to an additional international behaviorist certification.
I was for many years 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 nominated as a national finalist from the Dog Writers Association of America. I have a second canine behavior book coming out the Summer of 2022 with Fox Chapel Publishing. I had the great privilege of interviewing 21 top industry professionals from all over the world.
I am a graduate of two Train the Trainer Courses one of the world’s top nose work trainers. I competed in nose work with my own dogs as well as trained clients who are competitors or enthusiasts of nose work. I retired as member of the National Association of Canine Scent Work. I competed 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.