Like many dog trainers, I became interested in pursuing a career with dogs because of one of my own dogs, who was fearful and aggressive. Working with her, and seeing her behavior improve inspired me to help others. After spending countless hours volunteering with several animal shelters and rescue groups, I decided to take this "dog thing" further. I enrolled in the Animal Behavior College, an 18 month long study program, and I also started getting to know the dog community in Richmond. From there, I began a nearly 2 year long apprenticeship under an experienced trainer and behavioral consultant here in Richmond.
As with any career, good dog trainers are always learning. I joined the Association of Pet Dog Trainers to gain knowledge and learn from other trainers. I went to my first ClickerExpo in 2007, and really caught the clicker bug. I've attended seminars and workshops on both coasts with many talented trainers. I regularly attend other trainer's group classes in town because I think you learn something from everything you do and everyone you meet. I'm also a proud member of the Pet Professional Guild, the only truly force-free organization for dog trainers.
In 2015, I became certified through the Karen Pryor Academy, completing the Dog Trainer Professional course with my little dog Pinot. In 2017, I became a Fear Free Certified Professional through Fear Free, an organization whose "mission is to prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in pets by inspiring and educating the people who care for them." Who wouldn't want to have a fun, stress-free time at vet appointments?
I have two rescue dogs who are my joys in life. They both train in agility, tracking, nosework, and of course, tricks! They also help me out with certain cases as decoy and demo dogs. We regularly go for off leash hikes and they love to frolic in the sunshine. When not playing with dogs, I'm riding horses, cooking up something new in the kitchen, or working in my garden.