Qualifications: I have been training dogs and teaching obedience classes for nearly 30 years. I graduated with distinction from Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior (KPA) as a Certified Training Partner. I am an advisory team member for Family Paws Parent Education, a licensed Family Paws Parent Education Presenter (Dogs & Storks and Dogs & Toddlers), and a Doggone Safe Be A Tree presenter, educating the public on safe interaction with dogs and dog-bite prevention. I am a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) and Pet Professional Guild (PPG). I am an advisory member on the Havanese Rescue Board of Directions and am a member of the Greater St Louis Training Club Board of Directors.
I have to admit that I am an education addict. When I am not teaching or working with a private client, you will often find me at a dog behavior or training workshop. I have also taken a number of more intense, longer-term dog training and behavior courses, learning the latest positive, science-based training and behavior analysis techniques.
Over the years, I have owned and personally trained numerous breeds of dogs including terriers, retrievers, hounds, toy breeds and mixed breeds. I currently own three Havanese. In my spare time I enjoy accompanying my dogs on therapy dog visits, participating in obedience and rally competitions, teaching my dogs fun tricks and helping with Havanese Rescue.
How My Journey Began: My professional dog training career began nearly 30 years ago when I was a faculty member in Companion Animal Nutrition at the University of Illinois. One of my graduate students, Linda Case, was a top-level obedience competitor with years of experience in solving animal behavior issues and teaching training classes. She convinced me to start taking classes with my unruly Golden Retriever puppy and I quickly became hooked on dog training. I made many mistakes in those early years, but had the help of some amazingly patient mentors, both human (thanks Linda!) and canine. Two of my best teachers were my exceedingly shy and fearful retriever and my macho terrier who thought that the death penalty was a totally appropriate way to deal with an unruly cat. With their help I went from student to teacher in the late 1980’s. One of the most important lessons I learned was that using force can often make a situation worse and that positive, science-based methods are very powerful.