The beginnings of my passion for working with dogs started in my childhood, where my parents raised and trained dogs for police and personal protection dog sports. Learning how to live with dogs of that caliber taught me a lot about the importance of good temperament, working drive and how to effectively raise a dog to work AND live with. Growing up with a pack of Rottweilers taught me how important it is to understand dog behavior and how that applies to different training techniques for individual dogs effectively. I value the importance of understanding not just how, but WHY you train with different methods for various dogs and why it is so important to have a better understanding of your dog’s behavior.
My college graduation gift was a finished and titled Schutzhund III German Shepherd that gave me the gift of appreciating the companionship and loyalty of a well-‐trained dog. The versatility in her training allowed me to live a more flexible lifestyle with more gratification by having a dog that felt like both a friend and a teammate. The time I shared with that dog instigated a life with dogs that’s been rewarding and educational ever since. I simply can’t imagine a life without dogs and for that I will be forever grateful.
A couple years after losing that dog to old age, I became an Animal Control Officer in Oakland, California where I saw first hand the results of poor dog ownership and ineffective education to the public. I watched frustrated people dump their dogs off at the shelter daily and observed a broken cycle of an uneducated public where dogs were the victims, costing them the only family they knew or even worse, their lives. I worked on redesigning and improving the temperament test for the dogs determined to be adoptable and fostered dogs in the interim that needed a stable home and consistent handler to make them more adoptable. I tried to educate people how to better choose a dog that was right for their lifestyle rather than based on looks, size or breed alone, knowing that often times, dogs were returned at no fault of their own.
I quickly transitioned from an Animal Control Officer to a Police Officer in Oakland, California where I felt I could be more effective with enforcing laws concerning animal welfare and spend more time on the street rather than in the shelter. I took pride in saving dogs off the street as a cop and getting charges brought against those who mistreated animals. I worked with the police K9 unit there, playing as a suspect/bad guy for the K9’s and thoroughly enjoyed it. Working with those dogs and handlers taught me more about a working relationship with dogs and gave me a better understanding of drive, be it food, toy, hunt, etc.
I moved to Northern Idaho five years ago and have dabbled in protection sports, tracking and am currently competing in AKC Obedience with my own pack of German Shepherds. Each one of my dogs have similar, but different training needs and have taught me the importance of solid foundation work for a working dog. I believe that without a strong relationship between the dog and handler, the foundation work to all training is lost. I have found that most training that is offered does not emphasize educating the owner/handler enough on not just how, but why they are being taught how to do something. Understanding what type of dog equipment to use and when, how to motivate your dog positively while establishing a working relationship is vital, yet often times ignored in dog training for many pet owners. Whether you want your dog as a family pet or for a specific job or task, the training should have the same value. Effective dog training can better prepare you and your dog for whatever your life may bring, be it an unexpected move across country or a moving car. I take pride in training YOU as the dog owner/handler to be a more thinking vs. mechanical dog handler, meaning as new, unwanted behaviors arise, you can problem solve and work through it with less stress and more effectiveness. The end goal is for you to feel more confident in your dog handling skills and have a dog that is more willing to please!
I will be teaching basic obedience, focused heeling, basic manners for the home and foundation/social puppy classes at Gooddog starting this summer and would love to help you and your dog(s) to live a happier life together. If you feel you need private sessions, we can arrange to meet your needs, whether it’s behavior modification or obedience. Although I am a firm believer in positive training as a foundation to all good training I also understand that there are some people that have dogs with more extreme behavior habits that have different needs and I don’t abstain or judge from using effective techniques that may salvage the quality of life for you and your dog.