Learning is not an event. Learning is a process. - Author Unknown
My family always had dogs, but I first started handling and training dogs when I was 12 years old at which time I rehabilitated my first dog. Oscar was a 4yr old severely dog aggressive English Springer Spaniel that my family owned. Oscar was purchased for hunting, but his dog aggression made him a liability. From the time I could read I was fascinated by dogs, and would read every book about dog behavior I could get my hands on. I watched documentary after documentary on wolves, and strived to learn all I could. I knew Oscar could be rehabilitated and pleaded my case to my father. He agreed to allow me to try if I could find a trainer willing to help me. I called at least 30 trainers, until I met an older trainer that was willing to take me on. I worked tirelessly with Oscar, and followed her leadership. Then it happened! I successfully rehabilitated him with her help and guidance. I was overjoyed, and from that moment I knew what I wanted to do. I worked very hard learning, and absorbing training styles and information. I continued to work on rehabilitation and training throughout my teen years.
When I was just 19 I became a kennel manager for an Alaskan Malamute breeder. She saw something in me, and despite my young age allowed me to be in charge of her entire kennel of 19 dogs. I conducted all the training, exercise and care for the dogs as I continued to grow in knowledge and experience.
From 2005 to 2009 I worked in the front lines of dog rescue, and was the adoption coordinator for a local rescue group. I took in just over a hundred dogs through the four years working in rescue. I would provide training and rehabilitation then locate the perfect home for them. In some cases, dogs were with me on a long term basis before being ready to continue on to their own happily ever after. In addition, I worked with a local groomer and was able to learn yet another aspect of dog care.
Then in October 2009 I stepped away from the rescue community to pursue a position as an Animal Control Officer for a County in Oregon. I worked 10 years as an Animal Control Officer, while continuing to train dogs in a professional capacity, in order to further my positive impact within the community and the lives of dogs and their owners. Throughout my time with animal control, I conducted behavioral evaluations on shelter dogs, and continued to expand my knowledge, and understanding of dog behavior, training techniques, and pack structure.
I believe that a good trainer continues to grow throughout their entire career, and never stops being willing to learn. I also believe and have learned that each dog is different and what may work for one dog may not work for another. Therefore; I strive to be adaptive in my approach to ensure the dogs I work with get the best training that fits their needs.