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My parents bought me a golden retriever puppy so that I could participate in the dog 4-H program. That spring and summer I tried my best to prepare him for the Hartford Fair Jr Dog Show and as I read books, trained him, and took classes, my interest in training increased. Some recommendations and attempts worked better than others and I was intrigued by some things being successful while other common advice seemed to make problems worse.
Blaze was my first dog – so I wasn’t sure what was normal behavior for a young, active dog and what was abnormal. Within a few years it became apparent he was not a behaviorally normal pet. Blaze liked to guard food, steal objects, and run away at every opportunity. He bit a person, he tried to bite me when I would leave him, and he could bark for hours non-stop.
I used local classes, books, and information in the internet to change his behavior and we made progress in most areas. He was able to go to dog shows (and be pet by the judge), eventually be off leash at the dog shows and in the woods – and most importantly, live an almost normal life.
As a result of those experiences, I became more curious about dog training and how to fit together information about a dog and his learning history as well as learning theory, dog behavior, and finding the best ways to address specific challenges.
In addition to in-home training and out in public classes, I also teach group classes at Posidog Canine Learning Center in Columbus, Ohio. At PosiDog I teach and help with many different classes for problem solving, manners, and dog sports/activities.
I have a degree in Animal Behavior from The Ohio State University. In 2008 I was in the second group to test and complete the Karen Pryor Academy of Animal Training and Behavior program. Griffin and I have spent time in Sweden learning even more from our training mentors. Every year I attend many days of continuing education seminars and events to learn more about how to help people learn and how to be better at training dogs for manners, problem solving, and competition. Most of my experience is with dogs, but I have also trained cats, horses, cows, mice, ferrets, and birds.
I have volunteered for 9 years at a local animal rescue, helping with basic care, exercise, enrichment, and training.
I have also been an advisor with the Patchwork Pals 4-H club in Licking County and a club in Franklin County. My favorite part is helping with training for the dog project members. If you know of a child interested in participating – send an email! I am also on the Ohio 4-H Dog Committee, helping to plan, develop, and run the state level events and programming for youth and advisors. Since 2010, I have judged 4-H dog events at county fairs and at the Ohio State Fair.
Additionally, I am a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) evaluator through the American Kennel Club and a Be a Tree dog safety presenter. In 2009 I became a Level 1 certification through TAGTeach International, an organization that looks at helping educators be more efficient with their students and athletes. I am a WRCL provisional judge.
I have done many types of competition events with my dogs:
Griffin CCA OA OAJ PCD BN RN OB1 ARCHEX IND, is an 8 year old Golden Retriever. He is learning all about competition obedience and agility. He has also had training for flyball, hunt tests, tracking and scent work. His favorite things are to run, explore, swim, and go to youth camps! He is a trained professional at being adorable. This year we are doing obedience and agility.
Sometimes Griffin helps with classes and lessons. He loves to do demonstrations for youth groups and schools. Click here to read more about our experiences.
Viktor RL1: is a 2 year old golden retriever. He’s learning about the world, good manners, and to do rally and tracking. Unfortunately he has had some structural challenges that will not allow him to participate in higher level obedience or agility. Click here to read more about Viktor.
Tonks RLP is an 20 month old golden
retriever. She is learning about manners, playing, obedience, and agility. Click here to read more about Tonks.
Blaze RN RL3 RL1x is a 15 year old Golden Retriever. We trained for many sports and activities.
Luna RL1 was a Golden Retriever mix, adopted from Second Chance Humane Society as a puppy. Her favorite things included sleeping and playing, but she also liked agility. She was very nervous but was able to compete in APDT rally and CPE agility. Click here to read more about Luna and what we learned together.
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