I’ve been training dogs and teaching students for over 30 years now. Wow that makes me feel old! I began looking for a kinder and gentler way of training in 1990 after being taught the "Koehler method" with my first obedience dog, Jake. I rescued Jake from the shelter. In obedience class, Jake would act despondent and miserable. I remember the instructors actually hitting him with a leather covered wooden dowel for barking in class. They told me he was being dominate and that I needed to stop him. He did all the exercises very slowly and with no energy at all. At home, I was secretly teaching him loads of impressive tricks using treats. There, he was incredible—quick, lively and always wanting to train! He could learn a new trick in one day. I can’t believe what I didn’t know then! I was doing what the “experts” told me to do, but Jake and I both hated it. I knew there had to be a better way! That is where my love of learning about learning began, and I've studied learning and behavior-change science ever since.
I’ve competed with and titled many dogs in the top levels of many competition performance dog sports since good ole Jake. We've played in Tracking, Obedience, Flyball, Schutzhund, Agility, Rally, Disc, Tricks, Barn Hunt, Nose work, Herding and even Conformation! When I look back over my long wonderful journey in dogs, I am very proud of all the titles, ribbons and accomplishments my students and I have achieved. But, hands down, I am most proud of how I have affected change in the way so many trainers train and teach their students to teach. It has been paid forward tenfold!
Memberships, Affiliations & Licensed Judge
I judge success very differently now than I did twenty years ago. I’m committed to teaching all of my learners, nonhuman and human, using the most effective, efficient, least aversive methods possible. I know you do not need to sacrifice reliability and precision for ethical standards and understanding the principles of behavior science is key to great training. I also know that change requires more information than you had before.
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." ~ Arthur Schopenhauer