Q: Tell us about the first animal you trained.
A: The first animal I trained was my Sheltie, Corey. Corey was an amazing shelter dog that learned to crawl under my legs, jump over my legs, and do all the regular behaviors like sit, down, shake a paw, blink, and shake his head. Corey moved out of state with my dad, but my stepmother showed him at many fairs in Minnesota and he won many ribbons.
Q: Was there a particular dog/animal in your life that was your most important teacher?
A: Riley, a five-month-old, rescued Border collie, came to me lunging and snarling at the end of the leash when other dogs approached. The shelter wanted to euthanize him, but I took him in. We learned together what distance he was comfortable with seeing other dogs on leash and how to handle each situation. Off-leash, Riley was an amazing dog that got along with all people and other dogs. He was extremely active and he was very motion-sensitive, which was an incredible challenge training agility. He taught me so much about how to read body language.
Q: What is your favorite activity or sport that you do with your own dog(s)?
A: My dogs and I are involved in a canine disc league and are working on distance. Learning how to toss differently for each dog and watching us get better has been an absolute joy. We also swim in a pool together on a regular basis.
Q: What is your proudest training moment?
A: My proudest moments are when students really see their dogs learn, when they smile and feel that proud moment of accomplishment, when they learn better timing, and when they leave my studio each time with a new tool to train their dogs.
Q: What does a typical day look like for you?
A: My days might be filled with online lessons via Zoom, in-person lessons, or classes in my studio. Or I may be working on paperwork, intermixed with training my dogs.
Q: How has completing the DTP and becoming a KPA CTP changed your life and career?
A: I am exponentially better at training than I was before. I can see all of the steps to a behavior or help a student dissect a behavior and lead them to success. Previously, I would say I could can train a basic behavior using steps 1, 3, and 5 with my Border collie, but I quickly learned that if I trained using all of the steps (1, 2, 3, 4 & 5), then the behavior was understood more clearly by my learner and a much stronger behavior resulted from the full training.
Q: What do you like most about the DTP program?
A: The program is easy to understand, science-backed, positive reinforcement training. It will help you grow as a person and as a trainer so that you can improve the lives around you.
Q: What excites you most about leading the DTP?
A: Improving communication between trainer and learner.
Q: What advice would you give to a new student?
A: It's all about the dance. Learn one step at a time.