It all started with a chihuahua…
I wasn’t planning on getting a dog. I was a 15 year old dog walker, working at a local boarding kennel when I wasn’t at school. But when I took a client’s foster dog out for a walk, it was obvious we were meant to be together. Beowulf forced me to learn everything available about training dogs, enrichment, and exercise. We traveled the East Coast on the weekends and school breaks, attending seminars and exploring trails.
I added an anxious Border Collie mix, Gus, after I graduated a 4 year animal husbandry program in high school. He would try to attack other dogs and humans, howl, rip up trash, and claw his kennel or the doors in my house until he was bloody whenever I had to leave him alone. We worked through a separation anxiety protocol together and found that the biggest help in solving his issues was structure and exercise beyond a walk around the neighborhood. Ever since we’ve begun going on several 4+ mile long hikes a week, Gus is a different dog.
I moved to San Francisco a few years after getting Gus and was thrilled to find a dog culture where the norm was almost every dog having a professional walker who would take them out for hours long hikes in the forests and mountains. Most of the dogs I met out there were calm, at a healthy weight, and impeccably well behaved. It was heaven on Earth! When I moved back to Frederick, I vowed to bring that culture back with me.
When I’m not spending time with your dogs, you can find me back in the mountains with my own dogs, teaching classes at Breakaway Action Dogs, playing frisbee at Baker Park with my youngest dog, Taco, drawing, enjoying a glass of wine Downtown, or in my car singing Broadway songs to Gus (poorly).
My biggest joy in life is being around dogs, and I am so grateful I get to do this for a living!
Seminars and Workshops Attended
“The Building Blocks to Advanced Training and Companionship”
“Up to the Challenge: Working with Difficult and Special Needs Dogs”
“Customer Service Skills
“Aggression, Inside and Out”
“How to Stop Unacceptable Behaviors”
“Working with Fearful Dogs”
“Sociability VS. Aggression”
“Evaluating Unfamiliar Dogs”
“Social Animals : Working with Groups of Animals”
“Aggression Reduction Strategies”
“Engagement, Toy, and Personal Play”
Tori Smith, Jeff Gellman, Sean O’Shea
”Train The Trainers” Week long workshop