Both Ends of the Leash
I'm here to support both YOU and your dog in living a harmonious, joyful life.
I want to empower you with the knowledge to help your dog thrive in your family, while giving your dog the skills to navigate the human world.
I use only kind methods grounded in a deep respect for both humans and dogs.
Behaviors are simply a symptom of the underlying needs of our dogs. I address behaviors by working with you to discover ways to improve your individual dog's physical, emotional, and mental well being. Unwanted behaviors tend to melt away when approached in this manner.
Dogs Are Amazing
Every day, science is discovering deeper layers of what dogs are capable of, and how they continue to adapt to living alongside us humans.
Dogs, just like us, are wired for social connection.
Their relationships with us are so much more significant than we have ever realized.
There is much more to discover and enjoy through our connections with our dogs.
Dogs live in the moment and are immersed in nature. They are so closely bonded with us, so perceptive and saavy, that they are in a unique position to guide us and remind us of all that truly matters, if we allow them.
It's Probably NOT a Behavior Problem
Dogs communicate using body language and behavior.
This is the way they tell us whether they are afraid, happy, sad, frustrated, in pain, etc.
Some behaviors are hard-wired, innate responses to what is happening at the moment. (think Terrier digging to get that mole, German Shepherd being leary of strangers, Border Collie herding the kids)
Your dog's behavior is NOT naughty, and he is not being vengeful, jealous, stubborn, willful, or trying to control you.
Once we understand what to look for, we can discover what our dogs are trying to tell us, and unwanted behaviors often disappear.
Intentional Dog Training
It's all about relationship, trust, cooperation, and partnership.
Our dogs are incredibly perceptive and intelligent, and can easily learn how to live with us without needing us to control them.
If we teach them a few cues to keep them safe, we can learn to use our own body language, role modeling, and social learning, to move through life with them with ease.
Becoming a curious observer of our dogs' behaviors allows us to see them through new eyes, and be in the unique position to be their hero rather than their master.
In July, 2006, my husband and I adopted our first dog, Gracie. She was the perfect dog that everyone thinks of bringing into their familly. She was friendly and loving, goofy and intelligent. She was truly special, and of course, I love her still.
Later, we adopted Merle so that Gracie would have a playmate, and we were fortunate to have Merle in our lives for 13 years before he recently made his transition across the bridge.
Merle challenged me to dig deep, look within, and take the road less traveled. He made it clear that he needed a lot of space from other people and other dogs, and most everything that moved.
I love this dog, even beyond my wildest imagination. He was an extraordinary dog, and has given me more than I would have ever accepted in any other way. He is the reason I am here, sharing this work with you today.
Our journey included many attempts to “fix” him. Sometimes it was because of my fear of him biting someone and being taken from me, or from fear that I would never be able to leave home. But, most of the time, it was because of my desire for him to have the full and enriched life that he deserved, rather than being locked away.
I knew early on that this dog was going to help me find my voice. Being a shy person, I was very good at living on my terms, but kept quiet about it and speaking up did not come easily.
But Merle, he was loud. There was no being invisible with him by my side. How was I going to give him a great life, in spite of my own fears? How was I going to provide medical care, a dog sitter, etc., for this dog who clearly wanted everyone to keep their distance?
I felt pressure from family, friends, and trainers to fix the situation, and advocating for him was necessary, scary, and overwhelming.
So, I was forced to find my voice, and step up and out into the open.
When he was 6 years old, after 5 years of seeking help, and finding only trainers who used aversive tools with him, and often shamed me for having “bad energy” or “coddling him too much” or “being too devoted”, etc, a friend told me about Tellington TTouch, and I signed up for a workshop.
This was our turning point. Tellington TTouch validated all of my feelings about how things should be when your beloved animal is struggling. TTouch’s hallmark guiding principle of respect for animals, resonated deeply for me.
That workshop was the beginning of my professional learning, and for the past 8 years, has led me to many more teachers, courses, and experiences that have taught me about supporting myself and my dog. Most importantly, it helped me put the light back into my dog’s eyes after years of trauma from training, and from not trusting myself to listen to him.
As a result, my work is focused on helping people understand their dogs, and vice versa, and helping both dogs and people feel “heard” so that they can experience a relationship full of connection and joy.