I currently work for the local service dog organization. I am the trainer for all dogs graduating from their puppy raisers and am in charge of whipping them into shape before they get placed with a client. I was a puppy raiser for them years ago while in high school and am thrilled to be back. I also teach classes at the local obedience club.
My spare time is pretty much all about the dogs.
I consider myself a "clicker trainer" who uses primarily positive reinforcement and negative punishment while training. I really love teaching tricks as there are endless behaviors one can shape. I find the most fun in the initial steps of a new trick as you can really see them thinking hard about what you want. Of course this is also the reason why I start so many tricks but rarely get them on finished and on cue!
I used to hate training obedience and only started so I would have some results to show other people when I was trying to prove myself as a trainer. It's one thing to believe your dog can perform amongst distractions and without rewards, but it's a whole different world to try and prove it in a competition. Trialing really shows all the holes in your training that you never knew existed! I have come to love obedience training for all of its precision. I especially love the challenge of trying to make obedience training fun for my dogs.
Disc dog is the newest sport to catch my eye. Watching the pro teams have such great communication and trust between handler and dog is breathtaking and someday I want to have that. Vito is nuts about this sport and I am trying to keep up with him.
Non doggy facts about me:
- I am a shy yet terribly sarcastic person.
- I've been a vegetarian for 11 years. Lacto-ovo so I do eat dairy and eggs. I also hate vegetables. But yes there are foods out there that aren't vegetables or meat! Mainly chocolate ;)
- I swam competitively for 16yrs. I wasn't terribly fast, but enjoyed it. My specialty was the 200yd butterfly.
- My bachelors was in psychology. My senior project was an experiment with rats and how environmental enrichment can affect performances. It turns out that the rats can only gain a tiny bit back if they were raised in the typical isolation/barren environments and are now switched back to a life of social luxury.
- I hate the cold. I want to move somewhere out west where it is warm.