Trained With Kindness Trained with Kindness

Christy’s Bio

I’ve had dogs around since I was eight years old, and I’ve always been interested in teaching them how to be better canine citizens (when I was a teenager, I taught my 13-year-old Dachshund, Fritz, to speak; for me that dispelled the myth that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!).

Dissatisfied with the training options available when I was struggling with my own dog problems (like some of you, I spent a lot of money on trainers that did me no good at all). I was determined to find something that worked and didn’t make me feel like an animal abuser — a tall order 10-15 years ago. Though my old dog Jaspar died in 2000 at 17-plus before I could find that something, I continued to search for answers.

My first glimmer of hope came in the form of UK trainer Jan Fennell (The Dog Listener). Using her principles, I started offering private lessons in 2003.

Locally, I was lucky enough to be introduced to a kindred spirit, trainer Michelle Blount-Jordan of PAWSitive Dog/Human Training, who introduced me to the marvelous work of Patricia McConnell.

When Michelle moved out of state, she wanted to sell her business to someone, but she would only do so if she could find the right person. I am ever grateful that she put her confidence in me. I began teaching her group class curriculum in 2005.

Since then, I’ve been studying, researching, experimenting, and generally trying in every way possible to improve myself, my skills and my training offerings. I’ve blended Fennell’s methods with McConnell’s and many others (everything from “The Dog Whisperer” [that’s the ORIGINAL Dog Whisperer, Paul Owens] to “Dog Training for Dummies”), plus my own experience as a professional pet sitter, to form my own brand of teaching. As self-described “trainer geek,” I constantly seek new information, research, studies, more-experienced trainers, and because of that my approach continues to evolve.

Pet CPR certified by American Red CrossCanine Good Citizen ApprovedI’ve also become a registered Canine Good Citizen (AKC CGG) Evaluator, and I have worked with Delta Society (now called Pet Partners) evaluators to prepare dogs for therapy work in facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes.

I continue to work closely with many rescues and shelters throughout Northeast Ohio to help them ready dogs for adoption, and also to help keep adopted dogs in their homes when problems arise.

Horizons keep on expanding;
still so much to learn

As I near my 10-year anniversary as a trainer, I am amazed at how much I have learned, and how much I am still learning. And how excited I still get by teaching!BEN logo NEW

In 2011, I joined the Behavior Education Network (BEN), which is run by trainer/behaviorist/PhD types who are dedicated to making all this cool high-level training stuff accessible to and understandable by folks like me who want to use the science and research that is changing the way we view and work with dogs.

In 2012, I found my newest wonderful tool for dealing with reactive dogs, Behavior Adjustment Training, courtesy of Grisha Stewart.

Every dog I meet, every situation I get into with a dog — my own or someone else’s — teaches me something new. It’s endlessly fascinating, and I’m still unabashedly addicted to knowing and learning all that I can. But, however it changes, it always will be rooted in kindness, understanding and communication.

Of all the work I have done in my life, this fills me up like nothing else. The happiness that I see on owners’ and dogs’ faces when we reach our goals is something I can never get enough of. For me, this is truly a calling.

Read more about my philosophy and influences.

Read some testimonials.

 

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