I am passionate about helping people to improve their lives. I believe in creating a supportive learning environment for you and your dog.
I have been a balanced dog trainer in Portland Oregon for several years. I love balanced dog training for helping my clients move through issues quickly and effectively while cultivating a better relationship and connection with their dog. My personal style is a mixture of different methods from the various teachers I have studied with. Over the years I have been attending dog training seminars and studying with world famous teachers such as Cheri Lucas (who worked extensively with Cesar Milan), Sean O’shea (from The Good Dog in L.A.) and Jeff Gellman (from Solid K9 Training in Rhode Island which rehabs the most aggressive dogs in the country). I have learned a lot about dog psychology from Cheri Lucas and love teaching my clients how dogs think and perceive their environment. When this is understood, so much can change.
I also have an extensive background in training horses. When I was a teenager I studied horsemanship intensively with a cattle rancher and a true cowboy Mike Bridges who wrote, “The Making Of A California Style Vaquero Bridle Horse.” His approach was very, “horse whisperer,” as in gentle but effective. I had a very difficult and wild Arabian horse that would often try to combatively throw me off. Honestly, he was so wild, my life was in danger while riding him. At the end of my studies with Mike, I was herding cattle on his ranch and my horse and I were working as a team and completely tuned into each other. I take a lot of my lessons and philosophy from the horse world and apply it to balanced dog training. READ MORE about my story.
In addition to dog training I work in a Level 1 trauma center as an interfaith hospital chaplain doing crisis intervention with people in some of the worst moments of their lives. This type of work requires a certain amount of inner strength, which I really attribute to my mother and a lot of the lessons she has taught me about dogs and life. Working with dogs with behavioral issues takes an incredible amount of mindfulness and skill. I have found personal and spiritual development to be imperative to working with dogs and hope to be an inspiration to others. I am also inspired by my clients and the development of inner strength they cultivate through improving their relationship with their dog.
It all started when I adopted a dog from the pound that had a ton of behavioral issues including human and dog aggression, leash reactivity, pulling on walks and cat chasing. Although I knew a little about balanced training techniques from my own personal experience with my other dogs, I really hadn’t mastered them. All of it was pretty confusing. I was overwhelmed. I had even consulted a pure positive only trainer for advice but got only a 30% improvement with treats. My dog would still blow up at dogs and people on the walk. Knowing that something had to give, I desperately dug into YouTube until I found some real leaders in the field. Within 1 week (with the proper equipment – the prong and e-collar), the adorable maniac I got from the pound was a completely different dog. He was responding to me with a new understanding of what behaviors I wanted and did not want. He is one of my favorite dogs of all time. Now I am a dog trainer in Portland Oregon and I love helping people with their dogs.
Every year 670,000 dogs are euthanized in the United States. A lot of these dogs are being surrendered due to unmanageable behavioral issues (growling, nipping, excessively barking, jumping, leash reactivity etc). It is my mission to help owners keep their dogs by assisting them with efficiently fixing some of these issues and stopping unwanted behaviors.