About the trainer...
I LOVE DOGS! Big, small, fat, skinny, puppies, seniors, adults, adolescents,...I LOVE ALL DOGS.
It is my belief that the best method of dog training is to use positive, low stress, techniques, build a better, stronger bond with your dog and interpret your dog's body language. Dogs are masters at reading our body language, facial expression and tone. We need to realize this when we interact with them and we owe it to man's best friend to be better at understanding what they are telling us.
So what does "positive"mean? It means learning to replace unwanted behaviors with desired behaviors and rewarding the desired ones. Do you know that dogs never 'unlearn' anything they learn on their own? That means you have to make what you are teaching more fun and it must yield a higher reward.
Does 'positive' mean 'permissive'? NO. Positive reinforcement training uses a reward (treats, praise, toys, anything your dog finds rewarding) for desired behaviors. Science has proven that because the reward makes them more likely to repeat the behavior, positive reinforcement is one of your most powerful tools for shaping or changing your dog's behavior.
My passions are helping animals and people. I've trained my own (seventeen) dogs (over the years) and several foster dogs. I believe training is crucial to a well-behaved dog and beneficial to both the dog and the owner in addition to promoting a harmonious family life!
My motivation for becoming a dog trainer was my own dog Sophie who I adopted in 2009 at 4 mos old. Sophie was so severly withdrawn she was barely functioning. When I called in an 'expert', trained to work with shy and fearful dogs, her advice to me (after three expensive private training sessions) was 'try better treats'. Left to my own devices to develop a way to get through to Sophie and train her, I read and researched everything I could and developed ways to break the barrier surrounding shy and fearful dogs. I also found I had a natural talent when it came to working with dogs. In other words, I had found my passion!
In 2015 I opened Best Buddies Dog Training. I offer weekly group workhops on Saturdays and Sundays and in-studio training sessions. I can honestly say working with people and their dogs has been extremely rewarding. Furthermore, the stronger the bond between dog and owner, the better the relationship which makes for happier family life.
Training I have participated in to reach my goal:
Unraveling the Puzzle of Behavior, Training & Performance, Suzanne Clothier, Owner, Relationship Centered Dog Training
Working with Reactive Breeds, John Rogerson, World's Leading Dog Trainer & Behaviorist
Teach the Teacher, Jennifer Arnold, Canine Assistants
Canine First Aid & CPR Training, PetTech
Average to Awesome, CCA
Biology, Emotion, Motivation and the Human-Animal Bond, The Academy for Dog Trainers
Treatment Options for Dogs Showing Aggression Due to Fear or Frustration, Pet Professional Guild
Excitability, Separation Anxiety, Reactivity, Pharmaceutical Intervention, Pet Professional Guild
Apprenticeship with one of Atlanta's most popular & experienced dog trainers
Excitable Dogs, Pet Professional Guild (Pat Miller)
Separation Anxiety, Pet Professional Guild (Malena DeMartini)
Reactivity, Pet Professional Guild (Trish King)
Recalls-Why Dogs Don't Come When Called, Pet Professional Guild (Susan Garrett)
How Dogs Love Us: Insights from Brain Imaging, Greg Berns, Neuroscientist Emory University
Aggression in Dogs: Michael Shikashio, world renowned expert on dog aggression
I read and research nutrition, training techniques and body language constantly to offer the newest information and the latest techniques to my clients. My classes are developed based on client needs, which enables me to provide personal, individualized training. My business is built entirely on referrals from happy clients and recommendations from local veterinary practices, grooming salons and behaviorists. (If you check FB, Better Business Bureau or Yelp you will find Best Buddies has a FIVE STAR rating!)
When not in the training studio, you may find me on a pet therapy visit with my Corgidor (lab/corgi mix) Snoopy or recruiting for my pet therapy organization, Happy Tails https://www.happytailspets.org/. I have been a Happy Tails member for 14 years serving in various capacities.
About pet therapy...It is an incredible feeling to share the unconditional love of my dog with a person in need. Snoopy and I have been a certified pet therapy team for years and before training Snoopy I visited with my golden girl, Georgia Kaye, for several years. I am now in the process of preparing my next two dogs for pet therapy visits.
Another passion of mine is writing. I contributed dog-related articles to 4KNines website, have written for"Titan's Tales & Other Dog Adoption Love Stories" and "In Dogs We Trust" and in April of 2018 I was featured in a story in the Gainesville Times HOME magazine. Since I l-o-v-e dogs so much, I volunteer with local rescues providing consultations to new families and free training to fosters which in turn helps the new family that brings the foster dog home! (It's a win-win!)
If you need help training your dog, want to do it in a positive way that both you and your dog will enjoy and benefit from; a class that makes learning fun where your input is valued, reach out to me ... especially if you live in a multiple dog home! I share my home with my husband and my dogs: Snoop Dog (Lab/Corgi), Cassie Rae (GR/GSD/Chow), Toby Austin (Shih Tzu), Sophie Ann (Schnoodle), Emma Ruth (Maremma Italian Sheep Dog), CharLee Ellen (Australian Shep/Husky) and Beau-Beau (Rough Collie).
I actually named my business Best Buddies because my dogs truly are my best buddies! Let me help you develop a more enjoyable, loving relationship with your dog and less stress in your family.
After all, you're in this together. Having a dog is a lifelong commitment!
Everyone thinks they have the best dog and none of them are wrong. -W.R. Purche.