Owner, Founder, Lead Trainer, Behavior Modification Consultant
I have always loved the companionship of animals, from dogs, to cats, to bunnies, parakeets and gerbils; and have had one or more at any given time since childhood. Pets can teach us so much about helping others, seeing humor in situations, and teach responsibility and compassion. Even though I have always had a menagerie of some sort, and loved my pets, I had never planned to be a dog trainer. What I did know, however, from a very young age, was that I would be a teacher.
From playing school to teaching middle school Spanish and English for 20+ years, my mission has always been to help others learn. When I first started teaching middle school Spanish at age 21, my principal said to me, “A great teacher can teach anything”, and while at the moment I was dubious, (particularly in the area of Math….) it turns out he was quite accurate. My calling is to teach, as every hobby I ever had resulted in my teaching the topic to share that knowledge with others. I have gone from teaching foreign language and English to kids and teens, to teaching aerobics, martial arts, yoga, and other fitness classes to teens and adults, and now to teaching dogs; and more specifically to teaching PEOPLE to teach their dogs.
One thing I have found through teaching all of these diverse areas is that it isn’t about the books, or the exercises, or even the dogs. It IS about empowering the PERSON, (YOU) to love and appreciate and understand the books, the exercise, and the dogs. After all, when I am not there, will the student still want to read the book, or do the exercise? Will you understand how to train your dog in a way that fits your family? I make it my goal to make my classes entertaining and engaging, so you can learn in a comfortable relaxed atmosphere. As a middle school teacher working with a wide variety of abilities, I have learned to successfully adapt to the style of the learner, and explain things so it is easy to understand and implement. This carries over to all my classes in all areas. As a teacher, I value education very highly and strive to bring you, my learners, the most up to date information and skills in an original and innovative way to help achieve your goals with your dog.
In my spare time, I stay connected with the schools even though I am not teaching officially. My four therapy dogs and I make several visits every week to schools, assisted living facilities, kids’ camps, or wherever we are needed. I enjoy reading suspense novels when I am not reading training books, going to more training workshops and continuing to let my own dogs try out lots of new things, such as sheep herding, scootering, tricks, and agility, and inventing new classes for fun!
Of course, I am always looking to expand my knowledge base in new areas, like feline behavior as well as continue taking workshops and trainings with the best minds in the field of dog training, so I can share that with you.
Credentials and Experience
ACE Fitness Group Exercise Instructor - Certified since 1997
YogaFit Level 4 Certification
M.A.T. – Masters of Teaching – Aurora University, Aurora, Il
B.S. – Sed- Spanish Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education and Spanish – UW- Madison, Madison, WI
I was a dog-crazy child who couldn’t have a dog, so I devised other ways to get my canine fix. I definitely spent more time in the homes of friends who had dogs than at my dogless friends’ houses. I cleaned kennels for a neighbor who bred and showed Doberman-Pinschers, and then got a job at a large German shepherd kennel. Since then, I’ve had nearly every dog-related job under the sun. My professional experience highlights include opening and managing a dog daycare, running America’s Vetdogs’ service dog training prison puppy program, building a successful dog walking and pet sitting company, and presenting a lecture on dog play and body language at Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah.
Like so many dog-lovers, I grew up thinking that dominance governed canine behavior. I didn’t hesitate to use choke chains or think about why prong collars worked - until after my second (and current) dog, Bart, became aggressive. My experience with Bart forced me to find another way to train, which brought me to positive reinforcement. I’m a crossover trainer, which means that I’ve shifted from old-fashioned, correction-based training to force-free, evidence-based methods. I strongly believe in practicing positive reinforcement with people as well as their dogs, and I strive to make training fun for everyone.
I’ve worked with animals for over 35 years, and for more than 10 years as a professional dog trainer. When I’m not helping clients attain their dog training goals, I live in Boonsboro, MD with Bart, my 14 year-old redbone coonhound/Rottweiler mix.
Credentials and Experience
Bachelor of Arts from Mount Holyoke College
Animal Behavior College dog trainer program honors graduate
Find out more about Jill and her in-home training business at https://www.happyhoundtraining.com/
I have been working with dogs in some capacity for over 40 years; about the same amount of time I spent teaching in Special Education and Fourth Grade. My first dog (1975) was a Siberian Husky named Loki. I was completely drawn into the whole dog show scene. One of my successive five Siberians (Tok) was shy and I was told that obedience training would give him more confidence for the show ring.
I enrolled in an obedience class and found my true calling! The bond with my dog that developed through training was so much stronger than as just a pet owner. I eventually quit the conformation ring to work solely on obedience trials. Tok eventually went on to be ranked fourth in the nation among obedience trained Siberians. The second Siberian I trained (Seth) was even better (as my methods improved) and ranked second nationally and won a High-in-Trial Award in his third obedience trial. That is quite an honor to win with a Siberian over other well-known obedience breeds like Border Collies, German Shepherds, Shetland Sheepdogs, and Dobermans.
Obedience training has changed over the years, with more scientific research pointing the way to positive reinforcement only. I wish this scientific evidence had been available 40 years ago! Using today’s positive reinforcement training methods, I have the sweetest rescue dog in the world (Bijou), who loves her therapy visits to nursing homes and schools!
I have been teaching people how to train their dogs for many, many years because I absolutely believe that the human/dog bond is greatly strengthened by learning to work together. I have taught in classroom situations as well as in one-on-one private lessons. When owner and dog are truly dedicated to training, the results are magical!!
In addition to assisting in our classes, Lin currently does pet sitting for small dogs in her home. https://www.rover.com/sit/3046769656
Liz has always been an animal enthusiast. Growing up on a farm, she was constantly surrounded by animals ranging from llamas and goats to cows and chickens. She showed sheep competitively for over a decade, and then taught young 4-Hers how to care for their own animals and prepare them for show. Still, her canine companions have always had a special place in her heart. Her love of dogs inspired her education in behavior and training and she is working towards her professional dog trainer certification. She believes training should be fun for both dog and human, and loves helping people strengthen their bond with their dogs. In her spare time, Liz trains and plays with her own pups, Raven and Falon.
Certifications: CPDT-KA Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed