I come from a long line of dog trainers. Growing up, dogs were always a part of my life. As a youngster, I used to tag along with my grandfather, a long-time beagle breeder and field trialler. He had multiple dogs who achieved field trial championship status. I loved helping him train his dogs, especially when he had puppies.
When I got my first dog, I took private lessons along with classroom training because I had no clue what I was doing. I eventually became a more confident trainer and was able to communicate with my dogs better. With each new dog, I could see better results because of the experience I had gained over the years. Dogs will respond more positively to a trainer/leader who is confident and who uses positive, reward-based training methods. Dogs are much more content when they have a strong leader to follow.
I got involved in competitive obedience because of a dare. Someone in my first two classes, who also had a Golden Retriever, dared me to get an AKC CD (Companion Dog) title on Sarah, my first Golden Retriever. I always thought it was Sarah who was the ditzy one when, in fact, it was me who was a ditzy trainer. The one-on-one private dog training I took was invaluable. I did get a CD on Sarah, as well as an AKC Junior Hunter title. I know I would've never gotten involved in the exciting world of competitive dog sports had it not been for my friend Patty challenging me.
Today, I am an avid dog owner and have 20+ years of experience training and competing in AKC, UKC and GRCA obedience, agility and field events with my Golden Retrievers. My succession of pups and I have achieved some 30+ titles throughout our years together. Starting my dogs' obedience training at an early age was absolutely crucial to being able to enjoy the competitive canine sports we participate in today.
I'm a member of Potomac Valley Golden Retriever Club (PVRGC), Dulles Gateway Dog Training Club (DGDTC), Rappahannock River Retriever Club (RRRC) , Golden Retriever Rescue (GRREAT) , Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), and the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP).
For a while, I did therapy work with my dog Midas, visiting a nursing home in Reston as well as one of the local hospitals.
I taught both Puppy Kindergarten and Basic Dog Obedience classes for Fairfax County Park Authority at Frying Pan Park and Basic Obedience for Dulles Gateway Obedience Training Club. I attend workshops and am very active with other dog trainers to constantly expand my knowledge and perspective.
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