Working with animals and people have both been my life-long passions. After devoting 20+ years of my life as a child and family counselor and also as an animal rescue volunteer, I decided to combine the two things I love most (helping people and animals) into a career as a dog trainer and behavior consultant.
Following several years of self-study and gaining experience working with the animals in our rescue program, I attended the renowned Karen Pryor Academy for professional dog trainers. Passion became profession. Best decision ever.
Susan Mitchell, Trainer
I so enjoy helping a dog transform into a self-confident, well-mannered companion and seeing an owner beam with pride and satisfaction from their achievements. With my compassion for people and animals, and my knowledge of dog behavior, I will set you and your dog up for success!
Many people ask me why I use reward-based training methods. My answer is simple: I believe we have a CHOICE in what training approach we use -- and I want the way I train my dogs to reflect the type of relationship I want to have with them.
I want any relationship I have, be that with people or animals, to be filled with fun, love, compassion, and mutual respect. That would be a hard goal to obtain with my dogs if I were to use a punishment focused, correction-based style of training. If I were constantly scolding, leash popping, using equipment called "choke", "prong", or "shock" collars, or otherwise trying to "dominate" my dog, then neither our training, nor our relationship, would be much fun for either of us. It's also no way to show love or compassion towards my 'best friend'.
What's more, those methods just aren't necessary. Reward-based training is a highly effective approach. It teaches the dog new, more desireable behaviors. The focus is on making learning fun and helping the dog to succeed. The dog is eager to learn and motivated to behave. It's a relationship builder, and provides a means of "connecting" with your dog in remarkable ways. Bottom line, it's an emphasis on the positive, when there is otherwise so much negativity in our world AND in our relationships.
Why then, would I want to consider a training method that emphasizes punishment and corrections? I can have a well behaved dog - and a lot of fun with him - using a reward-based training approach.
So can you.