When I was about 8 years old, my dad brought home my first puppy. We lived in a rural area (Garrettsville, Ohio in Portage County). My neighbor up the street had a “free pups” sign.
I was very excited to have a puppy, and my dad was unsure if I was ready to take care of an animal. I begged him and told him that I would do all of the work. Surprisingly at age 8, I do a lot of the work.
I began training my pup right away. She was a cute shetland sheepdog and I fell in love with her immediately. I named her Heather. I absolutely loved playing with her, taking her for leash walks, hiking with her off leash and training her.
I began training her tricks right away such as beg, spin and shake. My dentist Dr. Kearney in Hiram, Ohio loved animals. She owned a farm and every year held a party where people could show off their pets’ tricks. I came for many years and won first prize.
I was so proud. When I was in 4th grade, my best friend, Melanie, was in 4-H and showed her horses. I imagined myself on stage training my dog. I wanted to be a famous performer doing tricks with animals.
I saw the excitement of the audience clapping as they admired the tricks. So I decided to join dog 4-H Club. I loved it and trained my dog all of the time.
When we met each week to practice our training skills with the club, Heather did great and listened to me well because I had no problem doing my training homework. In fact my parents would complain that I was praising my dog too loudly in the backyard while I was training her!
My 4-H advisor used the traditional punishment based methods to train and that is what I learned. Over time, I began to not enjoy training. ThenI learned about reward-based dog training.
I went to a show and go where I could train my dog in the ring. By this time Heather had passed on and I had another dog, a border collie named Shadow. I had a choke collar on Shadow.
He knew a lot about training because he trained dolphins at Sea World in Aurora, Ohio. Of course I read the book. I was hooked. I began to attempt reward-based training with a clicker.
Honestly, I sucked at it in the beginning but I kept at it. I began going to dog training seminars in Wooster, Ohio.
At this time I was getting serious with dog training. I was absorbed in learning, and I realized that this was a passion for me! My 4-H advisor didn’t approve of my new methods of training, but I kept at it. I had too much knowledge now to stop what I was doing.
I majored in Psychology with a strong focus on animal learning. I also minored in Zoology and Theater. My attendance was at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio.
My favorite advisor was Dale Swartzentruber and he taught me most of what I know about the science of how animals learn. I absolutely love this guy!
I also have studied the human aspect of learning through many classes in psychology.
I am still constantly attending dog training seminars and increasing my dog training knowledge. I am a certified pet dog trainer and have to do continual education units to keep my certification.
During college, I took a seasonal position training exotic animals at the Cleveland Zoo. It was so much fun to be on stage with animals I had trained! I loved it!
I also worked at the Columbus Zoo in the reptile department and eventually got into the shows at the Columbus Zoo where trained exotic animals.
My desire to leave Ohio was huge so I moved to Utah and lived there for about 14 years. I began with a seasonal position training exotic birds and raptors in the bird show at the Hogle Zoo.
At this time I realized that I was better with dogs. So I started my own dog training business in Utah. I moved back to Ohio in 2016 and began a dog business in Ohio as well. So Four Legged Scholars is currently both in Utah and Ohio.
NLP stands for Neurolinguistic Programing. NLP is about creating connection with people and teaching them to re-wire their subconscious mind so they can have more positive thoughts.
When I became certified in NLP I learned how my thoughts create my reality and how my wording and body language affect how another person receives what I am saying.
Once I became an NLP certified life coach I was able to train the “owners” better. I knew how to train dogs but I had to reach the “owners” more. It was amazing how much more success my clients had once I learned about NLP. Training the owners is large part of my job and I love this part too!
I am now serving Northeastern Ohio dog training in the following locations:
Garrettsville, Hiram, Kent, Ravenna, Freedom, Streetsboro, Rootstown, Hudson, Bainbridge, Stow, Cuyahoga Falls, Ravenna, Twinsburg, Solon, Aurora, Chagrin Falls, Akron, Warren, Parkman, Newton Falls, Summit County, Trumbull County, Portage County, Geauga County, and More!
I also still have my dog training business in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Check out this other awesome positive dog trainer in Columbus, Ohio, Megan Esala.