With two children who grew up with dogs, I understand firsthand the challenges that having children and dogs can present. Juggling the needs of both while keeping everyone safe isn’t easy, nor is deciding what information to trust as you seek support. Ultimately I decided to use all my experience with parenthood, dog ownership, and volunteering in my community to specialize in supporting other families finding their way through the challenges that come with the joys of having dogs and children.
In order to maintain my credentials, I continue to attend annual conferences, seminars, live webinars, and teleconferences, plus follow industry developments with regard to dog behavior and training, childbirth and parenting, and child development. I also maintain my longstanding professional membership with the Association for Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) and now APDT Australia.
Though I’ve enjoyed the benefit of many fine mentors, my greatest teachers have been my beloved canine companions. Boomer, with moderate separation anxiety, was my reason for becoming involved professionally with dogs, because the training was such a life saver for us. Stray puppy Maya, the “Wild Child”, passed KPA with me – as an adolescent, no less. That said, even as a senior dog she certainly isn’t perfect (no dog is), but she is proof, with the move to Australia, that even senior dogs can learn. Our newest family member, Bandit, reminded me that adopting adult dogs is an exercise in patience and relationship-building – and that the payoff is wonderful. In his case, I decided that he would have a better life with a family with children in the States than making an around-the-world journey, so the payoff for him has been a wonderful, adoring family, sad though it was for me to let him move on.
Learning never ends, but it is a fascinating journey! Each of my dogs has been a true testament of positive reinforcement clicker training to impact behaviors and improve the lives of dogs – and their families.