BUILDING STRONG BONDS
Certified Pro Dog Trainer
Passionate. Patient. Persistent. Pet-lover. These are just a few of the characteristics that describe me and my approach to working with dogs. I know each animal is different, and I’ll work with you to teach you how to provide your pet with guidance that is tailored to their needs.
A LITTLE ABOUT ME
Have a struggle? I've been there!
My love of animals, dogs especially, is something that has always been with me. I brought home my first two dogs back in 2000 and was eager to learn everything I could about dog training and dog behaviour to help them be the happiest pups possible. I attended behaviour training classes, agility classes, completed an Animal Behaviour Diploma, read, read and read some more about canine training, psychology and behaviour. I believed what the trainers told me, and what the books said, as they were the ones qualified in this area and I was just an elementary school teacher whose specialty was teaching children, not dogs. We had our fair share of struggles over the years- barking at other dogs, resource guarding and anxiety being the biggest - but I continued to follow the advice given as I knew no different, saw little progress and eventually found myself feeling like there really was no hope as traditional training advice was just not cutting it. I managed my dogs' behaviour the best I could until they passed away at the ages of 14 and 17, but could never shake the feeling that there had to be a better way to help dogs with these issues.
17 years into a teaching career with a senior dog at home, I adopted a young rescue pup and the spark for working with animals returned. Knowing that my new pup was going to need some extra special care, I did a lot of research and discovered the Pro Dog Trainer Programme: a program teaching an innovative training technique that shapes dog behaviour and choices through games-based concept training.
I AM A GAME CHANGER
Traditional training emphasizes commands, like ‘sit’ ‘down’ and ‘stay’. While these are important behaviours for a dog to learn, a concept trainer's methods incorporate a different approach – one backed by the latest science. I teach dogs to think and make good choices, and encourage them to work *with* you, all by playing games that build trust, confidence and a positive relationship.
I’m an active member of the Pro Dog Trainer community, and regularly participate in training workshops and seminars.
The Pro Dog Trainer Method avoids strictly focusing on training rote commands like ‘sit’ and ‘play dead’. Commands do not simulate your dog’s day-to-day life. Knowing how to ‘sit’ doesn’t help a dog restrain themselves when there’s wildlife to chase and cars to bark at. That requires impulse control. Many people achieve high scores in puppy class but are disappointed to discover that the commands don't work in the face of real distractions when out and about.
Instead, we work through fun games which shape your dog’s brain – and their behaviour - by strengthening concepts such as confidence, impulse control and calmness to name a few. The more we reward the positive choices that our dog makes, rather than punishing the choices we don't want, the more we reinforce and strengthen the neural pathways in the brain (think of them as 'choice tunnels') that will lead to the good behaviour being repeated in the future.
Naturally, my own dogs were the first beneficiaries of my games-based training. As I started to see real-life changes in them, I knew I could help other dogs with similar struggles and that it was time to finally follow the passion to work with dogs that has always been with me. And so, I set up Play With Purpose Dog Training. I quickly saw that dog owners not only want training that works and gives real-life results, but training that builds a stronger relationship and bond with their dog.
PASSION TO MISSION
The most rewarding part of being a dog trainer is providing people with the tools that will make a positive difference in their relationship with their dog.
My passion is to help any dog and their owner, especially those who have been told there is no hope. Many dog 'behaviour problems' are really just normal dog behaviour and can be attributed to either fear, anxiety or over-arousal. Most often, they remain un-resolved due to a lack of understanding as to how to best help. If we can build concepts in these dogs to promote confidence, disengagement, optimism when faced with novelty, and calmness in general, we see dramatic changes in behaviour.
I truly believe no dog is a lost cause...I’ve seen amazing progress with so many dogs, and know from first-hand experience that concept training works wonders in even the most challenging situations.
Always Learning, Always Growing...
(If your trainer doesn't have a trainer, find a new trainer!)
DIPLOMAS / DEGREES
Certified Pro Dog Trainer: Absolute Dogs
Pro Dog Trainer Geek Behaviour Program: Absolute Dogs
Canine Coaching Accredited Diploma: Canine Principles
Canine Behaviour Professional Accredited Diploma: Canine Principles
Animal Behaviour Diploma : ICS Canada
Bachelor of Education: The University of Western Ontario
Bachelor of Science (Honours): Wilfrid Laurier University
Canine Anxiety: Canine Principles
Canine Fear: Canine Principles
Canine Reactive Behaviour: Canine Principles
Dog Emotion and Cognition: Dr. Brian Hare: Duke University
Inspiring Resilience in Fearful and Reactive Dogs: Canine Principles
Easy Walks With Your Reactive Dogs: Canine Principles
Positive Dog Training for Ethical Owners: Canine Principles
Emotional Intelligence for Dog Professionals: Canine Principles
Dogs and Children: Canine Principles
Senior Dog Care: Canine Principles
Canine First Aid: St. John's Ambulance
Fear Free Shelter Program: Fear Free, LLC
Canine Behaviour Deep Dive: Absolute Dogs
Resource Guarding Seminar: Absolute Dogs
Super Trainer Live Conference (2014-2019): Absolute Dogs
Predation Substitute Training: Simone Mueller
Interactive Play Guide: Craig Ogilvie
Canine Calmness: Emma Goulding Bosworth
Canine Enrichment: Shay Kelly
Wolf Awareness Workshop: Simone Mueller
Your Sofa Wolf: Simone Mueller
Teenage Dream: Hannah Branigan and Emelie Johnson Vegh
Home School the Dog: Susan Garrett
Dog Behaviour Conference 2020
Fearful Dog Rehabilitation: Sally Gutteridge
Border Collie LIVE Day: Absolute Dogs
Canine Bonding and Play: Sally Gutteridge
Canine Compulsive Disorder: Toni Shelbourne
Dog Tired: Canine Sleep: Toni Shelbourne
Noses for Nature: Amanda Freeman
The Mechanics of the Mark: Al Bunyan
Understanding Animal Cruelty: Teresa Tyler