The good thing about having tons of experience is that, theoretically, if I've been paying attention, I should know my stuff. The bad thing is that it means that I'm older than dirt - or most dirt anyway.
In an effort to not make this not sound like a resume, I'll keep it light and relevant - we'll see how it goes.
My professional life started in 1987 at an Arabian Horse Training Barn here in Tucson. I was still in Highschool, and thought my job was the coolest of anyone else in the whole school.
I loved horses, and knew my entire future would involve them.
I worked a series of barn jobs through the 90's - with my perfectly behaved pup, Scrapper, a wonderfully snobby little Border Collie mix thing always at my side. She knew a bunch of tricks (trained exclusively with the best of treats, Goldfish and M&Ms - the snacks we favored at the barn where I worked). She went everywhere with me through my travels to barns and stables from Colorado to Kentucky. And at one point in Colorado I dearly wanted to get her started with sheep - as I felt she had the instincts (she spent hours watching the neighbor's tumbleweeds on the fence line and any that escaped she captured and promptly returned to the pile!)
I trained horses in Arizona, Kentucky, and Colorado. I started hundreds of colts, honing a skillset that sought to find calmness and freedom in young, hot blooded Arabians, warmbloods, and thoroughbreds.
I owned a training barn from the mid-90s through about 2000, when the economics of becoming a top level dressage rider finally became apparent, and I entered the veterinary field.
I loved veterinary medicine! I geeked out on every new tidbit of information I came across, reading all the periodicals, going to as much Continuing Education as I could muster.
I quickly moved from veterinary assistant to hospital manager to Certified Veterinary Technician. I ran multiple veterinary teams, created hospital content and programs, wrote articles and spoke on the radio.
During this time I lost my last horse to old age and rehomed her companion. I began to work with the trainer and behavior experts at the veterinary hospital where I worked. I began training my dogs, playing with agility, obedience, Rally Obedience, and eventually, herding.
I especially loved working with the behavior cases that came in - not the serious stuff, aggression and the like, but fearful dogs, and puppy socialization, and boredom busters. I also focused on weight loss programs, instituting them at two hospitals, and speaking about weight loss on the radio and writing about it in a local newsletter.
My passion has always been to create fuller, happier lives for the animals that I saw.
I began herding in 2006 or so, and a whole wonderful world opened up for me! Dog training had always seemed too regimented and unidirectional, but here was a sport where the dog initiated the behaviors and I simply shaped them, encouraged them, and named them!
I loved herding! My dog...? not once she realized that at no point would she be permitted to actually eat the sheep!
After 15 years in the veterinary profession I needed a change.
I became a dog trainer at PetSmart (the very place I had always discouraged my clients from going! - oh, the irony!). I was lucky to find a wonderful mentor in Maggie Evans, the Regional PetSmart Trainer. I quickly tacked the challenges of training with a whole new method (PetSmart is positive Only - and though I have spent my life seeking fair training solutions, and using as little force as necessary, I was far from positive only) I quickly saw the gaps in the PetSmart Training method (not positive only - but their version of it) and sought out other venues and techniques that would help my clients succeed within the parameters and constraints of PetSmart.
In June of 2015 I got two border collies with the express purpose of training them to herd. (Two was not the plan - one was the plan - two was what I ended up with; Cody a one-year old rescue with a bite history and an OCD shadow chasing behavior, as well as half a dozen other wack-a-doo behavior problems, and Dice a two year old rehome due to inter-household aggression between himself and another male. Dice also has his fair share of wack-a-do behavior issues stemming from an unhealthy combination of fearfulness and reactivity)
In November of 2017 I bought my first sheep.
In August of 2018 I quit PetSmart and began training on my own. In September of 2018 I went in with a partner and leased The Dog Spot with the vision of it being a place where multiple trainers could work out of the same facility and work together towards the greater good. Our desire is that The Dog Spot becomes the venue in Tucson for dog training and information
Education, Publications, accolades, and whatnot
Certified Veterinary Technician since 2008
Articles Written (publications)
DVM360, Veterinary Economics, Yahoo.com, Petcare.com, Vail Voice, Central Valley Hospital, Animal Care Center of Green Valley, Ventana Animal Hospital, Southern Arizona Veterinary Specialty Center, Central Vet of Albany, Firstline Veterinary, Veterinary Economics, The Vet Life, Quarter Horse Journal
Articles about (publications)
DVM360, Veterinary Economics, Petcare.com, Cleanlink.com, Yahoo.com, My Herald View
Veterinary Conferences Attended: Western States, Western Veterinary Conference, American Veterinary Medical Association Conference, American Animal Hospital Association Conference (Phoenix and Long Beach).
Study tracks at veterinary conferences: Veterinary rehab, weight loss, canine behavior, feline behavior, Canine and feline anxiety pharmacopeia, Behavioral Analysis, Caretaker stress in aggression cases, puppy and kitten socialization, Fear Free Veterinary Care.
Dog Training workshops, etc...
Sheep Camp 2006, Sheep Camp 2018,
Dice (Twisted Dice, ABCA and AKC): Canine Good Citizen (2016), Novice Tricks Title (2017), American Herding Breed Association Ranch Dog I Title (2017), AKC First and Second place Herding (2018)
Cody (Cody Noodle, AKC) Novice Trick Title (2017), Rally O second place (Cyanosports) (2017), AKC Herding second and third place (2019)