My companion animal behavior journey started when a friend described their cat as "stupid" for not using the litter box properly. I knew there was a different reason for the issue, so I started reading about it and was fascinated by what I learned. Shortly after this, a terminally ill friend of mine listed me in their will to care for their cat after they passed. Since I already had an adult cat at home, I needed to make sure that the two cats would get along. In my mind, there was no other option but to make it work. So I studied how to properly introduce cats, and was again fascinated by what I learned. And just like so many other animal trainers and behavior consultants, I too have had dogs with problems like fear, anxiety, reactivity, and aggression. This is why animal behavior professionals are so passionate about what we do. We have experienced the frustration and despair that comes with navigating life with animals who just need a little help. Realizing that we need more people who understand how animals think and feel so that both humans and animals can benefit is why I continued on this journey.
Dog training and animal behavior consulting is not a regulated industry in the United States. This is why it is imperative that we acquire appropriate education from reputable organizations. I believe in full disclosure and transparency regarding credentials. I have a Master of Science degree from Michigan State University, where my thesis focused on an animal health-related topic. You can rest assured that I know how to do my research. I am a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP), which means that I have completed hands-on education and rigorous testing from KPA, a renowned animal training institution. Additionally, I am a certificant of the Feline Inappropriate Elimination Master Course, taught by Katenna Jones at Hippocampus Online, where I learned every facet of troubleshooting and solving complex litter box issues expressed by cats. This course also involved in-depth education followed by testing. Lastly, I am a supporting member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, where I stay up-to-date on the latest science via continuing education resources.
I subscribe to the LIMA strategy, which means "least intrusive, minimally aversive" methods. This means that positive reinforcement is the preferred way to teach animals more of what we want to see and less of what we don't want to see. Positive reinforcement has consistently been demonstrated to be the most humane and effective strategy for solving behavior issues.