My Passion for Animals:
I was lucky enough to grow up around animals, so my love for them started early. (My father grew up on a farm, and he had a very soft touch when it came to animals. Just about every stray my brothers and I brought home, we were allowed to keep!) As I grew up, I learned about how much care these animals needed. More than anything I wanted to educate people about how awesome these animals are, as well as the proper way to care for them. With that goal in mind, I got my BA in psychology at The Ohio State University, minor zoology. I volunteered at a wildlife clinic for 2 years before accepting an internship at Sea Life Park, HI. Working with dolphins and sea lions taught me so much about the bond between animal and trainer. You can’t force an animal to do something they don’t want to do… and you shouldn’t! So how do you get an animal to do what you ask? It’s about them wanting to do it because they trust you and like you. I also became a member of IMATA, the International Marine Animal Trainer’s Association, and attended their annual conference to keep up to date with the latest training techniques and innovations for dealing with obstacles. After my internship, I accepted education positions in zoos and aquariums all over the country, and everywhere I went, I took the knowledge of positive reinforcement training with me. I even started training programs at two facilities that didn’t have training programs yet. In one case, I started training stingrays during SCUBA dive shows, and it was a hit! I even wrote a paper on it, and presented it at IMATA’s conference in 2009. I won second place for a trained behavior that year, and am very proud of this achievement! After 4 years with the stingrays, the facility went in another direction, but I wanted to continue educating people while using my animal training skills. It just made sense for me to become a dog trainer! Working with dogs is not only extremely satisfying on a personal and professional level, but I finally get to be close to my family!
BA psychology, minor zoology, The Ohio State University
Animal Training Seminar, IMATA (International Marine Animal Trainer’s Association)
Advanced Behavior Management, IMATA & Ocean Embassy
Advanced Training Concepts, IMATA
Behavioral Training Award, 2nd place, IMATA