It all started with my first dog, a goldendoodle named Moose. A shoulder injury put him on crate rest, and to help him cope, I started learning clicker training so we could play brain games and he could learn body awareness as he healed. This sent me on a journey into the world of rewards based training and dog wellness. Five years later, I started volunteering and fostering for a local rescue organization. Because I had experience with clicker training, they often asked me to help walk the more difficult dogs: the ones who pulled on leash, barked at other dogs, or were just a little timid and needed a patient handler.

Then, in fall 2018, I got a call asking me to foster a young, heartworm positive Australian cattle dog named Daisy. My partner and I agreed to get her through her heartworm treatment and ready for adoption in her forever home… But she turned out to be a little more than anyone bargained for. After trying to find her the perfect home for a whole year, we finally adopted her after moving to a farm that would better meet all of our needs than the urban environment we had been living in.

Meeting all of Daisy’s physical, mental, and emotional needs has required a deep dive into the world of dog behavior and welfare. I am a certified Family Dog Mediator, I am studying to become a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, I serve on the board of directors of Summit Dog Rescue, and I co-host the podcast Pod to the Rescue, a dog behavior and wellness resource for rescues, fosters, and adopters.

In addition to my work with dogs, I work as a freelance writer and editor and have a master of fine arts from the University of Wyoming in creative writing. I live with Daisy and my partner, Jason, outside of Boulder, Colorado.

My pronouns are she/her/hers.

What is Rewards Based Training?

Also known as positive reinforcement or force free training, rewards based training is rooted in the latest scientific research on animal behavior, applied ethology, and canine wellness. It starts by assessing our dog’s wellness: their physical health, nutrition, and environment. Then, we proceed to deal with unwanted behaviors by setting the dog up for success in their environment and using positive reinforcement to teach them the behaviors we want.

Positive reinforcement is highly effective and builds strong relationships between dogs and their owners and handlers.