Hello all, I hope you all are in good spirits and 2021 is still treating you well. For JenLovesPets we have some big changes coming, one of those new changes is our newest team member Tay! She offers a service new to JLP and new to all our clients. That is Dog Training. Now dog training can be broad, Tay focuses on Basic obedience, behavior modification, and puppy training. So, since Tay is new to the team and you, I wanted to do an interview so you can all get to know her and what she stands for!
Q: Tell us about yourself.
A: I lived up and down the West coast for my entire life. I have grown up with cats, dogs, fish, amphibians, and reptiles. I went to the University of Washington, the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. My degree is in Society, Ethics and Human Behavior with a minor in Human Rights. All throughout college people asked me “what do you want to do with that degree?” The answer was always “I don’t know, but I want to help people.”
Q: What made you get into dog training?
A: A friend of mine talked about the courthouse dogs who were trained to help survivors and children testify. That was the most amazing idea I had come across yet. The idea of helping people by working with animals was an absolute dream! It combined my desire to help people with my desire to work with animals.
Q: Do you have pets yourself?
A: I do! I currently have a beautiful diluted tortie kitty. Her name is Marie, and she is wicked smart! I have trained her to do a few tricks. I also have a little mutt-dog named Ringo. He had a rough start in life, I took over his care when he was 6 years old and together, we have worked through his reactivity, separation anxiety, body handling issues, food issues, resource guarding and more. He is my sweet little boy, and although he is still very sensitive, he has come a long way and I am unbelievably proud of him! I adopted a puppy two years ago to help Ringo through a deep depression issue, and she worked the trick! Her name is Wishbone, she is a Lab/cattle dog mix. She needs a lot of attention, has loads of energy, and is so smart! I am truly blessed to have each of my babies in my life!
Q: What is your favorite part about dog training?
A: When behavior modification goes well and is successful, getting to see a dog who feared other dogs feeling comfortable, or a dog who couldn’t be alone for 10 seconds handle a couple of hours on their own. Those moments are extremely rewarding, and they make the hard days worthwhile!
Q: What’s one thing you wish you had known when you began dog training?
A: Passion and compassion for animals and humans will get you much further in this field than textbooks will. Having that compassion and dedication will open so many doors if you are willing to take the opportunities to work with animals that come your way, even when they seem small, or too big for where you think you are, then you will learn more than you ever expected.
Q: What advice would you give someone wanting to pursue a profession like yours?
A: Contact me! Truly, take advantage of opportunities that come your way, do your own research, remember that nobody has all the answers, but pursuing them with others will lead you exactly where you’re trying to go in this community.
Q: Who are the three people who have been the most influential to you?
A: 1. Jennifer Cross is my training mentor. She hired me as a doggie daycare assistant and helped me access opportunities to work with many different dogs through varying stages of life and with a plethora of needs. I still go to her for advice to this day, which is one of the major factors that led me to working for Jenlovespets. 2. Dr. Ian Dunbar, he is a brilliant veterinary behaviorist who really brought to light how important puppy socialization is and put forth ways to help them socialize effectively, without risking their physical health. These are methods and mentalities that go into every training structure I set up for training puppies. 3. My sister, Shannon is the third most influential person. She opened opportunities for me to move back down to California (back to my roots) and has been monumentally supportive in me following my dream, even when it requires her to do less-than-fun jobs for me. She is also the bravest person I have ever met, and I feel truly inspired by her every day.
Q: What is the one common myth about your profession or field that you want to debunk?
A: What most of us have been taught about Dominance Theory and the concept of “alpha’s” has been found to be inaccurate, and many of the teachings that spawned from it are showing to cause more harm than good. The theory stemmed from wolf packs, it was believed that much of their behavior showed a hierarchy where one wolf was the “alpha” and the others were obedient to them, but upon further studies it was discovered that the packs were usually broken up into family groups and the “alphas” were typically parents. What we viewed as violence -eg the alpha roll- never actually included the parents making contact with their mouths on their pups; oftentimes the dogs would roll onto their back by choice.
Q: What dog training education and experience do you have?
A: I studied at the Northwest School of Canine studies. I also frequently take courses through TopDogs! These institutions have given me lots of insight into dogs. I study the history of dog training, dog psychology, physiology, behavior, and more! I worked for doggie daycares, puppy socialization facilities, reactivity courses, and freelance training institutions. I got to have lots of experience monitoring dog-dog play, teaching puppies the basic skills needed for life, working with dogs who have problem behavior and helping them through, as well as teaching fun tricks and prepping pups for agility. I also have some experience teaching dogs to become service animals!
Q: What training methods and philosophy do you use?
A: I use only positive reinforcement methods, and force-free training. This means I reward dogs for making decisions that I like, as opposed to punishing them for making decisions that are problematic.
Q: Where can our readers find your services?
A: Right on the Jenlovespets website!
I hope this interview gives you a sense of who Tay is and what she stands for. We hope to see some of you take advantage of our new service, and you enjoy it as well. We have a wonderful team and Tay fits right in, we are happy to have her and you guys will love her as much as we do! Tay has offered a couple tips, so give them a try!
How to introduce a new puppy to your dog
If possible, exchange the dogs’ scents. This means using blankets or towels or collars that the other one was wearing and letting the dogs explore them. This way the smell is at least familiar before the dogs meet in-person. Tire out the puppy prior to initial introductions. It isn’t fair to bring puppy level energy to a dog who is not ready for it. Be sure they have plenty of space, preferably outside. Let them run loose but be sure the puppy is wearing a leash that they can drag, in case the dog is having a hard time and the puppy is not respecting the adult’s space or signals. Before bringing the puppy to the dog try watching videos about dog-body language in order to ensure you’re looking out for everyone’s best interests! Reward both dogs for every interaction and give them individual attention!
What to do if your dog is exhibiting signs of aggression or fear or separation anxiety
Get a professional in your home right away! It is so easy for the best intentions to result in worsening anxiety, reactivity and aggression if you don’t have guidance from a trained professional! Remember that your dog is not giving you a hard time, they are HAVING a hard time! They don’t cause you trouble on purpose, there are extenuating circumstances that they aren’t able to cope with appropriately in that moment, due to any number of factors.