Teaching is at the heart of everything I do, including my work in the community. I have more than 15 years of dog-rescue experience and volunteer work, including co-founding a national dog-rescue group.
Force Free Trainers of Wisconsin
In 2013, I co-founded Force Free Trainers of Wisconsin (FFTW) with my colleague, Laura Holder, of Connecting with Dogs. We started the group as a networking and support community for positive-reinforcement trainers. Members must meet high standards for training, ethics and humane practices in order to be accepted.
The organization has grown to include over 40 like-minded professionals statewide. In addition to sharing knowledge and support within the organization, FFTW also provides community education about positive training techniques, which are scientifically proven to be the most effective and humane way for your dog to learn.
People & Animals Learning (PAL)
Two of my favorite weeks each year happen in June: I teach a camp for at-risk 10- to 13-year-olds at the Wisconsin Humane Society–Ozaukee Campus. The kids train a dog for an hour each day for two weeks in order to build confidence, empathy and compassion. At the end of the camp, the students show off their skills and their dogs at a graduation ceremony before the dogs are offered for adoption.
I’ve been delighted to co-direct and volunteer for this annual event, which raises money for Wisconsin’s companion animals. All proceeds from the event are given back to animal rescues and shelters. The show offers education, entertainment and exhibitions to more than 10,000 visitors every winter.
CANINE MASCOT TRAINING
In addition to the community volunteer work, I also help train some pretty awesome canine mascots (and their human counterparts!) in the metro-Milwaukee area.