All-Star Dog Training & Agility was born out of my passion to work with dogs and educate owners.
I am originally from Northern California and grew up loving all animals. I finally got my first dog, Bailey (an adorable Cocker Spaniel rescue), when I was in middle school. I loved everything about him but most of all liked teaching him new tricks and agility skills.
Fast-forward to today. After following my passion for travel – living in Panama, Japan, and London – I knew I needed to find a home base so I could get a dog. Enter Mack: a high-drive, “never been told no” cattle dog mix. He is the catalyst for my becoming a dog trainer and continues to teach me lessons to this day.
I work with a variety of dogs from puppy foundation to dogs who show behavioral issues such as reactivity, fear, and anxiety. I dive into the why behind dog behavior and how we can view and treat dogs in ways that benefit them.
In addition to balanced training, I am an agility instructor and love introducing people to a new canine sport. It is truly an incredible way to bond with your dog and learn something new!
What is balanced training?
Balanced training means using a combination of both reward-based techniques and corrections to provide feedback to our dogs. This approach uses all four quadrants of operant conditioning: positive reinforcement, positive punishment, negative reinforcement, and negative punishment. This type of learning can be found throughout the natural world and provides a great base for communication with your dog.
Why balanced training?
I had recently adopted my dog, Mack. We went through an amazing honeymoon phase together – and then the problems started.
He became reactive to other dogs on leash, was rowdy and wild when people pet him, and I couldn’t recall him for the life of me. I agonized over whether he was the right dog for me or if we would ever get past this. I tried a trainer, and it didn’t get us much further. But it wasn’t me or Mack who was not the right fit. It was the approach to our training.
Everything in life relies on balance. A balance between summer and winter, study and play, disappointment and joy. Dog training is the same. There has to be a balance between structure and freedom, excitement and calm, positive reinforcement and corrections. Right now, your dog is out of balance. They are not getting guidance from you and are therefore left to make their own decisions. But here’s the thing. Dogs are animals living in a human world governed by human rules. They don’t inherently know how to behave in every situation, and it’s our job as their leaders and protectors to show them.
You love your dog, but you may have been incorrectly taught what love looks like to a dog (we can blame society here). Love is built on respect, and respect is built on boundaries and expectations – even with humans! Love doesn’t mean letting your dog do whatever it wants and never telling it no. Love means clear, consistent communication, and fulfilling your dog’s biological needs over your “need” to have your dog cuddle with you on the couch (that can come later).
So, welcome to the club – the small club of dog owners who are willing to put their needs second to their dog’s; who are in the minority by training their dog with tools that work; and who have the desire and dedication to work towards their goal.