In honor of January being National Train Your Dog Month, we want to introduce you to our resident trainer and expert, Chelsea. We sat down with Chelsea for a little Q & A session so you can get to know her better.
Q: How did you become a dog trainer?
A: While attending Illinois State University, I took behavior modification classes. In those classes I actually got to use my dog, Marley, as a test subject. It reignited a passion that had begun when I was a child. My grandfather encouraged my love of dogs by watching dog shows with me, and by buying me books about dogs and training. He even trained his hunting dogs himself. I took all of the knowledge that I had obtained, and began training dogs. Since I began in August of 2012, I have worked with hundreds of dogs – everything from Great Danes to Chihuahuas to mixed breeds.
Q: What kind of training or certificates do you have?
A: I am an American Kennel Club approved evaluator of the Canine Good Citizen test as well as Puppy S.T.A.R and Community Canine.
Q: What pets do you have and what are their names? Any photos?
A: I have three dogs and one cat. Marley is my oldest dog. He is a 9 year old Lhasa-Poodle mix who usually comes with me to class to teach all the young pups. Huckleberry Finn is a 4 year old Aussie mix that we rescued when he was 1 year old. Phoenix is my Aussie mix puppy who is about 1 year old now. He was rescued from the South LA shelter. And, last but not least, is Parker. Parker is a big, fluffy, black cat who is pretty sure he is a dog. I found him when he was a kitten as I was walking home one day.
Q: What do you think is the best training question you have ever been asked?
A: One of the best training questions that I have been asked is ‘Can you teach my dog to use the stairs?’ It was pretty entertaining to do, because the puppy had trained his owners very well! He would just sit and wait until someone picked him up. Once we lured him onto the stairs a few times with some high value treats, he would run up and down the stairs like a pro.
Q: What naughty behaviors do your pets have?
A: Phoenix is still a puppy, so he tends to be a bit more rambunctious than Huck or Marley. Phoenix will chew anything if he can. He likes to steal socks, also. The socks don’t get chewed on, they just get moved or hidden from me. I found his stash of socks once – there were six socks in total. Parker is probably the most naughty of them all. He likes to wait for the dogs to be sleeping, relaxed or chewing on a toy, and then sneak up behind them and jump on their heads. Then he runs away wanting the dogs to chase him.
If you are in the Los Angeles area you can take classes with Chelsea!