Staff Profile: Kristi Benson

Kristi Benson is a dog trainer living on a small farm in central Manitoba, Canada. An honors graduate of the program, she now works for the Academy for Dog Trainers as a student mentor and coach, directing special research projects and organizing the Academy’s Wednesday Webinar series.

Kristi’s dog addiction is firmly rooted in racing sled dogs. She has her own crew of sled dogs and for the last decade she has directed a micro-rescue, placing racing dogs in homes as pets. Through her dog-training business Kristi teaches adult dog and puppy classes in several nearby communities, works one-on-one with owners whose dogs are having behavioral issues, and consults for many local foster-based rescues. 

Her love of dogs (and her love of using humorous narrative as a pedagogical tool) was cemented during her time living and working in Canada's far north. Today, she continues to work as a research anthropologist, archaeologist, author, and cartographer with First Nations communities in Canada’s subarctic. 

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Staff Profile:Erik Tamm

Staff Profile:Erik Tamm

Erik Tamm graduated with honors from the Academy for Dog Trainers in early 2016 and joined the Academy staff a few weeks later. Erik's main responsibility in the Academy is caring for the technological infrastructure of our online community and coursework. 

Erik has a background as a software developer and became interested in dog training after moving to Hong Kong and volunteering to help the island's feral dogs.

Today, he divides his time between programming and dog training. Erik works with all kinds of cases but has taken a special liking to dogs with body handling issues.

Erik lives on a small island outside Hong Kong, Cheung Chau, with his wife and his two dogs, Charlie and James. During his time off he enjoys windsurfing and volunteer work to improve the lives of the feral dogs on the island.

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Staff Profile: Casey McGee

Staff Profile: Casey McGee

Casey McGee graduated from the Academy just this year, in February 2016. She still feels like a giddy newcomer on the dog training scene: blessed to have had the chance to learn from the best, filled with hope and passion for the future of a force-free dog training industry, and now thrilled to be a part of the amazing staff team at the Academy. 

Casey also studied with Malena DeMartini and is a proud 2015 graduate of her intensive training program—the only one of its kind to certify dog trainers to work with separation anxiety and isolation distress.

She and her partner lost an aggressive dog to euthanasia several years ago when, like so many of us, she followed the most readily-available advice for dealing with aggression and, in desperation, used coercive and intimidating training methods. At the time she didn't have access to a trainer who could help her first do no harm to her beloved pup. Today she wants to be that trainer for families struggling with the confusion and heartbreak of a serious behavior problem.  

Casey found her calling in force-free dog training after years of animal rescue volunteering and a career working with advocates, law enforcement and prosecution to reform the way that public institutions respond to domestic violence and sexual assault. She now owns and operates Upward Hound and lives on a retired dairy farm in western Wisconsin with her partner, three dogs and a flock of geriatric chickens.

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On Motivation

The Academy for Dog Trainers is honored to take part in the Companion Animal Psychology #train4rewards Blog Party!

         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

"Those who merrily food train have made a critical leap in their thinking: their bond with the dog is separate from the technical task of manipulating his behavior. There is no rivalry. They don't see themselves in competition with food for the dog's attention; they merely point out to the dog that they control his access to food. Some people find it magical to see the intensity for which a dog will work to eat—it is, after all, a very basic motivation."

- Jean Donaldson, Dogs are From Neptune

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Staff Profile: Kelly Shutt

Staff Profile: Kelly Shutt

Kelly Shutt graduated from The Academy for Dog Trainers with honors in 2013. During her studies, she apprenticed under Gallivan Burwell (also an Academy grad) of Upward Dog Training and Counseling in New Orleans, Louisiana. She has also served as the Vice President of The Sula Foundation, an advocacy organization devoted to fostering responsible pit bull guardianship in New Orleans. 

More recently, Kelly served as the Behavior and Training Manager at The Louisiana SPCA (LA/SPCA), an open-admission shelter providing animal control and community outreach for the City of New Orleans. During her time at the LA/SPCA, Kelly created a Behavior and Training department, including a volunteer-led training program for shelter dogs. She also transformed the training culture from "mixed bag" to exclusively force-free. 

Kelly currently owns and operates Dogspeed Positive Training, where she specializes in resource guarding and dog-dog reactivity. Committed to providing the most efficient, user-friendly solutions to her clients’ dog training needs, Kelly passionately pursues ongoing professional development by attending multiple seminars per year and keeping abreast of all industry developments. Kelly recently moved to Akron, Ohio, where she lives with her fiancé, Kevin Duggan of All Dogs Go To Kevin and their three dogs Villere, Rosa, and V.

 

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