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.

Continue reading
2191 Hits

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

Continue reading
2410 Hits

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.

 

Continue reading
2587 Hits

Staff Profile: Sarah Pennington

Staff Profile: Sarah Pennington

Sarah Pennington graduated from The Academy for Dog Trainers in 2013. The entire Academy experience has helped her in ways she never expected. A member of Academy staff since 2014, Sarah coaches students on their mechanical training skills and mentors students with their assignment submissions. She especially enjoys watching new students develop professional-level training skills.

In addition, Sarah volunteers as a trainer at the BC SPCA in Vancouver.

Sarah is happiest when working with people to help them better understand and train their dogs using a blend of compassion and modern, evidence-based training methods.

Sarah works with all types of behavior cases in her business Yaletown Dog Training but has a soft spot for fearful dogs. She tries to bust myths and spread the message of humane training with simple messages on Yaletown's Facebook page.

   

Sarah’s nursing experience in an inner-city emergency department and in a police department, working with marginalized clients, has taught her the importance of empathy and non-judgment. She tries to incorporate these qualities into her work with dog training clients who are trying to do the best they can for their pets.

Sarah also works part-time in health care where she is the Project Manager for a variety of clinical trials in cardiac arrest and stroke.

Sarah hopes that one day all animals will be trained with compassion and that the use of fear, pain or coercion will no longer be considered acceptable. Dogs make people happy. Sarah’s goal is to teach people how to make their dogs happy too, especially when training them.

Sarah lives in Vancouver, Canada, with her partner and their two dogs.

                                        

Continue reading
2219 Hits

Staff Profile: Lori Nanan

Staff Profile: Lori Nanan

Lori Nanan graduated from The Academy in 2013 and since then, has seen her life change in more ways than she could have ever imagined. As a member of The Academy staff, Lori provides orientation and support to new students, runs special projects and feels incredibly lucky beyond words to be a part of something so close to her heart. 

In her "day job", Lori works as the Canine Behavior Education Coordinator at Women's Humane Society in Bensalem, PA. In addition to teaching classes to the public, Lori runs educational workshops, where she often has the opportunity to expand upon what she has learned through The Academy in a way that makes it accessible to more people. Lori's true passion is working with shelter dogs and loves helping those who are fearful, shy or experiencing kennel stress adjust more easily. Mooka (seen below) is a dog who trembled in her kennel, but through something Lori affectionately calls "desk fostering", not only came out of her shell, but thrived with one-on-one attention and was even able to learn some fun tricks before being adopted.

Lori also works for Academy Grad, Malena DeMartini, who is considered the expert in treating separation anxiety in dogs. In this job, Lori gets to utilize skills she gained in her previous career as a counselor and case manager. One of the things Lori has learned in this position is that people who have dogs with separation anxiety are among the most dedicated dog owners out there and she loves being able to support them.

One of Lori's side projects is Your Pit Bull and You, an educational resource that focuses on highlighting pit bull type dogs in the most positive light, but carries the very important tagline "Animal Learning Isn't Breed Specific". She is incredibly proud of the message and the culture around Your Pit Bull and You, which has attracted an extremely savvy, kind and dedicated audience. 

 Lori has a dream: a world in which all dogs are trained without pain. Lori hopes that through each of her endeavors, she is helping create that world and strives to do so every day.

Lori has a motto and it's one that helps her get through even the roughest of days:

            "Dogs make the rest of life bearable."

Dogs really are such a gift and they deserve for us to not only love them, but to truly understand them. Understanding and utilizing the science of animal learning and behavior is not mutually exclusive with loving our dogs. In fact, in understanding them, we can actually create deeper relationships with them. Lori's goal is to help people who love dogs have both.

Continue reading
2514 Hits