How did I get into this business?
I have always loved animals. I begged my parents to let me get a cat when I was in third grade and have lived with pets ever since. I started training as a hobby when we got our first dog in 1968 and I started training professionally 20 years later when Henry entered my life.
Henry was my fourth dog. At less than 4 months old his former owner had left him at the pound, deemed not trainable and a little terror. I soon learned they were nearly right. He was a terror, but as I have also learned and taught thousands of clients — nearly all dogs are trainable. Henry went on to earn obedience titles, do demonstrations in my classes and compete in dog sports, as well as doing commercials, movies and therapy work.
When I was having trouble training Henry, I sought the help of my local training club. One trainer told me to jerk him really hard then praise him more to overcome the response to the hard jerk. Another trainer told me with Rusty, my very fearful dog “better she be more afraid of disobeying you than afraid of whatever else scares her”. Those were both respected trainers teaching in my area. Since neither of those suggestions made sense to me and I didn’t want to do more damage, I had the good sense not to follow them. I became hooked on training and I have made a life long career out of developing non-confrontational training methods and methods that didn’t themselves create new problems.
“I Said Sit!” grew out of my love for helping people and helping their dogs!
I went on to focus my attention on helping pet owners deal with the behavior problems of the so-called “bad dogs” and refine the training of their already good dogs. I boarded and trained dogs in my home and ultimately opened a boarding and training kennel in 1991. In 2010, I teamed up with my business partner and General Manager, Elisha Stynchula, to open our current state-of–the-art facility, “I Said Sit!” in West Los Angeles.
2013 marked my 25th year in business and I constantly strive to improve, to continue my education and to revise my own methods. I have built on my foundation from several professional training schools with my experience helping thousands of clients and even more dogs since 1988. I continue to regularly attend seminars and courses on different aspects of teaching, training methods and behavior problem solutions.
I wanted to be able to help on a broader scale.
In 2012 I decided to test my knowledge so I took the test for Certified Professional Dog Trainer and received my CPDT-KA from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. I received my CDBC certification from the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. I was honored to be one of a test group for their new scoring process and I currently sit on the Application Review Committee as well. In 2014 I was elected to the Board of Trustees for the Association of Professional Dog Trainers.
I stay in close contact with my peers. I am an active member of several trainers groups, including Truly Dog Friendly and the Southern California Dog Trainers Forum. These keep me in close contact with a national and local community of behaviorists and trainers. I’m a regular contributor to publications including Pet Press/LA, Dog Days in LA and Tails, as well as a “go to” dog expert for animal rights cases and media outlets including the Associated Press and USA Today.